“Who kicks a child to the curb?” I hear the question related to adult children and even spouses often in boundary discussions in my support groups and at Mosaics. “How will I be able to live with myself” follows. It pains me every time I hear these words spoken, as I never believe we as parents do that – ”kick a loved one to the curb.” That option is not typically in a parent’s or spouse’s initial roadmap on the path to family recovery. But honestly, maybe it should be. It wasn’t on my desired flow on that map, but I had to acknowledge that it might be the choice of my loved one. Maybe that is the bottom that many have to experience to be sick and tired of being sick and tired.
As parents of adult children or spouses, we loved with every ounce of ourselves, felt the pain in our own physical self from the insanity that had become our lives, and established the boundary to no longer allow residence to be in our home. That is one boundary that may have to be WRITTEN DOWN – a reminder, not for the loved one, but for the boundary setter. This “writing down” wisdom I gained from a support group, as it is easy to not keep the boundary if you don’t have to look at it written down.
Quite a few years ago, our home was no longer a peaceful sanctuary (and nowhere even close to calm) for anyone, and that had to change. Our home could no longer remain one of the residence choices. This decision evolves to protect property and the safety of those in the home, but most of all, to encourage our loved ones to get the help needed in an appropriate environment for recovery and long term healing. Lying in a bed, depressed, and abusing substances in our home was not a solution. There were only two adults in the house researching “healthy” options, not the one in bed.
I have never talked to someone who asked this “curb” question that had not exhausted every conceivable option of recovery help for their loved one. So many choices but the one our loved one sometimes picks is “the curb.” The other “healthy and safe” choices offered in desperation to keep our loved ones alive and hopefully moving on a better path may be strongly opposed. So should the question be rephrased “How could my child choose the street or curb instead of recovery?”
I am certain my loved one might dispute some of this with me, as in the moment of the choice, there is a mentality that is not of right mind. The actual memory of the departing event likely never stuck for our loved one. But I guarantee the memory for every parent or spouse who had to set that boundary is etched in our minds forever. The pain is only eased by continuously working a family recovery program and/or by staying focused in prayer upwards. I highly recommend both for true freedom. As Sherry so eloquently wrote last week on freedom….for me, the freedom from the trauma of watching an adult child make that choice gave me the freedom to write these words of hope to others. Even if “the curb” is chosen, it is almost always temporary on that roadmap to true freedom and healing.