Well, I am back. I couldn't ignore the replies because they all showed up in my email and of course, I read them. So here I am.
Slw, thanks for your apology. It was the part about did I rescue my son from ruination because I love him or because I want him to be grateful. I felt judged, singled out, all those icky feelings. Then the part about 'just grow a thicker skin' got to me as well, as if that is an easy thing to do. For folks like me who are thin-skinned by nature, it is really, really difficult.
But I gotta do what I gotta do.
I realized after my son's blow up night before last that almost anything I say beyond normal routine stuff can trigger him. I can say things like 'here are your bus tickets' or 'do you want mustard on your sandwich?' - but I can't say things like 'how are you doing' or make any such comment about anything he said, did, was looking at, touched, etc. Anything of that nature comes with great risk. So basically, at least for now, I must remove myself from his personal world and just focus on the externals like food, shelter and basic support.
I must detach. It will be a process and not an easy one.
With the support of both my husband and my mother, I learned that while my feelings may not matter to my son, they DO matter to other loved ones and friends. So there is still a 'me'. It is just a different me with my son than the rest of the world.
This is a very important distinction.
I appreciate all the responses I got on this thread, even the ones that I didn't like. The truth bites sometimes. I'd like to thank hereandhere, Mary, hope and jennifert for somehow managing to say just the right thing - and I really needed it.
Most of all, thanks slw for your full insight into the illness, what it's like to be a family member, and the turnaround you made with me.
We are all here to support each other, right?