An uneasy yet familiar feeling...

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by blackgnat, Apr 28, 2014.

  1. blackgnat

    blackgnat Active Member

    I've posted before about my difficult child-took him from Illinois to Colorado to live with his dad and brother (knew he wouldn't last long there-they brook no nonsense from him) last June. I don't know how to link to the backstory so I'll try to recap.

    He was kicked out by his father and brother because he was drinking and drugging. Moved in with a difficult child who was involved in crystal meth and together they continued a very unsavory lifestyle. He was arrested and jailed on December 2 2013 on a Domestic Violence charge. He also had cuts and bruises and as the girl is unstable, felt he had a good case against her. So did his Public Defender. He was originally facing 5-16 years in prison for this.

    The girlfriend began writing to him in jail, recanting her statement, apologizing for what had happened , saying it was her fault and that he was the only one for her. Hmmm. HER mother, who is an attorney also sent letters to the judge saying what a wonderful young man he was and that she was willing to help him any way she could and that her daughter would only drag him down. She continues to visit my son every week in jail.

    His bail was reduced but he screwed up and was re-arrested 3 days later. You couldn't make it up. The courts LOST the file containing those charges. Hmmm again.

    My son wanted to go to trial but eventually as of last week decided to take a plea bargain. He will be sentenced on June 13 and thinks the judge will give him an extended probation with a halfway house or sober living. I like this idea though realistically think that he will mess it up and be back where he started. I don't think he knows how to live in the outside world.

    Now on to my issue, which might not seem a problem to you warriors-but he is calling me MUCH more frequently. I started sending him care packages every so often and he is calling to ask for more. He told me last Sunday that he was thinking of asking to transfer his probation to Illinois, as he "doesn't know anyone in Colorado". Well, son, the people you know in Illinois probably don't want to have much to do with you. It pains me to say that, but it's true. Plus they were NOT good people for him to be around. And vice versa.

    I am NOT going to be staying in Illinois. I am taking early retirement in June but will still have to work and was considering moving to Colorado to be near my easy child (who is working full time and doing an online degree) if only for a little while, because I know that my easy child doesn't need me around. But I'd still like to do motherandson things with him. It's something that I've never really done and it amazes me, the ease with which my easy child and I can chat, have lunch or coffee, catch up on news and do some grocery shopping, etc. Stuff that you DON'T GET TO DO WITH A difficult child without it going pear-shaped.

    I think my point is that I feel I've come so far (not there yet, but trying) and I now feel that he is going to be unleashed on the world and with that comes uncertainty about his future and ME taking on the role of fixer. It's feeling like I'm slipping back into that role already, with the calls and the money spent on care packages. I was so resolute at first and I feel like Destiny is doing a snow job on me. The tentacles are snaking their way back in to my life. difficult child is scared, wants to run back to Illinois and mother and DOESN'T SEEM TO HAVE LEARNED ANYTHING.

    I can't have this happen. I told him I would not be staying here so if that was why he wanted to come back to Illinois, that wasn't even going to be an option. I DON'T want to take on his fears and his messes. I have been blissfully happy without his bs . I seriously thought he would tough up but I see he hasn't. He even talked about wanting a work release, where you work during the day and go back to the jail at night.

    So, how do I rid myself of the feeling that he wants to encroach on my life again? I am NEVER going back there. Does it seem like a bad idea to move to CO? I would have to sacrifice time with my easy child in order to stay away from difficult child. My best friend lives in Australia and says I can go there to live with her...but do I just leave the whole circus behind? It seems so selfish and unmotherly...

    At the same time, I feel the guilt. There's not much hope of a future for difficult child. Maybe he really just wants to know that someone cares about him. Though his girlfriend's mother seems to be in his corner.
  2. blackgnat

    blackgnat Active Member

    I would like to vent about one more thing. I have moved 4 times in the past year and love my current living situation. I have written to difficult child in jail and put this address on all correspondence.

    Today when I got the mail, there was a letter from a collection agency, addressed to my son at this address. How the hell did THAT happen? He owes $2K to a psychiatrist that he saw a year ago. I just saw red because this apartment is my haven and I DON'T want it tainted by my difficult child's issues. I called the guy immediately and told him that my son doesn't live here and that I don't want any contact from him regarding my son's finances.

    I then told him that my son was in jail in Colorado. I guess I figured that the agency would realize that he wasn't a good candidate for repayment. The guy asked me which city he was in and I said I wasn't going to give him any more information, but had just called to tell him that I didn't want to hear from the agency again.

    I am now feeling so guilty-I gave up info about my son, instead of just ignoring the letter or saying I didn't know where my son is. I started projecting, "Oh, my poor kid, they will contact him in jail, and he will realize how hopeless life is on the outside and that he has no chance of succeeding without people breathing down his neck". There's also a part of me that is afraid of what my son will say if he finds out I gave up the info (I don't have to tell him of course) and another part that is "Well, THIS will put him off coming back to Illinois" .

    But mostly that my peace of mind has been violated and there's no safe place for me to be in my own space.

    Thanks so much for reading and sorry it is all so long. Many thoughts jumbling around in my head. Would love some clarity for anyone who has some ! Thanks!
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Why do you feel guilty? He gave out YOUR address so that YOU would be harassed. He is in jail. I probably would have told them where. He has no right giving your address out to anyone.

    Just my opinion. Maybe it's too harsh. What do you other posters think? Remember, I'm just guessing because for all the BS my kids have done, they never did end up in jail so I'm not sure how it feels.
  4. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    I think your instinct to go spend some good quality time with your easy child is good...but you should be direct with him about your thoughts and plans, in case he has plans of his own!
    I think you should stop sending CARE packages, and limit the phone calls to whatever feels right to you. He can call on a schedule or not at all.
    You are on a slippery slope, you know it, I see it. It is totally fixable. You just need MWM to give you a solid whack in the head so you can see straight (I love you MWM).
    Do not arrange your life around difficult child. You are getting a taste of what will happen if you do...bill collectors, requests for more more more (you sent him care packages and now he asks for more? really?), crowding, and maybe even the expectation that you'll house him and provide for him.
    He owes money. Its fair that he should be expected to pay it. You did fine giving the agency the info you did. Why should he walk on $2K of some one elses hard work?
    Why not pop off to Australia and check it out with the bestie? Your kids are grown. Sticking around to mommy them when one doesn't need it and the other won't benefit it just pointless martyrdom.
    Feeling direct tonight!
    Take what you want and leave the rest,
  5. blackgnat

    blackgnat Active Member

    Thank you! I love what both of you ladies said!

    MWM-I don't think he gave out my address to anyone, I think it was a question of the collection agency tracing him because of my letters to him(2 in a total of 5 months) and they found this new address of mine. But my reaction when I saw HIS name on MY address just gave me the heebie-jeebies.

    My concern is really that I have lived for quite some time without his drama-as opposed to living it every day for YEARS -and I love that. So when I get the increase in phone calls and requests for more stuff in jail (this is the first time I've ever sent anything during the multiple times he has been incarcerated) I feel I am slipping back into the old ways, when he was the Puppetmeister. I mean, I didn't realize it and all of a sudden I pulled myself up short and thought "This is just NOT ON". Besides, who LIKES jail? It's not supposed to be a summer camp where your ma sends treats. God, I'm an idiot...

    I guess it's good that I am feeling uneasy and that my Spidey senses are tingling. I recognize the manipulation for what it is and am girding my loins against more of the same.

    But please, be as direct as you like! I love it and need it so I can get my way out of the FOG (Fear Obligation and Guilt) that might be descending on me.
  6. blackgnat

    blackgnat Active Member

    And I must clarify that he will NEVER live with me again.

    I have been down all of the paths you mentioned, feeding, housing, fixing, etc. Read my threads if you want to see how completely mental I was!

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  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I love you too, Echs. And everyone here who teaches me so much.
  8. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Hugs Gnat,

    This thought crossed my mind, because I would love to visit Australia. Would it be feasible for you to stay with your friend for 60 days or so and THEN to CO? That sounds awesome!

    Yeah, you cannot go back to that way of living. difficult child will be desperate to get that life back, but you know better. Once we experience the peace, we cannot go back there. I totally hear you.

    That craziness. by the way, your difficult child story is not the first crazy one I have read, haha. I can top just about all of them!

    We were getting daily calls from a collection agency for weeks. Made us so mad--because we do think gfg33 gave our phone #. He has not lived here in 14 years. One day, we happened to be home to answer. husband told the agent that difficult child does not live here and that we are estranged. She apologized and more calls. Yay!
  9. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    This is a great idea. Getting far far away will give you a brand new perspective and you will come back with fresh eyes.

    Then try Colorado and see how things work out there with good boundaries between you and easy child.

    Do what you want to do with difficult child. If you have "done too much for now" cut back for a while. Unfortunately, we often try to give a little to our difficult children because we want to, and then they see the door cracked open and they try to push it wide, wide open instead of just accepting what we offer. When that happens, cut back.

    You don't have to say all of this. Just do it. Less talk and more action.

    Fewer phone calls and care packages.

    Silence for a while. Wait for a while. Spend the time and energy on yourself.

    Go to the land of kangaroos and koala bears! Have a blast. You've been through the fire, and it's time for you.

    All of these other folks will get along just fine. Just let them.
  10. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    I haven't heard from collection agencies (yet) but last time difficult child was in jail both my ex and I got creepy threatening txts and voicemails from some one named 'K" who said difficult child owed him money, that he was going to lose his apartment because difficult child didn't pay, which was 'not cool'. It was VERY creepy and a little scary, since both of us are easily tracked down through public records. Thanks for that, difficult child!
  11. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Blackgnat, it's good to "see" you. Everyone has given you really good advice.

    Here's my 2 cents.........Life is very short. You and me and many if not most of us here have given over years if not decades to our adult troubled kids. Go to Australia. Be selfish. "Motherly" is what we are when our kids are toddlers and preteens, it is not who we are now. Now we are people, we are women, we are free agents who can do exactly what we want to do. Do what YOU want to do. Be a bit of a gypsy for a little while and let the wind blow through your hair, throw away the to do lists and take your light heart and go play in the universe.

    Ask yourself 'what do I truly want?' What am I willing to do without resentment? If that is nothing, then don't do anything. You don't owe anybody anything. Our job is to guide our kids to adulthood, what they do after that is up to them. I would limit or stop the care packages. And, as others have mentioned, limit the calls too. Get all of those loop holes filled back up as you had done before.

    Parenting as we knew it is now over, so how would you like to spend your retirement? You mentioned you still have to work, perhaps you might investigate if that can be done in Australia. Open your vision a bit and let yourself dream of how your life might be now that you are free................go live the life you've imagined..........go out there and have some serious FUN!
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  12. KrisfromNJ

    KrisfromNJ New Member


    Reading the address thing WOW , my kid did the same thing. He also did it with my home number. I was furious also. I know this sounds bad but I went to the post office and put hold on all his mail till further notice. Explaining to the post office that he didn't live there and they stopped his mail.

    Then I changed my phone number and I no longer had to deal with it. I am convinced my son did those things to "remind me" he is around and of course he felt entitled to do as he wished.

    Hope that helps

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  13. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I love this site.

    Blackgnat, you need to keep posting. This is the time when you will choose whether this young man gets a second chance at putting you in the hospital. You cannot weaken now, blackgnat. Like me, you need to forgive yourself for where your child is. You need to understand that you did do all the right things, every single right thing for him.

    That is not what he wants, blackgnat.

    Please keep posting.

    We care about you.

    How are you, today blackgnat? What is your son doing to pull you around to his way of thinking? He could be using that same energy to create a life for himself....

    Have you decided to visit the bestie in Australia?


  14. blackgnat

    blackgnat Active Member

    Thank you all, as always for the wisdom, the suggestions, the support!

    I'm doing much better today, trying to live in the moment or rather the day, instead of projecting wildly into the future. This is a lifeskill I'm really trying to learn because I do tend to catastrophize. But then again, the stuff I've feared with my difficult child has often come to pass. He doesn't do anything by halves!

    He called me at work today and he KNOWS I'm not allowed to have my phone on me (I work with Special Education kids-oh, the IRONY!) and he knows he can't leave a message because jails don't work that way-so WHY did he call? My bowels froze and then I thought I should just damn well get on with the day, so that's what I did.

    Yesterday I mailed a letter to him and I told him that the calls and care packages had to stop because I am on a limited budget and it will only get stricter during retirement and that I simply can't afford to spend money on him when I need it to pay bills. I needed to write that down, for me as well as for him. I also told him to stay in Colorado, nothing here for him (including me) and that he should use the resources he is offered to build a good life for himself. That I would visit in summer, but that I am Australia bound (YAY) in the fall!

    I DO need to indulge my free-spirited gypsy fantasies. I don't need much in life and am trying to pare down and live REALLY simply. I'm astonished at what I DON'T need! Maybe because I , like so many of us, have spent so much energy and love and compassion on my kids and of course the difficult child to the extent that there isn't much more to go around. I don't even really KNOW myself because I lived to fix my son and he kept taking until my whole personality was submerged...

    All of which has been stated so eloquently above and all over this site, by you wonderful posters. Thank you for helping me process all of this and whenever a new dragon rears its head. I know I will feel the fear that comes directly from dealing with him and I don't know if it'll ever go away. I don't think it'll right itself and I truly believe that he doesn't have the inner resources to make it right.

    They do say that Hope Springs Eternal. Are we all giving up Hope as we morph into the state of Acceptance? That is so sad. Maybe those of you who are in a peaceful place can tell the rest of us that it isn't really sad? Or that it's bittersweet? Sigh...
  15. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Great update Blackgnat, thanks for keeping us in the loop.

    This made me smile from ear to ear. And that you are Australia bound, that is just terrific. You were ready to go.

    You know what Blackgnat? I think by the time we slip into acceptance, we have already experienced so much sorrow, so much grief and shed so many tears that we have emptied ourselves of the sadness. It is a process. With each stage there is an abundance of emotions, we go through them all, upside down and sideways and then we quietly slip into acceptance. I think, for me, there are moments of sadness, they slip in like you might feel thinking about your deceased grandmother whom you loved so fiercely.....but you remember she has passed and you let go of that feeling and move on. That is how it is for me anyway. My daughter may emerge at times as a larger presence in my life, as she has recently, but then I go back to my own life, which I have cultivated with great care. I think that's part of it too, we don't just let go, we let go into our own fulfilled lives. We put time into US, into our needs and wants so that when acceptance does slip in, we have a whole life to open to, to be a part of, to fulfill and to enjoy.

    Traveling to Australia will open up vistas you never even considered before............being with your bestie will do the same............seeing new sights will demand your presence in a new will be alive with excitement and the newness of it all................there won't be time for dwelling on what we cannot change or what we cannot control...............your life will be filled with YOU. Exactly as it is supposed to be.

    I am very happy for you Blackgnat. You deserve this chance, this change you are giving yourself. We are meant to experience joy and fulfillment along with all the other feelings we have ...................and those of us here need that joy and fulfillment so very much.........go for it.............let that gypsy self out and go play!
  16. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Black gnat, I want you to isn't sad.

    It is like that for me as well. It is NOT that I think of him as is that sometimes I feel a ground swell of sadness, as I do when I miss my mom, or my dad. They are gone, and that is as is must be. I have detached from my son, and that is as it must be. YOu know what? I've detached from my easy child daughter as well...I don't hover, fix, advise, quesiton, criticize, guide. Her life is hers to live. His (difficult child's) is his to live. It is as it must be.

    Truly he is better for it. I am better for it. WE as a mother/son are better for it. My other kids, my job, my lover, even my ex are better for it. It isn't where near as god-awful sad as the old days.

    I promise.

  17. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I love the consciousness in this choice.

    I believe that is one of the things that happens to us as we suffer. We realize there are levels of suffering. We begin to see that we have a choice.

    Nothing has changed? But everything has changed.

    I am so proud and happy for you, blackgnat. That took real guts. No one in all the world could understand what this is like for us.

    But we do.

    Stellar, blackgnat. Stellar.

    "Which I have cultivated with great care...." I love this, Recovering.

  18. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    It is a wonderful healthy thing to write down. Write down to him, clearly. Write down for yourself. There is something about writing down that changes the patterns we live.

    I love this! We have an intense physical sensation before we have an intense emotional sensation when difficult child does yet something else. Very interesting that our bodies just naturally react with an adrenaline rush. And then our mind can take over and say, well, okay that was awful, but hey, it is what it is, there's nothing I can do, so.....let's keep moving forward.

    Yes!!!!! I love your clear and positive message, black.

    Yes you do! Yes you do! It's time for you. Write that down, black, and continue to claim it, no matter what.

    Wow, I am thinking about this. I read what Echo and RE said about hope. I didn't like reading what they said. It seem....I don't know...shouldn't we always have hope? But hope gets me into trouble with difficult child. I don't know about this. I am going to think on this more. If I accept him as he is, I mean exactly as he is, and let go of any expectations at all, stop actively waiting for him to change, is that the giving up of hope? Or believing that it's never going to change---is that a good thing? is THAT the giving up of hope? I don't know. I just don't know about this piece of it.

    Yes it is. It surely is. I went to an Al-Anon meeting last night. There was a woman there for her very first time. She cried throughout the whole meeting and never shared. I talked with her after the meeting. She is in so much pain. Her husband is an alcoholic and she is miserable. I was there at one point. I was just a mass of feelings. I was filled with despair and I didn't know what to do or where to turn. I just wanted it to stop. She brought me back to that place, where I once was. I was able to share a bit of hope with her about herself and the fact that she can move to a place of happiness. It was hard for her to believe right now, and I also shared that I understand that.

    It is a gift to be able to share with others what we have been through, gently, compassionately and without expecting anything in return.

    What a journey this is through addiction and mental illness.

    That is so true, Cedar. I am reminded that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. The day I first heard that, I mean really heard it, was a great day for me.
  19. blackgnat

    blackgnat Active Member

    Such beautiful and thoughtful words in all of the replies! Isn't it weird how our experiences with these difficult children can result in us taking a real inventory of WHO we ARE and WHAT we REALLY think? Its a side effect of being tested in such a stressful way that we become raw. We have to get stripped down to a whole slew of introspection and examination of what our core values really are. What do I think? Is it okay to think that? What is this new situation that has produced such a feeling in me? Can I embrace it or should I reject it? Wild!

    Anyway, here comes the inevitable update...

    Today at work I got a call from the exgirlfriend's mom (The girl still wants him back-in fact tried to get a bunch of people to raise bail for him but they couldn't apply it because they are renters. ???? He says he doesn't want anything to do with her). She visits him every week. She left a message and said that she had seen my son today and he wasn't doing too well. She didn't want to text about it and asked me to call her after work.

    He called me after work and said that he had cut his wrist with a razor blade because he was overwhelmed by the idea of being there. He had been planning it but kept changing his mind and then all of a sudden was doing it. He said it wasn't a suicide attempt but was more intense than a self-harming action that a teenager would do, for example. So they moved him from the pod he was in to another unit. He was given a Time Out (!) and is now in a quieter place, with more medications.

    He said he was doing better and he certainly sounded okay. For some reason, I was devoid of the Bowel Freezing sensation and was quite calm throughout the whole conversation.

    Five minutes after I hung up, the exgf's mom called and asked if I had spoken to him. She said that he had asked her not to contact me ("You don't know my mom-she's been through a lot with me. This won't phase her". Not sure how to process THAT one!) but she felt that I should know. She said he has been down lately and he is implying that some of the other inmates have been picking on him. I did NOT want to hear that. She asked me if there was anything I should know about him (do you HAVE an hour?) because she wants to help him but doesn't want to be over-supportive. I told her that if her instincts tell her to back off, she should do so. She asked me if I thought he would back with her daughter-he told her he didn't want to , but this girl is determined to reconnect with him and I feel that his ego will not permit him to ignore her when he gets out...

    So I kind of felt it was a lot of drama creation on his part. Obviously I don't want him to be self harming, but the cynic in me feels that he wanted to get out of this new, larger, noisier pod (especially if he is being picked on-or is he just telling HER that for sympathy? He IS a tiny little guy and quite feminine looking so it wouldn't surprise me if some of the knuckle draggers are targeting him) and used a drastic measure to get out of there. He also has a chance at having this all under the jurisdiction of mental health court-just wondering if he's building a case for that?

    Not sure what to think. Just another round in the drama? Cause for concern-and I can help, how?-that's right, I CAN'T.
  20. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    No you can't. Put the focus on you and your dreams of being a gypsy. Whenever these dramas unfold, be present, be silent, refrain, let it go and move back into your own life. That is what I do. It works. As you move closer to your visions for your life and he is aware of it, don't be surprised if the drama intensifies. Leave anyway. Just go. Don't be swayed by it. Now is YOUR TIME, take it.
    Last edited: May 2, 2014