And then he blew it

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Echolette, Jul 13, 2014.

  1. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    I'm not going to say I kicked him out.
    What happened is that he chose not to live by the house rules and common rules of society, and therefore chose not to stay. Because choice one leads inexorably to choice two.

    difficult child was struggling along but doing OK...he picked up work for 2 days, applied for and got (I think) a regular job as a dishwasher, got his new ID, went to two AA meetings/day and his program, Rehab after Work. Got a temporary sponsor (SO's friend, whom I mentioned in another thread). Did all the chores I asked him and a few extra.

    We had a little "state of the union " discussion on Saturday morning, and basically SO and I agreed that although it is stressful for us to have him in the house because of his social interaction deficits, still he was clearly trying and clearly doing well for difficult child. I wanted to tell him he had to find housing and between now and then start contributing to food and rent. SO said he does a lot of chores, he is just getting on his feet, leave that for now but start asking him about his plans for the we kept the conversation to positive, and difficult child and I agreed we would do a SWOT analysis the next day (strengths weaknesses opportunites threats...very useful. He and I did one last year on him and it helped at least me see a lot about him).

    Then I went to do some, new running shoes, mandoline cause I've been doing so much chopping lately...and while I was out SO texted me and asked if I had given difficult child the garage door opener (we haven't given him a key to the house still) to get in...phew!!! yes I had, just for today, since it is flaming hot out and he would't be able to get in.

    Then SO said...did you take the money beside our bed?

    And my heart fell to the ground. With an audible thump.

    And I texted back...No. He has to leave.

    There was more, but that is what happened. I went home, difficult child came home, I said you can't stay here anymore. He cried and insisted he hadn't taken the money (it wasn't much, just a jar of loose change, maybe $20 dollars). I waffled a tiny bit in my own mind..but I new that AS A GOOD PARENT I COULD NOT LET HIM GET AWAY WITH going into our bedroom, poking around, and helping himself to....anything. I cried. He asked if he could dry the clothes in the laundry and I said yes. He packed up while my head and heart throbbed.

    At the last second I said "I wish you hadn't done that" and he said "so do I".

    Which made me feel much much better because all the ghosts of rationalization and explanation and maybe he didn't do it went away. He did it. He knew it was wrong. He understands that he blew it.

    Thank god.

    I gave him a pep talk about staying straight, and said I would continue to see him.

    And he left.

    I went and played tennis with SO, because...if I collapsed everytime difficult child broke my heart I would have no life. And you know what? tennis was kind of fun. I played in a tennis skirt with no underwear just to make SO laugh.

    Today difficult child called and said he had slept under a DIFFFERENT bridge, where there is less drug use. He said it was hard but he didn't use. He went to AA and called his sponsor. He busked/begged and got $10 to turn his phone back on. He said he was going to meet with a case worker on Monday to see about halfway houses.

    I said I loved him, I thanked him for calling, and I said we would stay in touch.

    My heart is aching in my throat even as I type.

    But I'm pretty sure all played out as it had to, as it is written, and that I didn not make anything worse than it was.

    That is it friends. I have no idea if he is telling the truth. The page turns again, a new chapter begins again.

  2. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    My heart is aching in my throat along with you, but maybe it was a foregone conclusion that this would happen. At least you gave it a try, and your son gave it a try, and you haven't left it on non-speaking terms or any worse than it was before. Hugs to you and hope that this is still a step in the right direction.

    I'm SHOCKED about the tennis skirt though! :disgusted:;)
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  3. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Ha! Echo, I love you. This is most cool.

    I agree and Echo? I think this is a God given opportunity for difficult child.

    And for you.

    You stuck to your guns, Echo. This was a test. There is no way difficult child did not know what you SAID was going to happen. He was testing you, Echo. Before he slipped too far, before he lost touch with sponsors and helpers for housing and etc.

    Echo, I could not possibly be more proud of and for you. You did everything exactly right, you tennis playing little hussy, you!

    And Echo, this is best for difficult child. Now he knows where he stands. He knows the rejection is on him. He knows he chose it. He knows you will not see him if he goes back to the bad ways, but that you believe that choice to be his to make.

    That is important.

    I think he would not have taken the risk, Echo, unless he knew he could make it on his own with the assistance that is out there.

    I am so glad SO realized the $ was gone.

    And...could difficult child have been more obvious?

    I think he did it on purpose, Echo. He tested you and you stood up so beautifully!



    I know it's hard, Echo. I'm sorry it turned out this way. But Echo, difficult child knew he was wrong and then, he lied.

    Had you gone back to the old ways, that would be worse.

    Sometimes, there are no good solutions. But there are better solutions. As parents of difficult child kids, we have to keep our feet on the ground and our hearts free of judgment, and that is all we can do.

    And that is enough.

    Though I will definitely keep that tennis playing sans underwear in mind.
  4. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Oh I'm so sorry. I live in fear of this happening here...of finding something missing again. Hugs...I know this hurts. I hope it works out best in the end.
  5. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    I'm so sorry but I am glad for you being able to stand up for yourself. It is hard to do but you can't live with a theif.

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  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You lil vixen you!

    Now what the heck is it with difficult child's and change jars? That's where Cory's downfall started this summer too. He stole money from our change jar. Like we wouldnt notice. Well I might not have but his father is anal about it.
  7. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm sorry ECHO. But you know now he has the capacity to change. His youthful impulsiveness and sneakiness got the best of him, and perhaps, as Cedar says, he was testing you, but next time he cleans up his act, he will recall making this mistake and he won't do it again. It does appear to be so obvious.............perhaps he has to do it on his own, we just don't know.

    I'm glad you played tennis, and with such an "airy" attitude too!

    The up and down of it is so devastating ECHO, I would imagine we all know how that feels, it is awful, I'm sorry you had to go through that again. My heart aches for you too. We're right here with you ECHO.......
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    If he used the change jar, he probably stole from your purse too. My daughter used to do this when she used drugs. I honestly never really counted my money much so I didn't notice. I would have called the cops if she stole from me as I believe that only tough love changes them, if they are going to change. I called the police on her once when I found her with pot and that was one of her two paroles.

    Echo, you did what needed to be done. I am not so sure he did it on purpose or knew you'd find out. Our difficult children can be pretty life-dumb. Especially if they are using drugs. I forgot if yours is or not. At any rate, if he had stolen from anyone else he would probably be in a lot worse trouble. Maybe he learned. I hope he gets his act together while he's "out there."

    I can't tell you how cool I think it is that you had the ability to be playful and do tennis without underwear even with your adult kid in trouble. We all need to be able to find levity even when our adult children are struggling. That was AWESOME!
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  9. Childofmine

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

    Oh Echo, I read this quickly last night but didn't want to dash off a quick response, so here I am this morning. I am with you, here Echo, and I'm circling my wagon around you.

    Yep. Yep. Yep. That is what they do, and have done, for so long. What IS IT? We taught them all of the rules, and modeled those rules for them, and they KNOW the rules, but they just won't live by them.

    There is nowhere and nobody that will tolerate that for long.

    So in order to rejoin society, they must cave in, and say, well, okay I don't like the rules, but I have to live by them or else...this same thing keeps happening again and again and again and again and again....

    I just don't know if 20-something young men---a lot of them---the ones we love here on this board----have the brain capacity yet to do it. To make that kind of sea change.

    Maybe in time...?????????

    What happened does not negate this, Echo. He made progress. He IS making progress. I think that is something to honor and hold high and be glad about. Progress, not perfection. Just like us. Just like we do every single day, trying to learn to live with THIS.

    I LOVE THIS! Please teach me about doing this with a person....Great, great idea and forum for some good communication, it seems?

    Again, this is progress. What a moment of honesty and care and communion between you two. I can almost feel that moment, the bittersweetness of it.

    But Echo, you knew that his stay wasn't to be for long. I know that you wanted him to go---to leave your house---progressing to somewhere else, not back to the streets, and you were giving him---granting him---that temporary haven there, but he wasn't to stay there for very long anyway.

    So now he is gone, and not just like you would have hoped, Echo, but with progress. Some progress here, I read all through you post.

    Yes, more progress.

    You have come through yet another piece of this, and right now, you can say, I will see you again, difficult child, and we'll see how it goes. I am glad about that for you and for him, Echo. I see your own progress here. Another step.

    What a healthy thing to do! You did this! I love this! You somewhere inside yourself, said, well, okay, it is what it is, and you TURNED and you walked back into your own life, and you did it with a focus on someone else---SO---and that relationship.

    More progress for YOU, Echo, on the "letting go" journey.

    Again, I think this is real progress, and change for difficult child, and it goes back to your FB message to him where you said, I can't do this with you unless and until you start to change. And who knows, Echo, the time was right. And he IS changing, and it's going to be messy and chaotic and not in a straight line, and filled with jars of change, and other potholes, but he is on the road.

    I am praying that AA continues to be a good place for him and he keeps that sponsor, and that he starts making friends there. That would be so fantastic.

    Of course it was, and probably still is. Echo, he is your precious son, and you so hoped that all movement would be forward movement. That is what we want so badly and we are so scared to hope for it, because then, we must live with the aching throat and the pain and the sadness and the anger and the grief and the disappointment---again and again and again. We try not to hope, but we DO hope.

    I think that is what being human is all about. I think the complete absence of hope---the COMPLETE absence of hope---is an impossible goal and not really a goal I want to work toward anyway.

    Yes. I believe this. I believe they are on a journey. What twists and turns that journey takes is bewildering to me. I don't understand it and I am trying to hard to just accept it. As it is written. As it is written. Only their Higher Power knows and he/she is walking with them, right beside them, ready always ready to embrace them and put his/her arm around their shoulders and say, come on, we can do this. I am here with you and I'm going to help you, if you will just lean on me. Just let go, and lean on me. Oh, I so wish that for all of our difficult children here on this site. Just let go, difficult children. Just let go.

    Yes it does, and it's going to have some good things in it, Echo. He has made progress. You see it too. I am praying today that his progress continues and that he find a good place to put his foot, and then another good place for the next step and the next.

    That good people come alongside him and offer the right kind of help. And that you, Echo, can turn back to you for a while today, for a few hours or the whole day. And just let him do whatever is next. He has your love and he has your support and he knows that.

    It's up to him, Echo. Up to him. Warm hugs for you, great Warrior Mom!
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  10. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    You did your part........he did not do his......... HUGS
  11. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    This is the best thing to take away from it. I do think he knows he chose it. That is practically a first for him.

    D, you are so right. I wish I'd seen that clearly years ago, before all the stolen books and cds and ipods and the crazed despair of his siblings when I wouldn't agree that he had clearly stolen them.

    He ALWAYS took change. He was shameless. He would have an entire drawer full of change and insist he found it on the street, that he was lucky that way. Fool me once...

    I do think it was more a youth impulse thing, and I think he may have learned from it.

    Yes it is. It helps to be with people who know that.

    Almost certainly. I was taking my purse to bed with me (THAT says something doesn't it). But I wasn't very careful, and I am sure you are right.

    I don't think he did do it on purpose. He only took about 2/3 of the jar...I think that is him being sneaky...dummy.

    I agree. I work to remember that when I want to just start keening again.

    thank you for being there with me in this. That is how it was...a rare moment of honesty, clarity, love, regret between us.
    You are right, Child. I didn't put those things together, but you are right.

    And this too is right.

    Today he applied for his foodstamps again, and he made an appointment to get his SSI reinstated. I have to go with him, so I believe him. Hard to imagine he won't slip backwards, and maybe already has, but as of today he is still trying.

    Good night all, and thank you...

  12. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Echo, as others have said, my heart hurt reading this. I am so happy you took your son in and tried. I believe it may happen again, with a better outcome---that he WILL learn from this---and see that you and SO are very serious about honest living. He seems to be trying and he sounds like he wants to be a decent human being and meet some goals.

    two steps forward, one step back

    You sharing this was painful to read, but with that silver lining we all want to see/experience.

    Hugs. I am so sorry this happened but hope you feel the hope that many of us see in your story. I certainly feel it. I swear, i think it is down the road for your son.
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  13. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I feel this too ECHO. It hurt my heart to read your conversation with him too. He DOES sound remorseful. Perhaps in the big picture this is exactly what needed to happen. For him to get so close and then by his own hand, blow it. Perhaps he needed to see his own hand at work so he can change it. Sometimes our kids are very slow learners when it comes to seeing their part in something, and your son really seems to have seen his part.

    Hang in there ECHO, we're all here...............
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  14. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    I'm so sorry, Echo. That conversation about broke my heart reading it -- I can't imagine having it.

    That is all we can do, to be a little vulnerable when we think they might be sincere this time and put the gates back up when it turns out they are not. I can't make sense out of the change-stealing, so OBVIOUS. I am glad to read that he is still trying, moving toward his SSI and food stamps. It seems to me that maybe this is the way he wants it too, that he be in some sort of living arrangement where he has a degree of independence but is not on the streets. Maybe taking the change was a difficult child way of making that happen. That is what I hope, anyway.

    At any rate, the next time I am faced with a difficult child heartbreak, I am going to remember you on that tennis court and do something really outrageous! You have such tremendous strength, grace and humor and it is a great privilege to know you through this board.
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  15. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    I don't know if it makes more sense or less sense now that I can add that he also took his sister's old (but not very old!--not the one she is using) iphone, and the bluetooth speaker I let him use while he was here. The speaker was a Christmas present to me from my ex (yes we are still nice to each other). difficult child's passion/obsession is music, and a lot of conflicts have been over everything from TOO LOUD to "can I play this youtube music video for you" to stealing ipods from his siblings. I already felt we were falling into irritating and depressing old patterns when he picked it up and asked if he could use it (yes). The day I asked him to leave (after we realized he had stolen the change) he asked if he could take it...and I said no. He smiled and said he figured that, but he needed to ask.

    Yestarday SO found the empty box.

    And the empty iphone box too.

    This morning my phone rang from an unknown number and I answered. difficult child said "what are you doing?" and I said "it is your brother's birthday, I"m getting ready to take them out for breakfast." He said "oh! can I get in on that?" (I hate that expression). And I said "did you take the speaker?" and he said "oh. yes I did. Can I bring it back?" and I said "I'm not ok with talking to you right now."

    And that was that.

    I didn't even bother to ask about the iphone.

    It makes me feel ever more certain that none of this is my fault. NOt that I blame myself much anymore, but of course it creeps in sometimes.

    I was going to go with him to the SS office tomorrow to try to get it reinstated..they have linked his income to mine somehow so he was taken off the rolls. That happened once before but his caseworker took care of it..of course now he doesn't have a caseworker so they asked me to come in, and I was going to. Now, frankly, I don't give a good d*%$^ if he has SS.

    He has a sweet side. He has a messed up brain. He is my son. He is mentally ill. He is a substance abuser. He lives under a bridge. Sometimes he tries to straighten himself out. He loves me and misses me. He is a thief. He is a liar. He lives in denial. All these things are true. And all of them are what they are.

    Today is my younger boys' birthday. They are 16. They are growing up tall and strong. They don't want to spend much time with me today (made clear in the nicest possible way) and that is as it should be. I took them to breakfast and will sneak in a cupcake and candles later. They don't even want 16 they have jobs, and a secure home, and they say they have all they need.

    That is enough, more than enough, for today.

  16. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    That sounds like acceptance Echo, radical acceptance. Come and join me in my peaceful place. We love them, they love us, we can't change anything, they live their life, we live ours.
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  17. Childofmine

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

    When these things happen, they are for us, because they confirm what we really know but are hoping against, in our heart of hearts. Without these pieces of solid physical evidence, we can twist it all up again and again in our minds, to give them an out.

    When difficult child was here in the spring and helped dig out a bush, and I gave him a sandwich and a shower, he asked if he could have an old iphone of mine (yes he was rummaging around in a drawer without any permission) to "listen to music." I said okay, it's been laying in the drawer for two years. When he got arrested this last time and I went to the sheriff's department to get his backpack, there was a pawn shop ticket there for $20 for the iphone. That was good for me to see. Really good.

    Same with those empty boxes, Echo.

    None. of. this. is. your. fault. Not one single bit of it. You can be sad, Echo, and wish it were different, and give him another chance, like you just did, but please, don't spend one second of time and energy believing you caused or contributed to this. You did not. We are not that powerful, Echo. We just aren't.

    I love this. I really love this. And I can do this, when I keep my distance. Today, I am good. Lots of time, space and distance.

    We're all here together; thanks for being here, everybody.
  18. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    SO said the same thing, and I totally agree (although it took you and SO saying it for me to see clearly). This was important for me at this stage. I was slipping a bit.

    I did want to give him an out. I was doing more and more for him. That happens because...he isn't doing it! I slip in to fill the void. And really, as history has shown over and over, there is really nothing good about doing something for a dysfunctional adult that they could actually do themselves. With a normal adult they appreciate the gesture, and may well return it, or at least it enhances the relationship. With a difficult child it only adds to the toxicity.

    Thank you for reading along and being out there.