Beating with A Different Stick

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Dancerat, Oct 7, 2013.

  1. Dancerat

    Dancerat Member

    I had to take a week off of the forum simply because part of my detaching process wasn't working, I was obsessing over matching difficult child's behavior to other difficult children on the board and I needed to stop thinking about it for awhile. I think you probably know what I mean. Thank you for all the responses you gave on my previous thread, they were immeasurably helpful.

    difficult child came back when he ran out of money. He apologized and promised to obey rules. All money has been cut off. I surprised drug tested him before he could come in the house, because I needed to see if there was something stronger in his system than thc. So, other than thc, he came up clean. He stayed out Thursday until 3 and again I hit him on Friday and it was still just thc, so I am going back to my regular assumption that for whatever reason, he is in an abusive relationship, but there are no other drugs as of yet. I will continue to spot check him occasionally though just to make sure.

    He came home Wednesday night with serious scratch marks on his face, and I mean *bloody*, I think GFH clawed his face! He said it was from falling into a thorn bush. Wow. That's like, "I ran into a door".

    So he got a job and was going to work this week. However, guess what? Apparently he snuck GFH into the house and was probably waiting for my husband to take me to work this morning to sneak her out. Little did he know that my girlfriend from work went on vacation and gave me her parking pass, so I took advantage of free parking this week. Which means husband was home and meandered into the kitchen to make coffee and guess who he ran into? GFH. He said she smirked, no words, and left. And she left her bag in the bathroom. I told husband to take her bag, drive over to difficult child's work, and put it in his car along with a note that said Family Conference 9:00 p.m. I seriously cannot believe that he did this.

    I could kick him out again, but I am going to try something different. I think it's like conditioner for your hair. You have to change it around so you have the element of surprise. Or something. So instead of kicking him out, we are going to gve immediate consequences to his actions. husband already took his bedroom door off the hinges (because he lost his right to privacy) and we are restricting his car use from 7 a.m. in the morning until 10 p.m. at night - for work and school, basically.

    Cell phone is next. But we decided to start with these two things. When we kicked him out before he had his car to live in. This time, he doesn't get his car. He doesn't make the payment and he doesn't pay the insurance. So, really, it's MY car.

    So he can go live on the street or he can live at home with draconian policies which technically should encourage him to work as much as he can so he can make money and leave. It's a mystery. I am sure that other parents on this forum have done the same thing. I'll report back on responses and such.

    Anything I should expect from those who have been there done that?
  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    OK, Dancerat, great job!

    Well, what I learned as a result of living in this upside down world is that I had to plug up every single possible loophole, make it absolutely clear what the rules and consequences are. Every single infraction has to be dealt with immediately and with consequences. Generally, they are masters at manipulation. Like you or I were educated and received a degree, they get their degree in 'how to get over on everybody so I always get what I want, no matter what.'

    I had to get really good at this game. I am not normally a suspicious person who thinks about what others are doing, but I got very good at stating clearly what I would and would not put up with, what I expected.

    Sneaking his girlfriend in is remarkable to you, but to him, it's simply what he wants, therefore subject to bending whatever rules you set forth. So, keep on giving strict and unbreakable rules which cannot be negotiated. There is no wiggle room. There are no grey areas. There is no middle ground. Not with difficult child's. It's all black and white, to the degree that you get good at that and make it clear, you will have your life back and he will or he won't abide by your rules.

    My daughter left after a short time saying she couldn't possibly live with "all the rules." At that point she actually preferred not knowing where she would land rather then have her own comfortable room with all her needs met. Our rules were minimal, simple courtesy and respect. Not possible.

    You continue to make great choices and do what I consider to be all the appropriate detachment choices. I like the car restrictions and the door off the hinges. He proved he cannot be trusted, so those are the consequences. And, you're right, he doesn't pay insurance, he makes no payments, it IS your car. He has no idea yet just how entitled he has been, but I think he is about to learn.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Clapping for you!!!! Good job. Yes, that's your car, not his. He's too old to consider it his car when you still pay all of the expenses on it!!!

    I know you're ok with pot, but too much pot minimizes motivation. Sad to say, your son is living proof. Once in a while pot use doesn't bother me. Every day, well, it's like abusing alcohol. You can't take it every day and not have it affect your life.

    I dated a guy once who told me he had been "addicted" to pot. He meant psychologically, but after he and his ex had a baby he wanted to quit and it was very hard for him to do so. Before his quitting, he had been nothing but a carnival flunkee going place to place with carnies, getting high, cheating, etc. Once he got off the pot, his career began and his income tripled in one year and his life really changed for the better. He grew a moral compass. I don't believe pot is harmless. Nothing you take too much of is harmless. I'd continue to surprise drug test him anyway as long as he lives in your house and is dating this girlfriend.

    And congrats on learning Detachment 101!!!! :)
  4. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    The home drug testing kits don't usually indicate the amount of THC found in the urine, so I guess my first suggestion would be to take him for a drug test at your physician's office as a little surprise, and get the lab test which shows the level of THC. That's what was suggested to me with my son, and we did that. The level was medium-high, which meant he was a daily smoker, several times/day. It reinforced to us that the depth of his usage tied into his lack of motivation, failing grades, also. However, our son was also using meth, but he never, ever came up positive on any surprise drug tests, which is still a mystery to me. We found meth para. and he even admitted it, but he never came up positive, so we couldn't rely on the drug tests for everything...his demeanor as a whole was more of a meaningful indicator.
    We made it a priority to get him to a psychiatrist for evaluation as well, and this particular dr. specialized in adoption issues, so for us it was very helpful. I don't know if you want to make some kind of therapy a factor in his living with you at this time.
    Prepare for him to push the envelope. If you say he can have the car from 7AM to 10PM, and he strolls in at 10:15, what are you going to do? It's so hard to have to play the "cop" in your own house, it's exhausting, isn't it? As Recovering said, they look for every loophole, and since he didn't wait long to sneak girlfriend in, I'd watch him like a hawk. The most troubling thing is the fact that he's being physically abused by this girl, which is very unsettling. My husband and I also found it very helpful to seek therapy ourselves while we were going through all that chaos with our son. We ran everything by the therapist, and we got great feedback. husband and I did not share similar parenting styles when it came to our son, and that drove a wedge between us that our son exploited for quite some time.
  5. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Dancerat, I love it that you are not taking the victim role. Post often, let us know how it's going. We'll be right here. One of the most difficult aspects of going through things like this with our kids are those "moments of clarity" in which we so clearly see what has happened, and what we have done in response. The unreality of the whole thing washes over us like a tsunami roaring in, weakening us just as the battle truly begins.

    Stay strong, dancerat. Keeping a good thought for you. I am really impressed with the way you are handling this. It isn't easy.