Counseling appointment today

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Lil, Nov 10, 2014.

  1. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    We said we'd go so we're going. It's in 30 minutes. I'm nervous and anxious and dreading this. I know that my son thinks all of us meeting with his counselor is a path to coming home. I keep playing scenarios in my head where I tell him exactly what he's done to us. I tell him how much he hurt us. I tell him how he betrayed us and how violated I feel. I tell him I think he's only sorry because he got caught. I ask him how he could have no conscience. Then I run scenarios where he begs to come home and I just cry. Right now I'm just regretting putting on eye makeup this morning. I don't want to do this.

    Guess I better get going.
  2. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    Lil --- I feel you! If it helps any, we did tell our son all of those things (almost verbatim, matter of fact) when he got out of rehab. It went better than we expected. However, we've had some bumps since then.

    It's such a hard balance, isn't it? Though they grasp pieces of it, I don't know that they ever "really" get it. But we do, and it hurts. A LOT.

    Have you seen this particular counselor before? Do you like him/her? Hopefully the counselor facilitates your needs as well as your difficult child's. Personally (no offense to your difficult child here), I hope your needs are addressed even moreso.

    Everyone knows our difficult child's needs -- they (and the law and everyone else) shouts them from the rooftops. But we parents have to climb our own rooftop and trumpet our needs....often to those who have no way of really understanding. It's very hard (euphemism).

    My thoughts are with you today, Lil! We're all with you! If you feel inclined, please let us know how it goes.
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  3. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Well. That was less than productive. She's his counselor and he likes her enough to keep going. Better than nothing I suppose.

    She met with him first for a few minutes. When we came in she asked him to start and he apologized for even asking us to come because he now realized nothing would change. I said, "Well, if the change you wanted was us to let you come home today, no, it's not going to change." He said he was trying to find work and I said, "Dressed like this? Because you didn't take your good clothes." He said he hadn't had interviews. I started to tell him ... for the hundredth time... you can't walk into some place looking like a bum and get an interview, but stopped and said, "Never mind, you never listen." I was, of course, chastised for being negative and she got him to agree to call us to bring him his clothes tomorrow. Whatever.

    We did some of the, "You say what you feel and then the other person says what they heard you say" stuff. His dad told him that he wants to come home because of the security (he said so the other day) but if he's in our house, we don't feel secure.) I did tell him most of what I said in my first post. That I feel violated. That I only think he's sorry he got caught. He of course said that's not the only reason...then backtracked and said that's not the reason and that he's sorry because he hurt us...but I caught the "only". Of course he is sorry he got caught. I asked why he did it. He doesn't know. His dad asked what he spent the money on. He isn't ready to tell us. Which of course means drugs. At least that's our belief.

    In the end, we told her if he wants to keep coming, when our EAP benefits run out we'll happily pay the copayments and if he wants us to come back again, we get 6 free visits each year per family member thru EAP so we'll do it if he wants.

    She talked to him a while longer. I gave her our insurance information. He made another appointment.

    He again apologized for the appointment. We told him we'd do whatever he needed to do to straighten himself out, short of letting him come home, but the work was all his.

    We dropped him off at a friend's house and that's that. Again. Whatever.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2014
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, you got him talking and listening to your point of view.

    That's all you can expect the first time.

    Whether or not he wants to get in line is up to him. He knows clearly that he can come home if he is compliant.

    One of my favorite sayings: "Actions speak louder than words."

    Now see what he does, not what he says. Then decide what you can tolerate.
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  5. Childofmine

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

    It sounds like it went as well as you could have hoped for. You are angry and rightfully so. It is okay to express your feelings and I think a setting like that is the best place for it.

    Today isn't the whole story or the end of the story. It is just another page in the book. Take care of yourself Lil right now today. You can see he is surviving.

    He is learning important things right now. But I also know how hard it is to be walking this path---for you. Go easy and try to live in this moment. The past is over and the future will take care of itself. Warm hugs. This is very hard stuff and you are doing it. You are.
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  6. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Thanks. I think it's okay. I was still upset when I got home, but I've calmed down. He did call again and ask for another ride back to the shelter and I said yes, but when I got there his friend had arrived. So I told him I was buying him a bus pass. I did. Tomorrow when we take him his clothes we're giving him the pass and he then will have no excuse for not job hunting or needing rides from us or least 20 times. He can't come home. I won't give him money. But this much I'll do. I hope he begins to appreciate it.
  7. Lil, we tossed our difficult child son out last year. Well, we didn't toss him out so much as we had an ambulance and police remove him from our home. He spent a couple of weeks couch-surfing and then a couple of more weeks in a psychiatric hospital, and then agree to all our conditions for coming home, so we brought him home.

    I wish we hadn't, to be honest.

    Stay strong.
  8. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    greenstockings, I went and read some of your posts. I think we have a lot in common, except I started really late, being in my 30's when my son was born, and my 2nd husband is my husband still. Of course, my difficult child is my only child.

    We're taking it one day at a time.
  9. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    Lil -- I agree with others who've said it probably went about as well as it realistically could've (though I quite understand the desire for it to go better, still). It's important to be able to express your feelings and your needs. I'm very glad you got that.

    Also, we just did exact same thing with our difficult child as you did. Can't live with us and won't get money from us. However, we did help him get his clothes and we did buy him a bus pass for this month (this month only). Also, our difficult child is our only child, too.

    Sending best wishes for peace and comfort for you...
  10. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    At least your difficult child would communicate with the counselor, mine would either not talk or walk out and slam the door. It's very hard to find one they trust. At that age they still think they know everything and the world revolves around them.

    My difficult child started his gfgdom at a very early age and I had him in as many programs as I could afford. Two times he was court ordered, both times for nine to twelve month programs. For mine, I think all he did was learn to lie and manipulate better lol.

    It's hard, but in my opinion, very worthwhile, maybe one day it will all sink in (for him). I think when they are ready to 'face facts' and meet you even half way you'll know it. I have friends and relative that still are 'helping' almost 40yo difficult children. They remain the child as long as they are in the parent's home.

    I would not let him move back in either, by the time my difficult child was sixteen he had already (with his friends help) stolen so much from me. In some weird way they do not seeing it as stealing, it's where they grew up, it's your fault they were born, so you owe it to them.

    (((hugs and blessings)))
  11. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I think you have accomplished a great deal.

    None of this is easy. But you showed up, you spoke up, and you gave your son everything he needs to take responsibility and turn this thing around.

    Most importantly, you are there for him. You haven't given up on him, and he knows that. I like it that you said you would do whatever it takes, but that the work is on him.

    I think it was a good meeting. It sounds like you handled yourselves well. Buying the bus pass was a really good thing to do.

  12. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Lil, just wanted to say I think you and Jabber are doing great. Offering him counseling and giving him a bus pass are, in my opinion, very smart and appropriate ways to show him you support his making some positive changes but are holding firm on his being accountable for the theft. I especially think it's good that you all saw the counselor together. It's a safe setting to get some of those overwhelming feelings out, plus it starts off with everyone's input. When I sent my difficult child to counseling, he saw the counselors alone and had them both thoroughly BS'd on what the real issues were.
  13. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Thanks Albatross. I said to my husband yesterday, there's no way he's going to get her thinking we're the unreasonable ones here now. Not when we said right in front of her that we're willing to still do counseling and that we'll pay for him to continue. (Not to mention listing all the stuff he's stolen that we forgave him for time and again.)

    He asked us for a ride again today, since it was on the way and we hadn't dropped his stuff off yet we said yes. Given the time, I asked if he'd missed dinner and he had. I'm sure he then expected us to go by McDonald's. Instead I told him he needed to start planning better and I hoped there would be some left-overs. He said there wouldn't be. We ignored him. He at one point wanted to just sit in the car and finish his cigarette and he said something like he didn't want to take up our time... it was clear he wanted to chat or something, but I said we had places to be. He asked where - we were going to an Irish pub that has his favorite food. I didn't tell him that, just that we were meeting some people. I hated to be so cold...but really, I was ticked off! He spends his days hanging out with one of his stoner buddies instead of looking for work, misses dinner, late for his chore (he washes dinner dishes there) and it just made me mad.

    So I'm back to being angry at him...and kind of sad.

    I hate this whole thing so much.
  14. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    You forgot to mention that we sat there for a few minutes when we were trying to pick him up because we didnt know exactly what house he was in and couldnt contact him because, yet again, J-2 had his phone. Yeah, not happy with him right now.
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Lil...your son sounds like there is hope for him. He isn't a mean kid. He is confused. Keep supporting him and I like how you are also taking care of yourself and Jabby (waving to Jabby). You both are doing great...cutting the umbilical cord without cutting him out. He knows you love him.

    I absolutely LOVE the relationship between the two of you...that is so helpful. Hold each other tight and see what happens. None of us can predict the future.
  16. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Thanks MWM. I don't know how I could ever get through this without Jabber. :love: We don't always see eye to eye...but it's close. 14+ years and not yet what I'd consider a "real" fight. (Like yelling and stuff.) I really do think we have one of the best marriages of anyone I know.

    And it's all him I assure you, because I can be a real witch.
  17. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    So yesterday he, once again, called for a ride. And cold medicine. And cigarettes. And a pair of shoes he left behind.

    After a talk, Jabber picked him up and took him to the shelter. We had a meeting and choir from 6 to 8, but after took him what he asked for. We had him sit down in the car and had a chat. #1. We told him we were not his car service and to not call for rides again. (He of course started on how cold it was and he hadn't realized that when he walked to J-2's house, etc. We didn't care.) #2. We told him not to ask us for cigarettes again. He's a grown man and can support his own bad habits. If we choose to give him a gift we will, on our terms, not because he asked. #3. We told him we were sick to death of him giving his phone to J-1. He'd had his phone again yesterday and our son had to use the landline of J-2's house to call for a ride. We told him we do NOT pay for a phone for J-1 to have and if he kept giving it to him, we'd disconnect it. We pointed out that, if he IS looking for work, and someone calls to offer him a job, and HE doesn't have the phone - he's going to miss out! He, of course, went on and on about how hard it is to deal with J-1. I said, "How about saying NO! What's he going to do if you say no, besides be a jerk?" I was advised it's just easier to say yes and keep him happy and not deal with him. That I don't understand how hard it is to ask for things when J-1 has asked for things from us. The shoes, as it turned out, are being given to J-1! I swear, I wish that boy would disappear! In a way, I can't blame my son for not having a backbone here. After all, I've spent a lot of time saying yes to HIM to keep him happy and not have to deal with him in a mood! And see how well that worked out. :(

    Anyway, we pointed out he seems to think he'll be coming home and he won't. That he needs this time to get himself straightened out and get a JOB! To use the bus pass for job hunting and counselor appts. He said he does want to come home...because he's probably getting foot fungus in the gross showers and eating nasty food. Isn't it nice to be loved? :rolleyes:

    We ended it with him asking if we would want to "hang out" sometime. I asked what he had in mind and he said maybe a TV show marathon or something. In his defense, we don't have much in common except our taste in TV shows. We told him we'd think about it. Jabber thinks he just wants to get a foot in the door. I prefer to think he does actually miss us a tiny bit - but I know Jabber's probably right. Still, maybe we'll start taking him to dinner once a week or so? Just to try to spend some time together without it being about what he did and how we responded by kicking him out? Our extended family's Thanksgiving is in 16 days and I don't want an hour and a half car ride over the river and thru the woods to grandmother's house with someone I can barely look at. I don't want to be on the verge of tears in front of Jabber's family. I'm so dreading the holidays.

    All in all, he seems to be taking this as some kind of Extreme Time-out, instead of it really understanding the seriousness. Sigh.
  18. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Yes. I would do this. (I have done this!)

    It is never wrong to love our children any way we can. It helped me to be very clear with myself about what I would need to see from the child before I would help in any way. It will help you and husband to know with like, crystal clarity, what the signposts of progress will be for this son.

    Then, tell that to the son.

    That was the only defense I had. Seeing them, loving them and being so disgusted and angry and vulnerable all at the same time, we need to know what our own expectations are. Otherwise, everything slides into enabling, and it is all left to do again.

    Recovering posted to me once that we will know we are enabling if we resent what we have agreed to do to help.

    That information was golden to me.

    That is how you can know whether you are helping or enabling.

    I think you are both right. There is nothing easy about any of this. On the other hand, if we are very clear in our own hearts and heads about what we need to see from our child, those times might be a way to turn this around.

    I am forever trying to turn this around.

    I would not expect less of myself.

    But I need to be crystal clear with myself about where I want this to go, and about what the signposts of growth are going to look like, and about where I need to remember to place myself emotionally.

    It's very hard.

    But you can do it.

    I'm sorry. Holidays are very, very hard for us, too. What I can tell you is that you are here now, and you have all of us. However all this works out, you will be able to take some measure of comfort, here.

    For what it is worth, I would speak very clearly to my child about family and love and holidays and time passing. I would require that the child be home the night before the driving to the family part. I would be uber clear, both with the child and in my own mind, that there are problems that will need to be dealt with after I have given myself and my child the joy, the time out of time, that holidays represent.

    You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain from the strength of family, and of tradition.

    Because the situation is what it is, I would discuss it in just that way with my difficult child. At the end of the holiday (and no reworking the problems in the car on the way home ~ the holiday is an almost sacred gift to each of you, just like the Christmas truce between the Germans and the English in the trenches in World War II. I'm sure you have read the story of the Christmas truce. Lines were crossed, carols were sung, toasts were drunk. When the holiday was over, when Christmas day was passed...the war started, again.

    But no one ever forgot the truce.

    We can do that too, if we are lucky and smart and determined and remember that to gamble on love is always the right way.

    Truly, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain if you can determine that you will see this through.

    If you cannot do that, then it will help you to be honest with yourselves about that, too.

    difficult child would need to have his holiday with those on the street.

    And that is okay, because there are no right answers here.

    We do the best we know.

    We are teaching our children (even I am, and mine are near 40) who we are, and who they are in relation to us. When I change, they change. That our children do not take their situations seriously...I could never believe it, either.

    I still don't.

    But I love them.

    And that is why this is so hard.

    But you do have all of us, and that is something good.

    And we are right here.

  19. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    You know, "liking" a post, sometimes seems like such an understatement. :hugs:

    I think this is a problem. I don't think we know just yet what the signposts are. He has to get a job. He has to keep a job - difficult to gauge...Jabber says months...I say most likely it'll be seasonal or temp and I'd love to have him be able to come back by the end of the 90 days at the shelter, assuming other changes have been made, so "months" isn't right for that. But we do agree he has to have a steady job and keep it and start saving some money so he can get his own place. I know if he comes back, it will have a time limit for him to save up to get his own place.

    I want to know WHY he would steal from us and what he spent it on. If it was drugs...and lets face it, it probably was...then I still want him to face the fact that this is a BAD THING. If he has an actual problem, I want him to face up to it and do something about it! I've told him before, (first time around with stealing when he was blaming it on friends needing money and I didn't believe it wasn't pot or something then) that anything - person or substance - that makes you hurt the people who love you is BAD.

    I want him to just generally grow the hell up! Get a job, stop hanging with these stoners, man up and take care of business - and BE SORRY! I want him to be sorry he did this to us. I don't know what that will look like because I don't think I've ever really seen it before.

    Obviously, except for the job thing, it's all so ... abstract. It's more ideas and feelings than anything concrete. I really need help figuring out concrete things we need to see him do.

    Well, he'll be at the shelter and we'll pick him up there. He will, however, have to work something out with his chores at the shelter. Right now he washes the dinner dishes and dinner is over by 6:00. So if we're going to eat at 1:00, so we can probably have him back by 6:00, but he needs to be sure they're aware he might be late.

    I love this analogy. I think we'll have to tell him just that. I love the idea of just pretending the problem doesn't exist for a day. Unfortunately, my Mother and Father-in-Law have been told all about it and while they are the most loving, Christian people and best in-laws in the world...I can see one of them (probably Grandma) pulling him aside for a "talk". Ugh. It will suck to be him. :oops: Maybe Jabber can have a talk with them and ask them not to...but when we caught him stoned at 17 Jabber called his folks for guidance and they came down and, even though we asked them not to, Grandma had to have a talk with him. lol. I love her to death, really, so does my son, but he thinks we don't understand him. You can imagine what he thinks of Grandma. :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2014
  20. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Took my son to lunch today. He had texted that he wanted to see if he could hang out with us a watch a TV show marathon. Jabber is out of town deer hunting and I had too much to do to deal with that, but I countered with taking him to lunch and shopping for some thermal underwear. He's applied for a job as a Salvation Army bell ringer and thinks he'll be starting this week. I actually haven't seen many maybe they do need some...and get this, they pay NINE dollars an hour! Obviously extremely seasonal, but whatever, it's work.

    It was actually a pretty decent visit. During lunch he did a lot of complaining about J-1 and how he just can't hardly take him. Said the only reason he doesn't leave the shelter and sleep on the streets to get away from him is the cold. (And he's got some weird idea that it's illegal to sleep on the streets in Missouri. I have researched my butt off and have not found any state laws on vagrancy...they were repealed in like the 1930's...and no city ordinances.) I suggested he go to the monitors there...but he says the minute they say anything to him, J-1 will know it came from him. Same with standing up to him and telling him he can't use his phone and stuff. He says J-1 would have one of two reactions. #1, he'd just say fine, eff you then, never speak to me again. #2, he'd do whatever he could to get my son kicked out, up to and including planting something on him. I guess if he gets tired enough he'll go to them and tell them that he's not going to let J-1 use his stuff anymore and that he expects trouble. We'll see. But, other than a lot of complaining about the shelter and J-2, lunch was uneventful.

    He surprised me by getting in the car carrying a huge library book! He checked it out yesterday and was almost finished! This kid would hardly read a book on a bet. Just getting him to do it for homework in high school was like pulling teeth. He said the one he was reading was the first part of a trilogy, but there had been a trilogy before it the library didn't have. I was so pleased I took him to Barnes and Noble and got him a book that was the entire trilogy put together. :)

    Then we did Wal-Mart and got him his undies and some thermal socks and such. He said the shelter is getting him a winter coat...he had one last year, but like his snow boots and pretty much ever other thing we sent him to college with, it disappeared. Then I took him back to the shelter. On the way, we talked bout the "Christmas cease-fire" and how we're going to apply that to our holidays. I told him if he has to work on the day of the family Thanksgiving, I'd make dinner and he could come here on actual Thanksgiving day. (If he's bell-ringing, he'll probably be working, since that's the busiest shopping weekend of the year.) He said he'd like that and would probably work out better. He sat and we chatted for a bit in the car. It became clear that he didn't want to get out...we stopped talking and he just sat there. I really did have to go, so I finally said, "Please don't make this hard." He said, "Just let me stay until you're done with your cigarette." (I'm smoking way too much these days.) But when I was done he got his bag and got out and I went to work.

    Of course, I bought his shirts a size too small so I have to return I guess I'll see him tomorrow too. smh. He wanted shower shoes too and there aren't any to be found in the stores in November, so I'll take him an old pair from here.

    I feel kind of weird right now. I managed to spend a bit of time with him and not cry. His complains notwithstanding of everything from bad food to bad TV to possible bed-bugs, it was a decent visit. I miss him.