Dying Inside

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by CinderMCG, Apr 17, 2015.

  1. CinderMCG

    CinderMCG New Member

    Hi everyone,

    I posted here to in December and received very valuable advice regarding my son, who's issues are much the same as everyone else's.

    Son is 29, and in the last 3 years has gone from a job, girlfriend, vehicle a life to no job (fired for not showing up), no vehicle (didn't pay, but also didn't pay insurance and collected quite a few fines that he never would pay) and no girlfriend (was charged with domestic assault).

    He lived with my mother (past enabler) for the past 18 months but that was nothing short of a nightmare with him not behaving, drinking in excess, not helping out, not working and also when asked to leave - wouldn't. Finally 6 weeks ago was kicked out for the last time for going on a bender, police were called to remove him. He is now homeless. He was at the homeless shelter in my home town and got kicked out of that for not (surprise!) following rules.

    His behavour in the last 3 years was fueled by drugs and although he does not take the quantity I suspect he was into previously (because he can't afford it) anything he can get his hands on (alcohol and most likely drugs) is taken in excess.

    Like other Difficult Child's his behavoiur is erratic, (says and does bizarre things, steals, destroys things, acts childlike at time and blame anything and everyone for his issues, he has never once owned up to anything, he recently destroyed the phone I paid for because it reminded him of his 2 previous girlfriends, socially isolated for the past 3 years, speaks of material possessions that are not his, like they are his e.g. he may say "when I had my brand name car" and would tell a story about it like he owned it and it wasn't his, it belonged to his girlfriend - and the story would be about him driving it in a innappropriate manner like that was going to thrill me. He is brutally mean to myself and his father saying rotten rude things to both of us.

    I could write a book about his behaviour but honestly what I have read here - is him. Stories may be slightly different but I am astounded when I read some stories and swear I could have written it.

    So now since he was kicked out of our hometown shelter he is now at a large city shelter, which did not thrill his father or myself but there is no way he could live with anyone much less either of us.

    When he went to the shelter we offered to pay his first and last but he had to get a job, that didnt' happen.

    For the 6 weeks with him in the shelter we always heard from him (not in a positive way, but did) until this past Monday. I called the shelter on Wednesday and they told me he was not at the shelter for 2 nights. I know he is not with friends as he has none. My hope would be is he received assistance and got himself a place but I know the likelyhood of that is slim to none.

    I emailed him yesterday to ask him where he was and he sent me back 2 vidoes referencing a homeless person doing crack. That was yesterday afternoon and I was relieved to hear from him because I spent the day yesterday in a daze imagining the worse. So, the crack vidoes actually releived me (to hear from him and know he was alive).

    I have done all what you have done. Detached, came back, gave, didn't give, ignored the crazy, then would try to reason, begged and pleaded for him for the last 3 years for him to get help with always the response "I don't need help".

    At this point I don't know where he is, if he is in fact on the street now smoking crack (and thinking sadly enough this may be true) and day to day I am trying to live a "normal" life. In the back of my head I am waiting to hear he is dead or in jail, he is pretty resiliant I keep telling myself so don't think that. Jail actually may be a better option for him if he is doing what he says he is doing.

    How do you do the day to day until the acceptance part comes? No one gets what you are going through unless they have a child like this. It's like the hidden dirty secret because although my family knows they don't really ask (and I get why they don't, it's uncomfortable to talk about) and having said that it's not that I really want them too because what can you say? Oh, well he's on streets doing crack last I heard, how is your little darling doing?

    What I am finding hard is the day to day. I go to work, appear happy, come home to my awesome husband that is completely supportive but I know suffers because I suffer. We are making summer plans etc. but in the back of my head is my son on the street, how dare I make fun plans?

    I can't believe his life is this, I thought him being homeless would straighten him out, but it appears it has made it worse. I know he has to turn this around and there is nothing I can do. I am just finding life in general hard to do right now.

    If I don't hear from my son for a period of time do I call the police? Is he missing? Anyone have any advice on this?

    Thanks to all of you for your posts, I can tell you counsellors I have been to can not touch your advice and insight and for that I am grateful to have this site to lean on.

    It's Friday ...yeah...I think

  2. WearyMom18

    WearyMom18 Member

    Cinder...I too am dealing with a drug addicted child and it is nothing short of the most painful experience you can have BUT there is hope.

    You can only control what you do, not what he does and because you cannot control it, fix it, save him or help him. You have to let it go. He is plenty old enough to help himself if he chooses to.

    The day to day isn't easy at first but remind yourself that he is not homeless because of anything you did, he made choices that landed him there. Plus...if he emailed you he's fine...he's got access to the Internet somehow so he's not in a gutter, he's resourceful!

    You NEED to plan a fun summer vacation! You need to take care of you and let go of the guilt because you've got nothing to feel guilty about. If anything, he needs to see that your world doesn't revolve around him, you have a life too! The world isn't going to stop or change for him, he has to do it for himself.

    Say the Serenity Prayer when you feel sad. Imagine letting those feelings of guilt snd pain floating out of your mind..imagery sometimes helps me.

    Love him because he's your son and accept that he is living his own life his own way. I know that sounds so simple but I know it's yard yet very important to healing your own heart.

    Enjoy your husband and the peace in your lives...do things you put down because you've been consumed with worry and hurting, start a project you've been putting off..do YOU.

    Hugs to you, the pain eases. Post often!
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  3. CinderMCG

    CinderMCG New Member

    Thank you WM, I actually read your thread from March and your story sounded very familiar.

    I also forgot to mention when I thought the worst yesterday I call all of the hospitals for that city (it's about 30 min away) and the police station where the shelter he was staying at was closest to. I was glad to hear he wasn't in the hospital (checked that first). Then with reservation I called the police dept. I expected them to say "even if we knew something about him we can't tell you" but to my surprise the policeman said why yes we have had contact with him because he was picked up for theft last week. On the very day I sent him $40 (I know...enabler).

    Well I didn't know if he was safe at that point so it was hard to get mad, then I heard from him then I was mad. However even through my thoughts of you have got to be kidding me? Let's make the situation even worse than it is...I said nothing (over email) to him. What's the point? That really is less of an issue than him being jobless, homeless and alone (and on crack??).

    It's a weird feeling, you love them to no end, want to help but can't but honestly when he is in contact me I can't wait to be away from him as he is just impossible to deal with. There has been no good conversation with him in 3 years. That is just the reality.

    I don't get their mindset, I can sort of (through reading) understand that drugs are powerful and addiction can be life altering but with all of the assistance you can get I don't understand why my son and others do not at least give it a shot. My son had no problem taking money from me but advice? Not a chance.

    Then there is mental illness, does he have it? Who knows...it would certainly be hard not to say he does based on how he acts, but is it possible that people are just jerks and manipulative so and so's? Is everyone that is not nice or drug dependent mentally ill? I think he has something because you just cannot believe that they way he acts and what he says can be without some form of mental illness. My father is diagnosed bi-polar 10 years ago and not one drug he has been on has helped. Not one.

    Then I actually question (with respect of course for types that are obvious) what is mental illness and has it been out of control with labeling and drugs to combat it? I was prescribed Ciprilex and it made me worse, and I remember going to my doctor to say it doesn't work and he just gave me something else to take on top of it. I am not judging anyone who takes anything and I am a little anti pills as my son's start of his downfall was Oxy's and my own experience was not good at all. I do however remember when I was on Ciprilex I didn't care about anything, makes me tempted to try to relieve some of the sadness with my son but I know in the end how bad it was for me and how much better I felt not taking them.

    What an awful situation this is with our kids, just at rotten crappy thing to have to deal with.
  4. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Cinder,

    ((HUGS)) for your hurting heart.

    I know what you are going through. I too have wondered if this would be the day they found my son lying dead in an alley. I can't say that it will never go away but you will get to a point where you don't think about it all the time and when you do, you will be able to let it go. There is no magic answer, it's different for everyone.

    All I can to you is you have to stay focused on your own life, not his. You know there is nothing you can do to change your son's life choices but you can change yours. You can choose to live your life for yourself, do things that you enjoy.

    What is it that you think you think you owe your son? He has made his choice to live his life the way he wants. Do not let his choices hold you back. You have every right to live your life, to take trips, to have fun, to have joy, to be happy.
    I do understand how you feel, I've been there but you know, life is too short to waste it on constant worry. Make your plans, live your life, take trips and have some fun, it's OK!!

    You just do. Your life is valid, it's worth living. The acceptance comes when you decide to fully let go. You have to accept your son's life is his own and all the ugliness that can go with it.
    I grew so weary of worrying about my son, where is he, what's he doing, is he alive or dead in an alley. There was nothing I could do to for him. I had to let him go and accept the fact that yes, one day I may very well get a call from the police telling me that my son was dead. Once I accepted the worst could really happen I was able to move on. It is what is. I can't change his path but I can change mine.
    I also allowed myself to work through the grieving process. The grieving process is for loss and just the loss caused by a physical death. It really helped me to let go.

    You will get through this. Stay close to this site. Trust that it's ok to let go, to move on and to live your life.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have a serious mood disorder,w hich is under control because I choose to go to therapy, take my medication every day, and not abuse any substances. I don't even drink because it is bad for me and ineracts with my medication. Bipolar is no excuse for using drugs, if he even has it. My daughter was diagnosed with bipolar when she took drugs. It made sense. You act bipolar when you are on drugs. As soon as she quit, it became clear she is not mentally ill in any way. In fact, she is quite a strong young woman and has been off drugs and taking care of herself in a good way for ten years. She has a ten year SO too and a wonderful, halppy baby that she stays home with full time and gives her full attention to. I'm so proud of her...a happier baby I have never met.

    It's easy to think they are mentally ill when they are taking drugs because they act crazy. The only way to know for sure, and for them to get help if they are mentally ill, is to for them to be clean and sober for at least six months.
    Kids don't just take drugs for mental illness. My daughter was very shy and wanted attention at a new school, which she was not achieving. Sadly, the "bad" kids befriended her first. They are actually the most accepting for the outcasts but doing drugs is part of what you do if you want to be in their group. She became very popular with a certain crowd by taking drugs and had rages and fits like most people who take drugs. But she doesn't now. And she is certainly not mood disordered in any way.
    We have to quit making excuses. The very first thing that has to happen is that they have to decide to get rid of the drug habit...there are many options....and then, afterward, if they have a mental illness it can be treated. But often it was the drugs causing the twisted behavior. Psychiatric medication and therapy does not work if soembody is high on drugs or if the person doesn't WANT to change his life. It is a commitment. Any good psychiatric drugs may do to help a sober mentally ill person does not work when that person mixes it with something like cocaine. My daughter took cocaine and meth and is it's biggest hater. She would tell your son to grow up. She is thirty years old and has no tolerance for drug users anymore.

    Hugs and good luck!!!!! Take care of YOU. YOU matter too! Your son is a grown man, almost thirty, and needs to get his life together himself, in every way. Even a mentally ill person needs to get his own healthcare or he will stay sick. Nobody can do anything for him. Only he can make it better. If that is his desire, he will do it.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2015
  6. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry this is happening. I think the most damning after-effects of the drugs some of the kids use is a lack of empathy. It is easier to hate, and they do ~ but I think it is themselves they hate.

    Addiction is a terrible thing.

    That was a key understanding for me, too. Once I could know about these similarities, I could let go of the guilty thinking that I had done something correctable in how I parented him.

    After that, I could allow myself to heal, instead of devoting my energies to trying to save him or correct him or reteach him or love him out of it.

    Those were such bad times for all of us.

    I don't think we arrive at acceptance. It is a daily struggle. One of us here (Child of Mine) posts about our figurative tool boxes. This is where we keep things, thoughts, prayers, exercises, that help us when it is too hard for us to do it, alone. When we are thrown into that shocky place, just remembering our tool box can be calming.

    Tool box.

    And posting here.


    This helped me. It was the only thing that did.

    "God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change
    the Courage to change the things I can
    and the Wisdom to know the difference."

    One of the moms here told me to read it again and again until I got it.

    I did that, and it worked.

    I used to repeat it when I woke up worrying. Its repetitive rhythms break the chain of cataclysmic events erupting from some hellish place in our brains, maybe.

    Or maybe, God hears us.

    I am no longer so proud as to think that whether I believe or do not believe has anything to do with anything.

    This helped me, too: Find a palm-sized talisman that represents your son to you. It can be anything. A pebble or a marble or anything at all. Wrap it in layers of fabric of different colors. Place it carefully in a box with a lid. Put the box in a drawer. When I did not hear from my son, when I was so worried I cannot describe the intensity of it, I would take out that box. I would rage, or I would cry, or I would remember my son as I knew him to be, before he was taken by his addiction. Then, I would rewrap the talisman that was all I had of him, and put it carefully back in the drawer.

    Carl Jung, a famous psychiatrist, did something similar with an object representing himself to him. He wrapped the item and kept it safe and hidden away, all of his life.

    That is where I got the idea.

    It comforted me.

    I think it did not affect my son at all, but it comforted me. And in the darkest parts of all this, I was not too proud to try any of those things that might help me survive it.

    Here I am.


    Another thing: Especially on the holidays, or on his birthday, when things were so hard to accept, I would light a white candle for my son. In my thinking, maybe that light that his mother lit for him would somehow guide him home. To this day, though my son is doing well now, I put those electric candle Christmas decorations in my windows at Christmas.

    You never know.

    Intention is intention, and I suppose any mom's love is a good thing, whether the son or daughter is mine or someone else's.

    So, those are the things that helped me.

  7. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    If it comforts you, yes.

  8. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Yay! You know he is alive and he must be figuring out how to eat and shelter himself and etc, because he is still actively seeking to use. Not the best news, but where there is life there is hope and the possibility of change.

    I don't have any understanding about your questions regarding mental illness and drug abuse. I do know that one of our moms here posted research for all of us indicating a genetic connection for both mental illness and addiction. It was Somewhere Out There who posted that information for us.

    That was helpful to me.

    You note that one of your relatives was diagnosed with a mental illness, so it could be genetic for your son, too.

    One of my children was diagnosed with a number of mental illnesses. The more doctors she saw, the more diagnoses she accumulated. Initially, I didn't believe any of it.

    Now I don't know what to think.

    Which is okay because as it turns out (one more time) what I think doesn't matter, darn it.

    But I think drugs, whether prescribed or street drugs, would have to be so closely monitored to help a person experiencing a mental health issue and the truth is that in our medical system, they are not treated meticulously and so, sometimes do not get well.

    And sometimes, they get very, very much worse.

    As long as I am spouting off about what I think, I also think using street drugs, and maybe, using any drugs, can ignite a fulminating mental illness.

    That is the thing. Our kids are taking drugs no one knows anything about. Just that they are mind-altering and addictive.

  9. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    This was the key for me.

    To stop trying to rescue him.
    To stop trying to change him.
    To stop trying to make him better.

    To stop trying to solve his problems.
    To stop giving him advice.
    To stop doing stuff that I thought he needed me to do.

    It's his life, not mine.
    It's his choices, his consequences.

    He doesn't share my priorities or my standards.
    He has a mind of his own.
    He's angry and cynical
    and... he's right about a lot of things.

    So, I accept that we're different and I'm currently trying to embrace those differences. It's an ongoing job, but it's better than the 'fixing' job I had before.

    I'm not dealing with drug-addiction, so you might think "that's all very well for you", but still some of the precepts are just as valid and useful.
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    Last edited: Apr 18, 2015
  10. Annie2007

    Annie2007 Member

    I am reading all your comments and wondering where my 33 year old homeless son is. This is so hard. This is been going on for several years. So glad I found this forum a year or so ago. It has really helped me sort through all of this pain. But it is just this "mother thing" that still keeps getting in the way :(
  11. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi Cinder. I am new to the site, so take my words with a grain of salt. My own story with my adult child is similar to yours....while I do not think and hope he is not using hard drugs, he may well be.

    Just a few things: I do not necessarily believe you son is using crack. That was just too, too cruel. May be true, but may be a way to hurt you really bad.

    Somebody told me this about myself: You don;t expect anything from him (my adult child.)

    It took me a long time to understand and I think I really only got it when I found this site. I tend to protect myself with my fear. It gives me the illusion of having some control. But, at a cost.

    Big surprise. If I have a little hope, I am less afraid, and I feel better. But get this: If I drop the fear, my son responds immediately and positively. Now, I understand that being picked up for theft this week...is not the harbinger of all things good. But, they cut him loose....He is having experiences that may lead to learning....and to change. That is a good thing.

    He is not your baby anymore. See if you can find some stuff on the site about detachment parenting. I forget who is the expert. The concept is brilliant. It shows how we can change, so we can get the pressure of our needs---off of our kids.

    I know well a man who was an alcoholic for 40 years. He changed. One day he decided to never drink again. Our kids may change too. Maybe they won't, but maybe they will.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2015