He's been in touch and I don't know what to do

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by LMW73, Sep 30, 2014.

  1. LMW73

    LMW73 New Member

    I was kind of expecting it as he has just been made homeless - it generally goes that, he hates me right up until he needs something and then he is full of remorse.

    He sent me a text saying how sorry he is, how he has acted like a child over the last few years and know its time to sort himself out. What he really means is that he wants to come back and live with me and I cannot allow that to happen.

    I'm not sure whether to reply, just to let him know that I do love him and that perhaps we can meet in a couple of weeks for coffee. I don't want to give him any sign that he is able t rely on my for money of a roof over his head because I wont let it happen anymore.

    At the same time, I want him to know that he is loved and if he is prepared to make the effort then in the future we can reconnect. He is only 18 and he is part vulnerable and part manipulative and I just don't know what to do. Do I just ignore him or do I send a message that re enforces the boundaries that lets him know that he cannot live with me.

    Any suggestions gratefully received.
     
  2. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    The best advice I got when we kicked our son at 18 was to stay in touch with him, dont wait for him because his pride will keep him from contacting us. So I did that... I texted him every now and then that I loved him and hoped he was doing well... but never offering him to come home. And when he got in trouble he called us. He is now almost 23 and we have certainly been through a roller coaster with him over the last 5 years but we still have a relationship. And I really believe that what kept him from becoming a hardened criminal was the love of his mother.

    So yes I think you should respond. Certainly keep the boundaries. You can still love him and not have him come home!!

    My stand with my son has always been I will help you when you want help, I will not however enable you to use drugs. And so yes he has been homeless, spent 4 months on the streets in the middle of winter. (I did get him some boots and a sleeping bag).

    So I would text him that you love him, hope he is ok and you are there for him if he wants help.

    I know this is all very heartbreaking but hang in there.

    TL


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  3. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    And so it will go, that is what you mind, heart, and experience are all telling you. Since you "know" which way he is manipulating you, my suggestion is that you avoid texting him and if he texts you you avoid the subject of where he will live. I found if I have a hard time saying no that this phrase helps me get the point across without having to come right out an say it. "I wish I could but I can't" Repeat after every attempt to get you to say yes.
     
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    "I love you very much and, since you are a young man now and smart, I'm sure you can figure something out. Maybe we can meet for coffee once a week and see where our relationship goes, but I feel it's best if we don't live together again."

    Then you'll know. If he flips out on you, calls you a horrible mother, talks about what happened to him (in his mind) when he was six or just says "At least send me money!" then you know why he is suddenly full of remorse. If he really wants to reconnect and is remorseful, he will accept your boundaries and will help himself.Do not respond to abusive texting or angry phone calls and do not let him in the house. That's my two cents.

    Eighteen is not a young kid anymore. My daughter is eighteen. Now not all eighteen year olds are as responsible as others, or as mature, however most have made a decision toward independence...they are in college, or working full time and maybe contributing to the household bills, or even fighting in the military. They don't throw two year old tantrums of abuse us. They have the legal rights of an adult. It is not good, in my opinion, for us or for them if we rescue them when they mess up. Help them when they sincerely want to change, sure (this doesn't mean they have to live with you though and it doesn't mean you have to directly hand them money or pay for their toys). They need our emotional support and love and that is free.

    Hugs for your hurting heart.
     
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  5. Childofmine

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

    LMW, when I went through these times with difficult child, I would try hard not to immediately text back to him. That was really hard. I would tell myself to wait 6 hours, 8 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours---the times got longer and longer as I worked on that aspect.

    Then when I did text back, I would keep it short, saying things like I love you and I always want the best for you.

    If he was in town, I might say, please get in touch with me next Tuesday about 5 and we can make a plan to get together for coffee.

    Pushing out the times when we would meet, and letting him know that I would be available to talk at a later date, not back and forth every day between now and then.

    Usually, he would start out really sweet and sorry, and once he realized I was not going to immediately jump in and react and make everything better----like I used to do---for years and years----he would get furious. He would curse me out, and start texting me relentlessly.

    Because I had already set my boundary---next Tuesday at 5---it wasn't nearly so hard from that point on to not respond at all.

    This type of situation is one step in the unhooking that must happen between difficult children and their moms and dads. We have to stop being Mommy to grown people.

    It is hard, because for so long we pushed and pulled and dragged them, thinking they would grow out of it all and were just ________ (lazy, immature, dumb...fill in the blank).

    We taught them that we would take care of everything. We now have to un-teach them that lesson and it takes a long time, usually.

    Be as consistent as you can possibly be. Over time, that is what teaches them.

    As SO says---it took a long time to walk into the forest. It's going to take a long time to walk out of the forest.

    Warm hugs.
     
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  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I would let him know via text that you love him and that your boundaries are intact. If he becomes abusive or disrespectful because he isn't going to get what he wants, then, of course do not respond to that. His behavior dictates your responses, if he is respectful then you can continue with a dialogue, if he is not, then the dialogue ends.

    We have to become very clear on what our boundaries are and you sound determined.

    I'm sorry, this is hard. Hang in there.
     
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  7. Childofmine

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

    One more thing: Over time, I came to realize that if my son is ever to get his life straight, it won't be through anything I do or don't do.

    It will be through himself, and help from other people at the right time.

    Mommy and Daddy usually are not the ones who help their adult son or daughter achieve true recovery. It takes other people at the right time.

    There is too much baggage, and inconsistency, and stalling, and blaming and just all kinds of "stuff" between parents and addicted children that make it almost impossible.

    Realizing that helped me a lot. I used to think as his mother, I had to walk alongside him every single step of the way. I did it for a long time, and it didn't work.

    Now I work to create time, space and distance between us so he has a true chance to change and grow up without my interference.

    I am at peace with that aspect today.
     
  8. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    There will be strength for you in defining your boundaries and setting your course with your child. I hear a hesitance, a reluctance to mention anything that might offend or send your child off in the wrong direction.

    If we trust them to be strong enough to hear the truth -- that we love them, that they are choosing a wrong path that we do not condone and will not support -- then we have given our kids something more valuable than kindness.

    We've told them they are strong enough to turn this around any time they want to.

    And that is the truth.

    It helped us to list the things we would need to see before we would help in any way. Helping is giving a kind of permission. Helping is a kind of acknowledging that the child or young adult is a victim.

    That is not what we want to teach the kids.

    Addiction is a fatal disease. The kids are going to come face to face with that one day.

    Better sooner than later.

    What concrete things would you need to see from your child for you to believe he is ready to beat this thing?

    That is a good place to begin.

    We can work with you on how to figure out what you want your child to know, and on the best way to say it.

    And on how to survive the feelings that kind of honesty with your child will call in you.

    We have been where you are.

    I'm so sorry this is happening.

    Cedar
     
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with Toughlovin...gosh it seems I am saying that a lot these days...lol. Keep the lines of communication open. I read something somewhere online that said (these are my words) keeping up communication with a parent or parents is one of the strongest resources an addict has to get clean. I believe that. I would imagine that if MY parents had ever told me that they would no longer speak to me at all then I would have been so hurt that I dont know what I would have done. I dont think it would have forced me to change my ways. My dad did detach as far as not condoning my activities and not giving me money but he always spoke to me. I always knew he loved me. I always knew I could call him. I well knew I couldnt live with him ever again.

    Last night my son called me expecting me to solve his problem. I wasnt going to do it. I actually didnt have the ability to do it and if he really needed to have it solved, his girlfriend was there and could have taken him to the hospital easier than I could have. Let her...he isnt my little boy anymore. Or even he could have called the ambulance to get to the hospital and I would have most likely gone to get him and take him home but I wasnt going to be manipulated into going over and petting him like a baby. He is too old for that. I did tell him he can go to the dr today with me if he wants...so far he hasnt gotten back to me on that. I have set boundaries. Mine are more fluid than some folks on here.
     
  10. LMW73

    LMW73 New Member

    Just want to say a big thank you to my new-found support on here. I can find nothing like this in the UK and even though my partner, family and friends are very supportive, I really feel it is here where I have found true understanding and the courage of my convictions.

    I did reply to him - I told him he was loved and that he always would be and that I would contact him in a couple of week and perhaps meet up for coffee. My terms through, with my boundaries!

    Thank you all again - such a godsend to find you all xx
     
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  11. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

  12. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Good job. As we here have to do, take very very good care of YOU now. Get support of some kind, continuing support, where you can express yourself, vent, get understanding, empathy and compassion, a non judgmental environment where you feel seen and heard. Do kind and nurturing things for yourself every day. Put the focus on yourself now.

    We're glad you're here. Welcome.
     
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