"How can I screw my life up today?"

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Lil, Jun 24, 2015.

  1. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Why do they have to make it so hard? I said once about my ex - "It's like he gets up every morning and says, 'What can I do today to screw up my life?'" That's how I feel about my son.

    All of us, we have jobs, homes, lives. It isn't hard. It's not difficult to not drink to excess, do illegal drugs. It's not difficult to get and hold a job, to stay away from losers and thieves (unless we happened to have given them life). It's just not difficult to obey the law, be polite to your parents, live a typical life!

    We had to call the cops to get our son out of our car when he went berserk. We called once to get him out of the house - but cancelled it when he left. Both times, all we wanted was a few minutes for everyone to calm down!

    He's texted today and said the phone we just turned on for him won't make calls anymore, just text. Said he has to see us, it's important. I'm at an office function until late tonight. Jabber texted and asked what it's about. He says the phone doesn't work right and he can't tell if he's gotten calls and he's leaving soon. Jabber responded, there's nothing we can do about the phone, what does he mean leaving??? He hasn't responded. He's likely found a ride to see the internet girlfriend, 2 1/2 hours away. But he hasn't responded.

    Better than being afraid he'll show up on our doorstep I suppose. Of course, that means he definitely will be absconding from his community service. That means he'll have a warrant and we'll be unable to ever see him.

    I'm kind of sick just thinking about it. All because he has to screw up his life. He doesn't seem to be able to do anything else.
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am so sorry. It is so hard when not one thing they do makes even a teensy bit of sense to you. Or to anyone with a tiny bit of common sense.
  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi Lil

    I am sorry this is happening to you. And to me. Last night I posted a new thread, something like "My son told me he got stabbed and I can't stop shaking."

    This morning, Cedar asked me how I am and I wrote the following. What I would tell you, cannot be said any clearer than this, which is how I see my own situation:

    This is the life he wants to live: No rules. No responsibilities. No obligations. Taken care of. So he can use whatever money he has to buy whatever he wants. I see no place in a life like that for me, except at the margins. I think he sees that too.

    On the phone he said he had not called me because rationally *that is his favorite word, he sees us as getting along so poorly, and fighting so much, that he accepted the reality of the situation.

    I see it as he wants his rules, and does not want a limit or a boundary and sees such as "fighting" because he fights it. And I think he sees no place in his life for a mother who does let him have pretty much all he wants.

    I do feel sad. I had hoped my son would "get better." Instead, he seems to be digging in and doubling down. I am seeing no difference what so ever in his way of being from the other DCs on the board, where this goes on to their 30's and then what?

    My son is older than yours. He is 26. We have been through more, and tried more. For that I am grateful, because there is a kind of clarity that comes from trying everything, and being forced to see that NOTHING WORKS unless they choose it and do it.

    It has to come from them. If they do not want it, they will sabotage everything. I have been through it and so have you and everybody else on this board.

    They do not want it, Lil. Yesterday I said to my son, who said he was thinking about going to Montana.

    Wouldn't it be easier just to go back to college?

    Why would he ever do that? He doesn't want to.

    The only thing I have come to, Lil, is that this is his life, not mine. And he is living it, as he chooses. Forget the limitations he has. They are neither here nor there. He chooses this life, and fights to keep it.

    What can I do? If anybody sees a different course I can take, I would be grateful to know it. Thank you.

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    Last edited: Jul 7, 2015
  4. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    Self sabotage.......my son has mastered this. I don't get it. Mine could have been out of juvie prison or better yet not gone at all, but no......he shot himself in the foot every time an opportunity to do better has come his way.
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  5. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    As it turns out, he's told Jabber that he will be homeless and on the streets - without even a phone - in a few days. Jabber asked if he was getting a ride to the internet girl. He said he'd talk to us tomorrow. Jabber told him if he was planning on asking for money for gas, the answer was no. That was three hours ago. No response.

    I don't want to talk to him. I want to avoid all mention of him and his problems. I don't want the drama. I don't want to deal with it.

    Maybe he gets his lack of desire to deal with stuff honestly.

    The fact is, I want to help. I want to fix it. I want to leave the phone on for one more month and buy him a bus ticket. I want to take him back. I want to make him all better. I know I can't.

    I keep telling myself, he has done nothing to change. He could have kept the job he had in January. He could have paid the electric, we were paying rent, and he would have had enough saved up to rent his own place. He could have kept the job he had at the grocery store before he was to go to job corps. If he'd just kept it instead of quitting as soon as he was told about job corps being ready for him, he'd have still had it when he didn't go. If he'd had kept that, he could maybe find another cheap place he could afford. If he'd been working all this time, we'd be much more inclined to help him now. If he'd gone to job corps, he'd be supported, learning a trade, and we'd promised him a phone there! In a few months, he'd have them help him get a job in the town he wants to move to.

    He's done nothing. He's done nothing at all.

    I just don't know what to do.
  6. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I actually wrote this post in reply to your thread Copa, but decided that it sounded very insensitive to go on about my kid on your thread. I haven't been able to think of what to say to you. It's such a hard thing to think about, them maybe hurt or in danger. My son has no money...no SSI or other income...no way to pay for anything. If he did he could get a phone. He could get a cheap place to live. It's just....so frustrating.
  7. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    He said maybe. I said Oh? He said he will talk to us about it tomorrow. Then I said the money thing. I know this bugs the hell out of you Lil but he needs to sort this crap out himself.
  8. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    He could have a phone anyway if he would just put in for the government assistance one. But its not good enough for him because it wont have internet access.
  9. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Lil, what one thing do you think you can do here that is going to make a difference? You have done that one thing over and over, and it hasn't helped. I'm not criticizing you. We have ALL done that one more thing. We all think just THIS one thing, then THIS one thing, until we see that there is no more to be done. They don't want it, and if they do, they don't want to use it to solve their problems.

    Have you ever known someone who thought your idea was a bad one, but if they came up with the same idea later it was brilliant? I think a lot of our DCs are like that, especially our young ones. For whatever reason, any help we give is tainted. Let him figure it out. I think he will be okay, and I think he will be the better man for it.
  10. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    True. If he'd just applied a week and a half ago, he'd have a phone by the 30th when we turn his off.

    I know. I really, really do know. I just HATE this so much! I just...don't want to see him. I don't want to talk to him. I don't want to deal with this. I'm so tired of this. He's known for months the phone was going off. He's known for months his living situation was precarious. I want to cry. I want to HIT HIM! I really do...I want to smack him over the head with something and keep it up until he has sense!
  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    ... and then we realize that even THIS won't help.

    We start running out of things to try because... they have to START finding things to try. Somehow.

    It shouldn't be this hard to be a parent!
  12. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    So, it's 11:15 and I'm sitting in the living room crying. Jabber is asleep and I didn't want to wake him. :( My brain won't shut off. I keep rehearsing tomorrow's "talk". I say over and over all he's done to lead himself here. I imagine him telling me he's hungry and homeless and has no one and nothing...and my heart breaks. I keep saying over and over all the opportunities that we gave him that he kept throwing away. I imagine telling him that I won't give him money to (let's face it) abscond without ever doing his community service. He WILL go to jail. Maybe not tomorrow or next year but someday he will be stopped - for running a red light or speeding or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time - maybe years and years from now when he's finally got his act together, and he will go to jail. All because he wouldn't wash a few windows.

    Every choice he's made since he turned 18 has led to this. He could have done things right. He had every chance. He threw them away. For nothing. Not over a girl, not because of drugs, not mental illness...nothing.

    I can't stand it. I don't know how to stand it. I've actually let myself think that maybe things will get better - but they won't. They're going to get worse and worse.

    We'll say no tomorrow. No, we won't keep your phone on. No, we won't give you money. No, we won't buy you a bus ticket. No, we won't buy you food or shelter or anything. We'll cut him off and he'll - just be gone.

    Tomorrow I lose my son. I know it. I see it coming as clear as I see this computer screen. The child I birthed and nursed and loved like a part of myself all these years will just be gone...and a part of me will be too.

    I don't know how to do this. I feel like I'm amputating my own limb, cutting out my heart.

    I recognize that I'm catastrophizing. But that is exactly how I feel right now. I can barely breathe.
  13. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    HOW? How can someone be okay with no food, shelter, income, transportation and barely even any clothing?

    Okay, fine, he can hitchhike to the next town. He won't die sleeping under a bridge for a few days. He can beg, I suppose.

    None of that makes me feel better.

    Okay...okay. Deep breath.

    I have to work tomorrow. Worse, I have to be in training all day tomorrow...so I can't hide in my office with the door shut and quietly fall apart. I have to be in a room with everyone else I work with and not start weeping at the drop of a hat. So I guess I really do need to calm down and go to bed.

    Thank you Copa...I just...don't know how to do this. You know?
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2015
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Yes, you are catastrophizing. It's... a fairly "normal" thing to do, under the circumstances.
    You're caught between a bit of a rock and a hard place because you do not know if there is mental illness and/or developmental difference involved in this. There could well be. In which case, there is at least a tiny bit of "reason". Not that it explains it all away, but it does allow for him not thinking "normal".

    If it's any help... my GFGbro was mostly AWOL from about 17 to... 22? 23? 24? somewhere in there. By 26, he had gone back, completed his minimum requirements for adult admission to the local university (they will take you on as a probationary student for the first year if you have certain key grade 12 classes). Graduated 4 years later at the top of his class and went on for a master's degree. He's still... a bit of a GFGbro. He still thinks differently than most people. Has a very different life, too. But he DOES have a life. It just took him a lot longer than most, to get it put together. Along the way, he met some very interesting people, and I mean that in a positive sense. People living life on the margins and actually having a life out of it. He came to understand that "having it all" usually means that you don't have it all - you have to give something up in the process. It's amazing what a few years does.

    Right now? I'm glad he was my brother and not my son. What he put our parents through for a few years was... unspeakable.

    Sending calming thoughts.
  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    So, Lil, what are you gonna do about it?
    He will work, Lil. He has already had at least two jobs, that I know about. He can apply for General Assistance and food stamps. He can work an hour or two to establish a new employer, and apply for Unemployment Insurance. He can do day labor. In a month he could enroll in school (always my favorite option, I am like a one trick pony) and get a work study job. He can make a life. Thousands of people come to this country each month with nothing, no English, no access to public benefits, and they make it. Yes, he can beg, but why go to worst case, Lil?

    Do you have that little confidence in him?

    I know it didn't have to be so hard for him. That makes it so much harder for us. We would have helped them and helped them. But they spit our help right back at us. They cannot do it our way.

    And they give out clothing in the shelters. And there are meals all day at one place or another. There are all kinds of social services. Those that will work, are helped to find work. The worst thing that happened to my son, almost, was that stupid SSI. Before he got it, he worked. It's enough to turn me conservative. Not.

    Lil, this is not about you. You have a son who needs to grow up. Keep your eye on the ball.

    It's like Truman said, if you want a friend in Washington Difficult Child, get a dog. *I put Washington and the initials for District of Columbia. The computer changed it. How cute.

    It's not his job to keep you content. His job is to grow up based upon his capacities and his limitations. Not yours. Not mine. Not Jabber's.

    Lil, he may. But how many times has he already done this???

    My son has called the cops on us half a dozen times with the intent of getting us thrown in jail. The last time he tackled M and gave him a black eye. Does anybody even remember it? No.

    We all give each other so many chances it is not even funny. At the bottom of all of our stories (this cesspool of emotions) is great love. Your son has great love for you. But it can't be a child's love. It must become a man's.

    Lil, you get inconsolable when you do not want to be consoled. Quit it.

    No, this will not happen. He will feel thwarted. He will act angry. But deep inside he will be grateful. Because this is what he needs. He needs a clear, firm boundary so that he can do what he has to do. To grow up.
    Now, you're talking. You better go to bed and rest up. So that you can get tough and centered. Because you're right. This will be our life for awhile,

    Good night, Lil. Go to bed.

    PS I don't know how to do it either, but I'm getting there. Just like you.
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    Last edited: Jun 24, 2015
  16. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Lil, everything you have told to us about him points to that he is very attached to you guys. He will not be gone. He may mope few weeks and not contact you, but he will also miss you and contact you again.

    It is summer, he will survive outdoors for a while. He has been capable getting jobs before and not being fired right away. He can do that again. When he has to face a reality that he just can't loiter around doing nothing, he is more likely to motivate himself doing something. He does have lots of strengths too. What he is lacking the most is motivation. It is rough but maybe he has to get to the bottom to find it.

    Isn't it a shame that we can't just ship them to somewhere middle of nowhere to work hard manual labour till they figure out what they do want to do? Digging a ditch with shovel would be ideal... or weeding sugarbeets or planting tree seedlings.
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Lil, I don't think they think like we do at all. "What can he do to screw up his life?" (rational to most of us) becomes "How can I get money for (whatever is going on), get to the place to have dinner, and get by today. Getting by seems to be the goal...getting by easily. For various reasons, probably too many to name, they shun work. Maybe they are afraid of it, maybe they plain are non-conformists and will NOT sit at a desk all day like we may have done, perhaps it is societal rebellion, or parental rebellion, or both, or maybe it is anger at us for u s expectations that they at least follow the bare minimum of fruitful life. Some I believe truly have undiagnosed disablities. Some have undiagnosed disabilities plus drug addiction. Not all of us are aware if there is drug addiction. You don't need to get money the moral, conventional way to use drugs. Druggies deal drugs. My daughter told me it is a given. Drug addicts don't have the same kind of consciences we do and, in their sickness and addiction, do not mind dealing drugs if it is an means to an end (drugs). They want us to help them live this non-productive lifestyles and, for whatever reasons, are angry at the status quo and get very upset when we don't help them rebel against the norm. Some can't grow up for either psychological or mental health reasons, yet they MUST grow up because we, the parents, can not fix their problems even if we wish to. After 18, we have no say. They have to do it. But many don't. Won't. Even when we drive them and they start out good. Many just don't follow through. Why?

    Why? It's too hard. It's a hassell. It is overwhelming. It's too much trouble. Things re ok as is, to them. Who knows?

    One thing is definite. They don't think like us. They may have inherited genes from an absent parent and seem scarily like the parent they never knew, discarding what we taught them to become that other person in their DNA. We can not help that.

    With all the possibilities out there, does it really matter One thing that is so very hard (I know this first hand) is how to separate ourselves from our children. When our adult children thrive, WE feel good. When they are a mess, WE feel bad.

    But we are not them. Each person stands on his own. And achieving is actually subjective. Some think a college degree would fix it all (I don't believe this at all). Some think just being a good person who works and is kind to his family is good enough (I do think this very much, but we are all different). What matters with our kids is what THEY feel is enough.

    Sadly, if they feel begging for money, slipping between the cracks of society, and not "wasting"time working is a good life, they are content with their lifestyle and we can't force our values on them.

    Anything we taught them is still in their heads. Whether or not they choose to adopt our value system is up to them. Divorce, anger, missing birthparents, adoption, stepparents...the chaos of family as it often is today does not help. I hate to admit it. I did get divorced. But this plays into it. I do know Bart and Princess, who had to see a divorce, had more problems than Sonic or Jumper. In fact on our 20th anniversary, Jumper sent her father a nd I are very loving card thanking us for proving to her that true love still exists and that she is grateful. Bart and Princess could not have written that. I do believe Jumper and Sonic had a big advantage, seeing a loving marriage, over Bart and Princess who did not. On top of that, Princess was adopted, which is always a factor with children who were already rejected by birthparents. Those who adopt and try to pretend it doesn't matter are living in la-la land. Most adopted kids feel that rejection sting. We were able to provide Sonic and Jumper such a stable home that they are well adjusted and content, but Jumper had to process her adoption in middle school. And we fortunately able to get in touch with her kindhearted birthmother who only wanted good things for her daughter. Yes, we share a daughter.

    I don't think "why" can be pinned down. It is not how we would do life, but they do life differentlly, their values are different, their way oflooking at life is different, and some out there have serious challenges. I did!!!! I had no parents to turn to. I had tof igure it out myself. I did marry so I was not homeless and I worked, but I was in my mid to late thrities before I was not a mess without a core self. It may take our kids m ore time. They may never get it. We can't know.

    The best we can do is help ourselves. The one thing I personally recommend to every parent of a Difficult Child who has not done a heinous deed to them repeatedly is to also be sure to offer things that don't cost money. "You know I am always here for love and emotional support. I will be your biggest cheerleader if you try."

    I learned from my own damaged mother how not to be a mother...lol. Every time I text or talk to any child or grand, my last words are always, "Love you." And they say "Love you" back.

    My adult children had issues, but they are resolved. I am lucky. You could be lucky too. The bad part is that we don't know the future. That's why I like Al-Anon's one day at a time. Al-Anon has a wonderful message and you don't need religion to join. Your higher power can be nature, or the ocean, or the sunny skies. Please treat yourself.

    We can help ourselves by getting into therapy. I am always shocked by how many suffering parents are afraid of therapy.Why? If a therapist is not your type, get another one.

    Is it a good example to not get into therapy for us yet want our Difficult Child to get help? I think it tells them we don't trust therapy, why should they. I think therapy is great with the right therapist and since you are the boss of the therapist it is worth it to hunt around until you find one that can help you. Not getting t hat hel...well, let's just say, I found it too hard to alone and don't know how anyone can really heal alone. It is hard to be non-judgmental about us. We need a third party, not involved, to see us straight.

    All of this are my ramglings thoughts t his morning. I am truly getting to a very good place again, after a setback (and there will be setbacks all of our lives), but without therapy, I could never get over the set backs so quickly and see my situations with people straight and clear.

    Sorry I went off topic.

    All of you have a good day. Take what you like, if anything, and leave the rest.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2015
  18. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    The site is requiring us to be more accurate with our English ;)
    It should be "Washington D.C.", which doesn't get expanded to "Washington Difficult Child".

    This is kind of funny, actually, because I was chatting about the acronym expansion thing with runawaybunny, and we said... what if someone types D.C. as in Washington D.C., and leaves out the periods?
  19. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Actually Copa, he has food stamps but I'm sure he's run out. There is no general assistance in MO, it was stopped about 8 yrs ago. It was only $80 a month anyway. He can't go to school, he's not eligible for student loans since he purposely flunked out last time. His jobs lasted a week. Sure, he can get a job, but how when there is no way to bathe, wash clothing, etc? You can't get unemployment if you've quit your job or if you've not worked long enough.

    So little confidence? More like realistic. He has very little ability to do anything.

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  20. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry, on my phone its very hard to post and I can't quote.

    This mornings training was a poverty simulation. I got to play a homeless person, with income. The one thing that keeps being driven in more and more, is how hopeless the situation is with no income.

    It is not helping my mood.

    Last night was rough. Today I'm better.

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