how do i go about this?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by standswithcourage, Jun 23, 2010.

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  1. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    I know I have posted this before but I am becoming frustrated at my attempt to control/help my youngest son that is 20 today. He is a slow developer but a smart, funny lots of common sense guy. He is kinda overweight butnnot obese and i have a hard time getting him motiviated to go to the gym or ridehis bike , etc., He has friends but no girl at the time - he is a great kid - i guess i nag him about giong to the gym but i need not to do that - so i am asking how do i motivate him - he should be motivated himself - we belong to a gym that has everything - people go there that are a lot more out of shape than him - i go by myself and meet people there in the classes, etc., i dont know how to go about this.....any advice......should i take him to the doctor to see if all his levels of testosterone and hormones are right?
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    No- let it go. You are way to involved in your adult kids' lives. By the time I was 20, I had been married and divorced, done half of my commitment in the military and was on my way to treatment that I had requested. You are an enabler, Stands. I am not telling you this to be mean- I am telling you because no one can help what they don't know or accept. It's time for you to accept this and work on yourself so you can become a healthier person for YOU and your KIDS. The best way, and really the only way, to help your kids at this point is to stand back and detach and stay out of it so they can realize that only they are responsible for their lives at this age- if you don't, they cannot and will not see this. If they can't see it, they can't pick up the ball for themselves. If they can't pick up the ball for themselves, there is NO hope in them ever running with it. That's just my humble opinion and in all sincerity- the harshness is not intended to hurt you but to help you open your eyes.
  3. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I agree! You are way too involved in the lives of your adult 'children'. Do you realize that you said, "I am becoming frustrated at my attempt to control/help my youngest son ...". He's twenty years old - he's an adult! You cannot control him, nor should you want to! You say he's smart and has a lot of common sense. Then why are you so worried about him? You cannot make him go to a gym. This is his decision to make - not yours. If he's a bit overweight, I'm sure he knows how to lose it. If and when he feels the need to lose weight, he will do it himself, his way, and doesn't need his mother to push or nag him in to it or drag him to a gym. When he wants to do it himself, that will be all the motivation he needs. And if he doesn't have a girlfriend right now, that's his decision and that's fine too. When he decides he wants a steady girlfriend, he will find one. He certainly doesn't need his mother trying to drag him off to a doctor to have his hormones tested because she's worried that he doesn't have a girlfriend! He's legally an adult and you couldn't do this anyway.

    I don't mean to sound harsh either, but if you continue to try to control and micro-manage the lives of your adult children, you will continue to be frustrated and disappointed. You seriously need to find some other focus for yourself other than obsessing on every tiny little aspect of the lives of your adult children. You need to learn to make that transition from being the parent of a child to being the parent of an adult. It's not easy but you have to do it because if you continue to try to control adult children you will drive them away. At this stage of the game you back off, let them test their wings and make their own decisions. You're still there to catch them if they fall or give advice if asked, but you need to learn to relate to them on an adult to adult basis.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2010
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I suggest you buy a poodle. Thats a pet you can pour all your attention and love onto and it wont mind a bit. You can learn to groom them yourself into all sorts of outrageous cuts too. Look up extreme poodle grooming.
  5. Mom2oddson

    Mom2oddson Active Member

    The best advice I got was that as our children grow our roles change. As they reach the end of their teen years we need to stop being teacher/care-giver and move into the advisor role. We as parents need to move to the advisor position to allow our children to grow and spread their wings or they never learn to fly.

    You son knows that he has a membership to the gym. When he's ready, he will use it. And if you keep pushing, he might dig his heels in deeper so that he doesn't feel controlled by his mother.

    I know that with both my difficult children and my easy child, if I push, they resist.

    I know it's hard. I want nothing more then to wrap all my kids into a nice safe cocoon and take care of them all their lives. But what kind of life will that be their point of view??
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Susan, you have been advised and even begged to see a therapist many many times in the past. Your oldest son has been crippled by your enabling. He not only has a huge drug problem and legal issues to take care of he also has his enmeshed relationship and the myriad ways that it cripples him to overcome. Yes, your drug addicted son has a problem even BIGGER than the drug addiction. It is his relationship with YOU that he has to tackle. I sincerely hope that the residential rehab helps him see how unhealthy the relationship is and gives you BOTH treatment to establish a truly healthy relationship with each other. Until this happens he will not ever truly have a chance to get rid of the drug problem. He buries his feelings and resentments about his relationship with you and the ways it is sick, destructive and damaging by hiding in drugs. I am sure he has other problems that he hides in drugs also. I do NOT mean you are the only reason he uses drugs, not by any means, but your relationship with him IS a major factor.

    I have often wondered what his description of your actions and treatment of him would be. I would bet that a forum for adults with unhealthy relationships with parents would find many of YOUR actions to be outrageous, even insane and certainly more controlling than loving. I KNOW you only mean to show him love, but right now the way you demonstrate your love is hugly dysfunctional and dangerous to the long term health of your kids. And YOURSELF.

    Your oldest went into residential treatment on the eighth of this month. He was living in your home under your control or at least you had some illusion of control of him. Now he is gone and you are turning your unhealthy attentions onto your youngest child. For many years you ignored the well being of your youngest to concentrate on your oldest. ALL of your focus and energy went into the oldest, even when he stole from your youngest to the tune of many hundreds, or even thousands of dollars of games and game systems and accessories - almost ALL of which your youngest had paid for by himself. At least that is what you told us in the past. In many ways your youngest has been emotionally on his own for years. It hurts to admit this to yourself, but if you take a long, hard look at yourself (perhaps during the fearless, searching inventory that is one of the steps of any 12 step program?) you will see that it is true. Once you can admit it to yourself you can start to make amends and to change things so the future is healthy.

    Your son may have learned to use food as a substitute for a healthy relationship with you. It isn't uncommon. It also is NOT YOUR PROBLEM. Just as if your son was anorexic and weighed 80 pounds, there is absolutely NO way you can control his weight. Period. The more you push him, the more you try to wrestle control of his life away from him, the more he will dig in his heels. If you don't step 100% away from this issue you might actually force him into binge eating and morbid obesity. It will not be in the nature of "F*** Y** Mom!" but more in the nature of "You cannot control me no matter what. I HAVE to have control over something, even if it is just my own weight."

    Is there ANY way you can step back and look to see his actions as a desperate scream for you to allow him to be the adult that he is? It isn't easy, I know. But if you ever want him to be a healthy weight you MUST get treatment FOR YOURSELF so that you can make your relationship with him healthy. He cannot begin to address his issues until he has some help with the relationship from you.

    Are you able to see that your focus on his weight, esp with the almost frantic nature of your post, is happening because you no longer have your oldest child in your home under your illusion of control? That this focus on youngest's weight is because you feel the relationship with oldest has escaped your control? That IS what this is about. It is NOT about wanting youngest to be healthy. If youngest's health is the concern you would be stepping back and working to end your codependency on your kids. NOT wanting to force him to live his adult life your way.

    Give up on the doctor. I know you have taken him to the doctor to have his hormones tested in the past. As I recall there was never anything found on lab tests or exams that the doctor felt was in need of treatment. I am quite sure your son knows that if he needed treatment that you would help him get it. Let it go.

    Stop obsessing on his weight. Start obsessing on your codependence. You are as much an addict as your oldest. Find a doctor or treatment program that will push you to develop healthier relationships, to relinquish the struggle to run your children's lives.

    How is your relationship with your daughter? I remember her being unhappy with the attention you took away from everyone else and pushed onto the oldest. Have you worked to develop a healthy adult relationship with her? Or are you often upset because she makes choices you would not?

    GO GET SOME REAL HELP. Find a psychiatrist and a therapist to help you. There may be more than codependency going on. I suggest a psychiatrist because there may be some level of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and/or PTSD that fuels the fires of your codependency. Or there could be depression and anxiety causing problems. Whatever is going on, it is with YOU - NOT with the adult children you have.

    Do you have a parent or grandparent who is an alcoholic or substance abuser? Be sure to go to an older relative and ASK them about it. If one of your grandparents was an alcoholic you might not know. Or if they had a sibling who was an alcoholic. These problems do NOT pop up out of nowhere unless there is a mental illness that came about for reasons other than some inherited component. You learned at least the beginnings of your problems from someone, probably a parent. Alcoholism and substance abuse is a FAMILY problem, not just the addicts. For an addict to have true recovery in the long term the entire family must get help. Personally I have a gfgbro who is "recovered" and has been for years. Sadly much of his behavior is that of a dry drunk, esp on an emotional level, and is getting worse every day. He has pulled my mother into unhealthy patterns again. As always my father lives by "if you can't say something nice don't say anything" and I have cut ties with my brother completely. He has always refused to treat me the way he treats other adults in my life and I have become determined to stop allowing him to abuse us emotionally. Us does include my children.

    You NEED to get whatever help you can so that you CAN help your kids. You can help them by modeling healthy relationships with others and by insisting your relationships with them are on a healthy level.

    Worrying about your son's girlfriend or lack thereof, weight, etc... is unhealthy and unproductive. Chances are your son may not want a girlfriend until such time as he can have his own apartment or home because he does not want a girl to see you treat him as a child. I have known many men who did that because they did not want anyone to see their mom treat them like a little kid. They also did not want a woman to think that they wanted a woman to treat them like that. Each of the men I have known who did this ended up being very happy in relationships with women who are NOTHING like their mothers. Their mothers usually HATE their wives because the wives insist on the mother in law not having day to day control of their lives.

    What you are asking us to help you do is to help you create even more unhealthy control of your son. It is the exact opposite of a healthy mother-son adult relationship.

    Please seek help. ASAP.
  7. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Susan- Your son's weight is not your problem to solve. It's way past time to back off and let him be the adult he thinks he should be. Stop with the controlling and co-dependent behavior. Be gracious and let your children grow up. They will love you and respect you a lot more if you show some faith in them.
  8. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    Wow! Thanks all. Actually i went to a counselor today. I am working onmyself - thanks for ALL of your comments.:)
  9. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Stands, to be very blunt with you; this sounds nearly identical to what you've said before regarding having seen a counsellor, etc. I sincerely hope you can find a counsellor who can help you learn to interact with your ADULT children in a proper and healthy way.
  10. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Hi Susan, I've seen alot of pretty focused advice that seem in line with stuff you've been hearing in the past. I hope that you can take it in the caring spirit it is offered and perhaps return focus to yourself and just learn to live for yourself and let your adult kids live their own ways. We'll all be in that boat if we aren't already, we have to let them go. I've got my son home for only one more year and I feel the ache inside already. So I do understand. I can't imagine him since he's a former difficult child (Now I would call him a rare difficult child but not quite easy child, more a typical teen with difficult child moments) and because he's pretty comfortable letting me "do for him", living alone or with roommates, holding a job, eating right, making good choices, being responsible. But I do know that it is a problem that "I" have, and one I can't and won't be allowing myself to put on his shoulders. It isn't his weight to carry, this desire in a mother to continue to have a say etc. And even though I can already feel it, I will not be interfering or injecting myself into his lifes decisions.

    But on a different angle here, let me share with you what NEVER worked for me as a person who was considered "plump" as a child, "Chubby" in my early 20's, and rapidly considered "morbidly obese" ..... NOBODY should have said a thing to me. i was ultimately responsible for what went in my mouth and how much I exercised. Obviously> But once I started the battle with weight, any and all attention brought to it? It drove me to worse habits. There was no amount of good intentions, well worded and kind comments or advice or offers of support, that were going to do a thing for me except plummet my already awful sense of worth, esteem and value.

    Eventually with counseling I drew the line for my loved ones ... my weight is MY problem, NOT yours, do NOT burden ME even MORE by implying in any way that I am the cause of YOUR stress because you "Care, are worried, are concerned, are frightened for where I'm headed" (etc!). I heard it ALL trust me. It meant nothing more to me than if someone said "Hey lardo! Want some fries with that shake". It hurt the same. Equal. Part of me GOT the kind spiritedness etc. But the part of me that was broken and brought on the weight issues to begin with? THAT part of me dominated and each well meant comment stuck me like a knife. I can to this day remember most comments, the cruel ones and the ones offered with what they percieved to be 'love and concern'. THey all hurt to remember.

    When I was ready, ME, I made the decision that I had enough. I got help to mend the broken bits in me that were making food a crutch. I opted for surgery to help, but I worked my butt off and I found a healthy weight for myself. For a while, the same people who loved me and would say things about worrying when I was too heavy, well those folks suddenly got stressed I was TOO SKINNY and just HAD to express their worries and concerns and how upset they were watching me shrink. WELL I can honestly say, that went over as bad as people interfering with my weight EVER had gone over. Needless to say, I got something from my doctor showing I could still lose 20 lbs more and be healthy, although i was down to a size 6. Could do it and be HEALTHY and NORMAL. That was STILL not enough> Again, I told them to butt out of my weight htings, because .... I am a ADULT.

    Now that I've balance out, I'm about a size 10-12 and I do bounce up and down about 15 pounds. I hate it, its a large range to bounce around. But I don't end up considered "overweight" on the docs chart, and I don't obsess about food and exercise, I live as healthy as I've learned to live. And if the weight comes up a bit, I crack my personal whip to get my tush in gear, and I get back to basics and go back down. And I'll probably do this forever. I can tell you I rue the day someone says something about that. Because in the end, I'm a ADULT. Know what I mean???

    I tell you this because it really is something we naturally worry about in those we love, most of us have someone we love that we worry about with their weight. But if you think you are helping or serving your sons needs by at all involving yourself in his choices of lifestyle, food choices or activity levels at his age? I'm telling you truthfully, you're dead wrong. You are not serving him, it is a need that all of us moms have (some more than others) to want to be the ones to make those choices the same as we did when they were minors and it was the role expected of us. You were a different hat now as a mother. Period. You're "training days" are done. You don't get to continue to parent in the same way. Your role is not going to go back like it was. It needs to change to reflect the healthy nature of a relatinoship between 2 adults. Woudl you ask this about your best friend? How to try to get her to take her health seriuosly and eat better and exercise and use that dusty gym membership? Most friends would be pretty ticked off if you did. I know I wouldn't want to try it with a friend of mine. Why? Because they are adults and they aren't stupid, they know if they are overweight and should do something different.

    Truly Susan, just reflect for a few minutes and I bet anything you'll be thinking differently on this whole thing. I know you wouldn't want to hurt your son. By doing anything about his weight, you probably will be hurting something inside of him.
  11. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I like the poodle idea. You seem to be a person who needs to parent someone who needs parenting. Neither of your children need parenting. Dogs always need parenting.
  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Just jumping back in to second Mattsmom's thoughts about how making issue over someone's weight is counter-productive in helping them deal with it. I was far too underweight as a teen, after being raped, and all my mom's nagging, threatening, etc., served only to do exactly what Mattsmom's described. It wasn't rebelling against her- it wasn't about her and she needed to accept that it wasn't about her.

    Also, the poodle suggestion was probably said somewhat in jest, but really, a lot of "empty-nesters" have found some comfort in getting a puppy. This isn't uncommon at all- even when someone loses a spouse.

    But nothing will work if you don't let go of the old and become willing to embrace the new. It's hard but we all have to do it for different reasons and at different phases of our lives. Just remember that control and responsibility go hand-in-hand. If you are in control of another's life or choices, don't ecpect that person to take responsibility for it- you are responsible for the outcome. If you want them to take responsibility, you have no choice but to quit trying to control the person's decisions and outcome.

    And this sticks out in my mind so much I have to say something- at 20 or older, his sperm count is none of your business unless he chooses to tell you, for instance in a conversation about planning a family someday. Honestly, if I was 20 and my periods weren't coming regularly, do you think I'd go to my father about it? Do you think it would be normal for him to be stressing over whether or not they were regular unless I had some major health problem related to that?

    ETA: I'm sure letting go must be extremely difficult. It saddens me and stymies me when my son isn't home and that's knowing that it's temporary. I'm no expert on this- only giving my opinion. But the things you are stressing - like how to deal with what your son needs or should be doing - are things like I stress over (although the specific issues are different) but the difference is that my son is 15yo and hasn't been living with me for most of the time since he turned 14yo. My stress is over how to bridge that gap between him leaving as a young teen/tween and adulthood. I have no intention of still stressing over the same issues when he's 20yo. So I can't help but wonder why you weren't bridging that gap when your kids were young teens instead of now that they are legally adults.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2010
  13. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    The poodle thing wasn't said at all in jest. It's the best suggestion I've heard for Susan, ever. I wouldn't make it for anyone but her.
  14. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I dunno about getting a dog. They need to have firm boundaries set where they can fit into a family environment (part of the pack), and STILL be dogs with all their needs recognized.

    You have to walk a fine border there as well, between socializing a dog and allowing it to still be a dog. Dog's are not child replacements. They are animals with many needs as well.

    I have seen way too many dogs overy my years training them that had owners who were codependent upon them.

    I do NOT recommending getting a pet to fulful the needs for codenpendcy Stands is dealing with. I'd much rather see her in with a top flight counsellor well versed in codepency issues.
  15. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    As would we all.
  16. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    We have been advising and at times even begging Susan to not just see a therapist but to work hard with one for several years. Her life will continue to be dysfunctional, drama filled, and enmeshed with her sons until she actually does the work to handle her own problems.

    I see nothing wrong with suggesting she get a poodle to lavish her time and attention on. While it isn't the healthiest way for her to handle her problems, it would at least give her son a chance to get her to stop micromanaging every aspect of his life including his sex life. If the poodle truly doesn't like what she does to it then it will growl at her, hide or run when it sees her coming. I have known quite a few poodles who were truly happiest when groomed to absurdity. When they weren't they got grumpy and snappish instead of being loving, cuddly and generally well behaved.

    Susan, I hope that you are more sincere about working with a therapist this time around. Rather than going round and round with worries we have addressed with you in the past (more than once in the past at that), please move your focus onto yourself and why you are so desperate to control your children. It truly will make you happier than making your son slim down and find a woman and/or putting your difficult child onto a potent medicine like suboxone which won't treat his addiction to xanax, alcohol or his pot use will.
  17. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    Thanks friends as usual - I have been told again. I appreciate it and I get the message.
  18. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    I'm going to lock this. It appears that all has been said that could be said.
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