How to even talk on the phone with my son....

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Copabanana, May 14, 2015.

  1. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    My 26 year old son just called to chat. Our recent phone calls have been short, as I cut things off when he talks in a way that distresses me. The last phone call he wanted a pity party. I refused saying something like, "we need to cut this off. This does not help you, or me."

    Today, I made the mistake of asking him what he thought about the recent Amtrak crash. A mistake. He responded, "I am much more worried about Iran," look at the cover of Newsweek.

    "I don't want to talk about that, with you. You know that," I replied.

    "You asked me what I thought and I am responding to your question" he answered.

    "I believe that your preoccupation with the end times is destructive. Nearly all of your energy and focus is directed to this theme. I fear it is a symptom of mental illness and I do not want to go there with you. I have told you repeatedly. I will not talk about it with you."

    "You asked me. I am just responding to your question. You are irrational. You are in denial," he responded.

    "Please do not insult me," I answered.

    "You insulted me," was his retort.

    "I am sorry, if I insulted you. If you continue to speak of this theme we will need to end this conversation. I have told you before. I will not speak of this with you. It is not good for me and I believe it is not good for you."

    He persisted. I said "goodbye." I hung up the phone.

    My son is a conspiracy theorist. He believes and fears something called the Illuminati. According to this "theory" the Illuminati is a ruling class originating when creatures from outer space mated with reptiles here on earth. They manipulate the world for their own ends, and are now bringing about the end of the world, according to a prophesied plan. Sigh.

    He sees all current events through this lens. All news stories, natural disasters, etc. to him point to the end times.

    I will not go there with him. If I refuse to go there with him, he denounces me as irrational or in denial or uneducated or uninformed in the scientific method, not understanding rules of evidence. Laughable. Except it's not.

    We are at the point now, my son and I, where all roads lead to Rome. Really, I cannot bear to speak to or be with my son.

    Am I wrong? What are my options? I wish I was Cedar, SWOT. They would know what to do.
    Last edited: May 14, 2015
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    That isn't your son you're talking to when it gets like this... it's the mental illness. Just like trying to talk to a kid with addiction - you're dealing with the addiction, not the kid.

    But... yes, It's really tough to have anything to talk about when he is that delusional.
  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    So, what does that mean, for me? If my son refuses medication and therapy, not seeing himself as mentally ill, while receiving SSI for mental illness, what course do I take?

    If I refuse to listen to or participate in a delusion, and he insists, what do I do? Do I refuse to see him, to talk to him?

    Or do I listen without commenting, and accept, that this is my son, and whether I like it, or can tolerate it, matters little?

    It is like a war between us, neither wanting to surrender both insisting that a peace requires that our preferred terms prevail:

    His terms, that I listen to and accept his views about the world.

    My terms, that I will not listen to or accept his crazy views, which at this point I feel I CANNOT ACCEPT.

    So the question is, is this unfair of me, and more than unfair, cruel? By refusing to participate in what I consider to be a disordered conversation, am I rejecting an ill child? By refusing to listen to him, am I refusing to ACCEPT that my son is majorly mentally disordered? Is it self-serving to persist in believing he has a choice, and control over this behavior?

    Am I rejecting my son...because he is mentally ill and I WILL NOT ACCEPT IT?

    Clearly, if this is the case I am wrong. A mother cannot, should not, reject a mentally ill child.

    But, can and should a mother refuse to participate in what she feels to be self-destructive?

    Accepting his craziness, feels like an endorsement. Honestly, I do not know what to do.

    I am going to review past threads about kids who listen to demonic music to see if there are any parallels here, to guide me.

    The difference is, your kids do not insist that you listen to demonic music.

    Is this a world view or a delusion, that is the question?

    My son is anxious, but denies it. My thinking has been that the appeal of this conspiracy theory is that it binds his anxiety, the anxiety he denies that he has.

    As I type this I realize it really does not matter, why or how come. It is not my business.

    My business is how to deal with and respond to my son, and how to be a Mother to him, while protecting myself.

    And it is with this, I am having a great problem.
    Last edited: May 14, 2015
  4. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think you're right, it is a war. It's a control issue. What I've found is, I have to let go of that control in conversations that take a turn I don't like. Here's what I might have said after he said, "You asked me what I thought and I am responding to your question."

    Me: "you're right, I did. Guess we'd better not go there." <insert change in subject> If he persists, I'd end the conversation with a simple, "well I guess this isn't a good time to talk, love you, talk to you later!"

    If you don't want to talk about it, don't talk about it. Don't acknowledge what he said, or that that it's irrational, just change the subject. Disengage. That's how I tend it handle it, anyway - anything else will just drive you nuts because you'll never get the response you want.

    You don't have to accept that his views are true, you just have to accept that he has them, and you can't change them. My oldest is mentally ill -- she's borderline and lies, often. I can tell when she's lying. Could I call her out on her lies? Sure - but it would only lead to conflict. She won't admit she's lying, even with proof (B T D T). Its part of her disorder. I can accept that, and move on, without accepting that the lie is true. Once I let go of that control - that needing to point out every thing she's wrong/crazy about -- I had a lot more peace.

    It takes a lot of practice, and support. I have the support of a wonderful therapist through all this, but many have found support in groups like NAMI family support groups.
  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Thank you CrazyinVa. Brilliant, just brilliant. I will print this out and study it until I get it. Thank you.
  6. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    It was nice to know you would think I would know what to do. Thank you for that, Copa. What I will say next will help you feel very confident that you know how to do this, too: I would post about it, Copa. That is what I always do, whenever I need to be stronger, or whenever I don't even know what it is that I need.

    Sometimes, just not to be alone with it.

    Sometimes, I am so traumatized by whatever it is that all I know to do is get here.

    The others of us find us where we are, and hold us safe for a little while, until we can stand up for ourselves, again.

    That is how to do it ~ that is how to do this very hard thing we are choosing to do, instead of giving up on ourselves or our families or our kids. Like every one of us here Copa, you are amazing. You made that choice to fight what this looks like, what this thing seems to be, when you joined us. You will make it through to the other side.

    We are moms learning how to see ourselves and our kids in a way that strengthens us so we can love them. That is what we are doing, here. For me, the terrible secret is that I was so amazed, so utterly disgusted by what my kids were doing that I just didn't believe it. I could not believe it and love them, too.

    So I didn't believe it.

    Now, I do. Okay. So I still have trouble with naming some things. I am okay with that, forever. I don't care what the name of the thing is. I just need to know how to love them and myself, and all of us through it.

    Not that I know where we're going.

    I am where we're going. Today, yesterday, tomorrow. It is what it is, and I am getting stronger enough.

    They are in trouble, and this is what their illness looks like. And none of those things they do, and none of the words they say while they are ill and essentially, delerious, matters in the way it would if they were coming at me from a sane place.

    Addiction is a destructive thing. It can destroy moms and marriages, too. Unless we see it, addiction or mental illness or both, for what it is, we believe the words they say have real meaning.

    They don't.

    We are still respecting our people we love. They are not respecting themselves. That is an important thing to remember.

    For me, it is.

    When your child recovers himself, if he ever does, he will need your help, your unwavering sanity, to forgive himself. I know this is true. We brought my daughter back from way worse things that she did just by saying true things. It's hard. I love you. You can do this. I don't know. Man, Copa. The freedom in being a mom who can say, "I don't know. I'm sorry honey, but I don't know. I know you suffer. I would change it, change all of it for you, if I could. I love you that much. You are strong enough. I know you can do this. I know who you are, and I know you can do this."

    I always did tell both my kids that as far down as they had so determinedly taken their lives, they could go in a different direction any time, any old time, at all.

    And that turned out to be true.

    Until they fall, again.

    And then, we go through it again. And I come here, and I post until I can remember who I am.

    And that's all I know.


    It is hard at first to believe detachment parenting could look like love. It is a very hard concept to wrap our heads and hearts around. So, we all come to where we come to. And we never give up Copa, whatever our posts come across sounding like. We try a new way. We share new ways, and their results, with one another. Some of us are so fortunate Copa, and their children are fine.

    Some of us lose our children, or we lose our lives for a little time or maybe, for a very long time. But we are here, and we are kind to one another, and we are in it up to our necks, and that gets to be okay, somehow. Because we are together. And so, we can do this. We can pull ourselves and one another into a different way of seeing, first ourselves, and then, our children.


    I would say to my son while he was still using and saying such unbelievable things about conspiracy and about me and about his father (and such wonderful things about every other parent on the block): "That could be true. Anything at all could be true. That is why it matters that we cherish ourselves and those we love. I love you. How are you?" I mean, once we give up that never ending search for the words that will help our kids? We get to say whatever we want, Copa. You could even say, like D H does when our son talks to him that way: "Gaaaaa~! You're boring the pants off me. Here. Talk to your mother. She listens to that s**t."

    And that is what he really does say.


    When I am stronger enough, I will say that, too.

    If you are looking for a thing to defuse the single minded grandiosity of it, you and I both know you have the intellectual capacity to do so, Copa. Probably, with one hand tied behind your back. So it wasn't that you didn't know how to break him, Copa. You cherish your son. You don't want to lead him on, but you don't want to break his spirit, either.

    That's the nature of the conflict.

    I'm sorry, but there is no answer, Copa.

    Radical Acceptance.

    Figure out what is happening by reading and posting here. The kids behave in the same ways when they are using. That is how you can know, every time, that it is the addiction spouting off.

    Not your son.

    He is in there, but not out where you can see him.

    That's okay. Love him, anyway.

    Love him like you would a soldier going off to war. Because it is very true Copa, that we may not see them again.


    Radical Acceptance.

    I can tell you this true thing that happened to me. Our son was always blaming something or someone for how hard his life was. Then, he bought a bar of xanax. That is a collection of twelve pieces of the tranquilizer xanax. Well, he and SO ate that all up and our son drove to WalMart for rum to chase the xanax bars with and ran into something with his truck. And he wound up in a psychiatric unit for three days. And then, he had fines in two counties and community service and has to be drug tested like, all the time.

    So, for something like six months now, he hasn't been able to use.

    And slowly, but surely, my son is coming back. Not back to me. Back to himself.

    So, be not afraid, Copa. That is not your son talking, that is the effect of the drugs he uses and that will wear off should he decide, or be forced, into abstaining for a time.

    That is an important thing to know for two reasons: One, now that you know about the strange, off the wall way your son's mind works when he is using, you can pretty much discount anything he says about you, or his childhood, or whether he was abused or grew up perfectly during the time he is using.

    That is the addiction, reaching out to destroy his relationship with any possible thing that might save him.

    Addiction is a terribly destructive thing. Eventually, we lose all respect for the addict because their drug use eats them up from the inside out, beginning with their integrity.

    So, that's the first thing.

    At the end of this, Copa? You will know yourself for the mother you in fact, are. Right now, like I did and like every one of us has done, you know yourself only for the mother of an addicted, suffering child.

    There is a huge difference.

    It is all uphill for awhile yet, Copa. But you are moving so fast, now. Even to question the nature of your son's thinking and post those concerns here, is huge.

    You are coming right along, Copa.


    I am defiantly, delightfully, roaringly happy for you. You are winning. You are coming back to yourself, I see it.

    Now, where was I?



    I guess I was er, done.



    P.S. I forgot the second thing.

    So, this is what I think will help.

    Bless yourself and your son that there are any phone calls. I might not like my son very much sometimes, but there is no pleasure quite as intense as hearing the actual, real time voice of someone I love.

    So, that's the first thing.

    What we are about here Copa is to teach ourselves how to think about everything that has happened, and what all that means.

    What does it mean, that your son tells you these things?

    My son does that too, Copa. Sometimes, he does. There are so many internet sites where they can read all about anything they want to. Just as there are, for us. But he told you about it, Copa. He respected his mother's brain power enough to wonder what she thought.

    We need to never lose sight of that.

    We are their mothers. (Or fathers, Jabber.) And what we say matters. Magic seems not to be working so well for me, these days. I see no immediate response...but I do see change over time, Copa.

    What you are doing is interacting with this man who is your son. You are doing this by your own choice, because you love him.

    How fortunate is he.
  7. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Oh Copa, I've been there with my son.

    I am a Christian and he is not. He would want to draw me into a debate about my faith, telling me things like I was stupid, naive, blinded to believe what I believe.

    I told him that I my choice of beliefs were not up for discussion. He would not respect this boundary so I had to block him from my FB. He did finally get the message, months later and sent me a PM on FB telling me he was sorry. Whether he was or not I will never know. It was shortly after that when he asked for a favor. My gut tells me his "apology" was to prime me for the "favor" I will say however that he has never brought up my beliefs again.

    I have found with my son if he starts on one of his tangets, (he buys into a lot of conspiracy theory's) that I just listen, I let him get out what he wants to say and if he asks me what I think I tell him something like "I have no opinon" or "that's interesting" I do not elaborate at all. The less words you say the better. You don't have to like or agree with him but it doesn't hurt to listen.

    I also think that part of why they do this with us is to try and engage us into an argument.

  8. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Copa, you are asking us which is the correct course to take.

    What are your choices, Copa?

    For a time, if you like. Time. You have all the time in the world, Copa. You have the limitless time between two breaths. Remain present. You will know just how to respond Copa, if you remain present.


    There you are, between one deep, cleansing breath and the next.

    No. There is a quote that goes something like this: Which of us then is it who is so valueless that what passes between us has no meaning?

    Between one breath and the next Copa, you will know. Maybe, you will hang up. Maybe, you will choose to say something rude. Maybe, the wisdom of the ages will pass directly from the depths of your mother heart right into him.

    And maybe Copa? When he needs it? Those words will come back to him. Every step is the battle, Copa.

    You are doing just fine.

    I have been where you are.

    Now, I am somewhere a little better.

    I found that place Copa between two deep, cleansing breaths.

    Well of course you can't accept them, Copa. You are not addicted to something that is destroying your capacity to think.

    Addiction is a terminal illness. For the time is has our children, we can do those things, or say those things, that may help them find the strength somewhere to stand up to it.

    But we cannot do it for them.

    We can love them. We can take very good care of ourselves, because there is nothing we can do, and our children suffer.

    If we do not take care of ourselves, who will believe in them Copa, when they are ready?

    It is just a thing, addiction.

    We can do this.

    First, we reclaim ourselves. Put the oxygen mask on yourself first when the plane is crashing, right?


    Regarding the illness or addiction or whatever way we categorize and try to come to grips with how to do this thing: My daughter has a string of those diagnoses. She is also on disability, because of her illnesses and because of the beating.

    Because of what the beating took from her.

    But she is coming back, Copa. Through the force of her will, she is coming back. Through the force of her will, she brought her family back together and is mothering her children.

    She is working in her field, Copa.

    Do not lose hope. Do not tell yourself you know the end of the story, because you don't know that, Copa.

    It wasn't my daughter I rejected, when I refused to accept those diagnoses. It was the life sentence they implied.

    That is your son. You will never stop loving him, stop remembering how it felt when you met him, when you held him for the first time or the first time he told a joke and you realized this little bit of humanity had a sense of humor.

    We grow into our kids, we fall in love with them over and over again.

    All we are doing here on the site is learning how to love them in a way that matters, given the situation.

    It is not the son or daughter who is bad. It is not you (or me) who is bad. It is the situation that is bad.

    There doesn't need to be a villain.

    There only needs to be a rational way to approach what is.

    And you are here with us now, and that will help. And it will help us too, Copa.

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  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I don't think all conspiracy theroists are mentally ill in the sense that they don't know right from wrong. I think it's kooky, but they probably think I'm kooky.

    I do not talk about politics or world events with my grown kids unless they bring it up. I know we disagree on certain tings and I don't think it is worth it to get into a debate that means a lot to them when I love them.

    If that were me, I would have said, "Ok. It's all right if we think differently."

    You can't control what he thinks. Getting angry at him for how he feels is probably inflammatory for both of you and unhealthy.
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    You can be mentally ill and still know right from wrong. Not all mental illnesses involve delusion.
  11. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Copa, my son leans toward conspiracy theories too, but he at least takes it with good humor when we tell him to make a tinfoil hat. Your son's view - reptilians and illuminati and probably NWO stuff - it's crazy to most people...but there are a LOT of people who go for that. Seriously, if you search YouTube you'll find dozens...maybe hundreds...of videos, some very professional, spouting this stuff.

    Maybe just tell him, "I love you. I don't believe the things you believe and I think they're frankly nuts. But if you choose to believe these things I can't change it. Please respect me enough to not try to make me believe and I won't try to change your mind. Let's agree to disagree and not discuss them at all." Then stick to it.

    You can't make him not believe these ridiculous theories, though I know you'd love to. Try to think of them as a difference of opinion on religion or long as he isn't hurting anyone, he is entitled to his own beliefs.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Lil...I think the message you gave Copa was great.

    However, I think "less is more." I wouldn't even say that much.

    "Hmmmmmm. Ok." Is really enough. I think just moving onto another topic or acting bored and not interrupting if he insists on talking about it nonstop is another option. And you're right. I used to chat a lot on a few MIRC politics channels and you get to know the chatters pretty well, sort of like we get to know each other here. One man around 40 sticks out in my mind because he had a PhD and was clearly brilliant. But he truly believed that Obama was going to try to go door to door to take guns and that there would be a big war, which he'd avoid because he had a stash of ammo, food and other comforts in the basement of his country home, which was off the grid. Talking with him interested me because he was sincere, if good-humored. He did not want the government to even know where he lived and had paid off his house and did not pay bills...not sure how that works. Maybe he is handy and does his electricity himself? He farmed and hunted and did not shop for food.

    When people are that paranoid about the government and think the end of the world is nearing any second, I just kind of ask questions sometimes, because I'm interested, but I would not enjoy it if it were a child of mine. However I wouldn't ridicule it either. I'd probably just nod and leave it with, "Well, we'll see. Sounds scary." But I wouldn't want to encourage the conversation.

    It's amazing how many people do worry about this and load up on weapons that would do an army proud. I don't get it, but they probably think I"m nuts for not worrying about it and stockpiling weapons and getting off the grid (shrug). I guess they just need to see that nothing is going to happen, like the people who were so afraid of y2k. Many of those "politics" folks were stocking up for the horrors that would overtake America after y2k. You'd be surprised.

    Copa...I hope you don't take this wrong because I mean it gently and I may be way off base too.

    If you are fighting with your son about trivial things (and his thoughts about nonsense ARE trivial)...did you do this with your mother? Don't answer here. Just think about it. Don't repeat the dynamics from your childhood with your son. I swore I'd be the opposite of my mother and, honestly, I know I have. I let them think what they want because that is their right. I end every phone call or text or Skype with "I love you." I lavish them with praise. I bite my tongue and really have done well in the negativity department. I have preserved a good relationship even with my two kids who have been in trouble...Princess and Bart. No names were shouted in anger.The world "stupid" is banned from my vocabulary to my kids and to my husband. That is such a hurtful word. Not saying you call your son stupid...I'm sure you don't...but even saying "That's a stupid choice"...I don't use that word. Maybe I think it's worse than it is, but I heard it constantly. I am more likely to ask, "Do you feel that's a good choice?"

    My youngest is doing something soon that I feel will hurt her. It's no big deal, but I want to tell her not to go because it will hurt her. I know her so well. But she isn't going to not go if I say that and it is up to her to learn. Your son will learn that these things he is worried about are not going to happen when they don't happen.

    Be good to yourself. Don't fight with the son you love so much. Try to keep topics neutral, safe for now. I mean, of course you don't have to. It's just in my opinion a good way to keep the relationship from getting contentious and showing your love.

    Nothing says love like when you bite your tongue when your child says something you know is either outrageous or hurtful to him/her. Although I can have a big mouth and know how to use it (learned it well from E.), I rarely use it on my children and they get an apology if I slip. I did not lose it on Goneboy either, but I did say more than I should have when tempers were hot and I'm sure that contributed to his being gone. An apology didn't work and something else probably would have triggered his gone-ness some day anyhow because of his attachment problems, but that just reminded me all over again that even a disagreement, if you think you have a better point than your child, can cause harm, especially in a vulnerable child adopted from overseas and not here as an infant.

    I don't want my kids to think of me the way I think of E. And they don't!! God help me, they don't. Except for Goneboy, they are very much in my life and my grands will be too. God bless Skype for my MIssouri grandson.

    If you think this is a family of origin problem, do get help and ,no, you don't talk about it here, to us. Just food for thought that you can dump in the trash ;)
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    Last edited: May 14, 2015
  13. tishthedish

    tishthedish Active Member

    I have experienced the same with my elder son. He has the conspiracy theories, end of days etc. when unmedicated. I have a few get him off the track I say something to the effect of being so involved with a project, impending event, sick dog that I can't even entertain another thought. If it's a happy or big event like a new baby in the family, a surgery or someone going off to college sometimes he will pick up that vein and start asking questions. The other is to act completely uninformed.
    Him: "Don't you realize what's going on in Syria?"
    Me: No.
    Him:"There's a civil war"
    Me: Where is Syria?
    Him "In the middle east. It's mayhem"
    Me: What language do they speak?
    Him: "Our leaders are funding the wrong side"
    Me: I think one of my college professors was from Syria...wait, no, he was from Samoa. He had the most beautiful complexion. It was a philosophy class and it was supposed to be on contemporary issues but we ended up studying Plato's Republic. By the way, we are starting the dog a a new medicine, Betsy's expecting, Pat is going to Arizona State and Grandma is having her bunion removed.
    You get my drift.

    Common ground works too. I just out and out say, I can't even think of the outside world I miss your Grandpa so much. Let's talk about some favorite Grandpa memories.

    My son's symptoms are transitory in nature. If he loses that symptom another will appear. It's like squeezing a balloon. The battle of the bulge. There's always a bulge somewhere.

    I understand the impatience you feel. Generally I don't like to discuss things like that. Add to that no give and take and I can get frustrated too. I agree with Cedar. She's the sage in this department. Good luck and make a deal with yourself that after a phone call with him treat yourself to something...a cup of tea, a piece of chocolate, a game of solitaire on the computer. It may diffuse some of your angst.
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  14. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    For those of us who prevail despite our pasts, there is always the fear of the default, that the past will wake up like a sleeping monster. But Cedar is on the ready:
    Cedar, for a second, I believed you to be soothing me with those words. On the refrigerator they go. Thank you Cedar. No one has ever spoken words sweeter than these.
  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    And what if, Cedar, he is mentally ill, unwilling to take medication or seek treatment...and like this forever? How can I survive this? That is the fear. But I know the answer. I am still his mother and he will need me. The growth here has got to come from me. I know this.
  16. tishthedish

    tishthedish Active Member

    I am sometimes swallowed alive by that fear. For two years every night at 9:30 pm a commercial for Latuda for patients with bipolar would come on. I would cry and cry. I started going to Al-Anon. They have these wonderful books. A little reading each day. At the back they are indexed by the very words we use here...
    This is just a wee taste. A lot of people asked me how I got to Al-Anon. It was this site that sent me. It felt a little strange at first because some of it didn't pertain to me. But if I inserted the word "illness" or "addiction" for alcohol it started to make sense. I know there isn't a one-size fits all solution for us but it doesn't hurt to try. I went once then didn't go back for 2 months and now go every week.

    Here is one way I have dealt with the very concern you're talking about. I can have my brain in a death spiral of worry within seconds. I have a vivid imagination and I have a lot of history to call upon where time after time the worst case scenario came to pass. I start by asking myself," Is this happening right now? Have I heard from elder son today? Has anything changed since yesterday? For the next hour can I let the phone go to voice mail, or take it off the hook? Can I give myself an hour? Can I take a walk around the block? Can I park the car far away from the store so I can be outside?"

    Please know none of this came naturally to me. Most days I was hunkered down under blankets afraid to move lest I set off some seismic life shift. (I did rouse myself for the Latuda commercials and nightly cry) At the grocery store I would see a brand of orange juice my son favored and would break out in a full on crying jag. At one of the meetings I attended one of the people said you can worry and be grateful at the same time, so I set out to prove her wrong on my next trip to the grocery store. I used my super memory skills to think of anything and everything to be grateful for, daring the Minute Maid to break me. I got through that trip with no crying. Little by little, moment by moment I started to recapture a portion of the day. And I kept adding on. And I kept going back to the meetings. And I take some part of the day and read my daily dose from those little books. I'll fold down a corner if I particularly like the reading. Almost all the corners in three books are folded down.

    The message is I am entitled to my life. He is entitled to his. He won't let me run his, so I can't let my worry for him run mine. It all works out. We each get one life. And I think the thing that messes with us as parents is that for a time children cannot survive without our support and advice. But the time for support and editorializing is over. My sons know everything I think on every vice, virtue, season, song, dance, dish you name it. My son has to learn to be an advocate for himself. He has to learn the consequences of not taking his medications. He has to learn how little he has to live on if he doesn't supplement his income with work.

    Looking back on my life I never find myself crowing about the time my parents gave me $50 per week for spending money, or about the time my mom took me to Kohl's and spent $300 on clothes and shoes for interviews and then I never sent my resume out or the time my dad gave me cash before my check came in and then forgot to ask to be paid back. No. I remember that I worked at Wendy's full time all holidays and summers to put myself through college. I remember when I allowed myself $15 per week (including gas) to live in order to afford repairs on a crappy car. I remember finally finding the right doctor after a long line of crummy ones who medicated me incorrectly. These aren't huge achievements but I think at this point I'm not looking for my sons to become neurosurgeons. (and no one calls me Dr. Tish either) They deserve the dignity to try and succeed or fail on their own. So they may one day have bragging rights to something that they worked for or belongs to them. They need to have a story to tell. I gave them beautiful legs when they were born. I have to allow them to see for themselves how strong they are otherwise they might never know. I so feel for you Copa. Hugs to you during this stormy and bewildering time.
    Last edited: May 14, 2015
  17. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    This is going to sound awful. My child is only 18 and I can't listen to another word of his garbage. I get that it is the illness. I got that it was his father's illness and alcoholism. I get that. I just can't. It never stops. He will be coming home and he will being spewing this stuff 24 hours a day even when I am asleep. He will be sitting outside my bedroom door going on and on. When they get sick of it where he is at, they send him to security to get a break.

    I love all of the suggestions and on the phone I can put it down and he spouts for 5 min. and then the call is cut off. He does not even register that I was not listening.
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  18. tishthedish

    tishthedish Active Member

    re my prior post, meant to say you CAN'T worry and be grateful at the same time. By the way the examples of enabling came from D H and me not my parents. They said go outside and come home before dark and swing by the store and pick me up a pack of cigarettes. (just kidding about the cigarettes)
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    As a mental health consumer (Gawd, I hate calling mentally ill patients consumers) I can tell you that from being around so many people who are bipolar and otherwise mood disordered (from the hospital for ten weeks to self-help groups to groups lead by therapists) mood disorders do not usually cause delusions. Most of the folks I've met on my long journey have been perfectly in reality knowing right from wrong AND NOT IN LEGAL TROUBLE.

    The only people who don't know right from wrong are the psychotic and it does not sound as if any of our Difficult Child's on this forum are psychotic.

    A mood disorder requires therapy and usually medication to get better and if you substance abuse, that nullifies the good effects of both therapy and helpful medications. I get frustrated sometimes because people who have not had a mental illness usually don't understand it. Also, not every "different thinker" is in any way mentally ill. And not everyone who seems "normal" is not mentally ill.
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  20. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi Tish. Called son. Did not go well, at first. Whatever I said, I am blocking it, engendered the response: I do not want to talk to you. Ever. Goodbye. OK. Breathe.

    He called back a few minutes later. This time I listened. For 20 minutes.

    Afterwards, I said to him, we can do it your way but that means I listen and not respond.

    "I want to have a conversation," he replied, but "you are not rational."

    "I am sorry you feel that way but we cannot have a conversation if you choose to not listen to my part of it without criticizing me. I am willing to listen, though."

    As I was listening to him I was really thinking he might be manic, but I tried to stay in the present.

    At one point he said, "I don't want to consider an anti-psychotic. Because I have researched all of the psychotropic medications and I will never accept their ill effects."

    I tried to silence my anxiety about the psychotic part, telling myself it might have been a slip of the tongue and he meant psychotropic. Or maybe not. Either way, I am taking it as good. At least he is thinking about it even if it is to reject it.

    He mentioned that he was thinking about moving to a $6 a night campground on the coast in a city he loves where we used to live. I stayed silent.

    "It would really make it easier if you let me come to your house to do my research but you seem to still have a grievance with me" he said.

    I stayed silent.

    "I guess I am on my own. Alone."

    I stayed silent for 10 seconds or so.

    "To some extent you are. But this is a good thing, I think. You are an adult, and I respect you. I believe in you. I know you will do the right thing for yourself, make the kind of decisions where you build a life that serves you, that you take pride in."

    (Mid way I asked myself if I was lying and I realized that I was telling the truth. This voice had been inside me all along and it was real (thank you Cedar.)

    At that moment I realized I could choose the voice I spoke from, the scared voice that needed control or the strong voice of hope (thank you Cedar.)

    I was believing myself, too. (This was going good, I was thinking.)

    He responded with negativity, and disparaged his appearance and asserted that he would never change.

    I answered, "People change, and you will to. They change themselves and they change their lives. And they deserve to."

    "They deserve the trust, respect and support of their parents, who believe in them. I am learning this."

    He tried to pooh pooh this, but I was ready.

    A few days before I had come across some college papers of my Mother's from perhaps 35 years ago. She spoke of my great anger towards her and described me as deeply insecure. In this paper she expressed great regret, that she had never voiced to me.

    Reading this brought into focus something that she had told me in the year before she died.

    She was in the Rehab Hospital and I went every day to be with her. For the first time in perhaps my whole adult life my mother was able to see me around people but away from the family.

    "You are so confident," she said. "People like you so much; they are drawn to you, they trust and want to be with you."

    Reading the letter written by my mother about her feelings about the young girl I had been, I was able to put into context what she had voiced before her death.

    She had seen that I had changed. I had become a confident and independent woman who trusted herself and her voice.

    And this I told my son.

    "I'll never be like that," he said. "You were always pretty." (My son, while very handsome believes he is not.)

    "What I say and feel about what I believe is non-negotiable. I believe that you are learning to be your own person, a person that you respect and that I respect. And I believe that you are in the process of making your life to be as you need it. I trust that and I trust you. That does not change my love for you. I love you and I will always love you."

    This seemed to settle him and we said goodbye that we will speak again.

    I got anxious because he did not say when.

    But it was good.
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    Last edited: May 15, 2015