I got laundry for my birthday

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by tishthedish, Sep 23, 2014.

  1. tishthedish

    tishthedish Active Member

    Hi everyone. I haven't posted for a while but have been reading along. Things have been difficult on my front and I'm just doing my best to keep it together. Both my sons have been active in my and husband's lives. I'll cover difficult child 2 here otherwise it's just too much. Here goes:

    DCFS had deemed Bad Baby Mama's (BBM) apartment unsafe and uninhabitable for our grandson (GS). They had no lights, phone etc. Earlier this month, she, her druggie boyfriend and her stepfather were evicted. She had been robbing the stepfather blind for the past 3 years and he has exited the scene and will no longer be supporting her. She is now living with her boyfriend at his mother's house. Both, 25, have never been employed nor do they own a car. She has decided to sign over all parental rights of our GS to difficult child 2. They are going to court in November.

    My son is working full time, has his own apartment and now full custody of our grandson. In order for BBM to spend time with our GS, my difficult child 2 picks her up at the boyfriend's mother's and they have been spending time together at difficult child 2's apartment. The other day he was wearing a new watch. He said she gave it to him. Later he's wearing a pinkie ring, from her too. He's not a jewelry guy. When they are together they destroy each other. She cheats on difficult child 2 and right now I'm thinking she's cheating on the boyfriend with my son. difficult child 2 acts differently toward us when he's with her and it's not good. All signs point to their getting closer.Unhealthy for all.

    With difficult child 2 having full custody and paying for before and after-school care for GS, he had been "borrowing" wipes, diapers, etc. He would ask for one item and then I'd see him with a bag full of stuff from toothpaste to frozen dinners. I told him to stop doing his shopping in my house after asking for one item. He told me he was struggling with the added costs of full custody. I told him I'd rather he told me he needed help instead of filling a grocery bag every other day. So he said for the next 2 weeks he would need help with food. I was grocery shopping the next day and he called me and asked me to pick up some items for GS and maybe a frozen pizza for him. I complied and bought a little extra. He was grateful and I was glad we were dealing with each other honestly and that a time frame for this help had been established, reinforcing that this was a temporary situation until he got his subsidy for day care.

    The next day, he was over for a cookout and doing his laundry with our GS. Now this consists of him playing with his smart phone while our GS, who presents as autistic runs rampant through our house. He is very destructive and difficult to keep safe and reigned in. difficult child 2 then asked to use my computer to print something. I gave it to him and when he was done he gave it back to me. When I looked on it there was an error message that said "recent history was unable to be deleted". What didn't he want me to see? Well, it was that he had bought a set of fake metal rapper teeth (called a grille?) and a mold to shape them from ebay. Say what? He can't afford food for his son the day before but can waste his money on this ludicrous item? So I confronted him. He said it was only $20. husband and I said that the $20 should go to his son's care rather than out of our pocket. He said I snooped. I closed the error message and the purchase page was right there. He said I had no right to check his purchase as his personal information was on it. As if I would steal from him. That's his MO not mine. Deflect, deflect, deflect. He left in a huff and said that we didn't have to watch GS while he went to mandatory alcohol/drug counseling (from an earlier child endangerment charge) on Tuesday nights. He said he would find someone else. He often withholds or uses GS as a weapon against us. I said fine.

    We've had contact since then and things have been fine/cordial/civil up until Sunday. It was my birthday. My siblings and their spouses and he and GS were to come to the house for cake and ice cream. He had called that morning and wished me a happy birthday, but shows up with no card from him, from GS, nothing, just a garbage bag filled with laundry. The amount of help I have given him is far beyond what a normal grandparent would do. I was hurt and I asked him, did you get me a card? He said no, but would write something for me. (My son's would sometimes write 3 favorite memories from their childhood as a gift). I said if he hadn't thought to do it already not to bother and I left the room. He followed and said, "Don't be like that. Who first called you this morning?" He also tried to chastise me for making HIM feel bad. He was going to take GS and go. I know my siblings wanted to see GS and GS is so happy to get all the attention. I told him, "I'm not angry at you, I want you to stay, but I also wanted you to know that my feelings were hurt."

    We have been doing this birthday ritual for all his life, for every family member. This is what we do. I think his not doing anything is a passive/aggressive message to me that he does not like that I am backing off from financially supporting him and from being the main caregiver for our GS as I have been for the past 4 years. I can't imagine treating my parents this way. Who goes to a birthday party with a bag of laundry instead of a card? difficult child 2 does. He stayed and mostly moped. GS had a great time with the group. It was worth it just for that, but I am thinking of difficult child 2's lack of consideration of anyone's feelings but his own. He was an affectionate, loving boy and that boy was lost once he started using. It's a shame.

    I was surprised that after all this time and therapy that this birthday stunt stung me like it did. I was so tired yesterday. Had a hard time getting out of bed. Does this vulnerability to their cruelty and thoughtlessness ever go away?
  2. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    No, it does not go away, it may look like it changes for a while but, no, it does not go away. From what I am reading difficult child 2 has sociopath tendencies.
    People can have any diagnosis with sociopath tendencies. Could you change your personality? Being a sociopath or having sociopath tendencies is a personality disorder. They can not change their personality or the way they operate any more than you can change yours from being loving, kind and truth-telling. Specialists say if a sociopath is cured, the diagnosis was wrong. I recently posted a post about Sociopaths - see how you difficult child 2 fits???
  3. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Tish I'm sorry for your birthday disappointment. I understand it. My son has never bought me a single card or gift, not for birthday, Christmas (unless his dad bought it) or Mother's Day. This past Christmas he said he was getting us something special, a big surprise...even on Xmas eve he said that. He got us (Surprise!)NOTHING. Worst Christmas ever. I'm getting teary just thinking about it. I get told happy birthday. That's usually it. Sometimes it's even on Facebook instead of verbally.

    We raised him better than that. But it is what it is. I just try not to care anymore.
  4. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    My last birthday, after being told for months "we are going to blow it out big this year" consisted of going to a diner for lunch and husband and I picking up the tab. Mothers' day was a lengthy typed letter and a half a bag of Dove chocolates - again after 4-6 weeks for being asked and told what I wanted to do for Mothers Day. My other Mothers day option was to haul all of my art supplies over to her house and watch her make me a piece of art work :hellyes:
  5. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Sorry, but a half bag? LOL That's actually both sad and funny at the same time, like Forrest Gump giving Jenny the box of chocolates, after he ate some.
  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I took that to mean can WE change OUR responses to their thoughtlessness..........

    To that inquiry I say, YES, we can. We can change our responses to their behavior. We can't change their behavior.

    It take time, a commitment and work, but with help, with therapy or some kind of a strong support system, we can change our response to them so that we are not vulnerable to their "cruelty and thoughtlessness." It's detachment and it's acceptance and it is not easy but it works.

    Three years ago I never would have believed that I could ever get to a place where my daughter's actions did not floor me each and every time, but (for the most part) I have. For me it took an almost 2 year course on Codependency, individual therapy and a parent support group, but I changed, I changed my responses and I changed my perceptions, I changed my expectations, many of my own beliefs about what parenting meant, I changed my pattern of guilt and "shoulds" and I learned a lot more about acceptance.

    There are a lot of stages of this journey. It mirrors the stages of grief..............denial, bargaining, anger, depression and acceptance. We go through a lot. I found it to be the most difficult thing I have ever done. But I was also determined to get my own life back and not let my daughters behaviors, actions and choices ruin my life. It took a village for me to get to the other side, but I am here to tell you, it will change. YOU are the one who must change. Your son may change or he may not, that is his choice. Your choice is to respond differently. You can learn to do that.

    I'm sorry Tish you deserve a far better birthday then you had. Happy Birthday!
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  7. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    Sorry your difficult child 2 couldn't man up enough to be respectful on your birthday! It wouldn't have cost him a thing to write out the three memories.

    As for the fake teeth I would have been angry as well.
  8. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    Tishthedish --- First, let me say, "Happy birthday!" You deserve that. Everyone deserves that. Not only should you not get someone else's laundry on your birthday, someone else should be doing YOUR laundry! :)

    I have experienced similar from our difficult child. Not a bag of laundry, per se, but mostly our b-days have been like yours. difficult child once took money my husband gave him to get me a b-day present and difficult child treated his friends to McDonalds with it. Another year, he got me a candy bar.

    Side Note: One year, I joked with difficult child that I was going to give him a "Box of Rocks" for Christmas. Well, shoot boy howdy if I didn't have a snickery blast digging up rocks, putting 'em in a pretty box and bow and sticking it under the tree. It was worth it to see horror on his face when he opened it. LOL! Ok, maybe that wasn't cool. But it did make me smile then, and I hope it made you smile just now. :) Of course, I did give him real presents. But that "Box of Rocks" moment was priceless to husband and me!

    Also, if the computer is in YOUR home, then YOU have every right to look at everything on it. Period. Our difficult child tried to pull same crap, but I made it clear that if it's in my home, I can look at whatever I want. I, too, have found unattractive things on there in the history, cookies, and temporary internet files. If HE wants to take over the rent, then he can have his say-so.

    Tishthedish ---- Again, I say, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I'm hoping you have found another way to fill your cup on your birthday. You deserve that!

    Thinking about you and sending warm wishes your way. Take care and keep us posted.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    MY difficult child, who I am conviced has both antisocial and narcissistic traits, has never sent me a birthday card in his life. He doesn't even know when it's my birthday. He calls me every day, but it's all about him. He never ever sends his siblings cards either and wonders why his siblings want nothing to do with him, although the no-birthday-cards is the least of their complaints about him.

    I can't speak for all difficult children as I only know why my own son is one. He clearly has personality disorders and people with personality disorders are callous, lack empathy, often deflect responsibility onto another (with no remorse), lack a moral center and do not think there is anything wrong with their behavior. If they are antisocial or narcissistic at all, the world is all about them and their comfort and needs. About what Recovering said, it is solid and good advice. I have learned to respond differently to this son than my other grown children, who are not personality-disordered. I no longer expect birthday cards or wishes from him, for example. I no longer expect him to put in any effort into any relationship...he expects everyone else to do all the work then is puzzled when he is dumped. I give up trying to explain to him why he should and shouldn't do something...he is too old for that. He is a man. I know who he is and don't expect big changes and that attitude helps. It also helps me refuse to deal with him when he is unpleasant. And I don't deal with him if he is unpleasant.

    So I think Recovering is correct. We can't change them and many don't change. But we can change our response to their behavior.

    The reason your son is drawn to his ex is because difficult children attract other difficult children. They can actually enjoy their lethal relationships. If not her, it would be another difficult child girlfriend. Our difficult child sons do not attract the best women. From one who knows.

    I would advise that you try to detach from your son and his bad behavior. It is too bad he uses your grandson against you, but they do that and we can't help it. If it were me, being how I am now rather than how I was maybe five or ten years ago, I'd buy stuff for my grandson, but nothing for an adult child who won't work and thinks jail is a joke. You don't have to feel that way...it takes time...but that is where I'm at right now. My son knows better than to expect anything except emotional support from me and that is only if he is being nice to me.
  10. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    Tish & MWM ---- Our difficult child is now 24 and, to date, I've only gotten 1 present from him (still awaiting a card....tick....tock....tick....tock....). About 5 years ago our difficult child got me a little (maybe 3-4" high?) plastic statue of Michigan J. Frog (of Warner Brothers Cartoons fame -- our difficult child knows it's a favorite of mine). It stands as the only actual thing he ever did for me all on his own. It means so much to me that I keep in on the shelf near the mirror in the bathroom so I look at it every day....I am well aware it's the only one I may ever get.

    But we have reached the same place as MWM about presents. We have been absolutely up-front with our difficult child about it. Told him that we can get him socks or something, but that's about it as the rest of it is either pawned, traded or sold for drugs. Fact. So, it's been a few years since we've gotten difficult child anything for Christmas or b-day. Just $$$ down the drain.....and to support a lethal habit.

    There's something really, REALLY empowering knowing that no matter what THEY choose, WE can choose what we want and need in our lives. The more we begin separating their "stuff" from our "stuff" the better it gets. And, I think, the more compassionate and less reactionary it gets (for me, at least).

    I'm by no means perfect at any of this. But I am choosing to learn and practice!
  11. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    Ditto about the birthday cards and the presents. I've learned to lower my expectations. So I was thrilled when he did call to wish me happy mothers day this past May.

    They are very self absorbed. When your entire existence revolves around dealing with your various emotions by either drugging yourself or trying to cope without the substances there is little room for kind, loving gestures. That's just the way they are.
  12. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    May I suggest this too: when buying things for GS remove all tags etc. so that the items can not be returned for money. I have seen people return things for themselves both with my developmentally delayed sister and as a group volunteer for children where we had to tell Walmart that items could be exchanged only for a like item. Now mind you were were buying each child an outfit, a pair of shoes and socks, a coat and one toy - and we had to tell Walmart to only exchange the item because low life parents would really try and return these items cash for things for themselves.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, good advice, HM!!! I even remove tags when I send things to my grandson and I don't tell my son where I bought it either. I keep the receipt and if something doesn't fit, he can send it back to me (which requires mailing from his state to mine) and I then get the right size. He doesn't like this, but I cheerfully tell lhim, "Oh, I so enjoy buying J. presents. I don['t want him to get anything other than what I send him, even if it needs a return." My son hates this, but I don't care. Not anymore. Yes, I once did. He tells me I'm "selfish." Oh, well. From the Master of Selfishness!!!
  14. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    My 35 year old son has never given me so much as a homemade birthday card. I gave him presents on his birthday and Christmas up until he was about 20. I stopped doing that when he called me on my birthday that year and told me about the game system he bought for my birthday so that I could come over and enjoy spending time watching him play.
  15. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    Wow that is rich! OMG these kids.
  16. tishthedish

    tishthedish Active Member

    Thanks for your replies. Knowing we're not alone in these terrible situations is a comfort. It's like I had girded myself for the big things...saying "No" to asking for $,borrowing our car etc. is settled in my mind. The small things tend to knock me off my feet. I am going to start going to more Al-Anon meetings. They are so helpful.
    I read the tendencies and yes, many exist, but he didn't show them before using, so sometimes I hope. He's not going to be well for a long time and then, only when he works at it.

    Great idea! I'm doing this starting today.

    Recovering, I am just astounded at the time it takes. Then I reflect on how many years it took for my sense of self to slowly erode until I realized if someone asked me how I was I gave them a rundown on the family, never mentioning myself. BUT, this process, this rediscovery and reclamation of self is like going back to college. And there's always homework.

    Thank you for all your replies and for the kind birthday wishes. I've decided instead of dread, I may just go out of town with husband and see a show or go to a museum. Life is too short.