I hung up on him

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Echolette, Oct 1, 2014.

  1. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    I haven't heard much at all from or about difficult child since I asked him to leave my house after a short stay after rehab...he was stealing small amounts of cash from us, and on his way out helped himself to a phone and some Bose bluetooth speakers. A few days later he texted his 16 year old (then 15 year old) younger brother to say he would pay him to bring him new customers (in reference to selling drugs, I think marijuana but not sure). That was some kind of final, neck breaking straw for me, and I told him I didn't want to hear from him again until he had his life sorted out and had lived that way for some time.

    For the most part he has respected that. He called a few times, and once or twice lurked in the park I walk through on my way to work so he could see me. He used to call SO, often just to share like he used to share with me, stuff like "I'm at a great concert!" but gave up when SO was also unreceptive...not mean or angry, just not willing to talk to him anymore. He called his dad this weekend and asked how he could re-open communicaiton with me, and his dad re-terated what I said.

    Its funny (not) but these attempts from him make me feel cornered, even trapped. They make me edgy and irritable. Its important to add that difficult child has NEVER threatened or intimidated me, or anyone else. He is very gentle.

    Today my phone rang from an unknown number, and since lately I've had good luck with those calls actually being something I wanted to hear about (meaning service calls, teacher calls for other kids, stuff like that), I picked up. He said "hi mommy!" in a high excited voice...and I hung up. Immediately. I didn't even think about it.

    And then I had the unpleasant feeling I get sometimes that I was spoiling for a fight...that any new ideas that came across my desk, or annoyances from boss or coworkers, or needs or careless choices from my PCs were going to end up getting unpleasant, ugly. BEcause I feel so ugly myself. I am split in pieces..one voice says...who hangs up on their son???? who hangs up on ANYone??? and part of me says...my heart and mind and emotions are so drained where he is concerned that they are all but dead. I have nothing to give anymore, not even time on the phone...And part of me remembers that he always did interrupt me, always called at work or at dinner and just started in, careless as to how inconvenient it might be, rambling on about nothing with no pause to say "is this a good time." That somehow that has overfilled me, made me fill stuffed up to vomiting...and I just don't have room to tolerate it anymore.

    In any case...I hung up. ON my homeless street person son. And I don't even feel I could have done anything differently.

  2. GuideMe

    GuideMe Active Member

    That's how you do it in my opinion. Good for you. He crossed a major boundary when he tried to corrupt your son like that. I have a big problem with that because my "friend" corrupted all of his siblings, nieces, nephews, and it just makes me sick to my stomach. Good for you for putting your foot down saying enough is enough.
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  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Im so sorry echo. It had to have hurt like you cut off a piece of yourself to do that. They force us into it but gosh it hurts us so badly. We are built to love our babies.
  4. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    I think it was a gut reaction to not wanting pain. Just like sticking your arm out to protect your child when you slam on the brakes. Its something you just do without thought. I'm sorry that your gut reaction to difficult child is so visceral. It feels like we don't love them when we don't react or we react in a manner to protect ourselves. It seems cold to the rest of the world but you wouldn't lay down in the road and get run over time after time. You would figure out how to react differently and avoid the car in order to protect yourself. Hanging up is the same thing. You have realized that talking to your son is painful and your reaction is to avoid the calls and protect yourself.
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  5. JKF

    JKF Well-Known Member

    Echo - I know exactly how you feel! It's exhausting. I get edgy as well when difficult child calls me. It's like I recoil when I hear his voice. Horrible but true. Phone calls from him suck the life out of me and leave me feeling empty. For me it's because I associate those phone calls with all of the negativity he's brought into my life. Phone calls from my difficult child are at his convenience only. He wants something, needs something, is bored, etc. If he doesn't want or need anything from me I won't hear from him.

    I don't have words of wisdom for you because well....let's be honest....my life's a mess! LOL But I want you to know I'm here, reading along, and sending you lots of strength and support! Hugs to you my friend!

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  6. blackgnat

    blackgnat Active Member

    Echo I totally understand your feelings-it's like YOU have become someone you don't recognize because of that "Who hangs up on their homeless son?" introspection . I think it's such a self-protective mechanism that it becomes a reaction-like,"Nope, I DON'T want to deal with it". Even if they have good or happy news, it can just produce a hope that is so FLIMSY and fleeting that you don't want to take it on because it's PROBABLY going to get squished...

    Maybe you have had such a steady diet of BS that you need LOTS of time to regroup and difficult children, in their merry little way, operate on their own time schedule. So while you are still REELING, they have moved on to the next emotion, without any thoughts of how their previous actions could have affected you. Like, "I'm over it, why aren't YOU? "
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  7. Annie2007

    Annie2007 Member

    I have hung up on my son many many times. He always deserves it when he talks like he does, but hurts me so much. He sent a text to me today asking me to call a restaurant over 3700 miles away and buy a $20 gift card so he could eat for two days. It is something every other day. I have not responded as he just somehow got his phone cut back on in the last two days so he must have some money. He gets his disability check tomorrow. Killing me.

  8. emotionally_drained

    emotionally_drained New Member

    I know just how you feel, I am anxious and on edge, I ask what kind of mother am I to hang up on my child or not even answer the phone, I can make myself sick over it
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  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think about it differently.

    I used to see my son at age five or ten when I thought about him, even when he was a grown up. But he is a man. All of your difficult children are men who are old enough to fight in the military, be in full time college, and be respectable young adults rather than drug addicts, liars, thieves and criminals. This includes my son.

    Would you put up with that kind of talk or demands from your spouse, your sister, anyone else but your grown up child, who is a man? If not, I think it is perfectly normal to NOT feel badly about hanging up on them when they are being abusive or acting like they are incapable of working or talking as if THEY are not responsible for their situation, as if they ARE still ten years old.

    My son has guidelines that I strictly abide by in order for him to be able to talk to me. Here they are or he knows I will gently hang up and not really feel bad about it...not anymore. I'm through letting ANYONE disrespect me, including him, who I have done so much for. Enough is enough. Here are my rules.

    1/I will talk to you as long as you speak to me with the same level of respect I talk to you. No raised voice. No swearing directly at me (swear words are ok in general). You raise your voice at me...I'm not your doormat to scream at...I gently hang up immediately and do not answer again until I feel ready. That can be hours or days. And if he continues from where he left off, I hang up again and this time it's days.

    2/You may not ask me for anything more expensive than moral support and love, which I will freely give. But money, no. Although he makes a good living, he has no problem asking my ex for thousands of dollars and often my ex gives it to him. It's rather sad, but it's between them. My son, because he makes a good living, would say something demeaning if offered twenty dollars or possibly even five hundred dollars. He considers that chickenfeed and "cheap." If my ex could only hear the tricks difficult child comes up with to get money out of him, he'd...well, he'd probably still give him the money. He must know. Again, though, I do not interfere. It is between them. If my son asks ME for anything involving $$$, I hang up gently.

    3/He can not play the "its' your fault" game with me. *click*

    What he can do is engage me in an Adult-Adult relationship with give and take. Actually, there is never give and take. He just monologues about himself, however, if it isn't abusive or he doesn't have his hand out, I will listen. If he wants to complain about work or the horrible state of dating at his age (gee, wonder why he can't get the nice girl!), I will listen because it is not abusive to me. He can vent, even if I do get bored. I don't chime in with advice. He tends to yell if I express my opinion, so I go, "Uh-huh" "I see" "sounds sad" "I'm sure you can work it out. You're smart."

    Until we take back our power, we are locked in a sick embrace with an adult child who isn't a very nice person and doesn't care much about us unless he/she needs something. It is heartbreaking to acknowledge what our adult children are really like, but once we do, I feel it is easier to move on and set boundaries. in my opinion anyone with a difficult child who is mean to us needs therapy to learn how to change the abusive relationship so that we feel empowered and self-respected.

    in my opinion never give a difficult child a blank moneycard. They can buy anything then take it back, get cash for drugs etc. Pay a restaurant directly over the phone. Pay the hotel directly over the phone. Etc. I mean, that's just my opinion. I don't believe in putting any kind of money into the hands of a difficult child, especially if the difficult child uses drugs.

    You are hno longer your son's mommy. You are his mother. You are both adults. We can treat them like adults or it is possible that, with their persoanlities, they will act like Sad Little Boy Pouting forever and that's not good. They may act that way forever anyway, but we can try. We don't have to encourage them to stay emotionally ten years old.

  10. GuideMe

    GuideMe Active Member

    Wow, yes. This is my biggest problem. Thank you for putting this feeling into words that I never could.
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  11. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    Anytime. Lol

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  12. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Even as I posted that I thought...why am I doing this? I'm not asking a question, there are no words of comfort of justification, and 2/3 of the people on the board won't understand and will judge me. And yet all of your comments were helpful, and opened new ways of thinking. This dealing with difficult child's thing is like an onion, peeling and peeling and peeling (and crying), more layers, better ways of understanding OURSELVES, our roles, our place in their lives and in our own. Thank you all for pausing and being generous with your thoughts and affection, too.

    Yes he did. I am grateful for that sometimes. It helps me to remember when I start to drift and feel like he is weak and sad and pathetic and I must reach in and prop him up. I don't do it anymore (read: right now)

    It does. And I really do feel forced. What else was left me to do? Just another spin on the merry go round. Something had to change.

    I like this a lot! It is a new thought to me. It has remained confusing and bothersome to me how very quickly I snap at him with any contact...I can go from having a nice day, feeling generous to the world, and the second I see him in the park I feel my whole being shut down, like a snarling little mammal in a tree hole. I can't understand the rapidity of my response. But you DSTC

  13. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Drat, posted before I finished, I had other comments but will add them later today.
    Again thanks to all who took the time to read, and those who took the time to read and respond.
  14. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    ECHO, I'm reading along too.

    Let it go. In my opinion, you were simply setting a boundary on negative behavior. I've hung up on my daughter a few times, just had enough of it and couldn't do it one more second. Over time she stopped doing what she was doing to elicit a hang up from me.

    No one here is going to judge you ECHO, we of all people know just how exhausting, depleting and outrageous it can be.........I think the important thing is for you to let go of any guilt you feel, you did what you did to protect yourself, that's what we humans do when confronted with harmful jabs.

    Thinking of you and sending warm wishes for a peaceful day for you, and all of us, today.
  15. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Echo, I just saw your post and wanted you to know I am reading along. I just wanted to say I totally understand why you hung up and don't see how you could have not done so. When he chose to try to drag your easy child into his dangerous lifestyle, he forfeited a relationship with his family until he proves he is not going to be that person anymore. He wants you to forget all of that and have everybody act like things are as they were? I would have hung up too, without a second thought. And I would feel the same way you do, very torn about it. But I couldn't have done it any differently.
  16. Childofmine

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

    Ah, Echo. When we come face to face with a phone call like that, then the next question is to ourselves: Who are we, after all of THIS? Just who am I now, and wow, this awful, horrible he__ has changed me so much over the years. Who would ever have thought?

    Sometimes I am glad that these things happen, like difficult child stealing from you and then calling his sibling back to sell drugs. It crystallizes everything, in that moment. We let go of the well...maybe...what ifs....he's sweet and kind tho....all of the equivocating falls away in that moment, and we move a step closer to being done.

    But we still aren't completely done, because they are still our kids. I honestly don't know if it's possible---or even desirable---to be completely done with our own flesh and blood. It likely is not set up to be by our Higher Power/Nature/The Universe.

    I know how infuriating a question like that is. It is to me, too. What do you mean, what do you need to do? GET YOUR LIFE STRAIGHT, that's what. End of conversation. Do it, and show me (no more talk), and then we can talk....later, when I decide. We have been lied to and overpromised and believed and we waited and we helped and we encouraged and we supported and our hopes got so high up and plummeted down so very far that we could not even function at the basic tasks of life, and we are sick and tired of that merry go round, so inch by inch, we moved to get off of that vicious horrible ride. The ride to nowhere.

    We finally had to start practicing the 51% rule. We had no choice because in our grief and our pain and our fear and our misery we could not even function in our own lives, and we are healthy enough to know that we need to pay our bills and love the other people in our lives and find happiness for ourselves, so little by little we found a way, through so much work and time, to start doing it.

    And then, it gained momentum because we looked around and realized we were feeling just a tiny bit better, for an hour or two, and then a day or two, and we so much wanted more of that, so we kept on.

    And organically, and through work, the feeling better started to string out to more and more days of feeling better, and we never want to go back to where we were.

    Things start to get clearer when we are flat on our backs literally and figuratively, because of the love we have for our sons or daughters, and then we start to get up on our knees and crawl and then walk and then run----regardless of what they are doing or not doing.

    Things start to get very very clear. Thankfully. And we know we are never going back to where we were, and we will fight not to.

    It is like oxygen, like the very act of breathing, our own need to survive. Thankfully.

    You are surviving Echo, and more, you are thriving in your life, even though your precious difficult child is living a life you do not and cannot understand.

    I am so thankful for that, for you and for the rest of your family and for those who love you and care about, and who you love and care about. This is the stuff of living. We need to claim it and work for it, regardless.

    Ugh. I think it is telling that he said Mommy. Your little boy. Except he is not. He is now a grown man and because of that one fact, at least, he has a right to live his life the way he wants to. He is not psychotic and he is aware of what he is doing, his own choices, and what he wants. Yes he has problems and disabilities, but he still knows reality, and like all of the professionals say repeatedly, he is responsible for his actions.

    You are protecting yourself from going back to the pit. Your hanging up, without even thinking, is a survival instinct. And I think you need to honor it.

    Yes, we do, because this is NOT WHO WE ARE. The events of the past with difficult children have moved us to this place, and have changed us forever. Many good changes. And also changes that we cannot recognize or understand---I don't know if they are truly good or bad, they just ARE. Culture and our own humanity tells us---I would not hang up on anyone, I would give a blanket to anyone, I would listen on the phone for a few minutes to anyone---unless to do that would threaten our own existence, and that is exactly what does and can happen when we crack open the door to listening, then to hoping, then to believing, then to trusting, and then to get smacked down, flat on our backs, ONCE AGAIN. How many times, Echo? Dozens and dozens already, hundreds of big and little times, and slowly, we learn. We learn what we must do to survive.

    Oh, we are notoriously slow learners, I the slowest of them all, but inch by inch, we learn. If we work for it.

    I know. I so know. Wow, who does this make me? That is the root question we are asking.

    My answer is: Human.

    We can only do what we can live with. That works both ways. When we extend ourselves ONCE AGAIN, for the 10000th time, to "help". We can only do what we can live with, when we let them drive the car one more time even though we told them last time, "if you ...., then I will ...." and then we don't do it. We can't do it, somehow.

    We can only do what we can live with. When we instinctively hang up the phone at the first audible signs of our son's voice. We can't go there again. We just can't right now. We have to survive. We have to live, somehow.

    And that doesn't mean we are cold, hard people. I am not. You are not. Are we changed? Yes we are. One time I took an "empathy test" and my score was 98 out of 100. It was the highest measure of any other of the things measured on that test. I nodded my head because I would literally bleed for other people. For their problems and their battles. That's why I was such a darn good enabler.

    I have had to learn that my empathy needs to be there---of course---but it needs to be measured with respect for other adult people who have a right to completely screw up (in my estimation) their lives royally and that is truly none of my business, no matter how much I care or love them.

    You may be right. What do I know, anyway, really? I barely know my own deal, much less someone else's.

    Echo, I think these experiences are part of our own maturity process, of accepting---accepting---our own humanity, our own inabilities, weaknesses, frailties. I used to think I could do ANYTHING. Anything. Now, I am more realistic about what I can do and what I will do.

    This awful journey has had a silver lining. It has taught me a more measured approach to the world.

    Warm hugs for you, though. We still have the feelings that come with all of this. We have to feel those feelings, let them flow over us and through us and accept the feelings. Without doing a thing about them. Letting time take its time. Waiting. Achieving some distance.

    Because this too shall pass. difficult child will do whatever he does. He will do whatever he is going to do. It isn't about you and it never has been.

    You are a survivor, a Warrior Mom. You are still standing, and growing, and living. Keep on, Echo. We are here with you, walking beside you.
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  17. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    I haven't posted much lately Echo, but I'm reading along and thinking of you.

    As Blackgnat says, our sons have a different timescale from us. They have already moved on into the next bs while we are still dealing with the last one. I really don't think they have any idea of the effect that anything has on us. To them we are just 'the mother' who is always there, always the same, the constant in the centre of chaos. I really don't think they get that we can be sad, worried, disappointed, distraught. They seem to be able to empathise with all the dodgy people that they come across and their 'tragic' lives, but are incapable of empathising with us and would never consider that we had tragedy in our own lives caused by them.
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  18. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    Thank you for that, it so clarifies how I feel, where I am and how I also HAD to get to.
  19. Hope_Floats

    Hope_Floats Member

    Thank you for sharing your experience and your feelings with us, echo, even though, as you said yourself, you couldn't (and shouldn't) have done it any differently. Your post, along with all the insightful and thoughtful comments, have helped me to understand why, even though I have come so far in my ability to detach, every time I see a call or txt come into my phone from difficult child, I have an anxiety attack.
  20. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    Echo -- So sorry you felt that pain of hanging up on him. We, also, have hung up on our homeless difficult child son (more than once).

    Trust you gut, though. If you feel there was nothing you could have done any differently, well......you're right.

    Thinking of you this morning with a full heart...