I raised him right, right? Self blame and the pursuit of happiness.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Nikimoto, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. Nikimoto

    Nikimoto Pursuit of peace

    I have struggled for many years now with my middle son Evan, who just turned 18 in January of this year. He sort of amazes me/pisses me off as I observe his evolving entitled and abusive attitude through the lens of hingsight. He has zero appreciation for anything, really. No concern for the hours and years spent for his care and betterment, because he was "entitled to it". Not only is that an obtuse view of parental loving responsibility, it's a twisted view of reality that set into his mind several years ago. I mistook much of his odd behavior as teen or preteen angst, and all kids are different. I tried to rule out stressors, and there were plenty. I was divorced, ugly custody fight, spoilt my kids too much, was too strict or not strict enough, got deployed too often with the military, the new marriage and stepdad was too stressful for him. I basically anything and everything except Evan, and I unfortunately blamed myself.
    It was all :censor me, I'm colorful: but it was all nonsense.
    I also raised his older brother, who was also spoilt, I was too lenient or too strict, at work or away too much, had the same new stepdad, but my eldest son took care of his needs. He did his homework and earned a high GPA, he showered, he did a few chores asked of him, he did :censored2: and whine and argue, but the foundation of respect existed. Otherwise he would have failed at life. He is currently an Air Force SSGT with a squirrel security clearance, and studying computer science at UPAC.
    They are just two very different people, who make their own choices.
    Fast forward to last year, Evan's jr. year of high school, and the meltdown of his senses is complete. He continued to sign up for AP and Honors classes after several years of proving he will not do all the work and gets very poor grades, refuses to do any lick of house chores after making sure over time that he does a terrible job at them, and spends so long in the shower or toilet that we begin to ration his time to save money on the water bill. Hours would pass. Hours. Not on homework or research or diligently inventing a lifesaving innovation for a third world country. Just several hours out of each day on the toilet "@" in the shower, and otherwise hiding. We suspected drugs, and though I continually searched his room, I found no drug evidecne, just began to find thefting evidence. Our bluray was in his carryon bag in his closet. Food wrappers, candy wrappers he stole from his little siblings, regular books wrapped into school looking book jackets. Some of these may seem harmless at first glance, but there were also things we had not bought him and he had no money. We found he had stolen money from his siblings saving jar. We found he would begin to rage at us, and the raging would become carried away to where he refused to go to his room or take a walk, but continue to scream at myself or husband abusively, whether the kids were crying or not.
    We soon realized our lives revolved around policing his activities, and we were pretty in a prison.
    It did not begin to sink until I yelled at him during one fight,"You are infringing on my right to pursue happiness!"
    Since he moved put, with his elder brother for now, the peace has taken time to resettle, but it's like a tender breeze at times, reminding me on the nights I can barely sleep worrying about him that I did the right thing for the rest of us.
    He was abusive to our entire household.
    This is his bridge to rebuild.
     
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Where there is theft, there is a reason for theft and it is usually drugs. There are tons of red flags for drugs that you found, but that is his problem now...and his brothers.

    It no longer matters as you have found a solution. He has moved out and you and your husband can go back to living a normal life. I do know what it is like to be a police officer in your own house. I relate to it. I'm so glad those days are behind us.

    We worked hard all our lives and gave our best to our kids. We deserve our home to be our sanctuary, even if it is small...it is where we hang our hats and should be able to breathe. The others living with us deserve a peaceful place to live too.

    I believe you did the right thing. It is his own story to write now. Those long marathan bathroom trips and wrappers are clues to drug use, but you can't do anything about it even if you do find a smoking gun (and they are clever at hiding it). Only he can decide to stop using drugs. If this were me, he would not be allowed back from here on out. Something bad is going on with him and it is HIS choice not yours and you don't need it nor do your loved ones. He has to figure it out himself. My opinion, of course.

    You are very strong. I am glad you here.
     
  3. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Welcome. I'm glad you've found us. As you clearly know from my posts, our son was stealing from us. We did know he was very fond of pot...both real and synthetic. We tried being tough and being kind and getting therapy and sending him off to college to get him away from his friends. Nothing worked. He ended up back home and after a few months we discovered a large amount of cash missing. That was the end...he was in a homeless shelter until January. Currently we're paying for an apartment. That ends in June whether he's ready or not.

    One thing that's certain, as you have an older boy who turned out apparently awesome...you didn't do anything wrong. That is the hardest thing...I wish I had ONE "perfect child" so I could say, "See! It wasn't me!"

    Okay - have to ask - What kind of security clearances do squirrels have? LOL That must mean something I'm not getting. :D
     
  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Your post is familiar Nikimoto, from my own experience and from what I read here. I'm sorry you've going through it, I know how depleting, exhausting and crazy-making it is.

    It takes a long time for it to "sink in" as you put it, these are our kids and we love them and we want to offer them the best along with our love. However, sometimes our kids go off the rails, regardless of our parenting ......and they are on their own path, whether we agree or not, it is their path. Now that your son is 18, there is little you can do.

    Abuse is abuse, regardless of who the abuser is, in some cases, it is our own child. That's hard to see and even harder to accept, but you seem to have a handle on it.

    Yes, we worry. But in my opinion, you have made the appropriate choice. The best advice I can offer you is to make sure you get support. It's a tough path we're on, Al Anon and Narc Anon help many of our members here, or a therapist, a parent group, a safe place you can go to receive the compassion and support we need when we are forced into choices which go against our own parenting.

    I'm glad you're here, keep posting it helps.

    You may want to write a signature, like you see we've all done, it helps us to remember you and your story......you can do it by clicking on your screen name in the upper right hand corner, click on signature, write it and remember to save it. Thanks.

    There is a good article on detachment at the bottom of my post here, you may find it interesting.
     
  5. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    I'm assuming its a reference to the old Secret Squirrel cartoon.
     
  6. Nikimoto

    Nikimoto Pursuit of peace

    "Secret Squirrel"
    Also, although I am relieved to know my two eldest kids, and amazing daughter in law are hard working and industrious and excited about life, even they sometimes blame me for Evan's issues, think I was too hard or needed to give him more freedom or whatever they didn't see they didn't live here and witness his raging.
    I fall prey to much backlash from them at times, from feeling like they are supporting my son, who is an adult now, to ignoring my side of the story. It hurts a second time.
    Also, on the ios app, can't find the way to create a signature. Am I missing something?
     
  7. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    That we cannot diagnose the thing that went wrong for our kids and correct it somehow is why this is all so crazy-making. We bounce from one thing to the next, getting more frazzled by the day...but at the end of the day, our child is still suffering and we all are losing and angry and desperate.

    And mad.

    Mad at someone, but who?

    We are so powerless in the face of some of this stuff.

    And yet, we feel responsible.

    I am glad you are here with us, now. It will be helpful for you to see your own story reflected in ours. It seems not to matter how the kids were raised. We have so many different life styles and parenting styles represented, here on the site. And yet, the "kids" act out in the same ways ~ almost verbatim, some of them, in the ways they talk to and think about and try to manipulate us.

    Even when we finally allow ourselves the grace of letting go of guilt regarding our parenting, there is still the terrible sadness of what is happening to our children.

    It is very hard. But we have no choice.

    So, we do the best we know.

    Cedar
     
  8. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    So in the end, like the rest of us, you have to both accept and be willing to live a happy life for you, your husband and the rest of your family. It takes time, and dedicated space in your mind and emotions but you can get there.
     
  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Actually, the way I'd handle being blamed for E by others in the family is to totally blow it off when they bring it up.

    If it got too bad, I'd have to consider going low contact with all of them. This is them all ganging up on you and making at fault, ignorantly so, for the way their brother acts. You need counseling to put it into perspective and to weigh your choices here. There are many. I do not think I'd put up with abuse from my kids anymore. I already been there/done that. Yet I love all my kids and am lucky they don't blame me for what each other has done.

    This reeks of your family naming you as the black sheep, responsible for all that is wrong, and I would be hard put not to walk away from all of them if they were constantly at me and would not listen. And, yes, since one of my kids did walk away from me and tell me vile things about myself that are not true, I know how much it hurts.

    You have a lot on your plate. Time to take care of YOU and start to clear your plate off, putting yourself first. Hugggs!!!
     
  11. DoneDad

    DoneDad Active Member

    With the iOS app in my iPad I don't see a way to make a signature. I also don't see the signatures on the posts. I created a signature with a computer, but don't see it when I use the app and can't see a way to create a signature with the app. You may have to sign in from a browser, not the app, to make your signature.

    Also, now that your son is out of the house, don't let him move back in.

    Good luck!
     
  12. Nikimoto

    Nikimoto Pursuit of peace

    Thanks Donedad, will just open safari and sort that out. Yes, he is not moving back in. I had a scare when my elder son was almost deployeed, since Evan is not through with high school, he was going to "send him back to our county, where he has people willing to help him". I adamantly refused, stating he would again commence breaking into our house, stopping by with his arrogant belligerence, and continuing to attempt to slander us against people who barely know us. (Shame on people who barely know us for giving Evan the benefit of the doubt, by the way).
    My last contact with Evan was a couple weeks ago. He messaged me on Facebook demanding, not asking respectfully, for some personal info he wanted to fill out a fafsa. In a perfect example of his explosive rage, when I chided him for being disrespectful and told him he can expect to ask nicely and speak to me like a human if he wants or needs something of me, his response appeared on my wall, lambasting me, slandering me, calling me a tumor, and threatening to call child services in an attempt to give him "power over" for the abusive situation he created.
    I responded with a solemn warning that any further slander and abuse would result in a slander and harassment lawsuit, as to his lies about our home life, food, laundry, and everything else he had manipulated beyond recognition, and declared he is not welcome to contact me until or unless he is willing to display respect, and begin to rebuild the bridges he has burnt.
    I then reported his post to facebook as abusive, clicked on "hide" so it would not post to my wall, and he was warned to have his account blocked if he continued abusing me, and his post was removed. But not before I screen shotted it and the included comments.
    He is a legal adult now, if he wants to learn the hard way, he can go ahead with that plan.
    The hard way for me is while I am caring for his younger siblings, I recall memories of what a sweet little kid he was. I remember somebody said one time that some kids just get their asses kicked by puberty and don't respond or cope very well. He had every privilege we could afford as far as counseling and never went without anything he needed. Our counselor basically told us we are just done raising him, everything now is his job, until he chooses to reach for us.
    I knew once he left my response to his requests, no matter how necessary, would be no. It's not ok. It's not ok to turn around and ask, let alone demand things of me after all Evan has done to us up to this point. He certainly has a lot to learn.
     
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Defriend him. NOTHING good comes of FB communication. NOTHING. If you take this tool from him, that is one less way he can abuse you.

    Good for your firmness and demands of respect!!!! And most teens are a PITA, but nothing like your boy and they do recover. I am finding college kids, at least the ones my daughter knows, much more mature and nicer than the silly antics of high school kids.

    I read once that 80% of all teens really do not cause their parents THAT much trouble, other than the pout, the slammed door, the once-in-a-while blip...but the 20% get all the attention. Yay, they cause so much ruckus they make it seem as if all teens are headaches, but it's not true.

    But ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh those 20%!!!!!!:dead:
     
  14. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I wonder whether you have been here with us long enough to have read the information about genetics and kids being "differently wired." It eases the pain of it, if we can recognize our child in the descriptions other parents post about how their "differently wired" kids see both us and themselves.

    We begin to really get it that it was not something in our parenting that is causing the child to act out. It is something in the way the child's brain is wired.

    Is there someone in your family of origin who behaved the way your son is behaving?

    I like the strength I hear in how you responded to him. Good for you. Dealing with a difficult child child is not for sissies. It's hard for me to respond with strength and clarity, or to keep myself focused on surviving the rottenness of what is happening. I think that makes it harder for me, because I take it out on myself and get depressed or anxious or numb.

    Then, I have to dig myself out.

    Yuk.

    I have found that once I knew how I believed these terrible things happened to our family, I was less vulnerable to the attacks and put downs and "holier than thou" attitudes from friends and family members fortunate enough not to have had a difficult child child. I believe the vulnerability and shame the parent feels when one of her children begins to act out in the ways a difficult child child acts out (and again, their actions are eerily similar, no matter how they were raised) can key a predatory instinct in people who wish to use our vulnerability to elevate themselves.

    Don't display vulnerability. Don't share the pain or the hope or the details. We are right here. We get it. This is a safe place to learn how to get through this.

    I am sorry this is happening to all of you.

    Cedar
     
  15. Nikimoto

    Nikimoto Pursuit of peace

    I have said this to my husband and our family counselor, but he acts eerily similar to his bio dad, whom he has never met. He never met him because he was a horribly abusive man who treated me to mental, emotional and physical abuse even in front of the kids. This was brushed off as being related to other genetic features, such as his face. My jaw dropped, and I asked what was wrong with him then. This counselor told me nothing is wrong with him. I don't know what my face looked like, but I felt like I was gas
    Ing for air. I walked out and never went back.
    He already unfriended me on facebook, after his angry rage where he called me a tumor and threatened to have power over me by calling the cps for his siblings he also abused. Irony is pertinent to his repertoire.
    He sure did want attention, in the very worst way possible.
     
  16. Nikimoto

    Nikimoto Pursuit of peace

  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Nikimoto, I have a friend who ran away from her ex (literally in bare feet in the rain when he was drunk) and had her three month old son with her. That man never saw his son after that. She later married high school sweetheart and he adopted the boy when the boy was two years old, and they went on to have two more kids who are both her husband's biology.


    The child who never knew his biological father grew up to have the same issues, temper, gestures, voice and even presence as his absent biological father. My friend would always be freaked about it as they were strangers to each other. Much later in his life, (he is 38 now, has Aspergers, but is somewhat stable due to his wonderful wife working and taking care of him), he did meet his birth father, with encouragement from his birth siblings whom he also had never met until they found and contacted him when he was about 35.


    His father by then had straighted out and stopped drinking and was sick with Parkinsons and even told this young man that his mother was wonderful and that HE had been the problem.(To me, this kind of nice touch shows that the man was sick with alcohol and not all bad because this young man of my friend's is also a very nice person, in general, and never did touch alcohol due to his mother's wonderful relationship with him and her ability to get it through his skull that alcoholism would take him if he did drink). It actually worked!

    Before this young man met his bio. father, he met his MANY siblings and said he felt more at home with them than in his "family" (he does think of his mom and adoptive dad and their kids as family. But he is very different from them). He got along GREAT with the strangers that he shared his birth father's DNA with.

    More than that, his new found sibs couldn't get over how much he looked and "acted" like "Dad." Even voice inflections and mannerisms.

    DNA is potent. I don't even think we know how potent it is yet. Freud was WAY wrong, except when he said the scientists would prove him wrong one day. Well, the day is coming.

    Many of us have our first kids very young, maybe a fling. My friend was eighteen when she had this young man and her ex was also eighteen and very screwed up. She was not thinking, "Gee, if I breed with him, my future child could be just like him." In naive teenage fashion she was thinking, "We'll make a family and I'll show Ex what love really is." Well, when he started beating her, that got hard. She had no idea he had implanted his genes into her child and really struggled with him until he was into his 20's and doing better.

    He is still on Disability and needs help in life, but he is doing ok. Still, friend says it is uncanny how much he acts like his biological father and they don't see one another too often.

    Genes trump all.

    It is not our fault and just like this man who BEAT his wife in the throes of alcoholism, there is hope for even horrible difficult children. My first message is that DNA is a beast. My second is that people can change how they live and their choices and can choose to be nice. This former abusive man is beloved by all of his children who didn't know him when he was doing the stuff my friend experienced from him.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
  18. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Oh yes. The evil genes seem to win.

    My ex and I split when he was six months old. He saw him occasionally until he was 5 and I married Jabber. He never saw him again. When he was under 2, he was already acting like biodad. First thing I noticed was this little smile he'd get when he was being yelled at or punished. Just made you want to smack him. Then there was the arguing. I'm a lawyer - so it's not like I don't argue lol - but if you said the sky was blue, my son would say, "It's actually kind of gray." So many, many behaviors that are just like his biodad. He stole from his parents, ran with the wrong people, drank (my son doesn't drink, but loves his herb), eventually took up a life of crime and died in jail when my son was 7. That my son already has a shoplifting charge has me more than a little freaked out.

    The only part of me he got was his IQ, I swear. Maybe my temper - but I don't go ballistic and break things. And my looks....he doesn't look like his biodad except for the skinniness, thank God.
     
  19. Nikimoto

    Nikimoto Pursuit of peace

    He looks like him, always sort of has, but was a sweet kid. I was caught up in trying to get on my feet and work and go to school when I joined the local National Guard, so in hindsight only do I see some personality traits of his gene donor. When he was mad at his brother, and sent to his room for something at about 7, he tore a door length dragon poster he knew his brother loved. "I was so mad at you I had to, so it's really your fault not mine." Madness. Refusing to hear reason, about 11 beginning his ranting angry outburst over minuscule or nonexistent issues. When questioned why he argued so vehemently, his answer to the letter was, "People are wrong and I need to correct them." He would frequently comment he wanted to study law or forensics while he had grown up during my sociology studies and police career, thought he was trying to be like me or impress me. But he failed to recognize facts for what they are, and argued with bad info, even got emails and calls from his teachers with the same complaint. I warned him not to study for law or forensics if he was going to refute fact and insist on arguing lies, and he got angry, accusing me of being harsh and negative. We are not sure if he has been using drugs, but his spiral of the past two years seemed like it, and I am not naive...it quacks like a duck. What's sad is he has a very high I.Q. and has scored Exceeds Proficiency on many standardized tests throughout school. Just so full of himself he won't do the work. He will talk big and bluster loudly, but his product doesn't always pass.
     
  20. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    I don't understand, on the one hand you see this quite clearly, that the bio-dad's DNA is active with your son. On the other, you seem to be exasperated by what he does with that DNA. Is it that you are having a hard time coming to terms with what might be a life time sentence and you really won't have any say in how your child turns out?
    My daughter took the IQ and the good manners I gave her and used them to manipulate/control people. If you meet her in business you would thing hows smart and graceful...meet her at home and she is a gutter mouthed blue collar type (the bad kind). So yes, she did take what I gave her but she uses it with the DNA to screw over people. She also is a huge liar which is hard for people to understand because she is charismatic, people don't even know she is lying.

    I am just trying to help you clarify your thoughts on the DNA behavior likeness and activities vs what your long term expectations are for your son.
     
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