I told my son to leave again. After 24 hours. What am I doing wrong?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Copabanana, Jul 3, 2015.

  1. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I invited my son to come over and eat dinner. He had told me he was about to leave our town forever, to return to the big City a few hours away, which was our home. He angled to stay here a few nights. I said no.

    He walked right out, without saying goodbye. He had not eaten a bite.

    He called back and apologized and I was grateful to be communicating. The times we are not talking are so hard on me. The hardest thing of all.

    My son told me he is sick and tired of rotating couches here in our town and wants to go to the City to stay for three months in a shelter. But what he wanted more he said was to stay here with us.

    My SO wanted strongly to let him come home and give him another chance. So we said yes. Last night we worked out an agreement. With firm conditions. As long as he was here at the house he agreed to work with my SO doing physical labor, and the next day he would help him doing tile work.

    Four months ago I insisted my son leave our house after he had been here a week or two. He had agreed to enroll in college courses online, and was not following through. That had been the condition to stay here.

    My son has had no direction in his life, and has couch surfed for almost 4 years. In that time he was four months in residential treatment, and four months working as a home health aide. Since he got SSI for mental illness, he has worked only sporadically.

    This morning M my SO came to kiss me goodbye before leaving for work. Is son going with you I asked?

    I can't do everything, M replied, scowling, and left.

    I got up, and my son was still laying down. I asked him his plans.

    He said, M said it was a good idea that I work on getting my chest xray today. (He needs a chest xray to enter the shelter in the large city near us as he tests positive for TB.)

    I responded: Here is the computer. Buy your train ticket. The agreement was that you would work today. This is what I don't want.

    (What I meant was I do not want him laying around all day, not keeping commitments, putting all responsibility on others, and generally playing manipulative games.)

    Son: Can't I go to work with M now?

    Me: No. You made your decision. You knew the terms. You chose otherwise.

    Wouldn't it be easier just to work, I said, exasperated?

    Later in the day (he left for several hours) I dropped him off in our town at a place where he hoped to couch surf for the night and leave for the big city the next day.

    He did not say goodbye.

    It all happened so quick. Not even 24 hours. My SO is so loving to him. He offers open arms, with conditions. It is not because he is an easy mark. He knows that my son will hang or save himself and that M loses nothing by acting hopeful and accepting.

    I am fearful, wary, pessimistic. I have learned that I cannot trust what my son says. That he will agree to anything to gain what he wants in the moment. What he promises one day means nothing the next.

    I told my son before he left, we will help you, but not to lay around. When you decide you want to do something constructive, and show us you are serious about it, we will help you.

    I am sad. Not as sad as I was before when I did not hear from him, but sad. It was so wonderful to have him near me. To watch him respond to a safe place to stay, security.

    He looks awful at first. I am so reassured when he perks back up. And then this happens.

    It is particularly painful because yesterday my son confessed to me that he was not taking his anti-viral that he needed for his Hepatitis. I worry.

    As I write this I realize that maybe he never wanted to stay here at all. He was looking for a comfortable few nights, without conditions, tried and settled for one.

    It is so, so painful to me. I will not help him loaf around the house. No way I will do that. But I miss him.

    On my end of things, we left with an open door. It's his call. Is there another way to see it?

    Is it a mistake to keep giving chances? Perhaps I need to welcome him home for say a weekend every month without conditions. And leave the matter of his changing or not entirely to him. But then he asked to come home. I am entitled to place conditions.

    What do you think?
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2015
  2. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I wish I had words of wisdom. We never even let ours come back, not even for a day, but I wanted to Copa. I wanted to so badly to give him another chance. You know you did the right thing. Sounds like M wasn't the one who had the idea that he'd "work on his chest x-ray". You gave him a chance, he didn't meet the condition on the very first day. It would have been of no benefit to let him slide again. I'm so sorry. :hugs:
     
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  3. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    He did not follow through. You did. He knows he blew it. It hurts and there is nothing you can do but feel the hurt and keep breathing in, out, in, out, and with each breath give your son HIS life and take back yours.
     
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  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Copa, I know you well from our Family of Origin thread on Watercooler.

    If you can handle it, don't let him back. If you NEED to see him, to feel connected to him, don't torture yourself, but, if you ask him back, understand who he is and what he will try to do. That's basically it. I think maybe you should have given him the chance to go with M to work, even late, and see. I know how this is killing you. My advice is for your sake, not his.

    Big hugs. See ya in the other thread on Watercooler.
     
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  5. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    This is beautifully written, pasa.

    She is right, Copa. You were clear with your son regarding your expectations. He tested your limits the first morning. You had to do what you did, or lose your integrity. Now you both know that you mean what you say.

    Good job, Copa.

    Cedar

    I am glad you got to see him.

    :O)
     
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  6. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    This would be my guess, too.

    I do not think you did anything wrong by trying this arrangement. And, you know, it gives your son, you and your SO more information as far as expectations and behavior.

    Please do not feel badly about this. The dynamics have not shifted at all and your son has been reassured that you are there when and if he is ready to keep agreements he makes with you.

    The part where he walked out without saying goodbye when you told him he could not stay sounds just like my Difficult Child - except my Difficult Child would never have apologized.

    Hope you post an update to how you are doing. And, i hope you have a wonderful day.


    SS
     
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  7. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    This is emotional manipulation pure and simple. the expectation is that you will run after him and beg him to stay. Copa, You did the exact right thing. You let him go. You offered your love and support. You validated his life. He did not like the truth of your strength. HE will have to change in order to be part of the new dynamic. The paradigm has shifted and it is a new world order.
     
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  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Copa, you did the right thing. And, it doesn't feel good. Holding that paradox within creates all the doubt, uncertainty and suffering. This is not a black and white thing, it is filled with those paradoxes, we love them AND we have to let them go. That is a tough nut.

    I allowed my daughter to come home a number of times. My love and hope outweighed reality each time. Each time ended with her being asked to leave, being thrown out or she walked out indignantly. It never worked out well, (or how I envisioned it.) Now it is a non issue because it is not an option anymore.

    I believe part of this process we are engaged in, is our own continuing to try different ways of helping them......in all it's forms. I think part of why we do that is to know that we've tried everything. Once we see that we've indeed tried everything, we can stop trying and let go. It's a process. It takes time. There is no right or wrong. We do what we do until we don't do it anymore. When we know better.............well, we do better. None of us knows how to do this, we learn as we go.

    You made a tough choice, but the right choice. You've gained momentum in the detachment world. Each choice gets you closer to acceptance......

    Last Thanksgiving eve my daughter texted to ask if she and her friend could stay the night. Thanksgiving eve..... She was coming for dinner with her friend the next day. I "refrained" and baked a pumpkin cheesecake. Then I re-read my very first posts on this forum......and realized not much had changed for my daughter in those 3 years......but I had changed. A lot. I said no. She arrived the next day and was fine. That was the last time she asked. That 'no' was a big one for both of us.

    The situation with her is very, very different now. She is respectful, grateful, loving and kind to me. But, she is in her own world of couch surfing, not working much, pretty much doing what she's now done for about 7 or 8 years, since she lost her job and her home. It took me a long time, but I have accepted the way it is. Her life no longer holds me hostage. We don't see each other much, but she keeps me informed about how she is. Right now she is in a long term couch surf which seems to be working well for her. She seems happy and peaceful. For now, that is as good as it gets. I am grateful.

    You did well Copa, you did the right thing, you made the right choice. And it is uncomfortable and it doesn't feel good. All of that is true simultaneously. We humans aren't trained in how to accept so much uncertainty nor how to let go of what we can't control. Here on this forum, we are in the PHD program of uncertainty, letting go and acceptance.......

    For today, and the following days, do something extremely kind and nurturing for YOU. Put energy back in to yourself. We get depleted on this path and often we don't even realize it. That depletion causes depression, anxiety and all kinds of negative feelings. Focus on yourself, on your needs and desires. Get out of Dodge, go for a long walk in the woods or near the ocean. Get out your toolbox of how to cope with this and utilize your tools. You don't have to spend the day lamenting about the choice you made, you already made it......it's done.........let it go and walk into your life now......

    Sending you big hugs. I know how hard it is.....let it go for now.......
     
  9. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I woke up this morning miserable. The thought that he will wander and wander (because he has nowhere to go and no one) made me desolate.

    We went to where he is staying to find him. We agreed to get together later. He called and my SO went to meet him. They talked things over without me and they both came home.

    Bottom line what I need from my son is to be connected to him. I think that is what he wants and needs from me. But not at all costs.

    I would want more, if I could have it. For my son to have goals, and work towards them. To answer questions directly instead of obfuscating everything so I don't know which way is up. I could go on and on but what would it help?

    I pushed him to college. He stopped. I pushed him to complete Job Corps and a Nurse's Aid program. He worked a year or so. And stopped.

    I tried to push him out, so that he would have to sink or swim. He sunk. He sought out other people upon who to depend. And got SSI.

    Nearly always I accepted that my son had limitations and struggles that other children did not.

    I tried to get the help he needed and we went on from there.

    What changed was when he became an adult he had the power. It took awhile for me to get it. I think I am getting it, now.

    So this is the plan, for now. My son is back here. Yesterday he paid to stay a week more in the apartment where he had been staying, but he prefers to be here with us. He can stay as long as he is willing to keep his commitments. That he understands.

    He still wants to go to the shelter in the other city, but he has not completed the TB protocol in order to enter. He can stay at this shelter for up to 3 months. Then, who knows? But this is up to him.

    Likewise, nobody has mentioned what happened yesterday around working. But I think he understands that he blew it by not keeping his agreement to work.

    UPDATE: Without my saying one thing, it is all arranged between my SO and my son that my son work with him tomorrow all day. On Monday at 8 am my son will leave the house to go to take care of his TB test. After that, we do not know.

    In a sense this is the best possible outcome. I kept my integrity when he did not keep his word. We are back together to try again.

    It gives us a relatively risk-free opportunity to practice being around each other. And try some more.

    My son is a good person. I cannot say good "man" because he has not reached that level of maturity and may never do so. He is a moral person and a kind person.

    We will see where we go from here.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2015
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Copa, I am glad he is safe and near you.

    You do what is right for him, but also yourself.

    And I think that's exactly what you did and I'm happy for you.

    The thing with your son, which is different from many other adult kids here, is that he is not a bad person or a hardcore drug addict. He is just failing to thrive. That is really tough. We have only a few adult kids here who are not abusing hard drugs yet are not willing or able or are scared to grow up and honestly I don't know what anyone would do with that. I think it is varied. If only he would take the first step...that would be so awesome. Just a first time part-time job that he keeps for a year, then on from there.

    I am crossing my eyes, fingers, toes and arms for you and your son. I can tell you both love one another very much without the betrayals that have happened with some adult kids, such as stealing or assaulting you. Those are no-brainers. Your son is sort of a question mark and I think whatever you do needs to feel good to you. You matter. Your feelings and needs do matter.

    Never forget that.

    I am back. I am skipping the fireworks tonight (Buddha Baby tired me out, but was great) and I'm here now and may post on our other thread. I have some thoughts that Princess gave me about Goneboy that I had not known about him. Nobody really knew him. That's sort of what Princess was trying to say. VERY secretive. VERY self-involved. I realize now he was never as well-adjusted as he looked, much hlike many people out there. He, in fact, was not well-adjusted at all.

    Princess refers to him as "a robot...he has no emotions,"

    Poor young man. He has been through a lot and didn't show it so nobody addressed it. At any rate, will post more about it in Family of Origin Thread when I get my thoughts together.
    You be good to you. Hope you and M. see those fireworks and enjoy them! :)
     
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Copa, I am glad he is safe and near you.

    You do what is right for him, but also yourself.

    And I think that's exactly what you did and I'm happy for you.

    The thing with your son, which is different from many other adult kids here, is that he is not a bad person or a hardcore drug addict. He is just failing to thrive. That is really tough. We have only a few adult kids here who are not abusing hard drugs yet are not willing or able or are scared to grow up and honestly I don't know what anyone would do with that. I think it is varied. If only he would take the first step...that would be so awesome. Just a first time part-time job that he keeps for a year, then on from there.

    I am crossing my eyes, fingers, toes and arms for you and your son. I can tell you both love one another very much without the betrayals that have happened with some adult kids, such as stealing or assaulting you. Those are no-brainers. Your son is sort of a question mark and I think whatever you do needs to feel good to you. You matter. Your feelings and needs do matter.

    Never forget that.

    I am back. I am skipping the fireworks tonight (Buddha Baby tired me out, but was great) and I'm here now and may post on our other thread. I have some thoughts that Princess gave me about Goneboy that I had not known about him. Nobody really knew him. That's sort of what Princess was trying to say. VERY secretive. VERY self-involved. I realize now he was never as well-adjusted as he looked, much hlike many people out there. He, in fact, was not well-adjusted at all.

    Princess refers to him as "a robot...he has no emotions,"

    Poor young man. He has been through a lot and didn't show it so nobody addressed it. At any rate, will post more about it in Family of Origin Thread when I get my thoughts together.
    You be good to you. Hope you and M. see those fireworks and enjoy them! :)
     
  12. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    It is about us. It is how we feel about the way they choose to live their lives. It is our feelings, hopes, dreams for their lives. We can never know how they really think or feel. They are capable of living the life we want for them, but it is not their path.

    There is a young man who lives around the corner from me. He was in a horrible accident when he was an adolescent. He suffered a great deal of brain damage. He could have let that stop him. He could have very easily taken up drugs or drinking. He works 2 jobs. He rides his bike everywhere he goes. He is sweet and kind to everyone he meets. He struggles mentally and emotionally. He rises above it daily and lives as close to a normal life as he can. He does it because he chooses to. Our kiddos do not choose to do so.

    I need to remind myself to not project my fears and my wishes on my kiddo. It only hurts me and drives a wedge between us. I don't have to like his choices, or live with them. I just need to respect his right to decide his fate.
     
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  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Copa, I am glad he is safe and near you.

    You do what is right for him, but also yourself.

    And I think that's exactly what you did and I'm happy for you.

    The thing with your son, which is different from many other adult kids here, is that he is not a bad person or a hardcore drug addict. He is just failing to thrive. That is really tough. We have only a few adult kids here who are not abusing hard drugs yet are not willing or able or are scared to grow up and honestly I don't know what anyone would do with that. I think it is varied. If only he would take the first step...that would be so awesome. Just a first time part-time job that he keeps for a year, then on from there.

    I am crossing my eyes, fingers, toes and arms for you and your son. I can tell you both love one another very much without the betrayals that have happened with some adult kids, such as stealing or assaulting you. Those are no-brainers. Your son is sort of a question mark and I think whatever you do needs to feel good to you. You matter. Your feelings and needs do matter.

    Never forget that.

    I am back. I am skipping the fireworks tonight (Buddha Baby tired me out, but was great) and I'm here now and may post on our other thread. I have some thoughts that Princess gave me about Goneboy that I had not known about him. Nobody really knew him. That's sort of what Princess was trying to say. VERY secretive. VERY self-involved. I realize now he was never as well-adjusted as he looked, much hlike many people out there. He, in fact, was not well-adjusted at all.

    Princess refers to him as "a robot...he has no emotions,"

    Poor young man. He has been through a lot and didn't show it so nobody addressed it. At any rate, will post more about it in Family of Origin Thread when I get my thoughts together.
    You be good to you. Hope you and M. see those fireworks and enjoy them! :)
     
  14. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    It is about us. It is how we feel about the way they choose to live their lives. It is our feelings, hopes, dreams for their lives. We can never know how they really think or feel. They are capable of living the life we want for them, but it is not their path.

    There is a young man who lives around the corner from me. He was in a horrible accident when he was an adolescent. He suffered a great deal of brain damage. He could have let that stop him. He could have very easily taken up drugs or drinking. He works 2 jobs. He rides his bike everywhere he goes. He is sweet and kind to everyone he meets. He struggles mentally and emotionally. He rises above it daily and lives as close to a normal life as he can. He does it because he chooses to. Our kiddos do not choose to do so.

    I need to remind myself to not project my fears and my wishes on my kiddo. It only hurts me and drives a wedge between us. I don't have to like his choices, or live with them. I just need to respect his right to decide his fate.
     
  15. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Copa, you know as well as the rest of us that there is no one size fits all answer. You can only do what you are comfortable with.
    For now you are offering him help with realistic conditions. Now it's up to him. Just take it one day at a time.
    I do hope he realizes what an amazing loving mother he has.
    ((HUGS))
     
  16. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Yes, Thank you Cedar.
    The change has begun. At least the appearance of such.

    First, he is acting conciliatory, almost respectful. He is attempting to back down so as to not argue every little thing.
    M thought it would not be a good idea, because the tile is costly and fragile and the home owner is even more delicate. We came up with an alternate plan. That he work here in the house for designated hard jobs and if the work has been completed satisfactorily, I will pay his train ticket to the Big City. Fine and Dandy.
    Then, he came to us and said the following: I have been thinking a lot about this. I know the Big City has great weather and it is beautiful and by the sea. But who do I really have there? Those things, in themselves do not make a life. They are only diversions.

    I want to be near my family. That and working towards my goals consistently is what will make my life better.

    I do have goals. (Which he had to qualify a bit because he fears the end of the world is coming by September.) I cannot squander whatever time and energy I may have by running here and there for no good reason. I think it would be better for me to focus upon goals and to make choices based upon where I have support and commitments. What do you think?

    I said nothing. M, my SO, responded thusly: I for one, would want my family near me. To me, family unity was the most important thing. So I understand your sentiments and share your priorities.

    I kept quiet.

    Even if he hired a famous speech writer, and even if it is a manipulation, and self-serving (after all he needs us as much as we need him) he deserves credit for the sense to give this speech now. He never did before. I want to hope that this shows improved judgment and control.
    I mentioned to my SO, M, that my son seemed on a relatively even keel, with more self-control.

    M responded that that could be because he has not been using marijuana lately. My son had told him he has not used marijuana in about 8 or 9 days and that it is no longer a priority.

    . :beautifulthing:

    Now he still has not told me this. But I know when he is high and I know he has not used for the past few days. By my own eyes, I know this.

    My son has not stopped extolling the medicinal virtues of marijuana. But deeds mean more than words, and I am grateful that he is showing himself that he does not need the weed or any other drug to be stable or feel content and secure.
    Thank you, SWOT. Do you think that is what is responsible for our upswing? I think it must be.
    PASA I loved this story. It offers so much hope. I give credit to his parents.
    Thank you Tanya. I needed that.
    ______

    Every mother and father on this forum needs and deserves one better day. I got mine today.

    I do not need a string of good days to maintain hope. Just once in a while.

    Thank you very much, everybody. :wine:
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2015
  17. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Update: We had a slight deviation. We corrected it immediately and firmly.

    The gist: our rules, not yours. Accept them or leave.

    These are the rules. Any questions? Good.

    There is no agreement or commitment between us, that you can stay here. It is one day at a time. You are going to the big city tomorrow and you will know if your plan will pan out. If it does not, you can develop another plan when you return.

    Repeat: There is no agreement or commitment between us that you can stay here.

    Repeat: Our rules, not yours. Accept them or leave.

    My son has already learned the refrain. "I know....Accept them or leave. You don't have to keep repeating it."

    Thank you for understanding I said, smiling sweetly.

    Son: "I hope you are not being sarcastic."

    Oh no, I replied, and I approached him with a hug.

    Grateful, only grateful that you understand.

    He has been working all day. Picking up dog poop, mowing the lawn, watering. He is now cleaning the windows inside and out, and dusting all of the blinds. The agreement is that we will buy his train ticket if the work is done well and completely.

    I will never again be a victim of my child in my own home. I will never again allow myself to hide in my room, capitulating to my son.

    However hard it has been to be separated from him, not knowing where or how he was, I know I can do it. And I will do so again, if I need to. But I hope I do not.

    Thank you everybody.
     
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  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    AWWWWWWWWWWEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!
     
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  19. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    I pray that on Wednesday I can do as well as you have.
     
  20. Childofmine

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

    You said it Copa. One day at a time. Only way and best way to live our lives. I hope he can put a string of good days together. In time, that can become a life. Hugs for you!
     
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