Just need to vent to people who understand what I'm going through

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by mtdenise, Jun 11, 2015.

  1. mtdenise

    mtdenise Member

    It’s been a while since I posted (not that I posted a ton in the past though). Guess I just need to type some stuff out and know everyone here will understand.

    My husband and I kicked our son out in December. He had stolen from us (and his sister) several times and when I found checks missing and forged that was the end for me. He had also stolen from a company he worked for and had a court date for that. He had to pay restitution, do community service, and is on unsupervised parole now.

    After we kicked him out, Difficult Child moved in with some guys he knows and has been living there since. A friend Difficult Child made at a prior job has been really trying to help him (giving him rides, helping him get to job interviews, etc). This friend kind of took over the role of my husband and myself. I was hoping that a peer telling him all the same things would help it sink in better, but of course it hasn’t. He’s lied and manipulated that friend the same way he did us.

    I just found out through this friend that Difficult Child has been stealing change from the guy he’s living with. He has some jobs doing landscaping and bussing for money under the table, and I heard he was making decent money. So, I’m sure he’s spending the money on pot, cigarettes, and lottery tickets. The guy he's living with won't press charges, probably because it's only change, but I know Difficult Child will start stealing more from him. Hey, he did it to his very own family!

    My son doesn’t have much contact with us, and that’s a good thing. I'm sure most people without DCs would be horrified by my being happy not hearing from my Difficult Child. We tried to have somewhat of a relationship, but he’s still lying and trying to con money out of us. For example, I had $80 for him from family members for his birthday. That $80 was going to finish paying off his restitution. I told Difficult Child I was giving that money to his friend (the responsible one) to hold. Difficult Child comes by a couple days later telling me a story how the friend wanted me to give Difficult Child the money. Of course I didn’t believe a word of it and refused to give him a dime. I contacted the friend who said everything Difficult Child said was all false. That friend is now done with him so I probably won’t hear anything else from Difficult Child…actually I’m happy about that.

    I need to move on with my life and let my son make his own decisions. I’ll be really surprised if he doesn’t end up in jail someday. When he was still living at home we had him seeing a therapist and going to AA and NA meetings, but he just went through the motions and lied about everything. I can’t trust a word that comes out of his mouth.

    Guess I just needed to vent here a bit. My husband and I are dismayed and hurt by everything Difficult Child has put us through, but we go on, keep busy, and lead a pretty enjoyable life. We know we can’t let Difficult Child drag us down. Thanks for “listening.”
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  2. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi MtDenise,

    I completely understand what you are going through. You're right, people who do not have a Difficult Child have a hard time understanding why we have to detach from them.

    It sounds like you have done really well with detaching. It's never an easy thing to do or accept that it has to be done.

    My Difficult Child is 33 and has burned so many bridges. Like your son, my son too had friends who tried to get him to understand that he was ruining his life. My son has told many lies about me and husband in an attempt to get others to feel sorry for him and then he uses them, they eventually grow tired of it and send him on his way. I've received phone calls from him after this happens and it's always the same, he blames everyone else for his troubled life.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

    Wishing you continued peace and happiness.
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  3. Childofmine

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

    Hi Mtdenise, welcome back.

    It really does help to write it all down, over and over again if you want to. I think writing as a therapeutic practice is one of the best things about this forum.

    My son did the same thing as yours is doing. Little by little, person by person, he stole from everybody who gave him any kind of access, including his girlfriend's parents, me, his dad, his stepmom, our neighbors, his high school friend's dad...and who knows how many more?

    Usually, it's about drugs. Interesting that many alcoholics, from what I have heard from others, don't have the same "stealing" issues as those addicted to drugs.

    I put slide locks on all of my doors, and changed the code on one of my garage doors, only to realize later I forgot to change the code on the second door...and he got in that way. Unbelievable.

    It's the addiction and when they are in the grip of it, this is what they all do. It's not personal. (that took me a long, long time to understand).

    You and your husband can't be involved much at all, if any, with someone you can't trust when you leave the room for five minutes. During the really bad years, if I ever allowed him here, I emptied out the drawers and cabinets in the powder room so he would have somewhere to use the bathroom. I didn't allow him to go upstairs and we basically watched him if he came for dinner.

    Very ugly to have to do that with your own son.

    Hang in there. Keep the faith. We never know when and how and if the change will come, and they finally get so sick and tired of their lives that they are eager....ready to work for it...for change. That is what we have to stand by and stand back and hope will happen.

    As long as we provide the safety net, that won't happen. So the onus is on us to do the very hard work of detachment.

    We're here for you. We get it. We care. Come here anytime to write and read. Warm hugs today.
  4. JulieAnn

    JulieAnn Member

    Hi MtDenise,

    I understand.

    They lie so much, I really think they begin to believe what they're saying. That they're so convincing to the 'unsuspecting'. It is amazing to me (yes, still) that they will lie and steal from 'friends' and relatives. But to them, they're not friends or relatives, just another vehicle to get what they want. The friends/Us are there to be used.

    I don't know if my son is still 'in there' somewhere but I'm done trying to drag it back to the surface.

    If I don't hear from Difficult Child, that means he's lying/stealing to get by and doesn't need me until the most recent bridges are burned.

    He called today in fact, funnily enough. He had been in detox for a week and he's now in a halfway house. Lie, lie, lie. Oh, and since he's there - trying to get better, could I possibly pay his cell bill? Lol. I declined of course. I ended the conversation after he told me that because of me, he would have to do something 'bad' to get his cell phone back on and probably get thrown out of the shelter. Yeah, that's my fault. Except for the fact that his entire story is a fabrication.

    I went to my first Al-Anon meeting tonight. Didn't say a word. Didn't have to - but it helped so much. Difficult Child has been invaluable. I cannot thank the people here enough.

    I can only wish that he ends up in jail. At least he'd have a roof, no drugs and 3 meals.

    You sound strong. You sound like you have a handle on this. You're a decade ahead of me. Can't wait to get there. On my way to detachment.
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  5. sooooo tired

    sooooo tired soooootired

  6. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    mtdenise -- Hello and welcome to this site. The complexity and difficulty of your situation (and all of ours) cannot be overstated. Vent away! You are wise to create/build/re-build your own life along the way. I wish your son all the best. But right now my heart is with you. I'm glad you have some boundaries and some "space". Boundaries have helped us tremendously in our parenting experience. Strong, clear, simple, direct boundaries. We have gone 6 months at a time without hearing from our son. Hard months in some ways -- easier months in other ways. Our son is doing well right now (and we're proud of him!), but we are always reminded that it tends to be a rollercoaster ride......so we just appreciate the good days for what they are. Sometimes, we just accept the bad days for what the they are. Other times we still feel the hurt of the bad days. Our parenting ticket can be a rollercoaster ride, too.

    My heart is with you for all the best for all of you in your family. You sound wise with your approach and your awareness of boundaries. But, when times feel particularly hard, you can feel free to vent away here!

    Side Note On Venting --- One day in 2000 (our son was 10) I went through the gazillionth morning of ridiculous arguing to get him out of bed for school on time so I could be to work on time. Over the years we tried it all -- from soothing music to rubbing his back softly to banging pots and pans to dumping water on him. Nothing worked. One morning I was riding the elevator up to work and there were only 2 of us in the elevator (I was late). I trusted my friend in the elevator, so................oh, boy, oh, boy did I VENT! Let 'er rip for the whole ride (which was only 4 floors, but it's amazing how much can be said so quickly in effective venting mode! LOL!). Aaaaaaand then I felt ready to face my day at work. :) Funny, this same friend was just over visiting last week and we spoke of that day............and it still gives us a big belly-laugh! (though, that is not how I felt that day while venting!)

    I share that just to let you know you're not alone in this chaotic experience!
  7. mtdenise

    mtdenise Member

    Thank you all for your comments. It really helps to know I'm not alone in dealing with these issues/feelings, especially as I see friends' children doing so well. It's always hard when other people ask how he is doing. I usually just say he's living with friends and trying to figure out his life. Then I change the subject back to their children or bring up my daughter. Thank goodness for my daughter, who has her head on straight and is the complete opposite of her brother.

    I'm not sure how I'll ever trust my son again. I've talked to my husband about how we will know if he has truly changed, and we haven't come up with an answer yet. It seems so far away, if it ever happens as I've read on this board so many times of men and women in their 30s, 40s, and 50s still acting like my Difficult Child. Those stories are what actually helped me detach so quickly. I can't imagine being so directly involved and dealing with the same issues over and over from my Difficult Child for the next 20 years. That is mind-boggling to me. Being able to lavish my pets with love helps, and I volunteer with a few animal rescues and even foster dachshunds in my home. Helping animals down on their luck is very rewarding and much appreciated by the dogs/cats.
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  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    That is the correct answer. We've had to learn that too. It doesn't work to try to explain, so just divert.

    You WILL know. It will be obvious.
    The pattern of his interaction will change. He will be genuinely interested in YOU. It won't just be all about him. He will begin to be interested in giving, instead of just taking. What changes is their thinking patterns, which changes everything else.
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  9. mtdenise

    mtdenise Member

    Interesting point...I realize he only contacts me when HE needs something. Now that his friend has given up on him, I doubt I'm going to hear from him at all. His friend was key in keeping the contact.
  10. Childofmine

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

    Mtdenise...you sound so much like me. Everything you write, it seems like I have had the same thoughts and feelings.

    For a long long time I used to worry over how I would know if and when he ever truly wanted to change. Would it be his voice? What he said? How he said it? What he did? How he did it? What if he was really serious and I didn't believe him?

    My dear husband who has worked with many parents and their addicted children, would say this: oh you'll know. It will be in every aspect of him. Strangely for my son it appeared like this, at first: he was sleeping outside on a bench last summer, homeless. He got a job at McDonald's. He had to be there at 4
    am. He would wake up with no alarm and start walking to work. He did this for at least two months before someone---not us---loaned him a bike. That is how it began. We did not interfere or "help" until late October when we helped him get into an apartment. We had been burned so so so many times that we knew we had to stand way way back and let him do the heavy lifting.

    Today he has another full time plus job about 60 hours a week. He has a car. He lives in a two bedroom trailer. He pays his bills. He had satisfied one probation completely and is working on the second, paying double payments each month. He had applied to go to a tech school in the fall. We still stand way back in terms of jumping in to make his life easier. I want to a lot, but I resist.

    Hang in there. We are here for you.
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  11. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member


    I, too, am waiting on this. And, it makes perfect sense - perfectly legitimate litmus test -- what we expect from anybody else who is part of our lives.

    My Difficult Child is 34 years old. (sigh)

    Please stay close with us. It has made all the difference in the world for husband and me....this forum getting us through our self-doubting bumps and valleys.

    You know what. One day our Difficult Child's will do this or they never will. But, we WILL be okay. We will always hope to see this change, but even if we do not, we will be happy and fulfilled and moving forward.