Latest on 32 yo son

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by SeekingStrength, Jan 31, 2014.

  1. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member


    Not certain I should be starting a new thread with this, but here goes. You held me up yesterday, and here I am already back, hoping for more.

    Yesterday our 32yo difficult child texted, saying he needed a haircut. I did not respond. This morning, there was a long text, along these lines..

    I don't know how not to ask this. I need money for 2-3 nights at the La Quinta (town he and his girlfriend lived in for several years until he blew it big time, did not work, and girlfriend ended up getting a restraining order on him so he took bus back here- this is 1500 miles away!). I don't know how i can make it living in a hotel, making min wage, but that way I can check on S (the dog). Livin on the street I won't have the will to work.

    I had not yet texted him the message that his dad and I are through with any help until he is making good choices. It looks like today might be the day. (still no apology for his bizarre behavior last Saturday)

    This probably sounds pathetic,as in I want advice on every single move, but how long would you guys wait before we respond? Or, should I continue to wait until he contacts his dad's # (which I have asked him to please use in the past.? He knows his dad is a bit tougher) Should we wait for an apology for last Saturday?

    I am thinking he may need to know our new stance sooner than later...This is tough, and from reading, it will surely get worse before it gets better....I know silence is more powerful than the words, but at least he would know we are there once he gets his ship turned around.

    Thanks for your input.
  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Good morning Seekingstrength. When we are in the middle of the high intensity parts of the detachment process, the beginning part where we are putting an end to our enabling, I think we ALL need continuing don't judge yourself for asking for support, this stuff is hard, plain and simple.

    Yeah, I think I would do it sooner then later. There is really no right or wrong, simply what you are willing to do and what you want to do. I would give him an early heads up to your intentions to give him the time to figure out who he will hit up next...........our kids are masters at finding ways to get others to fix their lives.

    His thinking is pretty skewered because in 3 days he will not have any money from any job that he hasn't even found three days, what the reality is, is that he will be calling you with the exact same text, for the next 3 days and on and on it will go...........until you stop it. If he is on the street with no will to work, he will be just as likely to be in a hotel with no will to work given his history. Past behavior dictates future behavior, so making your stance crystal clear to him as soon as you can, makes the most sense to me. I imagine if you don't, those texts will become relentless.

    Bear in mind that once we say NO, our kids generally up the ante.............threats, accusations, blame, anger, whatever they believe will make you feel guilty so that you will change your mind and continue enabling them. They are quite good at this part, so be prepared. His will to live may decrease as the day goes on..........for your benefit.

    Your son sounds like my daughter used to be with me..............the haircut request sounded similar. My first thought upon reading that, was, "how dare he ask his parents for a haircut, that is the least of his problems now." The level of entitlement is pretty grand. And, remember, you do not have to justify your position either. NO is a complete sentence.

    Stay the course. Post as much as you want or need to. We're always around here, we support your choices.
  3. Childofmine

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

    He will have to find somewhere on his own to live...a shelter, a friend's couch, a bridge.

    No money from you. None.

    And you could tell them that, sooner rather than later. You might write it down on a piece of paper so you can refer back to what you want to say when he starts to get you mixed up.

    Hang in there and be kind to yourself. This is tough sledding.


    You have mentioned apologies several times. I know we would love to have an apology(ies) for all of the things they have done, said, not done, not said.

    I believe the day we get the apology we really want is the day they come to us, sincerely, honestly, straight, clean, sober, getting on with it, walking the walk of change...and we have our first loving, honest conversation in years. We won't have to ask for it. We may be surprised by it. And it will show us that something really has changed. Until then...
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  4. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    My heart goes out to you, Strength. You are in such a tough place with your son. The good news is that you can end your suffering right this minute by giving him everything he wants.

    The bad news? If you do that Strength, if you do whatever it takes to feel better will have upped the ante for next time.

    That is one of the secrets at the heart of the skill we call detachment. Once we know better, we continue "helping" because it hurts too much not to. Recovering Enabler tells us that, if we resent the help we are offering, that is our clue to know we are enabling to end our own discomfort in the face of our child's pain. In our hearts, we already know we are being manipulated. We already know the child is lying to us again. We already know our money and time and pain are going to be for nothing. But we hide that knowledge from ourselves, because we cannot stand the pain that comes for us when we do nothing to help our self destructing adult child.

    What I think I have learned through my time here on the site is that I love and believe in both my kids so much that I can't see what is really happening with either one of them. Not without the help of the others, here on the site. I just can't face what is real. Somewhere in my brain, I protect myself from knowing more than I can stand. But, Strength? That is why I am still here on the site with "kids" who are approaching forty. Recovering will need to speak for herself, but her child too is in that same age bracket. Recovering is very like me, I think. Always willing to help, always, always believing the best of others, always so sure one more time, one more thing, one more try, will bring success.

    I could be wrong Strength...but I think you are very like us, too.

    I hear it in the way you love your son, believe in him and don't believe in him at the same time. I hear it in the strong belief that he will change, that it is only a matter of time....

    Nothing. He gets nothing, Strength. Not only does he get nothing, but I want you to begin seeing this from your perspective, not his.

    This boy is a master manipulator. He is playing you so surely, so subtly, Strength.

    I am so sorry this is happening to you or to your son. There should not be this kind of unbelievable pain in the world. But there is, Strength.

    And it has fallen on you.

    And on me.

    And we have to see so clearly now, Strength. If you can do it, you need to begin thinking of the man your son should be. Begin thinking of the man your son grew into, in your dreams for him when he was little. Begin feeling the anger you have every right to feel for what this grown man has done to that little boy you birthed and nurtured and are now seeing destroyed.

    That is the only kind of thinking that helps me, Strength.

    I am so sorry.

    You asked about time. Right now. Text him, email him, whatever you need to do. Tell him you are done, that the last incident was the change time. Tell him things are different, now. YOU are different, now. Tell him to stop whining, and to stand up and deal with what he has created like a man. (You don't have to tell him about us? But we will all be right there with you, and we will all be right here helping you deal with the fallout, afterward. Your son will up the ante until he gets what he wants from you. Know this going in. Know that we are only going to support you in whatever decision you make. If you want to help him? We will cheer you on there, too. We are not here to judge. We are here because every one of us has been right where you are now and we want to help, as we have been helped.)

    Tell him you love him too much to watch him self destruct, and that you certainly are not going to support him while he does it.

    Finally Strength, believe me when I tell you we do not find you pathetic. You are living through something too awful to think about ~ that's why you aren't thinking about it clearly. You are in something Recovering calls the FOG. It happens when no decision is the right one. It happens when we love our children so much that we cannot, literally cannot, believe what is happening to them right in front of our horrified eyes.

    But it is happening, Strength. It happened to me, too. Something so awful there are no words to describe it happened to every parent here. Something we were not sure we would live through happened, and continues to happen to us, Strength. I am so sorry. I know how you feel, how frantic, how willing to sacrifice anything to help him, to save him, to change all this back.

    I am so sorry, Strength.

    Posting will help, so much. Please know none of us are capable of judging anything you feel or choose or try. We have been there, too. For the most part Strength, we still are. For some of us, that means we are not seeing our self destructing children, at all.

    We bring our pain here.

    We share our stories, we hold steady and strong for one another. There is too much pain for us to do anything less, Strength.

    I am so glad you found us.

    This site has made all the difference, for me.

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  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    He's 32. He's edging toward middle age. He needs to learn to get motivated on his own, without you funding him from place to place. Now if you truly want to do it, there are no right or wrong rules in this. It's just that the more we give in, the more they expect us too. And they know how to manipulate us. Your son knows that you want him to work so he is using that. In fact, he is not going to live on the streets. He knows how to find places to sleep.

    I worked in a homeless shelter once. You'd be surprised at how many of the frequent visitors did not want us to help them find housing because that meant they had to follow rules, such as no drugs and no coming in drunk. No selling drugs. No illegal behavior. They preferred going from one church to the next church...we had night-by-night shelters and they got free vouchers to take the train to the next shelter that would let them sleep overnight. During the day they would hang out in the library or 24/7 stores or gas stations.

    We were not supposed to ask the visitors for their stories. Sometimes they blurted them out though. I don't know how much of what t hey said to us was true, but they basically would talk about how their family threw them out due to their continuous drug use. Usually it was parents first, then aunt, then cousin, then moved on to best friend, acquaintance, nice old lady they met, etc. They openly admitted they did not want to stop or that they had walked out of 12 rehabs.

    If your son wants a place to live, there is housing in your town. And there are shelters. He can choose to follow the rules or decide to live on the streets, but he does have a choice. He doesn't need to travel 1500 miles to find shelter. He is playing you.

    Having said all that, I still feel it is just fine if you decide to pay again. We all have to travel our hellish journey on our own terms. But your son being long is he going to remain dependent? Know what I mean??

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  6. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for holding my hand. I printed out yesterday's replies to re-read for strength and wisdom and will print these out, also. They are so supportive, so wise.

    Much has happened since i posted this morning. difficult child's ex-girlfriend called to say he is flying back to their town and she is picking him at the airport tomorrow. Said the friend's father (who he is staying with) purchased the ticket. He told her we were getting him a motel room there and he wanted to get a job. I told her NO, NO, NO, we were not doing that and I couldn't believe she would pick him at the airport. ExGF: "But, if I don't he'll be stranded. I can't allow that." I shared a bit about detachment, but she is a social worker and surely knows about this. She is also 25yo - so young and sweet.

    Ten minutes later, gfg32 calls my cell. When he says, "Mom", I responded with "What" and he said, "With that attitude, i guess we have nothing to discuss." I replied with "No, we don't" and he hung up.

    We get home and husband sends son a text, a very nice text...telling him no more financial support, that we love him very much, that he must seek help because he is not thinking clearly. gfg32 asked husband if he can call and "explain the situation". Conversation lasted about 5 minutes, son doing almost all the talking...about what bad parents we were, that husband grew up in a rich family (not true), got everything he wanted and didn't know how to be a dad. talking about he does not believe in God, but we sure weren't acting like Christians, and ended it with a grandiose "Go to Hell" before hanging up.

    Then, he texted husband a few more mean things about we don't know anything about him, how he was planning on seeing a doctor AFTER he gets to his old place (1500 mi away), and that he was blocking our #'s...that we would so regret this down the road. He is through with us forever.

    THEN, exgf texts that she is so worried about him. I guess, since she has not had 15 years of manipulation, she is slower to come around (again,she is 25yo and very sweet).

    So, the detachment process has begun. We have refused to help him before with specific requests, but never along the lines of THIS IS IT until you make some changes in the right direction.

    Just like some of you said, This part is tough. Really tough. - especially with the worry that he might take his life...just to make us pay and hurt. I don't think he would...but that is my greatest fear right now.

    Thanks again. I will probably be posting a lot. It's my few minutes of sanity & strength - reading on this board.
  7. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    We're right here, Strength.

    I am sorry your son said those things to you. It always seemed to me that the hatred and disgust that comes roiling out of nowhere is how the self destructing person actually feels about himself. Try not to judge him for it, or take it personally.

    If your son were in his healthy, right mind? He would not be talking to you that way.

    It doesn't make it any easier to hear, I know.

    I think it is always a good thing to tell our kids we love them, and that we know they will make it through. Recovering Enabler told me once to envision my child safely in God's hands. That imagery helped me.

    I put myself there, too.

  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    When I read the part of your post which stated, he wanted to explain the situation..........I was so hoping you guys would say, "that's ok, no thanks." When we say no, the negative assault on us can be pretty nasty too. I've heard some whoppers on this site...........they come up with the ugliest stuff they can vomit out at us, to let us know what bad parents we are to abandon their sorry selves when they are almost middle aged men and women. Talk about absurd and unrealistic behavior...........but it is so common it is predictable.

    Now that you have a bit of a break from him, start to put the focus on you two, get support, do kind things for yourself, go on a date, take walks, whatever makes you smile and feel nourished. Our focus on our kids is often all consuming and it's easy to forget about our own needs and desires along the way.

    One thing that helped me a lot was to keep remembering that in THIS moment, right now, I am fine, he is fine, we are all okay...............I practice this all the time, stay right here in the present moment, don't trip into the future and start ruminating about things that could happen, or slip back into the past, rehashing stuff that already happened, both are a complete waste of time and effort and effectively keep you from actually enjoying and being present in THIS moment, here, now. Meditation helps. Exercise and getting enough sleep. Posting here. Getting in a support group, going to a therapist, having massages, acupuncture, listening to guided meditations on Youtube, taking deep breaths, talking to a good friend who is not judgmental and is a good listener, practicing every day to do kind things for YOU and your all helps. You're doing a really good job. It hurts. But, that too will pass, we humans are remarkable in what we can adapt to............detachment offers liberation and freedom from the suffering and leads you ultimately to acceptance...........acceptance for what is, for what you can't control, for what you can't fix.............and then your life gets WAY better no matter what your son is doing or not doing.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Your son sounds like my 36 year old can sound when he is regressing to age six. "It's your fault I'm this way." "You did this to me when I was four years old." "I'm never talking to you again!" Blah, blah, blah.

    I finally put my foot down and told him if he is disrespectful, I will hang up and I did. He is much nicer now, but part of that is a big stressor in his life got resolved. But, really, what are we...garbage? If anyone but our kid said that to us, would we want to talk to the person? Of course not. Why should we let our ADULT children treat us like a piece of trash? I'm done. And 36 knows I'm done with allowing him to lamblast me. Not happening ever again. I won't listen. He doesn't want to call? His choice.

    I would not over-discuss anything with this man who will not even pay child support and step up and be a father to his kids. Don't feel 36 can be pretty awful too. It's hard to admit it to ourselves but once we do, then it's easier to take a harsh stand. Do we want them to be this pathetic when they are 50? 70? What will they do, who will they victimize, when we are gone?

    In your son's case I see he found a sweet very young girlfriend who doesn't yet understand that she can let him fend for himself. You can't force her to detach, but I think it's a good thing that you introduced her to the concept.

    I have learned to keep things short and sweet and I go easy on the "I love yous" when I'm making a harsh point. They use that "I love you" as a weapon to get you to do what they demand that you do or they punish you by threatening not to talk to you. Well, have you had a productive conversation with your son recently? Has he called you just to find out how you're doing? Has he called you without asking you for something? Has he said, "Hey, Mom, can I take you out for lunch? I don't have much money...would you be insulted if we had a Big Mac?" I mean, has he even done THAT?

    When my son is at his worst his conversations are one way abuse-fests in which he talks only about himself and he doesn't care about anyone else in the world. I really would rather NOT talk to him if he is going to make it a one way, selfish conversation.

    As for suicide: My son must have nine lives with all the times he's threatened suicide. Of course we can't control what our grown kids do, but this is a prime way they manipulate us. If all else fails, pull out the suicide card. Most never even try it.

    Huggles to you and I'm sorry that you are havfing a hard time, but you are doing a good job. It isn't easy at all.
  10. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    And, believe it or not (i think you will), i received several texts from gfg32 tonight about 7PM. This is after he has told his dad to "Go to hell", etc. "Life is long, regrets are short. Please meet me and let's have forgiveness. I am leaving tomorrow". Ten minutes later, he texted "or not". I ignored them both.

    He does not sound suicidal (my biggest fear). I would not have been prepared, had not you folks forewarned me. husband and I firmly believe he WILL end up in jail. This is not first time, but it has been seven years since last time. husband and i are holding strong--knowing we cannot save him. You prepared us for this, but still difficult that he does not see need for help. He still wants to call all the shots. And, if he cannot call the shots, his parents are bad.

    We have not had a relationship with gfg32 for a long time (unless we were giving him what he wanted). husband and i are finally realizing that.

    He WILL go back to town where he lived with exGF. He WILL end up incarcerated. We can ask authorities or mental health help and that is all we can do.
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  11. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It's very good that you've come to these realizations, once we can really see the truth of who our adult kids are, we can accept what is and that acceptance allows us to have peace of mind. It's a long, tough road, but you guys did the hard part and now fortunately he will not be close to you, you can breathe easy and honor your own lives now. You did a good job.........
  12. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Well done.

  13. Childofmine

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

    You are doing really well in the face of some really tough stuff.

    Pause, and pay yourself on the back.

    I know the fear and how hard this is. Be ready for continued contact from him. We taught them well that we will finally cave. And so they don't give up. Sometimes for years.

    As many have said the ante goes up and up and up. When you start to feel terrified and panicked that is the time to immediately buy some time. That is a signal you are about to act. You are about to do something that is not going to help you or him.

    I am continuing to work on this myself. This is really hard for me.

    One of the ways I am working on this is to sit with my fear, let it come and do nothing. doing that over and over again really helps.

    Your precious son is absolutely going to do exactly as he chooses. As he should. Let him with no interference from you.

    It is time, way way past time, for us to remove the focus on them and put it on ourselves. I hope you and husband can enjoy your day today. Blessings for you both.

    Sent from my iPhone using ConductDisorders