Leaving Las Vegas?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by AHF, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. AHF

    AHF Member

    Hi all,

    Sorry to have been silent for several months. I have been lurking; haven't had the emotional wherewithal to respond, though there's a lot of pain out there I am feeling!

    Peter Pan came home--well, back to our town--while I was out of the country a month ago. Had left school, blown through a 5-day admission at a local psychiatric ward, and told them that he either wanted a) to return to residential treatment in Texas, or b) come home and hang out with his friends. Well, you can guess which option got support from insurance, plus there was no bed immediately available. So he drifted back with recommendation for outpatient treatment, and I told him that if he would take treatment seriously and also look for a job (he now owes around $100,000 and needs STRUCTURE), he could live at home. He refused. Spent almost 2 weeks at the local motel, paying for it God knows how, and then just as he was hitting bottom, he managed to sell his car and announced he was leaving for the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. He's been out there for 10 days and seems to have blown through his friends. Called late last night, despondent. Feeling abandoned, alone, hopeless. Can't understand what he's done wrong but doesn't want to listen to any other versions of the situation. I reiterated, as always, my willingness to pay for treatment. Reminded him that needing help, under the circumstances, was normal. And so on. He is bitter, angry at the world, certain that nothing and no one can help him. Talking again of suicide. The solutions are so crystal-clear: stop playing poker, accept and work with your own psychological makeup, start doing the hard work. None of which matters if he's in a mind-set where he refuses to see solutions.

    My current dilemma is that I am supposed to be out the country for business & pleasure (2 weddings to attend) for 26 days starting June 30. Right now I am the only person Peter Pan reaches out to. I know I can do nothing, but I fear the "pleasure" part of the trip will be nil if I am nail-biting the entire time. One friend said "turn off your phone," but that's something I cannot do. I can kick my kid out of my house and keep him out, but I cannot turn off my phone. Thoughts?
  2. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911


    Hi and welcome back. You know the saying "you can't have your cake and eat it too?" Well you can't go out of the country and enjoy yourself, fix your son, kick him out, and keep in contact, fix his life......and be okay with it all just a little. Pretty much, and sad to say the timing is NEVER going to be 'right' to detach from a child that needs TOUGH love. I mean would it be better to hear that I'm sitting at home, unemployed and had a situation with my son where he's addicted, a felon, trying to come back into my home and I think..."Well I am not really 'doing' anything right now - so I guess I could allow him to come back into my life and let him be here for the time being and will make him get out in 30 days or a year, or a month and that will help him?" OR Does it sound like I'm less of a Mom if I say "I have many appointments, I'm traveling, and my son is an addict, whom I've tried over and over to help with rehab, and all of a sudden he jumps out of rehab, takes the easy way out, wants to come home and I think - Oh boy...I guess I could allow him to stay at my house for a while - say a month or so while I'm out of town, and then we'll work on HIM when I get back in town, but in the mean time he'll probably strip my house, use it for a flop-mansion, and rob me blind...but I just have to do something for him!!!"

    I'm going to tell you something about BOTH of those Moms and BOTH of those scenarios ---NEITHER Mom would help their son by allowing him to come home, and neither Mom does her son a favor by being CONVENIENTLY available to SOLVE HIS PROBLEMS FOR HIM. My son, just like Peter Pan has GOT to learn HOW to solve his life and LIVE ----without you picking up the pieces......and YOU? YOU have GOT TO STOP butting ----YES BUTTING in and being there to DO IT FOR HIM. (well get mad at me if you want to - but what ARE you doing when you pick up the phone and tell him you will do this and that for him, put him in rehab, pay for it, send him money, talk him down from a threatended suicide?) YOU ......are solving his problems.

    I'm not pointing the finger - I'm pointing it out to you - like it was pointed out to me. (big difference) And maybe some of the things I said - were not done by you or Peter Pan - but there is a REASON you feel the need to keep in contact by phone BUT not allow him to live in your house. Otherwise - you'd go on your trip, let him stay in HIS house (which is your house) and not worry about what would happen while you are gone. Dilemma solved. See our kids hold this magical voodoo over our heads like - if we don't have the wave length there for them??? Ohhhhhhhhhh something bad will happen and it WILL BE OUR FAULT that we didn't keep a line of communication open. I bought into this too - with Dude. I started to see a pattern and thought - WTH are you doing Star? I kept worrying that if I didn't give him a way to get in touch with me? I'd never hear from him again. And boy was I wrong. THEY FIND A way - It might take them a while - but they find a way. And a lack of communication does NOT equate a lack of love. Lack of respect equates a lack of love and right now? His inability to get himself clean and sober IS a lack of love for himself. He doesn't respect himself - and therefore - can't respect anyone or anything.

    So maybe the VERY BEST thing I ever did for Dude.....was to tell him - GET OUT......and then tell him - FIGURE IT OUT. WITHOUT MY HELP. I used phrases like UH HUH, GEE that's too bad, WELL WHAT ARE YOU going to do about it? You'll figure it out. Just like now.....I'm tell you YOU -------Go out of country........you don't NEED to turn off your phone but if your son calls? USE THE PHRASES above and do NOT buy into his drama. Tell him

    WOW SON - I'm on vacation because I worked hard and I earned it -----YOU WILL FIGURE THIS OUT FOR YOURSELF.......WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT???? UH HUH....GEE THAT SOUNDS TOUGH _ You're smart! I know you'll figure something out. I have faith in you. NO I can't send money. OKAY gotta go - love you - bye.

    DO NOT allow him to badger you , control you, worry you - and tell yourself - I HAVE earned this - and HE ????????? HE needs to get himself together - and if I keep solving things for him? He will NEVER learn how to do it HIMSELF.......EVER. The more I help? The less he figures out for himself.....I hinder him - I can literally RUIN HIS Life by "helping" ........I will BUTT OUT and see how he fixes his own situation - I gave birth to him, I know he iis smart - evertime I butt in - basically? I'm telling him? I think you're still a baby and can't do anything for yourself. When I start seeing you do more for yourself? You'll be proud of what you accomplished and really won't want my help.

    Start using statements like those - and CUT THE STRINGS.........If he falls harder? He'll get up. If he hits rock bottom? He has no where else to go but up. And lastly? If he is doomed to take his own life? And this is very hard to say, but true...there would have been NOTHING you could have done to prevent it at all, in any way. It's a depression that you can't control. You can only guide towards help - and you have done that - MANY times. The rest was up to him. If he's using suicide as a crutch or the threat of suicide? Then SHAME on him - and walk away from it. Let him grow up, and be the man that you know he can be, that he hasn't figured out that he CAN be.

    Hope this helps. Enjoy your time out of country.
    Hugs & Love
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Star is right. About everything. Well, not everything under the sun, but everything she says in this thread. It is hard to accept, but by insisting on constant contact, by always giving advice, by always making sure we are right there just in case they need us, we are telling them, ourselves and the world that they CANNOT do it. whatever it is, any and everything, life,, they just are not good enough, strong enough, smart enough to figure a way to handle it. Then they get lazy and stop trying to fix it and expect us to handle their life and we get lazy and stop trying to let them stand on their own.

    Think way way back. Jump in the DeLorean and set the date to when your son was learning to walk. He was so cute, so sweet, so amazing, wasn't he? Just the most incredible little person you had ever seen. He wanted to stand up and walk like you did and like Robin Hood did but he didn't know how. So he cried. And he tried. he fell, he cried. He tried again and again and finally he did it - he was walking. At first you handed him what he wanted or took him to it or lifted him up high enough to get it. Then you realized he could do it if he worked on it. So you let him toddle around holding on to things. You stepped a few feet away and held your hands out for him to take those steps with nothing to hold on to until he got to you. Guess what? He fell down sometimes. But he got up and he figured it out.

    Now take that trip to the current time. Let him know that you KNOW he can figure this out. That you KNOW that when he wants it bad enough, just like he wanted to come to you wehn he was learning to walk, or to get to the table to get that cookie off of it, when he wants it bad enough he will figure out how to use the tools he has to improve his situation. He wants an easy fix, not a real change. That is what his reaching out from Vegas is telling both of you. He wants to play in Vegas and then have you swoop down and pick him up and fix it for him so he can go muck it up some more.

    This trip is to see two couples you care about very much join their lives in front of their loved ones. You have EARNED the right to go and enjoy this trip and the rest of your life. Peter Pan and Robin Hood are adults now. They are not toddlers you can carry out of the middle of the street. Trust yourself and the things you taught them as they were growing up. You gave them the tools to figure out how to handle their lives. You really cannot do more, anything more you do right now is pushing them back toward the bottom. Keep telling yoruself that.

    Get to an alanon meeting or narc anon meeting. In the days between now and your trip get in to see a therapist also. Ask at the alanon meeting if you staying here would help them? Most people there would say that you going would actually ehlp more. How do I know? That is what they told my parents.

    My parents had a trip to Europe planned, work for mom and fun for dad with an extra few days of fun for both and a family wedding at the end. Then my gfgbro got into trouble with the law and ended up in jail. They worked out sending him to rehab as it was teh first time they/he had faced his alcoholism. Then they realized that he would be home several weeks before they would. Now he had not trashed their home or had parties in it before, or stolen their stuff and sold it. So they let him stay there while they were gone. - the judge wanted him to either be in their home, rehab or jail, even knowing they were out of the country. I lived 800 miles away and tehy called to BEG me to come with my kids to stay there with him when he got out. They didn't want him to be alone. I couldn't do it for so many reasons, the easiest of which were appointments and commitments in our area. So they did go to some meetings and they talked with the people at rehab and they learned what I said and what Star said. That there was NOTHING that they could do even if they were there.

    They went, they had a great time, and he started to figure out how to fix his life.

    It won't be so fast with your son. He hasn't hit bottom yet. ALL that you do when you are there to talk to him, to give him ideas and suggestions and ways Occupational Therapist (OT) handle his problems is keep him from hitting bottom. that is teh LAST LAST LAST thing you want. Until he hits bottom he won't deal with his addictions to substances, to gambling, to being addicted. SO the less you do, that faster his life becomes so intolerable that he has no choice but to figure out how to handle the mess he has made.

    Give him the gift of your confidence that he can figure it out. Give him the time and space to work it out WITHOUT you there as his crutch. GO on your trip. Have a GREAT time. Do NOT answer the phone unless it is someone you are supposed to meet over there. Do NOT call him.

    I am sorry it is so rough. ((((((((((hugs))))))))))
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with everyone else. I have stunted my sons growth when I allowed him to move back home. You should have seen how he reverted back to a late teen with no responsibilities. As soon as I pushed his rear back out of my house, he has stepped back up. The turn around was almost immediate. I will never allow him back again. Well...I guess I cant say that. I will never allow him back again unless he is seriously ill. A parent is a parent. We do have some severe concerns with this child. He is physically disabled as well as a pain in the rear.
  5. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Fact of the matter AHF - I'm right - just a little too late for me. lol. If I was as educated NOW as I should have been when my son was I would have been a lot better off and so would my son. I THANK GOD I listened to the women here for the things I did WHEN I DID - I didn't have anyone to turn to for help on the things we are all going through. Most of this stuff was HUGE TABU -and OM GOSH you must be raising the next Jeffrey Dahmer. When people like Suz, Fran, Witz, Pico, Deb, and others stepped up and gave me the flat skinny and said - NAH NAH NOoooooo and why? Then gave me their stories and HOW stepping away and allowing things to happen? And the courage to DO the things that felt wrong but were right? I knew---and I had a great phenominal example in my own ex husband who was SO incredibly babied by his Mother - that now at 56 years old? He's absolutely, totally, completely and utterly worthless. When I think about how she saved him, and babied him, saved him "Helped" him when NO ONE ELSE WOULD? I realize - she did him NO favors whatsoever because now she's dead, and he's a 56 year old man, that can't do ANYTHING for himself at all - no job, no home, no car, no license, no ability to get work, he's completely reliant on others, and the system to take care of him and currently in prison and happy that he's there because he has three meals a day and a roof over his head. very VERY sad indeed. He squandered his life. What a waste......and he left in his wake a lot of people, and a son that he tried to take down with him and destroy....Don't allow that to happen - ALLOW your son to figure things out for himself. Go and live your life and BE THE EXAMPLE of what happens to people WHEN THEY MOVE ON and rise above the junk that's handed to all of us on varying levels.
  6. AHF

    AHF Member

    Thanks to all for this tough advice. I am trying to follow it; indeed I am. I have to be aware of my own emotional limitations, though. Along with all his other issues, Peter Pan suffers from a diagnosed attachment/abandonment disorder. He got that honestly, by way of his father who dismissed him even when he was "golden boy," by way of a brother who loved him but beat up on him. When he says he has no friends, it's true: the guys he's been hanging out with are manipulative gamblers, and his real friends took another road a long time back. I've been told by everyone to repeat ad nauseam "I will pay for treatment. I will not pay for anything else. I will not enable negative behavior," and that's what I'm doing. I'm not making the phone calls for him, I'm not coming up with ideas, I'm not buying plane tickets, I won't (unlike susiestar's parents) let him stay in my home. But it's not my ego talking when I say I'm the only one he can call when he hits bottom. He has tried calling the help lines, the psychiatric clinics, etc., and they are pretty useless. And I guess I think everyone should be able to call at least one person in this world and know that person will pick up, even if it's just to say "no." Is this crippling him? After all, at some level the problem is that sense of worthlessness, isn't it? I think susiestar is right, the best message I can give is to say "I know you can do this." But I need to be in communication to say that. Still, I hear you guys, especially when it comes to sitting at home waiting for the call, or being nearby and thus tempted to run take care of stuff. So yes, in that sense a few thousand miles' distance is surely a good thing. Thanks so much.
  7. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    I'd turn off the phone and go have some fun. Sounds like:

    1. You've certainly earned it and deserve it.

    2. He's not listening anyway so not much sense in talking to him about it right now.

  8. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    My take is a little different than the others. I am in a similar situation although my sons issues is more drugs than gambling. He is really struggling and we are trying to figure out how to help him without doing it for him. I got pretty depressed this week worrying about him becuase he is clearly depressed and really doesn't know what to do or how to do it. A part of me wanted to rush in and try and fix it although I knew that was a bad idea. We have offered help and he does not seem to be following through and that is where I was able to back off....he at least needs to be the one to come to us, take our help, and talk to us about it.So we are going to europe for 3 weeks this summer. In a way it is hard to leave for 3 weeks knowing our son is such a mess and so lost. However there is absolutely no way he could stay here while we are gone. In fact we don't even want to tell him we are going because i don't want him coming here while we are not here. So we are going to get international service on our cell phones so he can still contact us via phone or text while we are gone. I think at 19 it is a lot to think they will figure out where to live, how to solve problems on their own, specially if they are dealing with depression. when I was that age I had the security of college and my parents to help me through why wouldn't my son need some of the same support?Yes it means I might have some moments on the trip where I am upset because of him.... but I think most of the time I will be able to enjoy myself. If I just cut off contact I would not be able to rest easy at all and would always wish I was home to know things were ok. I don't think us moms every stop worrying.So I would do what feels best to you. If it feels best to keep phone contact open then do that. Yes you might have some bad moments while you are gone BUT I would try to deal with them in the moment and then remember there is not a lot you can do.I think it is all about boundaries.... set some clear ones for yourself.... so maybe don't have the phone with you all the time, you don't necessarily need to answer the very minute he calls.... but you don't have to cut him off for 26 days either.
  9. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    What tough loving said is very true - but when you posted you made it seem like you would not be able to have a vacation or relax without the phone right by your side 24/7 and not have any idea of how to handle a crisis (should your son have one) IF he were to call you while you were out of country. That's what I'm trying to get across to you. If your son's behaviors are controlling YOUR life? Then YOU have a problem. If you are able to detach from his problems, live your life and support him without making all his decisions, and choices for him that's a different story. Of COURSE when they need someone to talk to - you should be there. That's what parents are for, but NOT if the conversation is one where they are manipulating you, making you feel guilty, and you are NOT able to discern at some point and have the dialogue of detachment in which you turn the manipulation around and put the responsibility of the crisis he created back on his shoulders. If I didn't make that clear or came off as "never answer the phone and hope he figures it all out, and if he dies oh well." Not my intention.

    Dude will call, and when he does if the conversation starts towards "I'm hungry, I'm homeless, I'm needy?" We are to say "Well that's too bad, What are you going to do? You're a bright guy you'll figure something out, I can help by looking up the number to social services for you, I'm here if you need someone to talk to, BUT NOT "OH HONEY where can I wire you some money, Do you want to come home, OH I can't bear the thought of you out on the street let me come get you tonight and fix up your old room just for a week until you get back on your feet." If the conversation were to go and it has towards "I'm going to kill myself." Then I've been known just to talk to him calmly, and remind him of the good things he is, what I know he is capable of, that it's okay he's depressed everyone get's depressed, even I get depressed, would he like me to hang up and call 911 for him because I can't do a thing for him if he wants to die, but I love him very much and keep the conversation low keyed and try to remind him of better times, and goals he has, and how they are attainable with a little effort." If it looked like it was going south fast? I've called 911. I don't play with suicide threats so therfore? I don't get them, and he knows if he says them in seriousness - that's what will happen.

    As far as your son having attachement disorder? I understand that very much. Dudes Father did things to him that were at best horrible and felony offenses, yet my son chose to not only seek him out - but beg him to have a relationship with him, and that jerk blew it again. I think the ship as it were has sailed but this time - on Dude's terms. It was against everything in my being for that reuniting to happen - but it did, it's over and nothing I can do about it. FYI - when Dude is upset? There isn't anyone HE will talk to but me either - so I get where you are coming from - but on PURPOSE I have made myself unavailable for the simple fact that I was told by our therapist that if I made myself a phone call away every time he had a crisis? I WOULD become the thing he ran to each time he had one - and he would NEVER figure it out on his own, ever and believe me my son has some very serious issues, placements, suicide attempts, the whole nine. So yeah - I worried a lot when I didn't answer the phone -worried out of my mind that it could be that ONE call - the LAST call....and then how would I live with myself. But I had to (as a Mom) give HIM the opportunity to grow up and see that he COULD rely on himself. It's one of the hardest things I have ever done. Because some day I'm not going to be here - and I don't know when that day will be - HOPEFULLY - in my 100's, but you just never know. That was my logic for trying to prepare him for the world that isn't going to be as nice to him and hand him the phone to talk to his Mom, but will leave him a wreck if he can't figure out how to figure things out for himself - for himself. Sounds cruel - but I'm proud of my son and his progress. He actually now says "OH I have to go now I have a job blah blah blah - and the utility guy and it sounds nothing like the guy that left here two years ago that left ME figure out EVERYTHING or that rolled over in his bed, pulled the covers over his head and said NOT TODAY Mom----please - YOU figure it out for me okay??? I just can't deal with it today." Today? He HAS to deal with it. There is no one else to do it for him and I think he' feels better about himself too.

    Seems like were danged if we do ----danged if we don't huh? But the fact remains - We are ALL warrior moms and we ALL love our kids!
  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry you are in such a quandry and hope you make the decision that is best for you. Regarding "turning off the phone" last year I finally decided to cut the phone off at 8 PM seven days a week. Truly it was one of the wisest choices I have made. I didn't realize that part of my brain was always waiting to hear the phone ring throughout the night....it kept me from reaching the deep sleep that I needed to rejuvenate for the next day. Everyone in the family knows that 8 PM is the deadline.

    What about difficult child? Well...if there actually is an emergency someone can come by the house and ring the doorbell. It took some getting used to but really I don't worry about it any more. There have been a few circumstances that warranted me telling him that I would keep the phone on for that one night only. DDD
  11. AHF

    AHF Member

    Thanks, all. Yes, if I thought someone would come by my house in case of true emergency, I would shut that little cell button OFF. But when they're in Vegas, or you're in Europe -- ? Actually, one thing I find surprising is how well I sleep. I'm more apt to burn up what might have been lovely dinner conversation with my partner talking endless "what ifs..." about Peter Pan. But with the phone on, I don't wake up at 3 a.m. wondering so much. And no, Star, I am not one to respond with "I'll send you money" or anything of that sort. I will listen. I will ask what his plans are. I will echo back to him that he sounds despondent. I will ask if he's thought about changing his approach, and when he says, 'No,' I tell him it's nice to hear his voice and I'm sorry he's having problems. It just hurts to watch him waste his life, to see him disintegrate. My partner's more the one thinking I shouldn't go to Australia (he has to, for work). and i don't blame him--the wee-hours calls wake him up, too, a cost that I know I have to figure in.
  12. KFld

    KFld New Member

    Can you leave your phone on at times that you would be o.k. with him calling you, and then shut it off when you are truley having a good time and don't want to be disrupted by drama?? If he really needs you won't he leave you a voicemail that you can respond to at a little later time??
    I went on a cruise a few months ago and changed my cell phone plan for the week to be able to make and receive calls and texts at a much lower rate because I needed to be in contact with my kids while I was away, but I was also selective about when I would have it on, or even with me. I knew if something huge happened there wasn't much I could do about it, but I enjoyed myself and relaxed more knowing that I could be reached if I had to be. I knew if I had no connection it would always be in the back of my mind that something huge could have happened and I wouldn't know about it for days.
    That is the way my mind works, so maybe this would be a help to you.