Losing adult child

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Kalahou, Sep 28, 2015.

  1. Kalahou

    Kalahou Active Member

    This is my first time to post here. Sorry it is such a long post. I have been visiting regularly the past weeks, and feel as if you are supportive friends. I respect your wisdom and courage. You have been more beneficial than any therapist in many ways. From reading and processing various responses to other posts, I gained strength to enable myself to detach from a lot of emotion and guilt in my own situation, and to release my need for responsibility to fix my adult son’s life. For me, this was a huge start towards taking necessary action. Thank you for your sympathy, interest, and assistance to all in this forum family.

    I’m hoping from your experience, you might offer some comments on my situation. I feel my 36 year old adult son is just about lost to us, although not fully estranged, but losing ground quickly. We do not know him anymore. He has always lived in our city not far from us. But, looking back, I realize he has basically grown away from us for the last 15 years. A little background. … In his early 20s, we encouraged him living with friends as a way to develop independence. He kept periodically in touch and always contacted us and returned calls and messages with quick answers (usually one sentence texting), although never shared much of his doings. He then was married for 8+ years (2 grandchildren), and during this time, we tried to support and encourage the family, but again no real communication of the problems they were having. They seemed to distance themselves and their financial, legal, and relationship problems. During this time, I observed my son getting more lazy, non-responsive, losing jobs, getting pages of traffic violations, always taking a victim role as to why his wife was vindictive against him. But he was regularly responsive to us when we wanted to talk or meet. (more on this later)

    Now he is divorced, and he has been living back at home with husband and myself the last 18 months. We wanted to give him every opportunity to get back on track after his divorce trauma, (although I’m now seeing that it was his self-destructive traits that probably contributed much to the divorce.) In the past 18 months, he’s had a comfortable room at our house, separate entrance, bathroom, utilities, etc. Initially it was thought only to be a temporary situation, as we wanted to be supportive and encouraging, to make it easier for him to take necessary steps to make changes, and to remove some obstacles in order for him to resolve issues and get his life in order, to grow in responsibility and success.

    We now realize over the last 18 months, since we have seen no changes, no progress, no commitments from the support we have offered, (in fact, more financial and legal setbacks continue to regularly reoccur until now), it is obvious that our help merely enabling. He has not had a job for 2+ years (except here and there “under the table” days), sleeps entire days and nights for a week at a time, has no driver license, but still drives and continues to get citations, has some shoplifting charges.

    It’s obvious to husband and me that he does not want to live in our house, or interact with us and others in our family. I think he might like to work, but is fearful of getting a job, and probably cannot get a job with his citations and record. When he does rouse himself to wakefulness , he leaves the house, and shows up only when he needs to change or pack up some clothing, or if he has nowhere else to bathe and sleep. When he is here, there is minimal contact and communication and we can sense his resentment of any interest we take in his affairs. Sometimes he has outbursts of anger and annoyance with us. Other times, if I try to talk serious, he cries and just leaves in avoidance. He does not express himself well and clearly. Just very monosyllabic. On at least 3 occasions, when he did return home, he was very badly injured – from serious skateboard falls –each time took weeks to recover.

    He doesn’t pay his traffic fines, so gets scheduled for court, and then sometimes does not keep his court dates, so subsequently gets arrested on a bench warrant. I’ve stopped bailing him out. I have suggested to him to devise a plan to clean up everything with his fines and charges, so he can at least get a license (so he doesn’t continue to get more offenses for driving without a license). I offered to help him with the financials for this purpose, but he does not see any urgency about it. I think it all is just so overwhelming for him. He has numerous other debts I don’t even know about.

    I can’t trust his word. I’m not really even sure if he realizes himself that he tells untruths, or that he gets his stories mixed up. (Very hard to determine.) Because of this, his word is no longer dependable or trustworthy. His habit of speaking continual untruths/lies has created a secretive, suspicious appearance about his activities. I don't believe drugs are the issue, as I have not seen this. But don't know what happens away from our home.

    From all this you get the picture. I have realized we are not helping him by letting him stay here in our house, and it is causing us stress in wondering about him, where he is, what more he is getting in trouble with, etc., so I basically told him in a letter a week ago that I was proposing he vacate his room when I return from a trip next month. I hesitate to completely disown him yet, since the 2 grandkids (elementary school age) are a concern to me. He only has visitation with his children at our house (since he has no other home), so I’m thinking for now to allow him to come stay here when his children come.
    I appreciate any insight, guidance, wisdom you share.
  2. Feeling Sad

    Feeling Sad Active Member

    My heart goes out to you. It could be drugs, a mental health issue, or both. Clearly, something needs to be done. Would he be willing to go see a doctor to be evaluated or tested?

    My son is schizophrenic. I do not have experience with drug addiction. I am a special education teacher. He could be depressed, bipolar, on drugs...The list goes on. I let my son stay at home too long. I tolerated way too much. It did not help him. It fact, it could have made his condition worse.

    I would set ground rules up and have a specific date that he has to go and see a doctor by or move out.

    One does not always see drugs around the house. That does not mean that he is not using. Also, people who are mentally ill often self-mecicate with drugs or alcolhol.

    I would not leave him alone to vacate while you are gone. Your house or belongings could be destroyed.

    He needs therapy at the very least. Maybe rehab. His behavior could be indicative of many things. But, you are right. It cannot continue this way. Also, in some states, he would need to be evicted if he has lived there over a certain amount of time.

    Others on this site others will come along. Again, my son is schizophrenic. I work with disabled and mentally ill children. Your son needs help. But, if he is not willing to get help now, then you, as parents, should not have to suffer. It is both unhealthy and unsafe for you.

    Please keep posting. Your son has a lot of behaviors that could be several conditions. I just know that therapists have told me that I was not doing my son any favors letting him continue destroying my house and not following my rules for so long. Love us not enough. Strict guidelines and rules are needed.

    Take care. Others will come along soon.
  3. Feeling Sad

    Feeling Sad Active Member

    One last thing. I know that you love him. You would not be on this site if you didn't. Again, I am so sorry that you are going through this. It is sheer torture as a parent. To do it over, I would have kicked my son out years earlier. But, sadly, there are no do overs.

    He knows that you love him and, sadly is taking complete advantage of this fact. You mention your grandchildren. Is this part of the reason that you are afraid or hesitant to kick him out? He is quite aware of this and is using it to his advanrage.

    First, is he a good father or role model in his present state? He could lose his visitation rights.

    It should be the other way around. He should be working hard at improving himself to have the right...yes, the right to be able to see his children in YOUR house. Why should he find a job if you will give him money and he can sleep-in? What if he hurts someone while driving without a license? Who is paying for his gas?

    Do not let fear prevent you from helping your son to get better. Take back the power. Your loving kindness is not helping him. His visitations could still be present, even without his living there. Locations and drop-offs could change. The best would be that he realizes that he could lose the visitations with his children. His behavior now would warrant that. You also want your grandchildren to be safe and have a stable father.

    Sometimes it takes some time on their own, without help or financial assistance, to realize that they need to change. He needs help...consistent weekly help.

    Think of it this way, any improvement in your son, will greatly help your grandchildren...and you.

    Hugs, this morning. Keep posting. This site saved me. It gives you strength by numbers.
  4. Childofmine

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

    Welcome to the forum, Kalahou. We are glad you are here and posting. We understand, but you already know that.

    In reading your post, one of the questions that came to my mind is how was he in high school and during those years of late teens into early to mid-20s? You said you encouraged him to move out and live with friends, which is usually a good step into being more self-sufficient. Did you have any signs that he wasn't functioning well at that time?

    Then, from your post, it sounds like his functionality has decreased over the years (divorce, etc.) and now, after moving back into your home, he has regressed even more.

    Like Feeling Sad said, it could be drug or alcohol addiction or another mental illness. Addiction is classified as a mental illness, which to me was important to know.

    You can read my story in many posts on this forum over the past two years. My son's "issues" began in high school but it was just a teenage boy not doing what he was supposed to do, i.e., study, get good grades, turn in homework. He played soccer all four years, went to school, passed his classes (not that hard, admittedly) and had friends. He never had a girlfriend until after high school. He was kind of shy or either the class clown (extremes) and looking back, was anxious. He hated to be noticed. But all in all, he was functional, worked part time, went to church with us, etc. I could never have predicted the future---how awful it came to be with him---from those years.

    After high school, he went directly to college, and at the end of the first semester that's when I realized things were more than just troubling. He basically flunked every class. His substance abuse was escalating dramatically (later learned a lot from his girlfriend, who had been a friend in high school), but I had no clue. No clue at all. He had jobs but was getting fired over and over again. The decline occurred over another year or so, then he was on the street, and there were years of homelessness, rehabs, jail.

    I kicked him out for the last time before the sharp decline onto his life on the street. There were many nights I lay awake wondering if my kicking him out caused it, or triggered it, or something.

    There was no getting through to him. I tried everything, over and over again. Finally, he was out of here.

    My son regressed while he lived at home. Today, when he comes over to visit (after 16 months of continuing positive behavior and change) he regresses back to about a 15 year old boy.

    I believe "home" is a very bad place for him. He wants to hide and hibernate and as we all know, that isn't life. That doesn't work.

    Over this time, I came to believe that I was also a negative connection for him, as his mother. He wanted me to handle everything, solve everything, and basically he would sit and do absolutely nothing until I would cave in, again and again and again. I taught him that. It has taken years for me to stand firm and for him to unlearn that behavior. You wouldn't believe the lengths he would go, to make me go back to my old behaviors. One time he texted me nearly 300 times in a single day...just ... and ???, trying to get me to respond, after I told him I was finished with the conversation.

    I taught him that if he would just keep on, I would cave. As my husband says (this was pivotal for me, and still continues to be): It took him a long time to walk into the forest. It's going to take that same long time for him to walk out of it.

    Over time, I came to believe that for him to begin to develop any self-sufficiency or self-respect, he was going to have to be on his own. I was going to have to be far removed from him. We never completely cut off communication, but I had to set very firm boundaries for a long time and stick to them. It was truly the hardest thing I had ever done in my life, and it went against every bit of what I felt and wanted to do.

    If your son is functional (not psychotic and knows reality), is it time for him to start taking responsibility for his own life?

    In my situation, talking and consequences and crying and pleading and reasoning and begging and professional help and doctors appointments and helping him get jobs and waking him up in the mornings because he couldn't do it himself...on and on and on...none of it made one bit of difference. Not one bit. This went on for years, because I was convinced if I just tried harder with him, he would change.

    I put all of my time and energy and resources (and I am one persistent person) into getting him straightened out.

    Nothing worked.

    Finally...I had to change. I had to learn new and different ways of thinking and behaving. My feelings didn't change, and that was the hardest part...living with my own feelings of guilt and shame and need and love and FEAR (the strongest one) and not reacting, not giving in, to those feelings. I had to learn how to do this over time as this is 100 percent against a mother's love and behavior. It is completely counter-intuitive and it goes against culture as well. It is a lonely road.

    Over time, I came to believe that this was my only chance to survive and his only chance to survive. But no guarantee, and for years there was no change in him, even after I started to change. In fact, he went down further.

    I tell you all of this...my story...as one example of one person's trajectory in this awful experience of dealing with DCs. There may be some things here that resonate with you...or not.

    Today my son is 26 years old. He works full time as an electrician's helper. He lives in a two-bedroom trailer about five miles from me. He has a car with 280,000 miles on it. He pays his own bills, and over the past 16 months has moved up in hourly rate from minimum wage at McDonald's to $13 an hour. He can just about live on that. He has paid off his county probation and is finished with that. He is still paying his state probation and has 2.5 years still left on state probation from two felonies for selling drugs. He is talking about furthering his training and becoming an electrician. I am very hopeful but I work hard every day to stay out of his details and let him live his life on his own terms.

    It's not pretty and perfect and it certainly isn't the Cinderella story I dreamed of for my precious red-headed, freckle faced little boy who is smart as a whip and has a smile that lights up a room.

    I never could have imagined the horror story of the past 7 years, thankfully.

    Please continue sharing with us. You will find support, care, encouragement and ideas here. We will support you, regardless of what you decide to do or not. We can't know your whole story from one or two or even 20 posts. We know it's complicated, and in the end, you can only do what you can live with.

    Warm hugs this morning, and again, welcome.
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  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Kalahou. So glad you posted. But so sorry you are all living through this.

    I would have asked all the same questions that Childofmine asked.

    And I worry about all the time that your son spends sleeping. He could have serious bipolar depression, or it could be drugs. Or both.
    What does he say when you sit down and talk about a doctor? You've got to have that conversation. If he is not willing to go, you will have to kick him out again. Really, your options will be limited.

    I'm at a crossroads myself, but my son is 18. I feel for you.
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  6. Kalahou

    Kalahou Active Member

    Thank you Feelingsad, Childofmine and Terry, Thanks you so much for your time and effort to respond with caring and concern.

    What a relief to have shared this dilemma, and not feel so alone with it. I think my son does have a low self-esteem and is very likely depressed (and probably has had depression for a long time - years) With this coming to the forefront of my thinking now, I will ask him to see a doctor for an evaluation. Fortunately, he just recently got health insurance, because it was required by Obamacare. I don’t know if he will seek medical help on his own or not. I don’t think I can force him to go to the doctor and seek help or medication for depression.

    I know he will not be responsible to live on his own for a long time, if ever. He has no earning ability (no education or significant work experience). When he leaves, I’m assuming he will either be couch surfing around wherever a so-called “friend” will let him, or sleeping in a car. He has also been known to ride the bus all night for a safe place to sleep. Before his marriage, he lived with roommates, who took care of all the bills after collecting his share of the $.

    I am wondering now that if there is a concern about likely depression, then I may contribute to more difficulty by making him vacate his room here, instead of supporting him in possible recovery. But I don’t want to waver on my decision for him to leave.Unfortunately, I worry that he will continue to be depressed no matter what I do. HE is the one who has to make the commitment to ask himself why he is depressed? unmotivated? And seek ways to improve his state of mind. Even when his children are at my house for the visitation with their father, he continues his sleeping all day and is not a good role model for them.

    Childofmine, there is much about your situation that resounds with similarity to my own adult son, who is just draining our psyche and spirit because he is a lost soul, has made poor choices, with excuses and bad planning, and yet I still (at times) still feel a responsibility to save him. I’ve finally reached such a point of weariness. I do not want to estrange from him, but that may indeed be the consequence of my taking a stand to stop enabling him and making him leave his room at our house., My son is not overtly abusive, but is just so disinterested in us and is doing nothing to try to get himself on track, and he only comes around to us if he has a need for help and safety, such as needs a place to sleep, food, money, childcare, etc.

    In looking back, I now see son’s past behavior was that he was a compliant child, although not very communicative. He appeared to be a good student in high school, with good grades, but did not complete college and stopped going after failing so many classes (no doubt because of non-attendance and not completing work). He has really never held a long-term job. Perhaps because of these traits, my eyes were blinded in a way to see that he was different even from toddler days (never so, so happy / not smiling so much), that he was never a go-getter, that he (as I now see it) depended on others to do for him, and just followed directions laid out for him. He was often forgetful, frequently losing items, not attending to take care of things, not planning even way back then, nor ever seeing urgency about matters, sometimes fearful, most always hesitant and procrastinating.

    So I’m seeing much of what frustrates me no end now as being his life’s pattern from a child. And I wonder if these kinds of people can now or ever overcome their basic temperament / nature. It seems it will require so much effort on his part -- effort he is not disciplined to exert and does not have the personality for. And I wonder if it is right to just “throw away” these types of AC and not want them anymore -- just because they are so different from the normal societal expectations. If your son or mine was another non-related person, they would just not be in our circle of friends, and it would be so easy to avoid them entirely. But (at least re: my own son), I know there is no one else in the world who cares about him either. It is very sad to know no one else cares about him or what happens if he goes down the tubes.

    But it is too wearying and draining to continue breaking our own without seeing improvement in his attitude to at least try to make it better. Sometimes. I feel I want to escape. Your responses here are helping me to build my resolve to make him leave our home when I return home next month, and stop enabling him. Thank you again for your replies. It is life-saving at this time.
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  7. Feeling Sad

    Feeling Sad Active Member

    Yes, he is no longer a child. Yes, he, and only he, can overcome patterns he has had as a child.

    You are not going to live forever. Then, what? He does not need to be "disciplined" because someone is always there for him to fill in the missing pieces.

    He cannot sleep all day without acknowledging that fact. Is he truly disabled in some way? Does he talk to you? Do you inquire? What do his own children feel about the fact that their own father, that they just see part-time, would rather sleep than visit with them? They are children. His children. How could they understand? What if they tell their mother? Will dhe cut iff visitation? You are probably, all be it well-meaningly, spending time with them...smoothing over his glaring behavioral faults.

    He needs to actively be engaged in treatment or leave NOW. No more. You are not helping him. He can continue this way ONLY if you help him by supporting him, giving him money, or feeling sorry for him.

    My mentally ill son lived with me for 9 years. Yes, he is schizophrenic and thus, out of touch with reality. But, he should have been thrown out by me. Yes, I made him not get better...with love...undying motherly love.

    My younger brother was the baby of the family. He had heart surgery as a baby. After that he was fine, except for scoliosis, brought on by ribs being removed for the aorta surgery as a baby.

    Flash toward 50 years. He lived with my parents, mooched off of them when they were alive, and a home-cooked meal waited for him each night. He was finally kicked out when my parents house had to be sold because he had stolen $200,000 from the trust and estate and cost us over $100,000 in attorney fees. He had bought himself a car, traveled, ate at fancy restaurants, paid his taxes, and on and on and on.

    My mother felt sorry for him. She totally enabled him to the point that he had a strong feeling of entitlement...just for being alive.

    That could be your son. His children will lose respect, you will lose respect, more importantly, HE will lose respect in himself. If he feels that you expect nothing from him, he will internalized that and feel, "Yes, they are right. I am incapable of achieving more..."

    You need to do what you feel is right for everyone involved, not just him. His problems affect many individuals.

    Please, seek help from a therapist. You know your case better than anyone. They could help guide you through these truly trying times. Guilt is the number one feeling that I have. But, would l feel more guilty if I knew my complacency had caused something even worse to occur. Think of everyone involved. ..not just him.

    We often perceive our grown children as children, but they are adults. They are adults in society with societal rules and expectations. One further...your son is a father, as well...

    We are here for you. We know that you are hurting. We have all been through similar turmoils. Stay in conract. It truly helps.

    Positive thoughts sent your way.
  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi Kalahou,

    I want to say Hi, too. I agree with everybody else. I support you to ask your son to leave. It is clear he needs more than a helping hand. The only one who can get the treatment or assistance he needs is him.

    My son is almost 27. He has never functioned well. He is working now but he has a serious chronic illness for which he requires treatment, which he does not get. I am dealing with the fact that he could well die, and there is nothing I can do.

    As parents, it breaks our hearts to see our children suffer or self-destruct. We seem to want to do anything to avoid this. It does not work.

    There is a point where they either do what they need or not.

    We realize that the only one we can save is us.

    My heart goes out to you. None of this is easy. It is all hard. We support you 100 percent. Keep posting. It helps.

    Take care,

    Last edited: Sep 30, 2015
  9. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Kalahou,
    Welcome. I am sorry for your troubles that cause you to be here. Nevertheless, it is a good place to be. I am glad that I found this site, in the short time I have been here, I have been empowered to move in a different direction and have found much peace.

    I too, have a 36 year old who has downward spiraled before our eyes, slowly, then quickly, then slowly, then quickly.

    I have read and reread your post.Trying to figure out in your description, like you are, what has happened to your son. I cannot tell you what the problem is, I do not know the whole story. All I can do is share what I know of our experience with our 36 year old. There are many similarities written here. The most blaring one is that you have bent over more than backwards to try to help your ADULT child.

    You and your husband are incredibly kind and patient.

    I color coded parts of your observations-blue for what you have done to try to help, and red for clues you could focus on to examine his pattern. Red-for red flag. Signs that we as parents don't see because it is too, too, up close and personal, sometimes we need to step back, like an artist does, to see the full picture.

    All of these red flags could be signs of depression, of mental illness, of drug addiction.Whatever the case may be, it does not give our adult children license to walk all over us and our kindness and graciousness.

    These red flags are what we observed with our daughter. It does not happen all at once. It is like a puzzle that you try to put together, but you lost the cover with the picture on it. Then slowly, the pieces start to fit.

    We live in a small house. Our daughter would have to bunk in the living room, her comings and goings were very obvious. She exhibited a lot of the characteristics you describe here. She became a night walker-going out all night and sleeping in. Her sister, also a difficult adult child (for whatever reason) finally came to me and said
    "Mom she's not depressed, she's on ice, meth. She sleeps like that, because she is coming off it. She is moody, and snappish because she needs her next high." Suddenly that lost puzzle cover was right in front of my face, and all of the scattered pieces began to fit together. No shoplifting charges that I know about, but we would find athletic bags of all kinds. She and her boyfriend began bringing bikes and mopeds to our house, claiming they were working to help his friend who owned a bike shop with the excess repair orders he had. They were stealing from people at the park and operating a bloody chop shop in our back yard.WE had no clue. We believed all the lies.
    My daughter is like this, too. She sort of wanted to live at our house, on her terms. We soon found out that when she disappeared, she was binging with her addict friends, and doing God only knows what to pay for her habit. When the binging was over and she needed to sleep, to shower, she would show up again.

    Manipulation at its finest. My daughters M.O. There was always a reason or excuse. FINE way to treat someone who is helping you, right?

    Our daughter did not care to be responsible either. We had debt collectors calling our house at all hours for her. We eventually learned it was because the only thing she cared about was the next high.

    Our daughter became a thief and a habitual liar. She used moods and snapped when we were too close to "seeing the picture" or completing the puzzle of what was happening. She learned that we did not want to get into arguments or altercations, we just wanted a peaceable home. We did not want to believe that she was into drugs, she knew this. She would do anything, say anything to be able to keep using drugs, and keep using US.

    This was a big step for us, realizing we were not helping by letting our daughters stay in our house, understanding enabling. Please read the piece on this forum about Detachment, it is very informative and eye opening about our responses as parents of adult children.
    The stress you speak of is still directed towards worry and concern for him. You do not even mention how all of this has impacted YOU and your life. You are important too, You have value, You have a right to live in peace, You have a right to be respected in your own home, by your 36 year old adult son, whom you have helped over and over and over again. What you have described here is unacceptable behavior.

    I apologize if my response seems harsh. I suppose it is because it hits home hard for me. It is like a retelling of our own story, through another person, the similarities are all too real.

    I have hit a different stage in my dealing with our daughters and addiction. I am fed up with the lies, manipulation, using. I will not allow this in my home.

    It is almost as if we were hypnotized with the memories of them as children, blinded by our love for them, we could not see the cold hard reality, we could not solve the puzzle, we could not see the picture.

    Our difficult adult children are very cunning. They know how to get what they want from us, they know how to push all the right buttons. We took our 27 year old in again and again with the focus on our grandchildren. There was promise of change that quickly eroded into old habits and our little home became a war zone.

    Your son has learned that you do not want to battle. So he turns on you when you get too close to knowing the truth.

    He is a man, well on his way to 40 years old. You have done your raising of him. You have shown him more than enough times how much you love him and he has taken advantage of your love.

    It is hard to break old habits. We let our daughters back in to our home over and over again, each time the end result was worse, each time our daughters appeared with promises that hypnotized us all over again into believing that we were helping them. We were not helping them.

    Our house was not our sanctuary. Our lives were chaotic, in turmoil, disrupted. I went through all of the stages of grief, time and again. Denial, bargaining, depression, anger, acceptance.

    The similarities of our stories has opened up a floodgate of anger in me. I am angry that we were so hypnotized into looking at our daughters as children. Angry that we could not see the picture, angry that we were used over and over again. I spent a long time writing this, and debated whether or not I should even post it.

    I do not wish to offend you, for we all must go through our own processing in our own due time. I understand your pain, your desire to help. I am angry for you Kalahou. Not at you-for you. I see so much of myself in your writing.

    Please try to focus on your right to have a peaceable home. See what is happening to you, rather than trying to focus on your son. He is a man, he has made his own choices. The consequences of those choices have been damaging to you. No diagnosis can justify that.

    There is an old song with a lyric that runs through my head.
    "Brothers got a problem and it's deep as a wishing well, and no one else can help him but himself.

    This applies to our difficult adult children. There is a reality revolving through many of these threads, and that is that our adult children get worse in our homes, not better. That is because they return to old patterns of dependency, and do not take responsibility for their own lives, their own actions.

    If I have offended you with my words, please forgive me. I am writing to myself as much as I am to you. I feel for you Kalahou. Please take care, continue to visit here and post. It is a place where you can garner much knowledge to help you make informed decisions. It is a place where people care deeply and understand each other.


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  10. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    First, let me say, I am so, SO sorry that you have to be here. There is just nothing harder than having a child in trouble that you can't help. And the one thing I learned from being here is that you CAN'T help. He has to help himself. Right now my son, who is only 20, is with an aunt having been basically homeless on and off for a year. But she's charging rent and has very strict rules, so it's not like living at home. Perhaps that will be the key...we shall see.

    As for your son,

    Kalahou, I'm so very sorry to say this, but these things just scream drugs to me. I'm not saying it couldn't be depression or mental illness. I'm certainly no expert and God knows I had no clue about my own son, but it sounds so much like his behavior. Mine even kept his curfew and didn't get in trouble with the police (until after we put him out). We didn't have any idea there was any drug use until we came home one day to find him stoned off his butt. I'd have never believed, even if I'd been told, that he was getting high. His thing was pot. I'd imagine drugs with no tell-tale odor would be even easier to hide. Has he stolen from you? Have things gone missing; money, jewelry, etc? If so...I'd be just sure.

    My goodness this is exactly like my son! I could have written this! The only difference between them is age and prior marriage...and he was not a follower exactly, but he had no ambition. He never did more than the bare minimum to get by.

    I agree. Nothing we did helped our son. No amount of support, help, advice, caring or love. No shelter or food or monetary assistance. NOTHING we did helped him. He has to be forced to help himself.

    Welcome to our little corner of the internet. We all understand.
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  11. Childofmine

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

    One of the best things about writing and reading on this site is seeing ourselves and our situations in the mirror of others' stories. The facts and details are different, but the larger truths and experiences and learnings are often the same.

    It is also comforting to know we are not alone in this. That in fact, there are patterns to this type of behavior and these situations.

    We are often willing to listen to people who have walked the same road, or a very close road, to the road we have walked.

    Once we understand that we love our children just the same...and we have tried to hard to do the right thing at any given point in time...and we have suffered and struggled the same...we trust. And then we are willing to listen to new ways of thinking and behaving.

    That is the crux of the whole matter. Doing the same thing over and over again gets us the same thing.

    We have waited and waited and waited for them to change. It hasn't happened. So...we have to "see" that we have to change. I remember a series of "seeing" things for the very first time. It was like I "woke up" all of a sudden and the same exact situation took on new meaning and I saw it in a whole new perspective.

    The situation is exactly the same...but my perspective on it changed.

    And once we see the situation differently...we can never go back to where we were. And that is a good thing.

    Then the real work begins. Because it is the hardest thing we have ever done in our own lives...to tell our precious children, our sons and daughters who are now adults....no more.

    Kalahou, I also have wondered these things, and I have spent a lot of time getting more real about people and about the world. I used to think (ah, my Cinderella self) that nothing would do except both of my sons would have college degrees, advanced degrees, high level professional jobs, volunteer in the community, get married to a wonderful accomplished woman, have 2.5 children. I had it all laid out in my heart and in my head. What expectations I had. They were wrong of me, because their lives are their business and I had no business imposing my dream, MY dream, not theirs, onto their lives. But I did, and I couldn't see reality.

    Today, after so much work on myself, as I look more clearly at the real world, I see that so many kinds of people make up the world. There are people at every socio-economic point on the spectrum. And many/most of them are happy right where they are. They are content. They are living the lives they have chosen. It's not for me to decide. I am so much more humble today.

    So...to your point...if our adult children can pay their own way in life...is that enough for us? If my son works at a $13 an hour job forever...like he is today...is that enough for me? Can I accept and love him and not forever keep on pushing, pushing, pushing for him to do more to make me happy?

    This is acceptance and I am still learning all about it. This is reality. It is what it is. I have come light years in separating myself from my rose-colored arrogance. My superiority. I have had to struggle mightily with myself and my prejudices about higher education, etc. I never realized any of this until I came face to face with my own inability to make something happen with my son. This has been a very good and important journey for me, facing my own self, and realizing that so much work on me needed to be done.

    I have come to believe that letting go of people we love so much is the highest and best form of love. Letting people be who they are, whether they are homeless, in jail or lying on the side of the road high on drugs...these are adults. These are people who have had, and still have, every chance to get help and change, but they are...choosing...not...to.

    They want the life they are leading, because if they didn't, they would start the process of changing it.

    My son was absolutely not going to take any help. Every outstretched hand he figuratively spit on. He was going to do life his own way on his own terms.

    I could not accept that, for years. I couldn't fathom it, I was terrified by it, and I could not and would not accept it.

    I made myself miserable and I am sure I made him miserable too.

    Seeing this, and then living with it...requires hard work to separate my thinking and my behavior from my feelings. It is the hardest work ever, because I was a person who was and is a very feelings-oriented person. I have been "accused" all of my life of being...too sensitive. I still hear that today, at times. I am a person who feels very deeply and it is my greatest strength and my greatest weakness. This awful journey has helped me deal from new thinking...not my feelings. And that has taken a lot of work.

    I hear the "sick and tired" in you. We have to be so sick and tired of the situation with our DCs that we are willing to do the very very hard work of changing ourselves and our thinking and our behavior. We have to be completely spent with it all, before we can do this hard work.

    And the same goes for them. While they are "taken care of" they have no chance to get sick and tired enough to fight for their own lives, to want to change. Why should they? They have us to handle life for them.

    Please know we understand the struggle, the terrible struggle, the wrestling, the dark night of the soul, the pain and the fear. I understand it, because i have lived it too.

    And everybody is different and every situation is different. There is no prescriptive, onesizefitsall, solution. But these are ideas that may be helpful.

    Warm hugs this morning. We're here for you.
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  12. Kalahou

    Kalahou Active Member

    Wow. I am in awe and thankfulness to you all for sharing your hearts with me with such insightful and caring responses to my situation. I am re-reading this guidance over and over and over to fully digest and accept the truth I recognize in your wisdom. I have too long been “standing by” and “hoping” something would happen, a hard thing to do. I am reaching the point to act. One of the first steps was reaching out to you (maybe as a form of prayer) for answers. While there may not be any good answers, I definitely see glimpses of clarity and truth in the light you responders have brought into focus for me.

    It is hard for us all to have to experience and deal with grieving lost dreams and I am sorry to hear of your situations, in which you have learned your truth the hard way. I am also dismayed to see new posters with new difficult children situations continue to join as members of this site. I have found support here. To all, I thank you. Your desire to share your stories and wisdom is a force and impact for me. After reading your posts over and over today, I have a quiet joy in my heart, and am encouraged to progress in detachment from emotions. I have been fearful and uncertain. On this site, I already feel I am not alone. I am seeing the work to do on myself to make things happen.Thank you very very much for your mature perceptions and guidance, and for your kind caring to take time and effort to help me. I need to process and gel this guidance in my heart to prepare the right action to have my son leave when I return home in a few weeks. I will continue to visit this site to find encouragement and support.
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