Need advice and strength

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by SeekingStrength, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Whoa - here goes (and husband and i are definitely "battle weary").

    32yo son was living 1500 miles away with girlfriend. Last Friday night I receive frantic call from son. girlfriend has placed a restraining order on him. He took the bus to our hometown the next day. This is the third restraining order placed against him by three different girlfriend's in the last ten years! He is not physical, but he harasses a LOT.

    On the bus trip down, he texts me constantly, telling me he is not coming down. He is not making a lot of sense. girlfriend and he have a dog and he is talking about kidnapping the dog, etc. Anyway, the entire time he was on the bus and arrived here Sunday night. Stays with a friend until friend kicks him out. girlfriend (a social worker, no kidding) is staying in contact with him. She and I have communicated some. She was telling him they have a chance if he gets a job and into therapy and stops lying. She informs husband and me that son has not worked in a year! We had no idea. Her family had paid their rent the last three months. She is moving back to her hometown in late February. She is a sweetheart and is finally realizing her enabling - as husband and I are realizing ours.

    Saturday, he contacts us and wants to meet at a fast food restaurant. husband and I show up. Son walks in and says he wants to get a gift card for the friend who picked him up at the airport. This gift card would be to a bar. husband and I say no. Son walks out, gets in vehicle with this friend and they drive away. Unbelievable.

    In the meantime, I find this site and have read just about everything. Made me feel so strong. An hour ago, i receive a text from son, "Want to get a haircut." I have not replied.

    Last we heard, he is staying with the father of another friend...who is a retired social worker. (I find it interesting about the social workers in his life).

    We have fifteen year history of son lying and manipulating. He has done just about everything I read in other threads. I shake my head at the similarities.

    I am thinking, ignore the text until he gives an apology for Saturday's bizarre encounter? Ignore it forever? Reply tomorrow with something like, "We love you and will be here AFTER you get your life back on track".

    Your input is appreciated. I hate what this does to what little inner peace I have these days. husband and I retired and not made of money.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Childofmine

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

    I like the second thing you wrote: We love you and will be here after you get your life back on track.

    As you undoubtedly know, the first step is to stop the flow of money. Sometimes that is a very hard step to take because we are afraid for their physical welfare.

    A second step might be to reduce all communication and all action to nearly nothing. Or absolutely nothing if you can. No response, no meetings, nothing. Silence speaks volumes.

    Let time take its time. Something will change, without your help. It always does.

    A third step is not to get in the middle of him and anybody else. No making plans with the girlfriend or anybody else. Their relationship is up to them. Or between him and his old or new friends. Their relationship is up to them.

    If you can do these three things, even just for today, you can then rest, turn your attention back to your own life, do something nice for yourself, like read a book, take a nap, take a bubble bath.

    If your mind starts up, write the three steps down on a piece of paper and tape it to your bathroom mirror and your refrigerator. When you get antsy, go, stand in front of it, and read it over and over.

    Then, say the Serenity Prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

    I believe that God is here for all of us and for them. He loves them more than we do and only he can help them now.

    Blessings and prayers to you today. I am glad you found this site and hope you feel the support and warmth here.
     
  3. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Seeking,
    Child has given you good advice. Welcome to the forum...we are sorry you had to look for us, but glad, since you need us and we need you, that you found your way here.

    I also like your proposed text response. Once you've said that by text, you don't need to answer anymore texts that don't fall in line with 'getting your life back on track'

    I think it is OK to meet with him in a public place with your husband and let him know that things have changed and youwill not be giving him financial support, large or small. If you want you can come with the contact information for resources he can use..therapist, shelter, whatever. Or not. Sounds like with all the social workers in his life he can figure it out.

    One important thing...you don't need to hop when he says hop. It sounds like you are already figuring it out. His txts don't require an instant response. 24 hour turnover is fine for those to which you choose to respond. You don't have to meet when he wants to meet, or answer the phone at inconvenient times or places...that is what voicemail is for. Move slowly. Child is right...he will come up with solutions on his own when you stop being a potential source of solutions.

    Welcome, good luck, and keep posting.

    (PS we aren't geniuses or licensed or certified either...and we all make PLENTY mistakes and do relentless soul searching..we just try to provide a reflection to you of what we see, filtlered through our own experience. I hope you find it a loving, thoughtful, helpful process. I have)

    Echo
     
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  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Seekingstrength, welcome. I am sorry you had to go looking for us, but I am very glad you found us.

    You've been given excellent advice which I can't add too much to. If you've read through our posts here you are already aware of all of the similarities in our adult kids. This detachment road is a difficult one which often requires a great deal of support because we have to make a complete turnaround in our thinking.

    I would encourage you to read the article at the bottom of my post here, it is on detachment and it is helpful for us.

    Your son sounds as if he has some issues, mental illness perhaps? If that is the case, you can find great support at NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, they have terrific courses for parents. You can access them online if that feels like something you may need.

    This time in your lives is YOUR time. Be selfish about it. Don't allow your son to steal your inner peace. I have a note on my desk at work which says, "inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions." Don't permit your son to start messing up your lives..............set strict boundaries around the behaviors you do not want and demand an apology for his disrespectful actions. Do not accept bad behavior because you will end up living with it.

    Take care of you and husband, remember to put your focus on you two, not your son.

    I'm glad you're here. Keep posting, it helps.
     
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there.

    Your son is heading into middle age at 32. You do not pay a middle age man's haircut bill. He pays. You don't buy gifts for grown adults to give to other grown adults. You have no obligation to take care of him in any way because he is old enough to take care of himself. If he won't, too bad, so sad.

    It isn't easy for us as parents to change our ways, but you've gotten excellent advice so far. Welcome to the board, but sorry you had to join us :/
     
  6. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all this advice. I read Child's response to husband as he was driving earlier today and we both were so relieved at the support. Very empowering and kind. Now, we are home and I found the other three (and will read the article. thanks, Recovering.)
    Each of you said some things husband and I already know, but need to reinforce and each of you mentioned new thoughts, i.e. a 32 year old pays for his own haircut, lol. No kidding! husband and I had already decided an apology is definitely in order. I may wait for that, accept it and then let him know how it stands until he shows he has turned this around for himself. I have asked son twice in the last few months to contact his dad, rather than me. He has ignored that, so I think I will just wait until he respects my wishes.

    We think there is definitely mental illness and have taken him to counselors in the past. Guess what, it never did a bit of good because he is smarter than all the therapists, he thinks.

    His sister (who has nothing to do with him) is a psychological examiner. Her best "guess" is anti-social behavior disorder. Having read the criterion for that, it seems like a good fit.

    A few weeks ago, husband and I watched a Dr. Phil show where there was a 24yo son with many of the same bizarre demands and poor choices. The step dad was refusing any more help; the mom was not so ready to dis-attach. Dr. Phil acted shocked that the step dad would feel this way. He polled the audience and most thought the step dad was wrong. husband and I looked at each other and said, "Dr. Phil just has no idea...." but, that did put a speck of distrust in my brain. (Am i an uncaring monster of a mom?)

    Thanks again. husband and I appreciate the feedback. Hearing from folks who understand is golden to us. You may not be wise, but you certainly come across as such!

    I will learn more about the acronyms and update my "personal info" later.
     
  7. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    I was thinking when reading all these 32 yo wants a haircut? "You are 32yo you can get your haircut without asking your mama I would love you even if bald..." ..... " Oh don't have the money? I got some scissors..." LOL

    No you aren't expected to support a 32yo, welcome to the site

    Nancy
     
  8. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Wow! We got some improvement with our daughter when we set very clear unbreakable boundaries. We also will not speak with her if she is rude to us.

    I would greatly, BIG time limit any funds to him. I would consider paying for REAL medical and psychological care for the time being and perhaps gift cards for the food store for a very short time if and only if he can be cooperative and appropriate.

    I would NOT help with much if anything else. He needs to find a better attitude and employment pronto!! I seriously doubt you should let him stay at your place!!!!!

    If you find your heart hurting excessively, please read literature on boundaries and. Enabling...even consider short term therapy.

    Just read that he is 32....hmmmm mental illness is likely involved. Stay firm, stay strong. Seek support from groups like NAMI. He should still seek counseling, employment, limit your involvement and treat you right. If he can't do this, down the road he might be eligibility for Disability. I know it is very hard, but read about and DO detach.

    This has gone in tooolong!
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2014
  9. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    The thing that happens over time, the thing Dr Phil either doesn't understand or cannot say on the air because it would not make good television, is that the kids' repetitious dramas take over and use up our lives. It seems never to end. Nothing we try helps. We pull out all the stops to help the kids every time.

    And it keeps happening, and the next crisis is even worse.

    Everything we've worked for ~ peace, financial security, the joy of family ~ everything comes to be held hostage to the senseless chaos of our adult child's lifestyle and choices.

    There comes a time, sooner for some, later for others, that we go looking for a better way. We find we have spent our lives in a state of anxious depression over the life choices of a grown child. One day, we get it. The child is an adult man, an adult woman.

    My kids are nearing forty.

    And here I am, still trying to figure things out.

    We realize that maybe, if we had let them taste the consequences of their actions when they were younger and the consequences were smaller, they might not be where they are in their lives, today.

    The things Dr. Phil is suggesting have not worked, for our kids. But there are those who have successfully detached and who find that, once they do reclaim the right to their own lives and time and joy?

    The kids, at long last, pick up.

    Eventually, it comes to matter less whether the kids pick up than it does that we come back to life, ourselves.

    Suffering over a child seemingly determined to self destruct is an endlessly complex kind of horror. We love them, we feel somehow responsible, we see and learn about things never even imagined as we follow them down that rabbit hole.

    One day, we declare our independence from those feelings. We get the connection between helping the kids and helping them to self destruct. We stop helping. Soon after, we refuse to be forced into taking any part in what they seem determined to do to themselves, anymore.

    It is so sad.

    There doesn't seem to be an alternative.

    We all know of eighty year old parents taking care of (and often, being abused by) 60 year old "children."

    It comes not to matter why this happened.

    Cedar
     
  10. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    The thing that happens over time, the thing Dr Phil either doesn't understand or cannot say on the air because it would not make good television, is that the kids' repetitious dramas take over and use up our lives. It seems never to end. Nothing we try helps. We pull out all the stops to help the kids every time.

    And it keeps happening, and the next crisis is even worse.

    Everything we've worked for ~ peace, financial security, the joy of family ~ everything comes to be held hostage to the senseless chaos of our adult child's lifestyle and choices.

    There comes a time, sooner for some, later for others, that we go looking for a better way. We find we have spent our lives in a state of anxious depression over the life choices of a grown child. One day, we get it. The child is an adult man, an adult woman.

    My kids are nearing forty.

    And here I am, still trying to figure things out.

    We realize that maybe, if we had let them taste the consequences of their actions when they were younger and the consequences were smaller, they might not be where they are in their lives, today.

    The things Dr. Phil is suggesting have not worked, for our kids. But there are those who have successfully detached and who find that, once they do reclaim the right to their own lives and time and joy?

    The kids, at long last, pick up.

    Eventually, it comes to matter less whether the kids pick up than it does that we come back to life, ourselves.

    Suffering over a child seemingly determined to self destruct is an endlessly complex kind of horror. We love them, we feel somehow responsible, we see and learn about things never even imagined as we follow them down that rabbit hole.

    One day, we declare our independence from those feelings. We get the connection between helping the kids and helping them to self destruct. We stop helping. Soon after, we refuse to be forced into taking any part in what they seem determined to do to themselves, anymore.

    It is so sad.

    There doesn't seem to be an alternative.

    We all know of eighty year old parents taking care of (and often, being abused by) 60 year old "children."

    It comes not to matter why this happened.

    Cedar
     
  11. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Thanks for responding to that point, Cedar - about Dr. Phil. I have wondered and wondered about it, but husband and I knew he wasn't "getting it". If you haven't lived it, it must be difficult/impossible to comprehend the lifestyle.
     
  12. Childofmine

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

    I watch Dr. Phil. For the most part, I enjoy the shows and believe he gives good advice. I don't like the manufactured drama and the solved-in-60-minutes mentality.

    But, I have often envied those families who appear on his show with their adult addict son or daughter. They are willing to be beat about the head and shoulders even more by Dr. Phil for the episode, only to receive at the end, a completely-paid-for stint in rehab for their difficult child.

    It's like magic. The addict, who we have been trying for YEARS to get to rehab and---even more importantly---to want to be there, magically says Yes to Dr. Phil and is whisked away for 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, at his expense.

    What a gift.

    But---Who knows the end of the story? Did the difficult child walk out after one week? Even get through detox? Stay for about 30 days, like my difficult child usually does, only to get the hopes of the parents up yet again, then to walk out/fail a drug test/get kicked out for bad behavior.

    We never get that part of the story, only a few look-backs from time to time about the ones who succeed. At least for today.

    I would be willing to subject myself to Dr. Phil's blame game for the episode. He can't say one thing to me I haven't said to myself 1000 times.

    And, I'm way way past being embarrassed.

    But I bet that the magic of television is also woefully inadequate when it comes to the 40-foot-tall monster of addiction. Oh, for that magic pill. That quick miracle.
     
  13. Childofmine

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

    I watch Dr. Phil. For the most part, I enjoy the shows and believe he gives good advice. I don't like the manufactured drama and the solved-in-60-minutes mentality.

    But, I have often envied those families who appear on his show with their adult addict son or daughter. They are willing to be beat about the head and shoulders even more by Dr. Phil for the episode, only to receive at the end, a completely-paid-for stint in rehab for their difficult child.

    It's like magic. The addict, who we have been trying for YEARS to get to rehab and---even more importantly---to want to be there, magically says Yes to Dr. Phil and is whisked away for 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, at his expense.

    What a gift.

    But---Who knows the end of the story? Did the difficult child walk out after one week? Even get through detox? Stay for about 30 days, like my difficult child usually does, only to get the hopes of the parents up yet again, then to walk out/fail a drug test/get kicked out for bad behavior.

    We never get that part of the story, only a few look-backs from time to time about the ones who succeed. At least for today.

    I would be willing to subject myself to Dr. Phil's blame game for the episode. He can't say one thing to me I haven't said to myself 1000 times.

    And, I'm way way past being embarrassed.

    But I bet that the magic of television is also woefully inadequate when it comes to the 40-foot-tall monster of addiction. Oh, for that magic pill. That quick miracle.
     
  14. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member


    Exactly, COM. You nailed my thoughts--almost verbatim what I have said to husband.

    Another one of our CD family posted that her parents were taking her difficult child in. I thought, Well, that won't happen here because my gfg32 was so hateful to my mom when she refused to lend him $1000 in December. (lend emphasized for ridiculousness of the request)

    Well, guess what. Mom emailed me last night. She is 83yo. My dad and brother will be so furious if she helps gfg32 again. Gfg32 called her and wants to fly back to our state this weekend....on her dime, of course. He has supposedly found a ticket for $128. He told her he had tried to sell plasma and fainted, he has a broken finger, he is filing for bankruptcy (!), I forget what else.

    She told him he needed to quit his heathen ways, stop using mean words, start listening to her advice, etc. etc. She said, "He was so desperate, he made promises." Mom, mom. Of course he made promises. I pointed that out and that I hoped she made the contingencies so that he has to demonstrate he is doing those things before she sends help. (She won't). I reminded her that therapy is a contingency husband and I require. She would never require therapy for gfg32. She thinks she is all the therapy anybody needs, lol.

    I sent her a loving email about detachment, enabling, manipulation. Told her I loved her and that husband and I are willing to help gfg32 get a leg up after he turns his life around, not before. That I do not want to see her manipulated AGAIN....and that husband and I will not be part of it.

     
  15. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry this is happening, Seeking. Watching family be victimized once our difficult child kids have (finally) run us over the edge and into detachment is a whole other dimension of torture, one of grappling with an almost unnameable kind of rage at the difficult child and of helpless protectiveness of an aging, unprepared, disbelieving parent.

    You are handling all of it well. Maybe that you have been through it will help the grandmother to see it, sooner.

    Keeping you and your family in my thoughts.

    Cedar
     
  16. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm here too SS, as with Echo we are circling the wagons around you too...........quite the large band of us now........enfolding you in our care and love.........
     
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