New here & needing something...I don't know what yet..

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by KMBernier, Nov 28, 2014.

  1. KMBernier

    KMBernier New Member

    My difficult child....where do I even begin? I have 2 children. One is my daughter, my eldest, who I'm extremely close to, mostly as a result of everything we have had to go through together. She is the child of a HS boyfriend & has never met her bio dad. My son, my difficult child, was born almost 3 years after her. His father is a textbook psychopath. right down to the last drop. In some ways I hate myself for falling for his charm and subsequently putting up with his controlling, abusive behavior, but on the other hand I have to tell myself I was only an 18 year old girl. My mother was horrified by me being an unwed teenage mother, so she made me feel as if I had to hurry up and get married, so I did. After 5 years I finally managed to break away from that relationship, but not without trauma to both my kids and to myself. My son's (difficult child) father would over the course of the next 17 years pop in and out of our lives. He's disappear for years at a time (once prompting my difficult child to tell everyone that his father died in the twin towers during the 9/11 incident). I remarried once during my kid's childhood, but we later divorced. I found that manipulative people aren't always violent and aggressive, sometimes they are quiet and just degrading.
    My difficult child has displayed behaviors over the course of his life that have always indicated something is amiss. I've always felt as if I am the enemy. While he was in school, he would regularly fail classes but get "pushed along" because he was obviously not a stupid kid. His reading level, math skills and worldly knowledge has always been far beyond his age level. My daughter's as well, but she lacked the personality defects that my son had displayed. In his mind, the world was against him and everyone around him hated him. Love and material gain always went hand in hand. In order to show him love, It had to come through some physical source. Hugs, kisses & cuddling never were enough. In later years he loved to pull out the "you always loved my sister more than me" card, but what I tried to explain is that I've always loved both my kids equally, what he saw is that she loved me back. He would be charming & funny to everyone around us, but verbally, emotionally and physically abusive towards us. I'd try to talk to people about it, but they would act as if I were this awful parent who just mistreated and/or neglected him and he was just acting out.
    When he turned 18, he got worse. He started smoking cigarettes (this was my fault, apparently. Even though I never smoked, he blamed it on me by saying the 2 men I married were both smokers and those were the biggest male influences in his life) and then he started smoking pot. Given that he was of a legal adult age and also almost a foot taller than my daughter and I, it became even harder to control him. He had always stolen from us without guilt, remorse or admission, but now it became even more callous. He stole Christmas presents that were intended for him (!), justifying that they were for him anyway, he had nothing clean to wear and didn't feel like doing laundry, so it was ok. He also stole candy that was meant to put into stockings that were not necessarily meant for him. This, when I called him out on it, was justified because he didn't think there was anything in the house to eat, thus making it my fault in his mind.
    When we finally were forced to move because he destroyed his bedroom in the apartment we were living in (causing me to pay 2K to the landlord, 2K I didn't have as a single mom with no financial help from anyone) I had hoped for a new beginning. It never happened. He was as violent, disrespectful, abusive and manipulative as always. His new bedroom got trashed, he stole from me and his sister (didn't matter what. Everything from money to restaurant leftovers) and became even more unpredictable. Things finally came to a head, he once again acted out physically against his sister and I, and I got a restraining order against him. My sister took him in for a while. He gave his usual story about what an awful mother I am and I'm a total psycho etc. She bought into it initially, but after a few weeks he did the same thing to her. Utterly trashed the space he was living in, stole money from her purse and even took her medication out of her bedroom. She kicked him out and he went to his father's, the only place left at this point. From there his father found him a rooming house in some trashy neighborhood and then he went into job Corp. After he graduated from JC, I thought it was finally over. I let him move back home come November after he graduated from JC. He promised to pay rent, he promised to keep his space clean, to not steal and to contribute to the household in general. Meanwhile, the August before I let him move home I had remarried. It went ok a first. There were things missing on occasion, but I could fluff them off as just being misunderstood. Then there were more things going wrong. He never paid rent, not one dime, even when he was working. He trashed his room. Again. Still, I denied. This went on for almost 2 years. Things would disappear, I'd cover it up. He'd trash his room, I'd justify it by claiming he was at least working. Now, he is 21. He is hardly ever home since he is now with a new girlfriend. My daughter moved to ME for most of the year and now I cant fluff off or deny things he is doing or has done. While my daughter had been gone my husband and I went on vacation for a week. A few weeks after coming back I found that my Grandparent's wedding rings are now gone. I tried to ask my difficult child about them and even left him an "out" by asking If maybe he had friends over who may have taken them. Nope, of course not. I've had money taken from my purse, movies taken out of my room, my daughter "lost" her train pass and so many other things on such a regular basis I can't keep track. I bring my purse into my room with me at night & bring my medications with me wherever I go, that I can say. This past week he took an electric blanket that my daughter had just bought. Seems like such a small thing, but it screamed things I can no longer deny. When I confronted him about it he said "well Laura's heat is off so we don't have any"(Laura being his girlfriend). I told him it wasn't his to take and he said "well, she has 2 and I have none". After explaining to him that she bought it because her other one broke the response was "Well, it was on the floor". Again, when I told him it wasn't his to take, he started to yell at me, claim that his sister has screwed him over & I don't even know about it & that my husband is an :censored2: and claimed that I am the only person in this family he gives a :censored2: (excuse my language) about. After this he left the house & hasn't been around since. Thanksgiving went by and nothing.
    I'm in anguish because I alternately want him to be around because he is my son, but also know how much he is hurting my family...and me. I don't know where to put my feelings and emotions. He blames me for everything and I feel guilty because its true that I couldn't be there as much as I wanted because of my job, but I also know that I have one child, now 24 who knows what we've been put through and tries to tell me it's him, not me who is flawed. I've tried everything. He was evaluated back in grade school & found to possibly have NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD). Every time I've tried to bring him to a therapist they tried to tell me he was "normal", because he would be polite and charming throughout his visits. His daycare teacher did pick up on some unusual behavior once. Back in the post 9/11 era. He would build Lego towers and drive a plastic plane into them. She said it was perfectly normal for an 8 year old to act out their fears in such a manner right after such an event. However, this was almost a year after the event and the average 8 year old does not do that. God knows I've got parenting regrets from over the years, but, not enough to warrant what he has put us through.
    I can't deny anything any longer. I've tried to explain to my daughter & my husband that when people make excuses for the wrongdoings of their loved ones, they aren't making excuses for that person, but for themselves. How do you live with the thought that a person you brought into his world and have loved with all you have to give can give a rat's ass about you?
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry you have had to go through this. You aren't alone, trust me.

    This isn't about you, it's about him. Obviously he inherited some of his father's DNA as far as personality. As an adoptive mom who has hung with other adoptive moms for over twenty years, we get to see how interesting it is that our kids who never met their birthparents can end up being so much like them down to mannerisms they never saw before finally meeting the birthparent. That's where I believe your son got his attitude toward life and his personality problems, not from you not being home enough blah, blah, blah. H ow many parents are home all the time these days? How many of their kids still turn out ok? Your daughter did. It is the nature of, what we call our difficult child (tongue in cheek word for our problem child as in Gift from God) that they blame everything, including an earthquake in China on their behavior. But it is never because they behave badly. They blame us the most because we love them and they like to up the guilt so that we continue to allow them to live at home and take our money, as if they were ten years old, rather than they becoming responsible adults. And if we cut off the money train, can sometimes get dangerous and the abuse just escalates. It is like a pattern with these adults, men and women, who want to live off of others forever. They tend to wear out family members first, then friends, and many become homeless, which is often necessary for the safety of the rest of the family. I'd be afraid for your daughter if she is still at home and he is too.

    My first bit of advice is to stop confiding in others in your family or close friends and get professional help for you because family tends to blame you and spread the word and friends without these sorts of problems don't understand. And that just hurts us more. Secondly, I would consider if you feel safe with him in your house. Have you ever turned him into the police for stealing? Your grandparent's wedding rings? Apparently, he will do whatever he wants to do and not care about it and when you call him in on it he will explain that this is because you yelled at him once when he was six years old or you love his sister more (sorry, but we love them the same, but it's hard to LIKE them the same, isn't it?). At any rate, even if he robbed a bank, it would be your fault. Except it's not. He is a man now and his choices are his choices regardless of our own human mistakes we all make when raising our children. Hey, most of them turn out fine. It is them, not us. And sometimes we let it go on for too long and don't make them face any consequences and allow them to abuse us in ways we would never allow, say, a spouse to abuse us. Has he ever hit you or his sister? Does he pay for the things he breaks and trashes? Can you afford him? This is a serious question because there comes a point where most of us can't do this anymore and we stop. When we stop is usually when we finally can't take it anymore and have hit our own version of rock bottom. Then we realize we can't change who they are or w hat they do and our words are falling on deaf ears. So we start to change what we can change....our own reactions to our grown children. Sometimes we make painful choices, like giving them a timetable of how long they have before they have to leave. They often then get better for a little while, but not for long.

    If you feel he is a threat to you or your daughter or even a pet, you may want to think about making him leave right away. If he hurts anyone, I would call the police because you and your daughter deserve to be safe in your home. You should not have to be afraid of anybody under your roof. With all that stealing, my guess is that he is doing drugs, much more than weed, and that never helps. They steal because they don't want to work and they have to feed their habit. Have you ever gone through your son's room with a fine tooth comb? You can find out a lot by doing so. In my opinion, if they live with you and don't pay rent, they have no privacy when they are behaving in criminal ways and I can look at anything I want to try to find out what goes on under my roof.

    Sometimes we still think of our children as little kids that we have to nurture and care for forever. Your son is 21. He can legally vote and drink. Many adults his age are ready to graduate college or are working hard full time. Some have families. Some are serving our country and have been since age eighteen. They are men, expected to take care of themselves, not little boys. Your son does have many antisocial traits. Obviously I'm not a doctor, but he seems to not care about what most people understand is wrong and he doesn't seem to have remorse for it.

    I am so sorry for you and your situation. Keep posting. Others will come along. I just get up really early.

    You may want to start caring about yourself first. You are a very important person who matters as much as your grown children do :)

    You may want to read up on the article here on detachment. I found extensive therapy helped me cope with almost anything I had to face, relationship-wise, even my kids. I've been in it long term as I also have some mental health issues. Interestingly, because I had no choice but to do therapy, I have learned many skills that others don't know about and it has helped me in ways far beyond depression and anxiety issues. I highly recommend getting help such as cognitive behavioral therapy or dialectal behavioral therapy or ANYONE who you can talk to and won't gossip to the world and can give you non-biased feedback and help you make decisions and learn ways to love yourself even if your own child is a mess. There ARE ways to live with it and still be happy.
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  3. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry for all you've had to go through with your son.

    It seems that you need to detach from your son and his behaviors. He may not ever change. But if he ever were to change the best chance of that happening is for YOU to change.

    There is a posting at the top of the forum on detachment. I recommend that you read that. Also read a book called Codependent No More. A therapist for yourself is very helpful in helping you set boundaries with your son. Find a support group such as Famlies Anonymous and start going to meetings.

    I don't t think it's a good idea that your son lives with you. I've been in your shoes with hiding the medications and taking my purse to bed with me. It's no way to live. Chances are that he's supporting a drug habit. Does he work? Do chores?

    You will find a great deal of help and good advice from the ladies who frequent this forum. They have all been through what you have experienced and worse. Their advice may be very hard for you to take at first, but try to have an open mind.

    By the way, my son also has NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD). This is a disorder that does not g o away, and affects one's ability to relate to people and function on the job.

    Best of luck, and I hope you find some help and comfort here.
  4. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    These have been very hard things for you to face alone. I am glad you are here with us, now.

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  5. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    KMB, welcome. I am so sorry you are in the position you are in with your son. You've come to the right place, many of us have been in your shoes. It is a devastating place to be.

    As others have mentioned, you may want to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here. It is helpful. As In a Daze mentioned, the book Codependent no More by Melodie Beattie is excellent as well.

    What generally happens with our troubled kids, whom we call our difficult child's, Gifts from God, is that usually they are not the ones who change, usually it is US. Whatever issues drive their unhealthy behavior also keeps them from taking any kind of responsibility for themselves so they manipulate US to get their needs met. The way to change that dynamic is for us to respond differently.

    I agree with MWM, this is not about you, it is about your son. Generally, most of us require some kind of professional help to get through this. Detachment from our own child is a very difficult thing to do. But, it sounds as if in your case, as it was in mine and many of us here, you need to learn how to detach from your son. Getting YOU help is a priority. Setting boundaries around his behavior is also a priority. None of this is easy, but it certainly sounds necessary in your case. Your son holds you hostage with his drama, his intensity, his blame, his manipulation, his stealing and his lying. You've reached the point we all reach, you can no longer deny reality, it is what it is. Now that you've told yourself the truth of the situation, you can begin to change it.

    quote="KMBernier, post: 640713, member: 18575"]How do you live with the thought that a person you brought into his world and have loved with all you have to give can give a rat's ass about you?[/quote]

    Yes, that thought is a difficult one to get through. However you can do it. Our kids have their own path in life, by their choice.......if that path is harming us, destroying our peace of mind, our families, our health, our well being, then we have to make a different choice. You will always love your son, however, you may not be able to have too much interaction with him considering his choices. Find support for YOU. Set boundaries for YOU. Focus on you and your husband now, take the focus off of your son. He is an adult.

    It is hard for us to face the truth of who our children have become. And, yet, in facing the truth, options for change open up. Options that were not there while we were in denial. Once you see the truth, you can make the choices necessary to protect you and for you to get back your life. Your life is important too, take hold of it.

    I'm glad you're here. Keep posting, it helps.
  6. KMBernier

    KMBernier New Member

    Thanks to all of you. I'm in tears right now because its the first time in my life I've ever felt like I'm not the only one. Thankfully he is no longer physically violent toward my daughter or myself, although it was something we dealt with for a long time. The physical violence stopped when he was about 16. He tried to attack my daughter & I stepped between them. He threw a can at me and broke my hand. My daughter called the police and they arrested him. When I picked him up I immediately brought him to a hospital ER because he was threatening suicide (one of his favorite tactics he has used through the years to manipulate). He was placed in a "chill out and rest" hospital for a few weeks. He took medication for a while, but it made him feel weird so he refused to take it anymore. It didn't seem to work much anyway. He and I tried to go to therapy for a while, but he felt I was just trying to attack him. The therapist didn't listen when I tried to explain what life is like with him. She just spouted out nonsense about communication skills & redirecting behavior. Redirect behavior. Hmm...never tried that one out before... I tried love, redirecting, rewarding, punishment, reasoning, guilt, explaining and having him arrested. No matter my approach, there were never results. None. Not even temporarily.
    After I kicked him out (new tactic, tough love) I shouldn't have let him come back, I know this. Its so hard because I've always been so family oriented and all I've ever wanted is a close, loving family. My kids were all I really had and I tried so hard to foster a strong sense of family and tradition. Holidays were always a big deal, no matter how much I struggled financially I made sure we had a good Christmas. There have been good times we've had together. We'd go camping, had our own made up games we'd play, my friend and I would bring all our kids "ghost hunting" and spent Sundays together and kept it "family day". The 3 of us were always huge Harry Potter fans & we went to every book release & movie opening. The three of us have HP tattoos because no matter what, it has always been our common denominator. Its the fact that there were those good parts that makes it so hard to deal with. Memories can be looked back upon and they always appear more rosy than they were. The good times were always punctuated by the bad times. My daughter and I spent a LOT of time walking on eggshells around the difficult child (when I first started reading stuff on this site I had to look on the glossary-type page to figure out what the abbreviations meant. I like difficult child. It sums it up perfectly.) I KNOW nothing will ever prompt him to change. Nothing short of a miracle. At this point in time he has been more or less living with his girlfriend. Our house has been just a place to nap after work before going to her house. He can't just take a nap, though. He'll take whatever he feels he is entitled to take. I've never met the girlfriend, but I wonder if she knows that the movies, money, some food and one brand new & still in package electric blanket are all stolen from his family. I also worry about her and how their future will play out. He's always been very popular, has a huge social circle, he is a musician and has been in a few bands over the course of his teen to adult life. To the rest of the world he is a great, charming guy. One of his friend's mother's referrers to him as "her angel". He saved his friend from drowning. She doesn't know the full story, though. My difficult child nearly got himself killed as well while trying to save his idiot friend who jumped into a nearby pond with a fountain in the center while stoned out of his gourd & started to get pulled under from the suction of the fountain. My son had to be the hero, of course. He also got a staph infection from the filthy water. Why the rest of the world gets the son I always wanted, but I get abused, manipulated and treated like a lower species, I have no idea. Its also why his teachers, doctors, therapists etc. never believed me. Although I haven't met the girlfriend, he always went for intelligent girls who were pretty "together". She is a full time collage student, lives by herself and works full time, so she must have some sense of responsibility. Right now, he is working full time and has actually held this job for over a year now. He smokes pot regularly (I also know he has taken "Molly" at some concerts he went to & drinks beer. Oddly enough, he will lie to my face without a beat regarding his stealing, but actually will be totally open about his drug use & drinking habits.) & I know his girlfriend does, too. (He "borrowed" my tablet and left his Facebook open. There was a photo of her taking a hit off a bong). I want him to move out, but this time its for good. After the holidays my husband and I plan to change the locks. In the meantime, I'm in the process of installing combination locks on my daughter's and our bedroom door. My head knows that this is the right thing & its not fair to force my daughter and husband to deal with his abuse. Choosing otherwise would be nothing but punishment to the two people in my world who DO care about me. My daughter deserves better. She needs to live at home, I want her to live at home. She is a full time student and working 3 jobs. Living at home now will allow her to succeed later & not so deep in debit. My head knows its right, even my heart knows its right, but there is still a part of me in mourning. That's the best way I can put it. In mourning for a child I never actually had and mourning the family unit I'll never have.
  7. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    It IS a grieving process, KM. I'm glad you found us.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    It is hard, but I feel you are doing the only thing you can. Your son is probably doing more drugs than you know (they never cop up to the heavy stuff), the girlfriend is probably less a winner than you think too. My own good daughter would never date even the handsomenest man who didn't work and took drugs and drank a lot. But the girlfriend is her own parent's problem...I would not interfere in that. She may know he steals and approves of it. The usual reason for stupid stealing is to sell even small things for drug money.

    Your son may have some antisocial personality traits. Ever read Dr. Robert Hare? He did studies on adults who have no consciences and it is very interesting to read. I read because I wondered if my son had this disorder and I wanted to know what I was dealing with.

    Be very careful when you make him leave. You may need the cops to get him out. Do not let him hurt anybody. I'd send Daughter away when this takes place. You may also get a restraining order if he returns or tries to get into the house by getting into a window or if he is on your property and bangs on the door. It is painful for us, but, as you said, you have to protect theree important people...your husband, your dear daughter, and, yes, yourself too. You are also important.
  9. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    KM, I'm glad you've found this place and so very sorry that you have to be here. Your difficult child sounds a bit like mine, except mine is an only child. He sometimes reminds me so much of his biodad it scares me half to death. My son has stolen and stolen, but at least he apologizes. He admits he shouldn't have. Of course, he then does it again. The last time, we put him out and he hasn't been allowed back home. I admit, I'm second guessing that decision these days, but nothing was going to change if we didn't do something drastic.

    Wow. Does that ever sound familiar. My own does that too, lie, lie, lie and then go on about smoking this or that. He even once asked me for $20 for a new pipe. Can you believe that? Makes me crazy.

    I have to ask, why are you waiting? Really, he's out now isn't he? Change them now. Next time you hear from him, tell him to come get his things. He has somewhere else to go, so let him go there. Will Christmas really be better if he's there?
  10. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi KMB,
    Welcome, I'm glad you found this site but sorry you had to.
    Your difficult child sounds a lot like mine. I to deal with him stealing from us on a regular basis and the lies!! Let me put it this way if my difficult child's lips are moving, he's lying.
    I agree with MWM about the DNA. My ex was irresponsible, arrogant, couldn't hold a job for more than a few months and when my son was 2 I couldn't take it any more and we split up. I was the one who would call my ex and schedule visits, I would not only have to take my son to him but would have to pick him up. This lasted about 6 months, I said no more, if he wants to see his son he needs to put forth the effort. Never heard from him again and never received any kind of child support. Flash forward, I met an amazing man, my husband who adopted my difficult child. In the years I was a single mom and after I remarried, my difficult child has always had a stable home with love and nurturing. While my difficult child had a great stepdad and had no contact with the bio-dad from the time he 3, he turned out just like the bio-dad. He has not been able to hold a job for more than a few months, and he abandoned his 2 children. Of course he blames me for everything that went wrong in his life.
    I can tell you this. The sooner you get him out of your home and start to detach the better off you will be. Don't confuse detaching with not loving. I love my difficult child and I will continue to pray for him but as long as he continues to make the choices he makes and live a very dysfunctional life, I cannot have him be a part of mine. My difficult child will 34 in January so I have been dealing with this for about 20 years. I finally had enough about 5 years ago. I wish I could have found this site or one like it many years ago and perhaps I could have saved myself from years of pain, fear and anguish. There is so much great advice on these pages.

    MWM gave some very good advice here!!!

    You have done all you can for your difficult child, it's time to let him go and for you to take your life back.

    Sending you hugs!!
  11. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    I am fairly new here too, my difficult child is 40 year old daughter. You can read what I have currently wrote about my experience dealing with a sociopath difficult child in this current thread:
    Also try and familiarize yourself with what gaslighting is:
    Gaslighting or gas-lighting is a form of mental abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception, and sanity.

    Most everyone here has been through gas-lighting. It is the lies, the distortions, the manipulating of facts. It is both emotional and mental abuse. It is used by difficult children to get you to do,for the difficult child, anything you would not reasonably do for another "normal" person. It is used to cause what you are going through right now: doubting yourself and scaring yourself with all the what-ifs. It is the never-ending merry-go-round that we stay on until we recognize that we have no control over what difficult child does, says they are going to do or the consequences of THEIR own actions.

    I would hazard a guess that gas-lighting works so well against most of us here because we are loving, caring and nurturing. These things about us are well known by the difficult child and so they use those very compassionate qualities against us by saying things that, when believed, leave us doubting ourselves, who we really are, and feeling emotionally devastated when accused by difficult child of being anything but an ideal parent. Probably the hardest part of not falling into the trap of gas-lighting is to begin to believe in ourselves enough, know ourselves enough, to not fall for gas-lighting.

    These difficult child's say horrible, vile, and disgusting things to manipulate us into feeling bad enough about ourselves to give the difficult child whatever they want at any given moment. Most difficult children lack the empathy to understand the things they say are so hateful and hurtful. It is if gas-lighting by the difficult child is the baby crying for the pacifier.

    Welcome to the club you never wanted to be a part of (in jest of course) There is excellent support here!

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  12. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    KMB, you may want to check the eviction laws in the state you live in. If your son is as smart and manipulative as you say he is, he may already be aware of them. In the state I live in, in order to evict anyone, even if it is your own child, in their own bedroom, living in your home, you have to have a court order. It is 30 days. At that point you can have a sheriff escort them out. So, get all your ducks in order before you make that move. As soon as he is gone, change the locks. If necessary get the restraining order. Cover all the bases. And, as MWM stated, remember that quite often, when our difficult child's are confronted with our new boundaries, they do NOT behave well. They can up the ante in ways that are intended to scare us and guilt us. So, be prepared.

    I'm sorry you've been living in this hell. It is not easy. It is in fact, likely the most difficult thing you will ever do. I hope you have a good support system. Therapy is helpful. NAMI may be helpful for you too, they have excellent courses for parents. (National Alliance for Mental Illness) You can access them online.

    Often our experience mirrors that of the process of grieving........Denial, bargaining, anger, depression and acceptance. Not necessarily in that order.

    Hang in there. Sending wishes for you to find peace........
  13. B Warren

    B Warren New Member

    What you are going through is incredibly hard. I used to see myself as going through my life as tho I was going uphill pushing a huge boulder. For you, I would say that boulder is pretty huge and its a miracle its not crushing you from the weight. I'm glad you came in here to talk to everyone, and I hope you feel like you came to the right place. You have a very difficult mess to sort through, and not one of us here has a manual or advice guru to tell us how to do that. You are doing an incredible job keeping yourself going, and I hope with everyone here supporting everyone else, that you achieve what you came here for. Sometimes just knowing another person understands and hears you is enough for us to keep going forward. We are all very strong people in here, and with the support, we can achieve the goals we keep in our hearts and minds. The absolute best of luck to you, and Blessings...
  14. Childofmine

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

    KM just read your post and this thread and wanted you to know that you are at the right place and we understand. Most of us have been through very similar experiences with our own precious difficult children. Whether it's addiction or another untreated mental illness many of the behaviors, thinking and actions are the same. It is devastating to families. Over the years, I believe we have two ways to go. We can either keep on doing what we started out doing which was everything under the shining sun to "help". Time goes by and many of us begin to see that none of our "helping" has changed one single thing----in fact in most cases things continue to get worse. At that point many of us start learning how to stop. It takes a lot of work to learn how to stop and it takes a lot of time and we still often slip and do the same things we used to do as we learn a whole new way ourselves of thinking and behaving. Our feelings continue to hurt very much during this time---often much worse than before---because stopping "helping" someone we love so very much is the hardest thing we will ever do in our lives. It turns our whole value system upside down. If we can continue walking this path---sometimes inch by inch---we will walk into a new country where our lives start to get better, even though often our adult child's life continues to get worse. And there is much we can learn here about ourselves and we often grow in unimaginable ways. The hardest thing is to keep on even when our grief and guilt and pain and anger is at its worst. We have to learn to feel our feelings but not act on them and for most of us this is brand new territory.

    Please know this sea change in your own life is worth it. Maybe just maybe you will over time see your difficult child start to change once you completely get out of the way. And maybe not. And I am not talking about cutting him off and out of your life---I am talking about stopping the "help."

    Keep coming back KM. You are not the problem here. Please work to unload your guilt and accept yourself---past and present---as a person who did the best she could and made mistakes but in no way is the catalyst of this type of behavior.

    Warm hugs tonight. We are here for you.
  15. KMBernier

    KMBernier New Member

    I could start by saying that you all don't know how much it means to finally hear that I'm not alone and hear words of understanding , but I don't need to. All of you DO know how much it means. All the years of either hiding the full truth ("family secrets") out of shame, feeing like a bad parent or worse, having other's see you as a bad parent (especially his former teachers. I was a young, single mother, therefore I must be the problem). The biggest weight off of me has been the guilt of feeling like I've just done something wrong to screw him up and finally see that he would be the same regardless of what I've ever done or tried to do. My last resort came 2 years ago when I kicked him out. My sister took him in for a while and then kicked him out (she initially thought I was just being overdramatic, but then he trashed her house, screwed her over financially an stole money from her purse and medication from her room.). His loser of a father was finally forced to step up and did the grand deed of finding him a room in a boarding house located in an awful, crime ridden area and getting him enrolled into Job Corp. This whole process occurred over about a year. At the end of it all, I allowed him to come home again. He had graduated from JC, had gotten the scare of his life, saw his father's true evil self (he forced my son to give him the check he received from JC when he graduated to pay him back for the boarding house. The jerk never paid a dime of child support, but still took his money from him that I had planned to put in an account for him so he would have a deposit for an apartment when he found a job), started to open up and talk to me about our relationship and genuinely seemed like he would be ok. He came home November of 2012 and through 2013 it was mostly ok. Some issues, but nothing worse than any normal parent would experience (then again, I really don't have any idea what constitutes "normal" problems, come to think of it). Last Christmas was one the best we've had. This year it just has been a slow decline. He hasn't been home since before Thanksgiving, I know he has been In the house to get some of his stuff because I notice its missing. I'm waiting until Christmas passes to pack the rest of his stuff (no time, more than anything).
    I've accepted the need to detach, I've started the process of it, but my heart is breaking. My own internal bar I had always set for myself was to make sure my family had a good Christmas, regardless of what we had going on. I've managed through divorce, deaths, foreclosure and more things I can count. Its the last thing left untainted by bad memories. My son refuses to be here. Its such a minor thing in the grand scheme but 21 years of hurt are tumbling on to me at once and I feel as though I'm drowning. How do you bear the weight?
  16. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    The way you bear the weight is you keep getting up every day and you live for YOU!! it's time to focus on what makes you happy.

    I would say most of us if not all of us have had these same feelings. I remember times when I would be driving home from work and the closer I got to my house the sicker I would feel. I never knew what I would be coming home to. There were times I would come home to my house being trashed. One time my difficult child took a butcher knife and hacked away at my kitchen counters. When I asked why he said it was because he couldn't find any money and it made him mad. During some of the worst behavior my difficult child had while he was still a juvenile and living at home I was also going through cancer treatments.

    For me I have a very strong faith in God and that help me so much.

    Bottom line, it's time for you to focus on you. Keep reading the posts on this site and you will find encouragement and support.

    Hugs to you!!

  17. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with Tanya KMB, the way through is to nourish yourself, focus on your needs and wants, put yourself first. As you do that, you will shift your perceptions, you will change direction and life will change too.

    Like you, that weight for me was devastating at times, I didn't think I could bear it. I can recall the night, the middle of the night, when I happened upon this site............I couldn't believe there were others who felt what I felt, who were dealing with what I'd been dealing with, who knew........who got it..........from that point on it was a process of healing and change. Once I knew there were options to suffering, I made it my business to find out what that was.

    You're clearly on the right track. And, it feels bad. It goes against our own instincts to protect and love. We have to learn different ways to respond. Once we do, it all begins to change. Our kids may stay the same, but we don't have to.

    Hang in there. Make Christmas about YOU. Have the Christmas YOU want to have. Keep the bar where it is and remember your son is choosing how he is spending his get to choose how you want to spend yours.........choose life, choose joy, choose peace........
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