Now he is really gone.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Copabanana, Jan 30, 2016.

  1. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Yesterday we found beer bottles in the house where my son is staying. My son does not drink. When confronted, my son did the usual, he lied, saying he had gathered the bottles to sell, placing them in the garbage can. Then why is one still inside?

    M let him stay in the house where he has been working (I own it. My son does not know this.) M told him: Nobody can come in the house. Nobody can enter, except you.

    We were virtually certain he was lying but wanted to catch him red-handed. M went today: Another person's clothes and guitar inside the house.

    On the phone I told M: I feel we should change the locks right now. He should not be allowed to re-enter. M said: That is how I feel. So M changed the lock.

    I was weak for a minute and asked M: Can somebody who lies so much and is so disloyal change?

    M: If he wants. Only if he wants.

    Me: I feel bad he betrayed you, M.

    M: He didn't betray me. He betrayed himself.

    This is the very first time that I do not feel that sad for myself. I feel somewhat sad for him. But not too much.

    I realize it has very little to do with me. If anything, I am benefited. By clarity.

    My son has decided he does not want a family. Family does not do this. Family does not respond to kindness and support by burning the hand that offers it. My son is my son but he is not my family.

    Finally, I see what Serenity means by how she sees her FOO. My son is not my family. He is only my son. Whose life is his own. And he is doing me the favor of giving me more and more clarity about where my loyalties lie. To myself and to M. His life is his own.


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  2. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    ((HUGS)) Copa.
    I feel the same way about my son. He's my one and only child, I birthed him into this world but do not feel he is part of my family.

    Very true and I will never understand it.

    You and M had to do what you had to do. Now, as always, it's up to your son.
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  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Tanya.

    M came home for lunch with the intention of going back there to stay in case my son and his friends try to break in.

    My son called as he with leaving, wondering why he had been locked out. What had he done, to deserve that? M said, what about the clothes hanging in the closet? Woman's clothes?

    As M left I said to him: Please. No matter what he says. What kind of explanation or sob story he comes up with, please do not let him back in.

    Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. My son now has nobody left. He does not have me. He has himself. He will learn or not.

    Thank you.

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    Last edited: Jan 31, 2016
  4. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly Active Member

    Copa- I am sorry that it came down to this for your son. You gave him the rules, a chance, he broke the rules. The consequences are he is not allowed back in the house. That is such a true statement, son is my son, son is not family. I applaud your courage for being able to follow through. Hugs
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  5. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    What did he do?
  6. Sooz

    Sooz New Member

    Oh my gosh my heart cries for you. I am so amazed of your bravery of following through. I was told once in is funny how when we raise a child people around us judge how we raise them and it so reflects on us as a person. We have to realize we have done the best and they are making these bad decisions.
    I want to be like you and have the strength to do that. I probably will be kicking my son out very soon if he does not follow our rules.
    Hugs to you
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  7. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Well, he is not out yet. I called M. I could tell he had softened. When he came home he said son almost cried. (What does that have to do with anything, I asked?) He's hungry. I gave him the rest of the money I had, $12 said M. (It is not my problem, I told M.)

    So M said this: Look, we can be hard with him, but not hard-hearted. M said he had some kind of excuse about the clothes and guitar in the house.

    To Dad: He had been told. Do not let anybody in the house. We found liquor (not his), women's clothes hanging in a closet, and a guitar (not his.)

    M let him stay in the house. After dinner he will drive over to check. He would not give him a key. He told him: If you leave the door open, you cannot come back at all--not even for one night.

    You don't have confidence in me, cried Son.

    M: No, I believe less than half of what you say. You earn confidence, it is not given, especially if you have a track record like your own.

    I will say this and I confirmed it with M. Who agreed. My son is showing a fraction of the aggressivity he had shown before. That is something.

    Thank you all.

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    Last edited: Jan 30, 2016
  8. Sooz

    Sooz New Member

    We all do our best. All I've learned through all this lately is to follow through with consequences. If we don't we create a worse monster than before. If your son is anything like mine a master manipulator.
    I have tried to read all these people on here's advice and just do what they say. I obviously have not done the right thing.
    Hugs to you it's hard to do the right thing
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    This is important, Copa.
    He is learning - just extremely slowly, and at more cost than necessary. But he IS learning. The story isn't over yet. Don't write the ending for him. HE will write it, and it may take a few years.
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  10. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I want to put this because it is important.

    M is kinder than I am. Not because he is kinder but because he is strong enough to have hope and to risk fueled by hope.

    He believes we have to do the right thing by my son. Even if the gains are minuscule.

    I get easily burned. Absolutes are much easier for me. I have a hard time staying steady state when there are shades of gray. But in theory I see the need for it.

    But I can see the need, too, for our children to feel the absolute negation of their moral messiness and how it impacts us and our lives--let alone theirs. (I am getting mad here.)

    What can I say? I live with M. I depend on him one hundred percent. I trust him. I trust his instincts. I respect him. If he felt the right call was as he called it, so do I.

    There is no single right thing to do. In all situations and at all times. That is why this is so, so hard.

    We love them. What can I say?

  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Yes, Copa. For many of us, this "grey" is majorly frustrating. My less-difficult kid calls me "hard" sometimes - I react strongly when a "grey" reaction might be more appropriate. It's hard. And yet... there is no single right thing to do.

    I think I need to print that out and paste it on my mirror.
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  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    But I am reflecting, yet again, family is not born. It is created, little by little. That is what M is trying to teach me, that I need to stay in the game. As many lessons as it takes, he says, for him to learn is our obligation to do. Until he learns. Your job is to learn how to do this and not get sick. There is no leaving this job until it is done.

    OK. I will try some more.

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  13. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    I think what M said was perfect. It was the truth, but also said with love.

    And so now you wait to see.....................

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  14. Feeling Sad

    Feeling Sad Active Member

    Copa, I am very proud of you. I am sorry that he lied to you.

    It is very difficult to know the 'right' way to handle a situation. First, there is no 'right' way. Put emotions into the mix and it makes it exponentially more complicated. You are very lucky to have M. You 'balance' each other out.

    Unfortunately, life is mostly composed of gray areas. Black and white are much easier to handle.

    I remember a psychology class I had in college. The test asked if some theory or concept was false, true, or probably true. I, always trying to be optimistic, answered mostly 'probably true'... gray area.

    I agree with Insane, he is making progress, slowly, but surely. He needs the structure. They feel more loved and mature with expectations. The vote is not 'in' on him yet.
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  15. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    It is not that they don't want family I don't think, Copa. It is that we need to reparent our children who have been so certain that whatever they did, we would never stand up and require better from them. We are changing. This can only be a good thing for the kids.

    I love it that M said Son betrayed himself. I will begin seeing things that way, too.

    Yes, this is such a good way to see the crazy, hurtful things our kids do. And I wonder why they feel so entitled? You would think they would be grateful for the chance to have somewhere safe to stay and that they would turn everything around in their lives for the better. But instead, they want to come home and create havoc for us because we love them too much to send them away.

    We have such hard decisions to make. Once we do make the correct decision, it begins to seem too harsh. Even though we are certain the decision was the correct one, we turn on ourselves.

    I am glad we are here, together. Remember Copa, how awful you felt when you make Son leave your home?

    Son's behavior validates that you were correct in having done so.

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  16. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Copa, I am the same way, black and white is easier for me. The reality is, there are so many shades of gray and different perspectives. Your son is your family, just as my two are. It is so hard when they just don't seem to "get" it. I think my two are more along the lines of teens, then their real age. But, they are still responsible for their choices.It is true what M said, they are not betraying us, it is themselves. In the end, if feels like betrayal, because their choices go against what we taught them. We are their people.
    It is hard when they are here, and easier in some ways when they are not.
    But, it is still all so hard.

    It becomes such an impossible thing for our family. My Hoku, went to go see my grandson play basketball last Saturday. She was very depressed afterward, lamenting that her sister is so "lost" and that we were not "family".
    She doesn't see change and has lost hope that there will be.

    I told her there is always hope, that we shouldn't give up.

    I think M is wonderful, he balances out the situation. I am happy for you that you have M.
    You have grown so much and done a lot of work at changing your responses. I hope that you are able to continue to take good care of yourself, and keep your focus on your needs, and health.

    It is one day, one step.
    Time, and the choices your son makes will be a big determining factor in all of this.
    I hope and pray that he will make progress, and start to see the need for positive change.
    I hope this for all of our adult children.

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  17. Hopeful97

    Hopeful97 Active Member

    Although it is incredibly difficult I agree with M we need to stay in the game. I have learned putting distance between me and d c, like not responding to any type of attempted contact for a while.

    Leafy is right we should not give up hope. There is always hope even from a distance.

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  18. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Thank you. Me too.
    Me too. It is so hard, though. I do not have to tell you that. It is like playing a complex game with somebody who cheats. You have practiced. Gotten a coach to improve your game. You travel far. You do every single thing to prevail. Not win. Just dignity and love of sport. And they stomp on your foot and break it. (Like my son did to me. Not on purpose. So I could no longer dance tango. The thing I loved most in life, after him.)

    Remember Tanya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan, the skaters at the Olympics. And what happened? That is what it is like to stay in the game with our adult kids. But we do it. Even after they have stomped on our foot. Do I sound bitter? I am not. It just hurts so bad. To hope and love, and to have no control.
    Yes. Except in our case, we are re-thinking whether my son could ever really do it. That there may be barriers, and he may not be fully functional. So this makes our responsibility greater in both teaching him and requiring that he step up.
    No. I mean, yes, I understand and I agree. But no. They do not accept a hand without forcing you to lament having offered it. Because a hand to them, means your two feet too, and while you're at it, how about the other hand...
    The agency they see to improve their own lives, is our agency, or that of some other surrogate, or series of surrogates that stand in for us.

    It is always back to this. Our responsibility and their own. Our responsibility to back out as change the extent that we can.

    So that they can discover their own agency. To the extent that they are able.

    I will explain myself lest you think I am becoming fuzzy here. Families throughout the ages have been inter-dependent. M for example constructed or bought 3 of 9 of his children houses, before he came to the US. If his means and circumstances had permitted he would have done so for all of the other kids who wanted.

    M's kids are all good kids. But I believe he feels they always had their hands out. For the longest time, he believed what they missed, was the money and the stuff, he worked so hard to get. He feared it was not him, they valued, but what he gave.

    So what I am saying here is that it is not that we cannot help or should not help. It is that we should not help in the way that we were doing before. *When I figure this out, I will let you all know.

    Because what if my son is impaired in such a way that he really cannot do it? And all along, Serenity was right.

    That he is different from most of the kids here. Evidently, the government thinks so. Or he would not have gotten the SSI.

    Maybe most of the changing, if not all, has to come from me. (Again, when I figure out how to do it, I will let you know.)

  19. Feeling Sad

    Feeling Sad Active Member

    I totally understand what you are saying, Copa. Yes, your son believes in conspiracy theories that may get in the way of making reasonable choices, at times. My own son is much, much worse, but I do understand your point.

    He might not always have good rational thought and believes, at times, in things that are not real.

    But, even with a mental illness, a person still needs to follow rules.

    I have read extensively on the topic, as of lately. Even when an adult has a mental illness, you still need to have some expectations in place. In fact, well-meaning parents often take over their simple daily chores or rountines. They think that they are helping them. But, the inverse is true. They are enabling them. They are telling their adult child, "Wow, you ARE sick. You cannot do anything 'normal' adults can do."

    You were right. He broke your rules. He was wrong to do so.

    You have to forgive me, though. Do you know what I kept thinking? He is SOCIABLE enough to have a girl over.

    Yes, it was wrong. You do not even know who she is. Was she using him? How long has he known her? But, your son is much closer to being normal than mine is. My son has never had a girlfriend, ever, and he has not had a friend in 10 years. I would be ecstatic if my son was caught with a guest or guests.

    I am telling you this to put it all in perspective. It could always be worse!

    I saw one of my 2 friends that know about my ill son. Her brother was schizophrenic and homeless in the 80's in Venice Beach. His 'friends' used to give him L.S.D. to see how he would act.

    I told her about my issue with my son leaving his driver's license at In and Out. She brought up the viewpoint that wallets have tight pockets for driver's licenses. She asked, "Are you sure that he did not leave it on purpose? You know. To erase any way to track him?"

    With that one question, she instantly plunged me down into new depths of despair. I monitored my reaction and quickly said that he just must have dropped it by mistake. She countered with, "Why would he have to show I.D. at In and Out?" She wasn't trying to make me feel worse. She was in earnest. Paranoid delusions and tormenting voices make you do strange things.

    So, Copa, remember that you said that he was acting better than last time. That is progress. One step forward. He trusted someone enough to have her at the house. Maybe a half a step forward. He broke the step back. He is still ahead, a half of a step...

    Another big thing is you still have contact. He still calls you and comes to your house. Yes, he takes advantage of you. But, he is still reaching out to you. That, in and of itself, is a blessing.

    Again, that is from my perspective. My warped, frantic, worried perspective. I literally ache to see or hear my son.

    So, think about the fact that he has shown, at times, a bit of improvement. Yes, still have rules. But, be cognizant that he may continue to stumble. He needs guidelines and that you know that he can accomplish a lot in life.
  20. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    First, about the drivers license. I think your friend's idea does not hold water. If he wanted to ditch the driver's license, he would have done just that. He could easily have put it down a sewer. Just dropped it. The only way he would have just left it at a public place would have been to deliberately make contact with you, vicariously.

    But I do not think that was it. I think he went to eat at In and Out. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. He could have been thumbing through his wallet looking for something. He could have used a debit card and dropped the license.

    I do not always put my license back into the holder.
    My son denies that there was a woman. Some story about being given the clothes. I mean how stupid does he think we are?? Pretty stupid, it seems.

    My son gets girlfriends (or used to). It is just that they catch on quickly that something is missing. Now with his belief he is balding I do not think he makes himself available.

    My son is quite social, strangely enough. He goes to eat at the Rescue Mission. When I am with him in the downtown area he hails people and is hailed by them. He is articulate and likes discussions.

    The other day I was bemoaning to him for the 574th time, how horrible was his hoody with straggling holes in it. He looks worse than a homeless person. He answered, don't try to make me feel bad about myself. I look good enough to have had a couple of very engaging conversations this afternoon with professional people. Oh. OK. Sorry.

    M very much wanted to buy a property where son could stay. Not as a given. Like, here this is for you. But with conditions. Like a place with an in law studio or something like that.

    While I thought about it a year ago, and looked a bit (property is cheap here), after I found CD I put the idea aside because of the views of many here that we should not be involved in assisting with housing etc.

    The thing is this: In the 4 and a half years that he has been gone from my home, my son has never gotten stable, safe, secure housing that was not provided to him by some adult.

    In almost every other situation he has been preyed on in some way or another. Which is not to say he is blameless.

    Moving from place to place, makes him symptomatic--paranoid, labile, and angry. Being treated badly by others makes him bitter and desperate. It would anybody.

    I would like to help him get stable housing. Especially in a way where we could have leverage to teach him, and help him be more structured and stable. *And keep him away from my own home.

    I do not see him on his own moving in a direction to change this. He keeps moving in with marginal people or people that want a portion of his SSI check. Like, all of it.

    That seems to be his major money issue.

    What do you think?