Oh where do I begin? New here.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by MyHeartHisLife, Sep 4, 2014.

  1. MyHeartHisLife

    MyHeartHisLife New Member

    I have been trolling these boards for quiet a while and I'm so glad I found you all!
    Reading many the many stories here has comforted me and given me clarity to my own situation with my difficult child.

    My difficult child is 19. We've been having problems with him since he was 14-15 although he's always been the kid who you tell him not to do something, well that's precisely what he was going to do! Mainly, the problems focused around school, authority and drugs. I won't bore you with the details of how we got here but I will say thankfully he did graduate high school (boy was that a struggle!!)

    Since he graduated in May of 2013 things went down hill quickly. He pretty much did as he pleased, came and went(even if he had to use the window) slept all day, got and lost jobs etc. and his drug use escalated(I realize now). We knew when our lease was up in Jan 2014 we were going to move so we gave him a deadline that he had to be out because he was not moving with us. I don't think he thought we were serious at the time. A few days before Christmas he borrowed one of his friends cars (we learned our lesson with him driving wrecking his car x2, our car and his younger brothers car so we did not allow him to drive any longer) he was apparently high on something (Xanax i think) and rammed into the back of someone's car at a stop light and totaled his friends car (BMW of course!) and got arrested for DWI. Thankfully no one was hurt. Things just spiraled from there. Kept reminding him we were going to move then finally about a week before we moved he moved in with a "friend." The day we were moving he called me all freaked out and paranoid because he was in a "trap" house and he wanted out and would go to rehab! Hallelujah! So I hoped.

    He did well in rehab. Was diagnosed as Bipolar started medications and we got him into a sober home. He did well for a while, got a job and appeared to be doing great....then he failed a drug test. He of course got kicked out of the sober home and went on a binge. He called my husband and he took him to the ER and then tried to get him into an emergency shelter. It was a struggle not to just let him come live with us but we knew it would not be the best for us or him. He ended up living on the street or couch surfing (his choice) then one day after about 3-4 weeks he text his dad and told him he called the rehab and they would accept him again in the morning. He had just gotten out of jail, was given a citation for sleeping on a park bench then they realized he had a warrant. My husband picked him up and they stayed in a hotel and he took him to rehab in the morning.

    Round two! Did well again, restarted medications. This time we found a sober home closer to us and he was required to go to out patient treatment 3 days a week + one day with the counselor. We were running ragged getting him to each of these visits as it was in the evening and with traffic we spent a lot of time in the car but we did it faithfully hoping this time he would make it. Well, no....one day my husband picked him up to go to outpatient and he had a backpack with him and said he was going to spend the night with a friend. When he got home and told me I immediately thought, oh god he's going back to the street! My fears were confirmed when they called us the next day to say he was a no-show.

    I finally talked to him and he told me he was just not cut our for society and all the rules. He's been on the street since. Probably the only homeless guy with an iphone! However, I got a call today from a pay phone and it was him to tell me his phone was stolen so we might want to shut it off, I'm thinking he probably sold it.

    He has my heart but it's his life. This is a lonely place to be when you feel everyone else has perfect children. Where did I go wrong?! I'm trying to detach but it's truly hard. I know I can't help him. I pray for him daily and my heart aches like crazy. I know he will end up in jail for not taking care of his legal issues (it's more than the DWI) or worse things because of his drug use.

    I have 3 other children, 1 older and 2 younger. I need to focus on them. However, all this has left me with anxiety. I worry constantly about my other children and always assume the worst case scenario if they are not home on time or they don't answer the phone or text. I know it's hard on them. My oldest is out on his own and lives in another state, we had some difficulties with him as a teen but nothing compared to this and he's fully self sufficient, has a good job and a girlfriend. My third just started college, is still living at home and has had same job for over a year. And my 4th is a junior in HS, just got her drivers license and doing well. My husband and I are celebrating 25 years this Nov. I have a lot to be thankful for, there is a lot of good.

    So this is where I am. Trying to cope the best I can and this forum sure does help me not feel so alone!
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    There's nothing you can do, although I feel your pain. At the same time, you have many blessings...never forget to count them.

    One day difficult child may get sick and tired of living out of society. Until then, all you can do is try to go with your own life.
  3. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    My heart,

    I am very sorry you had to join our club, but it is good you are here and speaking up. I feel for your story...it is one many of us share. Your son's stubborn downward trajectory is so sad and so hard on you and your family. It is almost a blessing he has spoken, and told you that he won't fit in.

    You can't fix him. I know you know that. Your work is to keep yourself whole and healthy, to not let your life go down the drain just because right now it looks like his is. What good would that do? It doesn't save him, it is bad for you, and it will hurt your husband and other three kids...

    Try to start with you. Talk to your own therapist. Go to Nar-anon. Read and post on the board every day. Go for a 20 minute walk every day and deliberately breath away any thoughts of him. Start making your life your own.

    It is a sad thing to contemplate and yet you will feel better as you start to re-emerge. We weren't meant to parent adults. We can't fix everything that goes wrong. If he were hit by a car and mangled you couldn't fix his broken body. You can't fix his broken mind either. You still have a place in the world, things to do, things to experience. Take a small step today towards getting there, and another step tomorrow. And keep posting.

    Hugs to you,

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  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome my heart. I'm glad you're here. We really DO understand where you're coming from, we've been in or are in your shoes.

    It is a sad story we share and yet, we are powerless to change it. We have no control over another persons life, as much as we would want to change it, we can't. You didn't go wrong, you didn't do anything wrong, you have 3 other kids doing great, it isn't anything YOU did or didn't do. Each of us here has at least one adult child who went off the rails no matter what we did. It is what it is, that is what we all have to learn to accept. It is not an easy path. My best advice to you is to seek out as much support as you can. A private therapist, a counselor, Al Anon, CoDa, a parent group, any courses that NAMI offers (National Alliance on Mental Illness--you can access them online, they have chapters everywhere.)

    You might want to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here. You may also want to pick up a copy of Codependent No More by Melodie Beattie, it is very helpful.

    This is a process for us. We have to learn a new way to respond to our adult kids. We have to learn to step back out of the fray and allow them to face the consequences of their choices. We have to learn to accept what we can't change. We have to learn to let go of control, and to let go of our kids and their choices. Not to say you don't always love them and want the best for them, and if they show some progress along the way, that you don't step in to assist in some small ways.........but really, the onus is on them, once they are 18 our parental rights are over and they can choose the lifestyle they wish to live. What we think of that lifestyle is really irrelevant, so we learn to accept, we learn to let go, we learn to refrain from offering advice, money, resources........

    We go through a lot.......we grieve the loss of the dreams for our kids, we grieve the loss of a normal life for our kids, normal defined by our own standards of living which most of our kids don't want to live or can't live. We feel guilt that we somehow caused this with our parenting, we feel shame that our kids are troubled while most of our friends and families have perfect kids doing all the right things. We feel anger and resentment that we are cast in this role we didn't choose. We feel sorrow for all the losses. There are many emotions we go through as we begin to heal and recognize and accept that this is how it is.

    It sounds daunting and in many ways it is, but we can find ways to respond differently, we can learn tools to utilize to make a difference in our own lives so we can come to a place where we can let go and begin to thrive.

    This was the most difficult thing I have ever had to do, but with a lot of support, a commitment to change and a determination to let go of what I can't control, I learned to accept what is and find my own sense of peace again. I still have ups and downs, but they are NOTHING compared to the roller coaster ride through hell I was on before.

    Keep posting My Heart, you'll find solace and support here. You'll be able to navigate this treacherous landscape a lot better with support.......and you'll feel a lot better too. I'm glad you're here.
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  5. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    My son was born a true difficult child and life was a nightmare from the very day he started school. He is gifted and hated school. A common thread our difficult children share is the disdain they have of 'normal' society.

    My difficult child is in a long term relationship with another female difficult child that is just like him, maybe worse in my opinion lol, except he is a follower and she is controlling. She has cut off all contact with his friends and family, and he let her! I had to call the police to stop her harassment, so at least I don't have that to deal with.

    My difficult child was big on me supporting him for the rest of his life and became worse after he met girlie. He was working before her, but after meeting her work interfered with them being groupies and following a certain band around.

    The stress affected my health and I knew I had to make changes in our relationship. When I stopped the money he threatened suicide and went no contact for a little over a year. He has contacted me since and I hear from him by email, short lines not much, every few months.

    Read everything you can about enabling, entitlement, addiction, anything to help YOU. Until THEY are ready to help themselves there is zero you can do.

    I know people living on the streets, heavy drug users, that have turned their lives around and have careers and a family living good lives.

    I pray for all of us that our difficult children will get tired of their lifestyle and get help. For my difficult child, I never give up hope, but I don't hold my breath. There is the sadness, but my life is so much less stressful than when I was trying to 'fix him'.

    Find things you enjoy and do anything (that's legal lol) to focus on you and taking care of you. One biggie for me was not sharing with my opinionated family about difficult child's struggles. Many close relatives liked to gossip about what I did and did not do to create this situation. I can beat myself up enough with out that!

    Let go of the guilt, what has happened has happened and you can't change the past. You also can not change anyone but yourself.

    It's so very hard, no one deserves this.
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  6. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member


    To all the true, healing words the others have posted, I would only add that an Intention of kindness for ourselves is a good place to begin recovering our strength. It doesn't have to be anything specific. I made being kinder to myself a New Year resolution. I didn't even pay that much attention when I did it. But I was surprised, again and again, at the change in my thinking that one, little resolution caused.

    We are so hard on ourselves.

    Self condemnation serves no purpose, and only weakens us.

    We need to be so strong, to see this through....

    This is a good place.

    I am so happy you found us.

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  7. MyHeartHisLife

    MyHeartHisLife New Member

    Thank you all for your kind and supporting words! It was a relief to read all of your posts. Being here is kind of my therapy for now. I WANT to go to a support group but I do have a little fear of social situations especially where I feel out of control. In situations like that I am the wallflower, too afraid to speak. I usually spend the entire time trying to keep from bursting out in tears! This is how it was on the Saturdays we went to visit difficult child in rehab. We had to sit through group/family counseling before we could visit. I could barely keep from crying and had a lump in my throat the entire time! Its funny though, if you saw me at work(I'm a nurse) you'd never guess I was like that! My husband is the complete opposite, very outgoing...heck he'd probably go up to the podium and start talking! :beguiled: I think he did asked questions and made comments---I say I think because I was too busy focusing trying to keep the tears secure in my eyes!:rolleyes:
    He's trying to encourage me to go, I know I need it...but for now I'm taking baby steps.

    Thank you for listening and replying....you have not idea how much this helps, but then again I guess you do!
  8. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member


    Good for you.

    You will feel so much better, now that you are here with us and can see from a healthier perspective.

    Oh Lord, I remember those horrible "counseling" sessions before seeing difficult child daughter.

    They were very harmful to me.

    I was already eaten up with guilt, had already been driven half crazy trying to figure out what I'd done wrong and how to make things right for our family again.

    It didn't help that everyone who knew me well enough to say hello on the street thought they knew what I should do or, worse yet, seemed to take a sick kind of satisfaction at what had happened to all of us.

    People so suck, sometimes.

    Here you are with us, now.

    Welcome, welcome, welcome.

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  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Cedar you absolutely kill me with some of the things that you say! "people so suck!" I love it.

    I have never been to a support group type thing that actually was helpful. We had to do all those family days when Cory was in treatment and I think we did some kind of parenting workshop using STEP. Dont even ask me what that stands for anymore. It didnt work...lol. In my city people dont much believe in support groups. I have always jokingly said I think they believe they mean support cups! I thought I had hit the jackpot when I found a listing for a support group for caregivers of parents with alzheimers. I was the only one who showed up every week for 4 weeks!

    I have only had one good therapist for myself and I had to lose her due to insurance reasons. We kept in touch for quite awhile but now I havent talked to her for almost a year. I miss her so much.