Son in jail...again.. new to the board

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by jude-in-nj, Sep 3, 2015.

  1. jude-in-nj

    jude-in-nj Member

    New member here.. not quite ready to share full story yet of my son (23).. too much to think about and to put into words. But I will give a brief shortened history.
    Son has been troubled since age of approx 13, so we are going on 10 years of dealing with Difficult Child.
    Diagnosed with Bi-polar aprrox 3 years ago, anger management issues but has never raised a hand at me. Has had a tumultuous relationship with a girl that I can only describe as being exactly like him in personality.. bad combination. There have been multiple domestic incidents on both sides, him and her.
    He violated probation (an assault charge almost 3 years ago) and violated probation again not even 3 days after court appearance. He is now in jail. Possibly the worst jail in the country.
    Bail has been revoked, he has a court date on the 18th.

    I am exhausted dealing with this.. I am soo happy I found this site, seems like lots of support and good advice here.

    The calls from jail are killing me, emotionally as well as financially .. will have to put a stop to it. already up to $200 in less than 2 weeks. and the calls are all the same... "get me out.. I can't do this... do you think girlfriend will wait for me.." He is looking at 3-6 possibly more years. And I hope girlfriend does NOT wait for him.. I hope she dissapears. Not that my son is innocent but she is a major part of the problem. She has had numerous assault charges against him but has never been sentenced to jail time.

    I have 3 younger boys aside from Difficult Child..all easy going. I have been happily married for 25 years.

    It would take me hours to write down complete history.

    thank you for any advice/support
  2. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Welcome JNJ!

    Does your son have substance abuse problems?

    If so, maybe he will avail himself of any programs that are available in jail/prison.

    I see that he has a bi-polar diagnosis. Does the court system have any separate tracks or programs for offenders with mental health problems?

    Welcome to this board. Others will be along soon.
  3. jude-in-nj

    jude-in-nj Member

    Thank you for your reply. Our court system does not have a separate mental health program or court. He claims he does not have a substance abuse problem, but he does admit he smokes weed almost daily. We had sent him to rehab a few years ago when we found out he "tried" (his words) heroin. He was getting drug tested monthly while on probation and has failed numerous times but only for weed.
  4. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Welcome Jude. I'm so sorry for what you are going through. I'm glad you found us as you will find much needed support and wisdom here from parents who have been there.

    There is a good article at the top of the PE forum on detachment, I suggest you read it and re-read it.

    Yes, the calls from jail can be quite expensive. I too had to limit calls from my son the multiple times he was in jail. I would suggest you set a limit that you are comfortable with. I limited my sons calls to once every two weeks. I also told him if he called outside of those parameters that I would not accept the call. You have control over this, not your son.

    Your son is an adult and should not be counting on you to make all his problems go away, of course that won't stop him from trying to guilt you into helping.
    It's very common with DCs that they will blame the parents for all their problems in hopes that we will feel guilty enough to give into their demands. They try to make us question how we parented them, we second guess ourselves. We are all imperfect parents. A "perfect" parent is a mythical creature just like a Unicorn. I am sure just like the rest of us here you did the best you could and that is sufficient. Please don't fall into the guilt trap. As you start to detach do not be surprised at the lengths your son may go to again, try to guilt you into helping/enabling him.

    My one and only son put me through more chaos, pain and heartache than anyone should have to endure but I am here to tell you that you can get through this. You can go on to live a very happy and productive life. The only way I have been able to do this is to detach from my son. This does not mean that I don't love my son, I love him as much as I ever did. It means that I love him enough to let him go and I love myself enough to take my life back.
    We are powerless when it comes to our adult children and the choices they make. My husband and I tried for years to help our son, we spent tens of thousands of dollars and in the end, he has chosen to live his life his way. I had to finally accept that the life I had hoped for him was never going to happen.

    It is not an easy journey for any of us here but we don't have to travel it alone.

    We are here for you Jude.

    Please keep reading and posting.

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  5. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Hi Jude,

    welcome to the forum. You have given us enough of a can tell us the rest when you are ready.

    My 21 year old son just got out of jail after 5 months.

    Having a kid in jail is, counter-intuitively, the time that we as parents can step back and regroup. There is nothing for you to do...nothing you really can do. Your choices boil down to...accept calls or no? put money on commissary or no? pay for lawyer or no? post bail or no? visit or no?

    Its a lot simpler than when they are out!

    It doesn't do him any good or you any good to hang on the phone listening to him panic, perseverate, and be hysterical. It isn't in your power to get him out.

    Lets address my little list of things that ARE in your power...Can you get him out (post bail or hire a lawyer)? If yes, post about that and we can help you sort through what is best for you and your family. If no...lets move on to the other issues, which are even simpler.

    BEfore that though, until you have a chance to post again, just don't have to take his calls. You don't have to let them drag on. You can set your own parameters and abide by them. Dealing with being in jail is something only he can do. And he has to do it, poorly or well. Dealing with his being in jail is something only you can do...and I know you can get to a place of doing it well.

    Hugs, welcome, I'm sorry you have to be here, but you have found a really good place.

    Echolette (I like to use my full name with newcomers ;) )
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  6. jude-in-nj

    jude-in-nj Member

    Thank you!
    Yes, we are guilted into doing many things for him.. even from jail he has manipulated us.. the lies.. ughhh.
    I read the post regarding detaching, very good read. I will re-read again!
    My son, like yours (I read in your signature) is also a gifted guitarist, high IQ (but high school drop out with GED) and a very talented auto mechanic. He has so many things going for him but yet..
    He is definitely co-dependent on the girlfriend and so on him. I also believe he is narcissistic and perhaps a pathological lyer.. a skill he has mastered over the years. He will tell you anything to get you to do something for him.

    I am sure my story is no different from all the others here. Thank you for the support!!
  7. jude-in-nj

    jude-in-nj Member

    Hello Echolette! His bail was revoked so that decision is made for us (thankfully.. last time he was in jail his bail was $50,000, $5,000 cash which my parents posted for him.)

    We will not pay for a lawyer, he knows that. He has a public defender.

    The phone calls... yes, we are going to limit them. yesterday we told him NOT to call today and so far so good.

    I love the support here.. it will make me stronger.
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  8. Childofmine

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

    Hi Jude and welcome to the forum.

    Your story sounds eerily familiar to me...very similar to my story with my son. He isn't bipolar, but jail was a revolving door for him---he could not stop breaking the law. I think he was in jail either 8 times or 9 times. Honestly don't know which one.

    It got to be rote for me after a while. Not at first, but after a while.

    I stopped the phone calls completely. I would take the free one from him after he would get arrested. It would flash up "Shreveport Louisiana" on my phone, and my entire body and psyche would crater.

    I would know he was back in. (Poor Shreveport!)

    Anyway...I decided not to put myself through those paid phone calls anymore the last two or three times. He would do basically exactly what your son is doing on the phone...leaving me a complete wreck for the rest of the day after I hung up.

    I did write him in jail, but kept it to newsy postcards after a lectures or speeches or "you might want to think about..." any more.

    I finally realized he already knew what to do...he just didn't want to do it.

    My son's issues are alcohol and prescription drugs.

    Ahhh...the girlfriend. My son, too, has a girlfriend who has a diagnosis of bipolar but doesn't take medications. I am 100 percent with you in wishing and hoping that the relationship is over right now. I so understand your feelings here. I am with you.

    My son's girlfriend is in jail---has been since July on a domestic assault charge against him. Her second one against him. She was on probation already and so they have kept her for a while this time. Her hearing is next week and my son will go back and testify. I bet she gets out.

    I hope you can rest in the fact that they are separated right now, and if for no other reason, this is a very good thing and the good part about him being in jail (if there can be a good part).

    My son says they are done, but he has said that before. Only bad things will come from this relationship, I believe, but it has to be HIS decision, not mine. He has to see it for himself, just like everything else that has happened over the past 7 years.

    Just like you are, I got to the point where I was done. I couldn't do one more thing to try to help my son, after trying for years and years and years to get him to "see the light." I had to let it go.

    I am glad you read the detachment post. I read it over and over, every single day, and I posted it on my bathroom mirror. It was a great tool for me when I first came here, like Al-Anon has been, reading books like Codependent No More, Boundaries, all of my Al-Anon books, journaling, praying, doing nice things for myself, exercising etc. All of these "tools" you can assemble---the ones that work for you---will help you change your thinking and your behavior over time. Feelings, now, they are much harder to manage but you can learn to feel your feelings and not act on them.

    There is so much peace that can come with just...letting go.

    I know you love your precious son very much. I do, too. But we can't save them. If we could, we would. But we can't. I finally accepted this fact, and released him to my Higher Power, the Universe, Mother Nature, God, whatever "the force" is for you. It can even be this forum if necessary.

    We have to let go. In all aspects of life, not just this, but this was the first real test I had ever had (except for my divorce and my sister's death) of letting go, I mean really letting go. I still can "take it back" but very quickly, I can let go again.

    We are here for you. We know there is a long story with lots of twists and turns, and we trust that you will reveal it---or not---as you wish.

    Like Echo said, you wrote enough. We get it. We are here for you and we understand. We will support you in your decisions, and offer ideas, options, care and encouragement. That's our deal here.

    Warm hugs this morning.
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  9. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Yes as awful as having a kid in jail it is a time to regroup and get some sleep since you know where he is and he has shelter and meals! And he really has no power in jail.... so decide ahead of time what you are comfortable with on phone calls and canteen and stick with it.... same with visits. Certainly support from you is important, but you dont need to go overboard either.

    We have also been through a lot with our son who is now 23.... he has been in jail and he has been homeless (much worse for me than jail) and he has been in many rehabs (many he was kicked out of). He seemed to be doing better for awhile and then in July asked for our help and voluntarily, his own decision decided to go to detox. This time he seems to be really serious about recovery and is doing well.. I tell you this because there is hope but in the end they need to decide for themselves to get help. If your son smokes weed daily and has tried heroin then my guess is that substances are part of the problem. It is really hard to get clarity about the mental health issues when drugs are part of the issue.

    Keep posting, many of us have been through what you are going through.
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  10. jude-in-nj

    jude-in-nj Member

    I am in tears reading your posts.. they certainly are very similar to mine. Ah the girlfriend, such a power they have over each other. My son has come home with black eyes, broken glasses, scratches, scrapes, bruises you name it... and I know he has done same to her. But yet they are drawn back to each other like moths to a flame. Every time an incident would happen he was "done with her"... yea right.
    She has no calling plan on her phone and no credit card so she cannot talk to him on the phone which is a GREAT thing!
    I am going to print out the detach post and also put it where I can read it every day! Good idea!
  11. jude-in-nj

    jude-in-nj Member

    Update since I posted this morning... Difficult Child called twice from jail and I did not answer.. Small Victory for me. He also called my husband twice.. who also did not answer. It was not easy because he has us so programmed. My heart was saying "but what if he needs me?" BUT my head was saying "nothing has changed since yesterday, he has not spoken to his Public Defender and there is no news.. He just wants to cry on the phone and badger me about how horrible it is and he needs to get out." (Impossible since his bail was revoked)
    Small Steps I know..... but HUGE for us! :)
  12. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Hi, Jude...
    The mental health issue is definitely a major part of this. Not that all people with that diagnosis end up in trouble with the law, but a fairly high proportion of people in trouble with the law do have a mental health issue.

    As for the "narcissistic" and "pathological" lying pieces... these obviously haven't been diagnosed, and I'd be careful throwing labels around. The background that creates someone who is narcissistic would reflect on your home... and if you have three other sons without the problem, then why this one? unless this one is biologically different from the rest? (adopted or different bio-dad). My son frequently gets called on the mat for his "lying". Except... often, it is not. He has multiple challenges, and it makes it difficult for him to get the original statement/request straight, so he responds anyway, and then gets called for lying... when it's really a mis-understanding.

    At 23... there isn't much YOU can do about any missing diagnoses. Unfortunately. But there may be multiple additional complicating factors. Until your son recognizes this and seeks help, there isn't much you can do.

    Please do look after yourself. We need to have ourselves around for a while yet... :D
  13. jude-in-nj

    jude-in-nj Member

    Thanks for the advice. :)
    My son is definitely a very good liar. the other day while in jail he put another inmate on the phone with me because i did not believe he was in maximum security and wearing a red shirt (he was supposed to still be in lock down/medical for a week, red shirt represents violent offender) This inmate got on the phone with me and said yes ma'am.. your son is in maximum . Difficult Child then proceeded to tell me that "the inmates are crowding around me.. they are going to kick my @$$."

    One of my closest friends husband happens to have been the top dog at the jail were my son is. (He is now retired, but last time my son was there her husband was able to keep him in the "country club" part of jail with work release inmates ) anyway I called the jail , asked what part my son was in.. then relayed this info to my friends husband who confirmed that he was in fact still in medical.

    He has lied about me to his friends.. I read a private message on facebook once (yes I was snooping, this was when we were at our wits end and he had told us he was using heroin) were he told a friend that I was dying from cancer! I did have skin cancer, the non malignant kind and I was FINE!
    Maybe it is for attention, maybe it's pathological, who knows. I don't believe a word that comes out of his mouth.
    I can go on and on and on with all the lies he has told that I can confirm were lies. I think he believes them himself.

    The narcissism.. yea I guess I self -diagnosed him with that.. and please understand that I am so very angry with him right now that alot of what I am saying is venting. He does exhibit many traits of narcissism.. self centered, controlling, convinced that he deserves special treatment, manipulative, selfishness..
  14. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Jude, vent away, get it out. It's good to vent and get it out and you can do that here safely.
    With my son I had a saying "if his lips are moving, he's lying" I don't know that I would believe him if he told me the sky was blue because he has lied to me for so long.
    I hope you are taking some time to be good to yourself.

    Go for a swim Take a Bubble Bath Shopping is always good
    :swimming: :bath: :shopping:
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  15. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Hi Jude,

    Reading along.

    My son is 34 and his dad and I believe him to be sociopathic and narcissistic. He does not have those diagnoses from a professional....except from his parents. Well, okay, his sister is a psychological examiner who has never tested Difficult Child, but first pointed out the possibilities and she tests hundreds of folks a year.

    Of course he would not have those diagnoses from a professional because he is very, very careful of what he tells counselors. He is smart(?) in that regard.

    But, his dad and I have years and years of experience with his excuses and stories and blame games. So, I understand about being careful, but you know, we read and read and when something fits completely, it is easy to latch on to it. We want to understand why our difficult child acts/reacts like this. And, sometimes, it helps tremendously.

    I feel for you. Wish husband and I had found this forum ten years ago. My guess is that finding this forum will help you make better decisions than we did then years ago.

    Stay close to the board. It will be of unbelievable value to you and for your son.

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  16. Quicksand

    Quicksand Member

    I'm sorry you're going through this. I have a 23 year old son with similar problems. I feel like I'm not in a position to give advice, because I came here looking for help too. The people on this forum are very compassionate and lots of seasoned moms that will give you good advice. You aren't alone. Hugs to you..
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  17. jude-in-nj

    jude-in-nj Member

    I thought alot about this last night.. Narcissist is probably NOT the accurate diagnosis.. But he does have some characteristics of it. He however does not care about his appearance at all, is not vain.. we usually have to TEL him to take showers etc. And he could careless what people think of him.
  18. jude-in-nj

    jude-in-nj Member

    So sorry for what you are going through. I see a long road ahead of us and wonder if it will ever end?
    Our son too is very careful of what he tells counselors etc. He manipulates them just as he does us.
    When he was in rehab and wanted to leave early he told his counselor that I was very sick (he has used that one before) so he could leave early but still get the recognition that he "completed" the program. The counselor emailed me to wish me well .. I was dumbfounded. He is GOOD.
  19. jude-in-nj

    jude-in-nj Member

    I am
    very lucky that I am able to afford a horse, when I ride I forget about reality for a while. It is my only escape and helps to keep me sane!
  20. lovemyson1

    lovemyson1 Active Member

    Yes the support here WILL make you stronger! It has for me and it makes what we're going through so much more bearable. Detachment would be your best solution. If he wants to change, he will do so without your help. I'm sorry you're going through this, but we are here for you!