Starting a new thread for Stands

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by witzend, Jul 15, 2008.

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  1. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    husband and I are still going to marriage counseling to work on communication problems, but not very often. Yesterday we were talking about our coping mechanisms when confronted with problems. I worry, and husband withdraws. When I was really bad off, I used to withdraw beyond the worry, so every time I went too far with the worry, I would withdraw. I spent a lot of time sad and worried and angry because L's dad and stepmonster constantly baited me with problems. That was about them. For about 6 years I fell for it and said "I can't do this anymore, I can't play games just to see my daughter" and everyone told me "you can, you have to." Eventually, it dawned on me that they actually needed me, too, because that was how they got every other weekend free. I realized I had power over them. I said "If you ever accuse me of abusing my daughter again, or deny me visitation, I won't come get her ever again and I won't go to court to fight it." It never happened again.

    husband and I went to a funeral of an old friend, C, this weekend. Thirty years ago she had been married to a man, and then divorced after years of drinking and abuse. He was a drunk and abusive before he married her, and she was going to save him. He showed her his worst side. She eventually divorced him. She felt like she had failed. A couple of years after their divorce, he stopped drinking. He got a job in the field that he had his Masters in, and was eventually a specialist in his field that was called on for especially difficult problems. She couldn't save him. I don't know how he pulled his act together, but it wasn't her and it couldn't happen until she stopped trying.

    When M was at home, we had international students stay with us for 3 - 4 week periods. It was hard work, but we enjoyed it. After M left home, we decided that we would like to offer our home to students for full school years. We had a young girl, K, from Korea stay with us. She seemed happy to be here and we were happy to have her. At first. In February she got mad at me for asking her to help me clean the house one day. Long story short, she started smoking in her room in her closet, sneaking out of the house, and drinking. There was lots of lying. We tried and tried to help her. We were so worried that she would have trouble attaining her goal and graduating high school and getting into a prestigious American college. It got worse and worse. We tried therapy. A big No No in Korean culture. We tried to engage her, talk with her teachers, etc. All she wanted to do was stay in her room. In June we told her that when school was out she couldn't stay with us anymore. She was thrilled. She lasted in the next home for about 6 weeks. The truth of the matter was she was a kid who was away from home and wanted to be a kid, not graduate high school and get into a prestigious American college. That was her parents dream. It was also her problem, and we couldn't save her.

    husband and I talked about these things yesterday. husband is learning how important it is that he doesn't cope with everything by withdrawing into his World of Warcraft game - a highly addictive substance, by the way. I'm learning to let things go and not worry and obsess - another highly addictive substance. When we were talking about K, therapist asked if we remembered why we gave up. I told him "She needed help, but I couldn't help her. Maybe we were keeping her from moving on to the person who was able to help her." husband turned to me and said "That's really right on. Like C and her husband. She couldn't help him or save him. It wasn't until he got away from her that he was able to make a better life for himself" - how ever it was that he did it.

    I don't usually write long notes to you, because lots of people do. You say you understand, and then you do what you would have anyway. The long notes make you feel better, and you actually feel like you know the right thing to do. Then you use that advice to justify what you would have done in any case, because you feel smarter and more able to deal with it.

    I usually write you short notes, because I think you get muddled up in the reasons people give you, and don't hear the advice. So I write you short notes. Then there are a few people who tell me I'm mean and superior. I'm not superior, and I'm not trying to be mean. I'm just trying to give you advice without letting you get mixed up with the reasons. This time I have given you three reasons, and now I hope you will also listen to the advice. You like "What if" a lot. So I will pose it in the form of "What if?"

    What if there is someone out there who is the person who will help your son get off of drugs, stay out of jail, and get a job, and he never meets them because you keep trying to save him and keep him from them?

    You've been doing this drug/violence/theft/jail dance with your son for nearly ten years now. Isn't it time for you to step aside and let the person who can help him have a chance? Maybe you are the one who is killing him because he can't meet the right person, go to the right halfway house, attend the right meeting, because you won't let him go.

    Without the reasoning, it's pretty harsh. With the reasoning, it makes sense.

    Go to an Al-Anon meeting today.
  2. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    Thanks Witz! I appreciate the post. I did look something up that this lady I know sent to me. It is a place in my city that helps inmates get their lives together after jail/prison. They house them, help them with counseling and transportation, etc. however I know it is my sons choice - he will not have that choice if we keep letting him come home - I am going to present it to him that he will have to go to a place like that - if he can get iin - or the street - it is obvious that he needs help but i cant give it here - i understand your stories and that all those people keep trying to save and rescue and it was onlly untiil they had to stand on their own and those peoople stopped rescuing that they saved themselves. thanks for the lesson. i did go to alanon last night. actually someone told me I inspired them because i was in recovery!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!imagine that! Poor soul.
  3. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member


    Just stop it! What do you mean you appreciate my post? Your answer is "Thanks for the post, here is how I am ignoring it."

    Stop asking people "who can help him?" Let him find people to help him!

    Again! What if he never gets better and it's because you kept him from finding the person who could help him?

    Go to a meeting FOR YOU. See a therapist
    FOR YOU.
  4. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    A wise therapist once said to me, regarding Oldest:

    "Anything you do to help her now, will only hurt her later." She was absolutely right. The more I helped her, the less likely she was to learn to help herself. I repeated that to myself often.

    It's not up to you to find a place for your son to go after prison. It's up to him. He's old enough to figure things out for himself.

    All you have to do is make it clear to him that he cannot come home, and do that soon, so he can begin thinking about/exploring his options, if he so wishes.

    It's really this simple: you say no, you move on with your life, and leave the rest in his lap. Period. I'm not saying that it's simple from an emotional standpoint, but from a process standpoint? It is. There's a reason why "Keep it Simple" is an AA/Al-Anon slogan.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You know, reading this thread, something new came to mind: We can't change Stands. She, like her son, has to learn. She isn't listening probably because it hurts too much for her to listen and to admit that there is nothing she can do. Or maybe she thinks if she doesn't keep trying, she's not a good mom. But maybe we also think that if we don't keep telling her the same stuff over and over again, we're not good support people.
    I've been frustrated sometimes when people don't seem to understand the concept of letting addicts hit rock bottom or not "taking care" of grown up children. But there are some people who will keep doing the dance until THEY hit rock bottom. And, as much as we want to help those parents (by our own experiences), we just can't.
    Just my .02 (I do NOT mean this in a meanspirited way at all!)
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    You need to realize that we care about you. And about what you're doing to yourself.

    But Witz is right. In one moment you thank us, the next you say how you're going to help him again. You're not getting the message. How in the world can you expect for difficult child to get the message, if you can't seem to get it yourself??

    When difficult child truely wants to become clean and sober he will find all the programs, places to live, meetings, rehabs ect to make it happen. He will find those places because he wants to be clean. Not because you want him to be clean. Not because he doesn't want to go to jail. Not because of a dozen other reason. But because he wants to be clean and sober.

    You really can kill someone with kindness, you know. And I'm certain the person who came up with that saying was talking about an addict/alcoholic because it applies so darn well.

    If you want to really help him, Stands.......Do NOTHING.

    Everytime you "help" difficult child you're setting yourself up for devistation each and everytime he won't live up to it. In effect, you're torturing youself because he wants to live his life this way. It's stupid, when you get right down to it. And I don't think you're stupid.

    If you really love him. Do nothing. No more. Nothing. Nada. Null.

    This may sound mean, but I think if you were the one meant to help difficult child, he'd be clean. He's not listening to you. Let him find someone who he will listen to, even if that someone is himself.

  7. Genny

    Genny Worlds Best Nana

    The best advice we got was from a counselor at difficult child's wilderness camp: don't do for difficult child what she can do for herself. When we do, it robs her of her self reliance and enables hopeless/helpless behavior (by the way, she was 15 at the time).

    Stay strong, Stands!

  8. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    OK - he is being released today. He is catching a bus back to our city. great......
  9. Hopeless

    Hopeless ....Hopeful Now

    Stands - Okay, I just read the post above and I am dumb founded.

    I am guessing you talked to him since you know he is being released today and is catching a bus back to your city. How did he get money for bus fare? Please tell me you did not pay for that.

    I am not trying to be mean in my post, but I have been reading about your difficult child for a few months and you definitely need to be Strong and say NO to coming home.
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Stands probably found out the info online if they show release dates. Or maybe her son did call her. I would suspect that the bus ticket was paid for by the state. I believe they release them with a ticket back to the city they came from...or at least that is what they do in all the movies.

    Stands...if he comes back to your home town there isnt much you can do about it but stay strong. I know this will be the hardest time for you. Hopefully difficult child will pull himself together and not try to strong arm you but then who knows. I will keep you guys in my thoughts.
  11. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thinking about you, Stands.
  12. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Lock your door.

    Do not answer the phone.

    That's it, that's all.
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    there is ONE thing you can do besides going to alanon.


    Many of us have suggested this to you. But I sincerely doubt you have. You simply MUST do this.

    And it IS one action you can take to help your sons. It will help BOTH of them.
  14. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I feel for you Stands. Because I have not had to do this with my own child. But I was that child and I had that Father... I had to do it on my own. My Father was a drug addict, in and out of prison. He would not help me. When I was in my 20's. I was gone. On my own. I had no one to turn to, I knew it. I survived... shouldn't have somedays. but I did. Some of the places i had to turn to, you would not want to see a child do, others were nice people helping me out. I got myself clean, because i wanted to live, i wanted to do better for myself. Only now 20 years later are my Father and I reconnecting. We are both better. Both have our heads clear, and we don't need a thing from each other.
    I am proud that i can say I did it without his help... I got away from the bad things on my own, I need that. To hold that and to own that, for myself.
    Let him, grow up also. He might surprise you, he will stumble again, but he needs to learn to walk on his own.
  15. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Stands, everyone has shown some really great concern for YOU and offered some really great advice.

    I hope you save you this time around.

    Sending hugs~
  16. PonyGirl

    PonyGirl Warrior Parent

    Sending more hugs & strength.

  17. OpenWindow

    OpenWindow Active Member

    Even more hugs and strength and courage from me. I've not had to deal with this yet, but I'm not ruling it out in our future. I can imagine how difficult this is, but you've got to do what's best for everybody even though it may not feel so great right now.
  18. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    This thread has gotten a bit off topic, and I am going to ask the moderator to lock it. My topic was for those of us, Stands in particular, who can't stop trying to save/help their difficult child's.

    What if you are stopping them from finding the one thing that could help them? Would you even consider letting it go if you thought your saving/helping them could be the one thing keeping the difficult child from recovery?

    There are lots and lots of "Thinking of you, Stands" threads, and lots and lots and lots of "My father/brother/mother/aunt/child was this way, Stands, and that's why you need to say no" threads, and "I know it's hard but you can do it" threads, and those are great places for those thoughts.

    This thread was about realizing that we're the ones stopping them from finding the right person or program with all of our orchestrating.

  19. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Okay, I'm totally the odd man out here and I know you ignore me anyway, so I can pretty much say what I think, which I'd do anyway.

    Honestly, I quit caring about Stands a long time ago. I don't handle drama well. I handle being used by anyone even less than that. Stands, in my mind, uses us to get attention and sympathy. Someone to hold her hand and pat her on the back while she blithely goes on her merry little way.

    However, I do care what happens to her son and her two other children. I've said this before and I will say it again -- you hurt your son every time you do something for him. He needs to stand on his own two feet, make his own choices. Yes, he's going to fall into a hole but he can get out of it. The only question is whether he will want to. So long as you, Stands, give him a hand, he'll get out that hole just to find a deeper one. If you truly love your son, let him fall. Make him get up by himself. Make him take each and every step on his own. When he has truly walked the walk, then be there to help him start over but not before. And the walk must be the whole walk, not just the first few steps.

    Keep telling this to yourself every time you get the urge to do something for your son -- whether it is steer him in the right direction, give him a little money, a place to sleep for the night, anything -- I can only help him by making him do it himself. He will not stop using drugs unless I quit enabling. He will not seek help as long as he can use drugs.

    Help your son. Quit trying to make YOU feel better, look good or whatever.
  20. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I sort of thought that all of this was tied in together, Witz, the support and the tough love aspect, but I think I get what you are saying. I was trying to be supportive with my "thinking of you" .. as well as hoping and praying that Stands said NO this time and her son is not in her home as I type this. Respectfully, if this thread isn't for Stands, then probably the title should be changed to clarify, or a new thread started re the entire subject of tough love and how helping is NOT helping when it comes to many difficult children. It's an excellent topic and one I for one have dealt with over and over.

    I don't know what to say any more. It's like we're all beating our head against a brick wall. HA.. it's like talking to my own difficult child, sometimes.
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