Stressed, trying to detach!

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by JustCantWin, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. 4now

    4now Member

    I am so tired of this roller coaster ride. I have been dealing with my 33 year old difficult child, bipolar and pot and alcohol abuser for years. I have helped him through legal issues, places to stay, tried to get him disability ( he was denied the first time) and all the other things we try with our difficult child's. AND nothing changes! it just seems to get worse? Finally after years of paying rent and helping I. Slowly tried to detach. Well last Oct he was finally evicted from the apartment I had paid for for several months while any money he had went to whatever difficult child wants. I said enough and the sympathetic landlord let him stay from March until last October without paying rent until they found out he was stealing power through the laundry room wall! At that point he lived in the truck I gave him the down payment for until it became bitterly cold and then I helped him with a week here and there in various fleabag motels. it is very cold here in the winter. He proceeded to get himself banned for behavior at the 3 motels that rent by the week. After couch surfing and exhausting all other possibilities my husband and I allowed him to move in our house in January under certain conditions. he got a job, he left during the day while we were gone at work, etc. W ell that lasted about a month before he couldn't be respectful or bother to follow the simple rules we had set forth. Finally when we asked him to leave he became aggressive with my husband " because he thought he was going to touch him, difficult child". My husband has never and would not lay a hand on him. Anyway difficult child shoved my husband to the floor and that was the last straw for me. I threw difficult child out and told him he wasn't ever allowed to spend the night under our roof again. Our 12 year old was traumatized and frightened by the whole ordeal. At that point difficult child spent a couple months getting money from me and my ex husband, his easy child brother and doing whatever to survive. finally about 6 weeks ago I took pity and Tried to help him with housing again and paid for a months rent on a one room apartment. I won't give him cash so I went with him to the apartment manager to give the cash, while they were signings the papers I stepped into the other room to take a phone call and he only paid part of the rent with the money I had provided and pocketed $100. When we got outside and I was leaving I asked for the receipt. We were in separate vehicles. After I got home I discovered that he had pocketed the $100. Any way, long story short he got kicked out after 2 weeks for his behavior and people coming and going, same old story. by that time I had had it. he started staying at Salvation Army and finally started doing okay. We were cautiously optimistic and trying to encourage without enabling. He applied for disability again and assisted living and we let him come to our home for dinner etc. but of course it didn't last. This week has been hell on earth again He got kicked out of The homeless shelter and has been lying scheming and hounding his family for money again. I offered to take him to a shelter in the next town over and offered to loan him our tent to stay at a campground in our town, both offers he refused. So last night at 3:00 am I get a call from the nurse at our er ( difficult child goes there a couple times week for his bipolar/ anxiety) asking if I could come and get him just for the night!!!! HE double hockey sticks NO! Now he has others trying to manipulate me. I am fed up. At the moment he just knocked on my door as I was writing this crying and begging to come in threatening to commit suicide because no one helps him or cares about him. We are All at the end of our ropes he shows up at our jobs, and homes call constantly, lies, schemes steals and can't understand why we don't want to do this anymore. I feel broken, tired and as stressed as I've ever been. My heart is breaking and I can't see what options I have or what to do. I could find him a place but he would get kicked out it is only a matter of time, I have tried to get him mental health help but can't I know he can't stay here that is totally off the table I have my husband and 12 year old to think about. Feeling hopeless
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. I am on the way out so if I missed a few things, I apologize. I skimmed over it.

    The age 33 caught my attention right away. You have a man approaching middle age here, as do I. You have spent more on him, I"ll bet, than on anyone else or anything else or those loved ones who behave well and treat you with respect and don't break the law. Bipolar is not excuse for breaking the law. I have a severe mood disorder. Never seen jail. I was out on my own at eighteen and my parents told me "Have a good life." I think it helped rather than hurt me to have them withdraw support, although they certainly weren't trying to be nice. Still, I had to be mindful of taking my medication, of not abusing drugs of alcohol (that in itself is going to make a mentally ill person worse and it is their choice to do it) and to figure out how to handle my own life. And if I couldn't do it, oh, well, I still had to handle it myself. It wasn't easy, but I certainly never got into the messes your son did. Those are his choices...he is behaving like a wayward child. Personally, I feel it would be better for you and for him if you cut him off monetarily forever and did not allow him to live at home. Goodness, he is 33 and you can't live forever. Who will be his mommy when you are no longer here? Now about you trying to help him. You can't. That's right. There is not one thing you can do for him. You have 0% control over him. He has Civil Rights and only he, as the middle age man he is, can make decisions that are good for him. You can not succeed at this. You can only control yourself and your reaction to his dysfunction and childish unwillingness to do all he can to be well. You can have a good life in spite of his struggles and focus on yourself and your other loved ones and your friends and your hobbies and your rest of your life. He is way past the mommy stage. If he keeps harassing you at home and work you may have to take out a restraining order on him. Sorry, but he is being so selfish, scaring you and risking your job just because at 33 he wants you to mommy him. Don't do it. But do get a restraining order telling him he can't step on your property or visit you at work and ignore his phone calls. He is way out of line. This young man is playing you...he sounds a bit like my 36 year old...a man who has some antisocial personality disorder traits and they are great foolers. They say they love you, cry, and then steal you blind. After a time, we should turn them into the cops, not forgive them. They run out of chances...and, for pity sakes, stop paying for his housing!!! Let him get a job or live where he can couch surf. You are wasting your money, sweetie. You really are.

    I have to go now, but I highly recommend going to Al-Anon. If you've done it before, try it again with a new mindset. Maybe consider this a new step in your life where you start to let go of him and learn how to take care of an important person you have been neglecting...YOU! Al-Anon is a great resource, even if you are not religious. Do not continue to try to fix what you can't. You've tried everything. Nothing worked. Why? Because he is not you and only he can fix himself. So do something wonderful for you today and I'd read "Codependent No More" by Melodie Beattie (God, I hope I spelled that right.) It's a great start. Your son is way too old to have you taking care of him, hon. MIne is 36 and I let go. I will talk more later. Try to have a peaceful, serene day and make it about YOU. Your son knows how to survive on the streets and will be fine. Hugs for your hurting mommy heart.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014
  3. Childofmine

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

    JCW....Wow. What a story. No wonder you are completely spent and exhausted. Just reading your story was exhausting.

    in my humble opinion, you need to be done. Done. Are you done? Can you be done? I know you are completely sick and tired, I read that in every syllable, but are you tired enough, JCW?

    Tired enough to turn away from your son (who I understand you love and wish the best for), fix your eyes on another goal, however distant it is right now, today, and start walking and working toward THAT goal?

    You have done it all for him and more, and none of it has worked. So, it's time for another approach, and that is the leave-him-alone approach.

    And use any energy and time and money you have to focus on yourself. I am sure you are completely depleted in mind, body and spirit and it's time for you to restore and rebuild yourself with a new way of thinking, acting and living.

    He will have to help himself or find others to come alongside him to help. in my opinion, it is not going to be you and me, anyway, who help our difficult child. That usually just doesn't happen---too much baggage.

    So.......let go. Start going to Al-Anon and keep on going to Al-Anon. For a while, go to a meeting every single day. Buy the books, start reading other books, like CoDependent No More, write in a journal, take a nap, feel your feelings but don't act on them, cry, grieve, rage and through it all, keep letting go.

    For a while, you could take a complete break from him. If you can't bear that, then set some clear boundaries, such as: I'll talk to you on the phone once a week on Thursdays at 5. Call me then and we'll talk for 10 minutes.

    If he calls at any other time, let it go to voice mail. It will take time and work, but you can show him that you mean what you say.

    Doing these types of things gives you space and time and distance and rest from the insanity.

    You've done enough. Step back. Start focusing on you for a while. Warm hugs. I am truly sorry this is the situation.
  4. 4now

    4now Member

    Thank you MWM and COM for your replies. I am fed up and I do realize that I can not change my difficult child, it is just so much harder with our children. And you are both right that I need to go back to Alanon. I haven't been in years and I know it works. I grew up in a very dysfunctional alcoholic home and had a brother a difficult child who lived with my parents into his 40's until my parents passed away. I always swore I would never do THAT with my child. I get the irony!

    Am I fed up enough? I think so. I am tired of operating out of fear! my 12 year old is my grandson whom we raised and adopted when since he was 5 months old. both of his parents were and are difficult child's and his mother who was also bipolar ( not my daughter, but we tried to help her) died in a horrible train/ pedestrian accident when 12 year old was only 2. It was sad and devastating for her mother. I live in fear of going through something like that with my own difficult child's so I often react to the threats, but is time to stop.

    MWM you are right that the only person I can control is my self and I try to remind myself of that daily, but I need the support of Alanon and maybe counseling. It is nice that so many of you " get it". My husband is very supportive but friends and family don't understand why I don't help more! Ha! Now I. Have ER nurses trying to guilt me. Enough already.

    I am happy to have the support offered here and appreciate all of your comments and support. It is so nice to have this spot to come to and try to gain some wisdom.

    there is a popular saying going around that goes " Not my circus, not my monkeys" that I need to remind myself that difficult child's problems are his. thanks for both of your replies and support.
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  5. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome JCW, I'm so sorry you are going through this with your son.

    We are on a journey of continuing suffering with our adult kids. The only way to stop the suffering is to let go of enabling your son and begin the process of shifting your focus off of your son and onto yourself. You will likely, like the rest of us, need a lot of support to do that. Listen to the others and begin attending Al Anon, or CoDa, or Families Anonymous. NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, you can access them online and they have excellent courses for us parents which will give you not only support, but tools to learn how to respond differently to your son.

    You may want to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here. For me, I put myself in every single supportive environment I could find and for a long time, so I could disengage from my daughter's choices and dramas. It takes a village JCW, for us to let go and detach and learn to accept what we can't change.

    You can't change your son. Only he can. If he threatens suicide, call the police. Do not be emotionally blackmailed into continuing on this roller coaster. The only one who can change it is YOU. He won't. But once you do, he will be forced to change, if only to stop harassing YOU.

    Hang in there JCW, it will improve if you put yourself as the priority and get as much support as you can muster.
  6. 4now

    4now Member

    Thank you for your reply recovering. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. I need to put the focus on enjoying the rest of the life God has in store and stop stressing over things I can't control. MWM hit the nail on the head when she said my 33 difficult child wants a mommy, well past adulthood and almost into middle age. After setting boundaries I usually agonize and worry, but today I have been surprisingly calm and feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I guess I am ready to hand 33 control of his life, well past the time it should have been, and let go and let God do the rest. Suprisingly it was a very good day. I spent it having a lovely day with our only granddaughter who will start kindergarten in a few weeks. We swam, colored, read books and cooked lasagna together and it was a fantastic day.
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  7. Childofmine

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

    I love this! Thank you for this, JCW. Have a great day today. Make a decision---it's going to be a great day!
  8. Ajrls

    Ajrls New Member

    Wanted to pm you, but not sure how to do it, so writing here, because I wanted to say thank you, SomewhereOutThere.
    My husband and I have a now 30 yr old, adult, non medcompliant adult bipolar diagnosed son. He had his first hospitalization at 25, we received a call from the emergency room, and drove from FL to MD the following day. I'm sure our story is much like others, wanting to help, because that's what parents innately do, take care of their children. And yet, it sometimes feels like that movie, Groundhog Day, where the same nightmare happens over and over. Finally, got to the point of I can't mentally do this anymore, and husband and I decided to see a therapist. This should be required for all parents with children who are diagnosed with a mental illness, wish the case manager had told us to find a counselor 5 yrs ago.
    Sorry, I digress.
    My thanks, is because as a parent of a son with a mental illness, I have always wondered if he was even mentally capable of understanding what was going on, that maybe as his parents we had a responsibility to him. But, hearing from someone who has a severe mood disorder, is what I've needed. I've had this nagging feeling that we haven't been handling our situation correctly, and reading you post has been a help, so thank you.
  9. mcdonna

    mcdonna Member

    Sorry to hear you are still in the 'cycle' with your son. It is heartbreaking. We keep hoping that "this time will be the last time" and that they will "get it". Sadly, for some of our Difficult Child's, it doesn't come soon enough.

    As I read through your posts, I can only hope that I don't end up at the same place as you and your family are at. It makes me want to stick to the detachment I'm working on now. Our daughter is 25 but could easily be 33 and doing the same thing...especially if we keep doing the same thing. I'm trying hard to change the habit. And yes, if your son is threatening suicide, call 911. Don't respond to all of the demands. We took the phone out of our bedroom. It's downstairs so that we can't hear it during the night. Answering machines are wonderful! Sometimes Difficult Child leaves a message; other times not but at least we get a good night's sleep.

    AppleCori gave me the best advice with regard to being afraid as a parent:

    The best parenting advice I have ever heard was this: don't parent out of fear.
    Fear of what the adult/child will say or do.
    Fear of what others will think/believe/say.
    Fear of standing up for ourselves and having others disagree.
    Fear of doing the right thing, because it is the hardest thing

    I hope that you and your husband can stay strong through this. Do something nice for yourselves (and your grandson) - you deserve it. Keep posting and we'll keep supporting you. {Hugs}
  10. tmatt

    tmatt New Member

    I'm new to this forum and am so glad to have found it. I'm sure appreciating the detachment article and the advice given about not parenting out of fear!

    My son is 18 and just moved out at the beginning of September. He's been struggling with a major depressive disorder since he was 15 and has tried a number of medications but decided to "self medicate" instead with pot. He hasn't graduated high school but is working at the local grocery store and is paying his own way. I'm always amazed at how mean he can be toward me though.
    "You've never been there for me"
    "You don't love me"
    "You've never been a mother to me"

    He's making the detachment pretty easy for me because he's asked me to not be in his life. I cried for a day but have chosen to continue living. I have to do that. Choose. Life. For me, for my hubby and for my 14 year old daughter. I'm not bank rolling any of his life EXCEPT for his therapy. I've decided to continue to pay for that as long as he's attending.

    Like many of you, I keep hoping that maybe today will be the magic day where he will return to his former, happier self. I think that's been the hardest - letting go of the "dreams", of the "expectations of normal".

    I wish none of us had to walk this path. It's hard. It's exhausting and it can break a heart a million different ways.

    Please keep sharing your stories. I think I will find strength and guidance through this community. I'm from a very small community and resources are few and far between. I love my son. I, however, also love myself and will remember that I deserve good things too.