Text message from Difficult Child that may make you laugh (I hope so)

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by SeekingStrength, Aug 18, 2015.

  1. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    husband answered a phone call last night that showed up as from the state his dad is in. His dad is in assisted living and having a bit of trouble here and there, so husband thought he should take it. He knows better now. He knows the assisted living place would leave a message.

    Anyway, it was Difficult Child. husband talked to him about 20 minutes, same old stuff...except Difficult Child did add a story about a time husband chastised a friend of Difficult Child's when he was 11 years old. Silly and way-out-there stuff. (husband does not remember it and ran into the friend a few weeks ago - who seemed very happy to see his old baseball coach - husband).

    After the phone call, Difficult Child texted me to tell me he loved me. (Mind you, this was a new number because I had blocked his cell #). I responded that I loved him too and perhaps one day all of us could have a relationship, when he was ready to treat us respectfully.

    This is his arrogant response, verbatim:

    That's your take. Perhaps one day you will learn your not done learning. Or perhaps you will be stubborn and you will make that point.

    A year ago, i may well have posted that response, begging for input.

    Today, I post it because of its utter arrogant (cannot think of another word) attitude. And, it makes me laugh. Not in a hahathatissocute!!! kind of way, of course.

    While this may not cause you to bend over in mirth, i do hope you chuckle. Better me than you! :laugh:

  2. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    :groan:I swear there is a Difficult Child handbook!! This sounds so much like some of the stuff my son has told me.
  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Seeking this is my take. I think it would have been enough to leave it an expression of love and hope. With the rest, unsaid. The last part he experienced as a twisting of the knife, I would guess. That you guys have wrested the power from him, and he is now at a disadvantage to you.

    The thing is, a relationship infers equality and reciprocity with nobody having a power advantage, hopefully.

    He knows what is required of him. You do not need to tell him.
    He is very smart and articulate is he not?

    If it were not just more warmed over insults, I for one would be curious to know what it is he believes I have not yet learned and need to.

    I know that your son has long tried to abuse and insult you.

    The thing is there has been so much water under the bridge that each of you expects an attack from the other and tries to get in the first blow, it seems.

    What will tell you that he is changed? How would he demonstrate to you that he respects you?

    If there was a way to cut through the defense on both sides, there may be desire on both of your parts to try again, at some point. How would you know when is the time?

    I do not know how that point might be reached, where there is safety. But it looks to an outsider like you are acting as opponents, and each fears the other may want complete submission.

    That may or may not be true.

    I will throw in a mixed lot of metaphors here. Somebody might want to some day put up a white flag or extend an olive branch. Or throw in the towel. Just to begin communication, again. Or not.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2015
  4. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Copa, for your thoughtful response. I read it through three times.

    Difficult Child is 34yo. 17 years of this talk. We know exactly what he wants; he has told us numerous times. He wants us to admit everything is our fault. Until we learned about gaslighting, we admitted a lot. It is never enough, because he demands "reparations".

    How many times have we told him that we made mistakes? Many, many times. husband said those exact words to him last night. And, Difficult Child responds with, No, No, you need to admit this is on you.

    He chooses not to show us respect. Difficult Child chooses not to be nice to us. He wants to make all the "rules". (Really, he wants money).

    We never (at least in the last couple years since finding this forum) bring up any of the things he did to us - cursed at us, spit in his dad's face, stole from us, used drugs in our house, terrorized his siblings, lied to us, lied to family members, etc. etc. etc.

    Thank you again for your thoughtful response. in my humble opinion we are waving a white flag, on the condition he is nice to us. That idea is totally unacceptable to him. Difficult Child wants things the way they used to be. He treats us like crap and we try to fix it for him.

    I realize I am venting. :( I do appreciate a different angle. Five to ten years ago, I might well have agreed.

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  5. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    You're nicer than me. If our son ever demanded we take our problems as being "all on us", I'd list each and every thing he ever did to us in order with details. Unbelievable. I'm so sorry.
  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Seeking, this is how my son treats us. And when we don't accept it he abuses us more. Including calling the cops on us and assaulting my SO.

    The thing is I love him. And he loves me.

    I do not believe it will always be the way it is with my son, although sometimes I fear it.

    I am understanding that you think anything your son does or says is abuse. That there is no communication that can come from him that has at its base a kernel of anything that is not instrumental. Designed to extract something or humiliate you.

    Obviously, there is nowhere to go from here. If you see your son as without any will to treat you as human beings, where is the open door?

    I spoke from a belief that I hold: I believe there is always a possible next step. There is always another chance. If one is open to it.

    That does not mean I will allow my son to abuse me anymore, either.

    In martial arts (of which I know nothing) there is a manner of strategic thinking whereby the weight, the thrust of the opponent is used against them. They do themselves in by their own aggression.
    I am curious. After all of the admitting in the world has been done, what will be left?
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2015
  7. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I guess I am writing from my absolute and utter hope that someday I will be able to have a loving and close relationship with my son.

    That all of the love in the world will not end in mistrust and fear.

    Seeking, take anything that I have written as coming from that place. Forgive me if I have hurt you.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    If the other person's real intentions are not to have a relationship unless there is money involved (I'll be nice to you if you give up the money) then no words will work. Even money won't, but Difficult Child may talk to you if you give in to demands. It is emotional blackmail.

    There are people who don't care about the parents who have already put so much into them. Most of the parents here have done it all, some have probably given up their entire retirement to try to help t he Difficult Child.

    There has to be honest intention to have a relatitonship. And no monetary strings attached.

    I hope everyone on this forum reaches that goal one day.
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  9. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    With the forum's help, I was able to label my son's (and some of our daughter's behaviors, too) as abusive manipulations targeted specifically to my vulnerabilities.


    After much time here on the site, I was able to realize my son had tried many different kinds of accusations but stuck with and came to believe the validity of, those that worked. Because they hurt me, because I wondered if that was "it".

    If that was the thing I had done to him; if that was where I had gone wrong and could now work to correct.

    I apologized for abandoning him when his sister was in such trouble.

    I explained why we had not put him in treatment before he was old enough to refuse it ~ which he was doing routinely by the time we got it that it was drugs at the core of what was happening to him.

    Serenity posted an article on abusive adult children.

    And at first, I couldn't see it.

    And then I could.

    So, I confronted son with what he said. I said: NO MONEY

    That's the thing. It always comes down to money; they will hurt us as deeply as they have to, to bring us into submission, to get us on their page, and to get...money.


    That is not our son talking; our son would not do that to us. That is the addiction talking. It is crucial for us to remember that very important thing.

    Not our son. We cannot respond to our addicted child in the same way we would respond, were he not addicted.

    To do so is to enable; to enable is to ensure our own eventual moral and financial destruction, along with any possible value we may have had in helping our addicted kids stop using.

    It took me so many years to accept the truth of this.

    My son is standing up. Wobbly, many back turnings, but he is doing it. Just as I had to let him fall as a toddler learning to walk, I am willing to let him fall now so he can walk himself out of this whole morass of drug use and drug culture and the lack of empathy or integrity that attends it.

    I think you and D H are handling it well. These are very hard things. I like it that D H verified the reality of whatever it was that happened when he was coaching. My take on it is that son hates remembering his father did love him, did coach his team, and was respected and cherished for the man he is by son's peers who are not using drugs and have lives they are proud of, today. In part, because D H was their coach in that time. Those memories would put the lie to everything son claims to be true now, so he created a falsehood about the quality of the coaching because that was the only place there was room to lie, to hurt D H and cause him to question what he knows to be true.

    And it worked, too.

    But D H did validate what he knew was true.

    I like the integrity in that.

    I agree with Copa that son will have seen this as a challenge. I disagree that it was challenging him to say so. We need to be true to ourselves and to our kids. There are standards of respect in relationship or the relationship is abusive. In essence, that is what you said: When you are again the man we raised you to be, the man you know, in your heart, that you are, then and only then, will we welcome you. What you are choosing now is unacceptable. Nothing is over. No doors have closed irrevocably but we will not be abused.

    The unspoken truth here is: Neither will we be party to your abusing yourself.

    That is a difficult true thing to see.

    It took me something like twenty years.

    Addiction is a nasty, destructive thing. This helps me: It is not my son who is bad. It is not me who is bad. It is the situation that is bad and so very, very wrong and unfair.

    But it is what it is, and we have to look at it.

    It's a very hard thing.

  10. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Seeking, I think you handled this episode with your son beautifully. You've been down this road many, many time, as I have. What I am very glad to hear is that this behavior is no longer a dagger in your heart, that is where YOUR healing has come in......your son continues on this path, however, you have stopped engaging with inappropriate behavior and you've stepped out of the dysfunction. That is a hard won journey........congratulations on moving out of that place. Bravo.
  11. Childofmine

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

    Seeking, you've been at this a long time and you have so many illuminating and instructive posts throughout this site.

    Once again, you have handled things with honesty and care. Thank you for your example to all of us about how to let go of someone and what that really can look like.

    When people are in the throes of their "stuff" it is unbelievable to be on the receiving end. It is not of this realm and there is utterly no way to be logical in responding.

    May we all answer that unknown number and handle it as well as you did...

    And you even have a sense of humor about it!
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  12. Childofmine

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

    P.S. Stopping the money always shows what we are really dealing with. It is amazing how clear things become after we get to that point.
  13. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Thank you, all of you.

    I forgot to mention that Difficult Child told his dad that he used an app to make it look like the phone call was from another town & state.

    So, he 1.) used an app to trick us, and then 2.)took that opportunity to dredge up as many wrongs as he could work into the conversation.

    That just seems wrong, somehow?!?!?! :(

    Copa, please never think that. In all the time I have been on this forum, nobody has hurt my feelings and you seem like as kind a human as can be. Each of us - in hard times, tough places, painful experiences - and everybody has been nice, even when bringing up ideas I might not agree with. What you wrote was valuable input. I couldn't even hold the thought of She does not know what the heck she is talking about! for more than a few seconds because you spoke what I would have said ten years ago. While I no longer dream of a a loving close relationship with my own Difficult Child, I AM hoping we can have some kind of civil relationship down the road.

    Thanks again. I wish had the space to quote each of you, because every one of you said something like made me feel authenticated & validated & decent. (And, hey isn't this forum here to make me feel better??? because it certainly does that)

    But, that would make this post way too long.

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  14. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Okay, the creator of that app must be a DCo_O
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