Third time is NOT the charm

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by mtdenise, Jul 5, 2016.

  1. mtdenise

    mtdenise Member

    My son is leaving again tomorrow. We are out of ideas of how to help him. His father and I have tried everything. This was his third time coming back home and he’s blown it again.

    Long story short…after seeing that he was not trying to improve his life and not saving any money whatsoever (buying junk food, cigarettes, and drugs), we gave him an ultimatum. He was working pretty much full time at a fast food place and he likes to do yard work on the side. We figured out approximately how much income he made in a month and told him he had to show us $1000 at the end of the first month. If he couldn’t meet that, he had until the end of the second month to show us $2,000. He could either choose to save money or choose to live somewhere else as we were not enabling his behaviors anymore. You know, for the life of me I can’t remember what our rationale was for giving him 2 months to show us money. I guess we always want to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    Anyway, he’s moving in with a friend in another state for a short time and says he’s going to enter rehab. I don’t buy it. I’m just happy he’s leaving as I can’t take watching him destroy his life anymore. The one thing I am telling him in the morning is that for my own mental and physical health I don’t want any contact for 6 months. Maybe that sounds harsh, but I don’t care. I’m tired of my life being ruined by his actions. This person is not my son. I have no idea who it is, but I don’t like them one bit.

    So, I bought him a bus ticket, packed some snacks for the bus, will give him $20 for food and send him out into that big bad world. I'll know that his father and I have done everything we possibly could to help him. The rest is up to him.

    Thanks for letting me get this off my chest.
  2. mtdenise

    mtdenise Member

    Oh, the one thing I want to add, the one month he easily had the money in hand. It was his birthday and relatives sent him money AND he got his tax refund. He started the month with having half the money, but he spent it ALL! His choice was to spend the money and to not live here anymore. Unbelievable!
  3. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    You really get 1000 dollars a month working at fast food?
    Did he payed any rent while living with you?
    This is the reason why is bad for adult children to live with their parents you have expectations of them they will not reach them then conflict will arose. Now I know that affording rent and saving money is not a possibility in your early 20's for most young people but you could live with flat mates and will help a lot in saving money. Which he does now. Perhaps is for the best as a flat mate does not care about your future so he can live the life he wants no matter how destructive it is it will be bad for him not for you.
    I can not stress how bad it is for adult children to live their parents now do not get me wrong it depends on the culture you will not see latin and slavic cultures having so big struggles with their children living with them its as their learned from a young age to tolerate way more things about family members.
    Here the oldest or the youngest depending on the part of the country lives with their parents until well the parents or them die taking care of each other. We have little to no old people homes and the ones we have are terrible and somebody has to take care of our parents when their old so we developed a culture where we tolerate a lot from our children.
  4. mtdenise

    mtdenise Member

    He worked waiting tables at a Pizza Hut. He brought home about $800 a month from that job and he had many yard work jobs, cutting lawns, mulching, weeding. That brought in a few hundred too. So in reality we still left him with about $200 of spending money, of which he did not have the ability or desire to save any of it. We made it very easy for him to meet these goals and he chose not to. That's what we keep reminding ourselves of...this was his choice.

    He does have a drug problem. Kind of admits to it and said he will go into rehab, but I think he's just saying the things everyone wants to hear. Going into rehab was the one condition that his friend said he must do in order to live there. So we will see how that goes. I guess if he's not really interested in rehab he will be out on the streets.
  5. so ready to live

    so ready to live Active Member

    Hi Mtdenise.
    this says it all. It is what you want to do and that's ok. I don't think the no contact for 6 months is harsh because it's what you want-any decision can be changed tomorrow if you choose. I find it so odd that many parents. including myself, feel that we have to maintain contact for a period of time. Is it just possible that they need others at this point to influence them? Yes, there are bad influences, but they have already found them despite us, haven't they? Do something new.

    You have. It is. Hang on tightly. You will be alright. prayers.
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  6. mtdenise

    mtdenise Member

    His father just drove him to the bus station. I handed him $20 for food. Asked him how much money he has on him and he says $20. The $20 I just gave him!! He didn't pay his phone bill so his phone doesn't work. He's getting on a bus with NO money and NO phone. He spent every dime he had. Just pathetic and sad. I hope he can change his life around. I did ask his friend to text me when he picks him up tonight.

    Thank you so ready to live for your words.
  7. mtdenise

    mtdenise Member

    OMG, I just started crying and can't stop. I'm so scared for my son right now but I know I have no control over his life and need to move on. Maybe this crying is for all the hopes and dreams we had for him. OK, time to get on with my life. Thank goodness for this board and people who understand. Thank you!!
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  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    mtndenise, I did pretty much the same. Tossed our daughter with nothing. She managed to talk Goneboy, who was still close to her and in the family then, into letting her live in his basement. He wasnt happy and had a laundry list of things she could not do and one strike you're out.

    Her last words to me were, "I will hate you forever!!!!" I cried for three weeks, day and night.

    But nobody gave her a dime or a car and Goneboy demanded rent and that she work or she would have used up her one strike. She walked to and from Subway in a Chicago winter. She didnt smoke. Goneboy was cigarette intolerant anywhere on his property and was mean enough to throw her out if he got a wiff of smoke. She quit using. I dont know how she did it. No rehab. No AA. But her main drugs of choice, meth and other forms of speed, perhaps are not physically addictive

    All the progress we had begged her to make while living with us, she made when she was one cigarette inhalation away from homelessness in Chicago, away from us.

    We got our daughter back...Alive and functional. She gained back all the weight she had lost on speed. When she left, she looked like warmed over death. It is good yo see her healthy and in sync with life and social norms.

    We, as parents, have our own rock bottom too...when we can't watch or fund the destruction anymore. when we know it is hurting, not helping. Helping is unhelpful to drug users. it makes us as parents feel better, that is all.

    Cry all you need. We are here to put our arms sround you. Praying for a happy ending. Be good to yourself. None of this did this lightly.
  9. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    I am sorry, Denise. I understand those feelings of panic, anger and grief. I am going through something very similar right now.

    This was his choice, Denise. He knew what was required, and it was reasonable, and he chose not to do it.

    There is nothing more you can do, nothing more you SHOULD do. It would be so much easier on you, at least in the short run, to let him continue down the wrong path, wouldn't it? You are not letting him do that, Denise. You are taking the right road, even though it is hard.

    I am glad your son is safe. I am glad he has a friend who will encourage him to get into rehab. That sounds like a good friend, and a friend can carry far more weight than we can, Denise.

    It also sounds like he is a hard worker. That is one big plus he has. That will see him through a lot, Denise.

    Many hugs to you today.
  10. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    ((HUGS)) to you!!
    You and your husband have done all you can do. I do not think you asking him to show you $1000 at the end of the month was unreasonable. You were trying to teach him that he needed to save his money.
    I know how heart wrenching it is when you try to help them then try some more and they just don't get it. You are left feeling so empty. I think it's wise that you have liberated him from your home. I also know how the worry can set in.
    Please be good to yourself. You have told him no contact for 6 months, please don't spend those 6 months in constant worry. As you said you need some peace so please do things for yourself that will bring you peace and joy.
    I know it's easier said than done to not worry but remember, worrying will not change one thing, it will only rob you of precious energy.
    Your son had demonstrated that he is capable of working, now it's up to him to manage his life and his money. You have given him the tools, it's up to him whether he used them or not.
    I'm so sorry you are going through this. I have been there. As you said, three times is not a charm. Neither is 10 or 20! My husband and I gave our son more "second" chances than I can remember and the result was always the same.
    Hang in there!!!
  11. mtdenise

    mtdenise Member

    He was living here rent free and the only expense he had was a $45 phone bill. My husband and I tried to make it very easy for him to be successful. My son is a hard worker. He likes physical labor and landscaping. He used to have a great job with the county schools on their grounds crew. He loved that job but blew it.

    I like the phrase "liberating him from our home." That's exactly what we have done.

    I have plenty to keep me busy so I will try to push thoughts of him out of my mind. In my little fantasy world, he will be entering rehab and trying to straighten his life out. I work from home, love to Jazzercise, and foster dogs and cats, so I'm always busy.

    Our difficult children certain do get a lot of second chances, don't they?
  12. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Oh Denise I'm so sorry. It's so hard to let them go. I'm praying it doesn't come to this with our son...but I fear it will. Like yours, mine can't hold on to money. Last Friday he had $100. As of last night, he had $8 left that I haven't given him yet. :( Sure he has a job, but he's not working yet. He told us he'd be happy with $100 every two weeks and us keeping the rest for "savings" when he gets paid. Really? He went thru $100 in four days and he thinks it'll last fourteen?

    I picture him demanding his money and us throwing him out.

    But we'll see. Like you, I have to give him a chance. He'll take it or not and the outcome will be his choice.

    Your son is willing to work. HIs friend insists on rehab, so there's a chance he'll get a new start there. Try to stay positive. ((Hugs))
  13. mtdenise

    mtdenise Member

    Thank you Lil. We are all going through such similar things. I hope your son takes this opportunity to save his money. They really have no idea how easy they have it as far as saving money. No rent, no expenses. Just work and save money. Saving money is so foreign to them for some reason. I honestly couldn't believe my son has ZERO dollars on him this morning until I handed him $20. UGH!

    When we came up with the conditions of my son saving money, we worded it so that he realized whatever the outcome it was his choice. We didn't kick him out this time. He chose to leave by not fulfilling his part of the agreement. This friend has tried to help him before. I told my son that if he blows it this time, he will definitely be homeless. Time will tell.

    Lucky me, I have a lunch date planned with a friend I haven't seen in 2-3 years. We set this date a while ago, so I'm off to meet her. A welcome distraction!
  14. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Denise, I am so sorry that your son did not use the chances you have given him to better his life. I found through the many many chances we gave our two that they just did not make an effort to change, ended up dragging the household into the chaos of their lives. Seems that we were just a "watering hole" for them to kick their feet up and have a staycation from life. Out on their own, they have to learn to fend for themselves and make it work, or not. Needless to say, we will not be around forever to "rescue" them, the sooner they learn to be self sufficient, the better.
    Feel what you have to feel and get it out. It is better than stuffing it down and going numb, it will find a way to surface.
    It is a grieving we go through with all of the stages.
    Yes, yes, yes. Time to get on with your life. You matter.
    We have no control over what our d cs do, whether they are in our homes or not. Those chances you gave your son are proof of it.
    I like this idea, D, it is what I use as well. It reminds me of the Victor Frankl talk, to become an idealist, to project in our minds the best possibility for our d cs. It goes hand in hand with the power of thoughts and words. Now, when I talk with my two, I tell them that I know they can make the best out of this life, they have the skills, the brains to achieve. No mention of drugs or rehab. Keeping this in my mind helps me to live my life. I don't want to be stuck in the muck and mire of what their choices are. It is not just a fantasy, but a positive possibility........
    Hang in there D. You and your husband have done the the work, instilling values and life lessons, now it is up to your son to use that knowledge and move forward. You have given him that opportunity to prove himself by "liberating" him, setting him free to find his purpose.
  15. mtdenise

    mtdenise Member

    I like this a lot. I will be sure to have my husband tell him these things as my husband still wants contact with him every now and then.
  16. Childofmine

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

    Mtdenise im following along and will write more later. We're glad to hear from you! I think this is a very good day for you and for him. You're done. You did all anybody can do and more. That is a fact. It didn't work. Now, it's time for him to fly on his own. This is going to be tougher on you than on him. Hang in there. Feel your feelings, cry, scream, pound a pillow 2000 times. You will get through this awful period but it hurts. Just keep walking through the next hour, afternoon, day. It is time for you and time for him. More later. Hugs and we are here with you walking with you through this.