Trying to stay on the detachment track, advice?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by hearthope, Oct 10, 2007.

  1. hearthope

    hearthope New Member

    Looking for some advice on staying detached.

    As most of you know my surgery made difficult child have to totally fend for himself in jail.

    I did make a call for him to see what needed to be done to obtain a public defender.

    The defender's office has mailed two letters over the past three weeks that my son had yet to get so I went to the office yesterday and hand delivered the mail to the jail.

    I have visited each sunday since I have recovered enough to do so. I also keep money on his books.

    I told him yesterday that I would get the block off the phone so he could call home.

    I know how easy it is for me to jump right in the middle of things dealing with him and I am trying to keep strong and stay out of it.

    I heard the discouragement in his voice this past sunday and it made me want to 'help'. He has been there since august 8 and has no contact with an attorney. We both agree that this has been a blessing, that without being in jail he would not have changed.

    Hopefully, getting the letter from the attorney and seeing that someone is working to get him a hearing will give him more hope for the future.

    Am I doing the right things? Remember, It took years for me to detach and I have struggled with wondering if I am falling back into it or if I am keeping a healthy distance?

    My shop has been closed for a mth now, that is the # he could call to talk to me. My mom has been getting his calls since I have been home and they went out of town without his knowledge and he called all weekend thinking something was wrong with one of my parents or me because he couldn't reach them, that is my reason for removing the block on my home phone. He only calls once or twice a week at the most.


  2. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    I dont know about your state, but in mine, I could have never gotten him a public defender. here they have to fill out a form given to them in the jail requesting one. they never meet with the public defender assigned til moments before the hearing. no one comes to the jail to speak to them.

    as for the calls, the sad part is they cost a fortune. here you must pay ahead on an account with ITS-inmate telephone service. once you have money on acct they can call til it is used up. the calls cost a lot. they get 15 mins to talk and the calls cost about 40 cents a minute.
  3. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    your son is only 18 and I am sure this is scarey but I have to say to you: let this lesson be hard. sigh. ant was in jail at 18 and I am sure I babied him a bit by letting him call all he wanted, calling the guard to ask them to watch over him, and visiting weekly. I also sent him money on account, and books to read.

    looking was wrong. he is 24 and has been in jail most of the time since he was 18!!

    the first jailing he was terrified. mostly the food was bad, it stunk, the men are noisy as a zoo. they do make life miserable and lonely. they do not need money on account. the inmates use that to buy extra food goodies and toiletries. sometimes they barter that stuff with one another.

    the hearings are usually set pretty quickly. he had his first hearing to determine if they could hold him in jail til his jury hearing. then the jury hearing could be delayed for months as they are so backed up. you could possibly call the clerk of courts and ask when his hearing is scheduled.

    I dont know the right thing I only know that all the times ant was in jail I stood by him. partly because I told him if he would turn himself in I would be there for him til he got out. this time, ant caused himself more misery by drinking and driving again. I am not willing to baby him at all. I want him to hate this so bad that he stops his course of action. I want him to miss Kaleb and I so much, so deeply that he vows that his ways will change.

    they all are sorry while in jail, they all say they will change. sadly they can get used to jail. someone hands you food, clothes, and there are older men there who make a life of it and dont care.

    If your son hates jail at 18 maybe it can change his life. sigh.

    ant is terrified again now and cannot sleep. he is afraid of the state pen. it will be a new incarceration experience for him. different than the county jails he knew. he is sentenced to one to two yrs. I hope he is safe. I also hope he hates it so much that when he gets out at age 26 or 27, it is the end of that lifestyle for him.

    I will write to ant, accept only one call per week possibly, and may not visit much at all. hard, but something has gotta give as the way we did this last time did not sink in.
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I dont think you did the wrong thing by taking the letters to him or by putting money on the accounts or taking the blocks off the phone. Evidently the phone calls are extremely different in each state because in NC they didnt cost me all that much.

    I had to do the block thing because we live on cell phones. In order to get any calls I had to put money on this Paytell account and I put $30 on and the calls each lasted I think 10 or so mins and cost me $1.50 a call no matter how many minutes he talked.

    We had to put money on Corys account for him to get things like any extra underwear, shirts, toothpaste, and of course snacks since the food is not much. The guys live on Little Debbies between meals. Here you cant send books in. I put 15 a week on his account except the week he needed a pair of boxers...then I put enough to cover the boxers too.
  5. hearthope

    hearthope New Member

    Janet (AM) ~ I didn't get him a public defender, he sat for over a month not knowing how to get one and I made the calls to find out for him. No one let him know he needed to ask for the referral paper thru the jail. The calls aren't expensive and he only calls once or twice a week.

    Janet (DJ) ~ I have always said to him I would be there when he wanted to do the right thing and I think now he needs to see that I am standing behind him, yet trying to let him handle things for himself.

    Maybe that is what I am having the issue with now, before when he was using and running, it was easy to stand for what was right and detach but now that he is changing I feel like I have to keep my word and be there for him

    What is the happy medium between the two????

  6. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    I think it is GOOD to be there for him while he's "changing".

    Like antsmom I did walk out on my oldest difficult child once when he was locked up and threatening suicide, yelling, trying to get me to call his ex girlfriend etc. I told him..."It has to hurt this bad, you have to feel this pain so that you never EVER want to be here again" then I left with him banging on the glass. Cried all the way home.

    I still accepted his calls, continued visits with him later, put money on his books etc. But I would not let him guilt me or throw a fit and me remain there. It was too hard on my "mommy heart" and I refused to be abused/used. I was also going to Al Anon and learning what belonged to him and what was not mine to accept/tolerate.

    I think there is a happy medium. They know will always love them...that's not the issue. But, they do have to learn their lessons too.

    Have you tried Al Anon for yourself? There's alot of wisdom and support there too.

  7. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    I agree with standing behind him when he is doing the right thing. I also think he needs the pain, sigh and sob.

    it kills me that ant went to jail time and again, causing me so much anguish and he still did the things he does to get him back after all that we have been thru together.

    your son has to have a defender at the hearing.
  8. ScentofCedar

    ScentofCedar New Member

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: hearthope</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

    Maybe that is what I am having the issue with now, before when he was using and running, it was easy to stand for what was right and detach but now that he is changing I feel like I have to keep my word and be there for him

    What is the happy medium between the two????

    Traci </div></div>

    I don't think there is a happy medium, Traci. We helped every single time until we understood that we were helping by not responding.

    Your son is only eighteen or nineteen.

    I think you are doing the right and human thing.

    Try to think what your boundaries are, and what your involvement should be, before you talk to him.

    That way, you won't react out of pain.

    Even if your son begins walking a straighter path from this experience, the cause of celebration will not be that he made it through, but that he creates a successful life despite these mistakes he has made.

    Trust him until he gives you reason not to.

    This is all so unbelievably hard.

    When we literally did not know how to respond, we tried to imagine how we would feel about what we had done (or not done) three or four years down the line.

    It's a balancing act between learning when we are helping from a sense of guilt or pity and when we are choosing not to help from a position of well thought out strength.

  9. hearthope

    hearthope New Member

    Thanks for the very well put advice.

    Yet again I have been grasping for "the answer" to solve the struggle of doing good or causing more harm

    It is so hard to sit behind the glass and hear him say that he 'gets' all the things I tried so hard for him to 'get' in the past, and then walk away with my warrior shield.

    He has touched so many raw emotions inside of me that I had to get him to change the subject several times.

    He is doing this by sharing what he has learned, not by trying to get me to help him.

    He looked at me with tears in his eyes and said "I don't understand why you still love me after all I did to you"

    How do you answer that without breaking down?

    Gosh, this is harder than all the times before. He never wanted to change before and it was easy to keep up a wall of protection.

  10. ScentofCedar

    ScentofCedar New Member

    It is hard.


    If he comes through the other side successfully, it will have been worth every second of pain. If he does not come through successfully, you will know you did all you could.

    That is why we need to remember to take care of ourselves first.

    Then, our families.

    Then, from that good, solid place, the child who is going a wrong way.

    To this day, if there were something I could do for my son, I would do it.

    For me, there is nothing.

    For your son, there is still hope.

    In five years, whatever the outcome today, what will you wish you had done?

    You will wish you had at least tried, I think. But you might also wish you had been clearer with your son. Both husband and I wish we had begun naming the problem drug use sooner. It would have cleared our minds and enabled us to be stronger, sooner.

    Maybe al-anon could help you, now?

    Or narc-anon?

    The mothers there would have a wealth of experience in such matters, I think.

    Wishing well, Traci.

  11. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    more hugs Traci
    supporting whatever path you choose
  12. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    Traci, I think that we must show support when they are trying to do the right thing but not become enabling in doing everything for them. it is a slipery slope to traverse but it can be done. When you find yourself obcessing over your difficult child take time away from thoughts of him and put it on yourself and your needs. Take a daily assessment and be honest with yourself and don't do anything that you really do not want to do. -RM
  13. Sondar

    Sondar New Member

    We accept the collect phone calls, 2-3 days a week. This adds $25 to my monthly phone bill but it's a small price to know he's OK or to listen to what's on his mind.

    Also put $$ on his account. Our county takes 50% because the inmate is charged a daily per diem.

    Traci, while in jail he isn't distracted, he isn't using mind-altering substances, and I believe we are hearing the real person. If he gets out and returns to old ways, that's when he becomes a stranger again.

    I called my difficult child's social worker yesterday to be sure she and his public defender had connected and that he still has a bed in Louisville in case the judge releases him to treatment next week. He needs help to transition into the new facility and we agreed to drive him there.

    Sending good wishes and strong support for you in the trying days ahead. Keep posting.
  14. hearthope

    hearthope New Member

    I am so thankful for your responses.

    I had read them all several times and they are all a great tool in keeping my thoughts straight on this matter.

    The group I went to in my area was small, only 5 of us, and all but 1 of them were still in an enabling phase with the loved one. There was a sense of shock in the room when they learned I had made my 18 yr old son leave the house because of drug use. I never went back.

    I can be totally honest here. I can share my deepest fears and feelings and I never feel I will be judged because all of you understand the fears and feelings that come from having a difficult child.

    I thank each of you for taking the time to respond. You are helping me see the whole picture and not become engulfed in emotions and react out of guilt or love when it can cause more harm than good to my son.

    I will keep posting and seeking the advice, please keep responding and sharing the wealth of information you all have