What would you say or do?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by BackintheSaddle, Mar 14, 2014.

  1. BackintheSaddle

    BackintheSaddle Active Member

    Hello All- I was going to check in tonight anyway because I had one of those days that was at least 3 steps back when the week in general was pretty good-- does the back and forth ever end/ or at least become less frequent?...had a dream about difficult child last night and it was awful so woke up missing him even more than usual...I had texted him on Tuesday just to check in with him and got no reply..this was after seeing him a little over a week ok for a short, nice visit with girlfriend-- he came home to pick up some things and I reiterated him that he was welcome to come visit us...(my story is we had to kick him out because he physically attacked me right before Christmas- he went to live with my parents who have since disinherited me and putting all blame on me for many many years of obvious mental illness with difficult child 19 yo son)...so in my moment (hours?) :( of weakness this morning, I sent him an email to ask him if he'd still like to try and get together, that I miss him and hope he's doing well but since he's not responding to me, does he want me to leave him alone? I have sent nothing but nice, loving messages, to explain the conflict with his grandparents (which he's been the victim of in the past when they first disinherited me when he was in 6th grade)...anyhow, I didn't get a reply all day and figured that must be my answer but then got this awhile ago...how do you interpret what he's saying? I don't even know what I've done to apologize for that is so wrong-- other than I'm not paying his bills anymore nor having him live her and treat us disrespectfully...I'm having such a hard time accepting that I probably just need to let him go, not contact him again and wait to hear from him?...what would you do?

    EMAIL FROM HIM--

    To me. You practically did disown me when you said I am no longer welcome at home anymore and cut off all support. Then when I apologized a million and a half times and asked you that the next step in order for everybody to even begin to move forward was for you to say sorry. And I got an email back saying you'd just rather talk about this in therapy. I'm working A LOT and trying my best to keep up with school but still have time for me. I have become very busy and very stressed since December. And meeting with someone that can't take responsibility for what has happened just brings that stress up. I will try to work things out so I can meet with you. It's just not one of my top priorities because of what was previously stated. If you want to apologize and/or help out some it would definitely move up on my priority scale. I love you very much and I'm trying to say all of this as nice as possible. But it is IMpossible to move forward with ANYBODY you're in a relationship with if you just think things are their fault and their problem and that's the end of it. And please, if you're reply is not some form of an apology or something nice. Don't bother replying. I have long days ahead of me and don't have the patience to deal with crap on the side.
     
  2. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Back, you reply as you think best. My difficult child is much older than yours, but i would be tempted to respond along the lines of:

    I love you and always will. If I am standing in the way of your healing, I will step back to allow you to heal as you see fit.


    Something like that. He sounds like a difficult child playing you, wanting an apology to put himself back in control. I look forward to the responses of others. Along with you, those responses will give me wisdom and insight. Above all, I think our difficult children (with conduct disorders) will say whatever is needed to regain the control. That loss of control makes them livid.
     
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Bits, my difficult child is also much older, but I wish I had dealt with him without caving in while he was younger. Thus he is now in middle-age and still a real brat and often very nasty to me if I happen to say something he doesn't agree with or like and it is unlikely to change. Please remember this, if you will, because I caved in over and over again when he was your son's age and later on and my son is now a really full grown man who still thinks it's ok to treat his parents like crapola (including his father who funded his $40,000 custody battle) and me whom he can call up to five times a day for "emotional support" (it was ten times during the battle) but often just to cuss at me and hang up on me. I wonder if he'd at least deal better with his family members (none who really LIKE him, even though we love him) if we had taken a tough stance on how he had to talk to us and treat us when he was your son's age. But none of us did so he kept at it.

    My intepretation of your sons e-mail is that he is trying to make you out to be a very bad mother for not supporting him, although in my opinion he is too old to expect that of you, and for making him leave the house when he attacked you, which is just plain taboo...normal, loving adult children never hit their parents. It just doesn't happen if they are caring adults. My son 36 has hit me, but he is not what anyone would call a loving, caring adult. Your son is acting in my opinion only (maybe nobody else will agree) like an entitled brat who can't be bothered with you since loving him, in his mind, is supporting him with money and letting him live with you no matter how he behaves and allowing him to never grow up. To him it is a betrayal to expect him to be respectful, self-supporting, or have any standards for which he must behave around you. If you expect ANYTHING of him, you disowned him. difficult child magical thinking.


    With that having been said, I think you have to do what you feel is right. We share our experiences. For whatever good or bad or neutral it is, I posted what happened to MY son when I caved into his insane demands because of my overwhelming love for him. For me and 36 it did not turn out well. To this day, there are many things he will never own up to, including a few really horrible things that I can't even post here and some more minor stuff such as stealing

    .I do talk to 36. I just do it when I can handle it and I go into "radical acceptance" mode. I accept each interaction to be unpleasant, and possibly bad enough that one of us will hang up on the other. Accepting this, I can talk to him with no expectations that he will act like a normal, caring, loving son. Since I can sometimes deal with that, we can have a relationship, albeit not a positive one most of the time.

    Each of our walks our own path with our difficult child(s) and, the funny thing is, we usually end up in the same place. However, this does NOT mean you will end up where the rest of us are. It is just interesting that so many of us are right now in the same place. Often it takes many years of GFGism for us to get so fed up that we reach that place (I was a slow learner), but here we all are...and many of us can really relate to one another.

    Wishing you peace, clarity and the serenity to accept the things you can not change, the courage to change the things you can and the wisdom to know the difference :) In no way am I telling you what to do and I really hope you don't take it as my being bossy. Honestly...I"m just sort of putting my thoughts down, and if you think 100% of it is BS, just ignore it :) Gentle hugs.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 14, 2014
  4. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    I will never get enough of MWMom's input, Back. She just is so experienced/wise----i even know the porn part. Darn, I wish i did not.
     
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks so much, SS. And I get so tired of sharing the worst of my difficult child, I just edited it out.

    Actually, the worst of what he did isn't even the porn. I can't share it.

    I didn't get wise overnight. And I think there are many here who are much wiser....RE and COM come instantly to mind.
     
  6. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Short answer: The only response to this email:

    Okay, honey. I love you.

    Mom

    **********************

    Let difficult child figure out what you mean.

    It is no wonder you are confused, BITS. After reading that he was willing to meet, I thought things might be turning around. After reading the rest of the email, all I could see is a 19 year old who has learned to blackmail his own mother with access to his wonderful self or assault her if she stands her ground.

    BITS...you are his mother. Only you can teach him your worth.

    Could you change the nature of these interactions with your son through a change in tactic? You know what they say, BITS ~ don't complain, and don't explain. Keep it light, keep it loving. No requests for him to see you. None of that, BITS. It is a hard truth that someone blackmailing you for money because he has to work too much to set aside time for you so why don't you apologize and start paying his tuition isn't someone you should be seeing.

    Either you agree with his assessment of the situation, or you don't. What you cannot do is change his assessment.

    But...you can change your response.


    Well, if you had wanted to apologize and pay for everything after the assault, it makes sense that you would have done this right after your son assaulted you, and avoided his moving out entirely. You might want to ask him how much of an apology, and how much money, for what degree of priority upgrade.

    *****************

    He says he has apologized and demands that you also apologize. When I have apologized to my son, what it meant to him was not that I regretted something I had done, but that he was justified. There is a huge difference between a child who believes the parent has acted wrongly and regrets it and a child who believes he now holds all the cards.

    And this little guy seems to think he holds all the cards.

    OUCH

    What a brat, BITS. I'm sorry, but this little guy has a really inflated opinion of himself and his situation.

    Cedar
     
  7. BackintheSaddle

    BackintheSaddle Active Member

    thanks so much for replying...some of my favorites folks replied already!...;-)...I couldn't sleep and got tired of laying in the bed and was hoping there were some replies to read and think about...thanks SO much for the confirmation that he sounds like a brat!! Sometimes I really doubt myself in terms of 'do I need to apologize'? 'am I reading this wrong'?, surely MY son couldn't be so freaking mean to me?!?!?!....but he is...his apologies have been twice (he's always been good at math- not sure where he got 'a million and a half'!)...;-)....and both times they were 'I'm sorry but you provoked me' (I asked him to come outside and help us with chores-- he was playing video games!)...and the hard truth, that comes out to me in his message is I am just a bank account to him...I'm still paying for his dental and health insurance and his phone so I can get up with him so I haven't 'cut him off' but I know he doesn't realize how much that insurance costs or what it provides him (I got a bill from his doctor yesterday so I know he's been using it!-- do you guys pay for doctor visits? I think I'm going to call the doctor and tell them to send the bill to him, right?)-- he's always had it so he has no clue what a luxury it is...but I've also said I'd be willing to pay for his college tuition IF we have a relationship that he's working on with me but he apparently can't spare the time to see me unless I pay for something now (and Cedar, you're right, he's trying to make me feel guilty that he has to work so much-- but actually, all I stopped paying for is his truck insurance and gas money--- and I supplied for all his needs so maybe my parents are charging rent?-- can't imagine that's the case?)!...it's hard not to respond to that shitty email but my gut tells me not even to reply AT ALL...what am I apologizing for? being a good mother? and then FINALLY stopping the abuse-- it took me a long time of putting up with it, giving him more chances-- we have over a dozen contracts from over the years that we've had with him (I've reread them during my darkest hours to remind me of what we've been through with him and how much we've tried) that include just talking to me nicely, in a pleasant tone and in exchange he'll get an allowance! what kind of kid has to have that kind of encouragement!...I've been a good mother to him, and really stuck it out to make sure he got through high school but once that happened, we really started laying down the rules and I FINALLY started keeping the boundaries we'd set-- and the one that was always there was 'if you touch me-- in one of your attacks on me-- I WILL CALL 911!'....and I did...I'm so proud of myself on one hand for having the strength to do that but I wish I'd never asked him to help that day too...maybe it'd be different now and he wouldn't be acting like the clone of my difficult child father!...but I know that's not true...it was bound to happen at some point (the timing was awful-- 12/21!)...it was a matter of whether I'd stand up to him or not and that's what he's most upset with me about...I'm no longer his walking bank account...

    husband wants to turn his phone off at this point-- if he's not going to communicate with me or even respond to texts to say SOMETHING nice, why are we paying for that phone?...I have a hard time letting that go though because I know it means I will only have contact with him if I go find him at work and I haven't done that yet, don't want to get that desperate...;-(...but starting to realize that maybe that's ok-- he knows where to find me if he wants to

    thanks again...love hearing any insights and I do read and think things thru MWM-- I posted that about 'when do we assume too much' because I wonder if everyone who first starts reading this site realizes that or if they're so vulnerable, they take whatever 'we' tell them and run with it...that's all I was trying to say-- people in desperate situations will sometimes grab anything to stop sinking...;-)...most of us have been around the block or two with all this anguish so we are more familiar with the process and pain....;-(
     
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  8. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    Many parents struggle with the cell phone issue. I cut my sons off when I realized that he would, could, and did find a way of contacting me when he wanted something. My son is 2 years younger than yours and is now locked up.

    You have nothing to apologize for. You miss him because you love him. He holds the power right now because he knows how much you miss him. Leave the ball in his court and regain your center.
     
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  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You can get him a lower level cell phone that is less costly. Just phone and texting, no internet. I got my daughter, when she was using drugs, a pay-as-you-go phone and even bought her some minutes, but it didn't work because she blew through those minutes. I suggest an old flip phone or, if they don't make them anymore, the most basaic phone you can find. Lack of interent cuts the cost. He doesn't need the internet to contact you and if he REALLY wants to contact you, even if he has no phone, he will find someone or a store with a phone and do it. Right now he is punishing you (yep, that's what he's doing) because you won't keep furnishing him with the money he wants for his toys/truck and you aren't letting him off the hook for his attack on you. This is normal for a difficult child. But, as I learned, if you give into it, the abuse heats up and he will STILL expect YOU to apologize to HIM for his abuse because....of course, YOU made him do it. These difficult children have a lot in common!!!! Unfortunately. They are also pretty predictable unless they suddenly have a moment of clarity and want to change...and you will know when that happens because it is more than regretful words that are only spoken to gain your sympathy. (((Hugs)))
     
  10. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Back,

    It was good to see you finding a bit of humor in his math (Somehow, I knew he had not apologized a million times.) difficult children use a lot of hyperbole, don't they?!?

    I liked Scent's idea - Okay, Honey...I love you. Because, if you really feel the need to respond, something short and sweet like that will: a.) remind him that you love him, b.) keep you in control of your situation, and c.) you won't regret it later. (I wish I had said this, wish i had said it differently, etc.)

    Got something fun planned for today for YOU?!?!
     
  11. BackintheSaddle

    BackintheSaddle Active Member

    yes, it's a gorgeous day here (in NC) and I'm headed outside to spend the day with husband and horse...should be a day of getting my center back!...(what I found of it so far anyway!)...;-)

    have a great day sweet ladies...thanks so much
     
  12. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Most of our difficult child's have inflated senses of themselves and are brats. And, rarely do they connect the dots between their behavior and the consequences of their behavior. He has you effectively backed in to a corner with only one exit, an apology to him for what HE did. Nice try. The arrogance and righteousness of his note to you are remarkable, written by someone very, very young who sees himself as a superior being and a superior thinker. And, the only position you or anyone can take is the 'wrong' position because he has the 'right' position tied up tight.

    I think MWM's idea of limiting his phone by taking out the internet is a good one. He doesn't require internet. And, you don't need to reward him for his negative behavior. And, as time goes by, you can stop paying for the phone and his insurance too. I also don't think there is anything wrong with cutting the phone off completely, that is entirely your choice.

    You HAVE been a good mother to him. HE is the loose cannon, not you, his skewered reality is his reality, not yours, you didn't do anything wrong, his perception of reality is seen through the eyes of someone who can't/won't accept responsibility for his actions and has to blame someone else. Don't join him in his reality, stay present in your own and continue enjoying your days!
     
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  13. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    BITS, my reaction is very similar to the others. I saw a real sense of entitlement topped with a pity play. I think Cedar's response to him is best, basically "Whatever you say, difficult child. Love you." Nothing to argue with there!

    I just wanted to add that husband and I agonized for months about whether or not to turn off difficult child's cell phone. It was really the only way I knew he was ok because he never contacted us unless he needed something. Plus I couldn't imagine what he would do if he were hurt, stranded, etc. Someone pointed out to me that cell phones with no service can still be used to call 911, so at least I would know he could get help in an emergency. But ultimately that didn't matter, because when we finally did disconnect it, it took him all of 1 week (!!!) to get himself on food stamps and get a free cell phone. My difficult child is selectively very resourceful.
     
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  14. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    HA! I did not realize you were paying for phone, medical, anything, the way this little stinker is acting. Also, did not realize there were issues before the assault. And I forgot that all this happened to you right before Christmas...I'm so sorry for that timing, BITS. That must have been such a roiled up time. Remember when we were all posting about our difficult children seeming intentionally to ruin every family event? I wish you'd been here for that one.

    It's a difficult child specialty.

    Oh, the stories that came out on that thread!

    We all felt better though, because we knew we weren't the only ones....

    difficult children are so hard.

    I couldn't be more pleased that you have additional options to employ to indicate your displeasure. That you aren't using them doesn't change a thing. difficult child is well aware of who pays for his phone, medical, and etc. One day, when YOU are ready...why, you can do whatever strikes your fancy regarding all that stuff, BITS.

    Well, probably not the medical.

    (And this once BITS? You have the luxury of waiting, of never turning it off, or of using it to indicate serious displeasure at your discretion.)

    Yay!

    I did not know that, about the phone.

    :O)

    Cedar
     
  15. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I love this.

    Cedar
     
  16. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    This is perfect. TWO opportunities for you. First, you can cut service. Later, if you feel like it, you can stop cell phone altogether.

    When (and if) you decide.

    I wouldn't do anything just yet unless you really feel it. You are healing, BITS.

    He is young.

    You will know the right time.

    Cedar
     
  17. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    I pay for my kids' phones (difficult child and 3 PCs) so that I can reach them. When they make it hard for me to reach them, or don't call or text me when I ask them to do so, I turn off their phones. It makes perfect sense to me, and keeps me from feeling abused or taken for granted.

    My difficult child hasn't had a phone for years, except occasionally a burner when he gets one. For a little while he had one provided by a service for the homeless. It is AMAZING how often he can call me...friends phones, phones at the Apple store, strangers phones....believe me it is no problem for them to reach you when they want to.

    Echo, feeling cynical today.

    and yes, I love the "OK honey, I love you" response.
     
  18. ruppertk

    ruppertk New Member

    Reading your son's email here reminds me of my daughter who is one year older than him. Appears the mentality is similar although my daughter would have added in more nasty things to say to me.
    short story:
    Two years ago her father and I were separated and divorce papers on their way. He had a new lady and our marriage was in their way of getting married. It was a time of scrambling and figuring out what to do, get a better job, and other things. I had my 2 girls in tow. My oldest at the time 18 had a car we paid 250 a month for and iphone and lifestyle. I started explaining get ready for changes, your father and I are unstable. Suddenly karma arrived and he got fired, 250k a yr gone in instant. Then I say Okay to my 18 yr old(who is employed) now bigger changes are upon us, you'll need to pay half your car note and your cel phone. I heard a lot of Oh no im not! You and Dad better pay blah blah. I say listen it doesn't work that way... 2 days pass.. This child came home and says "look at my new tattoo was only 350$"
    Ya'll ever seen Me myself and Irene with Jim Carey? I turned into Hank, I had an out of body experience in a sense. Never in my life had I went from the meek, enabling, people pleasing mother TO Detachment in an instant. the size and cost of this tattoo transformed me. That day I politely with no yelling no flipping out said to this queen "I see that you are doing well in life and apparently are rich I asked you to not get anymore tattoos and since you remind me regularly that you are 18 I shall let you have 18, your making good money time for you to get a room mate. "fine" she says. walks over to get the keys and her phone, I say Oh those stay here. She says you cant take my car.. I said join the airforce. She called her friend to pick her up( if she had just stayed home and was sorry of course the enabler would have gave in) she left. Its been 2 years. These kids dont want to go without a cel phone, she had one quickly. there are times of course I miss her and little voices of regret but I came out with an answer to my regret and heart, this is what I say; I have done my job, loved and taught and guided what is left to be taught only the world can teach her now. She knows I love her and I know she loves me. She sucksup to dad nowadays as he makes a lot more money, that's ok too, things and money can not fill the hole. Most everything in our lives circle back around, I know this will. In the meantime I refer to "hank" when I get weak.
     
  19. BackintheSaddle

    BackintheSaddle Active Member

    Hi Ruppertk...nice to meet you...that sounds awful-- to be going through a separation and divorce, such a life-changing set of events and to add the loss of your daughter (as you hoped she'd be) on top of that...my heart goes out to you...yes, I fear my difficult child is only verifying that all he cares about from me is how much I pay for and the less I pay for, the less he has time for me...I've been having a day of questioning myself (again) so wanted to reread what people have been saying...it's hard not to get myself caught up in the guilt trip I can stew up for myself...should I just suck it in and apologize, I say to myself? but I always come back to the same thing-- what would I be apologizing for? I was a good mom to him and, like you said, I gave him all I could with love and support every step of the way (and raising him was never ever easy-- he was a difficult child from kindergarten on)...have you not talked to her at all for 2 years? that's hard to imagine...it's only been 3 months for me...I did reply to that email above like Cedar suggested (ok, honey....I love you)...no reply...then later this week, I sent him a text to say hello and wanted to just check in with him...no reply...I need to stop trying, as my husband points out to me, but I do miss him so much and his memory of what really happened is so distorted that sometimes I want to just try and reason with him again...even though I know it won't work....it hasn't in the past 3-4 years so I don't know why I think it'd matter now...

    Welcome to this web site (it says you're a new member)...hope you are finding it helpful and thank you for answering my thread
     
  20. BackintheSaddle

    BackintheSaddle Active Member

    oh, and thanks all about the advice on the phone...haven't done anything to change it yet but what he's getting now is really far too much...I just am not ready to take it away from him
     
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