When are you morally obligated to give in?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by JulieAnn, May 28, 2015.

  1. JulieAnn

    JulieAnn Member

    A little desperate. My Difficult Child, 34....he's in another state. I just got him a motel room for 2 nights (after I said "no more"). I said I wouldn't enable but here's the thing, it's 107 degrees there, he shot heroin into his leg and now it is septic. He texted me a picture. He's horribly bloated, probably a sign that his liver is shot. I gave him information on a shelter that has an emergency drug intake service. It's close to where he is. If he doesn't go, I'm sure he will die.

    My Easy Child daughter thinks that I should have him come here, take him into my home until he is clean again, healthy. She lives in another city a couple hours from me. I'm petrified. To be a prisoner! No! I don't want him to die! Oh my Lord. I don't know what to do....

    Thank you for your help.
  2. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    That is just horrible, JulieAnn - no parent should have to endure this torment. Under the extreme circumstances, you made a decision to make him comfortable for 2 nights. If he goes to the shelter or to an ER, that would be great, but you have no control over his choices. He may choose to use heroin in the hotel room for all you know. It is insanely difficult to be a parent of a child like this (and I realize he's 34, but he's your child). He needs to get that leg taken care of ASAP.
    I think your daughter means well, too, but the thing is, you're not equipped to run a rehab for your son. It's well meaning, but a mistake nevertheless. You're neither a hospital nor a rehab.
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  3. JulieAnn

    JulieAnn Member

    You're right.....I'm not equipped for that. I can't. I would be a prisoner. I feel so horrible. So, lost. I know it's not my fault and he's 34. I feel like I have to choose - his life or mine.
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I agree with-Calamity Jane. You are kind and generous to supply him with a clean, safe room for two nights.
    He's got to go to the hospital. And he's got to do it on his own.
    I don't see how your daughter can think that you should, as Calamity says, run a rehab for your son. I don't think that your daughter recognizes the enormity of the challenge. And why should you carry the moral obligation and not she? Just asking.
    I feel for you. What a horrid place to be, emotionally. {{hugs}}
  5. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I'm spitballing here, because I really don't know what can be done...but what would happen if JulieAnn were to call the police in the town where her son is, tell them the story, tell them he's desperately ill and needs a hospital? They'd send an ambulance, I'm sure. It sounds to me like he needs to get to a hospital...maybe the authorities there could talk him into it?

    I agree that bringing him home is a bad idea. As I said, he needs a hospital if his leg is infected and his liver is failing. Without a hospital he will die.

    I'm so sorry JulieAnn.
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  6. JulieAnn

    JulieAnn Member

    She's 27....and idealist. Young. She doesn't know...Thank you so much. And I know better....I really do. I can hear his manipulation in between the desperation. It's their M.O. It's funny, some days I'm so strong, it's like they know....that it's a weak day.

    I can't blame him. My fault that I can't freaking stick to my guns.
  7. JulieAnn

    JulieAnn Member

    I tried that. Called the police. It's a large city and they said that unless he has threatened suicide, they won't do anything. He just now sent me a message and told me that he is getting a ride to the ER in 2 hours. No, you're right - can't come here.

    Thank you so much. Boy, they know how to do a number on us....
  8. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    JulieAnn, I am so sorry you are dealing with this and I agree, no, no, you cannot be of much use by taking your son in. I see no long time good coming from that.

    Admittedly, I am clueless, but is there a place you can call with this information? Would the police help? I think I might call the police in his town for advice on how to get emergency intervention? perhaps an ambulance to take him to a hospital?

    I hope others chime in. I certainly don't have the answers, but if there are groups that will save animals, surely there are places that will step in for a situation so dire?

    and, no, it is NOT your fault.
    You are in my prayers right now. I am so sorry.

  9. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I'm glad he's going to the hospital. Keep us informed. :hugs:
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  10. blackgnat

    blackgnat Active Member

    Definitely better and more appropriate that he goes to the ER-they can clean up the wound and give him some medications to help with the sepsis.

    Hopefully they'll try and give him some referrals to help with his heroin use, too.

    I think you did the right thing and don't feel guilty for not taking him in or wanting to-you can't be all things to all people and DCs take up all our time and energy. Your daughter maybe doesn't understand how draining it is to live with and take care of Difficult Child needs and demands. Maybe she would change her mind if he went to live with HER for a while?

    Just being a smarty pants, here-he's much better off in the hands of professional medical staff.
  11. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I am glad he's going to the ER. I don't see where there is more that you can do. You can't run a rehab out of your home, and that is what he needs. Sadly, he is the one who has to want rehab.

    You are in an untenable position. My heart goes out to you.

    Please keep us posted. We care
  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    JulieAnn, this is not the case.

    You are not choosing yourself over your son. Not one bit.

    Your son makes the decisions over his life: To seek treatment, to be clean, compliant with treatment for his liver, living like a human being. Or not. The boat sailed long long ago, on your doing for him...and it working.

    To me, he showed where he was at with the phone call and the photo.

    All along he could have called an ambulance and paid nothing...with the affordable care act. He chose not to.

    Instead he went for maximum shock value. I for one hold him responsible for his cruelty to you.

    If your son has not left for the emergency hospital in the time period he indicated, and is not calling the ambulance himself, you can call the hotel manager to inform them of the situation: that your son is seriously ill requiring an ambulance.

    You have a responsibility to your son to hold a line. You are staying tough as much for him as for you. You know he will not change as long as you support his current behavior. He interprets any help from you as a vote for the status quo and uses any resources you send his way to support a drug habit and the lifestyle of a drug addict.

    I am so sorry this is happening to you. Sometimes these hard, hard things happen for a reason, when looked at later on. They help us get clarity and to set better boundaries.

    I do not believe your son will die, at least I hope not. But, it is he who needs to choose if he wants to live or die, and what he is going to do about it.

    Not you.
  13. JulieAnn

    JulieAnn Member

    Copa, thank you - he's there now. The ER. I slept some and texted him when I woke up.

    You are so right; it's funny (not "ha ha" funny) but I can hear the manipulation...."Mom is concerned, cool, I'll give her a little of what she wants to get what I want". They cleaned him up. He's still there. They think he may have some sort of blood disease. Probably Hepatitis or worse.

    I know he doesn't really care about me except as a bank and maybe for a little 'logic' once in a while but that's it.

    Copa, thank you for your words. They are truly a gift. I pray that he has hit his 'bottom' and that he will make the right choices now. I know those chances are slim but I'm trying to stay strong and positive.
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  14. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    This is a Buddhist practice, as I understand it, Julie Ann. I saw it in the movie "Point of No Return". It will center you. So, take a deep, cleansing breath. Say: "I never did mind, about the little things." Smile.

    That's it.

    When we suffer and are afraid, our minds begin circling, circling over the same things we already know. If we can interrupt that, we can find a little place, just a little space, to stand.

    You can do this little exercise a million times a day and no one will know.

    How to not be attached to outcome:

    Fear: The vanguard of wisdom and courage.

    Seek it; stay present: tenderhearted bravery.


    You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.

    Maya Angelou

    It's okay to not know what to do, Julie Ann.


    Faith is not, contrary to the usual ideas, something that turns out right or wrong, like a gambler's bet. It is an act, an intention, a project; something that makes you, in leaping into the future, go so far, far ahead that you shoot clean out of Time and right into Eternity, which is not the end of Time or unending time, but timelessness, that old, Eternal Now.


    The bow is broken
    the arrows are gone
    At this critical moment
    a feeble heart does not like to beat
    with power and force.

    A pointed arrow
    released from a loosely strung bow
    will surely pierce
    the King.

    Bill Ransom

    Julie Ann, you have done everything you can do. You've loved him, you've believed in him, you've kept contact with him through his addiction.

    You found the shelter.

    I hear your fear that your son may die, this time. I'm so sorry to say it Julie Ann, but you are right ~ he may die, this time.

    Or, he may change.

    This may be the pivotal event.

    If you take him in, take him home, nurse him back to health, that is one kind of pivotal event. If you don't bring him home Julie Ann, if you love him in place and pray for him in place and do the best for him you know to do and let go of outcome, then maybe there can be a new thing, an unforeseen thing, a totally unexpected kind of pivotal event.

    Your son is addicted to something terrible that is riding him hard. That is not something a mother can fix, Julie Ann.

    I am very sorry your child's appearance is changing, that he is looking so unhealthy and sad. That must be very hard to see.

    That must be a very hard thing, Julie Ann,


    I don't know how to look at this, either. When we believed it was truly a matter of time, that it was altogether too late, all at once it became a matter of gratitude in having known her and sorrow at how it happened; sorrow at how her life had happened to her, and to me, and to all of us.

    But I was just so happy to have known her, at all.

    All the rage and stupid anger and everlasting frustration ~ it was like when there was no hope, that was all gone.

    Only...our daughter did not die, Julie Ann.

    Not only did that so certain event on the horizon not occur, but she made a miraculous recovery. Not only did she make a miraculous recovery, but it looks like she may recover her whole life, Julie Ann. I could never have predicted this in a million years. It was only when I was certain she was dying that I let go of outcome. Had we taken her home, brain damaged and drug addled and sick and addicted, her story would not be the same one it is today.

    Love him in place, Julie Ann, if you can do it, and let go of outcome. Though you are his mother, how this is all going to work out is not for you (or for me) to know. Make room in your heart and in your thoughts for a different outcome than the one you see.

    Remember my daughter.

    Let go of outcome.

    Love him, sorrow over his condition, over this thing that was never meant to be. Hate the heroin.

    And let go of outcome.

    It is what it is.

    Let go.

    You must have been a very strong, loving mom Julie Ann, for your son to be still in contact with you at this late stage. I was a strong, loving mom, too. It is harder, this way. But you know what? This is your child's story. Just because it isn't pretty, just because it is horrifically ugly even, that doesn't mean that anyone can make us turn away from our children. Leave him in place and let go, Julie Ann. If it happens, if he dies, then you will know how the story ended. Then, you will do the next right thing. Right now, you don't know how the story ends. Right now, you are in the hellfire of it, you and your child and I know how that feels and I'm sorry it's happening to you but you can do this.

    Love him where and how he is, Julie Ann, and let go of outcome. Make room for that miracle you cannot imagine, now. Stay in the moment. Right in the present moment.

    Time slows for me when I am suffering. I am all shaky, underneath. I cannot speak one smallest word about whichever child it is, or I will spill the beans and feel ashamed, later. So, I say nothing. I hold tight to the minutes, to the next right thing to do, and let go of outcome.

    The Power of Now, Eckhardt Tolle is very good for that.

    I post this alot, so you may have read already about what I learned from the suffering of the Mary. Her Son too, had an addiction, in a way. And she had to love and let go of outcome too. And we had a thread going, Child of Mine's Highchair Tyrants thread. And we posted about the suffering of the Mary because Richard Rohr had written about suffering and how to encapsulate and accept it and go on. If you google the Mary, you will find paintings of her. Look into the eyes.

    That is how you can learn how to do this ~ how to accept what is for what it is and stay steady state.

    I am really so sorry this is happening to your child, Julie Ann. I am glad you have us. The parents here are so strong.

    Holding you and your son too, in my thoughts and prayers.

    Just love him where he is, Julie Ann, and let go of outcome.


    This helps me:

  15. DoneDad

    DoneDad Active Member

    Another poster wrote recently that her therapist explained to her how her son doesn't see her as a person but as a thing that he can use.

    Your son sounds like he sees you like an ATM machine. Why go to all the trouble to take pictures of his leg and send it to you instead of going to the ER? Because you will dispense money and the ER won't. He knows what PIN code he has to input into the machine (you) to get what he wants. He doesn't care about what it does to you as a person because he doesn't see you as a person only as a thing to be manipulated into giving him what he wants.

    He has options. You say there is a shelter with drug intake. If he wants help he needs to go there. He'll have a million reasons he can't. Your response to him needs to be simple and consistent - "go to the shelter". He can save his life, but you can't.

    And you definitely can't by having him move into your house.

    Him - Mom, my leg is swollen and I may have hepatitis. Can you put me up in a hotel for awhile

    YOU - No, that won't work. Go to the shelter.

    HIM - I can't go there. It's like prison with all the rules.

    YOU - I can't help you. Go to the shelter

    HIM- I'm hurting. Can you at least send me some money. I haven't eaten for days

    YOU - No I can't help you. Go to the shelter

    You get the idea.

    To answer your question, you are never morally obligated to help somebody kill themselves.
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  16. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Very well put!
  17. JulieAnn

    JulieAnn Member

    Thank you all. Sincerely.

    I feel so ashamed for ordering him a pizza last night. I know it was wrong. He's still in the ER so for at least now, he's safe.

    Yes, I agree, he will have to go to the shelter until the bed in the rehab opens up on Tues. My daughter sent him a note that once he's cleaned up, she would like him to come and stay with her for a week. If that's what she needs to do in order to understand what this disease is, then I'm not going to stop her. I told her "if you do that, you will have to put anything of any value in the trunk of your car and basically sleep with your keys". I love my son but I also know how they play the game.

    Yes, I hope he chooses life.

    Thank you Cedar. Yes, this is what I must do. Thank you for being so strong. Thank you for sharing your strength.
  18. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Ordering him a pizza is not sending him money. He can't buy drugs with a pizza. Don't feel bad about a pizza.

    I'm glad he's gone to the hospital. This doesn't change the fact that he needs much more care than you can give him. I wish there were words of advice to give that would make this all better, but there isn't. Hang in there JulieAnn.
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  19. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    No it wasn't. It got you through the night. Whether you did or did not order him food, that was not about him. That was about you, and what you needed to do to be able to meet your own eyes in the mirror, this morning.

    There are no atheists in foxholes, and there is no right or wrong way to do this very, very hard thing we all are trying to learn, with every fiber of our beings trying to learn, to do.

    You did a nice thing for your son. You did not send money. You did not enable. You are his mother and you saw to it that he had hot food.

    Good job, mom.

    We need to see how awful our situations are, JulieAnn. We really need to acknowledge that and comfort and console ourselves for that. Any good thing, anything that is not enabling and can give us a moment's peace ~ we get to bless ourselves and bless ourselves again and do that thing that is not enabling.

    One pizza is not enabling.

    You're good. Doing really well.

    Don't be mean to yourself, okay? When you see yourself being mean to yourself? Then you need to cherish yourself instead. Right that minute, the instant you hear that badness toward yourself because you are his mother and he suffers and you did some little good something for him? Then you need to re-see. It takes courage to hear their voices, to hear the suffering and the begging and the places their addictions or their illnesses have brought our children to. You did that, Julie Ann. You were present for him in that moment and that might be the thing, now or ten years from now, that helps him know his mother loved him enough. Enough to hear and to see even this, even this so ugly thing that happened, to him.

    And maybe that will be the thing that allows him to love himself enough, now or ten years from now, to change his story.

    I think you did really well.

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  20. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    WOW! Your daughter invited him? She's in for an eye-opener.
    In the meantime, he's in the right place. And don't guilt yourself about the pizza. :)