3 months in....and drama?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by sweetmama714, Nov 19, 2014.

  1. PennyFromTheBlock

    PennyFromTheBlock Active Member

    Good evening.....been doing really well, going through the motions of life- trying to not dwell on difficult child.

    Decided at one point that it is what it is. I guess that's my emotions deciding that not dwelling (and appearing "hard" about it all) is best.

    Yesterday, got a series of texts from difficult child (who I've not seen since August 14th, and not talked to since our last go around- he doesn't text me, I don't text him)......he's been living with some girl since he has nowhere else to go.

    Him: ok so I'm homeless again really need help...ive been working but now im trying to leave where I live this ain't gonna work plz I just need help trying to stay on a good note
    Him: ? im begging u plz help me
    Him: trying to keep doing good but need a place to lay my head plzzzzzz
    Me: what do you think I can do?
    Him: can you talk to <his sister>? I will pay whatever and I promise there will be no more problems just need help mom
    Me: I don't think that's a good idea to stay with her
    Him: why not?
    Me: because there was drama, you stole from her, and it was too stressful overall
    Him: ok but things have changed mom I have a little more sense like I would appreciate some help even if I have to take **** talking or whatever I will work nites, so it's just a place to sleep and shower and eat nothing else
    Him: nobody is trying or willing to help me and I'm trying to do better for myself realizing some things and changing ways
    Me: what happened to where you were living?
    Him: don't want to be here, it's too stressful
    Me: so you stay and you deal until you have a plan. don't leave, then get mad that you don't have a plan, you know?
    Him: but being here will land me in jail if they want me gone
    Me: if you are working nights then you would want to be at <sisters> during the day while she's at work, and you aren't trustworthy. That won't work.
    Him: so is there no way to get any help? like I'm just being left to fail?
    Him: just to sleep?
    Him: like I'm really trying to do better. nobody gives chances anymore.
    Him: just give me a chance to prove everybody wrong?
    Me: son, you burnt bridges. you have to understand that trust be earned back. Words won't do that.
    Him: can't earn trust if I'm not around though? and my reason for leaving <sisters> wasn't because I stole something
    Him: that was your reason for leaving
    Him: we just argued and fought about dumb stuff
    Me: theft was discovered after you left. had it been before you left, that would have been the reason you would have left.
    Him: look, i've changed my ways and have done away with all of that its not worth it but I'm begging for a chance to prove it
    Him: I just need help even if it's a little apartment. I just need help.
    Him: how much are hill***** plaza apartments?
    Me: I know you don't think I can pay for an apartment for you? because I cannot.
    Him: I can pay for apartment, I just need help.

    It ended with me telling him that when he got off this morning to call those apartments and find out how much it would cost to move in. They are little apartments, all bills paid, and come furnished. And to let me know.

    I was contemplating maybe even helping with a small deposit and prorated rent for November, and he could take it from there. My name wouldn't be on anything.

    Never heard from him all day today- but then had a missed call from him this evening. No voicemail, no text.

    So, I have to assume that whatever help he needed wasn't too dire?

    He had also sent one text to his sister but she never responded.

    He absolutely canNOT go back to her apartment. Not at ALL.

    Part of me feels for him. Growing up is hard to do, you know?
    Another part of me instinctively feels like he's lying. Seems like if this were truth, he'd have been at those apartments FIRST THING this morning.


    Thoughts? Help?
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. Sorry your difficult child is causing you drama. The only way to not have drama is to not allow it. Hard I know. Took me a long time. Here is an example of how that texting may have gone with me, now that I'm older and a lot smarter than I used to be, and not so easily taken in by the pleases and the guilt. I have learned it is best not to engage a difficult child because they are like a boomerang...they never quit their comebacks, never change their arguments, never give up begging, and never own up to what they have done wrong. Or you are supposed to forget about it, even if it was serious. Plus they are always changing. My motto is:

    "Don't tell me. Show me."

    Ok, this is how the text may have gone if it were me.

    Me: Honey, I love you and I"m sorry things aren't working out. How can I help you in a way that does not include money or living here? You are a smart man (I always use the word man) and I will always give you emotional support and love. You will need to figure out the rest.

    Him: So you won't help me?

    Me: I will give you my love and emotional support. I will also allow you to grow up and be the smart and capable man that you are. I know you can do it.

    Him: You (cuss words, fill in the blank) You are a horrible mother.

    Me: I'm going to bed now. Text me when you are calmer. I love you. (turn off cell phone)

    He hasn't spoken to you since August. He stole from his sister who was kind enough to take him in. He has obviously done something in your home that made you feel, rightly, that he should not be there anymore. People also don't change without a lot of hard work. If he has a job, he can afford to maybe rent his own small room in a private home? It is your decision, but if it were me, I would not start the money train again. If the only time he contacts you is for money, then you, like many, have taken on the role as your young man's ATM. They tend not to call us if they don't need something from us. Has he ever texted or called you to ask, "Mom, how are you?" with no ulterior motive?

    And, yes, you are right. With our kids, who do not think like other people, they are in crisis on minute then unavailable the next. That used to puzzle me and I tried to analyze it. Now I just accept it. My newest most important motto toward life itself is now" IT IS WHAT IT IS. IT SHOULD BE THE WAY IT IS OR IT WOULD BE DIFFERENT." This helped me a lot last week when I had a cancer scare. It helps me with my puzzling son who has always done and said things that didn't make any sense to me. Now I just don't engage him when he is being difficult. I learned to make my own peace and serenity and health the most important part of my life because if I don't love me, I can't ever be happy and I certainly can not help anyone else if they REALLY need me, like truly ill or hurt.

    I am sorry you are having a hard time right now. Take that little black dog and hug it to death. It sounds so cute! My pets give me tremendous comfort and therapy when the world seems mad!!

    Many warm thoughts in your direction...
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    Last edited: Nov 19, 2014
  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with MWM. They put feelers out all over the place and something likely showed up that was a better deal for instant gratification. Remember, one thing they cannot do is delay gratification and wait, so they frantically send out SOS's to everyone and when someone bites, then you go overboard until the next time he needs some immediate money or a place to land.

    I would forget the apartment idea and when he texts you, wait, don't respond immediately. I found that when I did that, other opportunities sprung out and my own difficult child would go in another direction. I read a book at the time which suggested I "refrain" take no action, wait. So I did that. Over time those frantic, desperate, intended to invoke guilt phone calls ceased to be.

    I know it's hard, but look at it like you are retraining your son to respond differently as you respond differently. Usually, in the beginning, they resort to severe guilt trips on us, but over time, they usually learn and begin to find their own way. Which may not look anything like what YOU would do, but that's okay because it's not your life, it's his.

    Take care of you. Focus on you. Begin to step back from the edge, stop looking down at the wide abyss between where you stand and where your son stands..........turn in a different direction and keep walking.

    Stay the course, you're doing great........Growing up is hard, which is why he has to find his own way without using you each time he hits a wall. That's how he will learn to be resourceful and strong. That's how we all learn.
  4. Hope_Floats

    Hope_Floats Member

    Another common thread that our difficult child's seem to have, that I thought was unique to mine. That "in a crisis one moment and unavailable the next".

    I found it so rude, and so strange, that difficult child would text me to say "i need help" and "plz call me". When I let him know that I was sorry that I couldn't talk at the moment, but would let him know when I could, I followed through. I later texted that I was available for the next hour and a half, was this a good time for him? I got nothing. Crickets. I called later and asked why he hadn't responded at all, he said that he had finally found some time to clean up the apartment, and then his friend M had showed up to "hang out".

    I told him that HE was the one that ASKED ME for help....and that if wanted for someone to feel like helping him, he could at LEAST be courteous enough to either be available at MY convenience to talk about whatever he needed, or at LEAST let me know that it wasn't a good time and what other time might be better. Just some common courtesy, you know?
    (Of course that was before I realized that that kind of response from me was less than helpful, lol).

    Anyway, didn't mean to go off on my own little rant. Just finding it interesting how similar their patterns are.

    I agree that if he had REALLY been that desperate (or didn't get a better offer), he would have done more on his own behalf. It is helpful for us, I think, to see what they do when we "refrain", or at least hesitate. Good one, RE.
  5. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    Growing up IS hard to do, but looking at the text messages it sounds as if it could be written by a grade-schooler if the point wasn't a place to stay.
    From what you are saying your gut instinct is that there is something wrong or perhaps deceitful in what difficult child is saying. Trust your gut!
    I also agree with others if you hand out money every time the difficult child asks/pleads for it, you are giving the them the idea that they can always get money out of you. Then it only becomes a battle of how much BS they need to give you before a no turns into a yes.
  6. PennyFromTheBlock

    PennyFromTheBlock Active Member

    Thanks for the responses- and MWM thanks for giving a different example of that convo- I'm so going to use that.

    I know one thing I wouldn't have done and he knows as well, and that is give him money. He knows we are DONE DONE DONE with that. At best, until my mind cleared - I considered paying the APARTMENT complex deposit money, etc.

    My guess at what is happening- he moved in with this girl when he had nowhere else to go in August. She's probably on his neck. Probably trying to set expectations- and he doesn't like it. Because he has a car, if push came to shove, he could sleep in that. He has burned every bridge he has in regards to family, and sadly (and it really IS sad to me) he has no real 'friends'. He has acquaintances. There isn't anyone to help him.

    I'm glad to find out he's working- THANK GOODNESS. That's one plus- that he has a job. I don't know how long he has been there- but hopefully he's realizing that he has to keep it and can't get mad and just 'quit'.

    I would be very proud if he figured out a way to get his own apartment. That is really what he needs to do- the only concern about that is how often he would be alone- in this thoughts......

    crisis averted!
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My son has no friends either. I am VERY sad about it and he sadly relies on me to be his friend and the one he bounces his life off of. It is very strange for a 37 year old son to tell his mother everything. That's why it was pretty easy to get him to be respectful to me...if I hang up on him for being mean to me, then he has nobody...and I mean nobody...to talk to about anything. It bothers me more than it seems to bother him so maybe I shouldn't be bothered at all except that I don't WANT to be the one who knows all, even about his sex life. I really don't.

    My son basically forms relationships thinking "what can you do for me?" So maybe he likes his lack of male friends. Sometimes he has a girlfriend, but so far they have been really dysfunctional and one difficult child plus one difficult child equals ZERO. They break up...lol. Ok, so it's not funny, but you have to laugh or you'll cry.

    I do not engage my son at all when he is in one of his moods. I realized how he just talked circles around me with a clever combo of trying to cause me guilt and lashing out at me over the dumbest things, but he is my son so it hurt. Now I say as little as possible.

    I love cliches. Is that a bad thing? Another one of mine is: "LESS IS MORE."

    Your son doesn't really need an apartment for one person. A room would work. Also, he can try to get on the list for Section 8 Housing. There are long waiting lists, but it is worth a try. His utilities would be covered and he'd only have to pay 30% of his income, even if that was only welfare. He can apply for the few entitlements we allow as well.

    It is sad when they burn all their bridges in the family. My son also did that. His siblings can't stand him and never want to see him. Yes, it's that bad. But they heard him going off on me in a frightening way and hovering over me like he was going to punch my lights out. They saw him put his fist through the wall by my head. They were treated like crapola by him. One thing difficult children NEED to learn, and very, very sadly rarely learn is that giving is a two way street. You can't take, take, take forever and be a jerk and never help in return. Eventually you burn people out and they start resenting you.

    My son doesn't seem to care about his sibling's avoiding him. Nothing seems to bother him unless it is directly related to him or his contact with his son. I hope he continues to be a good dad to his son when his son is older and starts rebelling and isn't as much fun as he is now. It is something that scares me.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2014
  8. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    HAHA, yep! I try to wait too, if possible, both for my own sanity and in the hopes that he will figure something else out. And he often does.

    He usually doesn't want the kind of help I would be thinking about anyway. For example, I would be thinking, "How can we get him set up in an apartment without having to cosign a lease, etc?" He would be thinking, "Where can I shower and crash tonight?"

    I totally agree with the above advice. He needs to earn back your trust. If he wanted to show you he is a changed man, it seems like he would have initiated some contact with you before he was in dire straits.
  9. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm always amazed at how much some of the conversations posted here, sound almost exactly like ones I've had with one of my difficult children in the past.

    in my opinion, this was the best part of your conversation :
    That's the bottom line, for me. It's not your responsibility to find him another "unstressful" place to live, it's his. difficult children are stuck in the land of "instant gratification" - they don't like something they feel like it has to change, immediately. They turn everything into a crisis. They get mad at a roommate, they have to storm out/move out. They get mad at an employer, they walk off/quit. Life doesn't treat you so well when you keep doing that. Adults have to plan changes, if they want positive results.

    The fact he didn't call you back is familiar to me as well .. a crisis one day, can be completely forgotten the next. I've learned over the years not to panic when I get those kinds of calls any more. Chances are within 24 hours, things will be completely different anyway.
  10. PennyFromTheBlock

    PennyFromTheBlock Active Member

    And what is crazy- is I put the ball in his court- I told him, when you get off, go find out about those apartments. In other words, you are going to have to do some work- I'm not going to call them FOR YOU and find out all your information.

    You know, if he had gone there and texted me and said "they have a move in special, no deposit- and prorated rent for November would be $140" or something- I would have probably helped him with JUST November. But he couldn't even find it necessary to do the work to get INFORMATION.

    His sister, at first, was feeling was pulled in by his drama- feeling somewhat sorry for him- because that's how he ended up at her house to begin with months ago- she was beside herself in thinking he may have to sleep in his car. She didn't respond to him though at all- she contacted me first. This sounds so bad- but she's such a blessing to me. Smarter than words can convey. It's partly due to HER support that has made this ok. She has actually told me that since we've "washed our hands" she can see a difference in ME. Not stressed and mad and angry all the time.

    But once he left and she has since discovered things missing (small things, to him-insignificant- but hers nonetheless) she has no interest in him being there.

    One of the things he fails to realize is - if he wants to earn back trust that's on HIM. He has made NO moves to outreach to us just to see how we are, to apologize- he took items from my mom's in August and sold them- and he has not once made any moves to even APOLOGIZE to her for this.

    See, if he knows someone WON'T help him at all- which my mother wouldn't- then why apologize?

    He's always been like this- why do "x" if there's no "reward"? Nevermind that it's the right thing to do.


    I feel like I'm doing well in this - all told- my issue (as indicated above) is in how I respond to him. But as far as EVER living with me or his sister again? Not going to happen. He'd rob me blind in a day at this point.
  11. Origami

    Origami Active Member

    I am so amazed at this, also! I swear, the begging, pleading, and bargaining sound so much like my younger difficult child. I've often found myself giving in just to get him to shut up, which of course is a key part of his strategy (unconsciously, maybe? or maybe not).

    Thanks SweetMama for an example of a better way to react to this kind of thing.
  12. PennyFromTheBlock

    PennyFromTheBlock Active Member

    Oh and one other thing- I would never want my difficult child renting a room from someone- he'd steal from them. He would. For him, just like what he did with my mom's stuff- he'll steal something small and insignificant to sell for $10-15 for "gas" not thinking forward enough to realize that the small amount is going to serious damage (get you put out). When he took my mom's things- I told him (because I was just dumbfounded) that how crazy do you truly have to be to burn a bridge like this- with family- break trust- over $30 freaking dollars?! I mean, was it WORTH it?

  13. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Sweetmama,
    I have been where you are. When my difficult child was 25 he was finishing up a 2 year sentence. While he was in jail my husband and I moved from CO to the Midwest to care for aging parents. When my difficult child was released I flew out to CO to get him, brought him back here. I told him we are starting with a clean slate. My husband and I purchased a small house for him to live in (no way was he going to live with us) and we purchased clothes, food and got him a cell phone. We told him all we expected was that he find a job and start working on being a productive member of society, that we were there to help him. We have helped in this fashion many times before also so I went into this with eyes wide open.
    During this time he met a really lovely girl, got pregnant, got married, worked for a while, quit that job because the boss is stupid, get another job, quit that one because the boss it stupid, have another baby and when baby was 3 months old wife found out he was looking for women online to hook up with. He left and has never been there for his kids, no financial support, no emotional support. When my granddaughter had to have surgery he was no where to be found.
    Since that time he has been back in jail a few times.
    A few weeks ago he surfaced on FB complaining about being homeless. He called and left me a message wanting me to contact my sister who is a retired RN thinking she could get him some antibiotics for his leg. I replied back to him "I am really sorry to hear you are having a tough time. If your leg is that bad you need to get to an ER as your aunt does not have antibiotics on hand"
    It's not that I don't love my difficult child but I will not get sucked back into his drama. He has made his choice to live the life he's living. I can't tell you how many times I heard the same thing, "I've changed, I know better now, things will be different, etc............"
    All I can tell you are actions speak louder than words. If our difficult child's really have changed then they will figure it out for themselves how to get off the streets.
    I saw this posted on FB and while it made me laugh, there is also truth in it.
    My difficult child is now 33, I will always have hope that he will someday turn his life around but I will no longer hold my breath waiting for that to happen.
    I agree with MWM advice and like how she "roll played" a conversation.
    Wishing you all the best!!
  14. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    This was great advice. I give good advice, too. And that is what I was going to post. But then I read MWM's post about not engaging with a difficult child. I think she is right. We need to say things the way MWM wrote them out for us. Asking for advice, exposing things they know we will teach them about (because we have done it before) is a piece of how they manipulate us. It is how they soften our hearts, and get us thinking about them as children.

    And then we pay.

    This happens to me, too. Once we give advice though, they have us back in mommy mode.

    That's how they do it, everybody. That is how they hook us in.

    And that is what we need to remember. If they are not doing the things we would do if their position were our position, then they are playing us.

    It's a subtle thing really, until you see it. And then, you will not unsee it, again.

    First the advice, to soften us up, to get us thinking like moms. Then, the hit for money.

    I agree with the others, sweetmama. Starting the money train again shifts responsibility for difficult child from him to you.

    This is true.

    How could I have not seen it.

    They are smart. I used to know things to say to put myself in a place where I was not eaten up with guilt for staying out of it.

    That explains difficult child being so rotten about my being a bad grandmother.

    This is a great thread.

  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Part of the reason I don't give advice anymore, but assure him that he can do it is because he absolutely never listens to my advice so I am wasting my time and just repeating myself, which is wasted minutes. Part of it is because he does need to figure things out for himself without me. I have a life, a job, other kids, granddaughter, and hobbies and I also can not be there for him forever. I really say "You're a smart man and I know you can figure this out yourself" so many times that I must say it in my sleep. Often he hangs up on me when I say it, but oh well. It's true. He is smart and he does know what to do. I can't make him do what he knows he should do and I'm done trying.

    I'm pretty good about letting my grown kids live their own lives and being cool with it even if it's not something I agree with. I learend this from my ex-mother-in-law, now deceased. She was an angel and everyone loved her. And all she did to earn it was to be kind and to withhold spoken judgment about anything. I can't remember her ever saying a critical word to me, her inept daughter-in-law whom her son tormented. She was just sweet and soothing and accepted everything/everyone as it was. It was a very endearing trait and I talk to her still...in her new residence...somewhere else. She was the only good mother role model I ever had. And she wasn't a doormat either. She could kindly set boundaries when necessary and take good care of herself. I knew she did not always approve of her son, but she would never get involved in our marital problems, which was best.