A Disturbing Phone Call

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by John W, Apr 2, 2020.

  1. John W

    John W New Member

    My son called me via Facebook Audio yesterday which was April 1. The telephone call very disturbing for me. It was very disrespectful. He said a lot of hurtful things He told me the hostel and where they’re staying has been ordered to close because they cannot distance the occupants that are still on drugs and drinking. They can’t keep them separated, so the Salvation Army has given a tent and sleeping bags and blankets. My son said that they can still use the hostel for showers and laundry and some food, but no meals. My son says they have 400 pounds of belongings that need to be secured. They don’t know where they will setup their tent. My son says they are very depressed and suffer from anxiety. To me seems they’re not motivated to improve their situation. He says they’re not thinking at full capacity. I feel this is due to excess marijuana use. I said if you know you’re not up to getting yourself a permanent place to live, which I feel is a priority, I said maybe you should be getting yourself someone to give assistance from a professional in the town. I’m sure there are people there that would help them. I suggested going to a church. He tells me I don’t understand about the marijuana. I feel he’s replaced his alcohol addiction with marijuana. He says he hasn’t drank in 3 1/2 years. I am very proud of him for this, and I’ve told him several times. He says he only smokes one a day. My grandson who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day My Son said he gave my Grandson $100 the other day and my grandson came back with $50. My son was a little disturbed about that. I almost feel he’s given up. My son said he would go stand in front of a train and record it. That was extremely disturbing for me. He was very negative, everything I suggested was of no use to him. The only positive part of his life right now, in my eyes, is that he’s worked since Saturday today is Thursday and got 31 hours in the bank hoping to get $15 an hour. It’s just heartbreaking for me to think that they’re on the street again at least I was somewhat at peace when they were staying in the hostel because I know they’d a decent bed, and be warm even though there were people around them that were on drugs and alcohol. There was confrontations on occasion. I did say that church worker in an adjacent town was very helpful to get them to where they are now. He was kind enough to take them to their car parked up a mountain rd where they had a fire pit and that’s where they were sleeping and keeping all their possessions inside the car he also gave them $50 each to get some necessities also drove them to another town where there was a hostile but he feels all that is negative. I don’t know what to do. I’ve been reading this book “When our grown kids Disappoint us” that seems to do me good. I hope to talk to counsellor this afternoon. I came off the phone crying uncontrollably which is disturbing for my wife. I really don’t know what to do. I know what I should do is detach with love, but I don’t know how to do that. I’m surprised he called me actually. I called him several times over the previous 24 hours so that’s how he knew I called I have told them it was their thing to fix. He feels that the family has not been supportive over the last while. He feels support is defined as money. I told him all the money in the world won’t fix this you’ve got a fix it

    Enough of my rambling. I welcome feed back
  2. Blindsided

    Blindsided Face the Sun

    John, I feel your pain. My 41 y/o alcoholic daughter is pregnant for the first time, she had tried to get pregnant with her last long-term live in wealthy boyfriend and couldn't, so this was a total shock. She has stopped drinking and has stopped the Adderall and Xanax. On that front, she is doing really well. It's difficult to give her normal words of love and excitement because I fear she will use the pregnancy to manipulate. I believe she is staying with the parents of the supposed father, who also doesn't work. She lives in another state so I have no idea who this person is, which is weird for me because even today, I could call every one of her former friends. What's enough? She has already begun, "I don't have money for maternity clothes". What's next? How much is too much? I fear so much right now, with her, with this virus, with her inability to care for herself let alone caring for an innocent baby. I guess the only thing I can say is that boundaries are probably more important now. What would a reasonable unrelated person say to our DCs? My husband and I are elderly. So much coming at one time is difficult. Our DCs define support as financial. At their age, this is not reasonable. When we enforce boundaries it's reasonable they don't feel supported, because we aren't! Not supporting behaviors such as theirs IS an act of love.

    In healing, Blindsided
  3. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet


    Welcome. I think you have been here before and that your son is an adult and so is your grandson.

    I'm so sorry for your pain. The truth is there is nothing YOU can do. All you can do is love them which I know you do. It would also be helpful to see a therapist. You just need to be good to yourself and your wife.

    Until your son wants to change his life there is nothing you can do to make him do what he needs to do. It has to come from him. That is great that he isn't drinking if that is true, but perhaps he is using not only marijuana but other drugs as well. If not, I'd think he'd be able to provide for himself.

    Has he ever functioned as an adult? Has he ever held a job and paid bills etc?

    More will be along to offer their ideas and advice and support.

    We all know how hard this is.

    If you pray, I would pray for the boys and for YOURSELF. That is what I did during the worst of times with our son. I got tremendous peace from that.
  4. Blindsided

    Blindsided Face the Sun

    I need to hear that. thank you.
  5. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...


    My heart goes out to your and your wife. This is a very hard struggle for many of us here on this site. I have two Difficult Child's, one that is 31 and have not spoken to in 8 months. The other living in his car (off and on for 3 yrs) and I continue to try not to enable him. Mental health, drugs, alcohol, PTSD and ADHD issues.

    I wish there was a quick fix answer that would appease you, but I'm sorry to say there isn't. I've learned that this journey is as much about our dependent children as it is about us. I don't know how long this has been going on for your son but I'm gathering it's been a while. So the obvious truth here is that "you" have to be the change. You and your wife. You've waited long enough for your son to improve, get completely sober from drugs and alcohol, get a steady job, live in a home/apt. as most people would strive and desire to. So, the obvious thing here is to take care of yourself. Do the things like you're doing. See a therapist, read good books (if you can get Codependent No More by Melodie Beattie or Boundaries by Cloud & Townsend), pivot your thoughts from the doom and gloom scenario that continues to play over and over in your head like a film projector stuck in one place.

    I would also suggest praying not just for your son (if God is in your life) but for yourself. I saw a priest a few times about my issues with sons. He suggested that I pray even half the time for "myself" as I pray for my sons. What a shocker. Of course, he still wants me to pray for my sons but I see that he was trying to get me to pivot and focus on my well-being. Something I had never really done to that point. Even praying for myself felt selfish but in reality I am no "more" important than my sons but I am also no "less" important than them either. I have to value myself and this has been a long journey which I have not fully arrived at yet but am working daily on.

    Remember you didn't "Cause it, you can't Cure it and your can't Control it." Once we realize that it's not our job to make everything better but rather allow God to do what "He" is fully capable of doing, the burden can be lifted. This is an ongoing process for sure.

    Try saying this prayer as often as you'd like: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference."

    I will pray for your well-being and your sons.
  6. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    To build on that, my therapist told me to practice self-compassion.

    Wow, what was that??

    I had never heard that word let alone practiced it.

    I bawled when she said that to me. What a release.

    Prayers that you stay strong for yourself and your wife during these difficult days.
  7. John W

    John W New Member

    Thank you for what you have written. It means a lot. More to add to my prayers. I will look up these books.Thank you
  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Dear John

    First, welcome to you. Second, there is a great deal of wisdom in your post. Third, so much of what you express is common to my own situation and that of many of us.

    I want you to know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

    These quotes hit home for me, unfortunately:
    Okay. What you have said above is the common ground we share. Please let me share what I know:
    A common attribute of nearly all of our adult children is this. That they define support in terms of what they want. Typically what they want is money, or housing, or bail, or visits to jail, etc. Maybe all of us are that way. We feel supported only if the support addresses where we feel vulnerable. And we feel lack and want in the places and spaces that hurt because we feel we don't have the resources to fix them. Where we are broken.

    But it is exactly in these places where our growth can occur. We are mirror images of our children. There is the potential for growth through this for us too. And the growth is exactly in the places where we feel such unendurable pain.

    Our growth comes from resisting solving things for our children, and coming to have the courage and strength to bear our own pain. In my own experience, there is no other way through this. To hold steady with ourselves and to learn to salve these deep deep wounds of our own. That is the healing. For us.

    It is a hard, hard thing to accept that these adults who are at the same time our children, our babies, are responsible for their own healing. And as responsible for their own healing they are responsible to suffer the pain and the deep brokenness, from which it will arise.

    But if we are able to do that, we can give them the gift to feel. And this feeling is the terrain from which this healing may arise. We can give this gift to ourselves too. in my own experience there is no other way to conceptualize this, than spiritual ground.
    Good! Any spiritual path involves a discipline, a practice. I am speaking here about us. There is a training here for us, to choose to see and to acknowledge the good, the gifts. His working for these days is a real gift! Your suffering with this, and holding it in your own heart as opposed to fixing things for your son, is allowing him to heal himself. And in a sense, this agony for you, however horrible it feels, is the ground to heal yourself, and myself, too.
    The thing is this: How can we know? The knowing has to come from our children about themselves, about their own lives.

    There are times and places in life, where "not knowing" is the most powerful place to stand. But this is not to discount how hard it is. Every parent here knows this and shares this with you. That is one gift of this place.

    Parents here hold each others' hands, while we hold back as our children, now adults, heal, and learn. Over time, approximating better and better decisions, in their lives. In my own experience the only way they can learn to decide better is to have the opportunity to do so. And that requires us to step back. To turn the focus upon ourselves. Our own healing.

    Thank you for your post. I hope you can stay with us here. It helps.
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    Last edited: Apr 3, 2020
  9. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Welcome John. I can only echo what has already been said, including how sorry I am for what you and your wife are going through. I too have read the book, "When Our Grown Kids Disappoint Us." I found it to be helpful in the sense that it confirmed that there are many, many parents like us out there who have been good parents but who have kids that are dysfunctional. I found the book to be long on empathy and short on practical helps. "Co-Dependent No More" is a good book. Alison Botke has also written a book about her experiences with her son, called "Setting Boundaries With Your Adult Children." Keep posting; it really does help to do that.
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  10. JMom

    JMom Active Member

    Hi John,

    Welcome, I am glad you are here. It broke my heart to hear that your son said things that caused you pain. My son was homeless as well and managed to pull himself out of it once he started working.

    I agree with the others that you need to practice self-care. You are not going to be able to stay ahead of this thing with your son, but you can take care of yourself and be strong. You and your wife have raised him and deserve to enjoy your lives. You didn't cause your son to drink or smoke or any of the other choices he's made. I have also used the book codependent no more over the years.

    The best way to fight hopelessness is to take care of yourself. Pray for him, yourself and your wife. I will be praying with you John. There is much wisdom here. Just read through various posts and you will find things that resonate with you.

    We love ya Kiddo,
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