A letter to my son in jail

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Natsom, Aug 17, 2015.

  1. Natsom

    Natsom Member

    I drafted the following letter to my son. I would love to get input from all of the experience out there. He called me on Sunday and was already yelling at me to try and manipulate me. I'm so done with the way he treats me.

    Dear Son,

    I started a cheery letter on Saturday, telling you about what’s been going on in my life. Then I got your call on Sunday, and I realized that you haven’t changed at all. I was hopeful that incarceration might open your eyes. However, It seems like you have no remorse, and take no responsibility for your actions. You are just waiting to get out of jail so that you can continue the same self-centered life style and behaviors that got you where you are today.

    I’ll never forget the call from you on July 16th, two days after you missed your court date. That was the day you told me that you didn’t need me in your life. You made the decision on your own to go “underground”. I told you that I did not agree with this decision. You decided that you knew better. For the next three weeks I was on pins and needles, not knowing if you were dead or alive. I didn’t know if I would ever see or hear from you again. There was nothing I could do but wait. Would I get a call from county jail or the coroner? I was relieved to get a call from jail. What a sad state of affairs.

    Son, I have no power over you. I only have power over myself. If you choose to live your life for drugs, that’s your choice. My hands are tied. I will not support this life style. I will not support you financially when I know that the money I give you is being used to buy drugs that are killing you. I will no longer allow you to manipulate me or bully me for money. You are an adult with free will. If you want to be part of our family you need to play by the rules. If you don’t want to play by the rules, you’re on your own. It’s your choice.

    By the way, when you are released from prison you will be on probation. This will most likely entail weekly drug testing. If you fail a test you go back to jail. It’s that simple.

    I want to help you so badly. I want to make everything right again. Unfortunately, I can’t do this by myself. I have always told you that you need to do your part. You need to take the steps to do the right things on your own. I can’t live your life for you. That’s not my job. My job is to show you the right path, then it’s up to you. When your ready to help yourself there are resources available to help you get sober and find a job.

    You asked if you could come and visit me in xxxxxx. I told you that I was open to the idea, and I am. However, there are things you must do before you will be welcomed back into my home.

    • you must be clean and sober from all drugs for 30 days.
    • you must have gainful employment for 30 days.

    It will take time before I will feel comfortable trusting you again. After all Ryan, you have lied to me, used my money to buy drugs, been disrespectful, deserted me, and left me out to dry. It will take time for you to get my trust back. And I hope you realize that I will only trust you when I see that your actions are headed in the right direction. Words alone will not suffice.

    Here’s the reality. I love you with all of my heart. I hate the way you are behaving.

    When you are ready to do the right things, and take the steps to live a meaningful and productive life, I’m here for you.

  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    If u are writing for yourself, fine. If u are writing becsuse you hope it will make him finally "see" you will likely be disappointed. Letters are often not even read or get them angrier with adult child twisting your words agsinst you. The power an emotional, heafelt letter would have on us is lost on most Difficult Child.
    If u are clear that the letter wont change him or help him see your point of view then send it with low expectstions. If u realize its just therapeutic for u maybe write letters or journal for your own healing but dont send them.
    I had loving letters turned on me so be careful.
    He will change on his own if he is ready and he will let you know. And you eill see a huge change in him in every part of his life.
    Im a believer in less is more. I am learning that the less we say the less dysfunctional people can use against us. Often the use our words as s launching pad for verbal abuse.
    I made a huge change in my life by usinf few words. I was once big on explaining and sending letters and emails. I learned it works better for me not to give long explanations about my point of view.
    Do what is best for you. But do it for YOU. You will not change your son.
    Hugs for your hurting heart.
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  3. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    I agree whole heartedly with SWOT. IF this is for you, then write it in a journal. If its for him then you are likely wasting your time and giving him ammunition for later. Personally, I wouldn't even take his calls until he was behaving respectfully.
  4. Natsom

    Natsom Member

    I agree with you SWOT, but I have such a hard time believing that my son is so irrational. Why can't he agree with common sense? I know I'm being ridiculous. This is insanity.

    My son always says that I'm inconsistent, and have always given him to little to late. I know that isn't true, but it kills me that this is what he believes.

    Your right SWOT, this letter is for me. When I speak with him on the phone he just wants to play games and manipulate me. I don't want to talk with him anymore, and I want him to understand why. He's no longer in control of me, even if he thinks he is.

    Acceptance is a tough thing. It doesn't make me feel any better now that I'm closer to acceptance. What it does is help me stay on track and feel more confident in how I deal with my DS.

    I don't believe he is going to change any time soon. He hasn't hit bottom yet.
  5. Natsom

    Natsom Member

    Thank you for your input. You always shoot straight from the hip. I like that.

    I'm not sure what to do.

    It's so difficult to speak with him on the phone. He's constantly trying to control the conversation. It's such a struggle. I feel like he never hears what I'm saying because he's always thinking of how he can twist things around while I'm talking.

    At the same time, I agree that this letter will only give him ammunition for later.

    That's the never ending frustration with my dear son. Damned if I do, damned if I don't.

    Seems to be a no win situation.
  6. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    I think it's a good letter. It lays it on the line that you love him, worry about him and will be there for him when he wants help. I think that is exactly the message you want to send. You have no control with what he does with the message but you will have stated it clear art
    The one thing I would take out all together is the part about him visiting you and the conditions....that leaves a big door open for him to misuse and manipulate you. He can fake drug tests and he could probably work at a job for 30 days...all with no intent for changing. So keep this conditions in your mind but I wouldn't tell them what they are.
  7. DoneDad

    DoneDad Active Member

    It's a great letter, and it probably helped you to write it out, but you should think about whether you want to send it or not. Much as we'd like there to be, there are no magic words that will make th see the light. There are actions, boundaries, and as few words as possible.

    If his phone calls are upsetting you don't accept them. Let him know you will talk once a week or whatever is good for you and the call ends when the disrespect starts. You control his access to you.
  8. Natsom

    Natsom Member

    My son is teaching me so much. I remember a quote - "The child is father to the man."

    Without my son my eyes may have never been opened. This journey is changing my life for the better.

    I feel like a small child with so much to learn. I'm devouring every bit of information I can. Al-anon is helping tremendously.

    Thanks to you all for your never ending support on my journey.

  9. Natsom

    Natsom Member

    Thanks for your input. I'm so glad that I posted my letter here before sending it off. I'm glad to have time to reflect on the fact that this letter will most likely have no impact on him. Why should it? Nothing I've said in the past has impacted him!

    Your right. This letter is for me. It will not be sent.
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    That's probably exactly what he thinks about you, too. From his perspective, from his starting point and assumptions and experiences... he sees things differently than you do. Your reality isn't his reality. Many things alter our perspective of reality. Drugs, and mental illness, are two well known sources. But even ordinary people can end up with totally different perspectives of exactly the same situation (example, adult child and older parent). And each side is expecting the other to see the "sense" in their logic.
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  11. Natsom

    Natsom Member

    ...and I thought I had the ability to shape his reality as he was growing up!! Wrong!

    My two older children accept my reality. He does not. All three were raised with the same morals and values. He chose to listen to the beat of his own drum.

    I know I have no power to change him. I know that. I'm still working on accepting that I must release this to my higher power and allow his higher power to take care of him.

    I know it will take time to find peace with this. I'm glad to have started the journey.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I don't think our Difficult Child think we are at all confused. They know taking drugs and going to jail is not doing the right thing, even if they aren't neurotypical or have mental illness.

    I think they just like to push our buttons and get what they can and blame us for their bad behaviors. I learned a lot from having an autistic son. He knows right from wrong and that being in jail is because you have done bad things and that a bad thing is to steal, use drugs, hurt somebody etc. But when he did one of very few not good things in his life, he took our car to pick up a game he'd paid for at midnight. He has no license and doesn't know how to drive. It was the second time he'd done this (and the last). The cops brought him home and wanted to talk to me off to the side and he said, with the softest eyes, "He explained he's disabled and I hope you won't be too hard on him."

    A COP SAID THIS!!!!!

    Sonic was using the "I'm disabled" card and it worked!!!!!

    I was thinking, "Oh, yes, I'll go easy on him (sarcasm)."

    I was furious because he manipulated the cop.

    "Well...I was scared," he said.

    Non-Neurotypical doesn't mean stupid or doesn't think at all like we do completely, trust me.

    He was grounded for a year (just kidding) and let's just say he is lucky we are nice and he never used the car again because he is a nice kid too. But really!!!!!!
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    If mental health is part of the problem (not developmental challenges), read "I'm not sick, I don't need help". It was a real eye-opener for me. There are free excerpts available on-line.
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I read it, but he had schozophrenia. I don't buy it for most of our kids.
  15. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    I also think sometimes they hear what we say, file it away some place and when they stop using or get to another place they remember those things we said and take it in. I am starting to see this a bit with my son now that he is getting help because he wants it.
  16. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    When Difficult Child lived with us the last time (as an adult) hubby had to police the computer. Difficult Child was suppose to use it to look for work but of course, the history showed that he was on all kinds of sites, none having to do with job hunting. Hub told him that from now on the computer stays in the common area, at the desk. Not two minutes later, Difficult Child took the computer to go upstairs. We both were standing there, in shock. (of course, hub made him leave it) But the point is, even though he was an adult guest in the home, he felt no need to even pretend to follow the rules.

    He knew the rule, knew he was on thin ice, knew we were very close to putting him out, yet he still blatantly ignored his dad's request.

    I cant explain his mindset.

    There was nothing he didn't understand about the computer rule. He just decided to ignore it.
  17. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I read it - and it applies very strongly to both of mine. And only one has a diagnosis of mental illness.

    I believe more of us are dealing with mental illness than what we know when we get to this board. Things like addiction mask these problems. Those with mental illnesses are the neglected, the under-served. We've come a long way in how we handle people with physical and developmental challenges. We've hardly moved an inch on mental illness.
  18. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Unless and until you can understand his mindset, you will not understand his actions. Understanding does not mean agreeing with... but it can significantly alter the approach that is taken in dealing with the person, and the issues they bring into our lives.
  19. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    I would have to assume that he just does not want to follow the rules.
  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I know it doesn't apply to any of mine nor me and I have a slew of diagnosis. In general I think the kids on this board (and I'm sure there are other boards for other issues) know exactly what they are doing. We know very little about your kids. IC. Nothing, really. If they have psychotic disorders, they will not have any sense of reality, which is a whole different issue. If they have neurological differences or something like a mood disorder, they do know. I'm not talking about YOUR kids, IC. Maybe they don't know. But most of the kids we post about here, well, we live with them and as you know what your kids are like, we know when our kids are just playing us for gain.