Adoptive difficult child Lost Job and is Moving in with Bio Mom and wad kicked

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by stressbunny, Nov 2, 2013.

  1. stressbunny

    stressbunny Guest

    Our almost 20yo difficult child has been struggling in life over the past year. In summary, he graduated HS with a 3. 4 gpa and moved out to attend college, scoring a 25 on his ACT. He failed semester 1 and had an underage drinking citation. Failed semester 2 and was kicked out for failing. He moved into an apt. and got a maintenance job and started an EMT class. He failed the EMT class and lost his job. He came home to live with us conditionally. He started another EMT class but he violated a bunch of house rules and we told him it wasn't working out. He left after only one week to move back across the state with a college friend. He got a job and was fired within 4 weeks and his friend's mom kicked him out. With no job, money, or place to live, his plan is to move in with his bio mom who lost custody of him due to neglect before he turned one, as well as abandonment. He doesn't have a relationship with her. His half brother lives with bio mom and is 23. It's a dysfuctional situation. Do we let him go into this situation or risk enabling him by rescuing him? difficult child is adhd and very uncooperative and rude, and disrespectful, you get the picture. His attitude is quite narcissistic.
  2. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    He is 20. He does not follow your rules. He needs to man up and make his life work.
  3. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Yes. Let him go until he is ready to reclaim his life. The current situation is what he has worked for. This is what he wants.

    You have taken him in once. He made another choice. You held to your principles, and he was asked to leave. Nothing has changed for difficult child. Given that you know about the drinking, you also know there is more going on here than a confused kid having trouble adjusting.

    He is still very young. The time may come when he will have stopped using alcohol and whatever else it is that is messing him up. That would be the time to step in. It is hard to watch them self-destruct. But until he is the one who decides to create something better for himself, he will continue on this same path.

    Sometimes, the best thing we can do for our wayward kids is to remember who they were meant to be, and to believe for them that they can recover themselves and become that fine man or woman they were meant to be before drugs or alcohol took over.

    I know how hard this is. I'm so sorry this is happening. There must be so much good in your boy, for him to want to be an EMT. I hope he can turn this around.

  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    With the backstory of bio. mom's history, I say let him go to see for himself how dysfunctional she is and how she is not able to help him, which is what he wants. He may also thinks it hurts you to do this, which it shouldn't, since most kids are curious about their roots if they don't know t heir bio. parents. In the age of the internet, most do search and find...better now than later. It doesn't sound like bio. mom can do much other than sate his curiosity. And perhaps it is better than him destroying your own peace and happiness or being out on the street.

    Once they are 18, they are able to make their own choices legally and we can't stop them and shouldn't bribe them to do so...I doesn't work. The answer to his problems are within himself and only he can fix them. Focus on helping YOU have a good life with those in your orbit who love and appreciate you and can enrich you!

    "Wherever you go, there you are." Hugs!!!!! I know it is difficult.
  5. stressbunny

    stressbunny Guest

    Thanks all, so very much. I am struggling with this. While I can intellectually realize the traps of enabling difficult child and abstain from the enabling, I am hurting inside watching this unfold. I can't believe that we rescued him from this situation as a toddler, and now he is voluntarily putting himself right back into it. Not only that, but I can see his bio mom in his behavior, and they are strangers to one another. I wonder if there is something in the genetics. She refused to modify her behavior all those years ago, despite the worst of consequences (losing her children), and yet, she just refused - left town with the carnival, never to return, literally, leaving her children behind. When she was at home, she refused to take care of the sanitary and hazardous issues with her living environment for the kids. difficult child spent a good chunk of time strapped into a car seat as an infant by her because it was easier than actually taking care of him.

    difficult child is doing the same thing in his own way - refusing to cooperate with expectations of his family, friends, employers, educational institutions, etc., despite the most devastating effect this is having on his life. It is as if there is something wrong with him neurologically that impairs his ability to be cooperative with others/expectations in pretty much every setting, and this is really negatively impacting his life.

    On my end, I feel completely powerless to stop this out-of-control train that will eventually derail.

    We worked so hard to raise JT well, and he is so disrespectful and ungrateful. He calls us Nazis and communists and ignorant, and all sorts of things. He comes into our home and watches porn on my laptop that I loaned him, smokes cigarettes and probably drinks when he feels like it (not sure about how much/often), and brings knives and lighters into the house when we ask him not to (due to our younger difficult child and safety issues). But that's not the worst of it. The worst is the way he treats us. He swears at us and demands things he seems to think he is entitled to and just looks down on us in general. I'm tired of being talked to the way he talks to us. It hurts, and I'm SO tired of trying to help him fix his life and the constant drama. Things have gone downhill considerably since he turned 18. I am grieving for the relationship that will probably never be.

    I don't want to enable him, and I don't see a decent way out of this for him. We are no longer the Bank of Mom and Dad, funding his life. He is unbelievably argumentative and stubborn these days. Despite all of his negative happenings, he still brags about himself constantly and seems to think he is more talented than most people and will get a good paying job, no problem, though he doesn't have any real successful experience, training, or job references. He is in a fantasy world, and I guess if he can't use us for anything, we are nothing to him.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Genetics is HUGE. In my adoptive parent group, many of the kids have struggled and searched. Almost to a person, each parent reports that the adopted child is more like his biological parents then like them and none of them knew their biological parents. Some say the kids even walk and talk like them and say things in the same way. It's spooky.

    This does not mean that our parenting has NO affect on the person. It's just that their inherent personality tends to be more like their biological parents who are mostly difficult children. Often, in the end, our children end up doing much better than their biological parents, in spite of having similar personalities, because we loved them and gave them stability, but they are also often going to take a longer path to get there.

    People forgive parents for atrocities all the time. I know a woman whose father beat her and her siblings bloody and sexually abused her yet when he developed brain cancer the whole clan practically fought one another to take care of this horrible man. She drove a school bus and I was her aide so we spent hours, after driving t he bus back after our route, just talking and pouring our hearts out and she spared no details of what this sperm donor had done to her...yet she had to go home because of grief when she first found out he was ill and after that she only spoke of how much she loved him. WHATEVER!!!!! She is hardly alone though. We want to think the people who created us as people are caring and loving, even when all evidence points to the opposite.

    I am sorry for your hurting mommy heart :/
  7. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Our son was like that, Stressbunny. The change in him was sudden and total. We found all kinds of strange things in his room, too. It took us years and years to realize that what we had been dealing with all along was drug use.

  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    SB, I am so very sorry you are going through all of this with your son. You do not deserve this behavior from him. His behavior and his negative choices are somewhat typical around here,whether the kids are adopted, have mental issues or have substance abuse issues or all of the above. How WE respond to this kind of behavior for ourselves is what it all comes down to.

    At 19 years old your son is old enough to make the choices he wants regardless of how you feel about them. I don't believe his desire to live with his bio Mom is all that unusual in certain types of kids, I imagine it won't last long considering both of their behaviors, however, all you can do is let go and make every attempt to learn how to detach and put your focus back onto your life.

    You've likely done everything you can to remedy this situation, it sounds as if you have, and at a certain point, all we parents can do is to let go. There is an article at the bottom of my post here on detachment, it can be helpful. You may want to find a therapist, a 12 step group, a parent support group or do a search for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, they have programs and classes for parents which are invaluable and they can be accessed online, they have chapters everywhere. It's imperative that you take care of yourself now.

    Sometimes with all our best intentions and very best parenting skills, our kids go off the rails. It is not your fault, I'm sure you did the best you could. You didn't cause this. Adopted children have their own issues. You can't control it, you can't fix it and it is unhealthy to enable him. He needs to find his own way and face the consequences of his behavior. And, that's tough on us. Get yourself as much support as you possibly can and practice detachment. It helps to keep posting, we understand, we've been there. I'm glad you found us. I wish you peace.
  9. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    This is something a therapist told me once. Maybe, it will help you to think of it this way too, stressbunny. Eyes on, very seriously indeed, the therapist leaned forward and said: "All the good things you ever taught her are in there, too. Wherever she goes, whatever she does, whoever she is with, those good things you taught her are in there, too."

    Could it be that your son needs to explore this other aspect of who he is before he comes back to who he was raised to be?

    Do you think it would help if you told him something like that? Something about understanding his need to explore who he is as he has done, but that exploring those issues can be a trap too, and that he must never forget who he really is?

    I don't know whether our son stopped using because of anything we said, but it wasn't until we got our own feet under us and started talking to him like he had been raised better than to do what he was doing that we saw any effort at positive

  10. stressbunny

    stressbunny Guest

    I can't tell you how helpful I have found your replies. I have read and re-read them over the past few days, especially when I found myself dwelling on guilt and fear, neither of which are healthy places to be.

    Today, JT called and said, "hey", and then he just paused and didn't really ask for anything, but I knew he was calling to ask for something. Sure enough, he asked if he could leave a bunch of his clothes here. I asked him why he would need to do that, and he said it was due to the fact that they wouldn't fit where he would be living. So, I asked why not, and he said there would be other people living in the apartment with him, and I asked what apartment, as at the last update, he had said he would be moving in with his bio mom (who lives in a house, not an apartment). JT said he is moving in with some of his church camp buddies. I later found out from my father-in-law that JT plans to work at the casino with his friends in the town where he'll be living, about an hour north of where bio mom lives.

    So now I wonder if that was ever going to happen (moving in with bio mom) or if he was just saying that to press a button; to hurt us in some way. Or, he actually was going to move in with bio mom as a last resort, and then he found this option, which he perceives as better.

    Anyway, as I was imagining these many, many bags of clothes (clothes in garbage bags he took away with him a couple of months ago when he left here), I thought about how much I just don't want them here. He doesn't wash his clothes regularly, and they smell bad - a combination of garage grease, sweat, mildew, and probably cigarettes too. So, I said I didn't think that was a good idea or that it supported him functioning more independently, but that I would talk to his dad about it, because we make decisions together. JT became instantly angry at me, loudly proclaiming, "Forget it then! I'll just sell my clothes if you won't let me keep them there!!!" I am SO tired of his sarcastic tone when he doesn't get what he wants. Frankly, he has nerve calling here and asking for anything at this point. I hung up the phone and then texted him that I would not stay on the phone with him if he was using a sarcastic tone; that I would not allow him to treat me that way. I also texted that I am always willing to have a respectful conversation.

    This is the beginning of setting new boundaries with him.
  11. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    SB, guilt and fear are our companions for awhile on this landscape, it takes a little bit of time to let go of all of that. We parents take a lot of responsibility for our offspring and for a time, we do believe we can find a way to change's fearful to watch our kids make poor choices that put them in harms way...........although guilt and fear are not healthy, they seem to be part of our collective process through this. It takes time to learn a different way to respond, our natural instincts are to protect, provide, nurture and support, so to detach, to let go, goes against our very nature as a loving be kind to yourself as you travel this road, it's a tough one.

    Your conversation with your difficult child sounds much like the script many of us have followed, our kids want something and when they don't get it, the abuse towards us starts. You did a good job in setting boundaries, well done! You're right, your son may have told you he was going to stay with bio mom to hurt you, or maybe not, you'll likely never know, they are adept at manipulation and deception..........

    For me it's been all about setting boundaries. Figuring out what I want, what I don't want, what I am willing to do, what I am not......and communicating that very clearly and making sure that those lines aren't crossed. Often, what that means is limited access to us, since many of our difficult child's don't respect us or our boundaries.

    I'm glad you found us helpful, I had that experience too when I first arrived here.....(and still do) is remarkably comforting to be in the company of others who really understand, empathize, have compassion and can offer their experience which often mirrors our own. It's very helpful to post and get immediate feedback, especially since we have so many doubts as we go through this. Hang in there, it really does get easier as we continue along.........
  12. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    You handled this well, stressbunny. It is good to set boundaries with the kids ~ more for ourselves than for them. For us, this is all new territory. No parent imagines how strong they will need to be when that child they dreamed for and cherished turns bad. We are so unprepared.

    Good for you!

    It has never occurred to me not to store things for my children. I am going to have to think about this. Most of the time, they never come back for the things, anyway.

  13. stressbunny

    stressbunny Guest

    JT is a very very messy person. He never picks up or cleans anything including himself and his clothes. It has been very difficult for me because messes and clutter stress me out, and I am a working mom without a lot of extra time. He has never respected property. As a kid, he would smash his toys to bits and disassemble everything, ruining things, never to be used again. I don't want lighters, knives, or cigarettes in the house, but I'm sure they would be in the pockets of his clothes. All of the clothes he has in bags are dirty, and he wants us to store them because he doesn't feel like washing them or sorting them. I also don't want him thinking he can dump other junk here or pick up hid stuff whenever he wants.
  14. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Stressbunny, you are right to refuse to store the clothing. I meant that it literally never occurred to me to tell either of our children "no" ~ about so many things.

    I wish I had.

    I just couldn't see that they were making choices, that they were fully aware of the wrongness in what they wanted or were doing. I was always so sure believing in the good that I knew was in them would help them come back to who they were meant to be. I could not acknowledge what was really happening, and so, I could not react appropriately.

    As I continue with the process I am going through now, the day will come when I too will believe that the peace, beauty, and order husband and I create in the spaces where we live is not something to be sacrificed ~ on any level ~ for the sakes of our adult children. At this point? We are storing things for both our almost forty year old kids.

    I was not criticizing you, Stressy.

  15. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    I needed this today too, Recovering.

  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Good for you!!!!
  17. stressbunny

    stressbunny Guest

    Cedar, oh I know you weren't criticizing. If we were in a different situation with JT, I would love to have him here and would keep his things. But he's not behaving in an honorable way or treating people with respect, much less property. I'm ready to have some peace at home now, without his drama and without his messes. He hasn't contacted me since the last call when I didn't automatically agree to keep his stuff. No surprise.
  18. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    This is how I want to interpret what happens to us.

  19. stressbunny

    stressbunny Guest

    Cedar, interesting. In what way are you meaning?

    Now JT seems to be creating even more drama. He texted husband yesterday asking him to call back because it was extremely important. Well husband called him back and all the while I was wondering if JT was in jail or something, but no. He wanted to know how husband knew "Mom was the one." Oh boy! husband told JT he wasn't ready to discuss that at this time. I can only guess that he has reconnected with a church camp girlfriend since he's headed to live with some friends of his from camp or maybe he's moving in with some girl now. GEESH! It's as though he's destined to make every mistake, but I hope he learns, even if it is the hard way.
  20. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    I meant that I intend to get to a better, saner, healthier place with the way I rationalize and excuse the behaviors of my own children, Stressy. I like the way you see the situation: For you, your son's inappropriate behaviors are just that ~ his inappropriate behaviors. You are choosing to remain healthy yourself, rather than enter into a relationship of threat and fear and compromise with your child. There are actions and behaviors that are simply unacceptable, as those same behaviors would be unacceptable from anyone else in your life. You don't make excuses for why your son is doing what he is doing; you don't compromise your own value system to allow for his changed value system.

    I like that.