Adult son in legal trouble again

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by TClark, Nov 6, 2016.

  1. TClark

    TClark New Member

    Hello I have an adult son in his late 20's, let me start by saying he is a great person, but his drinking has lead to problem after problem, several DUI's and now an assault charge that it appears will land him in prison for a couple years (he lives several states away). My relationship with him has always been very strong, though I know and openly admit that I have been an enabler, bailing him out, helping him out however possible.

    Knowing that he is facing these consequences has been devastating to me, it has nearly rendered me paralyzed. It has weighed so heavily on me that I simply can't function at times. Reading different post on this site and others has certainly helped me change my thinking and I am starting to realize and or come to grips with the fact that he has time and time again made decision that have had and will have a negative impact on his life. As a parent you just want the best for your children, but life isn't always so easy.

    I am struggling mightily with the burden, and i realize it is his burden, and that I can no longer carry it for him. Though that is easier said than done.
     
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  2. worried sick mother

    worried sick mother Active Member

    Welcome to the forum TClark. I so understand the pain you feel. It is paralyzingly when things our children do things out of our control and have to face the consequences. We are parents, it's in our nature to fix everything. What we have to realize is that our fixing is sometimes doing more damage. I have learned that when we don't let our children face the small consequences it leads to bigger consequences. So although prison for a couple years seems tragic, it could be worse. This doesn't make it any easier on you I know. We have all been enablers because we love our children.
    You should try Alanon, it really helps and keep posting here. This site has been a life saver for me . I'm not as strong as some of the others here or I don't feel like I am anyway but it helps me so much just to realize I'm not alone. I become deathly ill when something happens with my son and I'm not happy about it but it took me getting put on an antidepressant just to cope. My son was possibly still is a heroin addict. I have been pretty slow at stopping being an enabler and trying to live my own life but I'm getting there.
    You need to learn to take care of you, you are important and you can only control yourself, you can't control your son. I know it's hard to imagine but maybe this will be the best thing for your son, maybe it's saving him from something much worse. Others with much better advice will be along so stay with us. I'm so sorry for your hurting heart.
     
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  3. Kalahou

    Kalahou Active Member

    Welcome TCLark,

    I am short on time this morning, but want to acknowledge your post, and welcome you to the forum. Others will also be along greet you, although weekends are sometimes a slow period. I am also a parent of 4 children ~ all adults. Why one of them has not thrived and become a difficult adult child is something that all of us have been devastated and at times paralyzed by, just as yourself.
    What you have said capsulizes basically the entire experience of all of us here on this forum. We have all loved our children, and have helped however we can, thinking we were doing our best to try to fix and help and support, and love …. It’s what parents do …. and keep on doing…. Over and over and over … Until we realize that that nothing changes…. That we cannot be the fixers anymore. It does not work.

    By recognizing this, you are a giant step in starting to detach. If you have not already done so, please read the detachment article at the top of this forum. It is a great reminder to keep us on track in our loving detachment. Here is a link to the article: http://www.conductdisorders.com/community/threads/article-on-detachment.53639/#axzz4PGZS42Mx We are all learning the need to come to terms with the necessity of losses and the necessity to detach. There comes a turning point. It is not easy. With time, the sharp devastation is not as painful, but the lingering sorrow occasionally surfaces to keep prayers and hope alive.

    My turning point was a little over a year ago when I asked my son to leave our home. He eventually ended up in jail. I did not bail this time. I did not supervise release. I did not visit him. I did accept occasional calls and wrote him periodically, explaining my stand on loving detachment and not further enabling. I think he came to learn I meant it. I told him I was here to support and encourage as he took steps on his own to move toward a future. He came to realize he did not like jail at all! (although he did like that he had a daily 4-hr/day job for several months ~ the longest time he had held a job in the last 5 years.) He is now released in a program, and (as far as I know) he is sticking with it. He lives at a sober house with curfew and requirements, etc. I believe his primary current motive to get on with his life is to not return to jail, and for that I am thankful that his arrest and jail time may have actually been his RESCUE.

    Today, my difficult child son is probably doing what he thinks is his best, but he is struggling. That’s who he is. For some reason, navigating and attending to day-to-day life seems difficult for this person, and /but there is nothing I can do about it. He is an adult and must make his own way, for better or for worse. I accept and love him as a parent loves their child, and I wish him the best. I am cautious as I watch and see what the new day brings.

    You have found a safe place here. We understand, and have all been (and still are) in these difficult situations. You are not alone. Just finding a place to share your story and get it all out is such a relief. You are going to be alright. Hang in there and stay with us. Keep posting and keep reading the others’ post to gain wisdom, insight, guidance. Take care.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 6, 2016
  4. TClark

    TClark New Member

    @worried sick mother & kalahou, thank you very much for your reassuring and kind words. About 4 years ago, during his previous legal troubles and a subsequent 12 month stay in a county jail, I did attend Alanon meeting for a period of time and found them to be very helpful, mostly just realizing that I am not the only one who is struggling with the aftermath of a loved ones actions. It was an all female Alanon group, though not by rules or design, and i found it to be a comforting and inviting group, I plan on going back right away.

    @worried sick mother I am very sorry that you have had to and continue to cope with the actions of your son, I can only imagine how difficult it must be to tell them they can no longer live with you. I also feel your pain in having him spend time in jail.

    @Kalahou thank you for the reassuring words about taking care of myself, it is very difficult but certainly very true.

    A big thank you to both of you
     
  5. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Welcome TCLark,

    I'm glad you found us in our little corner of the internet.

    It's never easy to come to grips with our adult children being out of control. I have been to h#ll and back with my son. There were times that I didn't think I could bear the pain of watching my sons life unravel before my eyes. I am proof that you can get through this. No, it's not easy but is possible.
    @Kalahou gave you the link to the article on detachment. It's so important to read it. Detaching does not mean that we no longer love our children it just means that we will no longer allow them to hold our emotions hostage.
    It's very freeing to detach from the chaos our adult difficult children bring to our lives.
    My son has been given so many chances and opportunities to turn his life around and yet he has chosen to live his life on his terms. I don't like it but I have come to accept it.
    You have taken an important step here in knowing that you can no longer carry his burdens. It takes time. Sometimes it's three steps forward and one step backward but you keep moving forward. You have a life to live and you deserve it to yourself to live the best life you can. You live your life and your son will live his life. You don't have to like his choices but they are "His".

    Stay close to this site and keep posting. Let us know how you are doing, we really care and we get it.

    :notalone::staystrong:
     
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  6. TClark

    TClark New Member

    @Tanya M thank you for your comments I have read the detachment, and i find it to helpful, clear and concise. Living the best life I can has been difficult over the last many years as these problems just seem to come and go. It is as if there is a calm and then a shoe drops. Well we are right in the middle of a huge shoe dropping. Makes you just want to go to sleep in hopes that when you wake up, it was just all a bad dream.
     
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  7. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    I've been dealing with my difficult son for 20 years now. I have experienced just about every emotion you can imagine while riding this crazy rollercoaster ride. Guilt was probably the one I felt the most.

    The "parent" in us wants everything to be ok for our children. When they were small and a had a problem we could hug them and kiss them and tell them everything will be ok. That was fine when they were little but they are grown now, adults. We taught them right from wrong, we set forth examples of working hard and doing the right thing, we loved them, we gave them a sense of security and yet with all that we have done and taught them, they managed to slip away.

    I can so relate to what you are going through. It takes time to detach and gain back what resembles a "normal" life.

    Each experience we go through with them is a learning experience. I have learned that I do not need to know every detail of my sons life. I used to obsess over "needing" to know where he was all the time and what he was doing. All that did was make me worry more. I have learned that my son manages just fine. While living a life of a homeless wonderer would not have been my choice for him the fact remains, that's who he is, that's the choice he has made for himself.

    I have also learned that I do not need to nor am I obligated to tell my son what is going on in my life. One of the many times he was in jail I told him that his dad and I were taking a trip to the Caribbean and he blasted me, cursing at me telling me I was cruel to be taking a vacation while he rotted in jail. I was really shook up and my companion "guilt" was right there to assure me that I was everything my son said, that is until my husband helped me out of the FOG (Fear, Obligation, Guilt). My husband reminded me that we have done everything we could to help our son and he continued to make poor choices that landed him in jail. He reminded me of how much work I had to miss due to my son being truant, going to search for him, going to many court dates, going to counseling sessions, all the money we spent on counseling, coming home to find our home ransacked, all the times he stole from us, etc..., so for us to take a much needed vacation was nothing to feel guilty about whatsoever.
    We have taken many vacations since that one and I never share with my son our plans. For me, I do not share any information with my son that he will use against me.

    I do not communicate with my son on any kind of regular basis. He has a FB account so I can send him private messages. He has a tablet that he can charge here and there.

    My husband and I go about living our lives. We are happy and have lots of friends and many activities. I used to shy away from meeting new people because the question "do you have kids" always comes up. I am no longer ashamed or embarrassed to tell the truth. Here's how I now look at it; if someone wants to judge me that's on them and I do not need them in my life. If someone really wants to take the time to get to know me, then I will invest the time to get to know them too.
    I have lost relationships over the years because of people telling me things like "how can you allow your son to be homeless" I reply, "I do not have control over what my son chooses to do with his life, he is the one who chooses to be homeless". There will always be people who will judge us but until they have walked in our shoes and lived in our homes filled with chaos and fear, they have no clue and we do not need them in our lives.

    TC, you will get through this!!
     
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  8. RN0441

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

    TClark:

    Welcome. We are all in different stages of the same difficult journey.

    I really think that I have actually gone through mourning. There are so many varied emotions that I have felt. My son is only 21 but he has taken us down a dark and painful road since he hit puberty at age 15. I cannot believe how far we have come though.

    This site and the wisdom here has helped me tremendously. I had prayed for so long for guidance and answers and then I found this site and I really feel in some ways that this was the answer to my prayers. I found so many people like me! Our son is now living away from us and we are helping him as long as he does the right thing, which he is doing right now but I know that can all change tomorrow.

    Good luck with what you decide and keep reading and posting. There is strength in numbers!
     
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  9. TClark

    TClark New Member

    @RN0441 @Tanya M @worried sick mother @Kalahou Wow I must say that your you kind reassuring words are greatly appreciated. I was reluctant to post something here, I have never posted on a website before, I mean sure I have facebook and twitter, but not a sight like this and it is amazing how kind you have been. The fear is always that someone will well not be so nice. Thank you.

    As you each are aware the struggles are real, they can and often do overwhelm your day, even when I am having a good day I wake up in the very early morning hours and my mind just runs, so many negative thoughts, if onl yI knew how to turn them off. Not so easy
     
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  10. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    We strive to be a safe community where you do not have to fear being judged or ridiculed. We have all come here to this site beaten and broken because of our difficult adult children. Within these pages we find support and understanding.

    I'm so glad you found us here.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. TClark

    TClark New Member

    @Tanya M thank you for your reply, we do all need a safe place. The feeling of sadness, helplessness and just simply the blues tend to come and go. Tired
     
  12. TClark

    TClark New Member

    @Tanya M @worried sick mother @RN0441 I have found the words expressed on this forum to be helpful and encouraging. I am riding a roller coaster of emotion, must of them sad, lonely and well frankly very depressing, the weekends and early morning hours are the hardest, as a result of idle time and my mind just turning to so many negative thoughts and outcomes. So hours I am in a pretty decent mood, other times it just seems like the walls are caving in.
     
  13. mcdonna

    mcdonna Active Member

    Hi TClark. I'm just catching up on some posts and realized I had missed this one. I'm sorry to hear of your situation. I can only imagine your pain. It is extremely difficult when our children find themselves in difficult situations that they have created themselves. No amount of love, money or support seems to help.

    My daughter is doing the same thing - creating her own problems and expecting everyone to bail her out. Now she is having to answer for her actions. I can't help her.

    We are here to help and lend an ear and support as you navigate your way through the pain and emotions.

    {hugs}
     
  14. worried sick mother

    worried sick mother Active Member

    TClark, I do the same exact thing, It is a roller coaster of emotions. Sad, mad, hurt, accepting then repeat. Like RN said, it's a mourning process, going through all the stages of grief over someone who's still living. I try so hard to detach and sometimes I do ok but then I just backslide. It never helps my son and it sure doesn't help me. It just goes against everything in us as mothers to detach from our own child. Try to stay busy, do something nice for yourself, just try to keep your mind off it. There's been times that I was so bad off that it almost killed me to have to go into work, I would think of calling in but then I would get there and get busy which would take my mind off things. Your son will be safe in jail, you won't have to worry about what he is out doing. I have actually wished that my son would get arrested so then I wouldn't have to worry about him overdosing or someone killing him. Sometimes binge watching a Netflix series helps me cope and of course praying is the best therapy. Sending you hugs
     
  15. TClark

    TClark New Member

    Wow @worried sick mother your words are very helpful and greatly appreciated. You have describe my wave of emotions perfectly. I do find that when I am at work or staying busy I do much better. I do believe that he is safe in jail, it all just seems so surreal, unbelievable like a bad dream or an out of body experience