Adult son mom's guilt needs support

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by joysheph, Mar 8, 2017.

  1. joysheph

    joysheph Member

    The guilt and enabling my adult son is getting the best of me. The only strength I have left is to ignore the calls, ignore the promises, ignore the begging. I just can't face my son when he has told me he wants to be drug free and mentally stable but if I will let him come home. I now except it's all everything I want to hear. He has to hit rock bottom and I have to turn the cheek and not give in. It's just hard to witness. I don't believe that he wants treatment I believe he wants to come home to get high in a safe place. I just can't handle my 28 y/o son who does nothing to contribute to the home. Who don't appreciate what we do for him. I seen him walking today and I ignored him and kept driving.I hate the way it makes me feel inside to just keep driving forward. If he would just thrive in life. I feel like I'm doing the right thing by letting him choose to be homeless on the streets or choose to accept help from drug treatment and work programs. He thinks those won t work. He has to work and get shelter. I just need advice support.
     
  2. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Joysheph,

    Welcome! I'm so sorry for what you are going through but am so glad you found us here. Your feelings are very normal and yes they are hard to deal with.

    What I can tell you is you are doing the right thing. I know how hard it is to detach, I've been there. You are right, your son wants to come home because it offers him a safe place but then it's not safe for you anymore.

    Sometimes it's hard for a parent to accept that their life matters too. For so many years we have lived for our children, putting their needs first. Then they grow up and start to make their own decisions, good or bad. That's on them.

    There is a term we use here. Coming out of the FOG (Fear, Obligation, Guilt) I think this is where you are right now.

    You will get through this. Read the posts from others and keep posting. Let us know how you are doing. We care.

    :notalone::staystrong:
     
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  3. joysheph

    joysheph Member

    Thank you for your reply. I love the term coming out of the fog. Fear, Obligation, guilt! I will remember that. About a month ago he was diagnosed with bipolar depression and he was not taking his medications. He was self medicating. I was so Fed up to the point I lost it. I was angry, yelling, said hurtful things to my son. Just sick and tired of this roller coaster. Needless to say, I work in a psychiatric facility and coming home to him I was losing my sanity fast. End result he had hit me in the arm. Police was called and I demanded a psychiatric evaluation. He only stayed 6 days and was released. He showed up on my porch. I was fearful of him cause he has never hit me before. Police had said what's going to be next? Advised me I need to kick him out now. As a nurse, I feared his mental illness and being homeless. How can I do that as a mom? This is where I need help, support and advice. My marriage has never been happier since he has been out. I focus on my other adult boys and step daughter more. The dang guilt is hanging over my head. How can I move on to happier days when my first born son is struggling with mental illness and substance abuse? I'm so glad I found this site.
     
  4. RN0441

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

    Sorry for your pain. We all get it here. It's the hardest thing most of us have ever had to do in our lives.

    I just had a close friend text me last night that she had to kick her 25 year old son and his girlfriend out last week. I had been telling her to do this for over a year but she wasn't ready I guess. She found needles. Burn holes in everything. Had to throw his mattress out. Rotting food all over. 30 bags of garbage in his room. Hard to imagine. She enabled him for very long and his drug use escalated during that time while she pretended everything was "okay". She gave him too much privacy I'd say. She is devastated and scared for his life but she took the right first step and so have you.

    Others will be along to give you their advice and what has worked for them. Everyone's journey is different. We cannot let our adult children hold us hostage in our own home. We forced our son to go to rehab or to a shelter and he chose rehab but ONLY because he didn't want to be homeless. My therapist said that each time they go (he's gone to plenty) they do have some take aways. They KNOW they need it but they don't want to accept it so usually just blame us as parents.

    Stay strong and keep reading and posting. This forum and these people gave me the strength I needed to make a change and to continue reinforcing my boundaries with our son.
     
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  5. joysheph

    joysheph Member

    Thank you. Funny thing is I open the door to his room and I see trash junk everywhere, so I shut the door and forget about it. It breaks my heart that's exactly what I've done since he broke his tibia fibula at age 16. I've seen the opiate abuse to kill his pain. I've seen the drug abuse creeping onto him year after year, but I only seen what I wanted to see! So I closed the door to his addiction. I gave excuses for his use and abuse. I gave him a safe haven to get high at. I cooked I mother him til before you know it he's in his 20s.Problems with the law I drove him to court, I drove him to his probation officer. That's just it I DROVE I DONE. At this very moment as I type this I realized that I DONE not he,my son,my child, but I! How in the world does the enabling creep into your actions filled with excuses for the troubled loved one? I'm cleaning the smudge or smears of my eye glasses and I'm beginning to see things clearer.
     
  6. RN0441

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

    I've been in therapy a few times and most recently since June after his overdose. I also tried NA meetings but I find the one-on-one for me works best. The NA meetings seemed to get me more depressed but for some they are just what the doctor ordered.

    I knew I was in over my head emotionally. Maybe you should think about YOU and what makes YOU feel better. It really has helped me tremendously and given my friends a break from having to hear about "it" all the time. My husband doesn't feel he needs anything but I do share what I learn at my sessions and they are not as frequent as they once were but kind of my life line.
     
  7. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    It's not something that happens overnight. It's a slow process and most parents do not see it coming. We are their parents who have always been there to fix what was wrong, from scrapped knees to broken toys. At some point there is a shift and our children start making decisions for themselves. When they make poor decisions we are quick to follow behind them in hopes of keeping them from falling. Not much different than when they were learning how to walk. Before we know what has happened we find ourselves in full enabling mode.

    The good thing is that you realize you have been enabling and know you need to stop. This is not only for you but for your son.

    The struggle of the butterfly story is very fitting for our adult difficult children.

    Once a little boy was playing outdoors and found a fascinating caterpillar. He carefully picked it up and took it home to show his mother. He asked his mother if he could keep it, and she said he could if he would take good care of it.

    The little boy got a large jar from his mother and put plants to eat, and a stick to climb on, in the jar. Every day he watched the caterpillar and brought it new plants to eat.

    One day the caterpillar climbed up the stick and started acting strangely. The boy worriedly called his mother who came and understood that the caterpillar was creating a cocoon. The mother explained to the boy how the caterpillar was going to go through a metamorphosis and become a butterfly.

    The little boy was thrilled to hear about the changes his caterpillar would go through. He watched every day, waiting for the butterfly to emerge. One day it happened, a small hole appeared in the cocoon and the butterfly started to struggle to come out.

    At first the boy was excited, but soon he became concerned. The butterfly was struggling so hard to get out! It looked like it couldn’t break free! It looked desperate! It looked like it was making no progress!

    The boy was so concerned he decided to help. He ran to get scissors, and then walked back (because he had learned not to run with scissors…). He snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger and the butterfly quickly emerged!

    As the butterfly came out the boy was surprised. It had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. He continued to watch the butterfly expecting that, at any moment, the wings would dry out, enlarge and expand to support the swollen body. He knew that in time the body would shrink and the butterfly’s wings would expand.

    But neither happened!

    The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.

    It never was able to fly…

    As the boy tried to figure out what had gone wrong his mother took him to talk to a scientist from a local college. He learned that the butterfly was SUPPOSED to struggle. In fact, the butterfly’s struggle to push its way through the tiny opening of the cocoon pushes the fluid out of its body and into its wings. Without the struggle, the butterfly would never, ever fly. The boy’s good intentions hurt the butterfly.

    Out children need to struggle and it's okay to let them. We are not "kicking" them out of our homes, we are "liberating" them so they can live their own lives.

    My son is 35 and has put me through it all. I have laid awake at night wondering how he survives being homeless. He has always managed. He always finds a way. He is currently in jail and is looking at doing some serious time.
    I will always love my son but I will not allow his poor choices to steal the joy from my life. I spent many years enabling and it produced nothing for me or my son. I stopped looking at him as my sweet little boy and started seeing him as a grown man that showed no respect for me, my husband or our home.

    You will get through this!!

    ((HUGS))
     
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  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Dont go into denial again please. That is bad for us and harmful for our struggling adult kids. We need to stop seeing our cute ten your old boys and see our defiant men with beards, low voices, tall statures. We need to be mothers, not mommies.

    Please go to to Al anon or a therapist. This is too hard to do without help. Find peace for yourself. You cant fix him, only yourself.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
  9. wisernow

    wisernow wisernow

    what wonderful posts have been written above....so sorry for the pain you are going through...I only can tell you that it wasn't until I got out of my son's way (not because he wanted it, but because I needed to save myself) did things start to change. We had to let go of the Mom and Son dance painful as it was, as nothing was changing. And in my own enabling way, I too was cutting his wings. He is now learning to fly...with professionals who know how to help him and aren't emotionally invested. The day came when I had to admit to myself, I have done all I could. That was very liberating I think to both of us. Hugs for your hurting heart!
     
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  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Wiserone, i really like you :) You are smart and inderd wise.

    How long do our kids have to struggle with our ineffective help and severe angst before we admit we are not equipped to help? i think its part ego. We want to be the one to help. Evrn if it kills US and doesnt help them.

    There is help out there...community services that are quite good, the Dept. Of Workforce Development that helps find jobs to those who are labeled disabled (and they have a good track record) and workers who are there to drive you to doctors appts. Mom cant help her own child just as doctors do not operate on their own family. Too much personal stuff involved.

    This is letting go with love because we are not the solution. They have to want it or nothing will change them, but there is much help when they get to that point of wanting a different life.

    We need usually to step back or the mother/young child dynamic remains even if you are dealing with a 30 or 40 year old. It is almost impossible to not be a parent to a child of any age if you are the main carer. And they dont learn to do without us, even if they abuse us. And they must. We cnn go at any time so they must.

    In my community a Downs Syndrome man went everywhere with his parents. He was forty when he lost one then the other. He was horrified and had a lot of trouble adjusting to caseworkers helping him. Small town here and the story was sadly everywhere. For forty years he was with loving parents. Now gone.

    Our adult children, disabled or just unable to thrive, must development community workers who are familiar to them so that they arr not completely alone with strangers when we finally go home (back home to the spirit world in my beliefs. Back with God, whatever wr call God).

    We never know when our time 8on earth is up. We need to make sure our adult children can still get support from people who have wotked with them or they can become completely lost. Homeless. Suicidal. Not good.

    Thats why in my opinion we must detach. Certainly we still love them. Detaching means giving their drama to commuity workers and other professinals. Detaching means we love them enough to help them find long term solutions. If they refuse them, well, they at least they know they are there and can access them. We did our maximum best tp prepare them for the days we wont be around. Then we can feel peaceful. We did everything possible. And, yes, we still love them.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
  11. Catmom

    Catmom Member

    I understand exactly what you are going through. The FOG has lifted here about 3-4 weeks ago although I am not completely strong yet as the guilt and nervousness creep up on me from time to time. I see a therapist and I am also a take action type of person. Since getting off of the roller coaster, I have completely changed my son's bedroom and made it into a cat room and adopted 2 cats that desperately needed a home, and boy they are so appreciative of their new home. I do not drive thru my neighborhood anymore bc I think my son hangs out in it trying to make me feel guilty by showing that he is homeless, which he is not currently, it's just another manipulation to get back into my house. I also try to stare straight ahead when driving to work or somewhere bc if I see him walking and looking pathetic, I might get down and out and right now I am trying to protect my emotions until I am stronger. by the way....love love love my home without my son living here. No drama, loving environment with hubby, other son and new cats. I get excited to hang out at home nowadays instead of dreading going home. Hang in there, each day becomes more clear and you get stronger each day. Praying that you stay strong. Keep checking in here, these ppl are amazing to me!
     
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  12. joysheph

    joysheph Member

    Thank you, thank you, thank yall! I feel like yall have walked in my shoes, yall understand! I needed to read the replies left this AM and it was just wanted I needed to read. My son admitted himself to a mental and substance abuse hospital. I only know this is due to I work there. When I had read the admission I was hurtful to what he answered... no family support, IV drug use, bipolar, schizophrenia. The guilt was creeping in. But then I remembered the FOG, the butterfly story, yalls stories on here and thought this may just help him. This may be the answer for his struggle if he does the program. I am confused if I want to be involved with his therapy or just let him stand at it alone? His room. is still the same as he left it maybe I need to change that.
     
  13. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    This is very typical. I have said many times here that our adult difficult children have a secret handbook they use and saying they have no family support is straight out of chapter 5.
    In their minds they really do believe that we the parents do not care about them. They cannot see all the chaos and drama they have inflicted upon us.
    Please try and let the whole "no family support" thing go. You know in your heart you have been there for him.

    I couldn't agree with you more. Your son is 28 and should not be living with you unless he has a full time job, pays rent regularly and contributes to the household in a positive way.
    My suggestion is to box it all up and store it in your attic or basement. Turn the room into something you can enjoy; a craft room, a sewing room, a mediation room, a yoga room, an office, etc.....
    Do not feel guilty in doing this. Remember, this is your home. You are the one who has paid the mortgage and utilities, not your son.

    At age 28 he needs to stand on his own. If it were me I would step back and only participate if he asked and then and only then, I would be do it on a limited basis with clear strong boundaries in place.

    One of the hardest things to do after giving so much of ourselves to our adult difficult children is taking time for ourselves, taking our lives back, doing good things for ourselves.
    I hope you will start to do small things for yourself. Things that bring you joy. Something as simple as buying flowers for yourself.
    Be very good to yourself.

    ((HUGS))
     
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  14. joysheph

    joysheph Member

    My whole life I've done things for others and not for me. When my mom left state and took my sister and left my two younger brothers for me to care for with my three boys, I did. One of my brothers who I raised is also on drugs and used IV drugs. For years I've dealt with my son and brothers drug addictions in my own home. Why? I don't know the answer. Afraid for the worse. I've noticed the more I reach out the more strength I feel to walk away and give it to my higher power. As the days go by I come to learn that yes indeed I deserve peace I've earned it. My son, my brother, I love dearly but I can not cure them or change. Only they can walk the path. I will practice until it's a given to put me first my marriage our life first! I must not listen to his manipulations and cave in. I am learning to not live their lives. Thanks for the kind words!
     
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  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Your husband doesnt deserve back burner treatment. He is your forever. Even very caring kids strike out on their own. Your husband will be there for the duration if you choose him. Your son will only be around if he wants something.

    Our adult relationships...our partners...matter (in my opinion) more than mothering adults your sons age. You deserve wonderful golden years. You earned it! We all earned it