Advice on my 30 year old son

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Worriedmumalways, Apr 15, 2019.

  1. Worriedmumalways

    Worriedmumalways New Member

    Hi everyone - I have a 30 year old son in a situation (of his own making) that I just don’t know what to do about. All his working life he’s gone from one job to the other, never sticking to anything. To cut a long story short he has had 2 relationships, both failed miserably, but have left me with 3 Grandchildren (none of which he pays for). When he was living with us he was in huge debt not bothering to pay any of it, and when his last relationship failed leaving 2 children, his ex wouldn’t allow him to work at weekends because he “had to have the children, and if he didn’t have them it would mean he didn’t love them”. He was in Real Estate at the time so working weekends was essential. We made a decision as a family for him to move to another country and try to get his life in order, and gave him $8,000 to do it. He started brilliantly getting a job straight away and getting a lovely apartment. He lies to me a lot, so I thought that things were going brilliantly for him, until I got a text out of the blue simply saying “I’m struggling”. It turns out he got the sack from his job and can’t pay his rent. He says he is applying for jobs every day and getting interviews but is not getting work. As he is in another country he can’t get any help money wise and wouldn’t be able to afford any health care. He has had mental issues in the past and took an overdose once. I have his eldest daughter living with me as her Mother is in an abusive relationship, and I get no monetary help for her, therefore cannot, and will not send him any more money.

    I am battling with myself, half of me strong and saying you’ve made your bed lie in it, and the other, worrying myself to death about it all, as after all he is my son and I love him.

    I just don’t know what to do. Any advice?
  2. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Well-Known Member

    It is so hard to let go. There is an article on detachment on this site it might help to read it. You are doing what you can for your grandchildren. Take it from me my son is 37 and still asking for help they will drain you financially and you will have nothing left for you. He needs to learn how to take care of himself.
  3. Worriedmumalways

    Worriedmumalways New Member

    Thank you, it is so hard to let go knowing he could end up homeless and penniless. It is his decisions that have bought him to this place - I can’t believe he has ended up here
  4. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    I see you going down the same path as another person I know who supported her adult son for over forty years. This amount could turn into six digits eventually. She couldn't bear to say no because she was afraid he would be on the street. Fifty years later after his mom passed away, the guy finally realized it was up to him to make it, so he found a way. He didn't think he could be self supporting. It turns out, he was capable of self sufficiency all along, but had never tried hard enough to learn that he was capable. Some people underestimate themselves and become too dependent on others.
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  5. Worriedmumalways

    Worriedmumalways New Member

    Thank you for taking the time to write to me. I am trying to be so strong, it kills me though and effects everything in my life. All I can hope is that he does make it and sorts himself out, but I have my doubts . Once again, thank you
  6. Worriedmumalways

    Worriedmumalways New Member

    I have read the article and it did certainly help. I haven’t heard from him today, just dreading the next text message though! Thank you for taking the time to help, I really appreciate it.
  7. RN0441

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


    You really really need to pull back and let your son take care of himself. You are not helping him at all by continuing to rescue him. Life is hard and he has to learn how to live HIS OWN LIFE with meaning and purpose as you should live your own life that way - we all should.

    My son is 23 and there is no way I want to be financially supporting him for one second longer than is necessary. In fact, we do not charge him rent to live with us but he does pay for his own car payment, car insurance etc. We do not give him any money. He helps a lot around the house also. I think it's our responsibility as parents to teach our children to be independent. We will not live forever and we are entitled to our own life and happiness. We matter too!

    Good luck and please take care of you!
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  8. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    He's 30 years old, he's an adult and needs to solve his own problems. The last time my daughter lived with (maybe 7 or 8 years ago) she had just been released from inpatient mental health treatment and had a 2-year-old daughter. I gave her 2 weeks to find a job and then she had to pay me 30% of whatever she made as her contribution to the household. We also had rules laid out that I printed and had her sign. She made it a few months, then started breaking my rules so I threw her out. She floundered for a bit but got things somewhat figured out. She struggles with alcohol and has had her ups and downs with that but she has maintained employment and housing for the last 5 years and can pay her bills. She is now expecting her 2nd child, which I am not thrilled about, but it's her choice. She has also gotten herself into community college, finished one semester on the dean's list and is working on her second semester. If I had let her use me as a crutch I doubt she would have been able to accomplish what she has on her own. It also gives her a sense of pride (and rightly so) that she has done all of this. Now when she calls upset about something I remind her how far she has come and it helps her feel better. I know how hard this is, especially with children involved, but you need to cut the cord and focus on giving yourself a healthy, happy life. Sending peace to you.
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  9. Worriedmumalways

    Worriedmumalways New Member

    Thank you - I needed those words
  10. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Welcome Worried. In these two sentences you have summarized this whole forum:
    Almost all of us begin here (and many of us, like me stay here.) The thing is, they are adults. We do not have the power to solve their problems anymore. Not at 20. Not at 25. Not at 30. They have to find ways and motivation to live their own life and if their problems are so severe and intractable they can't do it themselves, they need to find community support and assistance. We as their parents are not equipped to solve their problems, but we try.
    This is the thing that keeps us stuck. We are miserable either way. Damned if we do and damned if we don't. If We hold the line, identify and maintain barriers, we have the fear and anxiety and the broken heart. If we don't and we keep on paying for this and that, giving them lodging, bailing them out, we have to face that we are enabling their toxic, dysfunction, self-limiting lifestyle. There is no choice that makes the pain go away completely. It is one day at a time.

    I hope you stay for a while and post. It helps. Take care.
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  11. Worriedmumalways

    Worriedmumalways New Member

    Thank you so much Copabanana for your comments - you are exactly right - it’s so hard to know what the best action is. I am aware that if I carry on helping him out it will never end. The main problem I have, is that he is in another country and will not be able to get any sort of help from there, so what do I do when he texts me to say he has to come home? Do I pay for his flight so that he can come home? Or do I say “no”? What would he do if I said no? He would have nowhere to live, no money for food or health care and no money to get home. I haven’t had that text yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it does come and what would be my answer? It’s so hard.
  12. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Worriedmum,

    I'm so sorry for the heartache you are going through. From what you have shared it sounds like you have gone above and beyond to help your son.

    What I can tell you from my own experience is that geography has nothing to do with whether our adult children thrive or not. My son has wandered from state to state for many years. I have heard many times from him how "this state sucks, I need to leave, there is nothing for me here" It does not matter where my son ends up, he has a way of screwing it up.

    My son like yours has been afforded not only opportunities but also money. There is no amount of money that we can throw at our adult children that will solve their issues. The older they get and the more we enable them, the harder it will be for them. While we may think we are helping them, we are really holding them back.

    I know how much it hurts to watch your child struggle and not thrive. Our instinct as their mothers tells us to swoop in and rescue them. This is fine when they are little but as adults we must fight the urge to fix everything for them. It's not easy to accept that our adult child may never reach the potential we have always hoped for them but it's a necessary step we as a parent must take in order to move on with our own lives.

    As for your question of sending your son a plane ticket so that he can come back to the country you live in, you can only do what you can live with. For me, I would only do this if it would not cause any financial hardship and I would also make it very clear to your son that there are strings attached to this. You will need to make very clear boundaries with your son and stick to them.
    You need to ask yourself what it will look like IF you send the plane ticket. When he gets back what do you think his expectations of you will be? What are you willing to do?

    There are no easy answers for any of us when dealing with our difficult adult children.

    My son is 37. He fathered two beautiful children that he abandoned. I spent years and lots of money trying to help him. I have detached and taken my life back. I will always love him but I need to love myself too. I need to live my life to the fullest. I have accepted that my son will continue to live a homeless, wandering lifestyle and that he and I will most likely never have a close relationship. I'm okay with that.

    Please keep us posted and let us know how you are doing. We care!
  13. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    Here's the thing- if I was stranded in another country I would have to figure it out. I would have to find work to raise the money to get back. There's a good chance that will never happen to me because I don't travel internationally if I can't afford it. But the point is, I'm an adult, so I have to make my way. Your son is an adult as well. in my opinion this is his time to start figuring things out on his own. You are doing more than your share by raising his daughter. It's time for him to pick up the slack. I know this is hard, but if nothing changes, nothing changes.
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  14. Tired out

    Tired out Active Member

    And so you think you shouldn't have given him the $8000 he wanted to start over in the other country? Are there no jobs in the other country or no jobs HE feels are worthy of him? I was playing the same game as you are (until 3 days ago) when I gave my son the ultimate to meet me at the bank to take my name off of his account (was trying to get that done for 9 months) or I was closing it. period. end of game. mine is 22 and I. am. done. Yes hes is my baby,and the youngest of 3 and I love him but I do. not. like. him. Or his lack of work ethic or his attitude. DONE. You are already paying for his kids? who deserves you to spend the money on them? the children or the adult son? I watched Dr. Phil today. Another enabling mother of adult looser son. The manipulate the heck out of us and we look like idiots. When I heard the bullcrap he pulled on her and her responses I thought--"now go look in the mirror you fool"
    Good luck. It is hard. but you are doing him NO favors by letting him manipulate you.
  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Clearly. I don't know what country he's in. But I have lived in other countries. I am in USA now. The other countries I've lived in are 3rd world countries. Being from a first world country is a great advantage in getting work. First, it is the principal means of business communication. Second, people want to learn English.
    The elephant in the living room is: He got himself there.

    The other elephant in the living room: Do you really think bringing him back will mitigate against his creating problems for himself, and do you really think it will make him less vulnerable? My own son has created vulnerability for himself (and me) in my house and in my yard, and in front of my house. Sometimes I wish he was in a far-away land. Except then I'd be where you are. Worried about the plane home.

    What we come to realize and to face is that what we do, we do for us: so that we can look in the mirror. So that we can sleep. So that we suffer less. If you need for yourself to do x, y, or z: do it. But know clearly, that it's for you. Not him. LET ME REPEAT: Not one thing that you do will be the right thing, as long as you locate the result in him. He controls him.

    Again, I repeat. There's no right answer if it's about him. He is in full control. He will do what he wants over and over again. In Guatemala. In Nigeria. In Yugoslavia. In Finland. In Thailand. He will live as he wishes. What you do has no impact at all in his choices, his behavior, his well-being. Your money can only move him around the geographical map. The only arena where your actions have a bearing, is how you feel; how you live; how you think.
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    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019
  16. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    It was his bad decision to move to another country. in my opinion you dont need to pay to bring him back. He needs to learn. If he really wants to come back, he can.
  17. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    And I forgot this part. My country *USA, has consulates all over the world. I think most countries are like this. There are designated people in each consulate who help out if a citizen has an emergency. This happened to us twice. Once we were trapped during a hurricane. Another time, I broke my ankle in a third world country and had surgery and was hospitalized. In each case I was assisted by diplomatic staff. I don't remember the exact intervention, but I know from my own experience that citizens are assisted, if they are in need. If your son was to meet any peril, he would likely be assisted. That's my point.

    I still don't know what you should do. I remember when I was in the hospital after the surgery, they would not me leave unless I paid the bill. I was incapacitated. I could not leave to arrange to get the money. It was a nightmare. I was a prisoner. I did reach my mother who wired the money. The hospital wouldn't even let me leave to get the money. We were at a standoff. Until they finally realized if they kept me prisoner, they would never be paid. This may have been when the consulate staff person helped me.

    I was maybe 50 at the time. I was a professional. I was not a difficult child. My mother helped me.

    There are reasons and circumstances mothers help out. My mother knew that this was indeed an emergency. I paid her back every penny.

    Still, I don't know what you should do. I don't think there's a right or wrong thing. As long as what you do is based upon your own needs and best interest.
  18. Worriedmumalways

    Worriedmumalways New Member

    Thank you so much Tanya M I really appreciate the time it has taken you to comment for me. It is so hard and I do have to learn to detach myself. I haven’t heard from him since Monday and so want to just say “hello, how are you doing” but know, if I do, it could start a bad texting session again. I miss my gorgeous son of about 10 years old, but so dislike what he has become now. Thank you again for your words they have really helped me. . I will keep you posted - just praying for a text to say “hey Mum, I’ve got a job” . Happy Easter
  19. Worriedmumalways

    Worriedmumalways New Member

    Thank you again Copabanana I really appreciate all your help and kind, caring words. I’m so sorry for the awful time you went through in Hospital - how can this happen to a poor lady that simply can’t get down to get the money . Awful for you. I hope you have a wonderful Easter
  20. Worriedmumalways

    Worriedmumalways New Member

    Thank you . Happy Easter