Advice sought for difficult child who is going out of his way to be disrespectful and hateful.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by BKS, Oct 31, 2012.

  1. BKS

    BKS New Member

    Hi all,

    My 19 year old difficult child son, who my husband and I asked to move out about three weeks ago has decided that I am the enemy. It is really strange but difficult child used to HATE my husband but he seems to have turned against me. He tells me I am a "*****", won't have a conversation with me, pretends I am not in the room (the few times we are together), and ignores any attempts I make to text him about the most routine of issues - including getting him car insurance. He is holding onto grudges for past events - including a year ago when we began to suspect his drug use and I opened his cell phone (that WE bought and paid the service for) to discover on-going texts he had with a drug dealer.

    difficult child is EXTREMELY disrespectful and goes out of his way to be hurtful. He came over last evening to pick up some things and made a big point of bringing some ice cream for himself and my husband but not me. From past discussions I know he believes he can say or do anything (no matter how ugly or hurtful) but he believes as parents we are held to a different standard of comments and conversation that are all positive, etc.

    I can accept that he is a teenager, immature, on drugs, and may have a mental health issue that creeps up when things are stressful. I can accept that that he continues to blame all of his problems on other people, mostly his father and me. He is perhaps projecting self-hatred on me. This is the same child that was my 'little buddy' for years. My husband has a hearing loss and he always came to me in the middle of the night with bad dreams, ear infections, and troubles. Until about a year ago, he would turn to me in times of trouble. I worked close to home and did all of the home room mom things.

    The disrespectful tone and behavior is a no-go, though. It is eating at me and I know I need to find a way to let it go. Any others go through this? I find it almost inexcusable. I KNOW I am too nice and don't know how to deal with this ugly treatment. If nothing else, I don't want him to think that he can sh*t on people who love him and support him - as he pleases. (pardon my french)

  2. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    For some reasons our difficult child's treat us moms worse than dad's, especially when they are involved with drugs. My difficult child treated me very disrespectfully and was at times even physically absuive to me. I had to have a conversation with my husband and let him know that he had to support me and not allow difficult child to treat me poorly or I would end up resenting him. It's not that my husband didn't care how she treated me, he just didn't want to have any more chaos than was already there, but he did get the message.

    You have a right to be treated with respect and I would not speak to him or do anything for him unless he speaks respectfully to you.

  3. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Our son was this way - and worse - towards me when he was about 15 -16 years old and he knew that we were about done with his temper and threats. Our therapist told us that it was common for a young man who knows that the apron strings are about to be severed to lash out against mom because he is angry and it makes him feel as though he is showing that he is not a "mama's boy". We dealt with it by agreeing that my husband would deal with it. I dealt with it by sticking to my end of the agreement. It didn't matter whether my husband dealt with him or not - I didn't feel safe, I didn't feel loved, and I was not jumping back into the fray.

    That being said, why has he not moved out yet? Does he have a job? Is he paying for the car and insurance? We pay for a phone for our son, but that will end at the end of this contract. Technically you are correct that he is a teenager. Legally he's an adult. He's old enough to go to jail, he's old enough to go to war, he's old enough to vote. If he has drugs in your house he's old enough to drag you into jail with him. After all, you have admitted that you know that he does drugs. Does he have them in your home? How is he getting alcohol? Is he using it in your home? Is he operating your vehicles while under the influence? You could find yourself in a mess of trouble.

    Read what you've written. What would you advise someone else to do in your situation? You should feel comfortable doing for yourself what you would expect others to do for themselves. Somehow I don't think you'd advise a friend to allow a drunk, high, angry man to live with them.

    Try Al-Anon, or if you have a therapist, see him or her. See your medical doctor as well to be sure that physically you are up to dealing with this. This is the kind of thing that takes your last nerve, and you'll need to be as strong as you can both mentally and physically to get yourself through this. Your son is not a little boy anymore. By the same token you get to be "you" again. That doesn't happen overnight. It takes work and planning to feel comfortable in your own skin again. Do what you have to in order to take care of yourself and your husband, and let your son be.
  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I don't think you should allow him to disrespect you in any way. I think what Nancy and Witzend said are right. Get your husband on the same page and in whatever way you can convey it to your son, make it clear that you will not tolerate this behavior. You do not deserve this and allowing it does send him the message that he can treat women in that manner. As you said, it's a no-go, it is inexcusable, don't accept it.
  5. BKS

    BKS New Member

    Thanks everyone. Your help is invaluable and I will take your advice.

    I should have been more clear with my original post. We asked my son to leave the house three weeks ago and he moved in with some friends at that time. He had been doing drugs and stealing from us. He had also broken into my laptop (to read correspondence between our family therapist and me - which was not earth shattering - just a lot of concern). Right before we finally asked him to leave we found he was also carrying around two of our bank statements and my jewelry packed into his backpack. So yes - he is out (for good). He comes by the house about once a week to pick something up and my husband follows him around and watches him like a hawk. I DO find as time goes by it is easier to detach from him and see him as an adult - which helps with my maternal fears that he won't 'make it' in the real world, etc. when obviously others who have had far less have become great successes in life (personally and professionally.)

    Thanks again,
    Lasted edited by : Nov 3, 2012
  6. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Just wanted to say I'm really sorry for your mommy heart going through this.
    My son calls me names and is aggressive to me for different reasons but still, I wish I could say it didn't hurt. Even though I understand not to take it personally, I just get sad about it sometimes. I can't imagine if he had ever been sweet then suddenly turned on me. (He's always been this way ) . The grief over a loss of the son I knew would be so hard. I love that the other parents here who have lived through this can help you to detach. I think you're processing things amazingly and being so strong. I pray he gets through this life challenge and can be the young man you know is in there. He has the strong foundation you gave him and that gives him a great leg up for recovery when he is ready.
    Anyway, just wanted to say I'm listening. Sorry I don't have the experience to help with this situation but just wanted you to know you're not alone.
    Take care, Dee
    Lasted edited by : Nov 3, 2012
  7. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    You are not alone. Like you, and like he others, I went through this with my difficult child also. Her dad left us, with virtually no warning, when she was 15. She took it very hard and I hung in there with her. By 17, she'd figured out that she could get away with a heck of lot more with dad, and she moved in with him. Because it suited her and made it easier for her to justify this - in her head and to the world - she was absolutely horrible to me. She went out of her way to hurt me, and she did so in a way that was very underhanded. The ice cream thing sounds exactly like something she would have done.

    I stood my ground with her, and it did get worse before it got better. BUT it got better. What helped, in my case, was to be consistant in calling her out when she was disrespectful but ...and this is a fine line ... to let the little things go.

    A few years ago, she moved out (she's bounced back and forth between here and her dad's) to move into a hotel with a loser she'd met on the internet. She'd talked to him for a week, and seen him ONCE when she made this hairbrained decision. I refused to help her in any way, while her doofus dad did things like drive them to the hotel, feed them dinner, etc. I talked to her regularly and saw her, but refused to meet the guy or have anything to do with him. After two weeks, she was out of money and the guy lost his appeal, so she moved back with her dad. I talked to her the night she moved out and told her she was doing the right thing and I would stand by her. This was a Saturday, and we'd made plans (prior to this) to see a movie together and have lunch on Monday. Sunday, I called and she was as cold as ice to me (WTF?). I asked about the movie and she said we were still on. On Monday, I went to her dad's to pick her up. The house was unlocked and she was gone. I was scared to death. I left her a voice mail and asked her to call me. Hours later, she called her dad with some crazy excuse as to where she'd been. She claimed to have forgotten our date and also claimed that I hadn't called her (I'd called several times). She tnen went a month without speaking to me. It was horrible, but I waited. Eventually she called.

    She knows that what she did was horrible. I didn't have to tell her, and I made it clear that I wasn't about to cave in.

    She is now back here and, while it is hardly perfect, she is very loving towards me.

    Teenagers are awful. difficult child teenagers are even worse. You've already drawn your boundaries by kicking him out. Let him know you love him and that you know - despite his ugliness - that he loves you. It will get better.

  8. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    You wouldn't put up with this kind of behavior from any other adult - don't do it with- your adult child. It is *your* home, and he no longer lives there by virtue of his choices. I'd put a stop to the weekly visits to pick up stuff. If he wants something, and you're willing to let him have it, tell him he can pick it up on the front porch on Xday at X:00 (your convenience, and it saves Dad the task of having to make sure your son doesn't abscond with XYZ). Better yet, I'd ask for a final list of things he wants and again, if you're willing, set it out for him and then have that be the end of it. You're not a department store for surly patrons.

    in my humble opinion, being in my home after age 18 is a privilege, not a right. That includes visits. My difficult child knew/knows that I will toss him out of the house in a heartbeat if he gets disrespectful. been there done that for most of his childhood - I have earned the right to not have to deal with it from him as an adult. And he toes the line, without fail - even when he was living on his own, when he came back for the rare visit, he was 100% appropriate.

    It's amazing what living on their own/with others can do for their attitudes. My difficult child doesn't like all my rules, but after 2 years out on his own, he's developed an appreciation for the comforts of my home.

    I think as long as there's a revolving door, where your son can come over whenever to "pick up something" while taking the opportunity to treat you horribly, it's going to continue.

    It's interesting to redefine the parent/child relationship, especially with- an adult difficult child. While I absolutely checked his myspace and facebook pages multiple times a day (obsessively??) when he was on his own, I gradually was able to start letting go, mainly because the garbage I read on there was just making me ill. Do I *really* need to know this stuff when there's nothing I can do about it? For me, I finally was able to decide I just don't want to know. I'm much more at peace that way.

    It is a really tough transition, but I think it's really important to set boundaries and stick to them. Hopefully, like my difficult child, yours will eventually realize that you are *not* the cause of all that is wrong in his world and should be treated decently (at the very least).

    Hang in there.
  9. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think if he disrespects you in your home, you tell him it's time to leave. Period. Be sure you husband is ready to back you up on this (sure hope he turns down the ice cream that wasn't meant for you!) . If your difficult child disrespects you on the phone, you hang up. If he replies to a text with disrespect, stop texting him. I agree with slsh that he shouldn't just be able to "drop by," if he needs to pick something up, he'll have to pre-arrange it.

    Hard as it is, I'd also try to NOT react emotionally when he treats you poorly. in my opinion that's what he wants. Your only reaction should be to shut it down immediately and tell him it's time to go. I read years ago that a good way to treat out of control teenagers is with the attitude of a "dispassionate cop." Think of yourself of an unrelated police officer that's dealing with someone ranting and raving at them. Cops don't react emotionally, they don't allow themselves to be hurt by the insults and threats being hurled at them, they simply deal with the situation with authority and and shut it down/dole out consequences. That's got to be your role in situations like this, unfortunately.

    Hang in there.
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Im also all for the no open door policy. Good lord. In my house, my son was more surly with his dad than with me. They were like two roosters fighting over the hen (me). Now that my son is out of the house all is well with the whole family dynamic. Now my son can get mouthy at times but its not at us. He can get upset at the world at large and we tend to be the ones he comes to when he needs to be talked down. His father still says I baby him too much and I probably do.
  11. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I agree with setting boundaries and keeping them. And not being too emotional about it. You really don't want to teach him it is okay to be disrespectful to you. And because he does want things from you, he will submit to your boundaries. And staying unemotional (and at least pretending so) makes it more difficult for him to blame you and make a fight about it.

    However I did get easy on this one. difficult child was really disrespectful and hateful to me only short while. About the time he was compulsively gambling. He was very, very angry at that time and he directed it to me. After he got caught, he was so deeply in trouble he didn't dare to be openly hateful. After all, he was a minor and we had power over certain things he really, really wanted. He was sullen and total PITA, but not hateful to the disturbing degree. Same was true before his situation escalated (I still at times wonder if there was something else besides addiction going on at that time. Addiction can change a person, but with my difficult child it was so sudden and so deep.) In that time when he was really hateful only thing that seemed to work at least a bit was being very unemotional about it. I at times imagined to be a bureaucrat who just tells people their request are denied all day long. Just as disinterested and uninvolved. Making it a fight only made it worse.
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Suzir...yes, when my son moved out I realized that No was a complete sentence and I didnt have to justify my response which I used to do all the time with him. I used to hem and haw constantly like I had to appease him as if he would dislike me if I didnt give in. Now if he asks for something I dont want to do I simply tell him No and he accepts it because he has learned that begging doesnt work. In fact begging tends to make me dig in my heels more. No is a complete sentence. Now there have been times when I have said no but later I have found out that my No can be changed because the situation has changed. Then I will call him back and tell him that I can do whatever it was that he called me about but half the time he has already solved the problem he called me about.
  13. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    After years of teen disrespect and verbal abuse, when Daughter turned 18 I told her that the next time she decides to disrespect, or get nasty, with me it better be while she's carrying her suitcases out the door. As a parent of a minor, I had to put up with that nonsense, but as a parent of an adult, I don't. She still lives at home and it's certainly not exactly the way I would want it to be (she's a monumental SLOB and has to be yelled at and nagged to do anything around the house), she knows that level of attack won't be tolerated. At first, when she would become angry with me, I would see her getting ready to take aim. Then, she saw the "I dare you!" look on my face, and she would calm herself and swallow her comments down quick.

    Now, I have Son and his abusive attitude. Plus, he's a constant liar! I get the "when I'm 18, I don't have to do ANYTHING you say!" (Mainly, it's about medications and psychiatrist appts). I respond, "That's right, you don't. You also don't have to live here either." I had to live in a out of control alcoholic difficult child father, I'm not living with difficult child stuff ONE second more than I have to, PERIOD.

    I agree with the others that advise you not to allow him in your house anymore. It's so difficult not to take the abusive comments to heart. husband is on the same page with me, but Son is just as bad, if not worse, when it comes to his Dad. He will call his Dad when he's working on his cell and get nasty. husband simply hangs up on him. Sometimes, I have to admit, I will breakdown privately when the weight of the hurt becomes too much.
  14. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Can you box up everything he does have left in your home? When he wants something, he can either take the boxes or go through them outside in the yard/driveway or garage?

    my diva got ugly in her late teens. I finally turned my back on her and said, "You are not to ask anything from me until you can be nice for one week". It took up to one month or longer for that to happen. Everytime she faltered, we would start over. I remember doing this atleast 2 times. I was always very calm in telling her that when she started to be nasty.

    It is hard to change how we relate to our kids. How we react is often a habit that both our kids and us have fallen into. Although horrid and hurtful, it is still what we do over and over because it is what we know. It is hard to redefine and put new boundaries into place but it can be done. Be strong and confident in proclaiming the new boundaries. Get husband on board and unite your efforts. Come up with a plan and if you need to put some new rules into writing to hand to difficult child go ahead. Include how he is allowed to get his stuff and times he is allowed to call. Disrespect will get an immediate hang up of kicked off the property.

    I would be tempted to tell him the boxes are on the side of the house. You have so many days to get them.
  15. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'm glad to hear that he is really out of the house. I would probably try to get his stuff completely out of the house as well. There's just too much opportunity for things to get out of hand.

    I think that one of the hardest things we PE parents have to do is to clean out the difficult child's room after they are gone. It really opens our eyes as to what they have been thinking and doing that we either didn't know about or chose not to see. When M left, I gathered his stuff into three separate piles - Things that were his and he needed (clothing, personal needs, books); Things that were his and he didn't need (old school-work, video games, toys he no longer played with); and things that were ours (you wouldn't BELIEVE the things he had claimed as his own). Then I sorted each pile into useable and trash. I gave him his stuff and the rest went. Now, I have to say that the video games did not go to him because he was badly addicted to it and it caused depression and violence in him. That may not be so for your son. But his room was not ever his room again, and if he came to our house it would be because he wanted to, not on the pretense that he needed something and I had to follow him around or check all the drawers before he left.

    He showed up at our house again with some grown woman about two years later demanding his bedroom furniture (!) so he could move into an apartment. She tried to bully her way into the house, and I gave her 10 seconds to get out before I called the police on her for robbery. I told him that I'd be happy to give him some things for an apartment if he would call and ask me to set some things aside, but not that day.

    Believe me, there's a sucker born every minute, and our kids can find them like they have a heat seeking missile.
  16. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    Oh, ain't it the truthe......
  17. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    I've been there..(hugs). The only exception is that he hated husband and I both equally. Be strong, don't let difficult child "pick up" anything from your house. It's not his house anymore, he's thinking he's entitled to everything just as before. He is just seeing how hard being on his own actually is and he doesn't like it. Of course he's going to blame have to be strong and give it may take a long time.....but he will come to respect you, your decisions, and your home because you aren't going to allow anything else. It's going to be much harder for him to get what he wants from you by showing this uglyness. He will come to see that. Right now, he's thinking you are going to be so upset by this that you'll do anything to get back in his good graces. How wrong he is. Be strong, don't engage him. He has to learn this lesson on his own.

    We had to actually take a restraining order out on our difficult child. He needed to be treated that harshly, he did learn a lot. He's doing well for himself, very repectful and kind. He has never lived here again. I am very proud of him. One day, you'll be proud of your son as well. It's a tough time, you can get through it. The goal is for you child to become a productive adult. You know what to do.
  18. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I'm so sorry you are going through this heartache. However, having him move out of the house was a good move. The disrespect, thievery, etc. was so very inappropriate and it is very hard, if not impossible to come back from that in any decent time frame. Would he be open to family therapy? Well...perhaps not any time soon, but perhaps down the road...and you might put a bug in his ear about that. Since he is still on the young side, you might offer to pay for individual counseling for him if and only if he is open to it and you pay directly to the therapist and you are 100% sure he is in attendance. YOu might give him some info re: food stamps, etc., but keep your help limited and your heart, soul and guts VERY limited. Good that you are getting some sort of therapy. Is this for you and your husband? If so, a great move. These things are very hard. Hopefully, in time, he will learn that the world is very tough out there all by ones lonesome. If you haven't done so already, you might consider groups like Families Anonymous for extra support...and find places and people who might be able to provide some spiritual guidance as well (as appropriate).
  19. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    BKS, I agree wholeheartedly with the advice that everyone else has given you.

    The day I realized that my difficult child and I could never live under the same roof again was monumental, and involved family upheaval, criminal charges for difficult child and then a few years of misery. But, we have stuck to our guns. difficult child had to earn back the privilege of coming for visits, let alone staying overnight. He has gotten much better over the years since he's been out of the house because he knows he'll be out the door like a shot if he crosses the line.

    We used to have the house on complete lockdown the last time he lived here. Locks on every door, a padlock on the fridge, a second fridge locked away and padlocked, medications locked in the trunk of husband's car, etc. etc. The last time difficult child came home for a short visit, we didn't have to engage any of the locks. (Although all of them are still in place and I still have all the keys).

    With time it will get better, but you have to hold your ground now.