Am I wrong?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by tracyf551, Jul 30, 2009.

  1. tracyf551

    tracyf551 New Member

    Am i wrong for wanting to see difficult child at this point? We do not know how long he will be in jail and he more than likely will be going to a state facility and I refuse to go to a state prison to see him. He is currently in a local jail about 20 minutes away. husband is coming down on me for wanting to see him. husband refuses to have anything to do with difficult child at this point. Says he will not go see him cuz that is just rewarding him for what he's done.
    So am I wrong or is it a mom thing that we still want to see our kids even after all this? I am not going there to fill his head with a bunch of stuff or anything. I just feel I want to see him now cuz when he is sent away it could be years until I see him.
    Any comments would be great.
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    There is no wrong or right in this situation. There have been times when my son was in jail that I did visit him and one thirty day stint that I simply refused to either visit, write or accept calls.

    This is all up to you and what you feel you can deal with for yourself. Please dont look too far into the future and decide now what you will or wont do. It may be that you have to take a break from all things difficult child for a time but after a time you decide to visit him again...or not.

    Only you can decide for you right now. Maybe your husband cant handle seeing his son in jail. Right now. Maybe you need to see him to put your heart at rest. If so, do it. You know what is right for you.
  3. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Hi Tracy...
    A few yrs ago I was in a similar predicament. husband refused to visit oldest difficult child. I was the only one who would visit him for more than a year.
    I visited him in county as well as prison rehab. It was very depressing and I began having panic attacks during this time. Even though I was going to Al Anon and getting quite a bit of support for myself.
    I had promised oldest difficult child though...when I helped him turn himself in for theft, I had promised him that I would stick by him as he went to jail...and I did. But like I said it cost me emotionally.
    I highly suggest you have lots of support for yourself during this time. It is a very heart wrenching, heartbreaking, situation to see your child locked up in that environment.

  4. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    One thing I forgot that I wanted to mention is that at one point during the yr of visiting oldest difficult child while husband wouldn't, I got VERY angry with husband. It wasn't til I voiced my anger and frustration at Al Anon that I realized (with their help) that I was interfering with my son and dad's relationship...which is None of my business. It was at first hard to accept that but the sooner I did, the better things got between husband and I...and well, in time, their own time husband and son reunited. In fact, today son works for husband and they have a very close relationship. But it could not be forced by me, Know what I mean?? I only made the emotional pains that much deeper when I was angry at husband and pitying son while in jail/prison.

  5. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    This is invaluable advice.
  6. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    I am one who refused to visit or accept phone calls. husband did visit and went to his sisters to accept calls (because I cut off my house phone!). It was not easy on me. And it wasn't about punishing difficult child. I had tried for years to help. He did not want my help then. I could not face the pain of seeing him behind bars. It would've hurt too badly. But, it is a personal choice. Don't hold it against husband and don't allow him to make you feel guilty.
  7. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Tracy, I'm with Janet on this. I don't think there is a right or wrong answer, you have to do what is right for you.

    When Rob was arrested it was horrifying to see him in handcuffs and shackles. He was *lucky* that he was a minor and he was sent to juvenile detention as opposed to jail. I remember that I was so ANGRY with him at that point that I could barely stand to look at him but because he was a minor I couldn't NOT go to court because we (his Dad and I) had to testify.

    When he was arrested as an adult we let him face those charges alone and he was just pretty dang lucky that he wasn't jailed.

    I think LMS' advice about allowing your husband to have his own relationship with your son is good advice. I hope your husband will be as tolerant with your relationship as you can be about his.

    Hugs. I don't envy you.

  8. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    I agree that this is an intensely personal decision.

    My brother in law has been in and out of jail and prison for more years than I can count. It has been interesting to watch the family's response to this. Some have refused to visit. Others not only visit, but send him money for the commissary. Is one right or wrong? No.

    You and husband need to do what feels right in your heart. Even if that means doing different things for your son.

    I will add one caveat: I am currently leading a jail group through my work. I can't tell you how much family visiting means to an inmate. What I hear from them is that they equate those visits with still being loved and valued in spite of their poor choices. Letters mean very much to them as well. Good luck to you and your family.
  9. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Its hard for me to comment on this, although my gut says that it has to be a personal choice.

    It seems to me that even if a person does not visit, letters would be a good compromise.

    Of course, if the person was acting disrespectful in any manner toward me, I would not visit.

    It might be a good opportunity to listen for opportunities to see if the inmate was open to receiving any growth literature to read, etc. It might not ever come to pass, but if you are going regularly, you would be there to catch any opportunities for these type of things.
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I will point out one more thing.

    It is horrifying and heartbreaking to see them in jail/prison. I hate to say that I am almost becoming accustomed to seeing my kid in cuffs. I remember the first time I saw him in cuffs and shackles and I broke down into a complete puddle and had to be sedated. He was 14 and going to juvy. We went to visit him once and I told him then I would never visit him in jail again. Well, that must have scared him for a while because he didnt get into anymore trouble until he was an adult. Dumb bunny!

    Now I have seen him in handcuffs more times than I can count. Bailed him out of jail, visited him, not visited him, taken calls, not taken calls. Sigh. We pretty much do make sure he has money in his canteen account because we know that is important. We do love him. When he has to serve time coming up, we will go visit from time to time, we will write and we will arrange phone calls. We will put money in his account. Right now, he has been doing so well and this is a bump in the road that he is facing head on. I feel he is owning up to his problems and not blaming anyone else which is a major step up from where he has been in the past. It used to be he always called me and begged me to do something, saying it was my fault or someone elses fault. Now, he knows things are his fault and he has to pay the price. He always tells me not to worry, he will be fine.

    That is why I am there to support him. He isnt asking for it anymore which makes me able to give it freely.
  11. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    I would recommend visiting your son as long as he has not been verbally abusive to you, and if it is causing you pain not to see him. Your husband is free to do as he chooses, and I would not push that with him. After all, your son is already being punished by being in jail and he already knows you are not in approval of this. the reason to visit him would be so YOU can see him for your own peace of mind. if you do go, dont act too clingy or cry...just be there..and let him know this is painful for you but that you will be there for him in letters and occasional visits but that he must face the consequences. tell him you are sorry that his choices led to this. Tell him that you can only accept one phone call per week or every two weeks...whatever, I had told my son that a stamp is only 44 cents and the calls were 200.00 a month we wrote often and rarely spoke on the phone.

    Your son is going to be angry because he cant get anyone to get him out of there. He has to slowly realize that this is his life now and once he gets out of county will sink in. you are going to need to educate yourself on the jail/prison experience if you know this is going to be his and your life for a while. ( I sent you a PM. )

    If he is going to a federal situation it is different and he can be placed anywhere in the country. If he is going to be serving time in a state situation, he can be placed anywhere in any state facility, based on his crime and his needs. Once he is sentenced, he would first go to an intake center depending on his side of the state and then to Camp Hill for "reception". In either case, you can visit him but once he leaves county jail it can be a long time-perhaps a month or more til you have that approved.

    I definitely would write to him. tell him how you feel and do not baby or nag him at all. keep him informed and part of the family experience because one day he will be out again. letters are the highlight of their day. you can use that to have his undivided attention. for now his only thought is to beg and plead and manipulate someone to somehow rescue him. be firm in letting him know you cannot do that. expect him to not like that concept.

    There is much to learn and it is a journey that many have taken before you and many will follow. Through my journey with my son, I have learned so much but it is truly a path I would have rather avoided. I am very grateful that he is now out and doing well. Even though I PM'd you I also posted publicly as well because I know there are lurkers there, who also are in the same boat and maybe are not yet ready to come forth. Feel free to contact me again, although I rarely check this forum, I am alerted by email if someone PM's me. I am always sorry to hear of another child in the system, in PA the system is most definitely broken and frustrating.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2009
  12. Star*

    Star* call 911


    I would guess by the tone of your title : Am I wrong that maybe someone is telling you that you are wrong? I don't think so. There are a lot worse things in this world that you could do and whether it's a choice as a Mother or a human - it's still a choice that belongs to you.

    When my son was in Department of Juvenile Justice I did not miss a single evening visit to see him. I did not equate visiting him with rewarding him. In my mind I figured if he was going to be incarcerated for a long time visiting was the time we had together. Our time. I don't know if you even remember and would be very surprised if you did because of all you've been through lately - but in a post a while ago I mentioned taking your son to lunch, taking some pictures and having a day before all this happened. This is why. This time right now is the WHY to reason I was telling you that then. Because I've been where you are now and I wanted you to have something to have to hold on to. Since that time has passed - and things did not work out that way - My advice would be DON'T LET THIS TIME get away from you. Use up every minute you can get and spend it with him if you want.

    Make these memories last and when you visit him? Have a good talk. Have a few jokes you've learned to make him laugh and smile as much as you can and when you get to the car - THEN fall apart....then call me on your cell if you want....then email me if you need to. All you have to do is ask....I'm there. THAT is what friends are for. been there done that understand totally. Not so that you can sit there and cry all by yourself. Not so that you can go home and not have hubby not understand.....HE is dealing with this in HIS own way. Not that it's wrong or right - it's just HIS way. You have to respect that, just as much as he needs to respect YOU for going to see your son if You WANT to.

    And like Janet said- don't do negative projections. Let the future be what it will be...because it will be anyway. In the mean time? As lame as it sounds - take care of TRACY - even though you don't want to, don't feel like you deserve it, or may even feel like you care to - force yourself to.

    A lot of Moms especially feel very guilty like they should NOT have any happiness or joy when their children are in jail...if you're not careful it's a very easy place to fall into. That's what friends who have been there are good for - an occasional butt kicking - and hug.

    I'm so sorry this is wearing on you can see you are not the only Mom who has hurt from this.....and as you can see even more - it wears on us all differently.....I started out going to every visit and ended up turning off the phone and not going at all.....then found my own happy medium....that I could live with.

    Sending hugs and understanding - and I'm serious about the call - you really really need a crying buddy - I'm all ears and a few good jokes....honest.

  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Like Star there were times I visited every visiting day...and times I didnt go at all. Times I took phone calls...and times I refused. Lots depended on why he was in. Lots depended on how I was holding up. His dad varied on how he held up through everything. Sometimes he could handle the phone calls when I just plain couldnt. He was never very good with the visits because it just killed him to see him behind bars. A few times we had to decide if we were going to take his daughter but he made the decision for us and said NO.

    Mine always cried. Always. I always cried. Even if we swore we werent going to by the very end we both had tears in our eyes when we said good-bye. Course, Cory is like that.
  14. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I wanted to clarify - before I sound like someone who was running to Department of Juvenile Justice every day - visitation for us was on Wednesday nights from 6-8 PM. We were searched three times - and couldn't bring anything in with us.

    WE had to come through the guard shack - traded our keys for a piece of paper. Signed in and left our drivers license there also - THAT unnerved me. Everyone could see who I was - where I lived.

    Then we had to stand with our feet on 2 cut outs on the ground...arms out, palms up...and two officers stood there - wands at the ready - (lol Harry Potter thing) and would wand you and one would pat you down. Then you went through that door and into another door....and another wand thing and got patted down

    Then you sat in a cafeteria - and they would march the kids in in handcuffs and they would back up to the doors and get the handcuffs jumpsuits.....flip was a lot to have to take in. If you were wanting the entire 2 hours - you got there at 5:30 sharp, were first in line - and got patted down etc first.

    We were not allowed to touch - or hug - but sometimes the guards would okay it - I mean heck - we were searched HOW many times? So every chance I got to hug I did.

    When he was in County Jail - totally different story - and less friendly atmosphere, but less fence, pat downs.....etc. You went in - you left everything in a locker - signed in and that was it. No one had a problem with hugging or anything else.

    I have no idea what you have to deal with Tracey - but just know you aren't alone in dealing with it - and many good thoughts are going out to you.