Another rough day...

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Lil, Feb 20, 2015.

  1. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    So...he called again. :groan: This time it was "he's out of food and out of money and he doesn't know what to do." The food pantries are closed today. He's borrowed $ from his bondsman (loan shark?) and that he now owes him and he's afraid he'll go to jail because he can't pay him back....I'm not sure what to say about that. Eventually I get him off the phone. I felt awful, talked to Jabber. I really wanted to get him some groceries. Jabber didn't, but I didn't feel good about doing nothing.

    He had my sympathy, but he calls back. I ask why he hasn't gone to Family Support to apply for food stamps. He could have done that anytime in the last month and a half. I tell him he has to quit borrowing and selling stuff and get a freaking job. This is not met with acceptance and grace, because he never, ever, listens. :sigh: He still hasn't put his student loans in forbearance even though it only takes a phone call and he has a phone and is home every day...he basically does nothing to make his life better. He of course goes on and on about how he borrowed the money for food and how everyone ate it all and then stole his stuff and won't help him and took off "in the worst way possible" and I kind of lost it. I finally asked why it was so much worse for him to be stolen from but it was apparently ok to steal from us? (Apparently it's because we have money and he doesn't...that wasn't a direct answer...but I got the hint.) There was a bit of discussion of karma. He ticked me off. We hung up.

    So then he texts me. He texts so much it takes seven texts to send it all. He is still complaining. It's cold. He doesn't have a dollar for the bus. Fine, he'll walk an hour to apply for food stamps, but he is hungry NOW and has nothing. Woe is him. His life is so bad. I don't understand. :yapyapyapf: He's sorry he's such a horrible, thieving, :censored2: son.

    I didn't respond. I started to. I typed several responses, much of which has to do with being sick to death of his playing the victim, but I didn't send them. He finally sent an 8th text...this one was an apology and asked me not to hate him. I finally responded with "I always love you, even if I hate how you act."

    I finally came home and Jabber and I had a lovely time of me crying and falling apart and him standing firm. I know it hurts him as much as me...I know it...but I'm the one that gets the calls and has to hear the sad, teary, desperate voice. I'm the one that get the begging and the complaints that he's hungry and scared. I wanted to just take him some ramen noodles we have in the pantry and a bus pass. I didn't.

    I only didn't because of my husband, because he didn't want me to. I know I could have anyway. I know he wouldn't have been angry...probably disappointed and upset with me for giving in, but not angry. But I knew he didn't want me to, didn't think it was the right thing, so I didn't. I did, however, text my son and tell him Monday I will pick him and his friend up between hearings and take them to Family Support to apply for food stamps, but that he was on his own for the weekend.

    He said J-2 was coming over and bringing food from where he lives. Apparently a couple of his friends snitch food from the places they live and bring it over from time to time. So I told him we'd be hard to get a hold of the rest of the weekend and I'd call him Monday.

    I'm tired. I'm annoyed. I feel bad about throwing a fit and probably upsetting Jabber more than necessary. I have to go to the office this weekend, because I got nothing done this afternoon and I really, really needed to.

    I really don't know how much longer I can keep this up.
  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Lil, those conversations are extremely difficult to get through. In spite if it, you did a really good job. And, I know it hurts like hell.

    My word is "refrain." Refrain until he is retrained. He keeps calling and texting because in the past it worked and your doubts give him an opening to pursue. When you have no more doubts, when you stand strong in your 'no' he will stop the incessant calls and texts. I went through that. Most of us have gone through it. It felt to me like a junkie, me being the junkie, my fix being helping or more precisely, enabling. It's hard to keep doing it. But what is the alternative? To jump to it every time he needs something? Note that he found someone to bring him food. They always find a way. It's just a lot easier to call Mom and dump the guilt on her and get your ramen noodles then have to work it in some other way.

    You did well Lil. Really. And, while you are now feeling bad? He is eating with his friend. He has forgotten the exchanges with you completely, he's now on a new track. You're the one suffering. He isn't. Remember that. That is the truth.

    Put it behind you now and go enjoy your weekend. No one starves to death in 2 days. I'm sorry it hurts so much. It's just time, let time do it's thing.......hang in there......
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  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Lil, you did well. He CAN get a job. He CAN get food stamps. Why doesn't he? He asks you to drive him to certain "friends" homes, but never asks if you'll drive him to apply for food stamps or for a job interview. He's not trying.

    If he didn't have his "friends" stay with him, they couldn't steal from him, which may or may not be true.

    If it were me, I'd be furious. What other option do you have other than to bring him home again and have him possibly steal from you again? He is blowing a great opportunity to get his life together, showing that no matter how much you help him, it doesn't matter. He still believes he can wear you down enough to keep taking care of him.Didn't he promise if you'd get him started, he'd do his best? Is he doing anything at all? So typical of our little darlings. Another lie. They sure lie like they breathe.

    I hope you can stay the course for both your sakes. He never has to go hungry. There are places to go where he can eat and food stamps. He would rather be able to tell you he's hungry. You know what? Yes, he can walk an hour to get food. That's not a long way.

    Anyhow, good for you for hanging in there. He is playing you. He's really quite good at it!! Hugs!!! Have a great weekend.
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  4. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    When I've been faced with this in the past, this hopeless, helpless, lack of food or anything else, I've put together one of my 'Red Cross' parcels for my son. The rest of his problems I've left him to deal with himself. I can't make a 'Red Cross' parcel that contains security, common-sense, peace or logic, so I make a Red Cross parcel that contains food basics, warm socks and soap that he's forgotten how to use.
    I do it for me.
    I don't see my Red Cross parcels as enabling.
  5. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    I bet he had smokes.
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  6. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    Manipulation and control! Rinse and repeat. And so it goes. And will continue to go until he learns no means no. You did the right thing Lil! He has to grow up and as long as he has you jumping he will not! Thank God Jabber had the compassion YOU needed to help you through saying NO and sticking with it. He is your rock. Cling to Jabber and you will get through this.
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  7. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Everything about this is very hard.

    We do the best we know.

    That is good. You gave yourself the gift of time. You did not rush in to fix it.

    Good job.

    Oh, you did so well, Lil.

    When our children are in pain, it is always a balancing act between what they need to learn and what we feel we need to do for them for the sake of our own humanity.

    That was always the issue for husband and I, when difficult child daughter was on the streets. It's crazy-making painful, but we have to draw a line and only waver to either side of it a little bit.

    Good, good job.

    This is good advice.

  8. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member


  9. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Wow, I could have written your exact post. My daughter was (and still is) exactly like that. She wanted my husband and I to take care of her and we did for many years.

    Therapy is what helped me finally end this cycle. My therapist would remind me that my daughter wouldn't starve to death is she went hungry for a week. In fact, if she ever truly got hungry, she would get food stamps. And that is exactly what happened.

    Every time we would say no to something that my daughter would try to convince us was a crisis, she always ended up somehow getting food or a place to stay or cigarettes.

    I finally learned that when we said no, our daughter would manage to get what she needed by herself. It was just so much easier letting us do things for her.

    She is still trying to work her angles. She is just finishing up a 30 day stay in a residential treatment center and called saying that she needed us to pay for her phone so she could get a job when she went to the halfway house. My husband reminded her that we had just sent her a paycheck from her last job that was sent to our house for some reason. It was for $75. He asked why she hadn't used that money to pay for her phone and she told him that she had spent it on cigarettes.

    husband has come a long way. He pointed out to her that she had a choice and she chose to use the money for cigarettes instead of the phone bill. He also pointed out that the state that she lives in has a free phone program for low income people and that she automatically qualifies since she is on food stamps.

    She has known about this for months and never has followed up on getting the free phone. So he pointed out the old saying that failure to plan on her part did not constitute an emergency on our part. She will have to figure this out herself.

    Stay strong. He will have no reason to plan ahead and go to the food pantry before the weekend or apply for food stamps if he knows you will always come through when he says that he is hungry. Believe me, I know how hard that is for a mother to do.


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    Last edited: Feb 21, 2015
  10. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    Li, and Jabber I think using caution here is wise. I think it is probably that your son is somehow involved with drugs, even if it is just pot. Think about it, what the heck is he doing all the time with nothing but his very tiny apartment. What is he up to? He is not job searching, not getting to the food bank, not doing what he needs to do to get his school loans taken care of not getting anything done- so what has his attention in his life right now that he can't get those things done in a 24/7 week? Do you have access to his phone bill to see who he is calling? I think it is important to ask yourself these questions.
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  11. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    We know for a fact that he is VERY fond of his herb. He also smokes K2 when he needs to be able to pass the drug test so yeah, drugs are definitely an issue. We both know that he is manipulating us, its just hard sometimes.

    Lil actually made the comment last night that she knew giving in to him was wrong but she didnt care. Very much like a junkie jonesing for a fix. Sorry honey but your desire to "fix" his life is a bit of an addiction for you. We will eventually get past it though. And yes RE, as usual, he solved it without us. Its just easier to get us to do it for him.
  12. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    My thought exactly. I did not want to bring him a refrigerator full of food. I wanted to give him ramen noodles and let him be sick to death of them...but at least not hungry...and tell him I'd take him to FSD Monday and if he didn't go then screw him...I'd let him be hungry. I just wanted to give him that much.

    I still don't think I was wrong to want to do that little bit.

    BS. I don't CARE. I want my son to not be hungry. When you are the one who gets these calls and YOU are the one that has to listen to him literally cry and tell you how scared and alone he can judge dear.

    Yes folks...this is as close to fighting as we come. That remark ticked me off. It would NOT have been wrong to give him $1 worth of ramen noodles.

    Actually, I just checked it out. Virtually all of his calls of more than 2 minutes in duration are to me. Most of his calls are incoming. I don't know the numbers and wouldn't have any reason to. We know about the pot. He makes no secret of his love of herb.


    So fine, I said no. I still don't feel good about not offering anything at all. My biggest worry though is the bondsman he owes money to. Without a job that interest ($10 a week I think he said) will continue to grow and grow. I don't know the guy and this could be a serious problem.

    The fact is, he HAS to get a job for paying the court costs and fees for his shoplifting plea. He HAS to pull his head out of his butt or he's going to jail. I don't know why he can't get this.
  13. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    He doesn't get this because he believes that you will give in and swoop in and fix everything for him. It has happened in the past so why shouldn't he think that you will get scared enough and give in. Why do you think he is telling you about the dangerous loan? My daughter uses suicide threats to try to scare us in to giving her what she wants.

    You have to be consistent for a long time before he will realize that he has to fix this himself.

    I also don't agree with the red cross basket. Unfortunately, with kids like ours, if you give in the slightest little bit, they take it as your resolve is crumbling and they barrel in for more. If they see the slightest weakness, they see it as a win.

  14. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Well-Known Member

    Lil, I am sorry, but jabber is right. Co-dependency is an addiction - I have been there and it is very much like needing a fix - the need to help. I used to imagine my kid hungry, too, and the thought would make me drop to my knees. You will do him no good saving him yet again. You have told him what he needs to do and he is not doing it and won't do it if he can get mommy to do it for him. They ARE manipulating - they are the best. But you need to stand firm and let him grow up albeit unwillingly...
  15. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I was not judging, I have been there, many, many, many times.....and I too was angry when I was told to stop.
  16. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yes unfortunately that need to fix does become a sort of addiction. That's why it's called "co-dependency." The book "Codependent No More" helped me understand that very well. That and an excellent therapist who knocked me in the head until I got it. "You're working harder than she is" was the phrase that really turned on the lightbulb for me. Why would I (or should I) put more work into fixing my kid's problems than she would? What was her incentive if I did that? Zilch.

    It's hard to say "no," to refuse to help, when your child is hurting and hungry. It goes against every parenting instinct you have. So many of us have been there. This was even more difficult for me with my kids because they each suffer from chronic physical illnesses, and don't take very good care of themselves - especially Oldest. But like others, I learned that it was when I began to say "no" and MEAN it, and she KNEW I meant it, that she got better. She found a way. She didn't starve. It didn't happen until I changed. And even then, it took time. But it DID change.

    I think you did good, Lil. Baby steps.
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  17. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I was actually talking to my husband. :oops: Sorry. Kind of embarrassed I wrote that now.


    I don't know. I don't know how to do this. I don't want to rescue him. I don't want to fix him. I want him to fix himself! I just wanted to give the boy a dollar's worth of freaking ramen noodles! $1. We gave a total stranger $10 for food at the restaurant last night!

    It still does feel wrong to do absolutely nothing.
  18. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Lil... my Mom used to NOT do it when asked.

    When GFGbro was communicating nicely about normal things, he didn't mind being around the rest of us a bit, and when he would show up, Mom would send him home with a "care package" of emergency rations for whenever things fell apart again. Not the 'good stuff' but the stuff that can sit at the back of the closet for months until needed - crackers, peanut butter, noodles, plain pasta. canned tomatoes. But he learned better than to CALL asking for food. She did not give when he asked. it took a while for him to figure out the pattern.
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hsa he lost weight of late? Sounded weak and sick?

    If he loves his weed, he is always going to be hungry. Ramen noodles won't fill up the munchies.
  20. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Lil, you are doing really well. I know how hard it is, you want to make everything ok for him even though you know you can't, that's just the "mom" in us. Yes, you could take him ramen noodles so he won't starve but that would also reinforce the message to him that all he has to do is call you and tell you he's starving and you will come to his rescue.
    Right now it's a learning curve for both of you. You are learning to let him figure things out for himself and he is learning that you will not always rescue him.
    I think being very selective in how you are willing to help him is key, taking him to apply for food stamps is a great way to show him you care. Of course when you take him make sure he fills out the paperwork for himself.
    Our Difficult Child are so good at putting energy into being a victim, if they would only channel that energy into getting a job.
    Hang in there Lil.
    ((HUGS)) to you..............
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