Argue, argue, argue...stomach in knots

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by MidwestMom, Jan 24, 2015.

  1. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    This is a vent and many of you are going through so many horrible things that this is probably sooooo trite, but I was actually relieved when 37 hung up. If you don't want to read this, I understand. I will consider it a vent because it helps me when I write things down.

    OMG. So, as usual, 37 calls to tell me about his screwed up love life and the two girls he could possibly have dates with tonight, although one got irritated with him because of his obvious materialism. She didn't like it. Well, I tried to state my point of view...big mistake. He started going off on me about how "most people" think materialistic people just want nice things because they want to show off, and he isn't like that. That part is true. He has no (it's not really funny, but it is true). Gee, I wonder why. So he was basically blowing a really good time that he had with her because he was defending materialism, and then he told her if she weren't materialistic why did she want to be a Nurse Practitioner? When I suggested maybe she wanted to help people, even afar, he blasted me.

    I'm surprised I was still on the phone by then because he was raising his voice, talking over me, and swearing and telling me to "shaddup" in a not so nice way, but I decided to give him a chance to calm down. Big mistake. When he is on a roll, he is on a roll. He went on to tell me that people who don't want to get married (like him, I thought) were stupid because of the financial gain of being married and the tax benefits. I told him some people did not marry because of things like insurance and benefits and that did it. He went off on how I was talking about the small number of poor people, that most were like him, and worked. No, you can't possibly work and be on Medicaid. Not possible. I am wrong. His voice kept getting louder and louder. This is Mr. 37 Know-It-All being stressed because he stupidly made two dates with two different women, one whom he saw the previous night and may have blown it with his stunning personality, and for him that is "stress."

    I got sick of listening to him. Normally of late we have had civilized, even nice, conversations, but you can NOT tell him anything, even conversationally because you are wrong and he is right, but, even so, he wants ME to tell him which girl to go out with, which I said I couldn't do. He is a big boy. He could make up his own mind. He hung up just before I was going to say, "When you are calm, call me back."

    I am still shaking my head. What an inane conversation we had. He is like this with everything. Anyone who smokes pot, even once a month, is a dopehead and beneath him and only horrible people smoke pot. The internet, chat rooms, and match sites make meeting a potential mate IMPOSSIBLE (couldn't be that women are put off by your attitudes, right?). The fact that he has his son 50% of the time and will not even text with anyone on those days/nights does NOT interfere with the few women who ARE interested in him (God help them). Has NOTHING to do with it.

    Anything I say is wrong, wrong, wrong.

    Sometimes I wonder why I talk to him so much. I guess I hang onto the good conversations. The bad ones are frankly obnoxious. '

    Truth be told, I don't understand 37s materialism either. He was not brought up that way. Everyone else, including his well off father, is not the least bit enamored of expensive toys, could care less if we live in beautiful homes and have gorgeous furniture, and dress down. Even my daughters have never cared a flip about designer clothes, nice cars, or gorgeous possessions. We volunteer. We give what we can to help others. We help children and animals not asking for money, feeling great satisfaction in doing so.

    Where did he come from??? I have to defer to DNA again. There are many like him in my DNA collection, although some I don't know well. Of those I do, he reminds me the most of my sister who threatened to divorce her husband unless he built her a dream house that cost a half a million dollars that they could not afford. She insisted that he ask his father, who was wealthy and generous, to pay part of their mortgage. Amazingly or stupidly (take your pick) the father did it. (This father also paid tons for his alcoholic son who eventually died in his early 40's of liver disease, so maybe it's no surprise.) He paid out the wazoo for all four of his kids).

    After the father in law paid part off their mortgage for about ten years,Sis divorced his son anyway and they lost money on the house. Although she claims she "never" loved her husband of twenty years, she sure loved the house they lived in. She needed to look "classy" to others. It was as part of her self-esteem and self-deception that she look rich to her friends and neighbors. Now 37 may not know it, but he needs to look good and he gets his small self-esteem from his possessions from his house to his new car to his furniture to all of his game systems to his 60 inch. television.

    Any girl who thinks 37 will lather the money on her, is in for a shock. He really doesn't have that much income due to child support, and he spends what he has on things H E wants or he wants his son to have. I can see him saying, "Sorry, I can't afford an engagement ring."

    Arggggh. Disgusted. Fed up. Yes, he is typical of many in my genepool, which makes me feel like throwing up.

    Vent over.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015
  2. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    I'm sorry MWM. I'm exhausted from reading that. I think one of the reasons is that I have conversations with Son now, at 18, that foretell what you have now with 37. To have just ONE calm and reasonable conversation with him. I don't remember the last time we ever did that, if we ever did at all. If I dare to offer my perspective, he becomes unglued and storms out of the room or hangs up the phone. It can be over the most trivial things. I'm usually left shaking and scratching my head.

    Sending you supportive, gentle hugs.
  3. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Thank you. He will always be this way. He is absolutely inflexible and unwilling to see anyone's point of view but his own. He'll even say statistics are lying if he disagrees with him.

    Take a stand with your son now so he isn't doing this at 37. I do think one can set up boundaries earlier than I did to avoid dealing with this merry-go-round conversation forever. The only other option, which I don't want to take, is to go no contact.
    Otherwise, I need to be on guard and stay there and quickly realize I "forgot" to do something once he gets on his pulpit. And then I need to make faster exists at times...thanks again for understanding that although this is not life threatening, it is a real blow to a mom's heart to know her son puts his values on the wrong things and is willing to call you all kinds of names too. Names I never would or have called him.

    If my son did an unpaid good deed for a stranger in distress or even a lost, scared animal (he hates animals) it would shock me senseless. If it doesn't pertain to him, he doesn't care. Thank God above that my other kids have good hearts. This one is just self-involved...thanks a third time.
  4. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member


    Wow he sounds tiring. Ours isn't all that different...I've had him call just to complain about his life. He complains and complains and doesn't want you to make any suggestion, he just shoots them down. He's more polite, but that's about it.
  5. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member


    First, I am very sorry you had to listen to his abuse.

    A few weeks ago, I read aloud an AARP post to husband while we were in the car. It was a list of tips for getting along with elderly parents. One was Never offer advice unless they ask for it.

    husband and I both have been blasted when trying to point out things to our parents. Nicely trying to point out that they are not thinking straight, lol. (and, in our defense, they were not).

    Doesn't sound quite like advice you were giving.

    But, that little list was a WOW moment for me. Our parents bristle if we try to advise. Perhaps, this holds true for 37. Not just advising, but simply commenting beyond the umhum, yes, I see kind of comments that you usually use.

    I can go on and on about difficult child, couldn't pay car insurance with expensive clothes in his closet. I bought him doctor Martens when he went away to college....trying to show our love. (This was years ago, before we realized things weren't gonna change, no matter what we did/said). husband and I have never had a pair of shoes that cost as much as a pair of doctor Martens.

    Right or wrong, it is their mindset and I think when we comment about it, we are seen as judging. Do difficult children (or elderly parents - or maybe anybody in between) welcome those comments? I think not. Our words just make things worse. Our example is the only thing that MIGHT help....and, so far, it has not worked for us, lol.
  6. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Thank yo both.

    SS, he ASKS for advice. DEMANDS I solve his situations, which I won't do, then it balloons into this.

    It's nuts. I was nuts for letting it get that far. I'm usually better than that but I was in a good mood and decided to talk and try and boy he shot that good mood down the tubes for a while. Then I distraction to forget it and watched a movie, but, man, he is DIFFICULT to talk to.

    Thanks again, both.
  7. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    MWM I'm sorry you had to endure that. I know all to well what it's like to be on the receiving end of that abrasiveness. Your difficult child and mine have a lot in common in that they "know everything about everything" I got to the point with my difficult child that's is pretty much no contact, it was just to exhausting to try anymore. When I do talk to him I keep my comments very short and even then, he will try to dissect what I have said and twist it around. I truly think he just wants to argue and debate. He's one of those that if you tell him the sky is blue he will argue and try to convince you it's not.

    It's a shame that 37 doesn't realize what an amazing mother he has.

    ((HUGS)) to you.
  8. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Sorry you were on the receiving end of that blast, MWM. I've been on a few of those myself. It is so exhausting.
  9. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    That happens to me with difficult child son too, MWM. Here is the difference for both of us, now: we get it that this is abuse. We get it that abuse is nothing personal. It means nothing and there is no value in it and we will not help or heal our children through excusing it.

    It's like the abusive person is trapped in a holding pattern, and is not really there, is not really present, at all.

    That's how it feels, to me.

    We could never listen enough, we could never understand enough, because what our sons need to learn is to respect themselves enough to respect their own mothers.

    I think that is what I know about this.

    It still feels like someone took a battering ram to me, when it happens to me. It's like I get too hot, and I can't think about anything but "What time is it, now."

    And how to get myself off the phone without being nasty.

    There isn't any way.

    We just have to say what we know needs saying. Things have been going so well with 37 lately that you probably could not believe this was happening. That happens to me, too.

    It is in our nature's to be kind, to nurture the other guy through it. That is why we are so often targeted by abusers. They can sense that.

    Next time, you will know.

    And so will he.

    Surprise, surprise, 37. Lady and the Tiger.

    Oh, for Heaven's sake. He so doesn't have a clue. Nurse Practitioners do make a certain amount of money, but before you are a Nurse Practitioner you are a nurse and trust me, nurses do what they do for the satisfaction of helping.

    You could not pay someone to do what a nurse will do cheerfully and well and with great satisfaction. Nursing is an art.

    Well, your son must be an attractive man. I like the looks of my son, too.

    Like everything to do with difficult child kids, their appearances just add to their arrogance.


    This is the worst thing about having difficult child kids. They tear into us and our self esteem leaks away and we come away from it rattled and shaken and trying to rebalance ourselves and we can't do it.

    Then, we have to see, again and again and again, truths that were hard enough to dredge up and face in the first place, so we can remember how we got to sane and stable the last time this happened.

    I am reading Anne Lamott, this morning. Here is something beautiful and so right for this morning, MWM.

    "But if you gently help yourself back to the present moment, you see how life keeps stumbling along and how you may actually find your way through another ordinary or impossible day. Details are being revealed, and they will take you out of yourself, which is heaven, and you will have a story to tell, which is salvation that again and again saves us, the way Jesus saves some people, or the way sobriety does. Stories to tell or hear ~ either way, it's medicine. The Word.

    So I say "Thanks," because revelation has shown me things that are miserable that somehow I get to sidestep; or that are miserable but that prayer and friends help me find a way through; or that are painful and beautiful in ways that make your heart ache, that draw you closer forever to the comrades who have walked with you.

    Without revelation and reframing, life can seem lika an ednless desert of danger with scratchy sand in your shoes, and yet if we remember or are reminded to pay attention, we find so many sources of hidden water, so many bits and chips and washes of color, in a weed or the gravel or a sunrise. There are so many ways to sweep the sand off our feet. So we say, "Oh my God. Thanks."

    Anne Lamott



    Did you pause MWM, at the part about the comrades?

    That's us.

    Right here, listening to the story and oohing and ah-haing over the parts where you were courageous and faced what was true, or where 37 was a jerk.

    Oh, that 37!!!

  10. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    Our difficult child is that way too. Make the innocent comment that the sky is a pretty shade of blue and he will HAVE to say that it has a greenish tint to it.

    MWM, it sounds to me like 37 was a bit embarrassed at having two women shut him down. Maybe when he called you to "get advice" and you were in a good mood he saw an opportunity to build his self esteem back up by dumping that embarrassment onto you?
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  11. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    MWM, I know some time has gone by and you're likely calmer now. Situations like this, when I go back to my old behaviors, like you did, listening to him beyond your own boundaries that you have already set, remind me that I am still so human and I still need to continue the hard work of change in myself.

    I can fall right off the wagon. Why? I don't know, I'm tired, I'm weak, I'm thinking it will be different this time, I'm ready to say it, and don't care if he is ready to hear it....etc.

    Sometimes we just do that thing we know will not work...and we just go right on and do it anyway.

    Reminds me of every time I hear people go on and on and on about how great Cheetos are. I'll think, well, maybe they REALLY ARE GOOD, and either I've changed or they've changed, and I try them again. Well, I don't like Cheetos and Cheetos don't change. But silly me, about once a year, I fall victim to my own nutty thinking about Cheetos. And then I get another chance to laugh at myself.

    Warm hugs MWM. You already know what to do. Return to your practices. They work.
  12. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

  13. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I empathize, MWM. Oldest gets into phases like that - it's exhausting. She's also great at the knocking down every suggestion thing. I'm never right. I try to extricate myself from those conversations fairly quickly, once they start. Not worth my time.

    I don't think it has to be as extreme as no contact - there's plenty of middle ground between answering every single call, and cutting off contact. If I'm not up to dealing with Oldest (or Youngest), I just don't answer the phone. I call back if and when I can deal with it (I have the do the same with my brother). I have total control over my phone time, no one else. Once Oldest realizes I won't answer every time, she doesn't call nearly as often and things settle down. And once *I* realized I didn't have to answer every time, I felt an enormous sense of relief - and freedom.
  14. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    For a long time I refused to not answer the phone. Then again, I have NO problem whatsoever with simply hanging up on him when he gets out of control. Calls back screaming again you say? Click. Will do this over and over till he gets the hint or he pisses me off enough that I do quit answering the phone. We have taken to turning our ringers off after a certain time if we don't want to deal with difficult child that night. He used to call back semi-calm asking to talk to Lil but I've tried to stop that as well since she would spend half an hour or more arguing with him and it caused us to loose sleep. Granted, she is pretty good now about just cutting him off herself!

    Sad thing is, yesterday we were heading out to look at a piece of property and Lil had left a message with the realtor. We just found this property online last night and the realtor is from a town almost an hour away so we didn't expect a response until today. Five minutes from the house her phone rang and her reaction was the classic "Oh God! What does he want NOW?" until I reminded her that it might be the realtor.
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  15. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yeah when Oldest was younger, she did the calling over and over thing too. She'd stay on the line so it would stay open, not allowing me to hang up, and pick it up to take it off the hook (yes, back when phones had cords and all .. ha). I'd have to unplug it from the wall. She did it to me at work sometimes, and I had to explain to her that my phone also rang at my assistant's desk, so she was annoying HER, not just me. I finally told her I'd call the police if she didn't stop, and look into charges of phone harassment. She knew I meant it, and it would stop for awhile.
  16. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    I've actually been concerned about this from time to time as our difficult child will call Lil at work to rant. He just doesn't grasp the concept that he is endangering her employment and therefore her ability to help him. Since Lil has started shutting him down more, this has lessened though.
  17. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Thanks, all. Here is an update. And it's common.

    He hung up on me and I haven't heard from him since. That's a long time for him. He must be aaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwfullyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy mad. At what, I'm not sure. I guess because I contradicted him, which I know better than to waste my time doing, and secondly to have the nerve to tell him I can't solve this "petty, unimportant" girl problem for him. I didn't say "petty" or "unimportant", but gimme a break....I hate to sound stereotypical, but ISIS is killing people, children are dying of cancer, and he's worried about which girl to have a date with and wants ME to tell him???? Trust me, I don't miss his calls. I know he'll call eventually...

    So just when I think my day off will be peaceful, the phone rings and it's my oldest daughter. I'm sure I have told everyone that, although I did divorce my first hubby, he was an emotionally, financially abusive difficult child and very strange. He lends out money, of which he inherited much of, but he gets angry that he does it and yells at the kids. Well, this time he had lent my daughter $2000 or so. He had her sign a form saying she'd pay him back. She is going to, but has to do it later than expected and he doesn't really need it and the bottom line is, he knows sh e doesn't often have much money and should have said "no" if this scenario was going to shock him. It has happened before and she always does pay him back, so it's not like he was guaranteed timely pay. In fact, since he hates giving money to the kids, he shouldn't. I don't know why he does. But he did this time and she will have a hard time if she has to pay him right now and she asked him if that was ok, which he usually says it is after a string of abuse. But it was different this time.

    What does he tell her? Ready? (Think of him screaming and swearing first)

    "Maybe you should become a prostitute and make some money yourself."


    Yes, he has said stupid things to the kids, but nothing quite that bad. Daughter tries so hard to get her father to love her (it breaks my heart how hard she tries) and when she called me, she was crying and said she'd pay him back right now, was NOT going to his house as planned, and was not sure when she would be able to talk to him again. She was simply going to put money into a joint account they have (she is in charge of his money if something happens to him so she can do that). Ex keeps calling to apologize, but she won't listen and won't pick up the phone. She called me back and said, "I can't talk to him now, Mom. Why would he say something like that to his own daughter???"

    This really upset me and every time I think about it, it still does. Of all three of his kids...37, He-Who-Left-Family and this daughter, she is by far the sweetest, nicest one who does anything for him that he asks her to do (which is a lot).

    Maybe she is going to have to learn to detach. I've been talking to her about detachment, but it usually takes a "final straw" to do it. I feel so badly that he said that to her. Nobody should hear that crap from a parent.

    Sorry to change the thread, but I'm still shaking from hearing that.

    Some difficult children never grow up. Ex is 66.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2015
  18. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    Hopefully this is her final straw. Not that it would happen but if my dad were to say something like that to one of my sisters there would be words of an unkind nature spoken after he failed to give a sufficient reason for doing this. I say after he failed because there is no sufficient reason for ever doing this.
  19. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Jab, he is prone to outbursts like that, although that is the worst one ever. Unfortunately, I can divorce him, but he is still the father of 37 and my oldest daughter and while 37 will use him again and again for his money, Daughter really wants him to love her in the right way. And the sad part is, I don't think he can. To his credit, he realizes he crossed the line and is very sorry. I don't know if that will be enough this time.

    Even 37 gets upset at his verbal abuse, but he blows it off faster because, after all, he WANTS to money. And he NEVER promises to pay it back. He often says, "I am going to need Dad if ex tries to move and I have to take her back to court."
  20. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Oh my goodness!! What a horrible thing to say to your own daughter. Doesn't get much sicker that that.
    Even though he "complains" about loaning money it's pretty obvious he does it so he can have some control over them.
    I hope she comes to realize that she will never get the kind of love she is craving from this man.
    Hugs to you for your daughter and hugs to you again!!