Article about abuse of parents by their drug addicted children


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This is a link to a long journal article relating to the abuse of parents by their drug taking children. I found it fascinating - particularly the authors' conclusion:

Parents who are subjected to abuse by their adult children with drug problems are crime victims who have received inadequate help and attention. It is important that the authorities better identify this group and do what they can to offer them help and support.

I thought some of you might find this an interesting read.


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Sad article. Hard to swallow. True though.

Our kids who bring us here are mostly domestic abusers. Drug use/mental illness is no excuse for how they treat us. If a spouse had treated us as they do, there would be no doubt in our minds what it is...abuse. I still have PTSD when I think of the idea of being near Kay. She was quite violent. Worse are her words to us that I will never forget.

We need to hold our grown kids accountable when they are abusive in my opinion. It doesn't do them or us any good when we excuse it.

Thanks for posting this.


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Hi Ms. Lulu

I found this article incredibly sad and completely and unfortunately accurate, based upon my own situation. I am left with a question.

The parents hold onto the idea that the drug is the culpable party, not their child. In this way, the bond with the child is easier to repair because the drug, not the child, holds the bag--is the odd man out.

But really, isn't this a cop-out? The drug and the child have become the same thing. The child has been so changed by the drug-seeking behavior, the effects of the drug, and the lifestyle brought on by and through drug use, to in effect, become the drug. Isn't this why we see certain personality types associated with specific drugs? I think this is why these people need long treatment programs, because absent this, they become so to speak "dry drunks." Their drug use might stop, but the personality effects remain.

But the reason I ask is this: If we parents begin to hold the child directly responsible, will this help us? By "saving" the child, by indicting the drug, do we keep ourselves on the hook? Is there some freedom for us, if we have the courage and honesty to actually look at ourselves in the mirror, and say, my child has come to be intolerable and unsafe. This is who he/she is now. It's not the drug's fault. It's my child's choice based upon who he or she is right now. Whatever beautiful baby and loving child that once existed, is no more. (And along with this, is the necessity to face squarely that there are personal choice and responsibility involved-even for the mentally ill child--even 1 percent is something. )And in this way, could there be some solace for us?

It seems to be that as long as we indict the drug, we remain on the hook. I know I do.

Thank you very much.


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Copa, I go over and over this conundrum in my head on a daily basis. Who is my son really?

With my child it's more the mental illness than the drug taking that I hold accountable. The mental illness came first but has no doubt been exacerbated by the drug taking and now the two are intertwined. (He seems reasonably sober right now, but I don't know if that's true or not.) In any case the illness and the drugs are who he is now. He's functioning (working etc) but he is not getting treatment so it's only matter of time before the next drama. This is his pattern - crisis, treatment, a period of stability then refusing treatment because he's "fine" and then self-medicating and then back to crisis. Even when he's "well" (like right now) he has behaviours that are not acceptable.

But in the end the cause is irrelevant. He is able to access the help he needs if he chooses to. Only he can make that choice and often he chooses not to.

Every time I see or hear from him, I'm anxious. This week we saw him for his younger brother's birthday. He turned up at the restaurant looking like a homeless person. Well, not quite. He was reasonably clean and didn't smell but his clothes were old and not appropriate for the venue. I was embarrassed but said nothing. He was polite at first but couldn't resist saying something rude to me as the night wore on. I ignored him and there was no escalation this time, but I couldn't enjoy myself because he was there.

I guess my point is, my son is fairly stable but the illness and the drugs have overtaken him. This is who he is now and that's not going to change. I can't seem to totally detach from him but I'm no longer involving myself in his life and I have come to accept that there is nothing I can do to alter his life's trajectory. I need to accept that his behaviour is abusive and remember I can choose not to subject myself to that.

I say this, but in reality I struggle to do it. I'm no longer actively assisting him, but my heart won't detach no matter what my head says.


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What you are doing is detaching. That does not mean you don't see him. It means you stay out of his business, including mistakes, and don't tell him what to do or help him fix himself because you can't. I've learned from addicts that recovery is veri personal and that it is not.posdible to share the hard work. We can support it but not help him do it like we helped with homework (we could help with homework and see results). It was soooo easy back then.

Some of us barely see our kids because they don't want to see us a lot and some not at all. We can't help that. Some of us don't see them at all or much because we can't deal with their presence. I am much better.not having to deal with a rude adult child who we have done so much for because we love her. We have both been happier with her far away. The rudeness and abuse hurts so much and it angers our other kids and is a bad example for our grands to see. Addiction is a family disease so we all cope the best we can. None of this is your fault. It's hard not to think it is on us, but they are hitting.middle age. These are their choices. Even mental illness is treatable. in my opinion rudeness that we all deal with is a definite choice. Our kids are.not psychotic nor are they rude to everyone. We are the target of their bad life choiced but they COULD control the rudeness. They just don't. And the only time my daughter has ever apologized for the abuse was when she also hit us up for something. It's heartbreaking really. But we have to survive the best way we can.

This is a hard path and we all make our own decisions on how to deal with it. Nothing in my opinion is right or wrong.

Please take care.
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Busy, I think my point is I would like to not care. If I’m truly honest I wish I didn’t love him. I wish I could be free from the emotional entanglement. As you say, I have detached in terms of enabling - I haven’t done that for a long time. But I wish I could be emotionally free of him. It feels almost blasphemous to say such a thing - what mother wishes not to love her child? But it’s the truth. Nevertheless, I do love him, so I’m stuck in this half life.