At wits end

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Hopeful parent, Mar 28, 2017.

  1. Hopeful parent

    Hopeful parent New Member

    Hi I am new to this site. I am sitting in bed, while my son is just down the road sleeping who knows where. My husband has told me if I give him any more money he is going to leave. You see I am the weak link. My son has a mental illness and drug problems. We have been battling with this problem for 16 to 17 years. He is 35. He has been married and has two little boys. His wife threw him out because of his drug habits. We then came to the rescue again and tried to get him some help by bringing him home. His mental health was pretty bad, anyway we were making some headway when He met a girl who like him has some issues. He then began the drugs again. We convinced him to go to rehab for a month which he did, but then came home and went straight back with this girl.
    We thought maybe they would be okay, as he had done rehab right. So we helped them with bond and they moved away. Then they would get behind in the rent and we would keep helping them , plus her family was helping them. Neither of them work. It became a regular occurrence after we helped a few times to catch up on rent. Then money for food or sometimes I would just buy them groceries. I know I am an enabler. After a while we decided enough was enough and stopped the support as they just could not manage to pay their rent. They eventually got evicted. And so began living In their car, my son had put all his belongings in storage but got behind in this as well, we paid a few months for him to help him catch up.
    We had to stop supporting them. Eventually we did. They came home a few times but due to their disrespect for other people, we often end up in arguments etc. so they would take off again. Then last year our son rang us desperate for help, said they were split up and could we help him get home, and he had lost his licence again. So I sent my other son and a mate to pick him and the car up. We began the mental health route again, got him back on his medication. Then he got back with her and left again. A couple months later I get a phone call from a mental health nurse, he's in hospital and crying to come home. So we get him home again. Again they have broken up.
    He was like a two year old child. After we got him back on his medication which takes about ten days for him to begin acting normal again, he was feeling good so went out. He didn't come home for two days and when he did he told us he and this girl were leaving in the morning to go away together. At this stage this girl was not allowed at our home anymore. We get sick of having to lock up our medicine when she was here. Well after all we had been through with him this did not end well. It ended in an argument and a bit of a slap up between my husband and son. My husband nearly had a heart attack and my son was so upset and just grabbed his bag and left.
    We did not give them anymore money and decided that was it he coud not come home a again. Then they began ringing people, my sons former friends and making threats. They rang us and threatened to come and burn our house down. She was doing all the talking but we could hear him in the background. Up until then he had never acted like this towards us before.
    Then I made the worse decision of my life, we decided to ring the police and report the threats. It was not only this we were getting harassed for money all the time. 10 to 20 phone calls every weekend, possibly more. So the police came and we put an AVO on them. My son is not allowed to ring us (but due to his mental state he doesn't understand this and just keeps ringing. But as it was my sons girlfriend on the phone being the spokesperson she is the one being charged with intimidation.
    So court case is this week. She has been arrested already last week for other crimes, we are not sure what they are. Some would be for shoplifting. She is currently in jail. But is being brought down for the court appearance. Well now my son is alone and really distressed. He blames us even though her arrest does not have anything to do with us as our case has not gone ahead yet.
    He is here in our home town and is ringing us and telling us he is homeless and it is our fault. It is our fault we are sending his girlfriend to jail. He hates us. Going to kill us, and even made threats to my daughter and her children, all the while begging us for money so he can get accommodation. And you know what I want to pay for some accommodation for him as I can't stand the thought that he is down the road from us sleeping as a homeless person. I also don't believe his threats are genuine. He has not shown any signs of violence before. My husband thinks I'm crazy.
    I keep blaming my self and going over everything that has happened and just keep thinking if only we had done this different or that different. Could we have handled things differently. I just want a happy family life with my children and grandchildren. I am so distressed I don't think I'm am going to be able to handle the court case. He is so angry at us. I tried to explain to him tonight when he rang to try and get money from us that threatening us that by making threats to us he has gone over the boundaries.
    But he just doesn't understand. My husband says he is going to report him again as he is not meant to ring us.
    The thing is I know he has mental health issues, and doesn't understand what is going on. But I can't help him. I live in a small town where there is no support. I have been given the number of a counsellor who deals with these types of problems and I am going to see him at the end of the month in the city. But I just don't know what to do until them, my husband and other two children have written him off and don't want to try to help him anymore. But I still do. I want to convince him to go to rehab, but he says he doesn't have a problem and now that we are charging his girlfriend with intimidation I have no chance of ever being able to reach him.
     
  2. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome. I am so sorry that you are dealing with this. Drug addiction is awful but together with mental illness makes it more difficult to deal with. You did not make a mistake by calling the police. This woman has no right to call or threaten you. What is your son's diagnosis? Is it manageable with medications?
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2017
  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Welcome. My son who is 28 is also mentally ill which he tries to manage with marijuana. I am glad you are here and hope you keep posting.

    I too believe you did right to call the police. Not only is it that you should not be threatened or harassed. It is best for your son and her too, to get the situation under control. Their only chance is accountability for their actions. To tolerate the intolerable is to enable them.

    I know how hard it is. But mental illness is not an excuse to live badly. I know many mentally ill people who find a way to stay off drugs. I agree with your husband.

    All of us need help through this. Whether Al Anon or Coda or personal therapy. We need hobbies and friends, and diversions. If we do not have these we get sucked into the vacuum cleaner and come to believe that their life is our own. This is one thing you can do: you can not climb into the vacuum cleaner. By having a rich and full life of your own, that you love, and that you own, you will sustain yourself. It is a personal choice.

    I know it feels like you may not have a choice. You do. If we allow ourselves to be destroyed, we are giving consent.

    It does not help your son that you are consumed by his challenges. They are his to own and to deal with. Their resolution will define him as a person. That he does not resolve them, by the same token, cannot define you and your life unless you let it.

    None of this is easy. Not any part of it.

    Take care.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2017
  4. wisernow

    wisernow wisernow

    Welcome to this forum although I know the pain that has brought you here and for that I am sorry for you.

    I have re read your story several times and it is so similar to what we went through as a family. My son is mentally ill and also has addiction issues. We did everything we could, and it was never enough. The drain was always open asking for more, more and more. I too was the weak link, the enabler. This cost me my sanity, my marriage, and my former life. I hit rock bottom after my son was charged with assault, and finally diagnosed with schizophrenia. I got the mental illness piece, but I couldn't get why he would continue with drugs to the point of violence. Then I had to stop.

    Please get yourself into therapy. Their demons will eat you alive, and stepping back from this will help you gain some perspective. Your health, your husband's health, the health of the rest of your family are all at risk, as are your savings.

    Its been a very long road for me. I now have a new life, a new partner, and a relationship with my son. I have detached, and have set firm boundaries with him. Funny but by doing all of that he is starting to gain control of his life. Yes he is stable now, lives in a group home, and is making his choices some of which I may agree with and some of which I don't. He is as SWOT says, a man, not the sweet little boy I used to picture in my mind.
    As a social worker said to me, if things remain the same you get the same. A change is needed.
    Had I of not gotten off the terrible treadmill I fear that neither he nor I would still be alive.

    Hugs to you..others with far more wisdom will be along.
     
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  5. Teriobe

    Teriobe Active Member

    I know your hurting. Im sorry you have to deal with this. It isnt fair. Please take the advice on this forum. I was on that merry go round too. My son has been homeless many times. Its very hard to watch. But he cant follow rules when home. Stealing from us often. Please read about detachment. It helped me.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2017
  6. mof

    mof Momdidntsignupforthis

    He is not a little boy. It is not your fault. I don't know his mental illness, but he chooses to medicate with drugs rather than medication...he chose this.

    Change has to happen or you may as well live on the streets with him. He wouldn't quit for his own children, you or a girl...he has to love himself.

    Keep posting...prayers...get help for you and your marriage. Don't let him take your joy. You deserve it.
     
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  7. Hopeful parent

    Hopeful parent New Member

    Thank you for your comments. In answer to your question Nancy. We have had him to quite a few doctors. At first they said he had schizophrenia, but now they just say he has had psychotic episodes because of drugs. But he is all over the place and I don't think the psychiatrist really know. We can't get a proper diagnosis. He does respond to medication and was told by a GP that he will need to be on it for the rest of his life. He and his girlfriend use this to try and get money from me. "We need money for his medication and we are actually starving you know." This is what they say to me.

    He actually sounds like he is not on drugs at the moment. Just really upset, desperate and confused. He told me he is coming to the court case tomorrow and he is going to cause a scene and get arrested so he can be in jail like her, and then he said he will at least get three meals a day. I am afraid if he goes to jail he will be hurt as he is vulnerable due to his mental state.

    I am wondering if I should give the police the heads up on this, so they can stop him before he does anything to get himself into trouble. Or would this just get him into more trouble. Also I could ring community services and report him as a risk as he is homeless so at least they would have him in their system again and if he does do something and end up in jail we might be able to get him directed to a mental health place instead. I am in Australia and don't know if they even have such places anymore. I believe my son needs long term rehabilitation or at least long term mental health care, as he cant look after himself. As in keep a roof over his head or do the normal things you need to do to survive.

    My husband and I have a nice life, or we could have if we didn't have this problem. I also have hobbies and help run our business, we have a close relationship with my other two children. And with all of our grandchildren including my problem sons children and ex wife. My younger son also has some issues with pot smoking and has made some wrong life choices, but he keeps a roof over his head and his little boy's and goes about his business dealing with his own stuff, comes and has a yarn with me when things get a bit difficult for him and we brain storm solutions then he goes away and sorts it out. He is actually a good support to me while I am going through this. So is my daughter, she is a rock.
    I know I am an enabler and I know I have to detach. Which is why I have made an appointment to see a counsellor at the end of April. I can't get down to see him before then. I have so many conflicting thoughts about all of this. I need to sort it out in my head. I get angry with my husband as he is old school and when talking to our problem son he always says the wrong things, which can set my son off. My son continuously blames his father for everything. And my sons aggression is mostly directed to my husband. I know we probley weren't perfect parents, and we made lots of mistakes especially with handling my sons mental health issues. But I think we were okay parents. Our other two children say they had a good childhood. We always did our best with what we knew and what we had.
     
  8. Catmom

    Catmom Member

    I am sorry too that you are dealing with this stress. I believe you have done it all for your son and you didn't get positive results. When we all reached this point, it was then that the enabling slowly stopped. It does get easier to say no to money handouts but sometimes, the guilt just bites you in the hiney. And I think we all either struggle with that or have struggled with that. It sounds like your story is similar to all of ours, especially the part about the other kids being more productive with their lives. I have an amazing son who is so considerate of me, and I have a son that would rob me blind if I allowed it. I don't take credit for my son who is doing well and I don't take the blame for the one who is struggling. You did the right thing, and unfortunately, sometimes doing the right thing is so painful, but as I keep reminding myself "this too shall pass". Hang in there!
     
  9. dayatatime

    dayatatime Member

    I just want to add a voice to say that I don't think you did a bad thing by calling the police. I think you took a big step toward breaking the patterns when you did that and that you deserve a lot of credit. Maybe you can reframe it a one of the most difficult, or painful things you have done. It can be difficult and painful without being a mistake.

    Contacting the mental health crisis people sounds like a good idea. That's the sort of thing I need to do for myself- so I can know I did what I could. And, honestly, your husband's idea of calling the cops again sounds like how I would handle things. But we each have to do what's right for us. If you aren't ready I respect that.

    It doesn't surprise me that making a boundary-- like the arrest-- led to an escalation. The escalation, though, as long as everyone survives it, is temporary. Shifting the patterns is longterm. And reeeeaaaalllly hard work.

    There's a 12-step slogan I love that explains what happens when we start saying no:
    "When you stop people pleasing, people stop being pleased." Your son is going to be very angry at you. You can survive his anger. You know what is right.
     
  10. Hopeful parent

    Hopeful parent New Member

    Thank you all for your comments. They are helping me to be a bit stronger about our situation. My problem son has turned up on the door step of my other son this morning. And he is going to give him a bed as long as he doesn't cause him any problems. So at least we know where he is tonight. Tomorrow is the court day and I guess whatever will be will be. I have tried looking into community health here were we live but there is no one available at the moment. This town has a lot of people with problems but no government help.
     
  11. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Welcome Hopeful:

    Here is an article on detachment a member posted on another thread yesterday. It may help you:

    What is detachment?
    Detachment is the:
    * Ability to allow people, places or things the freedom to be themselves.
    * Holding back from the need to rescue, save or fix another person from being sick, dysfunctional or irrational.
    * Giving another person "the space" to be herself.
    * Disengaging from an over-enmeshed or dependent relationship with people.
    * Willingness to accept that you cannot change or control a person, place or thing.
    * Developing and maintaining of a safe, emotional distance from someone whom you have previously given a lot of power to affect your emotional outlook on life.
    * Establishing of emotional boundaries between you and those people you have become overly enmeshed or dependent with in order that all of you might be able to develop your own sense of autonomy and independence.
    * Process by which you are free to feel your own feelings when you see another person falter and fail and not be led by guilt to feel responsible for their failure or faltering.
    * Ability to maintain an emotional bond of love, concern and caring without the negative results of rescuing, enabling, fixing or controlling.
    * Placing of all things in life into a healthy, rational perspective and recognizing that there is a need to back away from the uncontrollable and unchangeable realities of life.
    * Ability to exercise emotional self-protection and prevention so as not to experience greater emotional devastation from having hung on beyond a reasonable and rational point.
    * Ability to let people you love and care for accept personal responsibility for their own actions and to practice tough love and not give in when they come to you to bail them out when their actions lead to failure or trouble for them.
    * Ability to allow people to be who they "really are" rather than who you "want them to be."
    * Ability to avoid being hurt, abused, taken advantage of by people who in the past have been overly dependent or enmeshed with you.

    What are the negative effects not detaching?
    If you are unable to detach from people, places or things, then you:
    * Will have people, places or things which become over-dependent on you.
    * Run the risk of being manipulated to do things for people, at places or with things which you do not really want to do.
    * Can become an obsessive "fix it" who needs to fix everything you perceive to be imperfect.
    * Run the risk of performing tasks because of the intimidation you experience from people, places or things.
    * Will most probably become powerless in the face of the demands of the people, places or things whom you have given the power to control you.
    * Will be blind to the reality that the people, places or things which control you are the uncontrollables and unchangeables you need to let go of if you are to become a fully healthy, coping individual.
    * Will be easily influenced by the perception of helplessness which these people, places or things project.
    * Might become caught up with your idealistic need to make everything perfect for people, places or things important to you even if it means your own life becomes unhealthy.
    * Run the risk of becoming out of control of yourself and experience greater low self-esteem as a result.
    * Will most probably put off making a decision and following through on it, if you rationally recognize your relationship with a person, place or thing is unhealthy and the only recourse left is to get out of the relationship.
    * Will be so driven by guilt and emotional dependence that the sickness in the relationship will worsen.
    * Run the risk of losing your autonomy and independence and derive your value or worth solely from the unhealthy relationship you continue in with the unhealthy person, place or thing.

    How is detachment a control issue?
    Detachment is a control issue because:
    * It is a way of de-powering the external "locus of control" issues in your life and a way to strengthen your internal "locus of control."
    * If you are not able to detach emotionally or physically from a person, place or thing, then you are either profoundly under its control or it is under your control.
    * The ability to "keep distance" emotionally or physically requires self-control and the inability to do so is a sign that you are "out of control."
    * If you are not able to detach from another person, place or thing, you might be powerless over this behavior which is beyond your personal control.
    * You might be mesmerized, brainwashed or psychically in a trance when you are in the presence of someone from whom you cannot detach.
    * You might feel intimidated or coerced to stay deeply attached with someone for fear of great harm to yourself or that person if you don't remain so deeply involved.
    * You might be an addicted caretaker, fixer or rescuer who cannot let go of a person, place or thing you believe cannot care for itself.
    * You might be so manipulated by another's con, "helplessness," overdependency or "hooks" that you cannot leave them to solve their own problems.
    * If you do not detach from people, places or things, you could be so busy trying to "control" them that you completely divert your attention from yourself and your own needs.
    * By being "selfless" and "centered" on other people, you are really a controller trying to fix them to meet the image of your ideal for them.
    * Although you will still have feelings for those persons, places and things from which you have become detached, you will have given them the freedom to become what they will be on their own merit, power, control and responsibility.
    * It allows every person, place or thing with which you become involved to feel the sense of personal responsibility to become a unique, independent and autonomous being with no fear of retribution or rebuke if they don't please you by what they become.

    What irrational thinking leads to an inability to detach?
    * If you should stop being involved, what will they do without you?
    * They need you and that is enough to justify your continued involvement.
    * What if they commit suicide because of your detachment? You must stay involved to avoid this.
    * You would feel so guilty if anything bad should happen to them after you reduced your involvement with them.
    * They are absolutely dependent on you at this point and to back off now would be a crime.
    * You need them as much as they need you.
    * You can't control yourself because everyday you promise yourself "today is the day" you will detach your feelings but you feel driven to them and their needs.
    * They have so many problems, they need you.
    * Being detached seems so cold and aloof. You can't be that way when you love and care for a person. It's either 100 percent all the way or no way at all.
    * If you should let go of this relationship too soon, the other might change to be like the fantasy or dream you want them to be.
    * How can being detached from them help them? It seems like you should do more to help them.
    * Detachment sounds so final. It sounds so distant and non-reachable. You could never allow yourself to have a relationship where there is so much emotional distance between you and others. It seems so unnatural.
    * You never want anybody in a relationship to be emotionally detached from you so why would you think it a good thing to do for others?
    * The family that plays together stays together. It's all for one and one for all. Never do anything without including the significant others in your life.
    * If one hurts in the system, we all hurt. You do not have a good relationship with others unless you share in their pain, hurt, suffering, problems and troubles.
    * When they are in "trouble," how can you ignore their "pleas" for help? It seems cruel and inhuman.
    * When you see people in trouble, confused and hurting, you must always get involved and try to help them solve the problems.
    * When you meet people who are "helpless," you must step in to give them assistance, advice, support and direction.
    * You should never question the costs, be they material, emotional or physical, when another is in dire need of help.
    * You would rather forgo all the pleasures of this world in order to assist others to be happy and successful.
    * You can never "give too much" when it comes to providing emotional support, comforting and care of those whom you love and cherish.
    * No matter how badly your loved ones hurt and abuse you, you must always be forgiving and continue to extend your hand in help and support.
    * Tough love is a cruel, inhuman and anti-loving philosophy of dealing with the troubled people in our lives and you should instead love them more when they are in trouble since "love" is the answer to all problems.
     
  12. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thanks for posting the list! I think we all need to read it from time to time.

    ~Kathy
     
  13. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    We all make mistakes along the way, we do the best we can. Sounds like you have been a wonderful mother. I'm not familiar with the mental health services in Australia. It does sound like your son needs long term care for stability. This is so very diffiuclt for the entire family.
     
  14. Hopeful parent

    Hopeful parent New Member

    Thank you again everybody. And thank you for the article on detachment. I think when I get near my printer I will print it out. We went to court today and my sons girlfriend pleaded guilty. She was already in jail so she was escorted in. She received 18 months probation, and is not allowed near our home or contact us for 18 months. My son did not come as she had sent her family a message that she would not be attending, and they passed the message on to him. They don't want anything to do with my son either. After all the fuss and threats yesterday I have not heard from my son at all. I think she didn't want her family to see her, and I am pleased her mother did not as it was very sad. She looked broken. It was hard for me, my husband and my daughter to see her like that. Now the court case is over I am going to work hard at learning to detach from my son. After today seeing his girlfriend like that it makes me feel less sympathetic to my sons problems. I feel that he has let her down as well. My daughter told me today that I can't afford to start worrying about her now. And she is right. I need to stop as it is going to make me sick. So as I said before I am going to see a psychologist who specialises in these types of problems at the end of the month. And I have brought some books that may help me as well. Dayatatimes posting Is very relevant to me. I am a people pleaser and need to stop being one, and that my sons anger won't last for ever. Good advice.thanks again everyone who posted.
     
  15. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Honestly I feel sorry for my son so much. My husband does too. Feel bad, feel sorry, etc.

    Feeling sorry though does not help them at all. It really does not. It just makes us weak. It makes us do things for them they MUST DO FOR THEMSELVES.

    I am working hard to push that feeling out every time is surfaces.

    Nobody said it's easy.