Call from Difficult Child produces...nothing!

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by blackgnat, Oct 24, 2015.

  1. blackgnat

    blackgnat Active Member

    Hi all, haven't been here for a while-have actually just come back from a month in England (the Motherland) and Norway!(Retirement money being well spent-it was beautiful!) Was without technology for most of that time and I'm glad, though of course I catastrophized about Difficult Child being found dead. That didn't happen.

    The day I got back, (October 20) he called me. Asked if I could send him some money. Said yes (I know) and did so. He bought all kinds of useful stuff, he said-a ground tarp, cold weather sleeping bag, boots,etc. Said he's on the vivitrol shot AND Antabuse, so no drinking for 11 days. Was fed up but trying to make plans to spend the winter somewhere warmer than Colorado. I thought, well, he sounds like he's TRYING to figure things out...

    So just now, TWO days later, I get a call. Everything he just bought has been stolen, including his state ID (from Illinois). I asked if he was really just calling for me to send more money and he said he wouldn't even be able to get it, because he has no ID. I asked him if he could go down to the Denver Rescue Mission-yes, he could, but he "didn't want to". That would just start up his drinking and heroin use (wasn't aware of that one) again . I said he didn't HAVE to start up, but he said he would. I asked if he could go to the Boulder shelter-yes he could, but they had a lottery system there and it was a "pain in the ass to get to". One 30 minute bus ride followed by another 35 minute bus ride. The thieves stole his weed, too, so he couldn't even smoke.

    I told him to report it to the police (didn't like doing that) I told him to go to the Mental Health Partners (they're really slow). Okay.....

    He sounded subdued, but quite calm, apart from a couple of references to killing the people who stole from him, some references to suicide, telling the cashier at Target, who was being a "smartass" that he would knock her teeth out, and some rubbish about a sword and trying to find the magic. I'm never sure whether he says the nonsense because he's lost his marbles (a real possibility) or because it's for my benefit, to make me think he's lost it and I'll be more sympathetic-how CYNICAL I am!

    Statements like this have me kinda confused, but also keep me in reality. I'm sorry that he had his stuff stolen, but when he is too lazy to make the bus ride, or doesn't want to be in the shelter,etc, then I have to accept that his priorities are skewed.

    I feel strangely unemotional after this call. Maybe because I haven't been in touch with him for a month, or maybe because I've heard it all before or maybe because there's not a DAMN THING I can do about any of it.

    Does this just sound like more of the same? I know it does. I've been expecting him to die for a long time-have I just become immune? I keep reminding myself of his choices. Ex husband is out of Colorado and en route to Vegas to live and easy child is rooming with a friend in CO and won't have anything to do with Difficult Child. So now Difficult Child doesn't have that "safety net" any more.

    Not sure what my point is , here. Any comments are welcome. I think I'm most worried about my lack of reaction to the call-am I dead inside?
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2015
  2. blackgnat

    blackgnat Active Member

    Oh, he also told me that he got a ticket yesterday for theft AND open container. I said, "You just told me you weren't drinking" "Yes, but that was wrong and I'm going to fight it and make the City pay as much money as they can to prove that I'm right".

  3. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Blackgnat and welcome home. Sounds like a fabulous trip!

    NOT dead inside-LIVING your life.

  4. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    How absolutely wonderful. I am so glad you did this for yourself. What a treat and adventure.

    This same thing happened to my son at least a dozen times. That's to be expected when you live on the streets.

    Every time I suggested to my son to go to a shelter he always had some kind of excuse why he couldn't or wouldn't. I think my favorite was "shelters are for losers" ya, ok, whatever.

    This is good, it really is. This is detachment pure and simple. It does not mean that you don't love him it just means that you are successfully letting go of the chaos and drama of his life. You are right, there is nothing you can do about any of it.

    You are not dead inside at all, again, it's part of being detached and it's a good thing. It's ok.

    I always found it interesting how my son would complain about his stuff being stolen and how people who steal are the scum of the earth, yet it was ok for him to steal on a regular basis.

    You are doing great BG, you really are. Live your life to the fullest. I am so glad you took your trip. Continue to do good things for yourself.

    ((HUGS)) to you..............
  5. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    BG I agree with Tanya. This is detachment. It is our goal I believe. You have arrived.

    I think getting away from home is very important for our journeys. It sounds line your trip was the right place and time for you. Your son doesn't sound ready for change. Just more of the same.

    That may be good for you to lean into. He is going to do what he does until he decides to stop, and that will have nothing to do with you.

    If you can just love him and wish him well and pray to your higher power for peace and serenity, and leave it all there, that will be a great next step for you. He has his own higher power and his own journey and path to walk. I pray it leads him to change.

    You are good. Lean into that BG.
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  6. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Welcome home! So glad you are back. (hope to take a trip like yours one day)

    Cynical. maybe. I am the same way. Wonder why...... o_O
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  7. Carolita2

    Carolita2 Member

    Hi Black gnat, your trip sounds like it was wonderful..We're the days or nights longer?
    Have to say your son's story sure does sound familiar..I bought 2 phone cords in one day a few month ago. First was defective and the store would't take it back with a receipt? Can't believe I believed that? They lose their credibility and that's too bad cause maybe there could be a legit problem. Guess that's why hubs and I are struggling to stay detached because we couldn't separate fact from fiction...detachment feels weird to me too.. it's anti intuitive...But I am under MD care for stress and heart issue and maybe that's a blessing that's given me the drive to do the hard work of letting go. See strength in your post. New behavior feels strange, they tell me..Carolita
  8. blackgnat

    blackgnat Active Member

    Thanks for all the welcome backs and support.

    He just called, asking if he could come back to Illinois for a few months, because it would be good for him to have me near as a "resource". I said no, there was nothing here for him-I have a room-mate, he's not in the health or social services system and it could take weeks, was he really thinking it was a good idea to come 1,000 miles to just be living on the streets? I told him it wasn't like the old days and that I wasn't going to spend my time fixing the mistakes that he had made. He also said that they have more rehabs, etc here and I had to reply that he hadn't shown me any evidence that any of those places had worked or that the outcome would be different if he were here.

    He then said "Well, mom , I think this is the last winter for me, because I don't think I can survive this one". So, why does he think he could survive a Chicago winter, where we sometimes have -25 degree temperatures? I told him that he shouldn't be thinking like that and that it was his OBLIGATION to survive another winter and use all the resources at his disposal...

    I feel like I just condemned him to death. Yet again, strangely calm. Can anyone give me just a little more reassurance that what I'm saying to him makes sense? And that I haven't lost my soul?
  9. blackgnat

    blackgnat Active Member

    And Carolita, the nights weren't particularly longer, or shorter, but we did go way up to northern Norway and saw the Northern Lights 3 nights in a row-so lucky to see them! They were spectacular, a true miracle!

    I have a LOT to be grateful for. And I am, but it's always tempered with the sadness of my son.
  10. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Oh BG you know that your words and responses aren't the final say in his decisions. If they were, he would have straightened up a long time ago.

    I completely support what you told him. Letting him know this "out" is no longer an out, very clearly, like you did, is a huge step for you and for him. Our DCs are amazing survivors and are so resilient.

    He needs to figure out his life. Being near you just takes him backward right now.

    You have gotten out of the way and that is the best and highest possible love you can give to a Difficult Child and the hardest.

    Hang in there. You did the right thing.
  11. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    I had a very similar message from my son recently, followed by some texts about life not being worth living anyway. I responded by saying that I thought life had endless possibilities but that death had nothing to offer. I also said that I thought he had a worthwhile contribution to make to the world, although he hadn't found what that was yet, and that he was only a third of the way through his life. I know that sounds a bit schmaltzy, but it's how I was feeling at the time, in my place of peaceful, positive radical acceptance. A few days later I heard that he had found a place to stay for a few months through the worst of the winter - without my input. Also that he had acquired a dog because that would mean that he would have to be around for at least another 12 years to care for it.

    (a dog? ... but that's another story)

    I find the following extract from RE's thread about detachment to be very helpful and I often read it when I have doubts about how I have backed-off from 'fixing' his problems:

    * although you will still have love for those persons from whom you have become detached, you will have given them the freedom to become what they will be on their own merit, with their own power, control and responsibility.
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    Last edited: Oct 28, 2015
  12. blackgnat

    blackgnat Active Member

    Then I get a call later last night, with him apologizing for being so negative. He often does this-calls me with some serious depression stuff, then calls back later to tell me he is sorry.

    This is what makes me wonder if there is still someone in there? I always peg him as a sociopath or Borderline (BPD), because he has so many traits. Then I think that there's a part of him that is just scared witless.

    Thanks for the support, guys! I kinda knew I'd said the right things but didn't really have the courage of my convictions. Still working on it :)
  13. blackgnat

    blackgnat Active Member

    nlj, what you said doesn't sound schmaltzy at ALL to me-it's the kind of thing I say to my Difficult Child and I STILL believe it to be true! Life IS worth living !
  14. Sam3

    Sam3 Active Member

    in my opinion, you are protecting your soul. You have to be left standing, and willing, if and when he really wants to right his life and genuinely needs your support. I think your soul knows what you can and cannot be party to, to survive the wait.
  15. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi BG, just chiming in on this. No, you have not lost your soul and no you have not condemned him to death. Remember you are powerless over the choices HE makes.
    I have had similar phone calls from my son in the past. I chalk it up to this, our DCs get to such a desperate place and in that "moment" they call us with the hope that we will rescue them. What I have learned over the years is that "moment" is just that, it passes and they will find their own way without our assistance.
    Last winter I got a PM on FB from my son telling me that he was going to starve and freeze to death. He's in CO and I'm 1100 miles away in the Midwest. To this day I have no idea what he thought I could do for him. His desperate moment was just that as he posted maybe an hour later that he found a place to stay and some food to eat.
    I've lost track of how many times my son has told me that his life sucks and the world would be better off without him. Yes, those words are hard to hear but I am reminded that I as you and every other parent have no control over what they do or don't do.

    Never doubt yourself BG, your responses to him were perfect.
  16. Carol B.

    Carol B. New Member

    Black gnat....So glad you had "me" time. I have learned over the years that after me personally taking the emotion out of "the phone calls" to let us know he is ok, not trying to fix things anymore and putting the questions on him...makes it easier. I do worry, yet I have to remember that he won't change the situation until he wants to. We have realized that it is to the point that our difficult child is ok with the way things are.

    Our sons sound very similar and mine too is in Denver and is in his early thirties. The sad thing is that my son chose to leave a life with us supporting him in many ways. He had a job, a great condo he shared the rent with two other roommates, since he doesn't have a car we would be there to help take him grocery shopping, doctors appointments, etc. He has figured out how to use the system in Denver, Ca and Vegas. What is sad is now, to him, his street "family" pulls more weight than his actual family. It has gotten easier after I understood and really listened to what he was saying...because he was saying the same thing over and over again, yet not acting on it. This tells me he doesn't want to change...just :censored2: about what is going wrong. I worry about getting three phone calls in the middle of the front he police about being arrested for doing something stupid or wanting help (got that one a couple years ago), two he is in the hospital and seriously ill ( got that one too) and three that he is no longer alive---the last one I do not want to receive, yet his way of life (that he has chosen), that is a possible reality.

    This forum is a great place...we all are dealing with a situation with an adult child that hurts our heart. For me being able to share with those who understand, speaks volumes. My therapy session for my heart. One thing that has helped me is to keep a journal of things he tells me (there is so much I could and am writing a book), and I include how it makes me feel. Putting pen to paper helps release the frustration, worry, anger......If you want to talk more in depth...let me know.
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