Detachment really is a work in progress.....

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by toughlovin, Jun 24, 2014.

  1. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Well my difficult child keeps making me angry which helps me in this detachment process!! I felt bad for him when we got home Sunday night.... and so I decided to run over to the jail and put in $20 in his canteen account. I had mixed feelings about this but felt ok about it really. It was less than he wanted but hey I felt like I had moved from giving him nothing to giving him something.

    The other thing he had asked us to do was to contact the girlfriend (where when she is involved he goes down hill) and let her know what visiting hours are. Now he has refused to talk about her and if they are back involved for a while. I suspected she was back in the picture when I felt he was going down hill. So I had said no but my husband had said he would text her..... but then as he and I talked about it he realized he doesnt want to do anything to encourage the relationship. Honestly I think we should just stay out of that piece all together!!

    So last night difficult child calls me. First he is putting pressure to put more money in the canteen weekly especially if he is going to be there for a while waiting for a bed. I said I didnt want every phone call to be about that and I wasnt doing it period. Appreciate what you did get from me!!! So then he asks if we have contacted the girlfriend. I said no and we started talking about that, I told him we are going to just stay out of it, I am not getting into the middle of that. If the girlfriend called me I would talk to her and be polite but I am not contacting her. Does she know he is in jail. Yes because he was texting her while he was in drug court!!! So ok then she can call the jail and find out visiting hour sand she can write him. He does not need me to contact her and tell her to visit him. So this goes on for a couple of minutes.

    Then he tells me she is pregnant, and yes by him. Sounds like it was planned. Are you kidding me? I stayed calm and really I suspect he is lying to me trying to manipulate me into now contacting her as she might be carrying my grandbaby!! So I just said well that was not good planning and that is going to complicate your life! I also said I hope that gives you the motivation to get your life together! So he says to me something about so can you please contact her? I said no, she knows you are in jail and she can write your or come and visit and if she does not then you kind of know where you stand with her, that will be a message! Well that made me mad and he told me to F off. So we hung up.

    I didnt know whether to laugh or cry it was so ridiculous!! He called back a couple of times and I just didnt answer the phone.

    Honestly his manipulation was so transparent......

    He has drug court tomorrow although nothing is going to change. I was thinking of going just to support him but I think I am not going to go. I told him I wasnt sure I could and at this point I think I am going to skip it.

    I am really trying to think and focus on taking care of myself. I hate having a son in jail but right now I think it is the best place for him!! And I am very thankful for drug court because it is kind of out of my hands and that is a good thing.


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  2. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Well-Known Member

    Thinking of you...

    I wouldn't go, either. Too many times on this merry-go-round...
  3. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I have a new shirt that says " Be Calm and Walk the Dog." Simplistic, I know, but seriously there is nothing you can do to help your son anymore and I don't get involve in my kid's relationships. I'm not a secretary and don't pass messages back and forth between grown kids. I don't think it is a good idea for you to get involved in that in any way. He's in jail...let him find a way to let his girlfriend find out and get the other details. If she is pregnant "Stay Calm and Walk the Dog." Who knows if she is or if that's just a manipulation and, if she is, I would not give her the impression that this irresponsibility (bringing a life into this world while Dad is in jail and functioning like a child) and Mom is just as bad is going to be the key that will get you to support all of them.

    If this were me, I would not support this adult for anything. Why support him for ending up in jail? He is playing you like a puppet. Yet he is putting no effort into himself and his life. For your efforts, he isn't even nice to you. Let's analyze the jail situation and money. Why would anyone sitting in jail need more than $20? It's not like he has somewhere to go. Yet he isn't even grateful you dropped everything to give him money.

    My new phone rule with 36 is that if he raises his voice to me, I hang up. If he swears at me, I hang up. If he tells me what I did wrong, I hang up. Etc., etc., etc. Of late, we have had very pleasant conversations. He gets it. To be allowed to talk to me, he has to treat me the same way I treat him...with a calm voice and respect. I'm surprised at how effective it is. Frankly, I'd rather he NOT call me if he isn't going to be respectful. I used to have a pit in my stomach every time he went off on me and *I* was the one allowing him to do it...I actually listened to it. Now I flat out refuse. And he knows I mean it. It's not unreasonable to demand the same respect we give them.

    I would try to cut through the guilt. Why should you feel guilty that he broke the law and is in jail? Angry is more appropriate. And I would limit his calls to once a day, five to ten minutes if he is polite to you, but I'd tell him flat out that I am getting off the minute he asks for something. Too many of our difficult children seem to want nothing to do with us except running through our money. And if we say "no" they throw tantrums like two year olds who can't have the candy bar.

    Hugs for your hurting mommy heart.
  4. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    I feel for you, hon. Sometimes, "F off" really means "F off" - so if that's what he said, that's what I would do. If you maintain that you support his next good move, in the spirit of being consistent, his latest moves haven't been good. So not contacting girlfriend, and not putting what you're not comfortable with on his canteen tab is consistent with your very wise boundaries. People can love us, but they can also play us like a fiddle.

    He knows you are a scrupulously good person who tries to do the right thing. He wants your "right thing" to be giving him everything he wants. When you don't see things his way, he tells you to "F off!" So grant his wish!! Maybe girlfriend can put $ on his canteen. I know in my own situation, I permitted my so-called "good values", empathy and compassion to be manipulated. Then, I felt like I was victimized, till I realized I was allowing myself to be victimized by a clever user who also happened to be my son. It's not healthy. Just because I'm not capable of using people doesn't mean the closest people surrounding me weren't capable of that very thing. The serenity prayer helps in times like this. It's complicated - it's not just a black and white thing, there are gray areas in every relationship, and it's sometimes hard to navigate.

    Be strong. it's wise to take a step back, not answer every phone call and get pulled into the vortex of their drama. We surely can't fix everything.
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  5. Stress Bunny

    Stress Bunny Active Member

    You're right that it's easier to detach when difficult child behavior is blatant. I've experienced the same.

    Canteen: You placed $20 in his account, but instead of thanking you for it, your son demanded more. Classic. In his world, he actually feels entitled to it. But you don't have to participate in his world, which is out of touch with reality. And any guilt or pity you may feel for him plays into his manipulation to get what he wants.

    Phone Calls: I agree with MWM that you may benefit from setting some boundaries related to phone calls. Teach him how to treat you with respect.

    Girlfriend: While your difficult child can make his own choices, you definitely should not feel guilty with disengaging from helping him connect with his girlfriend. The relationship is not helping him. Whether or not the pregnancy is real, and it may not be, your son can use it to try to manipulate you into giving him what he wants. My difficult child did the same thing, and it turned out there was no pregnancy.

    Drug Court: You mentioned about going to court to support your difficult child. I suspect going would be harder on you than appreciated by him. Do take care of yourself and consider how this is affecting you.

    Ultimately, your difficult child needs to get more concerned about his drug problem than the jail canteen, phone calls, and girlfriend. It sounds like he isn't there yet, and I know that is very hard. The sooner he becomes extremely uncomfortable with his situation, the more likely he will be to seek and successfully participate in treatment to heal himself. You are on the right path, and you are very strong. You are recognizing behaviors and learning to not enable. Whether or not your difficult child ever recovers, you can continue to take extra good care of yourself and lead a joyful life. We all understand and are here for you. I will keep you in my prayers.
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  6. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    TL - just want to say that once again I am amazed at your grace under pressure. I would likely be alternating between frantic fear and hurt fueled anger.

    Keep up the good work :)
  7. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    How many times can he treat you so poorly and expect you to keep coming back. You were right to stay out of his affairs with his girlfriend, she knows where he is and can get in contact with him if she wants and obviously she doesn't. This strikes me as him trying to manipulate both you and the girlfriend. I don't know how you stay as calm as you do, I want to shake him until his eyeballs fall out for the way he treats you.
  8. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Hang in there, TL. When I'm dealing with difficult child, two of the questions to myself are these:

    1. Am I more upset about his situation than he is?

    2. Am I trying to do more for him than he is trying to do for himself?

    Used to be, the answer to those questions was always Yes. Now, not so more. That is progress for me.

    So glad you decided not to go to Court. You can usually find out what happens by calling the court office. It's public record.

    I learned that the last go-around.

    Big hugs for you TL. We're here with you.
  9. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Thanks all. Well he has called several times today although I was not home so obviously did not pick up. I have decided that when he calls I will take the call but state clearly that if he is abusive to me that I will hang up and then I am done with the phone for the day... I will not answer if he calls back. I am also going to say that I am done with the discussion about canteen money and getting in touch with the girlfriend. I am not negotiating any of that any more.

    I am pretty calm about it and it is only because i have had so much darned practice!! I am waiting for him to tell me that she is not really pregnant at which point I will have to just ask him so was that you just trying to manipulate me to get what you want? I thought so and I dont like it!!

    For that 6 months at that program, except for the first week, he was respectful and pleasant.... now he has relapsed and in jail and he is back to being a manipulative little koi!


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  10. Stress Bunny

    Stress Bunny Active Member

    The combination of the drug relapse with the discomfort of being in jail is creating a desperation for your difficult child that he chooses to squelch by getting others to do what he wants. When that stops working, his desperation will truly be his own. You are not responsible for his choices and the situation he is in because of his choices.

    If your difficult child is anything like mine, he will be shocked and surprised and indignantly offended that you are not going to pay for his mistakes in any way. I remember when we finally kicked JT off of our cell phone plan because he was using it to access porn and send/receive inappropriate text messages. It was our third time catching him, so we gave him a day or two notice, and then cancelled him. It was extremely liberating! I was so thrilled to be free from feeling upset about it any more. JT was absolutely shocked that we would do such an "unfair" thing to him, even though we had told him exactly what would happen if he continued to misuse the technology we were paying for. He was crazy mad, not at himself, though, of course. No, blame, blame, blame, is the name of the game. WE were the ones who were out of line in his world. Well, guess what? It's great to finally let JT's problems be JT's problems.

    I am very proud of your efforts to work toward the same with your difficult child. I hope you are doing okay today and taking extra good care of yourself. Remember that you matter too, not just your son. You matter. Your well being is important. Know that others understand and support you here.
  11. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    An update.... he called last night. First thing he did was apologize for how he ended the call the night before. That is progress him apologizing right away before my calling him on it. I told him that if he does that again I will hang up and then will not answer any more calls that night. That it is not ok for him to talk to me like that. He said ok and apologized again. Then he said but in a constructive way that he didnt want me to be judgemental about him and his girlfriend. I told him I was not being judgemental just telling him what I thought that I was staying out of his relationship with her, that I knew it was his business. So ok thats fine.

    I also told him I didnt want to keep talking about canteen. He did say that one thing that would help is a radio and some sweat pants and would I consider giving him money for those. It is true that in general music really helps him and there is no way for me to send him anything at all, the only way to get any of that is through canteen. I told him to wait a couple of weeks and I would think about it. He accepted that.

    He also said that he knows I think he only calls because he wants something but he does call just to talk..... it is also true that when he is in jail we hear from him and talk to him more than at other times. He has no one else to talk to I guess. I told him I was always willing to talk to him and support him which is also true.

    I did ask him if the girlfriend was really pregnant.... apparently she missed a period and had positve pregnancy he thinks so. Who knows I guess we will find out. I still kind of doubt it but we will see. I am just not going to worry about that yet.


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  12. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    TL we teach people how to treat us and you are really doing a great job of communicating with difficult child and setting good boundaries as you do it. I am sure it is not easy and there is a cost to you but kudos!

    I love your response about waiting for two weeks to see about the radio and sweat pants. Our difficult children not only want to exert some control once in jail but they also want what they want NOW.

    The real world and adulthood is about delaying gratification so it is always a good thing to practice that with ourselves and others I believe. Almost nothing is an emergency and needs to happen NOW.

    Do some kind things for yourself as you walk this road TL. Warm hugs.
  13. Stress Bunny

    Stress Bunny Active Member

    TL - Great job! You handled that SO well.

    You set boundaries with the phone calls. You told him you no longer wanted to spend all of your time debating the canteen and that you would think about the sweat pants and radio for a couple of weeks. Love that! And, you have decided to disengage from the girlfriend situation.

    Now, don't forget to keep your radar up. Remember that your difficult child wanted something from you (sweats, radio, and canteen $, etc.) during this phone call. As he senses that you are setting firmer boundaries, he will figure out that he needs to be more convincing to get what he wants. My JT is very manipulative and great at telling people what they want to hear in order to get what he wants. Many times, I was duped into thinking he was making better choices, only to realize much later, in hindsight, that he was lying and manipulating me.

    You did ask him about his girlfriend's pregnancy. The fact that he knows you cared about it can be used against you. Don't be surprised if future tactics by him involve this situation.

    If I am not mistaken, your difficult child has been in jail before, right? If this is not his first time, and this is just my humble opinion, I would not give him the radio, sweat pants, or canteen dollars at any point. Those items would make him more comfortable, and he needs to be very uncomfortable, fully experiencing the consequences of his own actions. The fact that so much of his energy remains focused on getting stuff for himself vs getting serious about recovery from his substance abuse and turning his life around, speaks volumes.

    I realize that the logic in giving him those things is that they might help him on his healing path. I get that. When our difficult child ended up in jail (first offense), we bailed him out, because we didn't want him to lose his very good job. We thought losing his job would make everything so much worse, and jail was bad enough. We thought that just being in jail (for distribution of alcohol to minors and also underage drinking) would be a wake-up call for him and that he wouldn't make the same mistakes again. But here we are, just a few months later, and JT is drinking and causing all sorts of drama. He still has his job, but his substance abuse hasn't changed. If he ever ends up in jail again, we will not be bailing him out, visiting, or doing anything in any way to spare him the consequences of his actions. Nothing. No matter what he loses or how uncomfortable it is for him. HE needs to experience the full consequences of his choices. When his problems truly become his problems and he is not rescued from consequences, he is much more likely to take action to positively change his situation.

    The way you handled this situation is fantastic. You are so smart and strong. I hope your son makes better choices going forward. Keep us posted.
  14. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    So he called again tonight... had a good conversation. The thing about the sweat pants and radio and being in jail is this.....he might not be in jail if we were willing to have him come home. He told us tonight that his lawyer asked him if he had a safe place to go (like home) then he wouldnt have to be in jail. He knew home was not an option but needed to ask us anyway....he did not push it at all or try to manipulate us at all on this one. He knows where we stand and we had to tell him that no he could not come home. I dont think love gets any tougher than that... telling your kid nope you have to stay in jail because we cant let yo come home!!!

    Now I know that is right and I am a bit surprised that his lawyer told him that because she knows he cant come home. And reality is this would not be a safe place because we cant police him and make sure he does not use drugs! Not only do I not want to be in that position, but I have tried that before and it never works!!!

    So basically he is in jail because he doesnt have a place to go and drug court feels he needs to be kept safe and of course he is not abiding by the drug court rules.... and when they get a bed for him in a residential program (he is on a waiting list but it is about a month) he will go there. So he is not really in jail for punishment.... which is why I guess I feel ok about trying to make it a little better for him.... not a lot better but a little better. I am going to get him the sweat pants but he is going to have to wait on the raido.

    And he did ask us to come visit and so we will visit.

    It is such a balancing act really. I want to support and love him and not enable him. I think I actually walk that line pretty well. I dont need to punish him for his stupidity.... just being in jail is punishment enough.


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  15. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    TL, when difficult child was homeless between Feb. 14 and April 2, he told me that his PO "couldn't believe" his parents wouldn't let him come home. difficult child said his PO wanted to call us and "I told him, no, that won't do any good."

    I have serious doubts that conversation occurred. I had called his PO multiple times and left vms. He never called back.

    I think difficult child said that to try to manipulate us/me into letting him come here or helping him get a place. He thought if someone "official" said it, it would carry more weight.

    Don't be surprised if the lawyer never said that. It's awful not to trust a word they say, but they have taught us this.

    Every step of the way.

    You know your boundaries. And before you get confused about them, write them down. Take it out and read it every day so you know what you need to do for YOU. You can always change those boundaries at any time, if the situation warrants.

    Hugs to you tonight. Ugh with difficult children right now.
  16. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    I know when I have been at drug court they have brought up the question of him coming home. I have told the lawyer he cant come home......and the drug court coordinator knows that and supports me and doesnt think he should come home. But it is a new judge and she is very nice and I can totally see her asking that question because none of them really think jail is the right place for him. The lawyer is very nice, court appointed and he is her client, I am not. So I actually think that probably did happen today. The good thing is my son knew the answer and asked us as a long shot but he did not try to convince me. Of course if it wasnt for my daughter being home I think he would have tried, but he knows I will stand my ground because I will not put her through that.

    He is definitely more humble and less entitled today!


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  17. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    My daughter, who used HEAVY drugs from age 12 (yes 12) to 18) gave me this advice for anyone dealing with a drug abuser: "Never trust them. They will stare at you with tears in their eyes and lie." I asked her if she did that and had done this and she said, "Of course."

    Your drug abusing kids would probably be different people if they quit the drugs, although not all drug abusers have that as their soul personality problem, but as long as they are using drugs...never trust them.

    On the other hand, there ARE some super-clueless professionals who DO say things like that. My daughter saw a therapist who told her that we should trust her more and the way she hounded us about that, I believe she really told that to my daughter who used drugs, lied, stole and was very lucky not to go to jail for a robbery in which she was sitting in the car while it took place and she knew it was happening.

    I finally told her, "I don't think that was good advice, therapist or not. You have to earn trust."

    She never said that to me again, but gave me a look like "A******e."

    Some of these professionals who never went through this know nothing except what they learn from books and books are not real life.
  18. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    I also think a lot of parents do let their kids come home and live there and fact is it makes it easier on the system because then the problem is back with the parents and they dont have to work so hard to get them into treatment.

    So it puts it back on us to be clear to him that he cant come home and we wont enable him.

    I would definitely rather have him in jail than having him living at home with the stress and worry... I know I cant police him and I dont want to try to do that anymore!! And I dont want to live with him dying from an overdose at home either!!!


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  19. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Well I dont know what was said to difficult child.... I texted with the drug court coordinator and her view is that he is not safe at home or at a sober house because he is going to do what he wants, that he is safer in jail until he is in a place he can be supervised. So she and I are totally on the same page..... who knows what the lawyer actually told him.

    I think I will go to the next drug court just to make clear again to the lawyer and to the judge that I dont think he is safe at home.

    I know people have different views of drug court but I am really thankful that he is in it because I think that is the only way he will ever get help.

    I got a letter today from him...nice enough but still manipulative. Definitely asking us not to give up on him and that he does appreciate our support and then the sob story about canteen, LOL.

    I think I need to stop letting him see I worry about him because he plays on that.


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