Did I do the right thing?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by JKF, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. JKF

    JKF Well-Known Member

    difficult child wound up in county jail in PA for taking a cab an hour and a half away from the group home knowing full well he had no money to pay for it. He called me while he was in the cab and asked me to pay the $165 but I refused and said he had to figure it out. He was arrested bc of it and is now in jail with a bail of $10,000. He has a 10% option so it would be $1000 to get him out but I've decided not to bail him out. He has been so out of control for so long and hasn't ever had any real consequences for his actions. This is certainly the biggest consequence he's ever had to face. It's his first time ever in jail and I'm hoping it will be a wake up call to him.

    Here's the problem - I feel so guilty! I KNOW that I didn't do this and its not my fault but he's still my son and this is just so sad to me. Because he's in jail he's going to lose his bed at the group home and will need to figure out what he's going to do after he gets out. It's just such a shame but I honestly believe if something drastic like this didn't happen then he would have continued on in full force until something worse eventually happened.

    So even though I know I did the right thing by standing my ground I still can't help but feel like this whole thing is so wrong!
  2. BKS

    BKS New Member


    You are doing the right thing using 'tough love' which unfortunately is often more painful on the parent. It is so very hard and I feel for you. You are allowing your son to learn a valuable lesson he will have with him much longer than if you bailed him out. Hang in there

    << hugs >>

  3. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I believe you did the right thing. I know it is VERY difficult, however. Perhaps you can call the prosecutor or his public defender tomorrow and explain the situation -- maybe they can order him back into some type of treatment, even if it's not at the group home where he was. There are many parents here that have been in your situation, and I'm sure they'll be along with some better/specific advice.

    Stand strong, Warrior Mom. You can do this. You know where he is, and you don't have to live in fear of his threats. I hope that helps you sleep better tonight. Hugs.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
  4. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    What was he going to PA for in the first place? What happened to the girl he took off with?
  5. JKF

    JKF Well-Known Member

    CrazyinVa - I will definitely call the public defender tomorrow as well as call his CMO worker. I don't know how long he'll be there but he will need a plan of action before he's released. I'm a little more at ease with this than i was earlier because I'm more hopeful now that maybe some good will come out of this!

    CJ - he originally went to PA with the girl bc that's where she's from. He told her he had $ for the cab ride so she wasn't arrested. Only he was. I'm not sure what happened to her from there.
  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    JKF, I understand how you feel, it IS the right thing to do, however, it DOES feel wrong. I made the exact same choice this past year and it felt horrible and in fact opened the door for even more consequences for my difficult child which bailing her out could have prevented. I spent many a sleepless night pondering my choice. Let me tell you this, as time went on and I continued to make those very hard choices, each step took me further away from not only enabling my difficult child and feeling better about myself, but feeling on any level that I was responsible for her actions. Over time I felt much better and she made it through her consequences. It was a process and it was very hard. I doubted myself every step of the way and it felt awful because you are going against all your instincts to love, protect, nurture, and take care of. The big difference, of course, is that our children have chosen to live in a world where they assume no responsibility for their actions, so the choice then falls onto our plates..............do we continue taking care of them and paying a high price for their choices, or do we disconnect from their choices and allow natural consequences to evolve. I chose the latter and lived through my heart exploding with sorrow and guilt. We both lived through it.

    My difficult child, like many of our difficult child's lives in an altered universe of mangled realities which is crazy making to us and forces us, ultimately, to choose to either live in that mangled reality with them or get the hell out. Choosing to live in that reality with them has a very high cost, our sanity and our health. The only choice you CAN make is to remove yourself from it, stay connected in a loving way but disconnect from the impact of their choices. In between you feel bad, you go through the agonies of the damned trying to figure out what you could have done, what you should have done, what you can do. Only to land where most of us live, in the land of the living where we know we didn't cause it, we can't control it, we can't fix it and we can't change it.

    You did very well. You made all the right but difficult choices. For better or for worse, you are now a card carrying member of this select group of WARRIOR parents who've made it through the worst parental nightmare and lived to tell the story. Sigh. A group not one of us wants to be in, yet, here we are. You are far from alone, look around here, we're still standing, we've picked up the pieces of our lives and motored on. We're all at different stages of the detachment process, we're all struggling along doing the best we know how, loving our kids from every conceivable distance.... some up close and some very far away, but always loving them. We're now turning around and extending a hand to the next mom who shows up with tears in her eyes and a big hole in her heart.

    My way to get through was to find a therapist lead support group for codependency issues, talk to a therapist privately, go to Codependents anonymous groups, read books, vent and write on this board pretty regularly where I found kindred spirits who got it on every single level and helped me find my way through. You'll find your way too, you've already made all the really tough choices, now you have to come to grips with those choices and learn to live with them, with the knowledge that you did the very best you could under terrible circumstances, you did it with grace and dignity and tremendous love for your son. You done good Mom. take some deep breaths, have a glass of wine, take a bath, relax, get support and keep following your very well developed, loving instincts. Good job! (((HUGS)))
  7. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I have no experience with this but given the situation overall my gut says you have amazing strength and good judgment. Imagine if you bailed him out? He would learn he can be totally outrageous and then be rescued. He certainly needs help but your fear of him and his threats mean it just can't come from you. You ARE supporting him in this way! You are being a great mom. If I put myself in your shoes with q I doubt I'd be able to do it.
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    JKF, yes you made the right choice even though it feels so very wrong. Sometimes we just have to do something like this to put the brakes on them. If you bail him out you have no way of knowing he wont run. In fact, in your case I would bet good money he would then you would be on the hook for the entire bond. I doubt you have 10K laying round to throw away.

    Our kids have never had to really get the idea that consequences belong to them. For the most part they skate by with either a slap on the wrist or us parents ending up going through more pain than they do. It seemed to me that when it was Cory that the consequences got more painful for than they were for us that he started to change. It was no longer me that had to go face judges and therapists or schools. It was him and they were going to lock him up, not me. That got through to him in a way that no amount of lecturing from me ever did. Cory doesnt like cages and spending some time in jail has changed him for the better.

    You can call the prosecutor but dont expect them to listen much to you. Your son is over 18 and the most they will probably do is subpoena his medical and mental health records. I doubt his diagnosis's will be bad enough to actually get him out of the charges but I dont know if he actually has an adult record. If he doesnt, most likely he will be placed on probation and ordered to pay restitution. The issue there is he will need somewhere to be released to and you have to stand strong on not letting him come home.
  9. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    I understand how horrible this must feel. As hard as is, though, you did the right thing.

    If he took a cab for an hour and a half ride, KNOWING he couldn't pay for it, then your bailing him out would only further cement his magical way of thinking: somthing/someone will save me.

    He is in county jail, not on the streets. He is safe and he is in an environment where he will be made to face the consequences of his actions.

    Visit him, talk to him, tell him you love him ENOUGH to do what is hard for you in order to do what is right for him.

  10. JKF

    JKF Well-Known Member

    This is his first charge as an adult so he most likely will just get restitution and probation. I definitely don't have $10,000 just laying around so bail is not an option. I know he would run. By doing things this way HE has to face the consequences and HE has to figure out a solution. He will need to figure out where he's going to go after he's released. He will lose his bed at the group home come Monday. He lives here in NJ but the charges are in PA so I don't know how that works either for probation etc.

    As for visiting - the jail is over 3.5 hours away from us so it's unlikely we will be visiting. He can call and write though and maybe this whole situation will help everything we've been trying to tell him for years finally sink in!

    I'm going to call the jail today and I will most likely set up a phone account for him so he can call us. I refuse to condone his behavior but he's our son and we do love him and he can call as long as he's not going to harass us. I read online that its $1.25 for 20 min so I will start with $10 in the account for him and go from there. I'm not opening a commissary acct tho because he'll spend the money on junk food and not necessities. This is JAIL after all! No need for Twinkies and Cheetos etc!

    And then after I do all of that today I'm going to write him a letter so he knows that he has people in the world who love him and are there for moral support but that HE has to change if he ever wants things to get better.

    My heart is still so heavy and I woke up feeling like my life must be one big nightmare but its not. So here I go again into another day!
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
  11. JKF

    JKF Well-Known Member

    I also just want to thank you all for your replies and advice! I have read each response several times and it helps SO much knowing there are people out there who get it!! Not many people I know in my life really do "get it" so it helps tremendously to be able to post here!!! Thanks again!!!!
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Im going to tell you something that may go against the grain. If you find out he may be there a little while, do go ahead and put some money on his commissary account. Food in jail sucks and twinkies and chips and juice boxes do go a long way when a meal is a bologna sandwich that is questionable at best.
  13. JKF

    JKF Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the advice Janet! I didn't look at it from that point of view. I think I will let him get "settled" for the next couple of days and then next week put a small amount in for him. This is a so new to me. It's a situation I expected to happen at some point but at the same time I am totally not prepared for it at all. My feelings about how to act and what to do are ALL over the place. I want him to know we're there for him and we LOVE him but I also don't want him to in any way, shape or form think he's being rewarded or that we think this is OK.
  14. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    JKF, I completely agree with Janet, the food is pretty bad. The only distinction I would make is to wait for him to ask you to put money on his "books." That way it ceases to be you anticipating his needs which I believe is a part of enabling and becomes his responsibility to make that request of you. When he calls you, don't allow him to treat you in any way but respectful, you certainly have the option to hang up on him if he is not being appropriate, he has to learn he cannot treat you in the old way anymore and this will be a very good opportunity for you to begin "training" him while he is in no position to make threats and carry them out.

    Like Janet and many of us, I know exactly how you are feeling today. You'll get through this and it will get easier; he put himself where he is by his own actions and let's hope on some level he gets that and starts seeing the light. He may have to have a few bouts with the law before his developing brain learns the true meaning of consequences.