difficult child 1 released from jail and now back in

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by tishthedish, May 1, 2015.

  1. tishthedish

    tishthedish Active Member

    Well, what a wild ride it's been. My elder, bipolar son was released from prison in early February and placed in a halfway house in a major city near us. His eye infection was real. He saw the specialist that had treated him for a prior condition and after new treatment said that his eye "came back from the dead". One in a million. We are grateful. He was out for 10 weeks and visited home a several times. He was pleasant and warm. We enjoyed his company and it felt darn good. I kept my guard up as did my hubby. He still seemed a little overconfident as to the type of job he could get, but one thing I've learned through this entire period is "never pass up a good opportunity to keep your mouth shut". And I did. He saw the larger family both sides for Easter. It was a big step for him to see aunts, uncles and cousins that he hadn't seen for 2 years. We went to church. All was fine. and then I got an auto-notification message saying he was back in the state prison. I had just talked to him a couple days before. My husband and I followed up with the halfway house and found out he had a verbal altercation with a couple of other "clients", the director of the program and then his parole officer. He was at fault. First he told someone to shut up. It escalated from there. The profanity he used wouldn't be tolerated anywhere. The director suggested that he may have gone off his medications. I agree. The difference in his behavior is noticeable and would explain the incident. Everyone there, including the director, the parole officer and his cohabitants said it was out of character for him and he had some solid friendships. So D H and I went to get his stuff. He will have to wait up to 2 months to go before the parole board. There were no charges or arrest. The parole officer said the report he will write will be short and dry. The director said that this is going to be a difficult spot for our son because very few halfway houses that handle his medical condition and the assault charge he was arrested for. She said she would not rule out taking him back as he had been no trouble before. It's a damn shame. The last 10 weeks were lovely. There were moments when I found myself happy in a way I used to be when things were humming along in our family and everyone was pursuing their own interests. I am grateful for those moments and know full well that those moments may be all we have for a long time to come.

    Ok. So here's the kicker. difficult child 1 gets a quick call (they usually have to wait 30 days) to tell us what happened. His dad and I explain we know. We tell him about the parole officer and the possible 2nd chance at the halfway house. I thought he might be contrite, relieved, remorseful. Nope. He said, "I don't know if I want to go back, it's a two way street." He says doesn't want to live among addicts and criminals and ends by saying maybe you and Dad could let him stay with us. He said, "don't answer now, think about it. I have to go and get off the phone." Click. We are stunned. The disrespect and verbal battering we have been put through these last 5 years has been hellish. My overall reaction, keep working my steps, ask myself several times during the day, "Tish, are you enjoying yourself? Is this what you really want to be doing?" If the answer is yes, I'll keep on. If no, I'll stop the offending task and immediately start having fun, relaxing, doing something that has nothing to do with duty or meeting the expectations of others and everything to do with enjoying that very moment in question. I have a way to go but I feel myself getting better. It's work, but it beats the alternative...pain and panic.
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  2. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Tish,

    I have been exactly where you are more than a few times. I'm sorry you are having to deal with it. I've always said there is no roller coaster on this planet that can compare to the ups and downs our difficult child's put us through.

    I found when my son was in jail (numerous times) that the best way for me to communicate with him was through letters. I was able to take time with my thoughts and not have to deal with his interruptions. I would type it out on the computer then I would hand write it.

    Of course he wants to come back home. In his mind you will take him back and his life will be easy, no cares in the world. That choice is entirely up to you and your husband. Myself, having been down that road a few times, there is no way I would let my son come back home. I cannot and will not have someone in my home that I can't trust. I also know that if we would have let our son come back home all he would do is sponge off of us as he has no desire to work. You and your husband deserve to live in your home in peace.

    It's a tough place to be and my heart goes out to you.

  3. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Tish, welcome back to the forum. I'm glad for the good times you had with him---I think good times are a good sign that things may be changing, even if they "relapse" like your son did. For so long, there were NO good times at all.

    This also worked for me. The phone wasn't good, too short, too unexpected, too erratic and too expensive (robbery). Through letters, I would get it all out---not a bunch of preaching---but my words of hope and encouragement and news about the family, send it off, and take a deep breath. I had spoken, and I had written. That was enough.

    Thankfully, this is a deal breaker for most of us. I used to wish, when I was at the end of my marriage, that my ex-husband had hit me or had an affair---something black and white and clean and clear. Then, there is no doubt. It's done. Same with difficult child. Living in the gray areas makes it harder, but once he stole from me, things became much clearer. And even after I kicked him out, somehow he got back in to steal more things until I put slide locks on the exterior doors and changed the garage door codes. I cried the entire time we did that, but it was necessary.

    I can only imagine the shock physically and emotionally. Every time I would get this type of notification, either by Shreveport, LA flashing up on my phone or via an auto message, I would instantly feel physically ill, dizzy, nauseated, horrible. I'm just so sorry. Please know we have felt the same, and you are not alone here.

    I love this sentence. For most of us, relishing this moment of something good is all too fleeting and it's hard to relax into it and trust it. But we must. With ANYBODY, not just our difficult children, there are no guarantees of good times, warm times, connected times. With my older son right now, who is planning a wedding and buying a house at the same time, I feel very distant and disconnected. He is not a Difficult Child, but a easy child, but these times are strained. Hard times happen with all relationships, and relishing the good moments in each is a gift. I'm so glad you had some time to feel that and remember that.

    Of course you are. That's why jail phone calls can be awful. There is no call back, no time to say, but what? They're just gone, until they call again. I don't like that.

    Tish, how far you have come and what great words these are for all of us. This is important stuff for every person at every step of the journey. What do I need? What do I want? What will make this moment the best I can make it?

    Tish, keep going. Keep moving forward. He is where he put himself. He is where he needs to be. I know it's not what you wanted, or hoped for, and the PTSD of it all is awful. I still clench up when I see an unknown phone number flash up or hear a siren go by. I want to trust my son's better days as more permanent, but he's taught me well. I can't afford to relax into this right now. I feel like I still need to protect myself. Tish, keep us posted.

    You can only do what is best for you and your husband. Your precious son will have to live life on life's terms, and accept the consequences of his own decisions. I'm so sorry. Warm hugs, Tish.
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  4. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I love this.

    Tish, we just went through a time when it was almost impossible not to help with housing or money or a loan or even advice. But our daughter came through her recovery, and she did it believing in herself, instead of in us. The hardest part about not helping, about saying things (like, "I believe in you. You are strong and bright (or you have been hurt and are not thinking right) and / but you can do this. Give it time. I am sorry this is happening but I know you will come through it.") was, and continues to be, how it leaves us feeling about ourselves. Now that we have proof that our helping was actually preventing our children from taking the reins of their own lives, we expect it to get easier, or at least, more acceptable, to love them fiercely, but not to encourage a kind of weakness in the kids that leaves them feeling they cannot steer their own courses in life.

    It helped me to remember (after learning it here) that our differently wired kids need to be parented differently. It seems to me that one of our objectives has to be trusting them strong enough that they come to trust themselves.

    That kind of parenting seems to have made a difference for our children.

    Our grandchildren too were edging toward "I am troubled, or sick, or otherwise unable to take my life in a positive direction." Trusting them to stand up, or trusting them to stand up again after falling apart, worked for those situations too, Tish.

    It wasn't only a matter of limiting contact, but a matter of telling the truth whether it left us feeling heartless or cheap or like rotten people.

    These things helped us, Tish.

    Stay the course.

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  5. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    Tish -- I see great, great strength in you in the words in your closing paragraph. Honestly, yes. But also the decision to follow what feels healthiest for you. You've got this and we support you in health and happiness!

    Boundaries don't limit love. They just limit pain (in the long run, for everyone involved).