difficult child Drama Yesterday

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Stress Bunny, Jun 23, 2014.

  1. Stress Bunny

    Stress Bunny Active Member

    Yesterday my mother in law was to be honored in retiring from her service in a church position over the years. I had texted JT in advance about it in case he wanted to come. He replied, "OK. I'll do my best to wake up in time." The service started at 10 a.m., by the way, and JT was not working the night before.

    The service went along fine, however, we didn't think JT had shown up. We found out afterward he was there, but had sat upstairs in the balcony, likely because he showed up late. Anyway, it was a good sign that he came. He didn't shave, and he didn't remove his hat, which I find disrespectful, but those are minor issues, relatively speaking.

    There was a cake and punch reception afterward. Somewhere in there, JT approached Bubby and asked him if he wanted to go fishing with JT that afternoon. Well, of course, Bubby did. The problem? We don't trust JT to have Bubby with him unsupervised. So, we had to say no unless one of us were able to come along as well. Of course, Bubby wanted to know why the answer was no, and husband stated that we couldn't fully trust JT because he has made some choices that we do not agree with and we need to be sure he is safe. Bubby responded that JT is over 18 and is old enough to make choices. Oh boy! JT was there and was aware of all of it.

    More than once we have asked JT not to talk to Bubby about plans without talking to us first. Bubby is on the autism spectrum and easily gets stuck emotionally. This was no exception, and Bubby was very hurt and disappointed he wouldn't be going fishing with JT. He had difficulty getting past this, but eventually he did when he shifted gears and was happy we were going to visit his grandparents afterward.

    I did thank JT for showing up and told him it was nice to see him there. husband told JT that we would have to talk about some things before we something like that fishing thing could happen; that some things would have to change. JT nodded. Later, husband shared with me that he felt very upset and wished he hadn't been as angry in the interaction. I know he felt angry, and it showed, but not significantly, as we were in a crowd of people at the reception.

    This is the part I struggle with. JT was upset that we wouldn't allow him to take Bubby. He sarcastically commented to his grandfather, "Well, I tried!" His grandfather said that maybe he needed to try differently. Then JT said, "It figures you would take his (meaning husband's) side!"

    Then, he left in his very loud truck, driving off in a huff.

    As many of you may recall, the last interaction I had with JT was a one-line text message in the middle of the night that he was drunk. JT has been struggling with underage drinking, smoking, and at least prescription drug use. He does not pay his bills, and he is in constant, short-term sexual relationships with varying women. His attitude is difficult to tolerate, and he takes no responsibility for either his poor choices or the effects those choices have on others.

    I worry about Bubby being with JT for a whole host of reasons, not the least of which are alcohol and drug use, smoking, swearing, knives, guns, lighters, lack of supervision, carelessness, and the types of people JT hangs around with.

    YET . . . JT feels like HE is the one getting the raw deal here? He really thinks it is unfair that we won't let him take Bubby alone someplace with him, given everything that has happened lately? Poor JT? It is amazing to me how he turns this around. My husband said that he does end up feeling as though he is the "bad guy". But why? What parent, in his/her right mind, would allow their young child to be in the care of or in a position to be influenced by a difficult child? It's just another indicator that JT takes zero responsibility for the effects of his behavior on others. He makes a big deal that his parents don't respect him, but he has done nothing to earn it. He feels entitled to our unconditional acceptance of everything he is doing, destructive or not. husband says that he doesn't want to pretend that everything is fine when it is absolutely not. He thinks JT does a great job fooling other people, but says we are not fooled and know what we're really dealing with.
  2. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Stressed I would not have let Bubby go with JT either. If anything had happened you would have felt awful, you are responsible for keeping him safe. Of course JT feels like he is getting the raw deal. Remember one thing though, the young adult brain is still developing. My difficult child took no responsibility for anything until just lately and she is 23. At 20 she was at the height of her irresponsible behavior. by the way my difficult child is and always has been a charmer. Most people would never believe the struggles we have had with her by their interactions with her.
  3. Stress Bunny

    Stress Bunny Active Member

    Nancy, thanks for the reply. I believe I know I should not allow JT to take Bubby, but somehow the drama that JT creates does raise guilt-ridden doubt in me at times. Am I being unreasonable? Wouldn't it be nice if Bubby could enjoy some time with his brother? They could fish like old times. My husband reminds me that I am engaging in wishful thinking, for the way I would like things to be and not the way they actually are.

    I am encouraged very much that your daughter has matured a lot lately. That is very hopeful indeed. I know that brain development is not complete until the mid-20s or so, and probably even later for a lot of difficult children, so that does still give me some hope. JT is very much out of control of himself right now, and if nothing disastrous happens in the next five years, maybe he can turn things around.
  4. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Hang in there, SB. JT may have been embarrassed, lonely or like you said, just mad.

    I believe keeping our kids safe is our #1 job. If your gut tells you it's not safe, trust your gut.

    Maybe you can plan a fishing trip now and see how that goes. I am sure Bubby loves his brother and wants to go fishing with him.

    Oh, it's so sad, the path we are on. All the way around. Big hugs to you SB.
  5. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I could be wrong, but is JT the difficult child who destroyed your father?

    Either way, when my daughter took drugs, she was not allowed to be alone with my younger two.

    I personally think you did the right things.

    difficult children always think they get the wrong end of the stick and tend not to admit that the things that they do make it dangerous for others to be around them, including younger children. Please don't let him guilt you out on this.
  6. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    SB - I would try to plan an activity with JT and Bubby. Maybe something they can "do" together with you in the background. Of course it's my own perspective speaking - but my difficult child's best relationships are with his brothers. For the most part, he takes the role of big brother seriously and he likes to shine when seen through their eyes. Being actively involved with them is good opportunity/practice/exercise for his "better side."

    Also, I had a brother who was a difficult child when I was 10 and he was 18. My parents forbade me from having any contact with him. You know what they say about forbidden fruit - my brother rose to epic like Robin Hood proportions in my eyes...

    I agree he should not be alone with Bubby. I have to say that when things were at their worst with my own difficult child -when difficult child realized we were concerned about his interaction with his little brothers - it hit really close to home with difficult child and he put his best foot forward in order to stay connected to them.
  7. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Of course you were right to say that Bubby couldn't go. difficult child's have a way to manipulate us and make us question ourselves.

    You were doing your job as a parent to protect Bubby and it doesn't matter whether JT or Bubby didn't like it.

  8. Stress Bunny

    Stress Bunny Active Member

    I'm so glad everyone agrees that it would be a bad idea to let Bubby hang out with JT unsupervised. Sometimes JT is so convincing in his indignity, that I actually question myself. I know intellectually it would be a bad idea, and yet, my heart wishes things were different. JT knows my mommy heart hurts, and he exploits that.

    I have mixed feelings about seeing JT at all. I don't know how to interact with him when he's living such a horrid lifestyle. Plus, his attitude can be taken in only small doses. I don't want to pretend that nothing is wrong. My husband has had it with JT and really doesn't want any contact at all unless and until he makes changes in his life. Meanwhile, JT plays the victim role. Poor little JT has parents who don't want to be around him right now. Never mind the drugs and alcohol, cigarettes, porn, guns, knives, foul language, constantly changing sexual partners, jail, harassing phone calls from creditors, disrespect, narcissism and complete selfishness. I guess we're just supposed to accept all of that.

    MWM, you may be thinking of someone else's difficult child who destroyed his father. But I so appreciate your thoughts about protecting younger children from older difficult children. You are so right about their perception of getting the short end of the stick and failing to acknowledge their role in anything. JT NEVER acknowledges any of this. In his world, he is almost superhuman. I'm not kidding. He thinks of himself as bigger than life and others as inferior. That's why he is always so shocked in disbelief that anyone would not think well of him. It's very strange, and this is part of his mental health problems, I think.

    Signorina, you have a great point about forbidden contact leading to fantasy perceptions. I don't want that. We may need to arrange some sort of supervised visit to prevent this. As I said above, I struggle with being around JT for any period of time, so it's hard.
  9. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    SB, I think you have nailed the two sides of the coin with your post above.

    WE love THEM, so it hurts us not to see them. We are operating at a completely different frequency than they are. We're on one channel, the channel of loving our children, no matter what, and they are on a different channel, the channel of getting what they want from us, no matter what.

    For a long time, we will put ourselves through whatever we have to, to see them. No matter the cost to ourselves.

    Because there is also a cost to NOT seeing them. For a long time, it's just more about them than it is about us.

    And even when it is not, we are still torn. For a long time.

    I see us all on different boats on a very long river, moving along, sometimes fast, sometimes rocking slowly, coming around one bend and then another, some days stormy, some slower, moving, moving, moving forward. It's a slow and treacherous ride.

    But what is the alternative? We can pull the boat over to the side at any time, and stop. Many of us do that for a time. Sometimes we need rest, and to just stop for a while.

    We can turn around and try to paddle back upstream. We can go back to the beginning, when the horror was fresh and new. We can do all of the things we have done over again, hoping for a different outcome. That is the hardest trip.

    I have come to believe that the way forward is truly the only way, allowing times for stops and rests at the side, for a while. We have to catch up with ourselves. We have to process all of this horrible, awful stuff, and see who we are in the process.

    We have all changed so much, most of us. We are not the people we once were, and for the most part, I think that is a very good thing. That is the silver lining in the so-dark cloud.

    We have to keep paddling, friends. Find some way, every day, to put our oars in the water, to find sustenance for the journey, from each other, from our books, from our friends, from therapists, groups, prayer, meditation, exercise, activity, kindnesses to ourselves, gratitude lists. These are the tools of change and of empowerment.

    Sometimes I have to just sit still, in the water, with no steam to paddle. But those times are fewer and further between. I am so grateful for that.

    We have to NOT WANT to be stagnant and to be completely crushed by what our adult children are doing and have done. We have to somewhere, somehow, find the motivation and the energy to look up and look toward the horizon and start trying to get there.

    We don't know what the future holds, and it is filled with uncertainty. Let us be kind to ourselves, and accept ourselves and each other as we continue paddling.

    I believe sometimes no contact is the best way to go. I have seen it and heard it here and in Al-Anon. It is a courageous, very hard and act of love for ourselves when we say: No more.

    "I care enough about myself now, today, to enact the 51% rule. I am at least 1% more important than you are."

    Wow, what a lesson that is, for most of us, women, who have been schooled in giving until we have nothing left to give. It is in our very DNA to give, to nurture, to put ourselves aside, and then our culture hammers that nail in good. We are selfish when we care more for ourselves than another person, and especially our very own children. We are selfish to put our own needs first.

    On another thread, we had a rigorous discussion about choice. I know I was so confused for such a long time about this. I wrestled with this and in my wrestling, I did all kinds of things to "help" difficult child. You should have seen me dancing.

    Because if it's genetic, how is there a choice?

    I have learned that there is always a choice. The house is messy and I don't want to clean it, so I can lie on the couch or I can do it anyway. I am tired and depressed today, so I can do something to make that better, or I can lie in bed all day with the covers pulled up over my head. My difficult child wants drugs today, but he still has a choice. He can get support and treatment and help for himself not to use, or he can give in to it again. A difficult child has bipolar disorder so he can get and use the treatment for that disorder or he can choose not to.

    That is the choice. We have a problem, and we can do something to mitigate it, or we can just be the problem. What am I going to choose, today? That is what it comes down to. That is all it comes down to.

    It is not without compassion and love and support and help that I have come to this conclusion---my son will use drugs until HE decides to stop using drugs.

    And so....as the days and weeks and months go by, and he continues the downward path, and I wait until he chooses life instead of a slow death, what am I to do with myself?

    Distance has become my friend. Time and space have become my friend. I have slowly weaned myself from my son, not the other way around. I have slowly learned to let him go. It has been slow and not without its fits and starts and backslides.

    It is so hard to do this, but in the end, whose life are we able to save? There is only one answer to that question.

    SB, husband is clear in his view---he wants no contact until JT starts to shape up. I get that, and I so admire the clarity of that wish and that view which seems to be grounded in anger and disgust and disappointment---all good and necessary emotions to have at times. I have them too, and I am grateful for the strength in anger, for the separation in disgust and for the sadness in disappointment, for those emotions move my boat along a little further, and they are natural and normal.

    It's harder for moms. The clarity is there in flashes, but it doesn't stay. It ebbs and flows and we love them so much.

    SB, you can only do what you can live with. Tomorrow I go to see difficult child in jail at 2 after his hearing in the morning. I don't know what will happen and what I can live with tomorrow. I will go with my plan, but sadly, I have learned that my best plans are no match for difficult child and his ever-changing circumstances. So I will also plan to be shocked and saddened and upset by whatever happens. And maybe someday---and maybe that day might be tomorrow---I will be pleasantly surprised. Who knows? But I will not expect that, any more. My boat is moving toward acceptance. That is where I want to get to---because close to that shore is more and more peace.

    Warm hugs for you SB. You are so incredibly and wonderfully human in your thoughts and feelings and writings. Have a great day today.
  10. Stress Bunny

    Stress Bunny Active Member


    Your post is so helpful to me. I know you understand because you are going through the same, and I think you are further along the river.

    So true. It is devastating to me every day when I realize again and again that I cannot save my son. There is nothing I can do to save him. I can only save myself and my marriage, and hopefully be the kind of parent our younger son needs.

    This whole experience has been extremely traumatic. When the phone rings in the night, I jolt. I wonder if JT has been in hurt, killed, or arrested. I am sick to my stomach, literally, thinking about the descent JT has taken into a lifestyle of alcohol and prescription drugs, not to mention promiscuity and financial irresponsibility. His mental health issues are glaring more than ever. Though JT has caused a great deal of difficulty over the years, just two years ago, upon his graduation with honors from high school and enrollment in college, I had high hopes for him and his future. All of that has changed, and I just don't know if he is going to make it out of this or not. I feel depressed and worried a lot of the time, and I am extremely preoccupied with trying to help our younger boy grow up to be an honorable person with joy and success in his life. I don't think I have the coping skills to manage going through this again with him.

    This week, I am calling to arrange for personal counseling services, and I hope that will be another tool I can use to help myself rise above these difficulties.

    COM, you are an inspiration to me. May everything go as well as possible for you tomorrow. I hope you will be most pleasantly surprised someday with good news about your difficult child. He does have choices, and he can still choose his way to a better place. Though, you have brought up the excellent point that you can prepare yourself to have a good life even if he does not. All the best. You deserve it.
  11. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    SB - Please know that it won't always be this hard.And I hate what I am about to write - but after a while - you do get used to it. (yes, sounds crazy. I know that you want it to be resolved & for him to get better & the idea of getting "used to it" is appalling.)

    I am glad that you are going for counseling - because it will give you some coping skills. My counselor was a sharp dose of reality and he was able to remind me that I had standards and morals that I needed to uphold for my own sanity and as an example for my PCs.

    I could and may have written those exact words. Except, it is now 4 years since my difficult child graduated from HS with honors and his future was bright and shiny ahead of him. My own preoccupation robbed me - and my pcs - of happiness for two years. It got in the way of my relationships with my pcs and with my husband. And it didn't help my difficult child and it didn't change his situation in anyway. When we weren't in crisis mode - I was darting around like a chicken without a head wondering "what's next, what's next, what's next?" I had almost an obsession with staying one step ahead of ANY possibility. I had lawyers & shelters from practically every county stored in my phone, I had contingency plans for my contingency plans.

    None of it came to pass in any way that I could have predicted. It was all a colossal waste of brain time.

    Please don't make my mistake. The pain and the worry will be there - but somehow it will become less acute. Please take care of yourself and don't let difficult child take you down with him. {{{hugs}}}
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  12. Stress Bunny

    Stress Bunny Active Member


    I think I am starting to understand that. I have adapted considerably over the past couple of years. At the start of his college career, I even tried to manage JT's study time. I tried to make sure he wore a helmet on his moped. I tried begging and pleading and calling and checking. Turns out, none of that mattered to him or made any difference whatsoever. It was all very wasted time and energy on my part. And, right now, though I have moved past all of that and detached significantly, I am still spending time and energy emotionally. Hopefully I can apply what I have already learned and take better care of my own mental health and well being. I scheduled an appointment with a counselor, but she is booked for another month yet. That's okay, I guess. This is a long-term thing, and there is no particular huge crisis at the moment.

    I am listening, believe me. I have been blessed with a smart mind, as my mother always said, so I am using it to learn from the experiences of others on this site. I am sure I would have made and be continuing to make many more mistakes had I not found this wonderfully helpful and supportive place.

    In reading your signature, your experience and mine are eerily similar; strikingly so. I do hope to let go of the fear and resentment too. It is a grieving process in some ways. But, I have much for which to be thankful, not the least of which are the folks on this site who are here for me guaranteed. Thank you!
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  13. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    It IS a grieving process.
  14. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Yes it does get easier.... I think you did absolutely the right thing not letting your younger son go with JT.....you need to protect him from the antics of JT. We have had to do that with our younger daughter.... and that is one of the main reasons we have not let my difficult child come and live again at home. There are other good reasons (like our own sanity) but the reason that I could stick with in my weaker moments was the need to protect my daughter from his shenanigans.

    The pain and worry is there but I think with time, counseling, and support groups like alanon, you learn better ways to cope with it. And you learn that you have to take care of yourself, you have a right to live your life.

    I know at one point I made a conscious decision not to let my difficult child and his choices ruin my life! He has his choices and there is nothing I can do about those but I can choose to enjoy my life.

    And I do...and in moments of crisis my angst and obsession about him is less than it used to be.

    So the key is to take care of yourself, find things you enjoy doing and do them. We love to travel and so we have taken several trips this year.... and yes we have worried some about him, but not enough to keep us from going or enjoying ourselves! Even this last trip when we found out he was in jail again while we were gone, I still had a good time!!!! Yes I might have relaxed more if he was doing well but I still had a good time with my husband and daughter.

    It was coming home that got hard because then I had to face things.... but still he is not going to ruin my life. And dont let JT ruin yours!


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