difficult son and daughter updates

Weary Mother

Well, I was amazed to get a text from my daughter which among other things she said that she was considering going to therapy. She apparently has realized that she is dependent upon relationships and wants to deal with it so that she can become released from the anxiety of always seeking approval. Wow!! In June she was literally homeless and had a van that would not run due to needing repair and is so old that I wonder when it will quit. Now she has a small apartment, a part time job (low pay), and her van runs. Now she is thinking of therapy and has actually sought medical help for her many many medical problems (diabetes, high cholesterol etc.). I now have hope but am not yet ready to quit looking for the other shoe. My son, in prison, is talking about wanting to have a relationship when he gets out and had sent me an email a while ago that turned into an email hell. Now he says that he has thought over things and wants us to be close again. Of course I know that caution is the word here, and that if he gets out and does what he needs to do and can become a good citizen, I am ready but I won't take any more of his drugs, or nasty behavior and have told him so. It has been a hard last 6 mo. with these two and honestly, I have gotten so used to not having a family relationship with them that I think it would be more of an adjustment to have one than not. I am ready to just go on, and now both of them seem to be rethinking that for themselves. I don't get it.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Sounds promising Jodie. Stay the course, you're doing great.

My experience was similar, when I let go, when I detached, when I accepted what is, when I stopped enabling, my daughter began the task of taking care of herself. I didn't get it either, but ........it did change.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Jodi, that is wonderful news about your daughter. She is moving on the right track.

I have gotten so used to not having a family relationship with them that I think it would be more of an adjustment to have one than not.
This is how I feel about my son. He has said before that he would like to have a relationship with me but then something happens and he's down and out, it's at these times that he lashes out at me. I think it's like "misery loves company" he tries to drag me down with him. I honestly don't know what a "normal" relationship with him would look like. To be quite honest, it kind of freaks me out to think about it. Of course I would like to have a good relationship with him, just not sure if it will ever happen. The ups and downs with him are exhausting!


Well-Known Member
I am ready to just go on, and now both of them seem to be rethinking that for themselves.
That happened with my son, too. When I had had enough and did not call him. Was glad he left my town. Would not say more than 2 words if he called me was when he changed somewhat towards me.

He decided he would do the little bit it required in order to have somebody in his life. He has force everybody else except us to withdraw from him.

The problem now is somewhat different. He wants to be near us for the support we offer, and because his life is safer and more secure and comfortable near us.

But the problem is he wants this, on his own terms, which is his rules, not ours. We surrendered for a while. (I know.) And now that we are sticking up for ourselves life is a living hell.

He is not being aggressive, but passive aggressive. Today we got him out of our house, into a property we own. We have set very, very firm conditions. Few but non-negotiable. No marijuana or other drug; no people invited in the space; he must be productive.

I have imposed these conditions too (he pays no rent and the only reason for us that he be in any space of ours, is to better his life. I question, really, if I have the right to impose the following, but who wants to see their child die, from poor judgment about medical conditions and their treatment:

Be in therapy and obtain medical treatment for a chronic illness.

I am unsure if I should make it a condition that he negotiate payment plans on his debts.

I have told him over and over again: you are not here near be because I operate either a homeless shelter or a residential treatment program. You are here to work to make your life better.

Except it all gets back to: you can take a horse to water....

I think you are doing great. (And your kids seem to be doing good, too.)

Weary Mother

copabanana: I believe that my son has come to his conclusion too of wanting a relationship with me because as you said about your son, he has burned all his bridges with everyone else and he may see me as the only remaining place to land. I too want a relationship with him, but the type of relationship I want is to not be the rescuer and keeper of his well being. If having a relationship with him means being responsible for helping him with a place to live, and a way to live we may have issues. On the other hand, I would be put once again in the position of my own self to see him suffer so it is a catch 22 and as I posted before some of my motives have been to avoid MY pain of seeing him suffer. I am encouraged that he is at least willing to have a relationship and possibly it will get better. He is currently waiting for a bed in the drug program in prison and in the mean time they have put him to work hanging siding on the outside of the prison, which is good. He is in a very low security part of the prison and it is actually located outside the prison compound. So his daily living has gotten better since he was transferred, but the waiting for an open bed is apparently not going to be quick. I am trying to maintain my life and not look ahead too much to what could affect me, because it can be depressing, almost to the point that I could get discouraged about my own future, after all is this what I have to look forward to for the rest of my life? A son who will suffer and need help as long as I am alive? I don't want to think like that, but at the same time I realize this is a possibility and I have to be able to find hope for myself if so. And I am like you too, I don't want to operate a homeless shelter, we have a couple of them near here that he can take advantage of. He will have a year of reporting probation to do and if he manages to get through that he could theoretically go live anywhere he wants at that time. So, until then I will take it a day at a time and thanks for your support, all of you. I believe this website has saved my sanity!!


Well-Known Member
It is sad when our adult kids basically want us because they need us, not because they chose to because they love us so much. I have that with my oldest. He didn't call me much the ten years he was married. He started calling when she left and took him to court and he had nobody else. If he wins the case maybe he won't call except in times of his stress. Since he can sustain living quarters and a job he won't hang around for those reasons.

Saddest part? I won't miss him.

I am a slow learner. Obviously. I am learning that the only reason all of us are here are to offer love and acceptance in our hearts, but that we can only sustain ourselves. If we need our kids to be happy or to be happy with us for us to rise out of bed each morning with a smile, we are not truly alive. I am kind of tired if being everyone's shoulder mostly during trouble. I have to be my own shoulder.

I can't wait to RV and truly live my own life! I hope you use your time left on earth with self love. Our lives are over when we hand them to anyone else.


Weary Mother

somewhreoutthere, you touch on a subject that I have actually felt guilty about. I no longer need my children and at times resent them, not just because they have difficult lives but that is it an intrusion into my life. If they had normal lives I would actually just feel OK seeing them once in a while, but the closeness we had when we were all younger is gone. And I don't miss it much. Occasionally I think of those days when my daughter was in high school or jr. high and we would go shopping, cook dinner and go places. But I cant live like that now, it would be nice to have that at times but not everyday. This stuff is complicated for sure.


Well-Known Member
the type of relationship I want is to not be the rescuer and keeper of his well being.
What you write here could be the manifesto of this forum.

Let me write a few words about how I think about this from my own perspective.

First I will say: how can this not be the principal goal we hold? It was pointed out to me recently that the BIBLE no less urges young adults to move apart from their families, to separate, to go their own. To make their own lives. And multiply. Or something like that. And do it far away, at that. In Genesis.

I cannot remember exactly the passage but my first thought, is this: my mother and my son, must have not read this part. Well, actually, they have not read any part.

So, here we are: the bible underscores detachment parenting. And I truly get how many mothers before me, billions, lived this reality. Except that cold, harsh reality impelled these mothers to push out and away their children. My maternal great-grandparents, each has 12 to 15 children.

Mothers had to have food for the little ones. The big kids had to step up. In M's family there were 12 kids, I think. M was out working by age 5 and left home at 13. That was pretty much the case for my grandparents, too.

What I am saying here is that our society I think encourages a long childhood--to keep the number of people in the labor force, for one--and to support the technical, advanced training that workers require in a high-tech society.

But our own kids somehow do not get the message. They get the part of encouraging long childhoods, but do not get the part about eventual independence.

At this point in my life, I have to acknowledge that I must have created at least some of the pre-conditions for this attitude and expectation by my son.

So, recognizing, I cannot change him, I can only change myself.

My son last night spent his first night in a space we own away from here--my own house where I live. Can you believe my own house felt empty? I missed him. Despite the stress and constant hassle, I had grown use to his presence at the other end of the house.

This is not normal. I am not normal. I have to accept that.

M said this morning: I think J smoked marijuana with the kids next door. I could tell by the way he looked.

What can we do? What can I do, I asked.

Nothing. When it comes time for the drug test, and he fails, he leaves.

We have set everything up so that he can take care of himself and be productive. He will pay only utilities. No other costs. We are fixing the place up, nice.

What in the world can I do if he does not want for himself? How many kids on this forum might appreciate their own house, rent free, to begin again? So that there own efforts go solely into their welfare?

Actually, not many. Because people's lives are made by their own efforts. The bible says so. Mothers can try to give them a boost up--and with many kids, this works. A defining characteristic of our own children, the difficult ones, is that it does not work--trying to help them. Instead they grab what we give them, and like my Yorkshire Terrier Romy, runs away with the morsel in his mouth, and only returns to grab more.

We do this for ourselves, so that we can once again push them away, as we need to do.

I do not doubt that my son wants an easier and better life. But he wants his own life, not the one imposed by his mother. I will have to send him away.

I know this. But even I realize there is not one bit of choice I have in the manner. Every. single. thing I am doing is to build up the strength in myself to do what I have to do.

Those mothers 120 years ago--had to do right off, what they had to do. There were 8 or 10 more kids, clamoring for the food. For us, with enough food, it is harder. But we must. As if our lives depend on it. Because they do.


Well-Known Member
Jodie, I adore being with my normal kids, but I don't allow them to be the reason so wake up each day. I believe we are given them for a while to nurture and care for and then our days after that are supposed to be for us. I think we can wrap ourselves around our children to both our detriments.

About our struggling kids 24 and way older... If they are 24 and can't do well in our house they just can't or won't do well anywhere, but we will be gone some day and they need to learn how to deal without us, even if they keep up bad habits and stay homeless. Then they learn how to be homeless and eat, but they can't cry to us when we are no longer here. The sooner they either get it or learn to live homeless, if that is their choice, the wiser they will be. I think k it's smart if you to let your son go. He is well aware that his life doesn't work. Only he can change it and he's no spring chicken...

I can't imagine being 71 and not just having a blast of my own. We deserve it by 50 in my opinion. It's not like we haven't given them our all and second chances and thirty chances and they just did nothing with them. How many chances do they get while our resources deplete and our stress makes us ill?

I strongly believe it is our time now. Our struggling adult children can access our love and wisdom while we are still here. in my opinion they have no right to our very lives. Jodie, grab your man and travel and have fun. Show your kids what fun it is to age ;)
Last edited: