Do you throw them out? What are YOUR feelings ? Explain your detachment.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Star*, Feb 27, 2011.

  1. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I didn't want to continue to hijack Beans thread and she had been more than kind when things went off in different directions. (Thanks Bean very much) Her topic however brought up several different excellent questions that I felt as part of the Parents Emeritus would be a great topic for discusson and reading for those that are having a hard time detaching or reaching a conclusion in a very difficult decision regarding your adult children.

    By adult I mean physically 18-21 and older because mentally most of our adult children are mentally (emotionally) delayed.. That being said, it seems that a lot of new parents to the board come here and ask "What can we do now our child is 18, 21, and older?

    Seems the most common questions we ask ourselves are "Should we throw them out? Is this where I detach? What exactly is TOUGH LOVE? How do you know when to detach? If I throw him out, I'll never see him again. I'm worried if I detach he/she will die without my support. What then, I'll blame myself forever, or I can't live with that thought, I'd rather live the chaos I'm putting myself, and the rest of my family through now! I'm the only one that has kept my son/daughter out of prison so far - without our intervention they would surely be in the system, if we can just keep them from jail eventually they will 'get it' and we'll have saved them from a prison/jail record so they can get a good job." All very viable questions. All thoughts that ran through my mind at least.

    I wanted to respond to AHF's post - it was on the tail end of a discussion regarding adult children's living situations and their sobriety. This is her post:

    I'm not talking about ignoring someone for 25 years. I'm responding to the Q of whether you throw him or her out on his or her fanny. To the Q of "What if he dies because I did this?", I am trying--with little success--to convince myself that at the age of 21, my difficult child is not going to die because of something I do or fail to do. That all of his choices are leading him somewhere, and that I can have as much patience as humanly possible. But that exercising that patience to (for instance) continue to house and feed a slothful abuser while hoping that therapy and medications and the maturing brain will combine to kick him into gear at age 26 may NOT be the most helpful or risk-free decision. I'm not criticizing anything anyone else is doing. I'm just noting that while the brain may mature late, habits are formed early. If all the positive stuff we do doesn't change those habits, then the risky, negative, door in the face may be either a) the best thing, or b) an unnecessary and painful step that could've been avoided if we'd just stayed the course until the kid "grew up."

    Thought it might be good for everyone to give your ideas here -

    Thanks everyone!
  2. elizabrary

    elizabrary Member

    Twice I let Kat move back in- the first time she and BD were evicted and she was 8 months pregnant. The second time she left BD. I will never let her move back in with me, even with the baby. She demonstrated both times that she is irresponsible and unable to live by my rules and respect me, so I am done. She is one of those people who will take and take and take and never appreciate the help she is given or learn from past mistakes. Perhaps she will grow out of this one day, but I'm not holding my breath. Do I worry? Every single day I am worried about her and the baby. However, with her gone my head is clear and I am much healthier, happier and mentally sound, even though I have that constant nagging worry hanging over me. In my experience she only learns when she is smashed over the head with her problems and figures her own way out of them. For years I tried to cushion the blows, but it did not help her improve her situation. I hate it, but I truly believe this is best for both of us.
  3. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    OK I will bite.... I am sure I have said a lot of this in other threads in other places, but here it will be in one place.. I am not totally sure what I would do if I didn't know that drug use was invovled.... so let me say I am thinking of dealing with a young adult with a drug problem. I think it might be different with clear mental illness, or other issues. Through my work I have seen several cases of parents trying to keep helping (or rather enabling) their kids even though they were using drugs. What I saw is that all that did was make the drug use worse.... I don't think kids with drug problems (I am not talking about the occasional joint or drink but one that is clearly using very regularly) grow out of it. As long as they can get by in their life and still party they least that has been my observation and then became my experience.

    Believe me even with some good observations under my belt I still did my share of enabling. We tried to help my son not get into too much trouble with the law. He kept getting into various kinds of stupid trouble. Indirectly drug related I think but not directly so. Finally though after he was 18 he kept flagrantly violating our rules, taking our car without permission etc. I came to the realization that we could no longer live with the tension and chaos all of this was creating and in fact he was getting the completely wrong life message. Fact is you cannot live your life doing whatever the hell you please, breaking the law over and over again and not end up in big trouble. We were letting him do just that but it was not going to work for him long term. Better he get that now rather than later.

    Finally we decided we had enough and we decided to talk to him. At that point he got real nasty and threatening. I was never afraid he would come after me and hurt me, but it was coming to a head that if I went toe to toe with him he would hurt me. That is no way to live. I went to the police, arranged for them to come at a certain time and serve him with a no trespass order. I think my son was pretty shocked. He called a friends mom who came and picked him up and he lived over there.

    At the advice of my therapist i kept in touch with him via text message. He did not respond at all at first but my purpose was to let him know we still loved him and we were still here for him but that he could not live at home. I am glad I did that because it gave me some comfort that I was not just turning my back on him. After a few days he called us to ask us to bring him some clothes and stuff which we did. At some point in that process we did meet the parents of where he was staying.... and made nice with them. It would not have been my choice of places for him to stay but at least he was not living on the street. At some point he and another kid decided to camp out somewhere..... that resulted in him getting arrested. He did call us when he was arrested and we did not bail him out. I did go to court for his arraignment and was a bit disgusted at his attitude.... a night in jail was a lark and he was released. Over the next couple of months he got arrested for stupid stuff a couple of more times. Then while we were in Hawaii he went back to his old TBS for a couple of weeks and finished the minimal amount of work he needed to do to get his HS diploma. We were very happy and hopeful that he would turn things around. So after he came back we let him move home. With a clear understanding of the rules for him to be here.... and it was not long before he was violating all our rules again! So we kicked him out again. And again he was arrested for really stupid stuff. He called us at 3am and we did pick him from the PD because they were releasing him and we dropped him off where he was staying......and then I took him to court that Monday morning. I had told him this time he might get his bail revoked and go to jail. I mean really how many times can you break the law, be released, just to break it again? Eventually, the system just like us, has enough. And that is what happened. His bail was revoked and he spent two weeks in jail. We did get a lawyer at that point because now he has a lot of charges against him - most of them pretty petty but they add up. We had a very tough conversation when he was in jail that he could not come home.... he knew he could not really keep living where he was living and did not know where he would go.... we told him he could not come home until he had treatment. The kid hated jail with a passion. That was a huge wake up call for him. He is not a kid who has ever handled boredom well.... and he was bored to death. So with our lawyer he agreed to a plea agreement which unfortunately for him included pleaing to a felony charge and getting a suspended sentence, but did allow him to go out of state to a rehab program I had found and we paid for. He has finished the 90 days and is now in a sober living situation and looking for work. We are still helping him out financially until he gets work.

    So all that is the long way round of saying that I got over my hopes and dreams for him and realized the most important thing to me was that he live.... the drug use was going to end in death eventually and so how could I help in that regard. Enabling him to keep on using was not going to help him stop using drugs. Letting him fall and fall hard, and end up in jail was the absolutely only and best thing we could do for him. It was one of the worst times in my life. having a kid in jail is just heartbreaking, especially as all his classmates are going off to college. Yes he has a felony on his record that he is going to have to work with ..... but at least for now he is clean and sober.

    So I think the things to think about are 1) If you are protecting your kid from the law and from life are you really helping him? 2) What kind of message are you sending him by doing this? 3) If he (or she) has a drug problem is what you are doing helping him to continue to use, or helping him to really stop?

    My feeling now is that we are willing to help our son with his recovery... we absolutely wil not help him to use drugs. We are helping him out financially right now with some good safeguards in place (therapist and the sober house). We will stop doing that if he starts using again or puts himself in a situation (like come back to his old environment) where he would use again.

    It is hard sometimes to know where to draw the line.
  4. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Like as been said, dealing with mental illness alone and drug abuse (alone) might be a little different (but not by much, really).
    Surely, most...if not all of us...are likely to make the offer to our adult children for help. That help would come in the form of the services of a mental health professional, rehab or both. We always make the offer of mental health services and medication open to our adult daughter. And, by the way, I wasn't as strict with her prior to the age of 21 as I am now. I think, as you said, they are so developmentally immature...that the age of 18 is just a random number and 21 is at least a little closer to a more appropriate age to consider them old enough to know what is going on in this world. Our daughter moved out between the ages of 18 and 21 and it was a really good thing for my husband and myself. I do believe that I would have invited her to leave at 21, whether she wanted to or not. She has had great difficulty living on her own. I think each family has to make a personal decision as to what is appropriate in terms of help. Since our daughter suffers from mental illness and to a certain extent has issues related to a physical injury. We offer her some very limited help and she is also on disability. We DO expect her to do what she can in the world in terms of caring for herself, trying to get part time work, staying out of trouble...etc. However, she falters often and is faltering very badly at this time. We will not rescue her. If she asks for help, and if wont hurt our family to give her that help, we will offer her help. I have no guilt because of any of this. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that great efforts have been made to help her. I have moments that my mommy hearts hurts badly and I do wish things were different. But, I quickly pull myself together and move forward. Coming here helps a little as I know you folks understand the tremendous heartache this all can be at times.
  5. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Things being what they are...

    husband is a bit waffly when it comes to confrontation. He does not like chaos, so he's let Onyxx run roughshod over him. Recently, he's picked up the ball (mostly) and she Not at all. However...

    Since we are going through with the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) - assuming nothing ELSE happens - I can hope that this will be what she needs to help. because if it's not? The minute she's legally old enough? Buh-bye. We will help her - if she helps herself. But that's a few years into the future.

    Jett, on the other hand, has issues that are far different from Onyxx's. And there is a "favoritism" thing - we will do everything we can to get him to the point where he is able to live on his own, but I'm not thinking that will be at age 18. Onyxx will see it as favoritism, but frankly, she physically hurt people for YEARS before I put my foot down, before I came on the scene. Jett hasn't. She has done (may be doing) drugs - not Jett. And on and on. Different people, different issues, different treatment. I'm sorry, but fair does not mean equal.
  6. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    "Fair" to me means that each child gets what he needs at the time he needs it. Miss KT needed more direction and supervision than either Son #1 or #2, and Son #2 had considerably more freedom as a teenager than Miss KT did.

    As for throwing them out/detaching? So far, Miss KT is doing well at college, and we are willing to help her out whenever we can because of that. If she wasn't putting in effort, or was doing something illegal, she'd be dealing with those consequences on her own.
  7. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Adding in our own personal experience here.

    Dude was the product of a divorced and abusive home. His biofather and I were married 3 years before Dude came along. The relationship lasted 13 years, his biofather is a sociopath/pscyhopath, BiPolar (BP), drug/alcohol abuser and is violent to people/women/animals. That being said, I took Dude at 4 went into hiding, and got him into therapy. I had been in therapy for a year prior to the separation.

    At age 5 Dude was put into the State Hospital. From there it was a non-ending cycle of residential homes, therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, meetings, IEP's, family counseling, counseling, hospitalizations, suicide watches, medication tweeks, group homes, therapeutic boarding schools, locked psychiatric facilities, shadows, being black-listed from day cares (lol - well now it's lol), school meetings, rhino skin, warrior Mom status, contained classes, "oh not DUDE in my main-stream class.", therapy, EMD therapy, art therapy, yoga, extra curricular activities - NOT, mediation, learning how to lock up everything you own, buying a safe?, being shot at with an arrow, holy water, IS THAT YOUR AK-47 ON FACE BOOK OMG?, juvenille court, Department of Juvenile Justice, regular court, county jail, suicide ward, 30 years to life in prison, "Um I think you should turn on the news helicopters are chasing your son down Main St. he's running from the State Police." Stroke (oh good it's NOT a heart attack, finding the silver lining in every situation, having SWAT spray your dog AND you in the face with pepper spray AND invade your home, spending your entire meager savings on your sons probation fees, lawyer fees, gas money to and from the near out of state court, and gas to and from all the placements, and then have your son take his biofathers advice - and say 'forget you court system I only have 3 months left on a 3 years felony probation and if I don't show up for this I'll probably get six years in prison', and in the end finally having your son move away to live with the x that you spent countless, countless hours in therapy over because he is a despicable being who is a hard-core drug user who upon having your son live there? Tried to beat your son to a bloody pulp? - and in the end kicking him out and finally realizing there is NOTHING you can do about it. is grand...........BUT.........

    Despite my fears of - "If I kick him out - will he ?
    End up dead, in prison, on drugs, or booze? Will his Father kill him or hold him for ransom - Will he eat, will he starve, get an education, ever find a job? Make something out of his life? Forgive me, Call me? Ever Talk to me Again?"

    He -----(at age 20 now)

    Is not dead, has gotten a few tickets, but has actually been commended by law enforcement for being NOTHING like his biofather where as he is so turned off by what he has witnessed in the drug world? He can't stand it. I'm pretty sure he's had a drink or a drunk, but I don't think it appealed to him much and when food vs. booze? Food wins out. He's actually had to crawl in dumpsters for food, slept out in the park, been homeless - didn't like it much. Did it break my heart? Not as much as it broke his and when he admitted in broken tones that he had it good and never realized it? I'm not sure if I cried because my heart was sad or happy. As far as find a job? Well you have to have a car in order to do that, and you have to pay your tickets in order to do that, and in order to do that you have to have a job, and a car. What to do, what to do? And you know what? Your "BUDS" don't like to take you all over for free - they want GAS money - and you know what? In order to do pay them? You have to have a job. So that's a new reality. And to hear the words "I have to find a job Momma." - I mean he's not lazy - he wants to work, but for him to get a license? He has a mental block about his brother burning being the wheel and dying so - maybe THAT will haunt him enough to get him back into therapy? He said for now he'll ride his bike. And as far as dumpster diving? I told him he probably qualified for FS, and after a year and a half - and starving? He agreed to go talk to someone - about Disability, FS - possibly getting into school for GED or tech school. I nearly fell out of my chair when he called and said he did go talk to someone. He's in FL and they don't give you FS without helping you get a job - so he's excited about that. He has a caseworker and he laughed and said "Who would have ever thought I'd be happy about having a caseworker?"

    I think for us? The fact that the chaos is removed? Gives us the ability to like him, not just love him. Love is unconditional but when you can't like your adult child or constantly feel unappreciated or stressed about HAVING to do things instead of wanting to do things for them? It makes a huge difference in how you react or interact with them.

    I know as far as I am concerned if Dude were on drugs, and over the age of 18? (and I'm not discounting alcohol as a drug) but after having lived the life I did with my x and going through all the suicide attempts (over 22) and the rehabs (countless), all the Anon's, and the therapists - short lived as they were? I finally gave up and went to the actual AA, NA, CA meetings and spoke with recovering alcoholics, and drug addicts. What I learned from them helped me make my mind up in leaving my x, and it would forever cement my mind in my opinions about my position with addicts. Everyone that had at least 3 years sobriety told me one word "Leave" - When I asked why? They said "Whether I stayed and supported him or I left and got a life? If he was serious about beating his addiction he would do it with or without me, and it had nothing to do with me. My leaving wouldn't make it or break it, and if it did? He wasn't serious about his sobriety after all. This was a war with himself, not with outside elements. He would have to handle whatever problems the world threw at him every day - straight...and the chances for him to continue to be sober? With his track record? Very slim - he wasn't serious about rehab, he was there to avoid incarceration every time. At 56? He has nothing and has been given more chances by more people to wipe the slate clean with more money to start over, homes, cars, cash - business - a family he threw away- and every time..each and every time? He threw it away for drugs. I'm so glad I did not waste the last 16 years of my life waiting on him to make something happen for me and my son. I'm very sad for him, but I'm glad I walked away - and I'm glad to see that after all these years my son is getting a chance to make those observations for himself.

    Maybe with this years of therapy under his hat that I was sure did absolutely NO good - and his recent observations, plus the tough love and our final sacrifice of throwing him to the world? It will all come together for him. I tell everyone I know - It's funny, he's not in my hands any more, I pray every day, I put him in much bigger and better hands, and the odd thing is - the last place I put him is probably the first place I should have.

    - I thought I had - I guess I interfered

    And you?
  8. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    Having your 2-days-til-he's-18 year old try to run you down with his power wheel chair in front of his 5 year old twin sibs after you take the plastic bag off his head in his 5th "suicide" attempt of the week didn't exactly make it easy but for us to "detach". It did make it very, very clear that we could not keep him in our home and maintain any delusions about it being "safe".

    I say delusions deliberately because I think that it is not always only our children who are struggling with mental illness. I think we became entangled in our son's delusional thinking and it was difficult to even realize we had lost touch with reality. I think if you go through enough trauma with your difficult child may also be experiencing PTSD or other reactions that are typical among people who have endured abuse and/or trauma.

    This is why it is so important for parents to have a forum like this to come to when they are struggling with these kinds of decisions. I know we had become terribly isolated by the struggles of parenting a difficult child, especially one who was dual diagnosed. We had no one to turn to who really knew what it was like to walk in our shoes. Or that could be trusted to hear the unvarnished version. Even the mental health professionals didn't believe us until he was in foster care and threatened other children and caregivers.

    I wish I had had a place like this to turn to then. It is hard to maintain the delusional thinking about appropriate boundaries with adult children when other parents who have been on the same path and come out the other end are offering advice and a different vision based on painful personal experience.

    I believe that it will always hurt to separate from our children. Even if they are easy child's it hurts. We must, for our children's sake, not indulge our longing for the baby we once held so close to our heart. We must find a way to come to peace with the fact that this child has not grown in the way we had hoped. But if they are to become independent adults we must release them to the world of adults. To do any less is to undermine their sense of themselves as adults and sabotage their efforts, however messed up they may be, to grow up and take their place in the world.

    I have come to believe that it is my job to treat my difficult child's as much like easy child's as possible. To do any less is to send them the message that I expect them to fail, that I believe them to be less capable than other young adults, that their past is their future. How can we expect them to meet the expectation of a "normal" standard of behavior if we do not hold them accountable? How will they ever KNOW what is normal behavior if they have always been able to push the boundaries back and sideways and upside down? Unless your difficult child is severely impaired by mental/physical illness or developmental disabilities, is cooperating with treatment and is not a safety risk to you and your family members, then I believe he/she should be going about the same tasks as other young adults his/her age. And experiencing the same consequences for their behavior as other young adults would experience.

    I know this is a simplistic answer. There are times when with difficult child 2 that we have not applied that standard due to his physical illness issues or because we were tired or because we just weren't sure of our ground.

    But the question then becomes - how often are we discarding "normal" expectations? Once in a blue moon? or every single day, all day long? When does making an exception to the rule become the rule?

    Life is often hard and painful. I think we are making it more painful for our children if we do not hold them accountable for their actions and inactions. Yes, disaster may follow when you make them leave. Disaster may follow anyways. If you need an example of resilience in the face of disaster I can tell you about our difficult child 1 who has survived 9 years - much of it on the street by his choice - despite multiple severe physical handicaps and mental illness. We see him now more often than we ever did before. Those visits are short but good. We are able to spend time together having fun if only for the length of a movie and dinner. If you had asked us 9 years ago if we thought that would ever happen we would have told you no. We bought his grave site when he was 17 because we were afraid he wouldn't live to see 19. He will be 27 this month.

    If we had continued to let our difficult child 1 destroy his relationship with us, destroy our home, finances, marriage and threaten his siblings well-being we would almost certainly not be where we are today.

    There is nothing like the feeling you get when you achieve what once seemed impossible. Do not rob your child of that victory. To soar they must first fly. We must let them go.


    Last edited: Feb 28, 2011
  9. Mom2oddson

    Mom2oddson Active Member

    All three of my kids are different. So the experience of each has been different. But what I've learned in detaching from one has helped with the others. 2 left/got thrown out, 1 grew up and moved away.

    Ant was the first to leave. mother in law moved him in with her right before he turned 16. That experience rocked us to the core. We (as in husband & I) barely made it through that patch of time. Ant went down a dark road and there was nothing we could do about it. When mother in law kicked Ant out a year later, he moved back home and we said the rules are still the same (tough rules: Pass your classes, help around the house). Four months later, on his 17th B-day he says he's an adult and he can do as he pleases. We said fine - as an adult, our wallet is closed to you. He moved out and in with his girlfriend. And we stepped back. Our motto has been "if you love something, let it go...." And he came back and asked for help. He's clean and sober now, isn't even smoking cirgarettes! But, he's been a lump on a log doing nothing. {{Sign}}..... so we are giving him a couple of months to figure it out on his own and if not, he'll be thrown into the world to either sink or swim. Not easy, but we know that he can swim if he wants to.

    easy child was the next to leave, but it was to head off to college. What I learned in detaching from Ant helped me let go of easy child. And in letting go of easy child and letting him deal with his own life lessons, I've gotten better at letting Ant learn from his life lessons. If I'm going to be okay with easy child doing stupid college things and having to deal with the consequences on his own, then I should learn to be okay with Ant doing the same.

    Steph is the hardest one of them all. She is the one that probably won't come back. And she's the one that most likely will die from her choices. Does it break my heart?....into a bazillion pieces. If she ever comes to me and asks for help - for mental health, rehab, counseling - SURE! For money, to live at home - NO WAY! I doubt she will ever ask for help. She has no problems - just ask her. As far as communication - I sent her a text if there is something she should know - like Mason passing. Other than that, she can text me, but she doesn't.

    I feel like I've hardened my heart so much toward her that I'm just a mean person. But that is my feelings, I know that I've had to get to this point in order to continue on with my life. I can't stop Steph from doing drugs. I can't make Steph get the mental health she needs. I can't do anything for her...except what Star did...I put her in much bigger and better hands. And if she should die.....I believe those bigger and better hands will have taken her home to keep her safe from herself.
  10. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    I had very little to prepare me for having a difficult child. daughter was nearly a easy child (looking back, I see many signs...) until 8th grade and her full-blown difficult child qualities did not surface until age 17. Shifting from "normal" parent thinking to warrior parent thinking has been a struggle. It took a long time for me to realize that the rules are different now and, without the help and support of DEX (aka Mr. Ostrich), I must navigate this new planet on my own.

    My daughter engages in very risky, impulsive behavior - mostly sexual in nature. She also has huge, huge issues - as most of our difficult child's have - with lying. This has been a life long problem with her and I used to believe I could get her to snap out of it through punishment and consequences. Of course, that never worked and, even when the consequences come from the real world, she seems unable to shake this.

    She does not work, has no desire to work, claims she is starting school in March (heard this before) and somehow seems to have enough money for gas and cigarrettes.

    The first time she left to live with Mr. Ostrich, I felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest. I feared for what she might do under his lack of supervision... and she did plenty of things, but she survived. She bounced back and forth between us for awhile and, each time, it got a little easier to let her go. With each dramatic departure, I saw - a little more clearly - that her actions were HERS and if she is to keep safe, she will have to make a decision to be safe.

    She was with me last week (amusingly, Mr. Ostrich, who allows boyfriend sleepovers would not allow her to stay at his place while he was gone ....because she is a slob and his cleaning lady was coming!) and she was very respectful of my hideously unreasonable rules. We actually had a very good time, and I miss her ....but I know she isn't coming back, and I know it's better this way.

    I still fear for her safety, but I've stopped taking resonsbility for what I cannot control. I am baffled by the lying, but she will have to work through that on her own. I wonder if she will be able to EVER be on her own, but I no longer try to interfere with DEX and his enabling.

    I've learned to love what is and let go of what I hoped would be.

  11. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I think that my thoughts on detachment differ for each of my children just as my love for each of my children is special. Detachment from L is getting easier because she seems to have at least found a way to get what it is that she wants out of life. Marrying a rich man is not what most of us want for our daughters in this day and age. We want them to be strong and independent. But, it seems likely that she may marry this man that she is seeing now, and he truly seems to love her. He also seems to be about our age, and I don't think that she has the capacity to really love anyone other than herself. But, I know that if she can try, having enough money and having a man that dotes on you is a wonderful opportunity to grow into a caring person.

    My detachment from M is different. I do love him and I worry about him. I try to keep in contact with him. Sadly, he seems to have still not made any decisions about what he wants from his life. That makes me feel lost when I try to talk with him. Under the circumstances, distance between us is a good thing. I never want to make my kids feel bad about themselves, and when I don't know what they are trying to accomplish I worry that I might say something that puts them into victim mode without ever knowing what it is that I said. So, as much as I miss and grieve for M, the distance is the only way to make it work now. Although I DO wish he would answer an email or a text or a phone call once in a while - not just when he thinks we have something he needs.
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am so not the one to ask about detachment. I think I am an entangled mess with my kids. I want to detach and I thought I would have been able to do it with ease when they were younger. Oh boy back when they were teens, I thought I was going to open the door, plant a foot in their ass and kick them out the door. Then I planned to break their plates, burn their beds and fill up their rooms with stuff so they couldnt return home. Ha! Like that happened.

    The only one that did leave was Jamie and we worried ourselves almost sick the entire time he was in boot camp. The rest of his tour wasnt a whole lot better Didnt help he was calling home almost daily after he got out of boot.

    I think I have detached in different ways with Billy and Cory. I dont worry too awfully much about Billy but Tony is worried to death about the boy. Honestly, I want him out as fast as possible. Tony would keep him here forever. Cory drives me nuts but not as badly as he drives Tony nuts. Mandy drives us both nuts. She is simply a taker and does nothing in return for being here. At least we can get Cory to do something once in a while. Billy wont do a dang thing unless it really benefits him and then he does the most half assed job. Asking him to do something as simple as washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen is useless because he can be counted on to not complete the job and I have to do it over. Cooking is horrible. He will not follow a recipe. Food turns out inedible and then when someone says something to him about it, he blows up and says fine then, I will never cook again. you want to eat? I think all this junk is passive aggressive behavior to not have to help around the house because then everything is left up to moi!

    Billy will supposedly have days off and we will go out to do some chores and then when it is time to go home and start the actual cleaning and putting together the meals, well then suddenly his boss will call and he is needed at the store. Ummm...why cant he say no? This isnt a one time thing, its every day.
  13. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Ladies....I know this has been hard, and I appreciate each post very much...these are beautifully written, heartfelt and a wonderful help for others who are coming along and have no idea of what to expect. Please keep your stories coming. I think this is a great help. Thank you!
  14. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I beautifully written and helpful....good posts/stories.

    As a side note...I said here that we help our daughter when we can, etc.....I can't edit this. This could be misinterpreted. We certainly do NOT give her all that she asks for. Not even close. But what I meant is that if she asks for something that is something that might be a necessity (like medical care) or if she asks for something that might help with her mental health (like therapy) then we are inclined to help. We also are inclined to help with needs related to good hygene. However, we will not help her at all if she is not respectful and appropriate with us. We also offer once in awhile opportunities for her to work and she usually accepts this offer. IT is hard, but I try to keep emotion out of it. It is a weird state of mind that I find that I have to keep is a choice.
  15. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Kicking my difficult child out was the most difficult thing I have ever done. Our story is very much like toughlovin's. After rehab we let difficult child come back home with clear rules that she work her program. That did not last long and she began using again regularly, staying out all night, and breaking every rule of our home. It came to a head one night at midnight when she announced she was going to a neighbor's to sleep. We told her if she went she could not come back home. The next day she tried to come home and we had to call the police to have her removed. As she left she said some very offensive things to me and husband. She has not been back since and that was two weeks ago.

    I can't say I have detached yet. I asked my easy child to go with me to the mall last wekend to return some things that I bought difficult child that still had tags on. I couldn't even walk into the store without crying, remembering that just the week before difficult child and I were shopping together. Thank goodness easy child made the returns for me. Everytime I go into her room I cry. I have been cleaning it out a little each day trying to get rid of a lot of the memories, good and bad. I mourn for what we will never have again, but I am coming to realize that difficult child never wanted to be part of our family anyway and so it is stupid of me to keep hanging onto something that was never there.

    Each day is getting a little easier. I feel like I have really lost her and I have to walk through the pain before it will get better. If I allow myself to go into that dark place in my head I get a panic attack, wondering what she is doing and if she is eating and thinking how scared I would be in her position. But then I try to put other things in my head and push those thoughts back into the corner.

    This pain is at times unbearable, but I am learning that detachment does help and does come easier the longer she is gone.

  16. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Our situation is not the same...yet it is the same.
    I understand on many many many levels.
    That heartache and pain goes to the core.
    You may not always believe this, and days can be very hard, but you are a strong woman. You will survive this. You have friends out there to lean on. G-d Bless you.
  17. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I think of detachment as a long winding road. As we travel that unexpected course we find an issue that we can face based on reality....and a detachment step can be completed. Each set of circumstances is different and therefore the steps are not the same. husband and I really wanted to detach from GFGmom and were eager to let her fly so we could forge a decent life for our future. Whamo! She was going into the military when she got pregnant. She doesn't believe in abortion nor was she willing to do adoption. So...easy child/difficult child was born and came into our home. I taught her about childcare. We had her take on the responsibility of Motherhood. We gave her six months to learn about parenting and bond with her baby and during that time she was required to clean up the house and fix dinner for all of us. She actually did a decent job of it and we anticipated she would get a job (which she did), save some money and move into a place of her own with the baby. Once she was working we cared for easy child/difficult child in her absence. (Needless to say we fell in love with him and wanted the best for him.) GFGmom did not save money, did not come home after work and we ended up as the coparents plus. Plan #1 went down the drain as we could not let her take him and move from friend to friend with no sense of safety or security. As we were regrouping (she started taking college courses plus working) there was still hope until she got pregnant again. There was a steadfast rule that thre would be no additions to our home.

    Plan #2 cam into effect. She had to leave our home before the second baby and she would be completely in charge of her second child. We would keep easy child/difficult child until she got settled and then he could spend the night with Mom and Bro a night or two each week to see how it would go. We detached from GFGmom and the new baby. We just visited with them a few times a week and we did let easy child/difficult child spend the night at her apartment on occasion. It was chaos. She was able to do basic care of her second son (difficult child) but let anybody who was willing babysit so she could party. The kitchen and the rest of the apartment was never clean and we worried about safety. easy child/difficult child remained with us except for visits as she promised to get her act together. Not! Later on she got pregnant for a third time after moving a "straight from her prison job" into her house. We kept easy child/difficult child away. We had to try to intervene for difficult child. At that point we bonded with difficult child and began to attempt to protect him from the chaos. He moved into our home and stayed here daily for over six years. We detached from GFGmom as completely as possible....but both boys are/were affected by her choices.

    We vowed to remain detached from her third child and we have. She is a major difficult child. She is almost nine and I have kept her for no more than three hours at a time. It is sad for her but survival for us. My husband absoutely can't stand to see GFGmom or even hear her voice. He's a wonderful man who has never hated anyone in his life.. He is beyond detachment.

    So..then in recent years we have to face detachment decisions with both boys. easy child/difficult child is our son. He was given alcohol and drugs by GFGmom's dysfunctional boyfriend in his early teens. As many of you know we have been thru H with his addictions, incarcerations, brain surgery etc. Now we are taking detachment steps with him as we know we can not change who he is now...he has to change himself. We don't think he is strong enough to do so. We anticipate he will not only continue drinking but probably will continue to be friends with other addicts who have criminal records. This is painful and slow.

    difficult child detached himself from us when he went to live with GFGmom. He has all kinds of issues. He wants to believe that his Mom has his best interests at heart. Not. SO we are detached from him for the most part. He knows where our store is and can walk there from the apartment he shares with easy child/difficult child. He can ride his bike to our house with a little effort. All I do is take him to appts and meetings as needed. We fear for him but have accepted that we can not overcome the Mom influence.

    It's a long, long winding road with lots of heartbreak. Detachment steps are part of the path. I expect the process will continue until our deaths. In a milion years I never thought that my life would be so impacted. Each of us has to face what is on our plate and discard what we can when we can. It's a work in progress. DDD
  18. getxtina

    getxtina New Member

    "Throwing them out" sounds too strong for words. Perhaps guiding them to a different environment might sound better. Sometimes it takes time for children to seek help and I had to commend you for being the loving parents you are. Do you think its alright for kids to be in residential treatment program, or institutions that have wilderness programs for troubled teens?

    A friend of mine recommended ***, has anyone heard of them? Do you personally think that putting these teens to these types of facilities are effective enough to tame a troubled child? What do you suggest parents should do to help their troubled children? Thank you in advance for any advices you can give.
    Lasted edited by : Mar 21, 2011
  19. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    Hi getxtina -

    Welcome to the board.

    It would be great if you started a new thread with these questions and a brief introduction of yourself and your situation.

    You may also want to read through many of the posts so you have a better sense of the kinds of issues many of us are facing with our difficult child's. It will help to give you a framework to apply when you read things like "throw them out" so that you can understand why someone would use those words in a post about their child/ren. The Parent Emeritus forum is intended to be for parents of kids who are over 18 or close to that and facing the transition to adulthood right now or are already past that point but are still struggling. If your child is younger than that, I suggest you post on the General Parent forum or, if addiction is an issue, on the Teens and addiction forum.

    Look forward to hearing more from you.
  20. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    My difficult child was 18, 3 months after his high school graduation we "kicked him out" and had a restraining order in place. Now, we have a great relationship and he's close with his brothers, I just saw him this morning. He supports himself, although he still is very much a difficult child, I detatched enough to let him live his life and keep my mouth shut.

    He has ODD. He stole anything not tied down, I had to hide things, but he stole ANYTHING. He was violent at home, broke many things- never did one chore, he would break the shovel, rake or tool. Broke pencils refusing to do homework, punched holes in the walls and beat up his brothers for fun, suspended from school many times, threatened teachers, made a hit list, mostly fighting. He stole the money from a fundraiser and I could go on an on...
    Living with him was a TOTAL nightmare. My words aren't coming close to doing the situation justice, but he lied constantly about nothing, and I mean he would make up these outrageous crazy stories.... he still lies constantly, I let anything he says roll off back.

    After high school, he decided to join the Marines, but was kicked out before he even went to bootcamp. So.....he refused to work, sat on the couch, and said "why should I?" when we told him to get a job. And in reality, why should he? we supported him and he stole. Well in Sept after his graduation I went to work, husband went to work, and we couldn't trust him so we told him to leave while we weren't home. He left. I locked the door. He broke it down as soon as I went to work and robbed the house. Long story short...we needed him to get a huge wake-up call. He had it good, he should have just gotten a job! We had to get a restraining order to keep him away. He got a job in a casino and had to live in a filthy rooming house, but (YAY) he saw what you need to do to survive and he had NO CHOICE so he did it. He then saved and got an apt. Shortcut to now- husband got him in his union, the work ethic isn't the best, nor the attitiude, but he works! He supports himself. He lives 5 minutes from us and we see himoften. I'm happy he's living the life he wants. The best thing I ever did was to get that restraining order.