Doubts and questions about my course.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Copabanana, May 18, 2017.

  1. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Fourteen months ago after more than 4 years away my son moved back to our town, to live either with us or in a property we are remodeling. We bought it with the idea that some time in the future my son would have somewhere safe to live apart from me. We did not ask him to come home. He showed up.

    My issue: I feel I have made a bargain with the devil which does not serve my son. Or me. By allowing him to be in a property we control, I have the illusion that he is safe. Having a roof over his head and a sense of security, he has gone back on his antivirals, something important to me. He says he is going to mental health 2 days a week for a group. Not therapy. I think it is case management. A couple of times a week he is helping a friend do gardening, he says. He does have a close friend who he visits with every day. Those are the positives.

    Our stance all along: that living with us serve his long-term growth as a person, that he have and work towards goals in his functioning. That I am not a homeless shelter or a treatment facility. You have to work at your life with us. The ever-present contradiction: I was the one making the rules and deciding when they were violated.

    For 2 intervals in the 14 months he has gone to dual diagnosis residential treatment. Each time because I made a demand he did not meet. The first time that he get psychological treatment. The second time about marijuana use, a boundary which he has never accepted. The issue with the marijuana you all know: it saps his motivation and he uses his SSI money in the first 2 weeks of the month and has no money for food.

    While he lived with us it was better than it had been for many years. He did make an effort. His personality of old seemed to return. Loving. Sweet. He went to work with M every day (remodeling the 2 houses) and was more or less compliant but indifferent. He showed no interest in work and shirked when he could. He used the notion of "work" as an excuse to not do things for his own betterment, and to avoid work he used the abstract idea of needing to do this or that for himself. Eventually we called it for what it was: a theatre, us, the audience. We insisted he begin to do things to improve his life.

    At home, he never, ever curtailed marijuana use and seemed to mock us, smoking marijuana in the house, in the yard, etc.

    For 4 months he has lived in the other house with the idea that he do for himself. Decide on a goal and work towards it; deal with medical issues; get psychological treatment; cooperate with a neuropsychological evaluation; do something recreationally. Work with the Department of Rehabilitation. He made steps on some of it. But the minute we were not laying on him every single minute, he let a lot of it go.

    My son looks like a homeless person. He wears a hoody always. He avoids eye contact. Lately he is hostile and hurtful to me if I try to do anything to support him or to ask him to help me. I had backed away from him for the past 4 weeks, but of late have become concerned because of how he looks and acts.

    Clearly, he resents my intrusion. But at the same time he wants and seeks our support. He wants to live the life he wants. I get it. That is appropriate. Except, just as clear, without support, he seems unable or unwilling to structure a life for himself, or does not want to. A couple of days ago I told him: Look. You have the absolute right to not work, to not have goals apart from your marijuana. But to do that, go get subsidized housing from the county. You know what the terms are with me.

    Which is the crux of my issue. Do I have a right to have terms? Does this work?

    When I lay on him, he does take steps. He went back to Voc Rehab and has an appointment Friday. He says that today he will call for the neuropsychological evaluation. He says he is open to and interested in going to a meditation center or ashram for long-term residential programs. He says he is open to spiritual direction and will make some calls. He did go to Mixed Martial Arts but felt spurned by the other participants but not by the teacher. He IS back on the antiviral which is very important to me. (I do not want him to die!) The key words here: these are things I want. If he does not want them or minimally wants them--who am I kidding?

    I feel like I am enabling him. But at the same time, I see that to an extent he does follow through in response to these conversations. Again let me underline my fear that he will stop the antivirals should he become homeless again. (Starting and stopping is dangerous.)

    M is all over the map. He continues to say that he believes J should come back to work for him (and my son wants to, at least at the end of the month when he has no money to eat; we buy lunch every day) because he believes my son's best and only chance is close to us. M also sees that I am less anxious if J is close in. My son likes to be close in with us, too. But M also believes that my son was enabled by others during the 4 years he was away from us, by being offered comfortable and unconditional places to stay for extended periods. M believes that my son has not learned and changed because he has not "suffered" enough. M has also consistently voiced that it is my responsibility to support my son to change. I do not know how to reconcile these views of M.

    These are my options as I see them:

    1. Kick my son out.

    2. Let him stay and butt out of his life. Let him live as he wishes. (He is paying a nominal rent, consistent with what he can afford. This gives him a sense of entitlement to do what he wants. He does not let people into where he lives. He is stable and appropriate according to the neighbors, as far as we know.)

    3. Keep trying to raise the bar, according to my expectations that he work towards functioning.

    I am not seeking help with diagnoses either of mental illness or drugs. And I know what my options are for therapy. I am not looking for that either.

    What I am looking for here is the sense of what makes sense for him, for me and for M. What will work and what is workable. I am looking for clarity about my role, our role, in the life of another adult who really seems not to want to be an adult (at least according to my definition) nor does he want to function as an adult.

    He will comply to a point but resist. Is this workable? Will it work?

    The problem is that this is very hard on me. Of late I feel crippled by anxiety and fear for my son and for myself. Do I stay in the game, and to what extent? How do I evaluate what is happening? What are the criteria?

    Thank you.
    Last edited: May 18, 2017
  2. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Yes Copa, you have every right to have terms. I also think what you told him was spot on.
    I work in accounting so the word "term" for me is something I see every day. We sell a product to our customers with "terms" and if they do not pay their bill within the "terms" time frame there is a consequence. It's no different with your son or any other difficult adult child. Terms and boundaries are what give order to our lives.

    Only you can answer the question of whether you stay in the game or not. You have done so much to help your son and he has made some progress which is great but it's always because you are the one driving him.
    I wish I had an easy answer for you dear lady but when dealing with our difficult adult kids, there is just nothing easy about it.

    One thing I do know is he is so lucky to have you as his mom.

    ((HUGS)) to you.................
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  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Thank you Tanya.
    I agree with this. In reading your reply I am thinking this: I have a choice about how I respond to him. I can blow off his resistance, his occasional disrespect or hostility and not consider it as important or hurtful or in any way determinative or definitive about me or my course of action. I I can see it for what it is, the natural consequence of pushing against his agenda; his push back as the weaker party.

    After all, he knows that he has chosen to be with us, chooses to stay, and needs us. He has accepted my terms, not the reverse. He can resist, but I still define and decide. It is like a float on a parade route. Sure the float seems big and splashy, and inexorably moves on. But does the float decide the route, where it begins and ends? Does the float decide its theme? Can the float decide I am New Years not Rose Bowl? No.

    As long as my son keeps his float on my parade route I define this because by staying he is consenting.

    After reading your post, Tanya, I am seeing this more as an issue between myself and me. Not between him and I, at all. An internal dialog about how I feel and think and respond. Maybe even about my relationship with hope and what is unknowable. Or my own feelings about my power and rights as a person.

    Thank you, Tanya.
    Last edited: May 18, 2017
  4. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet


    I have heard your struggle for many months now - different than mine but a struggle none the less. And you are right, it is a struggle within yourself.

    I have set up firm boundaries for my son also but I am fortunate in that he really does NOT want to be homeless even though he does have an addiction. He will check into rehab rather than being homeless which is not for the right reasons, but it's somewhat of a comfort to me. I keep hoping that maybe "this time" he will get it.

    The bottom line is that you are not happy when he is there with you (and not living the life you know he is capable of living) and you are also not happy when you are away from him. You are really not asking him for much in return for what you are offering him. In turn, it sounds like most of the time he is giving you just a little...just enough to keep you happy and/or quiet for now.... I have seen that with my son also.

    It sounds all very exhausting for you. He is so fortunate to have the two of you in his life, he really is.

    I think that if you can find some way to find your peace with all of this and let him be while at the same time enforcing certain boundaries that you simply cannot bend on, then maybe the three of you can coexist in a way that may not be ideal, but may not cause you so much stress. You have to make peace with the situation and let it be because I feel you really want him near you.

    We all know that our adult children, even those that are NOT Difficult Child, have a mind of their own and will do what they want to do and live a life they want to live, not appreciating our knowledge or guidance often until they have their own children or life experience. I can speak to that from experience with our other boys.

    There is the question of course of if you are enabling him not to grow up because he can lean on you. That is certainly a possibility. What is his true potential? We have all read about that on this forum and it drives many of us to push them away and say no more!

    If my son did not use pills and alcohol which made him a STRANGER to us, changed his entire personality, and did not steal from us and cause our lives to be hell when he was with us, I doubt we would have pushed so hard. Would that have served him or us well in the long run? I do not know the answer to this.

    I said to my husband last night that I think what our family has been through is tragic. His addiction is tragic. He used my own words back to me and said that is life, this is his journey.

    There is no right or wrong answer for you or for any of us really. You just have to trust your gut instinct and go with that. It seems that any time I have not done that, it has been a mistake.

    Make peace with it. Hugs.
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  5. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    These questions certainly are difficult. I have a few thoughts.
    One thing that kept on popping into my mind, is that it is near impossible, or perhaps actually impossible to control an adult child...and with a Difficult Child child, well the odds are worse!
    A friend of mind...her daughter didn't send thank you cards after her wedding until perhaps ten months later. My husband said something like "Well, her mother should of insisted!" Hmmm. Say what? This girl has mild Difficult Child tendencies. I said it didn't matter what mom did...the chances were extraordinarily high that this girl was going to do whatever she chose to do.

    I think you have the right to set up terms and boundaries. But, maybe you have to take into account his abilities (like you did by lowering the rent greatly) Additionally, you probably shouldn't become overly attached to the outcome.

    We have found setting boundaries with our Difficult Child is usually a good idea. But, we have also found that we can't set up too many and do have to let some things "go." Additionally, some take longer to take effect...but consistency is key.

    We have a boundary that Difficult Child can not call us before 7:30 a.m. during the week and 9 a.m. on the weekend. This one was easy, because it's our decision whether or not to answer the phone if she breaks the rule. She can text us if it is an emergency. It took a very long time for her to cooperate with this boundary. But, I would say today she is about 90% compliant.

    I also would agree that there is no right or wrong answer with this stuff. Very few would fully understand what us parents have gone through. I find it near impossible to fully explain the complexities and oddities that involve my Difficult Child.

    Just today, she "threatened" to go to the emergency room mental health unit because I wouldn't buy her a gym membership. I acted non chalant suggesting she contact her psychiatrist or psychologist...which she evenutually did and seemed to feel better.

    by the way, if in fact he is going to group therapy...this might be a very good thing...especially if the group leader or group members can see through an BS and call him on it!

    Hang in there!
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  6. Feeling Sad

    Feeling Sad Active Member

    Copa, it is very difficult for me to answer your quandary. I will very likely never see my schizophrenic son ever again. I do not know where he is and he was given a restraining order not to see or contact me.

    That being said, I would hug your son, if I were you, and cherish every moment...the good and the bad. You want him to stay on his antiviral medicine, so I feel that kiclking him out is not an option. You are also better, overall, having him in your life.

    Yes, you have a complete right to have rules. He needs normal structure. But, you cannot plan his activities or goals. Besides, he needs to want to accomplish these things. He needs to develop intrinsic rewards, as opposed to, extrinsic rewards.

    My eldest smoked marijuana, without my knowledge. There are a lot of studies that feel that it can trigger paranoia and delusions, even schizophrenia. At the very least, a person may develop avolition.

    I would put basic rules in place. He is taking what he can. Why not use his SSI money for marijuana, if he is helped out with food when he runs out of money? Why have goals if he does not need to earn more money to support himself?

    Stick to a reasonable rent. Do not waver from it. Then, maybe, you could raise it $50 in 6 months and let him know now. He would have to up the game plan. Let him work for M. If his life is made too easy, what motivation will he have? HE needs to want to change. He is doing just enough to get by. He likes his lifestyle. You are the one that does not like it. HE needs to want to have goals and a better life.

    Do not kick him out. Have firm realistic rules. But, you cannot micromanage his life. He needs to take some responsibility and be an adult. He needs to feel good about himself. He needs to do it for himself and not be told. Yes, I am the same way with my 'gentle' nudging/nagging. But, he will resent it and it will undermine any feelings of self esteem or accomplishment that he might garner.

    Again, hug him and be thankful that he is with you. My opinion is very warped by my loss, but there it is...
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    Last edited: May 18, 2017
  7. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    He just stopped by to pick up his phone. In and out. He did decide to go back to the Mixed Martial Arts and says he will meet the instructor in 45 minutes. That he is returning is a good thing and seems to be expressly related to something I told him yesterday. He also said he found a skills building program at the California/Nevada border which sounds like a wilderness program paid for through his SSI.

    Immediately I thought of those programs where people die. And said so.

    He got pissed saying I am controlling.

    When I brought up conditions and expectations, he responded that I do not accept he is brain damaged as a consequence of in utero drug exposure and my expectations of him are unrealistic. I responded that he uses any impairment (which all of us have) as an excuse instead of a challenge. I responded: my father was the drug user. He responded that he had not heard of late of a father carrying a baby 9 months. Touche. Ouch.

    Which is really the crux of the issue: the damage he received in utero and the fact I was not his birth mother. Perhaps this is the heart of his anger towards me. That I was a bait and switch mother. We loved each other with all our hearts. While he knew from the beginning the broad circumstances of his birth, the reality of how he was affected was not known or understood until adulthood. It was like paradise lost. And I am the only parent he knows to hold responsible.

    Thank you everybody. I understand better now. You are reflecting back to me that this is a dialog I seem to want. And that my task is to better understand my own needs, how to better protect myself, identify bottom line goals and communicate these to my son.

    I am seeing that my son is in process with me. There is dialog, some listening and some response by him. Not what I would want. Not enough. But I have to take what I can get.

    Thank you.
    Last edited: May 18, 2017
  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    You guys are answering with one voice. Let me see if I understand.

    Lesson 1: Pick my fights. Everybody needs and seeks a sense of autonomy. He can either exert it positively and constructively, or as resistance, by dragging his feet. Don't do the work for him by micro-managing and over-controlling. He will resist. And he will not own his efforts.
    Lesson 2: Minimalism. If I hold back there is the chance he will step up.
    Lesson 3: Let it be on him. Don't make it so easy on him. Reiterating here, let him do the work. Let him own it.

    Thank you, people.
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  9. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member

    Copa, your question has more to do with your role in your son's life than with him. I agree with Feeling Sad. Your son is comfortable with his life at the moment. He doesn't care enough to want more for himself. He hasn't yet found his purpose in life and he isn't behaving like an adult. It's my understanding that when he was homeless, he refused to take his antivirals. If you believe that in order for him to stay on them that he needs to live nearby, then that makes sense to keep him close. But that is all you can expect from him.

    When he talks about the time he was homeless, does he miss it? Was there a piece of him that liked the freedom of living by his wits day by day? He is using you as an external conscience. He cannot seem to monitor himself, look out for himself, take care of himself, without your motherly input. Are you comfortable in that role or do you want to detach further? It doesn't much matter which you choose, he will still resent you.

    The two of you are at loggerheads. He wants to coast along getting high. You want him to assume responsibility for his own life. He isn't able to do that. His actions are showing you his current capabilities. Can you accept that from him? Do you want to continue to be his external brain that he resents? If the situation isn't something you can accept, then it's up to you to change it somehow. You keep asking him to change. He isn't up to the change - whatever the reason. I think from his perspective, he always feels like he is failing you. He cannot reach the goals that you set for him so why bother. I think he views himself as a complete loser.
  10. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Copa, I'm sorry I'm coming late to the posts. Got busy yesterday and didn't see your message.

    I don't really know what to say that others have not...but I will say your first post you pointed out 3 choices.

    Frankly, this one sounds pretty good to me. Really, he doesn't have a sense of entitlement...he has entitlement. He's paying rent, nominal or not. If he paid anyone else rent, do you think they would have the right to put demands on him other than how he treats the property he's renting? If he's tearing the place up or letting trash gather or terrorizing the neighbors...then YOU have many more rights. But you seem to be wanting to tell him how to live.

    Copa, you seem to be holding on SO HARD to him. You want him to be grown up and self-reliant, but by the same time, you question all of his choices; and they are HIS choices. For instance:

    Are there some wilderness programs that are somewhat dangerous? Of course. But...if SSI will pay for it the government has SOME knowledge of it; in some way it's been vetted. More importantly, HE found this program. A program that wouldn't cost you a penny. A program that might give him some adventure and build some skills. A program that might be very good for him...and you're first reaction was that it would be too dangerous.

    He's a grown man. He's not 10. He has issues, no doubt, but you might have said, "Really? What's it called, I'd love to look at it with you." Then, IF you saw a down side, you could voice your concerns.

    I'm not judging. God knows that my first reaction when my phone rings is, "What's going wrong now?" I was the one buying warm winter gear my kid could get on his own from charity, remember. I did all this research and have lists of homeless services I could email him if needed. I KNOW what that initial "he can't do it - it's too hard/dangerous" feeling is like.

    It just seems that sometimes your reaction to him is a knee-jerk. Maybe what YOU and he both need, is for you to back off a bit. Expectations - yes. You should have reasonable expectations. But maybe you need to scale them back a bit...let him take baby steps...that's all I mean.

    I admit...I have had this thought when reading some of your posts. Your son is on SSI for a reason. I know a little about SSI...and I know that people don't get it (generally, there are always those who manage to use the system) without good reason. His ability to work a real job, long term at least, IS limited. Maybe his lack of interest in work is part of his issues? Maybe his inability to stay on task without direction is? Maybe his best choice for work will be stocking shelves, or a go-fur for a contractor like M, or mowing lawns on weekends?

    I know that for me, having my son so far away and in uncertain living situations (at best) is difficult. But, not as difficult as having him live with me. I find it much easier now to treat him as an adult. When he was home I couldn't stop myself from constant "reminding" (nagging) - everything from brushing his teeth to going to bed to getting to work...Like he was a child. In your case, maybe you should try treating him like a renter when he's not physically in your presence and like a grown child visiting when he is? Is that possible?

    If he spends his $ on pot and can't buy food...there are food banks. Maybe if he gets hungry, he'll find work for more $ if there is none for food? With him in your rental property, you don't have the illusion of him being safe...he mostly is. He has a roof over his head. He's warm in the winter and cool in the summer. He has the ability to cook and bathe and care for himself. The rest IS UP TO HIM. Try letting go a little bit more. That's my 2cents worth.
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    Last edited: May 19, 2017
  11. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    This was one of the hardest lessons for me to learn. What I wanted for my son and how I thought his life should go was to much about what I wanted. We as parents want the very best for our kids, we have hope and dreams for our kids but they are OUR hopes and dreams, not our kids.
    I know my son has such high potential and could achieve much in his life but he has no interest in progressing forward. I don't like it but have learned to accept it.

    I think this can be a coping mechanism. To stay at a level of comfort opposed to putting in the effort to achieve something only to fail at it. If one says they can't do something then there is no threat of failing. I think the fear of failing and being a disappointment not only to themselves but also to their parents can keep them from trying.

    This is a good thread and some really awesome responses.
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  12. wisernow

    wisernow wisernow

    Copa....what Tanya said was my very hard lesson as well. I vote for Option 2.....and I think you both need a break from each other. I am saying that most sincerely, not be to hurtful. He is a grown man and deserves the right to take the life path he sees as fit. Perhaps some space from his day to day or week to week will help you both gain some perspective. I am not suggesting no contact. Perhaps meet once a week for a Sunday dinner. But during that time I would suggest you let him carry the conversation and just listen. He needs to be heard, accepted and I think that is how you can best support him right now, without drawing yourself into his life. He will invite you in when he is ready. It may not be on our timetable, but then again, we have our own lives to rebuild, and our own happiness to create for ourselves. Hugs to you wonderful lady!!!!
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  13. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    ↑↑↑ THIS! ↑↑↑

    This has been SO HARD for me! I always thought, "I just want him to be happy." I've come to the realization that, that's simply not true. I don't want him to just be happy. I want him to be a productive member of society, even if that means he's not as happy as he would be as a homeless stoner.

    I always expected my beautiful, brilliant son would graduate high school and go on to college. I always expected him to have a good job and his own home and eventually a wife and kids. I expected him to have friends who were decent people.

    We all have expectations and hopes and dreams.

    I literally, while writing this have gotten a text that he has been turned down by the friend's grandmother that he thought he might stay with for a while. So he's back to being on the street, no sleeping bag or anything, and it's snowing there again. :(

    Copa my dear...I so wish I had a way to keep my son safe and warm.
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  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Lil, this is for you. You tried EVERYTHING to keep your son warm and safe but nothing worked because he apparently maybe prefers to live on the edge. Some people do.

    With our kids, easy or hard, it is not about us when they are adults. Do you think my fitst choice of a job for my daighter was police officer? With all ths killings? The danger? I am proud of her bit know this is a higher risk job than average but it was and is her passion so she has never once heard anuthing from us but praise and encouragement. It is not about my fears. It is sbout her identity, dreams and her path. I bury my fear to support her path.

    Also I know my autistic son works for a small restairant and at Game Stop and did not go to college, but to me he is a super star. He was born with crack in his system. We knew that probably would limit him so we went into this blessed adoprion without expectations on any direction and he exceeded every doctors predictions. So what if he isnt a college grad? He is a very hard working, kind, loving person. That counts first with me and my husband.

    Lil, thanks for explaining SSI. Its hard to get and you need lots of medical back up. If you have it, its because you have proven to the greedy govt. that you are not capable of sustaining yourself. Its not about laziness or every lazy person would run for it. Most on SSI wish they didnt need it.

    Anyone on SSI can get a job too and the Dept. Of Rehab Development will train and help you and even coach you at work. Very few on SSI are capable of being high level employees. You do not get SSI if you can sustain yourself that way. Yes, our SSI kids may be smart but they do have disabilities that impair them from processing well, or attending to task, or understanding etc. Mental illness can impair you as well and sometimes it is a valid reason why one cant work.

    Not everyone in this world can be a doctor or even finish college just by working hard. Some do not have the ability. Period. It is nothing to be ashamed of. We are made differently.

    Off my soap box and back to my corner :)
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    Last edited: May 19, 2017
  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    My computer has a virus and I am here at the mailbox store, just to tell you I will be unable to post until Tuesday maybe. I will be reading along. I am grateful to each of you and your collective wisdom is priceless. Just what I was seeking.

    I do not dispute that I have resisted seeing fully my son's point of view and how he feels stuck. That is a true thing. I have fought hard to not see and feel his distress and pain. I found it and find it unbearable. I do not see this as the worst thing though. I think it is the tone I take: I am critical and hysterical about what needs to change, to happen. I threaten withdrawing support and resources. I am this way because that is how I feel towards myself. I am self-critical to the extreme and my relationship with myself is harsh, accusatory and pessimistic. All of this is undermining and destabilizing to say the least. For me and for my son. My help to my son I present to him as conditional to a large extent on his living by what I feel makes sense. I cop to all of that.

    However, I try hard to not impose my aspirations onto my son. Nor do I feel that I have been served by the values, in terms of professional achievement, at least, which have guided my life. I believe on the contrary I was driven and self-sacrificing. I would however be pleased if he was a productive and contributing member of society. Why? Because I think that is good for us.

    What I want for my son is that he be safe and happy now and that I am able to grow old and die with the sense that he will be OK. The idea that he will be alone and vulnerable makes me frantic and desperate. I (and himself) are all he has ( M is not a done deal). This is why I want him to seek support and treatment. I want him involved with people and productive and out and about. All of these things he can do and he has done. I understand I need to lay off. I can want these things for him but to demand this has been hurtful and non-supportive and singularly ineffective.

    I understand that the work he can do is limited by his abilities, aptitudes and interests, as is my own and everybody else's. But I believe in trying and trying and trying. Of course I get that what I believe in means not one thing in the world to any body else but me. But I am being honest here. How does it help me to conceal?

    Of course I get that everybody has limits and some are more restrictive than others. Vocational Counseling was my job for many years. But many of us are human and find it difficult to find the same sense of compassion, understanding and patience with those children we love, or for ourselves, as we feel towards humanity in general. Precisely because we love them so much and because we are flawed, our love can not always serve what is best.That does not mean that we do not know. It does not mean we are bad people. Just human ones. It is not helpful to be beaten with the same stick over and over again for the same thing when one opens up to try to be better. That is true as much for me, as for my son.

    That said, my son was on SSI as an infant so it was a matter of re-applying rather that an initial application. He re-applied in the County where he was a foster child and went to high school so that there was on hand already his complete history. I am not arguing that my son would not have received SSI if he had to make an initial application. But I think the criteria for him were different.

    I think that CD is here for parents not so much to receive counsel and advice but to understand who they are, their own conflicts, and by seeing them, change themselves in their lives. Thank you for your support to do this.
  16. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    This is me all over. My son's version of happy is not anything I would be happy with...ergo he must not be happy, right? That's the crux of my logic.

    Copa, I think that you are too, too, TOO hard on yourself. You adopted a very challenged child. You have done wonderful things with him, but he is a grown man and it is not your job to "fix" him anymore. It is not even your job to decide whether or not he needs "fixing."

    I get the feeling sometimes that you think you aren't a good mother unless your son exhibits behaviors that you expect from him. Enthusiasm and goal-setting and being around lots of people and being out and about just may not be how your son approaches his life...but that's OK. He's an adult.

    I agree with Lil about the wilderness program. He branched out, showed some interest and initiative..then got slapped down. I don't mean to be harsh, but that seems contradictory and kind of controlling.

    There is no path that leads to your son not being vulnerable and alone one day. There's no path for ANYONE to be guaranteed such a place, Copa. Of course you feel crippled by anxiety and fear. You are frantically searching, and have been searching for some time now, for a Xanadu that doesn't exist.

    Given that there is no perfect outcome, you need to pick the least imperfect scenario. Judging from your posts, you seem most at peace when you know your son is safe. I think paying you nominal rent as long as he is a decent neighbor is an OK middle ground, as long as you can let go of his choices and/or their outcome. If you can't do that, any path you choose will not be a good one.

    I think you should let your son, but most of all YOURSELF off the hook a bit. Can you congratulate yourself for a job splendidly done, and step out of your role as one who parents? Can you try to sit with the idea that you won't always be happy with his choices?
  17. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Copa, I think you are a bit too enmeshed with your son. And WAY too hard on yourself and your son. You did a great job as his mom. You really did.

    I think you need to reframe some of your thinking. It isn't that you won't always be happy with his choices, or you may not like them, it is that you don't have to like them. You absolutely, 100% do not have to like your son's choices. That is perfectly okay. You can still love him and enjoy him and know you are a great mom and still HATE some of his choices.

    He may never be comfortable being "out and about" the way you want. Some of us just are not built to be comfortable that way. It doesn't feel natural to us. We are okay not being out and about, and being forced into it makes us feel really bad. We try to do it for people we love who seem to think we need it for some reason, but we don't understand it, and we truly don't feel the need for it. It can feel truly awful to us depending on the circumstances.

    What is right for you may or may not be right for your son. You may need to accept that what you need, what is right for you, is not right for him.
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Susie, you nail things so well. It is rare for our kids as adults to become the child of our dreams. Dreams are just that...dreams. As much as we love our kids as children and adults they have free will, like we did, and do life their way, not how we did it or wish we had done it. They are not us even if we love them so much that it feels that way. We gave them roots to grow and wings to fly, which means, like all birds, once they fly, Mom has no control over their decisions and indeed even there abilities. If they choose to live in the wilderness, they do it. If they smoke pot, they do, just like we drink if we like. For kids pot is the new alcohol. Like alcohol, it can be bad for them or overused but THEY have to think so to stop using it. Not us. It is legal in many states.

    I could never please my mom snd she always thought I was exaggerating or faking my inborn differences that made it very hard for me to keep even some easy jobs, although I tried hard. I vowed, and learned from my beloved first mother in laws example, not to ever criticize my childrens life choices. When my daughter did drugs we did not verbally demean her (this was hard!). We told her that we did not allow illegal behavior in our house and made her leave it. At least when she did quit, we both had not said regretful words we had to overcome so we still had a good reationship. The best lesson I learned from my mother was how NOT to be!

    If we did not do everything our mothers wanted, and most of us did not, why should our adult children? And why cant we accept even if we dont approve? We had dreams. A degree. Maybe an advanced degree. Suits. Good white collar or well paying blue collar jobs. His Wife (who adores us, of course...often THIS doesnt happen) and grandkids we see all the time (ditto). They are our dreams, not their dreams. Life doesnt follow our hoped gor script. Ever. Not 100%. You may get the college grad with good job, but not the close relationship etc. Or vice versa. Nobody gets everything, neat and tidy, wrapped with a bow for us. We have to learn to accept disappointment.

    I have two sons, two daughters. My experience shows me that the mother/son relationship is way different than mother/daughter. I find much more common ground with my daughters.. friends to shop with, talk babies about, do things with, become friends with. Girl stuff that men roll their eyes at. I am close to both sons but in a more distant way. They like to do male things and certainly dont like shopping or going to garage sales or watching chick flicks!

    "A son is a son till he gets him a wife. A daughters a daughter the rest of her life." This has been my experience. The wife usually runs the family, the kids, and if she has her own close family, that family normally comes first. Of course this was just my experience. But I accepted it when Bart was married, and had to accept it when Goneboy chose his wife over all of us and left us for her. We havent heard from him in ten years. It is his choice. I have to let it stand and have accepted and moved on. Yes, it was hard, but necessary. I could not force him to want to see us over his wife's objections. And, frankly, in the end it was his choice too.

    Ok, rambling now. Jumper, Boyfriend and Sonic coming today for belated Mothers Day because we all worked last week. Going to Chicago Sunday night to see Dad, Princess and the little girl who makes my heart sing, my beautiful, precious little granddaughter!!!

    Nothing makes a mothers heart sing like your very beloved child's child. Nothing. I am convinced. It is a living miracle to see and love my daughters little girl.

    Have a great day, all!! This was my two cents.
    Last edited: May 20, 2017
  19. Go slow mama

    Go slow mama Guest

    Hi Copa,

    I read all of this and have taken a little time to reflect on what is said and the questions that are asked, the responses and the overall context of being here as a mother on CD. As you know, I have difficulty with posting in the general forums, I realize in part because it makes me feel vulnerable. And I also think the plethora of opinions can sometimes be overwhelming, here the forum can be fodder for the self doubt machine. Anyway, thank you for your post and for sharing so honestly, it takes guts.

    Of late I am personally trying to live in a space guided by empathy and compassion. When all of this started with my son I was stunned, then I was indignant and angry, frantic...there have been stages that I can look back and see clearly. I've struggled so much and made so many mistakes as a mother in this difficult time. I have major regrets and pure shame that viscerally hurts sometimes. I feel fortunate and grateful that my son and I have sustained a relationship. As you know, he has no relationship with his father and my son continues to blow off his father entirely.

    The counselling I'm doing helps and now we are going together; this is a small miracle. This is the safe space where I have found empathy and compassion, for myself, for my son and also for those walking this path with us. When you wrote about resisting feeling J's pain it was so lucid and hit me most poignantly. As you say that you want to know he will be okay some day when you are gone, it resonates with me. Mother loss is a beast and the mother child relationship is the most primal and complicated. You have always loved J and you have always done your best with what you had. Your relationship with J is intact and there is always room to grow and move forward.

    I believe you do better when J is near to you, and so does he, I agree with M on this. Your family is very important to you and you have spent a lot of time and energy here, you are a very loving and invested mother. This might mean that at times it is consuming and crippling, but it also means that you are in it to win it. Some people just can't do that, they walk away or shut down. When I can access the place of empathy and compassion it feels the best, it is the most calming place to respond from. I am not a person who possesses equanimity in spades, I have to work to achieve it.

    I hope you are able to find whatever peace is afforded you in this time. Fear is not fact but it is nonetheless destructive.
  20. Bart

    Bart So Much Fun-Not!

    I am following this closely because my son is so very similar to yours.