New Member
So glad to have somewhere for support, as I am in truly desperate need for it today.

So, my 23yr old difficult child has been living with his grandparents for a few years, as we kicked him out when we could no longer live with the violent outbursts, and drug use, and just total lack of respect for anyone else in the house.
While, at the time, I knew in my heart, that this was not a great solution, because it was not showing him that his behavior would not be accepted, I guess that I thought, at least he's gone from my house, and maybe a change in environment would help.
Well, as you all know, it was not very helpful in the end. It turned into me getting phone calls every so often when he would start with his tirades, and then me having to go and deal with the behavior.
Recently, my mother in law came over one Sunday evening in tears, telling us that he is constantly intimidating her for money, rides, and generally whatever else he might want at any given moment.
So, as always, I got on the phone with him and explained to him, very clearly and calmly, that the next time I got a call about this behavior, he would have to leave his grandparents home.
The next week, he convinced everyone (not me though) that he was going to move out and stay with a friend until he can get a place of his own. He was so convincing to his grandma, that she gave him $800 to help (mostly I think in the hopes that he would really leave finally)
Well, as it turns out, he showed back up at their place 3 days later to stay, making up some bullsh** story. They unwillingly allowed him back, of course he had blown all the money on a good time party weekend. So, a few days later, the yelling and demanding and intimidating started again. I again get the call from grandma in tears, so as always, over I go, right into the barrage of insults and threats and name calling. Well, enough was enough and he wouldn't leave, so I called the cops. Of course, once he saw that I was serious, he left on his own accord. Of course not before telling us all how much he hates us, and telling me that when he hangs himself, he'll be sure to make sure that he leaves a note so that everyone knows that it was all my fault.
This was Monday night, and every since then, every night, he has asked me to go get this and that from grandmas house, and meet him, because he has a place to stay, and of course when I get there, it's a load of garbage, and he just starts in with the, I just don't see how this is right, I don't know how you can live with yourself while I'm on the streets with no $, food or place to stay. He then takes a couple of things and leaves the rest in my car, saying, I have nowhere to keep my stuff.
I am basically dealing with all of this alone, my husband works afternoon shift, so I am on my own at night, and that's when he is contacting me.
Last night, he came to my house, because I told him that I didn't have a car, because my daughter was working, so he shows up, again arguing that this isn't right, so I finally told him to leave or I would call the cops again, and he says "go ahead, I have a knife, and I'll stab them", so needless to say, I wasn't able to sleep until my husband got home @ 12:30 and I get up for work @ 4:30am.
I just don't know how to make this stop, the calls, the texts, showing up at my house.
This has been 8 years of pure hell. Drug use/abuse, suicide attempts, robbing us of every valuable thing in our home, including wedding rings, heirlooms, other siblings belongings etc. I am sure my son has undiagnosed mental illness, since he refuses to go see a doctor for help, and since the age of 16, I had no legal control over him.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, as I honestly don't know how much more of this I can take!


Well-Known Member
Welcome to our little corner of the world. Stop the flow of phone calls for the time being. You need some distance from him. When he makes threats call the police and report him (suicide, physical harm). You and the grands might consider a restraining order. Do not meet him alone.

When you are ready, look for an ALANON meeting and go to it. Read articles on detachment and codependence. Treat yourself with kindness. There is no excuse for his behavior even if there are mental issues. You did not cause this and you cannot cure this.


Well-Known Member
Ugh. Welcome to our nightmare, as Alice Cooper said.

As much as you'd love to protect your grandparents, you can't. They have to decide never to let him back in and maybe take out a a restraining order on him. Same with mother in law. You too. Talking to him hasn't helped so far and why should it? If he badgers people enough, they seem to give him what he wants. As long as that happens, he will keep doing it.

My suggestion is to not answer his phone calls. He isn't calling to see how you are doing. He is calling to abuse you or get something out of you or to scare you. I had to do this to my son. Then I had to lay strong boundaries on our phone calls. I would only speak to him if he spoke to me with the same respect I gave him. He can't even raise his voice a little or I'll hang up (He's a "give me an inch and I'll take a mile" person so I have to be very strict and consistent). He calls me any name and I hang up and won't answer again for several days. He can't ask me for anything or bye-bye. He can't trash talk his siblings or relatives. It has been highly effective once he realized I meant it. It doesn't hurt that he lives two states away, but if he lived close to me, there would be more boundaries, including I call the police if he comes to my door before calling first and finding out if it's ok. And I'd make sure a strong man was with me if he came over since he can be physically intimidating. Maybe talk to grandparents about doing these things. They are elderly and should protect themselves. Your mother in law can be told the same. They have options. If they won't use them, you can't make them, but they do have recourse. mother in law should not answer phone or door. Same with grandparents. But if they choose to, what can you do?

Do go to a twelve step meeting and keep going. Get a therapist for yourself too. You can't help anyone except yourself...you can just throw ideas at them. Scolding your son is a waste of time. I wouldn't bother.

The first thing I'd do is get a restraining order against him so that he can't just show up at your house.


one day at a time
If he badgers people enough, they seem to give him what he wants. As long as that happens, he will keep doing it.

Oh Bennie, I am sorry. I get where you are. I had to tell my 25 year old son that if he comes to my house again unannounced and uninvited that I will call the police.

Within the past two weeks he came here and knocked on the door at 8:30 at night, having left the hospital AMA after he was stabbed. He looked in through the window at me, and cried. I did not open the door. I said if you don't leave I will call the police. When I went to the kitchen to get my phone, he finally left.

Today, I let calls go to voice mail. After helping him a lot over the past two and a half weeks, after he was stabbed, I am once again taking a giant step back.

Yesterday there was a call from an unknown phone number. I didn't answer it. No message was left.

I am doing nothing for a while to reach out or respond to him.

How do I do this? How do any of us do this? This thing, which sounds so very harsh and cold and unfeeling. We do it finally because we can't give any more. We are spent. We are tapped out. We are sick and tired.

I am still working not to be completely done with my son. Done is such a final word. It has a final feel. But there are many moments when I feel done, and when, honestly, I want to be done.

I hate this merry go round. I hate this up and down life where I am yoked to him by my love and our DNA connection.

I just want to walk in the other direction and keep on walking. That is the bare truth.

But I know this will likely pass, and I do love my son, and there is always hope, so for now, for the foreseeable future, I must have some space and time and distance.

And I will do whatever I have to do to achieve it, regardless of the emotional cost to myself, by not answering the phone, not responding to texts, not making plans to see him, and telling him quite clearly that I will call the police if he does not respect what I have said.

It's a sad and hard thing to do, Bennie, but we get to this awful point inch by inch by inch, over years and years of this....this....awfulness.

I can totally relate to your entire post, every word of it. My son will spoil any environment he is in, sooner or later. He will use people up until they don't want to see him coming.

He makes choices. And one day, when he runs out of people and places to use, he will have to come face to face with himself, I hope, and maybe, just maybe, that will be a good day for him.

I didn't cause it, I can't control it, and I can't cure it. The Three Cs.

Warm hugs. Do what you have to do to find a place of peace in your life. That is truly all we can do, any of us.


Well-Known Member
How do I do this? How do any of us do this? This thing, which sounds so very harsh and cold and unfeeling. We do it finally because we can't give any more. We are spent. We are tapped out. We are sick and tired.

I've been in this frozen pose for over 2 months now. No change in my heart, my desire or ability to thaw.



New Member
How do I do this? How do any of us do this? This thing, which sounds so very harsh and cold and unfeeling. We do it finally because we can't give any more. We are spent. We are tapped out. We are sick and tired.

Child of mine, that's exactly it, I am completely sick of this game, yet, I am struggling so much with detaching myself from my son.
Friday night I met him & gave him $40 & told him that he needed to get in touch with some kind of social agency to help him to get housing or food, or whatever it is that he needs to get set up for himself. I told him that this was the last time that I would be helping him because I have to start taking care of myself better.
Well, surprise, surprise, he text me about half hour ago asking if he can come use my internet, because he needs it for work tomorrow.
I haven't responded, but I know that my not responding means that he will probably spend the rest of the night texting & calling.
I'm trying so hard to hold my bottom line, but I am really struggling. I feel like I need help to learn how to let go & not feel guilty about it, because I know that I have nothing to feel guilty for, but I just can't get past the fact that he is my child. My brain knows that this is insane, but my heart keeps reminding me of the sweet boy that he once was.
How do you all cope with that struggle?


Well-Known Member
I just got sick of being lied to. Why would your son need YOUR internet at work? It doesn't make sense. I have no trouble saying no to my son anymore. And he doesn't even bother to ask because he knows I won't even listen to him.

My son is 36. Trust me, there comes a time when you throw up your hands and just admit to yourself that you can't help. And that's when you start feeling peaceful. My son is not allowed to call me to ask for favors. I set a boundary a while back. If he asks for anything, I hang up. I will gladly chat with him as long as he is nice, and not asking for something. But if he isn't nice or asks for something, I hang up.

They are not little kids anymore. They are grown adults. It helps me if I picture my son as he looks today.


Well-Known Member
Our difficult children are so very good at finding our mommy spots and saying the magic word that makes us think they might be "getting" it this time. For us, "work" was what we wanted to hear, and he knew that. My difficult child was looking for a job after 3 months in a rehab facility and came up with every imaginable reason why he could only do it at the house. When he finally hit on something I hadn't anticipated and I reluctantly agreed to let him stop at the house just for a few minutes on his way to an interview, he showed up filthy, stinking of cigarette smoke and body odor and obviously not with any intention of securing a job. And ironically causing me to MISS work to deal with the whole guilt trip and high drama when he didn't get his way.

I don't know how to see them as they are now, rather than as they were before things went badly or as we want them to be. I definitely have my moments when helping him seems like the right thing to do (and isn't). I keep a list called "Thinking of Getting Involved? Read This First!" that has some of difficult child's high points and low points. If nothing else it at least cuts down on repeating the SAME mistake over and over.


Well-Known Member
I think that by the time they are 36, we have already gotten past seeing the baby in them and realize how much of an adult they are. I don't know if that's true for all, but it works for me. I thought of him as that little boy I used to rescue even in grammar school for a very long time. He was never a sweet boy, so I didn't have that memory, but he loved his mommy and he'd cuddle with me all the time, even after he'd done something awful to someone at school (which was often). He is still very attached to me and I love him dearly. I just see him as he is NOW (I try to live in the present) and I have already used up all the "mommy" i have for him. I am glad to be his Mother, an adult-to-adult, a loving support system for him and somebody who will give advice IF ASKED. But I refuse to be his mommy who bandages his knee when something doesn't go his way and he freaks out, demands and threatens. I just can't do it anymore.

I have, in my opinion, evolved from a mommy to a mother with him.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Welcome Bennie. I am so sorry you are going through this with your son. You are not alone. We understand.

You may want to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post. You may want to read the book Codependent no more by Melodie Beattie. You may also want to get yourself into a 12 step group soon, Al Anon, CoDa, Families anonymous, or private therapy, or a parent group, or if you believe your son is mentally ill, NAMI, which is the National Alliance on Mental Illness.......you can contact them on line, they have excellent courses for parents.

This is a very painful and devastating process Bennie, none of us are prepared for it nor do we know how to do it. We just put one foot in front of the other and gingerly step forward onto unknown territory. This is not a normal parent/child exchange, this is filled with angst and sorrow, resentment, worry, fear, anger and guilt. In order for any of us to survive it, we need a lot of support, we need guidance, we need a commitment to change because usually what we've been doing is NOT working. And we become exhausted and sick and tired. That's when we change.

And, it is US who do the changing. Our kids generally stay exactly where they are UNTIL WE CHANGE. If they change at all. So, it becomes about us and our willingness to change. Our willingness to respond entirely differently to the demands and manipulations our kids impose on us. Your son is a master manipulator as are many if not most of our kids here. He is not going to change anytime soon, it is to his advantage to continue because he can get YOU to do what he should be doing. So, YOU will have to stop. You will need to say NO and mean it. You will need to set boundaries, respond differently altogether by putting up stringent borders around you and your resources and your time. Only you can do that. And, like most of us, you will need help to do it and help to continue doing it. It is hard. It has been the hardest thing I have ever done. But, you CAN do it.

Start by getting some form of support. Begin putting the focus on yourself and taking it off of your son. Begin saying NO. Begin not responding to his every call. Call the police every single time no matter what until your son is trained that you mean business. Stop giving him ANY money at all. Stop allowing his calls, his visits. Take a long break from his antics. Eventually he will get it, but likely not before he puts up the biggest set of manipulations and yucky comments and accusations and threats and anything he can do to get you to do what you were doing before. That is where the support will come in handy because he knows every single soft spot you have, and believe me, he will go in for the kill every single time. He has already begun, so expect it to get worse as you recede and detach.

It is all up to you in how you want this to be. You have ALL the power, you just forgot you did. As we all do. We are all so concerned about their welfare and being a good parent, we have forgotten how to take care of ourselves. Well, now is the time to remember.

I'm glad you're here. We've all been in your shoes. We understand how incredibly hard this is. Get yourself some real support. Be very very kind to yourself. Do something kind for yourself every single day. Begin to love yourself, accept yourself and honor yourself. If you do all of that, you will begin to feel better and start to get your own life back. You will begin thriving instead of surviving.

Stay close to the board, keep posting, it helps a lot.


New Member
I cannot begin to say thank you enough to all of you that have responded to me over the last couple of days! Just FYI, I am living in Canada, so my resources are a bit different here, but still unbelievably frustrating!!
It is truly eye opening (and sad at the same time) to know that this many people are living in the same nightmare as my family.
I am SO glad to have found a place where I can be honest, and have folks that totally understand where I am coming from.
I am looking into Al Anon meetings in my area, I figure, it can't hurt!!