Feeling a little down

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by JayPee, Jul 20, 2019.

  1. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    I’ve been trying to stop my enabling but am feeling a little down. Oldest son is constantly on me for soap, to pick up his laundry, get bottled water, gas his car. The piece I have stopped is the buying him food every day. But in the big picture it doesn’t feel like I’m making any progress. He is intermittently nice but I think he has some bipolar tendencies. I’m at the angry and resentful stage and met up with him for gas two days ago. We exchanged words prior to meeting up where I mention he needs to get a job etc. once we met at the gas station he took my debit card as I waited. While walking away after gassing up with his back to me he gave me “the finger”. I yelled out the window that I was blocking his calls and am no longer gassing him up. Before I could get home to put the block on he blew up my phone with horrible verbal insults as usual. The next day thru e-mail he says he says (like nothing happened) let me know when my laundry is ready.

    I have not spoken to him in 2 days and have delved into my self help books trying to gain wisdom and strength to stop this cycle. I have such a hard time detaching permanently even though he is mostly disrespectful and entitled. The only time he’s nice is when I’m giving him what he wants. He’s 30 yrs old and begrudges me for not taking care of him.

    Any words to help me gain strength to be the change in the situation?
     
  2. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Busy just posted about a book she is reading that is remarkable, she says, "Gifts of Acceptance" by Miller. I am going to get it.

    This is why I think this makes sense for both of us; I think our self-attacks really set us back. You are dealing not just with your sons' aggression and abuse but your own against you. I struggle with this too. Let's get the book. I am.
    We place ourselves in situations that are guaranteed to be abusive. And then they are. And we react. And then we blame ourselves. What is wrong with this picture?
    This is infuriating me. That he commands. And then abuses. Honestly.

    I think we must have similar psychology. Because I end up in these same patterns.

    We are the ones with all of the power and all of the resources. And yet, what happens is we end up in the lower down position in these relationships. Following orders.

    I think you need to stick with what you said to your son about not buying gas, and blocking his calls. You need not give him any explanation or justification. Even though it was said in anger, it is a correct and true and right thing to do. To stop. And blocking him is right too. Block him. Text him where and when he can get his laundry and do no more. (Preferably somewhere neutral and not your house. Or have somebody else take the laundry to him.) Son has to be responsible for something. He needs to be responsible both for the way he is treating you. And he needs to responsible to meet his own needs. But this is not a judgement of you. Or me. It's a statement of fact.

    Here I am giving orders too. So let me back up. What would make you comfortable? What do you want to do?
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
    • List
  3. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    I know it's difficult but once you start putting your focus on yourself and doing things you enjoy it is easier to detach. It's best if you can detach in love rather than in anger, but you need to detach from your son. Think about it this way- your interactions with your son are similar to the use of drugs by an addict. You are spending all of your time, energy and resources on him, so there is nothing left for you to nurture and care for yourself. Once you get used to focusing on you it becomes a way of life. I resent it sometimes when things encroach on my "me time." And I used to put everyone before me. It's not healthy for either of you. And think about this: if your help and assistance was going to make your son change his life for the better it would have happened by now. You're not doing him any favors by doing everything for him. He needs to figure it out for himself, and as he accomplishes things on his own he will feel better about himself and become more empowered to create a better life for himself.
     
  4. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Eliza is right.

    So that I don't feel like hypocritical I will add this here: My son is 30. To varying degrees I detached. Typically in an angry and reactive way, when I had had enough. But I did it. In many ways I regret it. Because my son is one of the adult children on this board who floundered. He never found permanent housing. He never established regular treatment. He did not work or find any constructive outlet for his time. He did get on SSI. But that has served to subsidize his marijuana. Period.

    So what I want to add here is that our children differ in terms of their capacity. Had I known that my son would fall apart and had I had a greater capacity to handle and to accept what life was throwing me, I would have chosen a different course with my son.

    But that said, I was who I was.

    And just as importantly, my son was unwilling to compromise with me at all. He was hostile. At times he was aggressive. There had to come a time when he was willing to work with me. He had to be motivated to compromise. To give. He had to suffer enough. I think life is the only teacher. Not to say I wanted him to suffer. Or that suffering is good. But if there is no other teacher that one will accept, suffering is the only way.

    I am helping my son again. He is back in my small city and he is living in a home I own with my boyfriend. He still tries to shirk. He blew all of his money before he came back on marijuana. He can still be a drama queen. The difference?

    He wants to be here. And it seems he is ready to do what it takes (the minimum) to stay here. His moods seem leveled out. He is not abusive. (He can get high handed, though, sometimes. But Rome was not built in a day.)

    Many people on this board helped me to see that I needed my son near me. And that rules were there to be broken. That it was okay to allow him back and to work where we are. Which is what we are doing.

    But the thing with your son, is this: He seems to be doing NOTHING at all to work with you. NOT ONE THING. And nothing you have written leads me to believe that there is incapacity on his part. He is just acting like a jerk.

    I guess to riff from what Eliza said, my son did figure something out for himself. Or at least I hope so. He figured out that he was abused if he lived on the street. He figured out that he lived very, very badly. He figured out that give and take was worth it. That compromise was worth it.

    And I figured some stuff out too.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
  5. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    Thank you ladies for your input. I have to say I failed to stay strong. It is dangerously hot in our area and he started poking me for gas again. It’s only been 3 days since his last fill up but he’s using the a/c a lot. I’m so confused and feel I can’t ever possibly be strong enough to stop this viscous cycle. He was disrespectful to me again and yet because I can’t deal with it, I cave. I honestly don’t know what’s the matter with me.

    I will get the book on acceptance.
     
  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    You are so hard on yourself. That's what has to stop first. I count five times you insult yourself. How could anybody be strong if they are subject to that kind of self-attack?
    Well. Failed to stay strong could be my name. Not even my middle name. My real name.

    This book on acceptance (I'm getting it too) I think is not just about accepting others, but accepting reality which is ourselves. I think for you and me right now the goal needs to be to stop knocking ourselves. To just stop that.
    There's three insults right in this one quote. Can you see them?
     
  7. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    Yes. I see how I beat my self up. Even when I’m practicing self care and putting myself first, inside my mind is a battle like this all the time. It’s exhausting. I have a hard time seeing myself worthy of more I guess.

    Maybe that’s where I need to start first. I need to have healthy self talk and eventually I may see myself in a better light.
     
  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I am very like you. We will do this together.
     
  9. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    Just so you can relate to why my mind is so warped I’ve copied and pasted the last of many responses I received from my son when I told him to sell the car and that I’m not gassing him up anymore.

    “Hopefully you die young so I can stomp on your lifeless corpse in disrespect for all the times you insulted my intelligence with your disregard for my thoughts, feelings, opinions and actual need for human safety. You are no mother, that's for sure. You were a woman that got used by an abuser and ended up with kids she didn't understand or want. “

    First of all I can’t die young anymore but anyways this is the kind of verbal put down I get on a daily basis yet even after I get kicked in the teeth (verbally and emotionally) I continue to help him.

    I have to get stronger and continue to pray for God’s help.
     
  10. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This is the response: (not to him)

    I have value as does every other human being. I will not allow myself to be abused, insulted, degraded. From this day forward. By anybody.

    Everybody has a life story. Second by second we have the opportunity to change everything. It is the choice that we make right now, that will remake us. Accepting the right now as the opportunity that it is. (Thank you for that book, Busy.) No more. No less.

    Your son is abusing you. Every single minute offers you a choice to change that. We are beaten down today not because we were abused cumulatively in the past. We are beaten down because we allow ourselves to be beat. Today.

    This is not about your son and what he does. It is about what you are tolerating and apparently on some level think you deserve. I am no different than you.

    Everybody needs support. Why not try Al Anon or Codependents Anonymous?
     
  11. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    Copa I’ve been going to Al anon for a couple years and it has been a great help with the ex -husband who was and still is a chronic alcoholic. With AS it doesn’t seem to work as well. As far a code pendant anonymous I be tried to find groups but unsuccessfully.
     
  12. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    JayP,

    nononononono, this is not okay. husband and I received many such texts, emails, phone calls from our eldest son. After we (finally, after finding this forum) refused to enable one more time, it got worse. Much worse. Then, after awhile, for husband and me, it slowly got so much better.

    Difficult Child is still cheating/stealing from others. He has not gotten one iota better. $$ are not helping him. Nothing will help until he recognizes he needs to change.

    But, husband and I have peace. Every now and again, we will hear from/about him, as will his sister, brother, aunt and one cousin. But, those times are few and far between and we recover much more quickly than in the old days. We will always love him and pray his life turns around. We recognize nothing we tried, in order to stay in his life, helped and all he ever wanted was money - not anything akin to a relationship.

    It will most likely get much worse for you before you gain this peace. From experience, I totally believe that peace is ahead for you when you decide you will not allow yourself to be treated like this. You deserve a much better life than this.

    I know it is not easy. As stated above, it took finding this forum for husband and me to see other options. I remember thinking that we must help Difficult Child because he was delusional and believed the horrible things he said about us. No matter if it was true; he believed it so we had to help (give $$). WHAT?!?! But, yes, in the FOG, I totally thought like that.

    Please stay with CD. Post often. The folks on this forum are so wise and kind. I am thinking about you tonight and sending up a prayer for better days for you.

    SS
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List
  13. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    I'm not Catholic, but I have a Catholic prayer book full of prayers for difficult problems. There is a novena (a prayer that must be prayer for nine days,or in urgent case, nine hours. It has helped my husband's work situation that was destroying his health. Google "Novena Prayer to our Lady of Good Remedy".
     
  14. BusynMember

    BusynMember Active Member

    That text is shocking to me. I have read hurtful things, but not wishes of death. Yet it took us a long time to disconnect and it is still hard. Actually, our daughter was the one who disconnected from us because we refused to give her any more money. And we had given her a lot.

    I believe Kay has bipolar or more probably borderline as I know bipolar people who are perfectly nice and getting good help. No matter what Kay may have, there is help and she won't admit she has a problem and needs help. She smokes pot. That is all she will do to get help. That is on her. Maybe she would behave better if she got treatment but she never will. So she must be okay with her behavior.

    If I am honest, my daughter and I don't have a normal relationship. It is not the type of relationship I wanted for us and nothing like I have with my other two children. I am only useful to her if I give her material items. I am not wanted or needed for love and companionship. Not by her. She does not want us to be grandparents to her son unless my husband and I meet her high monetary demands. And we are done doing that. We have little left anyway due to all we spent taking care of her.

    I love my daughter, but I don't like her. She is very hurtful. I have cried endless tears over her. Now that my husband and I have not spoken to her for a while there is a sense of normalcy and even peace that we haven't felt in years. I still feel guilty sometimes, but not enough to change anything. Our enabling has done nothing good for Kay. Not one thing. I wish we had stopped doing so much for her long ago. Maybe she would be more motivated to act her age.

    I hope you can think over if this dance with your son is helping him. Such ugly words and I am sure you are a lovely, caring person. You deserve to be free of that sort of demeaning abuse, even though he is your son. We all deserve to be treated well.

    It is interesting that your son berates you for having an abusive partner when he is the same. I wonder if he sees the irony.


    Be well.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
  15. I listen to podcasts. Inner Integration on youtube is one of my favorites. Its beneficial to me and a great reminder. Meredith Miller says, "You DO NOT deserve someone who: Disrespects you, lies, disappears, avoids, claims zero responsibility and blame shifts."

    "Don't get sucked into fake sweetness such as 'I've missed you'. 'I'm sorry'. They are just trying to hook you because they are just using words...there is no action to back this up."

    I share these things because I too start to feel guilty but then I listen to things like this to remind me I deserve better.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • List
  16. Deni D

    Deni D Member

    JayPee I can relate to those kinds of emails/texts/voice messages. They certainly do make you question yourself and also think your son might be so severely mentally handicapped in some way that he really does need your help.

    I cut my son off except for things like medical copay's. He's just found other people to take care of him for the most part. And he's no better with me, still very entitled and angry. But at least he has a roof over his head.

    What I struggle with is mourning the loss of my son and accepting my actions are for me, not to teach him to become a civilized member of society. He was taught to be a civilized member of society, he choose a different existence.

    When I first started to put my foot down I spelled out very clearly what I would and would not provide. And I was able to put someone else in the middle who he could call and rant at. I slowly disconnected from him more and more physically as he continued to show me he was only going to be abusive towards me.

    Now I'm working on disconnecting emotionally and mentally from him. I'm working on accepting that I've done all I could and taking abuse from someone just allows them to practice the abuse more. If nothing else maybe my son will learn everyone has their limit and to watch himself even with the ones who care for him the most who he figures he has power over.

    Be kind to yourself, don't beat yourself up like he's doing. Maybe you can try to get a plan in place and a buffer between you and him.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • List
  17. ChickPea

    ChickPea Active Member

    I also agree that the text is shocking.

    I've also been putting my foot down, and reminding my husband that this kind of bs isn't tolerated. I want my home to be welcoming, a place of respite and comfort. I do not want it to be a place of confusion, stress and disorder. I think I've earned that. I think the people living here deserve it. My daughter can create her chaos elsewhere. At least that's where I'm being led to, and trying to enforce. It's hard because my husband is caught up in her drama sometimes and lets it seep in.

    What he said to you was unacceptable. You have to form a hedge around yourself and disallow that from getting in, sounds like you are taking steps to do that. Bravo for you!!!
     
  18. RN0441

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

    Agree. I don't think that you deserve to be addressed that way at all and that would make it pretty easy for me not to do anything at all to help my son if he behaved that way towards me.

    It would make me very angry and resentful and that is probably because of the therapy I've had that focuses on me and my life after focusing on him and his life for so many years while he went about his business of doing nothing good!

    You may want to go to individual therapy to help with this if you are able to and if you find that Alanon is not helping you cope or handle these behaviors. You need to be good to yourself and not blame yourself. We are all mothers and we love our children and we somehow feel that we have to put up with horrible behaviors.

    Good luck.
     
  19. Acacia

    Acacia Active Member

    I agree with all the great advice you've gotten, especially to not blame yourself and not to beat yourself for caving. It's progress, not perfection. I have been in Codependents Anonymous for 20 years, go to therapy, read self-help books, and have a good support system. Even with all that, I still cave, but I am much better than I used to be. When you are strong enough, you will keep the boundaries. When I am strong enough, I will do the same.

    What I have come to realize is that my 33 year old DS who moves from crisis to crisis will do want he wants to do, and none of my efforts, $, or anything else have changed him. I now put the focus on me - how to I grow a self that is as fiercely protective of me and my well being as I was of my children when they were little. He is in crisis again - I am handling it better, but I still see my weakness.

    What I do notice is that the clearer and firmer my boundaries, the less he fights them. In other words, say what you mean, but don't be mean. And it's your right to change a boundary when you want to - which may be never or may be when you see real change.

    My sontakes up so much space in my mind, unbidden, that though it's hard to admit, the less contact I have with my son, the better. I am very familiar with the sweet talk and manipulation, which is the flip side of verbal abuse. He knows how to play the victim and to tell me what I want to hear.

    I am 66 and just retired. I am determined to have as peaceful a life as possible, so I will keep reading and posting to grow stronger.
     
  20. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    Thank you all for words of encouragement and your wisdom. I’m in therapy and have been reading good books like it’s my job. I’m trying to focus on myself and detach but AS is like sticky glue.

    He did apologize but I know he is just manipulative and verbally abusive and in a heart beat will spew his venom at me when I don’t give him what he says I’m suppose to.

    I’ve just finished a book that says to make the kind of changes I’m attempting that I have to have better more positive self-talk because the old way of dwelling and worrying about AS is dominant right now. But it’s possible to alter that obsessive compulsive thought process about his hunger, homelessness and inability to care for himself by just Stopping it and replacing them with completely other thoughts. I’m only fortunate that the other homeless son is temporarily with ex husband. I’m sorry that he is likely sucking the life out of him but I just can’t deal with the two of them right now. I did a few months ago and was like a drive by atm.

    I’m a work in progress that’s for sure.