Feeling guilty for sons continued behavior

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Tammie, Dec 26, 2017.

  1. Tammie

    Tammie New Member

    I am so glad I came upon this site. My 24 year old son who is addicted to alcohol and drugs is now in jail for a probation violation. I too have heath problems dealing with his addiction for 5 years now. I have put $ on his books and spend $300 already doing this since he has been in jail for 18 days waiting for his court date.... which isn’t for another 18 days. He calls daily making me feel so bad for him that I cry everyday (especially today on Christmas) and wanting me to bail him out. Thanks to this site I feel empowered to NOT bail him out. I would only be doing him an injustice for his actions and consequences he has created. We have helped him so much by allowing him to live with us after college, financial support and always being there for him.... which hasn’t helped at all. He still ONLY thinks of himself and has the poor me attitude! I need to start thinking of me, my husband and other son and start putting our feelings first. This has caused a huge strain on my marriage. I think about his problems day and night and I can’t keep living this way. He needs to face his choices and consequences or he will never learn! Thank you for all the great advice reading all the comments!
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017
  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I am really sorry. Are you in counseling? Al Anon? I personally think the parents who reach out for help seem to be doing better emotionally. Been on this site for over ten years. It is too hard to do it in my opinion without FaceTime help and support. We need help too.

    I am an introvert and it was not easy at first to get help from Al Anon, but it was good for me. I also saw and still see a private therapist.

    We need to take care of ourselves. How else can we tell them to get help? in my opinion we need to set an example. At the very least we could learn coping skills.

    Hugs and love!
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  3. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    HI Tammie, so glad that you posted your own thread. Your title says it all...."Feeling Guilty for son's continued behavior". Somehow, in the mess of all of this, we parents end up with this huge emotional burden of our d cs consequences. Why should you feel guilty, over the choices he makes? It is not your life, your choices. You did not raise your son, or I, my daughters, to become adults and be drug and alcohol addicted. Oh, I can't even count how many times my two have blamed their hellish descent on me, my parenting mistakes (I am only human, yes I made plenty mistakes) and thrown me into a boiling volcanic pool of burning guilt. That is designed to keep us right where they want us, at their beck and call for every drama ridden consequence they suffer for their choices.
    I wouldn't bail my d cs out, either. In fact, sometimes I wish they would go to jail. Three square meals, a roof over their head and plenty of time to think about their life.
    Always being there, and it doesn't help. They learn to rely heavily on us, while kicking us at the same time.
    Nothing changes, if nothing changes.
    Yes, you do need to start thinking of you, and your other responsibilities. It is what we wish our d cs would do, lay off the partying, and take care of themselves.
    Lead by example.
    Good article for you to read
    Me, too, I have to keep reading this.
    It takes work and effort to change our mindset, to carry on and be strong while our d cs are off on their own journey. How often my twos lifestyles and choices have prevented me from really living.
    It is unacceptable that their choices and consequences prevent me from enjoying my life, my well children and grands.
    Well, Tammie, you are on the way to discovering a new way of being. Recognizing there is a problem is the first step. Take little steps to caring for yourself and shifting your focus.
    You are a battle weary warrior and need some time to replenish yourself.
    It is not impossible, you can do it.
    YOU matter, your life matters.
    There is a life aside from all of the chaos and drama and "rescuing".
    We just have to want it, to work at it, to learn to live it, despite what our d cs are doing.
    It does nothing for them, if we go down with their disasters.
    Your son is young, he can learn, but not if you are always there to bail him out.
    Standing aside and letting him learn from his choices is not an easy thing to do, but it is the best thing for him, and in the long run, for you.
    You got this Tammie.
    Take back your life.
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  4. Tammie

    Tammie New Member

    Thank you SO much for the support. It means the world to me knowing others have been through this and have finally been able to put themselves first again! My son is young and that’s why this crap has to stop. I will not help or enable him any longer! He needs to accept what he has done and grow the hell up! He’s a grown man that needs to face his problems, choices and consequences once and for all. Thank you again for your supports. Hugs
  5. Tammie

    Tammie New Member

    I went to Al Anon once and saw a Therapist for a month. I definitely need to go back and get the additional help and support I need. I do reach out daily to friends and my loving, amazing, supportive husband but I know I need more.
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  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Hi Tammie!! Welcome! I am sorry you are feeling so guilty. Somehow we parents fall into that trap. It is an ugly trap, isn't it?

    Please give AlAnon another try. Go to meetings at different times and places until you find one that works for you. Each one has a different dynamic because it has different people in it. It really can be a huge help. Or if you are more comfortable with a private therapist, that is okay also. Or do both. You will find it frees you up from so much, and changes you life in many positive ways!

    You might also read the article on detachment (https://www.conductdisorders.com/community/threads/article-on-detachment.53639/ ). It is normally on the top of the Parents Emeritus forum if you want to find it without searching this thread.

    Another great read is CoDependent No More by Melanie Beattie. It is a classic for a reason!

    I know it is hard to have your son in jail. Maybe jail is where he needs to be. When he calls you, you don't have to accept his calls. Set a limit on how many times a week he can call you, and how long each call can be. If all he is doing is spilling garbage on you and making you miserable, you don't need to have that happen all the time. He can write letters to you if he wants to talk about nonsense. Give him 5-8 minutes to talk about his case and anything that is really crucial. It will keep him from dumping too much toxic sludge. Set a timer and when that timer goes off, hang up. Make sure your husband is on board with this and will help you hang up. Tell your son that this is a consequence for saying such ugly things to you while he is in jail. He has upset you too much and now he can only talk to you on certain days for a very short period of time.

    I have friends who did this with their child when he got arrested and kept blaming them for it. They didn't call the police, they didn't commit the crime, they didn't even live in the same state. How it was their fault, no one could figure out. But their son was awful to them for several calls, blaming them and calling them some horrible names, and threatening them with what he would do when he got out. Finally his dad told him that he could call twice a week for 5 minutes to ask about his dog and his siblings, and to apologize. Nothing else. If he had questions about his case, he could call his lawyer. If he had things to say to his parents, he could write a letter. Being hung up on a few times after that really shocked the son.

    Please know the garbage your son spews right now is nonsense. It is the drugs and the withdrawal and the stupidity talking. I don't know if he will get over those things, he might get stuck in this phase. You never know, really. But what he says is nonsense. Reject it adamantly. Don't buy into it.

    I am so glad you have an amazing husband to support you. When he is home, let him handle the phone calls and just reject the calls from the prison. There is no requirement that you pay for calls from your son if he is being rude and insulting and aggressive. If someone came to your door and started yelling insults and threats and insisted you open it, you could call the police or just refuse to open it, couldn't you? That phone is just another doorway into your home and your life. If your son is abusive over the phone, hang up on him. Let him know that you will speak to him again, open that doorway again, when he is ready to be polite. Get the message through that abusive or harassing behavior is simply not going to be tolerated. If he threatens violence, please tell the jail staff as they need to know.

    I know that may seem strange or over the top, but it is a way to start teaching him to respect you. What better time is there? Now he has to talk to you if he wants help with anything. He depends on you. He also has people there who can deal with him if he gets out of control. He will have guards there and doctors on staff and other professionals who can keep track of his behavior. he also cannot get to either you or your husband to threaten you. Is there a better time or place for him to learn this lesson?

    I just threw a lot of information at you. Use what will help you, what seems like it fits for you. Discard or ignore whatever won't help you. It won't hurt my feelings at all, not even if you ignore every single thing I said. I hope that you are able to work things out so that everything is wonderful for you.

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  7. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    $300 for 18 days? I don't even get that much discretionary money to spend on my self for a month...

    I am sorry, but what dies that go for? Phone calls to friends? Snacks? I must go out if the loop cause I don't have a clue. Ksm
  8. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Tammy, and sorry you had to find us but glad you did. I am sorry you and your husband are going through this and completely agree with your decision not to bail him out.
    And there is no requirement that you pay for calls at all! Aside from the badgering you are suffering, those calls are expensive.

    Does your son's facility have email arrangements? The facility my son was in had email set up, where I could put a small amount in and he could send emails for 50 cents each. The nice thing about that, along with the decreased cost, was that I could plan my responses to him and not get manipulated, or even not respond at all.
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  9. so ready to live

    so ready to live Active Member

    Hi Tammy.
    As a mean mom who left her son in jail over holidays for a month...I feel your pain. Not your fault though, was it? Albie's text idea is great. Our son called my husbands work from jail, secretary and others took the calls, we had a lot to pay back before telling everyone that answered phone to not do that. Yes, it was humiliating but also freeing to not be hiding our mess.
    He can use that $300 for stamps and write you. You can open it or not, there is no need to take jail calls which abuse you begging for bail.
    This is truly clear thinking. Our addicted sons/daughters are not who they were. Drugs change everything. Until you see real change with your own eyes just know that constant lying goes with the territory. We have found this so hard to accept but are gradually seeing the truth in it.

    Do I want the funny, loving not drug addled son back? Of course. But today is not that day and I still have to find happiness in my circumstances as they are...may you find some joy today. You are not alone. Prayers.
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  10. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    Hi T;

    You have gotten some excellent advice from some very wise people. I am just writing to say I am sorry for your need to be here but I am glad you found us. You will find no judgement and a lot of support here.