Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Heavy hearted, May 3, 2018.

  1. Heavy hearted

    Heavy hearted Member

    Looking for advice on how to cope. My son's story......I will start from the beginning of his troubles. Age 16: normal teenager stuff...parties, sports, class clown, attention seeker, new friends. Tried grounding him...he would sneak out his window. The word NO just didn't exist to him. Age 17: more parties, staying with friends well known to our family and some friends we were not as familiar with. In trouble numerous times with drinking and the law. Then our troubles really began. Single car accident caused by driving under the influence. Our son almost didn't survive. ( my husband and I thought this would be THE wake up call.) During recovery, got behind in school dropped out. Begged him to get GED or diploma. Age 18: Got arrested for auto burglary. We refused to bail him out. Spent a year in jail, came home. 5 years probation at the age of 19. Age 20: violated probation, arrested for paraphernalia. He bonded out, came back home. Took my husbands vehicle (with-o permission) instead of taking his truck for a day of joy riding with friends. Drinking driving with friends in vehicle and wrecked the front end of his dad's vehicle. Luckily the cops called us, no arrest was made. That was it, no more. We asked him to move out and don't come anywhere near our house again. We were at wits end. I realize we were enabling him by trying to give him one more chance, and another AND another. My heart is hurting. Just seeking advice from those who have been through this before. He has only his belongings and his vehicle. No money, no job. I have no idea where he is. The same thoughts keep rushing through my mind....is he hungry, safe and alive? What will happen on his court date for probation violation? Will he be arrested again? Worry, worry and more worry. Trying to survive
  2. Enmeshedmom

    Enmeshedmom Active Member

    I’m sorry, that sounds really tough. There are lots of people on here who have been in similar situations to yours sometimes it takes awhile to get a response maybe because it is a work day. I started attending alanon because the obsession with my son and what was going on with him started to consume me to the point of avoiding everything and everyone else in my life just to focus on him. In alanon I’m learning to take care of myself and how to be happy regardless of what my son is doing because I can’t change him. It’s helping me a lot.
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  3. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    You are writing our future with my stepsons, I'm afraid. You are in the right place. If you have not already done so, I might suggest you seek out Al-Anon. It is a free self-help group for people whose loved ones are actively drinking, drugging or otherwise engaging in dysfunctional behavior that causes us to need firm boundaries. It has been a godsend for me along with Codependents Anonymous. I hope your son does eventually hit a bottom and decide for himself to get help.
  4. Acacia

    Acacia Active Member

    Nothing changed him. He has to change himself. And you deserve your to have serenity and joy in your life.
    Alot of us here have been on the hamster wheel of setting boundaries, enabling, detaching, hoping, worrying, suffering. I have 3 adult children, two of them very difficult who have caused much heartbreak for themselves and others for the last 19 years. It is natural to feel grief when our children go so far off course, but it is also possible to learn to detach with love, to care, but not to rescue. My son was just like yours, similar behaviors, incarceration, probation, asking him to leave....

    It started when he was 13 and now he's 32. Nothing we did changed him. He has to change himself.

    It may be helpful to read previous posts about the many ways and tools members have used to further their recovery. I am empathize with all all you feel. It hurts.
  5. Heavy hearted

    Heavy hearted Member

    Thank you so much for the info. Yes, I have withdrawn myself from my friends and loved ones. Each morning, I put a fake smile and head to work. Sometimes I Don't know how I make it through the day. I just feel numb. I am definitely going to get some help. So glad that I am not alone and there are sites like this to help. Thanks again!
  6. Heavy hearted

    Heavy hearted Member

  7. Heavy hearted

    Heavy hearted Member

    So sorry to hear this. I hope and pray that their paths change in the right direction. Living in pure torture day after day is tough. Prayers for all.
  8. Heavy hearted

    Heavy hearted Member

    My husband and I were talking lastnight and realized there are SO many parents out there dealing with a lot more than we are. I just keep thinking about what a great child he was until the age of 16. What happened, where did we go wrong and is it too late? Thank you for your reply. I can't say enough about this site. I truly had no idea there were so many parents going through similar situations as ours. It has been the tough to deal with and the pain just won't go away. We feel God has spared our son's life multiple times and he has kept him alive for a reason. This is God's plan, I've got to remember that.
  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Heavy hearted, welcome. I'm so sorry you continue to struggle with your sons choices and behavior.

    As others have mentioned, it may be worthwhile for you to attend Al Anon or Families Anonymous, many parents find solace, guidance, support and information in these groups. Because this is such a difficult path, it often becomes necessary for us to seek out professional support to learn how to detach from our troubled kids.......and to learn how to resume our own lives and be okay when our kids are mired in substance abuse and dangerous behavior. You can find local therapists on goodtherapy.org and the Psychology Today website. You may want to post on the substance abuse forum here as well.

    You may find guidance in the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here. And, a good resource book is Codependent no more by Melodie Beattie.

    When our adult kids go off the rails, for whatever reason, it puts parents on a path where we are not familiar with the "rules" and how to move forward.....we are stymied for awhile as we look aghast at the child we adore make disastrous choices which put them in harms way. As the shock and disbelief begin to fade, we then usually spend time looking for ways WE SHOULD have parented because this must be our fault, if only we had done this or that or the other, our kids would be just fine. There is nothing you should have done, could have done, or can do now, to fix this. You didn't cause it & you can't control it. Only your son can do that. And, for the moment, it doesn't appear your son has any inclination to do anything but party down with his friends.

    You've made a healthy, positive choice in asking your son to leave considering his behavior and choices. Now you have to learn to live with your choice. I know from experience how hard that is.....I would encourage you to find as much support as you can, attend 12 step groups, find a therapist or a parent support group if that feels right, continue posting here and begin to focus on what it is YOU want. When we've been putting all of our energy into our troubled adult kids for a long time, we become depleted, exhausted and often we forget that we matter too, that our needs and desires matter.....it becomes imperative for you and your husband to relearn how to care for yourselves.....to put yourselves as the priority. As we make that transition, we fill ourselves up with our own care and the choices around our kids become a bit easier. We have to make the choice to take care of ourselves as the priority. I understand that may seem strange under the presence circumstances as your son is 'out there', but the truth is that our kids are quite resourceful, they couch surf, sometimes for years and years...they find a way. Your worrying won't change a thing, won't help your son, won't make anything better......all it will do is kill all the joy in your life and keep you stuck in fear and guilt.

    This is a tough path. But, with support we can learn how to disengage from our kids choices and learn to accept what we can't change. Keep posting, it really helps to share our stories and receive support and compassion and understanding from others who've walked in your shoes.

    I'm glad you're here, you're not alone......
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  10. Heavy hearted

    Heavy hearted Member

    So greatly appreciate your kind words! I thought I was through shedding tears, but after reading your post.....here they come again! Every word in your reply has hit home. I know it was the only choice we had. I know we made the right choice. Now just learning how to cope with our choice. I have deprived myself from happiness. All my energy had been placed surrounding my son's choices. I do feel so much better after reading the post from other parents having to deal with this. My next step is to find group therapy and dedicate myself to that. I will be a survivor and my family will make it through this. I also know this will not happen overnight. Thank you for your reply. So thankful that this site is available to parents with difficult adult children. I am not a very open person and choose who I talk to. I do talk openly with my husband and we both agreed that all we have been doing is making my son's bad choices easier for him. WE were enablers. I still have hope and a mother's love is everlasting for her children. Thank you again!

  11. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Heavy hearted and welcome to our little corner. I am sorry for all you have been through with your son and for your need to be here.
    I had the same thought process and could find many times where I made mistakes and wished I had done a better job as a parent. The honest answer is that we did the best we could as parents, and there is no such thing as a perfect parent. Kids grow up and make choices. My daughters would feed off of my guilt and dig the knife I inflicted on myself, deeper, then twist it.
    “I am the way I am because of you.” Ouch.
    I spent a lot of time reeling those tapes, enmired in shoulda, coulda, woulda land. That only kept me looking back, falling into the trap of blame and sent me deeper into grief. It took a while for me to realize that I didn’t cause my kids addictions, couldn’t cure or control them.
    Our children grow up and have their own paths to travel. We work hard raising them, give them the tools they need for living a good life, and hope with all of our might that they make the right choices. Some do, some don’t. Some realize that the consequences are not worth their choices and choose better. Others take a longer course.
    I don’t think it is ever too late. Where there is life, there is hope. Hope for them, and us.
    How I have learned to cope with two daughters off the rails is by giving them back to God. They were only on loan to me in the first place. I tried so many times to help them, but they didn’t want help to stop partying and drugging. They just wanted to be comfortable in my home while doing it. It caused so much chaos and drama in our lives that there was no other course of action but to say no. Enough. This was hard, and still is at times. But, they have to learn from the consequences of their choices. They have to learn that we are not opportunities for them to continue as is, that there are rules and boundaries. We are not rugs to be tread upon.

    It is the toughest thing to deal with, especially when it starts with teen years, one wrong choice after another. We try so desperately to get them back on track, it’s exhausting. If our love could save them, there would be no need for this sight.
    After years of dealing with our kids going off the rails, trying to stop the train wreck, being so enmeshed in the web, when we disentangle, there is this painful void. Wondering where they are, how they are doing, if they are eating, the list goes on. I try to fill that void with prayer, ask God in faith that He watch over them and that they find their true potential. It helps. A lot. I am thankful.
    I work hard at rebuilding myself, which at first, felt odd and selfish after so many years of throwing my own self interests out the window, to try and rescue my two. I lost bits of myself, one heartbreaking incident at a time.
    Self care is what we wish most for our beloveds. That they are able to see the havoc their choices cause them, and learn to do better.
    In the same light, when our children grow up and make terrible choices, it causes much grief and havoc in our own lives.
    Understanding this and taking steps to replenish ourselves is vital to not only our own healing, but setting an example for our adult children.
    There is no sense in our going down the rabbit hole with them. Easy to write, hard to accomplish.
    These are our children we cherish and it is a pain like no other to see them choose poorly over and again. But, it is for them to decide.

    I believe Gods plan is for people to find a way towards peace with what is, to understand that there are trials and tribulations but that we have free will to choose our course. My two are out there, finding their way. When it became evident to me that they did not want help recovering from addiction, that set me on course towards my own recovery. I am working at it day by day. Life has its challenges, but there is so much to be thankful for, to look forward to. Each day, I ask God to look after my two, to help them find their true potential. I have spent many a time in survival mode, fraught with worry and fear over my twos’ consequences, heavy hearted and in despair.
    It wore me down and did nothing for them. That’s how I cope. When that sorrow hits me, I cry and let it out. Then I pray. I write here to try and comfort those who are going through similar trials, and also to remind myself where I have been with this. I don’t want to visit that awful pit of despair. I know it is not up to me to fix my daughters. That’s way bigger than anything I can do. They can’t live with me because they don’t get better. They have got to figure out what they want in this life, and so do I.
    There is a light at the end of this tunnel.
    Keep working at striving to find your peace. You matter, your relationship with your husband matters, the sanctity of your home and everything you have worked so hard for, matters.
    Be very kind and gentle with yourself and honor your feelings. It is a grieving process we go through.
    Please know you are not alone.
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  12. Heavy hearted

    Heavy hearted Member

    New Leaf,
    Thankful for your reply. Tears spout every now and then. Lastnight my husband and I went out to eat. This is the first time that we have been out since my son left. We went to a wonderful buffet that provided just about every food imaginable. I fixed my plate, sat down and the first feeling of guilt really overwhelmed me. I asked myself, how can I sit here and embelish this wonderful food knowing my son is probably out there hungry. I stopped and prayed for son's nourishment to be provided somehow. I did get through my meal. I think once the "new" wears off of this situation, I can start putting my life back together again. Piece by piece. It's definitely going to be a long hard road to hold. I did look up some support groups yesterday and will be calling Monday. Thank you for your encouraging words. Thank God for this site. My husband is ex military and it appears that this is not affecting him like it is me. It's just different between a mother and her children. The bond of love is everlasting no matter what the situation is. Sleep has seemed to come a little easier for the last two nights. My heart is in pieces, but with the help of this site, therapy and God.......I will survive.
  13. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    I’m so sorry. Our daughter is mentally ill, so the circumstances are different. But also MUCH heartache and some similarities.

    These folks who have posted know where you are coming from more precisely.

    I visited a Families Anonymous mtg and was VERY impressed. Usually parents of adult children , all drug users and all causing extreme havoc. A member told me they always meet. If the mtg is on Tuesday and Tuesday happens to be Xmas , they still meet. Because a parent might be in desperate need of emotional support.

    I perused your other post...glad you are seeing a therapist.

    You had no choice but to walk away. Keep yourself safe. If and that’s a huge “if” he shows some signs of an improved attitude, you could consider guiding him toward NA, doctors or getting him gift cards for the Local food store. That’s the maximum I would do and I would only do that IF he showed some clear and significant improvement. IF. Definitely would NOT have him in your house.

    Blessings for strength and wisdom.
  14. Heavy hearted

    Heavy hearted Member

    Thank you and my prayers for you. I know that a lot of post are about different scenarios., They do have one common denominator... The undeniable love for our children. Thank you for the idea of the gift card for food. I have not been in contact with him. I did tell him to drop me a text and let me know how he is. Right now, he is filled with so much hurt, anger and disbelief. I am going to let him make the first move to contact me. I doubt he would even text back if I tried to contact him. I have agreed to pay his phone bill until he gets his 1st paycheck. After that, he will have to find a way to pay for a cellphone. Right now, I feel like if I do anything else for him.....the manipulation will start all over again. I have to get my head straight and he definitely needs the chance to realize how good he had it at home. I know this sounds cruel, but I feel it's best for now. The worry about him being hungry.....I'll continue to pray that God will provide.
  15. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Dearest Heavy hearted, this is tough stuff. I remember all the thoughts racing through my head, mixed up with sadness and anger, frustration and just being plain wiped out. Be kind to yourself and do what you need to destress. Read, meditate, listen to calming music.
    There is an eerie quiet space in our homes when our difficult adult children leave. I know it is hard on parents who send their kids off to college and such, you know the “empty nest” syndrome. This is something so entirely different. After years of struggle and worry and trying to stop the train wreck, when it is obvious that is not working and there is no alternative, showing them the door is hard. What else can one do? Their destructive choices spill over into every aspect of our lives. It is almost as if they are goading the inevitable consequence. My two got more and more brazen in the chaos. I was more and more sucked in to what I call the swirly whirly of desperately trying to make some sense out of the senselessness of it all. When I enforced the decision that they had to leave, it felt like I had been spit out by a tornado, dazed and confused, angry, bruised, sad and worried.
    It takes time to heal. It takes work to begin to rise out of those ashes.
    When I first came here to post, we had cycled through many years of trying to help our two. Each time we took them back in, there were hopes of change. They would make a go of it for a few days, then the behaviors would start up again and more of the same old, same old.
    I was miserable, the peace in my home......wasn’t. I didn’t want to be home.
    Looking back at all of those years, the futile attempts to try to get my two on a straight path, it wasn’t working.
    They just got worse.
    We had every good intention to help, but what happened in providing a roof over their heads and food, a place for their belongings, just enabled them to use all of their funds to party and delve deeper into drug use. I didn’t see it then, but I see it now.
    Making them leave is hard, but it is pushing them towards recovery.
    In the same light, we need to work at our own recovery. Before that is the recognition that we have been in a battle and need rest and relaxation. Seriously. PTSD. It runs rampant with parents in our situation.

    I am glad you will seek help. I did. Face to face with someone who understands and supports you is good. Releasing all of the pent up emotions is healing.

    Men are different. I think those emotions are there, but they have been taught to “man up”. My hubs was not a talker. He was stoic. In the long run, I had to be the tough one and put my foot down. Say enough. Done. But I wasn’t done feeling it. It was dizzying and all consuming. That’s when I knew I had to get help.

    It is everlasting .We will always love our children. We want the best for them.
    They have got to want that for themselves.
    When they stay in our homes, drug and party, steal from us, damage property, it’s akin to a giant adult tantrum. They feel entitled to do what they want, when they want without thought or consideration Or appreciation for their family.
    We said no to them when they were little and tried to force us to cave to unreasonable wants.
    I started to frame my twos actions that way. They wanted to live in my home and do whatever they pleased.
    That is unacceptable behavior.
    I love them.
    But love says no.
    Love stands firm, sets boundaries, teaches self discipline and self control. Love is a two way street, reciprocated with respect and appreciation.
    None of that was happening with my two at home. They were manipulative, emotionally abusive.
    I don’t deserve to have that in my home, none of us do.
    What other recourse is there?
    When I feel weak, I borrow strength from my Dad, my Mom. There is no way in heck they would put up with the nonsense. “If you don’t like my rules, there is the door.”
    You will survive. Start slowly with little things, one day at a time. When hubs passed, the grief ran over me like a freight train, each car packed with emotion and memories.
    Some days, I couldn’t even get out of bed.
    This is grief, Heavy hearted, and it is essential to feel what you need to feel to process it all.

    It probably will. Addiction is clever. It grabs a hold on our kids and trickles over to us. I am dumbfounded looking back and thinking of all the craziness we went through.
    In the thick of it, it is hard to see straight.
    We become ill with despair and heartbreak.
    That is a difficult place to make sensible decisions.
    This is good you recognize this. Our adult kids are resourceful. We pine away, thinking of all the terrible awful things that may happen, consumed with worry. You raised your son to be self sufficient, I am sure of that.
    That was our job as parents.

    It doesn’t sound cruel, it sounds right. It sounds like a parent come to their senses. Old fashioned values.
    “Honor thy father and thy mother.”
    How can our adult children learn, if we allow them to disrespect us and behave indecently?
    How can they learn to make better choices, if they run amok in our homes?
    It is not cruel to take a break from someone who has treated themselves, their parents unacceptably.
    You are not rejecting your son, you are rejecting his choices, and rightly so.
    Do take care my dear. You are a warrior sister.
    Do what you need to recuperate.
    Try not to let your mind go to all of the awful things that may happen to your son. It is a part of that swirly whirly of feelings that entangle us.
    That is addiction trying to keep its grip on us. I am not an addict, my two are, and I am keenly aware of how their addiction can effect and infect me and my thought process.
    I flipped that switch to repeating to myself that my two are out there finding their way. It may sound silly and pollyannish.
    If I ask in faith that God look after them, then I mustn’t be consumed with worry.
    May God watch over our beloveds, and direct them to their true potential.
    Prayers for peace of heart and mind.
  16. Heavy hearted

    Heavy hearted Member

    I not sure how to start my own thread. An update on my son. He texted me this morning with a simple I love you. I got frantic, the first thought that entered my was that he us suicidal. I immediately texted back and asked him "Are you ok" and " I love you". He texted back saying no, he's not ok. He spent the last of his money on food. He has no money left for gas to probation or money to pay his probation. Another piece of my heart has just shattered. I started texting back saying I will pick him up Thursday to take and pay his probation. I didn't send the text. I just sat there and thought.....what am I doing? What should I do? We had told him no more and if I send this text then I would still be an enabler. So after about 30 mins of going back and forth, I texted: what I am about about to text is one of the most painful things I have ever had to do. I cannot fix what you have done. After YOU chose to continue to use drugs, drinking and driving (after you almost killed yourself last time) ....we are cutting all ties. We cannot and will not get caught up in YOUR destructive world again. Yes, I am crying as I am typing, yes, it is about to kill me inside. You said you have friends that owe you money....call them. Beg for a ride. You will find a way, even if you have to sell all your belongings. My heart pours out to you right now, but I cannot fix this. You lost respect for us and
    and we lost trust in you. Get on your hands and knees, pray with an open heart that God will provide.......I feel like a horrible mom right now!!!! This was the hardest thing I have ever had to do? Now I am questioning myself....was this the right thing yo do? He has not texted back, don't know if he will. Please, did I make the right choice? My emotions are a roller coaster ride in hell....
  17. Kalahou

    Kalahou Active Member

    Heavy hearted,

    First please ... slow down… breathe…. and know that you are going to be alright . I just saw your thread today, and I don’t not have time to write much at the moment, but I want to assure you that folks here understand what you are going through and you are not alone. We know the fear, the guilt, etc you feel.

    This is new to you, I know, but I already see your strength in how you stopped your initial emotional reaction “fix, help, enable”, and stayed your mind in patience to think through your wisdom and your words.

    I think your text to your son was very loving, caring, and honest. You showed your confidence that he can work it out, as he needs to do. (even though I know you are inwardly trembling.) Your son knows your heart too. He is working out his life also. Do not worry that he did not text back. Your words are sinking in to him ~ he is realizing your truth and his own truth. You did well. You are not a horrible mom. This is very hard stuff but it is necessary. You will come through the fire.

    I am following along, and hold you high in my thoughts. Take care, dear. You are going to be alright.
  18. Heavy hearted

    Heavy hearted Member

    Thank you! This site has consumed me! I don't even remember how I stumbled across it, but thank God I did. In just the few days I have been on here, it has lifted my spirits and hopefulness. Right now, this is the only place I can go to some peace on a choice that I had to make.
  19. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    To post a new thread you go to Parents Emertis Forum. There is a rectangular blue box in the upper right that says “post new thread.” You hit that and create a title for your post and write your post in the box. You don’t necessarily have to start a new thread if you don’t want to.

    What you posted tugged at my heart. That had to be extraordinarily hard. It is extremely hard to put your foot down and walk away from extremely destructive behaviors. It might be the only way your son will get serious. It might very well be the only way he will begin to look at himself and how his bad behaviors have been wrecking his life.

    I literally just said a prayer for you.

    I know this is profoundly difficult.

    Sending good thoughts.
  20. Heavy hearted

    Heavy hearted Member


    yes it was and has been exremely difficult. Today was just as bad as the day when we asked him to leave. He's scared, I can tell from his messages. This hurt me even more. I continue to praise him and tell him I love him. I tell him I believe in him, I just can't keep enabling him. THANK YOU so much for the prayer. I am a true believer in God. He is 1st in my life.