Help! Son with Anti-Social Person. Disorder

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Gatheredtogether, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. Gatheredtogether

    Gatheredtogether New Member

    I'm glad to have found this forum. I am a mom of three sons. My youngest is 22 and has aspd. I really need help, support, and a lot of strength to figure out what to do and how to go about it. Let me start by saying I am a Christian and because of many of my beliefs the lines have become blurred somewhat in our home. When I say this I mean that we all are in agreement that each has a gift/s and using it brings about happiness, health, and fulfillment. These things, I believe, have caused us (I am divorced but live with my oldest son) to make choices that have given my aspd son more leeway than he should have had. I'm sure I would have still been manipulated because he's done so since he was an infant. On to my current situation. I have read many of the stories on the board here and without repeating too much of it I'll keep it short. My son is manipulative, violent, lies, verbally abusive, refuses to take any responsibility for his actions, will not work (he has social anxiety, but can overcome it because I've seen him do so), had trouble doing college academics (this is real...I know his inability to handle stress is genuine) so he concentrated on music which he is wonderful at. It is the only thing that brings him peace.So, as mentioned above, we have encouraged this "gift" because it's great for his self esteem, health, social skills etc. He is in a band and that is a wonderful release for him and gives him the ability to interact with peers with-ofeeling stressed. But he refuses to do anything else. He had destroyed two cars that I bought him. He won't get a job to fix the second one and it sits in yard for a year now. I just recently began letting him use my car (again, I felt it the Christian thing to do by meeting someones need). I know this is all faulty thinking. He stays up until 5 am and sleeps until 4 or 5 pm. We've fought over this issue so much I have given up and I have with many, many, many other issues. I AM TIRED!!!!!!!! To make matters more difficult we are having major financial challenges. My ex lost his job and my lifetime alimony is now a mere pittance. I have health issues and although I've tried to work over and over I eventually break down (I am filing for disability). So, in a nutshell. My son won't work, sleeps all day, expects us to provide, car, money, food, clothes, etc because he is so happy in his band. He is disrespectful to his brother who is trying to support all of us...more guilt piled on me for this situation which is of course another story. If I hadn't read some of the other stories I wouldn't feel free to write all this because it sounds like I'm an irresponsible person. I am nothing like that at all. I worked very hard all my life. I homeschooled all my children for 16 all the while trying to find out what was going on with son number three (he has tourette's syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), bipolar, sleep disorder, etc). We, my son and I, need to make a change. We can't afford to live like this any longer. The youngest has put so much stress on us, to be honest, I'm not sure what I could accomplish if I weren't under his "authority." Today I decided I will emotionally detach myself from him, which is excruciatingly painful. All this to say I need support in doing this. by the way, my ex is a sociopath which scares the H**l out of me knowing that this is the next step for my son if he isn't helped. We've been to therapists, groups, dr.s more therapists, school therapist..who was sure he wasn't a sociopath. That was two years ago. I made a decision today that he must get a job, even a small non-stressful one, by next week and he can no longer use my car (he is way too reckless). Also, I refuse to give him money from now on when he goes to band practice (which I have no clue how he will get to--this is NJ--ya don't hop a bus all that easily) or when he wants to go out with his band members. So, my small steps are no car, no money, and a job in 7 days. What should I do if he doesn't get a job? He made no effort today to do anything about it--he's still asleep and it's 3:15. Please, please, I need advice. I am so physically & emotionally drained I don't know who I am any longer. I'm sorry this is so long and so scattered. I generally can write much clearer and more in depth but if I told all it would be a book. Thank you in advance. So grateful to have found all of you

  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    GTG, welcome. I'm glad you found us, but very sorry you had to go looking....................your story is familiar, as we have many adult kids who fit a similar profile of having some disabilities but refuse help and cause major disturbances, distress and negativity in the rest of the family. I have a great deal of empathy for you, I understand how tired you feel and how depleted and resentful one gets after putting up with this kind of behavior for a long time.

    I believe your choices to take away the car, money and giving him a deadline to get a job is really the only choice left to you. I believe it is the right thing to do. Detachment is hard on us parents, you may want to read the article at the bottom of my post on detachment, it's helpful.

    I think first of all you must do some research to find out how you legally evict someone from your home. In some states, you must go to court, even if the person you're evicting is your adult child. So find that out first. Once you get that information, you will be free to remove him if he doesn't get a job. If you have been enabling him for a long time, it's pretty likely he isn't going to be jumping into action, he will assume he can manipulate you as he has always done, into giving him what he wants. Be aware that when you change your behavior, his behavior will escalate because you will be threatening his 'easy ride.' Here in CA. when you evict someone,(which incidentally requires a court order) you can call the Sheriff and they will escort the person out. Find out exactly how you need to proceed so you can move to the next step if you have to. If you have no legal procedures to fulfill, you may want to ask his brother, or even the cops to escort him out. In the meantime, I would start asserting exactly what the changes are and what the consequences are for not upholding the boundaries you set forth. Do not back down. Once you set the boundary, if you back down, no one will believe you after that. The boundaries have to be ones with no loopholes, they are your rules, end of story.

    The only person who can make your son change his ways is himself. You have NO power to do that. All you can do is take care of yourself and learn to respond differently. If you have access to therapy, use it, this is a hard, very challenging path, it's likely you will need some professional help in order to stay strong and hang tough.

    It is your home, you are the one who has the control and power, not him, do not allow him to hold you hostage in your own home. You pay the bills, you make the rules. He can't abide by them, he leaves. You can give him a list of the local shelters, that may be his only option. Or he may have friends he can live with. These kids are remarkably resourceful when left to their own devices. He needs to face the consequences of his bad behavior. It is not okay to abuse you, be violent, disrespectful, lazy, a liar, to use you and manipulate would not accept this behavior from anyone else, don't accept it from your son.

    Enabling is not "meeting someone's needs" in a loving way, it is robbing them of the opportunity to be responsible for their actions and behaviors and to learn to take care of themselves. It hurts everyone. Detaching is the path we take to take care of ourselves in the midst of the chaos our kids present us with and it is the chance for them to recognize that they must step up to the plate and get the help they need and get healthy...........or not. It's their choice.

    I'm sorry you find yourself here. None of us would choose this. Keep posting, it does really help. Focus on you and what YOU need. Take care of YOU. Do nurturing, nice, comforting things for yourself. Begin the process of putting your energy into yourself and taking the focus off of him. I wish you peace...............
  3. Gatheredtogether

    Gatheredtogether New Member

    Thank you recoveringenabler. I cherish your words. My next step will be to look into the eviction process. I know I must be prepared in advance of asking him to leave. Right now he is on good behavior which will last 2 days. I will read the article you posted tomorrow. I'm so tired tonight I'm sure I won't take it all in. I'll be back tomorrow to re-read your response. It's helpful to have confirmation that I'm doing the right thing and re-reading your excellent advice will do just that.

    Thank you again.

  4. Gatheredtogether

    Gatheredtogether New Member

    I've read the detachment article. It's so on target I'm going to print if out and read it over and over. It's gives the strength that going to a group support would give. It's full of truth, compassion, and a lot of wisdom.
    Many thanks for posting it for all of us struggling with detachment issues. Also, this is excellent for me to inform those around me how I feel and the pressure I"m under. It gives insight into the personality flaws which allow the behavior to continue. Thank you!
  5. Gatheredtogether

    Gatheredtogether New Member

    I have a question in regards to giving my son notice to get a job within 7 days.
    He's always saying he lost track of time, can't remember, or I didn't make it clear, etc, etc.
    So this morning I sent a text stating "just a reminder you have 6 days to find a job"...he didn't make any effort yesterday to look for one. If he did it was online and I didn't know about it but I doubt it very much. Should I continue to count down so he has no excuse or leave it alone?
    I know it sounds trivial but I think you all know where I'm coming from.
    Thanks in advance.
  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think I would sit him down, look him in the eye, tell him what my conditions are, exactly, "I am not giving you any more money. You cannot use my car. If you do not have a job in 6 days, I will begin formal eviction procedures. Do you understand what I am saying? Please repeat back to me what you believe I just said." Some of us have written up formal agreements, like a contract, which he can then read and sign. You do want to make sure that he does understand exactly what is expected of him and what the results of his not complying are. However, once I stated that clearly and I was sure he understood, I would let go. Any reminders each day are then part of rescuing him and controlling the situation. He is not 8 years old, he is 22. Unless he is impaired in memory or some way which you have not stated, he should be able to understand your demands. If he is not impaired in that way, then he is manipulating you.
  7. Gathered - You have gotten some wonderful advice and support from RE. As have all of us here!

    The only thing I would add is state the specific date of when his time to get a job is up. So his 6 days are up on August 8. After that I will start eviction proceedings.

    Also you can tell him you are doing this because you love him and that you know that he is capable of being successful at it. You are confident that he will succeed in getting a job and keeping it and moving forward in his life. Don't approach him out of anger but out of love and a confidence in his ability.

    Wishing you well with this. Please come back and keep us posted.
  8. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    I would add that your job now is to explore what you need to do to begin the eviction process. Part of that process will be learning how you are going to protect yourself from your own maternal feelings of wanting to protect him. If you were to go through the eviction process (and the fact that your son is ignoring you on this one tells me you will have to evict him), where will he go? I know that isn't your responsibility? But when parents are forced to take such drastic steps as eviction, our own maternal instincts require that we know the child has somewhere to go. So, I think you need to research homeless shelters in your area. Soup kitchens. The cost of a room at the YMCA, if you have one in your area. The cost of a bus pass.

    Does he have a backpack for his things?

    Are you going to pay for his phone after he leaves home?

    Are you going to be comfortable turning him out with no food, or are you going to send food with him?

    If he needs to go to a homeless shelter, how will he get there?

    What time does he need to be at the shelter in order to stay for the night?

    Is he planning to live in his car after the eviction?

    These are all questions that will become burning issues before you can be serious about evicting your child. If you know the answers to those questions, your attitude when you talk to your son will be different. I think he will sense that you mean it this time. Maybe, that will be enough to change his attitude, and the eviction will never have to happen.

    Right now, you are dealing with him from a position of weakness. You need to be coming from a place of strength. Knowledge is the tool you need, now.

    So, my advice is for you to explore where your son will be living once he is no longer living with you. Break through those psychological barriers all parents have against turning our children away.

    A good place to begin to find the information you need is your local Social Services office. This will be listed in the blue pages of your phone book. Or, go online and type in Social Services for your county and state. Look up shelter information. Look up YMCA. Make some phone calls. Even the Police Desk in your city can be an excellent reference for you. Any information is better than no information. You can sift through it, later.

    Another good place to begin is to dial "211." This number used to be a country-wide resource for accessing local social services. Since funding cutbacks have been put into effect, not all counties carry that 211 service, anymore. Nonetheless, there will be an emergency number for your county and state that you can access online.

    You need information.

    We need to interact with our difficult child kids from a position of strength. The only way to do that is to know what our options are. You may change your mind about making him leave a million times. He may sense your new determination, and change his ways. Or, you may have to act on what you learn through exploring options for homeless people. Not a one of us here is going to judge you for whatever you decide to do. We have all been where you are ~ scared, angry, tired and so, so frustrated and ashamed. When we are in these kinds of traps, we need to change something, or the same old things will keep happening. Gathering your forces, learning that your son will survive, if you do need to evict him ~ all these tiny pieces will give you strength and hope.

    And we will all be right here, too.

    There is so much strength to be found in posting here, in knowing that we are not alone.

    I'm glad you found us, too.

  9. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hello and welcome!

    I wanted to add that too many of us have this vision of our kids alone in the dark and rain with a sad, pathetic, clueless look on their face and only a meager few possessions in a box to comfort them...

    The reality is often that our kids are clever, resourceful, and instead of sad and clueless - they will be the first to treat us with anger and contempt as they declare that they don't need any suggestions from us as to where to stay or what to do because they have TONS of friends who will gladly take them in (so there!).

    I second the suggestion to put everything in writing. Short and simple is best. Make sure there is no extraneous language that could possibly be twisted by your child.

    Then, prepare yourself for your son to try to instigate a conflict. He's going to want to make sure he gets to storm away in a huff, slamming the door behind him, leaving YOU (the horrible, abusive, unfair person that you are) to feel badly about what you have done to HIM. This (to him) is going to be far preferable to you actually getting to ask him to leave...

    Just be ready.

    Good luck!
  10. Gatheredtogether

    Gatheredtogether New Member

    There is so much to take in. All of this advice is wonderful and at the same time I'm having a panic attack just thinking of doing any of this. I have almost no support. The one person that is able to cut himself off from the situation emotionally is my middle son. He lives in another state but is there for me to speak with. He will continue to try to help from a distance but at the same time he is watching to see if this time I will follow through. He's tired of me crying on his shoulder, giving me advice, and then seeing me not follow through. My oldest, who lives with me, is absolutely an emotional wreck and as much as he tries he can't be a support. He is confused by the roller coaster I've created by not following through, the nightmare of trying to do it, the fights, the doors being broken down, holes in the wall, etc, etc. He said if/when this takes place he doubts he can be here. I can't blame him. He can't cope! And I don't blame him. Remember, he is supporting us which is already an enormous burden. Guilt, guilt, guilt. I've had suicidal thoughts so many times today because of all of this. I'm bipolar and it's hard enough keeping myself in balance. As you all know stress is a major trigger. I won't follow through so please don't worry. I just want out of this nightmare. I went to the Dollar Store this morning and all the school supplies were out on display. I almost broke down into tears remembering simpler days with wonderful dreams for my little boys and trying to lead them all on the path to success. How awful I feel. How did I fail so miserably? I am responsible for his personality disorder as much as his father is (and whatever genetic component plays a part). I have borderline personality disorder which majorly contributes to instability in children. I know it's not my fault that I have this disorder but I blame myself for not being able to control it. I've always felt IF ONLY I HAD WORKED HARDER! I felt that when I divorced and now once again I feel the same.(I stayed in an emotionally abusive marriage or 22 years. So you see this is a pattern). I know the rational way to view this but emotions are a powerful force. I can't thank you all enough for taking the time to give me such detailed information. There is always the possibility that he will call his father but I'm not certain how that will turn out. Their relationship is not great but better than it once was. When I told my ex last night of my intention he listened and said, "my blood sugar is out of control and I can't take any stress right now." What ?? Last week he was on board, going to help him feel better about working, etc, etc. and none of it came to pass. (remember he's a sociopath). Once again I believed he would be there to help and like a friend of mine said, "he gives you a false sense of security then pulls the rug out from under you." Exactly! It's frightening because my son has the ex's traits which I've tried so hard get under control and redirect. Well, I'm babbling I see. I opened the floodgates and I'm all over the place with stories, emotions, and what have you. Mostly, I keep thinking why did I open this bag of worms? Why did I have to start this again? Maybe I should have just looked the other way. Maybe I should have done it another time...on and on it goes. I'm really, really frightened. Thank you again for listening to me. I apologize for going off in so many directions.

  11. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Barbara, listen to me..........we all go through all of the same feelings you are going through right now. Most of us aren't bipolar or borderline, so how you are feeling is a human maternal response to a very dramatic situation which calls for drastic measures not one of us here wants to make. And, yet we are forced to. Many of us have PTSD as a result of what has occurred with our kids. You are not alone. Your responses are absolutely normal and the way anyone with a heart would respond. Do not beat yourself up for the reactions you're having.

    Second of all, this is not your fault. You did not create this. Biologically you may have contributed to some of his issues, that is often the case, I passed on the genes to my daughter who has many issues. At a certain point in time, our kids become responsible for their own lives, we as parents give them what we give them, we bring them here, we bring them up and then we let them go. There is an end point. You have reached that end point. Leave the guilt behind because all it will serve to do is keep you stuck longer and have you suffer more. You did not do anything wrong. You did the best you could. You do not deserve to suffer for any perceived mistake you think you made. Forgive yourself and move on. If you knew better then, you would have done better then. We all would have. It is what it is. If you can take the guilt out of the equation, you will be able to make healthier choices.

    If your ex does not want to support you, so be it. This is your home, your life, take care of it. If your son goes to your ex's or not is not your business. Once he is out of your home, they can all do what they want, it is not your issue, it is theirs.

    What helped me the most was getting into therapy. Perhaps someone at your church can offer you some support, your pastor or priest. I believe you are going to need some professional counseling so you can sort through all of the feelings that are inherent in removing yourself from this unhealthy and dysfunctional connection you have with your son. Social Services often has counseling for a sliding scale. Investigate your options for yourself, so you can get the support you need to make the changes necessary, not only for your sake, but for your sons sake as well. He needs to grow up and man up and get on with his adult life. You have a life too, nurture that life, value it enough to get the help you need to do what has to be done. This is a very hard path you're on, there are so many feelings and emotions that surface and they hurt. If there are no family members who can help you, seek out professional support. Go to a codependents anonymous meeting in your area. Investigate parent groups for kids who have issues. Look into NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness, they are accessed online and have chapters everywhere. Do something for yourself. Once you take that step, you will begin to feel a tad better. Get help for YOU. Do it as soon as you can. Sending you many hugs and support for YOU.
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi there. Your post could have been written by me. I also have 3 kids who each have their own issues. I am also borderline and bipolar along with having some physical disabilities. Believe me I have blamed myself plenty over the years for the issues my kids have. Almost all of it comes straight down my maternal tree. My mom was worse than I am and I think her mom was much like her. I also have some guilt because my most problematic child also has some fairly serious physical problems that cause him constant pain.

    I have been able to get my son out several times over the years but he always seems to end up back home. Thankfully mine isnt violent though he can yell sometimes when he is upset. It isnt at me though.

    My oldest son tries to help me and support me with whatever I am feeling. My middle son is less forgiving but he is always there to tell me I am right and not to worry. He even offers to help with my youngest but youngest has to know the rules going in. All my kids are very close and I am sure that if all else fails my youngest may end up at his brothers.

    I know this feels like our fault but it isnt. I had a very hard time a few years ago accepting that I wasnt at fault because do to some things my mother did to me, that is why we feel I have borderline. The lines really blurred there because if I was blaming my mom then how could I not be to blame too? There are simply facts that I have tried over and over for my kids and my mother didnt. She wanted me to be unwell. At least that is what I tell myself even though I am not good at detaching at this time.
  13. Gatheredtogether

    Gatheredtogether New Member

    Thank you Skotti,
    I always appreciate hearing from others with similar situations and especially with personality disorders that are like mine (I really should get into a local group). There is a wonderful book which, if you've never read, that I highly recommend. Understanding the Borderline Mother by Christine Lawson. I've been to therapy for this disorder..rather difficult but helpful. Thank you for sharing you story. It helps tremendously knowing I'm not alone.
  14. Gatheredtogether

    Gatheredtogether New Member

    Recover, Thanks once again for you thorough advice. Last night before discussing the situation at hand I had my son take a small amount of his anti-anxiety medication. Without it he would have exploded. I told him to what I expected as far as getting a job. He explained how terrified he was and just the thought of it causes him anxiety & fear. I reminded him how well he did when he first went to high school (he was in a special high school..60 kids in all..he had been homeschooled up until that point) after the first week. I also told him what I experienced while looking for work after high school. Walking the streets of manhattan crying, shaking, scared to death. But I had no was expected of me and I did it. I got over it. He seemed to find some comfort in knowing I experience the same issues (we share many of the same emotional and physical issues). I explained that after a week or so he would feel better and then he would be fine. I also explained he wasn't allowed to choose where he would work. He is under the impression that he can't work at the grocery store, McDonald's etc. because it just makes him sick and it's depressing. I told him to take whatever he can find and then continue looking for something that may be more to his liking but he doesn't have the right think he is above certain jobs (he thinks that about many things, people, and situations). I didn't tell him I would ask him to leave if he didn't get a job but I did say he would not be happy with the consequences. I also explained that I will help him if he needs it (he has dysgraphia so has a hard time with applications) but I would not allow him to manipulate the situation. He admitted that he lies and manipulates. I also addressed his sleeping habits and told him that he could stay up until 2am and no later & he must take his sleep medication by 1am and he can wake no later than 11. I felt this is a good start considering his current sleeping habits (5 am to 4 or 5 pm). My plan is (an please give me any input if you disagree) if he does not get a job within the allotted time I would tell him at that point he will be moving out and he has a week to get a plan put into action. I feel that asking him to find a job and think about moving all in one week would cause stress overload. He's already stressed with-o doing anything! But he already knows, without my spelling it out for him, that it's what I will require because I mentioned it would be best for both of us if we were separated if things didn't change. I fully expect he will try to stretch this out, give excuses for not finding work, say it's not his fault he couldn't find one in time etc. But I will stand my ground. Thank you again for helping me through this. I am going to concentrate on helping myself by finding a support group of some kind as you mentioned. I can't do this alone and it would be so nice to have people to talk to because I have no friends locally and even if I did they wouldn't understand all the dynamics of this situation.
  15. Gatheredtogether

    Gatheredtogether New Member

    I contacted DBSA (depression/bipolar support) and plan to go to their meeting this Thursday. I've put this off for years and won't allow myself excuses not to go. I'm stating this so that I feel some accountability because I'm petrified and will find ways to get out of going (sounds like my son).:smirk: I also looked into CoDa which sounds more on target or what I need. It's a twelve step program and after reading what codependency is all about I see that I've a lot of issues that need addressing in this area. I've contacted a group close to home to confirm their next meeting. Thank you again!
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2013
  16. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Gathered, you're doing a wonderful job, you've really grabbed hold of this situation and you're going forward, I am impressed. I know how hard it is to change our own behavior and start the whole process of becoming healthy. Great job! Change is scary for all of us, it's part of the human condition, some of us are better at it, but we all have some anxiety and fear going in, you're not alone. And, this change is a big one, it involves your child, it involves your mothers heart, so just know that your reactions are completely normal and fear is a natural the saying goes, "feel the fear and do it anyway"...........

    I think you handled the talk with your son beautifully, even insisting he take his medications. You're already learning that elusive line between love and enabling, you've stepped back and given yourself enough distance from your son to see what needs to happen now. Only you can decide the right timing about his moving out, I think you're right that his getting a job and then moving out is a lot to put on his plate given all of his anxiety. One step at a time. It seems like a good idea to focus on his getting a job first and then reevaluate how you feel and work out the dates at that time. You've made some good decisions and now at least he understands what is expected of him.

    I am especially happy that you have a support group meeting this Thursday. You and your son can share how you were scared of change but you did it anyway, you will be a good role model for him to see you face your fears and then receive new opportunities as a result. I found CoDa meetings to be very helpful. There are good books on that subject as well, Codependent no more by Melodie Beattie and Facing Codependency by Pia Mellody. I think I mentioned that I was in a year and a half long program at a huge HMO for Codependency issues, I had private therapy and was in a group which met once a week, lead by therapists. It helped me tremendously to turn the corner on my own issues, learn tools to deal with my daughter and be able to find peace in my own life in spite of what my daughter is doing or not doing. It really was a life saver. Like you are doing, I took one step at a time, I learned new ways of dealing with old issues, I changed my own behaviors and I stopped rescuing my daughter. I changed.

    I am impressed with how much you've done in just a few days. You were certainly ready for this change. I think that's how it happens a lot, we just get sick and tired of being sick and tired and we move forward. Just remember, this is a process, there are no rules, we go up and down and sideways, there are many feelings, fear, anger, resentment, sorrow, they all come with this detachment.........but if you have the courage to keep moving forward, your life will change and you WILL find peace. Your son may as well, but the bottom line is that that is up to him.

    In addition to getting help and dealing with your son, find ways to nurture yourself, be kind to yourself, focus on YOUR of the serious components of enabling and codependency is that we turn our focus outwards to external forces and literally ignore our own needs and desires. Ask yourself what is it that YOU need, what makes YOU happy, what can you do today that will make you smile and feel good. Do something kind for YOU every day, many times a day, if that is simply taking a walk, or buying yourself flowers, or taking a bath, or having a manicure, or talking with a girlfriend, taking time to sit in the sun and read a book...............whatever it is, do it. Good job Gathering...........hugs.............
  17. Gatheredtogether

    Gatheredtogether New Member

    Just thought I'd check in to update the events of yesterday. My son did not wake up at 11 as I had asked him to. When he finally did wake up about 2:30 he was upset and ran to me asking why I didn't get him up. It was his belief that I'd wake him. I cut that short immediately and explained that it wasn't my understanding that I'd help him get up if he didn't on his own. He was very upset and said how can he ever keep a job if he can't get up. I knew then he wasn't seeing this as taking steps in a direction but as one big thing issue. Sleep, job, anxiety, fears, responsibility, etc to be conquered all at once. We sat and talked about this and I explained how hard it is to change habits. I made a point of telling him that it had to been done some day if not today the next month, or next year. But as time goes by the hill he must climb grows and the importance of climbing it while it's not a mountain. He, once again, shared how frightened he is. I then said the following:

    I told him I wanted him to know that I have a mountain of my own to climb that is very difficult and painful and I'm petrified. I explained I have changes to make to help both of us improve our relationship and our individual lives. I told him we can not go on living like we are and it would be so nice if we grew apart in a healthy way and came together again as whole individuals that can rejoice in the things we've managed to accomplish. How great it will feel to be free and share life at the same time. I showed my fear (it's hard not to). I wasn't hysterical but I was teary. I felt good about what I said and think it was just the right thing. I hadn't planned it. It just came to me as the right thing to do. I'm not going to explain my co-dependency issues but he understood enough to know I have to break free from him and vice versa.

    He spent the next few hours applying for jobs online and asked if I'd help him (he forgets details...when did I graduate etc). I gave him a list of things he needed to know and he used it to fill out 3 applications. He also contacted a friend to ask if he knew of any jobs. Oh, there was one other thing. He said how unfair it is that he has to feel this fear and anxiety for the rest of his life. I agreed that it was unfair but we all have something. I then reminded him of his good friend who has anxiety related problems and had a break down when he went away to college and had to return home. I explained how he could have been bitter that he couldn't live the life so many of his friends lived. But instead he is moving on with what he is capable of doing (this boy has a very wise, supportive father). As I'm writing this I'm realizing how important it is for him to spend time with others that have issues similar to his. He's been to groups, and therapy etc. But the few friends he has from hs that he kept in touch with should be more a part of his life instead of only the kids that he associates with now which are his band friends who manage to accomplish, what to him, are magical, school, band practice and some are in more than one band.

    I'm not going to fool myself into believing this is going to go smoothly from here on because I know it isn't. We didn't arrive he in a day and it's going to be a long road to freedom. But thankfully I've found this forum and am on my way to helping myself which will inevitably help my son.

    Thank you again so much. I wish I could express how grateful I am better than mere thank you's.
    Have a wonderful day!

  18. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Gathered, I'm leaving to have breakfast with a girlfriend, but I just wanted to say, great post, your son is lucky to have such a caring Mom who is willing to share her own fears and guide him to the right choices. It truly sounds like you both are endeavoring down the road of change. Go do something kind for yourself! Hugs.
  19. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You are doing so wonderfully. Unfortunately for me we dont have any local groups near me for mental health issues. I wish we did because it would give me something to get out of the house for other than doctor's, groceries and taking my granddaughter to the gym.

    Like both of you I have an awful lot of anxiety but I can fake it in public. I just crash and burn when I get home. Just recently I had to live with a really bad situation where my safe place...was invaded for a long time and it sent me into a tailspin.

    I dont know what your son would like to do but if he is physically able to work in construction that might be a good place for him to try. You really dont have to do any writing and there are plenty of difficult child's working in construction. My husband has taken many people under his wing when they have problems because he knows so well what life is like for them. Your son doesnt have to worry that they will think he is perfect and coming in knowing everything. If he is just applying to start he will be a helper and the others will teach him along the way. If my son who doesnt even have a 10th grade education can learn all the computer aspects of fixing and putting up cell phone towers, anyone can learn something.
  20. Gatheredtogether

    Gatheredtogether New Member

    Thank you Skotti,
    Unfortunately, my son is unable to handle hard labor. He easily become exhausted (I'm the same). I think it has to do with our bipolar which for him is mostly a depressed state which leaves the body struggling for energy. He's great with computers and of course music like I mentioned. He needs a low stress job. He worked at pizza delivery for awhile...had three car accidents in three months. The boss was constantly contacting him..where are you, hurry up etc. which he did with all the employees but for my son it was too much. My son can't take that stress and the result was a totaled car and a kid having a breakdown. We learned then what he couldn't do. He worked at a car wash for a year which seemed to be going perfect. He slowly started breaking down and going in less and less. Apparently, he was burned out..bipolar is difficult to regulate. I appreciate your suggestions. I think he would do really well in something like computers (I always thought he'd make an excellent music engineer considering he's great in music). Once he gets over his fear I'm certain he'll find the thing that works for him. If I continue doing my part in not enabling, I think he'll find he's got more inner strength than he ever imagined.
    by the way..I fake it in public every day and have all my life then I collapse when I get home...that in itself is exhausting, isn't it?
    Thank you Skotti for caring, taking the time to write, and especially for sharing about yourself. That helps so much.