He's on his last, last leg

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by 2through, Mar 11, 2012.

  1. 2through

    2through Guest

    I am new to this forum so here it goes. I have an 18 yo drop-out difficult child, habitual liar, substance abuser, he's has been in out of juvenile facilities, boot camps, and alternative schools for years. Since his mother and I separated (and eventually divorced) almost 8 years ago, I lived everyday on the verge of an anxiety attack with stress and blood pressure levels in stroke range. Well I finally put him out for the second time for breaking written rules and now he's and mom-in-laws. I need to look at the option of detaching. Can anyone help?
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Welcome to the board 2through.

    We can relate to what you're going through. Most of us have been there.

    Detachment is a process, it's not something you'll master overnight. But with practice it will make have a difficult child in your life so that it isn't all encompassing.

    difficult child is 18. So as of now, you officially can't force him to do a darn thing. What you can do is decided what you're boundaries are. What behavior you will and won't tolerate (and be able to know you can stick to it), how much help you're willing to give and under what conditions. (make sure you can stick to those conditions too) By setting up these things you take control of your own life back, which is really pretty much all you can do until he's ready to seek treatment.

    Being an addict, difficult child is not going to seek treatment until he is motivated to seek treatment. And sadly, the more you help him the less motivation he has and the more he can deny he has a problem. Making him deal with natural consequences for his actions and choices is a start. I'm going to take a wild guess here that grandma decided to come to his rescue for whatever reason? I know 18 seems young. I mean it wasn't long ago he was 17 and still a kid. But he's not a kid. He's an adult. And he needs to learn to act like one. He can't learn that if those around him rush in to rescue.

    I'm not saying there won't be instances where you won't step in and offer help of some sort. That is where having those boundaries planned out comes in handy. You have a plan instead of acting on impulse. Say for some reason he's going hungry........you can buy him a meal, but not offer him cash. No where to stay? Offer him a ride to the homeless shelter instead of cash or letting him stay with you.

    Many find al-anon helpful. You might want to look into a therapist for you, many parents find it helpful to have someone in person to unload on.

    Try to focus on you, instead of difficult child. Make sure your taking time for yourself ect. And remember from this point out, it's on his shoulders, not yours.

    I'm glad you found us. Others will be along, I'm sure.

  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi I am glad you found our little piece of the internet but so sorry it had to be under such awful circumstances. We are a great group of people once you get to know us!

    Detachment really is a lifelong journey with our adult kids. It sometimes helps to think about somewhat normal kids at 18 and 19 are out there in the world flying million dollar planes for the US Military and here our kids cant even manage to wash their own clothes. I dont think its a matter of they cant, its they dont want to take the responsibility. Of course they can for the most part. They just get in their own way.

    We parents just have to realize the best thing we can do is be like the animal kingdom and kick the birdie out of the nest when it is old enough to fly. I know it sounds so incredibly mean but it isnt. We hold our kids back when we dont and their growth is stunted.

    Right now I have a 55 year old man living in my house because he has never learned to fend for himself. He never married, did drugs most of his life, just ambled from here to there, and now once he has become completely homeless and has worn out his welcome at all his other siblings homes, he has landed here...the last sibling. I didnt want to take him in but my wishes were over ruled. No one wants that to be their adult child.
  4. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Gosh, Janet - what a fantastic example!

    This is good advice. Easy to say - but difficult to do. Like it or not, your son is a grown man now. He can (and will) find his own way. You need to try and re-direct your mind to other things...focus on YOU for a while.

    Good luck!
  5. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    I think sometimes the best examples we can give our kids - are the ones we 'fail' to follow through with for them. When I took a good hard look at the second chance, the third chance.....Okay okay - let's wipe the slate clean? (Long long exhale) Well I think at the time it was more for me than it was for him, because in reality? I was too exhausted to fight yet another battle, and too proud to loose another fight. Then as a parent I really just wanted things to be okay, right, fine, dandy, even keel.....even if JUST for a day or half a day or OMG kid - really? Can you just give me an hour? ONE SINGLE HOUR OF PEACE where you don't have the world revolve around YOU and YOUR self-created whirlwhind of destruction and doom? (insert parental scream -muffled of course into a pillow because I'd never let him hear me yell or give notion that I was anything other than fine and dandy with my choices.

    Then lets talk about the choices. And I laugh. I was bargain-Mom - OH if you do this? I'll give you that, okay? When that ran it's course I was punishment Mom. You didn't fulfill your part of the agreement so now you will go directly to be without supper. Kid laughs. Yeah because somewhere in his room? He had a stash of snacks that would survive him through Armagedon. What a fool I was. Sent to his room? To what? play? Oh how dastardly of me - smack, smack, smack - you are horrible. Gosh they can play quiet when they aren't supposed to be playing can't they? Makes you wonder about the other times when you ASK them to be quiet. Then when I felt OUTWITTED, OUTmatched, OUTCLASSED - and OUTFOXED - by a 14 year old....I became TOTALITARIAN parent.....Stripped the room (HA no toys or snacks now is there Jr. ?) and gave him a mattress, and his own clothes, and NOW lets see who's the wiser -HA....and the kid shimmied out the window, got on his bike and was out having the time of his life with buddies - while I sat in the den confident that my skills as a parent were honing nicely to a razor sharp edge.

    Then I became out of sheer desperation and a stroke (no really a real honest to Pete stroke, complete with ER, Atavan drip and prescriptions) I became DETACHED parent. Thankfully for me about this time we were done in therapy with the horrors of my marriage and all along had been working towards Shalom in the home with the kid - and as luck would have it - I was able to go to therapy - talk to a professional about my life at home (to which I got looks like I worried on occasison a wagon with men in white coats would surely pull up and take me away) and things got WORSE. They do that before they get better - because now you have someone on YOUR side telling YOU smart things to try. Not all of them work - but you know you've tried them, and a badly behaved child will run that fence line - and test the limits - so look out. When that didn't work? We agreed that something had to give - and so we "GIVE" him a train ticket and a bag full of his clothes and said "MERRY CHRISTMAS".

    For two years - he lived out on his own the best he could. ER I mean HE HAD A GREAT LIFE. It was awesome. The house was fantastic. His friends were superb - better than anyone here. Better food, better cars, better everything. And in that time? We initially didn't hear from him much. I worried, I was sure he'd end up dead. After loosing two sons that was a hard one to swallow - but reality is what it is. And it was either let him experience the world WITHOUT my help, without my concern, WITHOUT my nerves being shot 24/7 - or quite literally face the prospect of another stroke and be WITHOUT me....

    After hearing about living in the park, under bridges, diving in dumpsters for food...and back stabbing people? I did get an apology. He realized that at 20 the people that had loaned him money - here and there couldn't give it to him like they did when they were working and living at home, because NOW they had their own bills. That 20 that was tra la lah before to them? 1/2 the gas bill this month and when can you pay ME back? The couch surfing? Yeah well - funny thing happens with your buddies that live at home - and go to work - YOU have to leave for the day - and even their parents get tired of you, and the ones who have their own places? Yeah man - crash here - and then what? YOU stay home all day eat my food, run up my electric while I am working? Naught ah - it gets old real quick at 18, 19, 20.....friends or not. You aren't going to stay home and get high while I'm flipping burgers and washing dishes. And as far as getting high goes? Well theres that money factor again....do I buy groceries and some dope or groceries and pay a bill? And if YOU are a freeloader in my house? WHY should you get to smoke dope? You didn't EARN (oh there's that word finally) EARN anything. GOSH you sound like your Father!!! (insert that face where you actually realize you sounded just like your parents for the first time) yeah -kinda shocking but at this point it's the other kid not yours.

    So they tend to NOT be as gracious with THEIR OWN money, homes, food - when there is a freeloader around, and without an education? They tend to find out what jobs are NOT available right now because people with 2 degrees are working at the local McDonalds and finally I'm getting good customer service, and a hot batch of fries - and the tables are clean. WOW - So yeah I'm not so keen on you hiring a doper, with a bad attitude and NO education when I can get service like THIS! (explained to my son and he actually GOT that)

    So if you put him out - make some rules for yourself and stick to them - NO money, no help no this no that......whatever it takes and don't engage in arguments. If he calls, keep the call short

    HI Dad
    Hi boy
    Dad, can I borrow 20 until .....
    Well son I dn't have that right now. Sounds like you're learning the value of $20.00 - three hours of work on a minimum wage job. =I have three hours of chores here if you want and by the time you are done? I can probably PAY you that $20.00 -
    Nah whatever
    Okay - TTYL.

    Next call -

    Yes son.
    I really need $20.00 - I'm dying. I think I have the flu.
    Oh well you know the county hospital will see you for free. Call me when you are out so I know you are better - I know you can do this.

    Yes son?
    I don't have anything to eat, If you could just GIVE me $20.00 - I .......
    Oh you know what look at the time - I have to catch this other call - Let me know how it goes at foodstamps office. Bye. Click.

    Let him be responsible for him.

    I haven't had anything to eat all week. I'm starving.
    Wow that sounds rough.
    Yeah it is and it's all because YOU U%)*$_%+_)

    Why did you hang up on me? Don't hang up on me....
    YOU will not talk to me in a disrespectful tone - if you call here again -it had better be with some respect....good night - click

    Yes -
    I'm sorry about our last call.
    (FINALLY SUCCESS - I am sorry is not often said but it's a start and he's learning isn't he - be ugly - no dad.....be nice - dad talks) lesson learned.
    Would you mind if I come over and get a sandwhich?
    How about if I meet you somewhere and we have a talk and lunch?
    Have no idea how he's going to respond - but you have lunch - talk, and if he asks for money - you offer him to come and work OR something else - GET enrolled in GED, and you'll take him - pick him up - drop him off -and after? Have dinner. NO cash.

    This is a little bit of how it can go - but you have to have stamina....and coming off anxiety attacks? (yeeeesh) I'm going to tell you - You probably need more time away from him, and he needs to appreciate you in his life. In the mean time? Since you are anxiety prone? I'd seriously find a therapist to talk to - and chat. people have SUCH stigmas about it - but if you have a football team - you certainly wouldn't send them out on the field without a coach, or a plan/plays. Therapy with our kids is NO different - We need a plan, and a coach -----and help.

    Glad you're here......If you have doubts about what you've done? Realize you can ONLY fix you......and then fix you. The rest will fall into place.

  6. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Detachment is definitely a process... one step at a time and we each get there in different but similar ways. You may also want to check out the substance abuse forum because there are several of us dealing with very similar issues.

  7. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    First of all, welcome, and you have to save yourself. Do you understand me? Seriously the above advice is so good, I feel as though i have nothing more to add, but if your health is sufferering so badly, please do all you can to save you! Don't carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, he has to learn the hard way, we wish it weren't true, but, sadly it is. And it is sad, we hurt and worry,I literally went to court and filed a restraining order against my 18 year old. He's 24, we have a great relationship now. They do grow up and come back. But they have to learn to fend for themselves. If I let him continue on, he would have learned nothing, the struggle was what he needed. Let him struggle, he will learn that way only and you will become stronger. Wishing you peace,
  8. AmericanGirl

    AmericanGirl Guest


    I have your son's alter ego. 18. Liar. Alcoholic. User and abuser.

    I admitted him into rehab last week. My anxiety has severely dropped since then.

    The others are right. Focus on the one thing you can change. YOU. Find a therapist, a friend, an alanon meeting or all of the above. Didya know alanon has phone meetings? Start journaling. Find some helpful books. Reclaim your life.

    One thing I know for certain is if I hadn't done all of the above...my difficult child would be across town in some addict's trailer getting drunk right now instead of in a four week inpatient rehab in an excellent facility. Course..whether he gets any good from it is up to him.

    Keep posting.
  9. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    SOoooooooo Hows it going today? And don't be shy......that's the greatest thing about this board.....we can't see you, no one will ever know who you are......so you can really pound it out on the keys even if you disagree--

    And take it with a grain of salt - NO ONE is saying "WOW are you wrong." nopeee nope nope nop nopeeee. What we're saying is - WOW was I wrong and GOSH I sure don't want YOU to go as far down that path as I did.....STOP (in the nammmmmmmmmeeeeee of love) okay back to the post -my mind wanders.....where you are.....and take inventory of your life, yourself, and give it a realistic look. While we're (having a brain fade moment here - should have never sung a Diana Ross song this early).....can't find the word I want.....While we're....While I'm BLUNT.....ahahah see what kids do to you? hahah. Okay While I can be very blunt? I have the best of intentions at heart for other parents and it's your choice whether you listen or not, whether you take the advice in an educational light or turn it inwards and think OH I've done it all wrong woe is me - light - I hope you don't - because I truly belive by coming here and opeing up? You're at the end of your rope looking for others like you that are just trying to hang on, understand and will help not harp ------

    Anyway I have echos of (look it ovvvvvvvvver) in my mind apparently I need more coffee.....Take care - Do hope you have come back and at least considered our thoughts. You're a great Dad who just has gotten from what I can tell - VERY LITTLE if ANY support - and now? You have some. Hope you use it.

    We're here.....(some of us singing and having way more coffee than we need - but we're here)