Hi All! II try to live my own life but he expects me to

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by DramaMomma, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. DramaMomma

    DramaMomma New Member

    Hi Everyone! I am new to this site and really not sure how things work. I am searching for anyone that can give advice as well as help me to stay positive. Here is my story. I am a divorced mother of 2 boys 18 & 21. The 18 yo lives with me and the 21 yo lives with my Ex. My 18 yo is very difficult with everything! He smokes weed every chance he gets. Quit school last Nov. in his senior year and is verbally abusive with me when he doesn’t get what he wants. It’s a constant battle for me and I am always walking on egg shells around him. There are times I don’t even want to go home. He needs a rude awakening or to hit rock bottom soon! Or I am going to have a nervous breakdown. Everyone says kick him out but as a mom that is hard to do. As much as I dislike him, he is still my son and I love him. Some advice on how to cope would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.
  2. Hi DM, welcome to this site, you will find so much support here. I’ve only been here a few weeks myself.

    My son was also verbally abusive towards me (he still is). I know that horrible feeling of walking on egg shells in your own home.

    My son is 20 now and I put him out at 19 (and took out a restraining order that he couldn’t come near the house although we still see him). I had been considering putting him out from he was 17 and it took me 2 years.

    I too found great difficulty in putting him out but in the end it was the effect he was having on my daughter that pushed me to it. A lot happened - stealing from us, smashing things if I didn’t give in and hand over money to him. It was all related to drug use (mainly cannabis and cocaine) and started when he was 16 (he was a great kid before that).

    Since putting him out last April the house is a different place - relaxed and peaceful. The anxiety remains with me though and he has been through a lot since leaving including homelessness twice which I find almost unbearable - although most things he went through were avoidable and of his own making. However, I do feel that I did do the right thing - for him, me and my husband and daughter and I wish I had done it earlier than I did.

    My son has mild autism and ADHD and is vulnerable in many ways which made putting him out even harder but he knew right from wrong and we could not go on living in such horrible circumstances.

    I warned my son first that I would involve the police and press charges the next incident that happened and I did, he had plenty of warning. If you did come to the decision to put him out, you could maybe warn him.

    I love my son too despite all the things he put me and the family through (and still continues to) but I feel that detaching from them with love is sometimes best for them and us.

    There’s a saying I have heard on here - Nothing changes if nothing changes - it inspires me when I’m feeling weak. If they won’t change, then we have to.

    I hope things get better for you.
  3. RN0441

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

    Welcome and great advice from Guidance Seeker who has just been there/done that.

    I wish I had done what we did sooner also. We suffered so much. I did not have any younger children (he's my youngest) but if I did I am pretty sure we would have acted more quickly.

    Keep reading and posting. It's good to get things down on "paper" and you can do that here and you will get great ideas, support and advice that you can use or not use.

    I started to see a therapist that specializes in addiction to set boundaries for my mom heart. Our son needed this as much as we did. Oh and we love our son with all our heart but we were no longer going to watch him kill himself. You can see by my signature that we have endured a lot. And obviously that isn't our whole story.

    He is doing much better now and I am not going to write the end of the story. I do know he is finally maturing and seeing the world without the fog of addiction. If we had not taken drastic steps, this would never have happened. I did not want him to waste his entire life in this spiral so I did what I could do to stop it. It's really up to him to decide how he wants to live his life and what kind of man he wants to be.

    He wouldn't change so we changed. We did it because we love our son. Love says NO! It's a process and none of us have gotten there overnight BUT if you read this forum you will get a clear picture of what works and doesn't work based on the experience of others.

    Good luck.
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  4. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    Welcome DM
    Know you are not alone.

    Seek support and help for yourself.
    Learn how to detach and set food boundaries. Without this none of you will survive. Enabling will only make things far worse over time.

    Try reading the article on detachment here. A great resource is Don’t Let Your Kid Kill You. I have read it twice.

    Another great book is Codependent No More.

    We are all in the same boat here one way or another.

    Welcome and I am sorry you need to be here with us. Glad you found us though.
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Hi and Welcome! I know how hard it is to live and walk on eggshells. I haven't done it with a child that old. My oldest child was very violent and could not live with us from the time he was 14. He had already made serious attempts to harm/kill his sister and he was large enough to throw me across a room. It was just too much. We had 2 younger children who had to have a safe place to live, and we were blessed enough to have grandparents who were willing to take him in and work with him.

    I STRONGLY suggest you start going to Alanon/NarcAnon meetings. Your son shows signs of substance abuse problems and you show some signs of codependence. This is something that most of us here have battled with, so you are not alone. I am not judging you. This is something that helped me greatly. I only had the strength I did with my son because I had already come to terms with this some time before as I have a brother with sub abuse issues. The meetings are in most communities and are offered at many different times and locations usually.

    Therapy would also be helpful as you deal with this. Find a therapist who says things that make sense to you. Therapists who tell you that you MUST keep you abusive child in your home need to be dropped immediately. It can take some trial and error to find a therapist who is the right fit for you. Sometimes the problems don't show up until a couple of months in. Trust you instincts. Most counties have low cost mental health clinics that are very helpful. Given the way you feel, you might also get help from the local domestic violence center. I got help from our DV center after my son was out of our home. They hadn't had a parent abused by a teen before, so they came up with a program just for me, free of cost. I

    f you live near a university with a psychology department, they often have clinics that offer therapy on a sliding scale. It is often a really great deal. They charge less than a private practice to start with, then discount based on income. You see a student who is supervised by a professor. Usually sessions are videotaped, but it is NOT intrusive, even back when it was done with VHS tapes. These are reviewed by the professor and then when you are done, they are erased. This gives you a MUCH better chance of good therapy than you otherwise have. You have proof of what is being said and done. The students are very conscientious because they are being graded and they want to do well. They get feedback and can revisit issues with you if they didn't say something or they said something really wrong, so you also get the input of a licensed psychologist. I have had FAR better therapy from the clinic at our local university than from many of the private therapists I have seen. Plus if anyone does anything truly wrong, there is proof and you can sue. I wish I had that with one private therapist I had many years ago. He was just an absolute inappropriate crackpot. No jury in the land would hesitate to give me everything he owned if I had videotape of any of the 2 sessions I had with him. He was that bad. He got a 2nd session because my mother convinced me that I misunderstood him and he couldn't be THAT bad. She was right. He was worse on the 2nd visit! Trust your instincts.

    I highly recommend reading Parenting Teens With Love and Logic by Fay and Cline. I like their books. They use logical consequences to reinforce responsible behavior. They don't insist you give warning after warning before you give consequences - one warning ever is all they recommend, even with younger children. Kids can remember things even if adults think they cannot. (Oh, my stars the things my daughter remembers from when she was a little kid!) The methods in this book worked with some very difficult teens I knew. Our school district uses the L&L methods more than other methods for discipline. Every other year or so they will get sold on some new method that is being pushed and it will fail hugely. Then they will go back to L&L and retrain everyone in that again. This has been going on since my 22 yo daughter was 6. Or maybe longer, that is just as long as we have been in the district. Some teachers just give lip service to the new methods because they know L&L works with the little kids and with the medium kids and the big kids. It works with the gifted kids and the normal kids and the autistic kids and the Down's Syndrome kids and all the other kids. I have spoken to various teachers and counselors at 2 elementary schools, the middle school, the junior high and the high school. They have all said this. Even the resource officers (city cops who are permanently stationed at the school) from the middle, junior and high schools have said that they have a much better, easier year when the school is using L&L. Why? "It. Just. Works." Direct quote from one of the resource officers. He raised his kids with L&L (and one of them was adopted with drugs in his system at birth, and had a rough road).

    I went to one of the 1 day seminars given by the people who wrote L&L. Dr. Charles Fay spoke. Lots of schools sent teachers. One fairly new gym teacher burst out "So that's why you did it!" all of a suddent. Dr. Fay was talking about the teen refusing to do a chore and how a parent should handle it. Apparently this gym teacher (GT) was a handful and a half. His mother was a teacher and had learned the L&L methods from her job, and had gotten a book to help with GT. She had hired someone to do GT's chores. When GT didn't have the money to pay the worker, Mom pawned GT's stereo to get the money. This is all what the book recommends. GT only then realized what happened when he was at the lecture. How do I know it wasn't a setup?? I spoke with GT and his mother separately at the break. On hearing my last name, they asked me if I knew or was related to a vice principal with the same last name. Yup. That is my father in law. The L&L people are way in another part of the country. I also spoke with my father in law and he told me that if it had been a setup, the mother would have told people that she got free admission for her story. She is apparently "in your face honest" as he put it. He also remembered the son and how he turned around when she used L&L consistently with him.

    I don't know if L&L will fix everything with your son. Please remember that throwing your son out of the house does NOT mean you are throwing him out of the family. My parents kicked my brother out of the house when he was 19. He wasn't just out of high school because he has skipped a few grades, but he was still very young. He had just decided to blow off college and gamble and drink, though my folks refused to see it. They did see he was not doing the bare minimum, and they said enough was enough. He was still part of the family even though he was not supported by them. Their rule was that after high school, we had to be either working full time, in school full time, or doing school and work each part time. Usually they liked school FT and work PT because we were NOT rich. That was if we wanted to live at home. He chose to go into the Army rather than live on what he could earn working minimum wage jobs. I was surprised he made it, but it helped him grow up. He was angry with my parents. but he was still part of the family and he knew it. Your son will too, though he may use not contacting you as a way to try to punish you. Do what you can to not let him see you sweat. (Isn't that the hardest part of parenting? Seeming confident and not sweating or laughing about what your kid is doing? It was for me!)

    Your son may be angry with you, but letting him break the rules and run roughshod over you won't help either one of you. I know how hard it is to stand up to a raging teen, especially when they are so out of control. My son was much bigger and stronger than I was. He was incredibly violent and had a history of doing very violent things with the intent to cause permanent lasting damage to people. Standing up to him often took every ounce of courage that I had. I know that inside you tremble and quake and want to run away and leave it all to him rather than deal with him in that moment. I truly do understand.

    If you stand up to your son, you are not throwing him out on the streets. He has a place to go. He can go to his father's home. If he cannot, it is likely because he has done something to make himself unwelcome. As for rock bottom, until he has to face some consequences, that won't ever come. Right now he has food, shelter, all bills paid and no reason to change. Sadly YOU have to hit rock bottom before he will hit rock bottom. Unless he breaks the law away from your home and gets caught. That is about your only hope, and it is probably a very long road to get to that point. Especially with weed so close to being legal.

    We have all outlined things that might help. Before you can take any steps at all, you need to do some reading and figure out what you want to do. You need to consider going to some meetings (at least they are someplace to go that isn't home for a little while, hmmm?) and find a therapist. Look at the various books we have recommended and pick the ones you want to buy or check out from the library. Then go ahead and get them and start reading.

    Once you have done some of that, you can start to figure out what you want to do for your first steps with your son. Don't start until you decide what you want to do and you make a plan. One thing I learned from L&L was to make a plan and to run it by another adult to make sure it made sense. Dr. Fay described it as checking to see if your boat had leaks. Sometimes you don't see the leak until the boat is in the water. Having someone else look at the plan helps before you get to the water (face your kid with the plan) because they can see angles that you cannot. Be sure that you will follow through BEFORE you tell your son that you will or will not do something. The worst thing possible is to say you will do something and then not to do it when he puts you to the test.

    Know that we will be here for you no matter what. If you throw him out tomorrow or if you never throw him out and you work with setting limits and modifying his behavior as you can, we will be here to support you. We will likely tell you what WE would do or have done, but we understand that you can only do what you can do. We are NOT judging you or bashing you. It truly is a soft place to land.

    Many hugs,
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  6. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Dramamama and welcome. I know it is hard on a mom when our adult teens act up and refuse to follow house rules.
    It happened to me.
    That was 20 years ago.
    I had no other choice but to ask my daughter to leave. She made life for our household miserable, thought it was her “job” to stay up all night partying and sleep all day while we went to work. She was also verbally abusive. It was hell.
    I don’t think there is anyway for a parent to “cope” with this kind of behavior. At 18, a grown child should be grateful for a roof over their heads, follow house rules and respect their parent.
    We don’t do our adult kids any favors by allowing them to mistreat our homes and us.
    I have my youngest daughter at home with me. She is 22. She follows house rules and is respectful.
    I love all my children dearly, but I will not tolerate disrespect.
    It’s not fair to you, DM, that you are so uncomfortable with your sons actions that you don’t want to be in your own home. It was that way for me too, as my two daughters would come and go through the years. I thought I was helping them, but it turned out that they were taking our kindness for granted, it was a way for them to continue partying and not be responsible for themselves. The disrespect turned to stealing money from our wallets and pawning the few pieces of heirloom jewelry I had. Then it became inviting their friends over to party while we were working. Then it was breaking in to our house if we weren’t home.
    The list goes on and on.
    You have value and worth, your home is supposed to be your sanctuary. Not a place to be verbally abused and taken advantage of.
    I have five children. Two are wayward and would continue to use me to live their lifestyle, make irresponsible choices and let everyone else suffer their consequences.
    It took awhile to figure that out.

    My other two daughters are respectful. My son is 16, doing well and I pray he continues on a good path.

    I think some kids reach adulthood and just automatically have respect for their parents. Some don’t, and will test and test and test.
    The thing is, you have done your job. You raised your son. I understand helping kids out by having them live at home. It’s expensive out there, rent in my area is crazy.
    My youngest daughter lives with me. She is 22. I expect her to help with living expenses and clean up after herself. If she were abusive and disrespectful, I would ask her to leave.
    You don’t deserve to be mistreated and your son needs to know this.
    Please don’t be offended by my reply. I understand your wanting to help your son. I think we Moms learn to sacrifice self many times over for our children.
    Setting boundaries and keeping to them is important. If we don't, our d c's just continue to push the limits, until we are at a point where we are besides ourselves wondering what to do. They become like toddlers throwing tantrums.
    If your son refuses to follow rules and respect you, what more can you do? I don't think there is anyway to cope with that. It is not fair to you, or him. He is showing you by his actions that he doesn't really want to be there.
    Whatever you decide to do, keep posting. Most of us here have been right where you are at. There is no judgement, we are not experts, just folks who have been through similar difficulties, on different points on the journey.
    I am sorry for your troubles. I know how hard it can be.
    Please know that you are not alone.
  7. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hello and welcome. Here is the bottom line . . . there is nothing you can do to change your son's behavior. He is going to do what he wants to do. The only behavior you can change is your response to him. It is time to learn how to set firm boundaries and stick to them.

    Most of us (including me) needed outside support to learn how to set those boundaries. For me, it was two years of private therapy. Many others here have found support groups like AlAnon, NarAnon, and Families Anonymous to be invaluable.

    There is no reason for you to be abused in your own home. It is time for your son to go. Yes, he is young but as I told another poster, 18-year-olds have fought and died for our country. He is legally an adult and if will not follow your rules and is verbally abusive to you, there is no reason for him to live in your house. You deserve a home where you feel safe.

    Please reach out for help.

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  8. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    I have nothing to add an presently I am so fatigued with my own struggle I hardly have time to check into the forum. But I do every day because it I a life lineof wisdom that has helped me survive this audacious insult to me my work and my child.

    You are not alone. A warm hug to you.
  9. Lost in sadness

    Lost in sadness Active Member

    Hi, sorry you had to look for such a forum but know that this site is full of the most kindest people who share wisdom and insight from their own similar battles. It helps to come here.

    I too put my son out for the reasons you are saying about your son. He was 17 at the time and we were living in a war zone. It was making me ill and more importantly it was making my daughter ill and to begin with I never even noticed. We too walked on eggshells for fear of another night of hell. We warned him numerous times and eventually we did it. It was very painful but I do not regret it. He is 19 now, 20 in April and has moved numerous times due to losing his housing for not abiding by the rules. This tells me my decision was right. It’s still hard, it’s still painful but at least we get to come home to a safe, quiet home. You must do what you can bear in your own time but I could probably say now that things will not change unless you change them.

    Hugs to you, you are not alone!! Xx