How am I doing?


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difficult child wrote to me today. He asked a lot of questions about the family and expressed concern for me due to my recent surgery. He asked about my grandchildren and said he was devastated to ponder on what they will think of him when they find out that he isn't really at school but rather in jail and why. He apologized to my other son for the abuse he inflicted upon him. Then difficult child asked me my opinion about something he has been thinking about as far as his future.

He said he wanted to join the Air Force and learn how to fly and go to college and do something good with his life. (those of you who know difficult child's story know this is not a realistic goal) Before i went ahad and wrote, I looked up the requirements for the Air Force and all other branches of the military. While they say that they look at each case individually, my son's felony burglary, and substance abuse will most likely keep him out of all branches not just the Air Force. In addition I really doubt difficult child could pass the entrance exams and if he does by some small miricle the basic training would probably do him in.

That aside I am still in a bit of a dilemma. difficult child does not like to be told he cannot do something and will set out to prove everyone wrong and usually ends up making a huge mess-up when he gets frustrated. On the other hand if told that it is a remote possibility he could make it in he will most likely fixate on that and not do what he needs to do now.

I wrote him back and said this:
"As far as the military goes...well the felonies and the drug abuse will make it very hard for you to get in. Maybe after you prove you can live clean and honest you may be allowed to join the Job Corps or the Peace Corps. Right now your focus should be on substance abuse counseling, anger management, and aquiring good life skills and good general mental health. Please don't worry, you can still do good works outside of the military. When you put your whole self into redeeming yourself you will earn the respect and honor you desire."

Is this a good reply? difficult child has always had a hero complex. I have always tried to tell him that just living a good life would make him a hero. In fact my grandson told difficult child just that when he had to write an essay for school on the everyday hero in his life. Grandson chose to write about difficult child because difficult child played with the grandkids at their level and went out of his way to spent quality time with them. I don't want to dash difficult child's hopes of redemption but I don't want him to fixate on the military when it is most likely an unattainable goal for him. -RM


New Member
Thank you Janet. I haven't mailed it yet but will in a bit.
I have always been the one to try and bring difficult child down to earth when he announces some of his loftly ideas of what he is going to do with his life. I don't believe that handicapped indivituals should focus on the unatainable. Unfortunately my trying to steer difficult child toward more attainable goals has always been seen as not believing in him, stifiling him, etc. I also don't believe that he should be avoiding what he truly needs to do because he thinks he is going to get in the service.


Well-Known Member
I think you did well. Cory always wanted to join the military too because Jamie did and I think it was a thorn in his side that he couldnt. He thinks Jamie got a leg up on him. We tried to tell him he could have had the same perks from Job Corps that Jamie had from the Military but no go. Oh well.

Maybe you could interest him in the civil service side of things. There are all kinds of jobs working on bases if he thinks being around the military is cool. If he can learn a skill that is needed through some vocational training he would be set.


Active Member
maybe you could not steer him and just say "I hope your plans work out one day" or ignore his comments. just thinking he problem wont listen to your advice anyway. been there done that with ant.

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">"I hope your plans work out one day" </div></div>

Honestly, this is the route I would go. I'm not sure there is a way you could explain it to difficult child that he might not twist it into you just don't think he can do it. He'll find out soon enough the military won't let him in if he chooses to look into it.



New Member
Being in the same situation you are, I understand how careful you have to be with words. My difficult child wanted to join the Peace Corps, unfortunately, they require at least a bachelors degree.
I tell him he can still work for Habitat for Humanity or Save the Children or something like that, but once they get fixated - well, you know.

I would stick with the "I hope your plans work out one day", maybe he will find his niche somewhere else.


New Member
DJ, Thanks for the ideas, difficult child really doesn't have a clue what his life is going to be like when he gets out. He really will have very little choices at first. MH is working with his PO and are really trying to button him down to getting the help he needs. I have the impression PO is going to try to make all MH's suggestions a parole requirement. I do not want difficult child to end up back in prison because he didn't do what he was supposed to do. So i am trying to gently place the idea in his head that he needs to do what they tell him so he can once again be free to make his own decisions as to what he is going to do with his life.

Janet and DL, What you are suggesting is a good idea for many difficult child's but I am not sure it is the right way to go with mine. He is more like an autism type who fixates on something and it then becomes an obsession. Suggesting something might come about at a vage time in the future is like telling him it definately will happen and then he cannot get it out of is head. That makes it very hard when you want to give hope but avoid the stubborn obsessive nature that usually gets him in trouble.

Merris, Thank you for your input. I agree it is so hard when they have a propensity for intense obsessing.

The bottom line is that even those things that are real possibilities for him are not something that he can do immediately upon release. He has many things that will be demanded of him and that he will have to do if he is to stay out of prison. He must make them his number one priority. I will not weigh in heavy on the military thing as it is something that will resolve itself when/if he goes to a recruiter. I am not sure who he has been talking to about this. Another problem is that difficult child seems normal at first. Consequently many people, thinking he is just a normal kid gone wrong, make suggestions that are not viable possibilities for him. I guess I just really don't want my family to suffer with another arrest and therefore want to keep nudging him toward attainable goals and hopefully make him think they are his own ideas at the same time. -RM


Active Member
Is there a way to find out who the judicial system in your area refers to ie mental health agencies when someone is paroled?

Is vocational rehab an option. With Voc Rehab, difficult child could be tested, possibly go to a trade school, get a job coach, obtain housing, etc.

I understand not wanting difficult child to fixate on things that he cannot possibly obtain. sometimes I say those are great goals, but first you must do this and this. Maybe in the future you will be able to do xxx.

When I shut his goals and thoughts down, it usually backfires on me and I become the bad guy.
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: rejectedmom</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

I wrote him back and said this:
"As far as the military goes...well the felonies and the drug abuse will make it very hard for you to get in. Maybe after you prove you can live clean and honest you may be allowed to join the Job Corps or the Peace Corps. Right now your focus should be on substance abuse counseling, anger management, and aquiring good life skills and good general mental health. Please don't worry, you can still do good works outside of the military. When you put your whole self into redeeming yourself you will earn the respect and honor you desire."


Given the explanation of your son's personality provided in your last posting RM, I think you are taking the right tack on this. I might change the part about being "allowed" to join the Peace Corp or Job Corp, and say something like "Maybe after you prove you can live clean and honest you may want to consider the Peace Corps or even, the Job Corps. The focus on these organizations is on helping people so they can learn to help themselves, and I think you might like that, very much."

I think the letter is very positive and encouraging without raising false hopes.

This is all so hard, RM.

You will know the right way to handle everything as it comes up.

One step at a time, right?

How are you holding up through this, RM?



New Member
Sunny, difficult child has a case worker that i have talked to seeveral times. The group home coordinator has not contacted me at all. Services will depend on what group home he is placed into since one is over an hour from here and the other is right here in town. I am hoping for the one in town since difficult child cannot drive and we have public transportation that can help him get to appointments and training.The one an hour away is in a very bad neighborhood and even his PO has expressed concerns about him going there.

Barbara, I am doing OK for the most part. I am trully loving the peace that comes with not having difficult child in my daily life. I know that sounds terrible but I also know I can say it here and not be judged. I have no guilt. I know I did the best I could when there were so few options. I get frustrated at times both with the system and with difficult child. With the system because there is no good options for a person such as my son when they cannot live with their family. With my son because from his letters and phone calls I can tell that he really hasn't changed all that much. He still seems to be waiting for someone to rescue him rather than do what he needs to do. He still thinks it is all about him. He is still trying to manipulate people by trying to make them feel sorry for him. He still seems to be in denial about what his life is going to be like when he gets out. He thinks he is going to be free of emcumbrances and be in control of his life when in reality he will be on parole for years to come. I'm frustrated because knowing my difficult child I also know that he will make mistakes and with a vengeful PO such as his he will most likely end up back in prison. That is why I really want to get a complete neuro-psychiatric done as soon as possible after he gets out. If we can show that his brain is malfunctioning there are other legal avenues that we can take in the future. But If history is any indcator of the future difficult child won't be able to stay out of trouble long enough for me to get that done. And I am still angry with the professionals that I had him plugged into all his life for not seriously concidering the autism diagnosis. The more research I do into his genetic disorder and autism the more convinced I am that he could be acurately placed on the spectrum. I cannot tell you how many times I asked people who worked with him if this was a possibility and told no because he was "social". in my opinion he was social because he had had so very much attention and intervention from the age of three months when I got him. But because he was adopted he was always concidered to be attachment issues. No one ever ordered a neuro done on him and that is what angers me. I put my trust and confidance into professionals and they droped the ball. Even when difficult child was raging out of control I asked for a brain scan to rule out an anurism or other organic brain problems and was told that it was behavioral and within his control. Now that same person says "well maybe he is autistic, you need to get a neuro psychiatric" Well DUH!!!!! So the anger is something that I can push away but will probably never leave me completely especially if a neuro psychiatric does indicate he is autistic. I have mostly forgiven but I still have this lingering anger lieing just below the surface. Every once in a while I take it out and examine it and try to reason it away but it persists. The frustration manifests when I am trying to plan services and can't because I don't know when he will get out and I know that they need to be in place pretty much the day he gets out or he will fail. I am also frustrated because I know that if he could live here I could accomplish this much more easily but he made it abundantly clear that he cannot live here until he has been rehabilitated and maybe not even then. I feel like I am chasing my tail so to speak. And on top of all this I am lonesome. I need everyday friends but don't want to join organizations that will put more responsibilities on me at this time. I tryied a ladies organization that is all about fun but they are not accepting new members. I have good friends but they or I moved away and we don't get together often any more. I also had two die within the last few years. In addition difficult child told many lies to neighbors and others so I am a bit hesitant to put myself out there. Whew arent't you glad you asked? LOL -RM


New Member
You definitley don't want to say anything that he can turn into you telling him he can't do something. I think it sounds pretty good, but I would just say I'm not sure what effect your past will have on what you want to do in the future, but when you get out and have enough time behind you that you have remained clean and sober, you should look into it. This way it sounds like you are encouraging him to look into his dream and you aren't saying he can't do it, but your not sure what effect his past will have on it. Then I would him that you love him and your glad he's looking at positive things for his future.


New Member
Thanks Karen, I mailed the letter yesterday with some revisions. I am hoping he doesn't fixate on this and that he buys into the services being offered when he gets out. If he continues to bring it up I will follow the suggestions here. -RM