How to just stay out of it...

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Lil, Jan 9, 2016.

  1. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    when they keep coming to you for advice?

    So...I post a positive and negative immediately follows. How many times has that happened? Seems like I jinx whenever I feel positive. :(

    Today it's snowing and nasty and son's ride to work didn't show; he calls and I brave the snow, but in the end he decides not to go. He'd already called and they didn't really need him since they weren't going to get many customers during his shift anyway. He asks if I'll be mad if he doesn't work. I tell him it's entirely his business. I'm not the boss of him.

    I go home. All is calm...then the call.

    He's in tears. girlfriend is in the shower and he's taking the opportunity to talk to me. She's cheating. Not physically, but she has an internet boyfriend that I guess she's had for years. One of her prior boyfriend's broke up with her over this guy. Son tells me that while she was at our house on Thanksgiving she told the guy, using our wifi, that she'd rather be with him than my son. He tells me she's told this guy she loves him. She's told our son that she's stopped communicating with the internet guy, but that she won't ever let him see her phone or use her tablet, because she accuses him of "snooping". And let's face it...he is snooping...but if she has nothing to hide, why not let him see, is how he sees it. Now having been married to a controlling, accusatory man who made me cut off all contact with my old friends, I can see her point. But that doesn't change the fact that my son has reason to be suspicious and he doesn't trust her...again, with reason.

    I told him he should have gone to work. He says he goes to work and she goes to the library where she stays for hours using the internet. I say she needs a job. He says he doesn't think that's going to happen any time soon.

    He wants to know what to do. I tell him I can't say, I don't know. He has to decide if he wants to be with her and if so they have to work on this. He says there's no working on it, because she doesn't believe it's cheating, because it's only over the internet.

    He's scared to break up with her because the electric is in her name and he has an unpaid bill with the power company so he can't get it in his name. Besides, he doesn't want to be alone. He says he has no friends. He has no one but her. (true) He's so SAD again. I hate this. I don't want to be in the middle of this. I don't want him coming to me with problems I can't help with.

    I know, this could happen to even easy kids. But with them, the answer is, "If you break up, we'll help you with the power, we'll help you with the rent, we'll let you come home." There is no answer to this. I know he's 20 but he's still so immature. He was willing to forgive her past "indiscretions" after he moved back here and she had not followed yet.

    All I can do is nothing. I don't know how to handle this.

    I want a cigarette.
  2. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I hate how this crap ruins my day. I hate how I sit around now, waiting for the phone to ring; waiting for him to call and tell me that they've broken up and he needs help. I hate that I'm just a bundle of nerves. I'm afraid to get in the shower because I think the phone will ring while I'm in there! It's stupid!!! I hate how one thing goes wrong and my life turns upside down. I hate being like this. I really think I'm doing well and detaching and then I fall apart over what may be nothing. For all I know they've made up and are happy as clams right now. :( I hate this.
  3. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Lil, my easy one has this kind of stuff with her boyfriend frequently and I have learned what she is looking for is an ear, not advice.

    They will work it out or they won't. Nothing you say will change that, other than possibly blowing up in your face when you take sides and then they work it out, in my opinion.

    But doesn't it feel pretty cool to be worrying about some "easy child" issues? Your son has come a long way!
    • Like Like x 3
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List
  4. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I suppose. :( Better than theft and drugs. Still worse than "typical" with the issue of the electric bill and his fear of being homeless again. He actually is getting quite a few hours. Even missing a 6 hour shift today he has 25 this week and 30 next. He's sure he'll be able to pay rent.

    I really do want to shake this off and go about my day. But its not happening. :(
  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi Lil

    If he pays the old electric bill can he get service, with a deposit? Where I live this is the case. They cannot deny service because this is a safety issue.

    I would keep quiet about the girl, as you are doing. She sounds like not much. I mean, however young she is, she knows better. He is paying the bills.

    This is real life. Your son is not exempt from it.

    Has your son thought about renting a room in an apartment or house with other young people? I did that until my mid 20's, even though I had had my own place before I preferred living with other people.

    I know our kids are "difficult" but wouldn't college be easier? I mean, why, why, why do they make it so hard.

    My son, right now, has the money to go to college. With one decision his life would turn into a miracle instead of a disaster. Why? Can you tell me?

    • Like Like x 3
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  6. Kalahou

    Kalahou Active Member

    Hi Lil, …. I hear you and understand. Been there/done that with variations of the theme. We panic for our hurting kids, because we still feel like we are mommies who want to fix everything with a kiss and a bandaid and make it alright again. We can’t fix the things in their lives anymore. Relationship issues are hard to experience and learn from even at mature ages. These kids are so young, and don’t even know themselves yet, but yet they think only of themselves and instant gratification. These young kids don’t see life beyond the moment. Your son is scared for himself and for the moment. Sounds like the girlfriend is still a child having a ride, like a fun vacation / a new experience, with new things being provided for her, and being taken care of without having to make any commitment or contribution.

    Our panic and worried feelings and emotions are actually just physical reactions to our thoughts. Sounds like your feelings of hating to feel responsible to "do something" might be sending your body into a physical “fight or flight” mode and that's why we feel do drained and hate it to feel "in the middle" like we need to do something.

    JMHO. What works for me when I feel like that, I leave the scene to do something physical to pump the stress and adrenaline out – for me it’s leaving for a couple of hours to “power walk” around 5 or more miles (leave the phone at home) . Often during those times, the mind gets some clarity and peace. Then when I get home sweaty and thirsty, there are “me” things to attend to for a awhile, such as having a cold drink and a shower. The urgency has dissipated, and I find I have survived the immediacy of my panicky feelings.

    On another thread, Cedar posted the following comments **

    ** This {situation / what’s happening} is only for you to observe. Your child is still trapped in something he cannot break free of with your help. He needs to do this alone.

    ** It helps me sometimes, when I know there is nothing I can do without making the situation worse, to repeat: "There is nothing I need to do."

    I love what Cedar said – “There is nothing I need to do." There's nothing I need to do about my son’s situation, but I do need to take care of what’s happening to me physically (feelings / emotions) to release the stress. That's why getting out to walk or something else requiring exertion helps me personally and helps me “stay out of it.”

    There’s nothing you can do for son and girlfriend. You do need to do something for yourself. In bad snowy weather I might need snowshoes to get outside and trek the hillsides for the afternoon, or maybe go to a gym or indoor jogging track or run in place in the house, or pile up some pillows to have a punching session -- (and it will be good exercise to boot ) -- all for just pumping out the “fight / flight” response you feel.

    Then say a quick prayer of thanks that “ There is nothing I need to do."
    Take care. Kalahou
    • Like Like x 5
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • List
  7. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Oh yes, I'm sure that's doable...but his old bill is about $500 and he's literally living paycheck to paycheck, barely paying the rent. I don't know how he could do it. He definitely needs to put in for utility assistance, but I know when they went to do the food stamp application they didn't do that one. Stupid on their part.

    He did that for awhile and it wasn't a good situation. With strangers? Who knows? But they have a 6 month lease where they are, so they're in until June. Really, the rent is only $375 a month, with water, sewer and trash, so that's pretty good for a one-bedroom. He really needs to stay for the 6 months and get a decent rental history.

    Yes, I think that's very true. Even when he does it to himself, nothing tears me up quite as much as him hurting.

    I really never thought of it like that, but you're right. It's very close to a panicky feeling. Like I have to DO something. "Fight" being fix it somehow. "Flight" being just crawl under my covers and sleep for a week so I don't have to deal.

    I'm so not an exercise person...but maybe that's exactly what I need? I need to get the dogs out and feed them (they like to go to bed in their crates even when we're's a habit I guess) but they can wait for a bit. Maybe I'll go shovel snow?
    • Like Like x 3
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List
  8. TheWalrus

    TheWalrus I Am The Walrus

    I agree - sounds like if you aren't careful you will be entrapped in triangulation. I have learned the hard way that when Difficult Child comes with rages about a partner and I take her side, it can come back to haunt you. If they work it out, everything gets turned around and Difficult Child tells girl/boyfriend everything you said about them and then you have BOTH of them resenting you, even though you were "on" your child's side. My daughter has done this several times. It can go back and forth endlessly like a tennis match and you are constantly missing the serve your child bounces back and forth (because you will always end up wrong in the end) if you aren't careful.

    You also have to remember, regardless of what you think of your child's partner, that you are only getting ONE point of view - and it is the point of view of an "adult" that you know yourself does not always behave appropriately or make the best decisions. I have never had my daughter tell me the "entire" story and have found out after the fact, after I have taken "her" side, and after I have been ensnared in her drama, that she played a very big part in the drama and was in no way an innocent.

    I have learned to keep my voice completely neutral and give neutral responses like, "I am sorry that happened," and, "That doesn't sound pleasant," as she goes on. Then I repeatedly say, "Well, I know it is hard but I know you will do what is best for you," and, "I know you will figure this out." Regardless of what kind of relationship/problem she brings to me (friends, boyfriends, family, etc.), this is how I respond.

    Because I am "boring" and don't get emotional and take her side, raging against whomever with her, and I don't "offer" her ways out or to rescue her, she rarely tries to drag me into her relationship drama anymore.

    You can't play tennis without a partner.
    • Like Like x 5
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • List
  9. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    Lil. I've been here SO MANY TIMES. The end-of-the-world calls. The pouring of all the angst down the phone line on to me. The scared way of letting myself think that everything's going well, he's happy, she's happy, they've got it sorted, under control, peace, nothing to worry about. Then BAM, it's all over, he's crying, she's angry, he's got nowhere to go.. and I'm left shaking.

    Then... 2 days later, 2 days of sleepless nights and that sick feeling in my stomach and the tentative plans I've been making in my head to sort it all out for him, because no matter how detached I am when he calls and no matter how detached I am in my actions, MY HEAD DOESN'T GET IT. It carries on regardless. and then the next call comes, or the next text, and he's FINE. Because yes, Lil, for all you know they've made up and are as happy as clams right now. I hate this too. Reading about the same thing happening again and again all over the world. Why can't we just shut it all down, all the crap. Why can't they just leave us alone. Why can't they just call to say "hey mum".... and NOTHING ELSE... I don't know what to tell you ... you know it anyway.

    Get angry.

    Find the strength.

    and when they keep coming to you for advice? Think twice before saying nothing.
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • List
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2016
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I give suggestions, when asked, but never tell my grown kids what to do. Nor do I offer money, etc. if they are having a hard time. They are adults. I once offered my hone to Princess, but it turned out she worked it out. I prefer offering the comfort we would offer a little child to be a last resort. My kids have basically learned to stand on their own two feet and maybe (not sure) it is because they were groomed to take care of themselves. Even my Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) son is doing well on his own. Even easy grown adults need to stay adults, at least this is how I feel.Also adult children who launch RARELY want to come home. It is usually very much a defeat to them.

    I am sorry about your son's relationship, as are you. But you can't fix it, change her, or fix your son's angst. He needs to learn how to handle angst anyway. Of course, this is just my opinion. I do more listening than talking these days. I think I learned. Not that I ever meddled in my grown kids lives....after growing up with a sick, intrusive, critical mom, I didn't want to be that kind of mother. Didn't think rescuing was good for my adult kids either. For the most part, they fix things on their own, even my nineteen year old Jumper.

    That doesn't mean I don't hold her when she cries, but she is able to deal with even a teen's worst horror...heartbreak...and move on without her world falling apart.

    She had a terrible heartbreak last year and continued school, work, her friends, visits to us and mourned her way but still did the things that she needed to do in her life. Now she met a much more mature and stable young man. I always like to tell my adult kids that things happen for a reason and that, although the reason may not be clear now, it will be. It is something I believe and something they seem to find solace in. My daughter has said, "This must be why it didn't work out with me and ex-boyfriend." She is doing so incredibly well now, and overcame her grief. There w as nothing I could do during her grief, but hug her and she knew her dad and I loved her and were here for her.

    Lil, you are you and I am me. We have to do what we feel is best. These are just my thoughts. Take what you like, if anything, and leave the rest.
    • Like Like x 2
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2016
  11. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    :hugs:You're right. I know you're right.

    I think that part of the reason I react so strongly to his angst is...I didn't have anyone to do the "hold you when you cry" thing. I was a late bloomer. My first date was in college and there was no serious boyfriend until Law School. Mom was still alive at the time of breakup #1, but my dad was so ill I didn't, couldn't, talk to her about it. I went to my brother who literally said, "Gee sorry Sis. But I have a new girlfriend so I'm too happy to help." He was such a jerk. I guess I never has a serious broken heart until she died...and the person who held me when I cried then - serious boyfriend #2, is still a dear friend of mine. Jabber even likes him. it turns out. Well...all MY angst today was for nothing at all. He's happy again. He called and asked if I had any Tylenol and since I wanted to go to the store for wild rice anyway, I ran some over to him. All is well. He said their fight was "so stupid" and that she never wants to talk about their relationship so he ends up yelling instead. I told him that's no way to behave, which he knows. I told him he had to decide to believe her or not that she has quit talking to internet guy. He says he does. I said, "Then no snooping. You trust her or your don't." He just wanted to play flappy bird and she wouldn't give him her phone so he was an :censored2: and accused her of hiding something.


    I HAVE to stop getting worked up about his damn life. He's just such an immature 20, really emotionally more like 16 if you ask me, and as much as I want him to not call mama, he keeps doing it. :sigh: And he really has been trying so hard to live his own his own bills and, as best I can tell, NOT screw up his life. I get my hopes up for happily ever after. So totally unrealistic of me.
    • Like Like x 3
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  12. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    What a gift that would be.

    Maybe someday.

    My cousin is a social worker. She told me that watching these young adults with issues change is like watching paint dry :culpability:.....

    My guy got his hours cut from 25 to 20, and he isn't happy about it. I guess we should be happy that they are starting to emulate our work ethic. They are starting to WANT to work.

    Anyway, I know what it's like to go around with a cloud over your head, and wanting to curl up in a corner and weep, but you can't because you're at work, and even if you're at home you can't because your husband works home at home and you don't want to upset him, and if you go out people will see that your eyes are all red....

    All I can say is, hang in there Lil.....:hugs:
    • Like Like x 3
    • Friendly Friendly x 3
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  13. SuperG

    SuperG Member

    Hi Lil :)

    As usual, no words of advice from me, as I deal with the same crap. And my daughter will be 29 soon. She does so many things right, but wow when she messes up she goes all out.

    So many times I've logged on to post a pissed off update but just can't get all the words out... So I spend my time lurking and reading... And it somehow makes me feel better for a little while.

    But I could have written your post. Hugs to you. Big hugs.
    • Friendly Friendly x 6
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • List
  14. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Lil, I'm coming in late on this but wanted you know I'm reading along and sending hugs and support.

    My two cents, I would listen to him, let him get it out because I think that's what he wants is someone to just "listen". I have also learned that while they may ask for advice they really don't want it. I would keep my reply very simple, something along the lines of "I'm sorry you are going through some tough stuff but I'm sure you will figure out what to do"

    Hang in there Lil.
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
    • List
  15. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It's so tough sometimes, I know. I tend to jut repeat to myself, "not my problem, not my problem" as best I can. As others have mentioned, a crisis one day can be forgotten/resolved the next, without any advice or interevention from us -- so I try to remember that as well, and try not to get sucked into the drama.
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Useful Useful x 1
    • List
  16. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Lil, never ending story......darned if you do, darned if you don't......
    I agree, short and sweet is best, no trouble that way!
  17. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Well - don't know how their relationship will keep going - but SHE GOT A JOB! :yess:

    Got a call yesterday asking if I'd take her to one of the McDonald's in town (because it was after the busses stopped running). She'd gotten a call from them and after setting up the interview a different one called her 5 minutes later and told her if the first didn't work out to let them know.

    She'll be only 25 hours per week, but that's better than nothing. My son started at 20 a week and he's steadily getting more hours. He actually picked up another shift this week and is up to 36 hours! As I told her, 25 hours is better than 0! She can look for a different job on her days off. She actually was planning on calling the other McDonald's to see if they'd start her with more hours.

    Gave son a ride to work before her interview and as he hopped out he did the usual "I love you" to both me and her. She kind of "grunted" in return. After her interview when it was just she and I, I mentioned that in our family the "I love you" is said as often as "see you later". We say it a LOT to each other. Jabber and I literally say it every time we talk on the phone and at the end of every email and text. (I told her I was only bringing it up because I realized she might find it strange for him to be like that; most guys aren't.) I pointed out to her that our son's been raised in a very verbally and physically demonstrative family...she advised that she hasn't. She said her family just isn't "touchy-feely". She was a bit weirded out by Jabber's parents giving her hugs - her grandparents don't do that. She said our son gets upset if she doesn't return his "I love you". I suggested that maybe they should have a talk about it.

    I'm actually wondering if I should point out to him that our family is really not the norm and it feels odd to some people to be so affectionate? I mean, our WHOLE family is that way...but it's not like I haven't gotten teased about it by friends and I'm 50 years old!

    Ah well - back to normal problems. They'll work it out.
    • Like Like x 4
    • Winner Winner x 2
    • List
  18. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Lil, I love the way you talked with her. I think everything you said was perfect.

    That's awesome she got a job!!
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  19. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Yay forward momentum.:thumbsup: I am a hugger, my parents, meh. Mom actually pushes away if you linger too long. Like "enough already..."
    The hubs is not much of a hugger, but my Hoku attacks him with hugs, she's kind of made it a mission.
    There is scientific evidence that hugs are good for us. Who the heck funded that study......:oops:.

    I am glad Lil. We say I love you too, as goodbyes. When I drop Son off at school, or places, he looks at me with his big ole puppy dog eyes. Says it a few times. Puts a smile in my heart.
    Maybe she will get used to it.
    It's so nice to have affection
    Yay for progress! Thanks for posting good news. It is refreshing!

  20. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Well-Known Member

    We are the very same way in our family. Even when all the junk was going on, we made sure everyone knew the love was still there. But we ALL say I love you to each other all of the time. We all hug and kiss on the cheek - we are a very affectionate family. My kids grew up seeing husband and I in love. They joke and say it is gross but my daughter now hopes to have the same in her life one day... :) I didn't grow up in an affectionate family - my family was VERY dysfunctional, but it did not affect the way I raised mine - well, maybe it did, maybe it made me more determined for my kids to know how much we loved them...