Huge mistake. I gave him advice. Wow.


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So 36 calls to tell me that his son told him that his mother said she is going to leave town and go far away with him soon. 36 called me to "ask your advice. What should I do?" I know better than to go beyond saying "You're a grown man. What do you think you should do?" But this is something that alarmed me. If she says she is going to do it, she is mean enough to do it. I have never been wrong about her moves. So I told him that he should document on the Wizard and call his lawyer to see if he can stop it now. This is not a surprise to me. It's something I expected her to do.

Well, I just hung up on him, although I realize I contributed to it by scaring him. I guess I just should have kept my trap shut, even though I know that she will do it.

At the very end of our conversation, in which he was yelling so loud, my husband could hear it from across the room, he said, "SO YOU ARE PANICKING ME! THANKS A LOT. YOU ARE THE MOST WORTHLESS, F****** MOTHER..." I hung up. I am shaking.

And when she does run off, he's going to say, like he always does, "You were right. Now how are you going to make me feel better?" and he'll be in a rage and mean and scary mode until/unless he can get his son back.

Sometimes I really wonder why I bother to talk to him at all. He is always asking for advice, gets uber-mad when I tell him he's a man who can handle things himself, and then gets abusive. True, he is pleasant when times are good, but life isn't's full of ups and downs and he can NOT handle the downs without being abusive. He is almost 37. Soon he will be 37 when I talk about him, not 36, and it is sad that he still can't control his frightening temper, and, trust me, it is frightening when he lets loose.

I really want to stay out of this one. When she runs off in the middle of the night, and she will, it will be worse than the custody battle. 36 does love his son. His son is his life. But he doesn't think rationally about what he has to do to protect his son. His son would be in worse shape with his ex. But, sadly, the fate of my grandson is not in my hands. I barely know him. I can't do anything about it.

Please kick me for not saying, "You're a man and I'm sure you an figure it out."

Even though that would have made him hang up on me, it would have been better than his ear-busting rage and insults that had me shaking. Maybae I get PTSD talking to him when he is like this. My God, this adult man is going to be 40 in three years. It boggles my mind.

Thanks for reading. I will be at Al-Anon on Thursday morning, the first chance I have. I wonder if he was drinking. He said he'd stopped, but they always say that. At any rate, I need the message of self-love that Al-Anon delivers. I also fortunately have a therapy appointment. on Sept. 25th and am going to see if I can move it up. When he yells at me that way, I remember him cornering me in my house, not letting me go, lifting his fist and smashing the wall right by my head. I remember the day he slapped me across the face when I shoved his shoulder to push him back from me. He can be so nice to me, but when he loses his temper, he scares the bejeezus out of me.

I know he is hurting, but at his age that is just not an excuse, is it?


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I SO know that feeling of whooshing back into the terror of the past, just like flipping a switch...

You didn't do anything wrong-your instincts kicked in and he DID ask you for advice! I'm sure he was on high emotional alert at the whole situation, but it stinks that you ended up being the whipping boy. I mean, seriously, why the hell would he think you would want to give him ANY help , when THAT'S the reaction you get?

Not surprised you are shaking. What will you do when he calls again?


MWM I think you reacted appropriately. But it really didn't make a difference what you said, I believe you would have been made the scapegoat no matter what. It is scary when your grand babies are involved. I hope things work out for your son, but I wouldn't feel bad. You've done nothing wrong.

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Well, thanks for the support. He literally wants me to solve his problems, do it without scaring him, and then comfort him like he's two years old when he is in pain and being abusive. I'm not going to do that. I can't be his mommy anymore and most certainly not when he is being abusive and irrational.

The sad thing is, all my children are adults and I do feel I can sometimes be a mommy to them. They don't get abusive, they don't expect me to take care of them all the time...we have mommy moments. This 36 year old wants me to be a loving mommy all the time, even though he is often hateful when I try to give him the advice he asks for.

Sometimes I wonder what he is and who he is, really.


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MWM, I think you were in a no win situation there. You could have said "You are a grown man, I'm sure you will figure it out" and he would have likely had the same response, which is anger that he is in a situation he doesn't like and no one is fixing it for him. Your advice was solid. A call to his attorney is a good idea in any scenario.

I know just what you mean when you look at them and say, "Who are you, really?" They can turn on a dime, especially when substances are involved. And it has been my experience that I will buy in and take my son's side 100% against girlfriend in a moment of high drama, then they will make up as if nothing has happened and I will end up being the bad guy, in the eyes of both of them. It truly is a no-win situation. Honest = anger now. Placating them = anger later.


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MWM, my heart goes out to you. I hate that jarred feeling after a phone call and I too think my son is no match for the hijinx and manipulation of my grandson's baby mama. I think I would have done the same thing and would now feel the same way. I can only hope that this back and forth we engage in with our difficult child's make us more vigilant for the next traumatic situation which is always around the corner. I amazes me at how much work we all have to put in to maintaining our mental health and boundaries and how we so easily, even after only one or two good encounters with them, start to hope. Ouch. Don't doubt yourself. I don't think any answer would have been the right one. If you had put it back on him it would have ultimately been your fault if she leaves because you didn't warn him. Thank goodness for Al-Anon. I hope tomorrow and Wednesday fly and you find yourself among the warmth and support we find there.


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Thanks to all of you. I'm a nervous wreck today because I know she's planning to run off with my grandson and I can only hope my son stops her in court. While he at least has me and his father to rein him in, she is crazy as a loon and has nobody...everyone in her family thinks she's normal. She isn't. She is abusive to my grandson. My grandson is pretty much allowed to do what he wants with my son, but I know that even though he may threaten me and his father, he would not harm his child and I can check in on my grandson over the phone. Grandson is in a lose/lose situation with his parents, but if she runs off with him, he is toast. So I'm typing while I'm shaking, thinking that she's going to run off with him and my son is too clueless to know how to stop it or to stop it or he is too scared to really buy it and too freaked out to listen to rational suggestions. He is so like a little boy and can not handle scary situations and therefore will not handle them. And he gets abusive and mean to those who want to help. This really isn't about him though. This is about my grandson, a little boy I love even though I don't know him very much. I do know he is a good boy now, but being yanked from school and drug to California won't be good for him.

I will have to use my mindfulness techniques to deal with this because I can't do anything to stop it and I can't make my son act in a sane way. I have work today. That will help.

Honestly, just when I think 36 is in a good place so he will be calmer, something like this comes up and he panics and calls me, but then doesn't listen to me so why does he call me? He literally calls me so that I will say the right things to calm him down and he doesn't even care if I'm lying. He has told me that. I can't play that kind of "pretend" game so he gets angry and abusive and has even talked violently...and then I wonder if he's going to kill himself because life has become too hard for him. He won't say "I'll kill myself" to me because I call 911.

I am tempted to text him more advice this morning, but I'm sitting on my hands. If I do, it could amp him up, have him call me in a state of fury and panic (never a good thing for him) and I just want a break right now. It is hard to explain how somebody can scare you over the phone, but he does. My husband wanted to call him back yesterday to tell him to stop calling me, but I stopped him. That would only make things worse.

My son has a long, long history, starting in childhood, of asking for advice, NOT TAKING WHATEVER ADVICE HE IS GIVEN, then blaming the person who gave him the good advice and being abusive. When he was little, he tore up the house and kicked at us or spat at us. Now he can't because distance separates us, but long, long years of seeing how angry he can get make me scared of his anger. It does not sound like somebody's normal when Julie or Sonic or Jumper get angry. They sound angry, but they don't yell and scream and tear things up and are reasonable and easy to soothe. This is not the same thing.

To me it is amazing that one human being can never learn from the past and can't figure out by his age that he has to stay calm and take adult action to change things in his life, not yell, scream and have a two year old tantrum.

Scent of Cedar *

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MWM, you are too nice a person to be spoken to that way. It doesn't matter why he did it or how he justifies it. It almost sounds like he is using this grandchild to manipulate you to recover the abusive relationship he had with you in the past.

You love kids, MWM. You have been able to stand up to 36 on every other front. Your worry for your defenseless grandson leaves you vulnerable to 36.

I've seen that with my own kids.

What works is what we get more of.

How has 36 taken the recent birth of your daughter's child?



one day at a time
But this is something that alarmed me.

You were scared. You talked out of your fear. That is very often what we do when we are scared---that is completely normal, MWM.

although I realize I contributed to it by scaring him.

No. He is scared too. On the phone that day, there were two scared people---you and him. Nothing good is going to come from that, especially when one is sick like difficult child is. There is no comforting each other, leaning into the fear, allowing it to be present.

Most every single human being hates to be afraid. Some of us, like you, MWM, are learning how to live with our own fear. Some of us, like difficult child, can't tolerate it. They go nuts.


He was panicked when he called. I think that shows his very humanity, that fear of losing his son. And of course, he called his mom. Isn't that what we do? And then, when mom can't fix it, most of us just cry or lie down and stare or call another friend---all coping mechanisms. difficult children get abusive because they have no coping mechanisms. They haven't learned how to cope with life at all. When life happens, they do what they do. Over and over and over again. Until they "give" and learn a new way of living.

"You were right. Now how are you going to make me feel better?" and he'll be in a rage and mean and scary mode until/unless he can get his son back.

Yep. You can't stop his fear. You will only be the scapegoat of it.

MWM, you can't fix your grandson's situation with his mother and his father. You can't save him either. We can't save anybody but ourselves and that is a full time job.

life isn't's full of ups and downs and he can NOT handle the downs without being abusive.

Yes, that is the true issue. They have no tools to cope with real life. So when real life happens, they yell and scream and self-medicate and abuse and do what they do. That is their MO.

Please kick me for not saying, "You're a man and I'm sure you an figure it out."

I won't kick you for being human. You were afraid. You are afraid. Fear is something we ultimately have to lean into, feel it, let it wash over us, sit with it, become friends with it. Doing that takes a lot of its power away. Not all, but a lot.

Maybae I get PTSD talking to him when he is like this.

I firmly believe this. We are anxious and shaky and scared and easily startled and unsettled. The answer is getting away from the source and staying away from the source until we get back on level ground.

which is anger that he is in a situation he doesn't like and no one is fixing it for him.

Absolutely. Anger = fear not named.

Grandson is in a lose/lose situation with his parents,

And sadly, tragically, you cannot fix this, MWM. This is yet something else you have to learn how to live with. And I am so sorry for that.

I'm sitting on my hands.

Keep on sitting on your hands, MWM. Stay away from the source. Don't try to fix this. You will not be able do, and it's a fool's errand. Dig into your toolbox and be kind to yourself. Spend time on your tools today and for the next few weeks.

You need to get back to level ground, and you know what to do to get there. And difficult child is not part of that.

Warm Hugs for your hurting heart. We are here for you. You know we get it.


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Staff member
I think even if you said "your a man and I'm sure you'll figure it out," in this case anyway, it probably would of backfired because he was filled with fear and panic.

What a horrible situation. You were only trying. But, it's a no win situation. As COM put so well, they have no coping mechanisms and don't do life well AT ALL! What a sorrowful situation. No kicking.


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although I realize I contributed to it by scaring him

No. You did not. There is no excuse for his behavior and you gave sound advice. He should contact an attorney immediately. The fact is, if he has visitation rights, he needs to protect them. I don't know about your state, but in Missouri a custodial parent (actually either parent) is required to send a certified mailing to the other parent advising them of an address change and giving the other a period of time to file a court action to contest it. Taking a child out of state is grounds for change of custody. Doing so and trying to disappear can lead to criminal prosecution for interfering with custody.

He has legal remedies and needs to talk to a lawyer. Incidentally, in Missouri a grandparent can intervene in a proceeding and seek grandparent visitation. Your state may or may not, but if they go back to court, it's something for you to look in to.

Many warm hugs. You deserve much, MUCH better.


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MWM, you did nothing wrong and I hate it when they yell at us because they are scared of something. He does have something to be afraid of here though. I do have an idea though and I think I would do it because it concerns the grandson.

The ex is not allowed to move her son X amount of miles from where she lives now. I dont know the exact wording of their custody agreement but I guarantee that wording is in there. It is something to do with denying the other parent and child of their time together. Not sure what the exact legal wording is but that is the essence of the law. I found out right after oldest granddaughter moved to MO that it could have been stopped even without a custody order in effect because courts do not like to have kids far from each parent.

Anyway...I think I would write a letter to your son, heck send it unsigned...and give him some facts and maybe the Father's Rights website address. He actually can have her put in jail if she breaks the custody order which she would do if she moved without approval from the courts. No court is going to okay that without a very, very compelling reason. In reality, the courts may give 36 full custody just for her threatening to do this.


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MWM....I had a relative like this. He would ask for advice, then go ballistic if he didn't like your advice. Anyway, just curious, does 36 have a diagnosis or a suspected diagnosis?


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My son has half legal custody. He fought for it and got it. He has his son exactly 50% of the time. He is seeing his lawyer this week. He called back, like he had never screamed at me, and just acted normal. How do they do that????

Anyhow, I don't care how scared he is. Calling me names is now unacceptable. Trust me, I let him slide for thirty years. Enough is enough. He is too old for that. I have had trying times myself and do not treat others that way when I'm terrified. HE has terrified me and I don't insult him or scream like that at him. He is not allowed to do that to me even if he is scared. He knows I will be a great support system as long as he doesn't take his anger and fear out on me. If he wants to call his ex fifty shades of horrible names, I don't care. If he wants to yell and swear at the situation, I don't care. But calling me a dumb b**** is not allowed, no matter what he is going through. My other grown kids have called me at bad times in their lives without abusing me and I expect the same of him. He caused this by marrying her. I can't control it. He has some recourse, not me. If I allow him to do this, and he did this during his custody battle for the entire duration, I will fall apart again. I know what I can handle and that is not something I can handle. So....I hope it doesn't happen and that he is smart about this, but I will not be the person he abuses if something happens.

I do not excuse him just because he is scared. He is 36 years old. Not all 36 year olds, even in horrible times, yell, scream and call their mother horrible names because their world is threatened. I was trying to help him and he turned it on me like he always does.

Anyway, I was on another line so when the line beeped I just switched and it was him. I felt my stomach kind of fall. I'm going out for a workout I need it. Thanks for all the advice and help.
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Thanks to all.

Lil, my son IS IN Missouri and he knows the law. However, what happens if she runs off in the middle of the night? That is probably more like her than doing it the way the court likes. What if she runs off to California? Can she be arrested or made to return my grandson? My son's ex really is not afraid of the court. She is not only dangerous, she is not very bright. That's how my grandson knows what she's up to. He is REALLY smart and a parrot. He does NOT take after his mother's family in Not saying I'm that bright, but my son and many family members are very gifted and he seems to have taken after them. If he said his mother was talking about his moving and taking him out of school, it was said.

COM, by the way, great post. And I know I can't save anyone. I'm just curious about the law and my son's options here. And, of course, I am sad that this is going on, even though I have no control over it.


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MWM....I had a relative like this. He would ask for advice, then go ballistic if he didn't like your advice. Anyway, just curious, does 36 have a diagnosis or a suspected diagnosis?
Nomad, he is very cunning with psychiatrists. And he was always extremely bright and verbal and able to read other people to say what they wanted to hear. I know that, as a child, kids got hurt around him and he liked to instigate trouble and he was a mster shoplifter who never got caught (and was greatly admired for his skill). Although he was always a great student, until high school, his teachers really disliked him because of the stuff he pulled and class disruptions and his smart-a** attitude. I know he was very interested in porn, not in the normal way. It was overboard. He tormented his sister. To this day, she never wants to see him again, but is vague about what he has done to her, which scares me all the more. What DID he do? The little I know is not good.
He had vague diagnosis. as a child. Anxiety disorder. Possible ADHD. No, it's not ADHD. Bipolar. It's not bipolar. Conduct Disorder. No, no, no, no...he's just...well, we don't know. Since then he has minimally gone for help, only when he was very uncomfortable, and got a label of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which he does have. No doubt that is one problem. But he does not share everything with his therapists.

If I had to diagnose him, I'd be as confused as the psychiatrists were, but I'm betting he has a mixture of personality disorders plus, no doubt, anxiety disorder and possible functioning alcoholism. Not sure about anything though. Just know he was born differently wired and has always been very difficult. Antisocial personality disorder has to be part of the picture, yet he does have some empathy. Maybe Antisocial/narcicistic? Take your pick.
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Thats what I am trying to tell you mwm, your son is holding the cards here. I think he should tell his lawyer what his son has told him so he can get an injunction put in place.

IF she leaves the state with the child even now without the injunction she can be held in contempt of court because she isnt making the child available for the 50 -50 split. If she breaks that court order they can take her 50 away from her and make your son custodial parent. Heck, PM me his address and I will mail him a letter saying I overheard her talking in the grocery store and this is what he should do!


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MWM -- My heart is in my throat this morning reading your initial post. Can so relate to your comments.

PTSD -- A friend of mine (who is a school counselor, by profession), once told me my response to our difficult child's acts also seemed like PTSD. I'd never thought of it that way before she said, it, but, I think she nailed it. How could so many of us NOT feel PTSD when we lived in a prolonged state of trauma IN OUR HOMES? We are the survivors of a war. A war with a different name, but a war zone, nonetheless.

COM wrote something about him being panicked before he ever called you. Sure sounds like it. You did nothing wrong. And remember.........he ASKED you for advice. You gave him exactly what he requested.

When their drama tornado hits, there's just nothing that works. The only thing one can do when an F-5 tornado hits, is just get far away from it. They are a force of nature.....a maelstrom. Ain't no negotiating with a maelstrom.

MWM -- You're a wonderful person, a caring person, a smart person, a strong person! I send hugs your way that things resolve as peacefully as possible.

Above stay safe when that F-5 twister tries to suck you in!