I did it. Told difficult child son....

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by scent of cedar, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    I did it. It was easy. husband determined to send $ to difficult child son, only wants amount to be what is needed for rent and power, not full $1700. So, I FB difficult child son that info and told him I did not want to give him any money. told him he needed to stand up and be a man. Told him he needed to be making enough money to help with his grandmother, visit his mother (that would be me) and help with his sister. Told him he was making beggars of himself and his children. I don't know what else I told him. Nothing personally nasty, just the truth I believe. Kept trying to get the needed amount out of him, as husband insistent on helping to "get this over with and stop thinking about it."

    difficult child son says I am mean. Says we will never see any of them again. Says they will starve and die before taking money from us.

    Well, halleluiah.

    Added a few more insults for me. Nothing as horrifying as what he said before we gave him money last time.
    I imagine he is reeling from shock.



    Also, had already given difficult child info on help available, including the suggestion to ask school counselor for help with eviction and Christmas gifts for kids.

    I am starting to feel a little horrible. But if difficult child son is ever going to stand up, this enabling has to stop.
  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Am running to work. But, GOOD JOB CEDAR. Stay the course, Do not send any money. Give your son the opportunity to man up.

    Yes, I have been called "mean" too.

    Hold him to his word that he will not ask you for any more money no matter what. LET HIM GROW UP.

    :smile:"husband insistent on helping to "get this over with and stop thinking about it."

    That quote of your husband's is the crux of enabling, we act to change the energy we have in our bodies of powerlessness and no control which is hard to stay in. You said it too, you are feeling horrible. Both you and husband have to stay in that place of feeling horrible and NOT ACT. Remember, you guys are like addicts jonesing for a drug, the drug of codependency, the drug of taking action to stop the suffering you feel inside. As the therapists always said to us, it is more about YOU needing to stop the feelings. So, examine the feelings don't act on them.

    Gotta run. HANG TOUGH. Good luck. I'll check in later. xoxoxoxo

    Last edited: Dec 10, 2013
  3. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Thanks, Recovering. That is true, and so good to know. husband delirious at sense of freedom. Had been planning to do the old "This is the last time, I never want to see you again." We got into a little spat about that this morning when I confronted him about that being what he always says ~ after he gives the money for the "last time".

    And then, the miracle happened, and difficult child son said he would starve and die before taking money from us.

    There is a difference between legitimate helping and enabling. And you were right Recovering, when you said the difference is that we resent enabling and feel a sense of reward at helping. I was writing away this morning, trying to figure this whole thing out, and stumbled across the core of the resentment husband and I feel. It is that nothing we spend, and no amount of time, ever makes the permanent difference we make that sacrifice of time or money to achieve. Where we once readily made any sacrifice, where once we left our own lives behind without a thought to focus on saving one of the kids, over time the emotional components of those responses change. We still expect to help. And Lord knows the kids not only expect us to help, but blame us for where they are. The more we help, the more we try to limit the damage, the more we begin to feel like mindless automatons, going through the same fight, the same thought process, the same resentful giving in.

    And there goes our money with nothing to show for it.

    And there goes all that time of our lives together, gone forever, and with nothing to show for it. (Though I would take the grandchildren again in a minute. That was actually rewarding in the extreme.)

    If you find yourselves in that situation, better to stop sooner.

    Some years back, after having been here on the site long enough to understand that I was looking at an addiction with difficult child son, I told husband no more help without difficult child son agreeing to treatment. Prior to that time, husband was resenting everything I was doing for difficult child son. Once I stopped? He leaped in with both feet. He would drive three hours twice a week to the city difficult child son lived in, to bring him food, cigs, fill his tank, pay his bills.

    I wonder how that ever stopped....

    If you find yourselves in that position, you may need to do as I did. Tell the adult child that it is the other guy (father or mother) who decided to pay again, but that you would not pay, and then, tell him what you expect him to do to become the man he was meant to be.

    Boy, am I acting like a know-it-all this morning.


    As Recovering noted, there will be a backlash. We may still cave. That would be worse than never having taken a stand to begin with. As Scott G noted in his post on detachment, once we break the attachment, we realize that we have the power over what WE will do. We get to stop, any time we want.

    husband and I always gave the money because we didn't want to leave the kids short. But that just turned into us always giving the money.

    Another thing I realized this morning is that, at least at first, that desperate need to help the kids has less to do with enabling and more to do with not wanting to see the kids hurt. It doesn't even matter what they did or what they need. We just cannot stand to see them hurt or desperate or ashamed or poor.

    Thank goodness for FB.

    Don't think I could have done it any other way.

  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Cedar, as you know I am a difficult child and I did need to take help from my dad a time or two. We felt awful about it when it happened and we always repaid him as soon as we could. My dad insisted that we repay him but then he always sent the money back...lol. He just wanted us to have to feel like we werent using him as a cash machine.

    I would not feel badly about not giving your son more money. That is quite a bit of money and he has attempted to make you feel guilty. His loss.
  5. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Like you Janet, difficult child daughter, prior to this last winter, always paid husband back. He always forgave half. That was their deal. She was expected to pay it all back, and when she had the money, or had paid half of it back, he forgave the other half.

    For that reason, it was never a problem to loan her money. Over this past year though, I would say close to $10,000 unpaybackable money has gone to difficult child daughter.

    difficult child daughter was never mean like difficult child son.

    difficult child son lived with us numerous times too, borrowed or was given some truly incredible sums of money on two of those moves just to get him gone, and has never paid us back penny one. difficult child daughter, or her children, or both, lived with us off and on over the years, too. We helped her very much to move back up North when she wanted to ~ which turned out to be a terrible mistake. I think when she was crying last night and talking about how other families help more completely than we do, she was just overwhelmed with her own position, now.

    Poor thing, really.

    I think too that the pain medications they had her on may have affected her judgment, so that what she wished and how she justified it just came pouring out. Hopefully, she won't remember the conversation. Last summer, when she was homeless and using, was very different.

    Part of the reason we are able to let difficult child son go his own way now is understanding what the problem has been with difficult child daughter all along. It was when all we knew was that something was not right with either child that we were so vulnerable to believing we had done something wrong and had to fix it. But we couldn't fix it, because we could not figure out what it was.

    That is such a strong point. I hope everyone who reads this can see themselves, there. There is a post on Watercooler about New Orleans social services where I think I expressed it more clearly. I think very important for parents to see and understand that dynamic before we can free ourselves into detaching.

    Well, at least, starting to detach.

  6. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Cedar, you make me proud to be your friend. I am so impressed by the strength you've shown in saying no under such powerfully difficult circumstances. It gets easier with practice, but like the old Cat Stevens song says, "the first cut is the deepest."
  7. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Why, thank you very much, Trinity! I am not feeling so proud of myself. Both husband and I are on such shaky ground, here. At least before, we could be mad about sending the money and having done what we could. Anger replaced the sense of frustration, the having to acknowledge that things may not change for the kids, ever. Not so easy to sit with the consequences of not having helped. Thank heaven that, from all I have learned here, I am intending to sit with the feelings and do nothing about them.

    That was such a nice post, Trinity.