Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Lil, Jul 17, 2014.

  1. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I HATE it! I hate everything about it! I hate the word itself.

    He calls and says, "I know I have no business asking and feel free to stop me now"...I said "what?" BIG MISTAKE.

    He's all, "I never get to <town where the interview is> and if I could just get $20 to hang around with..." I stop him, say "NO" and OMG! Like he didn't KNOW I was going to say NO! "Why not?" - Why? Because I said so! Because I'm not doing it and it's my money and I don't have to!

    When he gets a job and has his own money he can take the car there when he wants.

    Well tomorrow he'll have money from his friend. THE CAR IS FOR JOB HUNTING! I thought we'd made that clear. But since when??? Because we'd said if he paid for his own gas he could take the car! When did that change?

    WHEN HE LIED TO US FOR FOUR WEEKS! I thought I'd made that perfectly clear!

    Apparently not.
  2. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Lil, I am sure you made it clear.

    He is testing you. He is pushing.

    Hang tough, Lil. They "don't remember" and "I didn't know you meant THAT" and on and on. It's the same circular conversation.

    I remember wanting to hold up a sign whenever he started in: The answer is No.

    And not even say a word.

    We have to unteach them that which we have taught them for years.

    That we will handle their problems and that we don't mean what we say.

    Like SO says: It took a long, long time to walk into the forest. It's going to take a long, long time to walk out of the forest.

    Keep walking, Lil. Make him keep walking too, by sticking to what you said.
  3. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I'm just so TIRED of this. It's always me too. Husband says it's because I'm the soft touch and I am sure that's part of it. But of course husband works in a prison too and I doubt my son even has a phone number for him. I just want to tear my hair out.

    I did say I'd talk to his dad about using the car if he had his own gas money, because I want to make sure husband and I are on the same page, but of course I'm sure my son heard "Mommy will let you do it" even as I was telling him that had been MY intention - that the car was parked until he had a job - or at least an interview that was too far to walk or bike to, like the one today.

    Son, of course, responded with, "Well ask him about the $20 too."

    I told him I would NOT and that even if my husband TOLD ME to give him more money I would not!!! Then he asked for enough for cigarettes...I responded by telling him where his new pack of cigarettes were that we bought when we bought our own. Then I hung up.

    Jeeze!!! It's never enough! He wants everything! I knew when we asked for <demanded> the car keys it was going to get ugly tomorrow. I didn't expect it to start today!

    He just wants and wants and wants and it sucks the life right out of me!
  4. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    You did it, Lil. You are one step closer to feeling free. It doesn't feel that way now. Maybe you feel badly, but he had a ball and chain around your wallet just a few days ago and you did it. I think cutting off the money train is the most important thing we do for our adult children who plain don't want to do life the way others do and who get into trouble. It's not easy to say "no" either, but you did it. Now he has a real reason to want to get a job. As long as you give in to him, he has no motivation to work and will keep dawdling. He may keep dawdling, but not on your dime anymore. Hang out? That's what pre-teenagers do when they go to the mall and giggle at the boys and girls. Adults go to work and have responsibilities and down time on their own paycheck.

    When my daughter was told to leave home, she had no car at all. She had to walk to get a job and to and from work. She managed to do it. I really think forcing her to do things and not making her life easy helped her decide to quit the drug scene. I still believe that making it hard to live a lousy, going-nowhere life is far more apt to motivate a wayward adult to doing something about his crummy life than when we give in and allow them to hang out with their other loser frineds who take drugs, don't work, and party. My daughter learned some tough lessons abourt life after she left the house. She really did have no money, no car and her brother's basement and he was one step from tossing her out if she so much as lit up a cigarette. She knew he meant it too. He didn't waffle like us. So she had to straighten out or have no fun at all.

    Today you are a shining star. At least to me.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2014
  5. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Well heck - I hadn't cried yet until I read that.

    I feel a bit more like a wet rag. lol I cry at the darndest things anymore.
  6. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    Oh those words, the conversations always started with those words. Followed by "I'll pay you back" (some time in the following century) "I won't ask again" (not this week anyway) "I feel really bad having to ask you" (but I'll still keep asking) "it's just been a bad week" (like every other week).
    And now he doesn't need money, despises money, hates money (like you!), lives in a treehouse, forages for food.
    It's a big improvement. Now the conversations start with "Hey, how are things?" and money never gets a mention, apart from how much evil it causes in the world. I'm not suggesting your son builds a treehouse of course, it's a bit extreme, - but you saying "no, because I said so" is great. Maybe it'll lead eventually to him finding his own way to live that doesn't involve asking you for money. We can hope anyway.

    Ha! I wish I'd made one of those - it doesn't work over the phone though :(
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  7. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    I agree 100 percent with this. It is really hard to do, so you have to do it slowly. And if you slip and give them some $, then okay, do better next time.
  8. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    I am quite sure husband is getting ready to deal with this issue soon. Since I have decided to back away from the difficult child drama husband will now be dealing with it. So far she has had the car for two days in a row and he has had to carpool with me.

    I dont see that lasting long. LOL

    Stand strong you can do this!
  9. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    LIL. You have a son exactly like mine once was. We went round and round and heard and lived the same nonsense. I know how frustrated you feel! Our son played us too about finding a job, but really he said to us "Why should I?" all the time. And really, why in all actuality would he need to? We provided a roof, food, all bills paid, Netflix, he would steal our possesions to sell (yours doesn't do that), you buy your son cigararettes. Unless there is some motivation, they won't because they're fine with the bare minimum of all the above. (To them it's the bare minimum)
    I'm proud of you for saying no to "just $20". (We kicked our son out and got a restraining order when he broke in after we left for work and robbed us.) For a while he may get angry and up the bs until he sees you won't give in to him. Don't give in!! It will take awhile for it to sink in to him that he has to fix his own life. You're doing fine, you are changing too, you want him to take care of himself and this is the best way you can love him right now. I always told my son, "You're a smart boy and I'm sure you can figure something out." Try telling your son that when he comes at you with another bs story. It was my mantra.
  10. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Oh but he's NOT happy. No......and he used to steal from us, but I think our announced intention to put him in jail if he did it again has stopped that.

    I got up this morning and he was already up, texting his friend who bought his computer about money. I told him, don't call. If he doesn't come through with the money, I don't want to hear about it. If he does, you better not be putting it in that gas tank, because the car is gone tomorrow and you'll have wasted it.

    It's 8:15 a.m. and he's already called. I had texted him about a job opening I emailed to him so I thought it was about that. Silly me.

    His friend says he's housesitting for his brother, can't leave and can't get his paycheck and can't pay him today.

    What does he want me to do about it? "Today is his last day with the car and he just wanted to be able to run around and do what he wanted today but he can't because he has no money." I told him I was sorry to hear it but I wasn't giving him any money and to please not do this to me again today.
  11. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    You are left with no choice but to follow through with your plan. If you hesitate for even one second, he will go in for the kill. Gosh, I just read my last sentence and I made this sound like warfare. In reality it is war. We are in a battle to regain our lives and our dignity.
  12. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    That is a good mantra for difficult child's and easy child's alike.
  13. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    All this would be fixed if he got a job. We've even said when he has a job, he can use the car whenever he wants. (Within reason. He can't go running off to another state for a long weekend or something.) The fact he doesn't have a job is HIS doing. He didn't look for weeks!

    He did go to a job interview yesterday - left early, got there early - and they were CLOSED! He called, left two messages, finally came home. I was worried about the place really, my sleuthing showed it may be a bit shady - a vacuum cleaner place that has a rep of getting shut down and reopening with a new name - but he went. I actually do feel bad for him; that's so disappointing. But of course now we'll get the "nothing ever goes right" speech over and over.

    But going to ONE place isn't really looking. I've told him about jobs and he doesn't apply. The factory here is still hiring. He hasn't been back. He never tried Kmart again after their website screwed up again day before yesterday and hasn't called to explain why he hasn't finished the assessments. There are at least six or seven grocery stores in town - he's applied to one. There are all the fast food places. He's applied to one. There's a temp agency with openings. He hasn't gone.

    I don't normally say what I do for a living on a public forum, but I'm going to: (Please don't ask for advice) I am an administrative judge for child support. That means I sit at my desk 8-9 hours a day listening to people tell me how they can't pay, or they need more, or complain about their ex or their children. My whole freaking day is about money! I have to be calm, professional and impartial and maintain the proper judicial demeanor - all the while he's got me halfway to tears. Thank GOD 95% of what I do is over the phone. Is it any wonder that I haven't been able to quit smoking?
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2014
  14. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member


    with all sympathy, I'm going to say you know waaaay to much about his job hunting. This is his process, not yours. All you care about is the end result. A job. You don't need to waste your short sweet life hearing about all the failures and the reasons, nor do you need to do the searching. He does. Stop looking for jobs for him. Stop telling him about openings. Stop hearing the explanations for why he doesn't have a job. Move on with YOU. He has to move on with him.

    Try to disengage.

  15. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I'm not quite sure how to go about that and still be aware of what he's doing to find work. I get advice to stop talking about it with him and other people advise to make him prove that he's looking. Given that he has been told we want proof he is looking in order to continue to live with us - that's kind of a catch 22. I don't actually job hunt for him...but if I hear of an opening, I pass it along. I'll ask when I'm checking out at the grocery store if they're hiring...that kind of stuff. It's not like I'm combing the want ads. Still, I know that's probably more than I should do - I just want him working!
  16. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Hi Lil, so........what's changing about you? What are you doing differently? What kind of support are you assembling so you can do things differently? Because I think you have well established here that what you have been doing is not working.

    Lil, why? You have stated clearly that there are plenty of jobs in town. Why are you still part of the job search? You know he is 19 years old and can find a job today if he wants to find one. It doesn't matter if the people aren't there, or the computer doesn't work or he has his ID or not, really Lil. What matters is that when he really wants to find a job---and not one minute before that time, no matter what you do----that is when he will find a job.

    Everything else is just gibberish.

    Right. So why are you still telling him about jobs? Every time you do that, you are also telling him: You can't do this by yourself obviously, so Mommy will have to help? What kind of message is that to him, this 19 year old man who you desperately want to become a man and start the road to taking care of himself?

    Lil. Don't answer his calls while you are at work. Period. If he is having an emergency, he can leave that information on your voice mail. No calls at work. Why do you want to keep on putting yourself though this? You have to make changes in yourself and your behavior, just like he does. You are way, way too engaged with him, Lil. I say this gently and kindly because I have been there done that, for way too long. My son is now 25. Do you want to be doing this for the next six years Lil? If you don't start making changes, you likely will be doing this for the next six years.

    Lil, listen to Echo. This is 100 percent accurate. It's clear from your posts---read them back to yourself---and your own knowledge and experience with your son, that you have been doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. You know what that is, Lil. Your behavior is helping to keep the both of you mired in the mud. You're the seasoned adult, and once you know better, you can do better. You need to start the change, Lil.

    Lil, you'll know when he gets a job. You will know. And the fact that you don't know, means he hasn't gotten a job. He knows what to do to get a job. He doesn't need you coaching, checking and following up like you are doing. He knows what to do. He sees his friends doing it, Lil. Lil, he doesn't want a job bad enough yet.

    The only way he will want a job badly enough to get one is not to have the things that money buys long enough to feel the deprivation. Assuming he really cares about those things, and you may find out how surprised you can be to learn that he will be happy with a whole, whole lot less than you could ever imagine.

    Stop the flow of money Lil. And the car and any other privileges you have been bestowing upon him. In fact, one thing you can consider doing is taking the door off the hinges of his room, taking away all of his electronic devices and "screens" and leaving the mattress on the floor.

    Many parents in our positions do this when their kids are still living at home, and the kid has to earn back these privileges of privacy and entertainment.

    Lil, if you really want things to change with yourself, and with your son, you are going to have to do different things.

    Sadly, I seriously doubt this is true. Lil, think about it. Not to awfulize, but getting a job is just the first step. Keeping the job is another thing entirely. My difficult child has been fired from so many jobs over the past four years. He has taught me the tough lessons about himself, once I was ready to wake up, start recognizing reality, and start accepting reality.

    I was just like you are for a long, long time, and I so understand your desperate desire for your son to be okay and to do the same good things other young people his age are doing.

    But Lil, it's not going to happen from any of the things you are doing.

    Yes it is. HIS doing, not yours. It has absolutely, 100 percent nothing to do with you. So let it go, Lil. Learn (and it takes learning from people like us, believe me) how to do nothing. Absolutely nothing. To do nothing and to say nothing, except: I'm sure you can figure that out honey. I love you. Hmmmmm.... Good luck.

    Lil, disengaging, stopping enabling, detaching with love and accepting reality is the pathway to peace for you and for him. You love your son. He loves you. Do something different, and you both will be a lot happier.

    Warm hugs. I care and I understand, and please, take what you like and leave the rest.
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  17. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    It is a catch 22.... probably the best thing is to do nothing and to give him no money for anything. I think you may want to back off the idea that he can only live with you if he is looking for work because then you are in the position of watching to see if he is looking for work and he is going to lie to you so that you think he is looking for work etc. I think as much as we can we are all better off if we take ourselves out of the position of trying to police our adult kids. Its not good for us, not really good for them, and not good for whatever relationship there is.


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  18. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Lil, I meant to write toward the end: It takes learning FOR people like us, not FROM people like us. And by that I meant: well meaning mother/fixer/manager/controller.

    That is who most of us are or have been, here on this board. We are so good at it in other areas of our lives, like work, but it just doesn't work with people.
  19. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    and Lil? I actually love money...never met a dollar I didn't like. I can do without it, but I really like it. This morning I found a $20 in the pocket of a pair of shorts I hadn't worn since last summer, and I was ecstatic!

    Just a little lighter counter point to your thread!
  20. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Yes. That's true. I do know that. He's been told what to do and where to look. He's been given suggestions as simple as, "Write down the names of all the grocery stores and then, as you get the application in, cross them off." He's not stupid. He could do this if he really, really wanted.

    You're right. You are 100% right. I baby him. I don't treat him like an adult. I reminded him to googlemap the place he had the interview and how soon to leave the house. I remind him to dress right for job hunting. I tell him about places to go. Even at home, I tell him to eat because he'll go all day without. Hell, I tell him to brush his teeth!

    Why am I doing this? I really ... I think I just want SO bad for him to be okay. I can't make that happen. Nothing I do will make that happen.

    I don't think I'm quite there yet. :ambivalence: And after all, if I'm supposed to treat him like an adult I can hardly resort to the punishment we gave him when he was a kid who threw a tantrum over his video games.

    I can't find fault with anything any of you are saying. I have to stop helping this continue. At his age I was on my own, granted at college, but no one was telling me to do my laundry and go to bed. I'm helping him fail by doing the same stuff I did when he was 10, only adding job hunting in place of homework. I don't think I ever really say that until right this minute.

    He called a minute ago. I texted him I was on a call and couldn't talk. He texted back "Nvm. I got it. lol" You know, my impulse would normally be to text him now that I'm done and ask what he wanted.

    I won't call or text him back.

    I've got a lot to think about.