I know I've done the right thing but it hurts so much!!

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by nvr2l8, Mar 7, 2011.

  1. nvr2l8

    nvr2l8 New Member

    I am SO glad to have found this forum. I don't even know where to begin. My son has always been a discipline problem, but his behaviour escalated when he hit his mid teen. At that time he was constantly in trouble at school which ultimately resulted in him being expelled. He did go on to get his diploma through an alternative high school. He abused drugs and alcohol which led him to steal and demolish three of our vehicles. The police officer told us at the hospital that he had no idea how he survived the crash as the van was demolished beyond recognition. He ended up being charged for DUI twice for these incidents. He spent two seperate terms in Jail and vowed to get his act together each time. My husband and I continued to hope, pray and support him. We hoped that he was just going through a phase and would realize the mess he was making of his life. Our home was in complete turmoil, our youngest child withdrew, my husband and I grew apart about everything else except parenting this troubled child. When my son returned home after his second stint in jail, he seemed to settle down but it was not long before he was drinking and partying again. He was disrespectful, argumentative and plain horrible to be around. It wasn't long before we noticed that he had stolen my husbands credit card and ran up a $1500 bill buying booze and going to bars. It was then we kicked him out. Even then I stayed in touch through my daughter and sent him food and money. An opportunity came available for him to do sheet metal as an apprentice. He begged to come home and against our better judgement we let him. He has almost lost his job several times for partying and calling in sick. His obnoxious behaviour continued and he started bullying his younger brother (who we are now having problems with) and just the other day he exploded at me, screaming and yelling horrible things. Calling me names ( even the "C" word). My husband and i have bent over double, spent money we didn't have, cried tears beyond measure and this is what we get. I am crushed, I am livid, I am worried. I had to call the police to escort him from the home and he has been gone since then. He has made sure to tell me through facebook that he hates us and for us not to contact him. I know we enabled this bad behaviour by not cutting him off sooner, but he is my child and hope dies hard. He is not a child he is a man, he does not deserve our consideration or help, he needs to grow up and learn some hard lessons. Why then am I second guessing myself, why does it hurt so much?
  2. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm glad you found us too. I am going through exactly the same thingyou are. We kicked our difficult child out several times and she always begged to come back, promising to stop the drugging and drinking and get back on the program of recovery. It never lasted long. Two and a half weeks ago we kicked her out for the last time, as she was leaving she called me the "c" word and said soemthing equally vile to her dad. I was in agony the first ten days or so, hoping that she would ask to come back and yet terrified that she would. It hurts like nothing I have ever felt before. She is still my child and I am so worried about her but I think I am finally realizing that my worry and love is not going to change her. She has fallen deep into the drug, alcohol and sex culture and there is no way she can come back at this point.

    I've asked myself many times why it hurts so much, gosh knows she has treated us so horribly for so many years and we wouldn't accept that from any other human being so why do we accept it from our kids? For me, I put myself in her position and it would terrify me to live the way she is. I would have done anything to change my life so that I didn't lose my family. I'm sure you were a great family, gave your son every opportunity and had so many dreams for him growing up. That is hard to give up. It is hard to think of them on the street being involved in dangerous and even criminal activity. We want to protect them and keep them safe and yet we can't.

    Today I have finally realized that I am much happier than when she was living here. I can go to sleep at night without keeping one eye open, I don't have to hide my purse or lock up valuables, I don't have to wonder if she is coming home tonight, I don't have to clean her pig sty of a room or bathroom and I am saving a ton of money on food and gas. I am finally enjoying peaceful time with husband and easy child, both whom have been neglected for years. easy child told me if I ever let difficult child back in she would move out for good. difficult child has ripped this family apart and for 19 years we have been consumed with her problems. I still worry a lot and if I allow myself I will have a panic attack wondering what she is doing so I close that door in my head and try to keep busy. She is telling everyone that asks why she isn;t living at home that she couldn't take it anymore. I have finally decided that I couldn't take it anymore either.

    You will have good days and bad days. This board has been my saving grace. The understanding and support you will receive here will keep you going.

  3. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    nvr2l8 -

    Hi and welcome,

    You know - after we told our son to get out I sat and cried so hard into his pillow, in his room I nearly threw up. I think I sobbed for hours until it got dark, and I fell asleep on his bed with the smell of his comforter I just sorta drifted off thinking how awful it was that we had 'thrown' him out, and how awful he must have thought of us, how hurt he must be - my baby, our son, how could I? The pain.! I was laying there staring up at a box of baby stuff on the top shelf of his closet - which in itself was a miracle because I'd managed to save that through two fires, a hurricane, a 100 year flood - an abusive x, moving 20 times after he was born, and all the difficult child-ness. So when the state car came to get him and take him to what we thought was going to be a good Residential Treatment Center (RTC)/group home? I figured he'd be crying on the way there too. Nope, not my kid - Know what he said to his caseworker? "I can't wait to get outta here, and away from her." Caseworker felt the need to call and tell me that, that evening. At first? Those words just stuck me like a sword - later I would come to realize I needed to hear them, they helped me grow up.

    See there I was trying to do everything right - all the time. Helping, caring, handing, feeling, feeding, clothing. This is what a Mom does right? Nope. What a Mom does is - throws that bird right out of that nest and says "Fly or flop - either you fly or a cat is going to gobble you up." and you know what? When I figured out a robin is smarter than I was? Fly or flop wasn't that hard. Of course I didn't want the world to hurt him - but the more I tried to fix things for him? The less he learned about how many 'cats' there really were out there that could gobble him up. I could make all the excuses in the world and justify it any way I wanted to - still excuses.

    The above happened when he was 16. He went on to make a lot more mistakes, actually got himself a felony record, dropped out of school, never got an education, thumbed his nose at probation after 2.9 months on a three year stint of probation - got arrested again, two more times, and finally did get a job - and is a hard worker - but without an education, or a drivers license? Makes it hard to get to work on a bike. All things we told him. No job? Makes it hard to keep a home - no home, makes it hard to have a place to cook - and that makes it hard to eat - and keep food - and dumping in and out of dumpsters? Not his idea of fine dining. Lifes tough. BUT - when life kicks you, and your friends get really really REALLY tired of supporting you? Guess what? You have to grow up. Even if it's (__) much - and (__) much after a while gets to be (___) much because you're too tired to do stupid stuff - because you have to work - and even then you get tired of yourself and being dumb. So there is hope.

    Somedays? Less than others.....but hopefully? On every other day beginning with T...and S...lol.....sigh.....


    ps. I just wanetd to add - when we said "get out" the last time? It sounded like the EXORCIST...I lost almost every bird feeder in my yard - and had any neighbors been watching? It's surely the reason NONE of them have bothered us for the last year or so for any SINGLE donation of ANY kind.....they probably think we are crazy. Poor DF - it was like trying to calm 2 buffalo in the front yard with a feather duster.
  4. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    It hurts so much because he is your son and you love him. I think most of us enable our kids because we truly want to help and think at the time that we are and we want to believe them when they tell us they will do such and such.... at some point I realized i didn't believe him any more and that by letting him flagrantly violate our rules he was learning the wrong lesson..... so it hurst like hell but like you said you are doing the right thing. He can't see it now but kicking him out also comes from love.
  5. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    You did exactly the right thing! Just please stick to your guns and don't let him come back!

    You don't say exactly how old your son is (unless I missed it) but your situation sounds very much like that of a friend of mine. With her, this has been going on since her son was a teenager ... he is now 40 and she's 67! In her case, she's been divorced for years and her son has an eight year old little boy that she has been supporting since he was born, but the rest is the same. He started on alcohol and drugs when he was a teenager, constantly in trouble when he was in school and in trouble with the law, but he finally finished. This has been going on for almost thirty years with her, yet until very recently she continued to enable him. She should have taken action to put a stop to it years ago but she felt that she needed to be there for him and support him because she was his mother and that's what mothers do! And now she is terrified of him and seems helpless to do anything about it! He lives with her in her house whether she wants him to or not! He is both verbally and physically abusive to her. He has bullied, harassed, threatened and intimidated her for years and she feels helpless to stop him. He can't hold a job and blames it on her because he doesn't have a license and refuses to ride the bus. He has a long police record for theft, traffic offences, DUI and drug charges and spent some time in a state prison. He takes her car when ever he feels like it, steals money from her purse, and has taken her ATM card and cleaned out her bank account more than once. And still she hasn't pressed charges on him ... because he's her son, and because she is so afraid of him. She's even spent thousands of dollars on lawyers for him because she thinks she needs to because she's his mother! And just a few days ago he was raging at her, put his hands around her neck and tried to strangle her! She managed to get away from him (she's 67, remember?) and ran to a neighbor's house and the neighbor called 911. Even then she probably wouldn't have pressed charges against him but because of the obvious marks and bruises on her neck the police arrested him and charged him with abuse of an elderly person. He was supposed to be held without bond this time but now somehow he's out of jail and she's terrified that he will show up at her house again!

    I told you all of that because THIS is what happens when these situations are allowed to continue, when the parent continues to enable the "child" instead of putting a stop to it! It happens more often than you think. PLEASE stand strong, stop enabling him, hold him accountable for his actions, and don't let this be you in a few years!
  6. KFld

    KFld New Member

    It hurts because he is your child and all the hopes and dreams you had for him have been shattered. It's like a death! My 24 year old son hasn't lived home since he was 18. He is a heroin addict and at 18 was robbing us blind. He had been arrested, the court sent him to a court ordered rehab and from there he moved to a sober house and he stayed clean for quite some time. He has recently relapsed and right now I am helping him because he seems to really be trying, but I can't sleep at night because I'm terrified that something huge is going to happen and he's going to stop trying and then I have to detatch all over again.

    I guess I've always been fortunate enough that my son always seems to want the help before he gets to close to the bottom, so I haven't had to experience not knowing where he was or knowing he's living on the streets. I feel for all of you who live like that because I don't know how I would handle it.

    He's 24, he's my son and what he has done to his life just kills me. What your feeling is normal. You feel it because you are a mom :)
    It's called unconditional love. You can hate their actions and the choices they have made, but your heart will always love them.
  7. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    of course he hates you, he is not getting his way. stop stop stop giving him money. he needs to know you are angry and he should not be so bold as to call you names. been there done that with my son many many times. My son's 4th DUI in the 4th county led to a prison term. he had spent time in 4 county jails but this was state prison.

    read Boundaries by townsend and cloud and set some up. your son has some hard lessons to learn. do not ever let him live with you again. yes he will HATE that and he will have a hard time for a while. you might also make him actually grow up by not continuing to (s)mother him. he needs a reality check not to be coddled. I also lost my birdfeeder when I threw my son out at 18, one of the many times. in fact just last month I finally replaced all the interior doors he either kicked or hit in my home during his worst days.

    I have told my son two years ago when he was 25 and fresh out of prison that he had two months to live here and then had to get out. read what Donna said in this post. you do not want that to be you. my son still gets angry and swears at times and that is when we have a long estrangement. the last years he lived here he used up all the bad behavior I could take.

    it is more loving to make them learn that the world has limits and rules. no one out there would put up with that stuff. he needs to learn that at home. do not think for one minute that you are helping him if you let him live with you again. this is a crisis and that equals opportunity...for change.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2011
  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Often I find it helps to think of them as reliving the terrible twos in an adult body.

    The hate you part is supposed to bring you to your knees with guilt and despair and make you cave. A tantrum pure and simple. And if you can think of it as such......that sort of behavior doesn't get taken to heart and you don't hurt so much.

    You're 2nd guessing and hurting because you're a mom and you love him and genuinely want to help him. His behavior has consequences. The sooner he learns this lesson the better off he'll be. He made the choices to behave the way he did which forced you to tell him he could no longer live with you. Now it's up to him to make his own way in the world. All through his childhood you've given him the tools.......it's up to him to use them or not.

    When you 2nd guess, ask yourself what would you do if you invited a stranger to stay with you to help them (or a friend) and they did the same things? It helps to put things into perspective.

    Welcome to the board.

  9. KFld

    KFld New Member

    I was just thinking the same thing. All of our difficult child's are manipulative and they all know what limit they have to go to to make us cave. We all have our caving limits. My difficult child is never ever verbally abusive to me ever, but maybe it's because I cave before he ever had to get to that point. Who knows?? I don't believe your son hates you for one second, but he probably knows that will tear your heart apart and you will do anything for him not to feel that way about you.

    6 years ago when my son first got arrested and admitted he was an addict and he was robbing us blind and I threw him out of our house at 18 years old, I started going to alanon and really worked it and learned to detatch and not enable him, and I'll never forget after he had been in the state rehab for awhile and I went to a parent meeting and he said at that meeting that he hated me going to alanon, but he said it with a big smile on his face, and then he admitted to everyone that it was the best thing I did for him. Your son will thank you someday for not enabling him. I truly believe that.

    Now I have to keep remembering those words my son said 6 years ago to remind myself that not enabling him is the best thing I can do for him :)
  10. nvr2l8

    nvr2l8 New Member

    Thank you so much for all the kind words of support. It has been a week of mo contact with my son, a week of worry, but also a week of peace. I almost feel guilty about that. Feeling peace. It's been so long I forgot what it felt like. The last bunch of years have been as though I am constantly holding my breath, waiting for the next big calamity. Right now I know my son is staying with a friend, he still has a job( I hope) and has the opportunity to maintain if he chooses. He only sh...Tourette's Syndrome where he lived not elsewhere. I am fearful for the day he does make contact and what he will want from us. I know in my heart of heart that this reprieve is only temporary, and I will be in the hot seat again with him needing to come home, wanting to be part of the family, learned his lesson et al. My middle son has decided to be the discipline issue now. It has been happening over a period of time, but has escalated in the last week with my older son now gone. He has been skipping school,lying, using pot, some stealing. We have him in counselling trying to nip it in the bud, and although he likes the counsellor he has not made much progress. My older son was an "in your face, what you see is what you get" kind of kid. My younger son is much more sneaky, manipulative and keeps his feeling to himself. I really thinks that he thinks because we put up with so much from our older child that what he does will be tolerated too. I don't know how much fortitude I have to do this again. I told him he better decide which side of the door he wants to be on because we are not going down this path again. Thanks for the advice, i will certainly heed it. I wish I had found this forum sooner.
  11. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I am deeply touched by the posts by these women here.
    I've had two different experiences with my children. They are VERY different kids.
    My easy child had a very difficult child year in high school. We practiced tough love all the way. One thing we did was stop giving him ANY money. He had no cell phone, no NOTHING. Fairly soon he "got it." He got a job, did well on the job and the rest his history. He is super duper easy child now. Did very well in college...the whole nine yards.

    I have another child. A long term difficult child. We do practice tough love with her, but it is harder. What I mean by that is she has little to no cause and effect reasoning. This doesn't change things much. However, it does make it harder on me.
    It takes her MUCH MUCH MUCH longer to figure things out and things get MUCH MUCH MUCH scarier. We offer her medical care and very little else. She is usually respectful to us (this is a MUST!) and I have detached.

    Years ago, I asked my son about that year from HEXX. He said simply, "I wanted to do certain things and you got in the way. This is why I hated you." I appreciate his honesty! It is kinda funny hearing this now, since he is so non difficult child today.

    My daughter...well...we got the respect thing under raps. If she is rude to us...we pull back any and all help at 100 mph. Believe me, things are still strange since she makes so many poor decisions. She doesn't live with us, is much more independent than in the past and tends to follow our rules.

    by the way...I agree...that Boundaries book by Townsend is WONDERFUL!!!!! I highly recommend it as well!

    Not too long ago, I figured out for my own sanity, peace of mine and progress...I had to detach. Since then, so many wonderful doors have opened up to me. It is unbelievable. Sure, I have moments that I feel a twinge of sadness. But, making that hard decision was worth a zillion dollars. Life moves on and it is good.

    Sending you good thoughts. You can do this.
  12. Edconparent

    Edconparent New Member

    You have done the right thing--and it hurts even more because now he is engaging in emotional blackmail by telling you he hates you. Search out an Al anon group in your town. They will be able to support you in not enabling his drug and alcohol abuse.
  13. peg2

    peg2 Member

    Good luck,nvr!! We are routing for you. I had to get a rest. order against my then 19 yr old son last year. I am sick over it and not getting any better despite starting therapy in August. I wonder when (or if) it ever gets better? I know a lot of what my son is doing through my oldest and he is about to be homeless again. I cry sometimes and have recently taken an intermittent leave of absence from work(a day or 2 a week that is paid) because my mom is sick as well. It helps and so does the warmer weather but I am very depressed and feel I am sinking. I don't want it to be like this and have a hard time coping and being so unhappy. I don't think anyone has the answer, or if there is an answer.
    This is the ahnd we were dealt. Hang in there!!!
  14. troubled

    troubled Guest

    I evicted my 19 year old daughter in Feb this year. I know the hurt, the disappointment and worry you feel. At this point I don't even know where my difficult child is and it's sometimes just as painful as knowing that she's out there struggling just to survive. Her father is my ex and at age 56 he still depends on his 78 year old mother. That poor woman has had to work hard all her life and still can't retire because if she did, her son and his family would have to do without. It's her choice to support (enable) him still while he claims he can't work because '' He's my son,". He does nothing for her or his wife and won't (not can't) take care of his own kids. He has bipolar disorder and is an alcoholic. That never stopped him from chasing women, spending every cent drinking at bars and hanging around with other criminal types and eventually marrying and having even more kids who he did not support. All this he did but he couldn't stand being told what to do. So his mother will be enabling him until she dies for the sole reason that he is her son.

    I warned my difficult child that I was not going to be like her Grandma and support her until I am dead because she thinks she can live the good life and do nothing while someone else does all the work and pays all the bills. She won't even clean her own stuff up and she left one person's home who were kind enough to let her stay because they wanted her to clean the toilet and do other chores. So that's why she has no where to go now. She was even kicked out of a womens shelter for not following rules, staying up all night, stealing, etc.

    Why do they think there is a place they can go where there's no rules? Anyway, I wanted to point out that enabling could lead to even a 56 year old man still living with/off his parent. I don't think he spent more than a few weeks gainfully employed in his entire life and he was ok with that since he knew his parents would take care of all his needs despite the horrible way he treated them and made them feel ashamed of him.
  15. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I re-read your post and wanted to add that I agree with what has been written here by the others. AND good for you for calling the police and having him escorted from your home. That had to be very hard. Do not whip yourself for not "cutting him off" sooner. It is only natural to want to give second chances to your own flesh and blood. It is right to hope for the best. But, like you said, you bent over backwards repeatedly. Now it is clear, that it is appropriate and necessary to set up strict boundaries, which is what you have done. This is a good thing for you and in the end, a good thing for him. in my humble opinion, you should AVOID going to his Facebook page. If it is appropriate, you might tell him that if he wants therapy and/or family therapy and you can afford that, you are open to discussing this. But, say to yourself quietly...you are not open to any of what's been happening. That door is shut. It hurts, most likely because this is not anything what you have hoped for as a parent. It is a loss. You are grieving. It is very painful. But this is your reality and your faced with this pain and these tough decisions. Consider checking out a group called Families Anonymous to see if they meet in your area. Re-discover what you like to do. Get support for yourself. Sending good thoughts.
  16. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    First things first. {{{{{HUGS}}}}}.

    No matter what has happened in the past - we all make mistakes - you must forgive yourself. You made the best choices you could, based on what you knew and you did your best. No guilt for that.

    Going forward - I agree with many others. Don't give him any more money. Don't enable him. You are better equipped, now, to make different choices. He is old enough that he must learn to work with the world - because otherwise, the world isn't going to work with him.

    I don't have any adult children yet... But I've had to do a few of these things in my own home... And it's not pretty, or fun. But the peace of knowing you did everything you could? Is worth it. Don't let the guilt get you down, hon.

    More hugs... And lots of good thoughts coming your way.