I made him leave.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Copabanana, Jan 20, 2016.

  1. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    My son called me on Sunday wanting to come home for one night. He has been two and a half hours north for 5 months. I said "No." He could not come home. I told him to find solutions to his life, a life that he has created by his choices.

    The next night the doorbell rang at 10. It was my son. I allowed him in.

    The unsaid assumption by him was that I would let him stay until his SSI check arrived at the end of the month. His plans seemed to be either to set off and go to other states or to get an apartment here in my town for a month until the weather improved so that he could go traveling when it was warmer. No thoughts by him of doing anything to become more stable, to live better.

    When he is here my life becomes a living hell. I used to retreat to my room and lock myself in. This time I refused. He constantly eats or prepares food. Bakes cake mixes, cookies. He comments on the news, he criticizes. What I eat. My exercise or lack. How we treat or respond to the animals. Silently, I become frantic.

    I did see some improvement in him. A little bit more reflective, warmer, sweeter. Some of the hardness has melted away.

    J. Why not go to college? With that, your life changes, immediately. I cannot because of my hair. He feels self-conscious about his (very handsome) appearance.

    Feeling desperate myself because my efforts to take care of my own life were stopped completely by his presence, I asked him to look at the digital cameras to see if he could find one that was functional to take pictures to sell stuff on EBAY (clearing out junk.) Like always, I have to hound him to comply. He is only motivated to do what he wants and when he wants it.

    Predictably, this pushed me to hysteria.

    Within moments I was yelling: Get out of my house. I cannot stand you here. Can you not see, I am trying to claw myself back to life? I cannot choose for you, if the only resources I have, I need to live, myself. You cannot stay here. You have to leave.

    He tried to beg, I said no. Can we just talk about it, he asked. No. There is nothing to talk about. You have to leave.

    He said he was going to the mountains to die of exposure. If that is your decision, so be it.

    Each of us is responsible for ourselves and our choices. You for yours, me for mine.

    I feel absolutely dreadful. But it is a dreadful kind of peace.

    Last edited: Jan 20, 2016
  2. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Just now I read an article online for Ebony Magazie by Michaela Angela Davis. The article begins when her 8 year old daughter goes South and attends church where she hears "you must treat your neighbor as yourself." The child extracts from this the wisdom that one must first love oneself to love others.

    The mother describes her panic because she knows she herself struggles with self-love, lamenting of her own self-abuse as a young woman, and how she came to begin to care for self by modeling her loving care of her own child.

    "I began to model my love for myself after the love I had for my darling daughter. I told myself encouraging, empowering, delightful things—out loud. I fed myself wholesome, delicious meals, regularly. I made sure I got plenty of rest and plenty of play. When I got cranky, I took an adult-sized time-out via meditation or a walk. I allowed myself adventures and space to be reflective and creative. I honored my imagination and tried not to take myself too seriously. If something hurt me, I said that it hurt, in real time. (And, psst, I sought help for pain that wouldn’t go away on its own.) I rose to “Good morning, beautiful” and set to “I love you” every night. I practiced mothering myself—something one can do even if you’ve never given birth."

    I believe that I am not the only one who came to love myself a little bit, by loving my child.

    Almost all of us here on this board have come to experience a collision, between our ability to love and care for ourselves...and our children's decisions in their own lives. It became impossible to keep loving both ourselves and our children...in our own space.

    That is what I am dealing with here and now. My son keeps coming back to be rescued by me. And I cannot do it. It is not only that there has been more of a decade of rancor, fear, and betrayal. It is that I have nothing to give him that I can afford to give. Every bit of care that he wants from me, it seems that I take away from that which is essential for me.

    M. Angela Davis was able to generate more care in herself to learn to care for herself, using her love for her child as a model.

    With my own adult son, he seems to take everything that I have to give. I feel I have nothing left. Instead of the idea of generating, there is the very real depletion of stores, of resources. Until I am left absolutely distraught, bereft, desperately without. When he is here. Near me.

    I cannot feel my home is a refuge for me, when my son is here. Not only do I feel I have nothing to give. I feel I have lost everything that I have. Not only that I am all used up but that I have no way of regenerating in me. I feel that my son eats me up alive.

    M thinks it is my fault.

    I do not know what is wrong with me.

  3. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm sorry, Copa. I'm glad you made him leave, though.

    Nothing is wrong with you. You are simply practicing self-preservation by avoiding a very toxic person. The fact that person is your son complicates things, but doesn't make it any less "right" to keep him at arm's length. Our kids tend to be "psychic vampires," and it's sometimes draining just to be around them.

    Try to look at this as a lesson learned. If he shows up on your doorstep again, either don't let him in, or let him in, give him a cup of coffee and send him on his way. Trying to engage in "normalcy" such as asking for advice about cameras etc. is quite often wasted effort with our Difficult Child's, as you've seen.

    Hang in there.
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  4. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    I am glad that you are finally able to protect yourself, Copa.

    This is a big step.

    I'm a big disconcerted to hear that M is not backing you, but blaming you.

    Hang in there.

    I'm thinking of you.

  5. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Copa, this is all so very hard, and I absolutely understand where you are coming from.
    We cannot allow our d cs to rob us of peace and serenity in our home.
    I do not know why M thinks it your fault. Perhaps it is a "guy" thing.
    I feel the same of my two, always expecting, taking only willing to do what they fancy. It is no way to live.
    It is a very upside down lopsided relationship. I did not treat my parents with such disrespect. We do not deserve to be treated as rugs to be walked upon.
    Making him leave is a consequence of his actions. You told him he couldn't stay there, he came anyway, late in the evening. You gave him a reasonable chore, he refused. He assumed he could stay until his check came.
    You stood your ground Copa, good for you. He will know each time you do this, that he can't take advantage of his mother.
    Good for you Copa, you stood up for your right to have peace in your home.

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  6. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member

    Is M your husband? I'm sorry for asking....
    And, I am sorry you're going through this right now. :staystrong:
    I know what you mean by 'depletion of stores'. For sure.
  7. DoneDad

    DoneDad Active Member

    Good for you!
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  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I will call M my "significant husband" not my husband but not my other, either. He came home.

    Let me clarify: He does not think it is my fault. What he does say is this: The moment son enters your house he accepts your rules. There is nothing for you to yell about. The minute he decides to not accept your rules he leaves.

    What is there to yell about? Tell him he leaves. He should not have come in the first place, if you said no.

    The minute you start arguing with him, you lose. He is stronger than you. He has more endurance. He has more words. Fewer boundaries. You wear out and get desperate, hysterical. You do not have to go there. You should not.

    Just remember this, he says: your house, your rules. He chooses. The second he decides to transgress, he leaves.

    So if I think about this, I realize I got myself into this. I still want my son. I want to help him. I want to have family. I did this to myself. How horrible are our situations.

    Thank you.

  9. 4now

    4now Member

    I love the part about your house your rules He chooses. Simple direct and true. However trying to actually remember and react this way is another story. At least it would be difficult for me. I keep trying to reason and convince which simply doesn't ever work.
  10. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    That is what I do. It is the road to disaster. Predictably. Every single time.

    That is why I am seeing that the only solution for me is to keep my son out of my environment. I knew that.

    I cannot have him anywhere close to me when I am fragile. This makes me sad. But being sad is worse than being hopeless. Freudian slip. Being sad is BETTER than being hopeless.

    It feels like our relationship is a battle to the death. Some kind of strange hand to hand mortal combat, where my only chance to live is to conceal myself in the jungle, so as to not engage the enemy. How very, very sad.

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    Last edited: Jan 20, 2016
  11. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member


    I'm glad you clarified what M meant.

    He is right, of course. You can't win an argument with someone who doesn't fight fair, who wants to win at any cost, will say anything to achieve his ends.

    been there done that
  12. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Oh good Copa, that's what M meant.

    Men are so pragmatic.

    Maybe we need to put a big sign up "My house, my rules."

    It is the same with Rain and I. I have not had a decent conversation with her for years. Why do I even try?

    I am hoping one day, she will say, "Please Mom help me go to rehab...." I have to remind myself she knows what she needs to do.
    You are right, it is a battle. It does not need to be, but that is the sad reality for now.
    It has been my reality for many years.

    I still have hope that one day she will be free of the monster meth, and I may once again see the daughter I remember.......

  13. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Copa, you did the right thing.

    There is nothing else to say.

    Literally, you had no other choice to make. Your son was determined to have things his way. You are his mother. You merit respect and cherishment.

    If your son has other ideas Copa that is on him.

    You allowed him to come into your sanctuary. The only thing he had to do Copa was respect you as his mother. This is a lesson for him. Had he not required this lesson, he would never have been asked to leave in the first place. Your son has choices, Copa. He could be pursuing a doctorate right now. He is not.

    His choice.

    You are his mother.

    What he is doing is not what you can support. When your son is ready, everything you have is his. I know this is true. He made another choice Copa. Not you.

  14. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I believe in doctorates. To me, education, learning, is always the right choice.

    Thank you, everybody.

  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This recalls when I brought home my mother who could not respect me. I am still depleted by that. I am beginning to find in myself the beginning of self-respect, that which is based upon setting boundaries and establishing order. My own version of "law and order." I never had it before. My sense of self-respect before was based upon achievement and orientation towards others.
    When I heard him say at the door, it is your son, I was afraid. It was not reassuring. I did not feel joy. I felt guarded. But conflicted. How could I have turned him away in the cold, night? Which of course had been the plan. Put me into the vise where I had to choose between myself and him. I had always chosen him.

    That he refuses to get that, of course, is on him. He pushes me to a place where I have to choose between my own survival or his comfort. It is not wrong to choose that I survive.

    It was better this time. No marijuana, that I am aware of. The awareness on his part that I deserve some limits. More of his essential sweetness shone through. Less aggressiveness. He still operates from the sense of himself as all-knowing about others. Ironic, no? He still refuses to accept (or acknowledge) that the emergencies that result from his mismanagement of his life -- are not my responsibility to either resolve or bear.

  16. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    It is a "fly by the seat of your pants" lifestyle, no real planning or inclination to live a "normal" life.
    They want to be unconventional, but look to those who are trying to get by as best can and who live by just plain old mores of decency; for help when their bottom drops out.
    This is their people, who they scoff and roll eyeballs at. Wanting help, when their going gets rough. To them, we are supposed to help, no matter what.

    I have another sign I thought of for my two "I am NOT plan "B"....:

    Good for you Copa, you did what you had to do.
    Not easy, but right in every way.
  17. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree

    COPA- I have learned that you can try and find any logic or reason for what they say or do. It will drive you crazy if you try to go there. For years I would just turn things over and over in my head trying to understand how he could live this way, do things, lie to me, scam me, etc.

    I have learned to just not go there. I listen, don't offer any advice anymore. I do provide instructions or tell him where to find resources to get this done or that done. I keep the conversations simple, don't react with knee-jerk emotion or replies. He has noticed the difference in our conversations and must say- has calmed down so much recently. But I am waiting with baited breath for the calm before the storm.

    If he calls next time and wants to stay with you- be prepared. Expect him to show up late at night. Turn off your lights, go to bed early that night. Turn off your phone, put headsets on with some calming music to drawn out the door bell or phone or he banging on the door.
    You have to be one step ahead of them.

    You did well Grasshopper- keep the faith, keep strong, you are taking your life back one day, one event at a time.
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  18. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    You told him no and he showed up anyway, and acted *as if*. As if everything is normal, as if the only reasonable thing would be for you to let him stay.

    That is the reasonable thing, if you don't live in the rabbit hole. The reasonable thing is that our children need our help, they ask if we can provide it, and we provide it. They accept it in the spirit it is given, and then they move forward.

    But that's not how it goes when our Difficult Child's show up.

    I forget that sometimes, that my home, my sanctuary, becomes the rabbit hole when he's in it. I start doubting myself, doubting what I know to be true, doubting what I know is the right thing to do.

    I see what M means. I agree with what he said about my house, my rules. About how nice it would be to have logic and limits guide our decisions.

    I crave that kind of objectivity, but in the real world it is not so easy to maintain, I think. I know it isn't for me. I am glad that you have M watching out for you, for trying to help you find that objectivity.

    I think you did the right thing, Copa. I'm sorry it was so hard and so exhausting for you.
  19. TheWalrus

    TheWalrus I Am The Walrus

    I can honestly say that my biggest fear is my daughter showing up at my door, expecting to be let back in. It is sad that I fear that more than so many other awful things that life can throw at me. That is a terrible admission but the honest truth. I can truly imagine what you felt in your gut when you heard him on the other side of the door.

    I don't know why she acts the way she does, but the best analogy is this: I feel like being around her is like holding a live rattlesnake. Her thinking is almost reptilian. It has no rhyme or reason and is centered all around herself, and she may be fine or she may strike out of nowhere without warning or provocation. Even when she is fine, the wheels are turning and words are being carefully weighed and remembered so she may use them in a future attack. God - I sound awful.

    There is NO WAY I could let her back in my house. Within a few hours, I am an anxious mess from carefully "handling" her. And she has stripped so much from me - confidence, positivity, self-assurance - along with a huge financial burden we will be digging out from under for quite some time.

    In short, I would have made her leave, too.
  20. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Thank you everybody.
    I was doing so good on the phone. I was progressing. I was setting strong limits and adhering to them. He was conforming to my limits.

    Then he showed up at my door in the late night. It was rainy and cold. To his credit I think he did look for alternatives. Easy ones.

    Once he was in the door he thought he was home free. Literally.

    He was. Once he is in the door I lose my power. Then chaos reigns.
    I knew I was losing. I tried to recoup. Once he is here, one hundred percent of my energy goes to setting limits. It is like phone calls from him every minute. And every minute in my own house I am working, frantically, like a treadmill trying to maintain, losing ground every minute because there is no keeping up with him. Because once he has a foot in the door he feels he has won and he can dominate.

    There was no one thing that was so bad. It was everything.
    One of the things that makes me the most crazy is his belief system which evolves around conspiracy theories. The fundamental idea is that a powerful elite or cabal rules the world that are descendants of a mating of reptiles and martians.

    I cannot bear hearing one word about it. I think at the basis, my repulsion stems from my fear that he must truly be a fruitcake to believe in something so nutty.

    M tells me that the only way I will have a chance with him is to accept the way that he is. Not that I betray myself but in the sense that I do not deny the essential truth about him, of him.

    Which is of course exactly where I try to go: the river called de nile.

    Thank you very much.

    Last edited: Jan 20, 2016