I Want You Out of My Life

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by welcometowitsend, Jun 13, 2013.

  1. That is what difficult child said to me last night. I tried to call him yesterday to see if he got the issues with his drama class group worked out the night before. I was genuinely hoping that this was a topic we could actually have a decent conversation around because it's the only thing he has told me about in his life in the last 3 months. Otherwise it's just been him telling me how horrible I am and me trying to have a normal conversation. Ugh.

    So I texted him because he didn't answer my call. I got back the usual "What do you care?" So I responded with "You're my son, I love you and I do care." "Whatever, I find that hard to believe." "You can't even make one small sacrifice for me that isn't even any work for you." This was a reference to me not lying for him so he could get SA. I responded by telling him that I've made lots of sacrifices for him in his life and I've done so willingly because I love him.

    Anyway, he just carried on berating me and telling me how horrible I am and then said "I want you out of my life. I don't want a relationship with you at all." His thinking is that if I'm not doing something for him or giving him money then why should he bother with me.

    Then he said something that made me wonder... "Lucky for me you have to support me until I'm 18." I asked him what he meant by that but he refused to answer. I'm wondering if he's got something up his sleeve or the lady that he is staying with (his friends' mom) is helping him hire a lawyer to try and sue me for support? It is my understanding that if he is out of the house by his own choices then after the age of 16 I don't have to support him.

    It was strange. If he does come after me for money it'll likely be the last money he gets from us. We may just change our wills and his college money will go to easy child or his cousins or both.

    I still told him I loved him and that I was doing my best to make an effort to have a relationship with him. My final texts to him were "OK well I'm going to tell you again that I love you and want a relationship with you. Enjoy using the phone that I pay for. Maybe it will occur to you to call me sometime using it. I'd like that." I know it was kind of sarcastic but I was so hurt that he would say those things to me.

    Anyway, I'm thinking of giving him what he wants for a while. husband wants me to turn his phone off but I don't know if I can handle doing that. I am thinking of not contacting him for a while and just waiting to see what happens. He's made it very clear that's what he wants so maybe I should honour his wishes. Or maybe he's just too immature to realize the gravity of what he is asking for and I should keep trying. I don't know. What do you think?
  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I think you should give him what he wants. Mine left at the same age yours did, and my trying to help him finish graduating was nonsense because all it did was allow him to honestly say, "See how my mom can't stop interfering in my life?" It was true, I couldn't. And whatever he said or did after that came out of his mouth was totally justified by the statement that I wouldn't stop trying to run his life. Well, not in reality, but it's a great triangulator, and triangulation is subtle when dealing with difficult child's and people who have fallen for their sob stories.

    Let it go, don't call the school anymore, don't call the people he's staying with anymore, don't give him money, don't give him presents, and don't call him. Somewhere along the line VERY soon, someone is going to ask him, "If you need something you should suck it up and call your mom." If you keep interjecting yourself, they won't ever suggest it.
  3. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Wow! He certainly knows what to say to be as hurtful as possible, doesn't he? It also sounds like he is starting to panic over his situation and that is not a bad thing at all. It seems he really needs to find that back wall before he is willing to turn around. Hopefully that is already in his sight.

    When it comes to being too immature to understand the gravity of what he is asking for - I'm sure he is too immature to get it. That doesn't mean you have to offer yourself as his punching bag on regular bases. I would certainly limit contact to occasional 'Love you. Hope all is well' texts for some time until he is ready to seek contact.
  4. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    By the way, I would not consider turning off his phone. He certainly doesn't earn it right now, but on the other hand it is not enabling him in the way that would make any real difference. And if he for example chooses to take a road trip or whatever (not at all out of picture with kids like him) and try to run his troubles, it would be your way of knowing he has not fallen from the face of an earth. And that could be invaluable.
  5. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I agree with the idea about shutting down the phone. That is the one thing that we have kept for M once he started to at least try to be civil. We are reconsidering it, at this point, as he doesn't keep in touch, and he's just a bit old for us to be paying his phone. husband and I have to be at a place where we agree upon that, though.

    With certain programs you can limit who he can contact on the phone - you, dad, trusted family members and friends?
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't turn off the phone, but the money would be over. It was his decision to leave, he can come back if he follows your rules. He is just mad that he can't make you lie for him so he is using emotional blackmail. Don't ever let him do that to you or he'll use it on you all the time to get what he wants. He is already in legal trouble and likely if anyone is paying for a lawyer for him (you check their prices lately?) is really being duped my him and will get burned.

    In the meantime, because it has been helping me so much, I recommend going to an Al-Anon or Nar-Anon meeting, even if you don't want to speak and/or are not religious. It's about the support, really, and the reminders to us to take good care of ourselves because we can't control our loved one's choices.

    I was close to the breaking point with a 35 year old son who has not yet learned how to behave toward others, especially me when he believes I will put up with his meanness. You don't want to be doing this dance when your son is 35. Not saying you will, but 35 is partly so disrespectful to me because I let him get away with it when he was growing up and as a teenager. He has been a lot more civil to me since I told him the three rules he had to abide by if he wanted to have a conversation with me: 1/no yelling 2/no swearing directly at me (swear words are ok) 3/He absolutely can not call me any names or verbally assault me in any way. He has also threatened to never speak to me again and for reasons I can't get into in this post (and you may know) it was freaking me out. Now I just say calmly, "I can't control your choices." He hates it, but oh well. I can't!!!
  7. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    Absolutely give him his wish, not even that one more time for some last money. He moved out, you don't have to "support him till he's 18". I would keep the phone on. If he calls and is disrespectful to you, tell him the conversation is over and hang right up. Don't allow him to spew off any abusive statements to you, you don't tolerate that. He thinks he can say any old hurtful thing and you'll still honor and respect what he says? No, gets none of those things, don't listen to him until he can act kindly and respectful. He'll learn the hard way then, like all our difficult child's....it's the difficult child way!
  8. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    difficult child has all the power, Welcome.

    It sounds like he is playing a game.

    I think it is time for you to take back your power.

    difficult child was raised better than to do what he is doing.

    He is pushing you, stretching what he is allowed to get away with a little farther each time.

    I say continue to pay for the phone, but don't take difficult child's calls. Don't respond to his texts.

    For sure, don't call him.

    All you really want to know is that difficult child is alive and well enough to use the phone you are paying for. At this point, conversation is futile, anyway. He's 17 years old. If you stick to your guns, he is bound to leave a text or a voice mail, sooner or later.

    But here's the thing: If you don't respond to that, either? Or to his texts? You will know he's alright, but the power dynamic will have shifted. A subtle shift, to be sure, but a beginning. Then? You can text him your expectations. By the time that happens? You will have had time to make that mental and emotional shift that enables a parent to set expectations in the first place.

    You need to do something to change the power dynamic.

    Learn what the legal situation is in your state when a minor child refuses to come home. (Which is the real situation, here ~ difficult child is refusing to come home, refusing to attend classes.) The other real situation is that difficult child is supposed to be at home, obeying the rules of the home, and preparing for his future ~ not lollygagging around doing who knows what. Do you suspect anything illegal? Drug or alcohol use? Now, before difficult child turns 18, is when you have the power of the state behind you to enforce your parental rights over difficult child.

    Do you know what your parental rights are?

    Can you require that difficult child be picked up?


    Even if you never use any of the things you learn Welcome, simply knowing that you are not powerless here will change the tone of your interactions with difficult child.

    He needs to be home. He needs to be making preparations for his future. As things stand now, he will decide to come home at around 25 or 26. He won't have an education, a job, or money. Now is when you can change that, Welcome.

    After 18? I don't think there is anything you can do.

  9. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    WTWE, I agree with the others that you should honour your difficult child's wish. Break contact for a while. Don't call or text him, and don't return his calls if he tries to get in touch with you. Leave him be.

    I think this falls into the category of natural consequences. His consequence for his statement is that he doesn't get to have you in his life. This does two things. It gives him the opportunity to stand or fall on his own (sometimes the only way that difficult children can learn anything), and also to really understand what life without you means.

    As parents, we love our children with such depth and breadth that it's very easy to let our emotional well-being rest on theirs. But that's too much power for a child to have over a parent, and it's an awful load to carry -- my mother's happiness depends on me. I can make her happy or I can make her sad. That's a lot of power, a lot of responsibility, and the average 17-yr-old easy child or difficult child does not have the maturity to wield that sort of power responsibly.

    Back away, focus on you, your husband and your easy child, and let difficult child fend for himself for a while.
  10. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    When my difficult child left, I was frantic. My wise psychiatrist reminded us that we needed to give our son enough space to miss us. It was hard to do, and I didn't always succeed, but the psychiatrist was right.

    When I did succeed, it was one text every Sunday night -- "goodnight difficult child, I love you so." If he texted me back, I thanked him. If he didn't, I bawled and posted here!

    Give him the space so he can stop reacting to you, I know it's hard.
  11. Thanks everyone. I think you are all right and I will just leave him be like he wants me to. I was just texting / calling once a week for the last couple of months but even that was too much for him. I think if he ever does text or call me I might just fall over from shock. Especially if he doesn't actually want money or something else he can't get on his own.

    I'll leave his phone on and I have access to his FB via easy child's fb account so I can check on him that way. The other night when he upset me so and had me in tears with his rejection he was posting funny stuff on his FB account and seemingly having a merry old time of his own life.

    Barbara - I wish I could do something with difficult child. I would have. I'd have picked him up and had him sent to a residential school or facility but I can't. At 16 our kids are legally allowed to move out and be on their own. Don't have to tell us where they are or anything and I have no say or control over that at all. It's kind of odd because they are legally supposed to be in school until they are 18 but it's not enforcable because once they are 16 the school board can not take them to court and force them to go to school. Just like I can't force him to come home or go into treatment or anything.

    I know for sure he has been drinking. When he lived here he tested negative for drugs three times. Now, I don't know. Things could have changed and I haven't seen him (except for quick glimpses of him in the back kitchen at McDonalds where he works) since March 10.

    Today easy child and I are taking the day to go to the zoo and see the new panda exhibit and then heading to see Taylor Swift in concert. The tickets were her Christmas gift and she is so excited the date has finally arrived. So, today will be a good day! :)

    Thanks again for the advice and support. It means a lot to me.
  12. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    I will be faced with this when mine gets off probation. I pray to GOD that he will at least have a job at McDonalds.
  13. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    While I was driving home from L telling me that I was "never much of a mother" to her and she didn't want me to be her Mother of the Bride or have any part in her wedding, talking to husband on the phone about what had happened, leaving a VM for her dad as to what she had done, L was making a date on FB with a boyfriend - not the guy she was marrying - to come over and meet her sweet new puppy. Now, mind you, this is a girl whose father paid her rent, car, gas, insurance, plus a $2k allowance every month from the time she was 17 until aged 25. I suspect if you don't indulge your difficult child quite so badly that he will have a chance to outgrow this. You never know.

    One thing I think is important to consider is what are you legally liable for in your state? When M went and moved in with a friend's idiot mother when he was 17 years old, we made her sign an agreement that if he caused her or her home or any of her belongings any harm that she would not hold us liable for it. Legally it held no water because we did not give custody of him to her. (Dumb woman kept him for 2.5 years...) But she never once called us on any of the stuff he pulled on her, and it got back to us that he was doing her the same way he did us.

    Check your laws. Spend that little bit of money for a consult with an attorney just to be sure. It's possible if your difficult child is drinking and someone falls asleep with a cigarette and burns something down, or gets in a fight and hurts someone that you will be financially responsible for that. Reporting him as a runaway or an incorrigible minor could save your bacon in that case. Let the police pick him up. Let him have a hissy fit and say he'll never come home - they won't force him. Tell them you are afraid for your safety if he says he wants to come home (he won't). But by all means, do what you have to in order to protect your fiscal security from him.
  14. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I think WTWE and I are in a similar part of Canada. Around these parts, a 16-yr-old who leaves home by choice is considered an emancipated minor. At 16, you're legally allowed to live on your own, leave school, make all of your own medical decisions and generally act in loco parentis. If a child willingly leaves, the parents can't be held liable for their actions.
  15. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Many years ago on the site, WTWE, there was a discussion of techniques each of us used to survive rejection and pain. The imagery I remember most strongly had to do with lighting a figurative candle and placing it in the window. Holding that image in my heart helped me envision difficult child son finding his way out of the darkness. It helped me understand that, as I could not alter the path of difficult child son, my position needed to be one of faith, of holding on and holding strong.

    There is something soothing about that imagery, even now.

    You mentioned a younger daughter in your post. While we are not certain difficult child son got into drugs because of the chaos caused by difficult child daughter...his anger about those years revolves around my "desertion" of him, around the sadness and pain and the attention focused on difficult child daughter, on his feelings of inadequacy because he could not console me in my grief. He had always been such a great kid during those early years of difficult child daughter's problems. People told us to pay attention to him, that he needed us more than ever. But we were so focused on difficult child.... difficult child son is still so angry about being forced to visit difficult child daughter in treatment centers, about everyone at school knowing something bad had happened, about being tainted by difficult child daughter's failures.

    He is angry that we didn't send HIM to treatment. (Nothing had worked for difficult child daughter. In fact, things just kept getting worse. So, we didn't want son in treatment when drugs became an issue for him.... He actually stopped using multiple times on his own before he stopped using for good ~ also on his own. He is an incredible person, actually.)

    It's all so wrong, what can happen to our families!

    Cherish the child you have at home, WTWE. Cherish her, and try to keep her life just as happy as it would have been if difficult child son had never done this. Watching my grief and feeling inadequate to console me is part of what happened to difficult child son. For the sake of your 14 year old, try to feel truly happy, try to feel that what you have with her, and with your husband, is the most perfect way things could be. Portray poor difficult child son as the bad one.

    We lost our son to drugs at 16.

    One day, he was this amazing kid. Had a paper route, got a job working in the classiest restaurant in town, clear sailing to working there, moving up, college, great grades. He was running for president of the Student Council? And by the time the election occurred, he was well along the path of addiction that would destroy him. It was that fast, WTWE.

    As horrible as losing your son has been, try to let it be enough that you know he is alive and well. Don't let your daughter know you grieve him too much. Don't take it for granted that she is going to be okay because she is such a good girl right now.

    When he was told about his sister's diagnosis, former difficult child son said something to the effect that his sister had always been crazy, and that he had tried and tried to tell us that. And do you know what? He was right. I can remember him being so angry that we would take difficult child daughter back, every time she would deign to come home.

    I know it's going to be hard, I know you can't believe your younger child could ever be at risk in that way WTWE...and I hope she never is.

    But if I could go back, if I could have known what was going to happen to difficult child son, if I could even have shaken myself out of the fog of grief and rage difficult child daughter had us in long enough and often enough to have told difficult child son how much he meant to us...maybe we wouldn't have lost him, too.

  16. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    WTW, it is sad that your difficult child is responding so negatively to you, I know it hurts you. I agree with everyone, it's important to honor his wishes, at 16 years old, although where you live he is considered an adult, he is still such a child, bulletproof, arrogant, knows it all and makes it all about you and what you do or don't do, not about his responsibility for his choices.

    You're right to put the focus on your easy child, I hope you had a wonderful day at the zoo and the concert! Hold your son in the light and put all your energy into yourself, your husband and your daughter, as Barbara said, light a candle, perhaps in your mind for your son to find his way home, as the character in his favorite childhood story, he is still on his adventure finding out who he is and where he belongs.............in the meantime continue accepting what is and living YOUR life to the fullest......................sending you big hugs and always wishes for peace..........
  17. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Sounds to me like your difficult child has a serious case of "I want my cake and to eat it too Syndrome"

    I might let him keep the phone. (notice I said *might*....because I am not so sure I would do that myself) But I'd make sure it was so stripped of services that basically all he could do is phone home with the darn thing. I realize the temptation is to keep it so he can contact you. However, if difficult child truly wants to contact you.......he would find a phone to do it regardless, or another means. I most likely would not let him keep it because I'd be paying for it...........and you don't get to want me out of your life and still have me in it by paying for the phone you're using. Know what I mean??

    I'd give him a heavy dose of exactly what he wants and start working hard on detachment skills for myself. It's not going to be easy because at 16 the odds are high he is going to make a lot of mistakes and stupid decisions while away from the guidance of people who honestly love him.

  18. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    That's really good, Hound Dog.

    And the shock of it might jolt difficult child out of his rebellion.

    I mean, think about it. If he knows mom is out there ready to take him back in a heartbeat, why worry?

    I like that part about developing detachment skills, too.

    And here is something one of us wrote to me, last week. That her child was "spurning the values" he'd been raised with. I found that thinking of our difficult children' situations in this way, rather than futilely searching for what we've done wrong in raising them, was very strengthening.

  19. Pasa - I hope your difficult child does well when he gets out.

    Witz - Trinity is right. I live in Ontario as well and I don't believe I am liable to support difficult child as he is choosing to live on his own. I did kick him out but I also told him that if he was willing to follow some rules he could come back - he's not and doesn't want to come back. I am going to check with a lawyer this week just to be sure though. I don't want to be caught by surprise if difficult child is cooking something up with his friends mother. I'm wondering if she is planning on getting some kind of guardianship and then suing me for child support. Maybe - could just be me being paranoid but I don't trust difficult child at all anymore. And in the last 8 months he's lived with this woman for 5 of them and not once has she made any contact with us. I have no phone number for her or anything.

    Barbara - I am going to use your idea about the candle and I'm going to put one of those electric candles in difficult child's bedroom window.

    husband and I have been pretty good so far about not talking too much about difficult child in front of her. Of course he has been the focus quite often but less and less so since he's moved out. When he lived here it was impossible for normalcy because difficult child made it impossible. Now it's much better and peaceful in our home. We go out with easy child, have movie nights, let her know we love her and are so proud of her, go for bike rides, lots of stuff like that. We used to do all this stuff as a family with difficult child too but now we just continue it with the 3 of us. Thank you for the reminder about how important it is to keep it up. I am so sorry for what happened with your son and for how quickly it happened. I will be sure to keep a close eye on easy child, especially next year when she starts high school and, unfortunately, is at the same school as difficult child (if he shows up).

    Hound - You are absolutely right. I should shut his phone off and I've been thinking about it for a while. I know that logically he would find a way to call me if he wanted to talk to me but cutting off his phone is like severing that last tie and I'm not sure I'm there yet. I was talking to husband about it last night and we thought we might leave the phone on for the next 3 months and see if he makes any effort to call. If not, I might just shut it off. In the meantime I'm going to look at whether or not I can set it up so he can only call me - not sure if I can do that with this provider.

    RE - You are always so kind and supportive. Thank you for your thoughts - they are like a comforting hug.

    Funnybunny (difficult child) has been contacting easy child on facebook. She hasn't really responded because she can't be bothered with him and his nonsense. He messaged her again today and tells her how much he loves her and wants a relationship with her and that she's his only sister. Huh. I'm his only mother but that doesn't seem to matter to him. It seems the more distance he puts between husband, myself and him the more he tries to mend his relationship with his sister.

    *Part of me wonders if he is being manipulative and trying to turn easy child against husband and I.
  20. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    He definitely wants contact with easy child to manipulate her. To play oh pity me and get her to give him money and things so that he won't have to ask you or admit to hmself or anyone that you would help if he asked and meant sincerely to change his life.

    Turn the phone off. In an emergency, someone else wll have a phone or he can walk into a business and use theirs. It is easy. Actually, it is easeir now to get help in an emergency than when we were kids because so many people have cell phones that your difficult child doesn't NEED one. Or need pay phones.

    Your difficult child is attemting to bully you into doing what he wants. I don't know what SA is, but lying on it would not be the right thing. it is wrong for difficult child to even ask you to back up his lies.

    As for having to support him, not so much. As long as there is a place he CAN sleep at home, food he CAN eat, shelter, the bare bones basics, you are NOT required to provide ANY of these things for him o utside your home. It could be a couch to sleep on, ramen noodles for food, shlothing that is old/used, you are generally NOT responsible for providing any of these if he wont' live at home.

    the cops arenot going to dreag himback most likely.But they are NOT going to charge you with anything or make any demands about you giving him food money, a vehicle, etc...Their view is that difficult child refused to follow the rules and CHOSE to leave your home. If you can choose to leave, you choose to pay your on way, legaly anyway.