I wish..

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by momjane, May 16, 2014.

  1. momjane

    momjane New Member

    I have been reading for a couple of weeks and I wish I could feel an ounce of the strength I see displayed by you all..i am broken. My story is a novel so bullet points..

    20 year old incredibly gifted son
    My life hell for the past 5 years
    Countless suspensions..two expulsions
    Managed to get him through hs
    Countless arrests
    Marijuana use
    Countless broken items..holes in walls
    Meltdowns, rage, disrespect, entitlement
    Father in prison. We have a good relationship. His wife is my biggest support and I love her so much

    I have gone to the moon and back for him. I have advocated beyond belief. I have bailed him out time after time after time. Not just from jail but from everything! Yes, I have enabled. I have worked with street youth and the one common thing they all whispered through their tears was "my mom abandoned me" I never wanted to be that. All of it was for nothing. He is hateful, he verbally abuses me. He says I'm a horrible, person and mother. According to him I have done nothing right. My family has loved, cherished and supported him and for this we get nothing. It is devastating.

    He is at this moment sitting in my garage. I have parked down the street out of fear. My home is not my safe place. Can't go to my parents house close by as to not stress them. They are at a loss too. I don't want my partner to see my swollen eyes as he is so angry at my son for what he is doing. I feel displaced. This is no life.

    My difficult child has apparently found a place and is moving out. He spits that at me as he angrily demands his college money. I doubt he will be attending college in the fall as he planned..he says he is going to drop out.

    A novel.i could write but I won't. I am glad that there are people who can understand my pain as this suffering is something only to understand by experience. I can only wish that I will find the peace that some of you have found within yourselves :)
  2. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Start by taking baby steps. None of us got here quickly. We understand, and we know how hard this is. Blessings and peace I wish you today, and I will write more later. Hugs.

    Sent using ConductDisorders mobile app
  3. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    You've shown him you love him in countless ways. For whatever reason, most probably self hatred, he can't reciprocate right now - he just hasn't got the tools. It's time you showed a little love for yourself. He is 20, but emotionally much younger, probably. If he won't accept help, you must be strong and show him by example that you don't have to be broken.

    I want to welcome you here, and I'm so sorry for all you've been going through. We've all been there in one way or another. Hope you find strength and support here, and perhaps at support groups where you live. One day at a time; one foot in front of the other.
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  4. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    I walked in your shoes, I counted down until my son was 18 even though the problems worsened at 18. My life was a nightmare and I get what you're going through. I will tell you what I did. I got a restraining order and didn't see my homeless son for years. I was so painful, but until I did that, he had no reason to change. Once he knew he was on his own, and he was all alone, he made the moves, he got the jobs, he lived in a flop house with bedbugs, one that he paid for....at that point he knew it was all up to him. Slowly, in baby steps, he came back in the fold of our family. He is only 27 right now, so it didn't take a huge amount of time to come to this realization,but it had to be HIS realization, not my lecturing and enabling and yelling and making deals and stuff. Right now, he's a union carpenter, is doing well, married to a beautiful woman and expecting my grandaughter. I will absolutely credit that restraining order to his success. He would most likely still be living on my couch doing nothing with his life if I allowed it. Don"t ever do that, it is hurtful to do, but will have a huge payout for you all. Hugs!!
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  5. momjane

    momjane New Member

    Thank you for all your words of wisdom.

    Upallnight..my heart sings for you as I can only imagine the peace of not having to live a nightmare.

    That's how I describe it to people. A perpetual horror movie that is ongoing everyday. One that you can't press stop for and one that you can't imagine ending. I see this as my reality, today, tomorrow and always. Common sense tells me things have to change but my damaged mind convinces me it can only end with a final horror scene before the credits.

    Waiting for that other shoe to drop everyday all day is so bleak.
  6. Dancerat

    Dancerat Member

    I think a lot of people have the inner strength through practice. It's hard. My beautiful gifted son started down the wrong path after dating a heroin addict and he has changed to the point where I am at the point of asking him to leave. I mean, I have told him his last day is June 1, and I am being incredibly gracious and generous with that date. He asked me for a tent today to sleep in. Okay. Why can't they be nice and thankful? I don't know. It's obvious they aren't in a happy and good place in their lives. The only time he is nice to me is when he asks me for money, and that just ended, so he is no longer nice. I love him, he's 21, so I figure what I can and cannot live with. I can live with buying him a bus pass. He can eat here at the house, but in two weeks, he should hope to have food stamps and a place to live other than a tent because I have come to the end of my own personal rope. And that happens. Some ropes are longer than others. I just think of it, as well, time to pay some dues in life. His sisters are amazing people and didn't get half of what he has gotten, including a car, and favor after favor, and are self supporting, mature adults. Mine is like 21 going on 15. And not the honor student 15, either.

    You will be okay. I'm sorry about the parked in the car deal. It's really hard when you are sitting there, thinking "where did I lose control?" and you can replay different scenarios over in your mind, but remember this. Each moment is a brand new path in your life. You can live your life the way you want to, going forward. Your partner doesn't deserve this, you don't deserve this, your son doesn't deserve this, but he is CHOOSING this, for whatever reason. I hug you from far away. Post here a lot, it really helps. I'm glad there as so many understanding souls. We get it. I can read these posts all day long and feel like I am not alone (and I do - I guess I'm a lurker).

    IF you could do whatever you wanted to do, or SAY whatever you wanted to say, to your son, what would it be?
  7. momjane

    momjane New Member

    Thank you Dancerat. I am sorry for all your troubles with your difficult child as well.

    If I could say anything to my son it would be this.

    I love you more than life and I am sorry that you harbour such resentment towards me. I can't change your perceptions as you have made them your reality. I have done my best and given you the world and for that I have gotten nothing but hurt. It is time for you to grow up and not count on me for every mundane detail. I too have a life to live and my health has suffered greatly. I am scared for me but I am also scared for you. The things that you have said and done have affected me immensely and I will no longer be your doormat. I will love and support you always however, it is time for you to find your own way.

    That is the loving side of me. The angry side wants to tell him he is a horrible kid who is selfish, entitled and a jerk! :)
  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi momjane, welcome. I'm sorry you are going through this with your son. You've come to a place where you will find that we all are in various stages of this process with our kids, it is a painful landscape riddled with many mine fields which blow up continuously.

    I think the first place to begin is to start taking care of YOU and take the focus off of your son. I know that isn't easy, but it's necessary. You may want to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here. Many of us seek professional help to learn tools to detach and accept what we can't change. Many of us attend 12 step groups like Al anon, narc anon, CoDa and Families anonymous. Getting support is essential, this is too hard to do alone.

    It sounds as if you've reached the end of your rope. That's what happens to all of us sooner or later. You're doing the right thing in my opinion, stopping the money, making him responsible for his choices.

    This is very painful. I am so sorry. We understand your torment. However, with support and a commitment to stop enabling, with the focus placed back onto you and continuing to step back, you will find your way and find some peace of mind.

    The serenity prayer states what we do here pretty clearly.........

    God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

    Stay the course and keep posting, it helps. Wishing you comfort.
  9. tryagain

    tryagain Active Member

    Momjane, you are not alone. I also have a 20-year-old who would put holes in the wall and cause me to park down the street in fear, and I would post on this website from there.

    My difficult child suffers from bipolar disorder and until she began complying with her medications just recently, the last five years had been hell on earth for me. As I read the description of your scenario, I wondered if your son has ever been under the care of a mental health professional? I know that without my difficult child's psychiatrist, she would not be functioning at all.

    The compassionate people on this forum have read about my ups and downs with the havoc and heartbreak this girl has caused me. They have given me words of wisdom which I have reread over and over.

    Learning to detach from difficult child helped me keep my sanity. When the worst of it all was going on, removing myself mentally and emotionally was difficult to do, yet very necessary. So I agree that baby steps are necessary, and a good first baby step would be to read the post on detachment which appears first on the parent emeritus list.

    First I even feared detaching, because it seemed so unnatural. But you've got to remember that you also have an unnatural situation going on here. Stepping back and taking care of yourself does not mean that you no longer love your child. We all love our children dearly. But when they will not help themselves, we have to help ourselves.

    I also want you to know that there is always hope. Hope for healing. Hope for peace. Hope that our difficult child's will see the light and realize that their lives can be better if they will make needed changes.

    After a suicide attempt three months ago and mental health intervention, my difficult child finally realized that something would have to change and began adhering to her medication schedule. There is still drama, but nothing like before. I am aware that any given day could bring regression, but I agree with COM, it is a blessing that we cannot see the future because it would overwhelm us.

    Momjane, keep coming to this forum and posting because you'll find caring hearts and wise minds here. I know I have.
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  10. Stress Bunny

    Stress Bunny Active Member

    momjane - It doesn't have to always be this way. All of us here can relate, and we find strength in one another. You will find this site invaluable. You have control of your own choices and boundaries. Please keep reading and ask questions. You can't change the past, but YOUR future is in YOUR hands. Your difficult child has inflicted severe abuse toward you and your property, emotionally and physically. I'm sorry you are going through such turmoil now, but let this trauma be a catalyst for change so that you can protect and care for yourself going forward. Hugs . . .
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  11. momjane

    momjane New Member

    Thank you Stress Bunny and try again for your words of wisdom :)

    My son was tested gifted in grade three and we had a heck of a time with getting him through school. He was constantly in trouble and only when he landed in a hs where they had the amazing staff that showed understanding and patience, did we get some support to move him forward. Everyone said he was too smart, too charismatic and he shouldn't under achieve as he was. No one ever mentioned adhd! I am a social worker and I hate myself for not picking up on it! So last year in paid out of my pocket to take him to a private clinic where they diagnosed him. He went along with it, even took the medications for a bit but they really were not for him. I even noticed that they weren't. What he should have done is go back and talk to his Dr. But he won't. I still don't know if the diagnosis is correct or if he is just exhibiting the giftedness issues as they are very similar to adhd. He is just so complex!! It's just such a mess of things!

    He has mental health issues on dad's side and this has always been a concern. I have spoken to him about seeing his Dr but once again he is resistant.

    He has been in and out of the house all weekend. He won't eat or shower here. He came over and was in the garage last night and I tried to talk to him. Told him I am sorry for how he is feeling and that we would always love and support him. He has said he is moving out and I said we would support him with that decision. It got ugly of course with him accusing me of giving up on him because I refuse to change and now he has to move out for his sanity. That I've ruined his future. I told him I have done my best and he yelled at me that he didn't give an eff about the 95% I did right as long as I wasn't doing the other 5%. So perfection is what he wants. He also yelled at me for running to my support system and calling my mother when he's on the phone with her and talking to his step mom. Told me to effing take his support system if that is what I want.

    He is so hateful and mean towards me. It has been a horrible weekend and my will to truly live is gone. I feel like I am just going through the motions.
  12. momjane

    momjane New Member

    I have read the article on detachment and it makes so much sense. I feel like such a failure because everyone around me has told me this is what I need to do and I don't even know where to start! I am so overwhelmed with fears of losing my son! I don't want something bad to happen to him. I know I am not well and I need help too. I will contact my Dr. This week for a referral to a professional.
  13. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member


    in my first post on this forum I said I had decided to commit suicide if my son died on the street. I understand the dark place you are in. You are right to seek professional help. I also really support the other recommendations that you try to find group support (although we are awesome group support right here). This is a hard journey.
    Here is the thing...you cannot control your son, his choices, or what comes out of his mouth, which frankly is wildly inappropriate and cruel. You can control how much you expose yourself to this abuse, and how you choose to interact with him. It may be that by not allowing him to treat you this way he will get better. It may be that he will not. All you know for sure is that what you have been doing, all the running and the effort and the love and the experts and the patience and the abuse-absorption...have not brought you one step closer to the results you desire and deserve. It makes sense to try a different course.

    You've been given good advice here. It is great that he is moving out of his own volition, however angry and ugly he is making it. Help to make sure that happens. Change the locks the minute he leaves...in all seriousness.

    Once he is out you will be better able to center yourself. It is very hard to do in the midst of the abuse he is showering on you. How soon is he going? Please keep us informed, and keep posting. We will help you step by step.

    My son is 20 as well.

  14. momjane

    momjane New Member

    Thank you all so much. Sometimes I feel like I'm an an island with no one around. People can empathize but those that have been through this hell can truly understand! You are all awesome gifts from the universe :)

    He just drove up with his girlfriend..walked in the house muttering I'm here to get some clothes. Apparently they are going for an afternoon at the beach. So nice of him to be able to enjoy the weekend.

    Not quite sure when he is moving out. For my sanity, the less engaging the better at this point. Even know, my heart is beating faster..body is tingly..total anxiety until he leaves once again. Aaaaargh
  15. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Momjane, I wanted to write you more, as I understand where you are and how awful it is.

    You aren't. You never were. Don't get your story confused with theirs. I know I have been a very good mother. Not a perfect mother, but a very good one. That isn't the problem with my difficult child. He is a drug addict and that is the root problem. His behavior, choices, actions and lifestyle flow from that. He can't help being a drug addict---that is a genetic (in his case) and a physiological fact. It's in his DNA and hard-wired. What he can help is this: choosing recovery. Choosing rehab. Choosing to work hard every single day for the rest of his life to stay off drugs and other substances. So far, he has not made that choice. That is on him.

    I believe they don't respect us anymore when we continue to give and give and enable and enable. It's almost like they are saying (with their angry, abusive words): I despise what you are doing to me. At the same time, they are taking and pushing and begging with the other hand: give me, give me, give me. This is all the disease talking---all mental illness talking---not the good person that is hidden deep inside. And it's not about us. The sooner we learn that, the better off we will be. We're just the last man standing.

    Can you not give it to him? If you can find a way not to, don't. Even if you have said you will give it to him, you can change your mind at any time. "I changed my mind."

    You will if you work for it. It is here for all of us, but it takes time and hard work.

    Yes, that is so, so true. I sometimes think death would be less painful, because it is over. This is never over, it seems, and it only gets worse and worse in my difficult child's case. Is this what prisoners of war feel like? I know we have talked here on this forum about suffering from PTSD. I believe that is true. I believe I have.

    It does not have to be. It truly does not. You will need to make choices, and decisions, and assemble tools, and then devote the time to your evolution as a new person. But you can do it. It is possible.

    If this is true, this is a very good day for you.

    Yep. That has to happen, and at first, even the idea of distance from your very own precious child is unthinkable. We have to be completely sick and tired of our lives before we can entertain these ideas that seem so foreign to us.

    It doesn't. It doesn't. It doesn't.

    You and I and all of us have always had control, but we didn't know it for a long, long time. We couldn't see it. We couldn't claim it. Every person on this earth---adult---has control that he or she can and should exercise over their own lives. Unless you are truly disabled in body or mind, we each can chart our own course, and that includes us and our difficult children.

    Hang in there. We know what you are going through because we have been through it too. There is peace and hope ahead.

    Hugs and prayers for you and your difficult child tonight.
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  16. tryagain

    tryagain Active Member

    Amen to COM's post above. So well said. Momjane, I remember both wishing my difficult child would move out and simultaneously dreading if she did. I finally got sick and tired of being sick and tired. I told her, "There's the door. I'll help you pack."

    She "knew everything" and we were idiots. She had such violent mood swings that we hid every knife and tiptoed around her lest we unleash the beast. I have scars on my arm where she bit me so badly because I asked her to bring her laundry downstairs. (Just to give you an idea of what an unmedicated bipolar difficult child can be like)

    When they finally do leave, it is suddenly peaceful again. You can breathe freely. No more stepping on eggshells.

    I know that my difficult child had to leave in order to realize that we weren't idiots. That her trashy boyfriend wasn't a god. That she, also, deserved a better life unencumbered by mood swings and low self-esteem.

    Momjane, I feel for you bc I have been there. It's utter hell. But I survived, and you can, too.

    We are all on your side.
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  17. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    MJ, I am so sorry you are going through this. I am having a bit of a visceral response as I read your description because it brought back some memories for me after I told my son he would never be moving back into our home again. Changing the locks, that constant vigilance, that "fire ants in the brain" panicked feeling whenever the phone would ring or the dogs would bark. This is not how we should be living our lives at this stage, at ANY stage. We shouldn't feel like we live in a war zone.

    I was chatting with the neighbor yesterday, who knows about our struggles. She asked how my son is doing, and I told her that JUST FOR TODAY he is doing very well. She said she thought we were very wise and loving parents in telling him to leave, because it has worked out well for our son. And I remembered how his anticipated reaction had very little effect on our decision. The decision to tell him to leave was ALL about us and it was simply because we COULD NOT do it anymore. We were all used up.

    I agree that respect is paramount. We need to respect ourselves enough to not take any abuse, and we need to respect them enough to let them make it on their own. Like upallnight, my son was sporting bedbug bites on his arms for a few months, but by god they were HIS bedbugs! Now he has a better paying job, and a place with no bedbugs. No matter how he does tomorrow, he will at least know that HE did that, and he will hopefully have more respect for himself.
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  18. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member


    I was catching up on your thread today, and reread from the beginning. I want to second some of the advice you've been given.

    Unless this is in an irrevocable trust, you do not need to give it to him and you should not.

    I am always interested on this board on how parents feel they need to keep their promises, or even their implied promises, and difficult children can rewrite the books at any time and we let them. You can let him know that things have changed, you have reconsidered, and at this time you are not able to give him the money. Period.

    Parents don't owe their kids college money. No state requires that. You do not owe him college money, even if you saved it up and told him it was there from the day he was born. If for some reason it IS his...well then, wait till the last possible second (when he is 25? older) before handing it over, and keep as much as you can. difficult children are sometimes destructive to our finances, and expenses. You may need that money. Do NOT give it to him now.

    Albatross hit this dead on. We should not feel that we are living in a war zone. We should not allow anyone, not even our dearest darling much loved children, to put us in that position. They do not have the right to ruin our days and nights, any of which could be our last day or night....look at your last 6 months...what if you or one of your other loved ones died tonight? is it OK that this is how your last months were endured? Put an end to it now.

    You are at the end of your rope. Yay! As Child says...that is a very good day.

    We are with you. You are being treated horribly. Work towards freeing yourself.

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  19. momjane

    momjane New Member

    Hi All lovely warrior parents!

    Today is a surreal day. I believe difficult child is staying with his uncle and today as I was driving home I experienced emotions I never thought I would! I always thought that once he left I would be in party mode..no looking back..phew! However I don't feel that today. I don't want him to leave, to struggle to try to make ends meet. I just want him to respect me, our house an appreciate the life he has here!

    I sent him a text today saying hi and I love him. I don't know if that was right..it feels right to let him know that I love him.

    I know I have enabled him and hovered over him to the point where he feels that I am not letting him grow. I know I need to change as well.

    I am hoping that this time will give both of us perspective.

    I guess my question is..does it make me weak to want my difficult child home but under different circumstances? I would like him to go to college as planned and to focus on getting his education.

    He has been going to work. He has had a job for two years. It makes me glad to know that he is being responsible with that.

    I am happy on one hand for peace but sad that he is not here. I feel like such a hypocrite.
  20. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Hi Momjane, I don't think you are a hypocrite or weak, I think you are the parent of a difficult child. I vacillated a lot before I got to the moving out point. Each of us can only do what we are ready to do.

    Today it will have been exactly a year since my son moved out, other than one very brief stay last July. Though I know my son will never move back into our home, there are times as I go through my day that I think about how nice it would be to have him here, to share a little this or that. But I have learned from hard experience that it doesn't work that way when he is here. Those different circumstances you crave are something that is not realistic for us. Both of us are much better people when he lives elsewhere.