I'm checking in....

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Copabanana, Jul 6, 2016.

  1. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I wanted to share good news.

    This "talk" which I describe below was triggered because M got after me that I was letting my son slide, since I had started work, and that it was my obligation, not his, to monitor my sons progress and to motivate him as needed. M, rightfully, does not want to be 100 percent responsible both for supervising my son's work, and his psycho-social adjustment and progress.

    Since Monday I have been communicating this to my son: You have got to up your game, as a condition of staying here. What this means is this: Like I have told you, our home is not a homeless shelter. You stay here conditional on your working consistently to make your life better, with short-term, medium-term and long-term goals. There is an expectation by me that if you do not have goals or feel unable or blocked to make or meet them, you get help doing so, by Voc Rehab or a therapist or both, or any other support you can identify. I want to get across that you are here, not to tread water but to make a life and to make an independent life. I told my son that in the past I have micro-managed goals which was bad for the both of us. I did not want to anymore. The impetus and responsibility had to come from him.

    I was pissed because he had cancelled his appointment with the psychiatrist in the big metro two hours from here that had been for today and rescheduled it for next week. He had told me he gave the excuse of having a great deal of commitments for work for us!!! Lie!!! I insisted he call the man and tell the truth, that he had felt too tired to make the trip. (After all is said and done, I am not sure what the truth is!)

    So, he came to my room to report back his progress towards making a plan. (First, I reminded him, it was important he see the liver doctor and get his blood work done, and second, get his state ID--and I hoped he would make these a priority.)

    I have identified 3 goals, he said:

    First, I will go to vocational rehabilitation to work with them to make a vocational plan and to find out what are my aptitudes.

    Second, I will enroll in a gym. (Big deal because he has anxieties around his (gorgeous) appearance, and some agaraphobia.)

    Third, I will get a therapist locally, but I think this might be redundant because I already have Dr. B. (Who is a psychiatrist-psychoanalyst that we have known since he was in 6th grade), who he plans to see every month for 2 hours. I have to add here how very pleased I was when he initiated the idea to see Dr. B, going 3 hours on the train and bus to do so.)

    I have to say these are very well-thought and reasonable goals, and I am proud of him.

    Today M said that I should lay off, because my son has changed 40 percent since he has been with us, for the better, and that the kind of changing he is doing is tough. And that I need to not pressure him. I feel otherwise. I believe that by setting these short-term goals he raises the bar for himself. I believe that there is risk in not asking enough.

    I am gratified that he came to me. He could have gone to closet himself in his room. Instead he manned up and confronted the situation and came through. I am proud of him. In SWOT's word's. Did I remember to say I was proud of him?

    My update for me is that I have begun my 5th week of work back in prison. I work non-stop 10 hours a day. No lunch. No breaks. Just furiously working. My life has changed 180 degrees. I come home exhausted and in pain--my back and neck. But I am doing it. I know you guys most of you have been doing this every day--but to me up at 5 am is tough! But the good side is since I met you all 15 months ago or so I am out of bed--and back to work. After 3.5 years!! I will meet my 6 months goal, and no more prison for me, unless they agree to let me do vacation relief or something very short-term.

    Thank you everybody for your support.
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    Last edited: Jul 6, 2016
  2. DarkwingPsyduck

    DarkwingPsyduck Active Member

    I am happy to hear that there is some significant improvement, but I am not so sure about this "40%" business. While it may very well be accurate, it seems to set a precedence where he can skate by on SOME of your conditions. I realize that is not what you have in mind, I am just pointing it out for the benefit of others. It's kinda like addiction recovery. You can't be 40% recovered, 1% recovered, 99% recovered, or even 100% recovered. You are either recovering, or you are not. The moment we allow ourselves to think that we are 100% recovered is the moment we stop working on it. As if the problem has just been cured for good, and vanished, never to be thought of again. An addict is either recovering, or not recovering. No being recovered, or kinda recovering. The same should go for your conditions. Remember, there really is no condition you could set that would be unreasonable. Unless you're keeping him there at gun point, he can walk out the front door at any moment if he likes. He is, after all, an adult. If he wants to remain there, he must follow the rules. And hopefully understands that those conditions are for HIS benefit, not just your own.

    I truly hope he realizes just how fortunate he is. He has a hell of a lot more than I have (or ever had). And I know people with less even than I have. He needs to realize that, and appreciate it.
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  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Copa...I am so proud of you. You go, girl! You are a rock star!
  4. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Copa, I'm proud of you and your son too! How awesome that you are sticking with that job! (Frankly, I'd have told them to shove it. lol ) And it's great that your son has made goals. I would love to get mine to make some real goals - but for this moment, I'm not pushing stuff, I'm just happy he has a job.

    But you guys are both doing great! :) Good for you!
  5. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Copa, thanks for this update. I hope you can see the similarity in your progress and his progress since you first came here.

    That's no coincidence.

    The healthier we can get (in all ways), the healthier they have a chance to get.

    Kudos to you today! You rock!
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  6. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Good news Copa! Keep up the good work all around.
  7. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    This is very good news, Copa! You and son have much to be very proud of!
  8. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Copa I am so happy for you and your son. It is wonderful that you are able to communicate and discuss goals. This is a huge difference in your relationship. You are both doing great. It is awesome to read good news.
    Thank you for sharing.
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  9. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member


    I'm not surprised to see your update. I've been getting the vibe that he has been slowly improving. Maybe at a snail's pace, but it's progress.

    Even the fact that, instead of holing up in his room, as per his usual...he came to your room to discuss further.

    To me, that small thing is progress. [emoji106] [emoji4]

    PS tell 'M' hi from me:). He sounds cool.
  10. Ironbutterfly

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

    Glad he is making progress and has agreed to set goals. You should really take a break at work. Go for a walk if nothing else. Even if its just 15 minutes. Have to take of you first and foremost so you are not so exhausted when you come home.
  11. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Thank you very much everybody!! Darkwing, you are right.
    My son has a problem with arrogance. And you are exactly right. The minute he felt that he had us "trained" and in his corner--the arrogance reared its head. Oh boy did I just check him. He ordered me to "come here so I can talk to you!" He wanted to assert his version involving dog pee--not only to evade responsibility but to assert the superiority of his way of thinking and acting.
    Darkwing, is this not all of us? I know that I do way better when I think of myself and my way of thinking and feeling as towards ever more mastery and taking responsibility. Especially since returning to work I find myself with all kinds of feelings--ashamed, self-critical, fearful that what I said was wrong or ill-thought, insecurity, etcetera--and I am flooded with negativity. About myself--primarily--and I catch myself wanting to make wrong in my mind somebody else to carry the icky feelings. And stop. Telling myself--let it be--those feelings do not need to either eat away at you or be dumped into your perceptions of anybody else.

    Let them go, and let yourself be. You are OK and so is everybody else. Just human. I guess I am saying, or asking--is not being in process--better for all of this then attaining some state of things--which is really artificial anyway?

    Thank you, Darkwing and everybody.
  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Tonight we had another talk, my son and I. He had spoken to me disrespectfully giving me a command like, "come here now."

    He came to me to say that he had slipped up, "and everybody has a bad day." After talking about how hard he is on himself, he says he tells himself he is "a f--k-up and a piece of sh-t" in his head, all through the day, he said he wanted to go to the metro a couple of hours from us and hang out and "clear my head" for the coming week before he sees the psychiatrist. Like a vacation, he said.

    Fine, I said, you are free to go. But with that you need to understand that any commitment between us will be re-negotiated when you return, if you return.

    He did not like it when I said it before, nor did he like it tonight.

    Well, he continued, I have known people who have gone away from it all, and hung out, and it cleared their minds. And when I did it before, and had a time out to think, it was beneficial and I was able to step up renewed (or something like that).

    I responded: again, you are free to go. But my understanding of what makes us able to step up, is working through barriers, and seeking support and committing to real life. But if you want a retreat, so be it. Many people have been vagabonds, and found their destiny there. Go for it, if that is what you feel you want and need. We can all talk about what is possible or not when you return, if you return.

    So he answered: Well the thing is this. I have had 3 vivid dreams the past couple of nights where you and M threw me out.

    I asked: Is that because I mentioned the drug test?

    Oh no,
    he replied. Just that I perceive from your attitudes that you will get mad and make me leave. A year ago, if something happened like happened tonight you would have thrown me out and had me stay away 6 months!

    I said. That's a tough way to feel, but entirely realistic. You do have limited control here in my house. I think I might want to have more independence.

    As far as nightmares go, I had one too last night. I dreamt that grandma was still alive and in a nursing home. And when I discovered she was alive I went to get her there, expecting her to be really, really mad at me. And she wasn't!!

    She said, Hi Copa, happy, and I was flabbergasted. And then? I realized they were giving her heroin in order to cheer her up (so she would not be so mad and demanding). And I was enraged.

    When I woke up I did not know whether to be sad my mother was dead or happy I was out of that terrible problem with her on heroin.

    Him: Well, I know that you will never love me as much as you loved your mother!! A fu--ked up adopted son!

    Me: That's not true! I've made grave mistakes in my life because I am human.

    Him: Not like me. Look at you. What you were like at my age!

    Me: I made mistakes. Big ones. You do not know what your destiny is. Nobody does until it meets them.

    Honest to G-d people. While I have my violin out, and believe this was a maudlin melody, I do not know what he was after.

    Most of all I am wondering if you think I am being too harsh about his proposed vacation. What he would do is go be homeless for the week in a forest in an urban area. I think I would be supporting an irresponsible escape. It is not like he is living in aversive conditions here. Actually, now I think he brought this up.

    I had told him: Son. You need to get a handle on eating other people's food when you live with them. If in an emergency you borrow food, you need to replace it, and then some. (He is notorious for gobbling up everybody's food. If it was just my food, that would be one thing, but he does it to anybody he lives with.) And you need to learn to respect other people's things in general. That needs to be a goal that you need to set for yourself.

    Now, I can imagine that some people think I am ragging on him too much. But I can see the opposite point of view, that not telling him is enabling him and giving him the sense that he can cross acceptable boundaries repeatedly without being called upon it.

    In some sense
    , I am wondering if he should be here with us. Because he is a man. To be spoken to by his mother like this while not intentionally so is emasculating.

    The prime reason he is here with us, is because the electricity in the other house needs updating before I feel OK about putting the swamp coolers. It is stifling hot. He hates the heat. He is more comfortable here.

    If he is here, do I not have the right to say what I need from him? Should I insist he leave?

    M speaks directly to him but sometime M rags to me: he complains about my son's arrogance and lack of respect for other people's things or other people generally.

    I am looking for feedback here on where I am going off track and where I am doing OK.

    Sorry to be so long-winded here. Thank you people.
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member


    I have two kids - one is an adult, the other almost an adult.
    I'm having to learn to say a whole lot LESS.
    I still have a lot to say - I'm a Mom.
    BUT... sometimes, things can be said with a few words or two sentences - not a whole speech. And it helps to not go from one thing, to another, and then another - that's just nagging.

    If there is a current problem and it is affecting you, then approach it as just that - not as something he needs to learn anyway. He CAN figure that part out. What he needs to hear is more along the lines of he's not a kid anymore, and you have the need and the right to be able to manage the food stock for yourself and M. Especially now that you are working, coming home to an "empty fridge" - or at least empty of what you had planned for supper and breakfast and tomorrow's lunch - is not acceptable.
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  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think it's your house/your rules. However you did in my opinion miss a chance to express how much your son meant to you when he compared himself to your mother That would have broken my heart and I would have instantly softened me as I told him he was first in my heart to anyone (but that is truly how I feel about my kids...never lie). In my heart, only my husband is loved like my kids. I would have addressed the adoption as many adopted people feel lesser than. "You are the child I want, and no other one " And I would have brought up that my mother had hurt me. I am very honest with my kids I always have been. No matterlr how they behave (other than snubbing me for over ten years), they are my heart and soul and I always tell them this. To me that would have been an important moment. But thats me. I openly express my love of them all the time. We all do.

    These are just some thoughts, not criticism. Your son in my opinion, especially because adopted and your troubles together since his teens, needs to know that you love nobody more than him, unless you do. And even if you do in my opinion he needs to hear you adore him...that you love him dearly and that you always will, no matter what. Jmo. Hope you are having a peaceful night.
  15. rebelson

    rebelson Active Member

    A vacation? Maybe it's just me, but I see that as a sort of 'regression'. Yes, an escape. Like my son says, & is working on, is 'moving forward is key'. Perhaps, instead of taking a 'vacation' before psychiatric visit, he could stay home and comprise a list of what he wishes to address with the psychiatrist?


    My son's therapist called me yesterday and we spoke for 1.5hrs! One thing she told me, which I knew, but hearing it from her, saddens me, is that he has low self-esteem. :cry: Most of these addicts DO. When I talk to him, I try to build him up, not tear him down. It breaks my heart to know that he thinks poorly of himself. He matters so much!

    Do you think he's still smoking the weed? He may be and so feels it is imminent, the dream: "where you and M threw me out." Or, he could be trying to tug at your heartstrings?
  16. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Rebelson - I think that low self esteem "goes with the territory". They don't like themselves for what they do to themselves or US.

    Is this the first time your son has been in treatment?

    Copa - it's a bit of a mystery what son is doing. It's almost like he tells you "too much" isn't it?
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    well. adults dont like to be talked at too much either. I do believe to your house/your rules. What I mean by that is, if he wants to stay there, your rules. But he does have a right to also leave and decide the rules are not rules he can follow or wants to follow.

    I think an excellent chance to have one of those tender "I love you to the moon" conversations netween you two was past up. Adopted children also tend to have low p self esteem. They desperately need to hear that we love them MORE than we could ever have loved a biological child or biological relatives. It may not seem like a big deal to us, but it is to them. It is never a bad time to express love.
  18. DarkwingPsyduck

    DarkwingPsyduck Active Member

    I don't think you are ragging on him too much. :censored2:, if anything, you aren't ragging on him enough. There is no amount of positive reinforcement, and brutal honesty that comes from a good place, that is "too much". While the honesty may hurt our feelings a bit, we really need to hear it. We can't see ourselves through others' eyes. We do not see all the flaws, or the extend of those flaws. So a reality check by a loving friend or family may sound harsh when spoken, but it is helpful in a very practical way. It is much better than helping him fail because you didn't want to sound harsh or hurtful.

    The vacation idea is almost certainly going to blow up in his face. Countless addicts have tried the geographical fix, and failed miserably. The problem isn't what is around him. It isn't due to the weather. It is internal. We can run from many things, but not ourselves. The same problems that led us to substance abuse in the first place will eventually resurface. And they are just as ill prepared as the last time. He is an adult, and can do whatever he thinks might help, but you might want to go around the internet and find some stories about people trying a geographical cure. Show them to your son. He should at least be well informed before making the wrong decision, don't you think? If he acknowledges these facts and still does it, it is entirely on him, and he will have no excuse whatsoever.

    That aside, his disrespect makes my blood boil. This is something that always gets to me. How can they take their own mother for granted? How do they have so little respect and regard for the person who literally gave them life? I was always a huge mama's boy growing up. I was my mothers' favorite. Not something she ever said, but it was clear how much closer she was to me than even my twin sister... Having lost her, it irks me to see others piss all over theirs. They are sooooo fortunate, and it is incredibly unfortunate that they don't see that.
  19. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    Just one question did your son actually worked and had a career?
  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Darkwing, there are so many disrespectul adult kids. I adopted a son I loved so much, however he WAS six when we did, and he walked out of our family, going on ten years now. Thankfully I have other kids, but this destroyed me for years. He wasn't even a drug addict or failing to thrive. He just decided he didnt need us...I suspect this very bright, finsncially successful young man felt he was superior to us. He is a millionaire with his own business and we do not meet his standards as his family. It broke my heart.

    Also, Copas son smoked pot, but I think thats all. Im no pot fan, but that isnt as serious in my opinion as drugs can kill you...just a heads up. illvbe off to work, but want to thank you for being here for us. You are a blessing. You set us straight