I'm so torn and so sad

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Sooz, Jan 30, 2016.

  1. Sooz

    Sooz New Member

    My son turns 20 this next week. I always felt my husband and I were good parents come to find out not so much.
    A bit of medical history for him, he had benign rolandic seizures from the age of 5 till he was 14 years old. He has been diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, ODD, and severe depression. I have tried to get him to go to therapy in the past. We ended up leaning on family doctor for medications. When he was young my husband was not on same page as me that he needed medications.
    He has stolen so much from us. Money, credit cards, a gun, and who knows what else.
    I have spent hours in the middle of the night to write the people to please cancel purchase that my son is ill. I'm tired. It has affected my health. I started going to a therapist to get help. It's so hard to do the things needed. I know he's ill. I realize now it really is my fault.
    He plays xbox all the time and I hear him talking to people and tell all these lies. About a job he doesn't have things he is going to do which are lies. It's so sad.
    When he was young I controlled and was the worse helicopter parent that can exsist...we moved from our home out to the country because I felt he was hanging with wrong crowd. I let him have only friends over I approved of. We gave him everything. He raced motorcycles from the age of 4 till he was 15. It was a huge family weekend. We raced weekly with him. He quit because he played football and his friends took up his time. He got to a point he did want to play anymore and I made him. Our town is so football oriented if your child does not play they aren't with the good crowd of kids. I am guilty of fixing fights for him between his friends, I pretty much did his homework and let him copy it if he couldn't or better yet wouldn't do it. I did two packets of classes his senior year to get him to graduate. He was in an IEP and I manipulated it so he for sure would graduate.
    We kicked him out twice and always let him back. One time when he kicked him out on way driving him to aunts he said he was going to kill himself. I felt obligated to commit him in a hospital because I could not bring him home or put that on to my sister. He stayed for 9 days for depression. It helped a while.
    He is a manipulator, he steals, lies and I know what I need to do but I cant.
    I have lied to my husband so many times in the past. I have told him all about the lies through my therapy. He said he always knew.
    I seriously am sick to my stomach. I guess I just need somewhere to vent at this time. I want to cry and scream at the same time. Tears rolling down my face at the time. I know I controlled his every move when he was young. I try so hard to stay out of it now. I have told him how I wronged him the huge mistakes I made. I beg him to go to therapy. I beg him to stop. I explain he will get caught within a matter of 24 hours because I check accounts daily. He knows it but yet keeps doing it.
    I'm just so sad. So very sad. I have ruined my son and I'm pretty sure it's unfixable. He will probably be in jail with in years...it's inevitable.
    I'm so embarrassed of his choices. He won't work...I watched so many kids that had drug addict, and drunk parents and they are off to college or have jobs. My husband and I don't do drugs or drink at all. I'm a stay at home mom. We have always included are kids in everything we do.
    I will say that I have a 9 year old and I have changed my parenting for her tremendously.
    Thanks for reading,
  2. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    Well I can only give you a advice he needs to fail on his own and face the consequences of his actions or inaction he will learn from his mistakes and wrong choices if he suffers the consequences well probably nothing is for sure in this world but the chances are higher that he will learn then if you shield him from the consequences.
    I understand he is sick but he is a adult and he needs to grow up and take responsibility for his actions. My advice is do not shield him from consequences let him have them.
    He stole from you he lied he is lazy well let him know what are the issues that come from that.
  3. Sooz

    Sooz New Member

  4. Sooz

    Sooz New Member

    I am laying in bed right now. I'm going to get up and make my husband aware of what he did again. I know we need to do something. I need to do something for my health. I'm going to die from it.
    I keep thinking I should just press charges but I'm so scared how it will affect his life here on out.
    I go to therapy again this next week ...I need it to make a game plan and stick to it.
    After I tell my husband everything is going to be fighting and screaming I don't know if I can handle it.
    Thank you for your thoughts,
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    He is 20. And living at home.
    For a start? Your house, your rules. PERIOD.
    If he is going to live there, you need to protect yourself. Even if you kick him out again, you need to protect yourself - he may try to break in.

    I'd be pulling internet access. Turn it off when you go to bed. Move where the router is - to a locked room - so he can't manually turn it back on and/or connect his xbox or computer to it. Change the Wi-Fi password, and don't give it to him. The computer isn't helping him.

    Lock up all valuables, and all knives. Change account numbers / card numbers if you have to - he might have them written down somewhere. If mail comes to your house, switch to a PO box, so he can't steal the mail and use the account statements to get the credit card and bank account numbers.

    Get rid of all guns, or find an off-site secure storage system. You don't need him having access to a gun under any circumstances.

    Please! Don't be so hard on yourself. Because in reality, you did NOT cause this. Sure, you might have made some different parenting choices along the way. MAYBE those changes might have made a bit of difference... or maybe, not. We do not generally CAUSE mental health problems. Sure, growing up being severely neglected or abused can cause mental health issues - doesn't sound like that was the case at all. Your son has a HEALTH issue. He also is still capable of choices. Stealing is a choice, for a minimum.

    We can only go forward from where we are. Warn him: all thefts will be reported to police and prosecuted. Then, protect both of you as much as possible. If he threatens suicide, call 911. If he threatens you, call police. He doesn't get a key to the house - he can only be home during certain hours, so that you are free to come and go and do what you need to do.

    I have a young adult son with multiple challenges including mental illness - and he holds down a full-time job, and generally abides by the (few, simple) rules of the house. He chooses to do that. He has made the decision that it is better to have some money than to not have money - at least he can do a little of what he wants to do. The stability of employment doesn't hurt his mental health at all (stability is a good thing, so is getting out of bed every morning). He still has major issues, and is still difficult to live with. I'm telling you this just so you can see that these kids do have options and can make choices.
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  6. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Sooz, welcome to our little corner of the world. I am so glad you found us here. You will find much needed support for what you are going through.

    This is not at all uncommon. Our Difficult Child create chaos in our lives which in turn causes stress which in turn affects our health. I know you love your son but you need to focus on YOU and your well being.

    I am glad that you are seeing a therapist but I do have one question. You say you realize it's your fault. Is that something your therapist suggested? If so, you need a new therapist. Please hear me, this is not your fault! All of us here have felt enormous guilt over how our Difficult Child lives have turned out but here's the thing, they, our Difficult Child have a choice as to how they will live their lives.
    I was sexually abused by my bio-father yet I did not go off the deep end. I made a choice to not let it affect me in a negative way.
    Life is all about choices. Yes, as parents we have all made mistakes but our children come of age and it's up to them to make choices for their own lives. From what you have shared I can tell that you are a loving and giving mother. You have done the best that you can.

    I too tried to hard to control my son and his actions. You are not alone.

    Again, this tells me that you loved your son so much that you did not want to see him suffer or fail. Did you enable him, sure. I too have enabled my son, so have many others here.

    Bravo for you! When your son threatened suicide you did the right thing by having him committed. It's a threat you always want to take seriously, however be aware that our d-c's in their manipulative behavior will use threats like this to try and guilt us into doing what they want.

    Oh do I know all about this. I have been there too many times with my son.

    I also shared with my son that I felt I made too many mistakes in raising him. All that did was give him ammo to use against me.
    There is no such thing as a perfect parent. We all make mistakes but that does not give our children the right to blame us.
    As I said, my bio-father sexually abused me. When he and mother divorced, my mother sent me to live with him. He swore that he would never do it again. Did my mother make a mistake, absolutely. Did I hold it against her, never.

    You have not ruined your son. You do not have that kind of power, no parent does. Your son can turn his life around if he chooses to do so but it has to be his choice.

    I had to have my son arrested a few times. I do not regret it. Here's how I look at it. If a stranger were to steal from me or vandalize my home I would call the police. My son should not be treated any different. When we don't hold them accountable we continue to enable their destructive behavior.

    Is your therapist helping you to learn how to set boundaries with your son? This is key in learning how to take your life back.
    There is a good article at the top of this forum about detaching, I encourage you to read it.

    I'm glad you are here with us. Please know that you are not alone.
    Keep posting and let us know how you are doing.

    ((HUGS)) to you...............
  7. Sooz

    Sooz New Member

    I feel so unbelievably supported here already. I told myself and my son the year of 2016 will be different. When it happens I will tell and there will be consequences. I gave him a chance to decide his consequences. He couldn't think of one so as of right now he does what I say or his car gets either sold or my husband told him he would take the hatchet he worked so hard with ,with the money he earned from that he stole from us and tear his car up with it. I told my husband. He knows now. Which he will make my sons life a living hell. I'm just glad he knows so we can work together. I usually try to handle it myself behind closed doors which never works. I appreciate the support here I need it so much....
    Trying to change,
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  8. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the forum Sooz and so sorry for your need to be here.
    You have gotten some good advice, so I will be brief......
    GUILT. Don't go there. We are all responsible for our own actions. Even our young adult children. We have all done it, run the tapes of parenting over and over and picked out situations we regret, wondering if that is why our d cs are going off the rails. Stop it. It is not your fault. GUILT. Guilt keeps us in the game of enabling, and takes away from the accountability that belongs to our d cs. They are making bad choices, THEIR choices. The sooner you see this, the better, because you will be able to think with a clear head. Guilt is a fog we get stuck in, that keeps us depressed and unable to be in the present. When we feel guilty for our parenting mistakes (and we have ALL been there) we are taking all of the accountability and fault away from our d cs. This does you, or your son no good. I think our d cs can smell our guilt from miles away, and they latch on to it and use it. It is their weapon.
    My two will even tell me,
    "If you this, or you that, or you didn't this, or that......"
    Culminating in to

    THAT is a big pile of smelly :poop:.

    I bought into this way too long and it sent me spinning into enabling land for years. The more guilt I felt, the more I got stuck in trying to fix it, the worse they got. Do you know why? Through that fog of guilt, my kids never took on the responsibility for their bad choices. They stole from us too, Sooz. No conscience. No remorse. They had taken my guilt and turned it around as free ticket to go off the rails.......
    This is good. You have done your parenting of your 20 year old adult son. The biggest thing I wished I had done, was look at my younger boy and realize all of the stuff that was happening with his sisters, was affecting HIM. He grew up watching their shenanigans. It was very unfair to him.
    Our younger kids are watching, and learning from their older sibs. They are watching and learning from our responses.

    The wonderful thing about life, is that every day, every hour, minute and second, we have the chance to do things differently.
    If you cannot stop the madness for yourself, because it is too hard, look at that little blossoming girl of yours, and do it for her.
    She is watching, and learning and waiting.

    You have parented your son the best you could, under difficult circumstances and it sounds to me like you did a darn good job. All of the values and life lessons you taught him are in there Sooz.

    Focus on you, hubs and your little girl. Your son will do what he does, until he figures out it doesn't work.

    Give him his wings, let him go.

    It is your girls time, she deserves your focus,
    she deserves peace in the home,
    and so do you and your husband.

    I am sorry for your aching heart, I know it is so very hard.

    You are here now, keep posting and sharing, it really, really helps.
    You are not alone.

    Take care,
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  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I don't recommend "destructive" behavior coming from a parent. And at 20? He shouldn't be choosing the consequences. The legal system doesn't let you choose consequences, for the most part. Neither do bosses.

    It shouldn't be "do what I say" either.

    Try sitting down together - you and hubby - and come up with a list of behaviors that every person in the home must abide by. That goes for you and hubby and daughter, too, not just son. What are your expectations? You don't need a 100 rules. Respect would be one - for people and possessions. Internet use and behavior expectations. Cleanliness - personal hygene, use of kitchen, bathroom, cleaning up after yourself. Whether there is access to food outside of set meal and snack times (yes, goes for hubby too).

    Unless your son is on the autism spectrum somewhere, you don't need a consequence for every rule. He needs to look at the rules, and either decide he is prepared to live within them, or prepare to move out. It's not about "the next infraction". If possible, he needs to choose before the next infraction.
  10. Sooz

    Sooz New Member

  11. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    Can you take the car and park it elsewhere? A friends back yard? Pay for a fenced in storage area? I think it would be hard for anyone to see "their" car and not have access.

    Hope things are calmer and headed the right direction! KSM
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  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi Sooz. Every single one of us could say this about ourselves, true or not.

    Who wants to raise a child who ends up with problems? So what do we do? We blame ourselves. Stop.
    And now that there are problems, had you been a laissez faire and disorganized parent you would be blaming yourself for that.

    The first thing that needs to happen is cut the self-blame. It gets in the way. This is a no fault, no blame situation. It is what it is. There is a situation that needs a response. That is all. Neutrality.

    Your task now is to determine what will be the response. You have gotten excellent ideas here about money, car, control in the home, etc. That you are going to therapy is great. That you are telling the truth, all of it, to your dear husband, great.

    And others have focused on the key: he is responsible for his actions and their consequences. He needs to experience the consequences of his choices, in order to learn.

    You control you and your home. Curtail, control and cut off any aspect of his environment where you have taken responsibility. If you want that he continue to live with you, set up rules and obligations that you want, and that you will enforce one hundred percent. These may include that he be treatment and medication compliant. If he does not adhere to your rules, he leaves.

    Many of us believe that it is not the best option that our children live with us, for them or us. Think about discussing a plan that he become independent, with that expectation.

    If you believe him to be seriously disabled to the extent that he cannot work, encourage him to apply for SSI for mental illness (if you are here in the States.)The Department of Rehabilitation works with disabled adults to help them work.They also can pay for training. With my own son I had the expectation that he work or engage in some kind of productive and constructive activity. When he would not, he had to leave.

    I agree with Insane, report every theft, dangerous behavior including threats of self-harm to the police.

    Now that you and husband are communicating fully, now is the time to decide what rules you want, and want are your expectations of son. Are there drugs and alcohol use involved? Could there be?

    We will be here with you every step of the way. We are glad you found us. Keep posting on as many threads as you have time for. It really helps. None of this is your fault. Really. All of us, each of us has been in the same place. You will feel better. Very soon. You have begun. The hard part is over. You are not alone. Not one bit.

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    Last edited: Jan 30, 2016
  13. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Sorry for your sadness. My advice is to step back and let him learn consequences. You can not control a legal adult. You can only control yourself.

    I agree with tsking the car, cutting your monetary support of your son and turning him in if he breaks the law or he'll think he can steal from strangers too. He needs to know he can be arrested before he tries it elsewhere and finds himself in jail.

    Hugs for your hurting heart.
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  14. Sooz

    Sooz New Member

    It's hard not to be so mad to want to destroy the things they have bought with your money. I remember one late night I went into his room and slapped his face. Put my body up to him face to face with my finger in his face screaming. I lost it.
    My husband is going thru same cycle I have. I believe there is a cycle for this behavior for someone going through it.
    Therapist told me to tell him to take responsibility by deciding with us what consequences will be.
    I seriously don't know what they should be....I'm working on deciding what it will be.
    My husband decided the stuff he's recently purchased xbox is ours till the items are returned.
    He recently bought 4 wheels for his car supposedly with money he got from selling stuff. He earned a little money from working with his dad. So his dad said first condequence he will take a wheel right then till things got returned and money back in our account.
    My son is saying mean stuff to me behind his dad's back. He called me a b*tch. He said I threw him under bus by telling. I told him I don't care anymore I warned him I was telling his dad in the year of 2016. My new years resolution was to stop covering up his actions. I told him I don't care if he loves me anymore I can't live like this and it's killing me. I told him he can hate me. I explained that it makes it easier to do what needs to be done. Of course he turned around and said he still loves me he just didn't understand why I told on him. He's a master manipulator. You all on this forum have given me strength to stand up and not take it anymore.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2016
  15. Sooz

    Sooz New Member

    Unless your son is on the autism spectrum somewhere, you don't need a consequence for every rule.[/QUOTE]
  16. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi Sooz.

    Welcome to the forums.

    Sounds like your son has been able to come between you and your husband. But not anymore.

    You and hubby need to decide together what the rules/consequences are and what will, and won't, happen in your family home. Present a united front. Let son know that from now on you and your hubby are of one mind and you share everything with each other--there are no secrets between you.

    He can't come between you anymore.

    And son doesn't get to decide. It is your home, you make the rules.

    If you disagree, do it in private. In front of the kids, be a solid wall. Both kids will benefit from this.

    It's a new day, Sooz.

    Stay with us on the forums.

    Remember, you won't do it all perfectly. We all make mistakes. Then we pick ourselves up and try again.

    Stay strong, Sooz. We are here.

  17. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Autism and Asperger's are NOT "illnesses". They are developmental differences. People on the spectrum think differently. Proper conduct needs to be modeled with 100% consistency. They need to be given a reward for doing things right, or a redo if it was wrong - need to consistently learn the right way. Delayed rewards don't work either. Feedback needs to be almost immediate. There are NO medications for Autism or Asperger's. There may be medication for some side-effects (like high-irritability), or for co-morbid conditions.

    Mental illnesses may be co-morbid with Autism or Asperger's. Depression, anxiety, bi-polar... none of those are "rare" in these kids, but not everyone has them either. They are simply possibilities. One of the challenges in working with a kid who is on the spectrum AND has a mental illness is that the things that work for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)/Asperger's are different from what works for mental illness. It can be a bit of a conundrum. There are medications and therapies that help with mental illness. Therapy, however, is much more challenging with a person on the spectrum, and most therapists are not equipped to deal with these people.
  18. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    There was member that posted here that said that both her and her husband are on the spectrum and yet they managed to have a home a business and a son. Now from what I understood it was not smooth sailing and had its issues that most of us do not experience and without help from family they did not even knew they where on the spectrum only way later in life as adults after they had their home, business and son. Again it was not smooth sailing to reach the point there now but it was possible.
  19. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Autism Spectrum Disorders are just that... a spectrum. Some people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are extremely high functioning. And others will need significant help for all of their lives.
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  20. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Autism spectrum is not an illness. My son has it. It is a neurological difference. My son is 22 and so cool and a blessing to our family. He has no mental illness but since Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is a developmental delay he has younger interests yet he
    Lives in his own apartment, works part time and pays his own bills. He is very happy, not ill.

    Just wanted to add with IC that it is not an illness and that asders function anywhere from needing total support for life to working full time and choosing to get married. It has a lot to do with how severely the person is affected. Some adult help is needed more often than not and there are community resouces and ssdi if necessary.
    Good luck to all.