In need of wisdom and advice


Well-Known Member
I have tried to help him over and over thinking that each time maybe THIS time he will get his act together. And it is so hard to find out what is available for adults who struggle with so many issues.
Hello Csmom. I struggle with this too. I go back and forth in my head. If he is mentally ill, I say to myself, and lacks the insight and judgement to make good choices, how will he ever make good choices? Or I ask myself, if he wants to keep using marijuana, how will he ever decide to stop--especially because his insight is so poor?

You see, this is addictive thinking on my part. It is circular and there is no way out as long as I engage in it. It's just self-torture.

The reality is that there is a way out for everyone. A way out is not dependent upon logic. It's not even dependent on learning or good judgement. Just one day it can happen. It is not even dependent upon resources. A chance encounter. A bad experience. And just like that, things change, people change.

But mothers can't make sons change. I am a case in point. My son has had access to treatment programs, job programs,SSI, psychotherapy, spiritual programs, etc. He just is not interested.

I went to AA for a while. I wanted to learn about how people change in a 12 step program. There are all kinds of people with all kinds of diagnoses. And one day, they decide to go to a meeting. And then they go to 90 meetings in 90 days. And then it becomes a year. And that is what it takes to change.

Not necessarily meetings. It can be other things too. Doing things differently day by day by day. This is something that does not require much at all--no complex thinking, deciding, judgment, or insight. It just requires one day to try another approach. And do it again. And again. Until we are changed. A simple yes or no. Every single day. Mothers can't help sons do this.

I don't think it's our sons' diagnoses or problems that are the problem. I think they just aren't there yet. That's why nothing works. I am not saying that treatment doesn't work. But it only works if they work it.

The same thing is true for us. -
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New Member
Yes, Copa, they just aren’t there yet. I feel addicted to my son. Addicted to his problems. And every time I think I am just helping him get back up. Only for him to continue to make bad decisions. He is due in court in a couple of weeks. He was on probation for a year. If he would have completed his probation, his record would have been cleared. But he didn’t. He got arrested in another state and he hasn’t finished his community service hours. I am assuming he will get some jail time for the violations. I am okay with it. He has to learn. He was living in a tent in the other state where he is awaiting a court date and unable to leave the state. I bought him a bike to help him to get to a new job he started. He then spent a few nights with a girl from work and when he went back to his campsite, everything was gone. Again, not my fault but he calls me to vent and complain. He just doesn’t seem to learn from natural consequences. I am starting to see a counselor this week. I need to get stronger with my boundaries and I need help with the anxiety of my son’s chaotic life.


Sending good vibes...
Speaking based upon my experience with my son, I don't think that they can change "with us." They have to at least begin the process away from us. This shows good faith, but it also allows them to stand alone and to develop a core that is based upon their own choices and efforts. I don't think they can develop a core when we are providing care. and protection. It's too late for that. This is where the helpless' quote of a couple of weeks back is so pertinent. I forget about the particulars, but it had to do with needing to have to push out, push away, do by oneself, in order to fully function, to fully develop and self-realize. If somebody tries to do it for them, the process is stunted
This is so true and I appreciate your words to remind me again of what I know in my heart of hearts. I've been telling my older son that I can't see him during my weekdays after work. I told him it was "my time" to unwind etc. I believe I've told him that a few times and yet he actually just texted me about something and "my schedule" today. I told him this again and his reply was "oh.OK" like it was the first time he heard it.

His behavior has been steady and on the improvement this past week but he undoubtedly would like to be around me all the time, so that my heart continues to soften and enable him. I know from past experience that the more I'm able to separate myself from him or my other son, the stronger I am in setting boundaries. Otherwise, I get so entangled in where they end and I begin that their hurts become my hurts and I do anything I can to eliminate them. The best thing I can do for me and him right now is to continue to fight for my space allowing him the ability to try to stand on his own two feet.

He takes it that I don't like him or don't want to be with him but I've emphasized that it's not healthy for him to want to be with me 24/7. I'm sure in his emotional state, he doesn't see it that way but I have to be the clear-minded one.

It's a struggle.


Well-Known Member
Dear JayPee

I've thought a lot about your last post. I am trying to sit with the situation to see how it settles. I just wrote down some random thoughts with the idea that maybe one of them might make sense..

I think you are very hard on yourself--for no good reason.

First of all, I want to say that I think you're doing great. The only thing I can think to change is I am wondering if it's helpful to tell him what is healthy and what's not. I am thinking that maybe just the boundaries are enough. Just leave it at that. It's like they say: No is a complete sentence.

If your son doesn't seem to want to take it in, is that your problem? Why stress? Just keep re-stating the limit, like he's 2 years old--in a neutral voice. You know what your needs are and that you take care of yourself gives you the stamina and the space to act towards your sons in a way that benefits them, too. You understand that and you wrote it and I am repeating it.

Whatever reaction or response that your son has, is his business. You know that, too. But I am repeating that too.

I am having other thoughts now, too. I am wondering if it makes sense to be direct with your son To sit down with him and tell him something like this: You are making a lot of positive changes. And I also see that you are feeling vulnerable and lonely. What can I do to support you to take steps to fill these needs? And if he says, I just want to be with you in the house....say something like this: I am your mother and I love you but I can't fill those needs. (Is this son gay? Or am I thinking of another mother's son?)

I am wondering what it is that your son is afraid to face. It is not your role to fill that or solve it--but maybe he would consider therapy. Or if he's already doing therapy there are all kinds of other things that help people come to grips with themselves. Not just 12 step groups but spiritually-oriented things. I got into this very late in life but these things are really changing me and filling my life.

What I am trying to say here, is maybe this is the human condition. Maybe your son is suffering in a way that everybody suffers at some point. Maybe all there is to do is to let him be. To love him. To take care of your needs. To set boundaries. And to let him move his way through this, as he can. You don't have to fix this. You can't.

Love, Copa

PS This post helped me to come to grips a little bit with my situation.
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Sending good vibes...
"I feel like when you're trying to tell the person you need to have space from to take care of yourself, (i.e., my son) they look at you like you're crazy not thinking that their horrible situation should take precedence over any other factor in your life.
Then I start to think, I'm I wrong? It's a struggle."

I have recommended this book before, "Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist" by
Margalis Fjelstad - it was recommended to me by my counselor. It describes how to get out of this way of thinking, it helped me a lot! It talks about how borderlines (which seems to describe nearly all d.c's) will always follow the Drama Triangle - either you (or they) are a victim, a rescuer, or a persecutor. These 3 roles are interchangeable all the time, but you have to break out of the triangle to escape the situation. Lots of other useful stuff in there!

I wanted you to know that I got that book and read most of it but jumped right to the back section on "how I can get better". I will re-read it through and through! It is so informative and reinforces so much of what I already know about myself and my sons behaviors. It uses the word "caretaker" but it's pretty interchangeable with co-dependent and very, very familiar to me. All things I've read and know but I feel it even goes a bit deeper than some co-dependency books I've read.

I feel that it has helped me to see things for what they really are with sons behaviors. In my case, I often (LOL, most times) think it's me that's doing something wrong but it's their behavior and knowing that there's nothing "I" can do to change that except to change myself and my worries, fears and anxieties (which is a huge job!) is awakening. I say there is nothing wrong with me but of course, there is because I'm an enabler.

It's my own thoughts and behaviors I have to work on and I have so much more work to do. First, being married to an alcoholic for 30 yrs. (which literally warped my poor brain for the rest of my life) and then having two sons with "issues" I have a long road ahead. But I have been at this "healing" process for about 4 yrs. now and have come a long way. I learned in Al-anon we too get "sick" from the behaviors of our loved ones with these issues and it took years to "get sick" and will take many, many more to get better. I am in such a better place in my life now. I do slip back and crumble from time to time but now I have "tools" to put the pieces back together again.

I'm a regular humpty dumpty!

Anyways...thank you again for that recommendation.
Hi Jaypee, that is so good to hear, I'm glad the book was some help. Though as you say, you have had so much on your plate for so long I realise it's not going to be a magic cure! My situation seems very mild compared to yours. I haven't read any books about co-dependency so I can't compare that either though I do want to get the one by Melody Beattie that everyone here recommends. I am currently waiting to see if my son ever gets back in touch, and I often wonder what I will do if he does. He left our household last August after behaving erratically and continually accusing us of all sorts of abuse. He cut ties with us, which hurt his dad badly but for me it was a relief. My main struggle now is with myself and the feelings of guilt about that relief and that I must have let him down in some way when he was a child, the book unfortunately does read from the point of view of the problem being with a partner or sometimes a parent, I wish it spoke more about parent-child relationships as it's not what we want to just "end the relationship" as it sometimes recommends!


Sending good vibes...

I've ready the Melody Beattie books and they are terrific. Your dollar will be well spent.

I'm sorry that you and your son are estranged. I've gone through cycles of that myself. In August of 2018 while I was on a mini 3 days vacation my older son and I had a disagreement about money. Specifically, I had given him enough and had enough of his verbal abuse and false accusations about things that we did to him or neglected to do for him as parents. I had to block him for quite a while and I didn't end up in communication with him until some money of his got direct deposited into my account (because we had set it up as such, since he had and still has no banking account). Nothing was perfect, for sure when we reunited but honestly I needed those 8 months apart from him. Sure my heart was heavy at times but the longer he was away the stronger I felt. I knew if he hadn't gotten in touch with me (because they know how to when they need to) that he was somehow getting along.

During that time apart he had actually gotten a very good job and had been working for about 6 months. He had done some growing during that time. Things have reverted a bit now, but I can only hope that during this separation period that your son is getting better. Even if in some small subtle ways. That's how it usually happens. We can only keeping hope alive for them and for our healing.

Sending hugs..


Well-Known Member
I feel guilty that things are easier with Kay not speaking to us. Although she has no job, somehow Lee and Kay are surviving in an old RV and relying on themselves. Lee works at a pizza parlor. Not a big paycheck but he works more hours than he used to. A cousin who is still allowed on Kats FB page says she thinks they both for on SSI for Disabilities. Why they don't look for a cheap studio apartment or Sec 8 Housing I'm not sure. They are not thriving but Lee is working more than before and both are using government services which they had been too lazy to look into when near us. Plus Kay liked a nice lifestyle on our dime, which we provided for a long time. But our role in her life is gone, she is angry, and the two of them are managing without us, which is good.

Kay thinks she is punishing us by, as our cousin says she calls it, divorcing us from her life. But by the end our main concern was her son and she gave him to our other daughter Amy so he is safe now. It troubles us that she gave away her son and never calls to ask about him.

Sometimes breaks, of all time lines, are good for them and us. I meanwhile try hard to live one day at a time and no longer think about Kay's future. I can't predict it and whatever will be....I believe it is God who can help the most. We are grateful for Jaden although it is clear he has a different type of life ahead. He is full of special needs but is getting the best possible help. He is difficult sometimes but my daughter Amy and other family are huge, endless support systems.

We actually mostly live in peace and as a happy family. And surviving without us, which had to happen.

Love and hugs


Sending good vibes...
Just updating...

I'm not sure I'm making any progress. So my oldest son (32) who has a place to live until the end of the month but won't go back to live with roommates (because of I feel his own paranoia won't allow it) is living in his car.

As I mentioned previously about 3 weeks ago I feel like he had a psychotic episode which caused him to have a spiritual awakening but also a bit of crazy has come with it. First my younger son told me that older son told him he was on adderral but then found out that he was buying "expensive" pot. Well, he used that last of his income tax return money to live in his car, buy cigarettes, food and smoke pot or whatever it is he was taking.

He honestly, as some of you may recall from my previous posts was always aggressive, angry, verbally abuse and blamed me and my ex -husband for all his problems. He now is the total opposite and is constantly (and sincerely) thanking me for being the best mother in the world, he knows now the wrong he's done etc. This is all good but I confronted him about the adderral and pot and he did say he smoke pot but nothing else.

Where I'm at is feeling the pinch again financially, even though I'm so angry that he blew all his IRS return and now has no gas, no food, no job and psychologically won't go back to his apartment and is freezing in his car at night, I'm feeling compelled to help him.

You all know and I know I shouldn't help him to continue in his car but he isn't psychologically well to some degree and he won't seek help.

I think before when he was nasty and horrible towards me that it was easier to detach but I'm having difficulties figuring out how to deal with this.

Just putting this out there because I'm feeling torn inside.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
JayPee. I'm so sorry to hear this and yes I can totally understand that you want to help him.

If that is what you feel then you should do it. You know that you need boundaries and it doesn't mean that you have to throw all of those to the wind. I don't think you are saying you even want to do that.

No one will judge you if you help him. Will that make him worse in the long run? Probably not. Thankfully summer is around the corner. He seems to learn slowly to make better choices. Not sure why this men/boys are like this and take so much to get on track where some just do it naturally.