It’s always something

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Elsi, Sep 17, 2018.

  1. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Nor should you drop everything. Your son is a grown man, no longer your little boy. One thing that really helped me to let go was to picture my son as he really is, a grown man that makes very poor decisions. No matter how chaotic and dysfunctional our adult children can be, they are not our responsibility. We as their parents should not have to suffer consequences of their choices. Of course our hearts break, we hate to see them suffer and in pain but we cannot make their suffering and pain go away.

    You are the kind of mother who loves her son but is fed up with the chaos and drama produced by the poor choices he is making. I would be no different. Please do not be hard on yourself. You are a good mother, a loving mother but you have your limits just as we all do. You must protect your heart and your sanity.

    I know it's easier said than done but try not to catastrophize your thinking. Live in the present and live for yourself. What will happen with your son will happen regardless of anything you do or don't do. We as parents have no control over our adult children.

    Sending you ((HUGS)) and wishing you a better day!!
  2. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Thank you. Tanya. I've really been struggling, because on some level I know my need to work, the length of the drive into the city, my poor night driving ability, and all of the other more practical reasons I haven't gone down are just excuses. I could get down there. I freelance - I could drive down in the daytime and make up my work at night. I'm my own boss, I set my own schedule, as long as I hit my client deadlines. If E were hit by a car, even though she's 2 hours away now, I'd find a way to get up there and be with her. I can take a laptop, work in a hospital. I've done it before.

    The real reason I haven't gone to see him is I'm afraid. Afraid that I'll get sucked further into drama and dysfunction. That his problems will become mine to solve. That he will be looking to me for help through this, and when I am there in person with him and looking in his eyes and seeing his pain I won't be able to say no. I'll start problem solving. Where will you live after your eviction? What are you going to do about work? What do you need to make it work? How can I help you? Here, take my money. Here, take my heart. Here, take my life and everything I've worked for. Use it all up until there is nothing left.

    And I can't do it. I know that's not the answer. I can only love him from a distance, because if I get too close he will drag me under with him. It's like being in a little rowboat and having a fish on the line that weighs twice as much as you. You're never going to be able to pull it into the boat. All you can do is cut the line, before it drags you under.

    I remember this when I am strong. And then I forget it again when I'm weak. Because I still see the little boy in those eyes. The little boy I couldn't save or adequately protect.

    Trying very hard to turn off 24 Hour Mother Disaster News today. Diving into a complex work project for the rest of the day. And turning off my phone. That helps. At least I know he's in a clean warm bed and getting fed while he's at the hospital, so he's all right for today, right? And if he's not worried about his tomorrow, how can I be? I can't take more responsibility for his future than he does.

    Sigh. And the beat goes on. Lah di dah di dah.
  3. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    I think this says it all.

  4. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    What has really helped me get past these feelings is to have strong, firm boundaries in place. Once I made up my mind as to what I would and would not tolerate from my son, what I would and would not do for him, it has made it much easier to deal with him. Those feelings can still surface but when you lean into them and see them for what they are, just feelings, and you remember the boundaries you have set, it really does help to get through it.
    It might help to actually write it down. Make 2 columns, one What I will do for son and the other what I will not do for son. Keep the list at the ready. Also, on the list you might find it helpful to write down some simple responses. "I'm not able to help you" is my go to phrase when my son would ask for money. If he kept at it I would just repeat the same line over and over. When he would ask why I would repeat the same line. One thing to always remember, we do not owe any kind of explanation as to why we will not do what they are asking of us.

    And now, I've got this song stuck in my head. :bigsmile:
  5. Nature

    Nature Active Member

    The wisdom of all the posters and the sharing of experiences has always left me in awe. I found myself nodding in agreement at all the post. My son too always blamed others and never took responsibility for his own actions. Right now things are going positive for him but I too remain guarded so afraid he may resort to his past choices.

    We have to remind ourselves we are good mothers - like you Elsi I didn't visit my son for the first couple days he was in intensive care. He was not only in a lot of pain but in the midst of withdrawal and as I am always the target of his anger I felt it best for his own recovery to not be there until his pain and withdrawal symptoms were stabilized. You, Elsi are important and must take care of YOU.
    I felt like the main character in Sophie's Choice as I chose to assist my other child who has Aspergers and was in the middle of selling his place, and moving across the country. He found it overwhelming with the paperwork and the steps needed for the sale, storage, moving truck and travel arrangements and I chose to be there for him instead. That son has never asked for my help, nor money or anything else. Despite his limitations he purchased his bachelor suite on his own without a cent from me and has managed to do fine in life. Always seemed so unfair to me that his younger brother was the one that took up the majority of my finances, energy and other resources because of the choices he made.
    I'm thinking of you as your story is similar to my story in many ways regarding the choices our sons have made in terms of their drug addiction. Hugs
  6. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Well I talked to him this Afternoon and wish I hadn’t. He is depressed and angry. And probably irritable from no alcohol or Marijuana. He might be getting discharged today. He can’t lift more than 10 pounds for several weeks until his ribs heel. He was able to reschedule the interview he was supposed to have for Monday but doesn’t know now if he can handle the job. It’s bar backing and requires lifting kegs and crates.

    He complained about the roommates and how unfair the whole situation is. He said he doesn’t want to go back there when he’s discharged to sleep on a blow up mattress in a partially finished basement. I said I’m sure it’s not ideal and asked what his alternative was. He said he didn’t know. Very angry. He said he has no alternative and I know it so why do I ask him. He said he’s thinking about just hitchhiking out of here when his discharged. I asked where he though he might go. Again very angry - I don’t know, there’s no plan, there’s nothing for me here but there’s nothing for me anywhere so what’s the point. Lots of long awkward silences between us, and angry outbursts from him. I said I’m sorry this is so hard right now and I don’t have an easy answer for him. He said yeah well you could you know. I didn’t answer right away so he said he was going to call a friend and hung up on me.

    He didn’t ask directly to come stay with me, or for me to come get him when he is discharged, or for money. He didn’t ask for anything. But I know he wants me to offer and is angry I’m not offering. I know he feels I am abandoning him in his time of need. And that I’m being cold and withholding. I feel cold and withholding. The words unspoken just hang between us. I have the space. I have money I could give him - not a lot, but it would be a lot to him. I have a car and could have gone down to see him or picked him up at discharge. But I didn’t offer. And he didn’t ask.

    This is a really good idea. I think I need to do this. I really struggle in these conversations, with what to say when I’m not going to say ‘let me help you.’

    Thanks, Nature. It’s hard to think this way. As moms we get so used to sacrificing. But we aren’t meant to do it forever, are we? I just feel beat down, by the constant drama and endless crises. They seem to need a 24/7 crisis management team just to get through basic life.
  7. Tired out

    Tired out Active Member

    I am sad to read the way his life has unfolded and what it is doing to you, Elsi. It makes me wonder what has to happen to these people (my son included) to wake them up. To make them want a better life and to be willing to work for it. Why do they blame us (in their heads, even if they don't say it out loud) for their short coming. It is never-ever their fault it is always some one else's.
    It is obvious from your posts you are tormented over C.
    Hugs and prayers of peace for you. prayers and wishing a dawning realization for C.
  8. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    That’s my question, too. It looks so much harder to me to live the way they live than to just suck it up and take care of yourself.
  9. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    I have been here many times with my son. Those awkward conversations and the silence. I imagine in those silent moments my son was probably waiting for me to offer him help. Here's the thing, if my son, your son or any other adult child wants help they need to be willing to ask for it. They also need to know that the answer may be no, especially from those who have gone above and beyond to try and help them before. Even though they are adults, they continue to act like a child. They want to do what they want to do but without the reality of consequence. They want mommy and daddy to continue funding and enabling them and that is not good for anyone.
    Your son may feel like you have abandoned him but that is on him. You have not abandoned him. He is an adult. He has made his own choices and there are natural consequences. You are not cold or withholding.
    Let's just say that you or I had a million dollars to give to our sons. Money would never be an issue for them again. What would their lives look like? Would the money suddenly resolve all their issues? No, I do not believe it would. For my son, I would imagine he would blow through it fairly quickly as he has yet to learn the real value of money. Money and things will never help our adult children. Until our adult children get sick and tired of making poor choices and having to deal with the natural consequences of those choices they will never change. It is through life's struggles that we grow. We need to allow our adult children to struggle and find their own way.

    Hang in there Elsi. ((HUGS)) to you.............
  10. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Tanya, thank you so much. Your posts are always so reassuring and give me strength to stay the course.

    I know this is right. When N was in the hospital with his Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and the bills were approaching the half million mark, i fretted to one of his nurses about the money one day. And I’ll never forget what she said to me: ‘that’s just money. Any problem that can be solved with money isn’t really a problem. Worry about the problems that can’t be solved with money.’ And I realized she was right. My biggest problems were the ones no amount of money in the world would solve. And that is still true in my life today. I can’t fix C, or S, with all the money in the world. And that’s a hard truth to face.

    I’m so glad to have found you all here. Thank you for helping to keep me strong.
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  11. Nature

    Nature Active Member

    Hi Elsi,
    I really like that advice that was given to you. That nurse was very insightful.
    Sigh those phone calls they rip your heart apart don't they? On one hand our minds can't stop thinking about them and we often fret when they don't respond to calls then when they do and it's full of anger and accusations we berate ourselves for speaking to them. It's such a horrible dance we parents of drug addicts are forced to endure. It's enough to drive a sane person mad and worse is that we can't discuss this with just anyone for fear of judgement and lack of understanding from those who have never been through the dance. This forum is a godsend as has helped me numerous times over the years. I was so broken when I first arrived and was greeted with understanding when I told my story. The people on here are so wise , non judgmental and give great advice. Elsi, no you are not cold nor withholding, rather you are a beloved mother who is protecting herself and your son as the ultimate decision is his to make. By giving in to all his demands you will give up a piece of your soul and dislike the person you've become. There is no doubt in my mind you are a loving mother which is why you are standing your ground as it is in his best interest although he doesn't see it that way at this point in time.

    I support your choices. Hugs
  12. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Nature, thank you so much. That helps a lot to hear. It is indeed a terrible dance. It helps a lot to talk to others in the middle of it. You’re right, no one else understands.
  13. Smithmom

    Smithmom Active Member

    Hospitals have social workers to help with housing, medical bills, welfare. Not your job, its theirs. Suggest you do one of 2 thinga... Call them and ask them to go to his room and help him or my choice would be to tell him to ask the nurse to have them visit him. He doesn't need to lift a finger. He just needs to ask. If he's refusing their help then he doesn't really want help. He wants cash. Are you a helper or a cash machine? Ask him which he wants you to be.

    If he's calling from the hospital they'll postpone the job interview for 4 weeks till he can do the job.

    None of his medical or bike bills are yours. Putting your emotion into anger about his behavior, well intentioned, foolish or whatever is wasting and hurting yourself. Yes, he's cavalier about money but if you don't like his attitude don't give it to him. You can't control or change his attitude. Only yourself.

    This may not be popular on this board but yes, I do know people who have died of the cold. Presumably drunk or high when they fell asleep but it does happen. I cannot agree that it never happens. Not that I am suggesting that we should run out and rescue our kids, provide them places to live or whatever. But ignoring reality is not something I find helpful. I have an addict who falls asleep on heroin or methadone. It is my reality when he's homeless in winter.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2018
  14. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    I wish I’d thought of the social worker aspect while he was there. He said discharged now. He did file the paperwork to be treated as an indigent patient - they’ll write off those bills. But I don’t think he talked with a social worker about anything for after he was discharged.

    I normally don’t hand over cash anymore. And I don’t pay bills I didn’t incur. His credit is shot anyway, so nothing to try to protect there! Setting him up in this apartment was really a one time thing, because he seemed so ready to make a go of it if he could get stabilized. Live and learn, I guess...

    If he ends up back there I’ll push the social worker suggestion!

    And yes, I know people can and do die in the cold. Of course I know. That’s why I so wanted this room to work out. I’m facing the reality every day that two of my children are unlikely to outlive me. If they do not get off the road they are on, they’ll be lucky to get to my age. I know that, and when I write it down like that I feel like I can’t breath. Because there is nothing I can do about it, if they don’t want to chose a different road.
  15. Smithmom

    Smithmom Active Member

    My son is a heroin addict. The chances of a heroin addict seeing 30 aren't good. Plus he was selling street level to support his habit. Was violently robbed at gunpoint several times. Injected himself in the neck one time when he couldn't find a vein. I know the fear that he won't make it another few mo. Thus my great relief that he's in prison 9 yrs. Credit ratings? LOL. He will never get housing or a job for selling to support his habit. No violence. No gun use. He is an addict. That's what our system does with repeat offenders. But mine is alive and statistically much more likely to see 40. I haven't seen anything on this board I haven't lived through.

    So Elsi I feel your pain. We live with these fears. Now I have to worry about what happens in prisons. Only difference between you and I is that years ago I had to detach. I have younger kids with different problems. I needed to function. So I learned to detach. I didn't run when he needed help. Period. He knew I wouldn't. I didn't go to police stations, courts, hospitals he knew I wouldn't so didn't even call. Lousy mother? Probably what he told everyone. But he started using at 11. His behavior went down long before that. By the time he was 18 the state, and every program, therapist and doctor had given up. Before 18 I had to run. State forced me to take him home at 17. After 18 it was over. So call me callous. I also detached when he was in elementary from what other parents said. Detachment is the only way to your life. Maybe you will outlive them. But what will you be by then? What life will you have left? What do you deserve?
  16. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    I am so sorry for all the pain he has put you through. It seems we are all in this together. I pray all our kids find a way to turn their lives around before it’s too late.
  17. Smithmom

    Smithmom Active Member

    I do too. And that we find a way to live with their illnesses. We need our prayers too. I pray for my own strength often.
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