Last night he said "no contact." He called this morning.


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My son gets angry at everything I say or do not say.

M my SO thinks his underlying anger is that we do not let him live with us so that he can dominate us and our house. Anything I say to my son is the wrong thing. Because it is not, yes, live with us and destroy our lives, please.

For the first 12 hours I was actually pretty OK with "no contact." I am tired of his attitude. Yet, I know without contact I worry and am inconsolable.

Today after he called and got nasty, I told myself. OK. Your task is to learn to not take to heart what he says or how he says it. Just get off the phone. (I am a slow learner.)

The thing is, there is almost never anything from him now, except hostility.

Things seem to have come to a head after the fiasco with the blood draw for his liver. He has Chronic Hep B and I was determined to get him to the lab. I picked him up and drove him. Because I am an idiot and engaged in a conversation about liver treatments, he became angry and he stormed off. Without the blood work.

I was forced to accept that I have no hope that my son will follow through with anything that I want....He's not buying what I'm selling...especially about his health. I have got to let it all go.

He walked to our home. *He does not have a key. And he does not have permission to enter.

He got in through the back door (left unlocked by my SO), ate whatever he wanted, and then called M to pick him up and drive him home. M did it to not make trouble.

While he was here he stole a new electric shaver. He has never before stolen anything. I had always taken heart that he does not steal.

I think the only thing to do about the missing shaver is to be grateful that was all he took. And for me to check and secure all doors and windows when I leave. I know that any dialog with my son about it, will only dis-empower me. He will lie and accuse. It will end up being my fault. I do not want to go there.

The thing is my relationship with my son is getting further and further circumscribed. If you take away all of the enabling...there is nothing left except how he defines things...through insults and disrespect.

All that is left is for me to say "no, so, and oh." And hang up the phone.

I am left only with an on and off switch with my only child. No volume. No stations. Just on and off.

How do you see this? Any insight? Will it always be like this?

Thank you,

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Copa...nobody knows what the future holds. I think the only way it will get better is if it de-escalates and that limiting contact is a good idea for both of you. Not talking. He isn't listening. It gives him a forum to get on his soap box and tell you how wrong you are. But time can often mellow things out and change people. Look at how Child of Mine's son is slowly turning it around...I followed her story and did not really think he would do it, but he is doing it. I am guessing he will be better with her as he matures. She would have to tell you more about it, but he has been in a very bad place and is improving things.

As for how you do this, I don't know as I don't only have one child. But as you know well I have had to do it with almost my entire family of origin. It usually was with my sister, whom I really wanted to be close to, but she would come and go, like the wind. You know the story. I would feel horrible for a time, then it would fade and get better. Time is a great healer. I know you are thinking that the final break has a bad ending, but remember that we are older and your son is really just a young man. His life can change dramatically. HE can change dramatically. His attitude toward you could change dramatically.

Once anyone in your life is only talking to you to ask for something from you, your relationship is already on life support for the moment. When you stop talking about anything interesting and fun, you are already not able to communicate. But that doesn't mean that you never will.

In the meantime, please, please take care of YOU. Go ahead with your plans to take care of yourself as your son is too old for you to help him if he doesn't want help.

If you are like me, you want everything to change NOW. But I have learned that change happens, but it is usually gradual and those of us without patience are out of luck. We have to learn to find peace while we wait and see how our life's path will turn out.

Sure socks. I wish we could have it NOW!

Take care of yourself. You have done all you can for your son. Tell M to remember always to lock the doors.



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My son just called.

SON: I have a plan. You're not going to like it, but...

Me: I don't have to like it. I don't get a vote. You decide what you do, not me.

SON: I know. I just called Mark (owner of the hotel where he stayed rent free for two years and where he sometimes returns.) Well, just like with you, nobody's got any good feelings left for me. I've burnt my bridges. He and Charles both got on the phone and spoke to me.

(I am assuming he asked to stay there and the owner said no more. After almost 4 years of abuse by my son, it is about time.)

SON: (continuing) Well you are not going to like my plan...

Me: Actually, I prefer not to hear it. If you think your plan will either upset me or scare me, I do not want to hear it. Thank you for calling....

SON: WAAAAIT a minute (aggressive and hostile voice.)

Me: Uh oh. M is calling me. Gotta go now. Bye.

And I hung up.

Actually, I am thinking that he made up some weird plan that he knew would scare me, with the hope that he could manipulate his way back home.


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I just had an insight.

Like most of the parents on this board I am filled with love for my son.

For the past number of years that love has been used against me to extract concessions, rewards, to punish and manipulate me and to hold me responsible for that which I am not.

The love that I have maintained for my son has long been inappropriate. I see that now. Because he never matured, I have kept loving him as if he were still a child.

All of that unsuitable love can now be redirected somewhere where it will not any longer be used against me, and can be harnessed for constructive relationships including the one I have with myself.

I am not saying I do not love my son. What I will do is disengage from the infantile son. While I do not yet know how, I will learn how to love my son appropriately as an adult.

Seeing that I was powerless over my son's liver, was my bottom. His refusing even the idea of a cure, if one were available, took all hope away of influencing him about anything.

My son has no claim on me anymore. None. There is no service, no help, that I can give him that is not available in the public sector. It has come to that.

If he wants to talk and to remain civil, I am here. Nothing more.

We are stripped to the bare essence of things: To him I am nobody who deserves respect. Given this, my son can seek what he wants elsewhere.

If one day he decides he wants a different kind of relationship, I will hear him out.
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Copa what you've done and what you've said is so very difficult. What you have stated is how I tend to see my son...I tend to think of him as my child first and a man second.

The other day I went around my office and removed all of his photos. I've been in the same job for 21 years, since before he was born, so I have collected in my office photos of him from birth to graduation, drawings he made in grade school, cards and such he made for me. I decided it was making me remember him as a child when I need to think of him as a 20 year old man. They're all stacked face down on top of a 6 foot bookcase now. It has helped.

It is so hard to cut them off when they want to tell you something...even if you know it will upset you to listen. You want to keep the lines of communication open. You want to be able to be there for him. You really can't.

I applaud your courage.


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You want to keep the lines of communication open. You want to be able to be there for him. You really can't.
My son may listen but he does not really hear. He uses what I care about only as an instruction manual to manipulate me.

The more I permit this, the harder and more cruel he becomes. He wants everything free, at no cost to him. No compromise. No responsibilities. No expectations. He does not care what the cost is to anybody else.

I do not believe my son. So his communications are not really meaningful. They are so much noise, actually. They are designed to elicit desired responses, or to discourage those he does not want to hear. This is not communication. It is instrumental.

If there is any hope for my son, it will come from learning gratitude. That love, care, help, are not something to be trashed and thrown in people's faces.

Somehow the love and care I have given my son has taught him that these are cheap and meaningless things, that can be stomped on and thrown out, easily replenished.

He is learning now that what he took to be so much trash is not so easily found. I do not anymore care one way or another whether he suffers.

That others helped him not suffer did not motivate him to be a good man. He has betrayed everybody who in good faith tried to help him.

If he is so damaged as to be incapable of cooperation or reciprocity, let him enter a treatment facility. Still he does not want to. He wants to dominate. He is seeing that others on the street seek to dominate too. Betrayer and betrayed. Predator and prey. Taker and giver.

How long he chooses this life of the jungle, is up to him. I have gotten out of the way.
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I absolutely understand exactly where you are at this moment. I am in the same song and dance with my daughter. I find when I'm angry, I'm able to gather my wits and maintain boundaries, but once self doubt and guilt creeps in, I'm right back to being a mess.

It takes a lot of courage to do this. It is the right thing. We'd never allow anybody else to treat us this way. We seem to make excuses or concessions for our adult children who do. Just because they're our child, doesn't mean they're allowed to treat us like this. In fact, because they're our child, we should never accept it.

We are parents. We will worry. We will want to help. We feel like we're doing something unnatural if we don't. But refusing to be treated this way does not mean you don't love or care about your child.

Your son is an adult. He has to do it. There are tons of resources out there. You cannot change it or fix it. If we could all our children would be living great lives and we'd all be the Cleavers!

Stay strong. Know you are not alone. We all face similar heartache and struggles. Hugs!!

Scent of Cedar *

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If he wants to talk and to remain civil, I am here. Nothing more.

We are stripped to the bare essence of things:

You love him, Copa. That does not change for a mother, whether that love makes her vulnerable to her child or whether her child strengthens her.

That is why we need to be wise, and why we need to be wary.

It's like falling through floor after floor of a skyscraper to love a child who is self destructing.

I have never come to the last floor.

I am grateful for the resting place, when I am in a place that feels like a floor, a place that feels like an answer.

I am grateful that someone throws me a rope, when I am between floors; when I am falling.

Hand over hand, I pull myself up. Or, wrapping my legs around the rope, down and down and down I go.

I am so deeply sad when this happens. And then, I come here, to be with all of you.



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My son just called.

SON: Good news. I just spoke with E (the Brazilian father) and he is willing to let me come back to live with them. H (the son) has lots of work for me (landscape concrete.) I can pay E back from the money I earn working.

Me: I am glad for you. That is good news.

SON: How are you?

Me: OK.

SON: Well. Yeah. I'm going to need....If I....

Me: Whatever you need you will take care of.

SON: WAAAIT A MINUTE. (That agressive voice.)

Me: I am happy things are working out for you. I will not let you speak to me that way. There is nothing I can do for you that you cannot do for yourself. I am grateful that you called to let me know your good news. Goodbye.

SON: Uh. OK.

And I hung up

What I think he must have wanted from me was to buy his Amtrak ticket with my credit card. Only that. I should have listened to him. Heard him out.

I could not bear to be used and abused one more time. I could no longer tolerate being just a thing to be used by him, and thrown away.

Did I really blow it?

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
Somehow the love and care I have given my son has taught him that these are cheap and meaningless things, that can be stomped on and thrown out, easily replenished.

That others helped him not suffer did not motivate him to be a good man. He has betrayed everybody who in good faith tried to help him.

I think these things are the effects of addiction, Copa. We were not aware our son was using anything but marijuana ~ and that only recreationally ~ for something like fifteen years. We (I) thought it was something in the way I'd raised him, some trauma in his childhood or from what happened to our family. It took more years for me to see what our son says and how he does what he does as an effect of drug use.

Why doesn't matter...except it matters, very much.

He loves you, Copa.

A woman I know attends rehab group therapy sessions with her child. At one session, one of the other patients began berating his mother. The counselor leaped up and roared at the patient that he was using again, and when had he started and what was he on.

The patient denied it...and then, broke down and confessed.

The counselor told the parents: When they are clean, your children are shamed by their behaviors and grateful for your love. When they begin using again ~ using anything, even just a little ~ they spit hatred at the people who love and are trying to save them.

I've never forgotten that. I've never forgotten what it must do to our children, to have needed that thing they are addicted to like that.



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Well, he called again.

SON: Listen, I understand if you don't want to talk to me. I do not know if you heard. Something about the New York Stock Exchange. They closed it down. They are thinking there will be collapse. All I need is for you to buy my ticket for the train on your credit card. I will reimburse you. That's all.

(Meanwhile, I am thinking if he wants my cooperation why did he start in with the conspiracy theories. And then I started thinking of the money I would lose if he is correct.)

Me: Its...when.

SON hung up the phone. He could not even wait for me to speak.

I do not know where we go from here. If he calls back do I buy the ticket?

This is a young man who does not even want to hear my voice, let alone what I have to say.

But on the other hand. I would like him to get out of town. Do I let him give me the money and buy the ticket for him? I know where he lives.


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I forgot to tell you.

The reason he needs me to pay for the ticket on my credit card is because he does not have a drivers license or ID card. He loses them. He could care less about replacing them.

So my buying the ticket is a work-around for something that he is responsible to do. He is responsible to have ID. That is the law. It is not my fault that he chose not to get a replacement ID.

Just like I am not responsible for the thousands of dollars of bills that he has amassed for emergency services because he could care less about doing things right.

At the very least, my NOT buying the ticket, teaches him that there is at least one thing about me that has value.

I think I should not do his bidding anymore. There is nothing at all worth it. He just abuses me and uses me at this point.

Unless you guys think I should do it, I will not.

Thank you.


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The reason he needs me to pay for the ticket on my credit card is because he does not have a drivers license or ID card. He loses them. He could care less about replacing them.

Then how will he get on the train? I didn't buy my son's ticket, but I did print it out from work and the E-ticket clearly said that he'd have to show his ID and the ticket to the conductor. Maybe if you buy a real ticket it's different?

If the ticket isn't much...well, I'd be tempted, but I'm an enabler. I know that. And to have him gone so you aren't getting call after call??? Might be worth it.

You're probably right not to.


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Copa -
Helping him to work around "the system" isn't helping - it's enabling.

Everybody else has to have ID. This isn't a medical emergency. He needs to learn the first concept on that discussion Nerfherder started. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do to get where you wanna go.
I was thinking why not take a greyhound if he has the cash?

I flew my daughter to her "family" only for her to literally show up at my door less than a week later! Never saw a penny of it.

He asks you cause you generally will. If you don't, he will ask others. If it's important to him, he'll figure it out.


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Will it buy YOU peace of mind ? I do not believe he wants a ticket. I think he wants money. Can you verify through this father that he can stay there? This might help you decide what to do. Should you decide to buy him the ticket, regardless of him going or not going, can you let this be the last thing you help him with other than medical possibly.