Living in a war zone

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Davelouaz, Jun 11, 2017.

  1. Davelouaz

    Davelouaz New Member

    Hi everyone, my son turns 18 next week and I've gave him his marching orders after 18 months of living in a war zone with him.
    My partner,our son and I moved to a new area 18 months ago after he had left school in order to give him a better start in life after school, this was something we all decided to do after months of consultation between us all.
    Myself and my partner both switched jobs and my son was enrolled in the local college, and at first everything went well.
    However he soon started skipping classes and spending most of the night with his online friends, meaning he would sleep all day.
    In a nutshell he dropped out of college, does nothing with his life except game online with friends, he has cousins in this area but no interest in going out, looking after himself, cleaning himself, bathing etc. His whole life revolves around being online.
    When we take away his internet he acts like a junkie who can't get a fix.
    I've warned him for months that when he's 18 I want him out, as I won't be paying for an adult to sit using my electric, heating, food etc.
    Myself and his mother are now at splitting-up stage as she has told him and me that she will never allow me to kick him out.
    She also admits to giving him cash on demand, whenever he wants a takeaway etc.
    I can't win but I'm adamant that he needs to get to grips with the real world.
    Anyone been through anything similar please, as I'm seen as public enemy number one by my whole family
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi. I am sorry for your obvious pain. Are you POSITIVE that no drugs are also involved? Sleeping all day/up all night is common in drug users who tend to use drugs when we sleep then, up high at night, they need sleepings pills (Xanax, Ambien, etc in order to calm down and sleep...usually all day.) My daughter did this. Extreme gamers can also use drugs. He can be addicted to games AND drugs.

    At any rate, you have a young adult, VERY coddled by Mom, and immature, with Mom so far vowing to never throw Son out. She may change her mind if this behavior goes on for a long time, but right now she is not going to do it your way. Since you cant control anyone except yourself, you have to do what you feel is right, knowing that Mom wont follow.

    It is never a good parenting ploy to give a non working, lazy, addicted to anything adult child money on demand. Most people know this, but still have trouble stopping the habit that causes our offspring to become immature, entitled and even more lazy. But it can make you feel like you are the "popular" parent, although it is not usually true. I think moms have a harder time pulling back than men, as a rule.

    Try to grow thick skin and dont worry about what mother in law, brother in law, brother, your own mother, kissing cousins, friends think about your feelings. See a mental health professional for yourself if it is distressing to stand alone.

    I am really sorry you are caught in a lose/lose situation, and sorry about your marriage falling apart. Try to be good to yourself.
  3. Origami

    Origami Active Member

    Hi Davelouaz--
    My situation has been very much like yours, so maybe I can lend some support. However, in my case, it was my husband who was giving the marching orders, and I was the one saying I'd never throw out my son, and also giving him money. Although I honestly agreed that it was unacceptable to allow a healthy young man to languish in his room all day doing essentially nothing, I had a hard time with the idea of kicking him out. My husband would get very upset with the situation (rightfully so), but finally said he would defer to me and try to be accepting of my reluctance. From the age of 15 to 20 (present), my son was very difficult, with behavior ranging from angry rages and fighting physically with his siblings, to indifference to any kind of interaction, hygiene, etc. He had a couple of jobs, but would get annoyed with someone and quit suddenly, so was essentially unemployed most of the time. He had also quit high school twice, got his GED, and also quit college after one semester.

    My husband and I had many discussions about our son, and we had discussions with our son about our expectations, etc. After one bad episode of him fighting with his brother to the point where we called the police, we told him that he would have to move if we had to call the police again. That was the last time he had an outburst like that. I think the fact that we actually called the police (I called) made him think we might be serious.

    I'd like to say that I successfully set boundaries and stopped enabling him, but that was really the only boundary that was set appropriately. However, he did eventually calm down and became easier to live with. Even though he lacked motivation, he would help with things around the house on request. Otherwise, he mainly stayed in his room with his video games, only occasionally coming out to go out with friends.

    Now, at age 20, he's finally acting more like a human being. He got a decent job working 6 days a week, and has enlisted in the Army and will go to basic training in August. One positive thing he did was to see a therapist every week for the past few years. After a few false starts, he found a woman who wasn't intimidated by his bs and became a good source of guidance for him. So I think a combination of therapy and him simply growing up has helped him tremendously. Another good thing is that my son was not a drug user, so at least we didn't have that part to contend with.

    My advice would be to make your relationship your priority and try to come to an agreement with your partner about what kind of boundaries you would both be willing to enforce. Your son's immature behavior is not worth losing your relationship over, but if you keep pushing to throw him out without her agreement, you're going to cause a bigger rift. She is still in "mom" mode and trying to protect her son, likely thinking of him as a little boy instead of a young man. He's still very young though, so maybe some patience is in order. Set some boundaries, and give him a chance to live up to them. Let him know what you two have agreed on, and let him be part of the conversation as an adult. Something like, "I think we can all agree that your current lifestyle isn't beneficial to you or to our family, so we'd like to let you know what we're going to expect from now on." Then present your expectations in a matter-of-fact way, allowing him to discuss with you if he will. If he gets angry or won't speak, then you've still laid out the new rules.

    In hindsight, I wish I would have been stricter with insisting that our son apply for jobs every day or something of that nature instead of allowing the amount of lethargy that has existed. Maybe you could come up with a deadline for him to have a job (1 or 2 months? 6 months?) and make that his "move out" date if he isn't doing anything productive by then. Maybe you could agree to give him a set amount of money (small, like $15) a week for spending money or takeout, and beyond that he has to eat whatever's on hand at home whether he likes it or not. His mother needs to get away from the idea that he's a pampered guest and she's there to provide for him without him contributing.

    I think with some heart-to-heart discussion (non-judgmental), you and your partner can gradually stop enabling and get more on the same page. Depending on your son's behavior and how he reacts to the boundaries you agree on, your partner will either join you in detaching, your son will eventually grow up, or (worst case scenario) nothing will change. It's up to you how much you can tolerate, but you do have a choice and don't need to accept living in a war zone.