Losing Adult Child*

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Kalahou, Nov 7, 2015.

  1. Kalahou

    Kalahou Active Member

    Hello again,
    This is an update to my initial thread (“Losing Adult Child” posted Sept 28 -30). That prior initial thread provided detailed background info on my situation. A basic re-cap is that my 36 year old divorced son has been living with us the last 18 months, no job for years, sleeping day and night, disappearing for days, coming back only when needs something, traffic violations, shoplifting, lies, probably depressed and fearful, basic temperament unambitious and passive. He doesn’t pay traffic fines, then gets arrested, I stopped bailing him out, so has had some nights in jail. I have finally recognized our attempts to assist him were just enabling him, and in mid- September I told him he would soon have to leave our home.

    I was away for a month (husband remained home) and it has been around 6 weeks now since my last posting on the prior thread where I received your awesome wisdom and support and understanding. While I haven’t posted since then, I have been visiting/ reading the site each day, getting to know you better, trust you, and soaking up more and more insight and encouragement, learning the truths about these difficult children of ours. This place is a haven which has enabled me to continue my resolve and detachment in proceeding to have my son vacate his room here. I returned home from my trip in mid-October, and due to other unrelated situations needing attention, it has taken these additional weeks to make progress in starting to put son out. He is not taking any action himself (Why should he? We are enabling!) I work full-time all day, so plans are coming into place bit by bit as I can accomplish what’s needed.

    Even though I had given my son advance notice in mid-September that he would have to leave, there was no change when I returned from my trip. He was still sleeping all day / night, hibernating at the house all day, no job, no money, etc., and then disappearing again for days until his return (rinse/ repeat). One time when he was somewhat willing to talk and listen, I gave him information about resources for the homeless, such as shelters, food kitchen, job programs for homeless, referrals for mental health, etc, so he has the info and contact information if he needs it to survive and if he wants to use it. I think he can be smart when and if he wants to be ( maybe not ?) He told me that I should not worry about him, and he said he will be taking action because he is not going to go to a shelter or food kitchen .... Hmm?? I've heard that before about taking action, but doesn't happen... so we'll see. It is what it is... I am detaching. He knows it is all up to him, and he knows he has to want to change himself and do it himself in order for anything to happen. I sense perhaps he honestly does not want to change and better his situation. Well, I guess that would be his choice.

    I just know husband and I have to get out of it. I realize we are not helping at all but just making the situation worse. I'm so tired of it now and want to be done with him! husband and I are the last ones of any family to have continued to try to help him and be patient with him. His three siblings gave up long ago trying to communicate with him and trust his word. He stood them up so many times, lied, never repaid borrowed money, and does not want to keep in touch with them unless he needs something (as with us).They are done dealing with the craziness of his mixed-up stories. In fact, one daughter in law has told him not to come onto their premises ever again, which may become awkward because this location is where we’ve had our previous family gatherings.

    I finally feel good about what we are doing now in making him leave. I know now that we have waited too long allowing him here in this stagnant state for 18 months now. Husband and I want him out. We need him out. We are 69 and 75 yrs. old and don’t need the stress and negative vibes around us now. We are in good health, but this unpleasantness could make me sick. More often now, I really feel I do not want to even see son anymore. (I don’t like to feel this way about my own son, but I just do not like the person he is now. I don't want to be around him or think about him.) And most of all, son needs to be out also. This is not a good place for him. We are not good for him.

    What I noticed the last weeks was the big change in myself, as I’ve grown in detachment and released much of my emotional fear. I’ve come to feel that I no longer really even care what is going to happen to him when he leaves. (Again, I don’t like feeling this way about my own son. This is not like me.) Will this feeling change I wonder, if ever at a future time son ever shows even small mature, responsible behavior changes and a desire for a healthy (but still detached) relationship with us ? Will I be able to return to caring feelings for him? I think my patient and accepting motherly (smotherly?) care and love are what’s been very bad for him, and perhaps is what brought him to this disabled state. It could be that my current relinquishment of concern and detachment to “let go and move on” and just not caring anymore will be the catalyst that is the best for him.

    Good or bad, he just needs to go and let the chips fall. I am just so tired of my efforts reaping no results, and I want to be done with it and not have to think about him every day.

    A few nights ago when my son was questioning about how his possessions were going to be moved out and stored, etc., he came and gave me a hug. (What!?*) (He has not initiated a hug for the last 8 years *!*) … Lo and behold, I surprisingly did not even want to reciprocate it. But he hugged me long and said “I know it’s going to be alright and good. I feel it.” Did he do this because he is scared (like a little boy)? I think he noted the change in me with my increased detachment. He was just about crying (this weepiness is often). My inner response this time was so different than it has always been. Before, I might have responded with feelings having a glimmer of hope, and said encouraging things like how we wanted to help, and make offers and suggest plans to assist, etc. This time I just passively accepted and recognized that it was just another “rinse / repeat” of what I’ve heard before with no action / no results / a ploy at manipulation / and I steadied myself with an Inner attitude of thinking "we’ll just see what happens." What will be will be…. good or bad… I’ll live through it. Anyway, a few short minutes after this embrace, he went back to “horizontal” isolation in his room as usual. Ho hum.

    Much of the move out will hopefully be started in earnest by next weekend, but honestly it will likely end up that husband and I have to put in the elbow grease to do it, since we are the ones with the motive and drive to get relief and get him out. Once his stuff is all out, and the lock changed, there will be a new day and reason for thanksgiving for all involved (both for us and son) as things will be in place for all to move forward with our lives.

    One concern I do have is this … It remains to be seen how it will work out regarding the visitation time with his children (grandkids 5 and 9 yrs.). Our grands have been coming here every other weekend (Fri afternoon to Sun) to stay at our house. These visits are meant to be son’s time with them, but it is usually husband and myself who interact almost the whole time with the GKs … feed them and take them out to the park/ pool or play games / cooking/ chores etc. The GKs enjoy doing these things with us, but it gets draining for us also. If I were to leave them just to their dad, he would remain in slouched inertia while the kids slouched beside him doing IPad video games continually all weekend. I would be nuts seeing that happening in my house, which is why I am compelled to interact with the GKs, which of course then enables son to continue his passive “conduct disorder” behavior, taking no responsibility for them, and presenting a bad behavior example to them. (Should I just back out of this situation and let them be? I am not responsible for raising my GKs.)

    Since our home is the only place my ex-daughter in law (GKs’ mom) will bring them to visit their dad (she doesn’t really trust my son with them anywhere else), I agreed to welcome the GKs to come here, and I told my son that after he moves out, he can still come back to the house for these visitation times. (He will not be allowed to occupy his old room, but can only sleep on a futon in GKs’ room or some corner or other.) I remain fearful that during these times that son will return here, he will simply revert to his routine "disorder" behavior here. And because this will likely occur every other weekend, I think that is too frequent for son to return back to our home. Doesn’t he need to make a long break from us? This returning every other weekend does not sound good to me. Hmm? ... But then a part of me wants the GKs to continue to visit us often since that is the only time that we see them and we are building a close relationship with them. If GKs did not come here to visit their dad, my ex-daughter in law would very rarely bring them to visit, because she really has no interest in us except for how we can provide something she needs.

    Thanks to all for listening. What a relief to have this safe, comforting place to land and to get it all out on the table,. I welcome your truth and wisdom, encouragement and support. I am so thankful for your hearts and lives, and lift the best for you. Thank you for any feedback.
  2. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Hi kalahou and welcome back.

    It sounds like you have made a great deal of progress working on yourself. That is the true benefit of the time spent since you were last on the forum. It is clear from reading what you wrote that you are moving forward.

    And it's clear also that your son has not. Why not? Who knows, but one thing I grew to understand is that my son didn't believe I would stick to my guns....because i never had before. It took about 2 years for him to see that I was serious. He tested every single boundary...every one...until I finally had to almost cut off complete contact with him (just allowing one phone call on a Saturday morning every week between 10 and 11 a.m. for just 10 minutes). I know that sounds crazy but I kept setting clear and kind boundaries with him, and he didn't respect them. So that is what it came down to. After that, I could see a change in how we interacted. He started becoming a believer. But I had taught him not to be a believer for years, because I would say things and then not back them up with action regarding him and boundaries with him. He learned that I didn't mean what I said. It took time to undo that.

    I think these questions are natural ones as we get ready to change things with someone we love very much. Like my dear husband says (he has worked with addicts and their parents a lot)...it will be crystal clear when there is a true change. You will hear it in their voices, in their words, in their posture...everything will be different. You won't have to wonder. And even then, when I started to see real change in my son, I still stood back for a long time, several months, before I trusted it. He had taught me well too.

    There is no "ever at a future time" as you stated, by that I mean, there is just today. Live in today. When things change with your son---and you are now giving things a chance to change by kindly telling him the new boundaries and demonstrating that you know he can do it---you can decide then what you will and won't do. Just take it one day at a time. Don't try to figure it all out now. There is no way to do that, and things will be different than you imagined anyway.

    Letting go of people IS the best thing for them. Especially grown adults. When we don't, we rob them...yes rob them...of the chance to stand on their own two feet, develop pride in themselves and self reliance and self confidence. I have come to believe that the highest and best form of love is letting people go and loving them as they go, no matter what they do. It is not ours to decide another person's life. If they want to be homeless and sleep on a bench (as my son did), then it will break our hearts but we will survive it and people lives all kinds of lives that we can't know or understand. It is their very right to do so.

    I think you are very right to be concerned about this. I think that will not work very well at all, given your situation.

    Can you have them come to see you---without him---once a month for the weekend or something like that? It's not your job to determine what works between him and his ex-wife in terms of visitation. If she doesn't trust him on his own, then I'd accept that and let it go. When he wants to see his children, perhaps he will get into a position to be ready to see them, on his and her terms. Try hard to stay out of that.

    I would change now that situation you have described (if you can and if you are ready). If not, see how it goes, and then you can change it later if it doesn't work.

    A lot of big change at once is really hard and scary so do what you can and what you are ready to do. There is no right or wrong here, just someone trying to do the right thing and it's hard work.

    Please keep sharing with us. We care and we understand. We are here for you no matter what you decide to do.

    Warm hugs this morning. Hang in there. You are moving forward.
    • Winner Winner x 3
    • Like Like x 1
    • List
  3. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    This may be a threat, Kalahou.

    If suicide is threatened, call 911.

    I would ask you to see it differently. We are in unusual situations, in situations no parent is adequately prepared to cope with, when our children are so troubled. There is no easy solution. It isn't supposed to happen this way. That it is happening, that our children refuse to take wing, does not mean we have done something wrong or are making the situation worse.

    It is the situation that is wrong. Not us, and not even our troubled kids.

    As you read here with us longer, as you share your stories and hear ours, you will learn new ways to assess value. Maybe a very small step is enough.

    A small beginning, a small change in how we see our situations can set us off in a new direction.

    You suggested to your son that you and your husband are ready to change the current situation. Your son has not followed through. That is alright. That is just what it is.

    What are your options? That is a serious question. If you don't know, then you need to research options. Then, you will know how to proceed.

    It is not going to be easy.

    That's okay.

    Where is your husband in his thinking on the current situation?

    Our troubled kids triangulate between the parents. This is just something anyone would do, given the powerlessness of your child's current position.

    The responsibility not to respond to the triangulation is yours and your husband's. We have learned, here on the site, that the first step needs to be unity between the parents. If you both stay on the same page, then the son will need to do something different. If your husband is not willing to help motivate his son, then the first step might be for you and your mate to clarify values and goals.

    Here is another way of seeing that helped me: For your son, and for my children too, the ultimate benefit in moving into the power position in their own lives accrues to the child. Independence for him, not solely because you are ready to move into the next phases of your own lives together, but because your son is meant to move into the next phase of his.

    Your son cannot become the man he is meant to be if he is living as a child in your home. The challenges and responsibilities in our own lives have matured us into the adult, and very human, people we are.

    Do not take that opportunity away from your son.

    Unless he is so severely challenged that he cannot function as an adult outside your home, then your son must step into the power position in his own life.

    Trust that he will.

    There are Social Services options, if your son is unable to care for himself.

    Is drug use a piece of this picture? Then, make treatment the deal breaker.

    There is no shame here. There is only the situation we are in.


    Keep a firm hold on your own finances. We have helped children through cosigning leases and so on. If you have been stung this way once, then that is not an option. In that case, a rental of one to three months, if you can afford it, will move him out of your home.

    It is good to have all the options in front of us.

    If you present it to him in terms of his need to reclaim himself, and of your determination to see to it that he does so for his own good, then I think you will be able to accomplish his independence without having to pay for it.

    He is in his thirties, now. Soon, he will be too old, and too unemployable, to be required to leave.

    Has he ever worked?

    Are there mental health issues?

    That we need to learn to see differently how to help our kids is part of parenting children like ours.

    It helps me very much to remember it is not me who is bad or wrong, and it is not my child who is bad or wrong. It is the situation that is wrong.

    Your son is a man.

    He cannot be a man, cannot step into his manhood, living at home.

  4. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Kalahou,
    I am just now getting caught up on what's been going on the past few days here on the site.

    Thanks for sharing your update with us. I think you are doing really well in that you have a good understanding of the need for detachment. That's a good place to be.

    It is good that you are recognizing the change in yourself. That is a huge step! We get to that point when we realize we cannot change our Difficult Child but, we can change how we respond and react to our Difficult Child.
    It is very normal to have a lack of "feeling" when we get this point. We have become calloused, but not in a bad way. Just as a workers hands become calloused, that "hardening" of the skin actually protects the workers hands. Our hearts have been broken so many times by our Difficult Child that our hearts develop a callous, again, it's a way to protect us.

    That's a tough call. I think it's important for you to continue building a relationship with your grands. As they get older they will come to realize the truth about their family dynamics and they will also come to realize that you and your husband have always been a constant in their lives. As for your son, you need to have very clear and defined boundaries. I would suggest you and your husband take some time to work through what your expectations are for your son, what you will and won't tolerate. Have clear consequences set in place and be prepared to follow through on them. Nothing sends a message more to our d-c's than a wishy washy parent who caves in that they can continue to manipulate us.

    I think it's important for you to do what you can to maintain that bond with your grands. As they grow they will come to understand the dynamics of their family and they will also come to understand that you and your husband have been a stable loving force in their lives and that's a bond that cannot be broken.

    ((HUGS)) to you..........................
  5. Seeking Peace

    Seeking Peace Member


    Reading your post, I had a lot of ah-ha moments. Completely feeling your feelings as they have become my new normal.

    Going from trying to fix and provide solutions for our adult children, glimmer of hope, to really not only feeling detached emotionally to physically too. I felt very guilty for a long time about even feeling that way, or responding in that fashion, because to me, it seemed so unmotherly. Coupled with Difficult Child reinforcing my own questioning of where I must have gone wrong, it took some time to release myself. Really, it was my therapist answering my question of, "what sort of mother leaves her child standing in the rain on the side of the road??", with "one who has tried everything to help them and nothing changed. One who is exhausted with the same thing day after day. That I am not the only one out there to help, but her first call because I always jump to help. She will call others if I stop responding." I don't know how many times I would see her calling and not answer for fear she was in dire need again.

    I do often mention resources to her, but she never utilizes them. Just confirms to me she's not done playing the victim and taking ownership of her choices.

    I tend to feel sad and disillusioned of what's real and what if when I have distance between us. I start to question my decision of her not living at home. But that's only cause it's not upfront in my face every moment reminding me of why she is no longer allowed to stay in the home. Sometimes it helps to remember those things when you feel your resolve dwindling.

    What about grands still coming biweekly, but instead of son staying at house those weekends, arrange meetings away from the house where they can spend day together?

    Hang tight, you're not alone.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • List
  6. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    HI Kalahou,
    You have a situation similar to mine, our D cs are the same age. It is very difficult. I am sorry for your troubles, it is hard to go from viewing our beloved children to seeing the cold hard reality of what they are in the now.

    I have been through much with my oldest girl and hit the stage you are approaching awhile back. My hubs could not let go.

    You have received some solid advice here.

    I will not post too much, for my situation has taken a bit of a turn and I feel I should take time to write a thread on it in PE to seek guidance and also to help others who have not yet hit this point.

    I did want to write and say I have been reading your posts and have not responded due to the work I have been doing trying to strengthen myself in the FOO forum.

    You are not alone Kalahou. I have been where you are at. When everything piled up for years just kind of stares us in the face. The reality of it, is very, very tough.

    Hang in there dear, you are doing the right thing in giving your son his wings.

    Take care (((HUGS)))
  7. Kalahou

    Kalahou Active Member

    Thank you all
    ....for your replies and support and encouragement.
    Your replies are so right on point, and what I need to hear over and over. Just knowing folks are visiting the forum and reading and learning and growing from each other’s posts and experiences is healing. It lets us all know we are not alone and that others understand the confusion and weariness and heartache, and allows us to safely empty ourselves without shame or blame. Often when I read others’ stories, I don’t know what to say (as I am just now recognizing my enabling and my detachment), so I do not often post elsewhere, but I remember you all in thoughts and gratitude.

    After my GKs left this past Sunday, I have not seen my son again these past days. I have no idea where he is. This frequent disappearing for days is his M.O. I don’t need to know. But it has left me being the one to start moving his stuff out of the house. This is not a surprise. Since he had not begun to take steps since my advance notice in September, I figured he was not about to take initiative to remove his stuff on his own. So it’s in the works / making progress / just want to be done with it and change the lock.

    I’m awed how your wisdom has shown me a new positive perspective in making our children leave home … not to look at it as “kicking our kids out”, but to consider this move in the following light and images you shared.

    Cedar said: challenges and responsibilities in our lives have matured us into the adult... people we are. Do not take that opportunity away from your son.
    and: Your son is a man…He cannot be a man, cannot step into his manhood, living at home.

    New leaf said: You are doing the right thing in giving your son his wings.

    Childofmine said: Letting go of people IS the best thing for them... When we don't, we rob them…the highest and best form of love is letting people go and loving them as they go, no matter what they do.

    Seeking Peace reminded: it helps to remember those things (.. re: when they are up front in your face) when you feel your resolve dwindling.

    Tanya, I liked your analogy relating “lack of feeling” to the callous building up for protection. It actually makes the worker more efficient and he can be more focused on the task at hand without always wincing from the pain. I guess this is the value of detachment.

    I will see how it works out on the weekends with the GKs visiting their dad here. I will give it a chance and test the waters. Thank you all for your input. I do see the need to have defined boundaries and expectations for son and consequences and preparation to follow through. Husband is also eager to be rid of son, at times expressing total disgust with him, but other times he also shows feelings of pity. I’m sharing with him about my new real feeling of detachment and recent “lack of feeling.” Husband wants GKs here as much as possible - he enjoys the short fun periods of time he has with them, but all the serious childcare from morn to night, with follow up and discipline is usually falling to me (I’m tired when they stay from Friday to Sunday.) The dad is quite useless most of the time as previously explained.

    I am so relieved to have found this site and am amazed at the sincere care and effort of each person to share their heart in an honest, straight forward way, cutting to the heart of the matter. This is the first support group I ever opened up to. I am learning so much here. Cedar said “A small beginning, a small change in how we see our situations can set us off in a new direction.” I have made a small change in finally realizing that all my attempts to help Difficult Child were really enabling. I waited longer than I should have in realizing this truth and have seen a lot of money go down the drain. We are now headed in a new direction.
    Thank you all.
  8. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    The same has happened to us Kalahou, same m.o. I mean, appear, disappear. I have done the same, in cleaning out. I suppose it may be a way of my d cs saying, "You don't really mean this, we will be back." I have set about rearranging my house to make it impossible for them to come back. I have recently realized (mine have been out four months now) the damage done in having them home, to them, and to us.
    They do not grow here.
    At first, there would be minimal effort.
    Then it became a sort of vacation.
    For them.
    For, us hard, hard work.
    Not a good relationship.
    I told my Mom, "Mom, in the old days, families lived together but everybody worked at it, everybody contributed."
    Hawaiians say "You no work, you no eat."
    There is something very telling in that simple statement.
    My d cs were not working, but dang, they were feasting at our home. Not in the literal sense, in the sense that they were taking advantage of us in every way. No reciprocity, you know?

    I like this analogy, too.

    This is really a big thing, the realization of enabling. It is a catalyst for new beginnings.
    You are doing well Kalahou. I think that everything else with your grands will fall in to place for you folks.

    I am rooting for you here, keep up the good work and take time to care for yourself. You have great value and a future of your own.

  9. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Just checking in with you, Kalahou.

    I so loved the Iz' Somewhere Over The Rainbow.

    Thank you.

  10. Kalahou

    Kalahou Active Member

    Thank you New Leaf and Cedar and all.

    Yes “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is a good song. IZ’s rendition can’t be beat. It really takes you to a good healing place. The video scenes also are so very calming and uplifting. …. “Troubles melt like lemon drops” … umm…. If only …Yes !!

    So this week I have been moving out son’s stuff little by little. Today I am almost done. As I am making progress, my inner feeling is telling me this is a good move. I keep affirming that I am “setting him free” and “giving him wings” to “stop robbing” him and allow him to “be a man.” You might be thinking that I am enabling him by doing the move out for him, and I wondered that myself. But to not do it myself could very well result in it not getting done at all, or may take months and forever to get it done by son himself, and all the while with bad vibes and a big mess all over. So I honestly feel like doing the move out for him was in fact doing it for myself for what I wanted, so I'm cool with it. I'm seeing the fast results.

    The other night when son came home (only a quick pit stop to eat / re-pack as usual), he noticed a lot of his stuff out, and asked where a few things were, but he said he is OK with it and said he will be fine. He did not ask for money. He can get around at the moment because he has a bus pass until the end of the month.

    The Grands will be here next weekend, and surely they will wonder what happened to Daddy’s room? I have a feeling my son will explain it away in a positive light someway to them. I doubt he will say that Gram does not want him to live here anymore and has moved out his stuff because she no longer likes the person he has become and does not want him to live here. However, son is very honest with his kids when he does actually attend to them, so he may very well indeed say just that. So -- interesting / challenging times ahead…

    He still has no job that I know of. I know son is still working through so many court matters (he has loads of repeated traffic / auto violations that he never takes care of … no license/no insurance/ no seat belt / no car registration (not even his car)/ etc.. etc). In some months he has gotten 6 violations in a month. Of course he never pays them. Sometimes he tells me he is going to the court. Sometimes he has spent nights in jail on bench warrant arrests. I don’t believe anything he tells me anymore. If he does go to the court, OK. If not, more problem for him. I am staying out of it now. He also has so many debts, they are always calling here (I don’t answer any toll-free numbers anymore) and so much mail comes for him that he just leaves unopened. I wish he could get another mailing address. Ugh. I am learning to just let it all run off like rain off the umbrella that is shielding me in my peace about it all. I confess I did use to be fearful about all these things that son did not take care of, but now (as I said before) I am detached and not caring what happens to him. It is up to him and only him.

    Arriving at my feeling of detachment has been so liberating. I know “I am going to be alright” as my street sign said. What a promise!

    I’m just treading this new territory step by step to see what happens in the weeks ahead and adjust if needed –but surely (as Child and Tanya wisely cautioned) with the defined boundaries, expectations, consequences and follow through. Son is definitely not coming back to live with us in our house, and he knows that. I do plan to confront him again openly to question him about drug use. I do not know if drugs are part of his problems. But according to some of the signs and symptoms I have recently learned about, he does exhibit some facets of like-kind behaviors that may indeed result from drug use. I will point these out to him to acknowledge that these behaviors are obvious and I and others notice them and they are suspicious. Whether he admits drugs or not, I will emphasize to him that he has the resource information now (I gave it to him) to get mental health (including drug) help if he needs and wants it. I am going to be point blank, that things will only start coming together for him, only if and when he wants it and takes action and gets help if he needs it. It's only if he himself wants to change his circumstances. Once that happens that when he will see stuff happen and change for him. If not it won’t. But that is his path to walk.

    I visit this site and read the various threads each day and continue to learn so much each time from all of you in this forum family. You are all such a tremendous example and inspiration and support. How thankful I am to have been providentially led here. ~~ Kalahou
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2015
  11. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Aloha Kalahou
    Good work this week and today. This is a great move, for you and your son.
    He will have to step it up for himself, a good thing.

    Honesty is good. Kids are smart, they know.

    Sounds like my two. For some reason they have no fear of unpaid bills and tickets. This is one of their biggest downfalls.

    Ugh, debt collectors, we were hounded for a couple of years. Thank goodness for caller id. Hubs and I are very careful to pay bills and stay on top of things, my d cs just do not seem to care. I am labeling my twos' mail "address unknown, and putting it back in the mailbox. Reason being, one of my neighbors tried to have her sons girlfriend, removed from her house. The neighbor had been living with her boyfriend in his house, mail going to boyfriend's house. When the sons Mom called the police to remove the girlfriend, she produced mail delivered in her name to the address. Mom, had her mail going elsewhere (boyfriend's house), so when the officers asked if she had any mail to show proof of address, she had none.
    The girlfriend could not be removed from the premises, her mail established residency (yikes).

    Oh, I am so happy for you, Kalahou. This is awesome. Yes, you will be alright! So will your son.
    And, so will I, for that matter. Thank you for sharing that sign.
    Interestingly enough, Cedar and Copa were writing a post right around the same time on being alright, too.

    This is a good thing. For everybody. Hopefully your son will take steps to get help, to get motivated.

    You have done your best to help your son Kalahou. That is all a mom can do. The rest is really up to him, it is his path.

    Your progress is so wonderful Kalahou. I am so pleased for you.

    On another note, in true fashion, my grands just popped over today with "Volcano" their dad. "I was going to call, but my phone was dead." he said.
    My three mo'opuna look good, and I squeezed them ever so tight. I looked at the oldest and said "Do you remember what you whispered in my ear when you left?" "Yes Tutu, I said I had to look after my brother and my sister." "Are you doing that?" he grinned "Yes, Tutu"
    It was good to see them, I scolded Volcano to at least call us and let us know they were coming.
    I have not seen or heard from them in four months.
    Must be something going on in the universe.

    A Hui Hou
    Malama Pono

  12. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    This is very nice imagery, easy to remember to employ it when we are in that FOG place. Our son was recently in a similar place. He wanted reassurance. He wanted an attorney. He wanted us to take the kids if and when he was incarcerated. He wanted money. They were all starving. He wanted a decent vehicle. And we just kept saying no. What we did say: "I am so sorry this is happening to you. I don't know how, but I do know you will come through this time okay. I believe in you. I know you can. I am not enabling anymore. You are a fine, capable man. You will come through. I love you."

    It was helpful to know my words I would use in advance. I have that responsibility thing going on, and it nearly kills me to say: "I don't know."

    But I said that, too. Son wold say something like: "What do you expect me to do." And I would say: "I don't know. But I do know you are bright and strong and you don't need me to rescue you. I am not enabling, anymore."

    And my son did not like that.

    But he is better today.

    He is the one stronger, now. He has not given his problem to me to solve and so, he is the one who is stronger, now. I am the one who will not help. It could be that this makes my son think twice before he does something he may regret. This is so because he loves his own children. It has nothing to do with me. He wants to be there for them.

    I am not sure how my story applies to yours, or to your son's, kalahou. The more our son lived at home, and the more times we paid for things so he wouldn't go under...it just never worked. Things got worse than we could have imagined and kept going downhill from there. It took a certain amount of strength to say: NO MONEY. No you cannot move home. No we will not take your kids.

    But I think it was the best thing we have ever done for our son's sake.

    He began standing for himself.

    You did the right thing in cleaning the room. It is how we teach ourselves that we mean to reclaim stability in our lives. That is the thing the kids take from us too, when they are somewhere in that limbo between boy and man for too long a time.

    Our stability, our peace, our positive self regard.

  13. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Hi K---I am glad you are working on you. It's clear from your post that much of your energy is shifting to yourself, and that is a very healthy thing.

    One thing that helped me a lot was writing things down that I wanted to saw to him, and then printing it out and keeping a copy in my purse. I very clearly remember the first time I used the sheet. I was at Panera and waiting for a friend to arrive. His name flashed up on my screen---he was homeless but had a phone from the government. I took a deep breath and answered. This was long after I finally learned that I didn't have to answer the phone every time he called. I got my sheet out and I forced myself only to respond to things written on that sheet. He was asking for things, money, a ride, etc., and I just kept "sticking to the script." My voice got very firm and louder a few times because it was stressful but I kept my eyes on the page. One of the things I wrote on that sheet was "I love you." I tried to say that a few times during the phone call. Other things were: Oh. Really. I'm sorry. I'm sure you can figure that out. That sounds hard. I don't know.

    This is a good option, and New leaf is right about the issue of evicting someone. My son just went through that with an old girlfriend. Think about what you can do about the mail.

    I love this image too. Another thought is just getting a PO box and filling out a change of address card (if he won't do it---you can) and then sending the mail there until it finally stops. Yes, this is something he should do but if it won't and doesn't, then you can do it to preserve your own sanity.

    Steps, taking steps. That is what this is about. Determining what YOU need, what works for you, and then walking forward down the path to reclaim your own life, regardless of what he does or does not do.

    Keep moving forward. And if your journey slows or gets temporarily derailed, that is okay too. That is to be expected. Be patient with yourself and very very kind. Now that you are thinking differently, you will behave differently. But it's not a perfect path, and that is just fine. Do the best you can, and that is enough.

    We're here for you.
  14. Kalahou

    Kalahou Active Member

    It is a new day ~ ~ Ka la hou

    I thought I was making strides with detachment. It was good for me to be removed from the area for a month (my trip Sept/ Oct), and focused on soaking up the truth and wisdom by reading the threads in this forum. I previously shared when I returned I was ready to take action, and now son’s things are removed. That is relief and progress. However, while his possessions are out of the house, his presence still lurks. I’m sorry my post will be a long story but I want to explain it all play by play, so maybe you can pick up on some clues I am missing.

    I shared before that son was home once last week for a pit stop. OK. But then last night he again showed up and actually whistled / knocked before coming in. (a first) I sense he realizes it is not his place to just walk in anymore as it is not his room (although there are some minor odds and ends he left in there from last time). He asked could he eat dinner with us and take a shower. I agreed.

    We ate. He actually stayed to eat in the kitchen with us, although at a different counter area. (Another first. Previously, he used to take whatever he wanted and disappeared back into his room to eat.) After he finished eating, he went to his old room, where I assumed he was going to take a shower (as he had mentioned it and previously asked)… but a bit later, I noticed he was crashed out sleeping on the floor, no shower?? I allowed him a 40 minute nap and it was getting after 8:00pm and I just knew he was not going to wake up – maybe for days?? (same old?) So I went and roused to force him to wake up, which was hard to do. I confronted him (calmly I thought) about why was he sleeping now? Had he been on drugs? Didn’t he say he was going to shower? He was not happy about my questions. I told him he had to get up so he could catch the bus before the bus stopped running for the night.

    He was not so happy about it, but did a few things and got some stuff restocked in his backpack. (I saw he put in a couple canned goods (don’t know how he’s eating when away.) I went to a different room, and before he left, I heard him tell husband “thanks for the dinner.” That was another first – that’s not something he has usually said. I heard him leave the house but then he knocked back at the door. I went to open it. Not sure, but I sensed he did not want to leave without saying something to me because of how he had been mad that I woke him up. He was kind of weepy in telling me he didn’t know about the GKs schedule for this weekend, but would let us know etc. And he left.

    Then around a half hour later, he called on the phone, and I saw it was him on caller ID. (What now?) I calmly answered. He wanted to further explain why he had been upset when I woke him and why he had crashed asleep. He was crying and it was hard for him to talk and for me to understand. He said he had not been sleeping much lately, as it was hard to find a good place. (He’s probably worn out his welcome at his couch surfing spots.) He also asked me to not to react to situations by assuming / accusing that he was binging on drugs etc. He said he just needs to sleep. --- I am glad I remembered some of the “script” with the tips you recommended to be prepared with when those phone calls come.

    -- I calmly replied, “I understand it’s hard. Hope you work something out.”
    -- I also calmly added that “I apologize my comments about drug binging came across as reacting, but I felt I was just questioning behavior I observed.”
    -- I said “thanks for calling and good night.”

    Well, you’d thing that would be the end? Not for me. I started feeling so much pity for him as he is a lost soul, doesn’t communicate well, and no one cares a whit about him (I’m not sure if I even care. I’m building that hardened callous.) That is so sad to me and those feelings / emotions had me in tears the rest of the evening and I could not sleep. I kept re-reading the threads here on PE for strength. When I finally went to bed, I just laid awake in a numb state, breathing, with weepy eyes.

    After a while (hours?) I got up and walked in the dark to his room and looked in with light filtering in the window. As I stood there, I imagined how I would feel if I had just let him keep sleeping there on the floor and if I was now looking at him sleeping. I realized that I would be feeling resentment, frustration, helplessness, anger (at myself? at him?), some fight or flight panic, etc. I realized and understood it was far better for me to be feeling momentary sadness and pity, with a patient resolve to wait and try to control anxiety instead of continuing that intolerable negative hopeless situation we are all trying to be free of. – So I came back to bed with the IPad in the dark and kept reading more threads and the article on detachment over and over until I finally got a few hours of sleep.

    I’ve kept trying to visit the PE forum any time I can to read and re-read more and get built up with the strength and wisdom of you all who have been through this / going through this as we are all learning from each other.

    I’m sure son will be back this Friday pm (I just had a call from GKs to tell me they will be here for the weekend) so son will want to see his kids and will come back for that reason. Then we will be having the explanation to the GKs about Daddy's empty room and will see how the weekend goes.

    I know there are more rough patches ahead in the years ahead with this process, but I am committed to keeping my detachment and resolve to stick to an evolving plan with boundaries. (The other option is not a possible option.) It’s just that this small episode of emotion made me tired again. I sort of feel now that I might have to walk on eggshells around son and keep quiet except to pick my battles if needed. I don’t like and don’t want to feel that way, but it seems to easily have the potential to turn volatile quickly (on both sides) from being nice to feeling mad (??) Hmm?

    Thanks all for listening. I’m still weepy. It really helps to pour it out here, and hear feedback with any clues or insights and just knowing folks are there for support. It’s all good. ~K
  15. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    My Dearest Ka la hou,
    You have made such progress in a short time. It is truly inspirational, the work you have done to come to this threshold.
    It seems that your son has somewhat accepted your convictions, but is still trying to test the waters a bit.
    This was not easy for you to do Kalahou, I know. It would have been easy for you to just let him be. You did the right thing. It is still tough.

    So many mixed feelings, as our d cs walk out the door, into the night.

    You are using your head, and not your heart, breaking free of old patterns.This will make him think, and hopefully start to break his old patterns.Though it is tough, you have done a very loving thing for him.

    Following through with your intentions, this is presence Kalahou, perseverance and fortitude. By your actions, he can begin to develop these qualities himself.

    We go through a grieving, it is intense. Our love is tremendous for our children, it is a deep feeling of loss. It is akin to taking the first steps after being immobilized. We are paralyzed, really by our d cs. Shocked, dazed and confused. We are experiencing the awakening, and the first steps towards change.

    The truth of enmeshment and coming free from the tangled web.

    You are coming out of the fog. It is at first somewhat debilitating. We are frozen in our patterns, breaking them is a freeing, yet painful process. You are doing well Kalahou. You are taking your life back and giving your son his freedom, too. He is no longer able to shut himself away in his room.

    I do the same. There will come a time when the need to be here will lessen, as we grow stronger. Seeing others through various stages of this journey, helps me to know there is relief. No matter what the outcome, there is a way to carry on.

    You have so much going on Kalahou. I do believe your GKs will not be surprised. It is a good example for them, to know that we all have boundaries and reasonable expectations for respect in our homes.
    When my GK's came over this weekend, I sensed no resentment, rather, an understanding. Children are very astute, they get it, more than we know.
    Resolve is good. How to be constant, in an ever evolving situation? To be strong, but be able to bend, without bending over backwards? I think it will take me time to learn this. I too, think it wise to mind words that would be wasted, falling on deaf ears, yet raising the hackles. No sense, grabbing the angry dog by the tail. Action and follow through speaks louder.
    It is interesting, the little differences you mentioned in your sons approach to your home. He has already changed a bit, knowing the boundaries you are setting.
    I feel you, with the weepiness. The hurt of realizing it all. We will be here for you Kalahou. We will walk this journey together. That is the beauty of this site.
    My husband has mentioned to me that he feels it is okay to have our daughter come and take a shower, have a meal. It makes me uneasy, because she takes these things for granted. There is some part of me that wishes she would respond to the kindness of it. History has proven differently.
    I have no control over what my husband will do. It is hard, because she uses his offering as an opportunity to triangulate.
    This will be another chapter in the book.
    One day at a time.
    It is a whole new way to dance, really.
    The mind and body have to get
    used to the new movements
    and rhythm.
    With practice and time
    we will.
    With purpose
    we will.
    Yes, Kalahou a life with purpose
    A purposeful life
    for us
    and for our d cs.
    Malama pono
    A Hui Hou
    Sleep well dear sister
  16. Kalahou

    Kalahou Active Member

    Thanks New Leaf for taking the time to point out specifics on different details I described about this encounter with son's visit. I have re-read all the responses many times. I see from your perceptive insights, that on some behaviors where I thought I was getting derailed, you brought a new slant to my perception to help me see that there might actually be a few baby steps of change happening there, whlle I was focused on what was still going wrong.

    You are so right that son is somewhat accepting the changes, but testing the waters, and we both (with husband too) are all hopefully coming out of the fog. Trying to break free of old patterns is a painful process at any time. Your encouragement and strong support and all the guidance on this site have been a saving factor in our lives and have definitely brought me to an awakening with conviction to know I cannot do anything at all to change my son, and I am giving him freedom now to move on with his life. I simply cannot return back to old ways, after learning and applying the wisdom learned here. I am so thankful to have found this site.

    I’m thankful also New Leaf to know you are close in space and place. I lift your situation with your daughters’ lives for their best blessings and for your heart’s peace. Sharing kokua ~K
  17. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi K,
    It will get better for us, I really do believe it will. It has been so many years down this road, so change is not always easy. In the end all, the process is our own, each situation is unique.
    I too am very thankful to have found CD. It is indeed, a soft place to land for battle weary parents.
    It is sad, but also a comfort to know we are not alone in our journey.
    Most of what I share is due to that comfort I have found here, and the gentle guidance of those here, who have come further down the path than I.
    Thank you Kalahou, for your words of encouragement. I am thankful to be close in space and place with you as well. It is difficult with the cultural norms to be where we are in our decisions to give our d cs their wings. We not only go against our nurture nature, but also against our kins propensity to hang on to the notion that we not only should, but we must continue to try to "help" our adult children.
    I thank you Kalahou, from the bottom of my heart for your good wishes and words towards my daughters and my hearts peace. Likewise, I return those sentiments for you and your son, for peace and blessings on this journey. Mahalo nui loa for your kokua.
    Malama pono
  18. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    These are the emotions from which I detach. That is what detachment parenting means to me: To detach from the emotions. I see it this way: What I have done did not help my child. There is a slim possibility that if I force my adult child into the world, he (or she) will claim adult status.

    It isn't that I don't love them or that I want them out. (Though it does seem to come to that sometimes, those feelings are not how we really feel, at all, or we would feel nothing about what is happening one way or the other.) It just all comes back to whatever I have tried not turning out to help my child. When we get to the point that we know our help is not going to help but we help anyway, that is enabling. Recovering Enabler posted to us that we can tell when we are enabling because we will resent the help we give.

    So, we try something new.

    If there were any other new thing to try, we would.

    We have already tried everything else.

    I am sorry. This part is so hard. You were courageous and you loved your son very much to put him out. He must pick up. He is a man. He needs to claim his manhood or turn into a frightened victim.

    I think you are doing the right thing for your son.

    It is very hard.

    Nothing else has worked. It's okay to say those very words to our kids. I did. We were so embroiled in enabling and shaming and guilting and it was a mess. The kids were so entitled. One would fall and we would give way and then, the other.

    And we would give way.

    And it just kept happening like that.

    So we had to stop.

    We had to try something else.

    Detaching from the horrible emotions that happen when we stop taking care of our kids, however old they are, enabled me to stay with what I believed could help them claim adult status. For us, it is working better than the other way was working. When the kids save themselves, they become their own heroes. We are not their heroes, anymore. On the other hand, they are not beggars, are not people who believe that if only the story is bad enough, we will save them.

    They save themselves.

    And find self respect there.

    We are only in the beginning years of this, but I think it is helping my kids.

    It is very hard.

    You did so well.

    Your son is a man. He needs to take center field in his own life, or he cannot really be a man. When we help too much, the kids begin to lead with weakness ~ with what they cannot do, or with this or that terrible thing someone else did. It's like we teach them to be beggars, the stories of their lives tailor made to get us to play the hero, and save them.

    They need to be the heroes in their own stories, just as we are, in our stories.

    So many times in life, we are told to follow our intuitions. It is our mother intuition telling us that if our kids are ever going to make it, we need to push them from the nest.

    We need to push them from the nest.

    Believe they can fly, and push them from the nest. They will flounder.

    Then they will fly.


    If we commit to taking special care of ourselves ~ something simple and easily accomplished, like drinking a glass of water first thing every morning ~ that will help us survive these changes. If we believe in the kids and tell them we do, that will help us both.

    The kids are scared, too.

    Like the fledglings are when they leave the nest.

    But here is the thing. If the mother did not push her fledgling to fly, the fledgling's body would grow so heavy, but the muscles in his wings would not have developed. Soon, he will be a flightless bird through no one's fault, really.

    But he will be a worthless thing to himself, nonetheless. Birds are meant to fly. How can they respect themselves when the other fledglings fly with strength and grace and beauty and their wings are tiny, useless things?

    That is why they come almost to hate us, in their anger and their shame at their tiny, useless wings.

    It helps me to see it this way.

    It is very hard.

    For my children, for today, it is better. Their wings are still underdeveloped, but they believe, now, that they can fly, and they are flying.

    This has been very good for them, and for me. It breaks something in me, to do it.

    I believe it is the best thing I could do, for them. So, that is what I do.

  19. Kalahou

    Kalahou Active Member

    Cedar, Thank you for his great imagery. This is such a valid analogy, and helps me understand what's all behind it. I do see how son has come to dislike us, lose interest in us, and wants nothing to do with us, even as we were enabling. You are so right when you said " We were so embroiled in enabling and shaming and guilting and it was a mess." Thank you for your generous wisdom. It is another little building block in solidifying my foundation of resolve in this process.

    I am thankful that you have seen the progress with your children. I will hold this in my believing that one of these days, my son will believe he can also fly.

    I appreciate your caring response. Kalahou.
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List