I am writing this in hope that someone here can give me the strength and the tools to get through this ongoing issue with my difficult child. He is 21 years old and will be 22 in June. Over the last 5 or more years we have been like vinegar and water. Me wanting him to go to school and stay off drugs and control his anger, he telling me that I am wrong in everything I do and say and even acting out in violence such as breaking things in the house. There was one time he even ran outside, jumped on top of my truck and tried to beat the window in. When that didn’t work he broke the side view mirror off as he left. I locked the doors, called the police and before they got there he busted through the back dog door. I ran out the front door and drove away until the cops got there. Due to these incidents, and the fact that I was living alone after the divorce with his father, I definitely kicked him out and would not let him live with me. He has lived with my mother, my sister and his father and in each case he is asked to leave. I have found alternative places for him to stay every time and paid for them. The last place was unhappy with but I told him he couldn’t live with me without getting some sort of counseling. It had been a while since the angry incidents in the house but I still had a lot of fear of him staying with me. You have to understand we had tried at least 3 – 4 times over the years and it always ends the same. It had been a while so when he showed up on my door step and said, “what? A guy can’t come to his mom’s house unannounced”. I welcomed him in the house and thought maybe it would work this time. I was going to counseling at the time and things had been ok. His brother was in Indiana at the time and offered for my difficult child to come stay with him, even though he was just out of the Navy and trying to figure things out him. I helped them get a place together and even co-signed for the place, big mistake. They held up to their end of the deal for a while but eventually I was paying everything, rent and utilities and even sending money for food. That was June of 2013 and in November of 2014 my husband and I went to visit for Thanksgiving and cook dinner. The place is not the best place in the world, but when I was poor I definitely lived in worse. We helped them get some of the household things they needed and visited every day. It should be noted that before this visit, they had an argument where they came to blows and my difficult child said he was scared of his brother. His brother admitted to starting the fight but said his revenge came a week later when the Navy son was sleeping and my difficult child beat down his door and punched him in the face multiple times while he was sleeping. They appeared to have made amends and actually I only learned of the true reason the door was beat in after we left and my husband told me what he was told in confidence. Fast forward to about 4 weeks ago when my Navy son called me and was scared to go home. He said that my difficult child had been making the house environment unlivable and kept telling him that they needed to fight in order to resolve their issues. He was unwilling to do so and just didn’t engage. My difficult child just kept escalating the situation until he left in the 20 degree temps. He talked his cousins into letting him stay there temporarily and worked out a plan to get back to my house on the west coast.
Now I am in my own personal Hell. My difficult child is calling continuously saying I am his mom and have to let him come back into my house. I am stilling paying the rent and the utilities and some spending expenses. He has figured out how to get food stamps but has not gotten a job, counseling or signed up for classes to better himself. He calls me and yells at the top of his lungs and cusses and calls me every name in the book and then tells me I am his mom and have to let him come back. His newest tool is telling me he will kill himself. First time was about a week ago when he called continuously two nights in a row. The ones at reasonable time I answered and he would just play loud Jim Croce music and not talk. They continued with calls at 1am and 3am until we unplugged our phone. Only to find in the morning a text messages threatening to kill himself and a voicemail saying help help help. We called is cousin who told us they had been at the bar and was fine when he dropped him off but would go check on him. I was about to call the authorities when his cousin said he was fine. This same threat continued over the next few days telling me that I had to fight with him and give him money or he would kill himself. When he threatened again in the middle of the night through texts, I called the authorities, who then called me back and said he had admitted himself. That was yesterday. I unblocked his phone from my phone cause I felt so horrible but now he is harassing me again and calling and yelling and screaming that I have to let him come home and calling me every name in the book. I tell him that we could discuss it if he went to counseling and he tells me that he doesn’t need it or will get it (depending on the conversation) if I let him come home. I am damaged, hurt, confused and actually very numb, until I breakdown and cry. I can’t do this anymore. I don’t feel that in any way letting him come back would work out ok and everyone in the family says he can’t go there, including his dad. All of his anger falls on me though but my place is where he wants to be. I think just so he can torture me in person. He didn’t graduate and has some problems with spelling and reading, Some of this is due to a learning issues and some is due to giving up on school around the 9th grade actually earlier but at least he went, sometimes. I know I have rambled but I am afraid for his life but I am also afraid for myself if I let him come back. I am in Hell.


Well-Known Member
Hugs CA Mom.

Others will chime in, but I wanted to let you know your story is being read. I am so sorry you are having to deal with this.

Above all, he canNOT be allowed back into your home. I am not sure if you mean he is in a hospital setting right now? I saw where you called the authorities and they told you had admitted himself. I think I would take the suicide threats, and start an order to have him admitted, if he is not already. husband and I started that process about ten years ago (when our son was about 22), but difficult child left the state before anything happened. At that time, difficult child was quite depressed. He may still have those times, but we just see the anger.

My difficult child is now 32 (almost 33) and exhibits a lot of the same behavior, especially the hatred toward his parents and insisting we MUST help. Right now, we are not speaking and who knows if we ever will again. There will be no relationship until he gets much needed help.

I look forward to seeing the input of others on this board. They are very wise.

You are living a kind of hell....and will get ideas of how to get out of it. I found this board by Googling "How to stop enabling". We just get to the point where we know we cannot do it anymore.

Keep posting and reading. It will help. Others will recommend reading Co-dependent No More, by Beattie. It is a great book to help us realize, with no uncertainty, that we do not have the power to change anybody, including our adult children. You canNOT fix him. Like many of us, you have certainly tried.
Your words and the words of everyone struggling on this site with the same issues are truly the only thing that is getting me by right now. To hear that I am not the only one struggling is comforting. He is not in the hospital right now, they released him the next morning after watching him through the night. He is normal to other people and even pleasant when they are not family. He admitted himself on Tuesday evening as he said he took or told me he was going to take 150 Tylenol. I am not sure what he actually did do but today he told me again today that he had 100 Tylenol and was going to take them. He keeps threatening me with this, unless I let him move back in.

I tried the approach of not talking to him for a while, but that is when the suicide attempts became real. So I try to talk to him and all I get is screaming and yelling and cussing in my ear tell me how horrible I am and that any other mother would let their son come home. I feel like when I talk to him it only makes him more miserable as he gets so angry and repeats that he wants to come home, after calling me every name he can think of with well placed f' this and f' yous placed every other word. I think I may have to just stop answering but at what cost?

Is it ok to stop answering with the way he is treating me? I feel like an abused woman that keeps going back to her abuser, and I am so much stronger than that. My ego is suffering, which is causing my work to suffer, and my marriage is in pain. Thank goodness I have a fabulous husband but he is at a loss on how to help me.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
CA Mom. Welcome. I am so sorry you are going through this nightmare with your son. If you have read through any posts here on the Emeritus side, then you can see that your situation is very similar to many of ours.

You may find some comfort and some information in reading the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here. You may also want to read the book, Codependent No more by Melodie Beattie. Detaching from our kids is usually the most difficult thing any of us here have ever done.

You have been at this for awhile and you must be exhausted from the continual struggles, the resentments, the anger, the sorrow, the fear, all of it. It is an unnatural place to be. Most of us find this site when we are sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Generally, there is nothing you can do to stop this relentless assault on you, but to stop responding to the calls. If you feel that he is in danger of hurting himself or worse, perhaps you might call the police and state that. I am not sure of the laws about that in CA. but others may have more information.

Threatening suicide is a very serious statement to make and only you can know how real that is. Just so you know, around here it is not all that uncommon. When we stop enabling our kids they usually freak out and blame us, become hostile towards us, call us names and sometimes become violent as well. It's a hard call to make to try to figure out how far he will go to try to get you to take care of him. They are like grown adults who throw a 2 year old temper tantrum. Recently we have had 2 difficult child's here threaten suicide, yours is the third. That doesn't happen in normal reality, but it happens here more often then you would think.

Your son is attempting to hold you hostage with his behavior so you will return to the time when you took care of all of his needs. It sounds as if you are an enabler and usually the first thing we need to do is to stop the giving of money, completely. It appears as if both of your sons are difficult child's and that it may be time for you to stop paying their rent, their utilities and their food, they are grown men who have failed to launch and as long as you continue giving them everything they need, they will continue needing you to do it. You will end up staying stuck exactly where it is you are because we really do get what we are willing to put up with. Don't put up with this nonsense from either one of your sons.

It is usually very important for us to get professional help in order for us to get through this. I had a therapist, a weekly therapy lead support group, this forum, and A LOT more support. It really takes a village to get through it.

The only way any of it will change is if YOU change, your sons won't, it is in their best interests to keep the gravy train going. It is in your best interests and your healths interests to STOP THIS NOW.

If you feel that the suicide threats are real, then call the police every time he threatens it, let them deal with it. Do not answer the phone. Block his number. Get as much support as you can and keep posting.

I am in No. Ca. and two years ago I entered a Codependency program through a large Substance Abuse Facility. If you are insured with the largest HMO in CA. you can private message me and I will give you the info. It was a life saver and gave me the tools to detach from my daughter. It is a process and it takes time and it hurts. It hurts a lot. That's why you need support. This is your son, these are your sons and of course you love them. The big but in that is do you want to be paying their rent and buying their food when they are in their 40's or 50's? If you don't then you must take steps NOW to stop this. You can do it and we are here to help you. We've all been in your shoes and some of us still are and some of us have moved through and we're beginning to find out what life is like when it isn't controlled by the moods, actions, choices and behavior of another person.

Keep posting it helps. If you can write a signature at the bottom of your posts so we can recall your stats, that is helpful. Do kind and nurturing things for yourself. Make time for YOU. Make sure your needs and wants come first and begin to focus on yourself and take the focus off of your kids. It is time now for you to let go of parenting and have your own life .......and only you can make that choice. I am glad you're here, I'm glad you found us. We are a group of wounded warriors here who know the trenches you find yourself in......welcome.


Well-Known Member
Children can and do abuse their parents and you most certainly ARE being abused. When my son is vile, I hang up. I won't answer for a few days. Then I let him try again. If he says one disrespectful word, I hang up again and go another few days. I have no interest in listening to his distorted thinking and irrational anger. Some of us detach completely for long periods of time.

As the others have said, you can not make your son better by paying for anything. I'd cut off the money trail, which is probably being used for illegal means, no matter what he claims it is for. I would stop supporting him. It's time for him to step up and get a job. The fact is, a long time ago, he could have lived with you if he had chosen to behave respectfully and obey you and the law. He choose homelessness and apparently isn't fooling any of his relatives either. He made his decision. You try to live a good life. You don't have to be miserable because your child is making self-destructive decisions.

Suicide is my biggest fear with 36. I think he is capable of it. But there is nothing I can do to stop him if he's going to do it. If he threatens to do it to me I will call 911. Other than that, scary as it is, that is also a path he has to walk himself.


Well-Known Member
Hi CA Mom, I'm so sorry you have to be here but happy you found us. I am new here too and have found such wonderful support. I don't have anything to add to the wonderful advice you have already received, but I wanted you to know that I am following along with your story and wish you much peace. You deserve so much better than you are getting right now.


Well-Known Member
I am so sorry you are living in this hell. You did the right thing to call the authorities when he threatened suicide. You should do that each time. You must not let him move back in. When he calls if he can't be polite you can say "I cannot talk with you when you are shouting or threatening. We will talk when you can speak politely. Do not call back for at least 24 hours (or two hours or a week or however long you feel comfortable). I will not answer before then. Let him know that if he threatens suicide you will call the police because you love him, and because suicide is illegal.

Other mothers don't let their sons come home under these circumstances. You can see that that has not worked for you or to make him a functional adult so far. Something has to change, and right now it is the communication between the two of you. You have a right to insist that he speak to you politely. You are entitled to some peace, and can tell him you will answer in 24 hours and speak to him if he can be polite. Stick to it. Hang up and turn off your phone if he starts shouting.

What an awful awful crisis. We can all sympathize. My son never threatens suicide, he just makes gestures...the worst being when he slashed his throat. Nowhere near a real attempt, but really awful to see.
We are all with you. We will give you our thoughts and reactions, and the best advice we can muster. Please keep posting.



Well-Known Member
And Ca mom? My 20 year old just stopped by my house. He asked if he could use the grocery cart (we have one of those upright ones that city dwellers use) to take his laundry to the laundry mat. He keeps his clothes at work (he works as a food delivery bicycle dude for an indian take out joint). He sleeps under a bridge, even though it gets well below freezing here at night. He doesn't ask to come home anymore, and I don't offer. He is polite now.
I stopped letting him make demands a few years ago. It was awful, and I backslid over and over again. As recently as December I paid his fines to get him out of jail. But....the drama ended a while back because I wouldn't engage in it any more. I hope the same for you.

Well tonight he once again is threatening suicide. I called the police dispatch in his town in Indiana and they went over there. They called me back and said the cops were barely able to get him to open the door and when they did he was "rude" to the cops. He then text me and said my last piece of ammo just left. I accept the fact that i can't do anymore. I have been worrying myself sick all week and it has to stop. Thank you Echolette for giving me the words to say next time I talk to him but for now I have turned off my phone and will not be responding. I have given his dad all the information but he only wants to talk to me and demand from me that I let him move in and quit being a .... (You can fill in the blank.) I hope it gets better. All of your words are Really helping. Thank you.


Well-Known Member
I think you handled it perfectly, CA Mom. He only wanted to talk to you because you were the only one left standing who was willing to tolerate his behavior. I am glad you turned your phone off.


one day at a time
CA, the day we are at the end of our rope is the day we ask for help. From the police, from mental health providers, from our ministers and priests, and from each other. That is a good day, CA. We are only human, and we can only do so much. We are not God. He has not given us the Power to change anybody but ourselves. We are mothers, and we are the last man standing for our kids most of the time after everybody shakes their head and turns away and stops.

Most of us, before that, are hanging on for dear life to those who we gave birth to and raised and love beyond all reason. We keep on believing that if we just love them enough, and wait, and pray, and help them, and get them help, and talk to them, and restrict and ground them, and keep them physically safe as much as we can, that one day, they will slowly grow up and this will stop. And I've seen that happen with many kids and young people.

But not with ours, because the mental illness (I'm including addiction here as well) is present and in the case of addiction, it is progressive.

Every time my son threatens suicide, I call the police. Threatening suicide is against the law in my state. I have hoped that calling for help when he does this will not only stop him for the moment if he is really going to do this horrible, unimaginable thing, but it is also a gateway for help.

He has threatened it many times. Once in the past five weeks. I drove to where he was, and once again, I said, every time you tell me you are going to kill yourself, I am going to call the police.

Most of the time, CA, he stops threatening suicide. I have no way of knowing if he will try it or if he really means it. I will take it seriously every time. One time he cut his wrists (very superficially I was told by the doctors at the ER) and texted the pictures to his old girlfriend who called me hysterical and I met the police at his dad's house where he was staying and we got him to the ER and then to the state hospital for a week.

It took me a long time to stop, CA. I only did it after I tried Every. Single. Thing. I could think of, and I did those things multiple times. Nothing worked, everything was only getting worse, and there were two crazy and desperate people not one. He and me.

Today, my son is homeless and has been for the past five weeks. We see each other about once a week for 10 minutes. We have had several nice, calm, peaceful and loving talks sitting the car for those 10 minutes. I am grateful and a little nervous about this fragile peace between us and it seems, within him. I know it can change on a dime. It has before.

I love my son beyond all reason, CA. I would do anything, anything, anything to help him.

I am doing the one thing, today, I have never done before. I am leaving him alone. I am praying to God Almighty every single day that somehow, someway, my son will begin to take the steps forward he needs to take to have a life. If and when he does, people from all kinds of places will come alongside him and support him and even help him, but we can't do it for him, CA. And the more we try to do it for him, the more we are crippling him and ensuring that he will never have a chance to be a man.

We can't do it anymore than our parents could do it for us.

It sounds like you are completely sick and tired of being sick and tired. You have done all anybody can do.

In my opinion (only my opinion, CA), it's time to stop. And it will be really really hard to stop, if that is what you want and decide to do. Only you know what you can and should do. Right now you are exhausted and frantic and terrified.

Just do one thing differently today. You have turned off your phone. That is huge. Continue to take small steps down the path.

You can be okay and have contentment, peace, serenity and joy, even if your precious son decides to continue down his path.

Please keep posting here. We can offer support, care, practical advice and comfort---no matter what you decide to do. We KNOW how hard this is. We get it. We have been there and done that.


Well-Known Member
Just do one thing differently today. You have turned off your phone. That is huge. Continue to take small steps down the path.

Child is right, CA, that is huge. Tomorrow maybe you can try to not think about him for an hour. Little by little. One thing different every day.

Is it ok to stop answering with the way he is treating me?

You know it is. When you lose confidence, we are here to help you. No one has a right to treat you that way. It is abuse.

Hugs today, and good luck....

Thank you everyone. The mornings are hard. As soon as my eyes open my thoughts go to "What have a I done?". Child O Mine, your words really helped this morning. You described the way I feel so accurately. He is my child and I want to do everything I can to help him but I am at the end of my rope. Something has to change. Today, I am not going to be abused with his words and guilt, the guilt is harder to turn off but I am working on that. My phone will stay off today and I am going to have a good Friday. My head is already struggling with how long do I keep it off? God Give Me the Strength. Echo, I will stay strong.

I took some time last night to read the struggles that others are having. Some of them are so familiar it is scary. Do they come out the other end? I want to get better so I can give the strong advice that you all are giving me. Today I am going to find a counselor to talk to as well. I have done this twice before over the years but it is time to go back. I need all the support I can get. I hope my difficult child does the same.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
It's one step at a time. We go sideways and upside down sometimes, but we hold on to the commitment to change and that carries us through the rough waters. A counselor will help. Any 12 step groups you can find also offer support. Many of us find solace in Families anonymous. Get as much support as you can because it's hard to stay the course when we are alone.

Some come out the other end. Your son is young so if you can make changes now, there is hope. However, it's helpful to try to stay in this moment and not go into the future,none of us know the outcome, all we can do is stay here in the present moment and do our best. That's all you can do.

Do something kind for yourself today. Everyday. That will help you to stay the course.

Hang in there, we're here if you need us.


Well-Known Member
Thank you everyone. The mornings are hard. As soon as my eyes open my thoughts go to "What have a I done?". Child O Mine, your words really helped this morning. You described the way I feel so accurately. He is my child and I want to do everything I can to help him but I am at the end of my rope. Something has to change. Today, I am not going to be abused with his words and guilt, the guilt is harder to turn off but I am working on that. My phone will stay off today and I am going to have a good Friday. My head is already struggling with how long do I keep it off? God Give Me the Strength. Echo, I will stay strong.

I took some time last night to read the struggles that others are having. Some of them are so familiar it is scary. Do they come out the other end? I want to get better so I can give the strong advice that you all are giving me. Today I am going to find a counselor to talk to as well. I have done this twice before over the years but it is time to go back. I need all the support I can get. I hope my difficult child does the same.

Look, I know you feel guilty, but why? Did you make him get into this mess? Put a gun to his head. Does he tell you, "When I was five years old you did X, and when I was ten years old I did Y and that is why this is all your fault?" If so, you have company. ALL difficult child's seem to use that reasoning. Yet almost all children have bad things happen to them and most of them do not turn into people that ours have become. So it's nonsense and just an excuse to get us moms to fund their drug use or lack of work or toys they want to buy but don't want to work for.

Expect your son to up the ante every time you take your power back and refuse to fund his self-destruction. They tend to go to wild extremes to make us feel guilty, text us nonstop, threaten us physically, sometimes even come to our house and try to break in...there seems to be no limit to how far our adult kids will go to teach us a lesson for not treating them like they are incapable of taking care of themselves. They get very agitated and mean when we step back and let them learn on their own to either live in society or fail. There are people who are 80 paying for rent for their 55 year old "children." Do you want that to be you?

I can't say that detaching has made my son a better person because he is what he is and he hasn't worked hard on trying to help himself. Nor will he. Nor did he when he lived with me and I begged him to get help and promised to pay and drive him and stay in the lobby, etc. etc. etc. He still refused treatment. So making myself sick to death did not help him and it didn't help my other children who needed to have a mom too. They were younger than him. He took up all the oxygen in any room and not in a good way.

He is now living several states away and does have a job and a son, whom he takes good care of. I hope it lasts. He calls me a lot now and is not always Mr. Nice Guy. When he is under stress, he threatens me and screams at me and swears at me and calls me lovely names...and I finally started hanging up on him at the first bad or loud word directed at me. Yes, he is 36 and I am first starting to really be my own boss. Although it hasn't changed who he is, he is more mindful of how he talks to me and I have to hang up and ignore his calls for days less than I use to.

Beware of the "I will kill myself." That will happen too. Does he mean it? I would always call 911 whenever it was said to me. No more discussion. Hang up. 911. I don't take chances with that, but I don't talk about it either. I don't want to feel guilty if he says "I will kill myself" and I don't call 911 and he does it, although he has never seriously tried to kill himself. It is usually said to try to manipulate me because that used to make me back down from anything. Even if he wrote me a letter threatening to kill himself I'd call 911. Since he knows that, it has been over a year since I've heard him say "I'm going to kill myself." As hard as it is for me to accept, I *have* accepted, and I know, that if he really wants to do it, nobody can stop him because if he really wants to do it, that isn't going to be the time he tells me.

But even if he lived at home, which will never happen again, he could kill himself. Suicide is everywhere, of course, and most of the kids I knew who did kill themselves did it at home. In fact, all of them did. Two hung themselves in closets. One put his father's policeman's revolver in his mouth and shot himself. Did you ever read Danielle Steele's only true story book called "His Bright Light?" It is about her bipolar son. He killed himself at age seventeen. This after she spent literally millions of dollars on trying to save him. In the end, the decision was taken out of her hands.

What we need to focus on is that if somebody wants to hurt themselves, even our beloved children, we really can't stop them. And there is nothing you can do to make your adult son live a good life either. It is in his own hands.

Do not let his abuse wear you down. If anyone but your son talked to you the way he does, would you not call the cops and try to avoid the person? Why do we let our adult children do it if we wouldn't let anyone else?

We shouldn't. Gentle hugs and take care.
"God grant us the SERENITY to accept the things we can not change,
The COURAGE to change the things we can,
And the WISDOM to know the difference." (I think this is classic even if you are an atheist. It is about letting go of what you can't hang onto anyway).

I think the reason I feel the most guilty is because he has nothing. No job, no money and if I didn't pay his rent he would have no shelter, in the mid west were it gets to be really cold. Now I know from reading your stories that this is not the end of the world. Plus it is officially Spring now and he will not freeze. I am stuck being a co-signer until the lease is up and we have told him that come August he has to find a place to live other than there. Not sure if we can legally take my name off the lease but I will fight to get it done.

I have decided that I will keep his number blocked from my cell phone through the weekend. He is just fine. I talked with his father during my lunch break and he said he has called multiple times with no answer. Not surprising to me cause he would be embarrassed to act this way to his father. His dad called his cousin who lives in the same area and had him go over and check on him and the cousin said he was napping when he knocked but that he appeared ok. Same thing that the cop said yesterday when he did the well check. I told his Dad that I am disconnecting and he supported me. Even though I am glad that everything points to my difficult child as being ok physically, I am accepting the fact that I can't change any choice he does make and that it is not my fault if he makes a bad choice. I am eventually going to unblock his number but will be hanging up at the very first inappropriate rude comment or raising of the voice. I am feeling empowered and will hopefully become the very strong woman that I used to be. It is actually very ironic that I allow this man to treat me this way as I would never allow anyone else to speak or treat me badly in my other personal or work situations.

I will most definitely not allow him to come live at home again. This is the root of his anger right now and actually was a decision I had came to before coming to this forum. It is what has brought his anger to a head because I did allow his brother who is going to college for web design, has never cussed me out or been violent toward me, and got a job in less than 4 days after arriving, move home. He is not perfect either but is making a very strong effort to get on his feet after a stint in the Navy. They were living together but the violence became too much for him as well. I do worry that he is just another type of difficult child but there is a timeline to his existence in our home with strict guidelines on the things he must do to help out around the home while living there. He does them all without argument and really always has. My difficult child would not even mow the lawn or bring the garbage cans from the road without an argument and a lovely word for me. Would tell me that I was using him for free labor instead of seeing that everyone in the house had to pitch in. So far so good on the older brother but it has only been 3 weeks.

I am not going to allow his abuse wear me down any more than it has already. I can see the effect it has had on me physically.

I repeat the Serenity Prayer often, so it is fitting you put this in the last post. I am not an atheist but my faith is definitely shaken.

It bears repeating:

God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change
The Courage to change the things I can
The Wisdom to know the difference

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member


To me, it feels like we moms need to learn to interpret what our difficult child kids are doing differently. When we can see what happens from OUR point of view rather than from their viewpoint, things begin to make sense. We begin to heal.

In reality, your son is a man who has made certain choices, as is his right. If he were making those choices you feel are best for him (school, job) he would be home, all his needs met and his future secure.

He is not making those good choices for himself.

He is making self-destructive choices.

What I told my son is that I loved him too much to watch him self destruct, and that I certainly loved him too much to help him do it by supporting his self destructive lifestyle choices in any way.

I also tell him that he was raised better than to do what he is doing.

This is key. Because we feel guilty about the part we must have played in what is happening to our kids, the kids pick up on that. They use these maternal feelings against us, mercilessly.

We are in a trap.

So are they.

Unless and until we can learn to rely on our own memories of their upbringings, unless and until we truly get it that what they have chosen to do with themselves when we are not there to stop them ~ or when they refuse to allow us to stop them ~ was never the choice we would have made for them, and is in fact, exactly what we cautioned them against...nothing can change.

We need to break the pattern.

That is what the learned skill of detachment is all about. We learn to detach from the emotional component of what is happening to our children. We need to see, not to sound like a goof ball here, but with clarity and justice and honor.

And we need to learn to expect those same things from our children. What they do about our changed expectations is up to them.

They are walking a wrong path. Nothing, nothing we have done to help them change their paths has worked. From what I have seen in my own life, from what I have learned, here on the site, detachment may be the one chance, the one thing, that will change the way our kids think and give them a shot at reclaiming their lives.

The kids need to stop blaming anyone or anything for where they are. They need to take full responsibility for where they choose to take their lives and for how they choose to live them.

We cannot change what they decide to do, who they decide to be. We can though, let go and love them. We can establish healthy boundaries, modeling that for the kids. We can learn to cherish and console ourselves ~ also, modeling that for the kids. We need to review those pictures of our troubled kids that we hold in our hearts. We really do need to get it, that they are adults, now. In looking back at our own maturation, we see where challenge well met ~ or even, failure ~ has matured us, has given us priceless knowledge about ourselves, and about how the world works.

Where would we be today, who would we be, today, without the lessons life has taught us?

We would not have grown into our adulthoods, either.

We need to (well, at least I am trying to) learn to love the kids without judging them. We need not to advise. We need to believe they can do just great without our help.

That is the only way they will grow out of their adolescences.

We had to do that, too.

I didn't learn to do this until my son was in his late twenties. I have lived most of my life focused on my kids, on my guilt, on my responsibility. I have been so ashamed, so embarrassed; have wondered where I went wrong, have tried to change myself, to be a better mom.

Nothing worked. Nothing helped. Lots of money, co-signatures, fines and food and all kinds of things. None of that worked, at all.

In fact, my kids seem to believe we owe them those things because they are inept or unable.

I did that to them.

Now, I need to gently, certainly, let them grow up.

From your description of the way he treated his brother, this younger son of yours is so into blaming anyone else for his failures, is so into revenge and hatred, that the only way he could possibly come to his senses is if you and your family leave him alone to do that.

It is hard to turn away from our troubled kids. We DO feel guilt and responsibility and shame and rage. We need to learn to let those things go. We need to make a conscious effort to do that, to make a decision to heal.

And that is all I know for sure, this morning.

Oh. One more thing that has helped me so much. When one of our children are in the kind of trouble our difficult child kids seem to find without even trying? Whatever solution we come up with is going to have its really bad aspects. That is because the situation is bad. Not you. Not the difficult child.

The situation is bad.

There is no perfect response; there is no fix.

We do the best we know.

Holding you and your family in my thoughts today, CA.

These changes are very hard to make. But if we can change the pattern of our responses, at the least, we will make a change in the pattern. Something has to change, or things will go on and on, just like this.

I am struggling tonight with what to do now. My difficult child found a way to call me even though i have his phone blocked through my carrier. He said he was calling through Google. The number came through as "unavailable" and we lost our dog tonight so i was hoping it was someone who had found the dog but it was him. I told him i was looking for the dog and he said he would call back later. I did talk to him one other time after that and just told him that he can't talk to me the way he was talking to me. He sounds calm but still asking for money for food. I told him he would need to find a church or somewhere they give food out. I cut the call short. He messaged me through facebook. It said, "so what did i do this time. So i am cut off again. What the f.... Than he listed out a list of insignificant items like a grocery list.

I responded with the following:

You will no longer be getting any cash from me. If you have things that you need in order to get a job or get into school we can discuss how to get you those things. you have to make a change.

the way you treat me is not ok. and it is time you start something to change your life

He called again and left a fairly long message, as i didn't answer this time. He described how he took the pills and passed out and thought that it was the end. But he said he woke up 2 days later and wondered why. He said he thought maybe it was God telling him that i was not going to distance myself from him. Him even saying the word God is a shock. I don't know what to do. I want to help him but i also want him to get help and change his life for the better. He says he needs food, this is always what he says. Before his episode late last week i had arranged for a lady that lives in the area and delivers groceries as a side job to take groceries but he refused. She is on vacation now. I don't want him to starve but i don't want to give him money either. As i am typing this my phone just lit up with another urgent voicemail.

Tired, so very tired.


Well-Known Member
CAMLH you know him best so please take any suggestions from me with that in mind. it sounds to me that he sees you becoming stronger and doesn't like that so he is adding some new songs to his repertoire (implying God doesn't want you to do this, tying that into your fear of his suicide etc). While u have been worried sick he has been taking a nice nap! I thought he had food stamps? And there is the church. Or there is a J-O-B.

I don't think your actions are too abrupt, but if you do maybe get him a few days of bare subsistence type foods and tell him this is all, you will need to start feeding yourself. But I don't think food is his issue. He refused the food you offered. I think it"s about control.

I really like your responses to him. Wish his calls could be screened.