MrMike: Still in the same boat as 4 years ago

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by MrMike, Mar 17, 2017.

  1. MrMike

    MrMike Member

    Hi there, I last posted here about 4 years ago. Married with 3 children, oldest of which is either bipolar, borderline, narcissistic, or a combo of all three. I have been seeing a counselor for it for years now. The goal was to learn how to change myself to not put up with his terrible behavior, and to try to deal with him in a way that would lessen his emotional outbursts.

    This had worked pretty much until just the other day, when he got into a rage, threatened me and my wife, then punched a hole in the wall. He hadn't done this in quite awhile, and I guess I thought we had him under control. But, I guess we don't have him "under control". It was a really bad scene. He got so incredibly angry, like he was possessed or something, almost like he was some crazed beast from a horror movie or something. It was terrible. My 18 old daughter began sobbing and needed to be consoled by my wife for quite some time.

    As we told my lunatic son to leave the house, he kept telling us to please not call the cops, he couldn't deal with all the stuff he'd have to deal with if we did that. We agreed not to if he would just leave the house and stay out for awhile. He did so.

    Anyway, bottom line is that this has been going on some 5 years now. Everyone in our family has suffered enough, and we just can't let this go on anymore. Don't know what we going to do next, but I know we need to learn to detach much more than we have been able to up to this point. Actually, it is me that has trouble detaching. My wife is comfortable with kicking him out and letting him live on the streets. I am the problem in this respect. My heart breaks when I think of him living on the streets. But what he does to all of us when he lives in our house is also terrible, so I don't know. I wish/hope/pray that I can quickly lean to detach much more so that I can not allow his toxic behavior to crush our spirits any longer.

    Mr. Mike
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Think about your daughter. Does that help?

    You are not kicking him out. He is choosing to leave by refusing to follow your reasonable house rules. His decision. How old is he? To me that matters. Do you want him on your couch at 30? Does he work? Pay rent? Use drugs? Even pot? Does he pay his own bills? Do you still buy him toys, including a car? Do you give him money? Cook for him? Clean for him?; Wash his clothes? Many kids start doing these things at twelve. Mine did. They have to learn to care for themselves. They HAVE to learn. And they must learn to survive without us. We can not live in this lifetime forever. Then what?

    Is he going to pay for or fix the whole in your wall?

    Sometimes we think we are doing our grown kids a favor by treating them as if they are still minor children. But that is usually to make US feel better. It does them no good. Even if disabled, they need to learn to depend on services in the community because they will outlive us and suddenly be lost. We must stop thinking of them as the cute little boys they once were. They are men with low voices, muscles and beards.

    Sometimes our good hearts hurt us and them, although that is not our intent.

    Take care and maybe go for more counseling. Read "Codrpendent No More" by Melody Beattie.
    Best book ever for parents who cant detach from a grown childs drama!!
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    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
  3. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Mr Mike

    It sounds like you have done everything that you can do.

    I think that your son should not live in your home any longer, ever again. You need to protect your sanity and your daughter. Your home should be a peaceful place and not a battle zone and NOT a place where you are waiting for the other shoe to drop.

    I lived that also for over five years but my son has problems with SA that caused his issues. He is not living away from us and doing much, much better and we are doing much, much better.

    It's a shame that it has to come to the point where we cannot have them close to us any longer but I'm assuming your son is an adult and adults should live on their own and figure out a way to support themselves.

    More will be along with more experience in this arena than I have. But I think it's great you're seeing a therapist. I'd think you'd be farther along with your detachment and boundaries by now though.

  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Ok. I just read your first post so Son is about 27 years old. Do you really want him on your couch, terrorizing all of you until you die? I ask this gently. I understand but how old will he be before he is forced to either work or get help for mental illness, apply for disability and move out? There are services out there. Our country is ill suited for those who dont work and wont take care of themselves.

    Unless you are immortal, he will learn this lesson one day and the older he is the harder it will be. Even if you have a good inheritance for him, he wont spend it well and will probably end up broke.

    He needs a strong father and to learn that life is more than not working as he lives off of your dime. You need a safe haven in your home. So does wife and daughter.
  5. MrMike

    MrMike Member

    SomewhereOutThere, thanks for your advice. I agree with it. I know I need to do it. I know it is right. Being honest though, I guess I must view him as helpless, because I always feel like if we kick him out he won't be able to survive. He is so messed up in his thinking that it seems to me that he will die out there from exposure or hunger, or stubbornness to change. I guess I must have a desire to care for him until I know he can care for himself. And since he shows no ability to care for himself, I feel like I need to take care of him. I know this is ridiculous, believe me, I know it is. He is 26 years old! I guess I feel that because of his mental illness, he is not capable of taking care of himself. It's so hard to do what is needed to be done. Just being honest. More counseling for me is needed I think, to allow me to come to grips with my failure to enforce rules and allow him to get away with treating us like this.
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  6. wisernow

    wisernow wisernow

    agree with all of who posted. There needs to be consequences for his poor behavior and you and your wife and daughter deserve a safe home. Can you have him move to a relatives house for a short while so you can step back and take some time to process? Perhaps he needs time to process as well. I found that when the drama was taking place we were so entrenched in it , it was hard to see the big picture. A social worker told us that our crazy household had become the new norm...we were like rabbits in the slowly warming cooking pot..and were paralyzed by our feelings. Our vision of what a relationship should be like with our son had taken on a horrific persona....and it was killing all of us. walking on egg shells, always trying to smooth out things. Well what that taught my son, who by the way is also mentally ill is that he could manipulate things accordingly.Long story short, he now lives in a group home, yes our family imploded but we are all doing much better. Please continue on with therapy but I think for now don't let him return. You need to take a few steps back. Hugs to you
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  7. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi Mike.

    Can you talk to your son about getting into counseling, as a condition of his staying in the home?

    He needs to change his behaviors, and find out if he has a condition which would be helped by medications.

    If he is truly so mentally ill that he can't work to support himself, he needs a diagnoses to start applying for government services.

    If he is able to work, he may need medications. and behavioral counseling in order to accomplish this.

    He needs to start the process now. It will not get easier as he gets older.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Mr. Mike, many people with mental illness, including me, work and are on their own. Some are so sick they must live in group homes on Disability but they are not in parental home. You know if he needs Disability and services. If he refuses them he will be screwed when you are gone. He needs to work, if he can, or get on community services and he may not be willing to do this in your house. He HAS to find some way to live without you. This is mandatory.

    He is 26 already. Most 26 year olds are out of the house and thriving.

    My auristic son, 23, is in his own apartment on his own dime. Although he gets some Disability and has two part time jobs. He is very innocent and I worry too, but I am 63 and wont be around forever. He needs to learn to depend on his case manager and others besides me. They will be there when his father, 61, and I am not.

    Some adult kids need to learn the hard way to accept long term treatment in the community and that may include homelessness. You can help him find services and write them on paper for him so he knows who can help him. You can also put down the addresses of shelters and food pantries. Until he sees that maybe he does need to apply for Disability and the services that go with it, he may have to rough it. Sometimes they need to get tired of not doing the best for themselves. Are you maybe keeping him at home more for you than for him?

    But maybe he CAN work somewhere. Even if he is on Disability, he can work. Like my son. Or maybe he is capable of sustainable full time work but doesnt try because Dad will save him and he knows it.

    By feeling that you must take care of a 26 year old you are letting him know you feel he is helpless without you to take care of him. What will happen when you die? Hate to keep bringing up the gloomy topic, but it happens to the best of us! The World will see him as a homeless adult and he wont get any help if he isnt already getting it.

    Prayers to you for strength and clarity. You have a lot on your plate. We all do.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
  9. bluebell

    bluebell Active Member

    Thinking of you MrMike and agree with all here! I think you are in the stage my husband in in (we've been talking in my post). I hope your son can get the help he needs. Does he have any issues with drugs? I know my son does so it gives the whole 'kicking him out' thing another dimension and justification. Not sure how things would be handled if drugs weren't in the picture in our case....
  10. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Mr. Mike, it's been a long's good to see you.......although I wish it was under better circumstances.

    I'm sorry you're still dealing with your adult son in a similar way as before. I can relate to your feelings, when our kids have mental illness it shakes us up more and seems to keep us attached to them in ways that may not be healthy for them or us. I know that's what happened with my daughter and I too.

    Have you tried NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness? They have chapters in many cities and you can access them online. I found them to be very helpful. They have an excellent course for parents and can provide resources for you and for your son. The chapter close to where I live had numerous resources which I availed myself to...... Social Workers who knew how to navigate the system, classes, help for my daughter with jobs, housing, disability, government assistance, etc. They were very, very helpful to guide me through the various programs available for my daughter as well as a great support for me. If you haven't already, you might give them a call.

    Mr. Mike, this is the hardest thing any of us will have to do. I understand your reticence to allow your son to become homeless......there may be other options available for all of you.........however, you, your wife and your daughter deserve to have a safe and drama free home. In the meantime, you might explore local shelters and food banks.

    Hang in there and keep us posted. You're not alone Mr. Mike, most of us have been in your shoes.
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  11. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    First I want to say how sorry I am you are having to deal with this.

    The biggest misconception a parent tells themselves is that "I can control" or "We can control"
    We have no control over another human being.

    I understand your son suffers from some mental illness but it should not be used as an excuse for his outburst and destructive behavior. Even with mental illness he needs to learn there are consequences to his actions. If it were me, I would have called the police. You are allowing your son to manipulate you.

    You are not kicking him out, you are liberating him to live his own life.

    My son has survived many years being homeless. I don't like it but its his choice not mine. I get the heartbreak, I've been there but again, I nor you have any control over our adult children.

    Of course you view him as helpless. You have enabled him by allowing him to live in your home while you and your wife take care of everything. There are many people with mental illness who function quite well in life but here's the thing, they have to choose to want to.

    You would be amazed at how well homeless people function and manage to get by. I used to think the same thing about my son. Even when he would call me telling me he was going to freeze or starve to death, he managed without my help. I have learned over the years to not buy into his pleading. He is living the life he chose.

    Again, you have enabled him. I get it. Sometimes we think it's just easier to do for them rather than to have them do for themselves. We don't want to see them struggle but it's through the struggle that they grow and become stronger.

    You are stuck in the FOG (fear, obligation, guilt)
    Think 5, 10, 20, 30 years down the road. You will not always be here to take care of him. The sooner he starts to learn how to take care of himself the better your whole family will be.

    I'm glad that you see a therapist. I would suggest that you work with them on helping you set some clear boundaries.

    I would also suggest making it very clear to your son that if ever has another outburst like that, that you will call the police.

    I'm so glad you decided to share with us. Please let us know how things are going. We care!!

    Hang in there.
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  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    RE and Tanya are older members who I feel have so much wisdom to offer. I love these posts. Mr. Mike, they are Wise Women here who have seen it all. I so value their every post.

    It is very hard to say "i have no control." We dont want to buy it. We think they still listen to us. They obviously dont or we wouldnt be here. As for mental illness, anxiety and depression are both very treatable. I have both. I am on my own and ive had more therapy tjan most people plus i do a lot to help myself. I feel i am more mentally stable than a lot of people because I have so much clarity now.

    Unless your son sees and hears things that are not there, his mental illness is common and he can get stronger and certainly he can work or get himself Disability services. He cant take care of himself because he never had to.

    Keep the Faith. Things can get better. He can learn to function, either himself or with community services. Think about how helpless he must feel to be so dependent on you at his age.

    Empower him to be the man he is. He needs the push. You can help him navigate services and do join NAMI!
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    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
  13. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Thank you SWOT! Your affirmation means so much to me.
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  14. MrMike

    MrMike Member

    Thank you all for your wisdom and encouragement. It really does help hearing that it's possible that this problem can get better, and that I can do what I need to do to not enable my son and to protect and reclaim my family. I will keep in touch !
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  15. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Mr Mike,

    I feel for you. It is very very hard to see from where you are that your son can ever live without you. And yet, I am quite sure that he can. Why? Because all of our sons can. My son is bipolar, has pervasive developmental delay and extraordinarily, off the chart, slow processing. He is also addicted to heroin. But he can live without me. Not only that, he will have to live without me at some point because I won't live forever. So I am glad to know, but the experience of the last 5 years, that he lives without me, has friends (icky ones, but friends of his choosign), has fun, goes to concerts and political rallies, finds places to sleep, occasionally finds a job, gets services through various agencies, and liberally uses our nations emergency rooms. He also calls me to say hi more days than not. Is it the life I wanted for him...absolutely not. But my life, my other kids life, is better. My relationship with him is better. and he, oddly, is quite proud of making it on his own. He commonly asks if I think he is doing well (, dear). But he is doing. And your son can do too.

    SWOT is right here. People don't like to feel helpless and at the mercy of others. It makes them angry and defensive. He knows you think he is helpless, and he fears that he is. It is part of what underlies is anger.

    Not healthy for them or us. Repeat 10 times. Not healthy for them. Or us.

    Ah, the FOG. So sad and difficult. You are a responsible man. You love your family. Responsible men face up their problems, take care of their families. And yet...he has to become a responsible man. These are HIS problems. To take care of your family, he must leave the next. Baby birds don't jump, they get pushed. You are going to have to do some pushing.

    Now for the hard part. He will definitely escalate his anger and dependence if you suggest it is time to make a plan to move on. But make a plan and stick to the plan, and tell him at every step of the way that it is hard but he is capable and change is hard but he can do it, and being poor for a while is ok, and having to live a little uncomfortably for a while is OK, lots of us went through it, and he will go through it too and figure it out. That is the message to deliver. You don't know the answers, but he will figure it out, and you know that.

    Good luck, Mr. Mike. I agree with RE about NAMI if you can find it. If not, maybe a 12 step. Hold your wife's hand. Do it for your son. You won't live forever.

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  16. Irish strong

    Irish strong New Member

    Oh boy oh boy do I relate! My son started raging when he was 14 years old. My poor daughter on 14 months older than him and I went thru hell! I tried everything to help. He got into trouble over and over. Actually barracaded himself in my home from time to time and I slept in my car. Afraid to call the police. His dad and I are divorced and he was little help. I finally went thru our school district after many attempts to help him get himself together, and had him taken by surprise from my home in the middle of the night and sent to a well known lock down boarding school in Utah. It was heart breaking. But I literally did not know what else to do. He would not go to school, smoking pot all the time, stealing etc. he was 16 and was there for 11 months. I really felt hopeful when he returned. 2 months back.... All started again. When he raged... He could destroy $1000.00's of worth of property. I did call the police many times. He was a minor however and always ended up back at home. Ke is now 22. He has continued to make impulsive poor decisions. He was in jail for 3 months where I let him sit even though I could have bonded him out. Stupidly I listened to his lawyer and bonded him out. This was after I spent many a lunch hour at my very busy and yes satisfying job working to get him connected with an agency that works with mentally ill jailed people. Even his lawyer, a seasoned criminal defense attourney was blown away with what I had set up for my son. Guess what???? He still knows how to play the system. Still waiting to see what sentence he gets. I honestly feel like I am living in my own home prison. I know what I should do... But it is so difficult. He has only raged once since being home since November. No damage. I gave him a count of 10 to remove himself from my home or I was calling the police. He went to his room. I am completely in my own in this. Oh... I have God and Nami... But still feel helpless much of the time. I love him so so much. But he is breaking me down day by day. I hope you are seeking support with a meeting group or therapist? I have learned sharing with friends mostly makes it worse. Thankfully for them... Try don't get it. They care... But don't have a clue the day to day. Glad we have this place to share. Take care.
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  17. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    My son is 28 and also mentally ill. I kicked him out when he was 23 and for me, it is hard still to figure out if it was the right thing to do.

    I know I HAD to kick him out. He was hostile. Would not seek treatment. Damaged property. Would not work. Etcetera.

    Why am I not convinced it was the right thing to do, even though it was the only thing I COULD DO?
    Because my son became a user of people. A manipulator and a liar. He became a pothead. Nothing any more was real in his life--only his deceptions. He began to believe in his deceptions. He is the only one who believes, really.

    You see. I still believe on one level that I am responsible for the outcome of his life. WRONG. He is.
    Job Corps accepts disabled young adults. They continue taking disabled adults past the cut off which is 26 I think. This program is free. Free training, room and board at centers across the country.

    Being mentally ill puts more responsibility on these kids not less. Every single person has to deal with their own life. Only to a limited extent do we get to choose the conditions or the circumstances. Nobody gets to chose what intrinsic talents and capacities they bring to the table. The only thing we really can control is the effort we put into to it. Motivation comes from challenges and obstacles. If we take away their challenges, we help to ensure that they are never motivated to change.

    It sounds like your son has changed some, but the ante has to be raised and the bar raised too. He has to have a new bottom line. If he cannot put it in place, you must. I must, too.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
  18. bluebell

    bluebell Active Member

    Just wanted to comment on your statement about trying to talk about this to friends and it making it worse. I have a coworker friend who just retired and moved away. She was always someone I could talk to without judgement I thought, but maybe I just didn't hear it. We've tried to keep up with texting but it's getting hard. She texts me about new house, grandkid (who she moved to be near) issues, generally happy events. And I text back with horror stories. She's getting impatient with it I think. She's developed quite a distaste for my son who she has never met, and I guess I have fostered it. Texts are just so black and white, and it's made me feel so much worse about my situation seeing it thus. She asks about it, though and I indulge. I guess it's like rubber-necking at a car accident or something... ughh. I'm glad you guys are here!
  19. Irish strong

    Irish strong New Member

  20. Irish strong

    Irish strong New Member


    Just reading your message have me comfort:) A lonely place to be when dealing with a child you love but know is not well. Yes... Glad we have this site to share!