MY penny dropped!


Active Member
I'm back from my trip to Colorado and on my last evening there, on the way to the homeless shelter, I got a bolt of clarity from out of the blue.

difficult child started to spill his guts and told me some incidents about the availability of drugs in jail. All the time I had taken some comfort that at least he was clean and getting healthy. Not so.

During the course of the conversation he said that he didn't want to do ANY of the things that people were expecting him to do, like get a job, etc. So he's just pretending, like the sociopath that he is. He admitted that he is already thinking of ways to make things go his way and to beat the system. He wants to live alone and get drunk and high.

I was neither shocked nor dismayed. I told him that this was something I needed to hear so that I wouldn't be trying to help when he didn't really want it. He said "Mom, you can't really help me-not in the way that I want to be helped. I don't need that kind of help. There's nothing that you can do for me". I asked him what he wanted from me. He said he wanted to see me and visit me, but the only thing he really wanted was for me to love him.

This was massive for me!!!! Finally I get the truth from the horse's mouth. After13 years of crap, I get the "permission" that I've longed for, but wasn't sure I wanted it (if that makes sense, because I was so obsessed about being the one who made him see the "light"). And it sunk in to my addled brain.

Not to say that it won't revert to some learned helplessness on his part and some anxiety and guilt on MINE, but I left CO feeling a lot more peace of mind. He seems to accept responsibility for his actions-now AND hopefully in the future. For now, at least... Who'd a thunk it?

Strangely enough, he called yesterday and told me he HAS A JOB!!!!Working in a call center. Can't start until he provides a copy of his birth cert (I sent him two copies this year but he lost them both so now it is up to him to get a new one, but his probation officer is helping him with that..) or SS card-also lost. So we'll see.

I'm cautiously optimistic but history has taught me to wait 5 minutes and it'll all be different...

But am mostly writing to share the gift from the Universe that he gave me-I CAN'T HELP HIM!

A believe me, my eternal and profound thanks go out to everyone who has consistently told me that. But sometimes you have to hear it from the source in order to understand that if THEY are even telling you it's time, then you have a duty to let go and follow your own path. I know it would have been more courageous if that had come from me. But I'm a long way forward from when I started my journey into this Ninth Circle of Hell...

Just wanted to share!


Well-Known Member
That's huge. I'm so glad you know now. And I think that it is that way with most of our grown kids, although some still want money for whatever they use it for...mostly likely drugs and alcohol. They are adults and perfectly capable of finding help if they really wanted to change. People seek out help for change from drug use all the time. People quit. Until they want to, they won't, but they may make us think they want to quit if they feel it will benefit them. And, as I plough through my books about psychopaths and antisocial personality disorder, yes, that is typical. They are fantastic actors and they DON'T LIKE TO WORK and if they do work often steal or scam to get easy/extra money. They don't feel that laws apply tot hem and have no guilt at all about breaking them and they trample on the rights of others without conscience. I often wonder how many of our adult children are antisocial personality disordered, but it is such an extreme diagnosis, one that can't be fixed, that most of us try to hang onto believing it is not our adult child who has this. So we try hard to believe that our adult child is just that way due to drug use or another mental illness that is more treatable, and sometimes that's true, sometimes it isn't.

I am so glad you are finally free to live your own life and to stop trying to fix his. It was actually very kind of him to tell you the truth. That is QUITE a gift. He let YOU go and now YOU can go on with your own life.


one day at a time
But am mostly writing to share the gift from the Universe that he gave me-I CAN'T HELP HIM!

I am so glad that you are feeling peace. That is the goal. Peace. I don't know about you, BG, but in all of my life, peace is something I have never known.

Now, through this journey, I am experiencing a lot of peace. It is an amazing, centering, solid feeling. I am content. I know who I am. I wish this feeling for all mankind.

I hope you feel it today.

He said he wanted to see me and visit me, but the only thing he really wanted was for me to love him.

What a release! What a joy! And of course, you already do, and you will, so wish granted, difficult child! You got it! I can do that. That is something I CAN DO.

What a gift.

That doesn't sound like a sociopath to me, someone who would say that. It sounds like a person who has a glimpse of self-awareness and trusts you enough to tell you the bald truth of that awareness.

And then he gets a job. What?!?!

difficult children will always confound us. Maybe that is their purpose---to keep us confounded so we don't get all smug and sassy and thinking "I got this."

Whatever his journey is to be, I wish him safety and happiness.

Whatever your journey is to be, BG, I wish you peace and contentment.

It's a good day today, here, reading this.


Well-Known Member
Well isnt that something! I guess detaching and just loving them without supporting their actions is enough.


Well-Known Member
Now you know without a shadow of a doubt that he is living the life he wants to live. You are free to live your life knowing that it is ok to be happy even if he is not.......that is his choice. No more guilt.


Well-Known Member
It's most defnotely psychopathic. He is simply admitting the truth and psychopaths sometimes do tell others that they have no intention of fitting into society, they don't want to or have any intention of changing, and that they don't want what we want for them. I am reading until my eyes are blurry about psychopaths. They are not always horrible to us, but they scam, steal, lie, don't like to work, enjoy free money if they can get it, have no regard for the laws of the land and will trample on the rights of others to get what they want. Many substance abuse in the mix and then want easy money for their habit.

Best book evah on antisocial personality disorder: "Without Conscience" by Robert Hare.

Not every adult who refuses to fit into society is a psychopath. I think of Lucy J's son. He believes strongly in a cause and is not breaking the law by hurting others, is scamming nobody, and is living his life because of his morals, even if most people roll their eyes at his lifestyle. But I think a lot of our adult children are at least on the antisocial spectrum. I know 36 has some traits, which is why I started reading and reading to try to understand it. A great deal of our criminal justice system is packed with psychopathic personalities. That makes sense since they have no guilt about breaking the law, only remorse for themselves about getting caught.

Your son set your free and gave you no squabbles about his intentions. He doesn't want you fussing over him and trying to change him to be a law-abiding and sober. He just wants your love? Heck, we can all do that. I with more of our adult kids would be upfront and let us go.


Active Member
Thanks so much ladies for your supportive comments!

I have to let you know that IN NO WAY do I feel I'm out of the woods. This revelation of his, I took ONLY for ME, to help ME heal from this vile trap I have been in for more than a decade-of my own making!-the source of my own self inflicted agony is telling me to stop trying! Wow.

Indeed, it WAS a gift. From the frickin universe. Yes, it was kind and it was honest.

That is often the duplicity of us and our difficult children-they can be SO honest -usually about stuff we would rather not know-or they can be such liars-to the point where we think WE are insane (Wait, did they just tell me THAT? Did THAT really happen? Do they expect me to believe THAT? etc....)

And MWM-I'm thinking that my difficult child has both socio and psycho tendencies. Just got 2 books from the library-The Sociopath Next Door and Confessions of A Sociopath by M.E. Thomas. I have no doubt that I will find my difficult child in the pages of both books. But things that he has said lead me to think he is also a psychopath. Hell, he has even taken the online tests and has told me, "I got a 9 out of 10 score for both" . So theoretically, I know what I'm dealing with. So does he.

I guess I will have to tread carefully all my life, whenever I have to be around him...

My questions right now, ladies, are:

Is it our place to warn people about the tendencies we see in our difficult children? Do we say, especially to new people in their lives, " Hey, this person may harm or hurt you in some way?" Is that our right? Or do we let our difficult children repeat the same ole patterns, hoping they will learn, with whatever humanity lies dormant in them, that they need to practice (or imitate) compassion, empathy , kindness, etc. in order to thrive alongside their fellow humans?


one day at a time
Is it our place to warn people about the tendencies we see in our difficult children? Do we say, especially to new people in their lives, " Hey, this person may harm or hurt you in some way?" Is that our right? Or do we let our difficult children repeat the same ole patterns, hoping they will learn, with whatever humanity lies dormant in them, that they need to practice (or imitate) compassion, empathy , kindness, etc. in order to thrive alongside their fellow humans?

I would say No. That is none of our business. And we can't know what will happen between difficult child and any given person.

What are we going to do, go around behind them letting everybody they come in contact with know their past? that's not practical.

Those family members who are close to us already know the story. They can decide to get involved or not, eyes wide open.

I just don't think we can be in the business of trying to manage and control outcomes. That is again being more involved with another person than is healthy for us.

We have learned that we need to keep the focus on ourselves, primarily. We need to stay out of another person's business? We need to mind our own business, which is a full time job.

If we are asked, we can share our experience, strength and hope. That would include our experience with difficult child, the good and the bad.

We don't "let" anybody else do anything. They are grown people, and they do what they do, on their own.

You're off the hook, BG. We/us/me is a full time job.


Well-Known Member

Your question hit me between the eyes. About ten years ago, my parents "loaned" (of course, of course)difficult child $2500 to "get his life back on track". He rented an apt. We knew the apt manager and her father.

husband and i discussed it so many times. We KNEW difficult child would blow the $$. We KNEW difficult child would not pay the rent. SHOULD WE WARN HER?????

Six months later, he was evicted. Apt manager called husband at work and asked him if we could make good on the past due rent, that she only rented to difficult child because she knew us. She was in trouble with the owner. That was tough, very. difficult child was about 23; we knew we were not responsible, but it make us feel shaky---that we should have warned her.

Even with that experience, i agree. It is NOT our responsibility. Our difficult child's must deal with the consequences. Sadly enough, difficult child never had to deal with the shake out of unpaid rent, and that happens enough---they walk away pretty much unscathed -- makes it easier to jerk around the next person.

Anyway, i understand why you asked this.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
I understand why you would ask that. I can see how it would seem morally appropriate. However, I agree that we cannot manage anyone else, our difficult child's or the people they come in contact with and perhaps ultimately harm.

Maybe this will help some. I read years ago, I think it was a Buddha quote, but I'm not sure, that our greatest teachers are our adversaries. I believe life offers us 'lessons' so that made perfect sense to me. My difficult child has been a great teacher for me. As was my ex husband. Painful? Yes. Did I learn a lot? Absolutely. So, the people your difficult child comes in contact with may indeed need to learn how to detach, how to let go, how to spot a manipulator, how to gain strength or courage or will power or the ability to tell the truth and defend themselves. We don't know any of that, nor should we, it is not our business, it is theirs.

I guess I will have to tread carefully all my life, whenever I have to be around him...

I don't think you will have to tread carefully. I think when we accept our difficult child's and understand that we cannot change them, we surrender to the truth of all of it and it becomes easier. They are who they are, we get it, we have boundaries, we trust ourselves to know what to do, we let go, we are simply being our authentic selves and I think that eliminates the need to be careful. We are present with what is. I think that truth sets us free of that having to be careful or having to be anything. Just being.

You're learning very valuable lessons in what the truth of your difficult child is. Now he has told you who he is. That might be perceived as an act of love. All he is asking for is for you to love him. You already love him. I think in accepting the truth, in accepting him for who he is, you set both of you free. We don't need to judge them, or save them, or fix them, or manage them.......and accepting them doesn't condone any of their actions, it frees US.

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
I am posting from my phone. I can't quote, and it is difficult for me to stay on point. I apologize.

I found it chilling that your son told you all he wants is for you to love him.

What I heard is: All I want is to know you are vulnerable to me.

Something about the way your son said what he said made me think of my daughter.

We fight so impossibly hard not to see the worst of it.


I think the question of warning others has to be dealt with on a case by case basis. Remember who you are dealing with, and remember too that he can and will turn anything you say against you if that is to his advantage.

I think we both need to be more careful than we have been in the past.



Well-Known Member
I assume other adults have to decide what to do with 36. He has a girlfriend now and I know for a fact that he is using her for her money, her intelligence and that she makes him feel very safe regarding his ex who 36 is actually afraid of. Yes, he's afraid of her. What a paradox. This girlfriend is nice, but has serious mental health issues and it will be interesting to see how long this lasts.

I have spoken to her over the phone and I like her, but it is not my place to tell her that 36 can be out for only himself and for what he can get from her. I can't read his mind and know for sure that he doesn't really care for her. He says he does. What he says is sometimes true and sometimes not and I don't know which is which. I do not get involved in my grown adults relationships. I don't feel it is our responsibility.