My son, car insurance/repairs, SSI, job, a cello.... reality check please?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by slsh, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Big long post that I just erased. I mean... details don't really matter, do they? A mentally ill difficult child with utterly delusional expectations of life. He wants what he wants, NOW, without work or effort. Impossible to reason with, but then... when has it ever been possible? How many years did I preach to just JUMP THROUGH THE DARN HOOP??? He's still incapable.

    I think the hardest thing is the "appearance" of normalcy, the drastic improvement from the violent child who lived in our home 14 years ago. He's not violent towards others anymore, can be charming, but cannot hold a job because he's just different. There it is.

    I hate mental illness. Really and truly and with every fiber of my being. And I really hate that there are adult children who are out there, incapable of functioning without supervision, yet are unsupervised because that is their "right." Self-determination is total BS when it comes to thank you, because there's not a single solitary rational goal in his head. Never has been.

    And I hate what 9 years of institutions did to him. SSI is his right. Why should he work a minimum wage job, to just continue to struggle as he is now, when he can struggle without an effort? It's an affront to husband's and my hard work over the years. It sickens me. And yet the alternative would've been 2 pcs more damaged than they already were by thank you's violence. Truly a no-win.

    I wish drugs *were* a part of the picture now. Then there might be hope, something fixable - not easily fixable but fixable nonetheless. This.... funky wiring in the brain and a total disconnect with anything approaching logic? No fix whatsoever.

    Sigh.... lather, rinse, repeat. Ever feel that way about your adult difficult child? husband and I are there right now.
  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yeah, slsh I have felt that way. I am sorry you are now. It sucks. Plain and simple. Not a darn thing we can do about it..............mental illness is all over my family, I grew up locked inside of that kind of thinking..........and then I gave birth to the same thinking ......I understand your frustration and anger............I have no pearls of wisdom, just wanted you to know I read your post and I have much empathy for you...........I am so sorry you are feeling the way you are..............sending you warm thoughts and hugs................and hopes that this too will pass..........
  3. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    I've felt the same way at times, Angel's 19yo and I often wonder if too old to say failure to thrive?

  4. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    I too understand how frustrating this whole mental illness issue is (with or without the drug issues).

    My young difficult child has delusional thinking BIG time. And he gets fixated on a point and can't seem to think past it...just over and over again in his head...How this or that is unfair, how we should be doing this or that for him, etc. Never thinking "what should I be doing for self"? Just not asking himself any important questions at all...sigh.
    And it's often someone elses fault...instead of ALL of the choices he has made along the way.

    It's a long hard road isn't it.
    Thinking of you,
  5. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member


    when my difficult child was little we knew there was something wrong with him. Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), Sensory Integration Disorder (SID), ADD, OMM, language delay, fine motor issues, slow processing..we called him the three letter kid, cause that is all it was...a series of letters that couldn't be treated and didn't help.
    His pychiatrist at the time, who later became a good friend, said "it will be a hard road for you because he looks normal, even handsome. Its easier when they look overtly handicapped. People will expect him to be normal even when they know better."
    and to some extent he was right. It brought its own challenges..and yet I think it is just as well he idn't physically handicapped too.
    I'm sorry about thank you. It sounds like you are wrapped up inconversation at least with him. Does he live with you? I am glad you feel that actions you took in the past protected your PCs.

    Let us know more so we can "talk" more.

    Good luck to you.
  6. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    That's it in a nutshell, Tammy. That is so totally it. Instead of problem solving and tackling problems one at a time, it's that helplessness and blaming everything and everyone else. I don't even think blame should be playing into it at this point. Yes, he made some *really* bad decisions for a very long time, but at some point you just have to pick yourself up and get on with it. What's done is done. Move the heck on already.

    He wants a good quality of life handed to him, feels he's entitled to it. We just can't wrap our heads around that. He thinks I'm unreasonable in expecting him to at least make an effort to contribute to car insurance but at the same time, is unwilling/unable to see how senseless it is to rent a cello - the cello gives him "something to do." We should just pay his car insurance, because.

    Sigh.... it's like living on an eroding beach. The boundaries are constantly changing.

    I apologize for saying that I wished it were drugs. Woke up this morning and thought "uh-oh, I have probably really ticked some folks off." Was sheer frustration last night. I remember all too well when he was using, and the terror that we'd be getting a call saying he'd OD'd. But at the same time, there was that sliver of hope that if he managed to survive and get off drugs, clarity and purpose would come. Even knowing that it takes longer for our kids to "cook", he's coming up on 23 soon and is still nonfunctional. Hard to find hope.
  7. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time Staff Member

    No apologies. I get what you were saying. It is all so overwhelming. I think we have to get clear about the fact that people are always responsible for their actions. That is something I really struggled over for a long time. That one fact clears away a lot of the Fog.

    Then our difficult children, most of them, are adults. That is another fog-clearing fact. Responsibilities come with adulthood.

    even allowing for "failure to launch" there comes a time.

    I love my son and want to see him have a good life but It. Is. Up. To. Him.

    And I am not going to bottle feed him anymore.

    It will be so hard to completely stop and then stick with it. I am going to try because what is the alternative. It is not good for him or for me.

    Realizing all situations are different and all difficult child capabilities are different...hoping we can all find a path where there is peace for us.

    Sent from my iPhone using ConductDisorders
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You are all assuming they have the ability to think normally.
    I've often told of my neurological differences and mental illness. I had no idea how to think between the black and white lines until it was taught to me. I did not know how to problem would overwhelm me to the point that I was so confused all I could think of was "I just don't want to live. It's too hard."

    I never had anyone to ask for help or to blame. Nobody in my family would listen, which is a good thing. I had to seek help and have...I did learn to problem solve, learned some social skills, learned coping mechanisms. I think it would be worse if I were a substance abuser because there IS help out there, although you have to look for it and be open to learning. At times, depending, you also have to be willing to take medication. And you won't get anywhere thinking "poor me. I'm different. It's so hard for me." You have to just keep trying.

    But, trust me, our difficult children do not all have t he ability to think the way others think. But all of them can choose to get help and to learn, to the extent that they are able...

    I'm sorry for everyone dealing with this sort of problem. I know my own parents thought I was just lazy and difficult. I was difficult, but I didn't want to be. I wish my parents had been as proactive and caring as all of you are. At least they would have pointed me in the right direction so I could get help in the right places...

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  9. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Sue, I've missed you. Sorry it's the frustration that brought you back, but it's good to "see" you.

    And yes, I can totally relate. My difficult child is now 24, and I don't think he'll ever be able to fly solo either. He's living "independently", i.e. no longer with 24/7 staff, but workers come by twice a day, and his job is also a supported work environment, so he effectively has babysitters of one sort or another all day every day. On weekends, he comes over to visit, so in effect it's no different than when he was in 24/7 staffing because the only time he's alone is when he's sleeping.

    And yes, the appearance of normalcy is definitely to his detriment. He's a tall, handsome, charming fellow whose behaviour just doesn't make sense to people.

    Between the BiPolar (BP) which causes all sorts of erratic thinking and behaviour, and the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) that prevents him from having the foggiest clue of how other people are reacting to him, it is and always will be a mess. Still, he's not dead and he's not in jail. And he's happy. During the darkest years, those are the things I prayed for -- don't let him die, don't let him go to jail, please let him be happy.

    So there you have it. I don't know that I can hope for any more than that with my difficult child, and I have 4 other children to focus on, 3 of whom also have "issues" and the 4th of whom is traumatized by the dark difficult child years. It's their turn now.

    Hugs to all of you,
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  10. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Oh...and although I have no idea what the cello story is (and I must confess I am very curious), I can relate to that too.

    My difficult child offered to "play the piano" for the Christmas concert at work. Does difficult child play? No. Has he ever taken a lesson in his life? No. Sigh...
    (It took a lot of fancy dancing around to dig him out of that hole. I wanted husband to just let him live with the result, but husband is a softie and sometimes he still steps in.)
  11. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    MWM - good points, all. Absolutely, no question thank you doesn't think the way typical folks think. And he knows it, but rather than acknowledging that he has to make accommodations to fit in/be more successful (aka jump through the hoop), his thinking is superior and everyone else is wrong. That is a constant with him. It makes it extremely difficult to keep him headed in the right direction.

    I've made lists, gotten phone numbers for resources. He's on SSI, certainly he should be getting services through DMH. But he doesn't need them because he's above it all. No question he needs a psychiatrist, should be getting some kind of treatment, but he thinks they will label him or admit him or... I don't know what.

    And yes, the responsibility for his quality of life needs to be squarely on his shoulders. As it has always been with him, forever, I can lead him to the water but I can't make him drink, and somehow it makes sense to him to die of dehydration while standing next to the full trough rather than "give in" and drink.

    If he were happy, or even just content, I wouldn't think twice about it. I know there are limitations he has, even if he doesn't want to deal with it. But the constant misery and moaning and "if onlys" from him wear me down. And I guess I've reached the end of my tolerance for trying to keep him headed in a forward direction, only to have him want more more more from us while doing nothing for himself - and he *is* capable of doing something, reaching out for help, treatment, job training, *something*.

    The cello - he's renting a cello for $55 a month but at the same time doesn't have $$ for food, cigs (not heartbreaking in my humble opinion), car insurance/repairs, etc. He's found a great new bar that only sells microbrewery beer, but can we pick up food for him at Sam's cuz he's out of money and won't get his check for another 3 weeks. Cause and effect continue to elude him, and his #1 priority is what I would consider luxuries, to the detriment of necessities. That wonky thought process of his makes it incredibly difficult if not impossible to lead him from A to B to C. He wants D, wants it now, full speed ahead and the heck with- the mundane obligations other mere mortals work their posteriors off to take care of.

    He is just so above it all, but at the same time is so miserable and somehow expects us to "help" him, but only within the constraints of his skewed thinking and expectations and boundaries, without any expectation that he will start taking responsibility for his own junk at any time in the near future.
  12. ctmom05

    ctmom05 Member

    I must admit, I hadn't thought of this issue, that I also have experience with, in this way before.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us; they make sense to me

  13. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    My difficult child was difficult from the time he was born. He's older and was never diagnosed other than a doctor saying I don't advocate spanking BUT that boy needs it!

    I feel your pain, mine decided to quit his job and go to college full time for a computer science degree in security. He has a high IQ (never applied himself before) and was on the Dean's List. Every time I tried to talk to him about no company hiring a 3 time felon in security, he became outraged.

    Never mind the same detail of how are you going to support yourself! His almost 40yo girlfriend is just as he is. Add drugs, alcohol and some kind of mental illness and I was ready for a nervous breakdown trying to help him.

    Things started to unravel and he was posting strange and suicidal things on FB. girlfriend came after him with a knife and she was sent to detox and he was on the street. The mother and his girlfriend put all of his belongings on the street in the rain. Most was stolen and he was living in the woods.

    After he threatened suicide when I said I was out of money I called the police and the kind officer called me back and said he talked to difficult child and difficult child said he was not suicidal or homeless. Then I found out about the latest conn - he was not enrolled that semester, they were partying with my money.

    That's when I drew the line in the sand and started looking out for me. Mental illness or not, they need to learn to take care of themselves. I gave mine numbers for clinics etc. he will not go just more lies.

    I'm not offended by your comment that you wish it was drugs instead of mental illness, mine has both, and both are hell. Maybe one day we will all find the help they need..................
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hey...slsh, you brought up the one thing that does irk me about differently wired people, or some of them. The help is out there. When they refuse to get it, insist they are just like everyone else even though they can't navigate through life and don't even try, then I have a big problem with it. And I never think violence is ok. I don't care if they are autistic, bipolar, borderline, ABCD or all of the above. They need to learn coping skills to control or their anger or nobody will even WANT to teach them how to improve their lives.

    When I hear stats like 60% of bipolars refuse to take medication, then my empathy for them dies a quick death. If they are unwilling to help themselves and are doing badly, then to me the fault lies with them. It is like having cancer and refusing chemo. It is foolhearty and not something to enable.
  15. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    Most of the adult bipolar people I know who went off medications it was a situation where they had to chose do I eat or have medications? Electricity or medications?

    Once they start to spiral out of control they have trouble focusing to get it back.

    Even with all my advocacy connections it still takes a couple weeks to get them in touch with the free services available to those who need it.

  16. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    I'm just so STRUCK by how eerily similar our difficult child's are to one another!

    My young difficult child also thinks he is "above it all". I have no doubt that while he currently sits in the State psychiatric hospital he is thinking to himself how much smarter and "well" he is in comparison to the rest of the patients. He has basically told me he is there because he has "nowhere else to go". And of course the reason he has nowhere else to go is because HE has burned all of his bridges...Used up friends and family with the same substance abusing result. It was difficult child who exclaimed in his almighty wisdom that it is "My body and I can put whatever substances I want in it, that is my RIGHT!" Of course it wasn't long after that that he was asked to find somewhere else to live.

    But does he see "cause and effect"...NOPE! husband and I are to blame because we won't let him back in our house. We are to blame because we gave him simple rules when he got out of prison. We are to blame because "parents should never stop supporting their children when they need help"... meaning we should support him while he goofs off!

    And that problem with prioritizing. Oh ya, young difficult child has it BIG TIME. Xbox games, expensive dinners, showering the kids with toys, were more important than saving for a rainy day. And when his "rainy day" came...he got a title loan on his truck, pawned his TV we bought him, Sold his Xbox, Old Lego sets etc. Needless to say the Truck we bought him when he got out of prison is gone now too.

    So he sits homeless in State psychiatric hospital, with no vehicle, no phone, no job. He quit the one with his brother because, according to young difficult child, he "should have been making more money and doing less work."

    It's interesting to me...I keep thinking about how he got here.

    You know...I ran a VERY efficient ship when the kids were young...To their deteriment most likely. It was faster and easier for me to do most of the "work" around them rather than have them clean up after their own messes. It was easier for me to send the difficult child's off to the corner when in trouble rather than have them go through the motions of setting the record straight. LOL, my mother used to say the only thing my son's were going to remember about their childhood was "what the corner looked like".

    I wish I had, little by little, learned to "detach" (is that the right word?) when they were were young! I wish I had not done so much "for them" but rather guided them into how to Do-For-Self. I blame myself for that part.
    Maybe I needed to be needed...I don't know. And I suppose it's futile to dwell on it now.

    The Bipolar thing...I understand it. I spent yrs and yrs with severe depression and anxiety. I see no excuse where that is concerned. One, can STILL be law abiding, resiliant, a hard worker, etc. even with mental illness in the picture. It may be harder for them than others...but it can still be done in my opinion. I'm proof.

    I don't know what the future holds for our difficult child's. I know it is hard to hang on to hope when so much has been tried, spoken, given, etc.

    Mine has a wife and 3 beautiful, healthy, children. He has tried the military and failed. He has been to prison and made promises upon getting released. We have given till we can give no more.
    It's scary to think of what might come next.

    Young difficult child turns 25 next month.
    When do they get done "cooking" exactly???
  17. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    You have written my story.....
  18. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time Staff Member

    Once when my son was in jail I visited him. As I was about to leave, the young female officer at the front desk asked me how old he was.

    I said "23."

    She said, "well you have about three or four more years to go."

    I wasn't sure what she meant so I said "what do you mean?"

    She said, "A lot of these young men finally start to get it about 26 or 27."

    I said, "You promise?"

    And we both laughed.

    If only we knew there was an end to it all.

    I can relate to so much of what you wrote...the bad decisions, lack of cause and effect, not thinking beyond this moment, the blaming and victimhood.

    The symptoms of these diseases are so similar but I think there is comfort there.

    This is a disease.

    One of the key treatments/responses is also the same: we must stop. We have to stay out of the way and let our adult children grow up and take responsibility...or not...even if it doesn't look like what we hoped and dreamed for them.

    It is so hard to consistently do this.

    One tool I am using with some success is the tool of silence and inaction. Whenever possible, say nothing. Whenever possible, do nothing.

    Let time take its own time.

    Silence really can be golden...For them and for us.

    Sent from my iPhone using ConductDisorders
  19. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Oh my goodness!!! This is it, exactly. And I just do *not* understand where that whole attitude comes from. Exactly *what* has my beloved son done to deserve such privileged treatment? Sigh.

    Childofmine - you are right. I was able to keep my mouth shut for a couple of years, while he was foundering on streets and miscellaneous couches, because I knew it would fall on deaf ears. I think what changed is his attitude (outwardly anyway) and his requests for advice. I got sucked back in, forgetting that this child of mine only learns through experience and that he has a ridiculous capacity for misery before he can even consider making changes - and he has lousy follow through.

    Silence is golden. ;) Your timing is perfect, as he texted me this morning to let me know he was "stopping by" today. I'm just not up for hours of rationalization on his part, followed by minutes of my trying to get him to join us in the real world. I will just give him a hug, tell him I love him, and if he tries to have any deep discussion or fill me in on his latest convoluted life plan, I'm going to honestly tell him that it's been the week from Hades and my brain is done - I hope his plan (whatever it may be) works, but right now my need-to-know status is that I do *not* need to know.

    As always, I do so very much appreciate having folks who so totally get this kind of stuff. You are all the best.