My son is out. Again.


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My son just called. He started the conversation: I do not want any conflict. Let me state that, right now.

I do not know what I said next, nor am I aware of what may or may not have been said between M and my son--after each had left the house.

There had been a conflict in the morning. My son had stayed the night, and before I woke up, M confronted my son about his failure to get a drug test. My son denied any responsibility. He blamed me. The upshot is that M told him he had to leave the apartment I own where he has been staying.

But something my son said in this phone call triggered me to say:

We told you no drugs on the property. No using drugs at all while you are accepting help from us, and in our homes. You had drugs at the house. You had them at my house. You used marijuana here, and there. That is disrespect and a direct and concrete decision on your part to live as you choose, in my space, in violation to agreements you made.

He proceeded to deny this. (We found the weed, the physical weed, two times in vitamin bottles he owns, on the property. We found it here on our property too.)

He said: I did not use marijuana in the house.

He is trying to split hairs. Like a politician he thinks he has created deniability. By not having it in the house, this time. By smoking it, outside of the house, this time. Maybe, this is the place he is standing. OK. If I smoke in the yard, on the porch, she cannot say anything to me. Apparently, he believes he is morally upright--or maybe he is indifferent.

But we said: drug tests. And no use of marijuana at all in your life, when you live in our space or depend upon our support. We were crystal clear.

He said he had not violated the rules. He said he had not smoked weed in the house. He said, it was my fault he had had no drug test, because I wanted a comprehensive test from the lab.

My response: this is a morally indefensible position. By trying to help you, we are fostering your victimization of us, and we are hurting you, by enabling you to blame us, hold us responsible, trick us. I do not know what arrangement you may have made with M, but your staying at the other house to me is no longer an option any longer.

I said other stuff, I do not remember. There was silence on his part. For maybe a minute. I hung up the phone. I had remained calm but direct and firm.

I picked up the phone again to try to call M. And my son was still on the phone. He was saying sarcastically: Have a Happy Holiday.

(I was shocked to find him on the phone, still--and felt wounded by his words.) I responded: I will not allow you to hurt me anymore. Please do not call me anymore.

The history:

He had been in our own house, but could not, would not respect our "no marijuana" request. We found marijuana, here, in our house. We told him to leave. M relented and we tried, provisionally, to offer him the opportunity to live in another property we own. This time, M would no longer let him work with him. Because my son used this as an excuse to not do for himself. We were always the ones responsible for why he could not do this or that. M removed that excuse. He said: I need your help, but I do not want you to use that as an excuse to not do for yourself.

"OK." We will try your staying apart from us in property we control (even though before when he lived there we had found marijuana there, and encountered him stoned, and marijuana smell permeating the place. And then we found the actual marijuana, under the subfloor of the house.)

With this new arrangement we asked nothing (but from his perspective, we asked everything) except that he do constructive things to better himself and life.

And no marijuana.

Therapy. (He is on SSI.)

Use your time and efforts to improve your life. You decide how, but commit yourself to verifying and to a timetable, of your choosing. You are responsible to verify. We will not run behind you having the burden of proof to prove a negative, or a positive or any other thing.

So, he blew it all off, most of it. It is not all his fault. Because I did run behind him asking him about this and that: blood tests for his liver; therapy; the drug test. I broke my own rules. You see, I am still very, very impaired.

And today when M confronted him, my son blamed me for the lack of a drug test (because I had asked while he was at the laboratory for his liver tests that he get a comprehensive drug test--he made up the lie that a physicians request was necessary.) While ignoring the fact that he had told me a dozen times that any time he wanted he could go to the drug store or the dollar store and buy a cheap drug test. He never did. He lied. He blamed us.

He has said mean, martyr stuff before: like, have a nice life. It never, ever stops hurting.

He cannot see, or will not see that his own choices propelled this train to the destination at which it arrived. That makes me so sad. And afraid.

I am forcing myself not to think about what will happen now, with this train off the tracks. While I do not live in a very cold area of the country--it is cold here.

This time is different. He has no fallback support from decent people. We no longer have any place to stand, a way to walk this back. We are cornered. There is nowhere to which to retreat, for us. It is too clear. Before we have found a way to offer less. But now there is no way to offer less.

He cares more about his marijuana than any other thing. This is the elephant in the living room. He will not stop the marijuana. He will have to live the life that comes from his decision. This will be a homeless life. Unless he decides to work. The only life where somebody on SSI can afford to smoke marijuana is a homeless life, with little food.

I despair that my son will choose this life.

I do not know another place to stand.
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Well-Known Member
Oh Copa...I'm sorry. I don't know what else to say. :( I understand how you many of us know how you feel. I am with you holding your hand.

Go slow mama

Apparently, he believes he is morally upright--or maybe he is indifferent.

I relate to this question or conundrum, in wondering where my son truly stands in his own private mind and space. Of course there is an age difference and maturity differential here...but what I wonder is if it even matters if they are morally upright or indifferent? They are choosing to live how they choose to live, they are either righteous or uncaring. What does it change if they have one motivation or the other? I can spend hours and hours trying to figure it out, daily. The point for me is becoming that my son is not spending much if any time trying to figure it out, he is okay with what this looks like, for him.


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but what I wonder is if it even matters if they are morally upright or indifferent? They are choosing to live how they choose to live, they are either righteous or uncaring
I agree, here, one hundred percent.

Except there are consequences of this point of view. Logical consequences. Because to me there is no possibility of moral relativity. I used to understand this viewpoint, how different societies had different social moraes and so on.

Except I have my own. In my own moral code there is always a right or wrong thing to do. I accept that my son has a different moral code, but he still comes to me with his hand out, and promises he will adhere to our limits.

I understand I am wrong. Ten months ago I should never have allowed him in my house. I told him not to come. He came anyhow. I threw him out 5 times. We just kept rotating houses, (except for the 2 months he was in residential treatment.) And really, he did not want that. He did not want to comply.

I cannot be indifferent to how he chooses to live his life. If I accept he is uncaring, I must consequently, accept that he is dangerous to me. Unable to be in relationship to me. I love him. To return love and care -- with its opposite, is abuse. I will not allow myself to be abused by my own child. I have turned my back on other family members. It has cost me dearly. I wish I had not done it, but I did.

I have tried everything within my capacity, that I can think of; aware that my own capacity and thinking power will have absolutely nothing do to with his life.
my son is not spending much if any time trying to figure it out, he is okay with what this looks like, for him.
Are you OK with this, for you?

There was a period of 6 months recently (ending 10 months ago), that I was indifferent to my son. I did not call him. I did not see him. When he called, I barely wanted to talk to him. I did the al anon number of saying Hi, Bye, No, So. It was very empowering. He very much modified his behavior towards me.

But that is not enough. I need for him to modify his choices towards life. Yet I see and I accept that I have no right, no voice, no authority to do so, to ask him to change anything about himself and his choices. He is right.

But let him not come to my door again.

Ten months ago I repeated it more than once. You are not welcome here. Do not come. He came here late at night and I let him in.

I will not make the mistake again to allow him near me.

I have nothing at all to say to him or to hear from him. Let him take his lifestyle wherever in the world he wants. His decision.

My spiritual director asked me if I could envision not fighting.

I have given up. I have surrendered. There is nothing more to fight for.
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Well-Known Member
I am heartbroken that it came to this. You gave him an opportunity to make a better life. You did this out of love. He rejected it. You have given him the freedom to live his life as he CHOOSES. You are not rejecting him. It is your right to set certain conditions for the privilege of having a place to live. He would have conditions that must be met regardless of where he lives. This is how life works for all of us.


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I'm so sorry. So painful. I have had moments were I simply said to my Higher Power "I give this to you," and sincerely, with all my heart meant it. After this, I felt/feel peace.


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"I give this to you,"
I am not there yet, Nomad. I am heartsick.
I am heartbroken that it came to this
Me too. Thank you, PASA. I am heartbroken, too. I feel no hope.
You have given him the freedom to live his life as he CHOOSES. You are not rejecting him.
It feels so hurtful (and I know it is designed to hurt). That makes it hurt all the more.

Thank you everybody.


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I am sorry. This is just so difficult.

It seems to me you have not turned your back on your son. You and M set up conditions and he did not abide by them. His choice.

My son has used the exact phrase you mentioned, Have a nice life.

Seems to me the guilt we choose to feel, the hurt we allow to be inflicted, all of it - just muddles up the basic, sensible part. You want your son better. You set up guidelines. He chooses a life outside those. He lives with the consequences. His choices.

It's funny (not as in HAHA funny), but my brain did some strange wanderings today and I was picturing my Difficult Child, his dad and me on Dr. Phil. (We would never, in a zillion years, appear on Dr. Phil). But, I can just see DP talking about how my son is acting out of severe pain. He would outline on his SmartBoard how husband and I have messed up time and time again and ignored Difficult Child's cries for help and have done everything wrong.

It is a totally made up scenario. I know better. But, one's mind can wonder/wander...and take one away from the basic, sensible part. The part that this forum does so much to help us keep front & center.

You and M had every right to set those parameters. And, all our wanting in the world cannot make our offspring live within them.

My Difficult Child certainly holds his dad and me responsible for almost all of his poor decisions. The ones that our not our fault, are the fault of other friends, girlfriend's, etc.

Go slow mama

I need for him to modify his choices towards life. Yet I see and I accept that I have no right, no voice, no authority to do so, to ask him to change anything about himself and his choices. He is right.

Copa, this is a really well articulated expression of how you're feeling. I'm grateful that you are sharing even though you feel hopeless. You are a woman of integrity and compassion, I know that. In turn, I can feel the layers of pain that this must be causing for you.

Let the light come in.

Courage, love and conviction.


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Seems to me the guilt we choose to feel.
You know, I do not feel so much guilt.

I feel all of the D words: defeated, desolate, dejected, despair, destitute (have I missed any?)

But I think their is a basis of shame. I feel victimized. I allowed him to victimize me. I opened, and he trashed. Of course this has happened before in my life. And it was defining.

So, I need to remember this. And it is clarifying. Thank you. I am his mother and not his victim.

A mother opens, and opens again. A victim closes.

M and I spent some time talking. He is beside himself with worry. Imagine that? You see, I have this place where I can go to, to retreat. (It is the I hate you part of me--I can go there to hide out.)

And M is not like this. He is legitimately worried that my child is out in the cold. He does not regret the confrontation. He regrets that as a cause of my son's choices, he is in the cold. And more than once he has wanted to go to find him. And I do not want him to.

So M says that I do not really feel what I think I feel: The never, ever part.

I had said the only regret is that I will have nobody to take care of me when I am very old and dying. (M thinks this is nonsense.)

And he said something else interesting; he said when my mother was in her last year in her house alone and I went to her--that she did not need me. That I needed her. That I had hidden and guarded my great love for my mother in some corner of my heart and I needed to have it revealed. I needed to express my intense love for my mother that I had been afraid of for my whole life.

And he said something else interesting: he said he could care less if we fail over and over again with my son. Or whether my son thinks we are idiots or not. The only important thing to him, is that we try to help him be a good person. It only troubles him so much because he fears that my son does not love me.
I can feel the layers of pain that this must be causing for you.

Let the light come in.
It is a terribly difficult thing to not be loved in the way you need. And not the job of a child to provide that love. But there is the truth of it. When I adopted my son, I needed to love and to be loved. He was my heart's desire.

I don't know really quite what to do. I don't mean about him, but about me. The only thing I can think of is to try to live better. To enrich my environment, to reach out to others for support, to companionship and pleasure. Excitement and adventure. Activities and endeavors that give me a sense of self-worth and self-regard. The sense my life has had meaning.

There is a relief in this. I have used the phrase, let him stew in his own juices.

And I will stew in my own.

Except I am backsliding. At any moment he could have reversed this by going to the drug store and buying a cheap over the counter drug test. He was the one who told me of their availability. Yet he knew he did not have that out. And yet he kept denying it all. And blaming us. And taking the moral high ground. When we have the weed.

I didn't use marijuana. There was no marijuana. I didn't use marijuana in the house.

It is heart-wrenching. What we live through.
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Well-Known Member
I’ve read your recent posts on this thread and also your comments on Alb’s thread. I wanted to reply, but am still trying to digest it all. I see much inconsistency and contradictions in all the interactions you are describing with son, with M, with your mother, and your past, etc. I don’t feel ready yet to really clarify specific helpful insight. But a few things have jumped out at me.

This whole forum, and the many stories of deliverance here as well as stories of “keeping it together” day by day, seems to come around to the only way to find peace for both ourselves and our difficult children is through the process of really understanding and implementing detachment. It’s usually the first thing we introduce newcomers to read about and learn.

Detachment includes the following:
· ~ Full acceptance (and thankfulness) of our adult difficult children for who they are ~ not approval of their behavior, not pride in their intellect or accomplishments, but releasing them and giving them their right to be free to be who they are because they adults, and because we are powerless to fix or control them. Any attempt only brings misery, as you are experiencing.

· ~ Detachment from the outcome / result of the choices (even destructive choices, which we may initially see as betrayal, or painful) that they make in their lives. This is another “D” word Detachment (connoting the opposite of the “D” words you mentioned in #10 post above). Detachment from the outcome is releasing our own desires, our attachment to the likes and comforts we know or wish for, detaching from /releasing fear and insecurity of what may happen, and realizing (with thanksgiving) that it will be what it will be, and we will survive and handle it.
It feels so hurtful (and I know it is designed to hurt).
I must disagree here or clarify my understanding here.

· ~ The (Detachment) process is designed to be HEALING (not hurtful.) Wounds can remain painful as they are in the initial healing process, but the design is to HEAL / so soothe / to relieve ~ not hurt.

· ~ Only if we resist, keep fighting it, feel victimized, want to stay in control, remain enabling, keep opening the boundary gates, keep in the "rinse / repeat" pattern .... then yes, it does keeps hurting ~ over and over ~ until we learn what we need to.

I see you are strong, Copa, and see that you are processing your feelings, issues, and understandings of all of you (son, M, mother, yourself, backgrounds, values, etc.) I think a lot of what we all once had as expectations and that we felt was important to us needs to change / to be flushed out in finding peace with our difficult children. I look at it as necessary losses to “give in” and “surrender” and to say “yes” to what is (what we cannot change), and exercise the loving detachment we are focused on here. Often we find in the losses, that the endings are new beginnings.

I’ll keep following along, and lift best wishes for you, dear.
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Brave New World

I am right here next you in the abyss of fear you find yourself. Let's find our way out okay. Please take deep breathes and let them out ever so slowly. Keep doing this until you have some clarity in what you need to do right now. It may be to do nothing but that really is harder than reacting to a situation.

I believe the focus must be on ourselves and if we are married a united front with the one person who shares our lives the most intimately. There is a lot of wisdom from those who have shared their ESH. You only what speaks to you at this time. You may come back and re-read these post and find more enlightenment in days that follow. You are on a journey of self-awareness. It is like the butterfly escaping its cocoon no one can do it for you. Take as much time as you need and love yourself.


Active Member
I'm feeling something new it's iike a numbness to the situation with my daughter. She is the one who stopped contacting me after I said no to a request of hers. It's amost like I don't care anymore. Of course, I do care, but I can never go back to what was. I don't really want to know what's going on with her. I think I'm enjoyuing the peace that is coming from no contact. I think about my daughter and granddaughters every day, many times a day. But I have nothing more to give, like I've been milked dry emotionally. It doesn't feel normal.


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I'm feeling something new it's iike a numbness to the situation with my daughter. ... It's amost like I don't care anymore.... I think I'm enjoyuing the peace that is coming from no contact.... It doesn't feel normal.
Mamacat ~ You’ve reached a new point in detachment. It is normal to have a lack of "feeling" (like numbness) when we get to this point. Our hearts have been broken so many times by our difficult child that our hearts develop a callous. It's a way to protect us.

There was a prior thread (link below), in which some of the posts deal with exactly how you are feeling with that numbness.
You may get some insight by reading this old thread.


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I look at it as necessary losses to “give in” and “surrender” and to say “yes”
I hate this idea more than anything you can imagine. I have hated it for decades. There is nothing in me that has lived to surrender. And I know you are right.
Full acceptance (and thankfulness) of our adult difficult children for who they are
People really like my son. They describe him as a great guy. They see him as highly intelligent. He is considered to have excellent social skills and has beautiful manners, socially, but I wish he would sit down at the table when he eats. People gravitate towards him; the therapist at the Residential Treatment Center said he was beloved by the therapists with close relationships to fellow residents. While he is arrogant with us, he is not so, with other people. He speaks 2 foreign languages perfectly, like a native. He is self-taught. He is a kind, kind soul.

There is a lot to be proud of about him. A whole lot. Actually, I do not know anybody like him. He is unique.

I am not expecting my son to be a carbon copy of me or anybody else.

I would like it if he realized that the government is not giving him $900 a month to smoke marijuana and be homeless or nearly so. But I realize I cannot want that. So, I will let it go.

My son resists with all his might, being independent and responsible. He seeks a responsible adult who will accept responsibility for him and give him a refuge, while he does whatever he wants and imposes his own terms. He forces the "helper" to send him away, to reject him totally. Because he seems unable or unwilling to limit his own will--and not impose it on the very people who have tried to help him.

The operative word, is boundaries. When he shows up at my door again, I know the drill.

I saw this very, very clearly during the years he was away. In the 10 months since he came back, I have been caught up. I can blame M, but I bought in too.
releasing fear and insecurity of what may happen, and realizing (with thanksgiving) that it will be what it will be, and we will survive and handle it.
I will accept him and his life. But I will step back. Step away. This is what I will do. What I have always done.

But there is nothing at all in my makeup that would allow me to do this without killing off part of myself.

I am the sort of woman that is caricatured as over involved, over dramatic, intense, fluid, and reactive. Think of an opera singer, preferably Italian or greek. Or Anna Magnani, the Italian film star would fit here very, very nicely. The Rose Tatoo, a wonderful movie, might convey the scene.

This kind of woman does not let go. Cannot. Will not. Men like her fall on their swords or do honor killings. Women like me wait for ships to come in, in the cold, cold night, until they die.

I will love my son, but my love will come from an insulated heart. I will cease all involvement in his life. I will have no conditions. As of now, I am indifferent to the marijuana, and the SSI. While I care deeply if he lives or dies, I realize there is not one thing I can do.

I will survive this. I will overcome it. I will even transcend it. But I can never, will never detach. I will go through the motions. I did it before and I will retreat again. Rightly or wrongly, this is what I am made of. I will not change.


Well-Known Member
I often find myself in unique places with my daughter that has a detachment element. It actually has to have detachment features or I wouldn't survive. But, what I'm mainly trying to say, is I suppose some might not think of it as "full" detachment mode. For example, at times, I will "help" our daughter minimally and provide things related to safety like a cell phone or a co pay to see a doctor. Maybe it is easier for us, because she doesn't tend to stay in extremely dangerous situations for too long. A few times, I have said a sentence to her that somehow, someway got her attention. I have noticed for some reason adopted mentally ill children often have a unique "edge" to them. There is that concept, theory or whatever you wish to call it that adopted children will "test" their parents to see if they really love them. Problem with this, is that just how long is this going to go on? How reasonable is this? Everyone seems to get hurt. So, I recall (and I wish I can recall my exact words, because it somehow reached her) that I said something like "Your repeated abuse of the rules and cause of drama to our family is too taxing and to be honest with you, at this point, I do not know a single person who would have continued to tolerate it." WELL, that last part of the sentence I believe got her attention. She whipped her head around and her eyes got real big and she had a funny smile. Our daughter has one very healthy (mentally) friend who is a blessing to her and our family who has repeated told her she is lucky her parents haven't just given up. On occasion, her other friends (many of whom have various disorders ) have said similar things to her. I'm sure sometimes they say the opposite. And that older friend, the professional woman, (another post, another time) is a mixed bag. In fact, when she asked her if she should move from the nice condo we helped her get and look in the slums where our daughter can afford, the woman said "If you want to" Anway, I had to adopt some detachment for the sake of my health. Having autoimmune illnesses, believe me, teaches one to respect that extreme stress is dangerous to the body. BUT, I have some little pluses in that our daughter seems to not stay in extreme situations for very long periods of time AND my husband is extremely helpful in all of this.


Active Member
Detachment for me right now is easier because my daughter has detached from me. If she had not done that, I'd still be involved in helping her. I'm actually grateful that she's not contacting me. I have no plans to contact her other than to say I'd like to send Christmas gifts to my granddaughters and where do I send them.


Active Member
Maybe someone can help me with this....there was a thread about leaving an inheritance to a difficult child. We are needing to rewrite our will for various reasons and I can't decide how I feel about this. Can anyone direct me to that thread?