Need to remove myself

:beach: I need to remove myself from my difficult child being. That sounds strange but it is so true. When he is around my being becomes consumed by him. Today he asked if we would help him pay his probation officer - we said no. He is back to thinking that this is his house and etc. like it was when he was 14. I dont think so. I emailed vocational rehab that he has an appointment with next week and told them what was ahappening at home. They said they would help any way they could. We will see. It is just hard for me.


Active Member
"When he is around my being becomes consumed by him".

Why do you think that you lose yourself?

Have you ever heard of the concept of Boundaries? Here is some food for your thought from the book called Boundaries.

Signs of boundary problems:

Inability to say no to hurtful people or set limits on hurtful behavior from others.

Inability to say no to destructive behaviors.

Inability to hear no from others and respect limits

Tendency to be attracted to irresponsible or hurtful people and then try to 'fix' them.

Taking responsibility for other people's lives.

Ability to be easily manipulated or controlled.

Inability to confront others and resolve conflicts productively.

Experiencing life as a victim instead of living it purposefully with a feeling of self control.

Disorganization and lack of follow through.

I think it helps to recognize what we as parents are doing to contribute to our kids struggles. For some of us ... we contribute to their struggles by refusing to practice healthy boundaries ...

If you don't have a copy I would really recommend the book by Cloud & Townsend. It was a real eye opener for me.


Active Member
Wow..........goldenguru.........that is great ~ I will get a copy. I struggle with this everyday. Even though I know rationally what to do ~ internally I am drawn to the things on your list. Thanks for posting that.

SWC ~ I agree with getting this book, as well as going to counseling, and groups like AL-ANON, to learn how to set boundaries. These are the only types of things that have helped me to visualize the line that is around each and every one of us. Obviously it is still a struggle ~ it truly is a daily walk.
Stands, you are right about needing to detach.

At the bottoms of my posts, there is a detachment site I found so helpful. If you have not accessed the detachment site yet, please go to the bottom of this post and have a look at it.

It helped me.

For us (for all of us here, I think), detachment is so difficult because in the normal course of events, it is not necessary to consciously detach from our kids.

We have friends with "normal" children. In those families, the parents are proud or frustrated ~ and the kids listen. As the kids learn how to navigate in the world, both parent and child learn over time how to let go. For parents like us, this normal process is disrupted. Our children, for whatever reason ~ drug use or some other challenge most parents never have to cope with ~ our children do not listen. Not to us, and not to anyone else. Our children have to learn the hard way, through consequences. What we need to learn is not to save them from the consequences of their actions. For our kids, the only way they will learn to make a better choice is to experience the pain of the choices they HAVE made.

This is so hard on us. We wonder whether we were bad parents, whether we missed something, whether we forgot to tell them not to use drugs or run with a wild crowd.

The thing is that we DID tell them.

Now what you need to learn is how to tell your son what the consequences of his behavior will be from YOU. (These are the rules. Follow them, and I will help you put your life back together. Choose to follow a different course, and you are on your own.

You cannot do that from here is another thing I have said.

I will never help you destroy yourself, I will never watch you destroy yourself ~ these are also things I have said to my son.

This is very hard to do until you do it.

And then, all at once, it is easier than always trying to pretend everything is normal.

Know that you are not the only parent who has needed to learn these kinds of parenting skills. None of us wanted to have to learn them.

But you have to tailor what you give your son in the way of guidance to what your son will hear.

I know how painful this time is for you and for your family.

You will learn how to do this, and how to be happy again, in time.

For right now, I think you will find comfort in learning about detachment. There IS a way to go. There IS a way to survive this.

We can set our own boundaries, but we cannot do a thing about what our kids are going to choose except to tell them we will not watch them destroy themselves.

Also, I love the phrase "You were raised better than this."

The kids will try to convince us that what they are doing is somehow our fault.

It is not.

If you had raised your boy to do what he is doing now, you would not be here on this site.

Please do check out the detachment site at the end of this post.

Keep posting.

I don't know where I would be today without the other parents on this site ~ but I suspect that our thirty-two year old son would be living at home, not working, and using.

He was becoming very abusive, very manipulative.

We needed to stand up.

Again, StandsWithCourage, none of us knew how to do this. It is hurtful to speak to your child as you will need to learn to speak to him. But we all DID learn. And we all are walking, at our various speeds, along the path of our own recovery from the trauma of having something like this happen to our children.

You have been, and are being, traumatized, right now. You need to be strong and certain enough to survive it.

Keep posting and posting. No one here is judging you. We ALL needed to learn how to parent a child who refuses to be parented.

You can do this.



Active Member
ant is 24 too. he has a PO he lies to. he is going to jail in another county for one to two in state pen. He is so oppositional. he argues about everything. he never takes my advice and says his life is horrid. when I tell him his life is bad because of his drinking...he doesnt want to hear it.

at 24 I am done. I mean it.
I dont visit jail every month like when you were 18.
I cannot pay your bills and wont...hey you have enough money for beer doncha? cant you use that for better purposes?

they dont want to be parented; why waste your energy?


Well-Known Member
I'm glad that you told him you would not pay his PO. I hope that VR will get him on track to get his own place. YIKES!
Thanks my friends for hearing me. I hate being in this place. I know it is our choice to help him temporarily but he begins to act like a child when he is here. Sometimes my heart breaks for him. It seems like he just wants to be constantly numb. He asked me if I would take him to get cigarettes and I said no. I am tired of doing for him. I am just waiting for the ax to fall somewhere. Help would be nice - not just fines. Ikeep coming back here because I know everyones heart is like mine - has been broken and hurting for a long time. I only hope God can use him to help someone else - I cant tell God what to do but I sure wish things would turn around. I know He is carrying me. This face to face stuff with difficult child is tense. He has not screamed at me today - I will not stand for it anymore - someone said family counseling - counseling is good but it will not help the problem. I can just see going to c ounseling and coming back home to the same mess - :smile:
Thanks for taking the time to give me such good advice. Also thanks for the detachment site. I appreciate your trying tohelp me see what I am doing. It is just so hard to know exactly how to do it right. Thanks again


Well-Known Member
SWC---Your difficult child sounds much like mine. He is also on probabtion, still using, doesn't have a job, and lost his driving priviledges until Oct. The one thing that he has done right lately is starting community college. His perceptions of life are still skewed. He is rambling in the background as I type. He is so illogical sometimes! PS I am also in the great state of South Carolina.
I think I lose myself because it has always been that way. A sense of urgency to help him not get hurt, his feelings hurt or taken advantage of. All of these have happened to him. I have seen things hurt his feelings and he not know why - I have seen people take advantage of him and wonder why - so I developed this overprotective sick fixation of helping him so now he feels he cannot help himself. I believe it has been that way since he was a baby. He was our first born son. I wanted a boy first. He was the first grandchild on my parents side. He was given every opportunity to succeed and then some. He was loved so much and still is but it has changed and tough love is the opposite of what he was used to and what Iwas used to giving.


(the future) MRS. GERE
Susan, there is no time like the present to change. Don't beat yourself up over transgressions that might have been made in the past. It's self-defeating and demoralizing.

So start over.


I don't see any dxes in your profile for anyone in your family. Did you leave them out or maybe there aren't any? If you left them out, please add them because it might make a difference in what advice/support we give you.

If your son has no mental health/learning disability issues then you are truly doing him a disservice by continuing to coddle him. If he won't go to therapy then you need to in order to learn to extricate yourself. You need to learn how to be independent, just as much as he does.

If his feelings get hurt because he acts like a bozo...well, sorry, but too bad so sad. Welcome to the real world. It's being subjected to those hurts and JOYS (when we behave like we are supposed to) that teaches us life skills and we need those life skills in order to be successful adults.

Stop feeling sorry for him and help him stand on his own two feet.

As Fran would say, "If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got."

Learn from the cliches that we share with you. They speak volumes.

I feel like a broken record with you in my responses and I expect some others do, too...



New Member
SWC I understand how you feel. I am trying to detach also. Just this week told difficult child he was to leave grandma's house, he had been living there, had a job was helping her. Well then he quit his medications, through that he broke his probation.

Told his PO and he landed in jail, I refused to bail him out, since I already had a year ago. The last few months he has been lying everytime I turn around, manipulating etc. His friends bailed him out his girlfriend and a guy that lives with her. Well seems they are all liars. She apparently is seeing both of them so what will happen when they put two and two together heaven only knows. Which PO was not happy about, as difficult child went back to grandma's after being bailed but she is so stressed, and husband who has been avoiding difficult child was coming down on me about the situation but never really does anything except pretend there isn't one. Anyway I told PO that difficult child would have to live with those who bailed him out. He doesn't think that is good but that is the only option. It was hard as [email protected]@@ to tell difficult child that no I would not take him to therapy, no I would pick him up after group and he had to find a different place. I don't know what will happen when he finds out that this girl is playing him (like he is playing us) because he has really fallen for her.

Sorry to go on about my [email protected]@@, you need to stay strong. It is hard as I know I am going nuts this week but they need to be held accountable for their actions.


I found whenever I started to feel sorry for my difficult child I allowed her to manipulate me once again. Feeling sorry for them does them absolutely no good, only enables them. My dtr was master of the victim role, very unhealthy for anyone to take on that role. Having control over our lives is what empowers us.
She is much happier now that she is in charge of her life, says she would never want to go back to the way it was. She could not take charge of her own life til I allowed her to, which meant I had to bow out completely. These difficult children make it so hard to let go in a gradual, healthy sort of way!


Well-Known Member
I know without a doubt that I am codependent with Cory. I dont think there is a soul here that will deny that.

When he is doing well, I am in a good state. When he goes down the tubes, my stability goes right along with it. We are so much alike and so closely tied that it is scary. I also have to figure out how to cut the cord myself and I am working on it in therapy. Part of the problem now is we have the baby thrown into the mix. No way in hell I can lose her now. It would kill me.

We are standing stronger with him now than we ever have before and he knows it. Im not sure what has changed for him but he is doing much better. We are holding our breath. He has never been clean this long in the last 5 years. He wants to make this work...maybe that is the difference. Its something he wants instead of something we want. That usually does make a person work harder at attaining a goal. He also knows he has a hell of a hill to climb. One he put squarely in front of himself. I think he is starting to come to some very heavy realizations about himself and his life. He also wants us to be proud of him and comes home and tells us all about his job and what he is learning...we do make a big deal about it...we are proud. We want him to do well and want him to know we know he can succeed in anything he puts his mind to. He has some boundaries but as long as he is doing well he seems to be setting firm boundaries on himself as well.

scent of cedar

New Member
Two things.

First, I have been having browser trouble. That is why I seem to be posting as two people (Scent of Cedar and Scent of Cedar I).

I didn't want anyone to wonder why that was happening.

We are back to Mozilla now, and everything should be fine.

StandsWithCourage, this helped me: Much as everyone seems to be telling you it should be easy to pick a different way to relate to your difficult child ~ especially as he is 24 (which I say doesn't change one thing ~ that is still your son), I want you to know that I was the same way. When it was my time to learn how to interact differently, I couldn't do it, either.

I spent years believing difficult child was where he was in life because of poor parenting.

Even though we KNEW he was using drugs.

We believed difficult child's drug use had to be a symptom of some deep, underlying pain that was OUR FAULT.

It helped me to envision it this way: It makes sense to me that the mothering instinct continues to operate at full force until the child has successfully transitioned to the adult world. When a child is not transitioning, we try to figure out what we need to do differently ~ just like we did with toilet training. We ask for experienced advice, limit fluids at bedtime, whatever. Once the child has that part down pat, we move on to the next phase.

I think that for moms like you and me, we are still stuck in whatever phase we were in when the child stopped progressing.

We literally do not see our children as the men they are.

Sunny Florida did a posting once about the young soldiers being sent to Iraq, and how incredible it was that while these eighteen year olds were risking their lives there, our sons were safe at home bewailing their fates and blaming their parents.

So, I cut out a picture of young soldiers from the newspaper and posted it next to the phone so that when difficult child called, I would remember that he was far older than those young kids who certainly were not calling their mothers to complain that their power had been cut off.

And it helped me.

Another thing that helped me so much was the posting in the archives on PE. That Barbara who just can't figure out how to do it?

That's me.

I still find myself flummoxed by the differences between my mental picture of difficult child and the reality. I still could fall into worrying and fixating on him so easily. The only way to stop those thoughts and feelings is to label them for what they are: holdovers from another time, and useless to us, now.

Those feelings are the enemy.

Your son is not doing well because he is picking to drink and drug.

There is no other reason.

He will need to live on the streets or in a shelter somewhere (and I don't think shelters take them when they are actively using either).

He should not be in your house when he is using drugs.

There are moms on this site who have had the police remove the difficult child and then, changed the locks.

Witz would always tell me the story about the older parents essentially being held hostage by their addicted forty something year old difficult child.

It could get worse for you and husband than it is, right now.

It will never get better until your difficult child wants it to get better.

And it sounds to me like he has things exactly how he wants them.

If it is any comfort to you, your son on drugs is not the boy you raised.

That does not mean you get to ignore the situation he finds himself in.

You will get to that place where you know how to do this.

I did.

I am still sad about it, and was literally a basket case for a really (really!) long time. :smile:

But I'm better, now.

And you will learn what you need to do to help your son, too.

He has some learning disabilities. He has always had ADHD and is very impulsive. He is not mentally retarded nor not capable to make decisions. sometimes his decisions are impulsive and he doesnt think about it before he does it. Is that what you are talking about?
How is your son today? My son went off with a friend last night that is younger than he is , 18, and has a car. He also dropped out of high school. Anyway, his parents have also had hard times with him but he takes his prescription drugs from his doctor like he is suupposed to. However, my son did not come home last night - didnt call or anything. I didnt know he was not coming home. I suppose he told this friend with a car to drop him off at another friends house who probably wanted the pills my difficult child has or something. I know this boy with the car had to be home. Anyway, I worry about where mygfg is and how he is. But I cannot fixate on it - I will drive myself crazy. It is his life - I cannot do anything about it. He has an appointment at Vocational Rehab on the 18th. Those people there said they would do everything they could to help him. We will see. It is a good place to go if you want help. Thanks for your posts. Sometimes it brings tears to my eyes because I know how you feel. I am the same way and trying hard to detach without worrying. I dont really want to go to a funeral and then a wedding!
Then what am I doing wrong? How did you get to that point with him. Right now I dont even know where my difficult child is. He didnt come home last night. He doesnt have a job. He has to pay probation next week. It seems hopeless but I know it isnt. I just wish he would see that things could be easier if he just let them.
I know how you feel. I wil not pay my sons probation fines. He was panicking yesterday thinking he was supposed to pay them yesterday. I told him I would not pay them. He said would you just let me go to jail and I said I guess so. It is not my responsibiity! So we will see what happens. He is taking Xanax and Percocet for his teeth and Xanax for his nerves. No telling what else - those are just prescriptions. He did call the pharmacy last night and ask if he could take tegretol with those drugs - he is prescribed that to by his psyc. I think his doctor is crazy to prescribe him all that - I will not pay for it again. It is hard to tell them no - sometimes you feel like you are telling them no to everything. I dont even know where he is right now. He went with another friend last night and never came back home. It always concerns me and that is because he has been under my roof. If he was on his own I wouldnt even know it.