Need your help with husband

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by mstang67chic, May 3, 2008.

  1. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    This should probably belong in PE but as it covers detachment also, here I am.

    I stated in a previous General post that while husband had given difficult child a deadline to be out of the house, he was worried about kicking him out if difficult child didn't have a place to go. He (husband) has also stated recently that he doesn't want to "give up" on difficult child until he gets through to him.

    I've talked to husband about both issues. WE aren't going to change or fix difficult child. HE is. HE has to be the one to do it. We have done everything we can to give him what he needs to do it. If he refuses to use that information/tools, it's on him, not us. husband understands this but still has those feelings and worry's.

    I've told him that we have given difficult child 2 months notice. He has a case manager to help him so if he doesn't have something lined up within 2 months, that's also on him. Besides, there is a shelter in the next county over that he could go to. (CM would probably have to take him though) Granted, while I know this is what needs to happen, it's not going to make it easier when it does happen. I understand completely where husband is coming from on these fears but it has to happen.

    So, what I was hoping to get from you all are stories. Detachment, pushing difficult child out of the nest....whatever your experience. husband and I can talk to each other till we're blue in the face but I think seeing stories from people that have done it already would help him. I originally wanted him to post here under his own screen name but difficult child is keeping close and there really hasn't been an opportunity to do it. (If difficult child sees this site and posts about HIM, he would blow a gasket and I'm just not feeling up to dealing with that this weekend). I will show the responses to husband and hopefully he will reply so there can be some interaction, questions answered, etc.

    It's not that husband is in denial or anything....but he's a fixer. And it's just killing him that he can't fix difficult child. I worry too, don't get me wrong, but I hit my limit a while back. Because of husband's work schedule, I'm the one who deals with difficult child the majority of the time (although husband steps in whenever he's able). Because of that though, I realized a long time ago that it's all up to difficult child now. husband hasn't quite gotten to that same point yet.
  2. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Wish I could help. My husband and I are at the same place right now. He teeters between wanting him out and enabling. I wish I knew the answers. I have just learned to stay out of it all and let him handle it.
  3. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I can tell you our story (saga) er.....trillogy.

    Dudes bio dad and I were in a violent relationship. Dude was very little, but saw and experienced a lot. I took myself and Dude out of that situation nearly 13 years ago. It left me penniless, with no job, no home, no support and with a very angry 6 year old kid who really would have killed a neighbor boy just for asking "can I help?" to fix a bike one day.

    That was the first time I took him for help. The only option given to me was the state psychiatric. hops. He was so little, tired, skinny, angry. I figured it was awful, but the rages had gone on and on for so long, and school was ready to kick him out, and I had no one. So off he went. They put him on a ton of medications he got to a point where he could manage and come back home. LIttle did I know this was the beginning of a longer journey than I was prepared for. My son is now 17 and living with Therapeutic foster parents.

    When he was 8 I met DF and we chose to share our home with him. At age 10 and while in an 18 month placement at an out of town Residential Treatment Center (RTC) he asked my DF to be his Dad. Bio dad has never been supportive, sent money to a PO box or anything.

    Over the years - DF and I have wiped our slate clean, given our son tons and tons of chances. And I mean DF should get a St. hood from the Pope for step-dads who went above and beyond. WE've had Dude in over 13 placements, 4 psychiatric hospital stays, respite, therapy, family therapy, play therapy, individual hypnoses, we've had MRI's, blood tests, heavy metals tests, eeg, EKGs, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) specialists to be told there is no damage, it's not organic - he's just a willful child. That made us step up our therapy by going 2x a week for the last mmmm 4 years. And countless parenting classes, numerous books and theories, 65 medications and combinations of medications. We let him run away, we've called the police on him when he got violent towards me, we've offered to hire him an atty. to prosecute his bio father for molesting him and giving him to his crack dealer in trade at 5 years old. WE've allowed him to spend time with other parents, we've listened to what the psychiatrists have had to say, endured countless incorrect "guessable" diagnoses of exactly what is wrong with him - and stuck by him driving 5 hours each weekend some times ONLY to turn around and go right back home due to his behavior - we have ALWAYS let him know we're there for him ALWAYS IN ALL WAYS. And each time - it was taken with the least amount of sincerity a child could give a parent, not appreciated and always when we said "Okay - wiping the slate clean - you can come home - it would be fine for a few months, everyone got excited and then KAAAAAAABOOM!"

    In those years - my health has suffered tremendously. DF had major back surgery and remains disabled. I was told either the stress was going to kill me or put him out of the house. A peer in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) broke his jaw in 2006 and he ended up in surgery and BACK in our home - and made our lives a living hell. During this time he ran away - told people I beat him up, burned his books, and threw his clothes away. Then he started running with a bad crowd and got arrested for 3 counts of burglary, 2 in the second degree (punishable by 20 years to life for each count) and 11 counts of conspiracy, and one count of something else and at this point who cares? So we endured him trying to commit suicide, then going to Department of Juvenile Justice, then going to court - and he got probation, HUGE fines, and brought him home again. BIG , FREAKING HUGE MISTAKE. It didn't work - he stressed our home out so badly I had a stroke, my hair was falling out - I was sick all the time. I hated to even come home.

    So we sent him to a group home again - for life skills training and he told his caseworker on the way out of the drive 'OMG I am SOoooooooo glad to be out of there - they have so many freaking rules." = YEah go to 1/2 days of school, take out the trash, keep your room presentable, don't hide your crappy underpants, and dont' play filthy rap music so loud it rattles the house." And here son - $20 a week allownace for taking out the trash.

    So he went to the group home, and there was no supervision like we were told, the conditions were horrible but Dude lies so much we didn't believe him until we actually went to the place to get his belongings because he was accused of attempted burglary - and now is looking at 15 year in prison. We figured he'd be so glad to get home - that he would CERTAINLY listen to the rules this time - and he did do a little better - but within a week - he had broken so much stuff, stolen from us again, lied, and this time when I snapped - I thought I was having a heart attack and THAT was it!!!!! My DF called his caseworker at 11:30 PM and told him THAT HE HAD BETTER FIND a place for his son TO-MOR-ROW or we would take him to the jail and leave him, revoke our home, land and brains - for the bond we put up to get him out because well - we just HAD to help him out again. Figuring he would CERTAINLY be helpful around the house without asking - and nope - slapped again.

    And don't think - that it didn't hurt when he left for the Foster family either - it ALWAYS stinks - but it was either there or back to jail. And it still may be jail - and this is all the time I have to spend with him - but we stopped helping, stopped calling, stopped offering to give him rides, and now as sick and hard as it sounds - he's treated like someone elses kid that we know. It was and is the only thing that we have ever done - (sorta turning our backs) that has made him see - OH DANG - MOM AND DAD are serious. ANd with a teenager who has all the problems mine has and is about 5 years mentally behind his age? IT DOES NOT COME OFF as "Mom and Dad are serious" it comes off like - OH MOM AND DAD DON'T LOVE ME...and there is a load of self-pity and manipulations that comes with doing what we did - but for the first time in his life he's closer to growing up than any other -

    He's working odd jobs (never could before and now can)
    He's going to GED classes (never could before and now is)
    He's thinking about what about MY tomorrow (not before this)
    He's thinking and learning what it means to get along with other people because Mommy and Daddy are NOT there to bail you out. And while he can belive what he wants to - we DO love him. If we didn't we'd have let him stay and continued to live like we did, I would have died or stroked out - and life as we know it now (very peaceful, and healing between DF and I) would not exist.

    Actually DF wouldn't be here - no man should have to edure what he did and not be someone's blood relative. But he did - and I did - and like it or not THIS is what we get to say when we describe "family" to someone else.

    I won't say that I would NEVER allow my son to come home - but I CAN tell you that I won't tolerate his crap - and unless that doesn't come with him at least one time in the future - he's never going to live here again. IF he grows up and is respectful? Maybe. I hope not - I hope our doing this helps him find his own way and grow up and support himself - and THEN if he needs help - sure. I'll be there with bells on - but he's got to help himself first without my help so he knows he can do it.

    I hope this helps you =
  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    My Dad was that way with my brother. My Mom threw up her hands in frustration, with plenty of good reason. But no matter what, my Dad hung in there with bro. Dad just couldn't walk away.

    With Dad and bro it seemed to work. But then Dad had the patience of Job and the stubborness of a mule. lol Bro turned out to be a great guy, awesome Dad in his own right, and an upstanding human being. Dad didn't get to live to see the complete transformation. But I know he's proud.

    Maybe it's a Dad/son thing?

    Sending many ((((hugs)))))
  5. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    We haven't put difficult child out out yet. He doesn't live with us and hopefully he won't. He ***** the life out of the room and the family. He wants a life of his own. He just hasn't got it yet that there are a few things he has to do to get there.

    The rule since he was 13 is "do to get". difficult child can get the life he wants but he has to do the basics. So far he hasn't mastered them and consequently he hasn't gotten the life he wanted. I don't know what his future will be but we are still hoping to not have him move home. I'm detached, just don't know if he can cut the umbilical and not drown. We aren't sure that he won't drown anyhow but we are trying to make sure we aren't pulling the rug out from under him. It's such a tightrope with adult difficult child's from enabling them to letting them drown to letting them learn from hard knocks. Some days I think I should let him learn from hard knocks and then some days I know he doesn't have the skills.

    I guess detachment isn't enough to put one at ease. Detachment saves me from feeling too intensely and being paralyzed but it doesn't give me the answers that some seem to get. I think the answer for our difficult child is as individual as our difficult child's are and as individual as each of us are. I hope you find the answer that fit's you and your difficult child. I'm still working on it and lord knows difficult child is a work in progress.
  6. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I had a thought - and was thinking about what I wrote you.

    And it occured to me to tell you and your husband -

    Your son is who he is, and he's going to behave how he wants. He's going to behave the way he does whether he is IN your home or IN a shelter, or IN a friends house. Until he decides to change the ONLY thing different about either having your son live with you or with someone else - is that there is a small chance he MAY behave better while living with someone else because at your home he KNOWS you expect him to behave a certain way and he is counting on that level of tolerance to continue living life on HIS terms and living his way under your roof.

    If he has to live somewhere else - he COULD make worse mistakes - sure. He COULD grow up a bit and start to become more responsible because the world out there isn't going to tolerate your kids like you do.

    THe only difference in not having our son live here with us in his behavior is that he's not doing it under our roof and he's not stressing us out to the point of divorce before we're even married.
  7. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    My husband is also a fixer. He tried and tried and tried to fix difficult child, when he got kicked out of school after school after school. When he started having run-ins with the police. When he took off after his big sister with the butcher knife and she had to lock herself in her room until we got home from work. When we had to send Little easy child away to live with relatives for several months to keep him out of harm's way when difficult child was raging.

    Still, husband tried to fix him. It was killing him. After the 3rd hospitalization for heart issues (when they had to essentially reboot husband's heart to keep him alive), I put my foot down. But that still wasn't enough. Finally, difficult child's therapist said, "If difficult child doesn't learn any life skills, what's going to happen to him when you die. He won't survive 5 minutes in the world without you." THAT was enough.

    We have a friend whose brother has the same diagnoses and similar functional impairments to difficult child. He's in his mid-50s and still lives with his now aging and ailing parents. When they die, he has nowhere to go.

    husband finally realized that difficult child's would end up just like him if we didn't do something about it NOW. So...we moved difficult child into long term assisted living/Residential Treatment Center (RTC).

    For myself, unless there is a significant material change in difficult child's behaviour, I will never live under the same roof as my difficult child again. The rest of my family doesn't deserve to live with such chaos and danger, and it's a welcome relief to have my home be a sanctuary rather than a war zone.
  8. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I think your husband knows in his heart that he has to let go. Learning this lesson is the same as all the other lessons your son learned in life. It's just a more difficult lesson, because this is where he gets to choose the kind of person he is going to be.

    You may have helped him with his first steps, but one day you had to let him go. If you hadn't let go, and held his hand forever, he'd never develop that skill and he would be a cripple. Just as now if you don't let him go he will forever be an emotional cripple clinging to your husband to make all of his decisions for him and to take all of the blame when he fails. We all fail at some point in our lives. Sometimes it's small, (forgot your homework at home) and often it's huge (didn't do homework for months and got kicked out of school) . Who is your son blaming for his trouble at school? Is he taking that upon himself, or is it your fault because you didn't (insert lame excuse here)?

    It's time for your son to make his own mistakes and man up to them. I don't think I can tell you anything that husband doesn't already know in his heart. He has to let your son grow into his own man. I don't know if these are his words or if you are passing along his intent:

    "He (husband) has also stated recently that he doesn't want to "give up" on difficult child until he gets through to him."

    He needs to rethink that. I see what he means, but in reality it doesn't make a lick of sense.

    With my kids I was the one who never wanted to give up until they figured it out. In reality I was just holding them back.

    Good luck!
  9. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Thank you all. There were some really good points made that I've wanted to say but just couldn't figure out how. husband is now reading a print out of this post and I will post any questions or comments he has.
  10. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    This is from husband:

    So it's ok to just put him out of the house without a job or a dime to his name? He has no life skills or a high school diploma and his mind (**from me...NOT intelligence....more of social and emotional) is of a 13 year old. So what should I do? Kick him out? Or try to show him the life skills that he needs. (**from me......lifeskills that all kinds of people have been trying to teach him for a few years now) And if I do that (keep him here), my wife will be p***** the entire time. (**from that right)
  11. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Does it have to be "all or nothing?".
    Isn't there something in between. If he is unable to learn basic life skills and he thinks like a 13 yr old I would have a hard time putting him on the street. I won't do it. I can't do it.
    I do understand that there are many situations where that is the best alternative but I have a kid(man) who wouldn't be able to find the bus stop let alone a place to stay. No way will I do that but I can't live with him.
    Group homes, foster placement, any other sort of supervised living. I doubt my son will ever have the basic skills necessary to lead an independent life. It's not his fault. He was born with the crappy end of the gene pool.
    It would be the same as putting a kid out with Down's syndrome.
    So your husband and you will have to look at what your difficult child has the ability to do and what he doesn't. My son has been tutored in math since 2nd grade. He still can't make change. He isn't going to learn it at 23. It's not because he isn't trying. He is missing key elements to function.

    If your son is stealing, lying, drugging then putting him out in some sort of homeless youth organization may be the tough love he needs. Tossing him on the street is something only you can decide to do for your own difficult child. It's very difficult child specific. in my humble opinion.
  12. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    With difficult child, I don't think the learning of life skills and such is a "can't" issue so much as it is a "won't". Granted, there are some things that he has issues with but I'm not entirely sure that it's only because he doesn't want to put the effort into working on learning this or that. Before he came to us, even with the various moves and foster homes, in some ways he had it easy. Things were basically handed to him, discipline was a lot of times minor because "he's been through a lot lately", and he's never really been made to face the consequences of his actions. At least not till we got him and even after 9 years, he still doesn't/won't get it.

    There are options for him if we kick him out. They may not be the great apartment and job that he wants but they are options. The place he gets counseling and services through has a couple of foster type temporary places he could go and there is also a shelter in the next county. We would love to get him into a halfway house/group home setting but he wants absolutely NOTHING to do with those ideas even if we could find one.

    He has all sorts of people on his side including an adult case manager. I've told him REPEATEDLY since the deadline that we will help. BUT, he still has to do this himself. If he's not sure how to go about doing something, ASK us or his CM. We will help. He's never been one to ask for help. OR if he does, if he doesn't get the results he wants (usually someone to do it for him) IMMEDIATELY, he gets mad and gives up. This has been his way since we got him whether it's homework, lifeskills or whatever. He just refuses to put any effort into his own life. Perfect example....we had an IEP update meeting shortly after his 18th birthday. There were a few "new" issues brought up but basically it was the same goals that have been in place for YEARS. The head of special services (Mr. B) for the school district was in the meeting and flat out voiced my opinion. He basically wondered why we were all there. It's been the same goals for so long and difficult child has basically done nothing to reach any of the set goals. difficult child SAYS he will do A, B and C but doesn't. Actually, Mr. B sounded a bit frustrated and annoyed and I was in total agreement with him. difficult child talks big but does little to nothing to back it up. Always has.

    Don't get me wrong, I understand where husband is coming from, I do. But I also have seen difficult child's record of effort over the years. (The boy actually told a counselor that he "doesn't DO effort".) I don't think difficult child can live on his own without help. BUT he's GOT to learn to ask for it and actually listen to what is told to him without thinking that he already knows it and everyone is stupid. He's got to put EFFORT into his own life. If I saw any sign of that short of sporadic follow up calls to places he's applied to, I would be willing to compromise more than I am. The thing is, I don't so I'm not. And even if there is something going on to where he CAN'T do some of these things, he's lied and manipulated for so long that I honestly can't tell sometimes.

    If he would just TRY and cooperate with the efforts on the part of many people to help him, I would compromise. You just can't tell him anything. He knows what he's talking about and there's no explaining things to him.
  13. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Worst place to be...between husband and difficult child. All I can do is send you some positive vibes.

  14. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    mustang sounds like you have a plan and services. This is an entirely different scenario of handing a 17yr old who functions as a 13yr old a garbage bag full of his things and slamming the door.
    He has options.
    My difficult child won't mostly because he can't. He can't project forward enough to see there are reasons why we have certain expectations. I know your difficult child is not my difficult child. I'm just saying to step back and ask yourself what is your goal with raising your child? What does he do or not do to achieve these goals? What are the choices as a parent? What are his choices as a teen?

    Tough love is appropriate for some and not appropriate for others.
  15. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Wow - there really are a lot of different thoughts here, and interestingly enough - I think that is your answer. What is right for some, is not right for others.

    Our goal was to have him be self-sufficient. We have set up ongoing goals, short term goals that are VERY easy to achieve even if he were profoundly disabled in hopes that enough goals attained will build confidence and self-reliance.

    At least pushing Dude to be self-sufficient now? We'll ALL know if he's able to make it or find some self-reliant life skills that he otherwise wouldn't have known he had. If he doesn't make it now? Then we'll be able to readjust and put a new plan into place that reassesses Dude's goals with additional help. For now I'm okay with seeing if Dude can make it outside my walls at age 17.

    If you're asking if I would just pack his junk and put him on the corner with no where to go? No. Not at 17. It's gotten that bad in our home, but we've always suffered through until an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) had a bed available. Dude will be 18 in a few months and already he's figuring out that at 18 - you had better get your mess together because services don't last forever.

    Just the fact that he's able to discern that? Tells almost everyone concerned in his care that he IS able to do some things for himself - he's just lazy. Those things that he can't or never will get? We'll work with those ongoing.
  16. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I have a child who still has magical thinking. He really is an intelligent kid, he really does "get" a lot of things he doesn't want us to know he "gets"'. If he refuses to try, then he WILL be on his own at 18. Gma is pretty tired of his grades stinking because lack of effort. She and Gpa will let him live with them during the vocational program that extends 1 year beyond high school IF he is doing certain things. Refusing to work unless he can work at a specific store (that can barely pay the light bill and the rent, with just the owner working there!) is NOT one of the things they will tolerate.

    If your son refuses to put any effort into life, maybe it is time for him to have to be in a position with-no $$ for food, etc and a temporary shelter so that he MUST put some effort out, or discover the real life consequences. If he is 18, I would not have a problem with it, esp with him refusing to try to meet goals because he "doesn't DO effort" = that right there is an invitation to ME to put him out.

    Good luck,