New boundaries and birthday pain


I feel the need to be in touch with people who can relate to my experiences of parenting. Today is my son's 19th birthday. I gave custody to the state about two and half years ago because I could not control.... what could I not control.... anything? Yes, I admitted I could not control anything and I chose my safety and wellbeing over everything else.

We have been periodically closer and more distance over the the last couple years. I love him, but I hate him, too. Before I gave up custody I kept a list of interventions I had tried. It was four pages long by the time I gave up. Now I am at an even deeper level of giving up.

I stopped documenting attempts at treatment since I stopped being in charge. In the meantime he has become an adult, but he can remain a ward of the state until he is 21.

I stopped documenting attempts at treatment, but I didn't stop trying to get help. We have had family therapy together three times since he left my home. The first one was at the residential treatment facility where the state placed him for a year. That therapist was an intern and left.

Then I had to wait until my kid turned 18 so we could be seen where I go. The first guy wasn't very good. The second was the best therapist we've ever had. But I feel like he told me a lot of lies. He told me it was going to be different this time. It wasn't. We had a conflict (son stole money) then son stopped showing up, so therapy is over.

In the meantime, son learned to enter my house through the doggy door. I am in the process of modifying the door so dog will still use it, but son cannot.

And then he came over once when I asked him not to, then asked him to leave, and he refused. It took dialing for the police to get him to leave.

These are small violations compared to some violations of the past, but I'm just done.

In retrospect, what happened with the last therapist is this: son and I started getting closer, as we get closer son feels less and less inclined to respect me. We have a lot of work to do on boundaries. We get close and son thinks the boundaries are absolved. I think this is a pattern. He violates boundaries, probably feels ashamed, and becomes very demanding-- continued closeness depends on me doing what he says. He holds my hope for his recovery over my head-- as if I am violating him with the hope-- trying to control him and not respecting who he is. And if I want to address a violation (not pretend I am absentminded the money just went missing, etc).... everything falls apart.

Last therapist told me that either he or I was going to end up dead if this continues. But the truth is that there is no imminent threat of physical violence. He later backtracked a bit.... but he had given me domestic violence talk, and it effected me.

I gave up harder. I told my son that I accepted the he was not willing to work on things, and that I was willing to love him from a distance. That was about two weeks ago, and I have stuck to it. He has berated me over text message-- trying to make me responsible for his hunger. The truth is that he has food in the foster home. If he chooses to leave the home and hang out with friends where there may not be food, if I buy him food I am enabling.

He chooses not to work. He chooses not to study.

Everything in our relationship operates on a barter system. Nothing is just family. But he has plenty to say about what a failure of a mother I am, how family means something to everyone other than me. It is painful. if he is showing up to therapy he expects me to buy him sandwiches, etc. When I do that maybe the therapy is just an enabling device- because I have traded him showing up for me having boundaries. He is perpetually frustrated by how much stock I put in therapy. I think the whole tone of this message might imply the same thing. It is where I stake my hope.

Now that it has collapsed again, I am acting differently. I have changed. I keep saying no, and am refusing much contact. I feel like I am getting a divorce from him. I just completely give up. What I want from him is just for him to leave me alone. The pain of wanting that is outrageous. I want to say that I don't know what to do with it, or where to go with it-- but I also know the answer to just feel it-- not do anything, not go anywhere. In the back of my mind I can know he is young, and that things may or may not improve. I can feel grief and still be ok. I have had a lot of experiences in life that have been painful-- that makes me normal.

...but, like an email I got from someone I used to know when from whom I have drifted-- just saying happy birthday to my son... I guess I can just say thank you. Who would guess that I will not be in touch him today.... after a lot of horrible text messages last night when I, again, wouldn't buy him food. And I was different in those messages because I pushed back. I told him that it takes a lot for a mother to get the point where I am, that he had repeatedly violated me. When he called I declined the call and asked why he thought I would answer for him-- .....he'd just been telling me that he hopes I die....

If you read all of this, thank you. Maybe pain in life is normal, but this much domestic pain is not. I do need to know that I am no the only one.


Well-Known Member
You are not alone. He is trying to manipulate you and you are not allowing him to do so. Stand your ground.


Dear Day....yes it is so very painful what you are going through. When we do start to set the boundaries and hold to them, often they up the ante and become wilder...and then after some time settle down. Do not back down. He is being manipulative and will continue to do so as long as you allow it. Stand your deserve better and you know it. Right now that is something he cannot give you and may not be able to give you for a long time. Are you in therapy for just yourself? if not I would recommend it. Be kind to you and do something nice for yourself today. Hugs


PASA and WISER- Thank you both. And, yes, I have a long term therapist for myself. That relationship has saved my life, and it is the reason I place my hope in therapy.


I completely understand your pain and wondering how to handle so much pain. I am at the point where I don't want to discuss my son with anyone anymore as it hurts so bad. My son went to jail yesterday. Serious charges, that's all I know. He did call me though. As moms the feelings we have to deal with are so totally uncommon that it seems unfair we have to experience them...such as fearing our children, being so angry you don't want to talk to them again, then heartbreaking pain that they screwed up again and the hurt from it. I feel for you. Praying for you!