New here but can now see I'm not alone .....

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by monmon911, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. monmon911

    monmon911 New Member

    Where do I begin...My 19yr old son, who is living with us is continually testing my love. He knows that I would do anything for him. He is the oldest of 3 boys, the others are 16 and 17 and seem to be so much easier to handle than my first born. Today I am trying to figure out what my next step should be....
    Having read a few of your past posts, I can see that many of you have lived or are living the same kind of disrespect. The total lack of disrespect to my husband and myself is mind boggling for me. Perhaps it stems from loving and giving too much....ei spoiled child. But I can honestly say, that my children were not spoiled in a way that the could say or do whatever they wanted, I was fairly strick in their upbringing and was rewarded with kids they never ever got in trouble at school still to this day.

    That being said, for my eldest, we his parents, seem to be his problems. It started around his mid teens and basically not backing down when things were not going his way. It would escalate to full out screaming and at times even physical arguments. Now, he is out of high school, where in his senior year, he actually won an award as the most caring, friendly student for his work with the special need students. It is like he is one person with us, and acts completely different with others. Everyone thinks he is such a nice kid. It's almost a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde scenerio. After high school, he went on to college, even though he didnt know what he wanted to do later on and ended up switching to 3 different programs only to drop out eventually. I bought him a (cheap) car to attend college since there is no public transporation where we live. He is now (at least until today) working for his father in construction basically doing labour and learning new trades. I was a bit aprehensive when he started working for him as they are always gripping at each other and figured this would not work out but surprisingly when it came to work, he was actually cooperative and did as he was told....until today. At home, he outrights says no to every chores we ask of him, he leaves things laying around and never picks up after himself and when we argue about anything at all, he says we are his problem. He has gone as far as spitting at his dad and throwing his new computer that I bought him (for school) agains the wall and smashing it. He calls us names and tells us to f%# off, he doesnt drink but he does smoke pot regularly. The arguments never seems to end with him, he is angry and totally impossible to be around. He does as he please and pays no rent. As a matter of fact, he owes me about $6000 for the second car (after he blew the motor in the 1st one but needed a vehicule to get back and forth to work with), some online courses I paid for him, I gave him a deal and said pay me half of it say $3000 at a rate of $75 a week and you will be debt free in a year. He actually said to me the other week that he prefers to save his money and would like to pay me later on at some point, when I explained that it doesnt work that way, he said whatever and has not paid me since....Is it the generation of thinking that everyone owes them or is this a case of a child that has his own feeling of entitlement? I just dont get it but it is breaking my heart!!
    Today, he outright told his father he would not do the work that was asked of him, his dad said, son if I were not your father and you were working anywhere else, this type of behaviour would get your fired and his response was "then fire me!". He then got in his car and sped away at dangerous speed (in the car that I paid for) and we have not heard from him since.
    I think I know that I must ask him to leave, but with no job, how will he fend for himself? I am such a mother hen, I know I wont be able to sleep if I dont know where he is. He makes such bad decision all the time, that I just dont know what would become of him.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2012
  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome MM, I'm glad you found us.............I'm sorry you're going through this with your son...............many if not most of us here have a similar story and it is heartbreaking as we are put in terrible positions to have to set boundaries and often detach from our kids. My advice is always to find help and support for you and your husband, therapy, 12 step groups, parent groups, to find ways to cope with the situation as you learn to figure out how to set boundaries with an adult child who lives with you but will not abide by any of your rules or have any respect for you. Ultimately we all have to do what we feel is right and what we can live with, however, many of us run right into the wall that you seem to be at, where you've done everything for them and they don't do anything for themselves and resent you and treat you terribly.

    It's your home, your life, and in your case you have 2 younger kids who are watching how you deal with the oldest and also, no doubt, being adversely impacted by the stress and tension in the home. At some point for many of us, we are faced with how to negotiate the territory of removing our own children from our homes. Many of us will set a date down the road, whatever feels comfortable, one month, three months, for him to leave and find alternative living arrangements. In some states you have to get an eviction notice, even for your own kids, which you can research and find out if that is the case where you live. This is not an easy path, but it often become a necessary one for the rest of the family to have a decent and healthy life without all the drama, hostility, anger and sometimes violence.

    We as parents often have to distinguish between enabling and loving.......and in learning the distinction, react in different ways. Not so easy without support and guidance, in my opinion. Because it goes against what we desire to do in almost every way............however, the alternative is to continue to allow this behavior in your home and watch it destroy your family bit by bit.

    For me and for what I've read, seen and gone through myself, there is a definite trajectory of responses we, as parents, go through, as we try to figure all of this out, change it and create a different way of life for ourselves. It's a process, it's difficult, it's up and down and all over the map, and there are steps most of us take, in different ways at different times, it all is up to you...........You cannot change him, you cannot control him, you cannot force him to anything he doesn't want to do............but you can change your responses, you can define your boundaries, set them and defend them strongly as to what you will allow and what you will not. And make sure you have clear consequences if those boundaries are not respected, otherwise they have no validity. You may need help to do that. It's not easy. Your son is 19, considered an adult although he is not acting like one...........while he is learning to negotiate life as an adult, you may have to learn to let him go into whatever life he chooses, even if you don't understand or agree with it, and sometimes we have to help them launch by stopping their bad behavior by not permitting it in our environment and forcing them to leave......... Sigh............I know how hard that is too..........

    There is a blurb at the bottom of my post which is a wonderful article on detachment, you may want to read it and share it with your husband. Your last paragraph speaks to all of our parental concerns and is exactly what we all have to face..........I think I know that I must ask him to leave, but with no job, how will he fend for himself? I am such a mother hen, I know I wont be able to sleep if I dont know where he is. He makes such bad decision all the time, that I just dont know what would become of him.

    You've landed in a place where many of us have lived through those very fears you expressed, each of us in our own're not alone, we really understand,........ doesn't make the pain go away, but it makes it a little bit easier, just a keep posting, find support out there for you.........stop enabling him..........get clear on your boundaries and......hang in there..............HUGS...........

  3. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    It so often seems to be 19 year old sons that bring people here. In my country we have military obligation and most of our 19 year old sons are serving that. I think that saves many of us from so many heart breaks. Failure to launch combined with growing too big to live under parents roof on the other hand and still being too immature to handle that seems to be a bad combination. I'm sorry you are having a tough time and that you had to find us. You are definitely not alone in this.

    But what you tell us about your son amkes it clear he has lots of strengths too. There is a good chance that ten years from now you can look back and think this just your son having some growing pains and struggling a little to establish himself. I certainly do hope it turns like that. That of course doesn't help much now, when he is behaving in unacceptable manner. You really have to put some boundaries down, if not for the other reasons but for your younger kids. But of course also for you and your oldest. With his strengths he is likely to do just well even if you have to kick him out. He has skills and the necessity is a great motivator.

    To be honest I'm surprised that him working under his dad worked that long. That really is almost a no-win situation when kid is in that age. he may do much better in same jobs under someone he doesn't know. i can't even imagine my sons could work under my husband, not even my easy child. Even building a doghouse together this summer was a major struggle to all three of them and someone could had easily suspected that world war 3 was just about to begin from our yard.

    Recoveringenabler wrote (once again) an excellent post. Do read that carefully.
  4. MonMon - Hello to you and welcome to the board. You are definitely in the right place.

    I am going through a very similar situation with my son. He is a little younger than yours but his behaviour is very similar (without the marijuana use - at least for now).

    Your son has graduated high school and did well from the sounds of it. He is struggling to find a career path in life but that is not uncommon among youth. So, there are a couple of positives there, at least.

    He is definitely making some bad decisions. Is he depressed? Sometimes that shows up as anger - but he is only exhibiting it towards his family. Of course he would feel most comfortable doing it to you because he knows how much you love him and expects that he will be forgiven. Could it be the marijuana use?

    With our son we kept backing up and backing up (with rules and boundaries) until we couldn't back up anymore. We finally realized (it took me longer than my husband) that we couldn't back our boundaries up any more and so we asked him to leave. We have a 13 year old daughter who is watching everything that is going on and also having to live with the arguing and anger from her big brother. I called Children's Aid and spoke with them about our situation and they were more concerned about our daughter and how this was affecting her than they were about our son. Where we live kids can leave home at 16 and parents have no control over that. Our therapist told us that we have the right to run our home as we see fit and if we want a peaceful home that we should have it.

    In our situation we gave difficult child some time to get his stuff together and find a place to live but he chose to leave immediately and hasn't looked back. The first couple of weeks he was gone I got calls from the school every day saying he was missing classes. That was hard but he is making those bad decisions - someone here told me once that if he flunks out of high school he can go back later and get his diploma - it is not something he can't fix later when he matures. This was very helpful to me. I'm not sure what has changed for my son but for the past week and a half he has been to class every day. He is living on a friends couch while he looks for somewhere to stay. That's going to be hard for him because he is young and no one is going to want to rent to him. He only has a part time job as he still has 1.5 years of school left before he graduates. He is going to struggle. If he is working hard and taking responsibility and still struggling then I will help him. If he isn't trying to help himself then I won't.

    This has been a very tough decision but I have to make it otherwise I'm not helping him I'm enabling him to remain immature and irresponsible. At some point I want to look at my son and see him as a productive, law abiding citizen in this society - not as a lazy, entitled, immature child. Part of me wonders if there is more to his mental health issues than depression (I think this a lot) and part of me wonders if he just needs a kick in the butt and be forced to take responsibility for himself.

    It's hard. I have moments when I start to cry and it seems to come out of nowhere. Some days I am angry with him, some days I am sad and some days I am ok. These kids break our hearts. Is it part of them separating from us and because we have a very strong connection they feel a need to do it in a bigger way than most kids? I don't know. I do know that it hurts like heck. I also know that I am setting a better example for our daughter by respecting my own personal boundaries and by letting her know what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. I'm also letting my son know that I respect myself and will not be treated poorly by him. I have gotten the brunt of his anger and aggression and he still can be very nasty to me but I think we are starting to forge a different relationship and I'm hoping that will change.

    I am telling you a bit of my story because I think I know how you feel. I am not telling you what to do but it may be time to start considering nudging him towards finding his own place and establishing himself as an independent young man. You still have time to approach it from a positive standpoint. "We are so excited for you. We can't wait to help you move and set up your own place. If you need some furniture you can have the old couch in the basement....." type of thing. I'm trying this with my difficult child but we are not in a great place right now. He and his father have not spoken in about 3 weeks and he didn't even say goodbye to his sister when he left and hasn't spoken to her in just as long either. I do not want that for you.

    The hardest part is watching him make mistakes and knowing it is futile to say anything about it because it will only serve to make him angrier with me and he'll do what he wants anyway. I'm choosing to try and salvage what is left of our relationship, build on that, accept him as he is (provided he respects me), and hope that he grows more mature.

    Please continue to come back and talk to everyone here. I am pretty new here and muddling through but there are parents here that have a lot of wisdom and knowledge to share.

    Big hugs to you and I'm so sorry you are going through this.
  5. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Welcome to the Cd board... definitely a place of caring, lots of experience and understanding. How recently has your son been smoking pot regularly? Has this behavior at home towards you been like this for a long time or is it fairly recent? I ask all this because my guess is that the pot smoking is part of the problem. While high on pot people can be pretty calm and relaxed but they can be pretty nasty when it is wearing off or has worn off. You might want to check out the substance abuse forum as many of us there have gone through similar things with our young adult children.

    I will also say it is incredibly difficult and painful to kick a kid out of the house and worry about them being homeless. I wont go into my whole story here (you can find it mostly on the SA forum) but my son has now been homeless for 3 months and has figured out how to survive and in fact is travelling around the country in the process. I have been through lots of sleepless nights over the last few years with all of his shenanigans... but I am coming to a place of peace at least some of the time... and in general i am no longer losing sleep over him. I have realized he has learned how to survive and whatever journey he is on is his journey not mine.

    I recommend you find a live parent support group of some kind. I have a wonderful parents alanon group I go to which has been realy helpful along with this board. So definitely whatever you do find support for yourself and you do have the right to live in peace in your own home, and it does not serve him in the long run to walk all over you and your husband.

  6. peg2

    peg2 Member

    So sorry to hear of your troubles, I have posted many times and told my story, so I will keep it short. I had to get a restraining order against my then 19 yr old son, same issues as yours, but no hs graduation and certainly not much work at all. Just did as pleased and then got so verbally abusive I had to get the rest. order. My 2 other sons are older but you may need to be careful of CPS coming in, if they are living in a household with DV going on, they could remove other children. Yes, I too worried about my son fending for himself, and he has been homeless,etc. but it was all his fault. I continued to try and get him help but he refused any sort of mental health treatment, so here we are!!!! Maybe you cold speak to a domestic violence counselor because if you continue to enable him he won't ever stop. Mine didn't and just theother day texted me I was a f***ing b***ch. I worry and am sick over it, and battling breast cancer, but I think of what he put me through and read over the text messages that led up to the RO and I know I had no choice. It's devastating and horrible, butr you can't subject yourself or yourother kids to his behavior. If you let him get away with it he will!!!!
    Good luck.