New member needs support

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Estranged2015, Feb 4, 2015.

  1. Estranged2015

    Estranged2015 New Member

    I read these posts and my heart goes out. Those of us who DO have difficult children CAN understand.

    I'm Worried about my difficult son, 28, 3x prison, drugs (uses and sells/sold, not sure), has engaged in prostitution, steals from me. He was thrown out of his first high school, then thrown out of college. Does not work. His legal bills have been a lot. Now his girlfriend pregnant. She tells me he was sexually abused as a child. I reached out with support and offer to help, said I'd pay for therapy. (Would be tough, but I'd do it.). But all he seems to want is money. He wants me to give him things around the house that he thinks are valuable (not really). I think he wants to sell them. If I say no, he flies into scary rages. I don't want to be alone s him in my house. (Single mom)
    I've always done all I could think of for him, through what I thought was a good childhood, incl Learning Disabilities grammar school and private high school (till he was expelled, then I moved to a new town so he could go to a good public). but he's so nasty and abusive to me now that I've said he should only contact me if he wants to start in therapy, either himself or with me. He emailed back that he doesn't care if he sees me again or not, but please send money. All so terrible.

  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Estranged2015, you might want to start your own thread, you've posted on an old one. More folks will see your post if you do.
    I'm sorry you find yourself in the situation you are in.

    Your son is abusive. It sounds as if you have done a lot for him. It may be time to start to let go. You may want to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here. Often what our troubled kids want is money, often they are disrespectful or as in your case abusive, often they lie and steal. For us it is a nightmare.

    We have to learn how to respond differently. We have to be the ones to change, they will likely stay the same. We have to learn to set boundaries. We have to learn to say no. We have to learn to detach and accept what is. No easy task. But, necessary.

    I hope you have supports in place, therapy, 12 step groups, Families anonymous, Al Anon, whatever feels right for you. This is very difficult to do on our own because we have to go against our natural instincts to love, protect and help them. But, we cannot continue to do that and be able to have our own successful lives because our troubled kids will take us on their roller coaster ride of trauma and drama and hold us hostage with their manipulations if we allow them to.

    Hang in there Estranged, keep posting, get yourself in supportive environments and begin to put the focus on deserve a full and joyful deserve to feel safe.........I'm glad you're here........
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  3. Estranged2015

    Estranged2015 New Member

    This is so kind of you! Thank you. I am looking in to finding a local in-person group. I think I haven't participated in this one correctly. Is there a page that tells how to start a thread? Thank you for your patience w a beginner.
  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I moved your thread for you.

    Estranged, you may want to add a signature at the bottom of your post as you see most of us have. That's so we can recall your info and respond and support you accordingly. You go up to the right hand corner here and hover over your screen name, a box will drop and look for signature. Click on that. Write it and don't forget to save it. Check out others signatures so you'll understand what to write.

    If you have any questions, just ask, I will respond, or another member will, someone is usually around.

    Welcome aboard!
  5. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Estranged.


  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Ugh. What a horrible story. Welcome to the board and I'm soooooooooooo sorry.

    Obviously, don't send him any money. 3X in prison. Drugs. He needs to get clean and grow up and many of our challenged little darlings end up not talking to us if we don't send money. It's emotional blackmail. Why send money for drugs? Why support a felon? He needs to do it himself.

    I found Al-Anon invaluable. Try it several times. If you don't like it, call NAMI (National Alliance of the Mentally Ill) and ask if there is help for you. Not for your son. For you. You can't change him, but you can learn coping skills and how to deal with things so that your own life is still good.

    Sorry you had to find out.

  7. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Welcome estranged. I am so sorry for all you have been through and we understand here on this site.

    You have gotten great responses from the other great people who have posted so far and I know there will be more.

    I notice you said your son steals from you. If he has access to you home, please find a way to change that. My son was stealing from me and that is a deal breaker. That is almost always a clear indication of drug abuse---they have to find Things to pawn and sell to buy drugs.

    Once I realized that---and I was a slow learner---I kicked him out and changed the locks. I would not allow him to come here at all for a while and then as I started to let him come for a meal I would monitor his actions in my house even making sure there was nothing in the one bathroom I would allow him to use rhat he could steal. I was a nervous wreck during these times.

    We have a right and deserve to have a home that is our sanctuary. Dealing with all of this is so debilitating and over time we start to set some Boundaries. One of the first and most basic is that you have to have a home that is safe for you.

    Then you can begin to work on other boundaries like telling him firmly and quietly that every time he talks disrespectfully to you, the conversation will be immediately over. Then do it. Say I am hanging up now and do it. Say I am leaving now and do it. Be consistent and over time he will get the message.

    I like to think of it this way---I can only keep my side of the street clean. I can only control my own behavior. What kind of person do I want to be? I want to be a person who realizes I can't fix, manage, control or change other people. I want to be a person who respects the dignity of every person and treats them with respect no matter what they do. I want to be a person who has a fulfilling, happy life. Once I started focusing more and more on myself and less and less on my son who I dearly love, things started getting a lot better for me.

    There is a lot of hard work to do to live that kind of life when our adult children are destroying theirs.

    I have come to a whole new set of beliefs, attitudes and actions that include staying out of the business of other people and focusing on my own life. It takes daily work and daily practices and I still make many mistakes but it is definitely doable. I am so much happier today.

    There is no guarantee that our troubled adult children will change if we change but I believe there is virtually no chance they will change if we don't.

    Today my sons life appears to be much better---he is not in jail, he is working full time plus and he has an apartment. It is still messy and far from the life I wanted for him but I have learned that those were my wants not his.

    Please know that we are here for you and we will share our experience strength and hope I hopes it will be helpful to you. Warm hugs.
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  8. Estranged2015

    Estranged2015 New Member

    Wow I am completely overwhelmed by all this wisdom. Kind of horrified to think of all the suffering that lies behind it, but selfishly happy to have this community of understanding people. I did change the locks, and will only see my son out of the house now. I didn't make an announcement to that effect, but have decided on it myself. He keeps nagging me by email to do things for him that he could do for himself ( can you get me a copy of my birth certificate? eg). So far I've just not responded --i don't know if that's right or not, but my instinct is to just not enter into his games.

    I have been seeking a nar anon meeting, but the only one is in a bad neighborhood two buses away. I will take up the suggestion that I look for al anon instead -- perhaps which substance it is doesn't matter since I'll be learning self-care strategies? And I'll try again to create a signature so as to introduce myself. Yesterday I hadn't been a member long enough to be allowed. Thank you to recoveringenabler for helping my post find the right place, and to everybody for the warm welcome. Much, much a appreciated!
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  9. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome, Estranged.

    Your son is plenty old enough to take care of his own business. And he has plenty of time on his hands, since he doesn't work.

    My step-son also claimed at one point that he had been molested, but it was during a manipulation ploy, so not sure if it is true. He never wanted to pursue charges or go to therapy and hasn't mentioned it since. He was an adult when he mentioned this, by the way.

    Your instincts are right on, not to give him money.

    Hang in there, keep posting, it will really help.
  10. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Estranged,
    I'm sorry you had to find this site but sure glad you did. You will find comfort, support, advice and sometimes laughter.
    You are on the right track. I'm glad to hear you have changed the locks and do not allow him in your home.
    You are not alone and nothing your son has done is new to any of us.
    Giving into them and giving money or things or whatever will only keep them coming back for more.
    As for the claim of being molested as a child. I and my sisters were sexually abused by our bio-father. For me it was from age 2 till 7. While I will not deny that it had an affect on me I made the choice to not let it define me. It's a horrible to thing to happen to anyone but it should NEVER be used as an excuse for making poor choices in life. Whether he was or wasn't no one knows but at age 28 it's time to move on.
    ((HUGS)) to you.....
  11. Estranged2015

    Estranged2015 New Member

    Hi, Tanya
    This gives me a new perspective -- thank you for sharing your difficult memories. I was ready to attribute all his problems to being molested, and I was blaming myself for not having prevented it. Your approach may be more realistic, both toward the past and toward the present. He hasn't taken me up on the offer of therapy at all, and in fact it's only his girlfriend, not himself, who's talked w me about the abuse. I wrote right back to say "I believe you," and not am less sure that I do! Thank you for making it possible to consider more than one response.
  12. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    I'm glad I could help you see things a little differently. His claim may very well be true about the abuse but even if it is you bear no responsibility.
    My situation as I said my bio-father was the one. Abusers are very careful and very sneaky. He was abusing me and my sisters and our mother was clueless until my older sisters finally got the courage to tell her. Once she found out she got us out of that situation. I have done some therapy over the years for this and I never once blamed my mother, she was not the one who abused me, there was only one person to blame and that was my bio-father.
    I learned holding onto any anger towards him only hurt me. I was no longer in that situation so why would I give him power over my emotions, I chose not to be a victim.
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  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    (((((hugs))))) and Welcome!

    You are correct, the substance is not as important as learning the self care and working the program. There is also a LOT of overlap in the use of alcohol and other drugs. Relatives can get help from either alanon or narcanon or both. I think there are a lot more alanon meetings offered than narcanon meetings, and they are in a wider range of neighborhoods.There is also a religion based program called Celebrate Recovery that is a 12 step program, but I don't know if they offer family programs.

    NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Health is also a great source of support. They have meetings, support groups, classes, and so much more. You should also strongly consider going to your local domestic violence support center for help. The abusive behavior of your son is NOT going to stop if he thinks he can get his way. It is very dangerous even if the abuser is your adult child. The time where you are cutting contact way down or off and cutting support down/off is the most dangerous time. You are now looking for ways to get out of the cycle of dysfunction and your son likes to control you. He is not going to just give up that control without a fight. The DV group will provide free therapy to help you cope with your son and with the sexual abuse that you just learned about. It will help in a LOT of ways, and will teach you how to stay safe. These things are generally FREE and confidential.

    You should look into getting the Aspire app on your phone. Robin McGraw, Dr. Phil's wife, helped create it as part of her Aspire Initiative. The app looks like any other news app but really it contacts designated people (you choose who it calls - a friend, family member, 911, etc...) without you having to dial or even speak to them. It also records everything that goes on around you (on audio I think, maybe video also - I cannot remember) from the time you push the button for the app. This can be invaluable. You can find the app in all the app stores and it is free, so there isn't any excuse not to have it just in case!

    If/when your instincts say something, the way they told you it was better to not engage with your son's email demands, listen to them. In my life, my biggest mistakes happened when I didn't listen to my instincts. Those instincts are there for a reason, and ignoring the can be very detrimental, in my opinion. The more you listen to them and pay attention to them, the more they help at least that is my experience.

    I will stop here as I tend to write novels rather than posts, lol! I leave with one last thought:

    Don't feel that you have to take our advice/suggestions/input. We know it won't all fit your needs. Take what will work for you and leave the rest, and don't stress over not taking one person's advice.
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  14. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Awesome advice Susiestar!!
  15. Estranged2015

    Estranged2015 New Member

    Thank you, Susie, I am going to look for Aspire now. Didn't know about it. I'll think about the DV call if he doesn't just leave me alone, which is my hope. What a thing to have to do! Thank you so much for your advice, and for the advice to weigh all the advice for myself. I'm the one responsible for me.

    Bought myself flowers today, and they smell lovely! (Lilies)
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm a dog lover and have a "Crazy Dog Lady" tee-shirt. Love your dog!!!! A pug, is it? Yes, other life does exist. My two babies are in my avatar. I love them so much. They give so much comfort.

    Listen to a sad story. All three of my youngest kids were molested, the younger two badly by a child we adopted who fooled adults into thinking he was a good kid and terrified the young ones to the point they didn't tell until we kicked his sorry buttocks out the door (no, I don't feel guilty. No, I'm not sorry). Maybe because they saw justice, as the county did try him in a court of law for sexual assault and he was found guilty and maybe because of all the help they got, both are grown up now and such nice kids. No drugs. They don't even drink. Daughter has tons of friends and from her FB you can just see how everyone loves her. Son is on autism spectrum yet he is very special, high functioning, one of the nincest kids you'll ever meet.

    My oldest daughter was assaulted at a young age outside of the house and never told us until she was fourteen, then refused help. She used drugs and I felt sick that about it...terrified she'd kill herself. But she too straightened out and worked out the abuse in her own way and is a very well adjusted woman and mother now. No drugs. She even quit the cigarettes that all of our drug abusing kids seem to love. The better to kill me, my dear...something like that with the ciggies.

    Your son is not an honest person. Abuse is one manipulative thing to claim to get you to fall into "mommy" mode again so if it were me I wouldn't even know if I believed it. My daughter's advice to moms of drug users, from her experience, is very firm: "Never trust a drug addict. They lie." She was a great liar when she used drugs. She could lie while looking me straight in the eyes and crying real tears. I would hold up the cigarettes I found in her purse (in our house, cigarettes are banned and considered a drug...we just hate them). This was after we knew she was also using pot.

    Me: Look what I found in your purse. I guess you're not spending your money the right way. That's the end of your allowance.

    Her: (staring straight at me, tears falling) I'm just holding it for a FRIEND!

    I swear this is a universal difficult child thing to say. She said it often, whenever she was caught with something she couldn't have. It always belonged to somebody else that she was holding it for. Finally we told her, if so, she was still accountable as we don't allow illegal stuff in our house. What a joke. She's lucky she never saw jail. She was on parole twice, but as a minor and as a very pretty petite little girl (we adopted her from Korea and think of a stereotype China doll), she used to get away with a lot more than her male cohorts and her less attractive friends.

    It didn't work with us though.

    At any rate, my reason for posting was to explain that on the 50% chance he was abused (and Tanya is right that kids don't tell...they are scared) that doesn't make his life ok, and he can get the same help 25% of the population needs. I believe it's 1 in 4 children who are abused, but 1 in 4 are not behaving like he is. by the way, very sad statistic

    Stand strong. Get facetime support. Remember that your little boy doesn't exist anymore...he is a man. You are not his "mommy." You are his mother and your relationship should be grown up now.

    Huggles for a peaceful weekend.
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    Last edited: Feb 6, 2015
  17. Estranged2015

    Estranged2015 New Member

    Midwest Mom

    So right! So difficult not to think of him as my little boy anymore. He really knows how to push my buttons. It is a great relief to hear the skepticism in the voices of other mothers here – suggests I am normal if I doubt or disbelieve him. I am grateful.

    Wish I could hit "like" and also some of the other buttons! So far I've only figured out how to hit one.

    Yes, my little dog is a pug. She is wonderful! She is my fourth pug. What a joy dogs are. Kind of hard in the city, but worth it. Your little ones are adorable.
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks. Often, my dogs are my therapists!!!!
  19. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Look at the lower right corner of the posted text. There is a list of icons there.... like, agree, funny, winner, etc.
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  20. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Hugs, Estranged.

    Stay close to this board; it is a major lifeline--especially when you feel in the depths of it all. It is still a huge source of inspiration to husband and me, though we are NO LONGER in that dark place.

    My difficult child is 34. Although he has never played the molested card, he has claimed every other sort of abuse/neglect/favoritism (for our other kids). The difficult child will claim every thing he/she can dredge up to make you the bad guy. Their poor choices are totally your fault. And, it works while we allow it. We try to fluff up pillows around them with money, sweet words, apologies, etc. to help them back on their feet.

    Until, one day....we get it. They are manipulating us. Using us. They do not care, one iota, the effect it has on us. They are out for one person--themselves. They will say whatever, as you said, pushes our buttons.

    Seems to me that you are on the cusp--about to turn a corner and probably already turning that corner. Good for you. Because, you are starting the journey to reclaim your dignity, yourself. You knew the things he said were not true. Now, it is your time to live it like you know it.

    husband and I had to hit rock bottom, but it finally happened and our lives have gotten so much better. We always heard difficult child would hit rock bottom and change. Uh, no...that may take forever! He certainly seemed to hit rock bottom several times, but no change.

    I am not sure we would have ever turned around, had we not found this forum. We thought we were tied into difficult child's abusive ways forever. He was our firstborn, one of our beloved children. How could we turn around and walk away?

    We did and life has changed. Has difficult child changed? No. But, we keep hope.
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