New to Group - Kicked out our 19 year old son (only child) today

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by BKS, Oct 12, 2012.

  1. BKS

    BKS New Member

    Hi all,

    I am greatly relieved to find this group. Today my husband and I basically kicked our 19 year old (only child) son of the house for what we hope is for good. He has "left" about three times since early summer but we are now actively pushing him in this direction. We have realized that his misery has extended to us and we REFUSE to allow him to live here extending his misery to our lives any longer. He barely graduated from high school (because of his laziness), does not have a job, has twice registered for and dropped community college courses, drinks and does drugs, is disrespectful and abusive, and has broken every rule of a written contract we put together with him a year ago. We know he has:

    • stolen from us (cash from both of our wallets and any change laying around the house)
    • drank all of the alcohol we had in the house (neither of us drink and wasn't aware it was disappearing)
    • purposely broke two locks on storage cabinets where we locked liquor after realizing his problem
    • stolen prescription medications from us
    • broken into our house when we locked him out (during the day when we were at work)
    • broken into my laptop to read mail between our family therapist and my husband and I (nothing groundbreaking to read)
    • packed up my jewelry that I keep stowed away and was carrying around with him in his backpack including antique rings from my husband's family
    • had taken bank statements from two accounts and had those tucked away with his belongings as well.

    He tells us WE are the source of his problems. This is our only child who is a product of 12 years of private school. We tried to interest him in multiple activities including sports, music (3 different instruments), and scouting. He was diagnosed early with ADHD, has been professionally evaluated twice, and had private tutors in both junior high and high school. We paid extra in high school for him to attend a special 1 hour class devoted to students organization and learning skills. He made honor roll his junior year when he buckled down and was serious. The rest of the time he barely got by. We have been active in our church and he has been to multiple church camps, as well as school camps, and IT camps when he showed an early interest in computers. I have worked to have his friends over as often as possible because he was an only child and he was always popular, social, and well-liked.

    This past summer he was careening out of control and the police took him to the mental unit of our area hospital who agreed to release him with the understanding that he go into rehab and see a psychiatrist. He dropped out of outpatient treatment today, saying he didn't have any substance abuse problems and drank/did drugs only because we made him miserable.

    Right now, we don't know who he is and I can read by your posts that many share the same experiences with the common questions being "what did we do wrong" - knowing in retrospect we are not perfect and did our best.

    If other have any experience with children trying to boomerang home and how to handle this - I would welcome your experiences. The last several times we took him back but we now know that he won't live by our rules and we cannot live together. Plus he is incredibly argumentative and claims we are abusive and awful parents. We changed our locks, changed the pass code to the alarm system, and encouraged him to take as much of his things as he could.

  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    As one who had a severe substance abuser for a daughter, I realize she was a different person when she was steeped in drugs, one who could not listen to reason or get on with any sort of productive life. It wasn't until she quit that we got our daughter back, but she had to quit on her own. It is a long story and I'm too tired to post it, but you are doing the right thing. Daughter had to leave to get her act together. Even being on parole twice didn't dent her drug and alcohol abuse. She had to get scared out of her wits to quit.

    Have you ever gone to a narc-anon meeting? That is where you can get real time support and listen to other stories and how the parents responded. I think it is well worth trying out!

    Keep us posted. Let us know how things are going.
  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hello BKS, welcome to our little corner of the world. I'm sorry you had to be looking for us, but happy you found us. As you've read, many here have experienced many of the same issues and problems with our difficult child's (what we call our challenging kids, "gifts from God") Many of us have had to set strong boundaries with them and when they won't respect those boundaries, we've had to learn to detach from their behaviors, sometimes to detach from them and learn to accept a lot that we never imagined we'd be accepting. I don't mean accepting their bad and negative behaviors, I mean, accepting that our kids may not meet the expectations we had for them, may not be the adults we anticipated having, we may not have the relationships with them we hoped for, we may not have any relationship with them at all.

    From my own experience, I can tell you that this is a process, different for all of us, and yet oddly similar as well. We do what we feel is right, for as long as we can, we help and try to distinguish between helping and enabling, we let go and fear for their safety, we hold on and become angry, it seems to be a series of pulling them in and pushing them away as we all learn the new landscape of their adulthood, their possible addiction issues, how to detach and how to accept. And, it's very different from the usual parental/child trajectory, so often there isn't much support "out there." So, we as parents can feel mighty alone and afraid, filled with guilt and sorrow, resentments, angers, conflicting emotions and probably a hundred feelings I've left out.

    You've made a difficult choice in putting your son out of your home. For me, it helped considerably to get a lot of support as I made my way through this new territory, it has a lot of emotional mine fields that can creep up on you suddenly. I would suggest counseling, groups, like 12 step groups, any avenues you can find where you get support as parents and have a way to express how you're feeling and also to learn about drugs, alcohol and detachment. There are many here who are more familiar with substance abuse who will be along to support you. I wanted to welcome you and tell you that you're not alone, most if not all of us here know exactly how you feel. We've been there, done that and have survived and have stories to tell. Hang in there, keep posting, keep reading and let us know how you're doing. ((((HUGS)))) from one Warrior Mom to another..............
  4. BKS

    BKS New Member

    Midwest Mom,
    Thanks for the reply and supportive words. My husband and I attended a support meeting last night for families of members attending the rehab my son 'had' been attending. Of ten families, 8 were dealing with 19-24 year old children with very similar issues. My husband and I didn't feel so alone. It is a sad situation but I can see by your post that there is hope. Thanks again, BKS
  5. BKS

    BKS New Member

    Warrior Mom:

    Thank you for your kind and thoughtful response. The situation with our son has reached this crescendo point just recently and I was telling a friend that it is very surreal and solitary-feeling because there are no Ronald McDonald houses for families going through this. As crazy as it may sound, cancer would be easier to deal with in some ways. There would be most likely a solid diagnosis, protocol for treatment, etc. Instead my husband and I find ourselves in a parallel universe that wasn't even on our radar. There is also the stigma of the issues involved (mental health, substance abuse, ADHD). It just isn't water cooler conversation. We are grateful this group exists.

  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    BKS, I also live in that Parallel Universe you speak of, I think by coming here you become a card carrying member of that Universe................and yes, it would be easier with cancer, or anything society accepts as the norm...........way 'out here' we're on our own in many ways, which makes this group all the more valuable for us. by the way, another option you might consider is NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) they offer really good support groups for parents and LOTS of help for your child. I got my difficult child hooked up with them. Of course, I'm not entirely sure she availed herself to that help, but I got it all in place anyway. You can access info about them online. One thing I can tell you, like most things in life, after awhile, this will become your new "normal" and it won't feel so surreal. I write that, I realize I'm sorry to say that but at the same time, glad it actually occurs.

    It would be helpful if you put a blurb about yourself at the bottom of your posts like you see at the bottom of mine.

    This forum has really helped me through some very challenging times, I encourage you to continue posting, it really helps so much. I'm glad you're here...............
  7. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Welcome to the board BKS. :)

    I'm glad you found us.

    If your son is battling addiction, then it is somewhat easier to view him as a different person. Addiction changes the personality of the person so radically over time that it can be really hard to grasp even when you're watching it happen. It doesn't take a whole lot of time, either, in many cases. That varies from person to person. Some can hide addiction rather well for many years, others plunge headlong into it nearly right from the beginning. Either way the mind set is the same. Their universe revolves around the drug (or alcohol). All they truly focus on is getting the drug, using the drug, how to get the drug again, ect. It's a never ending cycle. And they will do anything, say anything not to break that cycle. Everything comes in second to the drug. Everything.

    I'm glad you found a support meeting. It is a great help to speak with others going through the same thing.

    Here on the PE board we learn and practice detachment. We can't "fix" our kids. We can't force them to help themselves. All we can do is do our best not to enable or encourage self destructive behavior. set our own boundaries for what behavior we will and will not tolerate, and learn to go on with our lives separate from the drama and chaos. It is a process that takes time and practice.

  8. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Hi, and welcome,
    Just wanted to say hello, and encourage you and your husband to continue on this difficult road, and to let you know it will get a little easier. You are in a parallel universe, and you're with all of us! We are all trying to navigate and give each other support and encouragement, as well as ideas about what has worked in the past.
    It seems like you have done everything humanly possible to help your son become a man. He is clearly having substance/mental health issues that he doesn't want to deal with right now, and you will go insane if you allow this behavior in the house. He is spewing lies to get you to give him what he wants - it's scary, believe me, I know. His choices are his own, and right now, his choices are driven by something other than rationality. Your son may or may not change his behavior, and you can't control it. You can control yourselves and what you will or will not allow in your home - that's all. Let him know you love him, and if he's ready for help, he'll know who to call. Good luck, and keep in touch.
  9. BKS

    BKS New Member

    Hi Calamity Jane,

    Thank you for your comments and response! I picked it up this morning as my husband and I got up to 40 degree weather here and wondering if our son is okay and warm. (He supposedly went to a friends house when he left. The household has six members including the patriarch - a father that grows pot in the basement of the home.)

    To my GREAT relief, I am reading in your response and others a similar mantra that we cannot control our son's behavior and choices. It is incredible support as my husband and I have lately felt like we were on an island surrounded by a swimming shark taking turns hurling abuse, asking for money, taking anything when our back was turned, and all while spouting endless lies, lies lies.

    In the support group my husband and I attended Thursday evening (which was a HUGE eye opener) members said they felt like they had a young child at home and couldn't go on vacation, or get out as a couple. For the first time in months, my husband and I are going to go out to a movie this afternoon. A great treat!

    Thank you for your support.

  10. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member


    You wrote my story. Except for the fact that my difficult child went to private schools just until 9th grade and we started locking up our valuables long before she could do too much damage our stories are the same. We too involved her in good, healthy activities all through her life and were involved parents every step of the way. We gave our daughter a choice when she was 19 of either finding another place to live or going to rehab. She chose rehab and was there for 60 days plus 5 weeks outpatient. She came back home and relapsed. We kicked her out again. She lived with druggie neighbors for 6 weeks and begged to come home. We said no, but that we would support her going to a sober house. She did that and was in recovery about 6 months before she left and relapsed again. Today she is 21 and living on her own in an apartment in a difficult part of town, on food stamps, and barely getting by.

    We learned enough in parent group at rehab to know that we can never let her come back home. She has to do this on her own. She was arrested last week for shoplifting and she is involved with many people that we would never choose to have for her friends. She lives on the edge, loves risky behaviors, and we just cannot live like that any longer. I made myself sick with worry about her future and spent every waking moment obsessing over whether we should rescue her or not. I couldn't do it anymore.

    This journey that you are on is not easy. There will be times when you wonder whether you are doing the right thing. It helps to have support of other parents who are in a similar situation. You can make his going to rehab as a condition to his returning home if that ever comes up. I know our daughter is still smoking pot and drinking and she has lost jobs and done some very risky things because of it, but she has the tools to get straightened out now because of rehab so it was not all lost.

    There are so many young people who are ruining their lives over drugs and alcohol. They think everyone does it so they will be fine. It will catch up with them, but it's so hard to get young people to have enough life experiences to want to change this early.

    We have a substance abuse forum on the board called "Substance Abuse". You may want to go read some of those stories and join in the conversation over there. We have found the more support we can have the better we make it through life with a substance abuser.

    Last edited: Oct 13, 2012
  11. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Our replies must have crossed each other as I see you already found a support group and that is great. I have to tell you that when our daughter enetered rehab we went home and were able to sleep through the night for the first time in years. I now know that I can never go back to those dark days ever again, which is why I can't ever allow her to come back home. We love our daughter unconditionally but we cannot help her any more. She has to do that on her own, we can only support her sobriety.

  12. BKS

    BKS New Member


    THANK YOU!!! Yet another shot of sanity. I have realized that our son can NEVER live at home with us, even if he goes through rehab. A hard stance but we want our life back.

    Thank you again,
  13. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    I'm glad you found a support group in real life and that you found us. Everyone's story is the same and different at the same time. We 've all had to make tough decisions, take stands we could never imagine having to take, and made concessions when appropriate for us and our kids.

    I know exactly what you mean about feeling tied to your house ... as though your difficult child was a very young child. I am there right now, to a degree ... and temporarily, but I've also known that feeling of finally having your life back. It's time that you and your husband enjoy yourselves and take care of yourselves.

    Learning and accepting that we have no control over our kids' choices is a long, difficult process. I suspect it's never really over, but it does get better.

    Hang in there.
  14. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Hi BKS,

    Welcome. I am another one whose story is very similar.... and I echo Nancy on checking on the substance abuse forum, there are several of us over there whose stories are very similar. I wish I could tell you there is an easy answer, if you just do x, y and z all will be better. I have come to see I have no answers... we have done everything to help my son, given him plenty of opportunities at many rehabs and he continues to make his own poor choices in spite of us. He is now across the country, living somehow on his own. I really dont have any idea what he is doing or who he is with or how he is eating or getting money. We are not giving him anything at the moment. He just turned 21 this week. We also have given him a good home, good schools, plenty of opportunities and still he is who he is. We have a 17 year old daughter who is doing great, which helps remind me that he is the way he is just because.... it is not due to some mistake or fault of mine. It just is.

    I have come to the point where I realize there really is nothing more I can do. We have given him a contact near where he is but it is up to him to follow up and he has not. We let him know we love him and at this point we are not critisizing his choices, or even analyzing them, or even asking him a whole lot of questions. His life is his own and he has to choose how to live it. What we do do, is let him know we love him, that we are thinking about him, that he can call us collect.. We in fact did send him another phone (he lost his other one) to our friend/contact out there but he has not picked it up. If he chooses to go into treatment again we may help support that but it will depend on a lot of things... at this point we are not willing to spend much more money on treatment... he has got to really want it and work on it. It can no longer just be a way for him to get out of the cold.

    It was a long process to get to this place, and we all go through that in different ways. You have however found a place where we really understand and you are not alone.

  15. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    As you can see you are in lots of good company. Its a club no one ever wanted to belong to!

    We eventually had to put my son and his girlfriend out after behavior we just didnt want to deal with anymore. It actually turned into the best move for all involved. At least in my son's case he becomes a perpetual teen when he lives at home but when he is out in the real world he actually lives up to expectations and we get along well. I will never say I wont allow him home again because he has some pretty severe disabilities that could cause him to eventually need us but he will stay away as long as possible and that is his choice. He doesnt want to come back. He has 2 kids and a girlfriend.

    Of course, my son is well older than yours. It took getting that frontal lobe to complete growing before any of this could work for us. The years between 18 and say 24 were pure heck. From 24 to 26 have been the time when he has really started to mature into where we are becoming proud of who we think he is going to be in this life. No he isnt a easy child. But he has gone more easy child than where he was as a difficult child kid.
  16. BKS

    BKS New Member

    Hi Dammit Janet, (I love your name)

    I am believing my son behavior is worse at home as well. He leaves food out, dirty dishes, drops wet towels on the floor, etc. but I hear from family and friends that he visits that he is a model of good behavior.

    The frontal lobe issue is interesting. My mother (who was a 5th grade teacher for 20+ years) kept telling us through my elementary school that "a bell would go off" and he would mature. Still waiting for that to happen.

  17. BKS

    BKS New Member

    This is a new question for the group. My son (who we kicked out on Friday) has phoned and wants to meet me at the rehab facility where he dropped treatment - saying he needs me to review the legalese info in his withdrawal paperwork. My husband and I firmly believe this is a ploy for him to ask me for money. I had spoken to the rehab center on Friday and the woman said that if a person does not attend, they are dropped from the program automatically.

    He has broken my heart and devastated me with insults and hurtful comments about every perceived misdeed that I might have made in his childhood. If fact, he said I never spent time with him - that I "money" him - not "love" him.

    I honestly don't see our relationship ever mending. He is so hell bent on putting himself in the martyr role.

    Does anyone else ever question whether their relationship with there difficult child (george foreman grill) will ever be anything close to loving and trusting again?

    I am just so dispirited. And I had asked him to call me this evening to give me info so I can put his car in his name.

  18. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi BKS, you pose a good question, perhaps the $64,000 question.......for me, I have one of the oldest difficult child's here, she will be 40 in December........I have asked myself that question for a long time. Of course, my difficult child, as many of our kids, has mental issues, so any expectations I've had for a "normal" relationship have been abandoned.

    I think that one of the components of detachment, for me, was to let most if not all of my parental expectations go, all the things we hope for our kids, we dream for them, the regular kind of normal trajectory of events that you expect as a parent slowly become recognized as impossible, improbable and inconceivable. That's a tough nut to get through, OUR hopes for our kids. However, for me, once I maneuvered my way through that mine field and erased my own expectations of my daughter and how she should be, then it was as if the slate were wiped clean. Without my expectations of what she should or could be and what we should and could be, we're both free to show up in a different way. The jury's not out yet with my difficult child, we're in the space between where the old way has ended, but the new, if if comes at all, is not here yet.

    You're in the throes of a very difficult transition for both you and your husband and your difficult child who has only been "out there" for 3 days, so he will likely pull out all the stops now to get back to the way it was. There's a lot to learn on this crazy path we're all on. It is very "dispiriting," (great way to say it), I know. It's good for you to write your heartache here where we get it, it's also good for you to keep attending your groups. I've been in a therapist lead support group for Codependency for almost a year, I knew when it all hit the fan I was going to need a lot of support to STOP enabling her and all the support helped so much. Remember your own comment about it being surreal and being in an altered universe because you are and the old rules don't apply, normal is not normal, you'll be finding your own new normal now. Yikes, it's hard, but just put one foot in front of the other and keep doing that and you'll get through. You will have to hold tight to your boundaries about love and trust and he may or may not end up defining those terms the same way you do. He is still only 19, he still has a lot of growing up to do, there is still hope. on the other hand, you may have to accept that your relationship with him will not look anything like you expected. Hang in there and keep posting. Caring hugs coming your way.............
  19. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Oh gosh have I been there. It is all new territory for you (and him) and it may take a while to find your way. Nothing is forever and he is young and there is plenty of room for growth and change... so I suggest you just remember that this is right now and it will change.

    I have been through many many ups and downs with my son who just turned 21. We kicked him out when he was 18.... and it was horrible then. And he has at times been horrible to us. My goal has always been to just let him know I love him AND to not accept mistreatment from him. So if he gets nasty or blaming or any of that stuff I end the conversation.

    I do think with my son he has realized at this point in time that he is in the situation he is in from his own actions. I think some really hard knocks, and being out on his own with nothing and being homeless has helped him realize that we are not to blame.

    For my part I have gotten to a point where I am accepting he is who he is, it is what it is, and at this point his life is in his hands and his choices are his choices. So I am trying hard to just accept him and not be judgemental and not make him wrong. At the same time I am working hard to not enable him..... so I dont buy in (too often) to his manipulation and say no... and put it back on him. He is homeless and is hitchhinking across the country with a friend with no money or id as far as I know.

    But we are talking and our relationship is slowly redeveloping even admist his homelessness.... and just today I was thinking there is hope for a good future relationship if he ever gets his act together.

    So don't give up on the future because things will change with time. And yes go to the support group.... I have a family alanon meeting that has been an absolute lifesaver for me (along with this group).

  20. katyg

    katyg New Member

    I just found this site and while it helps to know we are not the only ones going through this, it still hurts to see my child hurting himself. We have been dealing with this type of behavior since he was 13. We have four kids. 30 and 28, high achievers, 18 year old who is working 60 hour weeks and seems to be on the right track. But our 23 year old - another story. Early childhood it was clear that he had a high temper, impatient. If something didn't work right, throw it, break it. Stealing began around 5th grade. Little things from the house, usually to give to someone. At 15 he took the stereo from his brother's car while his brother was in the military and sold it. Change, money from my purse. Cameras. We always confronted him and he always denied it. Even if you had cold hard facts. Someway he made it your fault. Total rage, fights at school. I had him in therapy, anger management, tried being more lenient, less lenient. At 16 he started staying with a girlfriend, against everything we said. We live on the border of two states and he stayed in the other state, law enforcement could not help. We filed an incorrigible petition. He spent weeks in a juvie facility, while i cried every day. Came home, was fine for about 2 weeks, then it started again. drugs, sneaking out all night. stealing. He was diagnosed ODD. Threats, tried to fight with his dad all the time. Our other kids were beyond irritated. He was the focus of everything. No vacations for us because he was either gone or would make it miserable. 10 years of this. Now he has a 2 year old son, the mom has died. Custody is up in the air. We tried letting him come back home to live with us, stole from us, his sister, his brother. How do you let go?