Not feeling clear on detachment for adult child

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Payla, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. Payla

    Payla New Member

    I haven't posted since holidays I think. I got sucked back into giving money to my son because he told me he got a job and needed some gas, welding equip... etc... Two weeks and several hundred dollars later he had no job and admitted he lied. He said he was tired of lying and just lays in bed most days depressed. He said he was going to finally go a counselor , but I don't believe anything he says anymore. I don't get upset anymore but I can't stop thinking about how unreal it is that he is in such a bad place. I don't want to rescue him but I am not clear some days on whether or not it is even possible or the right thing to do; completely cut off communication for awhile. Just tired of the battle I guess and feeling like a failure again for getting sucked back in. It's that mother part of me always wanting to believe he will pull himself together . My counselor even seems to be looking at me like, " why is this so hard?" I understand the outside perspective completely. If I was talking to someone else in my situation, I would think they were stupid. I am sick of feeling bad about things like his failure with his daughter, just sick of feeling bad, I am usually a very positive happy person.
  2. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    It's very sad and frustrating for you, I know because I was in your shoes 5 or 6 years ago. To be blunt, he's not going anywhere...why should he, he has all needs right there in his comfy bed, all he can worries for him and sometimes you even give him money. I have friends who have kids in their late 20's still at home living like this, watching tv on the couch all day.

    You are going to be the one to initiate change. He has to want to help himself and living there will not allow him to WANT to change. Is he 29? I just looked at your signature. How about telling him that when you leave the house for work, he has to leave also. He can look for a job, but he is not to be in YOUR home when your not there. At least there will be 8 hours away when he has no choice but to look for a job and he'll see how awful it is to be on his own without a job for 8 hours. He'll want money, Don't give him any, he can pack a sandwich. It's a start. My difficult child broke into our house and stole things, broke the door down...I called the police and got a RO, he turned his life around from that point on. He's a union carpenter making good money, benfits....but he only did that because he had no choice but to get off his behind. Your son needs to you to not give him a choice. There are homeless shelters, let him go there, that may change his mind about being a bum. Right now, you're making it easy for him to be like that.
  3. Payla

    Payla New Member

    sorry I didn't give whole story since earlier posts have it; he doesn't live home and we have a RO and no trespassing order. He lives in some dump in city 25 miles from here. He leaves me messages on my work phone since I changed my cell phone number months ago. Sometimes I listen to messages, sometimes I don't. He is in bad situation and still can't or won't make some changes. I know I am only helping him stay stuck when I give him money. The only strategy that seems to work is to not talk to him.
  4. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    My heart goes out to you, Payla.

    At the bottom of my posts is a link to something that helped me. The article contains actual sentences we can use when talking to our "career-challenged" children. I wrote them down, and kept them near the phone. You could copy and bring them to work so you will have them, there. The article left me feeling stronger and more human than I have felt for awhile. I hope it helps you, too.

  5. Payla

    Payla New Member

    Thank you Barbara,
    very good article.
  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Good morning Payla. I know that place you're in, in the middle of knowing detaching is the way to go, but having to fight your own heart in order to do it. What a terrible place for any of us to be. If your counselor is really looking at you in that way, get a new counselor, she/he is NOT understanding the magnitude of this for a parent. What you want to see in those eyes is compassion and understanding. As my therapist says, it takes what it takes for as long as it takes. She gets that this is a process and you're all over the map with it. Or, you may be 'assuming' your counselor is looking at you that way because a part of you believes you 'should' be through this already and you believe she/he feels the same way.

    In response to a post I wrote a couple of weeks ago, (I think it may have been Barbara too) she said, do not forget that for us, this is a "personal devastation." On every level for a parent, that is what WE go through, while our adult kids do what they do. WE are wounded in our hearts in ways that no one but another parent in this boat can get. If you were talking to someone else in this situation and just looked in their eyes, I don't think you would think they were stupid, I think you would feel much compassion and sadness for them, you'd see the enormous blow they've sustained, like you, like me, like most of us here, and you would not judge her. You may be your worst critic and added to the pain of what is happening to your son, here's my unsolicited advice, CUT IT OUT! You are not a failure because your son has made bad choices and because he has ADHD. Throwing the guilt overboard will allow you to see with more clarity, all the guilt does is to keep you stuck in enabling him because you feel somehow you are responsible. You are not. He is.

    Of course you are tired of the battle, it's grueling. You're battling him and you're battling yourself whether it's okay to cut off all communications or to somehow find a way to be there but not rescue him. If he is not medication compliant, if he refuses to get help, if he is lying to you, if he is not getting a job, there is NOTHING you can do but continue to try to save him and you know you can't do that. He's gotten himself here. As many have said here, our difficult child's are remarkably good at taking care of themselves once we let go of that role.

    I know how hard this is. It's been the most difficult thing I've ever had to do. Don't beat yourself up along the way because, really, you are doing the best you know how to do at any given time. We all are and we all fall into the holes along the way. Your path will be MUCH easier if you just stick to the facts and stop torturing yourself with how you should be doing it, or could be doing it, or if you are doing the right thing. And, yet, I understand that that is part of all of this too. I'm just telling you to stop doing that as someone whose been there done that, and it served no purpose. Make a plan that works for you and stick with it. If the 'strategy that works is not talking to him' then it seems that would be the plan. It's not easy, but it is necessary. I'm sorry, I wish it were easier, it's so hard on our mother's hearts. Hang in there, you're doing a great job, it's up and down and sideways, just remember that and be kind to yourself along the way.
  7. Payla

    Payla New Member

    Thank you RE; I was anticipating your response and as always, your thoughtful and wise words have helped me today. I decided this morning that I would go for one week without taking his calls or even listening to his messages. ONE WEEK. It just seems like something I can stick to, then take the next week as it comes. I will work on "sticking to the facts", it is so true, as my therapist says, you need to go to "wise mind"; in the center of emotions and logic, not operating only in the emotional or logical mind. It takes work but when you do it, you feel much clearer and more acceptance.
  8. Siobhan Harper

    Siobhan Harper New Member

    Payla, I'm new here and just want to say that I totally empathize and am so sorry you're dealing with the hardest issues imaginable. Needing to detach (and actually doing it) from your difficult child or any child, no matter the age, wrenches the soul. My husband and I were discussing this not long ago, and we specifically talked about how NOBODY really understands what raising difficult child was like or what parenting him as an adult is like; you just can't adequately explain it. Every single day of every single year is a challenge. It's so awfully easy to feel guilty, like you've not done enough, that you've failed because you couldn't "fix" your difficult child's life. My husband and I have lived like that, so we know, so I can imagine what you must be feeling as you try so hard to do the right thing. When detaching is the right thing, it's hard to shake the feeling that you're somehow giving up on your difficult child. You're really not; you're doing what is most helpful for him/her in the long run, and you're giving yourself permission to find a state of "normal" that doesn't include waiting for the other shoe to drop every minute of every day.

    Anyway, the very best of luck to you. You deserve some peace; I really hope you find it.
  9. Payla

    Payla New Member

    Thank you Siobhan for taking the time to write a response! Yes, it is very very hard, some days more than others. You hit the nail on the head about waiting for the other shoe to drop. But I got to thinking about that and I actually answer his calls or listen to his messages because I cant stand that feeling and always want to get it over with. But the problem is there is a new call with a new problem every day, and I do understand that it will never change unless I stop the cycle on my end.
  10. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    I agree with everything that has been posted. It is the most difficult abnormal feeling in the world, like the advice we are being given is to turn our backs on our child. But they are no longer children, we can not control the situation (if we ever thought we could) and it is affecting our health.

    My son is 34yo and has been difficult from birth. He started using, drinking, and was out of control at a very young age. I feel like I have been going through this my entire life. His dad (not in the picture for 20+ years) was also and addict and alcoholic. I am convinced the gene was passed to my son. I have had him in program after program and he was court ordered to rehab twice.

    My son has stolen from me and helped his friends steal from me. I came home and my entire apartment was empty.He stole my keys and gave them to 2 'friends' that were robbing people at gun point. I cringe when I think of the danger he put me in.

    And after all that I still try. I retired, remarried, and moved to another state. He had been laidoff 3 times due to the economy and he was enrolled in college and on the Dean's List. Long story short, girl friend is harrassing me (met her 1 time) and I had to call the police to stop the harrassment. I was giving him money to finish that semester so he wouldn't lose those credits.

    It was all a scam, I found out when I had to call the police. One of them (or both) also hacked into my computer. Now they are back together and he wants money again. This time I am just bone weary and he can live on the streets. I really don't know where he is anyway. He treatens suicide and says he will steal to get money and everything is all my fault blah, blah, blah.......

    They fight and he cuts himself and is always threatening suicide. I did call the police and he told them he was not suicidal. One day he may actually do it. He is angry with me and has gone no contact. IT HAS BEEN SO PEACEFUL!!!!! Then yesterday my sister said she had been talking to him on FB and he said he was graduating in May. I think it's another lie. He lies so much about everything.

    I am positive my son has a mental illness and the drugs and alcohol only make it worse. He is a follower and this girlfriend is pure evil, she tells him that I never loved him or I would give him money. It's like he lives in a fanatsy world. I have called clinics in his area and given him the information. He said he had made an appointment but it was a lie.

    You have to learn to turn it over to your HP. We have zero control over them. Get over the guilt, regardless what has happened in his life you can not change the past and it is up to him to get help. Keep reading the books about codependency, anything that helps you.

    Maybe it's time to go no contact until he actually does do something to help himself. I am truly convinced all of my 'helping' has not helped in any way.

    (((huggs only someone walking in your shoes can truly know the heart break)))
  11. Siobhan Harper

    Siobhan Harper New Member

    Payla, sending you "virtual hugs" this morning...wish they could be the real thing. It's totally understandable that you want to end the suspense, so to speak, about what is going to happen next. I seriously don't know if I could stop myself listening to messages, if I ever got them. But you're so right about there always being a new problem, as I know from past experience. Life is just one problem after another for our damaged difficult children, and they drag us right along with them when we're in contact. We care...of course we care...even when we're not in touch, because we know, generally, what their lives are like. In many cases, we worry not only about them but about SOs, grandchildren, and others in their lives. I sometimes think that nobody loves quite the way a parent of a damaged child does, whatever the age. They DO make us suffer, yet we love them anyway. And at the first sign of improvement, we almost always leap to offer help, demonstrate love, and we feel hope, however unwarranted. The crash comes sooner or later, and we're back where we started. Reading these posts reminds me that the most positive action I can take is to pray for difficult child and those around him. Totally not saying that is the answer for everybody, and I respect each person's opinion, so I'm definitely "NOT" hitting you over the head with the God stick. Just saying, for me, prayer is about the only thing that makes me feel I'm taking positive action for my child. Also, it does eventually help me to let go of the worry, at least for a little while, feeling that I have entrusted the problem to the only Person who really knows the whole story. Again, hugs to you and wishes for an uneventful day.

  12. Payla

    Payla New Member

    Thank you Tired and Siobhan for your support. I am sorry for what you are also suffering through. I had an emotionally rough encounter with difficult child last night. He saw me so distaught and it does not make any difference: he is right back calling me at work for more money. I do have a restaining order on him and could bring records of the calls to police but I don't have it in me today to go through that process. I am going to ignore the calls and they will most likely escalate. If he calls our home later I will let my husband deal with him. I had a long conversation with my middle easy child son last night and he gave me some perspective. It is virtually certain that every bit of money I give him is going directly or indirectly to drugs. He is miserable in his life and what else could be keeping him in that misery? So no more money. He will end up in jail sooner or later, and that is probably what he needs. I dont even want to take his dog if he offers to go to rehab; it is just one more way for him to keep the communication going between us. Uggghhhh.
  13. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Good morning Payla. I am sorry, I understand your angst. I think your middle son is is right and I'm glad he was there to give you a different perspective. Let me give you a bit of a perspective of my own you know my difficult child and I were estranged for awhile. It took me the better part of a year to finally land there. The hardest day I had was Christmas, when I chose to leave her out of the day. Hard as that was, now I know that was the day my daughter's life turned ever so slightly around. I don't want to jinx this (there is some kind of a board jinx that others have warned me about!!!) but I think we have turned a corner!

    She is making tiny strides on her own behalf. I turned the focus onto me and she was left to figure it out for herself. For a little while we had no contact at all, and I refused to pay for anything or interact with her unless she observed my guidelines and apparently she couldn't for awhile so she didn't interact with me. But, it appears to be turning around now.

    Hold tight onto the thought of not giving him any more money or any more of your time. Your husband could also opt to not talk to him, no contact. Let him be on his own, he is so used to you guys being there, as hard as it is, set those boundaries and keep them. You shouldn't have to talk to him every time he feels like calling you, that is so remarkably selfish and thoughtless and entitled. He can't see you through his own immature self serving attitude, you are simply a means to an end. For as long as I did that with my difficult child, she could not see me either. I was invisible, only her needs were apparent to both of us, mine were never acknowledged. Interesting, as soon as I detached, I began to be a person to her, a person she appreciated and loved.

    You've got to break the old connection that is dysfunctional for the possibility for a new connection to grow. You are in the perfect place to let go one more notch, you've laid all the groundwork. I know it's hard, but follow your gut, follow what feels right. You don't have to keep his dog either, or if you do, you can make strict guidelines as to how you will interact with your difficult child while the dog is with you. Think it through, get clear on what you want to do, what you are willing to do and then stand strong in that conviction. Detachment works. Acceptance follows. Then the other shoe ceases to continue dropping. Geez, what a process. I wish you peace.......
  14. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    My son was clean and sober for 1 year and then relapsed. It was amazing the difference in him. When he started asking money money again I should have known he had relapsed, but I did not want to believe it.

    It was a very difficult decision, but I will not try to help him again. Think of what your son would do if you were not around. My BiPolar (BP) was through the roof and I had to step back.

    It is a form of emtional blackmail and he knows you will give in, just as mine knows that I will. I do not hear from mine on holidays, he doesn't even know when my birthday is and he is a selfish adult when he his using. So that is his choice and I have made mine. They will drag you down with them and send you to the 'poor house' without blinking an eye. I never in a million years thought I would still be going through this, I always thought he would grow up someday, but my difficult child is determined to stay an irresponsible child for as long as he can.

    If I had all of the money I had spent on him, and the money from things being stolen, I could go on a very expensive vacation lol!!!

    Take care of you! I undertand how stressful this is.
    (((huggs and blessings)))
  15. Siobhan Harper

    Siobhan Harper New Member

    A quick note about the dog, if and when your difficult child isn't around to care for it. This is a perfect case for a Breed Rescue group. There is a Breed Rescue for almost every breed of dog. Even if the dog is not purebred but bears a reasonable resemblance to a certain breed, they will usually accept the animal. Just google, for example, "Bassett Hound Rescue" in your area. I guarantee you'll find help. You may want to do this now, as it's doubtful difficult child is caring for animal properly. At least, you'll be prepared. You definitely shouldn't have to take on the responsibility, but the helpless animal shouldn't have to suffer either. Let me know if you want more info on this particular topic; I've been rescuing for years.

  16. Payla

    Payla New Member

    difficult child took dog to shelter yesterday and went to a hospital with detox unit. He called my house last night and said they were turning him away after sitting in waiting area for 7 hours with an IV; no beds for uninsured. I didn't think they could do that but then I had a thought which may seem strange and it is something I have noticed before when he claied he was drug sick; He did nt seem to be in distress; could he be faking to just get the rest and the methadone ? Sounds so weird but he is very manipulative. He was calling me all day about what would he do when he got out; wanting us to pay for him to stay somewhere. he was not someone ready to surrender for help. I said tell them you are homeless and you can go to a shelter or halfway house. He was not happy and always wants things on his terms. A blizzard is coming and we took phone off hook. He has his car Ana a little money I gave him ( need to stop!!!!) for what I thought would be food and cigarettes in ER where you can wait for days without insurance. I felt soooo overwhelmed last night and almost desperate. I am trying so hard to keep detachment but it is not going too well.
  17. Payla

    Payla New Member

    Just checked at hospital . They do turn people away. So he is in his car with a blizzard coming and probably in withdrawal.
  18. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    Payla, I am sorry and I know how hard this is on you but he CAN go to a shelter and be warm and out of the storm. Many shelters have added supports for people to assist them in geting help with adictions and MI issues. And he has a little money he can either use for food or he will use it for drugs to stave off withdrawal. His choice, There is nothing you can/should do but hope for his bottom so he can start to climb out of the hole he has dug for himself. Do not feel guilty. Bottom line: if he wants to be sober all he has to do is stop using. When you think of it like that, it puts it all back on him where it should be. I am certain given your son's history that he will not be detoxing alone in a car in the middle of a blizzard. I know how your mother's heart is feeling because I have been in your shoes. If he is serious about recovery he will find a program for the indigent. If not he will find a way to get the drugs. It is what they do. I spent many a night worried that my son would die on the streets. But you know what? He never even slept without a roof over his head. They are very resorceful. -RM
  19. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm sorry Payla, I know how hard this is on you. The blizzard adds a whole new worry dimension too. If it would make you feel better, give him the location of the nearest shelter he can go to. At some point, you have to let go and let him find his own way, only you can decide if this is that moment. I know the panic and despair and anxiety you're feeling and if you step in to assist one more time, so be it, that is what you do. If you allow him to be in his car during a blizzard, it may force him into the realization that he is the master of his destiny and has to make some different choices.

    I posted here about how I made a choice on Christmas day not to include my daughter. I know it isn't the same as your situation, however, she and I had gone around the bend a number of times with her sleeping in her car, refusing to go to a shelter. But, that day, in my heart I knew how important this was to both of us, Christmas had always been a BIG day for she and I, throughout her entire life, and we were ALWAYS together on that day. For me to choose to leave her out was a HUGE experience for me, it was so hard that I got nauseous as I made that decision. My therapist, the women in my group, everyone told me that it was a big moment and likely where she would hit bottom. A month later, my difficult child told me that Christmas was a turning point for her, that she couldn't stop crying that day and many afterwards. That broke my heart, but now, as I see her actually making strides, for the first time in many years, I think back to how hard that particular day was for me, and I realize now that that was where I hit my own moment of truth, I had reached critical mass, where all the other moments where I could have let go and didn't added up and now I had the energy to make that leap into the unknown.

    I don't know if this is that moment for you, if it is, hold on to your own experience, your own sense of knowing, your recognition that as the saying goes, insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results............sometimes it has to reach epic proportions for us to change our behavior. I understand the fear you feel about your son and if your decision is to help him once again, it brings to mind what my therapist always says, 'it takes as long as it takes.' There is no judgement or right or wrong, you have to live with yourself and your choices. I wish you grace during this time, courage and strength and of course, peace. Many hugs to you Payla............
  20. Siobhan Harper

    Siobhan Harper New Member

    Thinking of you, Payla, and sending prayers and hugs your way. The comment about difficult children being very resourceful is true, in my experience. The hospital may even have made some suggestions about places he could go, even though they didn't keep him.

    IF you want to get involved to this extent, you might want to contact the Social Work dept. of the hospital (or whatever facsimile thereof) and ask for information about rehab and residential treatment centers, not necessarily associated with the hospital. Or even the psychiatric Unit of the hospital; they almost always have info about outpatient treatment options.

    Surely wishing you and difficult child the best. Know this is awful to experience.