Not sure what happened...

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by JKF, Apr 28, 2014.

  1. JKF

    JKF Well-Known Member

    I've known for a while now that my dad was having major problems with difficult child. He wouldn't follow or comply with any rules set by my dad. He only wanted to play video games and eat all day. He stole from my dad and the other tenants. He got a puppy and wouldn't give it up after my dad repeatedly told him he could not have a dog living there. And finally, last week, my dad text me telling me that difficult child had moved some random girl into the apartment with him and was giving my dad a hard time about it.

    I hadn't heard from difficult child since Easter, even when I text messaged him asking about the girl, etc. Not one word. On Saturday evening I got 4 phone calls in a row from a number I've never seen before although the area code is from the area where difficult child lives. I was out with a girlfriend of mine and chose not to answer. No message was left so I figured it wasn't that important. Later that night, before going to bed, I checked my phone. There was another call from a different number and a VM. It was difficult child. He said he was sure I'd heard about what happened between him and his grandfather and that he has decided to stay out of contact with all of his family members, including me, until he gets his life together someday.

    I've tried to call my dad a few times and he hasn't gotten back to me. I have no way to get in touch with difficult child so I have no idea what happened or where he is. I'm assuming everything just finally reached a boiling point and that difficult child was asked to leave. I'm trying not to worry and doing a mostly good job with that but every here and there the worry creeps in.
  2. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    JKF, I am sorry you are in the dark right now about what is going on. I'm glad you heard from difficult child and know that he is alive. Sometimes that is all we need to know.

    Often, some other person---a random girl, a new friend---will step in and save our difficult children....again. They are amazingly resilient people. Survivors. It's hard for me to fathom some of the things difficult child tells me about sleeping in abandoned houses and how he was spending his time during the daytime before he got arrested nearly four weeks ago.

    My head is often spinning, his lifestyle is so hard to imagine for me.

    But he seems okay with it, most of the time.

    I am glad for you that your difficult child is geographically far away. That is a blessing for you I believe, right now. And maybe, if he has some space and time and you do too, he will make something good happen for himself.

    Until you know more, JKF, try to relax into the not-knowing and the uncertainty. Pema Chodron's book comes to mind about living with uncertainty.

    It has helped me a lot.

    Keep us posted. I am praying that all---especially you---are well. Hugs.
  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm sorry JKF. It is difficult not to worry when you don't have any info. One (of the many) things I used to do is to drop in on a Codependents Anonymous group, there usually are many of them around during the day..............that would get me back on track quickly. Have you tried Family Anonymous? A number of parents have found that to be very helpful.

    Take care of YOU. Have a massage or your nails done.........................practice putting that focus back on you and your younger son and your husband. There isn't anything else you can do now. Relax into your fears and let them go.

    Sending hugs................
  4. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Frankly, I'd be more worried about Dad, esp. since he didn't return your calls. Is there anyone you can speak with who can check on him?
    If your Dad has always returned your calls, and suddenly he doesn't, I'd probably have the police check on him (but that's just me).
  5. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    I agree if can't go there would have neighbor or police do a "welfare check" on your father. Praying it all works out

  6. JKF

    JKF Well-Known Member

    Thank you all for your replies. I will respond more to each of your replies when I'm not on this god awful phone. I hate typing on this thing!

    CJ - My dad can be weird with returning calls especially when difficult child is giving him trouble. It's almost like he's mad at ME for the stress that difficult child causes which is understandable but also incredibly frustrating. I spoke to my aunt and she just talked to him a day ago so I know he's ok.

    As for difficult child I have no idea where he is or with whom but COM - you're right. It's good that there is so much distance between us. It's weird but I'm glad he's too far away for me to jump in and help him. He needs to figure this out on his own.

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  7. JKF

    JKF Well-Known Member

    So difficult child text messaged me. I got home from picking up easy child at a friend's house and there were literally 20 text messages from him. Apparently he's done trying to make people happy. He doesn't want anything to do with his family because we've never been there for him. Then he said that although he loves me and forgives me it's now time for him to do this on his own and prove to everyone that he doesn't need help. He also said he's stopped taking his medications and for the first time he can think clearly and things make sense. Uggggggh. We all know that's not a good sign!

    So I guess he and this stray girl are staying at a friend's for now. He said this girl and his friends are his real family and they've treated him better than any of us ever has. He also told me they are going to work on a potato farm and get paid $25 per hour. Yeah right! Can anyone say delusional?

    I didn't let him pull me into his drama. I simply replied that I agree with him that it's time for him to do this on his own and that I do love him and truly wish him the best. I asked him to please keep in touch here and there and that I know if he really wants to be successful he will. I did make a joke (well to me it was a joke) that at $25 per hour on the potato farm he'll be able to afford a home of his own in no time. He replied with a smiley face.

    I don't know. I'm oddly void of feelings over this latest drama. We've been down this same exact road so many times. The lack of medications, the latest greatest plan, his homelessness, the random stray girl, his new "family" - somehow I feel like I've had this nightmare before - many times over. I know that things won't end well but I'm ok. I'm calm. This is his life. He said that repeatedly in his texts and he's right. It's his and he's free to live it however he wants.
  8. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Good for you! You are in a good place, and taking this all very well! You are, in fact, doing the only thing that can be done...standing by and watching him make his own choices, cause that is what he is legally and biologically channelled to do.
    He sounds so much like my difficult child! All those new families...I can't tell you how many times he has tried to introduce his twin sister to "the woman who is like a sister to me"--they are all gone now. Last year he told me cheerfully that he was calling the woman who owned the house he was flopping in "mom" at her request, and it felt good (puke--even my clueless ex was sympathetic over that one)
    Also the Amazing Above Market Pay for Unskilled Labor. Where do they get that?
    I think it is fine to wish him luck and ask him to keep in touch. Let him be excited. He is only 19...lots of time to flop on his face and figure it out or not. Let him have his grand adventure and maybe learn from it without your interference...that way he can have the pride of resourcefulness if it does work out (I know), and he can't blame you if it doesn't...well he CAN still, but it is harder.
    And stopping the medications? That just makes this part of the drama a little shorter in duration, since he will probably crash and burn sooner than if he were taking them...that is certainly true with my difficult child.
    Good for you! Stand tall today. You have done good work for you and for him.
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  9. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    JKF, I think your response to him was fantastic. Nice work!
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  10. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Don't you love how they have to send dozens of messages even after they tell you they don't want to talk to you anymore?

    Enough already. You already said that.

    Just trying to get a reaction. They are so persistent at that. Why can't they be as persistent at good things?

    Rhetorical question. I know why. Hugs to you, JKF.

    Focus on YOU. You are doing well. Keep moving forward.
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  11. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Nice job JKF. Hang in there, you've been here before..........while he's in his life, go enjoy yours............
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    I also felt much more at peace when my difficult child was completely out of sight. It unfortunately didnt last long.

    As far as you, if you cant reach your dad in another day or two I would contact someone to check on him. The police are happy to do it. I had to do that myself one time when my mother called me at work, spoke maybe a half of a sentence and then the phone sounded like it dropped to the floor. I could still hear somethings but not her voice. She was fine by the way.
  13. JKF

    JKF Well-Known Member

    For someone who made it so clear that he wants nothing to do with his family, difficult child sure has been calling and texting a lot. He called me twice last night at 11:45 pm my time but I didn't hear the calls because I was sleeping and I turn my ringer off at night. Then just now he sent me 10 texts telling me how much he hates his grandfather and wants nothing to do with him. Apparently my dad text him saying he was glad he's gone because he's evil. I think that hurt difficult child's feelings but as I told him his grandfather is certainly entitled to his feelings at this point. I told him that I can't control how his grandfather feels just like I can't control what difficult child does.

    I responded to the texts but I played very neutral. I didn't let difficult child engage me in drama or pull me into his situation. He tried with the usual "I'm just like my father, I'm no good, I'm a f'up and waste of human life"...the whole spiel. I simply told him that I was sorry he was feeling like that and that he needs to figure out his next step. If that involves calling the SW for help with shelter he should think about doing that.

    Usually at this point in the game the guilt sets in. I admit, I feel a little pang here and there but nothing like in the past. Obviously we hurt when our children hurt but I realize now that difficult child deliberately hurts himself repeatedly and I can't let him keep hurting me along with himself. Of course I still have some bad habits - checking Facebook (he blocked me but I can still see his page through easy child's page) and I also have a habit of checking the weather to see what elements he might be braving. It was 70 degrees there today but it's supposed to drop to 28 tonight. Brrr- that's cold. *Sigh* At this point last year I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown due to difficult child's issues but tonight, instead of worrying, I have some volunteer work to do with the Boy Scouts and then I'm coming home to watch The Real Housewives of NYC (total guilty pleasure but it's mindless TV and I admit, I like it!) Tomorrow I am getting my first massage ever. I'm a little nervous but I think it's just what the Dr. ordered. So yeah - I'm living my life in spite of difficult child's latest drama and bout with homelessness. I never would have thought it possible a year ago but here I am nonetheless.
  14. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    JKF, you are holding up well.

    difficult child must have really amped up his act for his grandfather, who obviously loves him, to say he is evil (if that is really the word he used). I can tell you that my oldest son 36 has done things that made my head reel so badly that I had to fight the word "evil" myself, like when he deliberately does harmful things to other people and not only feels no remorse but turns it around like the other person deserved to be hurt. Yet when he was living in hotels (my ex paid for them), he often called me sounding almost like a scared child, begging for food money. Sometimes I would buy him food and bring it over. I never did invite him back home. There was a reason my beloved firstborn had been asked to leave. The reason was truthfully that I was afraid of him. And after we cleaned out his hoarder's room, we found stuff that validated my reason for being afraid. They are not living couch to couch or under a bridge unless they have stepped all over all of their loved ones and likely scared them or violated them (stealing from them, shoving them, hitting them, kicking the walls in, harming a female child who lives there too, etc).

    Your son, like all of our children, is of age and we have no control of them (sometimes I wonder if we ever did, even when they were little). We could keep them safe, but could we circumvent their self-destructive progress? My son had been in therapy since age eight and was in the hospital once too in his early teens and he is no better than if he had had no attention paid to his issues at all.

    None of his relatives would allow him to live with them, other than probably my ex, who is still in denial at how warped his son can be and how dangerous, even though his son has shoved him around and he is sick and has been pretty weak and since since I first married him.
  15. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I always check the weather too, JKF.

    Do you think your son is planning to come home?

  16. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Me, too, JKF. I try to shake myself when I am spending too much time on these types of things and stop it. I have wrestled with my steering wheel before. It was trying to drive around town to look for him one time recently when I hadn't heard from him in days.

    We are just human, JKF. We love someone who lives a self-destructive and dangerous life. I would still rather be where I am right now---hurting and joyful and loving and grieving and happy and serene and scared and sad---all of these things---than cold and hard and nonfeeling about someone who I gave birth to. I don't ever want to be that way, but in order to still have compassion and kindness and show them toward my difficult child, I have to have space too.

    Otherwise I'm just nuts over his choices.

    Let us accept ourselves a little more today. We are all doing the very best we can do, in impossible circumstances.

    Hugs to you.
  17. JKF

    JKF Well-Known Member

    A bit of anxiety is starting to kick in. I'm trying to breathe and relax but I'm having a hard time with that this morning. I'm having anxiety over the "what happens when" scenarios that keep playing through my mind. What happens when this girl ditches him? What happens when he screws over all of his new friends and truly has nowhere to go? What happens when he hits rock bottom because he's not on his medications? Ugggggh!! I have to remember and keep reminding myself that difficult child is choosing this path. He had a perfectly nice apartment and he gave that up for the streets because he couldn't follow simple rules and common expectations. He simply refused. Anything my father asked him to do, difficult child would do the complete opposite. And that's how it's always been with everyone and every place he's ever been. He refuses to do anything but what he wants to do when he wants to do it.

    MWM - I know the things difficult child did while he was there and "evil" is actually the nicest word to describe it. It's such a shame because while my father can be strict, he tried to help difficult child start fresh and learn how to become independent. difficult child refused to have anything to do with it. He lied, stole, and caused major destruction to my father's building. He didn't care. He did it anyway again and again and again. Same as always.

    Cedar - he's almost 3000 miles away and I don't think he's planning on coming home at the moment. He has no money anyway. It's expensive to get from there to here. If anything he might try to contact his paternal uncle who lives in the next state over although the uncle doesn't want anything to do with him bc difficult child stole repeatedly from him in the past.

    COM - I absolutely love the way you described the feelings of this journey! I agree!! It's all of that wrapped up in one!

    Anyway - I'm going to try to calm down and relax. I have a massage this afternoon. Maybe that will help. Never had one before and not sure how I feel about the whole stranger rubbing me down thing but I'm willing to try it. Thanks again for your support and listening to my ramblings!
  18. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Recovering posted to me once that if I could step away, I would be making room for other options.

    And this turned out to be true.

    It helped me to say things like: "You are not a beggar." "I want you independent ~ independent for your own sake, for your own strength of character." I used things like "Oh, I'm sorry that happened to you." and, "What do you think is going to happen, now?" Or, "Everything will turn out okay." In reassuring the child of his or her strength, and of his or her ability to think everything through and make the right choice, I was telling myself a different story about who my child was.

    A better story.

    I think the kids believed it, too.

    It made it easier for me to not leap in.

    And just as Recovering had posted to me, other options presented themselves.

    Another of the moms here used the imagery of sitting on her lips so she would not offer advice or money or continue to be the mom who figured everything out. The kids need to work through the situations they have created for themselves, JKF, or they will never mature into the adults they are meant to be.

    We need to let them go. Part of that is trusting them enough to let them handle the consequences of their choices. Whatever it is, they have the right, the obligation, and the honor to create their own lives. I was so committed to putting them back into that place I wanted them to live from that I never saw anything else. My kids are nearing forty, JKF.

    For me, for us, it didn't help anyone for me to be there to the degree that I was. It harmed the kids, I think.

    Unless you are willing to have him home or to pay for an apartment, you will need to tell him at some point that he does not need you to do these things for him, JKF. Tell him that he is perfectly capable, that he must have had some plan in mind when things began to go South with the grandfather, that you are not going to let him come home, and that you are not going to pay for an apartment, because he needs to take care of himself like the grown man he is.

    I know it sounds impossible to say those things to your own child, JKF. I thought it was impossible, too. But then, one day, after posting and posting about it until I am sure everyone was like, sick to death of hearing about it...I did it.

    And, when I was ready, it was easy.

    And I felt just great.

    And as it turns out, JKF, that was my first step to changing so many things in my life that I hardly recognize myself, anymore.

    If you post to us as you go through it, it will be easier, I think. But each of us needs to get there in her own time. However this happens, however things work out this time, you are getting stronger, you are seeing alternatives to leaping in to save him.

    That is a good beginning. That is how it all started to change for me, too.

    We are all right here, and we have been through so much hurt, too.

    But we made it through, and so will you, JKF.

    I'm so sorry for the pain, and the confusion and hurt of it, JKF.

  19. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    How did the massage go JKF? Did it help you to relax and let go? I hope so. I do a lot of relaxing kind of nurturing things for myself, they all help to keep me centered and feeling good.

    I believe another phrase for that is "waiting for the other shoe to drop." It seems that is part of what we parents go through with our difficult child's, a pattern of behavior they induce in us with so many self inflicted dramas they create which we have in the past, run in to fix. After awhile, that becomes our "normal." As many of us can attest to, we can change that "normal" to something else, to a peaceful neutrality. It takes time and it takes work, on our part.

    We have to interrupt that brain pattern that pushes us to "do something" to do "anything" to fix their lives and to calm down the persistent voice in our own head which fills us with false parental shoulds about what we MOTHERS must do for our kids. It's a lot of fear. And, a lot of shoulds. It takes time to break those cords within us.

    Keep stepping back, as it feels right to you, then step back you do that and create that distance, emotionally, other options, as Cedar mentioned, appear for our difficult child's. Just wait. Refrain. Be silent. Step back. Those are major tools most of us here learn to use. It doesn't always feel good, in fact, sometimes it feels bad, but keep doing it. With each step back, you get more comfortable. Then step back further. I do the same thing. And, JFK, it does get easier. In the meantime, continue keeping yourself in very supportive environments, make sure you take very good care of YOU and that you are nurturing yourself and doing things that are fun for you. Do not give your life up to worrying about your difficult child. Donate 15 minutes per day to think of your difficult child, to worry, to ruminate, to think of all the what ifs and then let it go and go about your day. There is nothing for you to do. Nothing. You may as well enjoy your days because whether you worry or you don't the days go by..........make them good days..............
  20. JKF

    JKF Well-Known Member

    I tried that this weekend Cedar and it works! I love the image of "sitting on my lips".

    He knows I'm not willing or able to do either. I've told him several times he needs to figure this out on his own.

    OMG RE! The massage was incredible! Absolutely amazing and I will be going back as often as I can afford!

    I've been practicing this quite a bit. I still have my moments but I'm getting much better at this!

    Anyway - since I last posted I have spoken to both my father and difficult child. My father explained that difficult child absolutely refused to do anything that was asked of him and he also told me that when confronted difficult child got in his face and started threatening him. I've never known my father to be afraid of anyone but he said difficult child was absolutely terrifying. I also found out that on Thurs he stood up the social worker who was supposed to bring him to his SSI appointment. He never went to his foodstamp appointment either so he has no money and no food. difficult child called me last night. I hesitated, but I did answer. He told me that he and this girl and "their dog" have been sleeping in a park and that it's very cold at night. Last night they were put up in a hotel for the night by the church. Tonight he'll be back on the streets. I told him to go to the shelter but he refuses. He said this girl will not go and he's not leaving her side. So I said "Ok, that's your choice. When and if you need to call the social worker I'm sure she'll help you but this is out of my hands. There's nothing I can do to help at this point. Please keep in touch here and there and be safe." That was it. I didn't interfere and try to help resolve this. I didn't look up places he could go for help. I didn't research options for homeless people in his state. At this time last year I would have done all of that and more and helped him find yet another bridge for him to burn within 3-6 months time. But I'm done doing that. I have a life of my own to live. I can't sacrifice my health and happiness trying to help someone who really doesn't want to be helped. If he truly wanted to better himself he'd take his medications, get counseling, go to his appointments, comply with rules and and actually TRY to improve his life. He wants nothing to do with any of that. I'm his mother and I love him and I wish him the absolute best but it's out of my hands. What more can I do at this point?
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