OMG - things are bad - and apparently I am the one to blame

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Steely, Nov 20, 2009.

  1. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I got a call from Matt's therapist today saying that they were no longer sure they could treat Matt because I did not trust in their program. :mad:
    They said ethically they could not continue to treat him, when I, the parent, did not trust the program.:mad::mad::mad:

    I reminded the counselor that I have never said that I do not trust the program - I am just upset over the lack of communication. I never know which way is up - or down - and it results in them breeching my trust. For instance I told Matt on Monday that 3 day a week phone calls had been approved. I found out Tuesday there was a change and no one had told me. Now who breeched whose trust - and how did that look to Matt when they told him I was wrong?

    Anyway, at this point, it does not matter if I am in the right they do not want Matt in the program. I called the ed consultant and he said there might be a way to negotiate, but he was not sure.

    In the meantime the counselor tells me (after telling me Monday I can only talk to Matt 2 times a week) that I can no longer talk to Matt until this is resolved. He promised me that he would call me back, and he has not. The Dr promised he would send me an email, he has not. It will be a week and I have not talked to Matt.

    Seriously guys I need help here. The worst thing for Matt would be for them to tell Matt that he was pulled out of the program because his mom could not play nicely. The worst thing for Matt would be the appearance that I am rescuing him. This cannot happen!

    Yet, is this the program for him? He is doing worse than ever! Yet they promise me this is, for the first time, progress.

    Furthermore I cannot begin to imagine trying to find him another program right now. I am super, unbelievably exhausted from my new job.......and the whole world seems overwhelming to me.........let alone trying to find Matt a new place to live. This program has not taught him one life skill, so it is unrealistic to say he could just go get a job and punt. He is BD AS and does not have one life skill, zero. He would end up on the street.

    Please help me here. I just am so, SO confused. I have no idea what I am supposed to do.
  2. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I know. I am on a rant. Sorry.

    I just got a letter that most likely they were going to d/c Matt's program because of ME!!!! What? You would think I was a crazy woman - calling every five hours - demanding things. All I have ever asked for was accountability. I totally feel like the fall guy here.

    I just cannot believe that they would blame me for not trusting them, when they have not tried to negotiate or work with me in any manner shape or form. They don't keep their promises or their commitments, they are fluid, not black and white. So why is it that I am to blame? I totally feel like I am getting dumped on here.

    I can't believe I have messed Matt's life up again. I am the worst mom ever. Seriously. They are right. I just hoover. I have only wanted the best for him. That is it. I would have sacrificed the world for it - instead I feel like I have sacrificed him.
  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I must have missed part of the story line.

    What did you ask for that they thought was unreasonable?
    What was the ed consultant able to find out for you?
  4. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'm going to be blunt, because in my humble opinion you are in a complete time crunch.

    I had this happen with M, as well. The issue, as they saw it, was that M is living with them and they were treating him as an inpatient program with my permission to treat as needed. They either needed me to totally trust them and allow them to make changes as needed - which included changing privileges with no advance notice - or to take him back; or put him on the street regardless of my concerns.

    I'm not saying that I gave in to them. I kept trying to maintain my control. And I was cut off and M ended up on the street. Your son needs a lot of help, and he is 19 years old. It seems like he is pushing back against you. Is it really such a terrible place? Is there a better place? Is no place better than where he is? If he moves someplace better, how long will it take him to get with the program? You need to stop and think this out rationally right this very second.

    The way I see it, they have given you notice at this point - "step back or they are turning him loose". You're in a different state under a different jurisdiction, and if he says he's done with you it seems likely that a court will at the very least consider his application for emancipation. During the time the court is considering it, who knows where he will end up? I guarantee you that they will testify on his behalf as experts and successfully paint you as an unhinged interfering mom.

    So, are you going to let them do whatever they want to do until things settle down and maybe you find a better situation, or are you going to fight them? Because I guarantee you they have some other kid whose mom won't interfere at least for a while and will pay full price for the privilege. I imagine there's a waiting list.

    I'm sorry you are going through this. I know where you are at, all too well. I hope that you will find some peace for you and for Matt.
  5. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I did not ask for a thing except a schedule. That is it. Seriously.
    The Ed Cons found out nothing more than this program thought "I did not trust them". I am supposed to have a conference call with the Ed Cons tomorrow. I am so seriously confused, I don't even know which way to turn.

    If you guys really knew me in person, you would realize how self introspective I am. I am the first one to take the blame. At the same time, I am also a warrior mom. I can take criticism, but it needs to be valid so that I can change. That is why I am so confused. Why would the program not see how willing I am to make things happen for Matt?

  6. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I wish I had an answer for you. Sending many soft hugs.
  7. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I want you and Matt to both be happy and safe. It's not right that you should take the blame for any of this. It's also not right that you think that you can "make things happen for Matt". Whatever is going on, you're not there, and they are living their lives minute by minute without you. There's no way you could possibly expect to keep up with what is going on every moment or every word they have to say to each other. There's a lot more to this than your asking for a schedule and you might not have anything to do with it other than asking for a schedule for some reason was the straw that broke the camel's back.

    I'm honestly far more worried about you than I am for Matt. I know about wandering around the house in the middle of the night moaning and crying in despair with the panic and disappointment and the fear. The not eating and not bathing or dressing or doing anything. I had someone here to put a face on for. You are all alone. Matt's problems are not something you can control right now. They can. Do you trust them at all? Because if you do, you have to make sure that they understand that and let it go today. You can get back to it when you're not so upset and when you have a clearer idea of your options and Matts options.

    But today he is in a dry warm place, and he is eating. He's got an entire staff of professionals listening to his every whim. His problems are chronic, not acute, and whatever happens right this very instant isn't going to change his life. Other than, that they can and will put him out on the street if they don't think that you are going to back them up.

    Please stop torturing yourself. Please let it go for today and until you have enough information to make a decision that takes all possibilities into consideration. You have been through this before and you know it can't be done in a day. And it can't be done on a weekend. And it can't be done on Thanksgiving. He needs you to take your time, and so do you.

    {{{{{{{{{Big hugs}}}}}}}}}
  8. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    in my humble opinion, Steely, those words speak volumes. Matt is 19. And while I understand that he has a lot of issues, I also know that at some point, he needs to be in control of his own treatment. He needs to care as much about getting better as you do. Until you "let go" control, he will not be able to "make things happen" for himself. It took a lot for me to get this.

    For so long, I was in control of Tripp's 'treatment'. I chose the dr's. I made the appts. I drug him a long. I discussed medications. I made sure he took them. I fought for his education much harder than he did. I called the state dept. and made a lot of noise. I told him what to do and how to do it. I told the dr's what I wanted. I told the school how to teach him. And in the end, none of it did him a bit of good.

    It was only after I let go and watched him fall and wallow in the mess he made of his life for while that he picked himself up and started taking care of his own problems. And it was hard. It still is. I watch his life and want to step in and take control. But I know if I do I will undo all the good things he has learned to do for himself. He is growing. It is slow and painful to watch because he still makes really irrational choices at times. But, I bite my tongue and let him face his consequences. At 19 he spent 23 days in the county jail with no communication from me. He had 4 abscessed teeth at the time that needed treatment. He was coming cold turkey off of a lot of pysch medications and street drugs (remember you xanax withdrawals). I worried every day about what was happening to him, but I knew at the time I had to let go if he was ever going to make the changes necessary to make his life better.

    I'm sorry this is happening. I wish I could tell you a way to fix it. But, I know sometimes there is no fixing other people's lives.
  9. Leah

    Leah New Member

    It's not your fault. We love our kids, we do our best, and they make their own decisions. You will get through this, and I am sorry you have to go this on your own. It is heartbreaking to see a kid make decisions so opposite what would be hoped. I think my kids live in a parallel universe--different from where I live, different values. It's painful, and I don't think professionals, (teachers, counsellors), fully understand it. I will pray for stregth for you, and hope that you know you are not alone.
  10. emotionallybankrupt

    emotionallybankrupt New Member

    Steely--I've never been in any situation similar to yours, but in the spirit of brainstorming, it sounds to me like what you may need most is to buy some time. If it's true that at this moment you have no better alternative than the current placement, I think I would write a letter, something to the effect that you love your son very much and are very sorry (choke) if you have said or done anything to offend, and would ask that it please not be held against Matt. Maybe say you know it's in Matt's best interests at this time to remain in the program and ask what you can do to turn this situation around to make it possible for him to stay. I'd try to say in several different ways how much you love your son and that you did not realize you were doing anything to jeopardize his placement. That you will do whatever is necessary to help, and ask that they please just know that past communication was in the context of being a worried mother who wants the best for him.

    Then, if it turns sour, you have the letter to remind yourself that you tried, as well as to prove to Matt or anybody else that you tried, if that ever became necessary.

    Obviously, if you find a better placement, then go for it, but in the meanwhile it sounds like time is your friend. I think you need it in order to get clear about your choices. I think letters are always good so nobody can disagree about what you said. I wouldn't send it certified, though, I think that could be perceived as threatening, like you are gathering documentation (not that you aren't, I just wouldn't be obvious about it). Maybe fax and follow with phone call just to be sure they got it? (And don't fax machines show the record of successful transmission anyway?)

    No, you're not a bad mom. You're a worried mom. That's love.
  11. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    (((hugs))) Steely.
  12. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Steely - you are between a rock and a rock here. I have to tell you, it makes me a little more than queasy that the program is refusing contact between you and Matt until this is "resolved". I may be reading more into it than what is there, but it smacks of blackmail and is, in my humble opinion, pretty darn unethical. It's one thing to drop him from the program, but something completely different to keep him there and not allow you, his guardian and the person who is ultimately responsible for his well being, to have contact with him.

    You trusting the program has absolutely zip to do with Matt's current state. Quite frankly, based on what you've written over the past couple of months, it sounds like Matt has decompensated (which unfortunately is the nature of the illness sometimes) and the program is being quite gfgish itself in blaming *you* - that way, they're not responsible or accountable (sounds just like our sons, you know?).

    Don't you *dare* take this on yourself. It has nothing to do with you. It's an easy out on their part and is total bologna. It sounds to me like Matt needs far more than the program can provide in terms of stabilization and maintenance, and they aren't going to admit it.

    At the same time, what to do with- Matt now? I don't know what the answer is. I know you want to protect him and get him functional. I have to admit, I lean more towards Everywoman's point of view. We've spent most of our mothering years dragging our kids to the therapeutic trough where they have continued to refuse to drink. At some point, they have to start taking some responsibility for their own well being. It's a horrible catch-22 though - are our kids able to take responsibility, or is their mental illness so severe that they can't? And if they can't, how do you get them in a safe place when every adult program (that I've found anyway) requires their "clients" to be compliant and cooperative? It's oxymoronic - the very illness that makes thank you incompetent (in my opinion) manifests itself as noncompliance and severely conduct disordered, among other things.

    It's frustrating - I look at Boo and sometimes wish thank you had the same obvious disability. No one ever questioned Boo's competence (or incompetence actually) or our responsibility to care for him and make decisions for him. In reality, I think Boo is far more capable of making appropriate decisions for himself. But because he looks disabled, we are afforded the right to protect and care for him. thank you is at least as disabled as Boo, yet because he doesn't outwardly appear that way, we cannot "force" treatment. But even more than that, they have facilities we could place Boo, compliant or not, if that were our choice. It will never happen but the option is there. I have a horrific time wrapping my head around the fact that there are no such options for thank you, who in fact is more in need of 24/7 supervision.

    Sorry... rambling. ;) I wish I knew what the answer is. I think if your ed consultant can find another placement, you should go that route, obviously. If he/she can't, it boils down to are you ready to let Matt sink or swim on his own, with whatever resources he will allow to be in his life? Or are you willing to bow down to whatever his current placement wants from you in order to at least keep him under some kind of supervision? It's going to be a rough road either way. Bottom line is we cannot control or protect our kids - sorry, I know that sounds defeatest but, from where husband and I are standing now, it's sure how it seems to be.

    Many gentle hugs to you.
  13. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I like the idea of writing a few drafts of a letter to get all the emotion out, then finalizing one that is to the point and simple and let's them know that you want to do what is in M's best interest, you are willing to comply and support their suggestions (which you have no choice about as long as he's there), but you do want to be kept in the loop about what is going on with him. I see no reason why they aren't at least copying you on on status reports. Even Department of Juvenile Justice does that with me. Is he considered an adult legally at 19yo in that state? If so, that could be the difference.

    It seems the ed cons should be able to smooth over any misunderstanding about asking for a schedule- maybe after he talks to you, he could be involved in a conference call between you and the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) staff??

    I'm not sure I haven't missed something- it is not clear to me if M is saying he doesn't want so much contact with you right now- as in, he needs a little space to work on his own issues- or if the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is requiring you to decrease contact- or if they have revoked M's phone privileges right now as a form of punishment. This would have a lot to do with how I reacted to it, but again, that goes back to needing to stay in the loop if you are going to be able to support the program. Of course, the other side of that coin is to completely detach and just let them do whatever they see fit with you having no involvement. As long as my son is a minor, I would want to be in the loop, even if I had no control over it. As I said, even Department of Juvenile Justice does this to a certain extent. Then again, they might not be doing it even that much if my son was of an age where they expected him to be on his own instead of return home upon his release.

    I'm just thinking as I write- sorry. But Steely- something isn't adding up- I can see the need for you to trust them and support what they are doing, but they would almost have to be filing a monthly or quarterly progress report that includes their plan and status/progress and treatment and they should be copying you on this since you are M's parent and technically paying for this, right? If they aren't doing that, I would get him out just because I wouldn't be willing to pay for any service if I had no idea what they were doing or how it was progressing.
  14. Steely

    Steely Active Member


    The deal is that I cannot let reality bite his butt because I still hold all the power. I am the one keeping him in isolation, and the program. He has no say so. He is in the middle of no where, in a cabin, waste deep in snow. We can't do the tough love thing until I release him from this program. This is where the conundrum lies.
  15. Steely

    Steely Active Member


    The deal is that I cannot let reality bite his butt because I still hold all the power. I am the one keeping him in isolation, and the program. He has no say so. He is in the middle of no where, in a cabin, waste deep in snow. He cannot do anything but be subject to the program that I have chosen. I can't do the tough love thing until I release him from this program. This is where the conundrum lies.
  16. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'm just really confused. If they kick him out of the program, where will he go? I don't mean to be dense, I just can't remember the story well enough to understand why it's important that Matt stay in your custody into adulthood.

    If they kick him out, will he still be in your custody? Will they put him on a plane to your house or just put him on the street?

    If reality can bite him in the butt and make him start taking control of his life, why can't you let go of the power? It's bound to be ugly, I'm sure. And it's bound to happen someday. The longer everyone waits while he refuses to participate in program after program, the worse it's going to be. But I just can't figure out why you have to be in charge of him. Did the court order this against your wishes, or is it what you want? Is it what Matt wants?

    What is anyone gaining by keeping the status quo? What has to happen before you give up the power?
  17. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I have the power, because I have chosen to mandate he get the help. At anytime I can say, be free. However he does not have one life skill. If the program kicks him out he will be on the street without a hs diploma, job skills, money, etc.

    Ideally the program was supposed to mentor him, and help him get ready for the world. That is/was the goal of the program. Without this program I feel confident he will need some other sort of support/help/program in order to succeed. I have chosen to have him in this program because I thought it was the best, up until now. But there are few out there for 19 year olds.

    It is not really fair for me to just dump Matt on the street without support - it would be like putting a 4 week old puppy on the street. All this time the program was supposed to be helping him to be independent - I guess because of Matt's non compliance they have not been able to do that. Now they are trying in a last ditch effort to break him of his non-compliance so that he can progress forwards and learn life. I don't know. It is all more complicated than my brain can comprehend.
  18. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Well, if this is the only method that has ever been tried, maybe this is a method that is just never going to work with him. Do you feel certain that he couldn't make it- in spite of some inevitable bumps- if you helped get him into an apartment and a vocational school and job or something? I don't klnow him obviously, but I wasn't visiualizing him as not having ANY life skills. Can you go visit and see him and tell him you'll pull him out and help (not do it all) get him set up for a transitional period, but if he blows it, he's on his own. He will not be moving back in with you.
  19. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I realize he is only 19 but is it possible he has more skills than you realize? I think you really need to start applying for disability for him now because I think it is only a matter of time before he gets dumped from this program. He will need that safety net at that time. He can use the disability for basic living expenses. Explore what is available either near you or maybe your parents for disabled people such as low income apartments. Can you get him on a waiting list now?

    If he comes to live in your city and has disability and can get into a low income place...then you can think about voc rehab. They can help him with things such as a GED or high school diploma. They can help with job coach or job training.

    We can work this out slowly if you get him on disability and find him a place to stay. Disability to live second.
  20. ML

    ML Guest

    Step away from the bat! Please stop blaming yourself. None of us here have done everything perfectly with our kids. We do the best we can and as we get new information we sometimes change course. But you did not create his problems, you can't change them and you can't control them. Gentle hugs.