On the verge of a nervous breakdown

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by allydem, Aug 29, 2011.

  1. allydem

    allydem New Member

    I need help. I have a 20yr old ADHD son whom I have just discovered is smoking marajuana and drinking hard liquor. Under any other circumstance, this wouldn't bother me as much except for the fact that he is taking two different medications (vyvannse and welbutrin) for his condition. He failed miserably his first year at uni, and has started taking classes again. But my situation is somewhat complicated. I am a single mom who has raised 2 kids on my own. Dad bailed out once he remarried and moved to another city. After being estranged from his dad for almost 9yrs, my son decided to make contact with his dad. To date, they have a casual relationship in which they get together once in a while. He tried living with dad for a bit, but after 4 months, he got kicked out. He then moved back with me, but not before I laid the ground rules. I told him that if I ever discovered he did drugs other than the ones perscribed to him, he was going to have to move out. My son's priorities are his friends. He's made it quite clear in his actions that there's no room for family in his life. When he's home, he locks himself in his room, eats dinner after the rest of the family has eaten dinner, sleeps in so he doesn't have to spend time with family in the morning. Weekends come and go, and the only time I know he's around is when I look into the fridge and see food missing. He has made great efforts to block me out of his life, and our relationship has deteriorated significantly since he started seeing his dad. He's even admitted that they've had long discussions in which dad has spoken badly of me and my family. He used to visit his grandparents regularly, but now doesn't acknowledge their existence unless it's a special holiday. I have done nothing short of sacrificed my life for my son, taking him to ADHD specialists, getting the best counselling for him, and being there every step of the way during high school, advocating for his special learning needs. As we approach the end of the summer, he will be starting classes soon ( on a part time schedule).
    I'm tired, emotionally drained, and spend the better part of my waking day worrying about him and fighting back tears. Everyone in the family is telling me to kick him out of the house; and even though I set specific rules a while ago, I'm having a hard time coming to that decision. As a mother, I don't want to turn my back on him, as he is my son and I love him very much. But on the other hand, my health isn't good. In less than 6 months I had emergency surgery due to a cancer scare, and battled pneumonia which took me off work for another 3 weeks. Despite the sacrifices I have made for him, he just doesn't seem to get it. Please, if anyone is out there reading this, help me. Thank you.
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Welcome to the board Ally

    Your son is a 20 year old adult child. It's high time he act like an adult. Telling him he has to live by house rules or there is the door isn't turning your back on him, it's demanding respect from him. As an adult child living with you isn't a right, it's a privilege, one he's currently abusing.

    Currently he's suffering from grownup-itis. In other words, I can do as I please because I'm an adult while living at home and being a kid. In short, he's taking advantage of your generosity and treating you like crud in the process.

    You can't control your son. But you can control what goes on in your home and how you allow him to treat you.

    I know it can be hard to draw that line in the sand and follow through with the consequences, but if you don't, it will only get worse. Your family are a wise bunch. I know it hurts to hear it, but if he can't follow house rules and treat you with respect then it's time for him to leave and make his own way (or not) in the world. He doesn't get it, because he doesn't have to get it.

    Would you put up with the same treatment from a stranger? No, of course not.

    If he were my son he'd be told the house rules are a b and c. Follow them or there is the door. You have every right to peace and respect in your own home.

  3. allydem

    allydem New Member

    Thank you Lisa. I suppose deep down, I knew what the course of action had to be, but was trying to find another solution to this. It's obvious that he needs to move on and be the adult he thinks he is.
  4. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    I can't help you. I'm in similar shoes right now and my 19 yo ds did decide to leave. And now I am sick over the fact that he is completely out of my control & communication. I have no idea how he will survive and I am scared to death. So think it through. Have a backup plan and take solace in knowing you are not alone.
  5. Bean

    Bean Member

    Amen to that!

    It is hard to kick them out. But, it is also hard to be a prisoner in your own home. It certainly doesn't teach them how to successfully deal with life. Having an adult child at home who isn't following the rules is a weak attempt at feeling in control (speaking from my own experience). To kick them out is hard, and brings fear, but having a reckless child at home does that as well.

    Gentle hugs to you.
  6. Blondiesbf

    Blondiesbf New Member

    Ally, one of the harder things in life I had to to was kick my 20-yr-old son out last week-end. To put it bluntly...it sucks. I have been in a funk since then but each day has gotten a little better. With a DUI a week and a half ago (the final straw), he is in for some very rough times in the near future. He now lives in a mobile home with some 'friends' and it is within walking distance to his job (what? a little smart thinking???) He is facing stiff fines and the loss of his license for at least a year. Counseling before court would help his case but that was a huge bone of contention leading to he getting kicked out. So, in that respect, he is being stubborn and not thinking. We've also found a lawyer for him who will do an initial consultation for free...but again, he is not moving forward with it. So, he will be at the mercy of the judge at the end of the month...and there is nothing I can do.
    Moral of the story, you will cry and hurt, but kicking your son out is the right thing to do. Hugs to you...and keep hoping...I know I do!
  7. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Ally - I have totally been where you are. It is absolutely heartbreaking to kick a son out of the house but sometimes it is what needs to be done. One of the things I realized is that the lessons my son was learning by being allowed to stay in the home while flagrantly violating all our rules was not a good one. You can not get by in life by breaking all the rules!! Society doesn't work that way. And he had to learn that the hard way, which was you get arrested if you break the law.... and the court system might be lenient for awhile but after a while they get tough and throw you in jail! My sons bravado I don't care attitude changed after spending 2 weeks in jail. He discovered he really hates jail!!! My son went to rehab.... came out relapsed and really screwed up some more.... and now he has discovered he really doesn't like being homeless either!!! So he found himself a sober house and is living there (since Tuesday anyway).

    And you can still be a mom, love him, and help him when he wants to help himself. So we are paying the rent (temporarily) at the sober house, we have gotten him a lawyer for the latest arrest etc. I do let him know we love him and I have bought him food or taken him out for a meal. However we will not do anything that we think he could use for drugs.... so we do not give him cash, I am not helping buy a car etc.

    My son pretty much hated me when we first kicked him out but i just kept letting him know I love him, and we kept being there for him when he got in trouble and so now when he is in trouble he calls us. I can't say we have the relationship I want right now but i don't think that is possible until he is really functioning as a responsible member of society and feels good about himself. That is his journey. I have done all I can and my only goal right now is to keep the door open to a future relationship. There is no way at this point after all that has happened that he can come back and live at home. That is way too hard on my daughter and for that matter us.

    Hope this helps.

  8. seriously

    seriously New Member

    One of my best one-liners when my 15 year old starts in about how he's going to live somewhere else is:

    I will love you no matter where you live.

    This is a true statement.

    You must also keep in mind that as long as you treat your son as a child and not an adult you are short changing him.

    You have spent your life as a parent teaching him so that he is ready to be an adult.

    The moment has come to push him out of the nest and let him fly on his own.

    Lots of people talk about how our kids have to learn to separate from us. It is not a one-sided process. We must learn to separate from them.

    If we don't separate from them we are hurting out children and ourselves.

    Just as, when he was a younger teen, you continued to have rules about his behavior and lifestyle (at least I assume you did), you now must transform those rules into ones appropriate to his new status as an adult. This includes treating you and the rest of the family respectfully and following the household rules as long as he lives in the house.

    He isn't doing that and so he is making the choice to live elsewhere.

    Hugs. It isn't easy or painless. But if you don't do this you are treating all parties disrespectfully. He has made his choice. Respect his choice.
  9. allydem

    allydem New Member

    This is exactly my biggest fear, that he'll hate me for the rest of his life because he will interpret my actions as me turning my back on him. Have you ever felt ingratitude from you difficult child even though you've turned yourself inside out? Short of physically pouring blood for him, I have been at my wits end wracking my brain wondering where I failed him in his upbringing. He left once before to go live with his father (who he was estranged with for 9 yrs) in another town only to return after 4 months claiming he missed the city. I told him then that one slip up would kick him out of the house. He promised he was going to walk straight from that point on. When I took him back in, it appeared for a while that he was getting his life back in order. It only lasted a short while before he started falling back into the same old routine. I really thought that by reconnecting with his father he would get the guidance needed to rebuild his fragile self esteem but instead, he's only become worse! Nevertheless, tomorrow he returns from his contract job in another city and it'll be time to face the music. Thank you to everyone who has given me such insight to your personal stories. It means so much.
  10. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    The rest of his life is a long time... He is young still and at an age where kids often don't like their parents much. It is a hard place to be.... my son has acted and told me at times that he will hate me forever.... I finally got to the place where I realized I had to do what I thought was best no matter how it made him feel about me. I loved him too much to just let him self destruct which is where he was headed.... and he really did head that way.... but by doing some tough love he learned some hard lessons. I always kept the door open so that he knew he could come to us in times of trouble and he has....but really it is time for him to figure out his life. Your son may very well thank you in the future for being tough.It really is not going to help him for you to bend to what he thinks he wants because you are afraid of how he will feel about you.

    So think about what you think will be best for him, regardless of what he says. If he is violating all your rules then living with you is not best for him.

    I got to the point where I realized I could live with him hating me for the rest of his life... it is very painful to think about but I could live with it as long as I felt I was doing the right thing. What I can't imagine livng with is my biggest fear which is he will do something so that he really does self destruct and dies. But I am getting to the point where I realize it is his life and his decision what he does with it. I can support him in good choices but that is all I am is support.

    Really Alanon has been a great help to me, I highly recommend it.

  11. seriously

    seriously New Member

    You have not failed him and he won't hate you. You are his mom and he will love you no matter what - and no matter what he says.

    But your relationship has changed - he is no longer a child whom you can protect and shelter from bad choices.

    He is making his own choices and as many other CD moms will tell you - they are HIS choices and do not reflect on your or his upbringing. You did your best and it's on him now to decide how he is going to use the skills, knowledge and courage you taught him through your actions and your choices. You cannot control his choices or the outcome.

    You can be there when he reaches bottom to offer the empathy and concern of an adult parent to an adult child who has made mistakes. If you rescue him from the consequences of his choices you are only delaying the day of reckoning and making that day more painful and potentially more devastating - in our experience anyway.

    I don't have any words of comfort. There are no guarantees. But there are some things that can be predicted if you choose to try to rescue him and they aren't what you would want for yourself, your family or your son.

    It is not going to get any easier any time soon. Hang on to your faith in him and prepare to wait it out. Don't let him down by giving in. It's OK to cry but don't condemn yourself for helping him grow up - that's what you are doing, as painful as it seems right now.

    Gentle hugs.
  12. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Oh, he might be mad at you for a while. I mean, you are afterall, making him grow up. But for a lifetime simply because you told him it was time to go out and live his own life? Probably not.

    Some kids are super excited and totally gung ho to enter into adulthood and the responsibilities that go with it. Some want to enjoy the "freedom" without the responsibility......sometimes because they're just lazy, sometimes because the adult world scares them.

    Nichole lived at home until she was about 20-21. She had Aubrey right before her 17th birthday. Now she was fine at home, no issues there. But one day she said something about hanging around probably until she was like 35 or so because she had no reason to leave...........and it wasn't long before I handed her a move out date. 1. because it snapped me to attention that while her being at home wasn't an issue I was also neglecting to push her out of the nest for her to become a full fledged adult. and 2. because I was entering nursing school and I didn't need a toddler distracting me from studying.

    She was hurt at first, thinking I was throwing her out when she didn't do anything wrong. Until I explained to her that she'd learned all the tools to be a well functioning adult and it was time for her to take that leap.

    Hers was a fear of the adult responsibility without mom around to back her up. (although mom is still around to back her up lol) She had all the tools she needed. Actually I didn't do anything for her except provide room and board. And still making that leap scared her to death. Know what I mean??

    Did I worry about her? Oh yeah. That's pretty normal. But I knew she'd be ok and she could always come and ask me questions ect.

    In a way, it's showing them that you have faith in their abilities even if they don't. You've spent his lifetime teaching him what he needs to be a functioning adult. It's time for him to leave the nest and make his own way. Will he live his life exactly how you'd like him to? Probably not. He's his own person with his own choices and mistakes to make, just as we did when we were young.

  13. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Very well put Hound Dog. My difficult child always wanted his independence in that he wants to do what he wants to do but he really was lost about how to really do it. And now that he is out of the house and over 18 I really feel there is nothing I can do so I am no longer trying to tell him what to do that is helping our relationship. I can't say at this point we have a really good relationship because we don't but I think he knows I love him, and i know that even though he may not be able to access those feelings he loves me too. I also know without a doubt that if we to come back and live at home our relationship would deteriate fast. That is partly because the bad decisions he make that i disagree with would drive me nuts and i would want to put rules in place to keep him in check, he would then violate any and all rules or like through his teeth.....oh it would be awful.

    So Ally... fact is your relationship will probably improve when he is not living with you...not right away of course but with time.

  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think Cory has more than ample reasons to resent us for the things we did to him during his teen years in our attempts to get him help. He spent most of those years in and out of psychiatric hospitals, group homes, wilderness camp and Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s. However, if you ask him, he knows we did everything we did in order to help him and he isnt upset with us at all. We have a pretty good relationship now even though I have done just about everything bad one can do to ones kid that can be done. I would really be ticked off at my parent if they had me arrested but he seems to be fine with it and even when one lawyer looked rather shocked at the matter Cory put him in his place and told him "look bud, I stole her checks and cashed them so she did the right thing!" LOL.