Quick rant

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Beta, Mar 16, 2020.

  1. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    So my husband took me and our DS, Josh, out for lunch yesterday, using his birthday money. Not a word of thanks from Josh.
    This morning, I'm making him a batch of homemade cookies, in an attempt to make him feel welcome and cared for. I happen to mention that I'm going to go to a food bank and help pack backpacks for kids and would he like to come, since they need volunteers because of the Covid19. He replies, "Not unless someone is gonna give me some money. And I don't know why you're volunteering to help other people, when you should be helping me. It's always other people. You should be helping me get a car..." blah, blah, blah.

    I'm so angry I'm fit to be tied. I just wanted to turn around and say, "You know, you are a pathetic human being." I had to leave the room and sit down and come to this site just to keep myself from sinning with my mouth, which I have a problem with. Thanks for listening. How do people become so incredibly selfish and miserable as human beings? Showing them love and care doesn't seem to make any difference in their outlook.
  2. Estherfromjerusalem

    Estherfromjerusalem Well-Known Member

    Beta, I haven't got any words of wisdom for you, but I felt your pain and frustration and wanted to send you a hug. I so understand your situation. My difficult child, after all those years in Australia, has now been back in our country for 13 months and has been living with us for the past 7 months, so I also have to control my mouth a lot. After all those years of being just the two of us at home, it is really hard having him live here with us. Anyway, just wanted to tell you that I hear you.

    Love, Esther
  3. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...


    Our adult children can be so frustrating and you probably felt like klonkin' him over the head with a back pack! In the meantime, I just wanted to say you are really so much better than you think you are. Yes, you got frustrated but you realized the power of life and death is in the tongue! Bravo to you.

    Maybe if Josh sees how you're handling it and your charitable heart, maybe-just-maybe at some point it might rub off on him. Our children can seem very selfish at times. I feel it's just his way of saying...hey, look at me, focus all your attention on me" because he still is carrying so much emotional hurt inside which may take some time to heal.

    Plus, I still give you credit for being courageous enough to have him back in your home. Even though, right now I'm on speaking terms with younger homeless son, I could not live with him for a hot minute!
  4. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    I am so sorry. Most of us deal with the same problems and watching our adult kids think only about themselves and show no empathy or heart is so hard.

    This in my opinion seems to be a big reason why what WE do or say doesn't help them. With their lack of empathy, they don't in any way want to please us. All they in general seem to want from us is housing, money, and favors. My own daughter doesn't even want our love. Can't buy anything with it. That's all she wants from us.

    In varying degrees most of the kids who bring us here seem to be like this. If they cared about pleasing us, they would AT LEAST be nice to us.

    Josh sounds shockingly selfish but Kay would have said the same thing. That to me is what the problem is with our kids. You need to want to please somebody beyond yourself to succeed and most of them hate themselves too. I used to make excuses and look for the good in Kay.

    I found Kay was only nice when we offered her something. It was phony nice. I truly don't see much good. She rarely even calls Amy to see how Jaden is doing. When she does she tries to get Amy to send her money.

    Well, prayers to you. I know well how shocking it feels each time our kindness to them is used against us. I don't care why anymore.

    Try to find peace with Josh and how he is. We can't change them. Hugs.
  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This is kind of hard to explain what I think about this, as I'm working it out as we speak.

    First. I think our adopted kids in particular are very, very confused inside themselves. Part of what confuses and distresses them is their inability to do better than they're doing. Their expectation and our own was that they would NOT have the kinds of problems that have proven so. In my own case, both my son and I expected smooth sailing when he graduated from High School. I don't know why I had this assumption, but I did. My son has struggled consistentlyy. And I, with him.

    I think most of us parents on this board have functioned pretty well. Certainly better than our children.

    I think our kids are flailing around, both in terms of their actions and functioning, and also in trying to understand, piece together, why they are struggling. One way to attribute their trouble, is to externalize responsibility, in Josh's case, to the lack of support by you, his parents. Which is a complete joke if it wasn't so tragic.

    Here he is in your house. As he speaks you're making chocolate chip cookies. The ridiculousness of his statements and perspective is impossible to take in. And it's this ridiculousness, Beta, that you need to hold onto.

    There is a theory in psychology of which I can only remember the name. Attribution theory. A whole, entire theory about how people make sense of what happens to them. In a way that keeps their egos protected, so as to not feel unbearable shame, fear, guilt, self-dissolution. I think Josh's statements and attitudes reveal his own struggle to protect himself from feeling unbearably bad about himself.

    In my own case, my son makes attributions that are much more troubling and extreme, involving conspiracy theories, that he is a "bad seed." I wish he would just blame me, because that way he would avoid some of this extreme distortion about his own self-image and self-worth, and his distorted views of the world and life, such as are embodied in the conspiracy world. At least if he blamed me, there would be the possibility of a conversation. How can I have a conversation about an apocalypse?

    What I am trying to say is to try not to personalize this, and to try to see how Josh's words and thinking serve a functional purpose. He's off the deep end. He's struggling. He is flailing. He doesn't make sense, because he's not rational at this point. Nor do I think he means it at all.

    I know how hurtful and difficult this is. But to expect him to make sense at this point is to expect something he can't do.

    Personally, I am amazed that the three of you have sustained this for these past few weeks, is it that long? That you've told us there has been no overt aggression, some attempt at cooperation and communication, and some consideration of rules and expectations. He has set a few appropriate goals. I am impressed. With you and your husband, and with Josh.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2020
  6. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    As I read these posts I see a sort of shadow over our words. Our expectations of them are so low. We are happy if they aren't causing mayhem. Regular rudeness is okay (sigh).

    I was this way.

    It is most likely that Kay's birthparents were of average intelligence, maybe with learning problems, like Kay. Alcohol may have also impacted Kay as her developing brain may have been affected by this substance.

    Kay could have had a career in music...maybe teaching or singing for events. But she never had the intelligence to excel academically like her siblings did. She did not have the stick to it personality or emotional intelligence either. She couldn't help it. And she knew it and hated it.

    My therapist said that often those who want to adopt are very high achievers. And usually the adopted children are substance exposed with birthparents who are not of very high intelligence. So we need to have realistic expectations about if our children, say, can do college. I didn't think of this until after the fact when I was in therapy. It never crossed my mind that Kay had less ability than the others. Sure, she struggled in school but I figured she would find a way to succeed, like me and my husband had, and our families.

    I feel so silly now, but I believed that our love, example and willingness to help her along in childhood would certainly motivate her to be her best as an adult. We never thought of her not going to college until she refused. That sent our heads spinning. We had never imagined s child of ours not loving to learn as we did. Our influence did nothing in the end. She even gave up her music. That is sad. She has much talent there.

    I guess this is another vent of mine. Regrets. Wishing I had known then what I know now. Feeling foolish.

    But what good is it to overthink a past that is gone? I rarely do anymore. Kay refuses to do better, but my husband and I have to. And usually we do.

    Thanks to all you kind, wise mom's who let me vent. I appreciate all of you. I send prayers.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2020
  7. Nandina

    Nandina Member

    Beta, I don’t know if helping Josh get a car is in your plans, but if it is, I think when you mentioned the volunteer work would have been a perfect opportunity to suggest that if he helps you with this work and perhaps other work he can do for you, you can help him work towards getting a car (or whatever item). But he has to contribute—Effort for lack of money on his part.

    And I know it’s counterintuitive to pay someone for doing volunteer work, but that’s not the point. The point is to make him stop feeling entitled and realize that he has to put forth some effort in order to get what he wants from you. No free ride. I doubt you’ll ever get him to want to volunteer willingly, at least not now. But through working there, he will gain some insight into the current epidemic and how it is affecting people (or maybe he won’t care). But he will also be helping you. And he might even like it, who knows?

    We do this with our son quite a bit. He is 19, formerly homeless, is now respectful and on good terms with us, but but lives in transitional housing and will probably never live in our home again. Too much water under the bridge. There are times, for instance, when his phone data card runs out or he needs money for this or that (he has a part-time job). Rather than just hand over the money, he’ll work with my husband doing odd jobs, yard work or whatever to earn either the item or money for the item. At times he has helped us with volunteer work we are involved in to earn something he wanted. My husband pays him a decent wage too. We do this to keep him from feeling entitled—something so many of our children who have grown up in good homes with advantages end up being. (And that included him!)

    That is not to say we don’t sometimes just outright pay for something—it depends on the situation. For instance, tomorrow we are buying him a new phone as his stopped working. He is employed part-time at a school cafeteria and the school has closed until at least April 6, possibly longer, so he will have no money coming in through no fault of his own. His phone apparently stopped working and we were unaware, except that he hadn’t been in touch and we were getting concerned. So, to restore my peace of mind we’ll just buy the phone. That is a gift from us, not an entitlement. And we’ll probably take him food shopping weekly or bi-weekly until he gets another job or school starts again. And I often make food for him or a take him a plate from dinner.

    My son is grateful for everything we do for him, thanks me often, and is quite a different person than the entitled, obnoxious, incorrigible boy who lived with us just last year. There is still very much room for improvement, (less pot smoking, better money management, any kind of goal) but this is where we are now.

    And by the way...bless you for wanting to make him cookies even after he had been ungrateful at lunch. I probably would have asked him if he wanted to *help me* make cookies and if not, it would have been his loss because they wouldn’t get made! And double bless you for your restraint after his miserable comments later. I would have “sinned from my mouth!” No doubt. (I have that problem too, and apparently less self-control than you!)
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2020
  8. 200Meters

    200Meters A real bustard


    I am in awe that you had the will and self-control not to say "You know, you are a pathetic human being." Wow. I don't think I could have withstood the test.

    I agree but their behavior (Josh's, Oldest's Youngest's, Kay's, everyone else's difficult kids) does not give them the right to act and/or speak like boors. I could care less about how much Youngest / Josh / Kay / etc. may be hurting inside; they cannot speak to Mrs. 200Meters & I / Beta / BusynMember / etc. like they have sometimes.

    Yup. :(

    Yup. :(

    Why are they unable to do better than they're doing? I'll speak to Oldest & Youngest. Apart from their ADD/ADHD (which can't become the default excuse / justification for the yawning gap between their appetites and the state of their teeth, figuratively speaking), it's because they're some or all of the following in varying degrees: Lazy, self-centered, self-indulgent and shortsighted.

    Agreed. But...

    When we are treated so offensively & so hurtfully, it is hard to be empathetic. I am no glutton for abuse and tend to lose interest.


    I dunno about the adoption-genetics thing. I've got some pretty messed up stuff in my genetic history which, thank G-d, I cannot pass on to Oldest & Youngest. Who knows, if they had been our biological kids, they might have turned out worse.

    Ditto. Our flat is awash in books, all of them ours.



    Ditto x 2
  9. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Thank you Estherfromjerusalem! Yes, having a Difficult Child living at home definitely changes the atmosphere and dynamic of the home. My husband and I miss the privacy and peacefulness we had.
  10. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Well, this is what I keep hoping for and thinking is going to happen; you know, "cause and effect," i.e., I show love and caring for him and model it in front of him toward others as well, and as a result, his perspective begins to change and he realizes how one-dimensional and selfish his life is and how this brings nothing but futility and emptiness... Only...it doesn't seem to work. He never seems to "get" it. And I know that he has been screwed by people around him over the last couple of years as he has struggled to survive. I get that. But I keep fooling myself into thinking that his paranoia and "looking out for number 1" attitude will change.
    It's frustrating and heartbreaking for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is we (and I know all of you with your kids) didn't raise him to be this way. I remember when Josh was little, he would tear up when he would see something sad or see someone who was suffering. I'm not giving up--I keep praying for him, that God will soften the hardness of his heart. There's a lot of mental, emotional, and spiritual issues in play here, so I keep praying, but it is hard sometimes not seeing much happen.
  11. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Wow, BusyMember, that's incredible. But maybe in a way it's good because Jaden needs stability and genuine love in his life, and your daughter Amy can provide that for him without the interference of Kay in his life, bringing confusion to his little heart and mind. I'm so glad he's out of that situation.
  12. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Nandina--hi! Thank you for your feedback and welcome if you're new here. Your approach with your son is very wise, and if we were in a position to buy Josh a car, we would strive to do something similar, but we really can't afford to do that. We did give him a car two years ago, which broke down a year ago, and he has been without since. I'm so glad to hear how your son has improved and changed in his attitude and behaviors. That is so encouraging to hear that. And no, I don't have self-control in my temper, but I'm trying to let God change that in me. Josh definitely knows how to "push my buttons!" With someone like him, who is honestly completely destitute and without anything, including a job, it's hard to find ways to make him "earn" his keep, so to speak. I will say, though, that he does make an effort to clean up after himself and be neat, which, in the past, he was lazy about doing.
    He has applied for several jobs but I don't know if he'll hear back on any of them. With this Coronavirus thing, there are a lot businesses and city agencies that are rethinking their policies and hiring right now, so it's not the best time to be unemployed.
  13. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Copa, I do think he functions in a way that allows him to protect his ego and his sense of worth, however, illogical and wrong it may be. I don't think he has the right to behave badly (and I know that's not what you're saying), and I do try to put myself in his shoes and look at his life and what it is at this moment. I just hope that one day he can come to a point in his life and within himself that he doesn't have to be so self-protective and will have the capacity to empathize and care about us, about his brother, about other people. I don't know if that will ever happen.

    One of my favorite authors, C.S. Lewis, wrote a book called The Great Divorce, and in that book he addresses the topic of hell and what hell is like. His portrayal of hell is that it is a place where the inhabitants are fully and irrevocably focused on "self" and have no capacity at all to look any further than beyond that. Each inhabitant of hell is so consumed by "self" that have become merely a shadow or caricature of themselves and have lost what they were created by God to be--creatures made in His image to honor Him and love Him. When I see someone like our son being so self-consumed, that's what comes to mind. That in losing the capacity to love and to look outside of one's self, you lose your humanity. And that is a very sad thing.

    I try to remind myself of this, which is why I sometimes have to literally walk away from him and go to another room!
    Tomorrow will be three weeks. It's amazing to me too because my husband and I have talked in the past many times about how we would not be sure we could feel safe with him in the house, in light of the threatening, malicious text messages and phone calls he made. We knew it would be "hell" having him in the house, but we worried that might be dangerous. So far, I have not felt threatened by him in any way.
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  14. 200Meters

    200Meters A real bustard

    I like this. Even though C.S. Lewis was a pious Catholic, this is a very Jewish idea. In Exodus 10:23, during the Plague of Darkness, it says, "No man saw his brother." Rabbi Yitzhak Meir Alter (1799-1866) says that this is the worst kind of darkness, when we do not see our fellow men, neither their outstretched hands nor their broken hearts.
  15. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    On the news last night someone said citizens are the real first responders. When there is a crisis, everybody has a duty.

    Volunteering can allow him to meet people, network, and possibly find a job. It can be fun and help you figure out what your interests are.
  16. MissLulu

    MissLulu Active Member

    Beta, I haven’t read all the messages in this thread yet - it’s late here and I’m tired, so I’m just replying to your original post here. I just wanted to send you a virtual hug and let you know you are not alone.
    We have bought a very nice, comfortable house for Difficult Child to rent from us. It’s old and the yard needs some work but inside is very nice. I met him at the house today. He had the new girlfriend in tow (don’t even start me start me on that situation!) Anyway, it was fine, but he made a few negative comments about the yard and it occurred to me that he has never thanked us for this opportunity.

    We try and we try, but he never seems to appreciate the effort we make.

    Sending you love and understanding xxx
  17. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    Call me silly, but through all this I have thought about how many people we know who grew up with serious problems are still maintaining loving family relationships and working. Much worse things than adoption by parents who adore them.

    I am talking about people who grew up with physical and sexual abuse. Father's or mothers who tell them they are nothing. People who had or have cancer and some still going through treatments. People who grew up witnessing domestic abuse.

    Of course these issues cause problems, as does adoption, but most people who had it very tough work, have good family relationships, think about others etc.

    Kay was adopted but she was treated well by us. There is no excuse for how she treats us or deliberately underachieves. How do we "understand" our beloved kids acting this way when many who have had it much worse still care about other people.

    I no longer consider inner pain as an acceptable reason to abuse those who love them the most or to refuse to work. I don't care anymore why Kay is like she is. She won't get help to get better. Her behavior and lack of resources belong to her. Just her.

    I am so over understanding Kay and feeling sorry for her. It's not the end of the world to be adopted by loving people. If somebody thinks it is that bad, don't abuse others or demand help. See a psychiatrist. We would help Kay pay for that and she knows it.

    There is no excuse to live the way no matter what a person went through.

    God's blessings to all.
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  18. Nandina

    Nandina Member

    I think the drugs and alcohol have a lot to do with changing someone’s brain chemistry and affecting their personality.

    And call me silly as well, but there is something about this generation of kids—millennials—that they seem to feel so doggone entitled! I know it’s not true for every kid, but even my two “typical” kids feel way more entitled than I ever did as a child. And they are good kids, don’t get me wrong. But did I cause that because I gave them a better life than I had or is it just something sort of generational? And they by no means had everything or were spoiled. Just had more than I did.

    And I have thought long and hard about why some children, often from the same abusive family, can be so resilient and turn out to be successful, hard-working citizens while their siblings flounder in the throes of addiction or their own failings.

    Just questions...no answers. Would like to know what others think.
  19. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    Is there any type of job he would like or be motivated to get? Is he completely opposed to working?
  20. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    Ever read "A Boy Called It?" David Pelzer was brutally abused and ended up in foster care. But he did well for himself and tries to change the world for other struggling children.

    Nobody has to be the way our kids are.

    Drugs never help, but many choose to take drugs then refuse to get help stopping. Adult behavior is a choice. Very sad for us.

    Crayola, I think for most kids who bring us here, they just refuse to do any job and want things for free. They are not your average young adult.