Quick update

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Beta, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    So for the past several weeks, I was nursing a dream of having our 28yo son, J, come home for Christmas for a couple of weeks, in the hopes that we could talk with him face to face, try to reconnect, and maybe help him solve the problem he has of not having a photo ID (he misplaced his driver's license). My husband and I haven't seen him for a year and his brother has not seen him for two years, and I pointed that out. I tried to stress how getting away from Denver for a few weeks would be good for him.
    We finally got him to call us last Sunday, and he refuses to come. When I asked why, he said, "I don't want to." When I asked why, he went into a tirade about how we had moved after his high school graduation and that left him with no place to live when he returned from college to work during the summers and he wasn't able to save as much money, and how we had moved from our old state to our new state and how that was sooooo far away and we were just selfish for doing that because we're too far away now to be accessible.
    Just a few days prior to that, he had complained about the difficulty he was having trying to get a photo ID in Denver. They were requiring extra documentation, which is hard to get when you don't have a physical address. We offered to mail him some documentation where he's couch surfing at the moment, and he just brushed it off, saying "I don't have time for that ****. By the time I get it, it will be weeks...'"
    It was pretty much impossible to have a conversation with him. He kept interrupting and talking over us, becoming angry and swearing.
    It appears that he simply does not want to be around us. So I said, "Okay, well I guess there's nothing more to say, and he agreed. He eventually got mad again, starting swearing, and hung up on us. Later, I got a text from him saying, "I have to get my life together here. Sorry I hung up on you."

    It just hit me, during that conversation, how unmovable his heart is toward us. It was as if we were strangers and there was no bond on his part toward us. I guess I had naively thought that if I just expressed how much it meant to us to have him come and literally begged him, his heart would soften and he would relent and come. I was wrong. There doesn't seem to be any feeling of love on his part toward us. It was just an eye-opening experience, and in the midst of it, I just realized that I need to stop doing this to myself because I'm tearing my heart to pieces. I have no doubt that the stress from this last year has taken a toll on my health and my husband's health. I think it's time to move on with my life and try to let go. So, for the time being, I'm backtracking and detaching. I'm not going to say that in a few weeks I won't feel differently, but I will remind myself of this conversation and of the nasty text messages he has sent, and hopefully I will be able to stick to my resolve. I pray for him every day, but once I've done that, I try to put him out of my mind and focus on the things in my life I need to do and the things that give me joy.

    On a positive note, I was able to find a Christian counseling service nearby, and I have an appointment on January 8, which just so happens to be J's birthday, which will be a hard day to get through.
    So, for now, I will be returning to the website to read but may not be posting about J anytime soon.
    Thanks for listening again.
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  2. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Beta,
    Thanks for the update.

    This last time my son was released from prison he asked for another copy of his birth certificate so he could get an ID. To be honest, I have lost count of how many I have sent him, I think this was number 6 or 7. I did tell him this was the last one. The last time I did it was a few years ago and I had to do it online. Like you, my husband and I moved to another state so I went online, plugged in all the information and requested 2 copies of son's birth cert. at the cost of $70 and then there was the cost of sending it overnight - both times. My son is a little older than yours, he will be 37 next month. I stressed to him that he better keep track of these important documents because I will not do this for him again.

    As I said, my husband and I also moved to another state. When we moved our son was in prison and he made sure he let us know how he felt, that we were abandoning him, didn't care or love him, etc......
    When son was released from prison I flew to Denver, collected him and flew him back to where we live. We purchased a small house for him to live in rent free. All we asked was that he get a job and start to put his life together. We paid for all his clothes, food, cell phone, bus pass, electric, gas, etc..... I mean this kid had it made. Long story short, he blew it.

    Yes, without proper paperwork it's not easy to obtain an ID. One of the times my son was needing a copy of his birth cert. he told me he could get it if I gave him my and husbands social security numbers. Ya, that didn't happen. I will never give him my ss number!

    It was nice that he did this.

    Beta, he's using you and your husband's moving as an excuse for his anger and bitterness. His heart is not unmovable towards you, it's unmovable towards himself.

    I think there is some love there or he would not have sent the text apologizing. The fact that he did that simple thing shows he has some feelings.

    Yes, this is a good thing. A hard thing but a good thing.
    Try and do one thing daily that is just for you. It doesn't have to be anything grand, just something that will bring a smile to your face. Buy yourself some flowers, feed the ducks at a park, go shopping and try on things you would never really buy - trust me, this will make you laugh!

    This is wonderful and I'm so glad you are doing this.

    The love you have for your son will never go away but he has his own journey to travel, just as you have yours. Live your life as best you can. Please do not buy into your son trying to make you feel guilty for moving, he's using it as an excuse for his poor choices. Until he truly accepts responsibility for the choices he has made nothing will change for him. Blaming us the parents, well that's easy for them. It's a manipulation tool that serves them well, they use it to make us feel guilty and to get others to feel sorry for them but remember, it's a manipulation tool and nothing more.

    Hang in there Beta!!
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  3. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Thank you Tanya. Concerning his text, I agree-it was a conciliatory gesture on his part, and the only remotely encouraging thing I have gotten from him lately. In fact, I have read it several times just to "enjoy" it again. Like many of us on this site, I will do my best to carve out a life for myself and my husband, but a part of me will grieve "what might have been" and "what is" forever. It's not too late for him, and I know God can do wonderful things so I will always pray for him. I have to watch myself that I don't revert back to "rescue mode" with him, which is one reason why I need to limit or avoid contact with him, at least for now. As soon as our kids start describing their latest crisis, that old urge to jump in and "fix and rescue" raises up and here we go again....
    I'm so sorry for what you have gone through with your son. Wow, what you did for him after his release--he absolutely had it made. What a disappointing thing for you to see the sacrifices you made being squandered. Our son has squandered every attempt we have made to help him get started, and I don't even want to think about the money we have wasted that is no longer available for our retirement. Live and learn. At least, I hope we're learning.
  4. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet


    I'm so glad that you have a counseling appointment set up and what a "God wink" that it is on his birthday when you will be filled with thoughts of him!

    I am hoping you will learn to set boundaries with him for yourself and for him. You will also learn how to detach with love. That is what I learned.

    In fact, when we sent our son away I can honestly say that I did not even like him. I loved him but I did not like him at all and I did not want to be around him. I asked my husband at that time to promise me that he would never live with us again. He did. It is hard to admit this.

    But now here we are. He did complete a 13 month faith based program so he is much different and has grown up a lot but I still see things in him that I'm not crazy about. It is what it is. He is not that sweet, innocent little boy anymore. I do miss that little boy so, so much. We have to move forward with what we have don't we?

    I do know that if it were not for my faith, which has strengthened during my son's addiction, that I think I would have completely lost myself to sadness and grief. I honestly don't know why anyone would even ATTEMPT to handle this without God's help when it is there if we just ask. I did not have a strong faith based childhood but enough that I knew what I needed to know and I'm thankful for that.

    Do not write the end of the story with your oldest son. God's plan for him will prevail.

    Tanya - we have tried very hard not to give our son too much. We do want to but thankfully we have learned that in the end that will not help him so we have learned to hold back. Sometimes it seems selfish to hold back but I know that is what we need to do so he can learn how to adult.

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  5. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    RN0441, thank you for your kind and encouraging words. I don't know either how I would have gotten through this last year without God. I try to remember that He's in control and that He doesn't waste suffering but uses it, and I can say that I am closer and more needy of Him than I was. I am looking forward to talking with the psychologist, even if it's only for a session or two because I need to understand how to think about all this and how to respond, how to "detach with love" as you mentioned. I think all of us miss the sweet, loving, innocent boys and girls who once brought so much joy into our lives. And like you, right now, although I love J, I absolutely dislike him. He is not a nice person at all. He is profane, racist, blasphemous, dishonest. I want to see him but I don't want to see him, if that makes any sense. I rejoice with you that your son sounds like he is moving forward in a positive way. In these circumstances, "small" things such as caring for himself, holding a job, making his bed---those are not small things!
  6. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    This is key!! Grieving is not just for someone that died. I grieved for the hopes and dreams I had for my son. Working through that really helped me to let go.
    I too have a deep faith and I leave my son in God's hands. Prayer and love is all I can offer my son.

    It's really good that you recognize this. That is a half the battle. Something that has helped me and still helps me is to have "simple - standard" responses that I stick to.
    Son: Mom, I really need some help, I have no where to go, nothing to eat, I'm gonna die out here.
    Mom: You need to get to a shelter.
    Son: I don't want to go to a shelter why can't you just help me?
    Mom: I'm not able to help you. You need to go to a shelter.
    Son: If you loved me you would help me.
    Mom: I love you. You need to go to a shelter.
    Son: Why won't you help me? Why are you so selfish?
    Mom: I'm not able to help you. You need to go to a shelter. I love you.
    Son: You're an F####### B####
    Mom: I've gotta go now, I love you, bye.

    I actually had to write some things down to help me. The more you read them the more they become part of your vocabulary that you use with your son.

    As I said, my son will be 37 next month and has spent most of his adult life living a homeless, wondering life. I've had desperate calls from him during the winter that he was going to freeze and starve to death. I did not cave into his "demands" and he survived.

    I am living proof that there is peace and joy on the other side of this. Once we pull ourselves out of the rabbit hole and get off the crazy train, we start to take our life back, we start to live for ourselves again.
    If love alone could save our adult children from making poor choices we would not have need for this kind of forum.
    The main thing to remember, my son, your son, all the sons and daughters that we commiserate about here on this forum, they are adults. They make their own choices - good or bad. We don't have to like it but once we accept it for what it is, we can move on.

  7. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    He's angry because he feels like you abandoned him by moving. If he didn't have a place to stay during the semester break, he probably didn't have enough money to rent a place. Did you offer to find him a place to stss during the summer? Did you offer to give him money for airfare to visit you, or was he expected to pay for it himself? If he was just a kid working a minimum wage jpb, I highly doubt he had enough money.
  8. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Tanya, I think I had read some of your earlier posts where you posted an example of responses, and they stuck in my mind. I think that's wise to have predetermined responses but boy does it take strength to follow through! I'm impressed--you have obviously worked through a lot of the guilt that comes with parenting kids like this. I'm still at start of this journey so it's helpful to hear what others have done.
    So true about what you said about the futility of love saving our children. I've definitely witnessed this to be true! When you say you worked through the grief of losing the hopes and dreams you had for your son, how did you go about doing that?
  9. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Crayola13, yes he claims we let him down, but nothing could be further from the truth. We helped arrange his staying at the home of some friends of his; we had him live in our empty house while it was on the market for sale, and we always helped financially with many things. There would have been other employment choices he could have made--he just chose to continue doing what he had done throughout high school, which just happened to be located in a town we no longer lived in. I can assure you we did not abandon him.
  10. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Beta, lots of us move. Sorry but that is not a reason he is the way he is or else all kids who had inconvenient moves would be like him. Its just a poor excuse

    Dont let him guilt you over that or anything.
  11. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I had to grieve many living people. It is very much like grieving one who passed on.

    If I had known about them I would have sat in on a grief group to understand the steps. My mother was the closest relative I grieved while alive. When she passed on it had been years since I I had seen her and I had mourned her already so it was as if she had gone years before. This may sou d bad but I didnt feel anything. But she had not wanted a relationship eirh me s it was like we had no connection at all.
  12. Smithmom

    Smithmom Active Member

    Beta, I'm happy for you that you're working on detaching and on happiness for yourself and the rest of the family. For whatever its worth..

    I've had many of these kinds of conversations with my kid, especially when he was using. But sometimes even when he wasn't. Its the tone more than the words that gets to me. I am able to ignore the words because they're not logical or rational like blaming you for his life because you moved! Huh? I know that the tone with my kid is coming from anger either fueled by mania or drugs. So I know that its not my kid saying those hateful things. Its mania or drugs. Either way, I know I can't talk to mania or drugs logically or emotionally. There's no successful conversation with either unless you're saying is that enough money or did you want more? What I'm saying is that the conversation was doomed before it began. Next time adjust your expectation. You can't get what you want. Expect failure. Success is he answered the phone and is alive and functioning at some level.
  13. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    The easiest way I can explain it is that I gleaned from grieving the loss of loved ones, specifically, my mother. I learned so much about the grieving process when my mother died, of course the learning was over time. This helped me with my son.
    I learned that the grieving process was not just for when someone dies. I learned that it's for "any" loss we experience, the loss of a job, the loss of a friendship, the loss of a pet, the loss of home. Any loss that evokes our deepest emotion of sorrow, misery, sadness, distress, heartache, despair, etc....
    I learned about the stages of grief. I worked off the model of 7 stages - there are some that have more but this one worked for me. Looking at each level and pairing it against our emotions can help us to see where we are and also guide us to the next level.
    I've inserted my own comments in red.

    Here is the grief model we call the 7 Stages of Grief:
    • SHOCK & DENIAL- we can't believe our child's life is so out of control.
    • PAIN & GUILT- ... I must have done something wrong in raising my child for them to turn out this way.
    • ANGER & BARGAINING- ... I'll pay your rent but I resent having to do it. I'll bail you out of jail but I resent having to it.
    • "DEPRESSION", REFLECTION, LONELINESS- ... Reflecting on how sweet and loving our child once was. How we wish things were different. Missing them because communication is limited or not at all.
    • THE UPWARD TURN- ... The beginning of acceptance - coming out of the FOG (fear, obligation, guilt) we begin to let go, we begin to detach.
    • RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH- ... We start to take our life back. We do things that bring us joy. We feel happy and can laugh without feeling guilty.
    • ACCEPTANCE & HOPE- We have fully accepted that our adult child's life is of their own making. We don't like it but we accept it. We accept that we have no power or control over the choices they make. We have hope for them but we do not hold onto that hope so tightly that we strangle it. We love them and we let them go to live their life.
    Hope this helps.
  14. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Tanya that was perfect for explaining the death of what we have wished for and are not going to get, be it a child, mother, friend, great job, anything. You give such great answers.

    The mourning is sometimes worse and harder than a loved one who has passed on. At least then we are sure it is final.

    I had to mourn my entire family of origin. Aside from my mother, the grieving of my sibs started when I was disinherited and neither called to see if I was okay, but it was a long process.

    It ended around my car accident three years ago....that changed me.And my sister made a big deal out of my not thanking her for flowers she said she sent that I never got...not to mention I was not myself for a month. I didnt know who sent flowers and who.didnt. i didnt even remember my kids visiting me. It was insensitive and typical of her to focus on her. My brother never checked on me at all.

    I decided to cut off my sister and brother after my father died so that he would not be sad about it....he had always wished for us all to be close. We werent but sometimes we did talk to each other. A lot of it on my side was for my dad since he wanted us in touch. But my heart was grieving, letting go of my entire family of origin except for my deceased grandmother who loved mme best and my dad who had no favorites.

    When he died, and he was old, i said a final goodbye silently to myself..... to my sibs. I had grief for Dad but none for the sibs I had decided to cut off.

    I had to leave my siblings behind, whether they cared or did not. For me. My brother didnt care but I think my sister did. I dont know why she thought I would stick around after how she had treated me. The cops. The constant cut offs.

    She probably thought she had been good to me or it had all been my fault. I made her do it. That was how she would think.

    She never thought to mourn me but I had mourned her years ago and just tried with her half heartedly for my dads sake. Her passing from my heart had happened a while ago.

    A child of ours of course is harder and worse. But mourning the child he once was or whom we hoped he would be is probably not uncommon. And can be healthy in my opinion. It indicates acceptance.

    Hugs to all.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
  15. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Smithmom, yes you are right about the conversation being doomed from the start. I have reached the point now where I feel like I've come to a new level of understanding of what I can expect and not expect. Money is the only thing he wants from us--anything else is brushed off.
    Tanya, your list of grief stages and examples is very helpful. I boomerang back and forth between them all, which I know is a normal part of the grieving process for anyone you've lost. Thank you, and I will be able to refer to them again when I need to identify "where I am" on any given day!
    SWOT-I agree that mourning a child that is alive but not "there" in the same sense they once were is harder in some ways because it's not final, but then again, when something is not final, there is still a possibility that change COULD occur. Maybe not likely, but still possible. So I guess there's a trade off on each one. I'm sorry for the pain you experienced from your family. To experience rejection from the very one person who should love you no matter what, is incredibly hard.
  16. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    It was hard to decide to disown the whole family and move on. In my mind I had to decide I had never been a part of them and move on.

    But it made me strong. It really did.

    Even the hard pain of a disturbed child makes us stronger.

    What doesnt kill us makes us stronger. I believe this.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
  17. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Beta I am sorry you are mourning, and sorry your son is not willing to reconnect over the holidays. It is hard to let these dreams go. I hope you realize you did not do anything wrong by moving! You did not not abandon him, and you are not responsible for his life circumstances now. He is looking for someone to blame so he does not have to take responsibility for his own life. I don’t have much to add to the wisdom shared above but I am thinking of you and sending big hugs.
  18. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Elsi, thank you for your response and encouragement. I know he is looking for someone to blame. Even as a child, he had a tendency to do that. I am slowly, SLOWLY, beginning to move in the opposite direction from all this FOG. It is time to let go of my dreams for him and let him live his choices out. I hate them, but I can't change them. Thank you for the "hugs."
    Wouldn't it be great if we could all meet in person and actually give one another hugs and a listening ear in person?!
  19. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet


    I learned in my bible study recently that God gives us pain to bring us closer to him. I see that you are married to a pastor so wondered what your thoughts are on this....
  20. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    RN0441, I believe this to be true. I can't think of the passage right now, but I'm sure you are familiar with the passage that talks about how trials bring about perseverance, proven character, and hope, and hope does not disappoint because the love of God is poured out in our hearts. Then of course there's Romans 8:28. There's a passage in James about trials too, and many more I'm not able to bring up in my midlife brain at the moment without a Bible in front of me, but yes, I believe God allows circumstances for our good and for His glory as well as the good of others, which means our suffering is not meaningless and random but serves a greater good.
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