Rock bottom for parents of difficult children? Do we need to hit it?


New Member
This is an old thread I think by Midwest mom aka BM and other monikers.

I think it might be true. Something like this happened in our family. An event so harmful/upsetting/over the top and revealing it became clear that no matter how much effort (time/money/sacrifice) we as parents put into the situation …things were not going to change. The ONLY HOPE at all is VERY likely IF the adult “child” him or herself makes personal efforts to change. We can’t do it for them.

Recently, it dawned on me that we as parents become sort of “vulnerable” individuals. After decades of abuse and futile efforts, it’s easy to fall prey to others who don’t truly wish us well.

Many lessons for us all. Difficult ones.

Stay safe…aware…happy.
Thank you for your wisdom, Nomad. We are in shock at this moment. For many reasons too complicated to explain briefly. Worst part is our son is penniless, in the Philippines where his "wife" says they can't get help like food and money because they live in a condo. She was born there, so it may be true. Or a lie to get us to send more money. She claims they are not getting paid until first quarter of next year for their contracted work which they will finish then. She lied to us one time. We don't believe her. My BiPolar (BP) is soaring because I'm afraid for our son who is on a visa there. We told them to go to charities to get food. They don't have the rent money for January and have enough cash to get them through Christmas day. Nice present for us to get at this holiday season. We have given them 50k in the last 3 years, without knowing what they actually spent it for. Our son gets a nice contract in his field of science but goes months between jobs. He seldom came home during the last 20 years. We knew he was drinking. Addressed it 20 years ago. That separated us when he said, "My friends would tell me if I had a drinking problem." Yeah. They were drinking with him. End of a beautiful family. We were good parents. Gave him everything he needed to succeed. Things our parents didn't give us, yet we made it on our own. I'm having difficulty emotionally.


Well-Known Member
I guess I would tell them, the same as if they lived in the states. Apply for any job! Fast food, cleaning motels, etc.

You have given them 50,000 in 3 years. That's about $1500 a month. I think they now think you will jump in and save them every time. I know it hurts your heart. We want to help our kids...but it's not always possible.

Hugs. Newksm


Well-Known Member
Staff member’s all so very sad. So very painful. It wasn’t too long ago that I finally had an experience that put me “in shock.” For real. I get it. Most, if not all , of us do.

Being a good parent, apparently doesn’t guarantee a good outcome like some folks seem to think. It’s a hard , confusing and painful realization.

And some experiences can be so over the top…it’s like being hit by a two by four.

It can be especially difficult around the holidays. And these adult “children” often have additional problems around the holidays or demand more…simply cause additional chaos around this time. Being introspective and/or taking a better path is soooo very rarely ever in their repertoire.

Therapy helps…those 12 step programs help. I’m talking about for us. Sadly, they rarely want to pursue that type of help even though they are the cause of the chaos.

But the burden, toll and collateral damage in our lives often leads us to seek healthy ways to gain perspective, to take back control and to find the happiness life has to offer. Wishing you well. We know all this is very hard.


Well-Known Member
He is an alcoholic. He lies. He uses us. Tonight, 2o hours after my husband's rebuttal, I feel sick. Super high BiPolar (BiPolar (BiPolar (BP))) and chest pains.
many of us have suffered this way. I have.

here is the thing (short version--arm is broken.)

he is no longer your little boy.
he survived 20 years on his own.
he will now.
this is a scam.
your husband did the right thing. please support him.
you deserve respect, consideration, and care, especially from yourself.
you do not have a mental illness. this is grief. allow yourself to grieve.
he lies. he uses you. this is not consideration, care, or respect.
the ball is in his court. what that means is there is nothing you can do until he changes. don't hold your breath.
if and until he chooses to be a decent man, stay away. I would not engage at all. to him and the woman, you are his mark.
mothers in no circumstances should be treated this way,
you must accept this is abuse. and stay away.
most of us have yearned to die because of this agony. why??
you are a wonderful person who has led a life you are proud of.

you are not your son.
he not you is responsible for his choices.
hold him responsible.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
“You are his mark…”
What an impactful statement. I have felt this myself. It’s a sad and powerful truth.

Self care is imperative. (((Hugs)))


Welcome JKL. I read your story and how your son's addiction has affected you over so many years.
That addiction to the addict is sometimes called codependancy.
Have you tried alanon meetings? You can do them online now. People will understand exactly how you are feeling there.
Also this thread about detachment helped me Article on Detachment | Parent Emeritus

Also this poem helped me

If you love me let me fall all by myself. Don't try to spread a net out to catch me, don't throw a pillow under my ass to cushion the pain so I don't have to feel it, don't stand in the place I am going to land so that you can break the fall (allowing yourself to get hurt instead of me)

Let me fall as far down as my addiction is going to take me, let me walk the valley alone all by myself, let me reach the bottom of the that there is a bottom there somewhere even if you can't see it. The sooner you stop rescuing me, trying to fix my broken-ness, trying to understand me to a fault, enabling me...The sooner you allow me to feel the loss and consequences, the burden of my addiction on my shoulders and not yours...the sooner I will arrive...and on time...just right where I need to, alone, all by myself in the rubble of the lifestyle I lead...resist the urge to pull me out because that will only put me back at square one...

If I am allowed to stay at the bottom and live there for awhile, I am free to to get sick of it on my own, free to begin to want out, free to look for a way out, and free to plan how I will climb back up to the top. In the beginning as I start to climb out...I just might slide back down, but don't worry I might have to hit bottom a couple more times before I make it out safe and sound.

Don't you see?? Don't you know?? You can't do this for me...
I have to do it for myself, but if you are always breaking the fall how am I ever supposed to feel the pain that is part of the driving force to want to get well. It is my burden to carry, not yours

I know you love me and that you mean well and a lot of what you do is because you don't know what to do and you act fom your heart not from knowledge of what is best for me...but if you truly love me let me go my own way, make my own choices be they bad or good.

Don't clip my wings before I can learn to fly...Nudge me out of your safety the process and pray for me...that one day I will not only fly, but maybe even soar.


Well-Known Member
Great thread. Thank you. Love this: "Some of us see a young child crying for help, not an adult creating and responsible." You hit the nail on the head. I love my son so much it hurts, and all I can do is watch him self-destruct. by the way, I don't give him money, in general. For his birthday, he wanted tires for his car. I saved up my Amazon points and got tires that way. Is that cheating? ;)

New Leaf

Well-Known Member
So sorry for your need to be here and your distress dealing with your sons choices and consequences.
Rock bottom. We don’t have to hit it, but many of us have, including myself, more than once. I feel that we become conditioned into believing that we can rescue our adult children by “helping” them. It is in our nature to nurture our children, the line between helping and enabling becomes obscured. We get drawn into their choices and consequences and become just as sick as they are, they are desperately addicted to their drug of choice, and reap the consequences, we are desperate to see them in such a state and want more than anything for them to change. Unfortunately, we want change for them, more than they do. Many parents here have bent over backwards to try and help their wayward adult children. I was one. Rearranged my home many times to house my addicted daughter and three children. With that came all of the drama and mayhem that drug use promotes. My home was not our sanctuary anymore.
I finally said enough and closed that revolving door, but it took me several years to learn to cope and regulate my emotional response to my two addicted daughters choices. It took a lot of work and posting here, getting help from the good folks who have been there, done that.
Rock bottom was continuing in the desperation and believing anything I could do would help my two wake up and make changes.
I would visualize all sorts of catastrophic scenarios, and stress out over the “what ifs”. That is no way to live. I had to learn to let God and let go. When my mind drifts to that state, I pray. It helps tremendously.
Addicted adult children want to keep us in desperation, because then we are easily manipulated. I have come to realize that I am more of a thing, an “opportunity” than a mother to them. “When a person shows you who they are, believe them.” I have had to work hard at valuing myself, building myself up, so I don’t end up going down the rabbit hole with them.
What good is that? Why would we go through all of this emotional turmoil and stress over something we have absolutely no control over?
I believe that we have to work just as hard as our addicted loved ones in our own recovery, as they do if they decide to be clean and sober. We have value and worth. Self love is not selfish, it is essential. We need to learn to set boundaries and walk the walk that we hope and pray our wayward adult children will choose. That means saying no. Love says no. No, I will not go into the quicksand with you, physically, emotionally, financially. It is hard to take that first step, but completely necessary for our own well being. I truly believe that rather than continue to fall into the trap of desperation and “rescue mode” we are showing our adult children by example how they should love themselves. It is not cold hearted to set boundaries on a loved one who continues to live irresponsibly, and has an expectation for us to “help” them, to our own detriment. Stand up for yourself and your right to live with peace. Don’t wait for your son to wake up. We have to wake ourselves up and take steps to free ourselves from the macabre “merry go round” that wayward adult children would keep us on, so that they can get what they want. They want to continue to live as is, on our dime, the expense is way more than monetary, peace of mind, feeling guilty, obligated, the list goes on Not right, not fair. You have value and worth. Living in a state of desperation for someone else’s choices and consequences eats away at our heart and soul and degrades our lives. That is a parallel existence to what our wayward adult children choose. We do have a choice to pull up and out, and by doing that, show by example that they can too.
Hang in there and take some deep breaths. Find a way to switch focus on to how you can improve your health and state of mind.


Well-Known Member
Does your son know why he’s compelled to drink heavily? Depression, anxiety, etc.? Going to DBT therapy can help with those types of problems.