Setting boundaries is rough but it's doable

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by joysheph, Mar 24, 2017.

  1. joysheph

    joysheph Member

    After kicking out my son who is 28 over 2 months ago has been a heartbreaking task I've ever had to do. During those times he would call and I couldn't answer so he would leave voice mail saying how he's in mental facility getting his medications stable. He has diagnosis of bipolar with depression. I couldn't be more happier but then I couldn't help but wonder if the only reason he checked himself in is to not be homeless? So I never answered his calls. Shortly after his released, I seen his name at the facility is work at. I chose to not answer again. Then on today he was released I answered. I did what his social worker suggested. I got him a phone and bike and hygiene things and I dropped him off at a shelter. I really wanted to wrap my arms around him and mother him and tuck him in bed and be safe. I did not I can't repeating over and over in my head I have boundaries and he must fix himself. He supposed to go on Monday to a drug treatment facility I shall pray he does. This is very hard on me and at times I feel selfish but then I stop and think why? He must walk in his own shoes and I must stick to my boundaries!
     
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  2. Catmom

    Catmom Member

    Hi! Welcome! It wasn't too long ago that I was a newbie to this site and what a tremendous help it has been to have all of these people to talk to and understand me when no one else does. My son has been out for 5 weeks now. He doesn't really contact me unless he needs something. I am hoping that things are going in the right direction for him but I don't know. He gets sentenced in April for a felony charge. Not sure what to expect. I feel so much better since my son has left the house. Yet, it is sad not knowing what's going on in his life.
     
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  3. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Joyseph, you are showing so much strength! I know how hard it is to fight those feelings of guilt but you are doing what is best for both of you.

    Your son needs to start learning how to live his life on his own. Will it be difficult? Probably but he has to live his own life. Good or bad.

    You also need to live your life. We as parents have spent so many years trying to hold our adult children's lives together for them that we forget about our own.

    Each day, do one small thing for yourself. Buy a special cup of coffee, buy an ice cream, buy some flowers, go for a walk, take a bubble bath, binge watch some shows, anything that is just for you!
    It can feel very strange when we start taking our lives back. There can be times where we feel guilty but we have to remember that our lives matter too.

    Detaching from our adult difficult children does not mean that we don't love them. Our love will always be there but our love cannot save them. They have to choose for themselves if how they are going to live their life.

    Your are doing really well. Stay steady the course.

    Thanks for sharing this update.

    ((HUGS)) to you.....................
     
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  4. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Joysphep. My son is 28 and also mentally ill. He has several times gotten himself hospitalized or in Residential Treatment to avoid being homeless. He has been homeless. He does not want to be so again.
    I echo everybody else: how strong you are. The only motivation to change will come from his own experience, which involves suffering for everybody. Nobody does not suffer in one way or another.

    I am glad you are here with us. I hope you keep posting. I think your relationship with your son will grow stronger as you stay strong. The only way strength comes is to have to dig down in oneself to find it. We find it because we face challenges. That is what you are insisting that your son do. He needs to do this to be a man. I admire you.
     
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  5. joysheph

    joysheph Member

    Thanks guys for the great replies I feel like there are people out there who gets my situation. My family and friends don't seem to understand how I can close the front door on my kid when he has been taking his medications and accepting his has a mental illness and reaching out for help. My only come back is well let him sleep on your couch then. Then I remind them if the mental facility thought he was a danger to himself or others he would not of been discharged. He has been given resources and job opportunities after he completed drug treatment now he must decide to what path to follow up on. At times people's remarks or expressions can just tick me off but I wonder what in the hell would they do if they walked in my shoes?
     
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  6. Catmom

    Catmom Member

    Joysheph...love the comment about "let him sleep on your couch". I am going to keep that one in my arsenal of comebacks to people who enjoy giving " a little advice" to me.
     
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  7. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Love it! "let him sleep on your couch"

    I would give them one week living through what we have and they would run screaming.

    It's always easy for others to subject us to how WE should be handling our lives. I have learned over the years of dealing with my son that those who want to criticize me can do so, however I will not have them in my life. It is true test of who will stand by us in hard times.

    A line I have used before is this "I have done all I can for him and he has rejected my help, there is nothing left that I can do for him except pray"

    Hoping you have a great day! Remember, do something good for YOU!!!
     
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  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    It is not only that our children are burdensome to us. The whole idea is fallacious--that you have responsibility for another grown adult. You walk in your shoes to make your life and life path. How can you carry your son?

    To recognize that our adult children carry the burden of their own lives is to show them respect. This is a gift to them, not a denial. To carry somebody as a burden, is to deprive them of autonomy and purpose. To the extent we are able to set limits--we act to challenge our children to create unique and meaningful life stories that enrich them and others. To the extent that we carry them, we deprive them of the richest of gifts that life has to offer. Their life stories.

    These people that judge you or seek to make themselves bigger at your expense and that of your son are opportunists and small people. We too have been hurt by people like this. Even some family members have judged me. In my case, it was because I was not so strong. I kept carrying my son. Too long. At the expense of myself.

    But I was hurt, too, by the other kind: the people who judge you for setting limits, believing they can do better. All of this, so painful. I have said before: to the extent I suffered for one minute from the actions and words of these people, I regret. They are unimportant.

    We know what you do, joy: To define yourself as worthy and worth it, you model for your child the same thing. You give him the gift of the freedom to have a purpose and value that comes from self-respect.
     
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  9. joysheph

    joysheph Member

    So I took the advice about doing something for me. I worked in my yard and picked out much needed eye glasses. My husband picked them actually it was fun! Later tonight my youngest son told me he was texting his brother and the replies were this is not his phone and my son had sold him this phone. Wow really. Never freaking again never again. In every strength I have I will not allow myself to worry and have the crazy thoughts of what if. I can't do that anymore even though the what if linger. If I have to post sticky notes all over my house,car, work saying don't do it I deserve to live my life happy. I am hoping to find some type of support group for my situation. Not sure if it's Al-Non or codependency I don't know but surely there's something. I'm ready to walk thru the doors full of strangers and let them here my cries and anger about my son. I need to keep coming here yall are great and truly get what I type. I thank everyone here!
     
  10. Catmom

    Catmom Member

    Glad you had fun today! Besides checking in with a therapist, I check on here daily to help me stay strong and focused! I miss talking to my son as it has been about 10 days since we last communicated...which as my sis reminded me....it just means he hasn't needed anything from me in 10 days...but I am enjoying life a lot more. Stay strong and start enjoying life and family fully again.
     
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  11. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Mothers here say good things about each of these groups. They sometimes say to try a few different groups because each has its own personality.

    I am glad you had a good day and that your day affirmed your decisions.
    I feel like a hypocrite.

    We have been holding my son's feet to the fire. I have backed off and my SO is handling him alone. My health cannot deal with it.

    Well. We hit a wall this month when he was unable to pay rent, (to us) having one excuse after another, which all boils down to marijuana. I swore "no marijuana subsidy." M, my SO, backed down. And here we are. He cannot bear my son homeless, nor can I, if the truth be hold. I stood it for more than 4 years. I seem unable to stand more.

    Hypocrite. I am.

    My son has a life-threatening illness. As one way to comply with our pressure to do constructive things he restarted a couple of weeks ago the medication he needs. He had stopped for 6 years! And stopping it--is dangerous. It is way worse starting it and stopping, then not taking it at all. He has stopped and started 3 times that I know about.

    I feel sick at heart. There is nothing we can do. Kicking him out does not work. Supporting him by applying pressure does not work. If I kick him out It will kill me this time. I feel that. I cannot bear anymore the fear of his illness. I just can't.

    I will have to sacrifice him--by that I mean--let him stay in our other house, without terms, or the terms he imposes--because I cannot stand the idea of his stopping the medication based upon some action I have taken.

    I am sorry to hijack your thread but I am desperate to find some direction. A place to stand. And I am horrified at myself that this is where I am ending up: I am ready to completely fold.

    Except I have told myself: if this is to be, I do not want to see him or speak to him. Let him continue his lifestyle with me out of it. He could stay where he is, without contact.

    I do not know yet, what he will come up with but M is not hopeful. To put it more clearly, he is despairing. He sees now, that we have no control. You cannot help somebody to be what they do not want to be.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 26, 2017
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Although at Twelve Step meetings you each take turns talking, if you choose to talk at all (you dont have to) it is not just venting about them, but it is much about helping ourselves. Its a lot about us as we work the twelve steps.

    I believe in Al Anon the firsy step is "We admit that we are powerless over our loved ones addiction and hand it to a power greater than our own" In Coda, i think it is " we admit we are powerless to change another person and hand it over to a higher power." I am not 100% sure of either as I went to them so long ago. They helped me learn to value myself, which I had really believed to be a selfish thing, and with my daughters addiction I learned to detach.

    Detaching doesnt mean to stop loving or never speaking to them again. This would be impossible. We will always love them to the moon. Detaching means to stop enabling them, to allowing them a chance to learn and grow without trying to fix them or taking their bad behavior personally. Its backing out of the drama and living our own lives well, even though we love them and they are making often horrible decisions.

    We cant control another adult, even a beloved child. The groups and my therapist kept me moving forward. It was nice to talk to others also who understood and did not condem.

    I love the twelve steps. I do think they are more powerful if you strongly know in your heart and soul that there is a higher power. So take that into consideration. A therapist of course does not require a higher power.

    Trust me, you can learn ways to move on and you can have a wonderful life. Sometimes we parents have to hit our own rock bottom before we can do what we need to do. But I do feel most parents do hit a rock bottom. And eventually detach and stop thinking about our pfolem adult children 24/7...we start to see the futility pf that ruminating. It doesnt help them if we get sick.

    You sound strong, as if you know what you need to do. And I know you will come to peace with all one day. Time and reflection are very helpful friends to us.

    Meanwhile, why not do something fantastic for yourself today? You have earned it...in spades. We all have and we all hold your hand.

    We understand.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 25, 2017
  13. GStorm

    GStorm Becoming Independent

    I am right there with you about my 32 y/o son and you wanting to wrap your arms around him, etc. I guess we have to start seeing that how we "wrap our arms around him now" is to set those boundaries. My heart goes out to you. You are doing a great job. Keeping you in my prayers. God bless you and your son. Gail