Slow learner


Well-Known Member
I don't often come on the site, but whenever I do, the posts I read are filled with wisdom, comfort, and non-judgment. Learning to detach from a my 31 son has been a slow, painful process, but I am determined to save my own life. I am better at setting boundaries, but he occupies so much of my head and my heart, and truthfully I occupy very little of his. He has been difficult for almost 20 years and is in jail awaiting trial that will probably get him 3-6 years. He is a narcissist, very intelligent, but totally lacking insight. He thinks he is above the law and every time he is arrested, which is many, he is always the 'victim.' I have helped him many times financially to no benefit. Now there is an addict girlfriend, a grandchild who has already been in foster care, and he is freaking out. Calls me begging me to pay for a private lawyer, not a public defender, because they're 'useless.' Tells me I am a control freak, selfish, a child, a lousy mother, and I listen to him, I still visit, I still help, but I am beginning to understand that all my helping hasn't helped him, but it has hurt me. His trial is in two weeks. I don't want to go, I don't want to talk to him, I am tired of being blamed, manipulated, and treated badly. I go to twelve step, I pray, I read, I go to therapy. I am doing everything I can to detach. I will keep reading the honest, heartfelt posts here until I get to the place of loving me enough not to betray myself. I told my therapist what hurt most is how my son is unable to see all I've done to help him and to love him. My therapist said that he believed I gave him my love, but for whatever reason, he's not able to receive it. It's his issue, not mine. With appreciation...


Well-Known Member
Hi Acacia,

I stumbled on this site a few years ago when Googling how to stop enabling. Like you, I knew our dynamics were not healthy.

After reading post after post after post, I shared what I read with husband. We were amazed at the commonalities of our stories. (Who knew?) We knew families with difficult children, but had no idea there were many folks out there experiencing being blamed/held responsible for everything by adult offspring who were making very poor decisions.

Acacia, I cried and cried - big tears. It felt so wrong to "desert" our son. I still was not quite understanding the harm we were doing him. husband had figured it out about a year before. Our son had said/done so many hateful things to us. He said a LOT more hateful things after we cut off the $$. And, a few years later, he turned to my parents and now they are enabling him. (My father wanted to stop months ago; my mother thinks it is God's will for her to continue. No reasoning with her about anything. I have tried.)

You will get much better advice from others. Heck, I may think of better advice when I am more awake. I can tell you this....husband and my lives have improved immensely since Difficult Child has stopped asking for money. The hateful texts/emails have dwindled to perhaps three a year. He knows there is no more money. We have ignored his mean words. No responses to anything.

Of course, we want things to be different. Our Difficult Child is almost 36. The ball is in his court.

The sooner you escape this abuse, the better you will feel. Because, honestly, it takes a while from the time you cut free until the abuse stops. And, abuse is exactly what it is.

Stay close. I will be watching for your updates.



Well-Known Member
Thank you Jeslio and Seeking Strength for your kind words. Seeking strength is exactly what I am doing because enabling is so ingrained in my. My heart hurts because it's against my nature to not 'help.' but I understand, intellectually if not emotionally, that as you say, I am harming by getting in the way of his consequences. He has his own path and his own higher power.


I Am The Walrus
You have said it yourself - you are not "helping." I think we often don't understand that all of our "helping" is actually selfish. It helps us deal with the guilt, the sadness, the loss, the hopelessness. We do it for ourselves not them. It is what we tell ourselves we "need" to do because we are the parent, we are responsible. In reality, we are handicapping our children. We teach them to stay dependent, not to ever learn to problem solve, to escape responsibility, to point the blame elsewhere. I know I have handicapped my daughter out of a misplaced need to "fix" the wrong. I know now that as an adult, these are her "wrongs" to fix. I hope you get there, too.