So that happened...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Go slow mama, Feb 22, 2017.

  1. Go slow mama

    Go slow mama Member

    It's been at least 4, closer to 5 years of living through my worst nightmare. If you had told me when my son was under age 12 that we would suffer through this horrid space, I would not have believed you. I have posted the rundown here before, it echoes a lot of what is common among us. My son is 17, going to be 18 next month...he has half his required credit load when he should be graduating. He has been charged with truancy and it went no where, they actually dropped it. He has been charged with various criminal offences; drugs mostly, those charges were diverted through young offender court, outcome was no record. He has been aggressive, violent nad destructive in our home. He has stolen and crashed my car, driving unlicensed and under the influence. He has brought dangerous people into our home and someone tried to kick down my door while threatening him in the fall.

    I could go on and on...

    Just before Christmas he stole my car again, he was under the influence again. I kicked him out of the house within 24 hours. He went to live about 2 hours out of town, with my ex-husband's family. 11 days later we had negotiated, and I use that term loosely, his return home. He returned with drugs, a knife, $600 in cash (with no job) and other paraphernalia. I called the cops, he ran, ditched the bulk of the drugs and the money. He returned and pretended he didn't know where he stashed it, the cops charged him with a small possession of marijuana fine.

    He left here that night and has not returned but not for lack of trying; at least once a week he calls to beg me to come home. He is still living with my ex-husband's family and still doing nothing, no school, no job, sleeps all day, smokes weed all the time, takes off for periods where he is unaccounted for, he's rude.

    I know I made the right decisions for me, and for him.

    I know how we were living was unsustainable.

    I know I have to let him figure this out without me front and centre.

    But I am very sad and disoriented. I don't know what to do with myself, I go to work and come home only to stare mindlessly at the computer.

    I'm looking for advice and support when suddenly you are left with yourself and the realization that there is nothing really left to do for your very much loved difficult child.
     
  2. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member

    No doubt.

    But that doesn't mean that you aren't grieving the loss of the son you wanted to have. The son that you wish he would be.

    Do you see a therapist for yourself? Do you think an anti-depressant might help you?

    I also think that when we cannot help our loved ones for whatever the reason, that it does us good to reach out and help a different person. My dad is suffering from Alzheimer's. The short version of the story is that I cannot help him or my step-mother cope with their rapidly deteriorating situation. I chat with them about once a week about nothing important. I save my mental energy for the kids that I work with at school. I am much more likely to be able to make a lasting difference in their lives. I've changed my focus to a different place.

    I am experiencing the same with my son. He has made it abundantly clear that I am not to "interfere" in his life. I still speak to him, when he is reasonable. I no longer expect to make a difference in his life, though. I am facing the reality that I did what I could and it didn't work. That leaves a little room for "oh, I have a new idea," but not much room. Mostly I let Ferb worry about Ferb. I refuse to be emotionally blackmailed.
     
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  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there.

    I highly recommend getting therapy first off and if you want to talk real time to others in the same boat al anon was very helpful for me. Also, restart your own life. You deserve it. Join a church study if thats your thing or another group, take a class, join a fun meet up. Dont sit home. Exercise. Take walks and breathe the fresh air. Join a health club. Rekindle relationships with other loved ones. Improve them. Our difficult kids tend to suck all our energy so that our behaved loved ones get the shaft. Time to enjoy them!! You dont have to talk to or text ypur spn each time he calls and it is best to be short, cpncise amd refuse to respond to abuse or arguments.

    No is a complete sentence.

    Most of all, learn to love yourself. Therapy and al anon can really help with that.

    I am sorry for what you are going through. Its not fun, but we can learn to have fun again, even if our kids are imploding. Our suffering doesnt help them one bit.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017
  4. RN0441

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

    I am sorry to hear what you are going through. It was hell on earth for me. There really is no other way to describe it. My son went off the rails at 15. I recently had a picture of him and my older son pop up on Timehop. It was from right before the trouble started with youngest son. I am so glad I did not know what was ahead of me or I would have run for the hills! It made me so sad to see that because I really mourn for that time when he and our family were all still undamaged by all the hell that followed.

    Your son is very young and that makes it even harder. But you cannot allow his behavior to continue. I still block my son when he says or does things I do not approve of and it bothers him. Good. I have been seeing a therapist to help me form healthy boundaries with him. He needs it as much as I do. He is slowly moving in the right direction but at a snail's pace. I know if we had not sent him away when we did nothing would have changed. He said today he is working and going to school now. He is happy about that. He could not do that here for some reason. We tried it many times.

    You are very lucky you have a place for him to go. I would not let him return under ANY circumstances. Even if he went to rehab - which sounds like what he needs - he'd have to go to sober living or someplace else. It never worked out having our son back home. It didn't last.

    We love our kids unconditionally but our love has CONDITIONS! I learned that from my therapist. I needed to hear that. I was so confused.

    I hope that you have a significant other or friends or someone that you can talk to for support. I felt my friends needed a break so I found a therapist and she really helped me through the rough spots. She has since left so I am thinking about taking her recommendation to see someone else once a month or so. This is not a sprint, it is a long and hard journey for most of us.

    The good new is we are here for you!
     
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  5. Go slow mama

    Go slow mama Member

    Thanks for the responses.

    I should have said, yes I am in therapy, weekly. It helps a great deal and I really gel with the therapist.

    I work in a high stress environment that means I am actively helping others all day long, in some really tough circumstances.

    I know I need to exercise, eat better, go out, join a club or take a class...I know all of this but lack the energy to make any of it happen. I am taking medications for depression and have been for years now.

    There is just a lot of sadness, loneliness, I don't have a partner.

    I still find my mind is consumed with thoughts about my son all or most of the day, I have difficulty being present because of it. I have gone through many stages in this, kicking him out was not something I thought I would do, until it came down to it and there really was no choice, either he stay and destroy everything I've worked for, because his criminality could cost me my job, or I kick him out. He trespassed against me and I had to stand up, I miss him, as crazy as it was, I miss him and the house feels empty.
     
  6. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Just sending supportive hugs your way.
     
  7. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    You are telling my future. My prayers are with you and with all of our difficult children who are out of our control, and out of our hands. They have their own paths, and even if some of them (like mine) are still technically "minors", we can't make them do anything they are not themselves willing to do. I have learned this the hard way.

    You are on the right path. Hugs to you.
     
  8. JaneBetty

    JaneBetty Active Member

    Go Slow, I'm sorry you're missing your son. Hugs to you.
     
  9. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I think this is what used to be called the "empty nest syndrome."

    When I was your son's age the typical mother was "stay at home." Of course, now too, home is the center of most mother's lives. But back then it was not so sanctioned for the typical woman to have a career or diverse interests beyond home, except for the purely social. So when the kids left, the mother, who in theory defined herself pretty much only by this role, was "empty." How disparaging.

    So here we are, 2 generations later. And we have jobs and careers, some of us, and varied meaningful roles in our lives, as we choose and our life situations allow. And what do we have?

    Empty nest syndrome. Those of us with difficult children, no matter how varied and complex are our responsibilities and identities--are defining ourselves AND OUR LIVES in terms of our children!!

    What happened here? What is going on?

    Are we atypical mothers? Did for some reason we, all of us, from the outset give too much, or need too much from our kids, or what? That we have given up so much space and emotional energy in ourselves, of our daily lives?

    Are these questions a manifestation of mother blame that I look to myself as the problem, instead of my child, culture, or world? Instead of accepting that this is the way that some kids grow up. That development is not an ever upwardly ascending line.

    I really, really think so. I think what unites all of us mothers here is the tendency to look to ourselves to be over-responsible for what happens. We feel culpable.

    Why? Or the more useful interrogatives: how and why. What will I do to change my orientation? How will I change paradigms? How will I begin to make myself the center of my world?

    And what are the barriers that get in my way, when I think about acting from who I am and what I want?

    How will I begin to listen to myself and to factor myself into the equation which is my life?

    Consider myself, first.

    My own feelings. My own needs. My own wants. My own desires. My own gifts. My own limits. My own priorities. Myself as my focus.
    Yes.
    We are looking here at a slice of time, a moment, not a life.

    I worked with prisoners as a career; typically "hardened" criminals who had either made a horrible, horrible mistake or a long series of bad ones.

    If I had five dollars for every time I asked about their mothers, I would be fabulously wealthy.

    What did your mother think? What did your mother do? How did your mother handle it? Did she cry? Did she yell? I swear, I spent half my days focused on mother-survival under the harshest of conditions.

    Guess what? Even in these harshest of circumstances (which none of us, thank g-d, will likely face) mothers survived. And guess what again? Even in these harshest of environments, with the most hardened and ruined lives, men changed. And mothers hearts opened and softened and bloomed.

    I have read that the meaning of a life is not known until the last moments.

    How do we learn to have patience and to let our children's lives have their season, so that we can free ourselves to live?

    One way: posting.

    There is no other way to live that I know (that works) than what we do here together.
    Now, I have my son back home. Nominally he is living in the other house we bought but he prefers it here, and I prefer him close.

    Can you believe that? This is the same kid that gave M a black eye and called the cops on us multiple times to get us thrown into jail.

    How many times did I throw him out? Dozens. (I did it again a week ago.) But I am changing, too. I am not as desperate and I do not feel as powerless as I once did. I do not need to have so much control. I know way less.

    I do not know if it is right or wrong to have him here. I don't know much, really, anymore. Except that I have learned to be a little bit more patient with myself and with my son. I give more. And so does he. I am grateful.

    I still believe in detachment. He was gone over four years. Homeless for a large part of that time. But....

    I believe that there might be a way for us to be close again, too. I am willing to try. And he is too. Actually, as I write this if I tell the truth, we are close. But it is a different kind of close. Like a process. A closeness of two adults. A negotiated closeness as opposed to a dependency. Isn't that remarkable?

    Sometimes I do not know how he forgives me. Me? Almost every single bit of the difficult past is gone with the wind. (I did read that long-windedness is an early sign of Alzheimer's, and can be predictive up to 10 years or more before the disease is formally detected.) Uh Oh.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017
  10. so ready to live

    so ready to live Active Member

    Hi Goslow. I'm sorry for your pain, for all our pain.
    I do believe this is the hardest time-when they are begging to come back and we know that road is closed for good reason. The pain is so raw. You have done the right thing. You have. For both of you. He wants to make adult decisions without adult consequences, that's not how life works. Don't spare him this lesson. I feel like when reading your story that the justice system has spared him many times already.

    I'm sure that you miss him. Do I miss my son? Yes, the healthy one, the clear-eyed one. It was a turning point for me when, after years of being all consumed with my son, I realized that all that was left was profound sadness for him, I had nothing else. I had sacrificed my relationships, my life. Then I saw my life had followed his "down the tubes" and the profound sadness NOW, was at how I was living MY life....
    Stay the course, we are in your boat, we will help you row. Prayers.
     
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  11. Go slow mama

    Go slow mama Member

    This is it exactly.
     
  12. Go slow mama

    Go slow mama Member

    This is important to remember, thank you Copa.
     
  13. wisernow

    wisernow wisernow

    Copa....what you said is beautiful!!!!
    "I believe that there might be a way for us to be close again, too. I am willing to try. And he is too. Actually, as I write this if I tell the truth, we are close. But it is a different kind of close. Like a process. A closeness of two adults. A negotiated closeness as opposed to a dependency. Isn't that remarkable?"

    I agree that part of the new reality is that we let go of the old relationship of mother and son and negotiate a new type of experience. Its almost like changing the dance steps from a frenzied disco to a calmer waltz! The difference being that both people respect each other's boundaries.
     
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