Son, 30, has been in jail over a month

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Laura P, Aug 9, 2015.

  1. Laura P

    Laura P New Member

    I know this post was started almost a year ago, but I am having a very similar issue right now. My son, 30, has been in jail for over a month now awaiting trial. He has gone from desperate to understanding to outraged and everything in-between. The emotional roller coaster is killing me. I almost caved in yesterday, I was on the website to pay the bail, but backed out. He has been causing heartache in the family since I can remember. Has been arrested 6 or 7 times now. Along the way I just wanted to help him, but I know my help was mostly just enabling him, and on top of everything I am feeling guilty about that too. I ask myself "what if I practiced tough love 10 years ago", etc, etc. He has learned to manipulate people like a pro. I don't know if he knows how to tell the truth and sometimes I think he believes his own stories. He has exhausted each and every family member (and friend) and I am the only one left that is talking to him. I have spent almost $500 on phone calls and commissary so far. This is after I promised myself I wouldn't spend another dime. Everyone loves my son and sees the potential in him, except him. He is an alcoholic and drug addict. He has two daughters, one that will never know him if he doesn't get clean. This is all so sad and depressing to me. I just want to see him do good. He has no where to go but a homeless shelter at this point. I never thought this would be in store for me when I had kids, it is the most heartbreaking thing to experience. Knowing that his choices are Clean and Sober, Dead, or In-Jail, haunts me every night. He thinks I am bailing him out, and I don't know how to tell him I am not. His trial date is 8/17. Please help.
  2. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Hi, LP and welcome.

    There is one more choice. "Rocking along like this for a while." My son did that one for nearly six years, alternating with In-Jail and Homeless. Your son likely has done it too, for a while. LP, most of our DCs don't die, and jails are overcrowded so they don't keep them nearly as long as they should, in my humble opinion, and some of them do get clean and sober in time. Your son is on a journey of his own making, and it is impossible to know what is next for him.

    It will be hard to tell him, but you need to tell him. Keep it short, and simple, and get off the phone quickly. Don't subject yourself to his abuse.

    You: Son, I've been thinking about this a lot, and I love you, but I am not going to bail you out of jail this time. I'm sorry.

    Then...the heat will start, and again, keep it simple: I'm sorry. I love you. I'm sure you will figure things out.

    Don't engage and don't fall into the guilt trap.

    Like you said, he is a master at manipulation. My son was too. I fell for it 1000 times, and caved in. Finally, I could clearly see that nothing I had done had changed one single thing. His life was still a train wreck, and sadly, so was mine.

    I finally got sick and tired enough to learn how to stop. It didn't come easy and I made a lot of mistakes as I learned how to stop. But that's okay, too, LP. We are not perfect, and being perfect isn't the goal.

    Doing something good for them and for us is the goal. The sooner you and I can get out of the way and stay out of the way, the better off EVERYBODY is.

    Today, start standing back. Work on YOU. Read Codependent No More by Melody Beattie. That is a great first book for we enablers. She is a straight talker and what she says resonates very clearly.

    Keep posting here. We understand your pain and your grief and your fear for your son. We also understand how sick of it all you are.

    If you are sick enough...start the process of change in you. It will be hard, make no mistake about it.

    Having him in jail actually will make it easier on you. Because he can't "get at you" so easily.

    We care. We get it. Warm hugs today.
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  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have to go to work (yes, on Sunday) but I'll give you a quickee suggestion. I am sorry you've been on this roller coaster for ten years. Time to get off and take care of YOU and your other loved ones w ho are pushed out of your space because our Difficult Child tends to take up all of us and that's not right, in my opinion.

    Don't answer his calls, except for one call once a week for five minutes. He can write to you. It is too emotionally draining for you to hear him begging and lying all t he time. Whether you talk to him a lot, give him money, or take better care of yourself and those who honor and respect you, he is not going to change. You tried this. If he ever does change, it will be of his own free will with no family influence. In fact, I believe the more we help them out (which isn't REALLY helping them out), the more they think "So if I get into trouble, Mom's th ere to get me out of the mess."

    As long as he lives and cohorts with criminal types he can have bad things happen to him and giving him money, which could be used for drugs even in jail, he is in danger and that's hard to live with. But you can't change him. You can only change yourself and your reaction to his behavior.

    If you decide on this option expect him to rant, yell, tell you how you are the wost parent/person on the face on the earth and I would't listen to that either. I'd warn him that any abuse of you will result in an end of your call and that you will not read any abusive letters. You'll be glad to discuss things calmly for a short while, but no abuse. And this isn't YOUR fault and you don't want to hear the lie that it is.

    Hugs and I know others will come along with options as well.
  4. Laura P

    Laura P New Member

    He's been calling like 50 times so far today. I have not answered while I formulated a letter I can simply read to him. Childofmine, I will use your words too! Thank you SomewhereOutThere for your kind words. This forum is such a blessing. Here is the letter I wrote:


    I have a vivid idea of what you are going through, don't think for a minute that I don't. As a mother who loves her son, believe me, I don't want to see you in pain. And I know you don't want to hurt me anymore. We both want to make it better for each other. But the only way that can happen is if we both take care of ourselves, and say the Ho'oponopono prayer for each other. And this means I cannot do what you want me to do. I can only hope that my prayers are reaching you.

    This I can tell you, God is working in both of our lives right now. Where you are right now is between you and God. I have no right to butt into his plan for you by bailing you out 8 days before your arraingement. This is bigger than us Sean. My “help” kept you alive up to this point. I know you know how much I love you and want to see you clean, sober and living a productive life. I want you to stay strong and focused and deal with whatever life is handing you right now, because there is a light shining down on you which will set you free.

    Here is my prayer for you which I will repeat over and over every day:

    I am Sorry – for whatever and all I did to make this experience manifest itself. I take full responsibility.

    Please Forgive me - I ask for forgiveness from God and from myself; to release and let go of what has caused this suffering

    I Love You – even when you don't love yourself and you break my heart, and I love myself.

    And I Thank You - for this opportunity to clear and let this go.

    We must practice complete responsibility for our deeds and actions.

    I hope you understand.

    Love you, with all my heart,

  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Laura, why are you taking so much of the responsibility for what he did? In reality, you did nothing wrong. Why give him fodder to start yelling at you that even YOU admitted you caused it.

    I would make t he letter shorter and more concise and emphasize that you love him but won't help him destroy himself. HE is destroying himself. You aren't. Unless you introduced him to drugs and criminals, you are not responsible for what a grown man does, not even your son, no matter how much he (and all of them) whine about how you made them sit in a corner when they were six years old or yelled at them for tracking muddy boots on your rug. That isn't why this manifested. It manifested because he wanted it to and they likes the way drugs make him feel and he's cool hanging with criminals. He just doesn't want to be caught and he wants you to save him when his "fun" is interrupted by the men and women in blue. To add injury to insult, he wants you to feel his pain and be guilty because YOU made him do it because you forced him to eat his vegetables.

    This is just my opinion.

    I hope it helps you, whatever you decide to do and hugs for your hurting heart.
  6. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I agree with SWOT on this one. You are NOT responsible for his CHOICES. HE got himself to where he is today; NOT you.

    Do NOT in any way take responsibility for his being imprisoned, for whatever consequences he has to face in the future. It's a huge mistake to do so.

    Please, please, do NOT read him that letter. It will be the worst mistake you could possibly make with him at this time.

    All you would be doing is giving him about the most potent weapon to use against you possible.
  7. Laura P

    Laura P New Member

    Well, I guess God didn't want me to read the letter either because he stopped calling! Thanks for your input SomewhereOutThere and GoingNorth. I will certainly rethink reading it to him. Tomorrow is another day.
  8. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi LP, I'm coming in a little late on this. I have read everyone's responses and you have received good advice.
    I am so sorry you are dealing with this. I know all too well what it's like. My son is 33 and has been in and out of jail many times. I never bailed him out and glad I didn't. Not for lack of effort on his part as he begged plenty.

    I read the letter you wanted to read to your son and I'm glad you have not done so. One thing I have learned in dealing with my son is the fewer words spoken the better.

    You said your son is very good at manipulating. When dealing with someone like this you need to be very careful what you say to them as they will take it, twist it and use it against you.

    The last thing you need to do is own any responsibility for a 30 year old man's poor choices.
    I don't know what your son did to earn being in jail but I'm pretty sure you were not a part of it.

    Your son is a grown man, you need to step back and let him deal with the consequences of his actions.

    Keep posting, let us know how things are going.

    We are here for you!!

    ((HUGS)) to you....................
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have an alternative to your letter. Use it or junk it.The choice is yours. I would say little.

    "Son, I love you and am sorry your choices landed you where you are. I hope you learn from it." Period. If he starts to argue with you, "Ooooh, dinner is ready. I've got to go. Bye."
  10. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Laura, I understand how scary it can be when our precious adult children are in jail. My son has been there multiple times and he also abused drugs and alcohol. He is 26.

    You are very likely a turbulent stew of emotions when it comes to him because you are setting a new boundary. You know he won't like it at all and will push back hard. You are trying to soften the blow by doing a lot of explaining why. I know because I did that too.

    Remember this: drug addicts and active alcoholics have a #1 love in their lives: their drugs and their alcohol. Everything and everybody takes a back seat to that. Most of them spend all of their time figuring out how to get more, any way they can. They will use anybody. They will steal from their own parents and grandparents. There is nothing or nobody that is sacred. My son stole from me and multiple family members and friends multiple times. When they see in jail and really, unable for the first time in a long time to get what they want when they want it, they become enraged and go back and forth between coercive manipulating and intense fury. They are trying to shake us so we will react.

    Don't do it. He is in the best possible place besides rehab right now. Let him stay there as long as possible.

    Explaining and trying to get his attention and trying to teach right from wrong is useless. He knows all of this. He wants what he wants and that is all there is.

    The less said the better. Tell him you love him and you want the best for him.

    You have not caused this in any way, shape or form. He is a grown man making his own decisions.

    Start working on yourself to let go of your guilt and shame and the need to enable.

    The more you enable and protect him from real life consequences for his actions, the more you are hurting him and preventing him from dealing with life on life's terms. He has to feel the pain of his own life decisions before he will be motivated to change. Don't be the safety net that prevents that. It feels like love but it is the a crippling love. Learn how to get out of the way so he has a chance to change. That starts with letting him stay right where he is and stopping any financial support at all.

    I know this is very hard to learn to do. After a lot of back and forth I learned to do it, not perfectly but imperfectly. That is just fine and the best we can ever do.

    Read this site. Read books. Start going to alanon. It saved my life and taught me how to let go and stop enabling. We care here. We understand.
  11. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    I totally agree with Child....absolutely. My son who is 23 has also been in jail several times. Sometimes it was a relief to have him there because then at least I knew where he was, knew he had shelter and food and was less likely to overdose!!

    So really if you bailed him out where would he go... would he really be safer if he has access to drugs and alcohol? Probably not.
  12. jude-in-nj

    jude-in-nj Member

    This sounds exactly like my son and what we are dealing with..
  13. jude-in-nj

    jude-in-nj Member

    What was the outcome of your sons court date Laura?