Sorry I have been lurking

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by hopeandjoy66, Aug 7, 2014.

  1. hopeandjoy66

    hopeandjoy66 Member

    I have been lurking on this website for probably six weeks or so. As many of you have done, I came upon it feeling desperate for answers from anyone who may understand this ordeal that I am a part of( but not really).
    I can't tell you how many times, I have come so close to posting and I stop myself, telling myself that I am not the difficult child's mother. How can I possibly understand the situation. However the more I read, the more I realize that our difficult child's actions affect everybody including the mean old step mother (me) who isn't entitled to give advice because he is not my son. I will give the shortest version that I can and then l need advice.
    difficult child 31, has been diagnosed with bipolar in his early twenties. He lives on his own and just until recently has had a job. When he takes his medications he manages to cope okay. I beleive he may also have a personality disorder as well. (Very, very shy/ not good in any social interaction. Can not make eye contact.) Just MHO. When he takes his medications is tends to level out on the more depressive side of the scale, which must be difficult, however, over time he starts to resort to weed then start progressing to cocaine or meth. I think, he likes self medicating as he becomes a extravert and I think he enjoys his new found confidence while using. Well, as we all know, it doesn't take long for things to get out of hand. He has done this many times and drugged/ manic is quickly out of control. This last episode, involved us rushing to the hospital when a doctor from the ER called to say that he has been stabbed in the neck and is on life support. Very scarey. The long and the short of it is. His "friend" the drug dealer had moved in with him and then proceeded to stab him. Of course, the difficult child has very little memory leading up to these events. Once the difficult child was out of the woods, he then proceeded to tell us that the "friend" saved his life as he was the one that took him to the hospital. One would think an event like this would have a huge impact on him. I fear not. He was not allowed to go to the psychiatric ward as his mom and dad were told this is not a mental health problem but a drug problem. He had been hospitalized six weeks earlier and not followed through on visits to the psychiatrist or any out patient counseling. Nothing. Then proceeded to start the drug use over again.

    Personally, I can't say I blame the hospital for their decision. Beds are at a premium and why treat someone that isn't going to at least wants to help themselves. There are too many desperate mentally ill people that need immediate care to deal with someone that is a bit of a lost cause. (My words) . The difficult child has been back in his apartment for the last three weeks very depressed (whether that is meth induced depression or his mental illness I am not sure) All of a sudden, he is very talkative and cleaning up his apartment.Not his normal behavior at all. I think he is taking drugs again, but he told his dad he wasn't. He also told his dad that he was taking his medications, what he may have left out was that he likes to crush up his medications and snort them. Funny, HMM, they don't work so well that way. Who new?

    I guess, I see the drama starting once again. My husband is realizing that difficult child is an adult and the only one in control of his own life. I always tread lightly as:" I am not his mother or father" and I tend to come across as harsh. Maybe I would be different if it were one of my sons, but I like to think that I am more of an outsider looking at the situation a little less emotional. Maybe I am delusional. If I am, please tell me. The part of the drama I find the hardest is not what is happening to my SS, but what this ends up being for my husband. He has to communicate with the ex and she has a different way of doing things. husband is in the stand back and let things ride as he now realizes what hasn't worked in the past. His ex W is absolutely the opposite, although she thinks she has stepped back also. Because of there difference the ex has no problem going off on the deep end at my husband. "You broke up this family,(10years ago).You don't do love difficult child, you do not thing to help him" so on and so forth. This then puts my husband in a very distressed mood. If it is not bad enough that you have to worry about your son, now he has the berating from the ex. The mood is what gets me all worked up. I feel like I am constantly walking on egg shells around here. husband doesn't think there is a mood.

    Where do I go from here? They are right, he is not my son. (To be honest, there isn't much of a relationship with him and I). I do value my relationship with my husband very much. When all the drama starts my anxiety level starts to peak. I do struggle with depression and anxiety, but is very much in control the majority of the time. Part of me wants to take his ex by the neck and shake her until she can learn to communicate at an adult level. (What a adult thing to think?)Of course, that won't happen. What do you think? My fear this drama will be for the rest of our lives.
  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Hon, you are absolutely right that you matter too and this SS's drug addiction affects you. And I think it is smart to step back because there is nothing you or your husband can do to stop his dangerous dance until he wants to quit. You are actually lucky to be able to already be the one standing back. I don't know if your husband and you have talked about it, but have you two gone for marital counseling? This is actually a problem that greatly affects your marriage. Sounds like your husband should probably disengage from ex. He doesn't have to talk to her, but is choosing to do so. He is listening to her abuse when he has the option to walk away. So that is his detach from his ex like he is detaching from his son. And to learn he can't control his ex, his son's mother, if she wants to still enable his behavior. Talking to her and getting a barrage of abuse from her is not necessary and will not help anybody. But only he can decide to walk away from her.

    You have even less control over ex than husband... and stepson's dance with danger is not her fault either. It is nobody's fault except stepsons. What his mother does, what his father does, what you do...with him being his doesn't matter. It won't help him. If you can, go to an Al-Anon or Narc-Anon meeting, with or without your husband, to learn how to cope in a healthier way with the drama surrounding you. Your husband is allowing his son to draw him into his drug addiction and he either will learn to step back or he won't learn and until/unless he learns to detach with love, your life will be complicated by the drama he is choosing to engage in with his son and his ex. But you don't have to join the fray.

    You have 0% control over anybody else, but you have 100% control over yourself, your own life, and how you choose to handle the drama of others. Those of us on this board have mostly decided to detach with love from those who have drawn us into their own "stuff." It is hard to see someone we love, like your husband, struggling with his son's drug addiction in an unhealthy way, but we can learn how to pull back to live a fruitful, fun life in spite of the bad choices of others we care about.

    Lots of hugs and good wishes for you. Others will come along...many far more eloquent than me. Do something absolutely, sinfully wonderful for yourself ordering a triple hot fudge sundae with whipcream and enjoying every bite :) Look at the beauty of the sky and smell the flowers. Breathe in deeply. Enjoy those little things that we tend to ignore, especially when we are mired in the chaos surrounding us.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2014
  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome H&J. I'm glad you posted. Even though you are not the parent, you certainly are living in the difficult child world with the rest of us. And, for that I am sorry, it's a tough road.

    My first impression is that you and your husband would likely be well served to get in to some kind of marital therapy. Having a grown adult troubled, addicted, mentally ill child will put a huge strain on a relationship. Adding the ex wife in as the judger and blamer adds fuel to a smoldering fire.

    You may also invite your husband to check into NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which you can access online. They have many chapters. They offer excellent courses for parents. You might print out the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here and offer it to your husband and his ex.

    I believe you have a right to offer up your feelings of how you believe your ex is responding to the situation and how that impacts you. difficult child's take up all the air in a room with the drama and chaos they create, so having good communication between the two of you is essential. In my opinion, free expression without blame and judgement is necessary for us to sustain intimacy. Withholding our feelings creates distance and a wedge between us. That's where counseling can help.

    You can also attend Al Anon, or Narc Anon or Families Anonymous groups in your area, many find great solace in these supportive environments.

    Chaos, drama, blame and bad feelings may continue around you, but you can find support for yourself in the midst of it all...........I believe that will make a huge difference. You are really powerless in this situation, as your husband is, to attempt to fix this for his son. Only his son can do that.

    You're in a tough spot, in the middle of the fray, however not one of the major players. You're being just as impacted by all of it too. If I were in your shoes I would do my best to communicate my feelings to my husband without blame or judgement, express all of what I am feeling and make the request for the two of you to seek counseling. Then you will hopefully become a united front capable of withstanding the blows the son and the ex throw at you, with compassion and grace........ and without it harming your husband.

    If your husband won't go for help, then get support for yourself so you can find your own way through all of this. I'm sorry you find yourself in this place. I'm glad you're here. Keep posting, it does help.
  4. hopeandjoy66

    hopeandjoy66 Member

    Thanks to you both for your understanding. I have passed this article onto my husband a few weeks ago and he really does get it. He then emailed it to his ex. She gives no responses to anything she doesn't like to hear. husband doesn't like to ask her about it as he is afraid it opens up an ugly can of worms.

    I have talked about marital counseling with my husband in the past and he was definitely open to this idea. It is so easy to put things off when your not sitting in the pit of crisis. Instead, you kind of just relish the calm when it is there and put off what you should do, but you kind of know going to get counseling will be reliving these crisis situations and disturbing the calm.

    husband realizes that this causes all of us anxiety. When I have told him this s_ _ _ causes me a lot of anxiety he then proceeds to tell me nothing of what is going on. I am pretty sure I don't like this either. How do I support him if I don';t know what is going on? Another reason I am not okay with knowing nothing is this causes me anxiety as well. I like to mentally prepare if the big poop is going to hit the fan. It is a kind of self preservation technique. I haven't told husband to what extent this has started to impact me as I don't want him to have another reason to fret. I can definitely see where counseling would benefit. However, I feel I am the one with the problem, I am the one not coping well . So now the problem goes from being about difficult child to all about me. Me this Me that. I feel very uncomfortable with that thought.
  5. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    It is about you. It's not about difficult child. He's an adult and if he messes out that, in my opinion, is on him. If you aren't happy, that matters just as much as his self-made problems. If you husband won't go for help, see a therapist on your own.

    Why does hub have to check in w ith his ex? Why do you even want to know the gist of the drama? Have you thought about maybe a weekend retreat or getting away for a little while to clear your head? You have many people messing with your serenity and you really need to understand that you can't fix or help any of them until they want help. But you can learn to change your reactions to them and your thinking about the constant drama.
  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You matter as much as anyone. It isn't ABOUT you as much as the whole situation impacts you, you are a part of it, don't downplay the importance and value of yourself and your feelings. You have a right to express your feelings. It doesn't have to be either/or, either he shares things with you and you get upset or he doesn't and you get upset, there is a middle ground in there somewhere and that is where the counseling comes in, therapists are trained in helping you to identify the issues and find solutions.

    Your husband loves you and I'm sure wants the best for you but he doesn't know what that is, YOU do. So, you need to express your feelings and ask for what you want. That's the first step towards a healing for you and your husband. He sounds like a good man trying to take care of everyone's feelings, when he really should only be concerned at this point with yours and his.

    The problem is difficult child, the solutions for you and husband are with you and husband. Talk openly about your feelings and ask for what you need.
  7. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Nice cleaning up where my post failed, RE. You are amazing.

    Yes, yes, everything she said.
  8. hopeandjoy66

    hopeandjoy66 Member

    It is the Ex that phones him with the drama. Yes he is the one that answers the phone. That is now the drama that he brings on himself. I think he does this overseeing of the difficult child with his ex is, she is the first one on the phone phoning husband siblings and mother saying what she is doing and doesn't mention that husband has been giving love and support to difficult child. husband believes that now his family thinks he has been doing nothing for his son. He has tried to explain that he is trying to step back from all of the things that are out of his control. Detach, but they don't understand that philosophy at all. It sounds like he is bailing on his difficult child. Again, this is out of my control. He either needs to explain to his family better of his intentions or just suck it up. It doesn't help that his eldest sister is living with her and taking care of her schizophrenic son all the time. They tend to see her as a wonderful sacrificing mother. The more I write about this situation the more I am ready to get some counseling in this whole matter. Thanks for listening.
  9. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I am glad you joined us.


    I used to blame myself all the time, too. My son too came up with exactly the things I most regretted doing or not doing to justify pinning his drug use on me.

    Man, I was so miserable! My life devolved into one episode after another of how to help difficult child, of how to make up for whatever it was I had done that had made him vulnerable to drugs.

    Year after year after year, I did that.

    I felt like such a dirty, fraudulent failure, like I must be stupid somehow in a way that didn't show.

    I am so sorry this id happening to your husband. His son's addiction was not caused by the divorce.

    That is a game the addict and the mother are playing.

    That is the same game every addict plays with his family, in one version or another. The problem is not that a divorce occurred.

    The problem is the son's drug addiction and his addict lifestyle.

    You cannot help or change a practicing addict.

    If he refuses treatment there is literally nothing you or anyone else can do to help him.

    You can help yourselves.

    The benefit of the groups mentioned by MWM and Recovering is that, as we listen to other parents, we begin to realize that, however we raised our addicted kids -- religiously or not, never married, divorced or single parent, lots of money or no money at all, working mom or mom at home -- our stories are all so similar.

    It isn't long after that that we begin to understand, to really get it, that none of this is our fault.

    That there is no deep, dark, secret shame the difficult child is running from.

    The difficult child is an addict.

    That is what addicts do.

    They blame and accuse and manipulate.

    Addiction is a terminal disease.

    There is some question about which came first, the drug use or the mental illness, the depression.

    They do seem to go together.

    One of the moms here has helped us all to understand that a mental illness is not an excuse.

    It is just a fact. It does not justify irresponsible behaviors or drug use.

    Just the opposite.

    As you (and husband, too) read here, and post as you feel to, you will find that, like you, we have all been through so much. We hear one another's stories. We help one another stand strong in the face of one of the most destructive things that can happen to a family.

    I am glad you are here with us now, and glad you decided to post.

    Nothing about watching another human being self destruct is pleasant. None of it is pretty. Families are destroyed, retirements are spent, stress related illnesses come. Until we learn how to survive the devastation of our lives, the unremitting self destruction of those we love and feel responsible for will destroy us, and will destroy our marriages.

    But we can learn to see and understand differently. Once that happens, we can learn to function through the pain.

    It isn't easy.

  10. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    husband could tell his family that he is now responding to difficult child and ex-wife using something called detachment theory. And that he would appreciate it if they would devote the same kind of time he has to learning how to actually help difficult child instead of forever blaming him for leaving a bad marriage.

    I think he should do that.

    Standing up for ourselves feels so good!

  11. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Your husband is in a bad place, however many of us develop what we used to call on this board...RHINO That means we become haredened to what family/friends think about our grown children who are so difficult. Your husband doesn't have to broadcast what is going on to anybody. He also doesn't have to answer the phone with ex, as you pointed out. He doesn't have to listen to his family's remarks. In fact, his family would probably find most of us on this board horrible because almost all of us do nothing for our grown children, feeling that doing nothing is the best thing for everybody. He will either learn to detach from hi s family as well or he will keep doing meaningless stuff for his son just so he can look good in the eyes of those who have no clue what it is actually like to HAVE a grown child who acts like a toddler emotionally. Many of us have had to put up with criticism from the and friends. Often we need to detach from them as well as from our adult children. Your husband may learn one day that he can say, "Look, I love you, but I am not going to discuss "Joe" with you. If you persist in talking to me about "Joe" I will gently hang up. That topic is off limits between us." And maybe he will learn that he can't control the gossip that swirls around him and step away from it. He is also a grown man and it shouldn't matter what Dad, Mom, sis, bro, auntie Millie, kissing cousin or the cat think about what he does. But, again, he may take that walk, he may not. I never had to as my family was not close. But many people here do have to change how we deal with our "two cents" family members as well as change how we interact with our difficult child.

    Hugs again and hang in there. Usually the grown adult child eventually is so intolerable and burns so many bridges even with once supportive relatives that everyone gets it. If not, WE, directly involved, get it and step away because we finally lose any patience we had. And some people are 80 and still supporting an abusive, drug addicted, sick 60 year old son or daughter. Those sad people never really had a life at all. The people on this board do not want to be in the latter category so you will read a lot about detachment here.
  12. hopeandjoy66

    hopeandjoy66 Member

    Standing up for ourselves is something him
  13. hopeandjoy66

    hopeandjoy66 Member

    OPPS did something wrong above. I think I can develop rhino skin but will definitely take some work for husband. I guess what gets his goat, is the ex hardly associated with husband family when they were married. Since the divorce she has now worked into husband siblings lives and is more than willing to toot her own horn about this situation. My husband is definitely not a tooter. Unfortunately, the siblings and mom don't seem to see through the manipulation. This is all about revenge for her. She will be the one to look good. For her it is all about perception. She usually, doesn't tell the whole ugly truth about the bad decisions the difficult child has made as this will not look on her. A bit of a narcissist in MHO. Enough about her as this is her problem, but my husband has let it get the best of him at times. I found the phone number for our employers counseling office. One step closer to some healing.
    Thanks guys.
  14. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    It's all about letting other people do what they do and think what they think. Your husband is 63? I'm 60. By your husband's age he should well know he has NO CONTROL over who his ex talks to, who his siblings and other relatives talk to, what they think, how they believe and hopefully he will work hard on letting go of caring what they think. That is not part of your stepson, who is fast approaching middle age. The fear of family is on your husband and should not, in my opinion, have anything to do with how he deals with your marriage or his wayward son. If you have influence at all, I'd urge him to not talk to his family too much or tell them too much or to just not allow them to talk to him about his son as it is not their family or business. Hey, if they want to send his son money or offer him a home, they are free to do it and you can't stop them nor can husband. But they do what they must do, you do what you must do, and hub does wh at he must do and hopefully we learn and change, yes, even at 63. I am still evolving. At 60. His ex has a right to speak to whomever is willing to speak to her and your husband has the same right to pull out of the fray and not listen. I hope he learns to detach. There are other things to do in your golden years than to ruminate over what your nosey family thinks of you.

    I wish you luck. Keep us posted :)
  15. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    You and husband are the victims in a pretty typical game of "It aint my fault."

    This happens in every family to one degree or another. It is a very hurtful, pointless, destructive game which does not help the addicted child. It does enable everyone else to take that holier than thou position family members (and ex wives) with other, unrelated axes to grind so typically do take.

    You and your husband are not responsible for their stupid insistence on blaming instead of actually doing something to help, or for their sly and petty meanness to husband behind his back.

    That is their shame, not his.

    You are not responsible, and have zero control or even, input into what other people think.

    Again, how they comport themselves in the face of your family's tragedy is on them.

    I will say that my family and husband's, were the same way at first. I think that initially, this is a defense of "our side" come out of love. As time passes, at least in my family, those who may have been jealous or whom you have hurt, however unintentionally, will often use the vulnerability you feel over how this could have happened to your child to destroy you, to hurt and denigrate you.

    It's best to acknowledge the fact of their motivations and respond accordingly.

    You are here with us, now.

    You aren't alone with any of it, anymore.

    And that makes all the difference.


  16. hopeandjoy66

    hopeandjoy66 Member

    Thank you MWM and Cedar for your warm welcome and for the support I already feel. I can't believe the difference it makes just getting this stuff off my chest and a huge difference to now that you have been through it and are sharing your words of wisdom.
    Hope and Joy
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  17. hopeandjoy66

    hopeandjoy66 Member

    Sorry RE , I didn't thank you also for your warm welcome and much needed advice. Just a quick up date. husband and I went to see a therapist on saturday and we both took a lot away from it. husband was reminded that stepping back and getting off this merry go round that goes to no where is absolutely the right thing to do. I think this reaffirmed my husband thinking a lot. We have some work to do as "homework". I definitely think we are moving the right direction. Thank you "Guys"
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  18. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I am so pleased for you both, hope!


    The comfort you and husband take in one another will strengthen you both and be so good for your marriage. My husband and I have been married more than forty years. difficult child children combined with shenanigans family can get up to have almost done us in any number of times.

    With each crisis we survived, our marriage grew stronger, our trust in one another grew deeper.

    It's been a rough ride, but here we are, still standing. Like in that old song about how they've been together since way back when?

    And the next line is all about how they never want to see one another again?


    That's my husband and me.

    True story.