Speaking of walking like a duck....


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difficult child called last night. He has been calling more often lately but, oddly enough, seemed to have to go before I could come to the phone. Even last night, he talked to husband for an amazingly long time before talking to me.

I didn't think much about that, as husband always said difficult child sounded good and seemed to be doing well.

That wasn't true. Within about one minute of taking the phone, I knew things were not as husband had reported them. What it looks like to me this morning is that difficult child is jollying husband along so he can butter him up and then, make his way home.

I can't tell you how unusual it is that difficult child would spend the time he has spent talking to his father on the phone.

That should have been a dead giveaway to me that something was wrong.

I am remembering CAMom's thread.

I feel like a cheap imitation of a mother, this morning.

It is hard not to fall into those kinds of "if I had been a better mother, this would not be happening" feelings; it is hard to believe it is drugs talking and not the child I raised or the man who should be my son.

I do understand that those feelings are the enemy and that I cannot allow them to gain a foothold again.

It makes me want to cry, every time I think about the way it should be, and about what I have, instead.

This last manipulation is so blatant.

I am shocked.

It is always so ugly when you look it in the eyes.

husband says, like he always does, that there is no way difficult child is ever coming home again ~ but that was only after I had talked to difficult child. Before that? husband literally saw nothing wrong. (And interestingly enough, difficult child refused to talk to me at first ~ told husband he wanted to talk to him a little longer, and kept telling him funny stories.)

Know what difficult child said to me as I began unravelling the fabric he had pulled over his father's eyes and told him to stand up?

"Barb, don't ever tell me to stand up again."

difficult child does not call me Mom. He calls me by my given name, as he does his father.

And no, neither of us likes that.

I feel angry and shaken.

I forgot to tell difficult child he was raised better than to do what he is doing.

I forgot everything.

I was so surprised to find difficult child in the shape he was in ~ and I am horrified to think difficult child is working husband.

Maybe I am wrong.

But I know I am not.




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Staff member
Gee, I think "Barb" should have hung up the phone.

Seriously, Barbara, my difficult child tried that once and I let her know that it was either "mom" or she shouldn't even call. She never did it again.

I hope this doesn't sound too harsh but he can only treat you like you let him treat you. Don't let him do this.

Read the book that I told you about. I think it would help you see what he is doing to you and your husband. I'm glad that you see his manipulation, though. That is a great first step.

Remember that we are all right here behind you.



Barbara, despite the strength I THOUGHT I had gained with my own son, my first thought about yours was "But--maybe this is real, maybe he has changed, maybe he deserves another chance."

I can see now that this is NEVER going to be easy.

I do agree that calling you and your husband by your given names is SO disrepectful. But, I can also imagine that this has probably been the least of your worries.


(the future) MRS. GERE
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I was so surprised to find difficult child in the shape he was in </div></div>

I'm not quite sure what you mean here, Barbara. Was he drunk or stoned and your husband couldn't tell?

As for the first name bit, I would also put down my foot with that one. To me it's such a sign of disrespect. Your peers call you by your first name, not your children. And your son definitely isn't a peer.

I honestly don't know why you continue to beat yourself up about his behavior...especially considering how old he is. I can understand your frustration about your relationship not being what you imagined but his actions are his actions and have nothing at all to do with your parenting skills.

Big hugs- I hope you can shake this off and find something fun to do today instead.



New Member
Hi, guys ~ thanks for your responses.

No need to read through the entire thing. I can be so wordy sometimes I put myself to sleep! Short and sweet: Suz, difficult child was high. husband does not want to know that, so he did not. But you know what? We did go out and had a great time today ~ and that was a good, good thing to do. Kathy, you are right about "Barb" hanging up. These patterns were set up so long ago that I don't consciously think about it (like husband, I don't want to know it so I don't.)

I am stronger now, you are right, and I will deal with it.

CAMom, your post was so gentle and sweet. I think you will go through whatever is coming next for your son so much stronger than husband and I were, because you have the site, and all of us. I think our difficult child was twenty-nine or thirty when I found the site. Prior to that time, we believed with all our hearts that what we were looking at with difficult child was the result of poor parenting.


We ate ourselves alive, desperately chasing solutions or trying to address whatever the parenting deficit had been.

While I knew difficult child used drugs, it never even occurred to me that drugs were the problem. I felt we were the problem and that, if only I could find the parenting deficit, I could fix it.

You are here on the site already.

These things will not happen to you and your family, because you will learn how to be strong, and how to make yourself look at things you don't want to know, here on the site.




Suz, we did find something fun to do today. It is easier here than it was at home. And yes, I would say difficult child was high on something but not crazy high. So I would say not speed or crack but definitely something more than pot. Not alcohol. And husband...it is so unusual for difficult child even to call us. When he does, it is about money. Lately, difficult child has been telling husband he is working and needs nothing and just wants to shoot the breeze. And husband is happy about that. If I had been willing to be "friends" difficult child would have done the same with me. But his stories were so disjointed that a few questions took them apart. What difficult child wound up telling me is that he needs a car (we bought the last one) needs an ID and a license (we paid the fines and reinstatement fees for the last one) and is thinking about coming up north this summer after we are home to work with someone he used to work with because New Orleans sucks and ~ get this ~ there is no work there.

Same story, different day.

Kathy, I intend to order that book from the library tomorrow and should have it within a few days. Strange that I haven't done it already. Must be that part of me still feels that if I suffer enough, this can all be undone. Or, that I don't deserve to be healed and whole again as long as difficult child is where he is.

Or maybe I wonder whether I am wrong. What if it isn't drugs. What if ~ but what else could it be. It could be a mental illness.

But if it is, the drug use isn't helping.

It is strange that with all the reading I do, I have never managed to read that book.

I will ~ but it is interesting that part of me must still be either trying to bargain my way out of this or feeling that I deserve to suffer for what has happened.

So, once I posted this morning, I was able to take it a little further (posting always takes me out of that shocky place ~ probably getting my thoughts in order enough to write them out).

Kathy you are right. difficult child treats us as we allow him to. What he said (and this was years ago) about using our given names is that he doesn't feel we are his parents and that if we are not friends, we are nothing. This all happened in the midst of some crisis when I did not yet have this site (I am so grateful the site exists!) And at the time it seemed like the least of our problems. We were so clueless! We didn't like it, but let it go and concentrated on "saving" difficult child. You are right. "Barb" should hang up. This all started so long ago. And it worked because of the shame thing, I suppose. I was more vulnerable then than I am today.

I can deal with that now. And you are right and I will.

Anyway, after I posted this morning, I was able to analyze the conversation. I felt so crummy I cannot even describe it. With everything I know now I should be able to deal with whatever comes up without feeling that lost, shamed, failure feeling.

But that is how I felt.

For others of us going through this now or at some time in the future, this is what I learned.

difficult child is a master at taking us apart. The reason that works for him is because we want to believe he didn't mean THAT, he meant...something else.

And what kind of parents are we, to attribute such negative motives to our own son.

In a way, this works for difficult child because as decent people, we chastise ourselves when we judge anyone harshly. We say "Oh, I must be in a bad mood or something ~ what IS the matter with me today."

And we come out of the conversations feeling ashamed of ourselves because we have not held faith with our belief that this is a temporary thing and that inside difficult child somewhere is not only the child we loved but the man (or woman) that child was destined to grow into.

Man, those dreams die hard.




Hi Barbara,
I so related to your post--don't worry about it being lengthy--as you say, it helps to write it down and it surely is helping others as well.

When you say you knew difficult child used drugs but didn't realize drugs were the problem I had the same situation. I kept thinking it was bad parenting (she certainly told me iT was) and mental health issues, the drugs were secondary. Her stupid therapist even said this! She was using drugs because of underlying issues but the drugs were certainly why she was stealing and running away, not going to school, etc.

I think I had my blinders off the moment when I realized that maybe deep down inside my difficult child was just as she appeared on the surface--not a nice person! It finally occurred to me that what you see may be what you get--a selfish, uncaring person. Maybe there was no nice person deep down inside! I now think that she actually is pretty nice but I am so glad I finally realized that maybe she wasn't--helps a lot with the detachment thing! I feel like I see her for who she really is with a clearer vision now.

Thanks so much for a great post!


New Member
How dare he speak to you as if he was your equal. "Barb" my patootie!!!" "Your higness" while groveling on the ground would be way more appropriate in his case. Sorry that you were left without words. Sorry that he is still being such a manipulative jerk towards you and you husband. The fact that his tone changed when you confrounted him tells me that you were right on in your assessment of the place he is at and his manipulative intentions. Don't beat yourself up. Do something nice for yourself. (glad you and husband went out and had a nice time keep doing stuff like that) Don't dwell on this. Your difficult child hasn't changed and you cannot change him. Take care of you. -RM


Well-Known Member

I dont think you are too wordy either. I love reading your posts and how you work things out.

Your son is trying to manipulate you. Plain and simple. I dont care if drug use is the main problem or masking the problem. Does it really matter any more? He should be offering to make your lives better at this point not the other way around.

I have a somewhat differing view on the name thing than the others because my oldest does call me by my first name but there is a reason for it. I would be dumbfounded if the other two did. Billy does because he grew up from a baby hearing my mom call me Janet instead of Mommy and that is what he learned to say. She simply wouldnt call me that. He knows but that is what he learned as a baby to call me. It doesnt bother me now. Its also not a form of disrespect with him.


New Member
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: jbrain</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

I think I had my blinders off the moment when I realized that maybe deep down inside my difficult child was just as she appeared on the surface--not a nice person!

Maybe there was no nice person deep down inside!


HI, jbrain (cool name!) ~ Back when we admitted that what we were seeing had to do with the drugs difficult child was using, I went into this whole research thing on the physiology of addiction and recovery. I learned which chemicals in the brain are depleted when cocaine is used, or methadone, for instance, and which protein supplements, hormonal precursors, or vitamin supplements would help re-establish the brain's chemical balance.

The point being (and I do have one here somewhere!) that drug use causes chemical imbalances in the brain which don't just go away once the high is over.

Once the high is over, people who use drugs to the point that even the chemical precursors are used up suffer depressions the likes of which we cannot even imagine.

That is how drugs work.

They access all the good chemicals at once, leaving a deficit, an imbalance, the next day. If the person continues to use, even the precursors for the good things, for the things the drug uses to create the high, are used up. Then, other chemicals are drawn on to create the high, leaving the addicted person trying to cope in the world with a brain shot through and going redline.

So, I think your daughter, your good girl, IS still in there somewhere.

Drug use creates chemical imbalance in the brain. Sort of like antidepressants prevent the destruction of the feel good chemicals, only illicit drugs blow all the feel good chemicals at once.

I don't know where I was going with this, except to say that I believe it when they say those of us dealing with kids using drugs are not interacting with our kids anymore at all ~ we are interactiing with the drugs.

And they are such crappy things.



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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

I honestly don't know why you continue to beat yourself up about his behavior...especially considering how old he is. I can understand your frustration about your relationship not being what you imagined but his actions are his actions and have nothing at all to do with your parenting skills.

Suz </div></div>

You know Suz, sometimes I wonder myself whether I have some depressive thing going on, and whether I latch onto this stuff with difficult child to put a name to feelings that are already there ~ sort of justifying suffering I was glorying in anyway or something.

And I don't know whether that is true ~ and it could be.

But then, I think about how other parents enjoy their thirty, forty, and fifty year old children.

Grieving doesn't stop unless things stop changing. If there has been a death, the grief is sharper but eventually, you have gone over every hurtful thing until it no longer changes, no longer gives you more, when you look at it.

And then, you begin to heal.

A living child...with a living child, however old he is, there is change. There is newness, and that knife cuts as cleanly as it ever did.

Even if the newness is that it is all happening again.

Grief is grief.

I can't get used to it.

Some days?

I still can't believe this happened.

Remembering the calculating way difficult child interacted with his father just chills me to the bone. Taking a good look at and understanding the dynamic behind the first-name basis of this "relationship" makes me physically sick.

There is still so much I just don't want to acknowledge.

But sometimes, I become so angry that I could kill difficult child for what has happened to my son.

I think that rage is what I turn onto myself when I question my parenting skills.

Did you know that I used to be the Cub Scout Den Mother?

Just too much sadness sometimes, when I think of how everything turned out.

That's okay.

I can do this.


.......................................... :smile:



New Member

RM and Dammit, you sneaked in on me when I was posting that last response to myself!





Too cool.

I love this site.

And then, you had posted too, Dammit.


I'm not alone with this anymore!!!




(the future) MRS. GERE
Barbara, I understand the grieving. I think all of us have grieved or are grieving or re-grieve the "what might have been" relationship we don't have with our kids.

It is the following thoughts that I was referring to earlier with the beating yourself up:

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I feel like a cheap imitation of a mother, this morning.

It is hard not to fall into those kinds of "if I had been a better mother, this would not be happening" feelings; </div></div>

I say this with much affection, Barbara--- it has been my observation that you have continued to run these tapes over and over, like you are "stuck" in this negative self-talk for as long as I've known you. And I worry when one of my PE family members seems to be stuck. You mentioned the possibility of depression for yourself. Perhaps it is time to see a doctor and get evaluated?



New Member
I do think about that, Suz.

Therapy or an anti-depressant, I mean.

I was in therapy for a long time, actually.

And that was the repeating theme then, too.

Thanks, Suz.

It took alot of courage to write that, and you handled it well.

The criteria I have been using to decide whether to go back into therapy is whether I seem to be working through it.

We had so many years when we were told the drug use or the behaviors were secondary to some toxic, elusive something no one could quite put a finger on. (It was here on the site that I came to realize difficult child's problems were related to the drug use, not the parenting ~ how long have I been here now? Three years? And twelve of believing it was me or husband or some combination thereof, something toxic in our family.)

I was the mom at home, so of course that would be me.

And I am angry about that lost time, those wasted years.

But there is nothing I can do about it now.

Isn't it funny Suz ~ I can hear your voice in my head right now saying "And how many more years are you going to spend the same way?"

Did I get it right?!?

Maybe now IS the time to think about an antidepressantand/or further therapy, Suz.

I never have taken an anti-depressant, though I did try St John's Wort once.



(the future) MRS. GERE
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">"And how many more years are you going to spend the same way?"

Did I get it right?!?

You got that absolutely right. A loving mother agonizes like you have; a neglectful or abusive mother wouldn't give her actions or the past a second thought.

You deserve a happier, guilt-free, life, Barbara. :flower:



New Member
You must get past the blame game, and place the blame on the person that doesnt give a darn about your feelings. That is where I had to go.

I hate the fact that I cannot believe a single word, that I have to question everything that comes out of his mouth, and it is so exhausting.

Our husband's love to have their "simple minds" sometimes, and stop analyzing everything, cause it truely isnt going to make a bit a difference.

By the way, what is the name of the book that I think Kathy was talking about?



Well-Known Member

You were and are a loving mother. I can tell you with 100% certainty that my mom never gave it a second thought that anything she ever did or said may have caused one iota of any problem in my life. Never. She was a bad mother. I agonize all the time that I have done something that could have made things worse or harder on my kids. Should I have had the kids given my genetic make up? Well that cat was out of the bag before I was smart enough to even think about genetics...lol.

Now we play the hand we were dealt. Both of us have grown kids. Yours are older than mine but they are grown. We cant go back and reparent them now. Anything we did or didnt do was not done maliciously. You were den mother...I was 4 H leader and football coach. I ran concession stands. We did our best to be involved. What they do now is up to them.


A psychotherapist we saw put it this or a similar way--that our son, G, is still the little boy he once was, but that layers and layers were piled on top of the CORE G including typical teenage issues along with his drug use.

He said that, at age 17, it would probably take ten years or so for those layers to be stripped away, leaving us with the core person we raised and loved, but that it WOULD happen eventually.

He also said that therapy to begin digging through those layers was basically a waste of time for most individuals younger than 25 or so unless they, themselves, were motivated.

I'm not sure if this is all true, but it does give me hope.

On the other hand, I wonder if my mentality my son's entire life which has basically been that he's in the process of growing and maturing, a work in progress, and that, at some point, he would step over some invisible line and suddenly become the man we thought we were raising. Now, I wonder if all the maturing and growing in the world is going to take a square peg and fit it into a round hole and that maybe he's going to just continue to be who has always been, that square peg, but just an older and larger version.

Well, I was serious until I read that last sentence, and now I'm cracking myself up...


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Staff member
The name of the book is Don't Let Your Kids Kill You: A Guide for Parents of Drug and Alcohol Addicted Children . It was written by Charles Rubin and I highly recommend it for the parents of <u>adult</u> children with substance abuse issues.



New Member
I have posted and erased several times.

I just want to say that I think you should seek the help of medications for depression.

I was there. I couldn't shake the guilt. before I realized it I was in a very deep depression.

The medications helped me come back. I only used them for a short while, and it was trial and error to find the right one at the right dosage.

I didn't realize how bad I was affected by it until I started to get better.

But reading your post sounds like the way I was feeling. I was reaching for any explanation I could find to explain what was happening to difficult child and to my family and to myself!

The first time I saw a therapist, she wanted to hosiptalize me. That scared me enough to see that I wasn't handling the problem at all. I had to ask for help. That was hard to do. I had to admit that I couldn't control my emotions and I needed a pill to help me.

I am glad I got help, I didn't continue the drug as prescribed but I used it enough to get me out of the darkness I had surrounded myself in.

I hope you at least talk with a therapist, just get the opinion if nothing else.

I know your heart is hurting, I wish peace for you. I also understand your feelings and how hard it is to let go.

Don't you have a easy child?


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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: rejectedmom</div><div class="ubbcode-body">How dare he speak to you as if he was your equal. "Barb" my patootie!!!" "Your higness" while groveling on the ground would be way more appropriate in his case.



The fact that his tone changed when you confrounted him tells me that you were right on in your assessment of the place he is at and his manipulative intentions. -RM </div></div>


I am glad you wrote that, RM. Part of what happens to me is that I begin to disbelieve what I thought I heard or saw. When that happens, I wonder what is the matter with ME, that I would think such things about my own son, and whether THAT is the problem.

Especially when husband is able to take everything with a grain of salt like he does ~ but then, it is always husband who runs difficult child money or buys the car or whatever ~ or lets difficult child come home again after swearing he won't do THAT again.

Did you all read Hearthope's post about how she handled things this weekend?