Starting to cave..

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by tryingtobestrong, Jul 2, 2019.

  1. I am looking for feedback on this. I feel like I am starting to cave. I have been doing well not enabling my 24 year old who lives 1700 miles away. I don't send any money or pay any of his bills like rent, comcast, etc. I did keep him on my cell phone plan because that way I can see that he is still alive by seeing he is using it.
    About 4 weeks ago he asked if I would help him and his new girlfriend out by paying for airfare tickets to go to a concert... I completely ignored that text. The following week he send me a copy of a bill that I used to pay for the last 3 years and I replied that since I am not on his lease anymore I don't feel I should have to pay it. I got an "Lol" and that was it. No angry text back nothing.
    So since then he has not text me at all... It hurts.
    I feel like maybe I should help him out and pay that bill. It is around $130 for the year. I know my son is struggling with all of his bills but most of them were created due to his drinking and not caring what he charged.
    He is working fulltime but his pay barely covers all of his bills. He has many ER copays he needs to pay due to going there when drunk. I refuse to help with them.
    I don't know why I am getting this urge to help him out just a bit. I don't want to start something by paying one bill and have him look for me to continue.
    I need to be strong but I read that tough love is not always the answer. It kills me that we don't communicate. It hurts me that he doesn't reach out and ask how everyone is doing or how the pets are that we took him from him. I feel deceitful that I haven't told him about putting our family dog to sleep or about his grandfathers health issues. He has not even asked about anyone or anything since December so I don't know why I am caring all of a sudden.
    He doesn't return his dads calls either- so why am I feeling like I should help him with a bill??? ugh!
  2. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I think this is why you want to pay the bill:
    I think we want to stay connected to them. And if the only way that we can is to pay a bill, we will do that, in order to be close to them in one way or another. It is hurtful that he only needs you when he wants to hit you up for something. I think it is scandalous, disrespectful and insulting that he wanted you to pay airfare for he and his girlfriend to go a concert no less. Has he no pride?

    I am sorry he is hurting you, trying. My son is hurting me too. And I am suffering too.

    PS Please try not to cave. You would be rewarding him for being so abusive. I hate the way he is treating you. I understand why you want to pay the bill. But stick up for yourself. You deserve so, so much better.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019
  3. BusynMember

    BusynMember Active Member

    Yes, I paid everything for my Kay. At one time I would have bought concert tickets sending extra money for food. Stupid me. Most of the money went to pot and not what she asked for or said they were for. And my husband and I now marvel that we ever considered paying for Lee and Kay's entertainment. Or bought them a house, a mobile home, paid their rent etc., cars etc. It's like we read this forum and woke up!

    The facts are that our Kay is now 33, completely selfish and entitled, very child like, and unable to take care of herself. She and her lazy husband Lee have no idea how to delay gratification and if they cant get money from us, and we have stopped, they ask Lee's parents or panhandle. The panhandling shamed us into signing for a nice apartment but they refused to pay the utilities so it didnt last. Nothing we paid for lasted. Plus they have a child whom they raise in a very odd way. No vaccines or regular doctors. Just homeopaths. We would like to save the child but cps said we would need to prove abuse which we cant. Not vaccinating isnt abuse and they have medical pot cards and the child is doing okay healthwise so far. Apparently a tragedy must happen first. They dont beat him and he is well fed. Bare bones.

    I am on a rant. Much of how you feel and what you said hit home. We never hear from Kay if we dont fund her life. She doesnt care about us. She never has. At least not since she hit her teens. It hurts I know. I am in Al Anon. It helps.

    I cant tell you what to do. Nobody could tell us either. I can only post our story. Right now my dear husband and I are on vacation with our phones off and it has been so healing. We planned on staying a week, because our business is busy in the summer, but we are staying until we feel ready to go back. Plans changed.

    I hope you do what is best for you. I think you need to step back, think things over, and make a decision when you are calm. Emotional decisions were always my downfall. I would panic about my baby girl and my husband would give in. We decided to no longer do anything in the heat of emotions. Kay is not a little girl anymore. I tend to go back to think of her as a little girl when I panic.

    Wait is my best bit of advice. Calm down first and think. Take care.
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  4. ChickPea

    ChickPea Active Member

    I would probably tell him about his sick grandfather and the dog before paying a bill. That's why people stay in contact. Not for money reasons, but to let each other know about their lives, to hear each other's lives and know what's going on with loved ones.

    I'm not really understanding the source of the bill though... he sent it to you as if to say you should be paying it? I like the advise of waiting. Nothing wrong with waiting and assessing.
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  5. Yes he took a picture of the bill because it had my email on it since for the last few years I had paid it because I was a co-signer and well I just paid it. Even when his girlfriend was living there and she made a nice amount he sent me the bill. I should have stopped paying it then but stupidly thought I was helping.
    Thank you all for your thoughts. I see better now. Like it was stated he is disrespectful and doesn’t treat us well at all. There was no Thank u at Easter when I sent a small gift or at Christmas. There was no Happy Mother’s or Father’s Day either. I shouldn’t feel the way I do because he sure treats us like crap. My parents paid on some of his credit cards a few months ago when he was in sober living with the agreement he would pay them pack just a small amount monthly... he has only called them once since then. I understand he feels shame for what he did then leaving sober living and relapsing and then charging his credit cards back up again. There will be no help from them anymore that is for sure.
    I don’t have a clue if he is back to smoking weed or drinking either.

    Letting him make it on his own and paying off the bills he created would be the best for him. I lost my son many years ago. It feels like I don’t even have one. Still paying on all the bills from flying out to help him when he went into detox, sober living, etc. so why I get the urge to help him more when we still owe plenty is beyond me... Like someone said I guess it’s a way for me to stay in touch.

    As for telling him about his grandfathers health issues or our dog, he doesn't return calls and I don't feel sending a text is the right way to tell him.
    Thank you all again. I needed to hear from u all. I love this site and the help it provides.
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    Last edited: Jul 3, 2019
  6. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    Don't pay the bill. To me it seems you want to do it to be certain he will stay in contact with you. That should not be the basis for your relationship. In my experience it is best to stay in your lane and let him stay in his. By that I mean take him off of your cell phone plan, as it's one more way to feed the beast that is your codependency on this relationship. Read books, articles, etc. on codependency and enabling. Then focus yourself on YOU! You deserve a happy, healthy life free from the stress of your difficult adult son. Take yourself to a movie, take a hike, buy fancy coloring stuff and color. Do whatever you feel like doing that will help you stay busy, focused on yourself and will make you feel good. I know how incredibly difficult this is, especially when you first start doing it. But I promise if you practice detachment over time you find it truly does make your life better. Sending peace to you.
  7. RN0441

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

    You said you think he feels shame over not paying his grandparents. He SHOULD feel shame but does he really?

    I agree with the others. Close your pocketbook. You can't buy him into treating you the way you want or deserve to be treated.

    Focus on you and hubby. Your son is a grown man.

    It doesn't mean you don't love him deeply.
  8. BusynMember

    BusynMember Active Member

    This is going to be hard for me to share because it is so hurtful. And we tried to ignore it. But many of us here, including me, lost our kid long ago. When our own kids never call to ask how we are or to ask about anything other than what we can do to help them, they are lost. Honestly, my neighbors ask about our welfare and what we are doing, but Kay does not ask or care. My other kids talk to us, worry about us and are like good friends. We have a give and take relationship with our neighbors, our other two kids and friends/ extended family. But not with Kay. Hers is a one wy relationship. We give her money or we are basically cut out of her life and our grandson's life. Its true. Yes, giving her money would get her to call us and may even get her to agree to give us our grandson once in a while. Until we displease her and that means saying no to anything.

    Trying, in the big picture, $130 wont save your son or change his life for the better nor make him be caring towards you. Or sober and on the right track.

    Our daughter is so helpless by all our enabling that she wont even call for a dental or doctor appointment. We either call (or Lee) or she wont go. She cooks microwave food only. She never cleans. Lee does sometimes or their place would be a pit. Actually it is. Lee doesnt do a good job. Both are always high on pot and low on money. I never tell Kay about ill family members anymore. She doesnt care. The best I get from her is a quick, insincere "Oh, too bad." She doesnt visit them.

    Is she my daughter,? In my heart I always will hold her close and with love. My heart screams YES! But she doesnt love us in a normal family way. We are just money to her. I lost her and there is nothing we can do to her or for her to get her back. She is so cold to us, often referring to us by our first names, which kills me.

    Whatever you decide to do, it will not turn your son around or give you the relationship you want to have with him. Remember that please when you decide what to do. Be well. Prayers.
  9. Thank you all for your advice. I read everyone's reply and also went to Al anon Wednesday evening. It was stated how God seems to bring you to where you need to be to hear what you need to hear. The discussion at Al anon happened to be to take care of yourself and not feel like you have to help everyone. To let them feel what it is to struggle and become stronger. It went right along with the advice from all of you. I didn't cave then so very close but I waited it out and oh so glad I did. Today I went on to check his calls on his cell phone and he called a weed store again. So he is using and is not sober. I don't know if he is doing both weed and booze but it doesn't matter. I did find out from a contact at his work that he has been going to work and not missing time. I was so ready to "reward" him for that by paying a bill but nope. Besides, that's what adults do... we go to work and pay our bills.
    He did send me an article about certain dog food not being healthy for dogs but I didn't reply. My heart sank because he has no clue our boy is gone.
  10. BusynMember

    BusynMember Active Member

    Oh, I know the temptation to "reward" them for doing what every other thirty year old is doing, such as going to work. We infantilize them in our minds and give them monetary rewards, which they misuse, for acting like adults. And usually they are acting like adults only in some ways and are usually also being childish and unkind to us and using drugs. But we put a star on their good boy/good girl chart for this stuff that everyone does, and we buy them a toy for being "good" in one area of life, even if it is absurd to gift these adults as if they are in elementary school. I fight the same mindset. You are not alone.

    The difference is only that we are newly getting how useless it is to reward an adult for doing certain things right. In truth her life is a mess of her own doing and most money we send goes for drugs.

    I hope you keep going to Al Anon. I like the Twelve Steps along with this forum. I can not do this alone. I can not revert back to being what I used to be. My husband and I made promises to one another to cut off the money for good.To never allow her to destroy our family and our relationship again.

    We have little enough money left because of all we gave to Kay. You need your money too. You need your sanity.
  11. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    Reading everyone’s input gives me some strength. Your stories are not identical but extremely similar to mine. Right now I’m still working on detachment from 30 yr old homeless but living in car son. Yesterday I left at 7 am to go to the lake for the day. I didn’t keep my cell phone close by and was busy chatting and having a good time. I happened to check my phone when we arrived and had a missed call and 14 text messages. My son lives in his car and I pay his gas to the tune of about $300 a month in good weather. He said food pantry and soup kitchen were closed for the 4th and 5th of July and he was dehydrated (never just says thirsty) and had no food or water. I told him I was away and out of reach for the day. That’s when he pummeled me with text messages and verbal abuse and similar to what’s been mentioned in threads starts to call me by my first name. Just trashing me. Saying I’m a b&@!? And should never have been a mother. I don’t take care of my children. Etc. I’m back in town today but have blocked his calls. He’s going to need gas today and it just feels like by my continuing this that I’m saying to him. You win and what you’ve said is right. But I don’t know how to stop the filling gas. Plus there are plenty of things I pay regularly for him to the tune of $500 a month. How will I ever get strong enough to stop this vicious cycle of behavior? Sometimes I feel like a hopeless case.
  12. BusynMember

    BusynMember Active Member

    Cant he walk? He is a young man in of his life. Maybe buy him a thrift store bike. He is doing what Kay does, abusing you then acting like you are supposed to be a "good mother" by supporting him at age 30. Im late to this game but I finally see how silly this is. We are not lifelong caregivers to our grown kids. How long do we? For life?

    When Lee and Kay need another car they are not going to get one from us. And we stopped the gas. That enraged Kat but we are not going to pay her anymore in exchange for her not blowing up our phones and allowing us a few hours per month with our grand son. Sane mothers dont suppirt 30 year old kids. I am so sorry. Your son sounds a lot like Kay.

    Stop doing it. It gets easier when you see he survives fine. He isnt dehydrated. There ate drinking fountains. He can get free cups of water in fast food places. Buy him a cup. He can.fill it with water at a gas station rest room. Or a restaurant barhroom Our food kitchens were open.both yesterday and today. I think he is playing with you. We had to take a giant step back and talk to others but we did it. Go to Al Anon.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2019
  13. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    JPG, Hi. I have a 30 year old homeless son too. The only difference is he is paying 300 dollars a month of his SSI money to sleep in a garden shed in a big metro a couple of hours from me.

    He gets himself into messes where he spends nearly all of his money by the first week of the month. I do not help him financially now. I don't know exactly how he manages it, but he gets through the month until the next check arrives. In a sense this is giving him a sort of confidence and a goal. He verbalized to me last week: I just have to figure out a way to manage my money better.

    He is not disheartened by the situation. He is challenged by it.

    My son has done the things your son does: the catastrophization of circumstances; calling me by my first name; the hostility. It seems that capitulation is what stops it. But it's the reverse. Giving into the impulse to rescue just feeds the cycle. It's like yeast and sugar. We give them the sugar to grow the dependency and the dependency fuels the hostility. He hates it when he puts himself in a one down, dependent relationship with you. And then he takes it out on you.

    And the result? You get pummeled and blamed for a situation that he himself has created and only he can change. But actually, that is only part of it. You and he together have created the cycle of dependency. The challenge is to see it this way. You are not dealing with gas. The gas is only the smokescreen. You are dealing with dependency. The challenge is to see your role in it and to stop it.

    Think about it. If you are going to get battered by him anyway, why engage? Understand that the battering will come...but walk 50' away so that he is battering air and then, eventually, the challenge becomes internalized so that he understands that he is the one who is creating the crisis and he is the one who needs to fix it.

    We are hooked. That's for sure. But I don't think I am hooked because of my extreme concern for my son. I think my concern is about myself. We need to play ball on our own courts. Not on theirs. And handle our own feelings in ourselves. And let them do the same.

    Finally. Please don't be so hard on yourself. This is hard. Beating up on yourself doesn't help.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2019
  14. I noticed with my son he will call his dad by his first name when he used to talk about him to me. I wonder why they do this. Pretty sure he called me by my first name as well esp. to his peers, etc. So disrespectful.
    I am so glad I didn't pay any bill or put money towards any bill.
    He would blame me for everything as well and told me I was a horrible mother. Even called the police on me once because I called them for a welfare check on him...
    I pray we all get our children back someday.
    Awful to say but it is like they have passed away already. Not like I have any type of relationship with mine at all.
    It kills me when I hear my friends talking about their sons (who graduated with mine) buying houses or getting married, etc. They are so on point and loving life.... My son, well, he doesn't have a car or a house. Does have a full time job and I am grateful for that. Still entwined in mind altering drugs but this is his life.
    Hoping he sees that mommy and daddy are done paying his bills now and maybe he will get it straight sooner than later.
  15. BusynMember

    BusynMember Active Member

    I feel badly for you. My daughter Kay doesnt have a normal relationship with us. I doubt she ever will. My other kids are so different from her. They act with love and kindness toward us. That contrast shows us how odd Kay is. I sometimes wonder if she loves anyone at all. She is only nice temporarily if people give her things she wants.
  16. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    My daughter is in a good place right now. I know this could change tomorrow or in 2 years. I just have to appreciate what is in this moment. I don't know if my daughter got better because I stopped enabling her or if it would have happened anyway. It took some time, but once I quit the enabling our relationship got better. I think it changed and became one in which we are on more equal terms as adults, rather than me still "mothering" her. That doesn't mean we don't still have arguments or bad times, but we seem to get past them much more quickly now. I also don't dwell on her like I used to since I am much more focused on myself. I know that alleviates a lot of my stress. I strongly advocate for not paying phone bills or gas. Anything you are relied upon to pay will cause issues. You will resent it and your difficult adult child will expect it, find ways to take advantage of it, and push for more. It's one thing to take them out for a meal now and then or fill up their tank after you've had a visit. It's completely different when you always pay for gas, phone, food, housing- anything that any capable adult should be paying for themselves. I think it also adds to their feelings of helplessness and not being able to be independent. I know it's tough, but in the long run it is for the best.
  17. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    Thanks elizabrary
    I know it’s the right thing to do. I just need the courage to face the discomfort and the lash back when he has to abandon his car because he’s out of gas. Whether it’s extreme heat or extreme cold I worry about him. How I wish I could be strong enough to let go. I pray someday I can.