Still Struggling with Detachment

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by mumfromdownunder, Feb 5, 2018.

  1. mumfromdownunder

    mumfromdownunder New Member

    Hi everyone, I posted before Christmas as I was struggling with the fact that I decided I would not be seeing my son.

    I sent him an EGift card for a Supermarket chain here and also paid a rather expensive Phone bill of his. I text him on Christmas day and told him I loved him very much and wished him a Merry Christmas, to which he replied: “I love you too mum & Merry Christmas” and “I am Sorry.

    1 week after Christmas I started receiving texts from him and some missed calls – one he was asking me for his bankcard – I replied saying I didn’t have his bankcard??

    1 week after this he is sent through photos of 2 bills (no explanation) – one for a debt of $3,000 he apparently owed because he reversed into a car and did not have any insurance. The second bill was for an ambulance call out that was in my son’s name which happened on Boxing Day. I naturally asked what the ambulance call out was for, his reply was: “Suicidal & drugs, off them now, had a catheter in my d*** to Pi** it was at Christmas. Ive been working since still sober don’t even smoke week and now vaping with nicotine. Been stressin hard about money, tryna get food off dad was eating beef noodles & couldn’t sh*t for a 3 days. I replied (overlooking his language and utter repect of me) saying that I could organise payment for the ambulance ($949) luckily he is still on my health insurance policy and this was covered. As for the $3000 bill, I told him now that he was working he could phone the company and organise some sort of payment plan with them to avoid further action. He responded with “thanks heaps mum” and then proceeded to send me photos of himself with a dog that he acquired that day (in the background of the photos which were taken in his room where bongs???) I told him that animals need care and they costs money which he would have to factor into his budget (geeez).

    Fast forward a month later and I have received several texts again asking for money or for me to pay bills etc to which I have replied “No”. The latest text he is asking me (if he has to) could I store some things at my house and look after his dog. I love animals and have a dog myself but I would not be able to have another dog at my house.

    I am really trying here – it has been a long 4 years on this journey/rollercoaster and the last year in particular because I have been trying to detach (not see him). I don’t know if I am doing the right thing – I am all over the place. I struggled when I saw the ambulance bill as he has always threatened suicide as a manipulation to get something from me (was this because I did not see him for Christmas?) or just a lot of partying over Christmas. I have so many questions but do not want to engage too much with him as I just cannot handle the drama. I struggle with not seeing him but the thought of doing so gives me so much anxiety. When I receive a text from him I instantly get anxious and feel sick. If I talk to him on the phone I don’t do very well as he manipulates me – I would love to be able to visit him, have a coffee/\or a meal and catch up, like normal people (this is actually a dream of mine).

    Thanks for listening
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  2. Sam3

    Sam3 Active Member

    Hi MFDU,

    I think you’re right to hold on to that dream of having coffee and a normal chat. It’s such a small thing and hopefully will be doable before long.

    But it sounds like, for now, he’s just sharing (maybe even trying to frighten) when he needs money. Which is probably old news for you.

    I would hold firm on the money but keep letting him know you love him and you hope he’s well.

    Ive tried to do that recently. It feels like the right way to let my son know that I’ve detached, in part, so I can still be standing when he’s ready for a healthier relationship.
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  3. mumfromdownunder

    mumfromdownunder New Member

    Thank you Sam3, I have had a few more texts from him in the last couple of hours. He says he has to move out of the place that he is in and needs money for food and wants me to store things at my house. (this happens approximately every 6 months or more - i have lost count of how many times I have had to move him - on my own and the amount of money I have paid on rent and bills etc) The problem is, I am not sure what to believe. As soon as I engage in any way it opens up the flood gates. I would like to think that I could just pick up the phone and talk about things rationally but that doesn't happen. If I agree to storing some of his things , that means I would have to go and meet with him, this is when he really manipulates me (he cannot come to my house). His father lives in another state (and is of no use). I hope he believes I love him (I do tell him), but sometimes, for me, just staying silent and not engaging is the only way I can stay relatively sane. He or people may think this is cruel (I can't sleep most nights).. I constantly second guess myself and feel I have just given up on him because I am not responding to every little thing and he will soon be homeless..I just don't know .
  4. RN0441

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


    I do not know how old your son is but if he is homeless that is on him. I'm thinking he is an adult and can work and take care of himself if he is not drugging.

    Remember anything you do if he is not truly sober is enabling. If he were truly sober I don't think he'd be bothering you so much.

    I know this is hard. I have a reprieve since our son is in a long term program (and doing well thankfully) but that is my two cents.

    We really have to push them to live a clean life and sometimes seeing them stumble - a lot - and we want to rush in and fix it all.

    I am the same, when I do not see my son I do better. Even now that he is sober and finally acting like a normal person and coming out of the drug fog, it is still hard to let myself get close. I am very guarded because he has hurt me to my very core.
  5. so ready to live

    so ready to live Active Member

    Dear MUM. My heart goes out to you. So many of our stories sound the same.
    Your son knows you love him. Repeat---your son knows you love him, he does. It gets so muddy in our worlds, doesn't it? Do protect yourself, I think for me that was the hardest concept to learn-that I mattered above the mire of it all. The wisdom of not sliding down the hole with him was lost on me for so long. I really almost had a nervous breakdown before I pulled away from his self made drama. I still want so much for him, seemingly so much more than he ever has the desire to have.
    Your realization of just not engaging to protect your sanity is such a great step forward. The texts instead of the conversations or face-to-face says that you know a boundary, I too pray for a day with my son simply enjoying being with us instead of looking at us for what we can do for him. But, I have to live my life today still knowing my dreams for him may never come true. Accepting that reality and finding the ground you can live with regarding helping is a lifelong struggle.
    We get it, hold tight, you're stronger than you think. Prayers.
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  6. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hello Mumfdu. I am so sorry for the place you find yourself in, it is somewhere I find myself here and there, a realm of sighs, worry and questioning self, between detachment, wishing and hoping for change, wellness, maturity. The void of no contact and a yearning for the kids to just be better, do better. Then there is contact, a call a message, or news of my wayward daughters struggles. The effort to rise above and keep focus on what I can change renews itself. That effort is on me, my reactions. It is the only thing I have some control over.
    Life is never a straight path, there are ups and downs, but this stuff can make us go sideways and topsy turvy.
    We are walking a most difficult road, all of us here.
    The trouble is, our addicted adult children are making choices that cause extreme consequences and chaos. When the call or message comes, a desperate plea for this, or that, they are not thinking of how their choices have led to their situation, or even how it all affects our mother hearts. They are at a "woe is me stage" and we are the ones they turn to. It is hard, not to fall into the pit with them. When I am struck with sadness over my two, questioning myself, rewinding the tapes of memories, I have to work hard to pick myself back up again. Long morning walks have helped me, I pray and think as I go, and this usually calms me and gets me on the right track.
    So these were my thoughts this morning, because I found myself up in the early hours again, the still tropical humid air wafting through my window, the trees heavy and dripping with the nights rain. I wondered how my two were, and felt that sadness welling. I began to question myself, whether my heart had hardened, if the walls I built up to fend off the despair of the years of going through this were too much. If I had become calloused and uncaring.
    I almost missed my walk, but forced myself to go, I prayed for guidance and help to get through. There is a long steep hill on my route and as my breath quickened, my heart beat faster and the sweat poured, I thought of all of the times the kids had called, or showed up, lock stock and barrel, due to the latest drama caused by their drug use. Hubs and I would rearrange the house, our lives, lock our wallets in the car, and hope that this time, they would straighten themselves out. It wouldn't take long before the patterns set in and our lives were thrown into the chaos of their choices.
    The answer came.
    My resolute self began to speak to me.
    "You are not hardened and calloused. It does not help your daughters to allow them to manipulate you and walk all over you. You are not saying no to your beloveds, or rejecting them as your children, you are saying no to their choice of drugging and partying. No, I will not be your "beast of burden", no I am not going to let your choices infiltrate my life, my peace, my soul."
    There is a point, I think, no matter where any of us are on this journey, where we question ourselves. Where the line drawn between detachment and enabling becomes blurry and confused with our love for our adult children. This is when it is important to draw from our toolbox, be it fortifying ourselves with knowledge, reading, writing, praying, finding ways to shift focus and deflect the painful reality that a drug addicted adult child thinks of nothing else but the next high. Understanding that they will use anybody and anything to get what they want.
    Especially us.
    We become more of an opportunity for them, then people, I think. Rather than their mother, or father, we are a means to an end, and that end goal for them, is more drugging.
    It is a bitter pill to swallow.
    You have not given up on him Mum. Just as I have not given up on my two. I know that I am not the one to "fix" them. It has to come from them.
    It is not cruel to say no. You are not the cause of his problems, drugs are. You are saying no to his choices, refusing to allow him to manipulate you, refusing to let him use you and to make it easier for him to continue as is.
    You are not cruel, or hard, just as I am not. Maybe a little more wizened to the machinations of drug addiction.
    Hold on to that dream, that hope for a better tomorrow. I still do.
    Where there is life, there is hope.
    At the same time, I do not allow that hope to fool me. I just know that for now, as long as my daughters choose drugs, our relationship is strained. I have to shift focus to maintaining my own sanity.
    It will help no one if I allow myself to go down with their ship of choices.

    We are in a battle. With the choices our adult d cs make, the resulting consequences and our own desire to just see change, get a break from the whole bizarre situation. We are ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.
    Looking back at my photo albums, I never in a million years thought I would be at this juncture.
    Stay strong Mum and make sure to take time out for yourself. It’s super important to be able to sleep. There’s so much information out about how lack of sleep and stress affects our health.
    Your son is 20? I have been living with this for twenty years. That is not to say your son will not choose differently, he can. It has been only three years or so that I finally put my foot down, and my two know they cannot take advantage of me anymore.
    The sooner he knows that you will not rescue him from the disasters he creates for himself, the sooner he will learn.
    My d cs will be 30 and 39 this fall. I still hope that they will see the light and we can have that coffee one day.
    Until then, I will be very cautious about any interaction with them. They have taken so much advantage of me and my aching heart. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life feeling sad and in despair over their choices.
    Please be very kind to yourself and know that you are not alone.
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  7. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    Oh Leafy this truly hit home and encompasses so much of what we all endure.

    20 years! 20 years!! My dear friend my son isn’t even yet 20 years old and I am exausted and heart spent.

    I often clip posts and bits of posts to keep and reread when I am at low points. It helps so much.

    Leafy may I be so bold as to suggest you Fran this little clip and keep it near for yourself.

    Mama your a true warrior with a heart full of compassion.


    I feel your pain because I love your pain. You are not alone. Please remember to take care of you.

    I almost lost myself in heartbreak and sorrow.

    I sat with a woman at a business dinner today and she has 4 children. One who died in childhood from a genetic disorder and one who is Down Syndrome and dependant on them and always will be. I saw the supper and empathy that people gave this mother.

    I though to my self, how would these people act If I said my son is a drug addict who has been in jail 3 times. I hedge to bet I would have been met with awkward silence. We are isolated from open empathy but we all have each other here!
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  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I believe this to be true too. In the absence of that empathy, we are not "seen and heard" nor offered the "presence" empathy gives.....for me, empathy promotes healing and helps me to have that big internal sigh that says, "somebody gets it, somebody understands my struggles." That connection is an enormous relief......and we are often robbed of that because of the judgement towards addictions/mental illness and/or any kind of odd or different behaviors. So instead of that empathy and compassion, we are often judged, blamed & criticized which only adds to our pain since we are already judging, blaming and criticizing ourselves.

    Coming here is often the one place we won't be judged, blamed and criticized. " A safe place to land for battle weary parents." Priceless.
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  9. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I have read about invisible handicaps which I feel covers mental illness and drug addiction. The people look like everyone else so many average people with no loved ones suffering from these issues think they should act like everyone else. People scramble to open doors for those in wheel chairs because they can see it.
  10. mumfromdownunder

    mumfromdownunder New Member

    Thank you so much for ALL of your amazing and always heartfelt replies (my apologies for mine being so late - I was unable to log on to the site for 24 hours - I luckily could see your posts but not reply).
    Your words mean so much to me and help me through when times are dark. I, like Littleboylost, often clip different posts that resonate with me and they truly do help me stay sane and grounded enough be able to make, I guess , more rational decisions when it comes to dealing with Difficult Child.
    Leafy :youreright:

    Littleboylost - your comment about empathy is so true.

    I dread social situations now when I know people will ask if i have children and how old are they and what do they would be a definite conversation stopper if I actually told the truth - I never really know what to say now :(

    I am getting calls and texts again from Difficult Child still ( today worse than last) - I think I will block him for a couple of days now..

    Thank you all
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  11. mumfromdownunder

    mumfromdownunder New Member

    Leafy - thank you :)
  12. ColleenB

    ColleenB Active Member

    Mum, I know your pain and feelings of doubt and isolation. These boards have been a saving grace for me.

    I have real time people I have been able to talk to but like you all have mentioned I feel the awkward moments and judgement. Most people who haven’t lived it don’t get it. I have one friend here in town who does have a child with addiction and mental health issues and I’m trying to be a support to her. I don’t always succeed to reach out when I haven’t heard from her in a while and then I feel so badly, as I know how lonely it is. Since my son is doing well right now, it’s like I want to block out all those years and push the memories away. But I am aware that I need to have time to reach out to others and also to have time to reflect and heal. Denial it happened or forgetting it won’t heal the hurt and pain. Trying to move forward most days and seeing my son laughing and productive is for sure a huge balm to my wounds. I am a very forgiving person and maybe this is the real deal, I am so very hopeful for him.

    It shows that they can decide to make changes, it didn’t happen overnight, but he did begin making decisions that he wanted change. Nothing I ever said made the difference.

    I guess I’m saying don’t blame your actions/ reactions.. they have to want to change for their own reasons.

    Know you aren’t alone and keep posting ....
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  13. mumfromdownunder

    mumfromdownunder New Member

    Hi again, I am not sure what to do now.
    I have communicated a bit more (via Text) with my son over the past few weeks, which has not gotten be anywhere. He is still saying he has to move out of where he is and needs bills paid etc. For the last few days I have not been replying to his texts as he wants another $300 phone bill paid.
    My partner had to take out a restraining order out on him (nearly a year ago). Now, I guess because I am not responding to his last lot of text - he is threatening to come to my house.
    I am not sure what to do. I am at work now and he said he will see me when I get home. He said a similar thing yesterday and obviously didn't turn up.
    Do I block him now? I don't know.
  14. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    Tough call. None of us can tell your way to do. I I’ll tell you in my experience any support or enabling has lesf to nothing beneficial.

    Stand front and do what you know is right. That’s all any of us can do.
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  15. mumfromdownunder

    mumfromdownunder New Member

    Your right, I am just in panic state (we all know the drill). He says he needs help but that will mean money.
  16. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Money means drug money. If you truly want to pay a $300 phone bill (that is high and suspicious) pay the company directly. If you refuse you hand him cash and he throws a fit you know you stopped your precious son from buying more drugs. Never hand a dime to a drug addict. Pay yourself directly or don't pay if you don't want to

    Stand strong. This is easy. No cash.
  17. mumfromdownunder

    mumfromdownunder New Member

    Difficult Child turned up at my house. My youngest son was there, he wanted fuel and food, my youngest son dealt with Difficult Child (he struggles Badly with depression and anxiety). After all that Difficult Child told youngest son to take his dog, youngest son panicked and took the dog (as he did not think he would leave otherwise) and told Difficult Child to go as he was breaching his restraining order. When youngst son took the dog inside it attacked my dog and nearly bit her ear off. I got home to blood everywhere, rushed my dog to the vet and she is having an operation tomorrow. My partner had to call the police because of the breech of the restraining order ( and because Difficult Child turned up again outside the house after texting me for money again - he stayed for a few minutes and sped off) - police have finally turned up (4hrs later), my partner is giving a statement to the police now.
    So sad...
  18. RN0441

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

    Oh good grief. So sorry for you and all the drama. Poor dog too. What are you going to do with son's dog?

    How old is your youngest son? He seems to have a good head on his shoulders.

    You do have a blessing there.
  19. mumfromdownunder

    mumfromdownunder New Member

    I am not sure what to do with the dog, he clearly cannot stay at my house. I will look for shelters tomorrow (he really is a lovely dog - and none of this is his fault).
    My youngest son is 19 - he has suffered a lot because of Difficult Child. I only said to my girlfriend this morning how much better he was doing and the last couple of days he has been in such high spirits. It all came crashing down this afternoon with Difficult Child turning up. I have told him how impressed I was with how he handled the situation - he did so well under so much chaos and pressure.
    He definitely is a blessing :)
  20. mumfromdownunder

    mumfromdownunder New Member

    It's been a long night.. Police left around midnight and were going to Look for Difficult Child because of the breech of the restraining order. I started to get texts from him about an hour ago, saying he wanted food as he slept on the beach. I told him "no" and sent crisis centre phone numbers and addresses etc to him (which I have sent before)I also told him not to come to the house and that the police had been called etc.. He has fuel in his car - but he said he couldn't call them because of his phone credit (he could drive there). He got angry then and said I don't give f*** - that he is not on drugs etc
    I am taking my dog to the vet soon for surgery (after yesterday).
    I have blocked Difficult Child from my phone for a while as I am exhausted.
    Do I forward him anymore crisis numbers to him (he says he " honestly feels like killing himself because of this :censored2: with his family")I don't want to give him food as this would mean me having contact with him and I don't think that will go well.
    Am I doing enough? :(