Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Lil, Jan 7, 2015.
Actually, that would be where! Shall I quote the poem or just let you google it?
He's so helpful. Here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jabberwocky
But he's never even told me why he uses it. He can quote the poem though.
I just like it! And it is a D&D related poem! Well, Gary Gygax used elements for his game anyway!
Awww, dang. I'm so sorry. Yeah, that was fast. I (along with everybody else here) was SOOO pulling for him. Even when you expect it, it is SO disappointing. When you give them EVERY opportunity to get some traction. I wonder if he just decided not to show up for work that day you wouldn't give him a ride, so he could blame you for it, at least in his mind. And of course he wasn't worried about the rent. Mom will take care of it. I think some of them have that crap tattooed on the inside of their forehead: Mom (or Dad, or both) will take care of it. And we don't help dispel that myth when we tell them that we're done, that they need to walk to work (I think in your instance it was "unless it's raining"), and then call and OFFER a ride, etc. They get mixed messages because they hear that we get upset and say things, but then we are still there doing that stuff anyway.
In my case, when that was happening to me, I would get fed up and say things like "I'm done" in anger, frustration, disappointment, whatever....and then later soften and feel guilty or that I was too harsh. It helped when I could detach more from those emotions and say "I'm done" not out of those emotions, but from a very calculated, strategic, calm and certain "This is best for me AND you......AND I know you are capable of becoming an adult if you CHOOSE to - your choice" position. That took a long time.
Hang in there, L&J. I'm sad with you. Sigh. You sure did try.
I am so sorry that he skunked you once again.
Geez, I always sound like such a know it all.
Well, good morning and here goes:
I am seeing this time as a valuable, almost priceless, learning process. It's okay that he lost his job. He will find another or he won't and that's okay, too. If you don't feel that way right now, then if you can do it, work toward teaching yourself to feel that way.
Really, you rented the apartment to end the conflict in your own hearts over how to handle your young son's homelessness in winter. I think that was the right thing to do for your own peace of mind. For me, it never really had anything to do with your son. I know what it is like to have a child homeless in winter. It is worth the money to have the peace of mind.
It could be that your son will find another job but that is up to him.
This might be the time to have a conversation with him about where he might have been now (sophomore in college, right?) and where his life is going instead, and why. I agree with MWM that there are drugs involved. We knew drugs were involved with our son, too. We believed it was a little this, a little that, recreational use. We beat ourselves and each other half to death over where we had gone wrong as parents that we had two kids go wrong. Then, we learned: It was cocaine. It was meth. It was all kinds of horrible things that we just refused to see. (Though I will say that difficult child son was highly incensed when I accused him of using crack. That, apparently, is only used by poor people. WTF???)
This might be the time to mention whether this set of friends your son has developed such loyalty for have been good friends. This is definitely the time to have the conversation about theft and self respect and motivation.
Six months passes very quickly.
Prepare him now for the time you will back away and put responsibility for that on him.
This is his preparation time.
He could be a sophomore in college this year with parents who would willingly fund and house him through whatever advanced degree he wanted to take.
Instead, he stole from you and is living on the streets.
Now that he is housed, you and Jabber need to come up with a plan.
Have you discussed rehab?
I think your son needs to hear that you are sorry he lost his job, but you are sure he will be just fine.
I had to learn to say that.
"Oh, I am sorry that happened! What are you going to do?"
Or, "Oh, I'm sorry that happened, but I know you will take care of it. Everything is going to be just fine."
"I am not giving you any more money. You need to stand up. You need to become the man your father and I raised you to be."
"You were raised better than to do what you are doing."
He doesn't need to hear you ask whether he has eaten or whether he needs rides or whether you love him.
You do love him.
If you think he is cold, buy him socks. Bring him a special dish that he likes. Buy him those little envelopes of instant cocoa.
But don't ask him if he's hungry, or whether he has eaten. It is one thing to share largesse and another to take responsibility.
It might motivate him to think about things differently to hear about the wonderful dinner you two had last night, or the lovely trip you are planning to warmer climes.
Get him thinking.
If he is not in school, his life is his own and so is yours.
I think you need to use this respite, this time when he is not homeless, to decide what you need to see from him. Then, once you know yourselves, that is all you tell him.
It's like blackmail for his own sake.
And it probably won't work but it will help you to put limits on this crazy thing that is happening to all of your lives.
Here I go sounding like a know it all again, but I kind of do know. There will come a time when you will see things differently. For most of us (for me, for sure) it took years. I couldn't believe it wasn't going to turn around. I knew my son's heart, and it was good. It still is.
But addiction is addiction.
So, husband and I had to devise a plan. Well, husband didn't. husband had to devise a plan to figure out what to hay to do with me, actually. But I had to make a place in my head where what I wanted to see from my son had more value, for him and for me, than the things I wanted to protect him from.
Though drug use definitely compounds her situation, difficult child daughter is a different thing altogether.
Whatever difficult child son looked like he needed, what he needed was to stand up. Whatever it looked like he needed, what he really needed was to become the man his father and I raised him to be.
The thing I taught myself was that I would accept nothing less.
It was really important, for my son's own sake, that he change. I would be remiss in encouraging further dependence. For his own sake.
So, that's how I had to look at it before I could get myself to begin to choose to try detachment.
Detachment has seemed to help my son very much.
He knows we are not giving money. Not only has he stopped asking, but he's made enough money that he is buying things like sofas.
Even if addiction is not the issue, Cedar, your plan sounds great for any entitled difficult child. At the very least, you teach difficult child not to ask you for things and try to make you feel guilty when they find out it doesn't work. That makes your own life better. We can only control our reactions to difficult children, we can't control them.
My experience on this board, which goes way back, is that there is usually drug use even if we don't know it for a long time. And just like I did, we think, "Oh, my daughter/son is not going to use hard drugs."
I would add to Cedar's post that if you don't think it is drugs he is using (or that it is only part of the problem), try to spend your time trying to figure out what is wrong with him so you two can begin the long process of acceptance. From much earlier posts of yours, I remember that you said his DNA father had a lot of problems too. Could these inherited traits be rearing it's ugly head? From what I have read I can not see anything that either of you haven't tried, anything that hasn't come from a place of love and concern for your son to end up in this situation he created for himself except that there is just something off about him - possibly coming from his inherited DNA, that you don't have a handle on just yet.
It may be helpful, if both of you are willing, for the two of you to go to a therapist for a while, but it has to be someone you really, really like and trust, to try and help you sort out what may be wrong with him and healthy ways to deal with what he is bringing to you both. In my opinion, once actions no longer work, knowledge is king. With knowledge of the what you are dealing with, you can learn not only how to handle your own emotions about this, but healthy way to react or not react to him.
I know you are really, really angry right now and therefore feeling done. However in time other emotions are going to come into play and I just feel it is in both your best interests to talk to someone who can give you guidance on the best way for you to proceed.
Finally I would like to say that neither of you are deserving of this ugly behavior that your son has visited upon you. You both seem to very much be warm loving parents who have been willing to do whatever is necessary to help your son. He is just not aware of how lucky he has had it with the two of you as parents. A strong dose of tough love from people who love him might just be the key to turning this whole situation around.
Ah very interesting read. Thanks for the link.
We've had that conversation several times. The last time was less than a week ago. Obviously, it didn't do any good. Honestly, I don't want to have a conversation with him right now because I don't want to see that blank look in his eyes and the expression on his face that dances between disdain and anger. The comment I previously made about no more advice stands. Whether you try to beat your head against a brick wall or reason with it, the outcome is basically the same. He has yet to know true despair or hunger as we keep covering for him. Other than the housing, which ends on June 1st along with the cell phone, we are done covering for him. When he asked me yesterday to borrow the $10 for food I mentioned the food pantry. His response was that it was too cold to walk back from there carrying a crate of food. He isn't hungry.....yet. But he will be and that's when he will be forced to go back to the Salvation Army for a hot meal every day or walk to the food pantry for some ramen noodles.
Lil is angry but more at herself because she didn't see this coming. I'm not angry, in fact I haven't been (other than the blowup at home last week, but we all know how trying a difficult child can be face to face) angry in a really long time. I'm disappointed and hurt and the sad thing is that I can't really figure out if its because of his actions or because I was expecting this. Granted, thought he'd work a bit longer than this, but when we did this I thought that IF he paid February then I would consider starting to allow myself to hope just a little bit.
For the record, while I will admit to not knowing the extent, I'd be shocked to find out he wasn't doing drugs right now. The only reason he's quit spouting crap about legalization of pot to us is that we've told him that we don't want to hear it anymore.
Don't get me wrong, our difficult child is MORE than capable of getting and holding a job, paying his bills, and living his life constructively. His major issue right now, possible DNA issues from BIO not withstanding, is that He Doesn't Want To! I cant make him want to and I'm not going to try. He has a roof over his head which has taken some stress off of Lil and he has time. What, if anything, he does with it is entirely up to him. Sorry folks but I'm tired of not having clean pants because I'm constantly pissing in the wind.
But the reason he may not want to my be DNA. I can't say for certain what (or if) mental illness or personality disorder you son may have and that is why I told you to do some research. Some indicators of one would help you to integrate how he is with what you are able to expect from him.
My suggestion is to use the following link to at least try to work on figuring out the why's of what he does. I offer this one because it has both the leading experts in the field and the newest information. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml
We've done this several times and have found several disorders that he may or may not have. Problem is, until he actually goes to a psychiatrist and gets a diagnosis we wont know. And god forbid we do this too early because wouldn't he just LOVE to be able to say "I can't work/function in society because I have ______(insert diagnosis of your choice here)!" He torqued his back working at Scholastics and since the chiropractor told him that he had mild scoliosis he plays that card every chance he gets. Every time we try to pull him out of the hole he bites our hand and falls a but further into the hole. At this point the only thing we can really do at this point is wait for him to hit bottom and hope that the fall doesn't hurt him too badly.
Lil I slowly learned that I could not do One. Single. Thing. To help my son for a long long time. Time had to pass and when we talked or texted or saw each other I had to have nothing in my hands to offer him. Nothing but saying I love you and I wish you well.
Some people do everything the hardest possible way. That is my son.
Some people can accept a little help along the way and still keep on helping themselves.
It took me a long long time and much bewilderment, wasted money, energy and advice, and heartbreak before I could completely stop.
All I had was I love you and I wish you well.
Then more time went by and now it appears he is changing. I am still keeping my distance. Today he has not asked me for any money in weeks. I gave him Christmas presents. When he was here at Christmas he had a list of things he needed and he asked If we had any extra bowls because he didn't have any. We gave him three cereal bowls. He had about 10 more things on the list many of which I had here but I didn't offer anything else and he didn't ask. I still felt the old pull and tug to "help" but it is not help to take away the dignity of someone who must learn to live life on his own.
That is the task: to learn how to stop, and then to live it day after day. We have to have tools that we use daily to learn how to do this. It is too hard to do it on our own.
Once we start to get it it is a blessed relief and a period of true personal growth for us. It is a chance for us to change for the better in all our relationships.
Right now he has a chance to learn something new. You do too. Try to get really clear and simple about what is next and relax into it. It will take enormous self control and discipline and help from your higher power, just as it will eventually for him.
Warm hugs today.
He needs something and someone to live for. He seems lonely and a leaf in the wind. I'm surprised he didn't like college. I would have done anything to get to go to college.
He probably is because he has chased off anyone who was actually his friend in favor of the druggies. He immediately moved in a "friend" who had been kicked out of the shelter. As far as I know, said friend still has work but is also the reason difficult child is out of food. Is it sad that looking at what I just wrote, the main thing that pops into my mind is "At least it isn't J-1!"?
If he is using drugs it doesnt really matter what another diagnosis is. I have been told over and over again by mental health professionals that drug and/or alcohol addiction is a primary mental illness diagnosis and using masks/covers/changes any other possible diagnosis.
Until there is treatment for the addiction there can be no evaluation for anything else.
I have read a lot about co occurring disorders as I am sure you have. That is the best possible situation that all of our using and addicted difficult children be evaluated for multiple issues and be treated for them together.
Our system has rare instances of that happening. That is reality.
You can drive yourself crazy trying to find answers for something that is largely unanswerable. In the end we have to simply accept what is I believe and let go of the person. It is very hard to do with someone you love and you have to be at it for years before this even sounds like a solution.
I get that too. Whatever you can live with.
Very true. I should probably at least ACT like I'm working for a bit though!
I might just put that on the fridge at my house.
Well in my defense, I didn't actually have time to do anything I said I wouldn't do. He got fired within two working days of us telling him no rides.
Yes. That's largely true. Partly it was so he could work nights and have a place to live/sleep in the days which was out because he was out of the shelter. If he'd been working days I wouldn't have been nearly as interested in doing so. But that he has shelter is good and it eases my mind and in the end, it's worth it to me.
Really, why does it matter what is wrong with him? If he has Asperger's or ODD or any other number of diagnosis, does it change anything? He's not willing to admit there's a problem. He's not willing to take any medication. And Jabber's right...it would be an excuse. "No one understands me because I have depression/Asperger's/whatever." That's what we'd get.
Yeah, I was more "hope for the best but plan for the worst". I kept saying, "Let's just assume he'll pay it until he doesn't." That hasn't changed I suppose. It doesn't matter until it matters.
Cedar, you aren't a know-it-all, but you are quite wise.
Really though, I don't know that anything will help. I do plan to tell him in the next day or two that if he want's snow boots (which were to be a Christmas gift) that we will get them Saturday. While we're doing that I fully intend to tell him that we won't be giving him rides, we won't be buying him food or smokes, we won't be paying any bills, we won't be lending him DVD's. He can walk. He can go to the food pantry. He can quit smoking or bum from strangers. He can check out DVD's from the library. Furthermore, if he wants any of the above items instead of snow boots, he can't have them. His gift was boots. That's what I'm buying.
Folks that's how done I am. He's got a roof over his head. He won't freeze. He may get hungry, but no one in this town ever starved to death. Heck, he's right across the street from a good restaurant...he can dumpster dive for all I care.
I'm not angry...not really. I am, as always, so freaking disappointed. But I think I'm past anger. I actually don't think I have it in me anymore to be mad at him. Just kind of sad.
The old saying was: You can last a lot longer without food than you can without heat. (of course, this from the frozen northern wastelands...)
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