The yet to be known route in the sea which is my life.


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New Leaf in my last thread wrote about the narrow path in the sea where she canoes, the path between hitting the rocks, and being lost in the roaring waves. This is the place she seeks as she navigates her life with her daughters.

This quote I lifted from another PE thread called "Where is he?"
I am showing my daughter that there is a way to live a peaceful, fulfilled life no matter what our loved ones choose for themselves. When she sees that I am sure of who I am, that I have confidence in myself, my values and the way I live my life then maybe she will one day choose to live that way herself.
I texted my son this morning because in a text before Thanksgiving he had mentioned he had been ill. I had texted a couple of times after that and he had not responded. This time he responded immediately, using his martyr, woe is me demeanor. This is his side of the conversation.

"I'm not well. I'm not well at all."

"No health issues. At this point, existentially I have failed. What happened in August was definitive" (that was when I kicked him out.)

"I'm at the point of no return. It's way too late for any reparations. VERY sad times ahead."

"Even though it's a month away, Happy Holidays." (Which is his passive aggressive way of saying go :censored2: yourself.)

At this point he knows fully what are my expectations and boundaries. He chooses NOT to fulfill them, and I choose not to budge either, because what I ask is basic, that he protect his health and do the most minor things to preserve it. Really. If he only went to the liver doctor, that would be enough for him to return home. For some reason he will not even do that. Fear. Whatever. I am unsure.

I am feeling like if I fold about this, I model to him that there is no hope in life. No way to say no to horrible things. No way to resist. No hope to chart another course other than fatalistic acceptance of the lowest common denominator.

I have told him hundreds of time that there is a way back here, but that way back entails some choice on his part to put into place just one positive thing for himself and his life. He is not a pet. He is a person. I do not want to be the person in his life that models to him that you can just do nothing or anything in life, that you can fold, and that is enough.
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Good for you for sticking to your bottom line. It is so hard to do, especially when they start the whole hopeless routine. I have given up trying to figure out why my daughter always chooses the difficult road. Like you I just want basic healthy choices and behaviors, but it is too much for her to do. Stay on your path! You are fighting the good fight.


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

I agree. Hold firm to what you know is best for YOU.

My son thanked his dad in his speech for HOLDING TO HIS BOTTOM LINE. My husband did not falter because he KNEW there was nothing left that we could do. Nothing.

You have suffered enough dear Copa. I have too.

Your son has to figure this out. It will not be in your time though.


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Wasn't it just last week that he was willing to go to counseling?
No. Last week was the short video of him working. (He does not know I saw that.) And the week before was the possibility of his joining me to speak with the somatic therapist but he never made it out of town.

But I hear you Smithmom. This is what a conversation is like. We each have our own voices. Thank you.


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On the plus side 2 weeks of communication? Pat yourself on the back! I'd say baby steps but communication is a huge step! And it exposes you to his attempts at manipulation. The price of communication?


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Stay strong. You are not asking too much. He is being stubborn. And if part of his being stubborn is saying, ‘I’ll show her, I’ll stay out here and work and make my own money and figure it out on my own!’ - well, that’s not all bad, is it?

I gather he’s changed his mind on arranging to meet? I’m sorry. It’s so hard when they jerk us around and get our hopes up and then don’t follow through. Mine are both MIA again this week. I guess it’s too much to ask the progress would be linear and continuous.

His messages sound over dramatic and manipulative to me. I’ve gotten these kinds of texts before. Recognize it for what it is and try not to let it rattle you.


Tired out

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Sheeeeesh.. these (adult?) kids are master manipulators! Just think if they put all that energy and thought into life and goals!
Copa, I am so sad to hear he is trying to guilt trip you. I want to go shake him.. "DUDE!! all your mom asks is for you too get the liver test. Take care of yourself!" She is not asking you to put on a suit andwork in a bank..!
Good Lord! They are such fools!


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over dramatic and manipulative to me.
Honestly. What's the point of this? TL on her thread says her son on purpose told the program he is in he needed a ride and gave them two wrong addresses so that they would be driving here and there and everywhere--when he never left the house. My son trying to manipulate my emotions so I am afraid and feel powerless. What is the deal? Is it just power seeking? That they feel so powerless, that they have go through these machinations to feel some control...or is it meanness and wanting to cause hurt?
I gather he’s changed his mind on arranging to meet?
I think he wants to come back here...but he wants me to say...forget everything...just come back. That's why he talked about "beyond any reparations." Because he does not want to make any change at all. All of the wanting has to be coming from me. The jerk.

In his mind there must be no point in meeting. Because what he wants is the keys to the kingdom. To him meeting solves or gives nothing.

Tired out

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My son trying to manipulate my emotions so I am afraid and feel powerless
OH yes!! Mine has done that! Let me count the ways. I think he just want to think that I am thinking about him and am worried about him. Of course I worry about him.I love the dodo ..but he needs to get a clue to life and grow up. The more they think they make us worry the more they think that they will get their own way. (sorry for the run on sentence:))

All of the wanting has to be coming from me. The jerk.
He wants to think it is all coming from you so he can do you a favor by coming home. He is ticking me off. If there was a grade in manipulation he would get an A+. I am giving you high marks for standing strong too. What is the point in letting him come back if he won't even see a doctor? again... Dear Lord!


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I think he just want to think that I am thinking about him and am worried about him.

There is a word in psychology which is agency. It is the same root as agent. It means that somebody is the mover in their life. That their own motivation, their own want, their own power and self-definition moves their life. It means self-determination. Self-realization. It is a beautiful word because it is the opposite of powerlessness. It is the opposite of inertia. It means choice.

So. Why in the world would our kids resist this beautiful word and want that life act on them? Why would they want to be victims of fate and accident, like garbage blowing around in the street?

The only thing I can come up with is a complete and utter aversion for taking responsibility for anything. A phobia about choosing. A phobia for wanting anything. Complete passivity.

It makes me absolutely crazy. I would never ever want to be a victim of my life. I mean, I am like everybody else, the victim of circumstance to some extent. But I do my darn best to maneuver myself out of helplessness as quickly as I can.
The more they think they make us worry the more they think that they will get their own way.
Yes. Exactly. But what about getting their own way be doing something effective in their own lives?
He wants to think it is all coming from you so he can do you a favor by coming home.
This is exactly it. He sees his power as having power over me. Great.


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What is the point in letting him come back if he won't even see a doctor? again... Dear Lord!
That is exactly my point. I have learned to tolerate the homelessness, his sleeping in a truck. I know as long as he lives close to the street he lives closer to people on hard drugs and closer to violence. (Better stop this as I am getting scared and agitated.)

But to accept him back with all of the drama that goes with it, with him refusing to get treatment, knowing that his disease is progressing....why would I do that? What kind of parenting would that be?

Which is to say, if he wants to manipulate effectively he needs to understand that manipulation requires the offer of something to the other party. It can be a lie. It can be a trick. But there has to be some sweetener to the deal. He gives no sweetener. It is all take me as I am. I give nothing. You give everything and you take everything I dish out. How stupid and self-defeating is that?

Thank you very much Tired.

New Leaf

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There is a point in paddling, traversing the vortex of calm, so close to those rocks, where fear can set in, and faith in ability may waver. There is really no other way but to move bravely ahead, one strong stroke after the other, the course is set, now to reach the goal.
Finish the journey intact, aware of vulnerability, relying on training and strength to get through the rough sections of the ocean.
It is much like this journey we are on with our beloveds. There are ways to get through the tough times, when doubt and worry set in. If we pause for a moment to see the patterns, the routes we have taken in the past that led us on a course of despair, the moments where we have overcome the hardest obstacles. The times when circumstances have beat us down to inertia.
What I pondered upon today, was the patterns in life that are evident all around. It is said that when a wave dashes upon the rocks, it sends a ripple across thousands of miles that can be detected by navigators seeking land. If you look at a map of winds and currents, the repetitive swirls are patterns across the globe.
Likewise, there are patterns in relationships, emotions and reactions that we are destined to repeat until we recognize them and seek to respond differently. Copa, I see you recognizing this pattern in your sons response to your text and you are working to change your reaction. That is good.
I see this in many posts here, including my own, where our adult kids have a way to get to our hearts and the base of our emotions to elicit this patterned response. We flounder near the rocks, uncertain of where to turn, what to do. The ripples of sadness that well up and turn into this never ending feeling it emptiness? I have been there so many times, and am working hard not to go there again. That place where emotions free dived so deep into an abyss that one could barely come to surface for air. It drove us to uncover and examine the deepest hurtful experiences in our childhoods, a pain so raw and yet, here we are. Trying to figure out the meaning of it all.
Shall I dare to say that this journey with my two off on their own crazy, off the charts recklessness has forced me to look more inwardly, examining my self, seeking ways to strengthen, watching for my own patterns that lead to unhealthy habits, trying and failing and trying to replace that with healthier choices.
I am sorry if I am adrift here in this post. I see the difficulty of this journey as a way to find out who I am.
I think our kids are uncannily cognizant of these patterns and know instinctively how to push our buttons to get a reaction. It is designed to overturn our canoe, to knock us about so that we begin to doubt ourselves, our direction. We have all seen it through posts here, accounts of manipulation and dark drama. Really, when you pull it apart and examine it, they are adults throwing toddler tantrums to get us in a position to do their bidding.
Ummmm, no.
They are pretty damned clever in how they go about it. The thing is, there is no sense in it. Their choices make absolutely no sense. Maybe that is another way to keep us as putty, we are just stunned and confused at their lack of direction. How could you do this with your life? This great gift of short time on this earth? Why are you throwing it all away like chaff in the wind?
They are stuck in a pattern. We don’t have to be. Perhaps removing ourselves from that pattern is a way for all of us, including them, to break free? Set sights on new horizons, don’t allow ourselves to act and react so predictably to their consequences. Stand loving yet firm with boundaries, for our homes, our own physical, mental and emotional well being. Refuse to be drawn into the drama, the manipulation. Stop focusing on what is impossible to control, the decisions and choices of another adult and focus on navigating our own direction.
One thing that reverberates through my mind is this- If I don’t have enough self respect and self love to guard my heart, my health, seek my own potential, protect my space, cherish peace, how can I expect my adult children to do the same?
Just my thoughts.
Wishing you peace.


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I think he wants to come back here...but he wants me to say...forget everything...just come back. That's why he talked about "beyond any reparations." Because he does not want to make any change at all. All of the wanting has to be coming from me. The jerk.
Your last two words are spot-on. You are asking SO LITTLE. Really, you are asking him to do nothing at all that he should not be doing. See a doctor, take his medications. If he were diabetic and you said, "eat right and test your glucose" would that be unreasonable? Of course not! You aren't even asking him to take care of himself - just make sure that this ONE aspect of his health be taken care of. What kind of person gets an offer of a free apartment and the only stipulation is "don't kill your liver" and their response is "Oh Woe is Me! I have no future!"

A jerk.

He wants total surrender and that is simply not something that ANY parent could do.

Your son is quite intelligent. He knows how to get warm and get food and survive. He knows how to take care of himself. If he is not, it's because he does not want to Copa...he's holding out for someone to do everything for him and him to bear no responsibility at all.

I'm sorry my friend. You're response to such a communication can only be, "You know that's not true. You know that it's very simple to have a good life. Let me know when you want to."


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One of the things that struck me in all of this.... and in my own situation is our sons in their own ways feel helpless and so in their manipulations of us want us to also feel helpless... they want us to feel helpless that we cant do anything else but help them the way they want us to help them. In your case to let him come home with no responsibility on his part. In my case yesterday to buy into his scheme and convince the program to give him a ride to the interview to a job that they (and we) do not consider appropriate for his recovery. In fact your son is not completely helpless.... he has choices, he could actually take some responsibility, he could take some charge for his health issues. My son if he is is so passionate about this job could have found a way on his own to get to that job interview (he could have walked the 2 miles for heavens sake).

So what I am coming to in this round about way.... is they want to manipulate us into feeling helpless into helping them. But that would in many ways be totally counterproductive on so many levels. What we need to model for them is that in fact we are not helpless. We are not helpless and neither are they!! So I think standing our ground and standing up for ourselves is what we need to model for them.... even if it doesn’t always feel good at the time.

Anyway Copa I wanted to share that with you...... as it is something I need to remember in these times.



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in their own ways feel helpless and so in their manipulations of us want us to also feel helpless.
I think they must feel that do help themselves is to lose us. And if this is the case, what we need to do is to demonstrate the opposite. That their not doing for themselves is the behavior that has costs. And that doing for themselves has rewards. They feel there is a potential cost to their agency and self-sufficiency, and I am unsure exactly why.
to buy into his scheme and convince the program to give him a ride to the interview to a job that they (and we) do not consider appropriate for his recovery.
I do not think he wants the Bake Shop job. I think he thinks his power comes from having what he wants when and how he wants it. He wants to be the master of ceremonies OF YOU. That is what makes him feel powerful. Unfortunately.

I heard on the radio today is that power is defined as having power over others, to extract things advantageous to you, from those over whom you have power to their detriment and no cost to you. I believe our sons fit this definition.
My son if he is is so passionate about this job
He is not passionate about the job. The job is meaningless. The goal is to demonstrate his power over YOU and vis a vis the program.
What we need to model for them is that in fact we are not helpless.
They feel helpless and stuck and afraid. They feel that their way of overcoming this feeling is to make us feel helpless and afraid. They jerk us around to get the helpless and stuck and afraid feelings in us. That makes them feel more powerful.

If like you say we do not get scared. If we do not jump to their tune they are stuck with the bad feelings. There is no pay off. They are not rewarded for their bad behavior. He is not empowered by your disempowerment. He gains nothing. If he is to gain power it will have to be by his own decisions to do something for himself.

The more that we suffer, the more they can put the consequences in us too. That we will be the ones who will pay for their leaving the program using drugs, etc. etc. etc. Our role then as to play dead. Except not completely dead, because I really see it benefits my child to be in dialog with me....AS LONG AS I STAY CALM AND CENTERED AND NON-REACTIVE (which is a big order for me.)

Thank you TL.


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So I looked up some about power. These are quotes:

Power and consequence are often closely related. The basic principle is that a person with power has the ability to create consequences for the target person, who takes these consequences into account when they are deciding whether to comply with a request or refuse it.

A very common attribute of power is that the wielder of power has the ability to coerce the target into compliance through the threat of some kind of punishment. The basic transaction is hence 'Do as I say or else I will harm you in some way'. The person is then faced with the choice of obedience or suffering the consequences that the powerful person can create.

Some people do not have the power to directly punish, though they may have the ability to withhold something or prevent the target person getting what they want. The transaction here is 'Do as I say or else you will not get what you want'.

Power loss
There is also consequence for the person wielding the power. Sometimes the use power of power leads to gaining more power as the dominated person becomes cowed and hence easier to persuade in future. Sometimes the use of power has no effect on the balance of power in the future. And sometimes there is negative consequences for the person using the power, in that in using power it is spent, like money, and may not be easy to regain.


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Obligation Principle

People will do thing that they feel obliged to do, whether they want to do them or not.

How it works
When I feel obliged to help you, I sense a powerful internal tension that can only be relieved when I discharge that obligation.

Obligation is often so strong that the person to whom a person is obliged is able to make specific requests that the person who is obliged must fulfil.

In many ways, obligation is a deeper principle than friendship, reciprocity or exchange, as it is the force that underpins each of these other drivers.

Rights and duties
A fundamental belief that many people have is that some people have rights and that others have duties towards them. For example children have rights and parents have duties towards their children. Likewise citizens have rights which the government has a duty to uphold. Citizens also have duties as defined by governments.

Some people are more duty-bound than others, but when we feel a sense of duty we also feel a strong compulsion to perform and discharge that duty.

Families often have a strong sense of duty to one another (and children seem to believe they have quite significant rights). There is a saying 'blood is thicker than water' and familial obligation is indeed a significant force.

In the Reciprocity Norm, when one person does something for another person, that other person has a social debt to repay. The problem with reciprocity is that exactly what must be repaid is unclear and the obliged person can ask for far more than they gave. This is perhaps because they have proved themselves caring and trusting, which obliges the other person to act likewise.

Obligations are also set in place by contracts, whether they are legal or social. When I promise or agree to do something then I am obliged to do so. In formal situations, contracts may be set in place with a binding ritual whereby each person swears to fulfil their obligations and may sign a document to confirm this. Marriage, for example, comes with many obligations, from mutual support to fidelity.

So what?
Find out how duty-bound people are and what they believe are their duties, then reframe what you want doing as a duty to others (children often manipulate their parents in this way, as do spouses with one another).

You can also leverage the reciprocity norm by first doing something for the other person, then asking for what you seek from them.

At the very least, you can make a formal agreement.


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I had a text exchange today with my son that seems hopeful. I asked him if he had heard from his liver doctor and if so what did she say. Coached by Lil I made a comment to the effect of:

You know that what you wrote yesterday is untrue. You are not at the point of no return. Of course you have options and choices. There can always be repair if you decide to and do it.

He wrote back: December 19th. All my goals will be reached within a couple of weeks. You'll see.

But I am so shell-shocked I do not trust my perceptions or interpretations. It's like up is down and down is up. I have to confess I worried that this is some kind of suicide threat.


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I don't read anything with a timetable of more than a day as a suicide threat. He's working and may be saving money. He could easily have some shared house in mind. Wouldnt take a lot to get into. Might seem like heaven after nights on the st. A week of work and he could be off the st and problem free in his mind. After all, his housing stds aren't high :(

His potential suicide comments that you've shared have always been more direct, more morose.

May be cause I'm in a college town but mid- Dec is one of those times of year for housing moves.