This is a freaking soap opera

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Dancerat, Sep 29, 2013.

  1. Dancerat

    Dancerat Member

    Okay, so difficult child and GFH ran out of money for motels, so he came home last night.

    We had a small but okay interaction.

    Today, he took off at noon and I didn't see him all day. He came home and hung around the house, not doing too much, then asked me for a suitcase. I said 'How large?" and then it went downhill from there. I had told him I'd give him a 350.00 subsidy for rent as long as he stayed in school, and so I thought he had planned on saving some money from his new job, adding it together with his subsidy and GFH money and then getting a small apartment together. No, he stated, as soon as he got some money, he was going to spend it on motels so that they could be together at night, (because she isn't allowed here anymore because of her arguing and yelling). I said, hold on hold on. I will give you money for RENT, not for MOTELS. And be careful with arguing with your girlfriend, because if you get arrested for domestic disturbance, or abuse, I am not going to bail you out. So be careful.

    He went off on me, packing up his clothes, telling me to F off and not letting her over is the same as kicking him out, and F off. Again. I said, fine, out, I will not be disrespected in my home, and I work hard for my money. He seems to think that just because I have money, I should give it to him. His dad spent all day long working on a recording my son did. I don't know why, but that seems to make me cry the most, because after all that work, difficult child never got to hear it. I guess it will be here later.

    I was calm when I told him that I loved him and then when he could sit down and have a reasonable adult conversation about how to make it happen so that he could move out with GFH asap, rather than getting immediate satisfaction from a motel, and apologize to me for his behaviour then I would be here and he could come back. He practically spat at me that he felt it was his right to sleep here and he owed me nothing. He took everything and then left.

    And then I cried and feel sick, and if it was the right thing to do, wouldn't I feel okay? I'm trying to feel what my gut says, and I think my gut says, he made the choice to act like a brat that wanted candy now, and he used abusive language towards me, and he has no idea what he's doing and he'll have to learn soon enough. And if he doesn't learn it now, he's never going to learn. And I certainly don't want some 21, then 22, then 23 year old and on and on acting this way. It has to start and stop somewhere. So, he's out in his car with all of his stuff. Well, let's see how this goes. The sun will still rise and set tomorrow. I am preparing for worse case scenarios, and suicide or self-maiming could be in there too, I am prepared for it all.

    He has NEVER talked to me this way. It's so uncharacteristic of him, when he gets upset, he usually goes cold and in control. Like me. Oh well. I can't really do anything. I think I am going to look for therapy for me tomorrow for sure, because I need to discuss this with a professional. MWM would say, "He chose to not apologize and act like an adult, didn't he? He decided to walk out and he did, and there is nothing you should feel guilty about." My inner person says for me to go take a bath. So I'm going to do that.

    You guys are great. Like immediate group therapy. Thank you.
  2. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I always say it feels "counterintuitive" to have to do the things we have to do. But you are right, you can not tolerate him showing this disrespect to you. He is making extremely bad choices and there is little, IF ANYTHING, you can do about it. getting therapy for yourself is a great idea. This is extraordinarily hard...the kind of thing only those who have been there can comprehend.
  3. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    You are doing good. Your son, not so much, but that is out of your control.

    But good for you for standing your ground, keeping boundaries and not letting him walk all over you. For him, well, he needs to learn some basic rules of life. It sounds he is getting desperate and that can be a great motivator. Only thing you can do is to keep door open, when he decides to behave like the son you raised; and let him know that.

    Finding a therapist is a great idea. While things often end up quite well with kids, who were not having significant issues from early on, but just stumble during teen years and early adulthood, it can be one bumpy ride.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Keep it up. Good work. Your son is acting like a spoiled child who isn't getting his way and you will eventuallyl stop giving him money as his demands are ridiculous and very childish. "If you don't give me the candy, I'm gonna scream and tell everyone in the store you're a mean mom." The reason you feel bad is not because it's the wrong thing to do, but because you're really not used to this defiant part of your son. You always let him do whatever he wanted and funded him too so he was nice to you. It was to his advantage to be nice to you. It hurts when our kids aren't nice to us, but, heck, you allow more than any parent I know would allow in her own house. Now maybe it IS different on the West coast. Here in the old fashion Midwest, those games would pretty much not exist...few parents allow boyfriends/girlfriends THAT ARE A MESS to LIVE in their homes with their grown children who have no jobs. Think about it. Your son is "playing" you. Manipulating you.

    Welcome to difficult It's a soap opera until we turn off the television and stop the drama. It will take time, but you will probably learn the damage we all do to ourselves and our children by giving in to these defiant, childish adult kids who are used to getting their own way and think we owe them money even if they disrespect us and treat us like garbage. Beware of the upcoming "I love you, Mommy" which is another attempt to get you to fund the motel since this didn't work. Or the "I hate you" which is an attempt to make you so insanely upset that you give into anything he wants.

    The only way this can be a soap opera is if you let it be one. A better method, in my humble opinion, is not to engage him, not to sound ambivalent, not to be so lenient, a nd not to even talk to him about it. It's a done deal and if he wants to argue, you have somewhere you have to go or he has somewhere you want HIM to go :) My advice is to stop the soap opera, stop the long explanations, and only allow him home if he is going to stop arguing and be respectful. It will likely get worse and worse as you show your hand and stick to your guns. He is used to getting his own way, even as an adult.

    If you keep giving him money, he is going to keep acting like a little boy. You are treating him like a boy who still relies on you to fund him. How's that job coming?

    You and only you have the power to stop the drama. You can't stop HIM from TRYING to create drama, but you have the power to put an end to it by stating your mind ONCE and then sticking to it and not listening to him whine. It's up to you. When my son starts being abusive to me, he knows I will hang up on him. Then sometimes he calls me ten times in a row, but I won't pick up. Thus the drama that may have been....isn't. Do I feel bad? Lots of times for short periods of time, but it gets easier and easier and when Son calls again the next day (he doesn't get to talk to me that day if he is disrespectful) he is usually very respectful for a while. My son is 35. Do you want your son to still be a Drama Queen at 35? Try not engaging him. Try not handing him money "for a new start." He is not going to use it the way you want him to. For all you know, he is buying drugs with that money, even if it only for his girlfriend. I'm still not convinced he isn't using drugs himself. Birds of a feather stick together.

    Take care and remember it's a learning process. You are learning fast that your son isn't this really nice kid. He's a manipulative adult who could not handle the kindness of an open house with few rules and still thinks he doesn't have to follow any rules. He could land in jail with this attitude. The world will not think he is lovable and will treat him the same way others get treated. Your son is spoiled and entitled and not at all ambitious like his sisters and needs different handling.

    Hugs :) I know it's hard.
  5. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You're doing a good job. And, it's really hard. You've changed, so he has to change too. It takes time, you've established patterns and now you've changed the patterns. Great idea to get your own therapist, this detachment stuff is dicey and it hurts us. Sending you big hugs, hang in there.
  6. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    You are doing the right thing. You mentioned behavior change, and I believe the possibility of drug use has been discussed here, in an earlier post. The two go together. When you interact with someone actively using a drug of some kind, you are interacting with the drug, not the person. That is where the behavior change comes in.

    You did not choose this. But you do have to respond to it. Your son is continuing to choose the unstable girlfriend and the lifestyle she represents. All you are telling him is that you will not support this lifestyle in your home. That is your right and, if things are deteriorating, your responsibility to yourself and to your family. If you do not take a stand now, you will have to take that same stand at some point in the future.

    As hard as this is, it will be harder if you allow him to move her in again. You will be teaching him that you can be sucked into a very nasty game you don't want to play. Draw the line, state your rules clearly, and stick to them. Better your son should have a safe, sane place to return to than that he destroy the relationship he has built with all of you as he goes through whatever this is.

    A bath now, a therapist in the near future, are perfect choices.

    I'm sorry this is happening.

  7. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    I too am sorry this is happening. We have all been there done that and can relate to feeling as though your life has been hijacked by a dramatic and demanding offspring that seems like a stranger. It's so hard especially when we know in our hearts that we did not raise them to behave like this.

    It's even harder to realize that we cannot reach the beloved child within the difficult child. That was the hardest part for me - I felt that my son and I had this unbreakable bond and mutual understanding - and then it was GONE in a flash and I just couldn't get through to him. And I made myself crazy trying to do so... when your child is unreasonable due to drugs or undue influence or mental illness - you simply CANNOT reason with them. It's futile and frustrating.

    So, what can you do? You need to exit this "push & pull" relationship/banter you both are locked in. You've set the standards and now is the time to hold to them. Stop repeating yourself, do not even give a hint of bargaining potential and do not mention the girlfriend at all. And do not give advice or warn about potential pitfalls. (domestic violence calls) Cut off the money for good.

    Your home needs to be a drama free zone for your own sanity. These are the standards for living in your home - basically - IF he moves back in -- he gets a job or goes to school, no illegal use of substances (including alcohol if he is underage) while he is living in your home, no overnight guests, and he is respectful at all times. You can expect him to spend "x" amount of nights at your home (that was big with us - no using our home as a last resort or flop house) - in short - he acts like a part of the family and that includes responsibilities to the home and the other people living in it. Just the basics...Offer him a safe haven with guidelines.

    I realize you did not have these rules with your daughters - but he is not them; he has abused the privileges and is struggling. He needs boundaries. The very fact that he is rebelling against any suggestions from you means that he is not thinking clearly for whatever reason. And lowering the bar is not going to fix it - it will just make it worse. I've been there. The bar got so low that we couldn't stand ourselves anymore and it still wasn't good enough. He will continue to react against you so long as you are engaging him. That's why you need to detach. Not because you are showing him or teaching him but because he will continue to react at you and it hinders him from taking a good hard look at himself which is what he needs to do.

    As far as the living out of the home - that's OK. He has a choice. If he chooses to remain on his own, he needs to be on his own and bear the fruit of his choice. You can invite him to dinner a few nights a week (alone), pack up the leftovers and some extras before he leaves, let him throw in a few loads of laundry. You shouldn't give him money. Really. It only makes things harder. And it won't make him like you or see your point of view.

    I know it's hard when our difficult child's misbehavior is tied to their choice of partner. I have been there done that too. I made the mistake of contacting the girlfriend's family out of concern and that was huge mistake. For now, pretend she doesn't exist. That's why I wrote "no overnight guests" and not "no girlfriend" above. You can change that to "no opposite sex guests" or "no guests" if that makes it more clear. She may be a bad influence, but it is your son who is acting badly. My son's girlfriend was the catalyst in many ways, but blaming her didn't help me or my son. The fact was that his behavior needed to be HIS choice - not because of HER influence or conversely - because of MY influence. Hold him accountable for his own behavior. Let the light shine on him and if he brings her up - remind him that you are talking about difficult child and not girlfriend - and it's difficult child's behavior that is the problem. In some ways, our difficult child's seem to like the idea that a parent disapproves of the partner or that the partner and parent are fighting over difficult child and it fuels the relationship and the misbehavior. So take it out of the equation if you can.

    I will be thinking of you - I'm sorry this reply is so disjointed. I read your post and it reminded me of where I was with my own difficult child in the beginning and I felt I needed to answer - and I am racing the clock! Good luck, keep posting.
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I know this is hard but I also know how difficult child women can pull a guy off the right path. I have a whole lot of experience with this. Not that my boys werent difficult child's but the girls/women have all been a pain in their own right. At his age he is thinking with his smaller brain. You know the one, its located in his

    I have had chaos in my house so many times. We had one who liked to get difficult child extremely jealous and then sit back and watch the fireworks. She also was good at thinking up ways to get him in trouble while she never got touched. That made me so mad. My middle son has never had a good track record with women. His very first girlfriend, who he was supposed to be engaged to, cheated on him while he was away at Marine boot camp. Then she had the balls to tell him I made up all the evidence. I had to threaten to disown him to keep him from marrying her. Then he met a girl not 5 months later at a bus station and she followed him out to his duty station and wouldnt leave. He ended up marrying her and she did her level best to keep him from having contact with us. She was a year older than my youngest son and wanted to parent him whenever he went to see his brother. You can imagine how well that went over. She was also a difficult child. She ended up cheating on him with two Marines after they had been married about a year and a half. The Marines kicked her out and sent my son home for a month to recoup. Personally I think they didnt want him near

    The current girlfriend and wife to my two youngest are crazy in their own right but my boys wont do a thing about it. Their dad says they got women like their mother...lmao
  9. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    You've been given excellent advice from everyone here. I second the advice to get your own therapist. Their advice and support can be invaluable.
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I think your gut gave you wonderful advice when it told you to go take a bath. I know how awful it feels to have them go off on you, esp when it is a totally different reaction than you are used to when they are angry.

    I don't remember all the history, but in my opinion there are drugs or some other major factor working against you here. Could be drugs and this crazy girlfriend, I don't know. But the insistence on a motel is not just for sex. In the meetings I have attended, other parents always see their kids heading to motels or certain locations when the drug use is going on. Those who have daus or gay sons also see prostitution when their kids are in motels. It breaks their hearts, but all they can do is insist on safe adult behavior in their homes and not enabling and having accountability. Without that, well, there is no incentive to stop.

    I have heard one thing on various tv shows about addiction and from others in the 12 Step world that you cannot have a drug habit with-o help because it is just too expensive and you end up in jail/prison/rock bottom and eventually wanting help. A complete change in his behavior when angry is a HUGE red flag for drugs. Drugs make you fly off the handle the way your son did when all his life up to now he got cold and would just withdraw from you when he was angry. So it sounds like drugs may be one factor here. Given that drugs may be involved, you may want to consider telling him that he gets zero financial support unless/until he can prove he is not using any illegal substances and not drinking alcohol. Without financial help, he cannot afford to get high/drunk because it costs a fortune. He may break the law to get $$ for his substance of choice, but that has other consequences and those may help motivate him to change hsi ways.

    Your son is having the type of toddler tantrum that we all hate. You are responding beautifully by telling him that the drama has to go and he cannot behave that way in your home and neither can his friends/girlfriends. I don't give a piece of used toilet paper if every other parent in your state allows this behavior (and they don't, but the kids always claim they 'all' do because 1 or 2 of the kids have idiots for parents who do allow this garbage, Know what I mean??), you are totally doing the right thing by refusing to tolerate it.

    I hope he gets his head on straight, but even if he does not, you are doing the right thing by not tolerating his abusive behavior or his abusive girlfriend. He has to make mistakes to learn, and hopefully he will learn sooner rather than later. But even if it is later, you are doing all that you can do for him. He is an adult now and has to make his way in the world.
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have thought this kid is doing drugs as well. He is acting like it. And I don't mean pot. The draw to the girl is probably mutual drug use.

    Sus, you're right about the motels. So many are drug exchanges and social areas for the users/dealers (most are both). Truly drug free kids don't hang around with drug abusers.

    Dancerat, hon, please don't be angry at me. I don't mean you any harm and not trying to bash your son. But I was fooled too. My daughter started doing drugs at twelve (pot only, but it escalated) and when she stared at me, unblinking, and said she wasn't using any drugs and had stopped even smoking pot, I believed her until the day she was arrested. Denial is so easy. On the other hand, I don't know for sure what your son is doing, but it doesn't make sense t hat he is with this girl, hanging in her territory, and affirming her habits...and not also participating.