Three years later


Hi. It's been a really long time since I last posted. My son had turned 18, had a drug problem, and I was trying to get the strength to either ask him to move out or figure out some magical solution to his problems. I ended up asking him to leave, and then stopped posting, because I just couldn't think about it any more. I recommended this forum to someone today, because it was a real gift to me to find you all, and I thought I'd just post to let everyone know how my difficult child and I are doing.

He was homeless for about a week (had burned too many friends to be able to couch surf with anyone) and then ended up moving in with his father (who is a narcissist with a traumatic brain injury, and whom difficult child had been loudly not speaking to for a few months before I asked him to leave, because his father is just plain hard work). He lasted there two years before his father also asked him to move out, and he's been living for about a year in a town halfway between his father and me ( about 200 miles away from each of us). My ex-sister in law is bankrolling him.

He wasn't speaking to me for a while (except to call me a f****** c*** and other endearments, shouted into voicemails until I cut off his phone, and then sent via facebook), and then he was sending me intermittently angry or maudlin messages while obviously high. He started seeing a very nice girl, who ultimately dumped him, but who is still good friends with him. (They spent Christmas together this year - I really liked her, and he was very happy when they were together, so my yenta fingers are crossed...)

I walked this tightrope with him of responding when his messages were at least civil - even if the content was messed up or angry - and keeping my responses as kind and honest as possible without taking responsibility for stuff that wasn't mine. That was really challenging the day he accused me of Munchausen's by Proxy, lemme tell you! He'd has seizures and serious behavioral and psychiatric issues as a child, and apparently I made all that stuff up because I wanted the doctors to feel sorry for me and lavish me with attention. I tried to reward (with attention, not money) the interactions that showed the behaviors I wanted to encourage, and I tried to talk about things other than his problems or his behavior.

I've been very reluctant to give him money. He's gotten $50 for birthdays and Christmas and that's it. Until earlier this week when he called me, and in a respectful, calm way, asked me to help him with a car problem. He offered proof if I needed it, and offered ways of me doing it that didn't involve sending him cash, so I took a leap of faith and sent him the money. I got an actual thank you! I also got a comment about how he's starting to understand why I reacted to things so anxiously sometimes while he was growing up - he actually said that this being a grownup thing was really hard and scary sometimes.

While I'm fully aware that one good interaction doesn't mean I'm not going to get played the next time, and certainly doesn't mean he's not still getting high, it was a definite improvement. He's been working fairly consistently for about 5-6 months now, and I don't hear entitlement when he talks about working anymore. I hear him trying to do a good job, and being more realistic about having to comply with employers' expectations of him. It's not all this big conspiracy to disenfranchise him anymore. That, more than anything else, is what gives me hope that there's been some real change in him.

He's asked several times to come back and live with me. But the difference in my life after he left was so profound, that I don't think I'm going to be able to say yes to that for a very, very long time, if ever. It's like night and day. I started dating again, I redid my apartment to suit me and got rid of a lot of stuff, and I developed an actual social life. I'm not bouncing from crisis to crisis, so I'm a lot nicer to be around as well as being happier. I was able to actually focus on my job more, and got two promotions over the time he's been gone. Even my worst days now are better than all but the very, very best days when I was so enmeshed with his and his father's stuff. I've been able to go to therapy for myself, and work on my own stuff - stuff that has nothing to do with "here's what he's doing now and I don't know how I'll cope". I'm making progress with things that have been problems for decades.

Much longer than I was intending, but I just wanted to say thank you again to this board. Asking him to move out was heart-wrenching, and I have second guessed myself many times when it didn't seem to help right away. But I think it's ultimately been a lifesaver for me, and a necessary step for him, and this board did more than any other source of support I'd tried for helping me see how very much I -wasn't- helping difficult child by continuing to beat my head against the same old wall, and work on his problems harder than he was.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Thanks Elsieshaye, I'm glad your life has improved due to your difficult choices with your son. You've done a wonderful job detaching and taking care of yourself. bravo!


Well-Known Member
Wow you have come a long way. Changes in personality for the good always give hope. Just because you have a good relationship, doesn't mean you ever have to live with him again. You are both adults now and have the right to live separate adult lives. You can be in each others lives without being in the same house. I think going backwards and living together so often fails because people slip back into the old familiar habits - which with a difficult child is never good. This is now your good life - you earned it.


Well-Known Member
What a great good news post, Elsieshaye! It sounds like he has really developed some empathy and gratitude and respect for you as a person, and it sounds like you are treating yourself so much better as well.


one day at a time
Thank you for your post! You sound like a very healthy person. I hope your son's life is on a new and better path. Please keep sharing here if you would like to. I know you have a lot of wisdom to share. Warm hugs!

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
What a wonderful post. I'm happy that your difficult child is doing better but most I'm glad that you have a life of your own that you have worked for and deserve to enjoy.
Best wishes to you for the New Year!!


Active Member
glad you updated. It is nice to hear you are doing well and that difficult child is showing signs of improvement and finally "getting it".