Update, of sorts

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by SeekingStrength, Nov 13, 2016.

  1. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Posting when Difficult Child stress hits always helps husband and me regroup.

    35 yo Difficult Child texted a couple hours ago "Need to talk - like 911".
    Husband and I know the drill. He wants money. We have not given him any money in a couple years....except $50 in a Christmas card.

    D.C. has been living in same town as my parents for the last year. They (mostly mom) have continued the enabling. My parents say they are finished helping him. That was mentioned Friday during a visit. They did not offer details and I did not ask. I know not to discuss Difficult Child with them.

    I did not respond to the text. Actually, I blocked the # for the time being. These attempts to get money from us are stressful because we know he is very desperate if he contacts us. Instead of feeling hopeful that he will try to turn his life around, there is more a worry he will hurt himself. (Neither of those scenarios has happened).

    For 20 years Difficult Child has lived like this. (Being as mean as he wants while blaming everyone else for his situation.). Burning bridges and circling back through family and friends for $$ months/years later. His MO never changes. What a difficult way to live. For him and for us when we are on his radar.

    Thanks for your ears.
  2. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Actually, it kind of stuns me that he would be so limited in his impression-management skills that after the extreme hurtfulness and deliberately destructive things he has done that he would approach you with such neutrality.

    Or is it something different? A complete and utter lack of awareness or responsibility for what he does to other people.

    This will hardly be reassuring but your son has been notable in his cruelty--towards parents who have been uniformly loving and responsible people--it seems to me.

    This is not about my own child who is now living with me. But about my sister with whom I have almost forever had a difficult relationship. I fear her.

    She was always opportunistic, vengeful, self-serving, with the capacity for cruelty. I intervened near the end of my mother's life to protect her, and to a lesser extent myself. The particulars of what my sister had done, that so frightened me, are no longer important. But I summoned strength I did not have to do the right thing.

    In the year before my mother died my sister would not speak to my mother, see her, or speak to me. Everything I handled myself, with M, my partner.

    I had been stunned by my sister's choices--this was a mother that had always supported her, helped her with her children, financed her, and favored her. And my sister utterly rejected her and her welfare.

    The upshot: my sister blames me. A birthday email I sent (on her last two birthdays I sent a short note, hoping she was well), she rejected with the request that I not contact her again because of the way I treated her before our mother's death.

    My point here (besides trying to find solace for myself) is to say that self-serving, cruelty comes in all kinds of packages. My sister is successful and apparently esteemed.

    Try to be strong. You have done every single thing right. You tried and you tried and you tried. Nobody can make somebody do the right thing. Goodness is not rewarded by anything other than our own relationship with G-d and to ourselves. If we are truly blessed we have a mate or a friend with who we can be ourselves. That is what I have come to believe.

    I feel pain for the hard-heartedness of your son. His path he has chosen for years and years and he does not deviate. The hope for him is that this path becomes fruitless and barren, and he is forced to look at himself. There is always hope that this may occur, one day. But at this point it has but not one thing to do with your husband and yourself.

    You know that there are all kinds of resources of which he can avail himself. He chooses not to because to do so means some kind of compromise and cooperation that he does not want to extend. His choice. Again, nothing to do with you.

    You and he and your husband are adults, and as such, equals. He is as responsible for you and your welfare as you are for us, actually more. That he feels no shame reveals exactly his state of mind.

    I think the block is appropriate. I would do this, too. I would try to remember that restricting contact with him, is best for him, as he chooses to relate to other people in an opportunistic way.

    In this way my sister has the same set of choices, believing that interactions with me potentially harm her, rightly or wrongly (or did she just take a killing shot--because she could?). Justified, or not, this is her right. We are adults now, and free to choose who we are and want to be. That goes for your son, and for you. And for my sister, too.

    Somehow that helps me. It's all OK. No fault. No blame. Except the problem is, that is not how our loved ones think. But that is OK, too.

    We must protect ourselves.
  3. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    I'm glad you posted. Your son and my son are so much alike, reaching out only when they are desperate. My son doesn't come right out and ask for money, he instead tries to guilt us into it by telling how horrible his life is, waking up with frost on him, etc...... While I hate the idea of my son sleeping outside and waking up with frost on him I know that this is the choice he made for himself.

    Your son, my son and so many others could turn their lives around and yet they choose to continue living the way they do.

    This describes my son to a T.

    Hang in there!!
  4. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Thank you, both. When I read your words aloud to husband, he was astounded & grateful (as I always am about wise responses here). While we know the truth, there are times we feel shaky and you guys ALWAYS ground us.

    Thank you so much. So, so helpful--both of you.
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  5. Snow White

    Snow White Temporarily in the Magic Kingdom

    How is it that they feel entitled and keep repeating the behaviour? Our daughter does exactly the same thing. Guilt, guilt, and more guilt.

    We are finally figuring this out with our 25 year old daughter. She is choosing her life.

    I need to block emails from my daughter. They can be so toxic. I''m blocked by her on FB and other social media. Thankful for that.

    {Hugs} to you!
  6. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    I hear you SS. x
  7. so ready to live

    so ready to live Active Member

    Hi Seeking. So sorry about the texts, they surely do throw you for a loop...always just as the merry-go-round slows down.
    I can feel the "holiday" coming for us all. I was for the last weeks anxious about how to do family celebrations this year. Invite him? Have everyone lock up valuables and put a "tail" on him as he's here? Don't invite and live with the sadness and guilt? No good choice. We tried a trial run on Saturday as he hasn't been to our home for months. (last time drunk/high) He came for a few hours to watch football with us. We had to drive him, he lives 20 min. away, his car broken down and being hidden from default title loan. He had a healing black eye-we didn't ask. Pleasant enough visit, seemed sober but we know we can't ever tell anymore, he asked hubs to buy him cigarettes on the way home, hubs said "no". Well-that went pretty good....

    Then. Last night. The text came.
    "I just got 10 day notice. I'm screwed. My bonus check comes at end of month, guess I could use it to move if there's enough".
    ...and I think "why us?"
    This is why...thank you. Thank you for posting and being in this too. Your heartache touches me. I feel it.
    ...and his choices kill me...because I let them.
    In realizing this, we start over again. We count the blessings we do have, there are many. Seeking, today is a new day. May it be without texts and pain and "why us?". Prayers.
  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    SS, it's good to "see" you. I've wondered how you and your husband are doing.

    I'm sorry SS, those phone calls bring it all back home, don't they? When they are off our radar, we can relax for a bit, no news is good news, right? Then the dreaded phone call comes in, with the dreaded new emergency, with the dreaded demands, the dreaded manipulations.........all to make us feel fear so that we will once again step in and help. His script is the same........but your response is perfect.......don't engage......well done.

    I was struck by your son's timing.......his grandparents have stopped giving him money, you found out about that on Friday and by Sunday, he's messaging you with the new 911. I imagine him having a list of phone numbers in his phone where he texts "need to talk, 911," to everyone on the list and then waits until someone responds the way he wants. Sigh. You're right, what a difficult way to live.

    Hang in there SS, continue blocking the number........and go enjoy your Monday with your husband......
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  9. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    I think this in on page 27 of "Difficult Adult Child Handbook"
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  10. UKMummy

    UKMummy Member

    I too love the way this group grounds me when the drama starts again. It has this way of calming my insides and sorting my over thinking head. So sorry that you feel like this. I have the same feelings when my Difficult Child makes contact ( he currently ignores me in the street). He has just made contact with my daughter and I have felt sick all day. It's his birthday next week, then Xmas so I should of seen that coming but I was enjoying the peace.
    Do you think they know what they do to us? My son is so self obsessed that I think he thinks he's the only one effected by his situation.
    Just remember it passes, the anxiety they cause does pass. I have to remind myself of that when it hits.
    Lots of love and peace to you both
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  11. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Husband and my brother each received a text from Difficult Child yesterday, saying he was admitting himself into rehab. Husband remarked to me that he will be ready to respond when Difficult Child is finished with rehab. Husband also remarked that this is the first time Difficult Child has come close to owning up to any addictions.

    Absolutely. We had been extra-vigilant about locking doors since I visited with my parents.

    And, of course, we have no idea if he is really in rehab. He has told us many things through the years; very few were true.

    All of you are in my heart and mind today. Let's make it the best day we can. And, each of you better do something nice for yourself!! I am having lunch with an ex-colleague. We have not visited in several years.
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  12. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    It is okay if I mostly talk to myself, lol. I am feeling a need to vent. Again.

    husband and I were sitting in a Starbucks, each enjoying a Spiced Sweet Cream Cold Brew (We had talked ourselves into indulging.)
    My phone tells me I have a couple new FB messages. One is from a friend teaching in Morocco. That was a great message. Have not heard from her in a couple years. She texted to say she misses me. Awe. I was ready to hop on plane and go see her.....especially after next message.....

    The NEXT is from a name I do not recognize. Supposedly a friend of Difficult Child's. It was very long: Why Difficult Child needs his mom, how he is such a kind person. Yes, he is a bit manipulative, but ex girlfriend (who has a restraining order against him) was a spoiled, vindictive brat. How can a mother, who calls herself a Christian, not be there for her son on Thanksgiving?

    It is obvious to husband and me that Difficult Child wants money. Difficult Child has not wanted to spend any holidays with us for years and years.

    From what my mom told me a couple months ago, this woman (a real estate ageint) and Difficult Child were a couple for a short while.

    I did not respond and have put my FB account on InActive.

    husband and I were rattled; a few hours later, we are much better.

    Since Difficult Child is in same town as my parents, I may ask my brother if he and his wife can have them over for Thanksgiving. I can celebrate with them another day. The thought of Difficult Child showing up is too unsettling.

    Thanks for listening.
  13. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi SS. I can only tell you what I would do imagining myself in your situation.

    First I do not do FB, as I have few friends and no family I am in touch with. All I have to deal with is a landline. If it were me I would not do any social media for now, and cut off any means that your son can abuse you. This is abuse.

    Your son aided and abetted; he told or provoked this stranger to insult you, to invade your space and to abuse you. I would not permit it. I would be concerned that son will escalate. I would worry that he will come to your door. I would prepare mentally for this, you and your husband, and I would make a plan on how to prevent it and what to do if it occurs.

    I do not believe you are overreacting. If anything, I feel you are not taking it seriously enough. I am sorry and my intention is not to be cruel, but this behavior of your son is predatory.

    There is at least one time in the past, when I raised the possibility of being open to his reaching out. I was wrong. The behavior he has engaged in does not in any way encourage openness to him. Nor compassion. Let the woman, the real estate agent have him over for Thanksgiving. And Christmas too.

    For years and years (even with a baby, and child) I had nowhere to go for Thanksgiving. I had never hurt anybody, deliberately. I supported myself and I achieved by my own efforts and my own dime. Nobody owed me. Sad, I was, sometimes, but I did not retaliate or blame anybody. I am not saying I am good or better. I am saying that grown people are responsible for themselves.
    This is the last thing I would do. Advocate for him with your family or anybody else. Don't. By doing so, you as much as admit that you owe him, are culpable, and that you are responsible.

    You are not. He is responsible. For himself and for being hurtful to you, your husband and countless other people.
    If it were me I would never, ever go where he is or could be. Not after this FB message. He as if let loose and baited a mean, vicious pit bull and urged the poor creature to attack you.

    This attack on you was vicious, purposeful and it should not be rewarded. Nor should you risk a reoccurrence.

    If you have an invitation to family in the town where he is, I would call the family member and I would tell them briefly a part of the truth:

    It makes sense for us to go out to dinner near home (or stay home this year). There is the possibility that us coming, could contribute to discomfort. I would never want you or your guests, or family to be exposed to something uncomfortable, because of us.

    I would say not one word more. If anything, I would say less. But I do not know the culture of your family, so I cannot really recommend any specific course of action. Just, be careful.

    Just remember this (you already know it): your son created this by deliberate, consistent, ongoing choices on his part that were hurtful, self-destructive, destructive and irresponsible. Because of your love for him, you endured way more than most parents or people would endure. It is not your fault. The situation he has put himself in, is not your responsibility to fix.

    At some point, if son shows a pattern of consistent, positive change, I know you will be open to something different. By this last action he has done you and his father a great service. He has revealed clearly that the time to open up to him, or to be near him or risk this, is not now, and it will not be in the near future.

    I do not know why this act of cruelty by him has so affected me, but it has. Maybe others will come soon and have another viewpoint.

    You know by my posts about my own child, and posts to others that typically I urge taking risks--because we love them so much--and to support them to change. I urge this because I believe it is best for us, to act where possible, from our love and hope.

    But by this I do not mean to volunteer to be red meat for a pit bull, or bait for a shark. You get the drift. Stay away.

    To risk any contact with him or to intervene to protect him would be construed as capitulation and responsibility. He would use it to attack you and hurt you.

    I urge caution.

    I am sorry if by being blunt I have caused you pain. It is not my intention.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2016
  14. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member


    From the bottom of my heart, thank you. I just read your post to husband and we are so energized/empowered by your words.

    One thing I did not make clear: I am tempted to ask my brother to have my elderly (80's) parents over for Thanksgiving lunch---not Difficult Child.

    I can observe Thanksgiving with my parents on another day.

    As it stands now, we (sans Difficult Child) plan to meet at a restaurant---the only restaurant open in their town on Thanksgiving Day. husband and I fear Difficult Child might show....especially after this FB message from his friend. (husband is suspicious that Difficult Child wrote it. For one thing, the message was deleted within a few minutes of me reading it.) Does not matter - was way out of line and we feel the creepiness of it.

    Haha about wanting to tell the friend to keep him for Thanksgiving. husband and I absolutely shared that thought!

    Again, thank you. so much
  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Oh. Now I understand.

    Well, good. I think I did write a good explanation to use in some future encounter. Smile. Feel free to use it if it ever applies!

    I agree with your wariness about meeting in that town on that day. Your son could easily guess your plans. While he might not know the time--why worry?

    Is there a neighboring town, where something might be open? Gosh. I would steer clear of that town, and I would try not to have to give your mother an explanation.

    I am remembering all she put you through. I would not want to give her any fodder.

    I like the idea of asking your brother to invite your parents, makes sense.

    And then make an especially wonderful plan to substitute for your parents--as an alternative. Something that would really be a treat. I have no idea where you live in the world, but I know what I would do here near me (if one of us wasn't afraid to drive far!!)

    I would be careful how much and what I told your mother--but only you and your husband know how to handle this.

    SS, I REMEMBER YOUR MOTHER. You posted on FOO. I will never forget your mothers cruelties and disrespect to you as a couple. Even though we forgive her.

    *Because I am still in bed because I did not expressly forgive my own mother, as she was dying, although she never asked for such. And you posted how your mother turned against you in an alliance with your son. We forgive her; but that does not mean, that we forget.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2016
  16. Snow White

    Snow White Temporarily in the Magic Kingdom

    Are you taking orders for this book, Tanya? This book is sold out EVERYWHERE!!!!! Too funny!

    Seeking Strength, on a more serious note, I am so sorry to hear that your son is choosing to ruin your peaceful status. I feel for you - our daughter is doing the exact same thing. During her last 'drama' in Thailand, she had 'friends' calling/messaging how we were terrible parents in not assisting our "dying daughter". She gave them our phone number and my email address. These messages are meant to bait you into a response that your son is expecting from you. I wouldn't give him and/or the friend the satisfaction of a response to their poisoned pen. I am doing the same with mine.

    I hope that you and your husband will make the choice to spend this Thanksgiving with people you hold dear in a tranquil and non-adversarial setting. Another holiday does not need to be ruined for you.

    Copabanana raises the issue of personal safety - something that I have pushed to the back of my mind while our daughter is thousands of miles away. I dread the day that she sets foot back into Canada and gets closer to us. I don't trust her, given how her acts of physical violence have increased over the past couple of years. We are starting to put things in motion here so that we are prepared.

    As the others have said: stay off the social media, ignore the phone calls and texts. In other words - enjoy YOUR life, making YOUR choices. You son has made his.

    {Hugs to you}
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  17. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Thank you, all of you - Copabanana who re-centered us right off the bat - and all the others who helped so much. This is such a jagged journey.

    We cancelled the Thanksgiving meal with my parents. Spoke with my mom who seemed to (pretty much) understand. I promised to have Thanksgiving lunch with them later.

    She mentioned that Difficult Child had asked her last night if I had received a letter from his friend.

    She seems to be slowly coming around that Difficult Child does not always tell the truth. She still believes what he says way more than husband and I do. (Course, we believe him 1% of the time so that's not huge.)

    McDonna, I tried to quote you in this, but think I did it wrong. Thank you. I feel for you and your situation --and obviously, relate.

    Thank you, thank you.

  18. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    SS, sending you and your husband big hugs.......I'm sorry all of this erupted right before Thanksgiving, it's difficult not to think your son used the holiday to manipulate everyone.

    I hope you and your husband can find a new, creative way to spend Thanksgiving......do something special just for the two of you......don't allow your son to ruin your holiday. Shift the energy into something positive and celebratory......go out of town......you guys deserve a quiet, lovely, holiday....xoxoxox
  19. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Ah, SS, I am sorry this is all happening to you and your family. I agree with what the others have said...try to go about your holiday in your own way, with love and clarity, as you are doing. I am really glad you reached out to your own family. As for Thanksgiving with just your husband...although for most of my life Thanksgiving has been a 20 plus person event, once I had it with just my sister, in a college apartment where the landlord turned the heat off..we made a chicken. It was lovely. I hope you have the same kind of personal, quiet, lovely connection.

    UK Mummy is wise...we all know this, and I know you know it too. This pain will pass, even if you do nothing. These difficulty emotions wear themselves out.

    This one took me a long time, and I may not have mastered it stll. The promises, the promises...applying jobs, going to check in to rehab tomorrow, on and on. I was always excited, or at a minimum enthusiastically supportive. It seemed the right way to be, learned from experience with my neurotypical easy kids. But it is exhausting. You husband is right..we celebrate accomplishments with our Difficult Child's, not promises.

    This has been a regular feature of my life. I would like to line up all the young women who have contacted me over the years to firmly dress me down for not being there for my good, kind son who needs his mom. They all have a magic insight into his soul that his mom doesn't have. They all see me as cold. They all disappear from his life after a few weeks or months. I want a group picture of them all. :censored2: em! It too have wondered if some of the messages were actually from him...and conversely sometimes I wonder if some one else wrote the messages he ostensibly sent me.

    Good luck to you over these next few days, SS. All of us are together in the holidays (all of us Parents Emeritus folks, I mean). It has been many years now since I saw my boy on a holiday. He used to absolutely love them, too...he was very family oriented. But that was then. Now our table is smaller. I try to honor the heartbreak that goes with that, and also to move forward.

    Loving wishes to all of you for peace and gratitude on this most lovely of holidays.

  20. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Thanks, RE. I totally agree. Our younger two adult kids are here. I am enjoying my coffee before the cooking begins.

    Excellent point! This is so true. So many times on this forum, you guys say something I already knew. Yet, when I see it spelled out by one of you, it's like EUREKA! THE TRUTH FINALLY! Haha. Very valuable.

    I laughed out loud about all the females who have contacted you and the group photo and the censored part. That is another great thing about this group. We can make each other laugh out loud about topics that would seem to have no humor to be found.

    Love to all of you. I am certainly thankful for each of you.

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