Update on difficult child -we are in Colorado and it just went pear-shaped...

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by blackgnat, Jun 14, 2013.

  1. blackgnat

    blackgnat Active Member

    So, difficult child and I drove to Colorado (from Illinois) last Friday and we got to my ex's house last Saturday at about noon.
    I was coming to see my younger son, who moved out here and is doing well, employed, living with his dad and doing an online degree. I was so happy for him to be able to get away from this dysfunction.

    Then after all the shenanigans (see my post on 'Son wants me to pick him up from a dangerous situation"- Not the exact title, but I am in a hurry to post this, sorry) I decided I would bring the difficult child with me on the PURE understanding that he would NOT be living here with his dad, but use it to make a really new start.

    I know that this was wrong of me
    , but I can't see another solution for me to be out of the equation. He was just on the streets, drinking, drugging and I thought, well his dad has good boundaries, and won't let him stay if there is ANY monkey business.

    We got here and the atmosphere was VERY frosty. My ex has been very uninvolved emotionally and I have borne the brunt and torment of the difficult child's life alone. I felt it was just time, after 7 or so years of doing it alone, that the ex should step up. So guilty about my easy child, but he too has iron clad boundaries and won't put up with any bs. I felt that if I'm too weak to say no and stand my ground, that this would be a good place for difficult child to sink or swim and he has been fully aware that this is it.

    So in FOUR days, my difficult child is now in the mental health system, has a card that allows him to buy $200 worth of groceries a month, has a psychiatrist and doctor and has an appointment next week for SSI and SSDI. He has been applying for jobs online and is determined to show his dad that he means to start a new life in a positive direction. We have done A LOT since getting here and he was feeling really good about the support and caring nature of the people he's dealing with.

    Fast forward to this afternoon. We get back after the lastest round of medical appointments and my ex is underwhelmed. He comes home for lunch and when he leaves, my easy child said that ex is mad because we are not out and about for 8 hours a day, looking for jobs. He doesn't seem to understand how much has been achieved in the four days we've been here. My son does NOT want to live with his dad, just to use the house as a jumping off point until his housing is sorted. My easy child then tells us that when HE came to CO, the ex said "I'm done investing in you two". (meaning his sons) WHAT???? One he hasn't invested, and two, who says that to their kids? I can understand with the difficult child, though he was never there for any of the hard times, but to say that to the easy child, who has done nothing but overcome obstacles and succeed?

    Anyway,this threw difficult child into a tailspin. Says "what's the point of trying, I'm just going to be back out on the streets, doing what I did in Illinois and dad can't wait to get rid of me. He will kick me out of here as soon as you leave, mom, (I am driving back to Illinois on Sunday) and he doesn't understand how hard I'm trying" etc.

    Here's the kicker and the reason I am so frickin mentally unstable...he is gay and has has craigslist liasons with other men, usually at my house when I was at work. So my easy child goes to work and difficult child says "I just hooked up with someone online. They live a mile away. Can you take me? Drop me off and pick me up?" W.T.F??????

    I said NO. So he connects with someone else who can pick HIM up and just left about 5 minutes ago. We are in a strange place, in a house that I invited myself and the family's BIG problem to, he is contrite and positive and with ex's attitude, decides that the solution for him is some stress relief with a total stranger. My ex is due back from work in about 30 mins. My difficult child was going to have A Talk with him and tell him, dad I DON'T want to live with you, but I really would like you to acknowledge that I'm moving forward and I know it's not as quickly as you want, but the wheels are in motion for me to get out of here and I want that as much as you do."

    I said "what the hell are you doing this for NOW? Stay here and wait for your dad and you can talk about your future" but he wanted to go and so he is gone. Who knows if he'll come back? He has a friend in Denver and I'm supposed to say that she came into town and was taking him to lunch. So I have this horrible truth inside me that I told him was WAY too much for me to bear ( I totally accept his homosexuality, its this stranger thing that tears me apart) and that it is WRONG of him to involve me in any way with his private life.

    If he doesn't come back, then I have this guy's number and I will have to use it.

    I'm sorry this is so long. I think I'm looking for input as how to handle all this. I feel so guilty that I'm palming him off to my ex (no, actually I think that part is okay) but that my easy child is here and I came uninvited to offload difficult child.
    But mostly it's another reality check, right?

    He's NOT gonna change, he will do whatever he wants, even if the outcome is dire. He wants to prove himself to his father. Why then would he do something so obvious? If the ex finds the truth out, difficult child will be out of the house for sure. Though it won't be MY problem.

    He's just an incredibly callous individual.

    All thoughts are welcomed. I am so lost with this sheeit.
  2. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    No, you were not wrong in bringing your son to another state. What you are doing is giving your difficult child one last chance at life.

    What he is telling you is that he isn't going to take it.

    What he is telling you, and in no uncertain terms, either, is that you are going to drive him home, and things are going to go on EXACTLY as they were, before. Only this time, you will not have the luxury of an option. This time, if you give in to him now, you will not have even the dream of sending difficult child somewhere safe, or of ever being safe again, yourself.

    difficult child is manipulating you. It sounds to me like that was his intention from the very first time you suggested moving him to another state.

    You need to tell ex-husband the truth. And then, before difficult child ever gets back from his assignation, you need to leave.

    Or don't tell husband. But leave before difficult child returns.

    That way, difficult child will walk the straight and narrow, if that is what is required for him to stay where he is. He will never do it, if he can manipulate you into taking him home.

    Or, if he can start a fight, so husband will not let you leave him there.

    I'm sorry this is happening. Sometimes, we need to make tough, tough choices. But if you look at it another way blackgnat, isn't there somewhere in your heart where you know that this is what you half-expected? Not what you hoped would happen, but something you were afraid would happen?

    You need to give your son this chance, blackgnat.

    For most of us, here on the site, we have had to come to that same place you are, now. We have had to do our best, acknowledge that our child is not making it from home, and send them away. For most of us, when we send our child away or turn our child away...they literally have nowhere else to go.

    And sometimes, we save their lives by doing that.

    And sometimes, we lose our children.

    But we have to do what we can to give them a chance.

    How old is your son?

    Possible to rent him an apartment for a few months in Colorado?

  3. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    It sounds great that he is setting himself up there with dr.s, a grocery card and is interested in making a life for himself. It's very upsetting for him to hear his father say that. He wants to throw in the towel over one comment, typical difficult child style. The dad was maybe blowing off steam, saying that in an offhand way, or just plain didn't mean it all. I'm speculating, who knows? The father is allowing difficult child to stay there for now until he gets himself set up, right? He is going to have to do that, that's a great incentive for him to take the action he needs to- getting a job, or whatever else he needs to do. He's not going back over one comment his dad made, you need to leave there now. You don't want anything or anyone to get in the way of this chance for him. They can figure it out when you're gone and he's there with just his 2 boys. The dad will act differently when you're not there. Go. As for the craigslist....it stinks, but he does that anywhere he is. You want him safe of course, but you have no control over that. He'll either be ok or he won't be, you have no say. (hugs)
  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Sorry this is short......and to the point. on the other hand I have to tell you that you have already given your best shot and your difficult child is not going to follow the path you hoped for. Yes, I have an Ex who had no patience with our son and in fact focused almost solely on himself BUT he was a change. Your difficult child needs change. It if means he opts to hang out with strangers...so be it. I am assuming he is a legal adult. If I were you I'd write a brief note saying "I know you can make a new life for yourself that will be happier and healthier. I will, and always have, love you. The choices have to be yours now." Love, Mom ..........and then I'd get in the car and head home with my cell phone turned off.

    I'm sending supportive hugs your way. I have never had to "drive away" and I'm sure it is going to be difficult BUT it gives your son a chance to "own" his choices. Keeping you in my prayers. DDD
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Although your ex sounds callous, difficult child does have a new chance with him. Sounds like difficult child wanted to hook up with somebody so he used his father's callous words as an excuse to do something dangerous. He would be in danger in Illinois too. He has likely done this before.

    You have really gone all out to give your boy a chance. He has to be t he one to make his life better. As much as we want to help our grown kids w ho deliberately sabatage the help we do give, only they have that power. I agree with the others. Go home and turn off the cell phone. Write a nice letter first, but leave. Life is full of surprises. Quite a few of us have kids who abused drugs and are now straight or close to it and living good lives. You just never know.
  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I completely agree with DDD, it's time to leave and time to let go and time to focus on you. You didn't do anything wrong, let that go too.............we mom's do our best, perhaps too much and then the time comes to accept what is and let go, this is your time to do that..............hugs..........
  7. blackgnat

    blackgnat Active Member

    Thank you all so much for your replies and for reminding me that I have done all I can do and that it's time to focus on me having a life instead of being so codependent.

    RE, I went back and read the article on Detachment again. It's SO helpful-honestly, that whole article describes me and the way I have handled my son's upbringing. I am the poster child for enmeshment.

    I decided to stay one more day in Colorado. The decision to either stay or go is agony for me, especially as the easy child is telling me to stay longer. I DO have the time, as I work in education and we are on summer vacation. I feel that I'm probably impeding my difficult child's progress by hanging on. (there I go again, making it all about HIM-aargh! I have a LOT of work to do!) But I have things that I need to do and right now, I'm suspending reality by being here.

    I will probably try to do a little more "fixing" just to ease my mind. It'll take the form of making sure difficult child has the bus schedule printed out, driving him to the store to see if his food card works, etc. After that, it's all up to him to make his own life. I think I should seriously look into CODA and Al-Anon so that I'm not consumed with guilt about "not doing enough." Because I have skewed my own reality and I need to get it back.

    If the difficult child makes the wrong choices, then he will have to live with the consequences and I know that both my ex and my easy child will brook no nonsense from him. Already my ex is telling my easy child, "He can be here for a couple of weeks and that's it" and my easy child is "Dad, that's kind of a long time...". But you know, it's not going to be my issue and I won't be there to make it my own. What I have to guard against is intervening-I can see the difficult child calling me with a tale of woe and me calling my ex to see if he can fix it. From 1,000 miles away! I REALLY MUST NOT DO THAT! I must retrain my brain to lessen the impact of worrying about things that are beyond my sphere of influence. And in reality, difficult child does what he wants anyway, so why am I thinking I even HAVE any influence? I need to get over myself!

    As has been said so many times on this forum, we have our mother's and father's heart and I also have to tell myself that even if I'd had TWO pcs, I would still worry about them and trust that they were making the safe and healthy choices in life. difficult children just come with more of a Murphy's law package...

    SO again, thank you all for your supportive words and for the reality check. Thanks for letting me process as I write. Now I just have to go through the agony of Goodbye. And a 15 hour drive to Illinois! Ugh! My tailbone hurts just thinking about that!
  8. blackgnat

    blackgnat Active Member

    Just to add-my difficult child is 24-WAY old enough to start and figure it all out.

    And to the posters who said I have probably been expecting the outcome of difficult child reverting to type here in CO. You are right. I try to be as optimistic as possible, but I really don't expect a happy ending for my child. I think he will take the path that he thinks is the easiest-drinking and drugging to escape reality. Selling his body instead of flipping burgers for minimum wage. It's what he knows and what he chooses. Not the choices I would make but I'm not him. Though I've tried to make him think like ME! It has never worked.

    And taking him back with me to Illinois is absolutely NOT an option. There is nothing there for him. Coming out here gives him an incredible opportunity to make a fresh start and he knew before he got in my car that there would be no turning back. If he can't make a go of this, then he can't do it anywhere. Which honestly I think is the truth. He probably won't and probably can't. I'll never tell him that, of course. But he has tremendous resources at his disposal here in Colorado. Plus family members who will help establish him and then let him fly. If he doesn't get that he is very lucky and effs it up anyway, then so be it.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This really helps me:

    God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change,
    the courage to change the things I can,
    and the wisdom to know the difference.

    I am in detachment mode myself these days, and it's NOT easy, but every time I say this prayer, I bring myself back to reality.
  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    PS........remember "never let them see you sweat" or cry. Once you are out of town you can pull over somewhere safe and sob to ease your pain. on the other hand you do NOT want to show vulnerability or waivering or fear. You will be demonstrating what it means to "Man Up" for your young man who doesn't get it...yet. Hugs DDD
  11. Blackgnat - I want you to know I'm thinking about you today. This is a very tough thing for you to do but you have made the right decision. difficult child needs the hard and solid line that easy child and exDH will set down for him. The rest of the choices are up to him.

    Hoping you're doing ok.
  12. blackgnat

    blackgnat Active Member

    Thank you so much for your kind thoughts and caring words.

    It really IS tough but I am the weak link and he is better off without me to fall back on. I can tell that he is nervous about his future but in addition to the stuff that happened on Friday, he has been in an altered state since then.

    He got 60 Klonopin from his new psychiatric dr on Thursday. They are all gone. It's only Sunday. In addition, he must have got some marijuana from his Friday hookup because I can smell it. My ex gave him a couple of shelves in the hall closet for his clothes and it reeks of weed. So already he is self-medicating. His speech is somewhat slurred, although he is making perfect sense and he looks ready to fall asleep. What a trainwreck. and we've only been here for a week.

    He even called about jobs and picked up some application forms yesterday, in that state. Not going to bode well for full time employment, which he might not get anyway, as he has a felony from 2008.

    Yep. Not going well at all...as a friend texted me "If he wants to eff everything up then you don't have to be around to see it". But of course, it multiplies my feelings of guilt for everyone else involved and sorrow at his lack of coping skills. I just don't get what he doesn't get. But that's the nature of the beast. Instead of being courageous enough to start his new life with a clean slate, he's feeding his insecurities. Ugh.

    Stomach is in knots.
  13. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You should just get on the road and turn up the radio full blast on the fun music station! Really, pull the band-aid off! Hugs...I know it is not easy. But, you have to do it. Warrior moms often are doing really, really hard stuff!
  14. sad in the south

    sad in the south New Member

    No advice just giving you a cyber hug and want you to know that I have been thinking about you today. It is clear that you have gone way above and beyond to help your child. Now it is time to start the car, head East and have a safe trip home.
  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Leaving difficult child there is the best thing for him and you. best for ex? who cares? He doesn't seem to care about anyone, so you shouldn't waste time on him. difficult child has a CHANCE in a new area, and that is all you could EVER give him. What he does with it is NOT your problem.

    WHen you leave, do NOT allow difficult child to get into your car. Call the cops if he tries to get in. Seriously, if you take him back with you, he will have zero chance. difficult child can find drugs, strangers, bad things anywhere, but in a new area he has a chance to find good things. Back in your state, he won't even bother to look, the old things will be the easy things.

    You did NOT do anything wrong by taking difficult child to his father. NOTHING. work to end that guilt because it is not yours.

    You can go to alanon meetings anywhere. Heck, use your computer or phone to find meetings in towns you will drive through on yoru trip. Take a long meal break and go to a meeting rather than shop or sightsee. Or in addition to shopping/sight seeing. Alanon seems a bit easier to find than NA family meetings, but if you prefer, go to those.

    I don't know how much you know about meetings, but when you start there are things that can make it easy to find the best fit for you. Each meeting at each location has a different feel. Some won't be right for you, some will. To start out, aim to go to 7 meetings in 7 days. NOT the same time/place for each. Go back to the ones that feel good. Then aim for 30 in 30, and do it again, and again. If you commit, and go to different meetings so you find the ones in your area and which of those feels right for you, you will be SHOCKED at how much better you feel after a meeting. been there done that and the changes it helped me to make are still amazing.

    You truly have gone above and beyond to help your kids. Now they are adults and you need to focus on YOU. why not become enmeshed with yourself?
  16. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    You do NOT have to feel strong to ACT strong. Do what you know is best! We are all supporting you. Hugs DDD
  17. sad in the south

    sad in the south New Member

    Blackgnat.... can you give us an update? Are you still in Colorado?
  18. blackgnat

    blackgnat Active Member

    Hello all.

    I am back in Illinois after a fairly uneventful two day drive home. I left on Monday morning and had to be poured into the car. difficult child insisted on walking me to the car and I was weepy but resolute and told him that he needed to make the most of this fantastic opportunity to make a new start (one of many, I might add).

    Then I drove and got all the way thru Nebraska before booking myself into a hotel in Iowa. Had a nice hot bubble bath and slept in a fabulous bed (after 9 nights on ex's floor). Next morning (yesterday) I got back to Illinois and relaxed.

    During my journey home I had two calls from the difficult child but said I'd call when I was settled.

    I spoke to him this morning and he was sounding very negative. I expected this. He told me that he suspected the dynamics would change after I'd left and they had. His dad gave him until July 1st to stay in the apartment. He actually knew this before I left-my ex said this while I was there. difficult child was probably high and didn't remember. He said he'd mastered the bus route and was talking to some "bums" at the Mental Health Center and he told them that he wanted more ink, as one of them is a tattoo artist. That's his priority?

    Anyhoo. Before I left, ex set him up with a gmail phone number, was going to put some minutes on a mobile, got him a bus pass. He DOES have a kind side.

    This morning difficult child told me that he feels like he is being "counted out"(by his dad) before he has even had a chance to prove himself. I told him that even before we left Illinois, he knew that he couldn't stay at his dad's indefinitely and that he needed to sort out his confusion. On one hand, he professes to want the street life and then on the other hand, he seems to want the security (or whatever it is) of his dad being there. He's feeling offended by his father's plan to have him out of there by July1. He said "I hate the way I'm being seen as expendable".

    I can understand this-or is this my codependence speaking? I would imagine he's very fearful. I told him he had to keep moving forward and that over-medicating (with the klonopin and weed) will deplete his inner resources. I told him to rely on the social services to help him. I told him to talk to his father about any problems he's having. I said that as long as he is showing results then his dad is likely to be more compassionate.

    I'm not sure what to think. My therapist told me to change my number (not up to that yet-I CAN just ignore it and will have to learn to ) because difficult child will be calling me from CO with his tales of woe. I think she's right. I really don't want a daily laundry list of how he's not happy. I don't want to play therapist and I think it's unhealthy on every level. I know that everyone needs to unload, but I don't think it serves a useful purpose for me to always be on hand to listen to him. That's why I took him out there, to take myself out of the equation and for him to start over without having me as the fallback.

    Then again, does this mean he is condemned to a life of being a street person? A hopeless drug addict? Is he going to repeat the patterns of Illinois? I feel he can't see what an opportunity this is. He said "Well I'd rather do that here than in Illinois". And can I accept this without feeling that it's my fault?

    I DO know the answers to these questions. I just have to go through the process of detachment.

    Just venting. I have a lot of work to do on myself. Sigh.

    Thanks for all the support and interest. All comments will be gratefully received. I will keep reading here until it sinks into my thick skull.
  19. blackgnat

    blackgnat Active Member

    Also difficult child said that he would go to the shelter and I told him there were a few missions there. He said "I'm NOT doing another mission. It was too intense and I'm done with missions". I said there might be something similar that didn't have such an emphasis on religion, but prepared people to integrate into society, with help to get jobs, education, etc.

    Surely his rejection of this level of help, if he chooses the streets instead, THAT'S a choice as well, right? He shouldn't see himself as a victim? It just seems to me that he's almost making a decision to play the martyr. Won't go the regular path, but is almost taking the "easy" way out, by going with what he knows, even though it'll lead to some dangerous places.

    Sorry, still in that mode. Does the worry ever really go away? Probably not. I just have to learn to live with it, as so many of you courageous parents have done!
  20. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    You know what to do. Your therapist is right and you know it. We also encourage you to detach. It's a unanimous choice the honestly is not only in YOUR best interests but in difficult children best interests also. We know it is not easy but take it one day or one hour at a time. You CAN do it! DDD