Update on Difficult Child

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Childofmine, Jul 17, 2015.

  1. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    As most of you know, Difficult Child has been doing much better for more than a year now. Progress, certainly not perfection, and I still must work hard on having no expectations, which is a slippery slope and one I slide around on.

    Over the weekend, girlfriend (the one who stabbed him last summer) "went ballistic." She smashed up his house, broke the TV, his computer, the glass topped table, and I don't know what else. The noise was so great, and the yelling and screaming, I imagine, that three people called the police. Difficult Child said she came at him with a knife, and he took it away from her, and then she scratched his neck and the back of his hand.

    He told her to get in the car, and he took her somewhere else down the road and dropped her off, before he even knew the police had been called. He said he had to get her out of there.

    He went back to his place and the police had just been there. They came back shortly and he told them everything but not about the knife.

    "I can't give somebody a felony."

    A warrant was issued for her, and last night she was arrested.

    This type of drama has been going on for more than a year. They got together when they were both homeless and it's been on again, off again for about 18 months.

    She is 20 and he is 26. She is bipolar and an alcoholic (according to her and him) and doesn't take medication. The social worker at the day shelter where Difficult Child used to go when he was homeless told me "this girl is more trouble than you will ever imagine, and your son doesn't need to have a thing to do with her." Ok, like I can do something about that, right?

    Anyway....she is in jail now, and of course, I am hoping that this is it for them.

    He said, "I know you hate her, Mom." I said to him: "I don't hate her at all. I do think she is a very troubled person, and I do think that you can't fix her or save her, and I don't think she is good for you at all. That's what I think about her and you, in a nutshell."

    I have had her over here with him several times, at Christmas and again this past Fourth of July. She has cut marks all over her arms. She is a very pretty girl and she doesn't say much when she is here. She always gives me a hug when she leaves. It truly is heart-breaking. Her mother is bipolar and has multiple kids, doesn't work, the grandparents are wealthy and evidently have bailed her out a million times. I met her once, and she never took a breath---talked and talked. All I had to do was nod. The dad isn't any better. This girl really has nobody. But even if she did, she has to want to change. I understand she has been in serious trouble since she was 14.

    Anyway, Difficult Child is doing so much better, working hard, paying his bills (mostly), and acting sweet and kind. But he still doesn't see himself clearly, and he doesn't make "good decisions" about things like I would like him to.

    So, what to do? Nothing.

    I can't get him "there" any faster than he is going. Like my husband said a few years ago: It took him a long time to walk into the forest. It's going to take him a long time to walk out.

    So, I am learning how to navigate here, in a different time and in a different situation than it used to be, with homelessness, jail, obvious drug use, all of the situations that he was in all the time for the past 5 to 6 years. This appears to be a new day for him (I say that cautiously, realizing it can change) but it's not all forward progress, pretty, tied up with a bow, like I would like it to be.

    I still have to be vigilant with myself and maintain boundaries with him. I don't need to know the everyday of his life. I don't need to engage too much. I don't need to ask a lot of questions (one of my very worst habits with him).

    Let it go, let it go, let it go. It will be what it will be. It is what it is. Life on life's terms. These are the things I say to myself over and over when I get caught up in my head with his stuff. He must walk this path, that I firmly believe.

    I just hope this is it with he and this girl.
  2. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    My step-daughter's mother, my husband's ex-wife, is an alcoholic with Borderline Personality Disorder. She was a teacher, married to a professor, well-educated, home-owning, one of the bright ones. It hits all walks of life, every class, every strata of society.

    He became a victim of domestic abuse.

    She had a total breakdown when my step-daughter was 3 months old. She's now 11. Birth-mother is allowed no contact, not even a card, as it has been ruled that any contact would cause my step-daughter serious emotional harm.


    It raises difficult questions doesn't it?
    Is this an illness?
    If you're married to someone and they become ill, then you support them, stay with them. If your spouse suffers a physical illness what do you do? Why is mental illness different? Is it the nature of the mental illness that changes the rules about supporting someone you love? Or is it the behaviour that's the integral part of that mental illness that makes staying untenable, and untenable for family and loved ones to understand?

    So step-daughter is told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    Social workers say "mummy was ill / is ill. can't look after you, couldn't be your mummy".

    I stop them.

    Tell the truth.

    Because otherwise Daddy becomes an awful person who abandons his wife when she was/is ill.

    But it's not that simple. Daddy escaped from an impossible situation and took his baby daughter away from danger. But it wasn't a decision taken lightly. He didn't simply walk away without a backward glance.

    But it won't be easy to explain to his daughter as she gets older.

    Because it's not simple is it?

    If your son loves this girl.
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  3. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    It is such a difficult question. Some of the behaviors that can manifest are difficult/dangerous to deal with.

    Rejoice in the fact that he has made progress. He loves this girl and understands her issues on a level that we can't.
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  4. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    When I think of the progress he has made over the past year, I am so amazed and so thrilled for him!

    Am I remembering the sequence of events correctly? Didn't your son's wonderful and positive changes basically start around the time girlfriend stabbed him in the arm?

    When my kids were younger, my husband and I hypothesized that if they could find something they really loved that couldn't be done high, it would help them stay away from drugs. It was easy for my daughter, but my son never really found anything that gave him that joy and purpose.

    As odd as it sounds, I have wondered if having a relationship with the girlfriend didn't give your son that sense of purpose, something he cared enough about keeping to make him want to find his way out of the forest.

    It sure sounds hard to watch from the sidelines for you, COM. You sure do it gracefully, though! Thanks for the update, and for being such an inspiration for all of us.
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  5. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    That's actually how one of my nephews straightened out. He was seeing a girl while he was a serious meth head. She realized what was going on and told him to make a choice because he wasn't going to get her AND the drugs. Thankfully he chose her and they are married with three kids.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    It's one thing to stick with a mentally ill spouse (or child) when there are only two of you involved. I have the right to risk my own life, or not, to support my mentally ill family member. But... as soon as there are others involved, it becomes much more difficult. If the Dad leaves because he is taking a child out of a dangerous situation, there really isn't much other option. He isn't going to abandon the child to care for the spouse.

    If I'm safe enough to still be able to "put on my own oxygen mask first", then I'm safe enough to try to help my mentally ill family member. Otherwise, I have to protect myself or neither of us will survive. It's a horrid choice to have to make.
  7. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Huh. What an interesting series of responses, Child! I am thrown off base by the kind support for your son's girlfriend.

    Because as I look back on Difficult Child's life, and the dangerous or troubled times of my other kids, what I see is that it is who they choose to hang out with that matters. Who they choose as their friends and peer group and partners is what matters, not where you sent them to school or summer camp or how many family dinners you had together. So like you, I have been hoping your son would separate from his girlfriend, and as I read your post I thought "I hope this is it, that he finally breaks free"
    But I can see the merit in what Lucy says, and Pasa says, and Alb says. (Yay, Lucy and Alb are here!)

    Overall I think I fall were Insane does...that your son doesn't really have his own oxygen mask on, and yet...maybe it will bring you some peace to hear what the others say. Maybe her crazy, her drama, is a thing that he can see through clearly, that he loves the woman underneath, and will support her through those other things. That happens. That makes him a better man than I am a parent to my own Difficult Child...but it could be so. Or maybe it is so for now, today, or maybe it was only so yestarday and now it is over, or maybe it will be so for a few more weeks or years and then he will move on...having loved and learned.

    I went out with the same guy for 6 years in my 20's. MOved from New York to LA to NY to Boston with him. 6 years. I'm sure my mom despaired (he smoked, was depressed and critical. Why, Echo, why??) And then..I stopped going out with him. My best friend flew into town, we packed up my stuff in trash bags, and I moved across the river. Never looked back. Not once.

    We never know the end till it is over, do we?

    Maybe your son is learning and growing in this relationship.

    Hugs to you, Child. Thank you for letting us know what is going on in your heart and mind.

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  8. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    I think you are all right. I think it's one of those situations where there are many sides to it.

    I do think "helping her" and being with her as the "older, more rational person" has been good for him. In fact, he would tell me things he would tell her, that were the same things I used to tell HIM!

    I do think, as he has worked through things over the past year, it has been instructive for him to see parts of his own life in her.

    And I do think he has cared about her, perhaps loved her, not sure.

    I did shut up about it a long time ago, in terms of talking to him about her. He chose her, and so, okay. I am learning that it's not up to me. So I backed off, but I was very scared at times about the relationship. However, I welcomed her here and conversed with her while she was here, etc. I tried to be open and welcoming and not judge her.

    Turns out, he told my husband a lot when they were digging in the yard together last weekend, and I was out of town. Turns out, she has been threatening my son, saying things like: you better stay with me or I'll tell the police you hit me, and you're on probation, so you'll go back to jail. Things like that.

    He said: I would tell her, do you think I want to be with somebody who threatens me like that.

    Back last summer, when he was stabbed by her, he was her staunchest defender, hocked his TV to get her out of jail, on and on defending her. Now, his ardor has cooled, it appears.

    He said, Mom, you can't just get somebody out of your house did you know that? I talked to the police and they said that even though she isn't paying rent, if she is getting mail here, I have to go through the eviction process.

    He also said the girlfriend taunted him about that and said she refused to leave but she knew he couldn't do anything about it.

    He also said he had taken pictures of her arms, where she cut herself, to show to his probation officer. He said he was letting the PO know in case the girlfriend started accusing him.

    I do think he is lonely and there's that. All of his old friends have moved on with their lives. He basically works and sleeps. That's another need she filled.

    So...not sure where the love went, but it doesn't sound like too much is still there. Anyway, of course, there is never any guarantee in any relationship with anybody that things won't go south in any one of 100 ways. Ours and theirs.

    And the next girlfriend could be worse, I realize that. I don't know, I have just been afraid that despite how well he is doing, with someone like that, you never know what is going to happen and you can get caught in the crossfire whether you do anything or not.

    He seems to be very concerned about crossing all of his Tourette's Syndrome and dotting his Is with probation, paying off fines, etc. I'm not saying he is all perfect and she is the problem. I don't see her that way. I see her as very troubled and her situation is heartbreaking. I can only imagine her family's pain.

    However...to be honest...I don't want them together. And I know that isn't up to me. I am still hoping that they are done, and that at some point, there is somebody healthier---in her own right---in his life. But I do see that she has played a role in his life over the past period of time, and perhaps that role has been even good, at least necessary, for sure.
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  9. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    He probably can with a restraining order. It's clear she's attacked him, he doesn't have to mention the knife. He just has to tell the court that he's afraid, that she's threatened him, etc. He really should be able to get one, especially now that she's been arrested. If his name is the only one on the lease, he'll be in a good position.

    She may have been good for him in the past, but it's pretty clear she needs to go.

    Sometimes the automatic changes that this site makes can cause some serious confusion.
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  10. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Lol, that is hilarious about Tourette's Syndrome. Clearly, I need to reread before I push post.

    Yes, now there is a restraining order in effect automatically as part of the charge, so the issue is moot now, he says.

    Like that chance to smile, Lil. : )
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  11. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Bad part is it doesn't show until after you post. Then all you can do is go back and edit. Jabbers place of employment autocorrects to doctor (D.O.C.) There are all kinds of possibilities for confusion really.

    I had my BiPolar (BP) checked.

    I'm going to Washington Difficult Child

    I don't remember who, but someone's name for their child keeps autocorrecting to something odd.
  12. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    If people would type correctly, it would help.

    I couldn't BELIEVE that someone actually typed D.C. without the periods to mean District of Columbia. Cheryl was definitely aware (because I brought it up) that we would run into this one eventually, but I sure didn't expect to see it show up so soon.

    We implemented Difficult Child, to get rid of the confusion around "difficult child".
    Which everyone then shortened to "D C" (minus the space).
    Which puts us back where we started.

    The name that becomes "thank you" is "T Y" (minus the space).

    Technically, Bi-Polar is two separate conditions, and the short forms should be BPI and BPII. But most of us lump them together.

    The problem with acronyms is that the meaning depends on context, and acronym expanders aren't particularly good at context. I work in a sea of acronyms (the field of hi-tech), and even there we run into multiple meanings depending on which operating system and so on.
  13. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    That was it! I remember reading a thread where the poster kept saying things like "I picked up thank you and took him here and then thank you said this and that." LOL

    Well yeah, but you know I rarely bother to put the periods after D.C. in Washington D.C. Same with USA or PO Box.

    You really expect proper grammar from people on the internet? :p
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  14. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    Sorry, just have to see. FUBAR.
  15. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member


    Sorry Jabber. We don't expand EVERY acronym.
    If we WERE to expand that one, it would probably come out as "damaged beyond repair".
  16. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    Like I said, just had to check.
  17. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    Yepperrs. I was trying to type "out" on my cell phone and typed Occupational Therapist (OT) leaving out the u and it autocorrected to occupational therapist (Occupational Therapist (OT)).
  18. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Hi Child,

    It has been very interesting reading the different perspectives and, as you said, it is a multi-faceted "event". I am glad others pointed out the Tourette's was an autocorrect. I was reading along, thinking, Wow, I had totally forgotten COM's son has Tourette's and now is obviously very worried about it interfering with his getting through this. And, then Lil's response had me laughing at my gullibility.

    It sounds like good things may come from this and your son's path made a little easier. But, you are right, they may end up back together or he may find somebody worse. I pray every day that each of my kids find a healthy partner to grow old with. That may never happen, but it certainly would me happy. ;)

    The conversation your husband and son had last weekend sure sounds more than happenstance stuff. I suspect greater powers were afoot with that little convo.

    I am a suspicious person, like that.

    Keep us posted. Mostly, I am glad your son got out alive and seems relieved.

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  19. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    How romantic.

    We can hope that she is locked up long enough for your son to move on. COM, It sounds like your son opens up to your husband and feels safe talking to him man to man. It sure does do credit to both of them, your husband for his neutrality, control and presence of mind, your son for his self-confidence, confidence in others, and ability to trust.

    It could be that your son to some extent identified with this young girl, and both believed and benefited from trying to guide his as if younger self out of the forest. This helped him consolidate his emerging adult self, and at the same time distance himself from the lost child he was. All with love and understanding for her and for himself, as he was. What could be better?

    At now it looks like he might be using your husband as an alter-ego to begin to separate from the actual girl. How great is that?

    I for one think he is in the process of moving on. He sounds to be such a good and responsible person that he does not take this lightly or easily. How many men leave us responsibility and integrity? Not many. What a great guy!

    But realize that it might be hard for him in the short run, if he still identifies with her, as lost and in need of guidance as he once was. He may try and try, for awhile or he may not. Time will tell.

    I would be proud and hopeful, despite myself. And of course because I am me, I would crash and burn when disappointed.

    You are doing everything and more you can to be both in the present and detached and a good Mother. What a role model for us, COM.

    Nothing in life prepared me to be the contortionist required in the situations we find ourselves.

    Thank you.
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  20. allusedup

    allusedup Member

    COM, It sounds like your son is making great progress. I am so glad for him and you and your hubby! It sounds to me like he is detatching from this girl. My son's bad choices in women have been a constant source of worry for me so I can certainly empathize. Here's hoping and praying the next one your son meets will be a jewel!
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