Upsetting phone call from 34yo Difficult Child

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by SeekingStrength, Jun 23, 2015.

  1. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    About an hour ago, husband and I were in heavy traffic when my cell rang with a # I did not recognize. 99% of the time I do not pick up on those calls, but today had to be the 1%.

    Hey Mom!

    Me: Hey!

    This is (Difficult Child)

    Me: Hi Difficult Child. How are you?

    He starts crying, "Not well. I need to see you."

    Me: We cannot get up there the next few days.

    No, I have a ride to your place.

    Me: You can't stay at our house.

    I'm at ex-girlfriend's grandmother's house. Ex-girlfriend's family cannot understand why you guys treat me like this.

    Me: Well, perhaps you have not been honest with them.

    No, Mom, YOU be honest! (he was mad by now, and no longer crying that I could tell)

    I interrupted with "No, I'm not going through this again." Cannot remember if I said goodbye or just hung up on him.

    by then, I was shaking.

    I want to text, "Difficult Child, you need to find a shelter, get a job, get into rehab, quit playing the victim and start living the life you deserve."

    Difficult Child just has his dad and me so unsettled again. After all the things he has said to us and about us and yet his 34 self feels free to contact us when he wants something and continue to want "reparations" - a term he used once to explain why he thought we owed him.

    Prop us up if you have time, please.

  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member


    I don't even know what to say. You did the right thing, in my opinion. He was probably going to hit you up for money or something that would cost you a lot of money.


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  3. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    Ah, Seeking, I am sorry this happened to you and husband. Amazing how a single bolt through the air can undo us like this.

    He does not have the right to treat you this way. He does not have the right to derail you this way. And he has no right to make demands of you.

    He can only derail you if you allow it. Try try try not to engage.

    Don't send that txt..that is engaging.

    Try not to say things that can be undermined..'we can't get up there' is easier to undermine than 'I'm sorry, that doesn't work for us'.

    Good job getting off the phone.

    Now is a good time to write down a few responses, should you have contact again.

    I'm sorry.
    That does t work for us.
    That's unfortunate.
    That sounds hard.
    We won't be able to do that.
    No. (No is a complete sentence).

    You are a strong woman, seeking. It is ok to shake a bit..then take some deep breathes and let it go. Move on. His issues and needs have nothing to do with you today. You did well to disconnect the phone call. Now disconnect your mind. Deny him the opportunity to really derail you.

    I said I'm sorry this happened to you' deliberately , instead I 'I'm sorry this is happening to you' because it is a thing. A one time thin that happens from time to time, not a force, not a power, not a miasma of badness. It isn't and ongoing event. He called. You hung up as soon as it got inappropriate. You did well. Now go on with your day.

    Easier said than done, I know!!! But some days it can be done just like that...I hope this is one of those days.

    We are all here to prop.


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  4. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Thank you putting it in just that way, SWOT. Made me laugh. His arrogance, while using others, is pretty amazing. He gave me that reparations line about a year and a half ago. husband and I have laughed over Difficult Child's use of reparations since that day, although never thinking it was really that haha! funny.

    Thank you for pointing that out. When we hear from Difficult Child, my husband and I do tend to think we are in for a good stretch of bad times. Had to look up miasma; I like that word and intend to use it!

    Thanks so much. While I never forget how awesome this forum is, i do forget just HOW awesome until husband and I are in a bad place.....again.

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  5. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    SS, just read and reread your post.

    So...He has a ride to your place.

    "No, you can't come here Difficult Child but we could meet you at McDonald's and eat lunch."

    That's only if you want to, SS. Not sure if that is a good thing to offer for you or not.

    Pluses: you can lay eyes on him, hear him out, repeat your mantras and let that be it.

    Cons: you have to go through the emotional part of it all.

    Just a thought.

    You did good, even though I know it is really hard and awful. Answering that unexpected call, when we're not ready for it, is just simply...awful. Especially when that's what you get.

    Hang in there. We've got you here. Hugs and hugs.
  6. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Am I remembering correctly, that one of your son's main complaints from childhood is that his sister's first car as a teen was nicer than his (because she paid for a nicer car) or something like that?
  7. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Part of me would like to lay eyes on him, but not most of me. The last couple times we have seen Difficult Child have been bad. Last time was about 1.5 years ago. We met him at a fast food place when he asked us to. We offered to spend $200 to get him a room for few nights at a local motel. His words, "I like your little plan, but I'm really thinking I'd like you to get a gift card for (friend)." It was to a local bar. This was after Difficult Child called to tell us he was despondent, with no place to turn, no place to sleep.

    Apple, that really happened, but on the entire spectrum, is not one of our biggest memories. How sad is that? Our two oldest saved and purchased their first cars. Daughter saved way longer than Difficult Child (and worked harder) and Difficult Child was furious that she bought a nicer car. husband and I put not one cent into either car, but, in Difficult Child's accusations, it was all our fault. We favored the daughter.

    My sister in law (husband's sister) semi-apologized, years later, for believing all the things Difficult Child told her about how we had mis-treated him. sister in law had taken him in after one incarceration, and learned, first hand, how he can steal, lie & blame.

    Sometimes husband and I say we should list all the stuff Difficult Child has done to us. Darn, that would take significant paper and time. And, I would give most anything to make that not true.
  8. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    Then all things considered, there is no reason to see him now. Even if he had been mistreated as a child I would tell him that its in the past, get over it, and move on!
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  9. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Translation: Going no contact over the phone, abusing you on Facebook, berating you to others as I have been ~ none of this is working. You are going to have to, I will force you to, I have spoken, I am coming, and you better listen ~ see me face to face. Then you will give in, give me what I want, do what I say.

    He is calling the shots, Seeking.

    He has a ride to your house.

    I think he will be coming there, whatever you say. Keep your phone at hand. Will you be able to tell him to leave? Will you be able to call the police?

    It helped us to know what we would have to see before we would help.

    That was the only way we could not help.

    Now we are stronger, but then, we could so easily be fooled, could lose control of the situation and of our lives. We could be pushed and find ourselves with a dirty, addicted male living in the living room. So, we would give him a bedroom.

    And it cost us so much money to get him out, once he was in, Seeking. We just couldn't throw him out with nothing. Car, clothing, food, cash.

    We did that more than once, Seeking.

    Don't let him come to your house. Don't let him in. Call the police. Tell him ahead of time that is exactly what you are going to do and stick to it.

    You have us, now. You can do this.

    Tell him what you need to see in him and in his life before you will see him again.

    And mean it.

    That reparations piece, coupled with the way he writes about checking the obits to see whether one or both of you is in Hell yet, coupled with the coldness in using the girlfriend to manipulate you with her Social Worker's degree and now, her need to be wise, and you need to be wary, and you are probably going to have to be very mean, you and D H, Seeking.

    You can always change your minds and let him move in. That is what he wants, and you need to say no a thousand times. That would help me I think, to tell myself I can always change my mind, but this time the answer is NO MOVING HOME/NO MONEY/WE WILL CALL THE POLICE.

    And you might explain the situation to the police, and ask them to drive by the house in the night.


    You did so well, Seeking. Unexpected phone call, "I need to see you.", would have had me on my knees. In my heart, I would have been on my knees. I might be able to remember to say the words we learn here?

    But in my heart, I would be on my knees, full-throttle mom response.

    Your son will be at your door soon I think. He is using his last resources to get back to his original source. Maybe you should consider telling him you are working with young men in a volunteer capacity now, and find it so satisfying that you no longer miss him and wonder why you ever did. I am thinking about that "reparations" comment. This is a child who knows you love him more than yourselves; this is a well-parented child who knows his value to you. In exchange for reparations, you would have a child who loves you again, is that his thinking?

    So, it's blackmail.

    If it makes it easier for you to take Seeking, our son is exactly this way. He is not as mean, as intentionally, bludgeoning you to death mean as your son. But he is mean. He does say terrible things. (I have never heard of any son writing the things your son writes or speaks to you. I am saying he calls me a jerk and D H bad names like alcoholic. And both kids want our house and talk about it like it was already theirs. And both still want us to buy them a car and think we should and accuse us of being a bad family because, out of all the families they know, we are the only family mean enough to not help.) Our son too visited relatives and confessed to all the terrible reasons why he was not living the life we had pretended we wanted for him. It was awkward for us. Essentially, we were named liars and abusers and cold, unfeeling people who cared only about how we were thought of and nothing about either of our kids.

    Ours are such ugly stories.

    Our son did not send a Father's Day card for D H, nor did he call. We sent birthday cards and money for all of their birthdays, between May and July 1st. All we can think of is that son must have what he wants until Christmas or Hallowe'en.

    Such ugly stories.

    Echo is right, Seeking. You and D H are very strong, now.

    But I think it is going to be a long, hard road unless you cut it off right from the first step.

    We are right here, all of us, Seeking and D H.

  10. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Our son would say that: "Your little plan; the piece of cr*p car you bought me; what do you expect me to do with that."

    Our daughter survived on the streets for six months in winter. Temps nearing 30to 35 degrees below zero. Heavy snow; blizzard conditions.

    Your son will make it on the streets. Especially now, in summer.

    Those are the feelings we need to guard against.

    The only one who could have made these terrible things that have happened to all of us not true was the adult child who made them happen in the first place.

    D H and I are stronger, now. It was a living nightmare to get to this point. Whether you give your son what he is after or not, this will be a bad time. Until he is ready to change, he is not going to change. If he were ready to change, he would need nothing from you.

    That is how we can know: We can never help unless they don't need it. Helping now when they do need it is enabling of the highest caliber.

    Remember what happened to my daughter too, Seeking and Seeking D H.

    Helping isn't helping, when our children are addicted.

    I don't know what the answer is. I only know that it will be better for everyone if you do not help, and if you warn family not to help.

    I am sorry this is happening, Seeking and Seeking D H. Maybe Echo will be right, and he will turn away and go elsewhere.

    That would be the best thing.

  11. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    ahhh, Cedar. You hit so many points on the head. I am at my 2 day/week job, and just cut & pasted your posts to husband in an email.

    We will definitely call the police if Difficult Child shows at our property. Our house has no garage and first thing this morning, I looked out the window to make sure all the tires are not slashed. Besides being mean, Difficult Child is very vindictive.

    husband and i texted a bit back & forth this morning. I suggested texting Difficult Child to tell him we will call the police if he shows. husband thinks that Difficult Child already knows that. We will probably talk about that more tonight. I was already wanting to text him just that one thing, hoping to head him off at the pass.

    Difficult Child is about 4.5 hours away. There are shelters there--nothing in our town. It is better for him if he stays there, but you are so correct, Cedar. What Difficult Child wants to do is show up and scare us into giving him $$ or a night in the house.


    We would never let him in the door, nor give him any money. Not after all the years of abuse and no changes with Difficult Child. Not one chance of those things happening.

    Thanks so much,
  12. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    It will be very hard when you see his face, Seeking.

    He knows this. My son knew this. He was one way when D H was present.
    (D H was confused as me ~ it's such a horrible shock to see them, to look into their eyes and remember why this is not your same son.) D H left for some reason. In the few minutes he was gone, our son turned as vicious toward me as anything I have ever seen.

    He intended to get what he wanted and he wasn't about to hear any of the words I had learned, here on the site.

    So I was thrown into what we now know as FOG.

    I was speechless, Seeking. Like walking wounded traumatized.

    I have never told D H about that incident. When D H came back, he made son leave. (Son had acquired an old schoolbus and parked it on the hill behind our house.)

    And D H told him to get it out of there or he would call the police.

    That is what we had to do to our own son.

  13. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    SS, I agree that if he shows up or insists that he is coming even though you have said no, then tell him if he doesn't leave you are calling 911 and then do it.

    I told Difficult Child after the last time he pounded on my door in the middle of the night: If you ever come here again uninvited, I will call the police.

    It's harsh, but his ways were more than harsh.

    I think we can muster the strength to do things we never could have imagined, once we start respecting ourselves more and putting ourselves first in this relationship we have with people who don't respect us.

    We're here for you, SS. Keep us posted.
  14. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    Very true. That's why our son is asking to meet in person with us to talk. Got a few details out of him through texts but basically, he lost his crash space again and wants to go live with his internet girlfriend. Problem is, he cant afford either bus fair or gas money so he wants to talk to us to ask us for it. Oh, and the phone that we gave him only two weeks ago isn't working right so I'm guessing that he wants to talk to us about getting him another phone as well. Not happening.
  15. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Oh SS, I'm sorry you had to go through that. For what it's worth, I think you handled it perfectly. It sounds like your gut was right when you suspected he was paving the way for something he wanted. He must have seen this day was coming.

    My take on it is that Ex-girlfriend's grandmother (EGGM) has mastered the art of those benign comments we all aspire to, and Difficult Child is reshaping that to try to garner a little sympathy from you. I picture a conversation something like this:

    EGGM: Difficult Child, I'm sorry, but now that you and Ex-girlfriend have broken up I really think it is time for you to think about moving on.

    Difficult Child: But I have nowhere to go! And my parents are a couple of SOBs who have done A, B, and C to me!

    EGGM: Mmmm...that sounds terrible.

    Difficult Child: And D, E, and F!

    EGGM: Mmmmm...I'm sorry to hear that.

    Difficult Child: AND my sisters got nicer cars when we were teenagers!

    EGGM: Mmmm...that sounds very will be out by the end of the week, right?

    I agree with not texting him. Don't engage him, and I know it's easier said than done but try not to even engage mentally. And I agree that there is a reason he wants to do this in person. He wants to make it harder for you to refuse whatever it is he wants.
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  16. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm so sorry SS. Seems you were right about his recent communication with you. Boy, he's good at this, isn't he?

    If it were me SS, I might attempt heading him off at the pass.....before he shows up at your door. You might consider texting him a message like this, "We will not tolerate this behavior any longer. If we see you anywhere near our property, the police will be called. We will not help you in any way, shape or form, no money, no gift cards, no motels and absolutely no time spent in our home. You have burned all of your bridges here, there is no reason to come here. Please refrain from texting or calling us. We are taking care of ourselves now. We suggest you do the same. We love you and wish you well."

    You saying, "we won't go through this again" is likely not the boundary your troubled son understands.......he is likely to override that statement to get what HE wants which means he is likely to show up at your door. Don't hesitate to call the police.

    He is pulling out all the stops now SS, be prepared. He thinks he has no where else to go......

    Geez SS, I'm so sorry, so so sorry. Sending you a big heartfelt hug. I so know how you feel right now.......and we're all here with you.
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  17. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Albatross, this made me laugh hard - best laugh I have had in 24 hrs. I loved it. Then I read it to husband and then re-read it silently. What you wanna bet this is the scenario, Albatross? I can guarantee, EGGM is sick of him if she has taken him in. and, I love thinking of her like this - and not entirely a sweet elderly woman who is being duped by one of my offspring.

    I was all over this, as in, Yes, Yes, this is EXACTALLY what needs to be said to Difficult Child!
    husband is not convinced. He insists that we say nothing. When Difficult Child shows up, I can say, TOLD YOU SO, haha. If/when Difficult Child shows up, I will use these words. Thanks.

    You folks can sure ease a bad, bad situation with sage advice, humor, sarcasm, tough love, all of it.

    I had a terrible day because the few hours of sleep I got must not have been quality ones. Tomorrow will be a better day. Thanks again.

    So many stories on the forum right now that speak of hurt and weariness and fear. I hate that so many are hurting but am profoundly grateful we found each other. It certainly helps.....way more than Google.

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  18. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Just checking in with you two, Seeking.

    This may help you stay the course: For all of us walking this unbelievably crummy path, guilt and love and frustrated anger and dirtied expectations become so intertwined that we don't really know anymore, how we feel about our kids. We keep trying to know the right thing to do, and that keeps not solving the problem of what to do for or about the kids. D H and I have come to believe that if the kids are ever going to take their lives into their own hands, we have to stop helping in any way. In this scenario, a child who has finally exhausted even the kindness of strangers is on the cusp of reclaiming his or her life.

    It is mandatory that we let that happen.

    Our children will find their own way.

    But we have to get out of the way, for that to happen.

    For both you and me Seeking, we have helped. It didn't work. Our children have wound themselves so deeply into the ugliness of their addictions that everything about all of our lives has become unrecognizable.

    D H and I were talking about that last night.

    About the ugliness of being seen for money, of being "loved" for money or a car or a place to live. Or a bus ticket "home". About what it feels like to be seen, and to fight coming to see ourselves, as forever owing a growing portion of whatever good things we do have to adults who should be cherishing us; who should be sharing and celebrating and adding to what we have accomplished in our lives.

    I told D H about your son's "reparations" idea.

    It wasn't even funny to us, because we have been in similar places, and it cuts too close to the bone. It brought us to that place where remembering who we believed our children would become contrasted so sharply with what actually happened that it left us speechless with the loss of it.

    This is such a hard place to be. That old saw about a rock and a hard place comes to mind. There is no comfort to be taken.

    Very lonely, here between that rock and that hard place. Nonetheless, that is the path our children have taken. Everywhere we look, everything is broken. If the kids are ever going to turn this thing around, it will be because we did not help. We have to let them get to that point.

    I don't know whether this strategy will work any better than setting the kids up one more time. I do know those strategies of helping and understanding and believing in them one more time not only did not help them, but made us sitting duck victims of their addictions, too.

    For his own sake your son, like my kids need to do too, must reclaim his life before you allow him back into yours.

    I think about you two alot. I don't know how you will be able to face your son, if he comes to your door with nothing.

  19. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    How are you doing today SS?
  20. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    This. He has exhausted the kindness of most everybody that we know he knows.

    Thank you, Cedar and RE, for checking. Nothing new has happened. No knocks on our door in the middle of the night.

    So, we wait... and each hour gets a little easier.....and, when we are feeling really safe....we know what might happen. I alerted my mom (biggest enabler in the family) yesterday and our other two adult kids. Who knows where he might show?

    A few weeks ago, a forum member posted that she was not sure she still loved her Difficult Child. I so wanted to reach out to her because I just knew that was skewed thinking. But, you know, I get that feeling. Sure, deep down in my gut, I love Difficult Child for the sweet memories. But, love him today? I pray several times a day for him, I wish him the best, but love him right now? As horrible as it sounds, I do not feel like I can.

    Thanks again.

    Believe me, I will keep you posted! Don't I always?? :wornout: