Utter resignation


Go slow mama

So. It would seem that tensions under my roof have hit an all time low.

We've been struggling for 4-5 years now, it has been a long road. My son is 17, I am a single mom with little to no familial support and over the last several years the trajectory has looked like this;

Running away
Volatile and aggressive temperament often directed at me and our home
Drug use
Truancy and failing school
Arrests and very lenient court outcomes
Drug trafficking
Stole and totalled my car while under the influence
Attracting and inviting dangerous people into our home
In patient hospitalization for suicidal ideation
Called child welfare when he was hurting me; no real concrete support
Diagnosed with conduct disorder, anxiety, depression and insomnia
He lives in a place of complete denial and deflection

Recently there was a meeting at the school he barely attends where he was cornered and couldn't triangulate.

Now he is completely ignoring me. He has long ignored rules, personal accountability etc; but now he flat out will not speak to me.

Whereas before I felt so much shame and guilt (for my sometimes reactive aggravation), I am now clear that this is not ALL my fault and I DO NOT deserve this.

No one else is there for him or even reaches out, I am literally all he has and it appears that this embitters him.

I am resigned to it and just waiting for the next drama, the next call from the police or god forbid, an ER. He has friends that have gone to jail and one that was murdered last spring. I know this is not going to end well. I am keeping him under my roof if only to know he is safe daily. I understand I am enabling him and tolerating abuse I do not deserve. But I am not ready or near close enough to the detached place where I can turn him out.

But I am so defeated. I am almost hoping he winds up in big trouble because this is the way he learns. He responds to external consequences only.

I'm wrestling here because I have some sense of peace in 'giving up'...and some sense of guilt that I am not fighting with him or for him anymore.

Just looking for support; feeling particularly sad.


Active Member
I'm sorry, anonymous, such a sorrowful situation.
You're doing what is right for your household, and it sounds as though you have gotten to the point of facing the situation squarely. And that is good.
Your son, at some level, understands the pain he has caused, he knows he is messing up, and his guilt probably makes him angry and he lashes out. And you are there and convenient.
You have a right to a calm, peaceful home. You are doing this all on your own and you deserve to be commended and supported. Read more stories on this forum, it will really help put things into perspective. It's hard to talk about these things to people who haven't experienced the turmoil that our children sometimes put us through. Keep posting, you will find lots of support.:notalone:

Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Go Slow,
I'm sorry things are so difficult. You absolutely deserve a peaceful home and this is not your fault. I can feel the pain in your post. Please be sure to take care of yourself. Sending gentle hugs your way.


Sorry for the pain...we are crawling out of the craziness, but have come to realize that it will take years to have this behind us.

I don't understand the lenient court issues...I truly think it depends on the county. You know where it is all going...and at some point your waiting for that breaking point. Our son was dealing with bad and ugly too...it took near death to turn him around and mental help.

No story is the same yet they are! We love our broken man child....but I am tired..frustrated at how slow it has been. I pray for your light at the end of tunnel....it's just exhausting.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
Sorry for your anger, confusion and frustration.

We also have a son that went off the rails at 15 and is now 21 and living away from us because that is the ONLY thing we could do to put a halt to our home being complete and utter madness WHEN he was using which wasn't all the time but when he wasn't using, he still was not doing anything with his life except sitting on the couch - which was sad. My son is a binge user which does not seem to be very common. He is in denial about his problem though.

I cannot imagine doing this without my husband and even with him, I am seeing a therapist and am in a fog a lot of the time, especially when I know he makes poor choices.

My advice is to do what you can for YOU. I really think you should see a therapist to help you maneuver through this difficult time. I am seeing one that specializes in addiction so although my son is no longer living at home, I need help to set boundaries and keep them which will not only help ME but it will also help HIM. This in a complete different way of parenting that has to be learned. It does not come naturally.



Active Member
Perhaps you could contact your local child protective agency (called different names in different states) and look into becoming a foster parent?

If you are fostering a "good kid", perhaps it will be easier to kick the nasty bad kid out when he turns 18?

In the mean time, you can be going to classes for becoming a foster parent and that will get you out of the house - you will be hanging around "good" people. That will make those days good days for you. And there is no better people than foster parents - very giving type people!

So far as the bad kid, I've read that after 15 years old, it is almost impossible to change them. (And pretty much impossible to change them before that too!) No it is not your fault, I've seen families with a CD kid and other kids - raised by the same parents. The other kids are well behaved angels, the CD kid possessed! It is a genetic thing.

Go slow mama

"It does not come naturally"....wow that hit me hard because I do feel like I have had to learn to distance myself from the person I love most in this world.


Well-Known Member
I do not have a lot of time, but wanted to respond to some of your post, and to offer support and friendship.
a single mom
Me, too. What you describe is quite common, I think, in female headed households. This is because boys have a harder time emancipating from the mother, who to them has been everything. There is no male model to help them do so, or to take on some of the psychic energy that comes forth. We bear it all. And this makes it very hard for us, and for our sons, too.

You are right. None of this is your fault. Or because you did or did not do something. This is about him, not necessarily because he is a bad kid, or deficient or defective, but because he is having a hard time growing up psychically, and externalizing all of his pain, through resistance, destructiveness and bad behavior. In particular, he needs to invalidate and push you away.

To the extent that you can allow him to emancipate, support him to leave your home and orbit, protection and influence, could be helpful. (I had, have, a hard time with this because my son has mental and health issues--that is part of my difficulty, at least.)

Because you may feel you are protecting him while he is under your roof, but are you really? I do not know the laws in your state but I am wondering if one course might be to surrender. If he knows how to live and you do not--let him do it. All of it.
I have some sense of peace in 'giving up
You are surrendering, no longer resisting over that which you have no control. Spiritually, it is sometimes, necessary and desirable. I am studying this way of living, but am not yet up to speed enough to impart more wisdom.

Take care, mama. I am glad you are here with us.
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Go slow mama

I want to say thanks with a heart full of gratitude. Since I have been posting here (although not much) I have felt the support and the sense of community and it means so much. All of this can be so very isolating and that only adds to the difficulty obviously.

Copa, Yes! Indeed the dynamic between single mom and only son is very unique. In some ways we had to be partners a lot of his childhood because life demanded it. I always tried to maintain the role of parent and not obscure the boundaries. But we were very close, he was entirely attached to me. He would sneak into my bed almost nightly until he was 12. I work in front line emergency services so he also learned early that I do a dangerous job; he was rather fixated on my safety for a long time. Oh how ironic now that I am myself obsessed with his safety.

His father has never been around in a material way; re-married and started a new family wherein he parents those 2 boys completely. He was often physically abusive with my son so I stopped the visits. This is also complicated by the fact that he is bi-racial and I am white...his dad is black. He identifies as black so this must play in his identity struggles.

He was tested for psycho-academics in grade 8 and tested at the grade 12 level; but he hates school and has 13 of 30 credits when he ought to have 22 by now. He is a talented artist, musically and graphically but does not channel it.

I feel like I spent so long running around trying to fix it, I was like a cartoon character chasing after him with a safety net. It didn' work. So...yes, surrender is necessary for me but also complicated.

It's felt like grief, denial, anger, etc...maybe now I am in acceptance? But I also know that the stages of grief are not a clear continuum but flip back and forth.

Thanks for the insight vis invalidating me. I sometimes see he feels undeserving of my unconditional love. I try to live in a place of empathy most of the time because he is not bad; he is suffering.

I am reading 'The Journey of the Heroic Parent: Your Child's Struggle & The Road Home' by Dr. Brad M. Reedy...very helpful.

Praecepta; thanks for the encouragement vis fostering...I have considered that before but because of his volatility I fear I would not be approved. Plus I have had child welfare here and had to call the police on him many times...but an idea still.

Some days are harder than others...I cry in the car a lot.

Some days I know that this is his journey, his path and who am I to stop him?


Well-Known Member
. He was often physically abusive with my son so I stopped the visits. This is also complicated by the fact that he is bi-racial and I am white...his dad is black. He identifies as black so this must play in his identity struggles.

I am in the same boat with my youngest. It has been a struggle that has been ongoing since he entered school. It got to the point that he told people that he was adopted. I was also much older than the other mothers at school and kids thought I was his grandmother. Throw in mental illness and learning disabilities on top of that. His life started with the odds stacked against him.


Well-Known Member
His life started with the odds stacked against him.
My son, too, who was adopted by me when he was 22 months. So much of what he is dealing with (my child) relates to his feelings about his birth parents and what that relationships means, has meant--and blaming them and debasing himself, because of how they lived and how his life was damaged because of them.
This is also complicated by the fact that he is bi-racial and I am white...his dad is black. He identifies as black so this must play in his identity struggles.
My child is bi-racial, too, and I am white. My son identifies as white, but confused white.
The other kids are well behaved angels, the CD kid possessed! It is a genetic thing.
While there are others here on CD who believe in the dominance of heredity and genetics, and I am not arguing one way or another, "bad" behavior does not mean "bad" person, or "bad" seed, in my opinion.

Children (and adults, too) act out due to pain, confusion, guilt, and for a host of other reasons. They do so to hurt themselves, lash out because they suffer, to seek attention, and to try to work through and work out their problems. While it may not make sense to us or to anybody else, it does not mean that they are bad, or that they will not get better, learn, and become caring and productive people.
If you are fostering a "good kid", perhaps it will be easier to kick the nasty bad kid out when he turns 18?
Will Job Corps take a 17 year old? I think they might. Not because he is a "bad" kid, and needs to leave, but because he really seems like he might benefit from emancipating.

My son went to Job Corps when he was 18 or so. I have nothing but good things to say about it. It is free. They are supervised, fed, housed, and trained at very excellent trades, some of which are high-level.

Take care, mama.
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Well-Known Member
I am so defeated. I am almost hoping he winds up in big trouble because this is the way he learns
How many times have I felt this way? Too many to count.
We've been struggling for 4-5 years now
I am so defeated
I speak with a spiritual director every week that I can. Today I cried and cried. We threw my son out today, and this time when I did I said words I regret, rejecting words.

I will summarize here what I learned today. She asked me: What would it feel like to stop fighting? Can you imagine it? To stop fighting for one outcome or another, to just stop. Because what you have now is War. War with your son that can never be won, and war within yourself. Fighting for, and fighting against.

I responded. Yes, I can imagine that but I am left with some questions. What happens next? I love my son. I want him to be safe, secure, alive, to have purpose and meaning. And, as much as this, I want to have a relationship with him, where I am not overrun by him, or in despair.

To cede the wanting for him to be a certain way, seems to indicate that I accept him as he is and how he treats us.

So, she returned to the question: What would it feel like to stop fighting? What would it feel like to let go of an outcome, or the sense that an outcome lies in you or in your control?

She, continued: Every one of those beautiful wishes you have for your son, safety, purpose meaning, life...is a prayer.

And then I realized a couple of things: I am trying to control and impose on my son to the same degree or more, than he, on me. If I could give up the fight, the struggle, I would not have to be a loser, and he would no longer have to fight me, to win.

We returned to talking about Leonard Cohen, who died last week, and she reminded me that he drew and painted, and on a drawing he had written these words:

I only wanted one thing. Once I realized that I could never get it; then I wanted everything.

He opened to everything in his life. Every single thing that came his way, he accepted as his heart's desire. By recognizing loss, the thwarting of what he wanted most, he opened to a world and life of infinitely more.

So I said: OK. Fine and good. I think I get the concept and I appreciate it. What am I going to do about my son.

She said: I was listening on the radio how corporal punishment does not work. No surprise, huh? What does work, is time outs.

Well, things were said, that can be ameliorated over time. But each of you had the sense of not being heard. In conflicts, entanglements, when space is opened up, which is really a time out, this gives the possibility for something different to happen.

But we can do this in ourselves, too. By taking a time out within yourself you can bring your energy back inside of your body. Create for yourself quiet ground. Prayers, blessings are an exercise to do this in a meditative way. To find a calming breath.

She suggested a couple of ways to do this: For example, in a whisper or my thoughts, to say, may I be blessed with (fill in the blank--ease, peace, safety, protection, happiness.) May my body be strong, heal, rested.

And in that way transition to my son (or another loved one): May he be happy, healthy, find peace, a loving heart.

She brought up the distinction between powerlessness and lack of control. And I realized that I conflate the two. Because of my childhood. I have only felt control when I could do something.

And when I could not, I felt powerless. And that is the situation I find myself in with my child: because I cannot do something to fix the situation or him, I feel powerless. When I am not.

What I need to gain are ways to find peace and power that have nothing to do with what I cannot control. Control was always an illusion. Even self-control is often difficult. Maybe especially difficult.

The real power in life we have is discerning where we have control, and where we do not. And this is a discernment, not a fight.
I have some sense of peace in 'giving up'
Lack of power over him, my son, is a given. I will never ever have it. Nor do I want it. Have I ever had it, at least since he was an adolescent?

Same with you, I think. Can we do this? Walk away from the fight?
I understand I am enabling him and tolerating abuse I do not deserve
If you were a professional, say a psychiatrist, (maybe you are), with a patient--and the patient was out of control and abusive towards you, would you still insult yourself in this way? Because calling yourself an enabler, and to say you "tolerate abuse" is self-demeaning and self-accusatory.

You are a parent. A loving mother, who, no matter what keeps throwing her hat back in the ring, without support from anybody, and trying first one thing and then another to fight for her son. You love him. I would guess this is the great love of your life.

Try this with me, would you? Let us try to learn how to not hurt ourselves so much Maybe you are already spiritual, but unfortunately, I have not been. I will try.

I will pray that my son find safety. That he find purpose. That he live and thrive. That he mature. That he find love and a peaceful heart.

And I will learn to pray for you and I.

My son is on the street tonight with neither money nor a sleeping bag or a coat. I put him there. I have a big job ahead of me tonight.

I will look for the age requirements for Job Corps and if need be see if I can google another alternative for you. Right now you are doing what you must, as I see it.

The only other thing I could think of is, family leave, if finances permit it, and leave the country with him to someplace different and completely making a break. (Angela Lansbury took her kids away from Beverly Hills to Ireland, when they got into drugs.) My son and I lived in Guatemala and then Brasil. I let him do almost anything he wanted and I did my thing. It worked. I put him in school in each country (he is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese now.)

Take care.

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Well-Known Member
I just googled the age requirement for Job Corps. There are centers all over the country. Here is the age limit (quoted)

For 16- to 24-year-olds* ready to work toward a successful future, Job Corps' free education and career training program is a great place to start. *The maximum age limit may be waived if the applicant is a person with a documented disability.

I am now going to look and see what kinds of interesting trainings I can find. He could finish High School there. They are extremely forgiving of psychiatric and behavioral problems there, and will work with the kids.

My son threatened or implied suicide there, and the calmly and coolly took him to be evaluated for a 5150 hold, and brought him right back when he was cleared by mental health professionals. They are completely no-drama and non-judgmental. They are also quite sanguine about having a record.

My son was a pampered kid and we had mostly lived a middle class lifestyle. But he had gone to school and high school often with tough kids, so he had toughened up some.

He always had trouble with groups of black kids who taunted him and bullied him--perhaps because at that time he tried to identify as black (he is way light--and then I showed up.) So, in Job Corps, the same thing happened. That was his Achilles heel, then. I would guess at sites throughout the country, the racial demographic is different.

The one thing that might give me pause would be for a thin-skinned, sensitive kid who might be bullied. Nothing ever happened. My son was protected by staff. I would send him again, if I could.
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Feeling Sad

Well-Known Member
Copa, I had not read that you threw your son out when I wrote for you to give him a hug.

I am going to attempt to slightly qualify my statement; give your son a spiritual hug. I will try to do the same with mine. I am sending out prayers of peace and safety.

On a side note, I applaud your use of 'sanquine'. it is not utilized enough!

Okay...so I am now hoping for at least 5 hours sleep! I love what you wtote. I feel that we are all struggling to keep our balance, of sorts, out on the sea of life. We continually strive to make meaning out of things that we have little or no control over. It is human nature and a sometimes a comforting illusion. We are trying to impose order onto chaos.