Victimhood / Martyrdom vs Boundaries

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
difficult child son is 39.

There was an incident yesterday that shot me right back into that hellish, deer in the headlights place.

I spent the night there.

Jerked awake around 1:30, I found myself defenseless. With everything I think I know about how to ride these feelings out useless to me, I collapsed into that guilty, ashamed place where I literally could not think for myself.

I was back in that shocky place where everything is all echoey, and I kept hearing what he said, kept hearing everything he said, over and over again.

It was one of the roughest nights I've had in in a long time. And as I noted, none of my tools made a dent in it. By this morning (I went back to bed around 4:30), I had half convinced myself that what he wanted was the right thing.

He wants us to sell him this house.

The house isn't for sale.

Even if it were, difficult child could not afford the taxes I don't think, let alone the upkeep.

So what he wanted is what he always wants. But the vehemence and the personal nature of the attack left me spinning.

I mean, I feel like a sissy in some ways...but really, I mostly feel deeply broken by the things my own son said to me.

I'm posting to keep myself honest, of course (thank Heaven for this site, and for all of you), but also to comment on the virulence of these kinds of emotions and of the victim / martyrdom / perfectionism thing.

So, this is what I realized.

Perfectionism. Like we all do, I feel so badly for the way things are. While I know I did my best, the outcome is not good. That is the place of vulnerability. That there must have been something I could have done.

That his life path was determined by what happened to his sister. That is where he attacks, justifying what he wants.

Other things too that I know may be true except that he made the choice to use drugs to the extent that he did.

And we did try to stop him.

And raising one child who turns out to have been mentally, know.


Mentally ill.

And one who used drugs to the point that his life and whatever was left of ours were destroyed pretty much wiped us out emotionally or pride wise or successful parent or person-wise.


There is that part of me that condemns myself. And all it takes is an unguarded or unsupported instance like this one to have that part of me running roughshod over every survival skill I have worked so hard to learn.

So, I thought I would post about that aspect of vulnerability, for me and for you, too.

MWM post this morning was so helpful. I had managed to pull myself back together by this morning, but only through isolating that victim part.


in a daze

Well-Known Member
Yes, Cedar, they want what they want, and right now. They are very self absorbed.

We just got back from a therapy session with difficult child. He has been campaigning to move out of his sober living place. He was counseled to exercise coping skills while we, the therapist, and caseworker all brainstorm to figure out the best possible situation. He had been having some difficulty with some of the residents, who have been rowdy and disruptive lately.

Then he said to my husband, "That's all you think about. Money." I said, "Now you're making me really mad!"

We pay for his bus card, and now his rent as Social Security found some bonds taken out by elderly grandparents the existence of which we did not know about and which have now been s pent down for his rent.

I think he is subtly trying to manipulate us with his complaints of ongoing unhappiness. As your son is doing with his personal attacks, trying to guilt you into selling him the house (at a special price, I'm sure).

I hope you feel better soon, Cedar. Sending hugs and good wishes your way...


Well-Known Member
Staff member
That his life path was determined by what happened to his sister. That is where he attacks, justifying what he wants.

His sister's life path was determined by her mental illness. You and your husband's life path was determined by his sister and him. My life path was determined by my mentally ill parents. Obama's life path was determined by his mother and his father. Gandhi's life path was determined by what happened to him as a young man. Everyone on the planets life path was determined by their family, their environment, their fate. So, how exactly is he any different then the rest of us, and why does his life path get to be someone else's fault and responsibility so that they should give up their life for his? I don't get it. Nor should you. I am angry at him because he is a a grown up toddler who feels he can manipulate you into believing that since lately he has bestowed upon you his royal presence, he now gets to make absurd requests of you because you should feel guilty about his choices and his weeniedom. I'm sorry, but I am not manipulated by him, nor am I guilty, nor am I about to feel responsible for his sorry ass. I am angry for you. You should be furious that he would even entertain such a ridiculous idea. You should be furious that he tried to steal your home from you and guilt you into feeling sorry for him so you would give it to him.


I am sorry you spent such a bad night. I know how you feel. I've spent those nights too, feeling very similar to you. Only it's way easier for me to see the absurdity of it when it's YOUR son and not MY daughter.

I wondered when you mentioned that he had been calling and speaking to your husband. I wondered what he was up to. He was preparing you, he was setting the scene, getting back in to the fold to some degree while he figured out when to strike, probably sensed some vulnerability in you, they have a certain radar for were probably in a weakened state that he either knew about or could intuit........and then..........go in for the kill.

You wouldn't give him any more money so he figured out a way to get it in another way, get the house, sell it and make the money that way.

Oh Cedar, don't let that energy in. Don't go down that old path. You DIDN'T DO ANYTHING WRONG. You ALWAYS ALWAYS do your very best and I know that you did your best with both of your children. Your son knows where you feel weak, where he can get to you, he can do it with your guilt about his sister being given so much attention because of her illness. Couldn't that be said about any one of us with our brother was favored simply because he was a boy. Did I spend my life lamenting about that? No. I didn't. It is what it is.

I mostly feel deeply broken by the things my own son said to me.

Once you pull yourself back together Cedar, take a good hard look at this. Really look hard. This is who your son has become. This is who he is. He is 39 years old. He is not 17. He is not a little boy. He is an opportunist. He is a manipulator. He is a jerk to speak to his mother the way he did. Do not allow his nasty self to upset you anymore. Sometimes, here on this forum, our adult kids act so badly, act so reprehensibly, are so cruel, or mean, or selfish, that it literally forces us to see them for who they are, not who we want them to be, or who we thought they were, or who they want us to see, but who they REALLY are. This is who your son really is Cedar. This is it.

What son who is healthy and intact speaks to their mother in the way your son has spoken to you. It is abuse. It is not okay for you to take it on. He dumped his nastiness on you and you accepted it and choked on it all night while he walked away free with the hope that you would give in to his demands because he caught you off guard and tried to annihilate you.

I am angry. He knew exactly what he was doing. Exactly. He knew you were vulnerable. It was a perfect storm. Next time he tries this Cedar, next time, you won't react this way. This is the last time. This is it. Now you know who he is, what he is capable of doing, what he is willing to do for his own gain.

I recall going through something similar with my daughter. It wasn't the same kind of thing, but the outcome for me was to recognize who she really is. And that freed me of it. The acceptance of what is. He showed you the truth of who he is. Believe him. Believe it. You may be the only one left who doesn't know who he really is. I know I was the last to know.

Wrap yourself up in self love Cedar. There are abusers in your life and your son is one of them. Remember those closed up eyes, I think they just got opened up.

Many hugs to you my friend. Saying a prayer for you and your husband. You don't deserve this treatment. I am sending you truckloads of love and warm wishes..............


Well-Known Member
SoC --- I read and re-read your post. Sadness filled my heart for you. And I realized something quite wonderful about having this group ---wherein we grow to know each other, but still retain a degree of anonymity. While some of you may know each other better, I'm still quite new to this group.

SoC ---- When I, as an outsider, read your story (you're a good writer, too, so I feel you deeply embedded in your words), I feel something which should bring great validation to you.


Nope, I don't know every detail of your life (or your difficult child's life). Nope, I don't have pictures of your faces, your expressions, your voice sound, your house, your incidents over the years, etc.

But I hear the courage and candor in your heartfelt posts. They say integrity to me.

Cedar -- I only know you by your words. But your words speak integrity, indeed. Stay true to yourself. You're really quite a lovely person. You offer much love, wisdom and support to so many in this group. I always look forward to seeing your words of wisdom on this site.

Hence, I have no doubt that you're just as lovely a person outside of this forum as inside of it. You are a valuable voice.

PS -- Plus, I do love your" Scent of Cedar" username!


Well-Known Member
Cedar...they know. They know how much words hurt. They are con artists and, if very intelligent, and your son sounds it, they know exactly how to state an argument to actually make us feel terrible when we don't do the insane things they want us to do. My son has done this repeatedly, over and over again. And he gaslights such as, "I didn't do it" when everyone saw him or "I have no memories from childhood." The latter is very clever. For a while I used to wonder if his childhood was so bad that he blocked it out, like somebody with DID. But, of course, he wanted to not address his behaviors that set his siblings running for the hills and he wanted to blame them and to get my sympathy. Gaslighting is very cruel. I really wondered for a while if he was right and it was awful a nd Sibling X was the liar, although it was he who always lied.

My son is proud of himself when he gets his ill and vulnerable father to hand out lots of money. Much lying goes into this.

By the time these "kids" are middle age men, we have to assume that THEY are their problem, not us, and we don't owe them ANYTHING monetary, let alone our house!!! No matter how he spins it, that is crazy. That's his next gold mine. You gift it to him and he sells it and he again has money without working, but the money won't last.

I feel so badly when anyone's adult child uses sick methods to make us feel guilty...makes us doubt that sane behavior is actually abusive on our part. Gaslighting. Such an ugly thing to do to us. So abusive.

Feel our support and love and try to clear your head so that you can gain clarity as to what is real and what is your son's twisting, gaslighting and abuse. Hugs and sending good vibes, hoping you can find your way to some serenity today.


Well-Known Member
I was back in that shocky place where everything is all echoey, and I kept hearing what he said, kept hearing everything he said, over and over again.
It was one of the roughest nights I've had in in a long time. And as I noted, none of my tools made a dent in it. By this morning (I went back to bed around 4:30), I had half convinced myself that what he wanted was the right thing.
Yep, they are so good at this - it is best when we are not talking to them because at least then we are not questioning our own reality ,reasoning, and SELF.
My difficult child is a motor-mouth, talker - on and on she goes trying to change my KNOWLEDGE and TRUTH and manipulate the truth into her version of it. And yes it is maddening. I too, hang in there knowing I know the "truth" but get caught up in the WTF of it all??? They excel at the ability to revise history to the point we start to doubt ourselves until we are able to shake it off and run like hell to get away from their abusive behavior. Being a victim of gaslighting, which this is, IS abusive - verbally and emotionally, it is the equivalent of Chinese water torture. Drip, drip, drip the verbal attacks and the emotional punches come continue until we find the strength to get up and walk away. They don't/won't give up until either they win or WE walk away realizing all the BS is control and manipulation at it's finest (harshest?) The longer we are "stuck" listening to them the more they convince us to doubt ourselves to the point we can even start to question our very own sanity.


Well-Known Member
Ah, Cedar, I am sorry this happened to you. And I chose those words carefully. This happened to you. You didn't cause it, you had no part in it. Its like a car jumped the curb and smacked you. This happened to you. You have no accountability, nothing to answer for, you didn't cause any of this, you just got hit by a car driven by an irresponsible dangerous driver.

why does his life path get to be someone else's fault and responsibility so that they should give up their life for his?

I mean really. Give me a freaking break. Like Recovering, my thoughts went immediately to our president. Oh yeah, also my SO, raised by a mentally ill mother who selected inappropriate men who beat her and him (her second husband went to jail for killing an 11 year old boy in a playground when SO was....11) No money, no education, no mentoring, no role models. His boss's wife sexually abused him from when he was 16-17. Now yes, he is totally messed up but....he doesn't think anyone owes him anything. He knows his life, his path, is his to own, to manage. Sorry the stupid driver of that car that hit you doesn't know that.

I'm sorry, but I am not manipulated by him, nor am I guilty, nor am I about to feel responsible for his sorry ass. I am angry for you.

Not even for one second did ANY of us feel sorry for him, Cedar. Not one of us reading your story. Not one of us entertained the idea that you should sell your house to accommadate his life failures. Not one of us thought what he did or said had any merit. Just that he is an ass.

Only it's way easier for me to see the absurdity of it when it's YOUR son and not MY daughter

Well yeah, of course. We all harbor that little part of us that says "but they weren't there, they don't know, only I understand the secret bad things that happened to him, the times I turned away, the times I got angry, the times I neglected or ignored him" We all think that. But really...we all know this when we say...what he said was absurd. And you know this too, you know your weakness...that is why, as you said, you posted to keep yourself honest. To keep yourself on track. To keep yourself (sticking to my metaphor) from being the car that jumped the curb yourself. Because you are honest. YOur son refuses an accountability for his own life. You take on too much for both yours and his. But you are honest, so you hold your impulses, your thoughts, up to the cold light of day, for perusal, contemplation, that you can be honest.

He doesn't care about being honest, Cedar.

Put down the accountability that is rightfully his. Whether he picks it up or not is up to him.

I mostly feel deeply broken by the things my own son said to me.

Ooooh. Yes. I know this place. We all do. Now is the time for you to post, to light candles, to walk in the wind, pet the dogs, have sex with husband (oops maybe too much advice). Post.

Would it help to post the things he said? Guilt and badness thrive in secrecy. If you write them down we will pick them apart, hold them to the light, reveal their tattered stupid curb jumping selves for who and what they are. Maybe that will help keep them from setting down roots in your soul. Think about that.

the outcome for me was to recognize who she really is. And that freed me of it. The acceptance of what is. He showed you the truth of who he is. Believe him. Believe it. You may be the only one left who doesn't know who he really is. I know I was the last to know.

Cedar, it would be good if you could get to this place. Use this awful interaction to see, for real, who he really is. Maybe the outcome of your bad night will be that you are finally free.

There are abusers in your life and your son is one of them

It is hard to get past the patterns of believing abusers. You have made a lot of sowed seeds while the weather was good (and made progress while traffic was flowing? still on the curb jumping thing here). Those seeds have taken root...turn to them. Water them. Think about what you learned as you faced up (in your heart and mind and here on the board) with the abusers of your past. Put his face on them, theirs on his. He is evoking the same reaction as they did. But you aren't a child anymore, Cedar, and you aren't alone anymore.

He is a curb jumping texting while driving selfish jerk. Thats it. He has no power, no assets, and no goodness in his soul. He has no power over you.

Thank you for trusting us enough to share.

Hugs and hugs, and butter candles for you today,



Well-Known Member
Then he said to my husband, "That's all you think about. Money."
I get this too! Does anyone understand what the heck they get out of saying "you only care about money"? It seems to me they use it most when THEY only care about YOUR money???? Maybe when they say it we should right then and there know what their true motive is. Maybe THEY are really saying TO THEMSELVES it is all about the money! Can we hear THAT when they say it instead of guiltily looking at ourselves? Does anyone else get this statement from their difficult child?

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
I don't need your clarity and strength so often as I used to, but it makes all the difference in the world to know you are here.

Thanks, guys!



This post is chain of consciousness stuff written as I tried to find the vulnerability that left me open.

It was hope.

A piece of it was self importance.

I am not sure, but I think I hoped to achieve some kind of validity, some kind of wisdom or personhood, through that redemptive naming, "mother".

That is why difficult child's words or opinions could send me tumbling into that place where all we know is that something we don't understand is very wrong.

Something every other parent in the world got right is very wrong here, and I have changed enough, am now strong enough to...wait for it....

To fix it.

Oh, for Heaven Sake.

What I've concluded is that we (I) need to believe, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that given everything I know today, I have responded with clarity and kindness.

And I need to have no interest in outcome.

No interest, no basking in reflected glory on the off chance I finally fix whatever it is this time.

Compassion is impossible when we have ego skin in the game.


This is difficult child son's rationalization. I would like your take on it, please. This is where I fall down, everytime.

The falling down part has to do with difficult child son lack of education. Here is where it gets vulnerable for me. Education, as much as they wanted and with supportive parents behind them, was key to my dreams for my kids.

This has to do with all the things I wished had been possible for me

It goes right along with the centerpiece bouquet from FTD florist at Thanksgiving and another, even more beautiful one from the kids at Christmas before everyone comes home.

That imagery, because that is the way I was so certain all our futures would look, breaks my heart to this day every time those stupid FTD commercials (which should be outlawed, now that I think about It) are shown around the holidays.


But I digress.

In any event, difficult child son only has GED.

On one of his living at home as an adult times, we made going back to school a condition of staying with us any longer.

So difficult child, well over 21 at that time, TOOK OUT A STUDENT LOAN.

So he could go to a community college!

He did not even try to make that work.

He knew more than the Instructors, of course, and blah, blah, blah.

But we are talking my motivations and vulnerabilities here, and my son's lack of education, and the kind of life that means for him, Is one.

What he wanted at the end of that first quarter was for us to cosign for the next $3000 loan. What we did instead was send him away with the car we bought him plus $4500 cash.

Just to be rid of him, just to know we had given (again, though the time before It had only been $1500 and six months cosign plus deposit) and to be able to look at ourselves in the mirror.

Somehow, it just seemed like enough money ought to fix it.

Maybe we hadn't given enough In the past for him to make It.

We were both working then and, given what we would willingly have spent on education, this was, so we told ourselves, way less than that and yet, enough for him to actually have a shot at making it.

I think I had not been on this site very long at that time.

Or maybe I found the site...yeah, that was It. I found the site some months later.

I don't remember.

Though we knew he was using drugs recreationally, we still believed he was acting out against whatever it was we had done to cause his sister to act out.

Some secret something, some sickness at the heart of the family we'd created.

Fair warning for those in the position we were in, then: Unless whatever helping professional is involved can tell you, specifically, what you did wrong as a parent, don't believe them.

Post like crazy, here.

We actually do make a difference for one another.

Anyway, that seems to be another vulnerability/perfectionism place for me. That because of whatever was wrong in our family, we hadn't even managed to get difficult child son through college.

So how is he supposed to make a living?

(It wasn't until difficult child daughter spectacular crash and burn three years ago -- which is what brought me back to this site -- that we gave credence to any of her psychiatric diagnoses. I still have big trouble with that. But that does seem to have been what was wrong in our family. Thanks to MWM frequent postings on mental illness, and on responsibility, and to Recovering' suggestions regarding books on sociopathy, and just to everything we always talk about here, I no longer believe our family was so toxic that our children were doomed.

It was something else entirely that messed everything up.

Which meant that I was able to progress past that stopping point of futilely trying to love the kids enough, or demonstrate that we believed in them enough, to overcome whatever it was we did or didn't do.

And I have been standing up all over the place, ever since.


So, I get that part; I can stand up to that particular set of vulnerabilities, now that I have all of you.

So what was it about this time...

Well, I know I sound like a sissy?

But the phrase that keeps horrifying me right into that shockey place is....

He said, "Look here, dumbass."

To his own mother he said that!

And then?

He repeated it, and said that if he were sitting in front of me, I would be able to see the truth of what he was saying (something to do with being thrown onto the street with nothing and no education, and something about how we were always giving his sister money and how I am a bad Grandmother because his kids don't even know me!)

And I know I should be stronger than this but it is true that I hardly know his kids and it shakes me to my core that our family is so broken.

That's the vulnerability.

Where and how my kids and grandchildren are in the world.

Hope, as one if us posted the other day, is a cruel thing.

There is the vulnerability.

Any smallest opening that might make just enough weird sense that I could hold that prettiness of hope, again.

It is self destructive for me to hold these dreams of hope on any level.

That is the vulnerability.

That is the thing I slip into denial for.


Recovering, you are right.

I need to open my eyes.

Sucks, though.

I would add that difficult child son (I still get a weird flash of unreality over "Look here, dumbass.")



I have. I claim, the right to take time.



That just throws me.


That I am vulnerable already because, as I have clarified issues of guilt or responsibility or desirability, I am walking through standing up to pretty much everyone in my life, family of origin included.

As we discuss here so often, there is more happening, on every level, than we know.

So this is about growth, about facing up and letting go and no need to protect myself from whatever I see as truth, anymore.

But it still blows me away that my son would speak to his mother that way.

Even if the mother is me...even if the mother is someone whose own mother, whose own brother and sister, see no value in unless I stay in, playing the same role, lending the same legitimacy to relationship patterns that are stupidly, pointlessly cruel.

It's been a time of strange, pointless cruelties. I have been able to name them and to stand easily and well. This incident with difficult child is part of what needs to keep happening to me until my process, until my spiritual growth, at least surrounding these issues, has been completed.

I think I am upright again.

It must be that all of us here are destined to become very strong, really almost invulnerable.

Once our vulnerabilities have been exposed and become strengths.

Sucks to go through it, though.


Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
I forgot to add this part, about the education thing. I wondered why I put all that stuff in about the money, or about the number of times we had tried.

Chain of consciousness being what it is, I left those parts in.

Those are the guilty, shamed, defensive parts of me trying to justify that we did try.

difficult child is rabid about that $3000 student loan he was then required to repay.

Which he didn't repay.

And neither did we.

And I do feel a vulnerability around that issue.

What does anyone think about that?

difficult child contention is that we ruined things for him because when he was finally ready to try school again, he couldn't go until that old loan, now much more than the $ he actually got to use, still needed to be paid back and we wouldn't help.

Vulnerability, for me, there.

Maybe he is right.



Well-Known Member
Cedar, I hope your hurting heart is a little bit better now knowing how much we all care. I can relate a lot to some things in your last post. My son has called me stupid and other nasty, degrading things so often in his life that it doesn't even bother me anymore. All I do is hang up on him. Am I stronger than somebody else? Nope. I'm just like a soldier, in a very minor way. I would never say I was as brave as somebody who puts his or her life on the line in the military. For one thing, I (none of us) chose this fight and most of us will survive it and not kick off at age 50 because of the stress. But it is still our own trauma; our own little war with ourselves and we doubt ourselves because our own children are being so abusive to us. So how can we feel good about ourselves if our own children, who loved us so much as little ones, who cried on the first day of kindergarten, call us things like dumbbackside?

I think I just got battle weary and I do realize now that 36 does not even mean what he says. It's a way to try to intimidate me and to shock and hurt me and, yes, even to gaslight me into thinking I was a horrible mother so that I will feel guilty and do whatever it is he wants me to do. And now, anything he calls me, basically doesn't ruin my day. I do refuse to listen to abuse. I do hang up. I can now hang up and go on with whatever I was doing rather than cry in my room like I used to do because he is who he is. I don't expect him to change. The hope I hear others talking about...since my son is close to age 37, and has never been any different, I have no hope that he will ever change. He HAS mellowed a bit and I doubt if he is shoplifting anymore, but he can con the best of us. His poor father, and I do feel sorry for him, is conned by him continuously and hands him so much money, I can only shake my head that he is...whatever he is that compels him to hand out thousands of dollars to a son who makes good money and isn't respectful of him.

Rhino skin. Do you know that term? It was used all the time when I first got on here. I think I have it. I don't really worry about what most peoeple think of me anymore.

I wanted to address the education issue, Cedar, so maybe you can put the fallacy that you need a college education to succeed to rest. I never did have that belief so that didn't factor into any guilt I had with my kids. None of them chose a four year college and I didn't care. Cedar, the kid we adopted at age six who left our family is well over a millionaire and for all intents and purposes all of his bills are paid already. He told me at eighteen, after turning down scholarships, "No, I'm going to start now and I will be way ahead of my peers, and I will be rich." One thing he always talked about was wanting to be rich. His IQ is really, really high and he is especially gifted in math and has a huge interest in technology. He has his own company. He has a huge house is an exclusive area with a huge swimming pool, which is not the norm in cold, cold Illinois. He pays money down for new cars. He is a financial success out the yang. Aside from him, all of my grown kids have always had good jobs without four year educations. 36 never went to college either, but, boy, with his conning skills does he make a GOOD salesman!!!! He has been recruited from job to job and does well. Of course, he is also always broke (haha...sad joke there. So he says). Julie had a good job as a chef at the community college she paid for and attended and then they let her teach a few classes too, even with only two years of college.

College does not equal success. Just look at how many college grads these days are living in the basements of relatives. It depends on the major and how hard the adult is willing to compete in a very difficult world. I think that some people who valued there college for the sake of education, really, really want that for our children and education is a good thing, but it's not necessary. One can learn a lot without college. One can learn very little while in it.

I hope you can find some peace tonight. Gaze at the stars and dream good things. Your son has his own life and it probably is unpleasant and it is his own doing. Hugs and more hugs.


Well-Known Member
On the student loan...don't even think about it. It's HIS loan, not yours. Julie paid her loan back. Jumper will have to. It's called being an adult.



Well-Known Member
M defaulted on his student loan, too. He knew full well he was going to do it. Not only did he not go to any of his classes, he thought he was going to make a living by being a Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Master for students at the CC. He called me to ask my advice on that - never once explaining that he knew he was going to be expelled. I told him to add a class that he enjoyed so that he would be doing something pleasant. He had talked a staff member into letting him house-sit and he trashed their house and their car, then he contemplated suicide because it all fell apart. "What" fell apart? Pipe dreams? Yes - pipe dreams fell apart. His education he threw away with both hands, just as he did every other opportunity in his life up until that point. Sad, sad, so very sad. Really. I'm not joking. It was sad. And it was what he chose to do with his life.

Your difficult child asked you to sell him your house? I can not even imagine having the guts to ask my parents for that. I might have told him to pre-qualify for a loan and we could talk about it, knowing full well that he could never pre-qualify for a loan and the question would be moot but maybe somewhere along the line he might learn something from it. Are you certain that he wasn't asking you to give him the house?

This request of his that triggered this in you - I agree with you as far as your wanting to fix it goes. I would add that it was a reality check on him to your mind, though. You have made such great strides, and he is what he is. He could make great strides, too, and maybe he will one day. After all, you were a mess a few years ago and he isn't as old as you were when you started your journey to recovery. I know that 20 years ago when I was breaking free from the tangle that was dealing with L's dad. I had told him if he ever tried to push my buttons again I wouldn't fight it and they'd never see me again. He needed me to keep up scheduled visits so that he could dog around on weekends, so he couldn't make my life hell about it anymore. It was so liberating. I felt free and happy for the first time in years. Of course M was only about 7 - 8 years old and he was still a mess from all of the abuse the family had gone through. It was so hard to accept that I couldn't drag him into recovery with me.

SoC, sweety, we have PTSD. Having become functioning happy people who don't have panic attacks on a regular basis doesn't mean that we don't have PTSD. Some days are going to be like that. I think that for me the bleak times seem so bleak because they are so sudden, and there's a fear that "in spite of all the strides I had made I'm still that person I was then." I'm going along being 'like every other person in the world' and then suddenly someone (usually the same people who have always been the someone) says or does something atrocious and I thought I wouldn't care and I did. Of course I'm still the person I was then! And more. And I guess we never stop growing up until we die. You and I, dear SoC, are taking the time and the care to grow up - and that is why it hurts so much.

{{{{{{{{{{{{Big Hugs}}}}}}}}}}}}


Roll With It
Why would his lack of education be your fault? If he wants an education, he can get one. There are TONS of grants and loans and programs and it is actually EASY to get them. BUt you ahve to go to class, work, study, and not just party and blame others. I have a friend who's dad went bankrupt six months before seh was to go to college. He lost her college fund from her grandparents, which would hav paid for an Ivy League education (I knew them, and the dollar amt of the fund, and once her gma showed me the bank book for the acct about 2 yrs before her dad spent it all). Her dad gambled it all away. My friend got a bachelors on loans. She paid those off working 60 hr weeks as a paralegal. Then she got a job in a dept store and went back for a master's in french and one in international business. She almost has both of them, and has them paid off, and has gone to Europe every year for six years while she went to school. And she has no credit card debt.

Trust me, if this lady can do this by age 45, with zero help from her parents and while actually having her dad live with her and pay only the electric and cable tv bill (not internet, phone or other things, only the cable tv part), your son CAN get an education.

But it takes WORK and dedication and patience. Gee, does he want to do those things, or is he more into trying to bully you?

in my opinion this was verbal ABUSE of you, and you need to see it for the attempt to financially abuse you that it is. I would go to the atty tomorrow and make sure your will says that your son get a few hundred dollars and the house goes to NAMI or the local DV shelter or the local cat hoarder. Sorry, but this boy needs the message that it is NOT okay to manipulate and abuse your parents and he needs it in a big way. What he did was NOT OKAY, more than that, it was WRONG!

If I were to seriously tell my mother what he told you? I would be bleeding on her floor from where she smacked me in the mouth. My mother did NOT physically abuse us, but I am dang sure now as I was as a kid that she would if I said something rude like that to her. I would not even blame her, I would be ashamed of myself!


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Cedar, there are a lot of assumptions in your post, perhaps more then assumptions, your beliefs, based on an abusive childhood where what you DID was more important then WHO YOU ARE. Makes sense you would come away believing that it is YOUR responsibility to educate your children, provide everything they require in life for as long as they require it, based probably in part from our own wishful thinking that someone would show up and offer that to US. But, that never happened, we made it on our own.

To be overly responsible for another is based in fear, it's based in our own beliefs about our own worth and if we had all that power as a kid to be responsible for our siblings when we were only a child ourselves, we grow up to believe that we have that kind of power, and we DON'T. You can't make your son get educated with all the money in the world. If he wanted to be educated he would be educated. At this point all you are is his scape goat for having ruined his own life and his complete inability to take responsibility for it. When you stop taking responsibility for any of it, even one little tiny segment of it, he will need to find another dumbass to accuse for his ruined life. What a jerk. What a selfish, entitled, spoiled, manipulative, cruel, BRAT with a capital B your son is Cedar. And you know what? You didn't do that to him, he did it all by his own self, because of his lazy ass thinking and tendency to blame, he forfeited a huge chunk of his life already. Dumbass.

Who the hell does your son think he is calling you a dumbass????? Who the hell does he think he is to assume you owe him ANYTHING at all once he is passed the age of 18. Who the hell does he think he is? Well, let me see, here's a guess, he thinks he is entitled, he thinks he is privileged, he thinks he is better then anyone else but never having had to prove anything or do anything, deep down inside he knows that isn't really the case so his lack of self respect and self esteem shows its ugly self in the way he treats you. Here's my flash of insight Cedar.......the moment you tell that nimrod of a son of yours to grow up and be a man, to get the hell out of your life until he can act like a man, to stop the sniveling and begging and cruelty and stand up and man up and get the hell out in life and get himself an actual life........that is when he will stop abusing you. He may never wake up from this bratty existence he chose, but it doesn't mean you can't, get him the hell out of your life as fast as you can say, hit the road Jack, and don't look back. And, while you're at it disinherit him legally and send him the papers to show him you did it. As I recall he made another remarkably cruel comment to you about your death and his inheritance. He does not deserve a penny. The best thing you could do is to disinherit him so that for once he would have to actually TRY. Rather then blame. Rather then spit out ugliness to you.

He knows all your weak and shaky parts Cedar, and he goes right to them. Tell him "this dumbass just woke up you sniveling jerk and as of Thursday morning, when the papers are signed, you will not get another penny from us now or when we are dead. Put that in your pipe and smoke it."

Whew. This really pissed me off. You are just about the kindest and most loving person on this site, you have tried and tried and tried to offer both of your children a life you never got yourself and when I hear how your son treats you it makes my blood boil. I think it's because instead of responding with what I would consider very healthy appropriate anger and disgust, you take it in and allow it to harm you. I get angry for you. His actions, his demands, the way he treats you and talks to you is so outrageous and so inappropriate and so damn unfair and unjustified I want you to stand up to him and yell right in to his bratty face that you will NEVER again allow him to treat you with anything but the respect and dignity that you deserve and until he can, you want him out of your life. End of story.

I am out of a similar background as you know and my experience is that as we heal we move through those in our lives from the least important to the most important. And you my friend, have been in to the most important for the last year now. Mom, Sister, Brother, Daughter, Son. One by one, seeing the truth, facing the truth, opening your eyes wide............(the hardest things I've ever done, my whole family too), and once you know the truth, you really can't spring back and not know it. It is pretty ugly.

You are a brave soul Cedar. You are not a sissy. You are tackling family of origin issues with what could only be called chutzpa. (my NY self is showing up here) It takes guts to see the truth. It takes guts to open our eyes and see what is really in front of us. It takes guts to let go of what we thought was the truth and let in what is really the truth. It takes guts to let go and to surrender to what is. And, it takes real guts to see our kids for who they're in the middle of that one Cedar. Boy can I empathize.

Get angry Cedar. Don't take this one lying down, fight back, take that chutzpa inside you and start shoveling it to those in your life who deserve it. If you need a bigger shovel, I've got one, I'll help you.........we all will.

May the force be with you............


Well-Known Member
Somehow, it just seemed like enough money ought to fix it
mmmm, that struck a chord. I thought that many times, how can I 'fix' it? How much money would it take to fix it? If only I had enough to fix it.
Meanwhile he "despised" money, spat in the face of money, the symbol of a corrupt capitalist society (the same society that provided his education, healthcare, transport network, ... ). The money that paid his rent, bought his food, funded his university qualifications. I struggled and gave and struggled and gave and then he spat at the money I'd struggled to find and give.
Now he's working, earning, casual labour, cash-in-hand, and he doesn't need it because he lives free, no rent, no food costs, no taxes, outside society (except the firm he's working for is a commercial enterprise of course, part of the capitalist economy, oh well ...).
So he phoned me and said "Hey mum, you know all those years you struggled and gave and struggled and gave, well now I've got some money and I don't need it so I'm going to send it to you so you can treat yourself because I'm so grateful for everything and I despise money."*

*Oh no... hang on... that was me fantasising again.

So now he's got enough money to 'fix' it, but it's still not fixed and won't get fixed because, of course, he doesn't want to fix it.


Well-Known Member
Hi Cedar,

Just now catching up on this and agree with the folks above. When it is somebody else's difficult child, it is so darn easy to see how totally out of line and ludicrous these things are that they say....

arrrgh. Glad you got all the truthful responses and I hope they have helped you stand up straight and dust yourself with renewed determination to never be affected like that again. That might not be 100% possible, but having that force with you (mentioned by RE) to deflect his cruel comments before they sting your soul should help a little bit. Gently hanging up the phone sounds good.

husband and I were out of town and my Conduct Disorders app is not working anymore. I may begin another thread about that if I can't figure it out ...something about TapaTalk. Otherwise, if I had known, I would have chimed in much earlier because it makes me sad and angry that you experienced this latest bump.

We were in Ft Walton Beach and the local newspaper carries a column by some lady who has written a book entitled Rude :censored2:es Make Me Tired. Your experience makes me envision a book and you can surely guess the title....Rude difficult child's Make Me Tired.

Oooops, that first title got censured. The Censured Word has 7 letters and begins with a "B".



Well-Known Member
difficult child contention is that we ruined things for him because when he was finally ready to try school again, he couldn't go until that old loan, now much more than the $ he actually got to use, still needed to be paid back and we wouldn't help.

Wow, that sounds like a lot of excuses! a lot of but but but. Good grief.

Tell him you are only charging low interest on the $4500 and the car, so he can feel good about paying that back.

Oh wait, he could have used that to pay off the loan, or to go to school, right? But he didn't. But but but.

People who want to go to school find a way. My SO's daughter does a clerical work at a local univeristy BECAUSE IT COMES WITH TUITION BENEFITS. She only has a high school diploma, but she figured that part out!

He could have gone to school, Cedar. The military pays for school too. Lots of ways I don't even know about.

Let it go.

and as far as needing ex's new girlfriend didn't go to college but she runs 3 highly successful restaurants, has launched countless chefs, and changed the face of restaurants in our city. She was a waitress before she did that.

my SO didn't go to college but ran a construction company (his own) with 30 employees and heavy equipment for years. Yes he did a lot of menial work first. But he didn't go to college.

Tell difficult child to shut up.

And as far as calling you dumb ass? That is just a sign of what a severe dysfunctional jerk he is. There is no land in which, when you are trying to persuade some one to do something for you, you insult them, mom or no. No wonder he can't get along in the world. He's jerk.

I am sorry your son is a jerk. Maybe he'll still get better. My mom got much better in her 60's and 70' are getting better. I'm better, in my 50's. Maybe he'll get better too. Till then....tell him to take a frieking walk , and make sure you eliminate him from your will.