What would you do differently? mini vent

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Star*, Jun 1, 2009.

  1. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    My Mom and I were speaking this weekend and Dude had stayed at the house for the weekend. I told him I didn't mind if he checked out stuff on line - and even his My space page (I have LOST that battle) I just don't care anymore.

    So there I am going down the hall to my office, my computer and I see on the floor a Hershey kiss, in the wrapper and Pootie is eating it! OMG he's three feet from her and HEY how in the H did you get MY candy? Then I see my chair has been readjusted, my wrist gel pad is thrown on the floor, there is a cup with liquid ON my tower....(urge to kill) and my digital camera is sitting there - but the rechargeable battery is on the desk and HEY how.....where .......WERE YOU USING MY CAMERA? OMG he put regular batteries in it..and HEY - where did you get those NEW batteries? OMG - YOU ARE 18 FREAKING YEARS OLD - this is MY house and you just ......

    And I wasn't like I used to be, in as much as I didn't yell or carry on but I was AMAZED that he had just "gone" through my stuff without a care. Then he got up- kicked my chair cover (which HE hates) and said "I'm outta here." and left.

    He has a car. He earned the money - he has NO license, no insurance, no tag, no registration - and he's been using Df's tools to fix this car up - and then he LEFT. OMG I was livid.

    DF came in and calmly said "He may not work on the car with his tools - as they were all laying all over the place and some are still missing." and then I said to my Mom "OMG why WHY can't I stop with this kid?"

    If ANYONE treated me like he just did - I'd NEVER speak to them again. But he does it to me over and over and my Mom said "Tell him he can't come to the house anymore." and I'm thinking - Here I was SO proud of myself for NOT getting upset or yelling and being cool and then everyone tells me "Youre an idiot." (in essence) and I have to agree.

    Other than this incident he's been doing pretty good - but when he got home - he called and said the foster parents' son took his battery out of his car. NOT TO WORRY (OH I wasn't) YOU BIG DUMMY. Then he tells me last night that someoen backed into his car - but not to worry THEY had a car JUST LIKE IT they would sell (SELL) him for $500 - and then this guy that backed into his car would paint his car for free (of course the 500.00 is not free moron) but they see him coming.

    ANd I wonder WHY he hasn't graduated.

    I just wondered after all this last night what I should do differently. I'm usually pretty strong - but I swear I don't know IF I let my guard down or if I'm just too tired to battle with him or if this isn't one of those things that you say DO NOT COME BACK. (which is where my family is leaning)

    I just thought he was smarter than that. Really I did. But then again I thought I was smarter than this. Apparently not. I'm not having problems with the fact that he invaded my space/stuff and used stuff without asking - I'm having a problem with the fact that I allowed him to do it in the first place.

    I guess I'll go back to locking the doors when he comes........this is just carp.


    I guess in hindsite what would YOU have done differently now that you know what you know.
  2. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Wow, yep, does sound like difficult child made himself pretty comfy at your house this past weekend. I hear you on getting them to respect our stuff and us. My difficult child's still walk into our house and make themselves comfy with whatever is in the fridg, the computer, and I've even woken up to dust the guest bedroom and found young difficult child lying in the bed...no idea he was here until then.

    Seems hard for them to figure out that they are "GUESTS" now...this is not their house to do as they please.

    What would bother me most is the kicking and I'm Outta here behavior...that would have to end before he was aloud back over. Apologies that really mean I won't do it again would be in order.

    I don't think you're an idiot at all...You just didn't engage escalating behaviors back and forth between the two of you...that was good.
    I mean, I dont' think he was being very rational at the time he kicked and blasted outta there...and you know you can't argue/talk/convince someone that is in an irrational state to stop and think. Give it a few days, ya know, then try and talk to him about how you felt, how his behavior affected you.

    Does sound like he was testing your limits though, huh?

  3. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Oh Star. Sending some gigantic hugs and a nice cup of tea your way.

    It's too easy, isn't it. We see improvement in our difficult children. First a few tiny baby steps, then more and more until it looks as though they're really hitting their stride. They're starting to toe the line, showing respect, doing things properly, following the rules...

    Then they come home for a visit and regress all over the place, usually smack in the middle of our stuff. Even if the damage is minor compared to what it used to be, the heartbreak is the same if not worse. They were getting better, so how come they still...?

    Here are the things that I've been doing. Don't know if any of them will help you, but they might be worth a try.

    1) I don't believe a word my difficult child says unless I have independent corroboration.
    True, difficult child doesn't lie as much as he used to, but he used to tell 999,999 lies for each truth, so less is relative. When it does turn out that he's telling the truth, I'm pleasantly surprised. But I'm no longer crushed by the lies, because I assume that everything is a lie to start with.

    2) Severely limit difficult child's visits home.
    difficult child stays overnight at Christmas, but otherwise we limit him to flying visits, always under constant supervision. If he's going to be here for any length of time (i.e. more than an hour), the house goes into full lockdown. When he's here too often, or for too long at a single stretch, difficult child loses every last one of the skills and coping mechanisms he has learned at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC). There's too much difficult child history in the walls of this house. It's not a good place for his growth.

    3) No computer access, and no access to my office.
    Although difficult child is allowed very limited computer access when he's at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC), we just don't let him use the computer at all when he's here. It's not just that he'll go to inappropriate places on the internet. If he sits at my desk for 5 minutes, even if he's not using my computer, he will mess with my stuff. I will find things out of place, other things broken, other things gone. I am STILL finding stuff that he destroyed and hid years ago, buried in the backs of file cabinets and archive boxes.

    If difficult child absolutely MUST have something from the computer, husband sits at the computer, difficult child tells husband what he needs, goes to the website, prints or whatever, but for difficult child it's strictly paws off.

    4) My guard is always up.
    This is the hardest one. difficult child and I used to be so close, but he nearly destroyed that bond. He tries. He tries so hard, figuring that if he's soft and gentle with me he'll be able to rebuild it and be as close as we ever were. But I'm not ready, don't know if I ever will be. In some ways the extra-nice behaviour hurts as much as the destructive and dangerous behaviour did, because he figures that the one cancels out the other.

    I don't know whether it's PTSD or some other thing, but I'm just not ready to let difficult child back in. He has a place in my heart, just not the special little corner that he crushed and burned all those years ago.

    I don't know what advice to give you Star. But if Dude is crossing your lines, then you have to back him off further and draw a new line. The slope is always greased, and our difficult children are always ready to slip back down it. Vigilance.

    I'm sorry. It shouldn't have to be so d@mn hard all the time.

  4. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Tammy & Trinny -

    Thanks. You know I was talking with DF tonight and I told him I have been thinking all day long about what a king sized lollipop I've been recently and he said "I think you want him to be XX so bad that you overlook things SO much." ie - I say "NEVER again on my computer (due to pictures of naked women from My space) and then I say "Oh you need to look something up for your car? Sure." When my response should be - TOUGH - find someplace else to look it up. But at that moment I just do NOT know what invades my brain :alien:and I find my mouth going UH HUH before my brain goes WOAH now - wasn't it just three months ago you said NO computer?

    Then I think a part of my brain in the farthest non-detached places thinks "Well look - he's got a job now, a car now, he's being a decent person 80% of the time, he's trying to do things right." and that farthest part says - SO big deal LET him use that computer - right - it's to better himself. And that part nags me and says - "You're going to mess it all up if you ........" and I KNOW better - but like I said I get caught off guard.

    I'm going to take your advice and go back to lock down mode. That's excellent advice. And Tammy thanks for not making me feel like an idiot. :faint: - Some days I do just GET TIRED of keepin' on keepin on.

    I just needed a shot of DO NOT GO THERE - I'm going to go re read my detachment 101.

    Thanks all....
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Star....they are twins...lmao.

    Did I tell you Cory stole our pool on Sunday? LMAO. Well in his mind he just borrowed it. Oh, and our hose too. And I have totally given up on anything to do with vehicles. Tools? We figure if he touches them they are gone. Its a bonus if they actually make it home again.

    I dont have the computer issues because he doesnt do Myspace and the only thing he does online is look for work or car parts. So that isnt a problem here. He is pleasant most of the time now. But he has no problem borrowing our stuff...lol.
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    If it makes you feel any better........

    Travis has yet to get the concept of boundaries.:tongue: I could let it drive me over the edge as I have in the past. Or I could let it go and accept it as part of who he is. With Travis the likelihood of this changing is nill, so why keep fighting it?

    Still, I make him responsible for anything lost, damaged, or broken. It's the best I can do under the circumstances. I do not yet, or have a fit. Most of the time I don't even bother to get upset. sigh. Just doesn't do any good. And to give the kid credit, he replaces anything lost, damaged, and broken. So I guess that's something.

    Vent away. It helps.

  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Star...something to look forward to.

    Ring Ring.

    Mom....oh Mom?

    Yes dear...what is it?

    Mom, where are you and what are you doing?

    Im at the mall picking up your brother...why?

    Well Mom...uhhh...(giggles and party music in the background) I was wondering...Its Ambers birthday and everyone here is drinking and they are starving and I was gonna ask you if you could stop by Mcdonalds and get us some burgers? Would you please please do that for us?

    Cory, I dont have any money but if Billy has it I will see if we can hit Mcdonalds for the dollar menu.

    Ok, when you get to Mcdonalds call me and I will tell you what we want. Bye, I love you.

    (We get to McDonalds and get the food...drive to Corys and deliver it like a delivery service...lol)

    Out pour wasted friends of Cory's who now all call me Momma and want to hug on me to thank me for bringing them food...lmao. As tony says...of course they love me...I feed them. They are like stray pups...you feed them, you have them for life!

    Star...this is your future life...take notes.
  8. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    My Mother's Day celebration this year was not only the first time Rob and I have had extended alone time together. It was also the first time I felt comfortable with him being alone in my house.

    I'm so grateful to have reached that point...and look how many years it took to get there.

  9. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    Don't be too hard on yourself Star. The thing is, our 'patterns' with our kids are SO entrenched in us, that sometimes it takes years to learn new (better) patterns of relating. It's like we've done this song and dance so long, that it takes a tremendous amount of forethought and energy to learn a new way to dance with them. Ya know?

    Dust off the boundaries - and set them back in place firmly. ;)
  10. therese005us

    therese005us New Member

    Ditto: don't be so hard on yourself.
    My DS has been home for eight months now!! the first three felt like 3 years... I was so happy he was home I just about let him dictate the place.
    My daughter saw it before I did. I was so stressed.
    Then I started locking down with some rules..
    No alcohol or drugs on the property
    I won't lend him money for drugs, drink or cigarettes
    i won't lend him my computer to watch his movies on or download stuff etc. I told him, it's my private computer, therefore I have a right to say no. He didn't like that at first, but I held my tongue and bit down hard, and stuck with it. It was hard.
    He isn't allowed into certain areas of the house - no ifs or buts.
    He did overstep the mark and go into daughter's room - that was my fear... and I let him have it! He did try to?? molest her when she was about 2 and she has never forgotten it.

    i love him so much, I want to give him everything he wants, just for coming home again... but I can't and i shouldn't.

    So, you can draw up a set of rules/boundaries and have a meeting with him about what the guidelines are when he visits.
    If he doesn't agree to them, sorry, we'll have to meet on neutral ground or something similar.

    Good luck. I know from my own heart, how hard it is to let your heart rule, and your head just gets all fuzzy....

    As parents, we are pretty vulnerable and fragile aren't we?
  11. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    I agree, don't be so hard on yourself. It's easy to see how it all happened--it sure has happened to me with difficult child 1 before! We so want to think that because they have improved in so many ways that we can treat them like pcs but they really do seem to have a chronic problem with boundaries. Before my difficult child 1 moved out to the west coast she would come to visit and was really actually very polite--even asking if she could have a drink of water rather than just assuming she could do it and also cleaning up after herself, etc. But I bet if she was over for a week's visit she would slip back into her difficult child ways. It is just so much easier having her far away--I hate to say that, sounds so cold, but I just think a long distance relationship with a difficult child is a lot easier. I know she wants to come visit and part of me would like to see her and of course see my grandson but part of me is very resistant to her coming here.

    Anyway, I think you've figured out what you need to do and I'm sorry you had to!

  12. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Thanks all for giving me your invaluable insight. IT really helps when you feel like everything is whirling to get some fresh perspective and support. So thanks -

    Update: I sat down with DF last night and we decided that we need to redraw the boundaries and stick to them. The lines sorta got smudged when he started working (huge) and being responsible (huge) and doing things he was supposed to do. I think we as parents just got into a rut and said "OH wel if THIS is normal then THIS is allowed because it will work itself out." and you want day to day life to be uneventful - so you give a little more than you usually would. A little turns into more, more turns into a lot and a lot turns into chaos.

    I guess I just felt I was doing SO well on detaching from the big things that I allowed little things by to make it better....and it wasn't hard to fall into old patterns again.

    The house will be on lockdown -
    The garage/shop will be on lockdown - since he drove a car out of the yard without it being registered, tagged and license - there will be NO more using of tools at our house. DF said his foot is down and not moving on this issue.

    The computer will be off limits - I'm trying to save for a new one - and then it will be locked. I'm changing the passwords too.

    We realized last night that when he comes to our house - he's not coming to see us - or help us or visit - or even eat. He's using the shop, the computer, our chemicals to clean his car, and all these things he could do at his own home. From now on if he comes for a visit - it's on our terms and at our asking. As far as him coming to help - if he helps fine. If not we'll just do smaller amounts as we can - and get by.

    I know there is a battle ahead over this and he may just say "Forget you" and never come back - but then I see Suz tell that she has trust again with Rob and I think ----yeah - that's whats missing. (Thanks Suz)

    Everyone - HAVE A GREAT DAY.
  13. ML

    ML Guest

    I think the talk was perfect. We are going to make mistakes, heck I make them every day. These kids take us to the mat emotionally and often physically with their gfgness, they pull us into a whirlwind of inertia and it's only after we've gone against all we hold sacred that we realize what's happened and the best we can do is practice damage control.

    I am proud of you for talking to due about your feelings and for re-establishing the boundaries. You're awesome Star.


  14. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Star, I can't tell you how many times this exact thing has been my downfall.
    difficult child shows significant improvement, starts respecting boundaries, behaving himself, being respectful...So I decide to cut the boy some slack and ease up a little bit on the strictness. And then, BOOM. Straight to he// in the proverbial handbasket.

    I realized after a while that difficult child is binary, like a computer. It's either 1 or 0, on or off. If a rule is not 100% on, then it's 100% off. I do my boy no favours by trying to impose 80% of a rule, or only in this context or that context, or whatever. Strictness is probably the best thing for him, because he has Clear. Unequivocal. Rules. And that's exactly what he needs to get along in the world.

    I am glad to hear that you and DF have been able to talk things through, redraw your boundaries and set your limits. I think you'll both be healthier for it, and I think Dude will be as well. He's learning, but he still has a long road to travel.

    Sending you many hugs, my friend.
  15. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    say "NEVER again on my computer (due to pictures of naked women from My space) and then I say "Oh you need to look something up for your car? Sure." When my response should be - TOUGH - find someplace else to look it up. But at that moment I just do NOT know what invades my brain :alien:and I find my mouth going UH HUH before my brain goes WOAH now - wasn't it just three months ago you said NO computer?

    Then I think a part of my brain in the farthest non-detached places thinks "Well look - he's got a job now, a car now, he's being a decent person 80% of the time, he's trying to do things right." and that farthest part says - SO big deal LET him use that computer - right - it's to better himself. And that part nags me and says - "You're going to mess it all up if you ........" and I KNOW better - but like I said I get caught off guard.

    Man, do I know that scene. Happens all the time with me and difficult child 2. I want so badly to encourage the good behavior and give him a chance to prove himself, and then he goes and does something that makes me look like an absolute fool.

    I think the annoyance you were feeling when he took advantage of your computer and personal space is telling you that you know where your limits are, and he won't be able to do that again because the next time he mentions that he needs to look something up on the computer or use DF's tools for his car you will remember how you felt cleaning up after an 18 yr old. It's bogus.

    It's hard to break these deeply ingrained patterns. At least you are noticiing it yourself with-o having to have someone else point it out. that's progress, ain't it?
  16. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    It sounds as though you are getting it back on track, Star.
  17. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    Well if you find out what to do different - let me know! My son when he is here - is the biggest slob - he makes the biggest messes and never cleans them up - I just cant understand why someone would have that little pride as to do something that looks like a 2 year old did it? It makes me furious. I have to commend you on not engaging with him and not screaming and yelling. I probably would have lost it - and it would do no good. Good going girl!
  18. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'm pretty sure that this was a one time slip-up for Star and DF, and that they'll follow through with proper limitations.
  19. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    thanks Witz - I understand your sarcasm. No harm done!
  20. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Star, there were many stops and starts along this road. I know you know me now...but am not sure how closely you followed my story in earlier days.

    I guess my best advice is to regroup, re-establish boundaries now...and be willing to maintain the hard line. You will need to regroup and re-establish many times in the next few years. Maybe forever? Hopefully not, but maybe.

    Hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Pretend that Dude is 3 again. Give him the opportunity to prove himself trustworthy. Catch him doing something right. Slam down HARD on boundaries when he oversteps his bounds. He's old enough to know better and to do better.

    It's so hard to have them consistently disappoint, especially when you think they might be doing better. sigh. I would circle the wagons with restrictions very close now and leave them there for 6 months. He needs to know that you know what he's been up to and what you WILL NOT tolerate.