When is it ok to walk away?

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by Lost in sadness, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. Lost in sadness

    Lost in sadness Active Member

    So, today I feel really really tired and emotional. My son got paid £1,800 for his last pay. You may recall the deal we had....we would pay his rent until he got paid, then we would pay his court fine etc and he would pay us back but he went back on the deal and changed his bank passwords. I was so angry and hurt. I trusted him.
    I also asked him to pay a months rent to secure the roof over his head as he has no idea how long it will be before he gets a job.

    I saw him two days ago, I went to his house, he had only just got up and showered and it was around 3pm in the afternoon. I cannot see much job hunting going on. He proceeded to show me a load of new clothes from Hugo Boss, new aftershave...oh and a new playstation! again! Now, its not that he cannot 'treat' himself but he now has no job!!! I had gone over to let him use my laptop to do some online tests sent to him by a recruitment agency. He was so agitated with the tests. He completed them and then I told him to ring back the recruitment agencies that had been in touch, he did. He told me he was surprised by how much money he actually had left. I doubted it but said nothing other than I was pleased because it may be a while before he got a job. I took all his washing away.

    Yesterday, I called round to drop all his washing off. He ignored my calls until I told him I had his washing and he came straight out. He has an interview on Friday. He had cancelled other appointments with recruitment agencies as he believes he now has a job. Last night I was just checking his emails to see he had replied to all of the agencies as agreed and in his deleted folder were a number of applications for payday loans! I am devastated. He has clearly spent £1,800 in less than two weeks! and now he has obtained loans with no job!! WHAT??!! I sent him an angry "you are so stupid" text! He ignored it but deleted all his emails and then ordered a takeaway! I just do not know what to do to help him. I have no idea if he is paying his rent, or if he paid his court fines, he owes us hundreds, rent arrears of a couple of thousand and now this!

    I feel trapped in this. A responsibility to be here for him as I love him and he is my son but equally I just want to move away and pretend he doesn't exist. If only it didn't hurt so much. I don't know how to be there for him. I feel I should just leave him to it now but I cannot sleep with worry. Christmas is coming and I am absolutely dreading it! Dreading being in his company, dreading the potential upset and drama but reluctant to say he cannot spend it with us. It goes on and on and on....

    What does everyone else do at Christmas? When is the time to walk away? xx
  2. so ready to live

    so ready to live Active Member

    Oh Lost.
    You ask when it is time to walk away. We have been "at this" with our son for most of his life. Is he better? No, but we are, compared to a few yrs. ago.
    Your son is young, there is hope-we still have hope and ours is 30. But we have made boundaries that protect us...finally. Strong impermeable boundaries, not always, but lines drawn just the same. It seems to me that I couldn't possibly from a mother's heart have kept those, but I have. It helps me much to remember that I can change my mind too. I have that power.
    Your son changed his mind about allowing you access to his money as your bargain for helping him. In doing so, in blowing funds, in sleeping until 3p, in not following up on responsibilities and most important disrespecting you, he chose his path. Interrupting the consequences of his choices hurts him too. If you knew those consequences would save him, you would allow it to play out.
    There are a couple camps here, take what you like, leave the rest.
    We have seen our son homeless, without a car even, in the winter. He didn't (?cannot?) learn from it. The consequences didn't change him much. Our son does have some disability, it's hard to tell how much is due to alcohol/drugs. He could work, he doesn't. We continue to offer minimal support as long as he seems to be trying to stay clean. I suppose we might be doing this for the rest of our lives, but it is the only way I can sleep at night. Others would say we should cut ties but we keep some contact for US. I've often felt if I could know he was alive and in a warm place, that would be enough. I wouldn't need to ever see or hear from him as the encounters unravel me. It's hard to admit this.
    Can you step back? Only you know, but if you haven't let him fall yet, it's a question that needs to be asked. Are you doing it all to help him or you?
    Hugs from my heart to yours, this is so hard.
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  3. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Lost - So sorry you are going through this and I know how much it hurts.

    So ready - I completely agree with your post and everything in it.

    My son is 22 and is still considered "so young". I often wonder when people stop saying that he is so young. Is it 25, 28 or even 30? That is when the real panic will set in if he does not change his ways. When people no longer refer to him as being 'so young'.

    Time waits for no one. So much time has been wasted. They just can't see it.

    Lost - the holidays are always so hard for so many and I myself dreaded them before my son even had a drug problem because I lost my parents at a young age and I always have had to fight off sadness during the holidays for some reason. Now with my son being in and out of rehabs for almost seven years, the holidays are just a reminder of what isn't right in my life. I am thankful for those things that are right though and try to focus on those things as much as I can. Part of me is sick since my son is sick.

    I don't recall if you see a therapist but if not you might think about doing that. It does help to have an unbiased opinion and has helped me to create boundaries for my son and myself. Loving them just isn't enough. This is tough stuff and I can't even pretend I can do it alone.
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  4. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    There is so much heart ah e for us. It is up to each of us what we do and how we manage with our Difficult Child. We have been involved in the lies and the outright theft of our money and yes Pay Day loans.

    We had our son arrested and put in jail for stealing from our bank accounts. He is to go to rehab or go to jail. We give him no money and will pay none of his debt and he is only 18. He is lining with us temporarily until his rehab bed becomes available and many days are not so pleasant.

    One piece of advise I will give you is Love is unconditional, boundaries and expectations are not. The more you do for him the more you will enable this irresponsible behaviour.

    Don’t let FOG get confused for Love Fear Obligation and Guilt be confused for love and good boudaries. Sometimes Love and doing what is right is painful.

    Big hugs to you.
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    CARP_ENOUGH New Member

    Lost...my heart feels for you and I have a 22 yr old son who over the last 4 years has put me through a rollercoaster, mentally, emotionally and financially. Just when I felt he was coming around, I would have another surprise whether it was an arrest for a dumb mistake involving drug or alcohol, the last one was petty theft that is very harsh here in the US, but luckily he made it out of all of these issues, but the roller coaster has continued. He has moved about 20 times and has had 100 jobs, no less lasting than a couple months and he thinks he can make big $$ without studying or going back to University or learning a trade. These age groups from 17-27 today are delusional because of social media and the internet. They don't know how to EARN respect and have a work ethic and we as parents are suffering for their lack of responsiblity. You need to let him suffer his own consequences which is what I finally decided this year and it has helped tremendously. I LOVE him with every ounce of my soul, and I cry at night because we worry about them being without jobs, homeless and even worse in jail. This is not our problem anymore..your SON has to become a man ASAP. Don't let him or anyone steal your joy....with the holidays it will be hard, make him promise you that there will be no drama OR he can spend Xmas somewhere else. I had to do this for Thanksgiving just recently and guess what?? My son figured it out. He found some friends he had taken advantage of years back and never appreciated them and he apologized to them and spent the holiday with them and NO drama with them? HMMMMMM...our sons are manipulators ! They know our weak spots as mothers and they press the button all the time if we let them. I stopped letting him use the button. I only take his calls when I feel I want to....no more guilt or obligation to let him suck me dry of my own life. It's NOT fair anymore. Stop this now...from the stories you read on this site...it doesn't get any better if we do not stop the manipulation early. Best to you and I am praying for God to give you strength to detach as we are all learning to do here.
  6. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Hon...you don't have to walk away to walk away. Let me explain.

    Leaving our children, no matter how horrid they can be, is usually too hard because our love endures. Now if you feel he is a threat to hurt you, Rob you blind, seriously injure your way of life, yes, cut him off. But it doesn't sound that way for you. You can maintain contact and protect yourself at the same times by taking some steps. Take what you like and leave the rest.

    1. Stop,stop, stop reading their social media.

    2. Agree to talk to them or text them only a few times a week and end communication if he gets abusive. Period.

    3. Close the Bank of Mom. No money. No bailouts. Change your bank account and credit card numbers of he has access to the numbers.

    4. Only visit him in a public place with lots of people around, not in your house where he can snoop around.

    5. Encourage him if he does positive things, but continue to be skeptical as drug users manipulate, lie and use people. No money.

    6. Low expectations. If you feel you must pay his rent, don't expect him to pay you back.

    7. Stay out of his bad decisions. His screwing up with money is his problem, not your business. Don't bring it up. Don't help him out and reward the bad behavior.

    These are a few ideas.

    Of course, if you feel No Contact, you can and should. Nobody here will judge you.

    Love from all.
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  7. Sam3

    Sam3 Active Member

    I agree 100% with SWOT.

    I would add that if your son could independently get and maintain a job and an apartment for some period of time, any sudden inability to keep up his obligations and promises should be viewed with suspicion. Payday loans are a bad sign.

    Your keeping tabs on his bank accounts and online activity speaks to your suspicions. But if you have already confronted him about what's going on, and he is not transparent, spying and further confronting is not a winning strategy, in my experience.

    I would allow the natural consequences to flow from his actions, including any you agreed to deliver if he did not pay rent, etc., regardless of the reasons for his actions. I would demonstrate sympathy and a willingness to support him in addressing whatever his real issues are. And I would only bridge him, if he understands and is working on his issues, and that work is verifiable.

    My son is very skilled in the game of cat and mouse. Basically, he thinks that if his parents do not know what he's doing, then they are not entitled to make decisions based on their best guesses or worst suspicions, even if all other indicators point to addiction. That's why the neutral boundary is paramount to maintain. Addiction will reveal itself as those boundaries are enforced, and you will keep your hands clean.
  8. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    What he did was devious, deceptive, and sneaky. I don't think you should help him financially ever again. Tell him you're here to give him love, moral and emotional support, but no money. Anything you buy him for Christmas might be returned for cash or traded except groceries. I definitely wouldn't give him a grocery gift card. I would physically take him to the grocery store, and get him presents in the form of food. I just think he would sell or trade any other gift.
  9. Lost in sadness

    Lost in sadness Active Member

    Thank you for such a beautiful heartfelt post. I am so sorry you have been going through this for so long, I just don't know how you do it! You are right he does choose his path. Its as if he just believes he can have and have and have without giving back. He appears to feel so shame or remorse, just a massive sense of entitlement. When I mentioned the rent he had not paid us back, his reply was 'its not as if you can't afford it'! Its not about the money, its the principal but he does not seem to get that. How have we raised such a person!

    Yes, i do a lot of it for me, so I feel better. Like you, if I knew he was warm and ok, it would be enough. The trouble is, I tell him 'i am done' so often that the words are pointless. My son makes no effort to be 'clean' and does not hide the fact he enjoys smoking weed. How much I have no idea. A lot. I feel your pain in how it would have felt to see your son homeless, it must have taken great strength. It is just all such a waste of life. I don't understand it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your reply. I could give you a hug xxx
  10. Lost in sadness

    Lost in sadness Active Member

    I agree with every word. My son sometimes shows such generosity and kindness but the other side of him is just a taker. I am going to buy him what he needs for Christmas and that is it. Thank you. x
  11. Lost in sadness

    Lost in sadness Active Member

    Thank you for your reply. Yes, my son maintained a job for 4-5 months no problem. He was even top in the company winning all the bonuses. The trouble is, he starts off ok, then he becomes complacent and believes that people should just accept the way he is. He started to be late to work and despite warnings continued, so they let him go. He says he regrets it but yet did nothing to change the behavior that led to it. He is bright and knows how to play the game but sometimes he is also really stupid and I wonder about him. He clearly has no intention to stop smoking weed, I think he needs it to numb his life. Some days I am strong, others I am very very weak. It normally changes depending on the weather. My ultimate fear is he is homeless in the cold. It is so painful. We do support him when he is doing well. He started coming for dinner un the family home again when he was working etc but then it all goes wrong again, and again... Thank you! xx
  12. Lost in sadness

    Lost in sadness Active Member

    SWOT, you really are a very wise person - thank you again for your thoughts and advice. I think I understand what you mean and I do try to do this. I also mess this up by continually telling him I 'am done' every time he does something wrong or against what we agreed. The trouble is, I always go back as he then manages to do something good. I want to pay his rent so I can sleep at night knowing he will not be out in the cold but I know every time we do this, we are only really encouraging him to do nothing himself to change his life. The fact he has obtained pay day loans tells me he probably thinks he can not ask us again which is good but worries me to death about the mess he is getting in to.
    Christmas coming makes things really hard. My husband is adamant he will not ruin it for everyone and I know he will not want to speak to my son which is a sure thing to being trouble ahead!
    I will take your advice on the amount of times we have contact because it is dominating my life.
    Thank you SWOT! xx
  13. Lost in sadness

    Lost in sadness Active Member

    Oh bless you for this message! Our stories are so similar. I agree with you about them being delusional, they seem to have a sense of entitlement - the world owes them!! I am not sure I can still be doing this when he gets to 22, we have already had 2+ years so i need to act now. For me, it is the cold, I simply cannot have him homeless. I know I push and push and threaten in the hope he sorts himself so I do not have to jump in and save him. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. The fact he has got a pay day loan says he thinks we won't help him. He appears to have no regard for what the consequences might be when he makes decisions. He only seems to think of the moment. Instant gratification. I am so pleased you have found a way to enjoy your life also, I am sure it is still so hard. I am going to take your and SWOTs advice on only taking calls when I feel like it and not being so available for him. It feels hard as he is young but he can manage to do all the bad stuff he does so I am sure he will cope. Hugs to you! xx
  14. Lost in sadness

    Lost in sadness Active Member

    Thank you for your reply! I agree with it all although sometimes I wonder about the 'love is conditional' statement. I think I love WITH conditions. I am not sure if this is right or wrong. I always love him but I think my actions may come across to him as if love comes with conditions as i withdraw myself from him every time he does something wrong. I worry that withdrawing help and allowing him to fall will be too much and push him over the edge to take his own life. Then I will have to live with that guilt forever. The decision is so hard. Hugs to you xx
  15. Lost in sadness

    Lost in sadness Active Member

    Thank you for your reply. I agree with the 'young' statement. Sometimes this makes me feel bad as a mother. He is young and he is out there on his own and shouldn't be. He should be home being nurtured by me! I feel it is my fault and by not allowing him home or not helping him is pushing him to make bad decisions. I also think will we still be here when he is 22,25,30 etc as we have already done 2+ years of it. It seems in the US that you have rehabs you can send your children to. Here is the UK there is no such thing unless you pay for it, so the options are, they are at home doing what they like or you throw them out. I would love a rehab option.

    I am so sorry the holidays are hard for you. They are made out to be so happy and exciting but for many they are a painful reminder of everything that is wrong or lost in our lives. I am glad you have things that are right too and hope you find some peace and happiness in that. Much love and a huge hug from me! xx
  16. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    Lost take a hard look at where your son is spending his money. Is he being accountable? Pay Day loans were taken and he didn’t pay his rent. I don’t see how he did this in fear of not having your help. You have helped him immensely. If there are no consequences to their negative actions they will have no incentive to change.
    I realize this is not easy stuff but it is important to learn how to Love them unconditionally and not enable them. It is important to get through the fear obligation and guilt.
    Does the national health not have rehab support services available? If not look into Teen Challenge they are a global not for profit rehab group that have very reasonable prices. They are Christian faith based but do not push the religion over the rehab.
    Warm hugs to you. I know this is not easy stuff.
  17. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    You have received some very good advice, Lost. I am sorry for your frustration, hurt and sadness. There are so many emotions we go through, when our kids don't successfully launch. It is as much a learning for us, at it is for them. You are in a good place here, many have been in similar situations.
    That is a good question. When is the time to walk away?
    Do we ever really walk away? Not really, because we love our kids.
    I liken it to when the kids first learned to ride a bike, and we took off the training wheels, running beside them to make sure they didn't fall. Eventually, we had to let go, they would ride all wobbly and we would stand there, hands wringing, hoping they stayed upright. It didn't take long for them to be confidently riding their bikes, and we didn't have to stand there and be so worried. They would fall, too, and get back up and ride.
    Rather than walking away, it is more a shifting of focus.
    Hard to do, when they are figuratively still "wobbly on their bikes."
    I found this to be true with my two. We were always there to "catch" them. They began to feel that we were supposed to be there as a safety net, no matter what they did.
    This is hard, Lost, a battle inside of you. That is what I mean by shifting your focus. Try to find help for you, to sort out your feelings, to find your way through, to strengthen yourself. We get so caught up in all of this, trying to figure out how to help our d cs, that we forget to take care of ourselves. We don't see what is happening to us.
    By shifting your focus to self care, the answers you seek will come in due time. You will figure out what you need to do, no matter what your son is doing. After all, our d cs will do what they choose. No matter what we do. We don't have much control there. Even if we think we do.
    Being here, writing and reading posts is a good start. Build up your toolbox, the article on detachment is good, it's not about walking away, it's about finding healthy ways for you to walk this journey.
    Life is so very short. Stress, anxiety and frustration rob us of good health. There is no telling when our d cs will see their potential and meaning (it has been a long, long road for me).
    In the meantime, you have your life to live, you matter.
    Be very, very kind to yourself.
    It can be as simple as taking a nice, long hot bath, a pedicure, watching a movie, going out for dinner with your husband.
    One small step at a time.
    You matter, Lost.
    You are not alone in this. We have all been right where you are, feeling lost in the sadness of it all, just wanting our kids to be okay, to do the right thing.
    Keep posting, it does help.
    I hope today will be a better day for you.
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