29 Year Old Son Sucking the Life Out of Me

MomFedUp

New Member
I am so glad I found this forum! I desperately need support! My only child, my son, is 29. After graduating high school he got arrested 4 times. 3 times for small amounts of pot, once for a more serious charge of possessing wax. He has received several large inheritance amounts, from relatives who passed, but every dime is gone. He spent most of it paying off lawyers and fines. I recently researched him and see he has a warrant for his arrest in another city for unpaid traffic tickets. He works as a plumbers apprentice on temp jobs here and there but never has anything steady. He has an apartment but is behind on rent. He is 29 but mentally he is 19. My husband, his stepfather, is not supportive. He says my son is a "moron" and he is tired of seeing me cry after every interaction I have with my son. My son is a smart ass, disrespectful, only contacts me when he needs money. Example this morning I get a text "Mom, I really need money for gas to get to work". I sent him $20 and told him that was it, I'm broke and he will need to ask my husband for money (which he will not do since they don't like each other). I was a fantastic mother to my son. I worked full time, had him in the best day care and after school programs, I took him on traveling adventures to places like the Florida Keys to snorkle, Colorado to snowmobile, Las Vegas to swim in Lake Mead, I taught him the importance of working for money, how drugs will mess up your life...I sat and taught that kid everything. The minute he graduated high school he started dating girls, partying, staying out all night, etc. I had to work and got sick of his coming in at all hours and not working, I kicked him out and changed the locks on my townhome. He stayed gone for a long time, refused to talk to me, eventually I gave in and let him back in. Nothing changed. At age 26 I met my current husband. I moved out of my townhome, let him stay there for a couple of months until the lease ended then he moved in with friends. A year ago he was unemployed and moved out of his friends, asked us if he could stay for a couple of weeks until he found a new place. During that time he never offered to help mow the grass or do anything, he slept until noon, stayed out half the night and finally got a friend to let him move in. That lasted about a month, he couldn't pay rent. My husband has helped him move his crap from one place to another and my son never seems appreciative. My son blames everyone else, it's a repeat story of what others on here post. Here is my dilemma I struggle with. My son uses everything in the world to play me. I hear "I never had a dad to help me, all my friends have dads who help them" or the biggie "When you get old and have no one I will be there for you". I always think, gee, if I don't help him now if I need him when I'm old or sick he might not help me. I have realized that is him trying to manipulate me. I don't even want him to come over for Thanksgiving but I have a hard time turning my back on him. When he comes to visit there is huge tension between my husband and my son. My son says "He doesn't like me he just pretends to be nice to me in front of you". My son wills start talking about the dumbest things, complaining about people who bully him, politics, no one will help him, etc. I get so embarrassed because it is obvious he still has the mentality of a 19 year old. My husband has tried to help him and give him advice but my son gets an attitude and refuses to listen. He will get up and walk away or start arguing. I have helped him with $20 here and there for gas to get to work, the "I'm starving can you loan me $20" never ends. This morning I sent him a text "Work your *** off because I am officially broke! Do not ask me for another dime!". Now, I have to stick to that. I am retired and I have a hobby that I make money at, but that is my money, I am tired of him sucking every dime out of me. He is invited for Thanksgiving dinner but I know I will get the "If you want me to come, I need money for gas". What do I do? He lives an hour from me. I need support to stop enabling!!! It is starting to cause problems between me and my husband. One good thing about my son, he hasn't ended up with any kids. It kills me, I blame myself and wonder what I did wrong. My husband said "Did you just give him too much as a child?". I don't know what I did wrong. I don't think I did anything but be a good mom. Being widowed at age 29 then losing my parents and two older brothers shortly after that, I took care of myself and my son without asking anyone for money. It was hard on me, I sacrificed my life for 20 years to raise my son and give him a good life. I feel betrayed. My son doesn't seem to appreciate me or respect me, he just wants the Bank Of Mom to be open when he needs it. He never calls to see how I am. Every text or phone call I just cringe and my heart sinks because I know if he is contacting me, something is wrong or he needs money. I am totally fed up with this. How do I cut ties. I don't need to see a counselor, I just need to know...do I just cut him off completely now and let him sink? My husband wanted to call him up and ream him out, I told him not to. My husband grew up without both parents and he is successful, he went thru some hard times and tried talking to my son about it but my son sat there listening like he was bored and kept shaking his head saying "Times are different now" and stupid stuff like that. He tells me "You were a girl who bosses liked and that's why you found jobs and made good money when I was little, I'm a guy and people treat me different". I hear every excuse. How do I cut him off? The guilty for turning my back on him is strong. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
 

RN0441

100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
Welcome and sorry you have to be here but glad you found us.

More will be along to offer their advice and experience. Why reinvent the wheel?

Part of my story is in my signature and what worked for me may not work for others. I'd say that your son needs to adult and you need to stop giving him money as you already know.

It's nothing you did; it's all on HIM and he continues to make bad choices. Why? No one knows that answer.

My son finally turned himself around when we sent him to a very strict Christian based program in Memphis for 13 months. He knew we would not let him back in our home OR our lives unless he straightened out. I did not want him as a son otherwise. My heart could not bear it any longer.

In August he will move back to our hometown to be close to his older brothers. We will follow in 2023. We are helping him for a year as he will live in our place and ONLY because he has turned his life around. I think any parent that is able would help their adult child IF they have struggled and have proved they are ready to change their life. We are very blessed that we are able to help him get established.

A therapist helped me learn to detach with love and establish firm boundaries, not only for me but for him. Also my faith and prayer got me through the very dark times. You have to find what works for your family.
:notalone:
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
Dear Momfedup

Welcome.

There are many similarities to our stories. I was a single mom too, of one child, my son who is 33. I worked but my son was also exposed to enriching things--like living outside of the country for awhile. For the past 12 years I have been involved with a man who is not my son's father. Like your husband, this man has tried to help my son and I. My son has the same immaturity you describe.
I blame myself and wonder what I did wrong.
I think this is the crux of things. We struggle with blaming ourselves. On the one hand we know we could not have done much better. The fact that we had to work, and because there was no other parent involved, largely dictated the parameters of our situation. At the same time, I think on my part there is a lot of self-blame.

I think there is no perfect parent and no perfect upbringing. At the end of the day (when we grow up) everybody has to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and face their lives, either taking responsibility or not.

Our children are not meeting their moment in the way that we would want. The thing is, this is very widespread. The only control we have is to not buy in. What I mean by that is we do have control over whether we blame ourselves, and we have control over the kind of limits we set, both externally and internally. By internal limits I am referring to how much we are triggered by their behavior and the extent to which we can operate as individual people.

You see it is not just that our sons are not acting like effective and mature individuals. It's that we are not either. We feel tied together at the hip. This does not have to happen. We have control over the boundaries we have with our children. By boundaries I mean psychological boundaries as well as physical ones.

Many parents have found great support and a lot of learning at Al Anon groups. If you read the most recent posts of Busy you can find an excellent retelling of this way of thinking.

The gist of things is this: what your son does is on him. If he chooses not to learn. If he chooses to act bored when your husband tries to help him, to hit people up for loans, to work minimally, to be uncaring and unobservant of laws, etc., to manipulate, it's on him. It has nothing in the world to do with you or the kind of parent you were.

You can choose how involved with him you want to be. But it's on your terms, not his. It might be helpful to see a therapist and to think about what are your needs and to clarify your limits. A therapist would help you also set these limits and adhere to them.

It sounds like you've made a wonderful life, with your marriage, home, hobby, business, etc. All of this is worth protecting. But most of all you're worth protecting. There is no reason that you can't have a relationship with your child that is appropriate and not damaging. But first we have to come to grips with guilt that is NOT rooted in reality, guilt that is getting in the way.

You are NOT responsible for the way your son is living. He is responsible.
 

BusynMember

Well-Known Member
I found Nar Anon plus a therapist to help us stop enabling. My husband and I were near divorce when I finally went for help and stopped thinking that I could stop enabling Kay by myself. I needed help. I was sick too.

Trust me, we both did. Kay was thrown.out at 19 because she threw a glass vase at my son and it almost hit him in the eye. Enough. But I couldn't bear to make.her homeless and she would.not work. By then she was in a toxic relationship with her now husband. He did get a job delivering.pizzas so we decided to buy them a house and he could pay some of the mortgage. It was a cheap house but my husband and I and my.other kids fixed it up. Lee helped a bit. Kay not at all.

Guess what? Kay and Lee destroyed it and Lee had 1000 reasons not to pay us the piddly amount t we had asked for. Of course bills were on.us and.neighbors called the police on them because of their terrible loud fights. We gave up and sold the.house. We still did.mot want Kay to be.homeless so we.bought a mobile.home. The.lot rent was very cheap. Again Lee said he would.pay
He often.made decent money delivering.pizzas. Kay refused to work. Guess what? The manager told them they had to leave because the fights were sometimes physical now and out.in the open. They needed to move their home. We sold it.

Did we learn? Husband was getting fed up but I couldn't stand havimg.my."baby" homeless. We bought her a few cars and paid rent for apartments and.my dear husband.left me. He was done helping Kay and her useless husband.

Nar Anon and therapy helped me let go. I never would have been able to without the help.

Kay and Lee now.live in a motorhome (old)[, a state far away. They gave custody.of.my grandson, their toddler, to my thriving other daughter. Thank God but that's another story. She won't call or talk to us but we are doing great now that her son is safe.

I have learned that no matter how much money and even love you give to these types of kids it does not help unless THEY decide to change on their own. These adult kids take advantage of our love and many don't even act as if they love us back. Would you allow a spouse to treat you like your son does? It's abuse! They are not babies anymore. That cute little boy is a different person now.

I had to put away my childhood pictures of Kay. They hurt me too much. Having my two other kids help us. They have been great and loving since Day.1. I feel guilty at times because Kay is adopted. Did she feel like less? It haunts me. Since she wouldn't go to counseling, or when we forced her, would NOT speak to a therapist, we couldn't know.

My best advice is to not try to detach without help. I never could have. Also, if you have a good man, do NOT choose your adult child over him. Who will be there in the long term? I know Kay won't.

Kids need a reason to grow up. Kay is not where my dreams took me when I first laid eyes on her and fell in love. But she does have a place to stay and the two cousins she still talks to say she feels free...that she is happy not participating in "the rat race." We closed The Bank of Dad and Mom so she won't call us. But we will not give her money. We spent enough. Meanwhile Kay and Lee have managed to both get SSDI, food share and Medicaid. Kay refused to get these things until our bank shut down. Anyhow I know they are eating and have medical care. They can apply for low income housing too, if they want.

Kay is in her 30s. I may never see her again. But we have peace now and the rest of us are together and stronger than ever.

Prayers.
 
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I found Nar Anon plus a therapist to help us stop enabling. My husband and I were near divorce when I finally went for help and stopped thinking that I could stop enabling Kay by myself. I needed help. I was sick too.

Trust me, we both did. Kay was thrown.out at 19 because she threw a glass vase at my son and it almost hit him in the eye. Enough. But I couldn't bear to make.her homeless and she would.not work. By then she was in a toxic relationship with her now husband. He did get a job delivering.pizzas so we decided to buy them a house and he could pay some of the mortgage. It was a cheap house but my husband and I and my.other kids fixed it up. Lee helped a bit. Kay not at all.

Guess what? Kay and Lee destroyed it and Lee had 1000 reasons not to pay us the piddly amount t we had asked for. Of course bills were on.us and.neighbors called the police on them because of their terrible loud fights. We gave up and sold the.house. We still did.mot want Kay to be.homeless so we.bought a mobile.home. The.lot rent was very cheap. Again Lee said he would.pay
He often.made decent money delivering.pizzas. Kay refused to work. Guess what? The manager told them they had to leave because the fights were sometimes physical now and out.in the open. They needed to move their home. We sold it.

Did we learn? Husband was getting fed up but I couldn't stand havimg.my."baby" homeless. We bought her a few cars and paid rent for apartments and.my dear husband.left me. He was done helping Kay and her useless husband.

Nar Anon and therapy helped me let go. I never would have been able to without the help.

Kay and Lee now.live in a motorhome (old)[, a state far away. They gave custody.of.my grandson, their toddler, to my thriving other daughter. Thank God but that's another story. She won't call or talk to us but we are doing great now that her son is safe.

I have learned that no matter how much money and even love you give to these types of kids it does not help unless THEY decide to change on their own. These adult kids take advantage of our love and many don't even act as if they love us back. Would you allow a spouse to treat you like your son does? It's abuse! They are not babies anymore. That cute little boy is a different person now.

I had to put away my childhood pictures of Kay. They hurt me too much. Having my two other kids help us. They have been great and loving since Day.1. I feel guilty at times because Kay is adopted. Did she feel like less? It haunts me. Since she wouldn't go to counseling, or when we forced her, would NOT speak to a therapist, we couldn't know.

My best advice is to not try to detach without help. I never could have. Also, if you have a good man, do NOT choose your adult child over him. Who will be there in the long term? I know Kay won't.

Kids need a reason to grow up. Kay is not where my dreams took me when I first laid eyes on her and fell in love. But she does have a place to stay and the two cousins she still talks to say she feels free...that she is happy not participating in "the rat race." We closed The Bank of Dad and Mom so she won't call us. But we will not give her money. We spent enough. Meanwhile Kay and Lee have managed to both get SSDI, food share and Medicaid. Kay refused to get these things until our bank shut down. Anyhow I know they are eating and have medical care. They can apply for low income housing too, if they want.

Kay is in her 30s. I may never see her again. But we have peace now and the rest of us are together and stronger than ever.

Prayers.
Wow. Thanks for sharing. Going to get help to fully detached. I’m very tired and going thru similar situations with my own daughter and grandchild.

~Skool Teacher
 

Acacia

Well-Known Member
I agree that misplaced blame and guilt are at the root of having difficulty detaching. There's something about being a parent, a mother especially, that difficult children are expert at manipulating - at least that's true for me. Then comes the sadness and fear. If I don't do this, then this bad thing will happen, or that bad thing, or they will think I don't love them.

I still struggle with not taking blame and detaching, but I work hard at it. Very little that I've done to save my two difficult children from themselves has changed them. The only person I can change is me, so I go to therapy, read, find supportive people (like this forum), go to 12 step, and TAKE CARE OF MYSELF AND TRY TO HAVE SOME FUN. I used to feel guilty about that too, but I'm 68 years old, and I believe I'm worthy of it.
 

ksm

Well-Known Member
At our AlAnon meeting last night, the topic was detachment. One sentence that stood out was that many people thought of detachment as "amputation". To be completely "cut off" from someone. But we need to detach with love...to detach from behaviors.

Ksm
 
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