A little bit of hope.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Copabanana, Oct 7, 2019.

  1. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    Oh, Busy. I needed to read that post. Thank you. To take the 3Cs beyond addiction and apply it to everything is brilliant! We do have to let ourselves off the hook.

    I am in Europe now. My DC2 is sending Snapchat about the car, how she doesn't like her Father's rules, feels like a prisoner bla bla bla. She has been very aloof towards me . Today she wanted me to intervene with her Dad like I would in the past and asked whether I even cared. Well, this pissed me off .

    I said " let me get this straight: you want me to talk to your Dad on your behalf while I am on another continent? And speaking of caring: you don't ask how I am, how your Grandparents are, don't respond to my good night, don't respond to my posts I sent you (about cats) , only contact me when you want something from me namely my car. It's hurtful"

    She came back with some b.s. excuses and I dropped the conversation. You are right , Busy. This is selfishness, narcisism , it's a one way relationship. They take and take and take. And I need to drop the love I feel because this is my child and start acting from a place of protection for myself not from a place of emotion. Because when I do, I lose. Every time.

    Sorry to hijack the post.
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  2. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    I agree. Whatever the root cause of the behaviors of our difficult kids, they share incredibly common traits of behavior. They tend to be completely me centered, act uncaring of those who love them the most, do not adhere to our boundaries, do not like social norms, self sabatage, and are not pleasant to be around. The last may be the worst. It is for my husband and me.

    I found Al Anon's twelve steps to work for every aspect of my life with difficult people. I don't limit it to addiction.

    This is my personal first three steps over Kay, taken from Al Anon.

    We admitted we were powerless over our difficult child...that our lives had become unmanageable.

    Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.

    Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

    All the steps are important to me, but these three are the ones I always go back to.

    It is not just addiction that we can not control. It is anything about anyone else. We are powerless. And for me God can take this when I can not, no matter what "it" is.

    We don't have the same power over these kids that they have over us. I think that in many cases we love them more than they love us. I know this is so with Kay. She has shown it repeatedly. We worried ourselves sleepless over her, yet when my husband was deathly ill with pneumonia and when I had Shingles, Kay never visited us. Never offered to help. Our other kids helped us, not Kay. Rick ran our business and took care of the house and visited all he could. Amy sat by her father's hospital bed, a rock of strength, and Kay never came because "hospitals make me queasy." She called the hospital sometimes and asked "Is Dad okay? I know he will be okay." Then she would go on about her hard life. I kid you not.

    If Kay had been ill, we would have sat vigil in her room. All of us. Now as well as before.

    Our difficult kids in my opinion are truly God's kids. If we don't hand them lovingly to Him, as we understand Him...or Her, we will spend our lives very sad and frustrated as we try to make a difference in the lives of stubborn kids who don't care if they hurt anyone else or by their behavior. They have mostly been indulged, loved greatly and given every advantage. They are entitled, not grateful. Maybe we gave too much??? I grew up very humbly and did not even have new clothes. My mother sewed my clothes or we went to thrift shops. Everything was hard fought, including college. Yet I adore my parents and would do anything for them. I don't understand Kay.

    These days, like Nomad, I tell myself "It would be nice if Kay saw that she can do better. Please God I place her in Your hands. I know You love me, and I know You want me to live my best life and leave Kay in Your loving arms."

    I don't think about Kay every minute, like I once did. I work the Twelve Steps and, when I falter, read my Al Anon books and the Bible.
  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I was reading an article about homelessness in California. Specifically, San Francisco. In the Bay Area in the past year or so homelessness has gotten astronomically out of control. Any freeway on ramp has rows and rows of tents and cardboard houses, as do the sides of train tracks, for example, up and down the state. Thousands and thousands of people. At best, living in tents. The article talks about businesses that have to deal with homeless people outside of their businesses, and the garbage and lack of hygiene and disorderliness and chaos they bring.

    This writer spoke about a gulf between how homeless advocates see the situation, and the public at large. Homeless advocates see this as a problem of poverty, of a lack of housing. Increasingly the public, this article argues, sees it in moral terms, as a drug problem, as a failure of these people's families to take care of their own, mentally ill, unequipped children. She argued that family ties have eroded. The solution, she says reside in family ties.

    I reacted with concern, partly agreeing, partly not.

    I looked at the woman's credentials and she works out of the Manhattan Project which is a conservative think tank.

    Am I responsible for how my child lives? Even after all that I have done HE holds me responsible. M and I are his ONLY solution. As long as we do for him, he looks for little more. Of course I have to look in the mirror.

    As the family of a homeless person, I am part of the problem. But not as the article presents. I think helping IS enabling, as well as helping. I think I perpetuate the problem with my son as much or more, by helping him. At the same time, I believe that as a parent, I have a role. What and how to do what should be done, I have yet to find a solution. My son has strong family ties. But his family can't solve his problem. And if he is unable to? If he lacks the capacity? What happens next? M and I don't know. Is it correct that he live on the street when he has a family? I met people In AA who got their lives back, by falling. But some people just fall and fall. I recognize that I don't control the outcome. My issue is, how far to go, how many times is enough? When to know it is the end of the line. For now.

    We're taking one day at a time. The reality is we don't know what to do. If somebody disavows any responsibility for themselves, and this is a personality trait, what does one do? Take responsibility to support them step by step or let them go? Can a solution be found by doing both?

    M's latest idea, and I'm letting him run with it, because he's owning it, is to let J in tonight to shower and eat. With this: go to work tomorrow and work 7 hours. Bring us the proof you worked last week, and no marijuana. If you don't work and you use marijuana, either on or off our property, you're gone.

    If this does not go the direction we need I will have to go to live in the house with M in order to confront my son, each time he returns to the house. We're tightening this up. Eventually, there will be nothing left in the circle. Either my son will up his game and decide to work harder with us or not. My son will decide his own life. Not me. I don't want to call the police, like I did last year. It only makes me weaker.
  4. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    Copa her opinion is just hers. I doubt she has a child like ours. These kids refuse to do what needs to be done in order for us to help them. They won't live with us in peace or with rules.

    I tend to think that I can only control my own corner of the world. I am not big into worrying about who caused what big problem. Can't control anyone elses family let alone all of the homeless people. Can't even control my own adult kid. If anyone wants to try, I gladly offer the person the opportunity to work with Kay and Lee. I know we have done all we can. I am becoming immune to criticism from the clueless.

    Copa your son's life is his choice. He is not a young kid anymore. You did so much for him, including buying a house,and he won't even volunteer. And the pot...I know all about that dang pot. Like most of our kids they won't follow any rules. Theses advocates would find that they wouldn't follow their housing rules either. They won't do rules, except their own. How can anyone fix THAT?

    It's easy to sit behind a desk and write solutions to problems the writer doesn't understand. Try to actually do it some time. House your drug addict who steals from you and threatens you. Do it. Then write about it, knowing what the family of a homeless person probably faces if the homeless person lives with them. Understand what you preach.

    I think Kay is thinking SF sounds "fun." So she may soon join the crowd there. She is not thinking of the national parks. And if someone wants to blame her homeless status on me, I don't care.

    Copa do not read that stuff, please. I rarely even watch the news anymore. There is something called Good News and i read that sometimes!!!
  5. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    “I doubt she has a child like ours.”
    Soooo true.
    People don’t really know.
    This is a problem one has to live to fully understand. Or at least live very closely.
    M understands.
    We understand.
  6. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    Lastly, I don't think either your son or Kay will not smoke pot, at least when not around us. That to me is unenforceable. I wouldn't even think it could be enforced.

    Given a choice of pot use or her parents or even housing ,Kay would choose pot. There is nothing to make her quit. She "needs" it and it is a healthy plant. And legal.
    But I wish you luck and blessings.
  7. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    Copa, I like this plan. AA tells us that only tough love works. Your son has not been able to function well on his own, so maybe holding him to your boundaries while offering a reward will be incentive enough. I do sometimes think that something happened in the developmental phase with our kids and so maybe, just maybe, there is some parenting left to do. More like encouraging discipline and something in return for shower and food than parenting, actually. Maybe this is the missing link in your case.

    My DC1 is younger than yours, 24, but he showed that he does not function very well when he lived at school. He had most everything taken care of for him, and the minimal adulting that was required of him, he did not do: smoked pot, room was disorderly all semester, sheets never washed all semester, etc. So he returned home and maybe getting the finishing touches now with our house rules and life teaching him. Maybe it is similar with your son.

    I hope this plan works and he steps up to the plate to start helping himself and seeing value in being of service and contributing to society.
  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Nomad. What finally happened with your daughter and the condo?

    Wise. Is your son still smoking pot at home? If no, how did that happen? If yes, how do you deal with it and think about it?
    Busy. I recognize that Kay has issues, like my son. The difference in our situation may be that you are stronger than me.

    Heretofore, I am been unable to be done. I was for years, and then I accepted him back. And since that point we have been back and forth. For maybe 4 years. Him 6 months a few hours from here. And about 6 months here.

    But the difference too might be that my son is not violent or abusive to me except for living the way he wants, disregarding responsibilities and continuing to inflict his dependency. I recognize that this too is on the spectrum of being abusive.

    I think also is the influence of M. He is a recovering alcoholic, has a mentally ill brother (from sniffing) and a developmentally disabled brother (died), and had a child who at 16 was a runaway (over 20 years ago) who was never to be seen again. And he is Latin. I recognize that he has powerful psychological and life circumstances that prevail on him to act as he does. Like me. Like you.

    And there has been some change by my son. With support and tight boundaries and continuing strong feedback, will it change enough to work out? Will this ultimately end where we wish it would not? In all likelihood, yes. I see the writing on the wall. But I don't know. Until this point, we are (still) willing to try. In this we are united. But the question is, will my son (try)? I think this is unknowable. But realistically speaking, most likely he will not.

    The saying, leaving no stone unturned...comes to mind. So does what Plato wrote (I think it was Plato) about pushing the boulder up the hill over and over again. I will have to go look that up and see the moral of the story and what worked out. (I did. There's no moral of the story. It just is. It's the myth of Sisyphus.)

    I think my religion says that everybody deserves the opportunity to stand on their own, to write their own life story. I think this is the truest thing.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2019
  9. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    Copa I am not stronger. I just have no choice because of my other kids and husband or I may still be on the treadmill. Unlike you, everyone in my life wants us to quit "enabling."

    I can't tell my dear husband and other kids "no." And our health challenges would make it hard to keep dealing with Kay too.

    Both my husband and I try, with food and excercize and meditation and medications, to keep our blood pressure down. Hub has diabetes too. We need to live as long as we can for our kids and grands who love us. Dealing with Kay always challenged our blood pressure and husband's diabetes and she also seems to compromise our immune systems. We get sick more often.

    We feel Kay knows she still has chances assuming we see the changes. We will pay for mental healthcare or rehab at any time. We also want to see her working. But we can't sit on her anymore. And won't.

    (Sigh) at least if Kay becomes homeless, she has a camper to shield her. At this point we are more concerned about Jaden than Kay. She is an adult. He is a baby.

    Yup. This is hard. But I am not stronger than you regarding Kay. My situation is just different than yours and more players are involved.

  10. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This is the latest. M let my son in. The rules remain the same, one day of work equals one day of housing. He needs to bring in the verification he worked last week, and we'll see what it shows. Nobody is holding their breath. M put in another wrinkle. He requested that my son throw away his remaining marijuana and caffeine pills and my son did not balk.

    M was happy and content. That is good enough for me. He said my son went right to bed. I hope this calm lasts even 24 hours.

    I tried to get on the forum an hour ago and the website was down and I could not access it. I got a little panicky. I want to let all of you know how much I would miss you should we be unable to connect at some point. You have been the greatest support to me. Thank you.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
  11. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    Copa, DC1 has not smoked pot since moving home (May). We don't allow it in the house and it's been a rule since teenage years , so he has always observed that rule. He does not have many friends in the area, some old acquaintances only whom he has not contacted (he isolates). I have feeling that his substance use is similar to how mine was: it has to do with being accepted into a group of people. As far as I know son has never smoked by himself . He also has not had any alcohol since moving home except for one day when his buddy from the big city visited (someone he had used with) and they went to the bar and son got very ill since he is on medications now (anti depressant Wellbutrin and anti anxiety Buspar). The alcohol and the medications made him feel sick and the friend had to bring him home where son slept it off. He also knew that most employers in our area drug test and he needed to land a job. My son may not be alcoholic but just have addictive tendencies. I see it with gaming, and other things with him. I was just like that. I got caught up in partying and followed the crowd down to heavier and heavier use , lots of drinking, and one day I couldn't do it anymore and went for help . I do believe addiction is a spectrum disease and while progressive, develops very slowly in some people (depending upon the substances used if course).
  12. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    We have him on somewhat of a tight leash . Since he is using my Dad's car while paying the insurance on it until he has worked long enough to get a bank loan to buy the car from my Dad , he is not allowed to take the car to the big city and has to keep miles at a minimum because it isn't his car yet .he talks about MJ all the time, and I am sure will use it again as soon as he is out of the house.
  13. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Fingers crossed another shot at this plan works. I think the caveat to throw out the mj was good since he didn’t hold up his end of the bargain. Life is give and take. Not take take. Would you even consider four hour days being the standard for one day of room and board? Do you think he is not going to want to pay you anything (rent) in the coming months because he will say that he will work for his room ...but then again might not actually do that? Or is this just to get through October?

    The condo people are quiet. My husband wrote a letter that may have scared the HOA a tad. I think the entire ordeal...having two “unwell” people living there near each other has been taxing for the HOA. This very moment, subject to change at any given moment, both our daughter and her “unwell” neighbor seem to be quieter than usual. It’s been heck for all involved. They are both “unwell,” but in different ways. We briefly spoke to the HOA president. I sensed that putting up with their “stuff,” has been tiring for her.
  14. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I think this would have been a wiser approach. When we got to this point we were already fed up, cornered, extremists. My son had violated every agreement, condition that had ever been dreamed, and I was only thinking of how to think up something that would give us hope.

    The idea gave hope. The reality did not. The (new) agreement with M was that my son would go Monday to the job and get the verification for last week. Apparently, he did not because he returned to the apartment quite late, without anything, saying he had felt "bad" and that tomorrow he'd make it right. M told him. It' s always tomorrow.
    No. We were going to do it ongoing. But as I understand it, he may be squatting in the yard. Because he did not comply with the agreement, M did not let him in.

    Everything has fallen apart. He's blocking me on the phone. He's likely squatting. We think he's now without money for food, even without paying anything for rent. I fear he might be using hard drugs. Even like Meth. His loving personality has been overridden. He seems to not be operating from any moral sense or bottom line.
    We have tried a tight leash but my son has never accepted it. Not even at the age of your son, Wise.

    I am very sad. And scared. We have no place left to stand.

    I spoke just now to M. It seems my son did not sleep in the yard last night. That's good. I feared the need to repeatedly go there late at night to ask him to leave. Calling the police. Last year that happened. I was on the brink of getting a restraining order. I am very sad.

    I recognize I have left no stone unturned. It does not help.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
  15. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    Copa, I am so sorry for this turn of events. With him not complying at all and not having any money, I am afraid your assertion that hard drugs may be at play may be correct. This is so terribly heartbreaking for you . So difficult and painful .

    Has he ever attended NA meetings? Or AA? If he does contact you when he is down and out and coming down, that would the best time to mention that kind of help being available .

    I will pray for you and your son. I will pray for a miracle.
  16. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    I think it matters personally that you have done everything you could have done. Then, although there is still anxiety, there is a knowing that you never gave up. That is courageous. It is bold, caring and loving. It matters.

    Your son knows this. He is refusing to in any way comply, even volunteering but that is in spite of knowing how much you love him.

    Your son will find food and resources. He already has done that. Trust me, all of them know how to live on the streets. This is not your son's first rodeo.

    Unfortunately your only other option is to give him shelter for your peace of mind and let him do whatever he wants on your property. You know you can't do this.

    Hugs and love and so much respect going out to you.
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  17. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Yes. But mostly at my strong suggestion, he complied, but not because he wanted to. He has been in different residential programs too where NA attendance was a requirement. It never took, as far as I know. But he knows that it is there.
    This is so complicated. Is not giving up a weakness or a strength?

    M came over this morning. Both of us are wiped. M more than me, I think. We feel exhausted and helpless and concerned. Nothing we do is the right thing. Bits and pieces, yes. M feels that my son is getting better, slowly, despite this. But in the progression upwards we keep reaching a stair that breaks and we are all sent careening back down the staircase.

    I recognize through and through that the solutions if there would be any come from my son. I see that the staircase is rickety because I can't compel him to do anything. I recognize that the only power he allows me, is to say no. No house. No money. No support. And when I do, a difficult situation becomes horrible.

    My son's problem solving and functioning capacity is limited. So is mine. What a mess.

    I guess there is just the need to nurse our wounds and see what happens next. I do not feel that M or I have given up, even though there is nothing we can do. I think each of us open for something to happen. But we've reached the limit of our intelligence and capacity and resources.

    I feel certain my son will call me. He will likely not have money for food. He will promise anything and everything. That is how this works. Except I am choosing to see this month as a success. Instead of "nothing worked" and it all blew up right away, I will choose to see that the reality as this: the truth was revealed, without illusion or pretense. It is so much better to deal with the truth and be crashed down at the bottom of the cliff, but intact, then flying high with self-deception.

    My son does know that we love him.

    I am not without hope. Because the hope is in me.

    Thank you.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
  18. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    Giving up to me is neither positive or negative. Why?

    In truth, we can not give up or not give up on somebody else. The only person with that power is the person himself/herself. Giving up is a sort of verb, an action word. We can not give up or quit for somebody else. We can't run for someone else or work for somebody else. Only the somebody else can do these things.

    In our imaginations we can tell ourselves that it makes a difference to our child if we mentally give up on them or not, but it doesn't make any difference. Only they can fight for themselves or give up. They can make a difference in their lives. We can't, no matter what our emotions are.

    I expect Kay to find more ways to sustain as she gets older. I don't know if they will be functional ways or society approved ways. My hope is now down to "it would be nice if." And my expectations are not definable. I don't speculate the way I once did.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
  19. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Copa, I just read this long thread. I know, I've been gone for months. I tend to stay away when things are good, not wanting to jinx it. :unsure:

    I have no words of wisdom, just virtual hugs and prayers for you and yours. :grouphug:
  20. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    Ok, so he knows about recovery programs. That's good news. He knows where the hell is when he is ready for it. The seed has been planted. Very important. It can take years for people to hit a bottom deep enough to want real help.

    I believe based on what you shared here that he very well may have wanted to follow through on your rules. He knows he has a substance abuse issue . He tried to use less , he tried therapy and psychiatrist, so he knows there is an underlying issue which he self medicates. But since one is too many and thousand is never enough , he was unable to modify long(er) term. It never works. And now everything is falling apart for him because the using must have picked up again (it always does). Lack of money, inability to show up for work, breaking rules, cutting off contact.

    And I can see how scary this must be for you knowing he chose to be homeless before. I have no idea what I would do if I were in your shoes. For me , being homeless would have been my absolute bottom. My bottom was way above that. But your son has pushed into that. He has also stated that he no longer likes living that way though and he did return after you asked him to leave, so maybe he is not willing to go there again.

    I think the more not otherwise specified he hears, the more doors close, the less options he has, he might chose recovery.