Another go around

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Beta, Jul 17, 2019.

  1. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    I thought it would be cathartic for myself to update on the latest with our son, Josh, and I feel I owe it to those of you who have given feedback, encouragement, and prayers.

    Our son is basically homeless. At the moment however, my sister and her husband, who live in the Denver area, are allowing him to stay at their house, at least temporarily. This came about, about a week and a half ago, when he and I were texting and I told him he should contact my sister and ask if he could stay there. My sister and I have not been close, and he had recently messaged her to complain to her about how we were accusing him of "being crazy" and that she should tell us he's not crazy. My sister forwarded his message and commented on how sad the situation is (little does she know). I figured if she was so sympathetic to him, maybe she would let him stay at their home. At first, I told him to contact her, but he kept begging me to contact her, so I finally relented. Long story short, she and her husband met him in a public place to meet him and make sure he was safe to have in their home, and agreed to let him come there.

    I spoke with her last week after he had been there a few days, and she said he was being very respectful and that he "is a good kid." She and I talked about practical ways to help him, etc.
    One of the issues he has right now is that he lost his drivers license at some point and now has only an ID card from our previous state. Getting a new drivers license in Colorado is a big rigamarole. So I hatched a plan to help him. To begin with, I sent him about $100 in cash, mailing it first class, so that he could have some money for food/toiletries, etc. and also so that he could use the envelope as one of his proof of address verfications that are required. Now that he is at her house, he has a physical address he can use to begin the process of climbing out of this pit he has fallen into. Without a drivers license, you can do nothing. My sister had talked about taking him shopping for clothing, so I sent her a check for $200 to cover what he might need right away. When I returned from the post office, I texted Josh to let him know what I had mailed him and what I mailed my sister. So I'm thinking that any moment I'm going to get a text along the lines of "Okay, thanks Mom." Wrong.
    Instead, I get a text from him, full of profanity, telling me off and saying that "he doesn't need that sh*t; doesn't need to get a drivers license right now, and that the $200 I sent means nothing to him. I think there were also a few other choice phrases and statements he used, as well. Over the weekend, both my husband and I received abusive, profane texts full of namecalling, etc. so I blocked him for the weekend. My husband has blocked him already, but on his phone the text messages go into a "spam" folder, so he still gets them but has to go in to the spam folder to see them.

    Yesterday, I texted him to make sure he would be at my sister's house last night, as she and her husband had been out of town over the weekend and he had had to find another place to stay while they were gone. His response was, "F**k off, B**ch." Wow. That hurt. He has called me a whore, a bi**h, an "old, ugly woman." He has called my husband a "faggot," a "bast**d. He gets on a "jag" and can literally send dozens of texts, one right after another.

    I am grieving the sweet boy who is gone forever and I will always grieve that boy. I am grieving the loss of our dreams for him and his life. This person...he is not the same person at all. He is someone who is evil and selfish. Someone I don't want to even know. So even though I am hurting and grieving, his words to me kind of stiffened my spine a little bit and I am feeling a little more detached than I've ever been. The truth of the matter is he is not a good person; it seems he does not care for us in any way whatsoever so why am I letting him hold me hostage emotionally, worrying about his wellbeing, sending money that I have worked hard to earn?

    The thing that confuses me and trips me up sometimes is my husband has a niece who is Bipolar. She spent years being homeless, living in abandoned houses, prostituting herself, etc. until she was finally diagnosed and got on medication. She has told us that she used to talk this way to her parents too, and she blames it on her illness. So I wonder--is his behavior just a manifestation of his mental illness, and the Josh I once knew is still there somewhere, or is this who he really is?

    I don't know what will happen, but I do know that his words to me yesterday just kind of clicked within me, and I feel a little stronger, a little more able to detach than before. I know I will not respond perfectly but I am moving a lot closer to moving on with my life. I have moved closer to being able to stop thinking of him as "my little boy," rather than the adult man he is.
  2. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    Hi again. I am sad for you. I know how you feel and how much you want to help. So did we.

    My daughter smokes pot, and probably does more, on a daily basis, and has for twenty years. I think the drugs ruined her brain and she is in no hurry to quit nor does she believe she has a mental illness. My daughter refuses to see a therapist as she thinks doctors and Big Pharma just want to control the masses and this includes psychiatrists and even a non doctor counselor. Most of all she thinks she is normal and that pot is a healthy plant that can cure everything from schizophrenia to cancer.

    Even if your son is mentally ill, he needs to be compliant and not use street drugs for psychiatric medicine and therapy to work. If he will do those things I would urge you to see what he is like in treatment. That I would pay for. It is the only thing I would pay for, and my money would go straight to the doctor, no cash ever to Josh!! Big mistake that we once made. Kay spent any cash we gave her on various drugs, not spent as she had promised.

    For most of us, the children who bring us here don't think they have problems, wont seek psychiatric care and wont stop abusing their brains by taking street drugs. I still consider pot a street drug. My Kay has a history of very severe drug use when younger and now she lives in another state so I cant see what she does. I only know what she tells me and she claims she only uses pot. Lots and lots of pot. I dont know what the truth is. She often sounds very delusional. It scares me. She is getting close to homelessness now.

    I truly hope that Josh takes an easier path and is kinder to himself. I hope he gets treatment for his mental illness. Until he does, don't keep trying to save him. We did that. It only made Kay helpless, entitled, and more abusive to us each year. Now she wont talk to us at all and its sad, but it is also kind of a relief.

    Be well and I hope he gets the help he needs. All we can do is hope and pray.
  3. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    Reading through some of your previous posts, I think he has a great deal of anger about religion and seems to think it had a negative effect on his upbringing. I wish he would get into counseling and take medications for his anger. He doesn't do well in social situations and needs help with that also. I think there could be more than bipolar going on, such as borderline personality disorder. I have to wonder what his life was like before he was adopted. Don't blame yourself. Nature over nurture is the thing to remember.
  4. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    BusyMember, thank you for your feedback and concern. I've read some of your posts about your daughter, Kay. I am so sorry for what you have been through. As far as we know, he is not using street drugs. We have asked him outright and he adamantly says no. We haven't seen any evidence of it, but we also know that he could be lying to us. I too hope he will get treatment. He doesn't think there's anything wrong with him, and he is angry that we insist he is ill ("crazy" in his words) and needs medication to stabilize his mood.

    Crayola13, yes, Josh has a great deal of anger, about a lot of things; some to do with us and some to do with just people he has known. My husband is a pastor, and he resents the moves we made, although we really didn't make that many, and while growing up, he appeared to be happy and well-adjusted, but that is one of the things he fixates on now to bash us with. As far as faith in God, he refers to it as "bullsh**" and "a fairy tale."
    I've researched Borderline (BPD) but I don't know if that is what is going on with him or not. Who knows. We adopted Josh when he was four months old, so he has never known any other home. Even while in temporary foster care, he was placed in a Christian home, and we met the foster mother when we brought him home.

    Yesterday, when he texted me what he did, I just thought, "Why am I allowing a person like this, who obviously cares nothing about me, to drive me to despair and depression and to ruin my life?" Hopefully, this will be the turning point for me to begin to heal a little bit and have some peace and joy in my life again.
  5. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    Hi Beta- Sorry things are going poorly. I've certainly been there. No matter what issues are going on with your son he can't treat you like that. My daughter used to behave similarly towards me and I would always cut her off. I will not deal with that type of behavior. Every once in awhile now she will snap off at me and I give her the same treatment she gives me. It doesn't happen much anymore, but it sure pushes my buttons. I would have periods of no contact with her back then and it helped me a lot. It gave me some distance, some peace and allowed me to be more objective about her behavior. I have a feeling things will sour quickly between your son and sister. Whatever issues- mental health, substance abuse, whatever, he needs to figure out how to deal with them appropriately. I'm sorry things are not going well. Take care of yourself and be kind to yourself.
  6. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi Beta,

    I remember your posts on your son’s obsession with, and insistence on, you purchasing him a “status car”.

    That sounds really irrational for a person that has no job and no place to live.

    And his continued abuse of you and your husband, which seems to be connected to the car situation.

    I think his mental illness is the overriding problem here.

    He may very well get over his anger if he got mental health care and got stabilized, an become more like the person he used to be.

    But there is no way to make him do it.

    Has he acted normally and rationally at your sister’s house? I don’t think he will be able to hold it together long term if he has mental health issues.

    What is he doing? Is he going to get a job?
  7. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    Had he bonded with anyone before he was adopted? Lack of bonding when they are newborns can lead to a lot of problematic behavior. I read from one of your posts that you got him at four months old. Some kids inherit these behaviors. Nature wins out over nurture every time. After I left home at 23, I began behaving badly because of an unusually strict Christian upbringing, but was still working and having a normal life. I found myself over spending, going to certain parts of town my parents had forbade me to go, etc. I changed to a denomination my dad didn't like. Some of it was to get at him. I also eloped, mostly because I wanted to, but also to let my father see that I was in control. I was also being a responsible adult in other ways. I finished college, worked, took care of my garden, learned to cook, etc.
  8. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    So far, he is acting "normally" although my sister has a degree in psychology and she picked up on the fact that he seems shy and doesn't make good eye contact. She knows he has some "issues" and that we think he's Bipolar. She does not know about the abusive text messages.
    My husband and I are wondering how long he will last there too. As far as work goes, he works temp day labor jobs and, without a car, he usually takes the bus to whatever location they are sending him to. The only reason I know that is because my sister and brother-in-law were able to get that information out of him. They are willing to help him as long as he is willing to do his part. I hope they will be able to do more than we have been able to.
    Having some distance from him definitely helps my state of mind. It doesn't take much to find myself spiraling downward into anxiety and depression over his situation, not to mention guilt, self-loathing, self-doubt....etc.
  9. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    I didn't remember he was adopted. So is Kay. That alone has caused her to bring up that "You're not my real parents" and those are her words. She never really felt like part of our family although we spent so much time, attention and love on her to try to counteract how she said that she felt. In fact, my younger two, both biological, have memories of feeling like Kay got all of our attention. We have apologized to both but it was true.

    I think Kay has trouble attaching even though we got her very young. She is currently actively looking for her "real mother" and we are fine with that. But we both feel sad that she often says we are not her parents.

    I think adoption causes additional issues, not to mention that we didn't have a complete biological history on Kay. We have no idea if mental illness is in her DNA.

    Its so hard.
  10. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    I once believed that nurture would overcome nature, but now I'm pretty sure that nature is stronger than nurture. I've seen it in our circumstance with Josh, and I see it in my job as a transcriptionist for a psychiatrist who works with troubled kids/teens. The ones who are adopted, no matter how early they were adopted, can still have some pretty serious issues that override any nurture they received. It's pretty amazing.
  11. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    I thought nurture was the key.

    Kay is NOTHING like the rest of us from interests to her loudness in our very quiet, polite family, to her talents to her more negative traits. We raised a child who is almost the opposite of our academically motivated, hard working, quiet, athletic, slow to erupt family. She is loud, laughs very loud even in public places, often rude, musical, artistic and on the extreme end of lazy. She has smarts, but never used them to succeed on her own.

    To me, after having a group of friends who also adopted young from the same country, it seems DNA is hardwired into the brain. We are all struggling, some more than others. It is something we are not told to consider before we adopt. We thought love fixes everything. Clearly love is low down on what makes a person tick. Love is a plus. Maybe without it they would be even worse off, but at least my daughter has not become loving or productive. Breaks our hearts.
  12. RN0441

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

    My friend adopted two children: a girl and a boy. The boy was born with alcohol fetal syndrome so has a lot of behavioral problems. Daughter is wonderful.

    Drugs or alcohol in utero is a big factor too.
  13. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    BusynMember, I agree--DNA is hardwired and it is very strong. I too used to think that love would overcome anything. When we adopted Josh, we were totally ignorant of how mental health issues could be passed down genetically, and we had no idea that his birthmom was Bipolar. Our overriding concern at the time was whether he had been affected by drug/alcohol use. He was given a clean bill of health and had good Apgar scores at birth, so we just assumed everything was fine. I wish we had been educated on issues with adoptive kids and their genetic background. I think our home mitigated some of the effects of his genetics and he would have shown symptoms sooner if he had been raised in his birth family. I think once he left home for college and then to live on his own, his genetics, coupled with his own poor life choices, caused the Bipolar to really kick in.

    It's still hard to accept that love doesn't fix everything. I know in my job with our psychiatrist, with kids who have Reactive Attachment Disorder, which is a trauma-based syndrome that develops within the first five years of life, the love and affection of adoptive parents actually makes them WORSE and they become even more angry, oppositional, and violent. It has something to do with getting back at the abusive birth parents by directing it at the adoptive parents, not to mention that trauma actually changes the hardwiring of the brain. I don't know how long Josh's birthmom drank or used drugs during her pregnancy. There are always a few weeks when a woman is unaware of being pregnant so any of those very toxic things could have been ingested and affected him. We'll never know, of course, but it has been a rude awakening to find that our love for him is not enough.
  14. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    RN0441--the psychiatrist I work for says that alcohol is the worst toxin for unborn kids, even worse than street drugs.
  15. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    I have five step-siblings that were born to an alcoholic mother and spent years in foster care, and one adopted sibling.

    None of them has lived what could be called a “normal” life.

    They all have addictions and problems with the law.

    It is all very sad.
  16. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    I was told the same thing about alcohol. The fact is that most of the time nobody knows the true extent of alcohol use during a pregnancy. Its not like most will report it. And my many psychiatrists for Kay also said that alcohol was worse than any other substance regarding prenatal drug exposure. ANY amount of alcohol is toxic, we were told. And, yes, many drink before figuring out they are pregnant.

    Also the addiction gene is strong. I truly believe, since stable people dont tend to give up babies for adoption, our adopted children are at much higher risk for both mental illness and substance abuse.

    Its heartbreaking.
  17. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    Beta, I'm sorry for your heartache. This suffering we go through is by far the worst. I know for myself I want so bad to have "normal" non-homeless, hardworking, loving, considerate and respectful sons. But I don't. My slipping into denial is usually what continues to give me the heartache. They say, "if you deny the truth it will blindside you at every turn and your life will become unmanageable".

    I've been down that road of being called the worst names and also being called by my first name showing "me" that I'm not Mom in the conversation but that we're on a first name basis and no respect is due me. Like you, I usually end up blocking for a while either calls or texts or both. As you mentioned the name-calling and disrespect does help us "for awhile" to detach but somehow I'm not strong enough and always "unblock" eventually when my heart softens. In my heart it's because I forgive them but in their minds I think they feel they have defeated me and they think they have shown me they are right and I'm wrong and the pattern continues. What has helped me is blocking for longer lengths of time when this happens and for now, at least, it's been better.

    I get what you're saying that you're grieving the sweet boy who is gone forever...I think for me, I still think my sons are the same as they were when they were children. In reality, I don't really know them anymore or what's going through their minds and the little bit that I do know, is not very comforting.

    As far as your son goes, we can only hope and pray that maybe having a fresh start with your sister and her husband will have a good effect on him. I don't want to be naive but also I try to remember that "with God all things are possible".
  18. Blindsided

    Blindsided Face the Sun

    Oh my, totally understand that others think they have the answer, but bravo that your sister actually stepped forward. That said, she should be fully informed. Have you thought about forwarding these nasty texts? I protected my daughter for years because I blamed her behavior on undiagnosed bipolar or major depressive disorder. When I finally saw I was being manipulated into not sharing her outrageous conduct towards me, and reading everything I could get my hands on regarding conduct disorders, I quit "protecting" her. That's when I started forwarding her texts to my close family members. Unless they really see it in black and white, they cannot imagine. My daughter is a con artist. I hate to refer to my child that way. She was the best little girl in the world. We grieve the loss of what we thought they could be, but the reality is in the moment. The long and the short of it is your son is bipolar, he should be on medications. As for his conduct and behaviors, those can only get better with the right therapy. Mental illness is not a reason to accept inappropriate behaior for anyone. Maybe your sister can find resources your couldn't. Anything is possible.
  19. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    BusynMember, I never thought about it before but that's an insightful comment you made about "stable people don't tend to give up babies for adoption" so adopted children are automatically at a higher risk for addiction and mental illness. I'm definitely still pro-adoption, but that is something that people need to be aware of when they adopt so they go in, knowing what the risks are.

    JayPee, I could have written what you just wrote about yourself. I too detach, but within days my heart softens. For some reason, I tend to imagine that his heart has softened too when, in reality, he is just the same and like your sons probably imagines that he has defeated me and can continue the abuse. I too no longer know him. The glimpses I see from what he says to me is pretty scary and heartbreaking.

    As for an update: My sister sent me a message during the night and said she had broached the subject of my coming out there to see him (I had been thinking of doing that and had checked flights, etc.) She said Josh told her that "He wants to see me, but he's not in a good place right now, so it would not be a good time right now to come." Baloney. He just doesn't want to see me and he doesn't want her to know he feels that way because it might affect the good impression he's trying to make right now. I wasn't surprised but it still hurts.
    Surprisingly though, I did receive a text from him last night, with the words, "Thanks Mom." I assume he was thanking me for the cash I sent and the check I sent for clothing. When he is in a "nice" mood, he calls me "Mom." I acknowledged my sister's message, but I have decided not to respond to him for the time being. Some distance is good right now.
  20. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Blindsided, when I block his number, all text messages are deleted, so I have none of the nasty ones at the moment. And to be honest, I want him to be at my sister's house because I know he is safe and has food to eat. I don't want to prejudice her and her husband against him.