At My Witt's End

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Overwhelmed1, Mar 20, 2020.

  1. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...


    Not so long ago I used to think how can I ever stop enabling my adult kids? Like many others here I bought used cars, paid deposit/rent, food, gas, electric bills etc. I was doing this for two homeless sons and had been recently divorced. The fear, obligation and guilt I had was so overwhelming and I felt like I was drowning in my own misery.

    Things are NOT perfect, now, but I have been able to distance myself from 31 yr. old and the 26 yr. old is still living in his car using his last pennies from his IRS refund for a job he barely held down last yr. for 4-6 weeks, last yr. By the grace of God I have held firm in not allowing either of them to live with me but it came with a lot of push back. When we set our boundaries, they are not happy about it. But keep pressing forward and take care of yourself. Every move I made I asked God to give me the strength and wisdom to do. "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference." My prescription: "say this prayer multiple times as necessary each and every day, with a glass of water".

    The best thing I ever did for myself was to keep them both out of my home! I don't even allow them to visit, as harsh as that may sound, because neither have any stability in their lives and I know I'd be too weak to turn them out. (That's another boundary for me).

    It doesn't mean that I don't have worries or concerns for them but I at least have my safe haven to go to at the end of my work day.

    Stay strong, stay on this path and I will pray for you to have the strength to let your son who lives with you know his time is up in May. It will not be easy. You will cry, he will cry...but for your own well-being, in my opinion, it's the best thing you can do for yourself and continue to detach with love so that your every waking moment is not spent worrying about their disfunctionality, lonliness, hunger etc.

    Sending prayers.
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  2. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    Tried and true gave awesome advice. To get him out faster maybe a restraining order is a good idea and do make sure a deputy escorts him out and change.locks and get an alarm system.

    Hugs and prayers.
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  3. Overwhelmed1

    Overwhelmed1 Active Member

    Good evening friends. I hope everyone had a good day. My work day was very busy but I like that. I had my windows open, 80 degrees outside, worked while the birds chirped and then came the loud lawn mowers. LOL that was OK tells me springtime is here. Time for new growth, correct?
    And new growth is abundant in my back yard. During lunch I text my neighbor and asked if her son would mind cutting my grass tomorrow before the next rain, which is Saturday.
    She sent him over to look at my yard to quote me a price.
    My son happens to wake up at 12:30 and said he was going out for a while. My son sees Jer in the yard and asks what he was doing. I said he was going to cut my grass and was looking at the yard to give me a quote. Here is the next hour while I was trying to work.
    Son says, he shouldn't charge you he is your neighbor. What happened to neighbors helping each other. (mind you my son has not offered to cut it). He added, why are you letting him do you that way?
    I explained to my son that my lawn mower need some repairs and I couldn't get that done before it rained again and I wanted my grass cut. (my son new very well he had broke the mower last summer and never got it repaired).
    My son jumps in with, I was going to go look for the part today. That is where I was going. He's asking way to much. I wouldn't pay that price.
    I responded, well if you can find a store open to get the part, can fix the mower, sharpen the blades and cut my grass tomorrow, that would be great. I'd like it cut tomorrow one way or the other before the next rain. The yard is out of control.
    My son begins to tell me how to fix the mower when he finds the part and how to sharpen the blades. I replied but I don't want to have to do that myself. I wouldn't get that all done before dark by the time I got off work.
    Son's final words.... Then I guess you better have him do it. Nice Huh?
    My son then begins mumbling how he is sick, cant pay to see a doctor, has nothing to do all day, he is depressed and no one cares etc. then walks out the door. He could do the dishes he has piled in the sink. Wont even put them in the dishwasher.

    Point, I can do this. I can do without drama and confrontation over every decision I make. I didn't ask his advise, just made a decision on the fact I already new, my son would not cut my grass.

    I have not heard from my daughter since I texted her with my plan to stop supporting her once the lease is up on her apartment. Also did not send her her allowance as she calls it. (this is how I have the money to pay for someone to cut my grass).

    I don't know if my daughter has already left or not. The only reason I would want to know is so I could get the apartment cleaned up with hopes I could get my deposit back and give items left to someone that could use them. Plus I could stop paying the utilities and cable bill. I don't want to call the manager and get her involved in this mess, especially if my daughter hasn't moved. I know now is to early but I was just wanting to now before the rent was due next month.

    My mind never stops swirling.......

    Update.... my son and his girlfriend just walk in with a new lawn mower. WOW... now I feel foolish.

    I cant figure them out.... but I am not going to complain about them doing something out of character.

    I hope everyone had a great day and are have an even better evening.

    Peace and Love
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020
  4. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi OW. Don't you think son might have spoken to his sister, and knows you're setting a limit with her? And that in some way he senses what's going on and he wants to head you off at the path?
    You're not foolish.
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    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020
  5. Overwhelmed1

    Overwhelmed1 Active Member

    Copa, my son and daughter do not speak to each other. They were so close as kids. They are only a year apart and were like twins. I cherish those days.
    Now days, I cannot say their name around the other or all heck breaks out. Both of them excuse me of doing more for the other. You have helped her/him out more.
    Seriously, they have an uncontrollable melt down. This has gone on for a long while. I am pretty sure he hasn't talked to her.
    Then again if they feel the need to gang up, who knows. I am never certain or surprised at anything the two of them might decide to do.
  6. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Well-Known Member

    In my opinion you should Stick to the plan don't let 1 act of kindness derail you.
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  7. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Dear OW

    If I had to identify the one change I have made in almost 5 years here on this board, and was limited to that one, this is what i would pick: Now, I locate myself in me, what happens in me, what is in my interests, what happens to me (consequences) how I feel, etc., what my needs are. My son is no longer a factor. He's his own business. What he does or doesn't do, is his business. But my business is me. I'm my own business.

    The other side of the coin is I don't so much anymore locate myself in my son. Why? I can't be located in both of us. I had to pick. I came to see that.

    But the really embarrassing thing is that I did not come to this because i came to see and feel I mattered. Oh no. It was because everything ran into a ditch. And I did every single thing to get the car going. And nothing worked. I would have kept trying and trying. And I did. But then there was nothing left to do except walk away from the car. And when I walked away from the car, I climbed out of the ditch. And I looked around. And there was sun. And light. And peace. And there I was.

    And then, the strangest thing of all happened. When I climbed out of the ditch, my son did too. In his way. That's when he went to sober living. And he's on his third month.

    And that's when I realized that I had been harming him all along. In the name of helping him.

    Embarrassingly, before, I felt that my interest was what was the best for him. I did not exist other than how his actions affected me. I oriented myself towards his future. His intentions. His weirdness. His welfare. His feelings. His recovery. Etc.

    Now, it's not that I don't care about him or what happens to him. I care deeply. It's not that. But what's shifted is that now that I have shown up in my own life, there's no space for my son. Because the reality is being around my son makes me feel kind of sick and bad about myself. This makes me very sad to write, but it's true.

    You know as I read the second paragraph about locating myself in my son, it even makes me feel nausea. Why?

    I abandoned myself.
    And actually, I abandoned my son.

    This is what I know now: a real relationship between adults can tolerate, in fact demands, that there be two people. If I act always from what I perceive to be my son's best interests, or his perspective, in effect, I'm cancelling him out, like in an eclipse. I foreclose on his right to act on his own best interests, according to his own viewpoints. I create the need for him to oppose me in order to have a voice in his own life.

    Why do I write this here?

    It's about the lawn mower. Where does the lawn mower fit into this thread?

    So. He bought a lawn mower. What importance does that have, in this conversation, yours with yourself, your conversation with him? What does it change?

    All he did was buy a lawn mower.

    Where are you?
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020
  8. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...


    So much wisdom and strength in that post. I need courage lately, especially. I'm failing, I feel, at being who I genuinely want to be out of my own self-imposed fears of what I think will become of my younger son living in his car.

    He has roped me into meeting up with him about 3 x's a week (when I say that, I know it's me who's done the roping) to get his phone chargers. When I do this, I am obliged to look at his car heaping with blankets and a pillow and "stuff" crammed into it. I look at his pitiful uncleaned self, dirty clothes and lack of self-worth and my insides cry to help him. I don't want to do this but I'm struggling once again to detach with love. I advanced him $200 based on what he will receive from the "anticipated" stimulas package. How lame is that? I twisted things around to give myself an out. To make a "good" excuse for myself.

    Sometimes I feel like a hypocrite when I post. I have days filled with strength and courage and other days, like now, I'm ashamed of my behavior.

    I think OW you're doing similar to what I'm feeling with my son. They know how to "rope us in". He's not stupid, he's surely felt the end is near for his living arrangement with you. Maybe subconsciously buying the lawn mower he thinks he's biding himself more time. Because your heart will soften thinking of this "good deed" he has done. Similar to when I see my son (who is really doing nothing to convince me to help him) but my heart softens, seeing how broken and unable to function he is.

    Hope I didn't steal this thread :(
  9. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    I truly feel your pain and don't want to darken the mood. I will speak and feel free to disregard my words.

    Where did he get money for a brand new lawn mower??! He doesn't work nor she.

    What could the underlying motive be? Does he want a big favor? How will this be thrown at you when you tell them to leave?

    I don't trust it. These kids tend to get money illegally and do favors for us for bigger favors. I would keep your guard up

    If it were me, I would not take the gift because I know Kay and she would throw it in my face the first time I said something she did not like. I don't want gifts from Kay. And how would she afford to buy me a gift anyway? I want Kay to work on herself, not steal for gifts to butter me up or panhandle. Those are two ways Kay gets money.

    I am not saying your son does those things. Many kids here do though and we don't even know it; don't want to know. They sell drugs too and even....prostitute .

    Yes, I am cynical, but so out of character that I feel there has to be a catch.

    God be with you on this hard journey. You are doing so well. Don't slide back and feel guilty. Trust me, there is a cost for this lawnmower. You need him and her gone and your house back. Good for you for telling your daughter that the Bank of Mom, as someone worded it, is closed.
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  10. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    Well, he had broken the lawn mower to begin with last summer and never had it repaired. So he finally took responsibility for his actions like an adult should, and replaced it. I would accept it and not worry about where it came from.

    But, it's no extra favor - adults replace or fix the items they break. So why would you feel foolish? Don't accept little things as huge expressions of love or appreciation. Put it in its proper place. He broke it and he replaced it. Not in due time, but he did it.

    It doesn't change the fact that you no longer want him living with you. 2 years is enough. You want your space back. It's understandable. 2 years is plenty of time to get your life sorted out.

    I think addicts have an amazing radar for things to come. I agree with the others that he is sensing a chance in you and is trying to protect his current situation by finally doing the right thing.
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  11. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Ditto to that. Maybe he senses a new resolve in you and is trying to derail anything that might come of it. It sounds just a bit manipulative to me, and it doesn't justify screaming and yelling in your face. And I agree, you are doing well. I think you handled the conversation about the lawn mower very well.

    Copa, I can echo this, about feeling bad about myself around my son. Around our son, I feel like I have to weigh and measure each word, and I still come out as the "bad guy" in his eyes. Yesterday, he was going on and on about some political stuff, and I commented, "You know, I think you would be happier in life if you would not be so negative and cynical." And his response was, "You're one of the most negative, cynical people I know." Ouch.
    No matter what I do for him in terms of kindness and love, he will always see me as a "negative, angry, selfish b**ch." I can never win with him, and I'm tired of even trying to change his mind. On the outside, he can appear to be pleasant and "nice" intermittently, but I know that his view of us hasn't really changed from the ugly things he said to us while still in Denver. I'm going to be kind but I'm not going to allow myself to be deceived into thinking he suddenly cares about us.

    JayPee, don't beat yourself up. The emotional pain of seeing your child, whom you love so much, living the way these kids do, is so raw sometimes that it feels almost physically painful. We all have those moments. I have done things for Josh just to ease the emotional pain in my own heart.
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  12. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    in my opinion if he had replaced the lawn mower out of the goodness of his heart, and with honestly earned money (for me that matters...I don't want anything bought by illegal means) he would have done it long ago. I believe there is an underlying motive to his sudden out of character genorousity.

    I am finished making up excuses for any of our abusive kids. I don't see any reason to think this was out of love and caring any more than I would if Kay did it. Unless they get help and truly change over years, they are abusers and not generous without strings attached.

    Please keep your plans in place. Think about if you want the gift. He WILL throw it in your face when you tell him he has to leave.

    Follow your gut. I am worried. Something feels off. Lots of love.
  13. Overwhelmed1

    Overwhelmed1 Active Member

    It is always so good to hear from all of you. Do much wisdom and guidance from you all. I never want only of you to feel you need to apologise for anything you say to me. Like I said before, I need to hear it and I don't want it sugar coated.
    My son does not work but his girlfriend does. Has a good job too. They both have the newest of all the tech crap out there. Newest I-phone, play station and all the cool stuff to go with it, not to mention clothes, shoes, trips they take on the weekends etc.
    My daughter on the other hand has absolutely nothing except the SUV I bought her and if course clothes, shoes and such. No money if her own though.
    I have been working long hours the past two weeks due to staff working at home so I asked this question to my son early. His girlfriend stayed home from work today, by the way.
    Me "do you guys want some chicken for lunch/dinner today?"
    ( I have been craving Popeyes or Bojangles chicken :)
    He says sure.
    Me - I don't know what time I will get off today so I will buy if you will pick it up.
    Son's response So you don't want to know if I want chicken, you want to know if I will go get you chicken.
    Me - no I asked if you wanted some chicken, if you would have said no I would have said OK and dropped it.

    What is that? I don't understand.
    At a lost for words and hurt.
  14. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    It is called word salad. Look it up.

    He is gaslighting you. He is playing mind games with you. Cruel ones.

    I am so sorry. If it were me I wouldn't buy him chicken or anything. I did stop enabling. It took time but it's so freeing....
  15. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Busy, I had never heard that term before so I did look it up. In the psychological sense, it's a type of manipulative tactic used by narcissists. Here's a link to an article, Just in case I didn't do the link correctly, the article is from a website called on the subject of "word salad."
    I recognized some of Josh's responses when I read through the article. Very enlightening. Thank you for mentioning that.
  16. Nandina

    Nandina Member

    OW, he is trying to engage you in his silly mind games, as Busy called them. And when you engage him, and take the bait, it makes him feel powerful. I urge you not to engage with him when he tries this way to confuse or upset you. The fewer words said to him, the better. Don’t explain yourself, what you meant, etc. etc. A simple yes or no is all you need to give him and walk away! Don’t give him your power by letting him drag you into his game.
  17. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I will reply to this based upon my own life and my own child and relationship.

    This is one aspect of what I meant about feeling bad around my son. This is so painful to write. My son was a very handsome young man and still could be a quite handsome man. But with his hoody, and beard he puts out his light. He smokes. And he has adopted mannerisms and modes of speech that I experience as odd, at times. When I speak to him on the phone, I don't have to confront so much his oddities or habits. When I see him in person, I am forced to experience the reality. I hate it. There is no pleasure in seeing or being with my child who I love.

    It is way better lately. He is shaving, and the worst of it is gone, like, for example when he returned from the big Metro and he looked as bad as the worst homeless people, or it felt that way to me. But even a few months ago when he was living in the property I own, he was often dirty and disheveled.

    So. I am finally to my point here.

    What mother in the world would feel good at this?

    I don't want to imagine a lifetime of wanting distance from my only child. But the reality is this: If our children make choices to make themselves pariahs, those around them will be forced to experience this with them. Why should we? It's not the same thing as a physically disabled or ill person. My son has been diagnosed with mental illness. But he also makes myriad and continuing choices to reinforce his mental illness rather than confront it.

    What I am trying to say here is I don't think there are shoulds about being obligated to share the space of our children who are not doing for themselves what they could be doing. I no longer feel obligated to take on my son. I see both that I hurt him by doing this and I hurt myself. I see that part of me that needed to shield and protect and to carry him as a damaged part of myself, that I can and am healing.

    My son as he is now is very much not in my interests, in terms of my healing, my peace of mind, my spiritual growth and my actual physical and mental well-being. This is because of choices he makes. It has nothing to do with anything about me as a person or a mother. I don't think it is wrong to acknowledge this. I think there is a point where people need to stand on their own. And I don't think it's wrong to protect ourselves. Personally, I think it's the right thing to protect ourselves. Those of you who have been on this site for a long time recognize how much my outlook has changed.

    I am not angry with my son. I am no longer frustrated. I don't feel like his victim any longer. This shift has happened because I no longer am (as much) putting myself in a position where he can victimize me, transgress my boundaries, frustrate or anger me. As a consequence everything changed, for me.

    There was no conscious or deliberate choice to have no contact. I have had minimal phone/text contact. But the reality is every time I do, I feel bad and I feel sad. He can't summon up even a modicum of sustained responsibility or humanity or reciprocity vis a vis me. I don't know how he comports in other relationships, but that's not my business. When I do experience the reality of my son, it reaffirms my position that I am better off away from him.

    I feel a little bit sad, but not overcome. It's just real. I don't think I do anybody any favors hiding from reality. Paradoxically, I am better able to hang onto hope because my hope now is based upon facing the truth. My son, not I, is responsible for his life.
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    Last edited: Mar 30, 2020
  18. Overwhelmed1

    Overwhelmed1 Active Member

    Well, no Chicken :) son and other half never came out of their room. This is common though. Uh oh, they are out here arguing about chicken. Oh my gosh.
    Be back later.....
  19. Overwhelmed1

    Overwhelmed1 Active Member

    Well, guess what? I left the house and I am sitting at the lake watching people fish, picnic, running and there are some boats out. Yep and I got my chicken!
    I left the two of them arguing about chicken, what can I say.
    Before I left my son was telling his girlfriend, "you bought the lawnmower. If you have something to say to my mom you need to talk to her and not discuss it with me".
    Don't know what that is all about and really don't care.
    Damn, this chicken and biscuit is good!!! ;) Scenery here at the lake is just icing on the cake.
    Think I will stay here awhile...
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  20. Overwhelmed1

    Overwhelmed1 Active Member

    I read the info about salad. Boy! have I been being played for more years than I realized by both my kids. Where does this narcissistic tendency come from? Is it a mental illness? Can they stop it or does it take medication?
    Thanks for sharing the site.