Becoming involved again...

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Lil, Nov 2, 2015.

  1. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I feel and see it. Part of my really doesn't want it.

    Since my son came back to town he has gotten a job, but it's in my town and he lives the next one over, 6 miles. He's getting rides from a roommate to work, but I had agreed to take him home and I am. He's really not asked for much, since making it clear we wouldn't give him a car or co-sign a loan for one. He only just began work yesterday at Taco Bell.

    He wants the girlfriend to come here and she's agreed to do it. Now he's asking for me to help find an apartment, since he doesn't have a phone that will make calls. In fact, right now all he has is my old one and that barely gets internet well enough for him to use Facebook for messages. So I did agree I'd call the cheapest apartments I can find and see what I can find and how much money they'll need to get into one.

    I feel myself worrying again. What if he can't find a place with no real rental history, no real job history, no credit except unpaid utility bill. What if the roommate stops giving him rides and he loses he job again? I know he wants me to say we'll go get the girlfriend and move her down here. I know Jabber is against it. I'm really not so much against it. I don't actually mind helping them set up house as long as it doesn't involve us co-signing anything.

    But part of me is just waiting for this all to blow up in my face. He screwed us over so many times. I want to believe that he's serious about keeping a job and paying for a place to live. He seems to be. I want this to work for him. I want him happy. But I don't want to feel this worry.

    I wish he had a car. I wish he had the ability to get an apartment on his own. I wish I could help a little without fear of it being the wrong thing to do.
  2. Lil, First and foremost.. big hugs to you. I know how torn you must feel.

    Now here comes my practical side... instead of looking for an apartment, how about looking for a room to rent near where he works? It will cost a lot less. Then maybe he can save up and look for an apartment, or get his girlfriend down here on his own.
    hugs, L
    and give Jabber a hug too.
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  3. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Lil, you are doing what many of us have done. I think we can only do what we can live with, or the inverse---we can't not do it if we can't live with not doing it.

    I so understand how we get involved. I do, because I did it over and over again.

    For me, in my situation, I finally had to stop because it never worked. My help never translated into him grabbing the reins and taking it from there. It would just circle back to him wanting more and more and more help, and me sinking in the quicksand. The months and the years were passing, and I was sick with it all. I was miserable. I couldn't function because I was drowning and nothing. ever. changed.

    He wasn't ready to stop taking drugs or do the things he needed to do to stop getting arrested, he just wanted me to help him while he still did those things.

    Everybody's situation is a little different. I can't predict the outcome of this.

    I can say this: If you get involved, and I know you are scared to, for yourself, and for him, and you have every right to be scared...and it goes south again, THEN you may be ready to do something different next time.

    I know you love him so much and want so much for something good to come of this. And who knows? It might.

    I think what we have to focus on mainly, here on this board, is the cost to YOU. The cost to ourselves. How do we hang on to our functionality and our sanity when we are dealing with DCs. That is the key question.

    If you can set strong boundaries for you and for him, and emotionally stand back even while you are seeing him every day (which is super, super hard to do), remaining somewhat detached---not reacting, not getting engaged with all of the 100s of little details they throw at us---staying back and keeping it simple...

    It's really hard to do if they aren't truly ready to change and start new habits.

    You are going to do whatever you are going to do. He is going to do whatever he is going to do.

    I think we play this out, until we just are completely sick and tired to the core of our very being, and then we are ready to stop. And then we have to learn how to stay stopped and that is where all of the support/tool box/daily work comes in.

    Who knows Lil? Not a single one of us can say this won't or will work with certainty. If I were you, I would read my own self as well as I could and let that be my beacon. If you absolutely can't **not** do this, then go ahead and do it. If you can **do some things but not all things** (set boundaries and stick to them) then do that. It's in increments. Not a black and white, all or nothing thing.

    I don't know if this makes any sense, what I am writing here. I hear in your post how afraid you are of becoming mired in the muck again, and I think that is a real and very valid fear.

    What's the alternative, for you, right now? If there is one, and you can pursue that, then do it. Otherwise, it appears that you are engaged, and you will have to ride the horse until it wins the race or poops out.

    I hope it wins, this time.

    My heart is with you. I really do understand the strong pull and the fear.
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  4. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Lil, just take it slow and easy.

    Remember that helping him isn't really helping him. I know that he wants his girlfriend to be with him but that may not be what is best for him. He is still trying to figure out how to live on his own and take care of himself and until he can do that what can he really offer his girlfriend? My concern is that they are together and before you know it she may end up pregnant. If he's set on being with her then it's up to him to figure out how that will happen. You don't need to make it easy for him.
    I am reminded of my son and us buying a house for him to live in. He met a girl and within a couple of months she was pregnant and this happened after he assured me he knew how to be careful.

    As for him wanting help to find an apartment, it's very kind of you to make some calls for him. An option you might consider is buying him a trac phone, one that's pay as you go. That way he can make these calls himself. Do you have an old bike you can give him that he can ride to and from work.

    I know the struggle you are facing and the emotions that go with it. You can only do what you can live with. You can do nothing and that's ok. You can do little and that's ok. You can do much and that's ok. There are no right or wrong answers here just advice from those of us who have been through it and survived to tell the tale.

    Mostly, just take it slow. Make sure you and Jabber are on the same page.

    Big HUGS to you Lil. You will get through this. You have an upcoming trip to look forward to. Do not let him derail those plans.
  5. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    We actually did give him a bike, and I know a 6 mile ride is not that far, but he literally hasn't ridden a bike since high school and it's 6 miles on a very busy major highway, so I really don't like the idea. He asked if I'd give a ride home if he gets a ride there and I said yes, so I will. It really would be better if he were in this town, where everything is an easy bike ride (not that we have bike lanes, but better than the highway). If he can't get a ride in, then he has to bike, because we work too and can't bring him in. But he gets off when I do right now, so I don't mind taking him back.

    The first contact I have made has been a room share. A boyfriend/girlfriend with a 2 bedroom apt. has a room to rent out. I've asked if they would accept a couple. They actually might know him, which could be a bad thing. Since I clarified who he was, (they asked if he was another boy from his class with the same last name) I haven't heard back from them. We'll see. There's really no other room for rent in town that is likely.

    I want to help. I really do. But I know, I really know, that he probably hasn't changed much since I we tossed him out a year ago. I know that it was only a week or so ago that the girl he's renting from now contacted us wanting to kick him out and complaining he smoked weed all day...but I see him quite a lot and I really don't see any evidence that is true. He seems so sincere in his desire to make this relationship work and to get a place of their own. I don't know what to believe.
  6. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    I recently read Alb's thread on here about her son's recent positive steps.

    It would be great to hear of another one of 'our' kids taking positive steps.

    My son has been moving in a good direction recently. I know though that this could change at any time. It has been many years since I thought much of long-term future moves for him. I have learnt to think of it all in terms of 'today'. How is he today? It's a good day. Great. That's it. No further. I can cope with single days, but I can't cope with thinking of future years or months or weeks or even future days. Just this day - it's okay.

    I think the worry for me in your post Lil, is that you are thinking of his future, finding an apartment, moving in with the girlfriend, keeping the job, living the life. For me that's the worry. I like that he's working today, that you're speaking today, that he's well today. I have learnt to not think in terms of my son's future, as long as it's ok today. Life is a series of single days.

    Where is the girlfriend? Why can't she be finding them an apartment?
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  7. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    This is all so very hard. I am praying for you folks, having been down this road for many years.

    I had a thought, that the beauty of this site is that we have our old posts and threads to review.
    So much is in there of our d-cs actions, our reactions and responses.
    Rinse, repeat, is what I have read.
    It is entirely up to you and your husband, how you respond.

    Perhaps it would help to review your past threads?

    Hoping the best for you, and you will be able to come to a decision that will ease your mind.

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  8. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    Struggle makes you stronger if you survive it of course that why it is said what does not kill you makes you stronger but the kill part bothers people.
    But chances are small as with any of us of that happening is 0 is not but in life nothing is certain a unfortunate thing but it is what is is.
    Let him struggle with the current situation he might find his own solutions in time.
  9. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Lil, don't forget this: It's about the struggle. He has to **do the struggle**. That is how he will mature and gain skills and confidence in himself.

    Hard is good. Let hard happen for him.

    By you intervening and handling hard, he doesn't have a chance to navigate the real world, and thus, he won't navigate the real world.

    I know it's really hard to step back, but that is the challenge in front of all of us.
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  10. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    He has a job. You are giving him a ride from his job. You are supporting his step in the right direction. The girl friend can call about apartments. They need to do that for themselves.
  11. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    She is staying with friends an hour and a half away. She doesn't really want to come here, partly because she is young and its a HUGE change, partly because she has seen our son screw up their living situation time and again so is probably afraid that he will do it again and she will be even further from home. Lil has made it clear to our son that she wont let this girl be stranded and homeless here. We would give her a ride back to her fathers house. He wasn't happy with that news.

    Not an option. He has broken more cell phones in the last two years that I've owned my entire life. If he wants to make calls he either needs to get a new trac phone himself or sign up for the government assistance phone, although he adamantly refuses to get the government phone because it doesn't have internet access. He really doesn't grasp the concept of beggars cant (or at least shouldn't) be choosers.

    Realistically, I'm doing fine with all this. My issue is that its causing Lil stress. I have no problem with telling him to walk home, he cant live here, go to the food pantry, etc... but it tears Lil up. She is a fixer and it kills her to see our son with a problem that she can so easily fix and not go fix it. She knows from an intellectual point of view that she cant fix this. She knows that he has to learn to do these things himself. The problem is that her mommy and fixing instincts tend to override her reason. He asks me for a pack of cigarettes, I tell him to support his own habits. He asks Lil for a pack and she buys two.

    Most of you should remember us looking at the little farm house about 45 minutes away? Well, it looks like its back on the market. Lil commented to me last night that we should consider another piece of bare property that is cheaper and build it up slowly while we stay in our current house. I know that this is in part due to the fact that she is skittish about spending large sums of money. But I cant help but think a good portion of this is that we would be moving away and not be in a position to help him again. Honey, I'm not trying to be mean here but when we had the possibility of getting it when he was out of town you were excited. Now, we have that possibility again and you not only hesitate but come up with options that keep us in town longer.

    My biggest concern with our son right now is the distinct possibility that his new found focus is ALL because of this girl. If she comes down here and they fail and she goes home, he will be devastated. I think that he is honestly trying to change, but he's trying to do it for her, not for himself. I can tell you from personal experience that this can be a recipe for disaster. I've wondered why he came here and left here there and I think the answer is that, in order for her to stay with him, he has to prove to her that he can maintain a job and residence. Lets be honest here, over the last few months he has turned her live upside down over and over again and I'm betting that the thought of it happening again scares the hell out of her. She needs stability and, in order for them to be together, he has to prove to her that he can provide it. Not fair of her but not unreasonable either, all things considered.
  12. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    She's in another town, an hour and a half away, and may or may not have a phone. I'm sure they communicate via Facebook Messenger. She's also only 18 and I'm pretty sure has never handled something like this before.

    I'm only really compiling a list of places that they might get into. The best place, cheapest, most central, won't take him because they run a credit check and a collection on an unpaid utility bill, which he has, is a disqualification. They also want two years of employment and rental history. Seems a bit much to expect from young people...but there you go. Mostly he's asked me to find out the amount of money involved.

    Actually, he was very okay with that and promised to let her know to ease her mind.

    And see - I REALLY want to do this. Not a smart phone, just a tracphone to make calls. I was actually going to suggest this today. So apparently we have a problem here.

    That's an exaggeration. You make it sound like I want to co-sign an apartment and pay for his life. I just want him to be in the town he needs to be in to keep his damn job. I'd like to see him settled somewhere before we move.
  13. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member's really not. I would like to see him in town before we move, yes.

    BUT - it's a $20,000 difference in price and 7 more acres! We might spend as much fixing up the old house as we'd spend building a new one like the little portable houses we've looked at. It seems like a wise idea to look into that possibility. In the end, I'd rather be $50k in debt than $80k in debt.

    When it comes to our son though, I guess what keeps going through my mind is, "What if he's really serious? What if he's really trying? What if he fails this time because he needed one hand up from us and we turned our backs?"
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2015
  14. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This is tough, I know -- I've beenin that back and forth struggle with my own conscience, in deciding where that line is between helping and enabling. The "what ifs" etc. I can't add more to what's been said aleady, exept to suggest this: when you find yourself working harder than he is to change/better his situation, it's time to take a step back. A few phone calls and an occasional ride can be generous/appropriate temporarily - but sometimes it becomes more and more and before you know it. you're back to full-on enabling. Tread cautiously and ask yourself, "am I working harder than he is?"

  15. Lil, a million years ago when I was a newly divorced young mom I'd put my son in the bike seat and ride him and I on a busy highway to get to the babysitters house. One time my son fell asleep and the bike kept wobbling, so I actually had to walk the bike and hold my son up straight to keep the bike from falling over. I often wonder how I survived those days but I did. From there I'd walk 3 miles to work and do it all over again in reverse. It was something I had to do in order to pay the rent and put food on the table. I didn't have anyone to save me. But having had to do that made me a much stronger person and one who faces problems and finds solutions. I also had a great figure (sigh) but that's beside the point. My point is... he'll survive the bike ride. He'll do it if he has no other choice and wants to hold on to his job.
    But as a mom, I know where you're coming from.

    I think the bottom line is.. what decision can YOU live with? This should be his struggle so he matures and figures out his own solutions to problem solving, but as a mom that's so much easier said than allow. We want to help them because we're afraid if we don't, they'll fail. But they may fail with our help. I couldn't even tell you what decision's I'd make if it were my son. I don't envy your position. But whatever choices you make, I understand and am here for you.
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  16. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    Adults pay for their own bad habits. I would also ask for gas money ( not much) because adults pay their own way. Why make it easier for him to use his money to buy weed?

    I believe that if he really wants to make these changes, he will do so without your doing anything. I see nothing wrong with being in an advisory roll. He will feel empowered by doing things for himself. You don't want to send him the message that you don't believe ha can do it for himself.

    If she can access facebook, she has wifi and can hunt for apartments on line.
  17. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member


    I am reminded of the story of the butterfly and how struggle is a necessary part of life in order to grow strong.

    A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could, and it could go no further.

    So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.

    The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.

    Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

    What the man, in his kindness and haste did not understand, was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required to get through the tiny opening were natures way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings. It would then be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

    Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives.
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  18. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    If he were really trying then he would not be asking for any help, he would find his own way. Him "failing" has nothing to do with you and what you did or did not do for him, you do not have that kind of power. He needs to own the responsibility of his own life.

    Good point.
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  19. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    I think he really wants to be here. He feels safer because his mother and I are nearby. Beyond that, I have no idea why he wants to be here. He says he hates this town. Maybe he's growing up and realizing that his prejudices are just that, his. He could just want to be nearer to what he perceives to be his safety net. I just don't know.

    Yup, my thoughts exactly. Don't mind bumming him one from time to time, but if you cant affort to smoke then you don't. I would love to go to the casino every weekend. I love to gamble. I'm also not terribly good at it so acknowledge that this would be a habit I couldn't afford. As far as her searching for apartments, I know he is the one pushing for this area over where she's at. I think, for both of them, that particular area represents a nearness to their safety net.
  20. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    " Adulting" is hard.