Car - again!

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by WiseChoices, Nov 14, 2019.

  1. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    Ughh! So over it. Son is using my Dad's car in return for paying my Dad's insurance. Rules about the car. I rode to gym with him today. He wanted to roll both windows down. As we rode, I smelled smoke. I told him. He lied, of course. Said he would not break any hard rules .Something pink smeared in passenger seat. He said he would clean tath up .so my kids rode around , bought alcohol and smoked in car while I was gone.

    I said I needed him to make the deal with the bank asap because I did not want to continue to supervise the car and once it was his he could do whatever he wanted with car. I set a deadline for 12-31 for him to secure a loan and get the car in his name .

    I really feel like taking the keys. BUT then I have to take him to work . It was a mistake to help him with this car .I talked to my Dad about it and I thought up the plan. Never again!
  2. ChickPea

    ChickPea Active Member

    Sorry, Wise.
    Can you put an end date on the car use? That might help to know this isn't just open ended.

    Or, write down the rules and if they get violated, the favor is up?

    Best of luck.
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  3. Blindsided

    Blindsided Face the Sun

    I am with Chick Pea. A written contract has been shown to be more effective. I read that somewhere. Punishment that becomes our punishment is never a good choice. I totally get how you feel. Whatever decision you make, I would suggest including him in the decision making process or forever hold his peace.

    My non-Difficult Child was the difficult teenager and he turned out just fine.
  4. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    Well we have an end date which is 12-31. I guess if he doesnt secure the car loan by then, I will take the keys.
    and we have a written contract on the kitchen cork board that says he will clean once a week and not smoke in car. I can't proof she smoked. He denies it. The smell was extremely faint on way back from gym , so I think maybe it just happened once. He cleaned the car.
  5. RN0441

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

    Sometimes I just get sick of the battles.

    Why can't they just have respect for things? We know our son has a sense of entitlement and somehow it came from us.

    Wish we had a "redo" button.
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  6. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Well-Known Member

    I would be very careful. If he is driving drunk and there is an accident your father could be liable. I told my son that i would never help him get another vehicle because of his driving record and irresponsibility.
  7. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    They don't respect things. in my opinion its best not to offer them to our darlings or else to expect the worst. I had to learn this lesson. It puzzled me as well. I always cherished what I had and treated my things like gold

    But unlike me Kay did not earn anything she owned. She was given big items and did not appreciate their values. This in my opinion is on me.
  8. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    What You Will NEVER Get from a Narcissist!

    The above video is an excellent resource and it explains that narcissists hsve no respect, and no appreciation for us and do not value us! Hard reality I am coming to terms with. Which is why I need to bow out of any help for my kids.
  9. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    I saw today he only cleaned the outside not the inside. Confronted him. Said he did not feel like it. Which invalidated his words from yesterday that he is grateful to his Grandfather. Words are cheap. Actions speak much louder. He said he would get inside done and I nailed him down when. He said tomorrow and I asked for a time. He said noon. I told him that was the deadline and he replied that he was not setting a deadline !!!! Every.single.boundary I set gets challenged. Which shows me he does not take me seriously. I should have never helped him get this car. Shame on me for being so very stupid. He did not learn from the consequences of losing his Honda due to letting his high friend drive it (with him in it). I did not feel strong enough to ask for the keys or up the ante. This is why he does not respect me. It's on me. I thought about what I am afraid of and it is his anger. The way he has laid into me and gotten loud and assassinated my character , my motherhood, and broke my heart by saying he did not love me. I need to start using my head instead of my heart.
  10. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...


    I’m so sorry to hear all the troubles you’re going thru with your son and the car.

    here’s a suggestion...
    You need to make a choice about what you need to do to take care of yourself based on the premise that your son is not going to change his course of action.

    When I read your posts about this issue it triggers the feelings I used to get with my alcoholic husband. It feels out of control, painful and one-sided.

    All that keeps coming to my mind is that you have to be the change in the situation.
    Sending hugs.
  11. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    Why not tell your father? Bet he will take the keys.

    When our damaged kids rant at us, yes, it breaks our hearts but in retrospect what they say rarely makes any sense.

    If we never take stands, and if we fear their words (as I once did), they don't respect us at all. My daughter had NO respect for me because I didn't demand any.
  12. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    What do you suggest exactly by involving him in the decision making process? I assume you mean my son? What would that look like and why should he be involved?
  13. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    Yes, and how am I going to the change? I cannot sleep over this tonight .I feel like I need to take he keys tomorrow. I cannot accept the lies because it will lead to more lies down the road about other stuff like drugs in the house.

    At this moment, with my heart pounding, I am thinking that I will sit both of my kids down and tell them I suspect they partied in Grandfather's car during my absence. I will give them a chance to come clean.

    I will then state to son that 1. I don't believe he did not smoke in the car. I believe he lied to me and that is why he wanted to drive with windows down and I did smell smoke
    (1st violation of contract) 2. He did not clean the car in my absence once a week as per contract 3. When confronted with this, and given the chance to clean up the car, he only cleaned outside of car and then told me "he did not feel like doing the inside" which is not acceptable to me . I will say it is disrespectful of the $15,000 asset that is the car and of my Father and of me.

    I will tell him that he needs to turn in the car keys after he has restored the car to how it was given to him. I will say the way I see it the only chance he has now is to call his Grandfather, come clean with the contract violations, and see what girlfriend says .

    If girlfriend takes car back, son can ask me nicely for a big favor of taking him to work every day and he will need to pay me for gas $2.50 each trip .

    What do you all think of my plan? Son may throw a fit (he most likely will) , he may even quit his very good job over this and go live with his thug friend in the trailer park in the big city 2 hours away. But I can't act on what he may or may not do and his future is not on my hands. It is in his. I don't like having to do this but his disrespect is so blatant that I cannot accept it. What do you all think? Am I overreacting? He is 24 by the way.
  14. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    Not see what girlfriend says. See what Grandfather says in above post.
  15. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    Or, should I allow the use of the car until the end of the month since he paid for the month? I guess you forfeit that money when you don't adhere to the contract. I feel bad for the kid. He keeps making one bad choice after the other. I keep hoping he will pull his head out of his butt, but he is not ready. I feel like I am perpetuating bad decisions if I allow these violations to go unpunished.
  16. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I thought I remembered you were ambivalent about the car from the beginning. I looked for the old post and couldn't find it. Sorry if I remembered wrong. But it sounds like the transaction was between your son and his grandfather. So, if this is the case, you were on shaky ground from the beginning.

    Did grandfather talk to you and your husband before this offer was made, to ask for your input? Because it sounds like an accident waiting to happen. Son already has a track record with poor decision-making about cars. And he is living under your roof. So you do have some indirect responsibility, even though son is an adult. If you were the mover beyond the contract about the car, you were set up from the beginning, with your son. This was ripe for triangulation. In my own experience with my son, triangles are extremely problematic.

    I think your own interest is to back out of this. Given it's not your car, and given your son is unlikely to change based upon anything you do, I think you could back out. Unless there is clear danger or abuse, it's really not your business. I think you may be trying to control things where there is no chance of doing so, (like over a car that's not yours). It's giving your son (and daughter) ways to act out towards you.

    Backing out of this would be either giving the car back (but then there would be the problem with rides to work), or your backing out of the oversight function. I can see either one of these happening. The important thing would be that you just choose not to be part of any conflict. It's strategic. You just fold. You could let grandfather decide. Tell him, I can't guarantee that the car is being safely driven, or maintained. In fact, it's not. And tell him, if you want son to still have the car you need to understand that I am not able to take responsibility for it. And let him decide. And you back out.

    Who wouldn't get offended when mistreated. But you can choose to back off, or to not enter into things, if you choose.

    We are no longer responsible to get our kids to learn. They are adults, now. At the same time I believe we are responsible to set moral examples, and to have bottom lines. I think the most important principle here is how your children respect you, to your face. They are entitled to feel about you in whatever way they wish. But to your face to disrespect you, to insult you, to undermine you, NO. At the same time you are responsible to ensure this does not happen, to the extent you can. Part of that is to be very, very careful to not enter into transactions with them that will erupt, or to minimize these if they do arise.

    The saying, pick your battles, comes to mind.

    On the face of it, it looks like your son takes advantage of ambiguity and inconsistency; that it's his power place over you. To him the dashes between the dotted lines are like entrances. But I wonder if it's something else, too, that he gets anxious when things aren't clear cut. He could also experience you as picking fights. He bucks at the control. To me, all of these things are basic human quantities. They are not serious. He's a young guy wanting to control the circumstances of his life. When he's at home with his parents, and it irks him.

    Gosh. I would hate to see you have to take son to work every day. I think this would be entering into another conflictual situation, kind of like daughter and the therapist.

    Backing out of this eliminates the ambiguity. You're not in it anymore. You've relinquished your role. You cede. There's nothing to fight back against. Son can work it out directly with his grandfather. I think that's to your advantage in many ways.
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    Last edited: Nov 15, 2019
  17. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    Thank you, Copa. That makes a lot of sense, actually. I do hate to be the cop. I am in charge of my Father's US assets , I did broker the deal ahead of time with my Dad and then had son call. It was my suggestion son get into dad's car as I knew dad wanted to sell it and son needed car. And I see the set up now .how this put me between them by carrying out the role of controller of how son is performing on the contract. Dad really wnsts nothing to do with it. He lives in Europe. He was ok with letting son drive car and I told son I would supervise to make sure contract (between me and son by the way for perfomance of contract). It's just a piece of paper where I jotted down how to treat the car and that he would get a bank loan within 2 months. Nobody signed anything .but even verbal agreement is a contract.

    I do see how right you are how I set myself up to be in position of control again. How I triangulated here. How I did not need to say or do anything and son could have maybe had the Idea to buy his grandfather s car and asked grandfather on his own accord. I controlled from the get go. And put myself into the same exact position that I say I hate. Son is not even vested in this car. That's why he doesn't care to take care of it. Maybe.

    My parents had a vacation home here as well along with the car and I managed the home with renting it out to tenants. I did the car and home maintenance. So I did tell son that I am in charge of grandfather '' assets and would be one to make sure the car was treated according to agreement.

    Grandfather lives in Europe. So with your suggestion do I tell son I think he is lying and he needs to call his grandfather and discuss the situation? My dad really wants nothing to do with monitoring son or being involved other than son paying for insurance and buying car asap

    You are right .taking son to work every day invites more power struggle and frankly more work than I care to have .

    Maybe shutting up for now and just letting him buy car by end of the year is best. He knows that I know he lied. Maybe that's what irks me.
  18. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...


    In my opinion you have some options as you mentioned. One thing we learn in Al anon is to pause.

    When we are in inner emotional turmoil we get off balance.

    I suggest to take the time you need. See if some answers that you feel are right come through or that some you’ve already thought thru are appropriate and or to see if waiting until the end of December is a good option.

    Often in our panic we feel an urgency to make the next move.
  19. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    Yes. I talked with Hub and he thinks to take the car away at this point would be a mistake. He likes how I used the situation to set a deadline. The car is not ruined , just needs a little cleaning . This made me calmer and the heart pounding subsided.

    Son is already at work again .got an extra half shift.

    It feels better to let go. I got some sleep. I need to take care of me .

    Copa is right in that it's not my battle .it's between my Dad and my son and I will only step in if there are gross violations of the contract. Son will buy the car in 6 weeks and I will Just take care of me in the meantime.
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  20. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    Wise, we all are given family roles by others. In healthy families this happens less but I believe it still happens,. Partly because some kids are more willing to be helpers or more talented in certain areas.

    It seems you are the Fixer of All in your family of origin And Choice, taking care of not just your kids but your parents. This would burn out anyone . It makes you the Cop of the family.

    A few thoughts to maybe lessen your heavy load.

    Your dad gave the car to your son. Apparently he did not demand it be clean. You added cleanliness to the contract??

    If so it is not your place to worry about the car. It falls between your son and your father, who it sounds like doesn't care much. Did your father tell your son not to smoke in the car? If not then YOU added the burdensome rule to your plate. I am sure in Al Anon you would have advised to leave it between them.

    Now the house and what happened when you were gone.

    It was inconsiderate of your family to mess and not clean it. But this is something I have experienced too. My husband and Amy and Rick are puzzled by my mania for a clean, orderly house. They tease me and say I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) (tease me affectionately). If it were not for me my house would be what I consider a pigsty. I have decided long ago that I am not the cop who forces others to clean to my high standards and that if I want the house to sparkle like a diamond (and I do) then I have to make it so. And I cheerfully do do, hiring a cleaning woman once a month too. In therapy I was taught not to expect others, even kind loved ones, to meet my standards and to not stress the small stuff.

    Is a messy house small stuff?

    I once thought not. I now thing yes. A messy house can be fixed up to my standards by me or a cleaning service. It annoys me but there is no catastrophe. Nobody is I'll. Nobody is hurt. I am lucky that all I am concerned about is a messy house.

    I have come far. I used to go to Kay's house and scrub her living areas. Why did I do that? I wasn't the one living there! I chose to no longer add this to my plate. I am not the Clean Police!

    If asked by family to take care of anything you have a right to say no. This does not make you a bad person.

    Seems like you are not only in charge of everything but that you are uncomfortable not being over involved especially with the kids.

    Remember Al Anon. We didn't Cause it, we can't control it and we can't cure it. This goes for your kids You can't make them better people. They have to want it. All you can do is change your reactions to them. But you know this and yes it is easier to tell others than to do it in our own lives. Been there.

    Wise, you do not need to police your kids or check in on their choices unless you feel they affect you. Your son smoking in Dad's car does not affect you. It affects your son's lungs, your dad's car and you not a bit. No grown child in this day and age does everything we ask of them. Respect is shown by day to day treatment of us, not by cars or other material things. And we can't make them respect us. One day at a time. Today is this way but tomorrow could be way different so why worry about the future?

    Wise, you can resign as the family Cop. The pay is awful!!! The effect on your health is not good either.

    You are very hard on yourself. Be GOOD to yourself. You can decide to let things slide. I had to do so. My husband and I were getting sick. It became life or death. We chose life.

    You are an amazing person who is trying to juggle too many balls. You can decide on throwing the balls down and on finding serenity.

    God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I can not change,
    The Courage to change the things I can,
    And the Wisdom to know the difference.

    Be well and God bless!
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