Disowning adult children - when is enough enough ?? any thoughts ?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by jisduit, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. frustratedmum

    frustratedmum New Member

    I am so glad I found this post. for the last Five years I have been dealing with a very troubled daughter it started when she was 14 years old. I have been beating myself up wondering what did I do wrong.

    I felt bad for kicking her out of my house. However, I am sick of the lies, stealing, her manipulating my family, and oh her constant yelling at us and threats.

    I am finished with her. I don't want her in my life or my young son's life. My oldest daughter doesn't even claim to have a sister, because of all the hostility. I tried getting her help but the counselor had to discharge her because they weren't getting anywhere and the counselor told me that she needed the help but she didn't want to change.

    Recent events have brought me to a new place that I want to disown this child. After reading all the posts I am glad to know I am not alone and that this is not a bad decision. I am glad that I found this site. Just wish I had looked sooner.
  2. Estranged2015

    Estranged2015 New Member

    Hi! I'm new here too, and am finding it to be a healing place. So much wisdom. Very sorry to learn about your daughter, who seems a lot like my son. It's so bewildering. But it's good to know that other people have been where we are, and that there are actual strategies for coping.
  3. frustratedmum

    frustratedmum New Member

    Thanks Estranged2015: I would have never imagined a child turning out this way. heartbreaking. I am seeing that many are healing from their child I am hopeful that with time I too will be healed.
  4. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    Jisduit -- Welcome to this group. Wow. I read and re-read your post. What a saga it can be to endure! But, the thing is, you're right....you don't have to endure it. Or you can set strong, clear and concrete boundaries around how much you WANT to endure (not "HAVE" to endure). Your life matters, too.

    We have gone in spurts of no contact with our son -- sometimes as little as a month, sometimes as long as 6 months. Currently, he has been out of our lives for nearly 4 months. Occasionally, I miss him and it hurts (it hit the other day). Mostly, the longer I go, the more perspective I gain. I always want the best for him. But, strange as it may seem............sometimes contact is not only not the best for US parents, it may also not be the best for our KIDS. I say that rather neutrally, with no blame. Sometimes oil and water just don't mix in a dynamic. They may or may not change their dynamic. That's their Free Will.

    But we can change our dynamic. That's our Free Will. Sometimes, when we've tried everything conceivable, the only thing to do is to let go. That changes us. And, ultimately, our interactive dynamic with them. Whether we ever have contact with them again may or may not happen. But it most certainly does change the dynamic.

    What has felt best for us (my husband and me) is to just let go for whatever length of time feels healthiest for us. Sometimes, that's a looong time.

    The best thing, though, is that when we do have space from our son, we do feel our own joy and perspective return. We live our lives more joyfully (realistically, though, with safety precautions in place around our son always remaining). And, interestingly, given enough time for our perspective to return, our sense of love for our son returns also (with BIG boundaries around that).

    Whenever we do see our son again, we choose it to be on OUR terms.
    -- Some place public (away from our home -- restaurant or something, usually)
    -- Short time frame (30-min or, if it's going well, maybe 1 hr)
    -- No gifts/money (except food -- everything else winds up for drugs or the pawn shop for drugs)

    You have some different considerations around your ADULT child's (and he really is an ADULT.......let's not forget that!) interactions. I really feel for you on all that's happened.

    But you sound alert, aware and wise around it! All of my best to you for peace, comfort and joy -- you deserve all of those! If you can find a wonderful way to do something just for YOU and YOUR enjoyment and refreshing, do it! :) We support you!

    PS -- Love your screen name! "Jisduit!" :D
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  5. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    Jisduit --- Had moved on to answering other messages and got to thinking about your situation again. Your story really moved me.

    Boundaries --- Trust your gut. If you WANT any contact with your adult child at some point fine. But if you DON'T WANT any contact....even EVER? Hey, I totally understand that and "get it"! I always keep that option in my back pocket with our son, too. Sometimes, it's just the only option left. And, by the way, it's a perfectly LEGIT option!

    Your life matters! :)
  6. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    I got a lot of advice on this board about "going no contact", which I think is what you mean by disowning..most of the advice was...nothing is forever. Do what seems best for you right now.

    Sometimes I went for a few months with no contact. Right now I would say it is "very little contact", along the lines of a phone call every few weeks.

    What feels right? well really it doesn't feel right to have a son I won't deal with...but...it feels better to have space from him than it does to have regular contact. I can't impact him. He does impact me. It is on me to be sure the impact is within my capacity to manage...that it isn't crippling to me. So I set those boundaries wherever they are...kind of like that slide thing on the computer that lets you manage the brightness...sometimes the place I've had it set at for weeks is suddenly too bright, and my eyes hurt. Then I slide it down again for a while.

    You can do the same. Nothing is forever. Go ahead and make some space for yourself for as long as you need..days, weeks, months, years. Its OK. It is yours to choose.

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  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Disowning is meant to be permanent. I'm not on that page. But going no-contact doesn't have to be permanent. Either side can attempt contact periodically if they wish, and the other can respond if they wish. You can draw the no-contact lines wherever you want.
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  8. Estranged2015

    Estranged2015 New Member

    I agree w InsaneCdn, Echo, Headlights, and all others who have spoken about creating distance but not permanently disowning. Permanent might work and be necessary for some parents, but I'm not there yet. Haven't even mentioned it to my son, butin my own heart I am taking a break from him. I expect that we will have contact in the future, in public places.

    By the way, my first post (only a week or so ago) was in response to a thread that already had the "Disowning... Any Thoughts?" title. (Not my title.) apparently that conversation had died and I inadvertently brought it back to life. There was some very good stuff there!
  9. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I've cut out my daughter, and we don't hear from my son. It's likely that we won't hear from him again. Thank goodness neither of them turned to such violence as your son, but there but for the grace of god go I.

    I am in a state that recognizes a holographic (hand written - not just typed and signed) will. I have a handwritten will that leaves out my daughter, and I am likely to add my son to that. I have to admit that I am just plain lazy and really should see a lawyer. I'm rather embarrassed, and likely will want to see someone from out of town. My son also slept with a butcher knife that he stole from me under his mattress with which he planned to kill me.

    The truth is, even though your son is now in jail, he won't be forever. If you die intestate, he'll get a share. He's there in spite of the good values you tried to impart on him and because of the choices he made. He really shouldn't be rewarded for his genetic connection to you. My advice to you is to see an attorney without feeling any guilt about it. If he called you on the phone and asked you for $100 in his account I assume you'd say "no". Don't let him have a portion of your estate because you didn't go far enough to put it into writing.

    You can always change your mind and you don't have to tell anyone about your will, but I think your other children deserve to not have to deal with the consequences if he somehow comes into a portion of the estate.
  10. frustratedmum

    frustratedmum New Member

    After several hard years and extremely hard months. I took a big step today. I contacted my attorney and wrote my daughter out of my will. My attorney's daughter was friends with my troubled daughter and she was kind and said I was going to call you with some concerns I had about your daughter. I am sorry to hear that my daughter was lying and stealing from her friends not just her family. In addition I did get confirmation that the boyfriend she is with is doing drugs and was seen doing drugs. My suspicion is that my daughter is also doing drugs. I was thankful for the advice and I did get her written out of my will. I still have a 13 year old son, a good kid, I don't need my daughter around him tanting his growth and morals.

    Right now I am angry and exhausted. I don't know if reality will slap her across the face or if she will ever get her act together. I know that for one, I cannot allow her in my home ever again. I cannot allow her behavior around my other children. I hope one day she will find the light however, it is too late a relationship with her family.
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  11. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Except for a hateful email from our difficult son, we have had no contact with him in about a year. We have not written him out of the will for a couple reasons.

    First, cutting him out would not be cutting him out of much. We are both retired teachers -- none of the adult children will be receiving a substantial amount of $$.

    Secondly, about a year ago, there was a rather long thread on another forum to which I subscribe. This forum is about retirement. There were many stories about how cutting one kid out of the will causes hardship for the kids that are included....that the one cut out can wreak all sorts of havoc for them. husband and I mean to (have not yet) talk to the attorney about keeping difficult child away from dividing the household furnishings, etc. We think we will have that kind of stuff divided between the two adult kids who like us, yet divide the (meager) $$ funds between all three. We can live (and die) with that, while hopefully shielding the other two from major problems.

    We are still thinking and re-thinking. It is a difficult decision, much to process and who knows what is best.....We are not getting younger and need to talk to attorney soon.
  12. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    There are ways to get creative with the will. One family I know had at least 3 kids, one of which wasn't stable. The estate was going to be quite small, the "stable" kids didn't really need the money, and the one who wasn't stable wouldn't be able to handle even that small amount. So... they asked the kids to each name a favorite charity, and the will is set to split that many ways, with the donations going in each child's name.
  13. Estranged2015

    Estranged2015 New Member

    This is so terribly sad. My heart goes out to you, frustrated mom.

    You have done the best thing. I will be thinking about following your example.

    Just last year I made a will so that my son couldn't turn my possessions into money for drugs when I am gone. The lawyer suggested that I have a trusted executor sell everything, then make some bequests and put whatever's left into a trust from which the executor can directly pay toward Difficult Child's rent and food. I went with that.

    Now not sure it's not just another form of ensbling, what do you think? What do others here think? Perhaps I should not help him at all? That would be so sad.
  14. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't do it as she will find a way to squander anything she is given for anything, but, if you do, make sure it's an attorney. Don't put the burden on your other kids or loved ones. That is forcing them into a contentious relationship with an angry person who has not been given the money train he was expecting. Give that responsibility to somebody who is not personally involved with him.
  15. frustratedmum

    frustratedmum New Member

    My attorney told me if my daughter turns her life around I could change the will. I do agree with MidwestMom, I think leaving what is there in a trust with an attorney is a good idea. I had talked to my attorney about a potential trust too but my oldest daughter who is top of her class in college right now I know it would be too much for her to be a trustee for my 19 year old who has taken wrong path in life.

    Our guts know the truth even if we don't want to admit the truth. I realized over the last few weeks that the loss of a child this way is like death; the grieving process like they died - difference is that they are alive and they are doing things that aren't okay they are dangerous to the rest of the family especially us as parents.

    For me I have reached a point that I need to cut my daughter out of my life complete the grieving process and move on. I need to keep my oldest child and youngest child protected it was a hard decision but when you know that one child will steal for drug use that child needs to go not a healthy situation for any family. Also a hard decision, one that has taken me years.
  16. welcome-mat-no-more

    welcome-mat-no-more New Member

    jisduit, how are things going now? I know its been a few years. just wondered if youd come to terms with your decision seeing as I'm considering disowning my daughter for my own reasons.