Enabling or not?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by JayPee, Sep 19, 2019.

  1. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    My oldest son (30yrs.) who is verbally abusive and often threateningly abusive via e-mails even up until yesterday sent me another e-mail this morning.

    I "think" I know the answer to this but want to ask the forum their thoughts. He "says" he has a potential for a 40 hr. week job (which he has NEVER had in his life) but he'd need tolls and gas because it's in the next town. Even with that information he calls me a big fat nosed troglodyte (which I had to look up). Usually he calls me a :censored2:, whore, shriveled up v*%@*a so he's expanding on his vocabulary.

    Even with all this I think, is this the time I won't help him that he'd finally get on his feet and be able to get out of the cold and help himself?

    Am I not being realistic or falling back into the "trap"?
  2. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Hmm...sounds like my son. He called me a "dumb b**ch whore" last night when he texted me to tell me he was blocking me after I sent a text yesterday morning.

    Who asks for a favor and at the same time insults the person they're asking?
    I guess it sounds a little fishy to me, but in the end, we have to do what we can live with. The hope that "this time" will be THE ONE that begins to transform their lives is a trap, and it's hard to tell at times whether they are being honest or just manipulating.
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  3. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    If he really wants this job he will work out a way to get there. Once you set boundaries they start working on different ways to try and make you drop them again. This is a manipulation. Don't fall for it. He's an adult who needs to figure out how to make his own way in the world. I'm happy to support my daughter in any number of ways when she's being responsible and respectful. Otherwise, fuggedaboutit!!! And please don't feel guilty. I'm sure you've provided support in every way possible previously to no avail.
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  4. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    That's my concern. There's always manipulation involved and I never know what the "truth" is. I would never speak to someone the way he speaks to me and then think they'd help me in any way shape and form.

    I'm a lot stronger but I suppose this is similar to what I learned from living with an alcoholic. I learned I too was "sick" from the disease so I expect I too am sick from the enabling/triggers/repetitive wrong behaviors/rescue mode/fear/obligation/guilt.

    I appreciate your advice and support.
  5. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    He is expecting a lot of money. And he is probably lying. Does he ever tell you the truth? Ever? Does he have a history of keeping jobs? I don't believe him just like I could not believe my daughter.

    Did he give you a company name, address, person who interviewed him, detailed description of the job? Hours? Something you can check.

    Kay would go ballistic if I asked for details because she was lying. Your son will tell the truth or get nothing from me. But If it were me, where I am now, I would not do it, not believe or trust it. He has not changed. He is still abusing you. Horrible names! And why would he be able to land a good 40 hour a week job with no resume?

    You need to do what you do, but without details I would say no and assume that Kay wanted cash for drugs. And your son probably does too. Yes, I am cynical if the kids give us no reason not to be. All our money never helps them. They don't use it to get a leg up. They lie. They buy pot or heroin or alcohol. We go broke. They swear at us. Rinse. Repeat.

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Doesn't happen. Wish it did.

    I hate to answer this way. But I have learned to speak my mind. And I don't trust kids who never were trustworthy and who abuse us for loving them. Why isn't he happy for landing this alleged job and why doesn't he act nicely if he in any way is ready to change? I think he is the same.

    On the nth percent chance he is actually being honest, which is a stretch, he can park his car closer to this job. He doesn't need to stay a town away. All in all, I think it sounds suspicious.

    God bless you whatever you do.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
  6. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    With my daughter when she was in a bad space I didn't even worry about the truth. In fact, I usually assumed she was lying. I didn't call her out on it or get in argument about if she was lying or not. I just knew she was lying.
  7. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...


    He did give me the name of the place and the town it was in but often times when he'd say he "had" a job he meant he "knew of one". I am not engaging in conversation with him at all so I don't want to reply and ask specific questions to lead him to think if he gives me "good" legitimate sounding answers that I'll help.

    He has a bad history with jobs. Even when he wasn't living in his car. He only keeps them 3-6 months due to some issue with "other" people. It's never his fault and someone is always doing him wrong. Also, I have never seen him hold down a 40 hr. a week job. His jobs are usually part -time and he never gets a second one to cover his expenses.

    I really don't think at this time he does drugs but he still thinks it's my obligation as his mother to support him in any way shape or form. He most definitely feels "entitled".I feel like if I help just one more time...I'm opening up pandora's box. I'm opening myself up to more contact with him and from what I've been reading I should wait to engage in a "relationship" with the abuser/person only after I have seen sustained changes in them. If and when that ever happens.
  8. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    I wouldn’t help anyway, or even respond, after he called me a troglodyte! But on top of that, it sounds to me like he is trying to tell you what he thinks you want to hear in hopes of getting some money because the usual tactics aren’t working anymore. I agree with the others; if it’s the great opportunity he is claiming and he really does want to do it, he would find a way to get there. Gas and tolls are not insurmountable obstacles to a 30-year-old man. Plus, if I am remembering correctly, isn’t he living in his car? Why can’t he park his car closer to this job?
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  9. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    I think I would just tell him you are not going to talk to him when he talks to you that way. Dont discuss if you will or wont help him while he is calling you names. Next time he calls and starts being abusive hang up on him. My son also gets this way and I no longer talknto him when he is speaking to me that way. I hang up on him. He has learned over time. If my son wants something from me he is very nice about it. The times he tends to get berbally abusive is when he doesnt get what he wants.
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  10. RN0441

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

    I'm so sorry. I agree that I would not do anything for someone that talks to me or emails me or texts me nasty things.

    I just would not. Don't feel guilty. Don't help out. Go get a pedicure or do something wonderful for yourself.

    Let him stew in the evil he spews.
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  11. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    Everyone else gave better advice than me. The enabler in me still likes them to prove they are changing. But I would not let Kay talk to me that way anymore. I would also hang up. He is old enough to figure it out if its its true.
  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I have a few thoughts on this exchange.

    One way to look at it is this: His addiction is getting "something" from you. And your addiction is complying... The thing that he gets (and you give) is neither here nor there. The result you seek is to not give out the "thing" whatever it is. To break the association he has that his bad behavior towards you can elicit a certain result. This process is called "extinguishing" a behavior. But in reality, you are not responsible nor do you have control over whether or not he is abusive. You only need to not be his target.

    When you start evaluating whether or not what he says is "true" or whether or not what he wants will "help him" down the road, you have lost focus. Whether or not this "thing" will work in his life, whether or not he speaks truth or not, is not the issue. At least, they are NOT your issues. They are his. To focus upon his behavior, his life, takes over responsibility for him. How is this your business?

    All you have responsibility for is you. You are working hard to get out of this cycle of abuse. Which to me is the real issue.

    Every.single.interaction involving this son is abusive. And yet you continue to communicate with him.

    There are mechanisms to block texts, emails, phone calls, and visits. Do you understand that you control whether or not his abusive communications enter your space? That by not blocking him, you have made a decision to permit this? Is YOUR addiction receiving abuse from him? Or not stopping abuse? Is this really what this is about?
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
  13. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    First of all Busy, I just want to say I appreciate the way you speak right from the hip. You pull no punches and tell it like it is. Sometimes, it stings a little bit but I get over it. It usually stings just because you're hitting a nerve and causing me to confront the issue. Don't change a thing.

    Copa, you have given me a lot to think about. I have only been able to layer by layer block him. I don't know why I couldn't do it all at once. I'm on the final piece which is my work e-mail. With our software the only way I can block him is by sending his e-mails into my delete folder. I'm not sure why I still go to look for them. I don't understand. Do I feel on some level I deserve his punishment? I don't know. But I do appreciate your input and I'm going to give this a lot of thought.

    I want so bad to get better but it would appear I self-sabotage at times.
  14. RN0441

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


    We know you love your son(s). I'm sure they know it too. Maybe you're accepting of it because you feel that any contact is better than no contact?

    I don't think that loving someone means that you have to let them abuse you. I don't think that's a good lesson for your son(s) either.

    Don't feel you have to do this because you love him. I just do not think it's good for our own heart to let someone "talk" to us like this.
  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    It doesn't matter why you do it or don't stop. This self-examination leads us to self-punishment and paralysis. The important thing, to me, is to become aware of it and to realize there is a choice.

    All of us, I think, have a hard time with this.

    I don't think this is self-sabotage.

    I think my post was harsh. It's not our fault when our children mistreat us. If I implied you are responsible for being hurt by him, I was wrong. He is responsible for what he does.

    But we are responsible for protecting ourselves. That is our responsibility. I want to put what I wrote in another way. What we are addicted to with our family members, who may be our kids, is to their love. To wanting their love, wanting them to love us, wanting to love them. You must look at those emails, believing on some level that this next email will contain what you seek, yearn for, want. Every.single.time. it contains hurtful venom.

    It is not your fault that he is so mean to you. You don't deserve it. You deserve love. You deserve his love. You deserve to be able to love him without being hurt by him.

    But there is a reality that must be faced. When you open yourself up to him--love does not happen--great pain and degradation happens. It's like a pod that has a false membrane, a membrane that presents as the possibility of love, and when it is pricked--it's toxic poison. And even though for the last 1000 times you have been presented with the lying, deceptive pod, that falsely presents itself as the possibility for love, it has revealed toxic poison, you continue to hope. We all of us do.

    It's not your fault. All of us deceive ourselves for love. The thing to remember, I think, is that it's not about your son. His lying. His future. His present. His possibilities or probabilities. All of that is his business. His responsibility. Not yours.

    It's that every pod you see, to you, is the possibility of loving. And every single time it's not. All of the rest of it, is either meaningless or your son's business. Not yours.

    This is NOT your fault. It's about accepting the reality of what you see and know. There is nothing missing in you. There is nothing wrong in who you are or what you do. All of you is perfect. Nothing needs to change. It's awakening to what you know. It's paying attention to what you feel.
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    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
  16. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member


    I think that you continue to look at the texts/emails and answer calls because you hope that “this time” will be different.

    We all want that.

    Sometimes it even happens.

    Don’t beat yourself up. It’s human nature.
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  17. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    Just tell him to park as close as possible to the job site. He doesn't stay at the shelter, so there is no reason why he cannot park closer.
  18. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    No, your reply was not harsh. I am like a sponge trying to soak up everything I can to get better. I didn't take your words to imply that I was responsible for being hurt by him.

    I have been in therapy for two years (and I value my therapist) but it has never been put to me like this. You're absolutely right. I yearn so badly for his love and to be able to love him back but he is like a porcupine waiting to prick me or a cobra waiting to bite me every single time. It is hard to stop hoping and praying it will be different "the next e-mail".

    I see. I need to just accept that he has not changed and then I'm back to what I know that the only person I can change is myself.

    This has been very insightful and another step in my growth.
  19. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    I'm trying not to engage in dialogue with him and/or to offer him any advice. It always comes back to bite me. I'm trying to let him figure things out for himself.
  20. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    You know he has not changed. You knew it before you opened that email.

    I think that a changed son will not arrive through an email. How he will arrive, I'm not sure.

    But I guess I think that the love we seek is ultimately not in these pods, not in these people. I am coming to believe that for me, it will not come from anything external, but in coming into relationship with something in myself, that heretofore has been insufficiently expressed.

    I think for me I put my son's name on this ineffable feeling or yearning. But what happens is that children grow up and they no longer want to be responsible to carry their mother's deep need and yearning.

    I think this is part of their anger and their power over us. This is hard stuff. At least it is for me.