First time posting

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Calgary Mom, Nov 17, 2019.

  1. Calgary Mom

    Calgary Mom New Member

    Hi Everyone: new member here. A lot of your stories resonate with me. I’m newly retired, married to the love of my life for past 32 years. My 34 year old son from my first marriage gives me a lot of grief. He is an alcoholic/drug abuser who claims he’s been sober for about 4 months this time. He’s been in and out of rehab and jobs so many times I’ve lost count. Only saving grace for me is that he lives far away.

    My son had an ego the size of the earth from the time he was a young lad. He lives to manipulate people in his life and tries to make me feel like I owe him all the time. I remember very vividly one incident when he was about 10 when he was sobbing and pitching a fit because I wouldn’t give him whatever it was he wanted. In the midst of tears rolling down his face he suddenly looked up at me and burst out laughing stating “Damn,I’m good at this, aren’t I?” I remember telling my husband I would be frightened to see how he would try to manipulate any woman later on in his life, when he could turn it on/off just like a switch.

    Drove over 1,000 km to see him a couple of years ago. He said he would take me out for my birthday, but then let my husband pay for everything. Well, okay, no biggie. But the next day when I came to his home, he had his girlfriend at the time come out to tell me he “didn’t feel up to seeing me today.” WTH - I came all this way to visit and you don’t feel up for it?

    He has pestered me for money continuously over the last 3 - 4 years. I have given him money without asking for repayment on too many occasions to count. I have told him that since retiring I no longer have the same disposable income and can no longer give him money. I told him it makes me sad that every conversation he has with me always ends up with him asking for money. I feel like if I’m not giving him money, he probably would never call or text me. He promised me last week that he would stop asking. But sure enough today, just when I was hopeful that we were having a nice conversation with no mention of money, up it comes again. Only this time he has the audacity to tell me he is going to help ME by paying me a high rate of interest when he borrows and that this will help my retirement cash flow! I told him I have zero interest in being a loan shark and that he would not be able to repay me given the number of calls I get from collection agencies looking for him. He got really angry, ranted about how “unlike my ex-fiancée I can’t just flash my pussy and get a new man to take care of me” and how I “have no idea the things I have had to do to survive”. He came into over $250k at age 18 when his dad died and blew it all on partying, booze and drugs. But I should hand over everything I worked my whole life for because I owe it to him. He said he was angry and didn’t want to talk to me anymore.

    Today I took a step in the right direction and instead of pleading or arguing with him I simply said “okay” and hung up. He did text me later on to say he would call me later in the week but I didn’t reply. It breaks my heart to think that my only child is a narcissist who has little to no genuine love for me. But I guess it’s time I finally see him for who he really is and not who I want him to be. I’m just lucky to have an incredibly loving and supportive husband to stand by me.
  2. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Dear Calgary Mom (I copied this from the other thread where you posted)

    I'm sorry you are being put through this.

    I think the first thing that needs to happen for you and the rest of us is that we face up to reality, without flinching, which you are doing. Your son is your son. Regardless of diagnosis. He does what he does.

    That is reality.

    He knows and you know what he does and the effect. The very safe presumption is that he will keep doing it. As you say, the responsibility is your own to learn to respond in a different way.

    That he may mistreat, con, deceive, manipulate, lie, avoid responsibility, not follow through on commitments, seems to be a given.

    Whether he loves you or not, is neither here nor there. The way he treats you is NOT loving. Boundaries are not only limits that we set for others not to cross. Boundaries also exist in our own heads. So that we don't indulge ourselves in ways that cause us pain. When we are not treated with love by our adult children, who are self-absorbed and self-serving, we feel very sad. We need to work very hard to avoid this. It doesn't help us or them. Many of us spend valuable time trying to fix our kids. You seem beyond that. Good for you.

    I think the next steps for you are setting limits so that communications and contacts with your son are not so damaging. This requires, too, that your thinking changes, about you, him and your life.

    Learning to turn to people who value you, do things that give you pleasure, think in ways that reinforce strength and well-being, and to not indulge feelings that are undermining and make you feel bad. Many of us turn to spirituality, exercise, therapy, 12 step groups, art, friends, etc. to bolster well-being and meaning in our lives, as an antidote to the stress we feel with our children, but also to come to experience ourselves as greater, more and deeper than our customary roles.

    Others will be around shortly. I want to welcome you to the site, and hope you continue to post. It helps.
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  3. MissLulu

    MissLulu Active Member

    Hi Calgary Mom,
    I just wanted to say welcome to the forum. I’m new too and struggling with a 23 year old son with multiple problems. I’ve found this forum to be a great comfort and I hope you will too.
  4. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    I'm up at night a lot. I have been able to push my sadness about my daughter behind me during the day but not always at night. So I don't sleep well.

    Our retirement is pretty much gone because of our daughter. We cut off the money flow but it's too late. My daughter will only talk to me if I support her, which my husband and I stopped doing.

    We never dreamed it would be this way.

    Blessings and I am so very sorry.
  5. louise2350

    louise2350 Active Member

    Hi Calgary Mom: I, too, just joined this forum not long ago. I hope you receive much support from the members here, which I'm sure you will and I think from reading your post, you are giving your son the right response even though since he is your son, it is difficult to do. Good luck and I hope things do improve for you. Also, it's great that you have support from your husband over all of this so you don't feel so alone.
  6. Blindsided

    Blindsided Face the Sun

    Welcome Calgary mom. My daughter is 41, an alcoholic, doesnt work, took every penny of the extra money I made as a writer, after retirement. She lives from couch to couch in another state.

    When I quit writing I had to quit giving her my money. Thousands upon thousands that ultimately went to casinos. There was absolutely no remorse on her part. Instead, I was abused horribly. That is when I knew for certain I was in over my head.

    Starting about 5 years ago, with help of therapy, I began the detachment process (emotional detachment). I struggled a lot and put my own health at risk because I was trying to manage with my heart instead of my head. After reading several really good books, in my signature line, and finding this wonderful group of people, I have made headway.

    We want to change it, but we cant change anybody but ourselves. The money never goes where we think it does. It only supports their destructive behavior. I hold onto that and reject thoughts of what might be. I am learning to live in the moment, in reality.

    Again welcome. Love and light
  7. Calgary Mom

    Calgary Mom New Member

    Thanks for the list of books. I’ll be checking some of these out. I appreciate your kind words.
  8. RN0441

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


    Please take care of yourself and enjoy your life with your husband. Count your blessings.

    We all struggle here with our adult children's decisions. We all love them very much and pray they find their way. In the meantime, we cannot let them abuse us.

    Keep the faith!
  9. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member


    If he had spoken to me that way, he would have had to get stitches.
  10. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member can not say that. You do not know. Not unless it has happened to you with a full grown kid. I don't know that you have experienced this but is not helpful or likely how you would react. It is what we all hear from people who never ever really lived through this horror story.

    Some of our kids would beat us first. They are adults on drugs. I promise you, you would not do what you said to a 34 year old grown man who is troubled. And possibly intoxicated.

    Granted, his words were awful, but we can't stop them. We can only decide whether to listen to them or to shut them out. They are not six years old at a candy store and still under our control. I know you didn't mean harm, but it gets so old hearing solutions that do not work from those who do not deal with these kids (who are fully grown and angry).
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
  11. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Welcome. The others have given you great advice.
    A few things stand out in my mind.
    1. He’s 34!!!
    2. You are retired.
    3. He is ungrateful and irresponsible and disrespectful.
    4. You have come to realize this and don’t want to be burden by this situation any further.

    How wonderful that you are now setting limits and boundaries. Read everything you can on this topic. If he is hard up for money in a serious way and you are concerned for his well being, you can email him a detailed list of phone numbers for social services like for food welfare type things that he might qualify for and apply for. That’s about it.

    Take care of yourself! It’s your time now. Past time, really.

    Be well.
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    Last edited: Nov 19, 2019
  12. overcome mom

    overcome mom Member

    Calgary Mom. I know exactly how you feel, I do the same thing . I play all the different scenarios in my head of what could go wrong what he should do. I was just going through my computer organizing and started to read through a bunch of things that related to my son. Letters to schools, judges, counselors and to him while he was in treatment, or jail .It hit me like a brick that nothing really has changed, that no matter what we have done or the terrible things he has put himself through have changed his behavior. He seems to have gotten a little better controlling his temper but in some ways I wonder if he has just become a better manipulator. I too have felt the guilt for a long time but I am getting over it. Since he has been out of the house things have been a bit better. Even now when I go on vacation it helps relive some of the worry as , I still dread the phone calls asking for money. I guess I feel I have an excuse not to answer my phone not that I should need one. I always hope for the best but am trying to be realistic that he may never change much . I am 64 and I don't want my last years full of constant worry,fear and concern that over takes me and makes me unable to find joy in my life.
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  13. ChickPea

    ChickPea Active Member

    I'm struggling with a 28 year old daughter. I find comfort, advice, and camaraderie here. I hope you do, too.
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  14. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    I relate to the pain you are feeling .From what you describe, I would guess that your son is an addict. His compulsion to use overrides everything else in his life. He will throw his own Mother under the bus in order to feed his disease.

    I read something yesterday that is a summary of Al-Anon's message (Al-Anon is a support group for family members of alcoholics and addicts and has helped me tremendously in the last 3 years), in my view. It is by Marcus Aurelius , one of the stoics:" Stop caring what others think. Stop caring what others do. Stop caring what others feel." It is the secret to tranquility.

    I am 52. I have to ask myself how much longer I will be on the planet. If this was my last day, would I want to engrossed in someone else's disease or my own well-being? I devoted 24 years to child-rearing. Now is my time. To make me feel good. To live full on.

    Your son will find his way best if you do exactly what you have started to do: set boundaries, say no to any requests for money (no is a complete sentence) , and be less available .I no longer listen to threats, accusations, raised voices, definitions of my character, or name calling. I just walk away.

    Tending to ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually will pay the largest dividends on life. Our most important relationship throughout our lives (after a Higher Power for those who believe in something greater than themselves) is with ourselves .I find when I nurture that and put the full focus on myself, I find joy and contentment .

    One thing I can do for others is to pray for them. To hold them to their highest good in my mind (because our thoughts are prayers) and allow something larger than me to take care of them (life itself).

    Sending love and light to you!
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  15. Calgary Mom

    Calgary Mom New Member

    I love what you said about “no” being a complete sentence. I definitely have to remember that as I always find myself trying to justify why I’m saying no and then being angry that I felt any explanation was necessary.
  16. Calgary Mom

    Calgary Mom New Member

    Update to my previous post: first and foremost, thank you to all who reached out to me in support and with advice. It’s very empowering to hear from others in the same or similar situations as you understand like no others can.

    My son reached out to me a few days after I disengaged with him after his angry outburst. He apologized (which he very seldom does) and told me he was off his medications for bipolar due to an error between his doctor, the pharmacy and the social agency that covers the costs. Normally I would have volunteers to call the pharmacy with my credit card, but I didn’t do that. Instead I asked him what his plan to rectify the situation was and let him sort it out for himself. He was able to come up with a viable plan on his own. He told me he is sorry for the vile things he said and called me and said he believes himself to be mentally ill. I told him I loved him and thanked him and ended the call.

    I know that there will be other bad days in the future, but I feel better already about taking this new approach - loving him, but making him deal with his issues by himself. The support you have shown me made this possible, so thanks again.
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  17. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Calgary Mom. I'm just getting caught up here. If you read my signature you will get a good idea of what I have dealt with.

    I think you have made some very healthy choices to detach from your son. Detaching does not mean that we no longer love our children it just means that we will no longer allow them to manipulate us.

    Something that really helped me when I was detaching from my son was to have some basic standard answers for when he would ask for money.
    Son: Mom, you need to help me. I need money for "whatever crisis he's in"
    Mom: I'm not able to help you.
    Son: You have to help me!
    Mom: I'm not able to help you.
    Son: If you loved me you would help me. I know you have the money. I'll pay you back, I promise!!!!
    Mom: Someones at the door, gotta run. Love you! Bye.

    The key to all of this is not engage into a debate. One thing I never do is say "I'm sorry, but I can't help you" I never offer an apology as there is nothing to apologize for.
    My son is also a master at manipulation and I've learned to not engage into a debate/argument. He is really good at talking in circles and leaves me feeling dizzy!
    We do not owe our adult children any kind of explanation as to why we will not give them money or come to their rescue. They are adults and should be dealing with their own issues.

    You are doing great!! Keep posting and reading what others have to say. You got this!!
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  18. JMom

    JMom Active Member


    I am so very proud of you for taking up for yourself! It feels good every once in a while to put yourself first.

    I think it's ok to allow our kids to be the ones who are sad, mad, worried or whatever. Why should we always be the ones walking on eggshells or feeling put out?

    Bravo. Do it again. Feel better! I feel your struggle in your words. I am praying for you and for your kiddo to be kind to you.

    I'm glad you're here.