"Friends"...why is it so hard to get away from them?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Lil, Nov 2, 2014.

  1. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    I would like to say a better title would have been : difficult child's .............Why is it so hard to get away from them.
    If you go back and re-read your previous posts: If any "friend" had lied and stolen so much to either of you, would you call that person a "friend", No, you would b saying: "Who"? Please understand that is the point people are trying to advise you on. There still seems to be both excuses of the "why" help needs to be given and way too much interest in the "how" the difficult child is doing on a daily basis.

    Only time and distance will allow you to see the whole picture. Will he mature out of it? You just don't know. However, if you keep responding to every cry for help he may never outgrow his tendencies and then you can get "stuck" for life. Much less painful to go ahead and rip off the bandage now!
  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    2much, you sure said it.

    If my son wasn't my son, I'd run from him. We would not even have a relationship.
  3. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I guarantee you, ours would LOVE for us to make things easy for him. If he could stay home and have us supply him with money and a car while he ran around and smoked pot and sat on his butt all day, he'd be in hog heaven.

    But we did kick him out! He is at a homeless shelter and has been gone 9 days, without a penny of our money and no car. We've talked to him about going to the shelter, taken him there and taken him his warm clothes. That's it. (Well okay, on the way to take his clothes we did buy him $2 worth of corn dogs from Sonic and told him not to ask for food again). We said no to him coming home to "talk". We said no to J-1's requests. I have not even texted him to ask how he's doing!

    I guess I just don't get this. Other than what I said above, we haven't helped him. We don't have any intention of helping him. I haven't initiated contact with him...he's called or texted us.

    Aren't we supposed to care that he's alive and well and figuring things out? Because that's not something I can turn off.

    I'm not trying to have a relationship with his "friends". There's a reason that word is in quotes. The point of the thread was because I just wanted to vent about how he doesn't seem to be able to get away from them.
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    There is a really easy way for him to get away from them... but he has to want to. The "easy" way? Change. Become a different person, and the old friends drift away, and different people are attracted to you. But YOU (in this case, he) has to change first.
  5. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    Lil, you are a mom, of course you can't turn off how you feel. What is being suggested is to let things run it's course and only then will you see if you are having "just way immature" behavior or long term difficult child problems. Trust me I have been there. I still very much love my child but don't like her or have contact with her because it is to hurtful to me. Meaning, I still feel like a mom but it isn't in MY best interest to be around her or be in contact with her.
    Sometimes we just have to let go of the reigns and let be what will be. Let go and let God as Al-Anon and other groups say.

    Change your telephone numbers if you need to but trust me, from all that both you and your husband have been through you need to go through at least a time period where there is NO CONTACT and leaving that up to difficult child never works as they always have "one more problem" they need help with which leads to the next time, and so it goes.

    I think most of the people on this board understand the painfulness of you having to let go. At least I am here to help you to understand that by letting go now you have real hope that he can pull himself together and find his true self without having to play games, lie and steal from the people who love him the most. It is absolutely heartbreaking to have to walk away from our own children. Just kicking your difficult child son out has led to your anxiety and trying to find the smallest wiggle room to both be done with him keep the door open. What I am saying: in order to get yourself ready for what could be a very long period of time, it is time to cut the cord to any problems, not just the money/things/lying, but the true: we WON'T deal with your stealing and lying so you are out on your arse, even for the "emotional support". Give a difficult child an inch, and you soon find yourself in for the mile.

    At the end of the day, the question you are asking is "what can we do to help him" and I think most people are reading that between the lines, even though you are unable to see it. And I think, again that is because of the anxiety of "being forced" to put him out of the house. Nobody here ever said you needed to remove him from your house, you could have found a way to tolerate your difficult child and not kicked him out. However, in my humble opinion you found the strength to do the right thing for you and your husband by kicking out a thief and a liar. The nest logical step is to let go and see what happens and let it happen.

    I think you just keep stopping from staying uninvolved because, really, really, it is more painful for you to let go than it is to your difficult child.

    Hope this helps you to understand that going No Contact is both a gift you give yourself and your difficult child.
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  6. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    MWM, we know what we need to do. Or more specifically, what we need NOT to do. Its just harder for Lil to accept than me. Part of it is occupational hazzard for both of us. We both have jobs that place us in an authoritarian role where Lil's job involves guiding where mine is more do this or else. I truly understand that most of what he tells us is a lie but having seen the interaction up front and personal when J-1 lived with us for a bit, in this case I'm inclined to believe our difficult child. On the same note, I also acknowledge that its something that HE needs to deal with. We know for a fact that J-1 has SERIOUS anger management issues and has no problem dragging others with him while he implodes. Oh, he will appologize profusely later but the damage will be done. That is the real concern we have here. We just have to figure out how to stay out of the drama.
  7. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    What Jabber said.

    The fact is...I don't think either of us want to shut all lines of communication. I don't think literally changing our phone numbers and never speaking to him at all is where we are. Maybe we should be. Maybe we should just shut him out of our lives completely. But I don't think that's doable just yet. Maybe it's the holidays coming. Maybe it's just that...this is the FIRST time we've ever shown him we're serious...It seems wrong to have been lenient and then suddenly just basically disown him.

    But we have already told our son if he wants us to meet with his counselor, we will. He's still our son. Short of trying to murder one of us, I can't think of much that would make us go totally no-contact. Not initiate contact, yes. Not get in the middle of his business, yes. Not help even if he asks, sure. But not even allow him to contact us at all? I don't think we can do that.

    Maybe Jabber disagrees with me.
  8. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    "No contact" may not be desirable outcome for all parents. For me it would be about the second worst outcome with my kid (him being dead would be the worst.) I have had a "no contact" phase with other troubled loved one in my life, in fact several phases, some lasting over a decade, some just few years, and while some of those times have been necessary, they have never been a gift. They have been lesser of two evils or option with least cost for me personally or damage control, but always that has come with huge cost to me too and also for him (though he hasn't always been that aware of the cost because his personality disorder, serious drug and alcohol addictions and other issues that have made him less than aware.) Currently we are back in contact and while it comes with the cost (and cost is likely to go up again in some time in future, it always does with him) gains of having that contact tremendously outweigh the costs. Of course to get there, I have had to get to stronger footing with myself, so that I can bear the costs that come with associations with him. But if I couldn't handle the costs, I wouldn't get the gains either. But this is of course is personal choice and also depends from the situation. But 'No Contact' certainly isn't the best answer for all.

    However, learning to say no to his friends, and finding better friends, is something your son has to learn to do now that he is an adult. If he asks for your advice, those tend to be cheap to give, but while it was a good idea to play the bad guy when he was still a kid, he is an adult now and has to learn to handle it on himself. For many it is very difficult thing to learn. My difficult child has also struggled with it a lot. He was severely bullied as a kid and didn't really have any friends till later teens, so he has been eager to do about anything just so that someone would be friendly with him. He did have some 'friends' who were bad influence at his teens, but because of difficult child's life situations, most people he has hanged out after that have been so called good kids. That of course haven't stopped them taking advantage of the difficult child and his inability to stand his ground. He was almost twenty when he was able to tell the friend no for the first time, and I have to say he needed a lot of coaching to do so from people around him, who were not trying to take advantage of him and were worried about the situation. Me or my husband were not involved in that 'coaching' but professionals helping him and some of his older friends and acquaintances who were worried about his welfare.

    Your son may need some guidance to learn to sort this kind of things out, but it is healthier, if it doesn't come from you. Does he recognize he has a problem with managing his life? Is there possibility to have counselling available for him in any way or form with affordable cost for him (or you if it would be something you would be willing to help him with)? Would he consider it an option?

    This is not something you can do for him, but sometimes things like this can be something parents can assist their adult children to acquire tools to learn to handle it on their own.
  9. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    Sorry Honey, but I have to call shennanigans here. You need to quit GPSing him to see if he is at the shelter or not. They are right in that we need to butt completely out of his life for a while and let him sort it out. On that note though, input on how long would be helpful. I know that he needs to start sorting this out himself. He has never dealt well with adversity or even simply minor snags and the only way for him to figure this out is for him to HAVE to figure it out.

    Seriously though, suggestions on a minimum no contact would be greatly appreciated.

    Honey, I dont necessarily disagree with you. Im just open to the option that maybe we are doing something wrong. I am not fond of the thought of severing all contact with him for a while but if the only time he contacts us is when he has a problem for us to fix, we might want to consider it.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2014
  10. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    He has acces to a counselor through us as well as through the shelter. He was seeing one before we kicked him out.
  11. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Depends what you aim for with 'no contact'-time. If you hope he will learn and change because of it, I think you better prepare to few years for him to maybe grow up and getting to his feet and then, depending his personality, few more years or maybe a decade to get over his hurt feelings over it. If he gets kids earlier, that could make the time shorter. Could be longer. I have a friend who is now in his 23th year of refusing contact with his parents (or father in this point, his mother died few years ago) after they cut it for a year and tried to re-establish it then. Yes, this friend is a bit hard-headed and certainly not a softy, nor inclined to forgive easily, but he is in every retrospect law-abiding and contributing citizen with a good job, family of his own etc. Haven't been what would be considered a difficult child in about twenty years while he was difficult and troubled when his parents did start no-contact. When parent announces no contact for whatever reason, it is hurtful for a kid, child or adult.

    If he doesn't get on his feet, or you are not waiting till that before re-establishing the contact, he is much more likely to be available to contact with you when ever you wish to re-establish it.

    'No contact' is not a relationship or parenting tool you use to change the other person. It is a tool to protect yourself, when you have no other options. It comes with the huge price and is not something you can revise in whim.

    Good to hear. Maybe then advising him to talk with the counsellor about how to manage relationships with friends the next time he tries to involve you with those? As in: "Sorry, we can't help you with that. You are an adult now. You have to learn to deal with these issues yourself. Maybe you could talk with your counsellor about how to manage problematic relationships with friends."
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2014
  12. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I have gone "low contact," never no contact. It's not hard. Just only talk to difficult child when he is being pleasant and make it a condition. He can't be asking for anything or trying to gaslight you or guilt you out. My son knows that if he makes demands of me, yells at me, swears at me or talks nonsense about the past, I will gently hang up. He doesn't do it as often as he used to. There is an improvement. I do understand why some have to go "no contact." If they may kill you or steal your life savings without remorse...those types of things...I know I could not stay in contact with a child of mine who cared so little for our well being he/she did that unless there was a sincere attempt at restitution. That is NOT a relationship. Not in any normal sense.

    Yes, "no contact" is protection for us. Most of us here are not trying to change our adult children beecause it can't be done. We are here to support one another and to learn to find peace and happiness in spite of the poor choices of our grown children. Most of us have been lied to, stolen from, been assaulted, etc. from our grown kids and feel we deserve to live a good life and not fret over out grown kids who are not doing anything to improve. I think we are mostly on that page. That does not include mean we go no contact, but it is certainly an option, especially if the violation has been lethal and the adult child has no feelings for us. Yes, it happens just as some parents care nothing for their children and neglect them or abuse them. My mother hated me...everyone knows that. Nobody knows why. I was sorry only t hat I did not cut off contact sooner than I did. I literally kissed her feet to get her to love me. Guess what? It didn't work. She slapped me from the grave. Not every situation turns out this way, but it's not that uncommon either.

    Family isn't always a love affair. There are sociopaths who can't feel love at all. And some of us gave birth to kids like that. In that case it is dangerous to have any contact with them and there is no payoff.

    If a difficult child is tolerable and if the parents are willing to have them at home, that is fine. I think we are talking about far worse than that for the most part here.

    There is nothing wrong with protecting ourselves rather than giving our lives for grown children who really don't care anything about our needs. Yes, it is a choice, but if you are living in hurt and pain and despair, it is a good decision.
  13. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Now you know very well I only did that on a whim because of the Criminal Minds episode and it wasn't so much checking up on him as just saying, "my kid's not down in a hole like those kids". In fact, I hadn't GPS'd him except for the day we talked to the pastor! You did it first!

    So fine, I just uninstalled the app. Better?

    Honey, how have we NOT been out of his life? Have we called him? Have we done anything other than take him to the shelter and then take him his clothes? What else have we done that I don't remember? The Monday after he left I reminded him by text he has free counseling and that if he wanted any stuff I'd put it on the porch. I texted him when J-1 asked me to, and I texted his counselor's phone number and asked him what he wanted us to pack on Thursday. I haven't even told him I forwarded the student loan email, because I figured since the payments don't start til January I can just mention it next time he contacts us. Other than the day we called him to talk to him about the shelter, I have not called him. You have spoken to him more than I have.

    Let me be perfectly clear here: Years? Decades? I would rather DIE! Period.

    Okay...I guess not literally. He's a selfish, spoiled, manipulative liar. I am perfectly aware of this. But I can't imaging any situation other than him going totally nuts and becoming a danger to my life that I would disown my son and refuse all contact with him for years. NOT going to happen.
  14. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    This is far more reasonable.
  15. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I want to add, that every time I have initiated 'no contact' with my troubled loved one I have needed to do it with, I have recognized that it is very potential option, that this was it. That I would never again be in contact with him. That only contact with him would be, that the police will call and inform me about his death as his next of kin. It hasn't turned out like that and we have been able to re-establish contact, but that has been something I have been ready for. If I hadn't, I would never had gone that far.
  16. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Then 'No Contact' is not something you are ready at this point. As I said, I would not be ready for it with m6y son either in almost any event.

    You can limit contact (many do a breakfast or an afternoon coffee once a week in some café to meet, or calling or texting only certain time or whatever works for them) or you can put boundaries within the contact (respectful behaviour, not asking anything or telling you are sure they can figure it out themselves, when they do ask, only calling sober and so on), but if you are not willing to call the relationship quits for good, do not do 'no contact.'
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
    • List
  17. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    You can set a time for him to contact you. You can limit the length of the calls. You can specify what can be talked about. It is up to you not him.

    Emergencies will be dealt with at the shelter. They have warm clothing, toiletries and can arrange for health care and transportation.

    If the phone conversations are friendly and respectful, no problem. I have stepped in one time since my son got locked up and that was due to the negligence of staff to report an incident of abuse because they helped it to happen.
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
    • List
  18. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    Sorry Honey, wasnt trying to upset you or deny that I had done that as well. And no, other than the student loan thing you havent contacted him. I should have talked to you about this before posting it and I'm sorry. After posting it I was worried how you would take it. And I agree that cutting him off completely at this point isnt really an option. I also agree with you and MWM about "Low Contact". I really believe that he needs to figure out on his own how to deal with his own problems, difficult child "friends" included.
  19. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    Lil -- Wow. I feel you here. "Friends" (which one often wonders about a difficult child's definition of "friends", no?).....a problem. It's an issue over here, too. Not sure why they gravitate toward harmful situations so often.

    I think difficult child's often think a "friend" is whoever can give them what they (the difficult child) needs in the next 20-min. However, if I understand your post correctly (and subsequent posts), your difficult child is trying to help another difficult child. Is that right? It's admirable, even if he's going about it the wrong way. It's a very strange place to be as difficult child matters generally seem to be dire (and laced with charged emotion -- even if there's no dire element at the time -- they just seem wired that way so often.

    I think the rest of us tend to think a "friend" is someone who there is "give and take" with......not just "take". Could be wrong on that, that's just how it seems with our difficult child so often.

    Lil -- You're smart and heartfelt at the same time. That's the best kind of combo! However, it's also a challenging combo.....walking a tightrope with our own needs and our difficult child's.

    No Contact and Low Contact. We have generally done Low Contact. However, twice we have had No Contact for 6 months each time. No Contact doesn't have to be permanent. It can be worrisome. But, honestly, it can be astoundingly refreshing -- healing for us and, interestingly, healing for our relationship with difficult child (not always, but it was for us).

    Keeping best thoughts and prayers for you and your situation, Lil.
  20. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    My personal opinion is that your son is not necessarily a true member of the difficult child life club for life yet. However, if you don't let go, he will never be able to prove this to himself - i.e. you two either. When he no longer has either one of you to 'fix" whatever it is, it forces him to try to problem resolve on his own - something I would think you would want him to know. (and why they have professionals onsite at the shelters) I personally think the term "prolonged adolescence" has it's place in today's society and could be, might be, what you are dealing with here. But until you are ready to take the training wheels off of man-hood, you will never find out. I also feel if one/both of you continue to offer "support" in any way, he is just going to escalate his antics because he isn't really getting a clear picture of what is is like to be out on his own and living the true reality that he is HOMELESS! It seems like sleep away camp from my perspective.
    In a way he does have the two of you to fall back on. And don't for a minute fool yourselves into believing he doesn't know this.

    To answer the question: No contact is for however long you feel comfortable doing it for. Only time and space, for all involved will answer whether this is a temporary problem longing for a solution or long term hell for everyone involved.

    I guess one of the points I am making is the drama inflicted on you through whatever is drama for him.

    Frankly, beyond the stealing and lying the fact that he has put himself in a situation that could be considered embarrassing for the two of you, in your community, (homelessness) tells me it is still all about HIM. Until you stop letting it be all about him.

    No contact should last as long as it needs to last to "stop feeding the beast". I bet if either of you, in your professions, heard these same kind of "situations" you would be fed up with the people involved.

    A period of NC helps YOU to understand when it's best to step in, and when it's better to let them figure it out themselves.

    Again it is too early to tell if your child will be a difficult child for life, but if you don't let him figure things out for himself, after all that you have already tried, I don't think you are giving him the opportunity to see if he can grow up on his own. It happens; you see people on here who have had difficult child problems for a long time and then the child changes for the better and others, like me, who have difficult child children for life.

    I am though, shaking my head at the fact that after all you have been through, then kicked him to the curb -THEN TAKE HIM OUT TO EAT??? Talk about mixed messages (yeah it's never going to happen again - and it's only a hot dog what-ev's) Excuses - sounds like he is living up to what you expect from him - excuses!
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • List