Glad I found this group

rjrodgersblue

New Member
Hello,
I googled 'should I bail my adult son out of jail' this past Wednesday, and found this group. I knew what I needed to do (not bail him out) but this is extremely difficult for me to do and I needed to hear other's stories so that I would have the willpower I need. My son was arrested at 1:38 a.m. Wednesday morning, and the reasons are so bizarre, I have to call it a stunt. However, we went way too far and now has a couple of very serious felony charges against him. My sadness comes from the death of what I envisioned for his future -- his life will be so difficult going forward.
I have a supportive husband and family and I know I will get through this. Just every so often, a wave of grief washes over me that is so powerful, it takes my breath away.
Thanks to you all for your stories.
 

skittles

Active Member
Hello,
I googled 'should I bail my adult son out of jail' this past Wednesday, and found this group. I knew what I needed to do (not bail him out) but this is extremely difficult for me to do and I needed to hear other's stories so that I would have the willpower I need. My son was arrested at 1:38 a.m. Wednesday morning, and the reasons are so bizarre, I have to call it a stunt. However, we went way too far and now has a couple of very serious felony charges against him. My sadness comes from the death of what I envisioned for his future -- his life will be so difficult going forward.
I have a supportive husband and family and I know I will get through this. Just every so often, a wave of grief washes over me that is so powerful, it takes my breath away.
Thanks to you all for your stories.
oh my what memories this brings back to me. I know exactly how you feel. My son did 5 years fir an armed home invasion, it was nearly two years before i could bring my self to tell his grandmother or anyone outside my immediate household, the excuses i had to make for Christmas ect. I was so ashamed and full of grief. I remember telling my doctor exactly what you said, its like the death of every dream I had of what he may become..and if my son had been ill, injured or God forbid died, I would have had support, but when your child is in prison their is no sympathy, no support, they are not sympathic figures, no one really thinks of you as grieving, angry perhaps but not grieving and yet you most definately are. I feel for you, I know how overwhelming that grief can be, but bailing him out won’t fix it, it won’t bring the future you envisioned back. He can and should do his time and where he may not have the future you envisioned, he will have A future. I sat and cried in the court room when he was sentenced to 5 years. I did not bail out my son, he sat in detention for nearly a year before his case, then they shipped him 4 hours away right from court, would not even let me hug him. I sat in that court room and watched them take him away and knew it would be at least three more years til he would be home, I have no idea how I drove home. That was nearly ten years ago, since he was released he has never been in trouble since, he has trouble maintaining employment but honeslty he would have regardless, and is working hard to get permanent custody of his children (he and i have temp custody of his five children divided between us but thats another story). So as to bailing him out, your not doing him any favours, as i said that wont fix it or assuage your grief, eventually you will cone to accept his future is his to decide you will love and accept him regardless, that is probably the best thing ypu can do for him. Good luck and stay strong. There are other websites etc for families of inmates that I found very helpful, one in particular called prisontalk.com.
 

skittles

Active Member
I also copied this for you, a mother on prison talk modified it as it was originally for loss of a loved one but the same stages apply:
7 Stages of Grief...

1. SHOCK & DENIAL-
You will probably react to learning of the imprisonment with numbed disbelief. You may deny the reality of the imprisonment at some level, in order to avoid the pain. Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks.

2. PAIN & GUILT-
As the shock wears off, it is replaced with the suffering of unbelievable pain. Although excruciating and almost unbearable, it is important that you experience the pain fully, and not hide it, avoid it or escape from it with alcohol or drugs.
You may have guilty feelings or remorse over things you did or didn't do with your loved one. Life feels chaotic and scary during this phase.

3. ANGER & BARGAINING-
Frustration gives way to anger, and you may lash out and lay unwarranted blame for the imprisonment on someone else. Please try to control this, as permanent damage to your relationships may result. This is a time for the release of bottled up emotion.
You may rail against fate, questioning "Why me?" You may also try to bargain in vain with the powers that be for a way out of your despair ("I will never drink again if you just let him out")

4. "DEPRESSION", REFLECTION, LONELINESS-
Just when your friends may think you should be getting on with your life, a long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. This is a normal stage of grief, so do not be "talked out of it" by well-meaning outsiders. Encouragement from others is not helpful to you during this stage of grieving.
During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of your loss, and it depresses you. You may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things you did with your child, and focus on memories of the past. You may sense feelings of emptiness or despair.

7 Stages of Grief...

5. THE UPWARD TURN-
As you start to adjust to life with your child in prison, your life becomes a little calmer and more organized. Your physical symptoms lessen, and your "depression" begins to lift slightly.

6. RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH-
As you become more functional, your mind starts working again, and you will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems posed by life without your child on a day to day basis. You will start to work on practical and financial problems and reconstructing yourself and your life with him or her in prison.

7. ACCEPTANCE & HOPE-
During this, the last of the seven stages in this grief model, you learn to accept and deal with the reality of your situation. Acceptance does not necessarily mean instant happiness. Given the pain and turmoil you have experienced, you can never return to the carefree, untroubled YOU that existed before this. But you will find a way forward.
7 stages of grief...
You will start to look forward and actually plan things for the future. Eventually, you will be able to think about your child/inmate without pain; sadness, yes, but the wrenching pain will be gone. You will once again anticipate some good times to come, and yes, even find joy again in the experience of living.
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
I agree with skittles. It's a bad idea to bail him out. He belongs in jail. Every day he is there he gets credits towards any potential sentence. So, he's doing time right from the start, if he stays in jail. It's facing the reality he has created. (What is served by taking him out of the mess he's created for himself?) That would be magical thinking. Like a get out of jail free card. NOT.

If it were my son I would likely help him with an attorney, but that's me. I would visit and write and accept his phone calls. I would think twice about sending a lot of money. (There's the potential for victimization.)

For men who are street smart and secure, jail can be fun. They play cards. They read all day. They hoot and holler. They exercise. I worked in prison 25 years. It's actually not that bad unless the person is vulnerable with poor boundaries. Then it can be hard.

Also, it's possible to get even felony records expunged after serving time and re-entering society. If he doesn't have a college degree, often the prisons have college, nowadays. Or there are distance classes, now, in my state. Even now, in jail, he can begin to take correspondence courses. There is a program just for prisoners. I can't remember the name. I am sorry.

I would focus on supporting him to begin to accept the reality he created and to deal with his circumstances like a man; learning to make constructive choices. He will not have access to them right away, but the Chapel, the library, exercise, and NA and AA could be great outlets.

I know if I had to go to prison or jail, I could do it. He can too. He will grow up now.

Please don't tell yourself scary stories. There is a Rabbi in Los Angeles who went to prison three times on felony convictions. And then one day he changed--through faith. When he got out he established a highly regarded drug program and congregation for people like him. Beit Tshuvah. Sometimes life has to be tough on people before they pay attention.

Please take care of yourself. You will be okay. So will he. I know it.

PS There is no certainty that he will be convicted. That makes it all the more important he learn the lessons he needs to learn by staying in jail. That's what I think.
 
Last edited:

overcome mom

Active Member
My son has been to prison twice and will probably be going back soon. I have not bailed him out but I have gotten him an attorney a couple of times. It is hard for me to tell you to or not to bail him out as I really don't know the circumstances. With my son I knew he was guilty ,thought that he was abusing drugs and we had had many , many problems with him prior to him being arrested. If any of this is the case for your son I would advise you not to bail him out.
I disagree with Copa that "jail can be fun" and' that is not that bad unless a person is vulnerable with poor boundaries. ' I too worked in a prison and with prisoner after they had been released (not as long as Copa) They do have "fun" for short periods of time, make friends, read and play cards. But they also have to live in very small space some times as small as 8x10 with 2 people. They have to go to the bathroom in front of people, be stripped search after visits, depending on the place they only get outside for a hour maybe every other day. Some prison have program for the inmates if they are lucky enough to get in them. The state we live the programs are only for those that have more than 2 years time. The worse thing I think though is the living in fear of others. You cannot choose your roommate . Many of the people in prison have mental health issues and are not stable. Even if you are assured of yourself there is always testing going on of who is going to be in power. Many of the men I worked with after their release from prison have PTSD. I could go on.
All this being said sometimes there is not another alternative. I hate that my son has gone through this and that in all likelihood will be in prison again. He is one who has not learned from being locked up but at this point there is not a good alternative for him.
I hope that your son is one that it will learn from his mistakes and do well when he is released. Like Copa said you do not know what really will happen at this point. They may plead down a lot of cases and he may get probation instead of time if this is his first conviction. Try not to imagine the worse you'll have plenty of time to worry in the future if that happens.
Good luck it all so very hard to live with.
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
I agree with Overcome Mom. Jail and prison are NOT the kinds of fun that anybody should look for. All of the things O.M says are true.

I got the idea that it could be fun for a lot of the guys, because THEY TOLD ME. From the point of view of immature, wild, idiotic young men...they can make it fun. (This is not to gloss over the horrors of it, that overcome mom aptly points out.)

For a long while, I worked in a reception center doing preliminary mental health screenings, among other things. I could see 40 men each morning. I saw slews and slews of prisoners in their 20's and then at about 29 or so, a huge dropoff. When men in their mid 30's, parole violators or those with new beefs, would come back, I would ask them, how did you stay out? It wasn't fun anymore they would say. The brains of many males don't even begin to mature until 29 or 30. I count my own son among them.

I have this tendency to be optimistic about everything...that we can't get out of. I think a positive attitude helps us survive, even thrive in adversity. I don't want this Mom to be afraid.
 

rjrodgersblue

New Member
I also copied this for you, a mother on prison talk modified it as it was originally for loss of a loved one but the same stages apply:
7 Stages of Grief...

1. SHOCK & DENIAL-
You will probably react to learning of the imprisonment with numbed disbelief. You may deny the reality of the imprisonment at some level, in order to avoid the pain. Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks.

2. PAIN & GUILT-
As the shock wears off, it is replaced with the suffering of unbelievable pain. Although excruciating and almost unbearable, it is important that you experience the pain fully, and not hide it, avoid it or escape from it with alcohol or drugs.
You may have guilty feelings or remorse over things you did or didn't do with your loved one. Life feels chaotic and scary during this phase.

3. ANGER & BARGAINING-
Frustration gives way to anger, and you may lash out and lay unwarranted blame for the imprisonment on someone else. Please try to control this, as permanent damage to your relationships may result. This is a time for the release of bottled up emotion.
You may rail against fate, questioning "Why me?" You may also try to bargain in vain with the powers that be for a way out of your despair ("I will never drink again if you just let him out")

4. "DEPRESSION", REFLECTION, LONELINESS-
Just when your friends may think you should be getting on with your life, a long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. This is a normal stage of grief, so do not be "talked out of it" by well-meaning outsiders. Encouragement from others is not helpful to you during this stage of grieving.
During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of your loss, and it depresses you. You may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things you did with your child, and focus on memories of the past. You may sense feelings of emptiness or despair.

7 Stages of Grief...

5. THE UPWARD TURN-
As you start to adjust to life with your child in prison, your life becomes a little calmer and more organized. Your physical symptoms lessen, and your "depression" begins to lift slightly.

6. RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH-
As you become more functional, your mind starts working again, and you will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems posed by life without your child on a day to day basis. You will start to work on practical and financial problems and reconstructing yourself and your life with him or her in prison.

7. ACCEPTANCE & HOPE-
During this, the last of the seven stages in this grief model, you learn to accept and deal with the reality of your situation. Acceptance does not necessarily mean instant happiness. Given the pain and turmoil you have experienced, you can never return to the carefree, untroubled YOU that existed before this. But you will find a way forward.
7 stages of grief...
You will start to look forward and actually plan things for the future. Eventually, you will be able to think about your child/inmate without pain; sadness, yes, but the wrenching pain will be gone. You will once again anticipate some good times to come, and yes, even find joy again in the experience of living.
Thank you, Skittles. I am also 57. my youngest son is the one in trouble. He was diagnosed with ADD at 5 years old, and now has a diagnosis of bipolar type 2. He has medications that help, but will not take them correctly. I have an older son who is my rock. Their father died in 2012, but I was lucky enough to reunite with an old friend in 2016 and we married in 2017. I have two stepchildren that love me and I love them. All in all, I have a large support system, but like you, am ashamed on some level although i know I did my best for both my boys -- one has an engineering degree from FSU and the other chose a life that will lead to prison. I am having trouble concentrating -- I guess that is normal. But I am ashamed to share any of this with my boss as I think it reflects poorly on me. Thanks so much for sharing.
 

BusynMember

Well-Known Member
Hi there. You poor thing. At one time in my life I would have bailed out my daughter and made sure she had the best lawyer. She escaped jail narrowly a few times (she should have been arrested but I swear being a pretty female helped her,) and I was already on the phone calling.lawyers.

I am neither optimistic or pessimistic. I feel I am able to accept reality. And i share based on my own "whatever it is it is" point of view.



My daughter is in her 30s and homeless now after we paid to get her out of any consequence she was.looking at. This went on for ten years. We see no progress in her and we are staring at significantly less retirement because we gave so much to her.


It is likely Kay will break the law now and this time end up in jail. We will not bail her out or pay for a lawyer if this happens. She has chosen this path when she had been given so many chances. Having said that, I know about the guilt. Kay is adopted and used that to make us feel that her problems are due.to that. She says she doesn't love us. I believe her. We have no hope for her and maybe we will be wrong. Certainly she has us if she turns it around. But this is unlikely. Kay's accusations that we don't love her like we should because she is adopted bring out grief and guilt in me that have me questioning myself, my life, my God, my very core self. I sure get the guilt. Nar Anon and Therapy have helped me a lot.

Since Kay has never taken advantage of our help we no longer are willing to pay her so that I feel less guilty. My husband seems to be able to shrug off Kay's accusations better than I can. He tells me that Kay needs to suffer consequences or she will never change. I have no hope but I think he has a smidgen of hope. And he wants to let her fail. Or not. Up to her.

What a rambler I am! I wish I could make it all better and dry your tears. In the end, if God is on your life, it is all up to you and Him. Nobody here has perfect answers, just our experiences.

I wish you the best. Hugs and love.
 
Just wondering your username seems a bit like your actual name? You might want to change it to protect your anonymity. Hugs to you. I pray my son never gets into the same situation, and I definitely feel some of the shame and guilt as I have had to call the police on him twice so far. It's so hard not to feel like I failed him. But that sort of thinking is vain in a way. It's putting myself in the important position of "it's my fault therefore my responsibility to fix". It's not. It's his.
 

rjrodgersblue

New Member
I'm not really worried about anonymity with folks on this site. We don't even really know where others live (plus that is similar to my name from another life). But thanks for looking out for me.
All these replies are lifting me up. Thanks everyone.
 

rjrodgersblue

New Member
Update: My son was lucky enough to get a public defender that understood his mental issues. She was able to get the court to release him for treatment. I did not bail him out. He was in jail three weeks and two days. He agrees it was a terrible experience and he does not want to go back. However, he is not out of the woods yet on his legal troubles. He has another court hearing and we will find out more at that time. I found him a psychiatric treatment facility on my insurance plan -- the best I could find. And yes, I paid the deductible so that he could get treatment. I have not seen him since he went to jail. It is the longest time I have gone without seeing him, hugging him. I have realized that I have not really been able to physically relax since this long journey began with his first suicidal ideation that landed him in a hospital under a 72 hour watch in 2014. I'm always waiting for the next disaster and it is playing havoc with headaches, neck and shoulder stiffness and pain -- all from staying in a "fight or flight" mentality, even when the day is going well.
I am proud that I didn't give in to bail him out. Things worked out about as well as they could, under the circumstances. And I give God the credit for that.
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
Hi, I am happy for you that things seem to move along positively. Especially that your son seems to be chastened by his experience and is accepting mental health treatment.

Now is the time to begin to disengage as you can so that you are no longer in crisis mode. At some point, our children need to live the lives that they can on their own two feet, without us carrying the burden. It's easier said than done but it's still true.

I hope you keep posting here. It helps.
 

Moved On

New Member
It is true that misery loves company, because I have benefitted tremendously (emotionally and mentally) SO many times from reading posts here from parents like me who have given their whole hearts and souls to adult children who move from one disaster to another.

Another thing that continues to help is this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

Some of your hurts you have cured,
and the sharpest you've even survived.
But what torments of grief you've endured,
from evils which never arrived.

It is my wish that we can all remain in the moment, taking it as it comes, as my grandmother used to say. Anything more is torture beyond endurance.
 

rjrodgersblue

New Member
It does really help to post here. My therapist asked me to keep a journal so that we can identify the things that send me into the "anxiety" that I experience on almost a daily basis. But, there is no "thing" -- it seems that over time this is my natural state of being. Tense, sometimes irritable, fearful -- and then come the headaches and neck and shoulder pain. I don't know how to get out of this cycle.
Since the COVID lockdown, I have gained weight that has made me feel even worse. I spent the money this weekend and joined an online support program called Noom that offers me a some structure for my out of control eating throughout the day. It's something that I am doing just for me.
Does anybody else feel this constant tension even when the day is going well? Or is it just me?
 

BusynMember

Well-Known Member
I used to. I couldn't sleep or eat much. I cried a lot.

Now that we have learned to lovingly detach and Kay moved half the country away, I am much calmer.


Hugs.
 

MissLulu

Well-Known Member
It does really help to post here. My therapist asked me to keep a journal so that we can identify the things that send me into the "anxiety" that I experience on almost a daily basis. But, there is no "thing" -- it seems that over time this is my natural state of being. Tense, sometimes irritable, fearful -- and then come the headaches and neck and shoulder pain. I don't know how to get out of this cycle.
Since the COVID lockdown, I have gained weight that has made me feel even worse. I spent the money this weekend and joined an online support program called Noom that offers me a some structure for my out of control eating throughout the day. It's something that I am doing just for me.
Does anybody else feel this constant tension even when the day is going well? Or is it just me?
Yes, RJ, this is me too. I'm living with constant anxiety - even when things are stable. I think I need physical distance to really have peace in my life, but that isn't likely to happen for a while yet. My son lives in the same community as me so it's hard to truly 'escape'. My husband and I are planning to move away from here when we retire, but that won't happen for a few more years yet. In the meantime, I'm focusing on living each day - keeping busy and trying not to 'project' - i.e. trying not to think about the 'what ifs'. I'm better than I was but still dealing with anxiety on a daily basis.
 

skittles

Active Member
Hi RJ, the constant anxiety even when day is going well is that ‘waiting for the other shoe to drop’..your always on guard. I tried EMDT which is a type of bilateral desensitization therapy which really helped me and antianxiety medications, u can ask your therapist about EMDT see if he/she is familiar with it. Constant anxiety is not a natural way of being, its a result of trying to control and being emeshed with people we have no control over.
 

JayPee

Sending good vibes...
RJ,
The things we have been through, our children in jail, homelessness, drugs, mentally ill, police at our door, etc., all create I think an imbedded anxiety. I exercise, eat right, pray, listen to app's like "calm" and the like and yet I always have some anxiety.

The other day I was at the gym exercising with my earbuds on and a song came on that actually startled me. Now most would just shrug that off but for me I know subconsciously I was thinking of the problems and issues with one son in particular right now and even in the midst of trying to get better, I still jumped because I'm wired tight now. I'm still having issues with my older son and slipping back into enabling financially again and I'm so discouraged with myself. I often feel like a bad person inside for not being stronger.

I suppose the years of trauma have caused me some PTSD and I have to just keep trying day to day to release some of this and surrender it to the One I know who can take care of him and me. Part of me wishes I could afford to go back to therapy but my co-pays are too high and I've spent all my extra and not so extra money on my son who just can't seem to get it together.

I know all the "right" things to do but sometimes the constant battle of this all, gets the better of me. At least I know better now and I know I'll get better again. I know that if I don't take care of myself, I'm good to no one.

Sending hugs.
 
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