Hi I am new

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by CSH, Apr 4, 2019.

  1. CSH

    CSH New Member

    Hi everyone. I found this amazing forum about a week ago and have been lurking and reading. This has been wonderful for me. I could have written so many of the posts I have read. Just change the name and it is me.
    I am 62, happily married with 3 children. 2 Easy and 1 Difficult. This nightmare has been going on forever it seems. He was 9 the first time he tried to kill himself. He is 37 now. He is homeless, he has been in and out of jail. Went to prison for assault, served 1 year in county and 1 year in prison. That was the first time he ever went to prison and I was terrified. I sent money often for all kinds of things. He was extorted for a period of time at the end and I of course, paid for that too. He got out in September. He was clean and sober, on medications (he had no choice there) and we saw so many glimpses of the person he could be. We decided to give him one more try and set him up in a small apartment. He chose the neighborhood. I was concerned about it but frankly most places I looked at didn't want to take him anyway. I am sure you know what I am going to say. It went to heck pretty fast. There was approximately a month where things were pretty good. But before long we could tell he was back on drugs. He denied it, of course. Applied for SSI - he has had it since he was 17 but they canceled it when he was in prison. He got into trouble with a local gang. He said they were trying to kill him. But i am not sure what was real and what was delusion. He said someone was in the attic drilling holes in the ceiling and he really believed it. That was not true but he really thought it was happening. Eventually all of his stuff that we had purchased and found for his apartment was "stolen". Even his couch. I know everything was sold for drugs. He finally talked his sister into getting him a bus ticket out of the city because he had her convinced that the gang was going to kill him. He bummed his way to Florida and that is where he has been since Jan. He was homeless there. I did pay for a room last month. He had surgery on his ankle and I couldn't stand to think of him on the street right after that. So here comes the end of March and he wants me to pay again for April. I say no, I told you that March was the last month I would pay. I have paid your rent for 7 months and I can not any longer. I was able to stay strong on this - MOSTLY BECAUSE OF WHAT I READ HERE! I was strong for about 3 days but began to feel so guilty. I have money in the bank. I could pay it. Blah Blah Blah. My husband is his step father and beyond supportive to me and said Give it to him if you want, but just realize that it is problem not for rent. He tells you what you want to hear so you will give him money. He was right so I hung tough. Sadly he called his sister (who has custody and is raising his son) and begged her and she sent him some money. She told me this and then he called and asked me for money again. I said I know your sister gave you the money. Why are you asking me? It isn't for rent. I know it isn't. So no. I did not accept his calls for another 3 days. His SSI was denied. Now I hear from him 2 days ago, he had tried to kill himself. Ended up in the hospital where they offered him rehab. He took it. This is his first time in rehab. He is in some kind of waiting period right now and he is allowed to call me. He has called me a number of times asking for money for clothes. He only has the clothes he is wearing. I told him no. He keeps calling me. So then I said, no money. Tell me the address and I will go to the thrift store and get you a few things and send them. That was early today and I have not heard back. I would not even believe he was in rehab or the hospital but when I called the number back it said the name of the place on the recording. So there you go. I have written a book here. I am trying to be strong. I honestly can not do it anymore. I can't even say I love him any more. I love that tiny little boy he was but the decades of lies, theft, hateful nasty talk, threats, and heartbreak have killed that little boy for me. Thanks for listening and sharing your stories, they have helped me more than you could know. Sadly, at least I know I am not alone. I feel like I can share with people who know and understand my pain.
  2. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Dear CSH:

    I am so very sorry this is so hard and that it has gone on so long. Honestly. I see some positives in your story. It is a very, very good thing he's in a treatment facility. And it is a very good thing that you allowed him to experience the discomfort and degradation of being homeless without clothes and money.

    I know how very difficult this is. My 30 year old son has been largely homeless for going on 8 years. He is mentally ill, has made suicidal threats (I'm not sure of attempts, he lies), has had multiple hospitalizations and stays in residential treatment, and drug treatment.

    I have pushed, pulled, prodded, arranged, motivated, etc. You get the point. Nothing I do helps. But he is learning he really hates to be homeless. He also hates control and rules. So. That's his problem.

    We have a rental house where he can live, but he has to accept our rules, nagging, and to some extent, expectations. He is on the fence whether it's worth it. He is contemplating returning to the large metro a few hours from here, for the "treatment" amenities, which would include being homeless. He rides the Metro to sleep and sits in the library. Gee.

    What I'm trying to say, is that he is beginning to understand the drill. If he's in the street, he suffers. If he is in the rental home (where he's living with my boyfriend) he gets nagged to keep things (and himself) clean, and there's an explosion of he uses marijuana on the property or is drugged at the property.

    That he is staying in this conversation with us is testimony only to how much he is sick of being homeless or living close to the street (ie sleeping in a pickup truck.)

    This is a process.

    I think you're doing exactly right. Staying in conversation with your son without helping him to live badly. I know how hard it is to do something, and not too much. I would have helped my son too, had medical issues.

    If you want tell us a bit more about his mental illness diagnosis, the kind of drugs he's using, and a little about his personality. If you keep posting, over time we'll get a fuller picture, but if you want to tell us more now, please do.

    Maybe when he gets out of Rehab he will accept going to a longer program such as Salvation Army, which in my area is 6 months. In my town the Rescue Mission has programs and runs sober living homes which are free to indigents. They only have to volunteer. There is a program, etc. When my son lived there, there were a couple of older men who had lived degraded lives for decades--who were in college!! They were marvelous.

    I think SSI is a mixed bags for people like our sons. Or at least for my son, who got it on his first try. He uses it mainly to buy marijuana. It allows him to maintain a lifestyle that I believe is indolent and non-productive, at best, and to indulge his interest in conspiracy theories.

    That said, your son can re-apply. There are attorneys and community agencies in my state that will take these appeal cases with no money up front. They receive a certain percentage of the back money, if the case is later accepted.

    Anyway. Welcome. You're doing great.

    These past few years I have been meaning to go to Al Anon. People who do this are really helped. I really am going to do it. Maybe you'd get support from Al Anon too. We learn to live centered in ourselves, rather than in our children who are "out there." Too much and for too long, we live on the edge with them, without any power, and we neglect ourselves, and lose ourselves. Al Anon helps us turn this around.

    Take care.

    Oh. I just saw his diagnosis of bi-polar in your signature. The thing with this, is depending upon his drug use, kinds and quantity and history, it's hard to really know about these diagnoses. It's a chicken and egg thing. Did he self-medicate to deal with the mental illness, or did the drug create the illness? That's probably why the government didn't approve the SSI. My son was drug exposed and institutionalized as an infant (he's adopted.) So there was a paper trail documenting his early history.
  3. CSH

    CSH New Member

    Hi Copabanana, thanks for your response. I think in my sons case the mental illness came first and then the drugs came along a few years later. He was 9 the first time he tried to kill himself and he had not tried drugs at that point. Drugs started about 12 or 13 with pot. In therapy we were told he was self medicating. But that never really ended. We have a plenty of information about his younger years When he was younger I forced him to take his medication. It was very difficult to regulate while he was going through puberty so that was not very helpful.Now, his drug of choice is pretty much anything he can get his hands on to use to get high, from booze to pot to pills to heroin. I agree with the SSI being a problem for him. He has been in treatment since he was 9 and was on SSI when he was 16 or 17 but I am sure he was unable to provide information regarding that. He has had numerous hospitalizations. I told him to tell them they could talk to me, but he was afraid I would say he should have a payee. He should, but it can't be any family and SS already told me they do not have people to do that. He has appealed via this last hospitalization. It is by no means a solution, BUT at least when he has that it lifts the burden I feel a bit. I think his mental illness is exacerbated by certain drugs and those cause him to become paranoid and even psychotic at times. ie People are chasing him, following him, trying to kill him, in his attic, etc. I have been reading these posts and the article on Detaching. I am trying to do that. I looked up Al-anon meetings just today. I am going to make myself go.
  4. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I will too. Some people here have gone to NAMI, which is a series of workshops given by other parents.
    How very hard.

    Gosh. I give him credit he consented to the treatment facility. That shows insight into his situation and good decision-making. These are critical strengths. Many, many people would have refused, no matter what the consequences. For one, the lack of drugs. The other, the control and supervision. People with bipolar disorder often times LIKE their mania. It feels good to them. Thrilling. That your son chose to voluntarily accept treatment is quite remarkable. All of these things together make me think that your son has real strengths and their is hope.

    But I think you are exactly right, to focus upon yourself, and your own recovery, and leave him to his own. He is safe now. This is so good.

    A month or so ago I began to go to AA (I am a non-drinker) for the recovery. It was recommended I go to 90 meetings in 90 days. I started off strong but other commitments got in the way. I felt remarkably different about my life going to meetings everyday. It's not just the support. Something changes. I began living FROM the group. It was the realest and truest thing about my life, when I was going so intensively. And I felt incredibly connected to the people. I think this is a powerful way to change based upon my experience.

    In my town there are not enough meetings to do this with Al Anon. Which is why I went to AA. When I start back I will go to Al Anon, too.
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    Last edited: Apr 4, 2019
  5. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Active Member

    It sounds as if you are doing the right things. Your son sounds like mine 37 bipolar has done drugs jail .....sorry for the need to be here but welcome.
  6. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Sent a private message ♥️
  7. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    CSH welcome. I'm sorry you're struggling with your adult son's behaviors and choices. It's a tough path when our adult kids go off the rails, for whatever reason.

    There's an article at the bottom of my post here about detachment, it may be helpful for you. As Copa mentioned, you may want to contact NAMI, which is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, you can contact them online, they have chapters in many cities. They offer parent groups which I gained a lot from attending. Here is the contact info: Find Support | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness
    Delancey Street is another resource that may be helpful to your son: Delancey Street Foundation - Home
    The Nationwide support line may be of assistance, they offer local resources for those in need, dial 211.

    My daughter has undiagnosed issues......mental illness runs in my bio-family, my sister is bi-polar, my brother is schizophrenic, I grew up surrounded by people with various levels of mental incapacities......I understand the debilitating FOG (fear, obligation and guilt) it creates. It took a lot of therapy and a lot of professional support for me to remove myself from being the care taker of those around me. It's not an easy path. The most difficult thing I've ever done is to disengage from my daughter's choices and behaviors.....after a long time of setting boundaries, she is now grabbing the reins of her own life.

    The best advice I can offer you is to get as much support as you can, many of us here enter therapy, a safe place to go to get OUR needs met, to find ways to care for ourselves, to learn how to set boundaries, to redefine our parental roles in healthy ways, to learn how to accept what we can't change and let go of what no longer serves us. You've been at this a long time, many of us forget how to care for ourselves when our focus has been on our adult child for so long.......we need to remember how important self care, self love and nurturing ourselves is.

    Take really good care of YOU now. Continue posting, it helps to share our story and receive support from others who've 'been there.'
    I'm glad you're here, you're not alone. Remember, you matter too, your needs and desires and feelings matter.
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  8. CSH

    CSH New Member

    Your words give me some hope. Although I try not to have too much as it has been dashed so many times. It is good for me to hear that someone else can see some good in him and his decision. I have come to the place where I am afraid constantly about everything he does and look for manipulation in it. I am going to hold on to that and pray that he is coming to understand that he needs this.

    I appreciate everyone on here so much. It is wonderful to have finally found a place where others understand and "get it". Thanks again for taking the time to respond!
  9. CSH

    CSH New Member

    Wow, your words brought me to tears this morning. Thank you so much for your response. It has been a long road and I am so very tired of walking it. Sometimes I am terrified that I will never get off and that after I die my daughter will have to continue to walk it and then my grandson till my son finally leaves this earth. The worst part about it, is that in the beginning all those years ago I wanted to help little boy him so much. I did literally everything I could do. I went everywhere I could go. I searched out everything I could find. To no avail. It just kept getting darker and harder and scarier. There was nothing I could do to help him. Now that road has led me to a place I never thought I would be. Where I am so hardened to his life and his suffering that I dread seeing a unknown number come up on the phone. That as soon as I answer I say "What do you want?" Cause I know that is why he is calling me (15 times or more in 1 day). I do not feel love or happiness when I think I might see him. I feel fear and despair and worry. He came for Christmas Day and it was not fun for anyone. Everyone was on pins and needles. He felt judged and excluded and the rest of us felt horror (for how he looked) and even some resentment. We watched him like a hawk so that he didn't do anything - at all. Cause the reality is that he could have and has done any number of things, from big to little - Steal, use, blow up, say inappropriate things to the children, etc.

    I have read that article about Detachment,it was one of the first things I read when I landed here. I was so desperate I just typed some wild thing in my google search box about my adult son etc and I got a hit here. I feel I must have been led here. I have gotten so much help in just the short time I have been here. I am going to read it again, and probably need to read it often.

    As I write (and write ;) I see that I really do need to get into therapy. My daughter has told me this but for some reason I just have not done it. It isn't that i am against it, just for some reason I have not taken the steps needed. I am going to look into that and see what will be my best options there. Obviously I need to talk about this and get some help.

    Thanks you so much for your response and your kind words. I really do need to take care of myself. I have plenty of health issues with my body going on right now and I need my mind to hang in there. LOL I have been saying my warranty expired at 60 and all heck broke loose. Thanks again. ♥
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  10. RN0441

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

    Welcome and so glad that you were led here. I think that is exactly how I got here too.

    You will get the best support here. I do also recommend therapy because it helps so so much. It certainly helped me in my darkest days. I still use the tools that I have learned. I never thought I'd be able to function normally but therapy did help so much.

    You probably were never ready to take care of YOU so you did not seek it out. I was like that too. We just feel we don't matter. We're in rescue mode all the time.

    The first time my therapist asked me if I knew what self compassion was I bawled like a baby. No, I did not know what it was but I knew that it was something I desperately needed to practice.

    Surrender and pray.
    Good luck and stay with us.:notalone:
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  11. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    CSH, here's some info on finding a therapist in your area, punch in your zip code and you can peruse the list of therapists in your area. Remember that you are the one interviewing the therapist, find someone who is a good fit for you, someone you feel safe with, someone you can talk to and someone you feel seen and heard by. Asking friends and others if they can recommend someone they trust may be helpful as well.
    Find a Therapist
    Find a Therapist, Psychologist, Counselor - Psychology Today

    Some other resources which helped me on this journey are:
    Books: Codependent no more by Melodie Beattie; Comfortable with Uncertainty, by Pema Chodron (any book by Pema is wonderful); The power of now by Eckhart Tolle; The power of vulnerability video by Brene' Brown: The power of vulnerability | Brené Brown (and any other videos or books by Brene' Brown!) I also searched YOUTUBE for guided meditations on peace, acceptance......there are many to choose from to bring you back from the edge of despair and worry about your son.

    Simple things we forget are to eat a healthy diet, sleep 7-8 hours each night, get exercise in some fashion, walking is a good one to shift the brain out of worry......having a bath, getting a pedicure, meeting your best girl friend for lunch....we need to bring our own level of joy and peace back.......to remember to laugh, to love, to feel carefree and delight.......when I was in the middle of the drama with my daughter, I was in a black hole of despair almost all of the time.......as I pulled myself out of that place, with the help of so many.....I began to get my own life back......and as I did that......so did my daughter.

    Hang in there CSH, this is a rough ride for sure, but with support, MEGA self care and compassion & kindness for ourselves we can learn to let go of what we can't change and live our lives with peace. You deserve that.
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  12. CSH

    CSH New Member

    Thank you RN0441, I guess you are right that I just wasn't ready. I have let a lot of things go over the years. I have a health scare going on right now that I am taking as a wake up call. Trying to get myself as healthy as possible physically so maybe I am ready to do so mentally too. I appreciate your response and insight!
  13. CSH

    CSH New Member

    Yes, thank you. I am going to start looking for a therapist today - this will help narrow it down. It was hard to know where to start. I love to read so I will be checking out those books too.
    I have had a recent serious health issue - which really scared me! I have always been a bit independent and having to rely on everyone else for pretty much everything for a few months was a BIG wake up call. That has propelled me into working on getting as healthy as possible. I have let many things go and I am working on all of that. I have changed my diet, I am a big emotional eater so working on using other things to take the place of comfort food, adding some exercise, and trying some deep breathing.
    I am sure the constant drama and stress is terrible on both the body and the mind. I have to start eliminating as much of that as I can to be able to get healthy. You are all so helpful and I am beyond grateful for finding you! Thanks so much!
  14. RN0441

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

    Just a side note, I found a therapist that specialized in addiction. I didn't ask for that but when I called the place near my home and told them WHY I was seeking therapy (my son's addiction and the toll that was causing on him, me and the family) they paired me with her and that was a great thing.
  15. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi CSH, I'm so glad you found us here but sorry you had to. Thank you for posting and sharing your story.

    Just because you have the money does not mean you are under any obligation to give it. I too have the money but where my son is concerned, the ATM is out of order. I've spent plenty trying to help my son and I have nothing to show for it but a debit in my bank account.
    Trust me, if money and love could solve our difficult adult children's problems there would be no need for this site.

    I'm glad he's in the hospital and I do hope he will really give rehab a chance.

    I know exactly how you feel. I do love my son but I do not like him. I do not like the person he has turned into.

    You are not alone. I'm so glad you are here with us now. This forum has been a life saver for me. I had no idea just how many parents like us there are.

    You are doing the right thing by detaching from your son. Detaching does not mean that we don't love them, it just means that we will no longer allow them to hold our emotions hostage.

    Be very good to yourself. Self care is VITAL!!

    ((HUGS)) to you................
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  16. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    Welcome CSH- I'm glad you found us, but sad you had to. I know how difficult all of this is. We have all been there in similar ways. This is a good place for me to come when I start back on my path of focusing on and trying to control my daughter. Although I've been practicing healthy detachment for years, I sometimes find myself slipping back into old patterns. I grew up with lots of chaos and turmoil, so it's easy for me to get sucked back in and risk the peace of mind I have worked so hard to achieve. It was very hard when I first began to set boundaries for my daughter. She upped the ante, as nearly all of our troubled kids do at the beginning, which makes it even harder. You have been very strong sticking to your guns. Try to remember that if your help and love could "fix" your son it would have done so by now. He has to find his own path. My daughter has been in and out of sobriety, basically homeless and in and out of employment when my granddaughter was a baby/toddler. The last several years she has been relatively stable, but I know this can turn on a dime. It took me a long time to learn to live without constant fear and anxiety about that hanging over my head. Sometimes I have an anxiety attack over it, but not often and I can overcome those much more quickly now. I'm glad you have been able to set boundaries with your son. Now, do something kind for yourself to take your mind off your worries. Sending peace to you.
  17. Pixie Dusted

    Pixie Dusted New Member

    I can't say enough amazing things about Al-Anon. You will meet people from all walks of life that come together for a common reason. Sometimes I felt better after going simply for the fact that others had it so much worse than me. Taught me many things!
  18. Pixie Dusted

    Pixie Dusted New Member

    Excellent Book!


  19. CSH

    CSH New Member

    Thanks so much for your kind words. I really appreciate your advice and sharing. I am hate that I feel this way about my son but in some ways I feel like it was a defense mechanism for me to. I had to stop caring so much so I could go on. I had not read anything about detaching so that is helping me too.
    I can see that this forum IS a life saver already. It makes me feel understood in ways that my friends with "normal" kid problems do not.
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  20. CSH

    CSH New Member

    Oh my gosh yes, the constant fear and anxiety. I can not imagine if my son would have had my grandson with him through the craziness and drama that is his life. That had to be so hard. Thankfully he was with his mother who has her own issues and decided (with some help from CPS) that he was better with my daughter. He is thriving. But it is so sad that his mother is completely out of his life - her choice, not ours. He is growing up dealing with the fact that his parents have so many serious issues and what that means for him.
    I am seeing what you mean by upping the ante. The numerous phone calls each day go from good to terrible. I am almost ready to ask his counselor to limit the calls - as this can not be good for him and his recovery either. I am actually surprised he is allowed to call so often, as I was always under the impression that contact was limited at least in the beginning. I am praying that he will find his way. But again, afraid to be hopeful at all. thank you so much for sharing your story and words of encouragement to me. It means more than I can say. <3