In need of wisdom and advice

JayPee

Sending good vibes...
My oldest son, who is 32 yrs. old has given me a whirlwind of troubles since 18, drugs, verbal abuse, disrespect and so on. He was a model child and never gave us a stitch of trouble until he entered college.

Anyways, fast forward to the present. He's been homeless, living in his car (that I bought) and has been separated by me from time to time when is verbal, nasty abuse made me do so.

When he entered college, after being raised in our Catholic religion he turned to atheism and it nearly broke my heart. But as most all parents, I continued to pray. Not to make light of it but through the years that was almost the least of my concern because there were so many other problems.

I have helped him out financially to the tune of thousands and thousands of dollars. I was able to stop but that has started up again.

He recently, I feel had a psychotic episode. Although, he denies it I think he was and may still be taking adderrall without the real need for it. I asked him and he denies it but his younger brother told me that he confessed to him that he was taking it. He seems to have had a huge conversion and believes in God now (after more than 15 yrs. of being a non-believer) but with this conversion and his "hearing" voices has come severe depression, he quit his job, has made amends with his father and brother (which is good and I never thought would happen) but he cries at the drop of a hat and is now clinging to me and my every free moment like I'm the end all and be all.

He wants to come to my home, shower, eat and spend time with me. He seems sincere about it but honestly, I'm exhausted from it. I can't be his savior, I can't be the one with all the answers and the very little money he has left is almost gone. He has an apartment (for now with other roommates) but he doesn't want to sleep there because he says his roommates are against him (part of his odd behavior). He's been spending time at my home (which I made clear he cannot ever live at) but he's infringing on my time for healing, rest and relaxation.

Am I wrong to put these boundaries in place to ask him to leave and/or not be with me every day after work? His behavior is so kind and sweet that it often causes me suspicion because his bad verbal angry behavior is so prominent in my thoughts. I worry if I'm not there to help him and lend and ear and some comfort that he could do something to harm himself. He will not see anyone for psychological help. I've already approached that subject and offered to go with him. He doesn't want anyone telling him what to do. Sigh.

I so would love some words from you all who I know I can gain courage and strenght from. I am an Al-anoner and I am delving back into it hard-core. My gut tells me I have to take care of myself first but I'm just so worried about his mental stability.
 

BusynMember

Well-Known Member
Hi there and what a hard situation this puts you in. You probably don't know all his details about what caused the psychotic break. This doesn't mean he is holding out, if he is, to confuse you...he may just be ashamed or afraid.

Adderall is a drug my daughter abused and told us is big on the streets. But when thinking of medications that cause psychosis, I have heard meth is often the culprit. Kay used meth too. With sudden psychosis, it's hard for us to know why and if they won't get help...that, to me, is the biggest issue.

Your son has changed, some in very good ways and some in sad ways. But if he refuses to get professional help, how can he get well? That is the reason, if this were Kay, that I would not want her home a lot. Although, upon first glance, he seems nicer,/better, upon second glance he.is refusing his best option of getting well.....professional help. That is on him.

You need to stay grounded in your own life. Instead of having him over after work maybe plan meetings at coffee shops with time limits. If you feel stressed you are not being good to yourself. I would not allow my own kid to live home again....that never seems to be a good solution, sadly.

At the end of the day you can't cure or help him. As an Al Anoner, you know this. He has to decide to get help and do the hard work to heal. He doesn't need to live with you to do that and so far he has refused to get much needed help. And we can't force our kids to get help. I know. I have tried and tried.

in my opinion you do what you need to do to keep yourself sane and grounded. Even those if us with mentally ill kids can not fix them and sometimes when we try it delays them from getting help. Sometimes. Wish we had concrete answers, right?

I hope you go to some extra meetings maybe, and calmly think over what works for you. Don't let guilt cloud your decision because you really can't make him well. Only he can do

that.

Sending love and prayers.
 
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JayPee

Sending good vibes...
Busy,
Thank you for your words of wisdom. I'm trying to use all my Al-anon knowledge to pull me through but this feels "different". I think when it's your child and you worry that they could harm themselves because you're not there to protect them, it's more difficult than the alcoholic husband. I'm not sure, I have to really work on this.

I've told him as nice as I can that I need my space and need to care for myself, whether it's reading, praying, or watching a good movie and he just tells me.."well, that's just more bad news" for him because I'm leaving him alone to his own devices and that I'm his only hope. I've never suffered depression and I'm so thankful for that and by the same token it feels more scary to me and makes me feel responsible for any bad outcome.

I know I need boundaries because my insides are screaming for them.
 

BusynMember

Well-Known Member
I hear you!!!

But you are not his hope. He is his only hope. What can you do? What can I do to help Kay??

All we can do is give them emotional support for good decisions, right?

How long have both of us been trying to help? Our kids are close to the same age. We have done this for a long time! We have tried.... everything.

And I can imagine it being easier to do this with a spouse than a child. With a kid of any age, there is always the mommy vibe there. It is so hard not to see them as our baby...especially when they are acting needy.

All you can do is your best. I used to go to more meetings when I felt weak. It took me forever to be able to do what the 12 steps told me to do. Like my daughter, I am sick. I am VERY codependent and being this way causes me so much grief. I need to keep working at it. I have to remember that NOTHING I do, while my daughter refuses help, can do much. I need to remember that I am not the deciding factor. Kay used to act like a pathetic little girl around me and I'd feel guilty and do everything for her, even cleaning her toilet. No exaggeration. All that did was make Kay associate me with money and doing for her what she could do for herself. She would go into little girl please face for me and it worked! I'd see her as a child and give in. She knew how to play me.

It's not easy for us to change. You have my deepest empathy. Please try to find a way to get some peace during these hard times. If your son.is going to turn things around, he will. And you won't have to be with him 24/7. He will do it. Or not. It's on him, not you.

Hugs.
 
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JayPee

Sending good vibes...
Busy, I really needed those words of encouragement. I'm going to print your message and read it as often as I need.

I know better. I know I'm not the change. He has to be. It's so easy to slip back into the murky waters.

Thank you, thank you thank you!
 

RN0441

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

So sorry to hear this and I can only imagine how difficult it must be for you. I agree with Busy though, HE really needs to get himself together and get some professional help. As mothers we have to remind ourselves that we are NOT health care professionals, addiction specialists or therapists. We just cannot be anyone's everything! It's not even fair to ask that of yourself.

You have been through a lot with your ex and now your sons. You really DO deserve some peace and quiet and ME time every night! That is okay and not a bad thing. Do what you know you need to do. Set firm boundaries and stick with them. You must do this for your son too.

Hugs and we are here for you.
 

JayPee

Sending good vibes...
RN,

Thanks for your support. It's so easy to slip back into thinking that taking care of myself is selfish. I've always struggled with that so when crisis strikes my old "bad" habits of rescuing and putting others first at the sake of myself, rears its ugly head.

I feel like when you're trying to tell the person you need to have space from to take care of yourself, (i.e., my son) they look at you like you're crazy not thinking that their horrible situation should take precedence over any other factor in your life.

Then I start to think, I'm I wrong? It's a struggle.
 

MissLulu

Well-Known Member
JayPee, I’m sorry you find yourself in this place, but glad you sought support here.
I think with kids like ours it’s a war consisting of a series of battles and sometimes we just get tired of holding the line. You know what to do, but that doesn’t make it easy.
I think it’s hard when there’s been a period of relative stability, because our defences are down and we’ve allowed ourselves to hope that the worst is over. It’s hard to have to reinforce the boundaries. But you are strong and you have us here for support. I know you’ll make the best decision for you.
 

RN0441

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

Of course you're not wrong. This is a situation that your son created. You did not create this. We are all individuals and responsible for OUR OWN lives. Especially at 32. Good grief!!

You are thinking properly.
 

JayPee

Sending good vibes...
RN,

I truly appreciate your input. That's why I come to the forum. My emotions start to pull me in the wrong direction and I need good guidance from you all to wake me up again.

So thankful to come here...even though I've got work to do to get a better handle on this again. It's a work in progress for me.
 

Crayola13

Well-Known Member
Wasn't he living in a truck at this time last year? Now, he is sharing an apartment, although not an ideal living arrangement because it seems he's not getting along with his roommates. I would say that is a little bit of progress. Time will tell. I understand why you have to guard your emotions about him.
 
"I feel like when you're trying to tell the person you need to have space from to take care of yourself, (i.e., my son) they look at you like you're crazy not thinking that their horrible situation should take precedence over any other factor in your life.
Then I start to think, I'm I wrong? It's a struggle."

I have recommended this book before, "Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist" by
Margalis Fjelstad - it was recommended to me by my counselor. It describes how to get out of this way of thinking, it helped me a lot! It talks about how borderlines (which seems to describe nearly all d.c's) will always follow the Drama Triangle - either you (or they) are a victim, a rescuer, or a persecutor. These 3 roles are interchangeable all the time, but you have to break out of the triangle to escape the situation. Lots of other useful stuff in there!
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
I think he was and may still be taking adderrall without the real need for it. I asked him and he denies it but his younger brother told me that he confessed to him
If he's getting these Adderall illegally or taking them in a way that they are not prescribed, this is drug abuse.
he's infringing on my time for healing, rest and relaxation.
Am I wrong to put these boundaries in place
JP. I am in similar shoes. No. You're not wrong. Let's start here. Nobody should be sacrificed, for another adult person to live. This is morally wrong. Our lives are not the currency that will save theirs.
His behavior is so kind and sweet that it often causes me suspicion because his bad verbal angry behavior is so prominent in my thoughts.
he says his roommates are against him (part of his odd behavior)
It sounds to me that the hostility your son once directed towards you is still operative but now it's manifesting as paranoia towards others.
He will not see anyone for psychological help.
This has been the bone of contention between my son and me for nearly a decade. I threw him out of my house initially because he would not seek help. He was impossible to live with and I insisted that he needed to deal with what was troubling him. We are 8 years down the road, still in the same hole.

So. I get (very much so) what this is like for you. I will speak here as if your situation is my own. (Because it is.)

If I know about suspect problematic substance use it is wrong of me to not set a limit in terms of how it affects me. The burden of proof is my child's to show me that it's not happening and won't happen in such a way that it affects me or my space.

My needs are central. I need to feel safe in my home, to have time and space to do what makes me feel human, to work, and to sustain and to enjoy my life. This does not mean that I do not have a responsibility to support my child to the extent that it is possible to have a reciprocal and mutually beneficial relationship. This implies that all my child's needs can't be my responsibility to fill. This would be enabling.

There are community and social supports. If my child chooses to NOT avail himself of these, preferring that I be the only and end-all, this is a choice for which HE, not I, is responsible. That this causes me endless grief and fear is MY psycho/spiritual suffering to deal with. This is the human condition, to have to bear what is unbearable. Maybe especially for mothers. But we're not the first and we're not the last.

I have recently decided to go to my County Mental Health Department (where coincidentally I worked 25 years ago) to become a client for what they call collateral therapy. I want to experience and know exactly what could be in place for us in the community. I want to see what services are available to my son and to us as a unit. I see myself as very much a client, too. I think my judgement and decisions have been poor, and reactive. Often I lack self-control. I have tried to impose control and this has backfired many times and hurt both of us. I am humbled. I seek to build a team of support for myself and my son, because I can't do this alone. I think this might be workable. Who knows?

When a son is forced to depend solely on his mother, it can be infantilizing and overwhelming, and regressive for each of them, and both of them together. This is a potentially explosive mix, and can't work in the long run. For either of them. That's what I think.

JP. I am sorry this is so hard. For both of us. For so many of us. Thank you for this opportunity to think through where I am, too.
 
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JayPee

Sending good vibes...
Copa,

Thank you for sharing from your heart. You hit the nail on the head when you said "when a son is forced to depend solely on his mother, it can be infantilizing..." I have been searching my heart to define what I felt and this is in fact it. It feels odd and uncomfortable and rightly so to be responsible for a 32 yr. old man, like as if he's 12 yrs. old again. Even his comments to thank me for my help are something like this in a text..."I've appreciated your company lately, Mom. It's generous of you to take care of me like this."

I had to reply to that like it was a hot potato! I tried to let him know I'm not "taking care of him" he has to get out of this on his own. All my efforts to lead him to help are not even working. He's not interested in seeking help, only the comforts I can provide him. That's why I've had to limit the time he spends at my home because I feel it makes his "situation" too comfortable. If he's too comfortable, he will have no need to make changes. Its' very hard for me but I'm trying.

I hope your collateral therapy works and that you can find some answers to all this. I look forward to hearing how this works out for you.

It is very exhausting as you mentioned. Somedays it feels like I'm schlepping through the mud.
 

BusynMember

Well-Known Member
Our kids and us tend to regress when we are together. Their emotional skills are so young that it brings out the mommy in us. Kay can sound like a child. Her gestures can be childlike on.purpose.

I remember my daughter Amy comforting me one day. She said something like "Mom, she is 29 years old! You have to stop treating her like she's a baby! She's taking advantage of your good heart and it makes me almost hate her. She chooses to act helpless and you believe she is!" This is not verbatim but the gist of it is accurate. My 22 year old younger daughter saw it, as did my 20 year old son, but I didn't.

Kay wanted a lifetime of free money and care and would not try even a little bit in return.
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
I tried to let him know I'm not "taking care of him" he has to get out of this on his own. All my efforts to lead him to help are not even working. He's not interested in seeking help, only the comforts I can provide him. That's why I've had to limit the time he spends at my home because I feel it makes his "situation" too comfortable. If he's too comfortable, he will have no need to make changes.
This is where we are too. I won't accept rent money because I don't want this to continue. But then if I don't accept rent money, that's one more way for him to shirk responsibility. You see, we are standing on terrain that in itself is no good. If they are with us in order to be babies--there is no way to make them be men. The setup is all wrong. It's based on a fatal flaw. Men can't be men, because their Mommys insist. It just doesn't work that way. Oh, I get it. Oh, I see it. But it's such a slippery slope.

Speaking based upon my experience with my son, I don't think that they can change "with us." They have to at least begin the process away from us. This shows good faith, but it also allows them to stand alone and to develop a core that is based upon their own choices and efforts. I don't think they can develop a core when we are providing care. and protection. It's too late for that. This is where the helpless' quote of a couple of weeks back is so pertinent. I forget about the particulars, but it had to do with needing to have to push out, push away, do by oneself, in order to fully function, to fully develop and self-realize. If somebody tries to do it for them, the process is stunted.
 
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Csmom

New Member
Copa,
You put into words so many of my feelings that I just can’t seem to express. My 22 year old son had been homeless/couch surfing/living a tent/rehabs for several years now. He is bipolar and refuses to stop marijuana. I feel like we are getting nowhere. I have tried to help him over and over thinking that each time maybe THIS time he will get his act together. And it is so hard to find out what is available for adults who struggle with so many issues. I have been reading for so long and have only shared very few times. Thank all of you for your wisdom and shares. It help to feel like we are not alone.
 
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