It’s me struggling again...

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by JayPee, Aug 7, 2019.

  1. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    I went away on a little vacation for 4 days with my sister, Not far from where I live but out of State. I gave my 30 yr old son a 7-11 gas card with $80 on it for easily two gas fill ups during that interim. I told him I would be out of the area and warned him to use the card for this purpose. He still easily would have had $20 extra. During my vacation he text me about the never ending potential job he’s waiting to hear back on etc. I really didn’t say much except once in a text. “ Great. Good luck”. Early today I get a call and he’s again telling me he’s hoping for this job and should hear back. Then he ends with he’s on empty and his phone is gonna die and I have to help him with gas. I was soooooo furious because he’d been warned by me that 4 days and $80 for gas was it! I ended up hanging up on him and then had to block his calls because he kept calling. I just returned home and saw a blocked voicemail. He blew up my phone telling me I’m ruining his car and now he had to go take out a $400 loan against the title on his car (that I bought) and it’s an enormous interest rate and called me all kinds of names ending with I’d better call him before the end of the day before he cashed the check and ends up with having to pay back this loan.

    I’m just so upset because I had really been just about ready to call him and cave again and tell him I was back and to meet at a gas station. I’m so torn by his destructive behavior and yet still feel compelled to step in and save him. Should I just ignore him and let this play out? I would so appreciate some advice.
     
  2. BusynMember

    BusynMember Active Member

    Wait.

    Do you give him cash or fill up his car? If you give him cash he is not using it for gas.

    I have a truck and only fill it up omce a week and due to having to travel for business, I fill it ip once a week. Why on earth would your unemployed son need to fill his car up every three days?

    He is lying to you. With these particular kids, if their lips are moving they are lying. Being loving parents who are largely codependent, we feel so guilty of they express a need that we cant handle the discomfort of not fulfilling their supposed needs.

    I used to give Kay gas money on top of buying her cars that she wrecked. Yes, more than one car. And I learned that giving her cash was the same as giving her pot.

    Where on earth is your son going that he needs gas do much? If I could do the car part with Kay all over again, I would give her fifteen dollars a werk, fill the car myself, and if she ran out of gas too bad. Your son, like my daughter, is playing you for a fool. He sleeps in his car, but he has no job so where is he driving to? A party? Trouble? This, if I could do over again, I could cut off without guilt.

    In some way you need to learn a different way of thinking regarding him. I cant tell you how. Until you can let go and see through the garbage, both of you will not do well. This is not good for your son. I am not convinced he eben is waiting on a job. Plus he should not just stop looking.

    I feel like you have to take control of your life and learn how to say no. Fir you. For him. We can not tell you how.

    I will pray for you and please do nothing for 24 hours. Think about the logic of your sons demands. Then do what you must. Realize that giving him gas money is for YOU. It foes not help HIM grow up. Much love.
     
  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Yes.
    Why? Why be angry? This is the script you and he do. This is so predictable it's like a broken record. Why not go back and read your threads? There was zero chance he would not do the same thing. Every single time you give him the money, you reinforce the behavior. This is learned helplessness. He has learned to be dependent upon you. He has to relearn another behavior.
    Somehow, you must feel you deserve this punishment. Until you decide that you don't deserve this you will keep engaged with him.

    You deserve to be free of this. Free of his mooching and his abuse. Please know this.

    You don't need advice. It's in the threads. What you need to do, in my opinion, is to decide what you want.

    Choice 1: ongoing abuse by your son. The ongoing reinforcement of his dependence upon you, your dependence on each other. Because you are dependent upon him too. For the abuse. You are repeating a behavior pattern that is familiar to you most likely. Probably from your childhood; possibly from your marriage, too.

    Choice 2: by detaching protecting yourself from abuse and stopping the reward of your son for being dependent upon you for his basic needs, and abusing you while he does so.

    There is no other way to see this, from my view. Until you decide Choice 2 this will continue in exactly the same way. There is virtually no chance it will stop, in my view. Until you stop it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2019
  4. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    Thanks for your input. It was not cash but a gas card but you’re able to use it for buying food and other items at the convenient store connected to the gas station. He claims using the A/C in this heat is what uses up the gas so quickly.

    I do understand it is as much to heal my discomfort as I feel it is to heal his that I do this.

    How do I find that strength to be the change? I know it’s God but even tho I pray every day, I repeat this same pattern over and over.

    I did suffer severe verbal abuse from my alcoholic ex husband for many years but I accepted it. You are right Copa somehow I feel I deserve it. I don’t quite know how to get to the bottom of that problem. I have so many self-help books I could start my own library. When I read and journal I’m so inspired but then I drop the ball when I get out into the action part of living what I’ve learned.

    I have not met my son to gas his vehicle but to be honest I keep looking at my blocked voicemails to see if he has called again. He hasn’t but I am so use to re-acting and trying to make everything better. I know some of this behavior stems from living for decades with the insanity of a chronic alcoholic but I’m tired of blaming my issues on that and want so badly to figure where I play the part in the problems I have.

    I will pray and ask God to help me. There’s obviously something He wants me to learn here that I’m not getting.
     
  5. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi Jay,

    This is a problem that most of us have had in one form or another—our difficult adult child becoming dependent upon us and we don’t know what to do about it.

    Your son is a 30 year old man who expects you to gas up his car every few days, and if nothing changes, he will be a 40 year old man who expects you to gas up his car every few days. Then 50, 60, 70....

    It’s likely that you won’t wake up one day and suddenly feel stronger and ready to do this without any nagging doubts.

    So, how do you do it?

    You just have to do it.

    Step out in faith and do it.

    Eventually, that is what you will have to do, and it won’t be easy, and you will have doubts and second guess yourself.

    But, it has to be done, sooner or later.

    You can’t let him go into middle age like this. And old age. He has to figure out his life.
     
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  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I think you have been traumatized and when you are in the moment you are flooded. The mind does not work when you are in this state. You only want the pain to stop. I know this because it happens to me. We become so dissociated we do not even feel the pain or fear. This is what happens to me. We become that cut off from ourselves.

    This is why you do it. You are in an automatic behavior.

    You are so very hard on yourself. This is not your fault. It's not something bad or wrong about you. Bad things happened to you, and the consequence has been extreme fear and panic and other bad things. This has happened to me, too. Many times.

    You look at this as your failure. Even your moral failure. You take on the responsibility for this away from your son. This is not your fault. Remember that. Please.

    Another way to begin to look at this is with real compassion for yourself. If you were a baby or child, would you permit this to happen to this baby? That soul is you. The only thing that will work is kindness, compassion, care, and learning to listen to ourselves, not tuning out or bashing or blaming ourselves.

    There are kind things to do that cultivate this gentle attention to who we are. Things people do are restorative yoga, artwork, (in my town there is a group at the battered women's center for women. I have been meaning to go.) Why not look for some writings on the internet about women like us. There are many of us.

    But along with restoration and healing there needs to be protecting. Of you.

    Your son is not the baby who needs protecting. You need protecting. And you deserve it. I will try in the next couple of days to find titles of a couple of books that may help you begin.

    The thing to remember is that at first, you are the center of this, not your son. If you have to keep doing this (the cards) in order to give yourself time to heal, it's okay to do so, I think.

    But you will have to remove yourself from his battering. What about deciding how much time you will give yourself (a month, whatever) to continue with the cards, in order to have space? You would have to have ground rules for you and for him. I would find some automatic way to give him the cards, every week or whatever. Without contact. He is not allowed to call you, to text you or to come by. As long as he does not, the cards will come for this interval. There might be a way to refill them on the internet.

    This is only for you to get stronger and to have space.

    I would begin this by telling him (in text, email, letter--not phone or in person) that the cards will continue for a specified time, only if he obeys your guidelines, and set them out. But they will be stopped. If you want, you can after a time, taper the amount, if that makes you feel better. But you lay off yourself for continuing. This becomes like a bridge toll. It is only for you.

    You could decide what you want to achieve in this interval. Not about the cards. Not about him. In you. What strengths, or knowledge or plans....What healing you want to do. And how. How you can find support in your community or even online. Al Anon for example has online meetings. How you can nurture yourself. Cooking. Reading. Movies. Gardening. Swimming. Yoga. Drawing. Music. Walks. Dancing.

    You are locked into this with him. If you get some distance from him, and the behavior, and the payments become something that is done automatically by the internet, say, you will begin to mend. Right now you are paying what do you call it, protection, like with the Mafia. Where the businesses have to pay every week or month, in order to not be wrecked or hurt. He is terrorizing you. Anything you can do to step out of this, is a good thing. He needs not be rewarded for battering you. You should not be terrorized.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  7. BusynMember

    BusynMember Active Member

    Its not just God.

    Its acceptance that can do it. Read every book you can on Radical Acceptance. That's what helped us and we could not let go either, even with God.

    Tara Brach and Marsha Lineham are two of many who discuss this. Listen to Radical Acceptance videos on YouTube. As many as there ar

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

    Radical acceptance. Try it!
     
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  8. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    Copa.

    I agree with what you’ve said. I have been traumatized and I’m numb from the years of verbal abuse with the ex and my sons. They learned well from him. They say the most horrible things to me when they’re angry or don’t get what they want from me and it’s as if they said “have a nice day”. I don’t even react or feel anything anymore. I never thought of it from this perspective and keep thinking there’s just something wrong with me.

    I really appreciate the thought and care you’ve put into your response and I feel like I can try to come at this from a different angle.

    I constantly feel like I’ve failed and that I’m at fault and I’m always apologizing inwardly or outwardly. I’m never good enough.

    I know from Al anon that I’m a fixer and controller but again saw this as my character defect. Again turning around loving and caring attributes into something I’m misusing. When no one else is there to verbally abuse me I internally do it to myself.
     
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  9. BusynMember

    BusynMember Active Member

    Hmmm. I just got home and read the rest of the advice.

    My personal opinion is that you should cut off those cards and block your phone and just go cold turkey. Its an addiction with your son, I believe, and you cant cure an addiction by weaning off. You have to quit. Like you do when you finally decide to stop drinking because the alcohol is ruining your life and you really want to heal. You can't quit in increments. You need to decide how badly you want to heal. Its up to you. Its hard. It can happen if you really want it.

    My daughter was my addiction. I could easily go back to trying to fix her if I did so even a little bit. The longer I don't, the stronger I feel. The more my life is my own. The more I see what I have missed. The more determined I am to never go back.

    I think you have to do this yourself. You have gotten all the advice there is. You can get this! The first few weeks are the hardest.
     
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  10. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    This reminds me of some bad memories with my son, and it hurts to recall them.

    We learned the hard way not to give him cash, for any reason. It would be used for alcohol. So if Son asked for gas for getting to work, Hubs would drive to the gas station, gas his car, and drive home again. We didn't know it was for a job he no longer had. When we figured that out, it was gas to get to rehab...but he wasn't going to rehab; he was going to a Rainbow Festival for an epic party.

    I agree with Busy. It sounds like he is blowing smoke up your skirt. Go cold turkey. He is capable of doing better. He won't as long as you fear he might not.
     
  11. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I agree.

    I agree.

    She can only do what she can do. If she feels she can stop, she should. If she feels she cannot, she needs to begin with protecting herself from the abuse. As a first step, to stopping altogether.

    What I am concerned with is that she stops beating on herself, and stops him beating on her. Who cares if he gets a few more cards, if it achieves this aim, and lets Jay begin to heal?

    Jay, if you feel you can stop cold turkey, do it. If you don't feel ready, there are other ways to do this.
     
  12. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    This might sound strange but I feel I can stop only if he stops asking for gas fill ups. I haven’t heard from him since yesterday’s blocked voicemail so I’m thinking he did cash the check from the loan he took against the car title and is using this for gas and food. But I know him all too well and when those funds are gone he will be verbally lashing out and blaming me that he had to do this and it’s all my fault. I am working towards accepting he may lose the car when he can’t pay back this small loan.

    I read and re-read everyone’s posts and I’m going to really focus on radical acceptance. I know this is an “inside job”. I’m also going to the book store to look for books on that and also maybe something on how people verbally abused can heal. There’s got to be something on that.

    I will try to pause and not rush forward to relieve my suffering or his.

    Sending hugs for all your support.
     
  13. BusynMember

    BusynMember Active Member

    He won't stop asking.

    If that is your point of being able to stop, you probably never will. This makes me feel very sad for you.

    Any end to an addiction has to come from you, not the thing you are addicted to. In your case this is your son. Abstain.

    A few more cards to me is no better than a few more drinks to an alcoholic who swears he will quit next week. Once you stop you do feel better, not the other way around. Its hard at first. It gets better and better.

    Do you do Al Anon with a Sponsor? I had one. She was a tremendous help working the steps. I could call her anytime I felt weak. I really scooted forward when I saw how mich I was attending Al Anon yet not working the program. I hadn't even accepted my powerlessness in Step One! Do you see a therapist to focus on quitting this behavior that is addictive and being good to you?

    God bless and be well. I gave you what I ferl is my best advice. Hugs!
     
  14. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Well, if he loses the car, he will stop asking for gas!

    He won’t stop asking for stuff, though.

    What do you think about Copa’s idea of stepping down your help, over the course of a few weeks? I am intrigued by the idea, if you aren’t ready to cut off the gas help cold turkey.

    He won’t stop blaming you as long as you accept the blame, and it’s not helping him to move forward with his life. Something needs to change, and the only one you have any power to change is yourself.

    Are you able to afford this extra gas expense without jeopardizing your long-term future?
     
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  15. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    JayPee, you and I are so alike in what we are going through right now. I could have written much of what you wrote. And, as usual, the wisdom of others' responses is just what I need to hear today. Thank you each for the thought you put into your counsel to others of us on this site.
     
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  16. RN0441

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

    Hi

    What an awful feeling/situation. You need to enjoy your life and not be a doormat for your boys!! They are grown men. Good grief.

    If I were you I would go see at therapist. I'd need to sit and talk it out and cry and get some feedback in real time. A book wouldn't do. It's fine once you get to a good place but you need emergency help and even a therapist will take time to work out this situation. There is no easy or quick fix.

    We all hate to see you suffer and we hate to see each other suffer. We have all suffered so greatly that are here. Some more than others. We are just here in this virtual world trying to strengthen and love each other.

    Agree prayers are huge and faith is huge but God takes his time with these things. I prayed so much for so many years and finally, finally after many many years they are being answered but not my way or on my time!!

    Prayers, Hugs & Strength to you!
     
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  17. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    I agree with your comment. My addiction is anxiously awaiting if he has changed or will lash out at me. Of course I know the answer to this don’t I?

    There were long lengths of time while I was away on vacation that I didn’t even dwell on him and when a thought came to mind I was surprised how good I felt that I had not been focusing on his never ending problem blaming issues.

    I feel I know the answer and that is to abstain. That is where my freedom lies. I will strive towards that end.
     
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  18. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This is very insightful.

    There is a central principle in psychology called the compulsion to repeat, or "repetition compulsion." it seems we are hardwired to keep trying to fix deficient relationships, starting with our parents. We will try and try and try with the aim of getting it to come out right, trying to elicit the behavior that we believe will repair the wound. It seldom ever comes out as we hope. You're right. It's the compulsive behavior (the addiction, the wish, or what's desired) that is the problem.

    It's not just you.
     
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  19. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    Is the car in your name or his? Is it paid for? Will you have any legal liabilities if the car is repo'd for the title loam?

    Such hard decisions... We both know that $80 was more than enough for four days of gas.

    Ksm
     
  20. Deni D

    Deni D Member

    JayPee, just because you take sh$$ from someone doesn't mean you deserve it. I've had to tell myself that often.

    Backing away from abuse is difficult. Your son is emotionally and financially abusing you, it is what it is. For me it kind of felt, still does at times, like I've given up, wasn't able to make things work, failed. I would think maybe there's just this one more bit of advice he will actually listen to, maybe he really is going to get a job and keep it, maybe he really will start to take care of himself. It took me a very long time to realize I was not helping my son to help himself even though that was my intention. He wasn't helping himself, other than helping himself to my sanity and finances so I would be the one rescuing him when he made things worse for himself.

    My son was after that job too whenever he wanted money from me.

    And here it is. Okay mom if you won't do what I want I'm going to make things worse for myself and then what are you going to do? Strikes terror in your heart, doesn't it? It's designed to. When you are at the point where he is making things worse for himself and blaming you for it know any help from you is fruitless. Even someone with very limited capacity to work would get a job instead risking what is the roof over their head. But someone who feels confident they are entitled and will be rescued because in their minds after all "it's all your fault" is in desperate need of a reality check.

    My son did similar things, actually sold his car for spending money because he wouldn't work and mistakenly thought I was going to have to provide transportation for him to get to a job or just give him money to live on. He's not in a much better situation today mentally. But he is working, with very little time between jobs now, so different from when I was footing the bill. He also has a car someone sold him on payments, which he pays for as far as I know. And a roof over his head he somehow manages to keep. I am under no illusion that he's not taking advantage of people with his sob story of his fictional up-dragging but I'm not footing the bill while he abuses me anymore. He's very angry and has been nothing but nasty with me on the few occasions he's been able to get to me but I'm moving past that now too. He's been warned one more nasty gram from him and I'm going to get a restraining order. I am now at no contact with him. I'm telling you this because you need to prepare yourself going into this with the idea of self preservation, not for turning you son around. It's up to him if he turns himself around or not. I still struggle with the realization my son may never get help for himself and get out of his delusional thinking. But I do accept there's not one thing I can do about it.

    I think the Al Anon is great idea. This is hard stuff to deal with. I know the overwhelming worry, minute by minute, checking the phone, feeling like you are flying with out a net anxiety ridden existence.

    I didn't go cold turkey with removing the help for my son. He was no less surprised by it but he was given a chance to do for himself if he choose to take it. He did not. So maybe, just for you, for when he comes at you with the abandonment accusations, removing your help for him with a plan will make you feel better.

    I hope you have something you can do to get your mind off of the hamster wheel and get a little peace.