Learning to let go

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Leana, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. Leana

    Leana New Member

    Son has Cluster B and bipolar. Have been trying to help after legal problems, probation, divorce, new girlfriend with mental issues. Borderline (BPD). Currently I have had
    Supervision with custody of son for 2 years while trying to help with custody and to get sup dropped. Son had violent fight with girlfriend, lost his job, moved back in our house for 3 months and turned into carefree teen. He is 30. He dramatized we threw him out into the streets with no money, job or place to stay. Moved back in with girlfriend and now nasty with me
    and putting the blame on me. Wants supervision dropped and he'll see his son thru the courts. He won't be able to pay.
    He threatens I won't be able to see my grandson. So not true. Does not appreciate everything I have sacrificed for him to be able to see his son. Spent money on lawyers ECT and nothing is resolved. Dropping supervision Tom and just need some space from son. He is either going to get himself together or sink. I can no longer help him. I just started to take an antidepressant and am 62 years old and retiring. I feel I' trying to fix and live his life and destroying mine and my husband's. Praying and looking for strength. Like the son I knew is gone.
  2. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Well-Known Member

    Your battle sounds similar to mine i am 64 with 36 year old bipolar son. Also other issues. He has a son he is only allowed to see supervised. He is not allowed at my house. Right now he is in jail. I retired a couple of years ago and feel like he has spent more of my retirement than me. You are doing the right thing and you will find tremendous support here. Hang tough they always threaten when they are angry. There is a post on here about detachment that might be of help and i also recommend a book called "Codependent No More" by melody Beattie. I am sorry that you have to go through this with your son. We all love our children but have to let them learn to function on their own. We are entitled to some peace in our lives. I hope you find the support you need here. I do.
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  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi Leana, welcome. I'm so sorry you are struggling with your son and his choices.

    I am in my 60's and retired. My daughter went off the rails and I raised my granddaughter (who thankfully is 21 and doing great) so I understand and have empathy for your plight. When I was enabling my daughter, she was nasty, blamed me and never appreciated anything I did. As I began detaching from her choices, setting boundaries, saying no and letting go, she changed. Our relationship changed. The less I did, the more she appreciated! But, she would not have changed if I hadn't stopped all of my enabling of her. This is hard stuff.

    I believe you're doing the right thing by setting strong boundaries, detaching from your son's behaviors and letting go.

    It doesn't usually feel good to detach from our kids, but it becomes necessary most of the time. Over time, it gets easier and you'll feel considerably better.

    As Tired Mama mentioned, Codependent no more by Melodie Beattie is a good resource. As are any book by Pema Chodron and Eckhart Tolle. The article on detachment is at the bottom of my post here. NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness may be a good resource for you as well, you can access them online, they have wonderful courses for parents. If you haven't already, you might consider therapy for you and your husband. Frankly, I could not have done this without professional help. Many of us here make that choice, this is a very difficult journey.

    Hang in there, continue posting it helps so much. Take care of yourselves now, nourish and nurture yourselves as the priority. I'm glad you're here. You are not alone.
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  4. Leana

    Leana New Member

    Today was the first time I've seen my son's
    ugly, hateful, soulless side. He has never lashed out at me. Pretty sure it was because
    I was no longer his number 1 supporter. He now views me as the enemy, at least today.
    Thanks for the advice on the books which
    I'll order right away. I feel so sorry for all the family members who are so affected by this horrible illness. I have been praying nighty and listening for guidance and found this
    group. I let go and not blinded by the intense
    feelings of a mothers love to nurture or in my case, fix everything. Can't Do it anymore. I'm
    working on the pain and thank God for my
    husband and daughter.
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  5. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Unfortunately, this is fairly predictable behavior from our difficult kids, it seems to be a part of this process of detachment. Once we stop the enabling, the continual help, advice, constant monitoring and the exhausting taking of responsibility for their bad choices, they begin their assault of cruelty, abuse, attacks and sometimes, pretty horrific behavior towards us. The parental gravy train stops and their manipulations and abuse begins. For your own sanity and sense of peace, find ways to focus on what you need. Take care of YOU.

    When my daughter was in the midst of the worst times, my husband and I used to take off, maybe once a week (sometimes twice!)....it began as a sort of escape from the negative, relentless drama, but turned into a respite for us. We would leave early and go to the ocean, the woods, the city, it didn't matter where, it was the time away that mattered so much. As we would get further from home, we would eventually stop talking about my daughter and start to enjoy the scenery and the beauty. It was a real life saver. We still do this because it's a sort of weekly mini vacation for us. It also re-connected us, separate from my daughter's behaviors. I look forward to our outings.

    Find ways to prioritize what brings you joy and peace. When we're in this kind of patterned behavior with our kids, it's easy to forget that we matter too, our lives are important, our joy and peacefulness are necessary and at our age, we deserve it.

    Leana, rediscover what brings your heart happiness and solace.....it's time.....it's our time now.....take it.
  6. Eliz63

    Eliz63 New Member

    I am new to this site. I am sickened with my 32 year old son . I have tried and tried to help him . His father and I are divorced his father had remarried and I do not get any emotional support from him .
    My son is losing his home has no job does drugs I don’t know what . He had stolen money has ruined my credit etc
    I’m so distraught everyday .
    I’m 63 yrs old wanting to retire soon but see no way out . I have someone in my life who is so supportive and want to spend whatever life we have left with him . I have sacrificed so much for my son and cannot do it anymore.
    I love him but I can’t stand by and watch him destroy himself.
    It’s comforting to know I’m not alone .
    Please offer any advice to me I’m st the end of my rope
  7. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Eliz63, welcome.

    It's late and others will be along in the morning. I'm sorry you're struggling with your son. You may want to start your own thread where you will receive more support.

    I have empathy for your plight, I have a 45 year old daughter who went off the rails and I enabled her until I was close to having a breakdown myself. The only one who can stop this dynamic is YOU. Your son (most of our adult kids here) won't change.......why should they? We do everything for them.

    Here's my advice to you: Get support for yourself. Find a therapist well versed in addiction for YOU so you have a safe place to vent, emote and explore possibilities and options. Go to an Al Anon, Narc Anon or Families Anonymous meeting as soon as you can. Read the book Codependent no more by Melodie Beattie. If your son also has mental health issues, contact NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, you can access them online, they provide excellent parent courses.

    Start your own thread and continue posting, it helps to write our story down and receive support from others who get it. Read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here. Print it out and keep it close so you can refer to it.

    Many of us, including myself, have sought professional help because this is a very difficult path.....we must find very different ways to respond to our troubled kids. That in itself is hard enough. We also deal with extreme losses, resentments, profound sorrow, anger, disappointment, financial ruin, depression and fear. We have to learn how to detach from their choices and behaviors, set strong impenetrable boundaries and learn to let go of what we can't control......... and find acceptance. None of this is easy. Hence, my suggestion for you to find as much support as you can. I had a weekly therapy session, a weekly parent support group, I went to CoDa 12 step meetings a couple of times a week and read every book that was suggested to me. I needed a lot of help because I knew I couldn't do this alone.

    It's time for you to let go of your adult son and allow him to face the consequences of his choices. Without that, he will never change. He still may never change, even with consequences, however he is a grown man and you are not responsible for him, HE IS.

    You are likely stuck in what we call the FOG, fear, obligation and guilt. When we are in the FOG we cannot make any decisions because the fear, obligation and guilt keep us stuck in the hamster wheel wondering why nothing changes.......nothing changes until WE change.

    If you choose to begin detaching from your son, be aware that he may act out and try manipulation, blame, abuse, guilt, whatever he believes will work to get you back to being responsible for him. Don't fall for it, it's a fairly usual tactic our kids utilize. You'll need support to not slip back into enabling him.

    Stop sacrificing yourself for him. When you do that, you abandon yourself.

    I suggest that you start living the life you have imagined for yourself. Shift your focus onto yourself and off of your son. You matter too. Your life matters. Your well being matters. Go be with your special someone and start your retirement as soon as you can. You deserve a life of peace. You deserve to have joy and serenity. Go take your life back.

    Hang in there Eliz63, it sounds to me as if you have reached a point of choice with your son. Make the changes necessary. Continue posting. Get yourself a strong support system.

    You're not alone. We're here for you. We'll circle the wagons around you as you move thru this difficult situation. We're all in this together.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
  8. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Well-Known Member

    I understand what you are going through. It is hard to wrap your head around the idea that by giving them money and providing them with what they want we are not helping only hurting. I did the same with my son. I am trying my best to detach but it is not easy. None of us want to see our children having trouble but you and i are close in age and we are not going to be around for ever so first we should be able to enjoy our lives we have earned it. As far as our adult children they need to learn to be independent now because we won't be here forever. I know that it is not that simple it will take a lot of adjustment , there will be anger, tears, threats, resentment and some tough choices. But hopefully they will become independent and by doing so give us our independence back.
  9. Leana

    Leana New Member

    We seem to be going thru similar nightmares.
    My day ended with my son getting in fight with his girlfriend where the police were called. I, again was so sick to my stomach, I vomitted. It was out of our hands and she went thru the process of getting a 302 on him. I did not sleep, figuring he would be suicidal. I also did not call him as he has to be responsible for his actions. I understand the pain all to well and I started to plan what I should do to make it better. I prepared for the worst as it is his life not mine. I had guilt because I saw him brewing earlier and my instincts were correct. My doctor who said I need an antidepressant right said to call his
    Psychiatrist as he is required by law to listen to me. I didn't. Now he is living with some guy
    at least not in his car for now. He came to our house with his sad eyes saying not to worry, hell
  10. Leana

    Leana New Member

    be ok. He said there is no 302 or PFA. She attacked him while he was sleeping. They
    both lie so at least he is out of there.
    He just called and said he found someone
    with a really nice apt and he is moving in.
    His spirits are up and now I'll just pray he gets a job. On his own. Still not sure if she
    302 him. I'm busy working on me. I have left
    things undo and maybe a vacation with my
    husband. Tired of planning my life around his
  11. Leana

    Leana New Member

    A day or so of maybe he will be ok. Now the chaos again. Thought with this apt maybe he will land on his feet. He woke up this AM too tired and didn't go to help with some side jobs. He ended up at my daughter' who has a baby and husband. Took a bunch of lithium pills, vomited, and again we have another crisis. The last time we 302 him it took all night before the cops came and he had a loaded gun. He was clearly out of his mind
    yet it was nearly impossible to get him help.
    So, he does not want to speak to me because we don't believe he is innocent. I called his
    pychartrist and he said he missed 9 out of 11
    appts. He has to be responsible to get help. In the meantime my daughter said she would never get over him trying to commit suicide in her house and he needed to go to a motel.
    He settled down and said he just wanted to sleep.
  12. Leana

    Leana New Member

    Again, more drama. He said he was going to check himself in to a crisis center. His ex girlfriend come over to my daughter's to take him. Said he was too tired and would go in Tom. This was yesterday. Well, he did go with his ex girlfriend to be admitted. I'm completely out of the drama as usually I'm the coordinator. My daughter has visiting privileges but my husband and I do not. I'd like to think he is trying to save me the pain,
    but in his twisted reality he thinks he is hurting us. We have always been there with encouragement and support. This is somewhat difficult but I'm staying out of it. Looking at it objectively I now see the constant lying and I'm doing great attitude. It is so sad as I know that person is just a mask. He manipulates and destroys people for the sheer power of it. He is a poster child for Cluster B at its worst. He told his sister he thinks he has blackouts and can't remember events. Maybe just another lie to gain sympathy and not be accountable for his actions. Here is a man who never yelled at his mother and treated
    me with such love. He hide it so well to me. The day I saw him lash out at me was so shocking and yet, what a reality check. I like to think he loves me but I'm not sure if he is capable. It is just the saddest thing to think he can't experience love. My life has changed
    and I'm just learning to let go. I've been reading posts and so so many are my life. I ponder at the thoughts of what I could have done differently. My daughter tells me I was a wonderful mother, and appreciates everything. He is just mentally ill and it can't be fixed with love. There goes the Love can concur all theory. My heart goes out to all suffering on this forum. Finding peace and yourself again is a battle. It is something you just can't share or even talk about because the pain is deep. Thank you for letting me share.
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  13. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm so sorry Leana. I know how hard this is.
    Take care of yourself now. You are "out of the drama."
    Go on that vacation with your husband.
    You need a break, please take it.
  14. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Well-Known Member

    I am so sorry for what your son is putting you through. My son threatened suicide many times as well. One piece of advice was everytime he threatens tell him you are going to call the crisis center and let them handle it if he is just trying to manipulate you or cause you pain or get your attention he may stop but my son has never gone as far as swallowing pills. I agree with recovering enabler take some time for yourself.
  15. Leana

    Leana New Member

    Boy, he is a master. I can at least say I can see thru him. He came over with his girlfriend and wanted me to know she never 302d him and just started all this drama. If she was so scared of him why would she be hanging around him. She is the crazy one and he is the victim of her crazy and drama. She has been admitted 2x in the last 3 months. One suicide attempt where she wrote his name in blood on the wall because he left. I witnessed that one. Dear God. It sounds like I'm making this up...I wish. She tells my husband he asked her to drive him to the crisis center again, then changed his mind and decided to have her help him move. She did. Not sure who is crazier. My son, with the big
    Blue green eyes says, I have lost my family, son,friends, job everything. I just told him he hasn't lost his family but we need to see him stand on his own. I can't help him and I can't
    take the drama. He was the one who made his own decisions. I told him to think of this girlfriend as jail bait because that is where he will land. I still feel in a different place.
    Detached I guess. Like watching a movie. He coming Tom to move some furniture. My husband thinks I'm doing better so maybe I am. My son wants us to see him as the victim
    but I just don't. God help us all. Strangely it helps to post.
  16. Leana

    Leana New Member

    After I posted I had to call him. First time in 2 weeks I called. I just had to hear his voice. He said he was in bed and thanks for calling. Love you. Just wondering if Im so used to being needed I don't really want to let go. Are we twisted also? Still think I'm different not so reactive. Guess I' wearing a mask now.
  17. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Leana, Elizabeth and others...very quick note.
    First off, having an adult child like this is very taxing. If at all possible, best to get counseling for yourself.
    Support groups like Families Anonymous are often great. Comraderie and good Local input/contacts.
    And keep posting here...this is a wonderful and supportive bunch
    Read whatever you can get your hands on re detachment.
    If you ever find yourself in need of pulling away in a major way, you might consider a good food store gift card to help now and again as st least this type of help is likely to go toward food.
    You can provide this fir emergency purposes only.
    We have one meant for college kids (I think). Duplicate cards , one for us and one for her. You keep one. If she is in dire need and scts appropriately, we can take our card and put some money on it and it will show up on both cards. You do this at the food store.
    I’m a tiny bit more giving with food , although I’m conflicted about it. Give an inch and these kids will take a mile.
  18. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    This kind of person makes you feel so crazy!!! They make you wonder what is real and what isn't real. What they do is called gaslighting. They tell you one thing is real, then you see another thing is actual reality, and you can get a bit confused. That is rather natural, given the very convincing things they tell you.

    I had a brother who would do this to me. Until my husband came along, no one ever saw my side. My husband wondered why anyone ever saw my brother's side because all my brother had were words. I had actual reality to prove what happened. Sadly, that often didn't matter in my family. It used to make me nuts as a kid. I think your son can be like my brother. Fond of telling you one thing often enough until reality blurs out of focus and the words are the only thing you can see in focus.

    It is time to focus on your husband and reality and yourself. Let your son and his girlfriend go and fix their own world. Get some therapy to help you adjust to this life. It sure is NOT easy. Know that we are here and we understand!
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  19. Leana

    Leana New Member

    Took my son grocery shopping as all he had was cereal and milk. We actually had fun.
    He was my old son and I enjoyed his company. He was very thankful and we just sat and talked. I had to be reminded by him, not to worry. He did not ask for anything and I guess
    doesn't have to. I'm still on guard and not going to help or fix anything. I'm in a wait and let's see situation. He was just over to pick up more of his things. He said he is happy.
    Can we still have hope? He said he is staying away from his girlfriend and thinks she may
    be crazier then he. Doesn't matter because they make each other worse.
  20. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    What a nice day. One day at a time and enjoy the moments you have that are positive.