List of things to say when detaching


(the future) MRS. GERE
I decided that my other reply probably wasn’t very helpful so I’m making another attempt. Lol

husband, being fresh out of cash from having given it to difficult child, was off to the bank to get more cash to free the dogs (an hour away ~ one way.)

“Son, here is the phone number for PAWS (or a no-kill rescue of your choice). Let’s make arrangements for the dogs. Perhaps they have some ideas for you.”

difficult child's sister decided to talk some sense into him. And it started to turn really nasty between the two of them.

“There will be no fighting in this house. Period. Both of you need to knock it off…or leave and take the fight elsewhere.” And you would have to stay in the room until this happened.

And, it turns out, his sister has given him the $200.

Fine. That’s her choice. You did not need to repay her. Situation resolved. The end.

So, what would you say to the difficult child who turns out to have been camping on your back lot in his car in below zero weather? (This is Wisconsin ~ freezing to death is a definite possibility.)

“Son, you cannot just camp in our backyard. It is too cold. Here is the address of the nearest homeless shelter. Come in and we will call them together to make arrangements for you.”


scent of cedar

New Member
Thanks, Suz. If it wasn't happening to me, I don't htink I could believe it, either. (When I post about these things, it almost seems like it would have to have been made up ~ surely, no one would really do these things.)

I do appreciate being taken seriously. It really is something, isn't it, when we start to think through how things have gone?

We did have the numbers for shelters, last November when difficult child turned out to have been sleeping on the back lot. But then, there were the dogs to consider....

And, just like when he called, demanding money for the vet visit, we felt cruel, to have left the dog to suffer, knowing he was really sick.

But we did it. (Mostly because we did not know what vet to send money to, or how much money.)

Whatever response we choose, we never do feel very good about ourselves.

Maybe that is coming.

Thanks again, Suz.

It must be a frustrating thing to hear about.



(the future) MRS. GERE
Barb, I hope others will chime in with alternative responses to your situations to give you some options. I sure as heck don't have the answers and some days I can't even formulate the question :biggrin: .

Much of this is trial and error.

I have always said that the main thing is to be on the same page with your spouse. Decide how you are going to handle situations, then stick to the decision together. You can't be the "tough" one and have your husband running to the cash machine. And you can't decide to make an exception and give Son some $$$ then beat yourself up about it endlessly afterwards. If you make an exception, tell difficult child you are making an exception and be unapologetic about it. Just be careful about what constitutes an exception....and make sure that everything isn't an exception.



Former desparate mom
I think Suz, has a good idea. Have a baseline of what you will or won't do. Write it out. It's more for you and husband to have some idea of what to do or what direction to head.

I think your difficult child always seems to surprise you into doing things you weren't planning on doing.

Will you pay to maintain his dogs?
He will call again and ask for money. What is acceptable and what isn't?
Will you buy a duplex?
It isn't a matter of right or wrong but know ahead of time what you want to do and stick to it. You don't owe apologies or beat yourself up endlessly for making a decision. This is the advantage of adulthood. You owe no one an explanation.

One thing is for certain, he will do this again. What do you and husband want to do?
(obviously these are rhetorical questions-I don't want the answers- I have my own list)
Sitting down with husband will help get you on the same page.

If the two of want to whittle away your savings 200.00 at a time, that is your perogative and your choice. Just make a decision to do so and don't have all the angst afterwards.

I know you thought you were being hospitable but it seems a little out of place in the situation you describe. Why would his sister give him 200.00 if she is fighting with him and disapproves of his new friend? What would buying a duplex do to improve the situation? I was a little confused.


This may sound funny--but it works for me,

"I really don't have an opinion on that one"

Since I'm pretty opinionated but have resigned from making decisons for former children (AKA our newly minted adults), this must be a 'disengagement' signal to them without my ever actually talking about disengaging.

If necessary, I follow with some version of, "but I'm sure you'll figure this out."

Works for me

This list is a great idea. I will need it when easy child --yes easy child, gets home for summer vacation. Her problems aren't exactly like a hardcore difficult child--but she's a bit entitled and tries to get around a simple "no."

The phone isn't my problem area so I think I will have to make big flash cards like Janet suggested. Only instead of "breathe" on the back, I'll put "watch out for the end run."


scent of cedar

New Member
Martie, I liked that last statement, about preparing for the end run.

Also, you all are correct, about not beating ourselves up for it, if we have decided to send money or whatever.

That is a very good point. We find ourselves in a place we think we can spend our ways out of, I suppose. (And no, we certainly don't have the money to do it ~ we always believe we can change the situation if we clear the decks for difficult child one more time.)

And then, things skyrocket out of control.

Fran, the duplex idea is one difficult child came up with awhile ago. His thing is that if we really wanted to help him, that is what we would do.

It's one of those things that a parent might do, too. But if we did it, it should only be because difficult child is looking to create a new source of income for himself, and using that first purchase as seed money ~ at least half of which he should have supplied on his own. His sister says that many people who live addictive life styles are squirreled away in some duplex situation by their parents, so that at least the difficult child is physically safe.

But even we can see that would only encourage difficult child to use as much as he wanted.

Sister gave difficult child the cash that day becasue husband was already on his way into the city (an hour away) to get that same amount of cash to give difficult child.

That's why difficult child had come home that morning. And the woman was someone with a car (difficult child's must have been impounded, when he was picked up for sleeping in it).

Well, anyway.

Upon being shown this (really great!) list, husband responded that we don't even need to think about such things, because we are not giving difficult child any more money.

Kind of frustrating.

My favorites are:

"That too bad that happened to you."

"What are you going to do about it?" or "So what's your plan now?"

I like to make it clear that I'm not taking any action. I'm throwing it back to them.