things fall apart, again

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Acacia, Jun 26, 2018.

  1. Acacia

    Acacia Active Member

    Before my difficult 32-year-old was released from jail, I sent him a letter detailing what I would and wouldn’t do. I told him that he might not use my address for residency purposes. I told him that I would give him $5000 of my hard earned money to help with getting transportation and housing. I told him that he was not allowed at my house unless he was invited.

    He’s been out of jail for two months, and a couple of weeks ago his living situation fell apart and he said if probation showed up, I should tell them he was here. I said I did not want to lie. When probation showed up, I realized that’s he had given the jail my address as where he would be released to. I lied and told them he had been staying here but he was not staying here now. I texted him afterwards to let them know they had been here.

    He called me to tell me that because I didn’t have a heart to say he was living with me, he was going back to jail and would not get custody of his daughter. He hung up on me, so I texted and told him that I had set boundaries which he calls ultimatums and threats. I allow myself to feel bad because the jail has no transitional program and will not release people who do not have an address to go to, so it feels like a set up for family to have to take their difficult children in. He has three years of probation with five years hanging over his head and he’s blaming me already about going back to jail.

    The living situation that fell apart for him was with his borderline sister who has not talked to me for a year and who is clearly doing as badly as she was doing when last we spoke. All of this has been going on for the past 15 years in and out of jail and involved with the courts. I have no contact with my grandchildren.

    I teach high school and two months ago I tripped over file drawer and broke my arm in three places, so I’ve been homebound and have a long recovery ahead.
    I am so tired, I so relate to the stories and the grief and heartache experienced by members on the site, and I so appreciate the wisdom and support of the people who respond to all of our posts. Reading the posts is part of my recovery along with many other tools to keep me strong and taking my care of myself instead of having a broken heart over adult children don’t value me. I’ve come so far in learning to set boundaries and detaching, but I have so far to go. More and more I am seeing how I have not fully let go, and my broken heart over keeps me in denial and engaged.
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  2. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Oh Acacia, I'm so sorry for your broken arm! It must be very difficult for you to navigate.

    As for your son, you were more than generous to him when he was released.

    He had no right to ask you to lie for him. I understand why you did as it's hard to not want to help them.

    Typical, trying to transfer the blame to you. He's not getting custody of his daughter because of his own actions. It has nothing to do with what you did or did not do. Of course he's going to twist you setting boundaries by calling them threats and ultimatums.

    I know it's hard and I'm so sorry for that. He has done this to himself. Please do not be hard on yourself.
    Keep reminding yourself that he did all of this to himself and it's just plain wrong for him to expect you to lie for him.

    With your broken arm you really need to take very good care of yourself.

    Sending you great big gentle ((HUG))
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  3. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I'm so sorry.

    Your son is a grown man. Grown men do not live with their mothers. Grown men do not need their mothers to lie for them. Surely he could have been released to a halfway house or some other facility. He had access to $5,000! Do you know what I could do with $5,000? he lied and said he lived with you. Then having bought himself time, there's no reason at all why in the last two months he couldn't find and pay for a cheap apartment, find work and begin paying his own way, thereafter telling the authorities his new address.

    I don't suppose you know why Probation was looking for him? Clearly, they thought he lived with you, so he likely missed an appointment. No excuse.

    None of this is on you. My goodness, you offered him more money than some people earn in months! He had every chance to succeed.

    Take care of yourself and do not let his guilt trip get to you. You've done more than enough and he has made his own bed.
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  4. RN0441

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

    I so agree with the above posters!

    He is twisting this all is so true. He had time to get himself together. Act like a duck and let it roll off your back!

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  5. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I couldn't agree more with Lil

    And your son sounds like he is in no way fit to take care of his child. I hope he never gets custody. I am sorry if that sounds harsh. But he can't be a good father. He can't even take care of himself.

    All his problems are his own doing. He is a grown man. He owns his deeds, not you. It was dangerous of you to lie for him
    I never would have. Your money was enough for him to get on his feet. Did he spend it on drugs? Where is it? Whatever he used it for HE blew it.

    Do not blame yoursef. Take care of you. Go to therapy or Al Anon or both and distance yourself from this son. You can NOT save another person. But you can save yourself. That is the only person you can

    Peace and light!
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  6. Acacia

    Acacia Active Member

    You are all telling me what I clearly need to hear and keep rereading to move out of denial.

    He bought a car for $3000. My guess is that the rest went to food, rent to his sister, eating out and other luxuries.
    I think I need to cut contact with him, at least for an extended period, and in order to do that I need to get support to overcome my fears.

    You’re right Somewhere that he is in no position to parent. Developmentally he’s the age at which he started using, which is a young teen. couple that with grandiosity and oppositional defiance - he’s almost impossible to deal with.

    I very appreciate all the responses.
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  7. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member


    So sorry to hear you have to deal with this on top of a horrible sounding injury, but very proud of you that your stood your ground with the boundaries. You are very wise to do that and, in the end, that will be what makes all the difference in your happiness and well-being. I strongly believe that.

    My son was older than 32 when I finally caught on. His choices still give his dad and me pause, but nothing like it was before I found this forum and we started doing smarter.

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  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi acacia

    I agree with everybody else.

    There are sober living homes which are free room and board, for indigent people. He knows this. He chooses to not live with rules and conditions just as he chooses to not live within the rules and conditions of parole.

    Too bad. So sad.

    HE has more lessons to learn. Not you.

    Please be kind to yourself and be well soon.
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  9. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Acacia, I am so sorry for your injury, I hope you are getting enough rest and healing.
    How well I know the ache of two adult children that are off the rails and will blame everything on others, mainly me. What is a mother to do? It is hard to say no, especially when sick, or injured and down. We are certainly vulnerable. Don’t be so hard on yourself. We are all on a learning curve. This is not the normal stuff of life, but unfortunately, it has become our normal.
    I have come to understand that my two look at me more as an opportunity, than a person, a mother? I wouldn’t even want to be a fly on the wall if that conversation came up with their “friends”. I draw strength from prayer, and from channeling my dads stoicism. My dad would not put up with such nonsense. My well children are rocks, have pretty much written their sisters off. Sigh.
    I still have hope that one day things may change, but until then, am leery of any contact.
    I think it is a good idea to get support to allay your fears. Otherwise, your son will play on them, as you and I, have already experienced. It is sad that our own adult children would use us as pawns on their chessboard, but that is just what it is. I am sorry.
    Stay strong and focus on healing. That means rest and relaxation. No stress! Stress is so hard on our minds and bodies.
    You are deserving of kindness and love. You matter.
    Prayers going up for healing, and for peace of mind and heart.
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  10. Acacia

    Acacia Active Member

    New Leaf. How true, how true. My two difficult children see me as the fixer for their bad choices and are totally disinterested in me as a person.

    And yes, I need help to allay my fears. My magical thinking let’s me believe that if I had just taken him in, he would be doing okay. this is absolutely not true because he refuses to honor boundaries but my stinking thinking still takes me there.

    My therapist said that this pattern has been happening for 15 years always with the same result, And both my son and I are locked into this pattern. I am responsible for changing my part of the pattern. My therapist recommends no contact with my son because of how difficult it is. I believe he is right but I feel like a terrible person - as though I am turning my back on someone in need. And both my son and I are locked into this pattern. I am responsible for changing my part of the pattern. My therapist recommends no contact with my son because of how difficult it is. I believe he is right but I feel like a terrible person even though intellectually I know it’s not true.

    I am a fearful person because of my childhood, but I keep working hard to overcome that. Right now I am back at that fear, crying, perseverating, worrying, I will continue to read the posts and do all I can to gather the strength to take care of myself

    question. How do quote what someone has said in reply as others do when they respond to what someone has written. What I mean is that it looks like they cut and paste part of the original post into their own reply. If anyone can direct me how to do that that would be great
  11. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    It's very simple. Click and drag over what you want to "quote" so it's highlighted. A little box will open asking if you want to quote or reply. Click on quote, then in a new response, click like you will type something and another box will show up saying insert quotes.
    Hope that helps.
  12. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Dearest Acacia, how we all need to cherish the time we have left on this earth, to learn to value and respect ourselves enough to not allow anyone to tread on our hearts. Not even these children we raised.
    You are not the only one who thinks this way. Shoulda, coulda, woulda. My thoughts sometimes go back to the time when I first made my eldest leave our home. It was not a pretty site. Reality is, our relationship had been deteriorating for some time, there was a huge lack of respect and crossing boundaries, refusal to follow house rules. In the stages of grief, this is called bargaining. “If I had done this.....”
    Truth is, our kids will grow up and choose their paths. I have a friend who has adult children who are doing well, but have no contact with her. She calls them her ”ungratefuls”.
    My two rarely contact me. I haven’t heard from Tornado in a year. It’s probably because I won’t give in to their wants. I broke the pattern. Although at times, my magical mind reels the tapes, when I drift into those thoughts, I pray. I pray for my two to find their potential, and I pray for strength and peace of mind.

    You have been turning your back on someone in need- yourself. Bending over backwards to appease a person who abuses you, your love, takes advantage of your generosity, is abandoning yourself. Don’t see yourself through your sons eyes, or whatever happened in your childhood that paints an untrue picture of who you are.
    Self care and love, is different from being selfish. When we lift ourselves up with self respect, we learn to set healthy boundaries, and recognize when another person is trying to take advantage of us.
    I am glad you have a therapist to help guide you. Relationship patterns are not easy to break, but it is possible, with hard work and belief that you are worth the effort.
    You are.
    Keep working at it. I have come to learn that it is a continuous mission, especially with our own adult kids trying to stomp on us. Be kind and gentle with yourself. Maybe look into inner child work. I believe our experiences and memories of childhood deeply effect our decisions. Our lifestyles.
    We were powerless as children, but we are not now. You were strong enough to get through college, become a teacher, working with teenagers. That is tough work.
    Your post is titled “Things are falling Apart” Sometimes it takes challenges and unforeseen circumstances to shake us up and redirect our lives.
    Although things are not right with our children, our relationship with them, our picking the pieces up and soldiering on, battling for our own peace of mind and joy, is a testament to them, that they can live better lives.
    That’s how I urge myself onward.
    Be the change you wish to see, Leafy. Live well.
    Prayers for healing, Acacia, not just your arm, but your heart and mind, too.
    You matter.
  13. Deni D

    Deni D Member

    Acacia I so hope you have a way to disengage and get your mind off of your son’s problems.

    I understand fully how it feels so wrong to not help someone, especially your adult child who seems to never be able to get out of their own way. It goes against everything we believe we should do. I think to myself my son should have learned how to be responsible for himself and not take advantage of other people growing up, from the examples that were set and from the expectations I had of him. And now he’s off in the world acting like he grew himself up in the worst possible environment with no parental guidance or love. So now what? The answer I believe is nothing, do nothing, expect nothing. Sounds simple, but as we know it’s not so easy in practice. It seems we need to fill that nothing with something, and it seems care of ourselves, once we figure out what that actually means for us personally is probably best.

    I hope your arm heals well. Uber was great for me when I broke my ankle. Also without a cast I was able to use the local Y for some of my rehab. They have a warm water pool, I love that pool. The people who work there know how to tell you how to adjust your workout for whatever you are dealing with because they tend to get a lot of people with disabilities.

    Wishing peace for you and everyone else on this board today.
  14. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel


    We arrogantly think we are responsible for how are children turn out. We have far less influence on that than we would like to admit. If love could cure our children none of us would be here.

    Be kind to yourself and heal well. That was some tumble 3 places ouch.

    I can add nothing to the beautiful advice you have already received.

    Stay well and take care of yourself. You have done more than Most would given the circumstances.