Update and just looking for support

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Deni D, Jul 5, 2019.

  1. Deni D

    Deni D Active Member

    I don’t post much but read often. My heart goes out to everyone here and feel deeply for what everyone is gong though.

    My son is still living in the same house he found to take him in almost a year and half ago when I had to have him removed from here after a short stay. I assume he follows the rules there, little that they be, and I know he doesn’t act the way he did/does with me towards the adult in that house or he would not be there. He works somewhat, he’s let at least one very good job go as is his tendency. I believe he delivers pizza part time for the most part. He has an old car the owner of the house kind of sold to him last year. I don’t know if he’s finished paying for it or not yet. But it’s still on road which I’m sure would not be the case if I had gotten it for him. He’s supposed to be paying $100 a week to stay there but I doubt that’s happening for the most part. I know he’s an avid pot smoker and from the late-night calls and emails I get I know he’s drinking heavily. He doesn’t take medication for his bipolar disorder and now claims he’s not and never was bipolar. He states I “doctor shopped” and gave him medication to “keep him quiet” as a child.

    With me he’s gone from demanding I make amends for “throwing him out on the street to starve on a whim” to finally now demanding that I “educate myself on the damage psychiatric drugs do to a child, get help for my mental illness, and make amends for all of the abuse he has suffered by my hand.” According to him this is my “only path of redemption” with him.

    I have had exactly three normal exchanges with him in the last year, which were very quickly followed by his typical upside down/inside out alternate reality accusations and character assignations of me. He’s very eloquent in his writing and his speech. But it comes from a crazed mind which makes it impossible to have a conversation with or respond to an email without setting him off more. I tried for a bit to remind him of how his childhood actually was. From that he tells me I used to be a good mother or maybe I was just faking it back then. As far as everything he’s done to cause himself problems since he started messing with drugs and alcohol and not taking his medication, he seems to easily put it aside as if it never happened and instead insists I created all of his problems.

    I he doesn’t have much going in the way of friendships and contact with family. He doesn’t have a girlfriend, hasn’t for years. He does see his father once in a while. But his father has told him he won’t talk to him about me at all and does not pressure him to go back to the doctors. The adult in the house where he is living is a nice guy, but with his own issues who believes my son was abused by me. The man received his third DWI in the beginning of February when he got into a car accident. He has gotten a lawyer and has not yet been sentenced but it seems he’s looking at a mandatory six month jail sentence, three months of which could include rehab if he chooses it. I have no idea if the man will close the house for those six months or leave my son and his son in charge during that time.

    At this point, for about a month, I don’t answer phone calls or respond to emails from my son. He’s proven to me all I’m good for in his eyes is a verbal punching bag whenever something upsets him. I’m over here in my corner still praying for someone to have a positive influence on my son and persuade him to go to a therapist or psychiatrist.
  2. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    He has no right to demand anything from you. My view on this type of behavior is that it's just another form of manipulation. Let's say that you did tell him "son, I'm so sorry for all the things you said I did", even if you did that, I do not believe he would "forgive" you and move on to work on a healthy relationship.
    What I know about forgiveness is that's it's to be given freely and it's more for the person offering forgiveness than the one receiving it.
    My bio father sexually abused me as a child. He died when I was a teen. I held quite a bit of anger towards him but I came to understand that my holding onto the anger only hurt myself. The man was dead! There was nothing else he could do to me. I chose to forgive him and with that, I let go of the hurt and anger.
    It's no different with our kids. However they "perceive" their childhoods is just that. They can hate us all they want but in the end, the only one they are really hurting is themselves.
    My son has made similar complaints to me about when he was diagnosed with ADD and put on Ritalin, how as his mother I should have known better than to give him drugs. Okay, just typing that out actually made me laugh! Seriously, your son, my son and other sons and daughters want to "blame" us for giving them drugs and yet what do they do??? They self medicate.o_Oo_Oo_O

    I'm sorry your son is trying to use emotional blackmail on you. I like you can only pray and hope that someone will have a positive influence on my son. Until then, I find it best to have very limited contact with him. As of this posting, it's been a few months since I have heard anything from my son or have seen him post anything on FB. For all I know he could be in jail again or dead. It's just so very sad.

    Hang in there Deni. Glad you posted, good to see you on here.
  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Dear Deni

    I think it all boils down to staying in our own lane; letting go of responsibility and a sense of guilt (that others have tried to instill and to which we buy in) and accepting the situation as it is. It is when we keep trying to hold on, by efforts to working it out, by buying into other people's story, by staying hooked that our suffering continues.

    Your son has every right to his own story about his life. Including false stories. Including neglecting his health. He has a right to self-determination. So does my own son.

    But you have a right to not hear it. To have your own story and to live from that. With that we have the possibility of inner peace. It is this that is the jewel of our life, not that we feel we have a happy ending of the motherhood story right this minute. We don't know the whole picture of life. We know one second right here where we stand. What is happening really, we don't know. The important thing, I think, is to learn to center ourselves in us, in our own purpose, our own well-being. And to seek to maintain this, happen what happens.
    I'm right there with you. Except for the abuse part. If my son can't value or respect me, he needs to stay away and I need to keep him away.

    Personally, I see a lot of pluses in your story. For the most part you are able to define and maintain good boundaries. The thing we need to remember, is what Tanya writes: We do not control nor do we have responsibility for our sons' choices. And we should not permit that either they or we hand out blame or (Self)punishment for same.

    Reading your story, I would urge you to pull back even more from your son. How is this helping you (or him) to be battered by his criticism and lack of caring?

    I know what it is to yearn for validation and closeness with the children we have raised and love. I believe that in my own case that validation and closeness is something I need to create in myself. This is my own story to write, and has nothing really to do with what my son says, does or thinks. This is the lane in which I have some power. When I am dependent upon something that he says or does...is when I lose myself.

    I think you are doing great. Really. None of this is fun. But it is moments like this (that you are having) that lead to great strides. This is how we learn. When suffering breaks through. With this we have the opportunity to recalibrate. I am glad you're back. Take care.
  4. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    I can relate to all of the above. We are in renewed contact with DS due to serious legal problems he has created for himself. He is currently in drug treatment and will be transitioning to a halfway house within the next few weeks.

    W is obviously more enmeshed than I am. I am renewing my attendance at 12 step meetings and doing a better job of noticing when I grow over-involved.

    W finally accepts that DS needs a structured environment right now if he is ever going to be anything more than a criminal, and her fantasies of him moving in with us and suddenly becoming a functioning young adult have been sufficiently tempered. It is a good thing, because I will not live with DS and won't allow our pet to do so, either. He is volatile and dangerous when he isn't sweet, insightful, and deeply reflective. I will not put myself through it and I'll protect an innocent animal in the bargain.

    I cannot force my wife to protect herself. I will always protect me.

    I will pray for your son and for your continued healing.
  5. Deni D

    Deni D Active Member

    Thank you Tanya
    So true, he’s not looking for a reason to forgive me, it’s more like he’s looking for a reason to hijack my life again. If he could only just get me to concede that I have created all of his problems then I believe he thinks I would be on the hook again to rescue him from all of his bad decisions. There’s just no place for me to go with it.

    The irony has not escaped me. The danger he speaks of was a renowned psychopharmacologist who was extremely careful with prescribing including many office visits and tons of bloodwork along with titrating medication at minute dosages to be sure he was okay. Compared to him taking lethal amounts of Coricidin Cough and Cold so he could “trip” and causing psychosis makes it a real head shaker.

    It is very sad, I hope your son is somewhere getting the help he needs.
  6. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Sadly, I don't think he ever will. He's 37 years old and after all the jail time he's done and the years of being homeless, nothing fazes him.
    Currently he's living a "communal type" of life with others and they all work on a hemp farm. If he's happy living that way, then I'm happy for him. My concern is, I know my son, I know his temper and if he starts drinking alcohol again, it will only be a matter of time before he blows up at someone. He has been out of jail since Oct. and when he was in, he shared with me that he knows alcohol has a bad effect on him.
    Only time will tell. I always take his "silence" as things are going well for him. He only seams to reach out when he's in trouble.
    How did that old soap opera go "Like sands through the hourglass, these are the days of our lives"
  7. Deni D

    Deni D Active Member

    Thanks Copa
    It took me a while to get it that my son and anyone else for that matter has a right to their own story, no matter what the reality is. If anyone see's me as someone who I am not then it should be okay as long as I have put a good effort in. But these weird situations, which thankfully don't happen often, I feel like it's not okay and go into defense mode. I'm still working on just letting things be...
    Oye, with the health issues, maybe one day they will value their bodies.

    I don't know if it was you or someone else who had posted something similar recently but from that during the last week or so I started talking to myself about how I really am and how I really act and have acted. It has helped except the times I wonder if my reality is just as messed up as my son's.

    Yep, it's like if I allow any contact I'm just allowing him to continue as usual.

    I hope so and I hope you are doing well these days. Hope you have many times when you are engaged and happy without worrying about your son in the background.
  8. Deni D

    Deni D Active Member

    I remember having those fantasies. It's so hard to give up the notion that they might just accept normal guidance and help from family and grow emotionally from it.

    It is great though he has a sweet, insightful and deeply reflective side to him. Hopefully that's what pulls him through at some point int the future.

    From what I remember of your story you are a very strong woman. Hopefully your wife knows how lucky she is to have you as her rock to keep things in your lives from really going south.
  9. Deni D

    Deni D Active Member

    I see the same with mine. Mine's reaching out is no longer for money, cars, a place to live, at least on the surface of it anyway. I know I get the what I call the "nasty grams" when something is not going right in his life.
  10. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This is such a beautiful prayer Deni. May I borrow it?
  11. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    OK. I think our thoughts about the past are just made up stories. And I think more than not we used these made up stories to beat ourselves up in ways that are judging and invalidating.

    What I aspire to do is to focus on the present. This moment. And doing so with a specific aim, to feel connected to that place in myself that feels whole, and good and centered. The past is gone. The future is hypothetical. The now is all I have.

    It is from this place that I have loved my son. My aim now is to find for myself, self-acceptance, even bliss. I am really making this a mission. In my faith (which is the oy faith) I am in a meditation group online, I am studying (and doing) art. I am working towards a daily prayer practice. I am walking 80 minutes a day (OK most days. OK. I just started back up again yesterday.)

    I don't think the mind, that is, thinking, has much to offer us. I think we have to walk outside the boundaries of thinking. It is a radical shift. We leave the envelope of this suffering and step outside of it. I think this is what Tanya has done. She has just stepped outside of the envelope and found her life in everything. We do not have to be defined (or define ourselves) by the suffering of our children, or even by our own suffering. It can be there. But we choose to be something else and to live from that. This is doable. But it takes commitment.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
  12. Deni D

    Deni D Active Member

    Copa ~ Your posts always make me think. The way you write really gets through to me.

    I think we tend to remember the negatives so much more readily. I've found myself going through the days, weeks and months just being myself and noticing I don't act the way my son describes. Have I ever been impatient and really frustrated to the point I was at my wits end? A couple of times. But I don't act the way my son describes when that happens. So I've though to myself am I just not a raging lunatic anymore or was I never? I think never but then maybe I'm kidding myself. That's what I meant about maybe my reality being as messed up as my son's.

    I get glimpses of being in the moment here and there these days. Meditation frustrates me right now so I go more for physical activities.

    Ha! I so love this! 80 minutes is a lot, good job!
  13. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    It's interesting that you brought up that he feels his childhood was not good. My Two Sons have said that to me a million times. Truth be told, I did everything humanly possible to give them the happiest childhood possible and it just boggles my mind that their perception is different. I really appreciate your sharing that because for the longest time I felt like "did I miss something?" What on earth are they remembering? I haven't quite figured all that out yet. However, there are intermittent times when my sons are not vaulting verbal knives at me that they'll say..I know you were a good Mom. It's like a switch goes off for a moment and they see it the way "I" remembered it.

    Anyways, I try to remember that my healing will continue and does continue with a lot of hard work but most importantly as long as I remember not to deny the truth, because then my life becomes unmanageable. When my heart gets heavy because I think, why can't the two sons just get better? Why can't we share happy, loving times together? Why won't they get jobs and work towards a good place to live and have a "normal life"? I have to pull myself back in and realize that the truth is they have "issues" that are way bigger than me. I no longer can fix their boo boos with a band-aid and a popsicle. I have had to learn that in fact it's not my job to fix them at all and to realize that they have a journey in this life just like me. I have to remember that maybe where they're at right now is exactly where God needs them to be. I'm not perfect, for sure, but I have to stop jumping in front of God, saying "I got this" because for sure...I don't. He does. I just have to keep remembering that over and over again.
  14. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I have been this raging lunatic. Trying to make sense of and tolerate his behavior. This is what we ask of ourselves. Until we blow. To tolerate the intolerable. Until we wise up.

    It's cruel and ridiculous for our kids to define us by our blow ups...that come from trying to be there for them...while they do not cop to what is baseline (and intolerable) in their own behavior. How much easier it is to point that finger at us, if we lose it, then it is to take a look at what they do and don't do and taking responsibility to change it. Or at least to own it.

    Looking at ourselves and taking responsibility in a healthy way leads to healthy boundaries. It necessitates self-care. It is not about falling on our swords and blaming ourselves for what is and has been. Number one this is drama. Number two it's not true. Number three it does not help. It's regressive.

    How much better to change the scripts. To not engage with or be around that which triggers us. To be able to tell the truth to ourselves about what we need and what is damaging to us. To own that truth. To submit oneself as the culpable party...to search for failure and faults...how is that helpful to anybody?

    I am not saying that I won't support my son but I will not do so any longer at great cost to myself. So that I am so stressed out and distracted that I act out.
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  15. Deni D

    Deni D Active Member

    Thanks JPG
    I feel this too. I have stopped jumping in front of God to come to the rescue for a while now but God is certainly not working on the same timeline I wish he were. Or maybe the game plan he has is something very different than I would like. Either way I know it's really none of my business.
  16. Deni D

    Deni D Active Member

    This is what I refer to as inside out/upside down behavior. I've seen it even with the slightest annoyance towards my sons chaotic behavior.

    There's something I've been thinking about. This is going to be long winded because I can't succinctly describe it. As my son was growing up I didn't allow him to see me as a human who had anything to deal with. My thoughts were that children don't need to know about grown up problems, but I think I may have taken it too far. I think maybe he thinks I'm living some kind of blessed life in all ways and therefore owe him because I'm so "lucky". Our relationship has basically always been one sided, all about him. Which I think is normal with young children but of course not with them as adults. As he got older I tried to change that a bit but I guess I was too late to the game because anything personal my son knows about me has been twisted around and used to emotionally bash me with. So at this point I don't give him any more ammo, I don't even let him know how hurtful his nasty emails are.
    But with his father on the other hand; the man tells him every time he stubs his big toe, cries poverty at the drop of a hat (very untrue), makes out like his job is the hardest thing ever and he's very put upon. If someone his father knows has something serious they are dealing with his father will relay it to my son in a way that makes it seem his father is suffering, when in fact all it really involved was a phone call where his father found out about the situation and was doing nothing to help.
    My son has compassion for his father. For example in the last half way normal conversation my son had with me the told me his father "has a lot on his plate". A statement I've heard often from his father over the years when he was deflecting from spending time with his son or being a responsible parent.
    I get it that his father is more like a distant relative and hasn't done any of the heavy lifting as a parent so their relationship would be an easier one. But his father has always come down quick and hard on him whenever he was displeased with him. Also he learned the lethal verbal character assignation moves from his father who uses them when he's having trouble with his mental stability and has used them on him.
    I know my son also has compassion for other people too, but my thoughts are about his closest relationships, because people are often different with those they are closest to.
    So what am I missing? And I wonder if there will ever be a time when this will be turned around. This me being seen as a "thing" to used by him. A "thing" that deserves to be knocked around verbally to take his frustrations out on when he not getting what he wants from me. It's a very hurtful and uncomfortable situation for me, something I know I have to let go of, because I can't control it but it makes the world seem more unfair than I can accept or tolerate.
  17. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I'll have to come back later but will start out now.
    Here you go again looking to point your finger at your own supposed mistake or culpability. Stop it please.
    How is this wrong?
    OK. This is where you have control. Don't tolerate any of this. If he is hurtful to you, it is your responsibility to stop it in the only way you can, which is to remove yourself from the situation or remove him.
    Why? I would tell him, I will not read your emails any longer because they are hurtful. And then block them. You see, the responsibility here is your own to protect yourself. Not his.
    Look. His father has presented himself as half a loaf. Half the capacity. Half the love. Half assed. Your son does not feel as secure in the relationship as he does with you. He also may identify with his DAD. He also may be using his Dad to empower himself vis a vis you. It is not fair. But what does fair have to do with anything?

    This is about you protecting yourself, feeling better about yourself, more control in your life and in yourself. Your son is not the center of your universe any longer. This is the change that has to happen, in my view.
    Yes there will be. But you are the one who will turn it around by deciding to no longer define yourself and your life by how your son treats you and when you stop allowing him to hurt you how and whenever he chooses. This is what will change things. When you define your own life by your own criteria.
    Who cares what he does, as long as it does not touch you? Why are you letting this happen? This is on you. I am sorry to be so direct, maybe harsh. For years I let my son hurt me in this way, until I realized that the problem was mine. And when I saw it was my problem I saw I had control. Do you let other people hurt you whenever and however they want? Why should son be permitted to do so?
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  18. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    As mothers most of us can't separate our own welfare from that of our child's. I believe this is instinctive. How long would the human species last if the majority of mothers put their own interests above their child's in all things?

    But children grow up. Now it gets complicated in situations like your own and mine where there is mental illness involved. Because many of these young adults do not adequately care for themselves. But at the same time they will not subordinate their will or control...in any way...and they are belligerent, hostile and destructive.

    With varying degrees of success we try and try to assert our own agenda which is to get them to make better decisions and to function in ways we know would be better. And we try. And we try.
    This gives our young adults a great deal of leverage. I would go so far as to say that it empowers them. Nowhere in their lives do they have the power they have over us and with us. They hurt us and we ask, what did I do wrong? Where did I go wrong?

    This is the only upside down inside out behavior we can control. Our own inside out thinking.

    It seems to me that you are still believing the cure for your child is in YOU. And you still hold onto to the belief that you in some way caused it. I don't think this is entirely irrational.*I did it too. I think it is self-protective. I think that you believe on some level that if it's your fault you have some control. You don't. No matter how much and how long you hold yourself responsible and accept his punishment--it will have no effect on his condition. His condition is in him and about him. You only have the potential for control in you.

    All you can do right now (to my way of thinking) is learn to focus on you. Until your child can control his behavior sufficiently to not target you, I don't see what else you can do. I have known any number of young men with bipolar illness who have through medication and therapy turned this around. But first there has to be a modicum of willingness. By what you describe in your son he has the capacity to turn this around. But this is not something over which you have any control, I don't think.

    But you are the one who has control over how he treats you. You stop it by stopping it. By not being around it. By not being around him. By limiting contact through text, email, phone, etc. He is not being helped by being allowed to target you. And it will stop only when you stop it. Waiting for him to stop it is not the way this will stop. You will stop it.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  19. Deni D

    Deni D Active Member

    Okay, yeah, just trying to control things, got to stop that.

    Yes I think in mys son's case it does actually empower him. Even with no contact from me in roughly a month and a half now. I think his emails, which go un-responded to, still give him some sense of empowerment.

    That's good to know. As far as my son goes at one point I'm sure he could have turned things around, anymore, it doesn't seem so. But you never know.

    I've stopped it for now by not answering or responding to calls, texts or emails for the last month and a half. And I have no plan for when that could possibly change. I'm not up for telling him I'll be around if he decides to act right towards me because I don't trust that it will be anything other than to draw me back in for more in short order. In his last email to me he informed me that he's "officially disowning" me along with a diatribe of all of my character flaws. I'm forwarding his emails to a folder one of my friends will read and tell me if there is anything I actually might need to know coming from him. He's blocked on my phone.

    Thanks Copa!