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son moving out

Started by elsieshaye, September 11, 2011, 11:13:39 am

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Luise, I want to preface this by saying that everything you have told us about how you handled your own sons moving out was ringing in my ears while what I'm going to describe below was happening.  You have no idea how helpful and comforting all of it was to me.  Thank you.

So - DS is nearly 18, and for months and months now we've really been struggling with how big the gulf is between my boundaries and his adherence to them.  It got particularly bad after he graduated from high school this past June, and seemed determined to live like an equal adult in my home and do whatever he pleased, as though I simply wasn't there.

I don't like using "so you'll need to move out" as a threat - if I'm not going to follow through, I don't want to say it. But a few weeks ago, we got to that point - I told him he'd have to move out, and a day later he came to me and asked what he had to do to be able to stay. I laid out a set of rules that he'd have to keep and follow to be able to stay. Nothing excessively complicated or demanding - go to family therapy with me, quit inviting random friends over in the evenings when I'm home (especially overnight - I often wake up at 3 am to pee, only to find someone I didn't give birth to sleeping on the couch), no illegal substances, get and keep a job.

He has not been able to keep up his end of the bargain, so (after waking up to his girlfriend having been an overnight guest, beer bottles on the balcony, and him refusing to go to our therapy appointment yesterday morning because he was "too tired and therapy's useless anyway") I told him he had to be out by the end of this month (he will be 18 by then). Much drama ensued, although he did actually show up at the therapy appointment. He was in a towering rage, to the point where the therapist called in a second therapist, he stormed out after cursing at both of them and getting in their faces, and I got a lovely phone call a couple of hours later from one of the therapists asking me if I was ok and felt safe, and whether I thought DS was a danger to himself or others. Good times.

I stayed away all day, to give both of us time to calm down. I did not try to call him, and although I was worried he'd trash the apartment in retaliation, I didn't go near it. Spent the whole day in a mall at the movies and sitting in a coffee shop reading. By the time I came home very late last night, he had slept and was calm enough to talk. I reiterated that, just because we were both calmer, nothing had changed. I still expected him to move out. We were actually able to talk about the logistics of that, and set out some ground rules. He will not be welcome back in my home, period. No matter whether he can make his next living situation work or not, he can't come back to my place. But I will help him out financially (within very specific guidelines).  We ended the conversation on pretty good terms.  He seemed a lot less scared about leaving, and actually initiated a hug.

I love him, but I absolutely cannot live with him any more. I don't think there is a coincidence that this comes so hard on the heels of my cut off last week of all contact with my bullying, verbally abusive ex-husband (actually sent him an email asking him never to contact me again, and then blocked him from my email and phone, after some ridiculous demanding emails and voice mails from him). I have hit my absolute maximum in terms of living my life as the victim of other people's lack of boundaries or respect. Just can't do it any more.
This too shall pass.  All is well.


((((elsieshaye))))  Good for you.
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


E - We all get to "I can't do it any more" when we do. We are all different and whatever "it" is, is different, as well. If we do the work, take in the love available here, listen, and obseve ourselves instead of fixating on others...we just arrive there. We round a corner and we say..."Ah, what other people think of me is none of my business and what I think of myself is where change can happen."

Good for you! You matter. Your life matters. Your contribution to your family matters. And in the "now," each person has to take it from there. That is the way out of entanglement...and the road to healing for everyone concerned. Look to your feelings...they will steer you through this. What do you need? Give it to yourself! Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Agreed - and by the way, that was really nice of you to help him out financially.


I'm sorry you are going through this, but you are doing the right thing. Your son is way out of line. You need to have a sane life. My aunt had a similar issue with her son. In the end, she did kick him out and they are very close now. I have a feeling that if your son is scared, he can't rely on his father, but he can rely on you... he will grow up and by his mid twenties be a responsible person who will come back to you. I think you are doing the right thing. He has to grow up and you are handing out tough love. I also mentioned in another post that a friend of mine kicked her son out and he didn't speak to her for six years. In those six years, he put himself through college, realized mom was right to kick him out and now they have a good relationship. Even if it doesn't work out and he's still angry by his mid twenties, you have done the right thing. He has to grow up. I left my parent's house at age 19 and was an adult. I worked, lived on my own and put myself through college. My father steered me onto the right path with some financial help like you are doing, but I still had to work. One parent has to act the adult and that seems to be you. My mother was not an adult and I was going in the wrong direction as a teen. You sound like my aunt and father... the parent who takes responsibility and says... grow up. Sounds like your ex doesn't know how to make your son become a man, but you do... and that's okay. My aunt made her son into the man he is today. My father made me into the woman I am today. You sound like both mom and dad and that happens to many parents. Good for you to cut off all communication with your ex. You don't need that. I think you are also being very constructive with your son and generous. You have a plan and he needs structure. Sounds like a great plan to me! I wish you all the best. You are totally doing the right thing. If he can't act like an adult in your house, he can't stay there. I like that you have rules for how he should conduct his life on his own. I like that too. It's great that you can talk to other parents who have been there, done that and can show you the way. I haven't been in this situation, but my commen sense screams... yes, you are doing the right thing. You deserve to have calm. I wish you the best in this.


E:  Keep staying strong.  I think you said it best when you said your talk helped some of you DS fear.  This is a very tough age balancing between adulthood, responsibility and still wanting to be a twelve year old, throwing tantrums.

I think when we find our boundary with one person (like you have with your X-H), then it follows that other boundaries will start to feel appropriate as well.  In this way I think we do our AC a favor by showing what is appropriate and what will not be tolerated.  Sometimes it seems to me that AC are doing things to see where the boundary is.  And in my case once I got up my courage to draw the boundary with my AC, then there has been no more disrespect.  Not to say issues won't pop up, but I will not tolerate any more of their bad manners or disregard.  I know now that my life without them in it could still be a good life. 

This is a hard road right now, but it gets easier.  Keep up your good work on knowing who you are and that you deserve respect, be it from the XH, your DS or people in general.  Keep posting! 
Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is a mystery, Today is a gift (Eleanor Roosevelt)


Thanks, Everyone.  It's been really helpful as I slowly got to this point with DS, hearing over and over the message that our kids are sometimes going to be angry with us, and the universe will not come crashing down around us forever as a result.  We'll hurt, we'll be sad, but we won't cease to exist or to matter.  Our kids' feelings don't define us eternally as human beings, and they aren't the sole report card of our time here on earth.  I'm sure he will have some more explosions in the weeks between now and his move-out date, and that he will test my boundaries.  But, as y'all pointed out, eventually he may get his act together and have a different perspective on this.
This too shall pass.  All is well.


Ah dear elise.  You are a wonderful mother.  I think this is the kindest thing you can do for yourself and for him.

Hugs and love.

P.S. Congrats on not having to talk to the ex again!

forever spring

Quote from: Sassy on September 12, 2011, 05:34:46 am
  I think this is the kindest thing you can do for yourself and for him.
P.S. Congrats on not having to talk to the ex again!

I agree you have done the best thing possible for everybody. We need to keep our own self respect. It's all we have. It's our means of survival. Hang in there and look forward to a great future for you and your DS.  :)


From age of 7 when my gf passed, my df & his 5 db's were raised by gm. Gf was her 3rd dh, another had passed & one she ran off.  Gm was known for being tough, yet df absolutely adored her.  They all did.  Years & years after her passing, I framed a photo of her & gave to df as a gift.   It left a lasting impression, as df was a man who rarely cried, but openly sobbed at seeing dm's photo.  It might be a rocky road for a time, but you're helping ds become a man, & he will be forever grateful to you for it, Elsieshaye. 


Elsie, you are modeling excellent values to your DS. He will find his own way, perhaps with some ups and downs along the path, but he'll never forget how you honored and cared for yourself. He will also remember your firm but loving boundary setting. These are lessons he'll use later. Good for you; thinking of you as you and DS go through this most important life transition.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Way to go Elsie!  Can I get a Woot Woot for Elsie??  WOOT WOOT!

You taught him a valuable lesson Elsie.  You set boundaries that he was to respect and honor and when he didn't, there were consequences.  A great Mother lesson.  I'm so proud of you!
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


Elsie, thank you for sharing this.  At some point in the near future, I'm going to have to let SS know that he can never come back here.  DD is welcome, but only by herself.  SS has screamed at me for three hours straight, punched a hole in DD's apartment, and never cleaned up his trash and beer bottles, and I always felt I had to walk on eggshells to keep him from blowing up.  No more.  It's good you set those boundaries now - they will keep pushing until we can't take any more, and the sooner we put an end to the abuse, the better.  You deserve respect.  It's great that he is leaving on good terms - some day he will understand that his behavior left you no choice.


DS came to me with a concrete action plan, and asked for an extension to January first.  I told him that I would have to decide that based on whether he kept to his action plan and was more cooperative and respectful.  So far, he has packed up all his junk that had taken over the living room, and he has been more respectful about telling me how late he planned to be out. 

He also has not had anyone in the house, gotten rid of the, um, smoking equipment, and has not brought any alcohol in the house.  It's been about a week now of improved behavior.  If he can sustain this until the end of the month, I'll consider letting him stay until January 1st, but will also need to see some movement in terms of getting a job and completing some other tasks he needs to do in order to move on.  He is still going to be taken off the lease at the end of this month, regardless, and the goal this month is to get all of his belongings boxed up and contained.

The biggest difference for me, though, is that I consider him a temporary houseguest in MY home, not a resident in OUR home.  And, I am visualizing daily what it will be like to have MY home to myself when he leaves, and slowly making the changes that bring me closer to that vision.  This weekend, I got rid of a piece of furniture, getting me one step closer to the living room I want.  There are some signs of impatience with the fact that I am -not- going back to how things were and have been much more assertive in telling him what I need, and he still tries to negotiate, but the aggression is much, much less and he now takes "no" for an answer. 

I am not quite sure yet exactly what steps I will take if/when he backslides between now and Jan 1st, or if Jan 1st rolls around and he tells he wants another extension.  I'm actively working on this in therapy, and my "homework" this week is to write out a plan that addresses my actions if he stops being compliant.  I'll keep y'all posted with how this goes, partly also as a way to keep myself accountable and aware.
This too shall pass.  All is well.


Quote from: elsieshaye on September 19, 2011, 08:17:51 am
I am not quite sure yet exactly what steps I will take if/when he backslides between now and Jan 1st

How about putting him on a month-to month agreement?    If you haven't already, don't tell him he can stay till January, just tell him he can stay for however many weeks you want him there and then you'll reconsider.