December 08, 2019, 06:32:07 pm


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Oh, boy are we regretting this now!

Started by Green Thumb, July 21, 2016, 08:30:26 am

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Green Thumb

This is mostly a vent. We have an adult child, now a young adult in his mid twenties, with mental illness which he refuses treatment or medication except for illegal drugs and/or alcohol. He is a user and manipulator and lies constantly. Yet, of course, we love him and try to guide him without enabling him. So.... he has never worked enough to purchase a car and decided this year he would save up and do so. But first he went on a big expensive vacation. My husband offered to match his savings with the same amount trying to encourage him. This "kid" had to have a car NOW. He has found several junk heaps for $1500 that he wants NOW but we have managed to say no to those. So this week, we got tired of the constant whining, yelling at us, how we are holding him back, not upholding our end of the bargain, etc. Let him buy a car for $1500 which my husband had saved cash up so we actually paid for it. Told him we'd pay the entire thing for his birthday present and he could then get the a/c fixed, tires, insurance, etc. For two intelligent people, we got royally ripped off, should have known better and ended up with a salvage car that needs $2000 worth of work to even get it to pass inspection. I know, I know. The kid is mad at us (he chose to purchase, we did not make the decision) and now we find out he only has $1000 saved (been lying to us how much money he has saved). Its been several nights over the last three weeks where my husband is on the phone with him trying to get the kid to be rational and reasonable while the kid yells and screams and blames us. I am so stressed out I can't sleep. We know better. Oh, and it gets worse, he has this grandiose plans about his future and now he wants to move into our house (again). But that is a no.


I'm so sorry, GT. The words...'help without enabling' jumped out at me. When there is mental illness, drugs and alcohol, I wonder if it is even possible. Sending hugs...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama

Green Thumb

Ironic you would say that Luise, my husband and I were asking each other the same thing last night. Is  there a way to help without enabling this kid, period, in any way? Everything is a train wreck. But today I talked to him about the expenses of this car, should we fix it and he just doesn't have the money (we are pretty broke ourselves due to medical expenses). He's been telling us he has about double the money that he truly has (he lies constantly so we should've known). I got him to do the math and he suddenly realized he just flat out has no money to buy any car. And there's a problem with the title and I went to the DMV and talked to a manager and showed her the title so now we know it will take another full paycheck of his to get that straightened out. Oh, boy, we were so stupid but this stupid tax will serve us well in the future when we next try "to help without enabling" My poor husband is heartbroken.


Hi GT,
Sorry I'm late to the game in responding to your post. My heart goes out to you and your husband. No matter how much we hear about tough love, sometimes we care so much we are conflicted. We just want to believe the best about our AC, all evidence to the contrary. We want them to have a good life, even if it seems their actions demonstrate that they don't want it for themselves. I think sometimes they actually believe some of the untruths they say, things that they only wish were true, or hope were true, or plan someday to be true, with no real plan in place.

I had a similar issue arise with my DD recently. Her car needs some repairs which she has put off for months, and we have been checking in with her to see if she is going to bring the car in, as we care about her safety. No, she hasn't, but now her aunt has offered to pay for her repairs, which undermines us as parents, IMO.  One reason we don't want to pay is that DD admitted she has a few thousand in savings but is unwilling to use any of it on repairs if the car is drivable. In addition, she told me she has lent money to people, which seems very shortsighted and irresponsible considering her own precarious financial situation. My thinking is that if she can't make responsible financial decisions, why should we parents enable her?  But there is a lot of guilt at the same time. Many other parents are doing so much more for their AC in their early 20s, including housing them.  All we pay for on a regular basis are health and dental insurance.  Sometimes it feels pretty selfish to not offer her more.  Thoughts?

Green Thumb

If we remove ourselves and our feelings and look at things objectively, if we ask:
Are we helping this person?  -or-
Are we taking away consequences?

You feel selfish, why? Do you feel like  you have to give in order to earn love, or that you have to give in order that she will like you more, love you more?

It sounds like your daughter needs to learn the consequences of not taking care of her car for herself and on her own time. By interfering and doing this for her, you give her the message that she is not competent on her own. That is what Al Anon says and they go further to say when we take away the consequences, the alcoholic feels worse about themselves, we do not make things better, we actually make them hate themselves MORE because they did not solve their own problems. It sounds like you should butt out and allow her to learn her way. Yes, it is the "hard way" but isn't that how I learned every lesson in life and now I am okay, responsible and a "good person."

Your daughter may be like my son, in that he can manipulate the relatives to "feel sorry for him" and enable him. The aunt may be a major enabler and you can't do anything about this. It is painful, we have similar in our family, relatives have enabled this son to run right off the track.

In our case, the son took charge of his beater car, got it titled and got a relative to purchase new tires for him. Had it repaired at a cheapo shop and the repaired a/c was already acting up. We stayed out of it and allowed him to make his own decisions and choices and take charge. He did the hard work and I hope this gives him some measure of self esteem and knowing his parents do have boundaries. We actually went into this knowing it would be a problem for us, we allowed him to purchase this beater car knowing it was not a good option, but because he was so hateful if we didn't. We just decided, let it go, and perhaps he will learn something about being a "grown up" from being a car owner. So the good news is we were not blind in reacting emotionally out of wanting love from him. LOL!


Thanks, GT, for your wise words.  I'm glad that your story had a silver lining.  Hope there are some good lessons to be learned as your son makes some adult decisions.