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"Welcome to WiseWomenUnite.com -- When adult children marry and leave home, life can sometimes get more complex instead of simpler.  Being a mother-in-law or daughter-in-law can be tough.  How do we extend love and support to our mothers-in-law, adult children, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, and grandchildren without interfering?  What do we do when there are communication problems?  How can we ask for help when we need it without being a burden?  And how do our family members feel about these issues?  We invite you to join our free forum, read some posts... and when you're ready...share your challenges and wisdom."


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Topics - elsieshaye

1
Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / just venting
October 30, 2012, 01:35:16 pm
So, my son and I both live in areas that were affected by the storm.  Checking the news, we both had mild impacts compared to NY and NJ, but still not completely untouched.  I emailed him today to ask him if everyone was ok, and got a comment that was more sarcastic than I'd like.  I sent him a smiley in response, just to acknowledge that I'd read it.  Dummy me, though, had the expectation of "we're fine, mom - how are you?"  But I'll bet that if I hadn't asked, I'd be the bad guy for not asking, KWIM?

This no expectations thing is hard.  I definitely agree that it's the best way to go, but I keep bumping up against expectations I didn't realize I was holding on to.  Live and learn.

I'm going to go put my patio furniture back outside and have a cup of tea.  Then back to my regularly scheduled life.
2
Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / ugh
June 23, 2012, 09:27:01 am
Haven't really had much contact with my son in the months since I asked him to leave (drugs, hostile behavior) apart from the occasional entitled, jerky email asking for random stuff, and the call from my cousin letting me know that my son wanted to go to my tiny piece of our family farm in Europe and grow pot. (facepalm) I've been wondering how he is, and getting occasional glimpses via Facebook. He has a very nice girlfriend, and gets along with her family. He's sort of working, and getting along with his dad somewhat better. I've been fairly content with not knowing too much more, or having more direct contact with him because it's usually so fraught with angst and drama.

So, I dreamed last night that my son was involved in drug running, and woke up this morning crying because it was just so frustrating and sad.

A couple of hours ago, I answered the door, and he was standing there. He's up for the weekend visiting some friends, and wanted to visit me. We talked for about half an hour, and nothing much has changed with him. He's still not on-planet, but he's a lot less hostile. He was actually friendly and pleasant. I initially offered him the couch tonight, but really couldn't stand the idea of him staying here, so I got him a hotel room for one night and handed him $40 for food. I know, I'm a sucker. I just couldn't -not- do it, KWIM? And he didn't ask or even hint that he wanted it. After a few more minutes, I said "well, have a good weekend and let me know you got back safely" and that was that. He also has my phone number now (although he hasn't paid his phone bill in months, so we'll see how that goes). I can always block him if he starts up with the hostile and abusive texting/calling again.

The frustrating and sad thing is that he's so aimless. He was telling me all about how he built his own hookah at Starbucks this morning out of a tea bottle, a can of red bull and some tubing. Because, building drug paraphernalia in public on a lovely Saturday morning in June is something to be really proud of.   ::)  At one point, I was asking him if he'd thought about working construction and apprenticing in carpentry or plumbing (because he was talking about how he really wanted to work in the trades) and he was telling me how he really felt that a solid knowledge of chemistry and physics would help him in the trades, because plumbing is like a big circuit made of water, and chemistry would help him understand adhesives. He's also talking about how he's been "urban camping" (aka sleeping rough). I can't fix this for him, and honestly I don't even want to watch while he works things out. I did leave an opening for continued contact, but am going to have to set up some serious boundaries. The first of which is that unannounced visits aren't going to get a welcoming reaction from me in future.

Ugh. I feel like such a dweeb.
3
Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / so, DS emailed me
January 11, 2012, 08:11:34 am
Background: Kicked my 18 y/o son out of the house in October due to substance abuse and increasing aggression. Cut his phone off (and cancelled my own phone) when he left me increasingly angry and unhinged voice mails and texts, including cussing me out because I didn't pack his belongings the way he thought I should when I spent nearly $400 to ship all his stuff down to him at his father's house. I haven't responded to any of his subsequent attempts at communication because they were more of same.

But today, I got this, which while completely ignoring his own behavior, was at least civil.  He said that he missed me, and suggested I call him.

My response was that I didn't have his new phone number, and that I missed him too, but I don't miss being ranted and cursed at, or trying to talk to him when he is high or drunk.  I told him that the sarcasm, contempt, demands and name calling of his last several attempts at communicating are unacceptable, and that if he felt like he can stay sober and civil when he talks to me, then I am willing to give him a call. But if not, I'd prefer to just trade emails for a while. 

How he responds to that will determine how I proceed. I suspect what's going on is that living with his father and being broke all the time has palled, and he's looking either to move back in or get a handout. Or both. Honestly, I'm still pretty ok not talking to him, because I still don't trust him to be sober/drug free and not to treat me poorly.  I just don't have the stomach for it anymore. Three months isn't long enough for real change, and I don't hear anything in what he wrote to give me a lot of hope. But at least he was reasonably polite, if whiny, and I figured I should at least respond. My stomach is in knots. I hope I'm wrong about what's going on, but I'm not really holding my breath.
4
So, DS got all the stuff I sent him, and he's trying to put his stereo together. He can't find one of the cables. He left me a vm demanding to find out where I put it. I have no clue - I just dumped everything into boxes and sent it, except for some things that were in a junk box, and his magazines, because I didn't think those were things I needed to pay to send. I sent him a text telling him I didn't know where the cable was. He's now decided I withheld it deliberately to be passive aggressive. He's also calling me by my first name. The good news is, he found a replacement cable, so my dastardly plot was averted. Curses, foiled again.   ::)

I'm going to have to make some decisions about how accessible I want to be to him. I'm feeling kind of battered, and it upsets me to hear from him at all. But I don't want to totally cut myself off from contact with him. In case he somehow becomes sane, loses the jerk tendencies, and actually wants to work at a relationship with me again.

Oh, and I found out yesterday that some people living here were feeding him during the week he was "starving and sleeping in a park" (which was actually a laundry room in one of the other buildings in the apartment complex). I knowaddicts lie, and I know that he wanted to manipulate me into taking him back and/or giving him money, but it still ticks me off.

Ugh.
5
Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / Good grief, DS!!
November 05, 2011, 04:54:46 am
DS and NXH were supposed to be coming Sunday to pick up the rest of DS's stuff. I called DS to see if I could narrow down the window, and apparently they got turned down by the relative they were going to mooch travel money off of, so they aren't coming.

Then he said "and you'd BETTER NOT throw away my stuff!" I said "telling me what I'd better or better not do is ill-advised," and he absolutely went off on me. He demanded an apology for kicking him out, and criticized me for being "all happy" when I called him, among other froth-mouthed rantings. It was seriously a face full of angry crazy.

So I hung up on him, and researched how to go about boxing up his things and mailing them to him.  I'm picking up the boxes today during my errands and should have everything boxed up by tonight.  I emailed him and his father this morning to let them know not to bother to come, because I was going to ship the stuff.  I'm also going to simply not be home tomorrow, so even if they do somehow come up here, it won't matter.

The entitlement just blows my mind.
6
Adult Sons and/or Adult Daughters / son moving out
September 11, 2011, 11:13:39 am
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.
7
Grab Bag / Calming thoughts needed
May 24, 2011, 08:26:42 am
DS graduates (hopefully) in about 3 weeks.  He will be 18 in about 4 months, and there is court ordered visitation once a month with his father.  His father is coming in to town for the graduation and will be here two days, and I find myself getting rather stressed.  Working hard to avoid "borrowing trouble" by anticipating bad behavior on his part, but I am somewhat concerned that if he doesn't feel sufficiently revered by DS, or doesn't feel that DS spent enough time with him, XH will go on the offensive.   

Their relationship over the past few months has deteriorated greatly, and I have become the bad guy by insisting that visitation happen in our town rather than XH's (over five hours away) because I feel there's less potential for a seriously bad outcome up here where DS feels more secure and can escape to his friend's houses or back home if needed, rather than being stranded 300 miles away with no way to get home if XH gets difficult.  Besides some nasty emails, there has been no real fallout from XH about this, but I worry that might change if he's not happy with how things go during his upcoming visit.

There's nothing he can really do besides be annoying, so my anxiety is purely a factor of my historical fear of his anger and disapproval, and not because he really has any power to cause genuine harm to DS or me.  But that doesn't make me less anxious.  Please send me some prayers and good vibes so that I can maintain my cool and keep my anxiety under good control.  If you can also tack on some prayers/vibes that DS actually graduates, that would be awesome too. :)

Thanks for listening.  Three months, four weeks until this never has to be a concern for me again, ever.  I just have to make sure I focus on handling whatever happens calmly and remembering that, whatever XH does, it will pass and all will be well.
8
Grab Bag / new member
April 15, 2010, 08:29:07 am
Hi.  I've been reading on this board for a little while to get familiar with it and just joined.  Wanted to post my story and hopefully get some other perspectives on it.  Please let me know if this isn't the appropriate site or forum for this.

My difficult relationship is not with a DIL or MIL, but with my XH.  We have a 16 y/o DS, who is the only reason that I am still in contact with XH. XH has some severe emotional issues and can often be unpredictable and emotionally/verbally demeaning and abusive.  DS and XH have always had a very contentious relationship, and DS frequently expressed a wish not to see his father.  Because of the joint custody, I had to keep sending him to stay with his father during his custody days, but a little over a year ago, DS flat out refused to go and would come back to my house instead, because his father was having some serious problems and was constantly aggressive.  He also has an extremely chaotic living situation, an un-housebroken dog, and problems keeping his home clean, so DS's things were often ruined and there were roaches everywhere.  At that point, I stopped forcing him back to his father's during his visitation days, because it seemed that to do so would hurt my son more than it would help.  Very shortly after that, his father moved out of state and DS stayed up here with me.

In the year that XH has been gone, DS has become a different person.  Much happier, grades have gone up, active in sports and a good social life.  No problems with school or court, and no angry explosions.  Now, his father has gone to court to get DS to come spend school breaks with him.  There is a chance that this will happen, and that DS will be court ordered to spend at least a week over summer, plus Christmas and possibly Spring Break with his father.  DS adamantly refuses, and we have a mediator set up to help negotiate something that works, which will then go into the court order.

I've gotten better over time in dealing with XH and finding ways to handle some of his more disruptive and hurtful behaviors, but got kind of spoiled over the last year and am finding it very difficult to go back to some of the things that worked in the past.  Mainly because I am resentful that I have to keep dealing with the chaos, paranoia and aggression that XH brings with him wherever he goes.  My hope in coming here is that I can get some ideas on how to support DS in a balanced way, while keeping his situation separate from my own discomfort with his father.   

Thanks for listening.