Whether our son lived with us or not, it seemed like the turmoil was going to be on-going.
He didn’t want to live under our roof because he wasn't willing to live up to any rules and expectations, but, he pushed our buttons and played on our concerns for him, anyway.
He called and asked for rides to work. If we couldn’t or wouldn’t take him, then he would twist everything around so that it would be our fault if he lost his job.
He would tell us how he was hungry because he didn’t have enough money to buy his own food and that he couldn't work, if he was starving to death. Thus, if he lost his job he would blame us for not caring about him enough to get him some food.
We felt as if we were in between a rock and a hard place. We didn’t want him to lose his job, but we also knew that we shouldn't give in to him every time he demanded our help either. This game went on right up until the day he finally lost his job.
One day, right after dropping him off at work, he called me and wanted me to come back to pick him up because he just got fired. I didn’t know what had happened, but I told him that the only way I would pick him up was if we immediately went to get applications filled out and turned in at as many places as we could so that he wouldn’t be without a job for very long.
He said that was okay, but that he wanted to go to our house to take a shower first (he really did need one). As we drove toward home, I asked him why he lost his job and he said that it was a bunch of b.s. and that it was not his fault. As I pressed him a little bit more, he finally admitted that he missed a mandatory meeting the previous day. He claimed that he went to the meeting, but because he was five minutes late, they wouldn’t let him in. This was frustrating to me because I had offered to drive him to the meeting to make sure that he went to it, but he assured me that he already had a ride.
While he was showering, I looked online and found three nearby places that were hiring, so that we would have a starting point. But, when he was dressed and ready, he stated that he was going back to Arctic Circle to meet his friends. I said, “You promised to go get applications, if I picked you up and you need to take advantage of my help when it is being offered.” He said he did not agree to that and just wanted a blankety- blank ride and that it shouldn’t be that hard for me to give him one.
Once again, the conversation went around and around as I tried to get him to understand how important it was for him to have a job now that he wasn’t living at home, but he just got mad and told me to quit repeating myself and that this kind of constant interference in his life was the reason he didn’t live at home anymore.
I knew that he wasn’t going to change his mind, at this point, so rather than continue to argue with him, I told him that I had somewhere that I needed to go and that he had to leave. He just continued yelling at me and refused to leave if I would not drive him back to the restaurant. In order to keep things from getting out of control, I finally agreed to give him a ride.
My attempt to avoid any more conflict wasn’t as easy as it should have been. At the restaurant, he told me to go through the drive-through and buy him some corn dogs for lunch.
I could have just done it, but I seriously thought it was a pretty ridiculous expectation at this point and I said no.
My refusal just fueled his fire though. He accused me of being embarrassed to be seen with him and wanted to know why I wouldn’t go out to lunch with him anymore.
As if smoking marijuana, moving out, making everything that happened to him my fault and my problem, and just being a jerk would make me want to have lunch with him or even buy him lunch.
And, quite honestly, I WAS embarrassed to be seen with him at the place he had just gotten fired from.
I said, “Just so you know, I came here after you turned in your application and asked a friend of mine, who is a manager here, to please get you an interview. So, yes, it would be embarrassing to be seen with you HERE since I will probably see my friend. You need to get out of the truck now, or you are going to be walking from the shopping center because that is where I am going RIGHT NOW!” I put the truck in reverse and began to leave.
Somehow, he came to the conclusion that he wasn’t going to get what he wanted. He swore at me as he got out of the truck – telling me how he felt about me at the moment--and slammed the door as hard as he could.
I felt so bad. Being subjected to his tirades and told in all kinds of colorful ways, what a horrible person I am, is always so hard on my heart.
When I got back home, I felt that I should say something to him and sent this text message: “You are my son and I love you. I am sad that it isn’t like it was two months ago when we would go get lunch together every week. But, you changed everything when you chose marijuana over your home and family and I am not happy with what you are doing. It makes me sad to not do things for you, but I can’t enable you either. I am sorry it is like this.”
He did not reply.
He was angry about getting fired and angry that he didn’t get everything that he wanted out of me. I don't even think he got the big fight he was looking for. If we would have had a big blow-up, he could have somehow shifted the blame for getting fired on to me.
Denying him was the right thing to do, I guess. Everyone kept telling me that the “tough love” that you hear about all the time was going to have to become part of my daily life.
Tough love is very hard to put into practice.
As a parent, your instinct is to do everything you can to protect and care for your child no matter what. Every time I tried to step back and let him deal with the struggle, it just about broke my heart. He let me know that it proved that I didn’t give a darn about him. I love this kid with every fiber of my being and the "love" portion was hard to reconcile with the "tough" portion. I didn’t want him to believe that I didn’t love him or care for his well being.
I was advised that I had to wait for him to hit rock bottom because no matter how hard my husband and I tried to help him, or how many different ways we tried to get him to see the reality of his situation, or how much we wanted him to change his course, it was ultimately his choice to change or not to change.
Since he had never been able to learn through consequences, it was probably going to take him living through some very hard times to get to that point.
And every hard thing he brought upon himself—was equally hard for us, too.
When your child is an addict who does not know how to accept responsibility for his actions, rock bottom doesn’t really seem to exist.
There is always seems to be another rock just below it.