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Primal Feet First: In Search of Lost Time or Remembrance of Things Past
So, I'm sitting here this morning (morning/afternoon whatever... I haven't been out of bed terribly long because I sat awake reading until abut 4 am last night, because I was tossing and turning from my brain refusing to stay quiet) having my second cup of good strong coffee, and painting my toenails a glorious color... a deep metallic teal green(watermelon green base coat in Sinful Colors "Envy", and turquoise blue gel w/metallic/holographic in Wet N Wild Fastdry "Happy Holidaze! on top) that is stunning... and I need to make a really important decision though probably one of the least easy ones I'll ever make.
My stress the last couple of weeks has been from my son.
As many of you know I went to TN and brought him home to help him at Christmas... and all was going well, he got a job, was working, ect. And then he *poof*... disappeared. Didn't come home from work the Friday before last, never came to get any of his clothes or things, didn't call or message me in any way... just gone.
Well... since it was a Friday when he didn't come home I assumed he went to a friend's house, or a girl's. Of course.
But then it kept going.
Finally after about a week a girl left a message on his Facebook page saying something about how she was glad that they were in a relationship now... so then I could finally stop having the "he's dead somewhere" thoughts.
(Mom died in a car accident when I was 7... I panic internally every time someone is gone somewhere in a car and is way late/not heard from. Completely insane but true. Every freaking time!)
But we still had no clue where he was.
And just yesterday I got a short message from him myself.
The girl he was with told him she was pregnant (I did some quick menstrual math and said "wait a damn minute" because he'd know her all of about two weeks when he disappeared) and he had gotten fired from his job... the girl encourages him to party. Husband went and talked to one of his co-workers... this girl's mother is in prison, her sister is a multiple felon though not currently in jail, and she herself has been arrested (all check fraud and identity theft and such)... plus she has been linked to drug dealers(scrip pill sales), though I'm pretty sure my son doesn't know any of this... So son was hanging out the irresponsibles, got irresponsible himself and missed work... got fired and ASSUMED that I'd automatically kick him out of the house(which I would not have)... so he took off to live with the source of the problem.
Husband went to see him.
Girl is not pregnant. Shocker. But small favors.
My issue is this.
Do I try to bring him back again.
Knowing that in my heart I have no faith at all that he won't do the same thing.
I can lead a horse to water but I can't make it drink.
I tell him if he wants better from his life he has to expect better from himself, but he doesn't.
He left my comfortable home to go live, with none of his clothes or possessions, in a place with no power...
My husband talked to him yesterday and said that he looked like he hadn't showered in a week.
I don't even understand.
I want to help, but I don't think I can.
But I also know that if he stays there, with those people, the hole he digs himself may be too deep to crawl out of.
And all of this is about me too.
It's about my trust in people. Or my lack there of.
Because the truth is I don't.
I don't trust people to not hurt me.
I haven't had someone I could trust like that since I was a small child.
Except for my husband, and I probably have a space of "expectation" inside me that I reserve for him as well though it grows smaller year by year.
I don't really make friends... I simply have acquaintances.
It's a truth I accept about myself.
I want to trust my child, but I'm smarter than trusting him.
I know he's going to drag me through shit...
But how far out do I put myself?
How many times do I say "Here I am, hurt me" ?
Because emotional pain is the worst thing there is in my world.
The other issue is that if he stays where he is I won't associate with him at all.
I won't help him in any way while he is there because I see that as supporting bad choices.
I will basically shun him. And that is all kinds of painful too.
“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”
And that's why I'm here eating HFLC Primal/Paleo.
I'm not a parent, but one of the things I resent my parents for is that they barely ever gave me a good sit-down talk about the repercussions of hanging out with certain types of people, let alone hitching my wagon to one. I doubt I would have listened at that point because with young comes a certain amount of stupid. But at least when I made certain bad decisions, I would have been able to realize that my parents had tried. The rule of association is like that of gravity: it's easier to get dragged down than it is to get dragged up.
The only two pieces of good advice I ever got:
-Get your ass to college because you're a girl and the high paying blue collar options aren't open to you. (At the time that was true enough.)
-Boys will say anything to get laid. (Still true.)
I wish they'd tried a little bit harder, even though I fully admit that I was an extremely difficult teenager.
I think maybe if you don't try to reason with him, you might have "maybe I should have" regrets later. If you try and he ignores you, you will have done everything you could, and in the end, that's all any of us can do.
OTOH, like I said, I've never been a parent, so the above opinion is only based on what I wish my parents would have done for me.
"Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine
Wow, Cori, the fun never stops for you, does it? Sending positive thoughts and prayers and whatever good mojo brainwaves I can rustle up your way. Sorry, a few raunchy brainwaves might be mixed in as well.
As you know, I don't have any kids, but you cannot effect change in another person. You can reason, you can lay out options and life choices, you can be reasonable, but son may see the world through an utterly foreign prism. Your reason is his straightjacket, your options woefully incomplete, your reason so very unreasonable to him.
Still, you have to do what you can to protect him, and to protect yourself. Taking him back in may expose you to the shit, the emotional roller coaster, but it's better than the alternative. Just protect him enough, and yourself enough, and hope that time will bring him around. Don't have any expectations for the best, crappy as that may sound. Hope and optimism are the enemy of pragmatism, and it's all about pragmatism. Best of worlds, we're all working towards the happy togetherness, but the world we're in, we're working to keep everyone alive and relatively undamaged.
The longer he is removed from the bad influences, the better the odds that he'll get it together. Taking him in is a step towards that, one that you can effect. He's going to have to make the effort to move in the right direction too and in that there are no guarantees. For now, you two are from two different worlds and the bottom line is to minimize damage. Very bunker mentality. I understand what you are saying about being able to trust people, but in my experience good attracts good and shit attracts shit. When I was young and stupid, guess what I ran into? Young and stupid. Somehow I've aggregated a pretty damned group of friends. He needs to be surrounded by better influences, and more time with you and hubby is a good step.
And you do have friends, Cori, more than you know. People here care about you, and for good reason. I have friends I see regularly, we hang out and drink wine and laugh into the night. I have friends I see maybe once every 5 or 10 years, and we just pick up like nothing ever stopped, and then it's another 5 or 10 years. I have friends I've never met in person, but they are some of the finest turds I know, and have continued to know.
You're not alone. Scream if you need to, we'll listen. We'll offer up our lameassed but well-intentioned advice. We'll do some group-huggy thing across the Interwebs. We all have this shit, to some degree, and hopefully some day we'll figure it all out.
Your son is in his early 20s, I think, yes? Since mine is five, I cannot offer any wise mum advice from experience. And, actually, I think you already know the answers, you're just trying to find a sweet-spot balance between support and enabling.
I was a fairly push-me-pull-you child (come to think of it, I do this as an adult too, to an extent) - always offering challenging behaviour to provoke a response that either proves the person does really love me or fulfills my fear that they do not. During the times when this behaviour was directed at my parents, my mother stuck to the line: we don't like or support your behaviour, but we will always love you. They were also very clear on the 'your home, our house' line and there were rules I couldn't break.
I don't think shunning is the answer; but I think it is okay (indeed, advisable) to set some boundaries and expectations on where/how he should be in contact with you and that there are consequences if he doesn't. Also, I'd start the discussion by telling him that you understand he was trying to do the right thing by this woman and their (albeit fictive) child and that this aspect of the situation makes you proud of him. Of course he went about this the wrong way, but the motivation was admirable.
Consider yourself roundly and tightly hugged.
Last edited by badgergirl; 02-07-2013, 04:19 PM.
Reason: repeated words, added hugs
I like badgers, books and booze, more or less in that order.
Mostly ditto to everything everyone has said. Don't you dare forget how we all threatened to send you cards & shit when your head was going to get sliced open! I still want to send you a card or something!
My first thought when reading about your son & your feelings about being there for him might seem kind of harsh but... I kind of feel like, if you can't be there for him, don't. And don't pretend to be. I feel like it would be more difficult to "play along" for him, if that makes sense, than to just make it clear that he has a place to go, but you can't help him? But he does need some good role models to be around, and you definitely have that capacity if you are willing to undertake it.
I only have advice in terms of what I wished someone had done for my sister: offer him a chance to come back, with the understanding that you will help him with the positive and you are here for him. Don't bail on him.
*Hugs* and all sorts of love, and as much positive energy as you need.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, steak in one hand, chocolate in the other, yelling "Holy F***, What a Ride!"
My Latest Journal
I went and saw him.
I explained to him that his assumptions were incorrect.
That he would not have been kicked out, etc.
Also we talked about the position he was putting himself in in regards to the girl he is with and the possible baby(that isn't).
That running off to live with her would not have helped the child at all... getting his shit together, getting a stable job, some education towards a stable job with benefits, etc... which is what I was helping to provide him would have served him, the girl, and the child better, for at least the next year... and I was not saying that he should not continue the relationship with the girl in any way.
We discussed other things.
He admitted that he didn't come home/call me and tell me where he was just because he didn't want to and didn't feel like telling me. Basically he was happy where he was... not that he felt like he could not come home. He just didn't want to talk to me and was partying.
I wasn't trying to tell him what to do in any way, just show him his options and show him how the available options were likely to play out... though I repeatedly offered him the chance to come back home and do the getting a job/getting on his feet thing again.
He told me he wanted to stay where he is.
And while he agrees with all of my logical statements about the troubles he is putting in his own path, he'll just figure it out on his own.
I explained that as long as he was going to keep making decisions harmful to his life, that I couldn't be a part of that... but that if he changes the way he is living that I love him and I'm always here.
Because I can't.
I can't actively be a part of his life and pretend to be happy around him while he harms himself.
This is incredibly hurtful right now.
A loss of sorts.
My heart simply breaks.
There are no words.
My son was brought into this world in a bad situation, and I worked for so many years to make that right somehow.
But the sad truth is that sometimes your best just isn't/wasn't good enough, and you have to accept that and move on.
Whatever I did or didn't do for my son simply wasn't enough to repair the damage that I did by giving him the father that I gave him and that influence.
I failed him in that, and I accept it.
The thing is, I can't do anything about that now.
It's all water under the bridge, a burned bridge at that.
And I can't keep losing him over and over every single year, or every few months, or however often he comes back saying "this time is different" until he get his head straight himself.
I can't because my own issues surrounding loss are just too much.
And I also can't trust him or the people he is with to be anywhere near my home with his current situation.
So, it is what it is.
I'll believe in him again when his actions speak for him.
Not his words.
It's all that I can do.
(And hope against hope that he doesn't fall too far...)
Sweetheart. You did good. You did the best you could with what life gave you and, today, you did really, really well. You did. Those words will stay with him and, when he's ready to hear them, they will ring like a bell.
Sending love. And hugs. And more love.
I like badgers, books and booze, more or less in that order.