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Relationship Health Message Board


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Last night my son said he realized his gf was manipulating him to do what she wants (it was the first truth out of my son's mouth in a year). Then this morning he called to apologize to her and they are back together. He claims that what he told us last night wasn't true. This is the 8th time now of them breaking up and getting back together. My husband, me and my daughter all agreed that she isn't welcome for Thanksgiving. She talked him into believing that nothing that went wrong was her fault, but his. He is so confused, he doesn't know who to trust and believe. We are shocked that after a lifetime of caring and honesty from his parents, that we don't count. I was so angry that I said if there is another week like the past one of arguing, crying, threats, no sleep, talk of suicide--that he will have to move out. He begged me saying he'll try to see doctors, and include us in his life. I'm skeptical. We'll wait and see. Tomorrow he will be sulking since gf will not be in our home. I did get a nap today and coffee later, which helped. But I'm still so upset. Since when do two sick people join together like Siamese twins and claim they are the only ones that can help each other? Get real! As for her mother, she has left her to her own decisions. I tried telling her Mom how unhealthy the situation is, but she believes her daughter an angel, that they are close and she knows everything about her daughter (her daughter leads a secret life too). After we met for coffee, I realized talking to her would solve nothing. I must do some research and find a place to send him where they deal primarily with mental illness or a psychologist who has bipolar experience. Thanks again for listening and responding. You are good people in that you take the time to help others and I'm grateful for that.
Of course, everyone in a household should have house rules?

Rather than respond directly to this valid question, however, I would like to respond to another person's response which triggered frustration in me because we throw labels such as 'bi-polar' at our children so easily and use words like 'disease' so frequently. I hold that this dismissal of our son's and daughter's suffering as 'disease' rather than an expression of a family dysfunction is truly promoting family disunity and preventing true healing. Only when we as family members can see one another in our true light, will we get beyond this whole disease thing.

The individual who wrote for advise gets hugs and words of encouragement and gets milk and cookies responses like I'm sorry you have to deal with your son's "disease" rather than straight talk.

Hold on. Let's step back here for a while. I too, have an adult son who has been labeled with bi-polar and lives at home. I desperately want him to be independent. I find him extrememly difficult to live with.

Why is the parent in this situation not willing to give Johnnie money to move out because she doesn't want to 'reward' him for the 'chaos' that he has caused the family, but then makes an illogical leap by leaping at a chance for the government to reward johnnie for his chaotic behavior by awarding him with disability, free housing, etc.? because the parent is selfish and doesn't want to part with any of her wealth. She doesn't mind if the taxpayer imparts its wealth to her son.

She doesn't really believe that hogwash about not wanting to 'enable' the child. If she did, why would she be so willing to foist her son's subsistence costs onto we the taxpayers? She is just rationalizing her rejection of her son. It is easier to label a son, stigmatize him with a biological 'disease' and when he doesn't buy into the whole label/treatment myth, demonize him even further by disowning him, than it is to go deeper into the inferno and pluck the whole family out of hell and into a place of potential healing that involves every entire member being allowed to live out their lives authentically. Is he gay? Was he traumatized or abused as a child? Was he programmed for college but had an untreated learning disability? Did he face constant criticism growing up?

Does Johnnie need to move out? Probably! Because mom can't cheerfully sacrifice her independence and privacy, share space with him, and provide him with housing and food. But kicking him out because he won't face up to his disease and get the proper treatment, which is often code for "because you won't do everything we tell you to do" this is wrong.

Getting into a place of healing may involve profoundly confronting family secrets and illusions about ourselves and our children that propped us up for years and gave our lives meaning and purpose. To confront our cherished ideals and see that they may be false, would topple our own sense of worth.
There was mention from another blogger about a guilt that parents feel so that they end up taking an adult child back again and again into their household. Where does that guilt come from? Perhaps guilt is excessive, making it difficult to set good boundaries, perhaps it is misdirected, expressed at the wrong moments for the wrong transgressions. Guilt is a feeling that is usually instigated by an authentic wrongdoing but parents like me, often don't want to confront the real issues in our families. I suggest that this running away by parents from their 'mentally ill' children is rampant in our society.

Secrets are easier to lock up in a closet. It is easier to label a child with a mental disorder and bully them into taking mind numbing medications with the partnership of a medical system that is basically in collusion with a multi billion dollar drug industry, then it is to fully confront family issues and heal as a family and as a society. This would require full blown confrontation with all of our personal demons.

When a parent buys into the 'disease' model, i.e. my son/daughter has a disease, a defective brain, faulty genes, a chemical imbalance, etc. none of which has been proven by science, even though pharmaceutical drugs use propaganda and faulty research to substantiate these unfounded hypothosis', then we as parents are off the hook. Yah!! We can sell our children down the river by stigmatizing them, then disinherit them and go on living our selfish lives. Even as we cry lots of tears and mourn 'what might have been' and get lots of sympathy from our fellow parents who go to NAMI classes with us.

Sounds to me like POSSIBLY, you may be like me, angry that thing didn't go as planned for your son. He didn't end up going to an Ivy League college, or otherwise going through the hoops to live a middle class lifestyle. I felt tremendous anger and disappointment when my children didn't become academic all-stars despite all my personal sacrifices. Grrr..all those wasted hours trying to help my son succeed in school, helping him with those late night deadlines, writing the narrative for him on those difficult reports in 8th grade. Meanwhile, little did the outside world know what a nightmare my son faced each day in his household growing up. We parents constantly fought about him in front of him.

I took my unhappy marriage and projected all of that unhappiness right on to both of my kids. Only, one day, I woke up and realized that it was the family lies that made my children crazy as well as my part in propping up those lies. Lie number one is that our crazy children are crazy because of a brain disorder not because they are reacting to the conditions under which they grew up. For example, isn't it possible that our children are just more sensitive than us? For starters, let take violence.

I exposed my children to violence everyday when they were growing up: video games, the greatest babysitter so I could pursue my selfish pursuits was a big one. So was violent television programming. Then there is a harder, deeper truth. When I was unhappy in my marriage, and angry with my alcoholic husband, rather than courageously confront my issues and take responsbility for my unhappiness, I took it out on everyone around me, blaming everyone around me. I created the myth of "poor me. I'm a victim" I raged in front of my kids, threw tantrums, screaming at them and around them like a crazy woman, only I was never labeled or stigmatized or bound by four point restraints or forcibly medicated. Only my daughter was later in life when she was hospitalized for 'scizophrenia'. My son was prescribed Seroquel for bi-polar when he tried to take his own life.

At this point, having my adult son live at home is driving me crazy again. But by this time, I have become more willing to confront some ugly truths about myself and my marriage. By this time, I am able to see the damage I had done to my children by obsessively desiring them to be someone they were not, and I could at last be grateful that they were alive and free to make choices, not locked up in the back ward of a hospital. At least my bi polar son didn't succeed in his suicide attemp and he is alive and he has another chance to turn things around and learn to communicate authentically with his parents about who he really is. We have another chance to see one another in our true lights, as human beings, forgive one another and heal as a family.

Families that are clinging to the American dream which is a farce because wealth in this society is amassed through violence and injustice even though we don't want to face it, families who fail to protect their loving and sensitive children from a sick, pathological society and parents like me, who have been hypocrital by preaching non violence, even as I was promoting and acting out violently when my children were the most vulnerable growing up, those are the true crippling lies that enable, not the action of giving a struggling son some lousy rent money. Thank God our children keep coming back, out of loyalty I guess, even though we don't deserve, at times our children's loyalty and forgiveness.





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