Sorrow-filled mother


#1

Last night, I sobbed myself to sleep. I’m the mother of three young men (22, 20, and 17.5). I’m struggling with being the parent that I think that God wants me to be.

I had told my eldest son that, when he turned 21, he would have to move out. He had flunked out of community college, was drinking regularly, getting speeding tickets, runnning around (and sleeping around). All against what he had been taught.

While living at home he refused to abide by the rules of our house (though my husband was never one to require that anyone follow any rule, unless he was ticked off about something). We were constantly picking up after him and his friends, who would congregate at our house when we were at work… eat and drink and leave messes. Too many times, we would come home and the only signs that he had been there were the soda cans left in the basement and the lights and fans being left on in rooms.

He’s 22 now and has been out on his own for 8 months. At Easter time, he told us that he was joining the military. He asked if he could move home. I told him that he could move home (“rent” free) for two weeks before going into the military. He wanted to quit a good paying job in order to live off his saved cash and party all summer. I told him that was not an option (He goes to basic training in October).

Two weeks ago, he quit his job. A month prior to that, he had sold his car (for $2,000 under what he owes for it, as well as having $4,000 in other personal loans for cars that we advised him against buying which he no longer owns. So, yes, he owes $6000 for cars and has no transportation). He did all this because his girlfriend was willing to support him and allow him to use her car. I asked him, “What if the two of you break up?” Well, guess what happened last week?

He’s been spending days (while we’re at work) at our house, playing video games with our youngest, and sleeping with friends at night and, most recently, with an old girlfriend. Now, my middle son tells my husband that his older brother is going to be walking the streets at night because he has nowhere to stay. My husband is consumed with worry because he “loves” him. In my heart, I’m thinking, “If you really loved him, you would have helped me with the discipline and not worried so much about having the boys as your buddies.” I don’t say it because he knows how I feel. It’s been said before, as I felt like a single parent in a two-parent family.

Repeatedly, my first-born has chosen his way over what we have advised (my husband has lots to say about financial decisions). There are consequences to actions, I have tried to teach my kids. So, I told my husband that I would agree to allow him to stay here as long as he’s looking for work for at least 2.5 hours a day (with proof of where he is going). For the other hours that he should be at work, we’ll have odd jobs around the house, which will include cooking and cleaning. My husband looked at me, totally straight-faced, and said, “You want him to be a Cinderella or some kind of a slave. He’ll never go for that.”

No. I don’t want to misuse my son. I do love him. It’s killing me to do what I’ve been instructed is the real loving thing to do.

Yes, it’s tearing me apart. Over the past couple of years, I’ve gotten into some trouble myself, trying to medicate away the anxiety and the pain of being me and of living with a sex-addicted spouse (resulting in my own opiate addiction for which I’m working hard in recovery). This situation with my son is a perfect example of the pain that I’m having trouble enduring. God’s grace seems so elusive right now. I just want to run away. I’ve lost the certainty that I had when my boys were young and I had the hope that if I parent as God would have me parent, putting God and His way first, even if my family grumbles, they will come to understand that I love them and have done what is best for them.

This has not been the case. I have learned that, just recently while we were at work, my eldest son pressured my 17.5-year-old to drink alcohol (he only tasted the whiskey). It’s something that he’s done in the past, as well as given him condoms, harrassing him about still being a virgin. My first-born has not turned out as I would have wanted. Of course, I still love him and want what is best for him.

“But, I love him and worry about him being on the street.” That’s what my husband tells me. Does he not think that I love my son or that I, too, don’t want him “walking the streets at night”? I’m all messed up. I have no support here and God feels so far away. My heart is so heavy. :frowning:


#2

I don't have any good advice to offer you but you will be in my thoughts and prayers. God bless you.


#3

Christin, I'm really sorry to hear that you're in such a situation!! You have my prayers, and, even though you can't feel God's grace right now, please do not loose faith that God is still there, helping you in ways you might not notice now!!
It is really hard to have problems like these, or any other for that matter, with a child. The important thing is that you've tried, and are still trying, to give your son a good example - this is what matters most. And, hopefully, the army will also help - teach him discipline, teach him that actions have consequences, etc.
:hug3: and :gopray2: !!


#4

Firstly, apportioning blame to yourself, him or anyone else either justly or unjustly would be rather fruitless and cause only more problems.

However, you cannot allow him to continue to behave in this way.

Firstly, as I assume your house is both yours and your husbands, you will have to talk the issue through with him.

A twenty two year old should be making financial contributions if he is still at home. As I am Living at home (age 21) paying 75 sterling (100-125 dollars) weekly is expected, as well as doing a fair share of the housework (gardening, repair work, my own laundry and so forth) - although I do do more than some people as I work from home and don't have to travel.

It is your house, no adult has the "right" to move in with their parents. This is especially true if the individual is refusing to co-operate, damaging property, wasting electricity and so forth.

Pressuring other family members to drink and so forth is a bad thing. However I would draw the distinction between this and sharing alcohol with the individual, especially as he is nearly an adult (17.5), and when I was 17 I certainly "joined in" - most people did.

Asking him to obey your rules is perfectly fair, it is your house. If you want him to go look for a job 2 or 3 hours a day, as well as doing chores (most teenagers do chores so this is a non-issue) that is certainly fair. Particularily if you are not charging rent (which you should).

Loving someone can entail not smothering or spoling them with an easy life, you will not always be there, and to spoil him so he lacks any independance would be crueller than giving him a dose of reality before he becomes to accustomed to the "easy life".


#5

Sooooo sorry Cristin for your pain and sorrow.

The first thing that comes to my mind is that you have a very Godless husband who is not being any sort of a spiritual leader or example in the home. Right? If you did, he would be helping you rear your kids. (Mine is the same way, as well as being a sex addict too)/

You have tried your best. God knows this.

Can you call your Priest or Pastor and make an appt for you and your husband to meet? You both, as parents need some guidance, and fast......

Just wait until October, your son will change pretty fast going into the military----

In the meantime, pray for them, try to set down some groundrules, and you and your husband meet with your pastor, asap.

Question: What is your husband doing about his sex adddiction problem?

:blush:


#6

I kicked my daughter out, and only allowed her back in when she signed a contract outlining what was expected of her if she wishes to continue living in my house. It was very specific that failure to follow the actions/behaviors outlined would result her in being thrown out again. After 3 days of living in her car--none of her friends would take her in because she has a dog--she was more than happy to sign.

Things aren't perfect (and never will be; she has mental issues), but they're a WHOLE lot better!

Miz


#7

You and your family will be in my prayers. Definitely pray the rosary and start a novena to St. Jude.

Your oldest son sounds like my older brother when we were younger. Only he was addicted to drugs and was in and out of jail. Please stick to your rules and do not allow him to move home until he is willing to demonstrate he will live by your rules. That means no alcohol consumption (in the house or when out with friends), he should be looking for a full-time job eight hours a day (not 2.5). Or volunteering. I know it might be hard to find a job since he is starting military duty in October so volunteering might be a good option.

Your son needs a good deal of tough love. I am sorry your husband is not being a better leader. But stick by your intuition. No more financial loans, no more free loading. He needs to start being an example to your other children. This is for his own good.

I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

Sincerely,

Maria1212


#8

Oh, wow. I'm so sorry to hear of your troubles.

You mention your son is going to go to basic in October, is he in the DEP?

Just wondering.

You think the recruiter could use him, have him help out? Oh, and if he wants to get a 'leg up' during basic, he might want to get as physically fit as he can, cut out caffeine, drinking, smoking (if he does, hope he don't) run, do push ups and sit ups....b/c they are going to have him do this mess early and often (and test him on it)....and if he can study basic military information, rank structure, the parts of an M16, etc....he's going to find basic a piece of cake.

Now, I'm working under the assumption he's joining the army, why, I'm not sure...I probably didn't read your post right...but...the army is keen on the exercise...so are the other branches, but they tend to focus on different disciplines...they have their reasons.

He might want to get with his recruiter, ask him what he needs to focus on.

Something to keep him busy:thumbsup:
HA!
And.
It's constructive.

Of, course, getting a job would be much better, but the economy being what it is, that might be hard;0(


#9

I am very sorry you are going through this. And I am very sorry your husband is not supporting you on this.

Now, some people might think I am cruel…but I am a firm believer that after a child is 18 living at home is a priviledge and he either obeys all rules or is out.

I never had any kids so I can not imagine the though of having a son sleeping in the streets. But… 22 year old men can take this more than us older woman think. As unpleasant as it may be for him, it could be the consequences he needs to shape up. You and your husband are NOT going to be around forever. Your son is young enough he can learn from his mistakes. But if you don’t put your foot down, he could end up a fifty year old man living on the streets (which is harder) and no parents to help teach him the right way.

I support your decision to be firm with him. I pray God will give you strenght

CM


#10

[quote="christin, post:1, topic:204825"]

Repeatedly, my first-born has chosen his way over what we have advised (my husband has lots to say about financial decisions). There are consequences to actions, I have tried to teach my kids. So, I told my husband that I would agree to allow him to stay here as long as he's looking for work for at least 2.5 hours a day (with proof of where he is going). For the other hours that he should be at work, we'll have odd jobs around the house, which will include cooking and cleaning. My husband looked at me, totally straight-faced, and said, "You want him to be a Cinderella or some kind of a slave. He'll never go for that."....."But, I love him and worry about him being on the street." That's what my husband tells me. Does he not think that I love my son or that I, too, don't want him "walking the streets at night"? I'm all messed up. I have no support here and God feels so far away. My heart is so heavy. :(

[/quote]

Find out where your nearest homeless shelter/food bank is (Catholic Charities or other)
Drive your son there in the morning before work, and pick him up after work, and give him the choice that he can either volunteer there 8 hours a day and come home with you at the end of the day every day, or he can live there permanently 24 hours a day until he leaves for boot camp. He's not a kid anymore and it is time for him to grow up. He's the one who's so sure he's a man now.... he ought to be able to handle this like a man, no problem.
If he or your husband pulls out the "you're such a mean mommie" routine, simply inform him that the definition of a MAN is that he doesn't need his mommie to change his diapers anymore..... or does he?


#11

JohnDamien has the attitude typical of a young adult brought up in the UK. After about 18 if you are still living at home you are expected to contribute to the household and provide “housekeeping” i.e. rent. It is the norm for most families. I married an American and noticed in the US that the majority of families do not seem to establish a time when their grown children are classified as adults with adult responsibilities but instead there is a much longer period of adolescence which can seem to extend almost indefinitely in some families. As much as I disagree with your husband I’m afraid that he is very much a typical example of parents who are not really parenting but instead indulging their children, even into their 20s and beyond.

I’m sure it is very painful but I would try your best to stick to your guns. As you say you have younger children and your son cannot hold you to ransom in this manner. You don’t want to show the younger ones that you can walk out on a well-paid job and expect someone else (in this case your parents) to pick up the tab for your life. Despite his many youthful mistakes your son is still managing to survive and I’m sure will continue to do so until October (only 3 months away). I doubt very much if your son has an serious intention of finding a job for three months.

One thing I’m wondering about if he was planning on living off his “saved cash” all summer, he must have some money still as he only quit his job two weeks ago. It’s interesting how his arrangements with a girlfriend and other friends lasted a matter of days, it just shows that no one of any age appreciates a freeloader. I think this time is going to be a great learning period for your son. Either he really has money and will keep surviving somehow or he will run out of money and everyone else’s goodwill and will realize that being at home in exchange for some reasonable amount of help around the home is a great deal.

I’m sorry your husband has the opinions he does. Keep praying, don’t let your son dictate how things will be in your home. God has heard your prayers, I’m sure basic training will be the beginning of a steep learning curve for your son in responsibilities and consequences. I would do your best to be upset in private but put your best and most cheerful face on to the world. Don’t let your son’s behavior put you on an emotional roller-coaster where he can emotionally blackmail you. HE put himself in this position, you are not expected to rescue him when he refuses to lift a finger in contributing to the family.

Many, many people behaved in similar ways when they were your son’s age, it’s part of growing up and understanding the boundaries that really exist in the world. This is only the start of the story for your son and things can change for the positive in ways you never expected. Keep the faith mom and continue to be hopeful for your son’s future. He will soon be meeting many men (and women) in authority that will be very different from his dad in their attitude toward what they expect of a young man. You might find he will quickly grow to appreciate your so-called hard-line attitude when he meets the real hardiners.

BTW JohnDamien’s comment regarding alcohol should be seen in the context of 16 and 18 being the legal age to drink in European countries while it is 21 in the US.

God bless you and your family.


#12

Thank you for your replies.

In answer to a previous question, my husband has been attending meetings for his sex addiction. This past year, I got to the point where I couldn't live with it anymore. I've been fighting a battle of my own lately. Perhaps I should have given him the ultimatum years ago (he was a sex addict when we married, though I didn't know it) because he finally sought help this time. However, I am afraid that he's less than zealous in his recovery work. My own sponsor keeps telling me not to concern myself with his recovery. As his wife, that's very hard to do.

I did not do well yesterday. After posting, I left the house for 7 hours, walking until I couldn't walk anymore. To hurt on the outside made the pain lessen on the inside. I'm afraid that I'm at the breaking point. God seems so far away. He used to seem so close to me.

When I returned home, I made the mistake of talking with my husband. He had spoken to our son, told him about our talk and said that he would talk to me about agreeing to him paying $25/week and doing some stuff around the house (such as vaccuuming one day, laundry one day). I didn't find that to be acceptable. $25/week, I told my husband, would get the kid a tent in the backyard. If he doesn't have the finances for an apartment, he should be working off his keep by doing odd jobs around the house. After all, it's not like we don't need things painted, etc. AND... no sleeping nights over girlfriends' houses or having gatherings here when we aren't home or bringing over the scantilly-clad but well-endowed, girlfriend whom my husband confessed to having lusted after.

The talk with my son went horribly. My husband and I got into a disagreement because he was hedging on some things that we had discussed less than two hours earlier. It was the same old same old. He nods his head when he's talking with me. But, he really doesn't mean it because he can't stick to it with the kids.

So, it ended up being what it always is... "If it weren't for you, Dad wouldn't care." My kids resent me. That's nothing new to hear, though it never gets easier. "Everyone's good to your face, but that's not what it's like behind your back."

I was not a good example to anyone. Using language that I absolutely NEVER use, I stormed from the house.

For twenty years, I was able to stick to my Christian principles. I was the one who acted, not reacted (my husband was the angry one. How can they not recall that?) But, something happened a couple of years ago and I turned to opiates to calm my anxiety. From my younger years, I should have realized that I'm an addict. But, I didn't. God had spared me for so many years, I honestly didn't know. I had no idea that the pain pills would ensnare me so quickly. As I mentioned, I've been in recovery for about a year, not always doing well.

So, I'm not as emotionally strong as I once was. I know that I've lost footing with my children. Though they never knew of my drug use, at the advice of those in recovery, I told them (it's a family disease, I was told). My faith has been severely tested because I can't seem to find God in anything in my life anymore.

It's so hard when He allows things such as this into my life.


#13

Christin when was the last time you had a vacation? Your youngest boy is 17.5 so all your kids can look after themselves. If you have some savings why don't you book a two week holiday (or pilgrimage) on Monday morning? If you have a dear friend who can go take them with you. If sounds like you need some R&R.


#14

[quote="Kindness, post:13, topic:204825"]
Christin when was the last time you had a vacation? Your youngest boy is 17.5 so all your kids can look after themselves. If you have some savings why don't you book a two week holiday (or pilgrimage) on Monday morning? If you have a dear friend who can go take them with you. If sounds like you need some R&R.

[/quote]

Kindness... what an appropriate screen name. I have no friends. Living 23 years with an anti-social, jealous husband (even jealous of the time that I spent with females) has finally taken its toll in my life.

I have a sponsor, though she isn't Christian. However, I have been toying with the idea of going to see her for a week. I just don't know how possible that is.


#15

You must feel very isolated with no friends. I think you should explore the idea of a week away more, you sound very overwhelmed. Are you involved in your parish? Do you work outside the home as you mention that you eldest son was at home during the day without your knowledge.


#16

[quote="Kindness, post:15, topic:204825"]
You must feel very isolated with no friends. I think you should explore the idea of a week away more, you sound very overwhelmed. Are you involved in your parish? Do you work outside the home as you mention that you eldest son was at home during the day without your knowledge.

[/quote]

I was a stay-at-home mom for ten years (quitting work so that I could "properly" raise my family). I returned to work because finances became too much of a burden and my husband was miserable.

I work in a department comprised mainly of Catholics. At first, I thought that this was a blessing, until I soon discovered that every single one of them is a "cafeteria Catholic." At first, I was regularly mocked for my faithfulness to the teachings of the Church, even for my Mass attendance on Holy Days. Please understand, I'm not an "in your face" holy roller, but I never kept my position on birth control and abortion a secret when the topics came up. If one of the non-Catholics have a question about Catholicism, they come to me. But, I'm soon countered by the other Catholic secretary, who insists that she is a "good Catholic" (though I've never said that she wasn't)) and she informs the individual about "what Catholics really believe."

I'm minimally involved in my parish right now. I read, but this morning, I had to ask someone else to read for me. I couldn't put on my typical "everything's okay" face.

I used to teach CCD and help in the Confirmation program but stopped a few years ago. It simply became too disheartening to have parents grumbling, as much as the kids (if not more), about kids having to attend CCD or having CCD homework (a 40-minute CCD class and a total of 20 minutes worth of homework a week) when they had homework from school and had ski club on Sundays or dance or basketball practice, etc.

I no longer serve as extraordinary minister of Holy Communion because of all the abuses in my parish (and all the area parishes).

I help every year with the annual parish festival.

Right now, in addition to work, I attend 6 recovery meetings a week (most non-addicts aren't aware that it isn't a once a week AA/NA meeting. It requires a lot of time). I've yet to find more than 2 Catholics at meetings who don't consider themselves "Recovering Catholics" (meaning that they had to leave behind their Catholicism in order to recover). The program allows members a "God of their own understanding." Of course, I remain steadfast in my belief that I can't mold God into an image that better conforms with "what I need for Him to be" but, rather, I must conform myself. It's just that, now, with an addiction biting at my heels to get me to numb the pain and the insanity that I'm feeling inside, it isn't an easy thing to do.

But, the cross wasn't easy, either. Was it?


#17

I think your advice is a bit extreme former Catholic. What mom would really do this? I wouldn’t. I don;t think this nice woman would either.


#18

Hi Cristin!

Your situation sounds so much like mine it is unbelievable! I really understand!

My boys have been so influenced by their sex addict, Godless dad too, that they have often turned to me and said “Iyou have issues mom” you’re too strict, you’re too Catholic, etc…and saying even to me “you should get out mom”…I am being so persecuted in my own home for sticking to my faith and wanting to have a Godly home. Bottom line, I didn’t think when I married, or I was deceived not really knowing my husband was into porn when I married either, just like you didn’t. I found out my husband was doing phone sex when I was pregnant with our first child, 20 years ago. What a shock! It has only gotten worse ever since. Just like you.

My h too is not working his program, or currently doing even one thing to recover from his sex addiction, which if you’ve read any of my threads has now escalated to his stripper chasing for 2 years now. He does not think it’s any big deal. This has hurt me so deeply that I too have developed an addiction to alcohol I fear. So…that’s not too good.

I notice you in the groups I just joined here which I did not even know they had such a thing. I hope we can be friends here. Hang in there Cristin. I wouldn’t pressure your son into getting a job right now at all its only 3 more months he’ll be going through hell week. But I would set down limits as to no booze or girls spending the night over in your home, etc. At his age, he can stay elsewhere if he wants, and you really have no control. BUT, what goes on in your home you do. If your husband doesn’t take a stand you must, just like I must. I had to demand an inappropriate movie be turned off the other night my h brought home, which was filled with sex and violence, so he did. Of course I explained to my 16 yo son why. My h was thrilled watching it…of course…


#19

[quote="christin, post:12, topic:204825"]
Thank you for your replies.

In answer to a previous question, my husband has been attending meetings for his sex addiction. This past year, I got to the point where I couldn't live with it anymore. I've been fighting a battle of my own lately. Perhaps I should have given him the ultimatum years ago (he was a sex addict when we married, though I didn't know it) because he finally sought help this time. However, I am afraid that he's less than zealous in his recovery work. My own sponsor keeps telling me not to concern myself with his recovery. As his wife, that's very hard to do.

I did not do well yesterday. After posting, I left the house for 7 hours, walking until I couldn't walk anymore. To hurt on the outside made the pain lessen on the inside. I'm afraid that I'm at the breaking point. God seems so far away. He used to seem so close to me.

When I returned home, I made the mistake of talking with my husband. He had spoken to our son, told him about our talk and said that he would talk to me about agreeing to him paying $25/week and doing some stuff around the house (such as vaccuuming one day, laundry one day). I didn't find that to be acceptable. $25/week, I told my husband, would get the kid a tent in the backyard. If he doesn't have the finances for an apartment, he should be working off his keep by doing odd jobs around the house. After all, it's not like we don't need things painted, etc. AND... no sleeping nights over girlfriends' houses or having gatherings here when we aren't home or bringing over the scantilly-clad but well-endowed, girlfriend whom my husband confessed to having lusted after.

The talk with my son went horribly. My husband and I got into a disagreement because he was hedging on some things that we had discussed less than two hours earlier. It was the same old same old. He nods his head when he's talking with me. But, he really doesn't mean it because he can't stick to it with the kids.

So, it ended up being what it always is... "If it weren't for you, Dad wouldn't care." My kids resent me. That's nothing new to hear, though it never gets easier. "Everyone's good to your face, but that's not what it's like behind your back."

I was not a good example to anyone. Using language that I absolutely NEVER use, I stormed from the house.

For twenty years, I was able to stick to my Christian principles. I was the one who acted, not reacted (my husband was the angry one. How can they not recall that?) But, something happened a couple of years ago and I turned to opiates to calm my anxiety. From my younger years, I should have realized that I'm an addict. But, I didn't. God had spared me for so many years, I honestly didn't know. I had no idea that the pain pills would ensnare me so quickly. As I mentioned, I've been in recovery for about a year, not always doing well.

So, I'm not as emotionally strong as I once was. I know that I've lost footing with my children. Though they never knew of my drug use, at the advice of those in recovery, I told them (it's a family disease, I was told). My faith has been severely tested because I can't seem to find God in anything in my life anymore.

It's so hard when He allows things such as this into my life.

[/quote]

I don't know. I think you said what needed to be said. I'm sure there's lots more where that came from. From the sounds of it, everyone you live with needs to drink a big can of live-with-your-own-choices, for a change. I think you are right on with every one of your demands, and you could even add a few more. My son was living in a similar fantasy land and had signed up for the Army at 18. T'wern't no picnic for him, learning the reality of Army life. Spent the first few years in the Army hating us for his miserable life (like it was our choice to send him there), and then something interesting happened. He began to see that his actions had consequences. He got out, got a year of college under his belt, and was called up again for another 16 months. He worked his tail off the second time; he wanted to be proud of his work in Iraq (!). He has since got out, finished college (graduated this past spring), and is sorting out his next move, on his own. He has gone back to church (!).

None of this could have happened without cutting off the gravy train. It was very hard doing this. We spent years worrying privately about him. God had things pretty well under control, from the moment we decided to stop playing "god" by bailing him out of his problems. In retrospect, we were a bit afraid he would hate us if we laid down the law. We should have been a lot more worried that, in his life choices at the time, he didn't love God.


#20

[quote="timotheos, post:19, topic:204825"]
We should have been a lot more worried that, in his life choices at the time, he didn't love God.

[/quote]

You have spoken the heart of this mother for this child for the past 21 years and 8 months (he corrected me yesterday, saying that he is NOT 22).

I'm so glad that your situation turned out well. I pray to God that mine will as well. My husband went into the military after graduation but came out and lived pretty much for himself and to party. But, he didn't have any faith-filled examples in his life. My son has. Maybe that will make the difference. God desires that everyone be saved and come to the knowledge of Him.


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