Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tough love

So, "A" was stranded, and needed to get back to town before his parole officer blew up at him - and didn't have a ride. I said that if he could wait until the weekend that I would be willing to pick him up & drop him off somewhere... that it was up to him to figure out the where.

He spent the entire drive (which was twice as long as it should have been thanks to a jack-knifed semi on the interstate) playing me.

You'll be proud - I stuck my guns.

But it wasn't easy. He tried the "I'm so sorry" - then he tried tears - which were so fake it wasn't even funny. Then he got angry. Then he got nasty. I offered to let him off on the interstate. I reminded him I didn't need to put up with anything - I was doing him a favor. Then he tried guilt and more nastiness. He went so far as to accuse me of having cut off all maternal feelings for him. I had already explained that I was doing what I thought was best for everyone and didn't even respond to this latest accusation. He then went so far as to suggest that he would commit suicide at the mission. I reminded him that he'd already played that card repeatedly about 18 months ago - and when I wasn't sure if he was serious or not and got him into counseling and called the police repeatedly to intervene he'd laughed in my face and told the police I was delusional. I made sure he understood that I wasn't going to play that game again. He felt I was being heartless - I reminded him of how I had done everything in my power for over a year to help him get on his feet while he did just about everything in his power to avoid it. And, that stealing from me destroyed my trust in him. Oh, he would never do that again. I laughed out loud. Like didn't you say that right after the first time you used my debit card without permission? And a week later, you did it again? Why would I believe a word out of his mouth?

I told him that everything was in his hands. I told him that I honestly hoped for the best for him and that he would take this experience (as bad as it is) as fuel for the desire to ensure that he never got himself into this situation again and turns his life around; and keeps it turned around. I reminded him that being homeless instead of living with me opens up new programs that he's now eligible for and that he should take advantage of everything he can to solve his own crisis.

I also told him that I loved him enough that I did care what happened to him and did want to talk to him. But that my "helping him" only keeps him from helping himself. And, I'm done enabling him. I also told him that if he was anyone other than my child... that I would have refused to ever speak to him again after he'd only done half of what he's done to me. He claims that what I'm doing isn't love. If it isn't love then why does it hurt me so much? If I didn't love him I wouldn't care that he struggled. I wouldn't have brought him food & extra socks. I wouldn't have given him a ride either.

He was angry still when I left him at the front door of the mission. He felt I should have waited to make sure that he had a bed first. But, I had offered to give him a ride to town... I had not offered to drive around until he found a place to stay or tried to con me more and see if he couldn't get me to change my mind.

Unpleasant. And unfortunately? Probably just a taste of things to come in the future when we talk. Last time he didn't speak to me for six months. Of course, silence would be almost easier at this point.


britchik96 said...

Wow! I'm am just SOOOOO proud of you. You know in your heart a) you love him and b) that you are right that enabling him is clearly not good for your other son who needs you more right now. To stick to your guns when you went to get him must have been really difficult - but at least you've done it. Now is the hard part....sitting back and waiting. Oh yeah, and sticking to your guns. Well done my friend! You must feel relieved (even if worried like crazy). I will be thinking of you.

loretta said...

I know that had to be really hard to manage, but some day he'll thank you for it. Hopefully that day comes sooner rather than later.