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Topic: Managing grief & setting boundaries

4 posts, 0 answered
  1. Cloud like
    Cloud like avatar
    3 posts
    20 March 2020

    Hello everyone

    i have a son 21 away at uni who has ADHD depression anxiety & PTSD. Yes quite a bit to cope with & he has always been a sensitive person so I have tried to be as supportive as possible as he has a difficult relationship with his father who was very emotionally abusive to him in teenage years & has untreated. ptsd & substance use issues.

    i have tried too hard i think & always been available to my so n & always given him money whenever he asked but now realise that wasn’t helpful to either of us & he spent a lot of last year drinking alcohol & even possible substance use plus cigarette smoking - still does. Guess I need tips about putting boundaries in as I find it incredibly difficult. There’s some guilt in me that I left his father & didn’t realise the emotional abuse that was going on. However I have been ‘loving too much’ or being a ‘walk over’ . Am very sweet & nurturing by nature so saying ‘no’ isn’t easy . Any ideas? Thank you all xx

    a

  2. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    1388 posts
    22 March 2020 in reply to Cloud like

    Dear Cloud like~

    I can see why you went to help Scheherazade, you could see the problems in boundaries, which to be honest from the outside looks like love, guilt and trying to do the right thing is overriding all - to everyone's detriment.

    OK, so you have been handing over cash when asked, as many parents do, the trouble being you feel it is enabling a lifestyle that is doing your son harm.

    It would be great if there was an easy alternative, that just saying 'no' would fix things and prevent that lifestyle continuing. I would imagine you are realistic enough to realize this is unlikely, and may in fact head to him seeking money in other ways. Even direct payment of rent etc only frees up more cash elsewhere.

    I don't know your circumstances, however is it possible that you develop a closer relationship with your son? Perhaps he comes and helps around the house for a while each time, or you both go out and do something mutually enjoyable, then he may see you more as a freind than an source.

    That could be a better base on which to curb destructive tendencies and build enthusiasm for more healthy pursuits.

    As I said, I don't know you, your son or the circumstances, perhaps the above is totally unrealistic, however I'd welcome your return to talk about the matter

    Croix

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Cloud like
    Cloud like avatar
    3 posts
    26 March 2020 in reply to Croix

    Thanks for your comments Croix they are helpful. Yes exactly as you mentioned I am concerned about where else my son might go for funds. Unfortunately he has stepped away from me this year & wanted less contact. I know he has a sense of wanting to be ‘one of the boys’ at uni with his peers & ‘man up more’ - his words. I think the peers he hangs out with are the party people who have a fairly ‘up yours you didn’t do the right things by me’ attitude to parents. He has told me these things. So I have over the summer asked him to events etc but he mostly said no. I asked him if he would like to cook together & share meals but always says no most times. So he has been distancing. He rarely takes my calls now or answers my texts. Usually only if he needs money will he make contact. This makes me very sad & there’s some grief & loss I am processing. I have locked him out of my credit card now & told him I will transfer a set amount - quite small - each fortnight & have been sticking to it. Now he may be forced to come home if the uni accommodation shuts down. I have mixed feelings about him coming back but I want to be hopeful & optimistic that it will be a chance for us to genuinely reconnect. i appreciate any ideas or suggestions. Cloud like xo

  4. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    1388 posts
    27 March 2020 in reply to Cloud like

    Dear Cloud like~

    I guess one of the big problems is we expect to be able to 'fix' the problems our offspring are exploring. Not a reasonable hope. We can see quite clearly the issues and consequences, they often can't, being a mass of emotion and having little experience. The drive for peer esteem also seems to be unreasonably high from our point of view.

    The best anyone can do is give an example of a safe, steady and reasonable life, with love but not unreasoning generosity. It's a long term thing, and I don't know of anything better. I think you are doing this already.

    I hope your son does in fact come back to you rather than bunk with a 'freind'. If he does come back it may well as you say give a chance to set that example and at the same time allow for more friendship. If he could be allowed to make decisions about day to day matters in conjunction with you that might give him a sense of self-esteem.

    Please let us know how you are going

    Croix

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