Stressing Triangle of Love

I am a mother of three sons, that have always gave me problems growing up. I have one that has isolated himself in my home for going on five years now. He worked and did help with living cost for the first year and some the second. However, for the last three years I have supported him and his daughter while he donated plasma and drank his money up. To keep peace for the baby and myself I only tried to discuss his behavior from time to time. He gets angry and loud trying to over talk me and says things trying to make it seem like I am a nag. I know what he is doing and I don't believe him, but I get no where each time. He will act like this in front of his daughter. I have explained to him that her mis- behavior is a direct reflection of the way she seems him treat me. He says it is because she sees the way I treat him, by telling him ways to live responsibly. I try to discuss things with him quietly but he starts throwing his arms in the air and talking hateful to me. He doesn't stop to even listen..he thinks or says he does anyway, feels like me and his working brother are down on him because we try to motivate him. I believe he has created a disorder of some sort, by all the drinking. I tell him he needs a check up and he will not even respond. I think he could gets disability at this point in his life.. I am tired of supporting him and directing him on how to raise his daughter. I love her dearly and will raise her if need be, but I am tired of raising him. His mind is like maybe a 17 yr old. Her mother is on drugs and only sees her a few times a year for a couple of days each year. This is the reason I have been so patient with my son. What wold you do?

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Oct 19, 2016
To Stressing Triangle of Love
by: Anonymous

It's unfortunate but your situation is not uncommon. I have counseled many parents over the years who have experienced this same scenario.

What makes it difficult is the granddaughter. It is hard to set and maintain firm boundaries when a child is involved...hard but not impossible.

It has been my experience that individuals with drinking problems learn how to keep people from confronting them, which allows them to continue with their behavior. And I also know this to be true because I am a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. When I was in my active addiction I engaged in all sorts of behaviors to avoid looking at my drinking and the problems it was causing me. If I looked at it I might see there was actually a problem and therefore need to do something about it.

As long as I could convince other people and myself that the problem was outside of me then I could stay in my anger, frustration and blame. I would not have to change to anything I was doing.

I did not want to change because it was very disturbing to think about a life without alcohol because in my mind alcohol was what HELPED me. It was the thing that got me through tough situations (so I thought) and it was the thing that stopped all the bad feelings and the nagging voice in my head.

The only reason I sought help is because I finally found myself backed into a corner. People stopped putting up with my behavior. My job was about ready to let me go due to multiple problems and issues I was having at work, I was losing friends and tanking financially. Then someone in my family died and I hit bottom.

I share this with you because a person who has a relationship with alcohol will continue that relationship as long as they can...some people NEVER get help, but that does not mean that it has to hi-jack your life. There is a method of recovery for the family member and it allows them to take back their life. It allows them to set and maintain boundaries. It allows for direct, concise and firm communication. It is a process though. You didn't get in this spot overnight and it takes some work and willingness to recover from it.

If you would like information on resources or want to learn more about our services please contact me for a free 20 minute consultation.

Best of willingness to you,
Angie Carter

Aug 02, 2016
Time for Tough Love
by: Anonymous

It's time for some tough love. He needs some help setting appropriate boundaries. That's where you'll find your true power. I would give him a timeline of 3 months to find a job/get disability/some source of income and a new place to live. I would tell him that I have extended my hospitality to him for as long as I can and that it is ending.

If he is able to find a job/new place to live on his own, I'd help him with moving expenses and let him know that he is invited back for dinner on whichever day is convenient for me. And I would follow through on my word.

If he isn't able to find a job/new place in 3 months, I would find one for him, and to multiply the sting of this action, I would invite his successful brother over to help me move all of his things into the new apartment. I would cover his expenses for another 3 months while he gets back on his feet. Further, I would ask that his daughter stay at my house until he is able to support himself as she needs the stability for a little while. I would explain to her that this is a really tough time for her father and he is doing everything he can to be a responsible adult. He's a good man and it is VERY difficult being an adult when we don't take responsibility for our own wellbeing.

When he gets back on his feet (on his timeline now), I would help his daughter move back in with him and tell him how proud I am of him and observe how much more he seems to joke around/smile/laugh these days. And I'd give him a huge hug and I'd hold it for just a bit longer than he is comfortable... and when he stops hugging me back, I'd say "I'm not done lovin' you yet, son." And then we'd have a good cry together.

Mar 28, 2016
One Word for you!
by: Anonymous

I am right there trying to balance my relationship with my self, my son and life. Like you, I love my son more than anyone else in the world. He is actually my only and is turning 18 in a few weeks. I am big on love but weak on establishing boundaries. Our relationship continues to present many challenges and lessons around that. I well one them because I need my boundaries and my own space and the last two years has glued us together.

Now I am currently working on what I recognize as your challenge. Leaving a comment was easy for me to do.

We want to be compassionate and teach this to our children however...One of the greatest (and least discussed) barriers to compassion practice is the fear of setting boundaries and holding people accountable. I know it sounds strange, but I believe that understanding the connection between boundaries, accountability, acceptance, and compassion actually makes us kinder persons.

Lessons teach me that...The heart of compassion is really acceptance. The better we are at accepting ourselves and others, the more compassionate we become. Well, it’s difficult to accept people when they are hurting us or taking advantage of us or walking all over us. As you and I are right there in this sticky matter. But life continues to teach that to practice compassion, we have to start by setting boundaries and holding people accountable for their behavior.

It is easy to scream, blame, point fingers and even shame our own children as a means of getting them to do and be who we think and believe they should be. We get so wrapped up, we become so exhausted, tired from the ranting and raving that we don’t have the energy to develop meaningful consequences and enforce them. My mentor says....From Washington, DC, and Wall Street to our own schools and homes, this rage-blame-too-tired-and-busy-to-follow-through mind-set is why we’re so heavy on self-righteous anger and so low on compassion.

So my question dear one is....How are you holding your son accountable? Accountability is the keyword I am inserting.

What are your expectations of your son? Have you been clear in communicating your expectations and the objectives? What are the consequences for not following the plan, meeting the objectives or fulfilling the expectations of your home where you are the head or ruler? Are those clear and outlined?

And if they are not met, what does he face?

And if you don't follow through with the appropriate consequences, your son has most likely learn per to dismiss your requests—even if they sound like threats or ultimatums.

It is not about your son, my dear. It is about you learning boundaries and what compassion truly means and requires. It does not include martyrdom as so many of us mistake. Once you focus on you and what you need to learn and balance, your son will no longer become the perceived problem.

Good luck beautiful one!

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