Monday, July 11, 2011

Internets, I Need Advice

All swirling feelings aside, I pretty much just ruined Kyd's birthday and I clearly need advice. Just know that I may take it or leave it. After all, we must always consider that advice is often given by people who don't have to deal with the consequences of their advice. 

So, here's the background (this will be long). Kyd started being "in trouble" in middle school. What I didn't know then was that he had already started using drugs. As he got older, the trouble kept getting bigger and nothing I said, or anyone else (professional and non-professional) said made a difference. Somewhere in there Kyd also started drinking and did a stint in rehab and AA, but soon dropped sobriety not believing he was an alcoholic. A year and a half ago we were at the tail-end of a series of drunken, late night episodes, each episode more dramatic and terrifying than the last. Lexie and I were honestly beginning to fear for our safety. 

I suggested a return to AA which he refused and in light of that, and his refusal generally to stop drinking, I set a firm boundary that if he came home drunk again he would have to move out. Just a few weeks later, he came home falling-down drunk and after he slept it off and sobered up I sat him down to enforce the boundary. 

He spent the next several weeks couch-hopping and seething with resentment towards me. Finally he landed a living situation with a new best friend who took him in rent-free until he got a job. Kyd spent the next several months (8-10?) without much effort to actually get a job (as far as I can tell) and continued to live rent-free with a small group of roommates, all of whom worked. Meanwhile, he returned home every couple of months for a few days so I could drive him to court so his probation for a DUI could be reviewed. The court was becoming increasingly impatient with Kyd's lack of employment, and therefore inability to pay court fees or restitution. 

A couple of months ago Kyd was here for a court appointment and when it was time for him to go home he informed me that they were all being evicted because his roommates hadn't paid the rent. He was more or less informing me that he was staying with us until his girlfriend graduated (June) at which time the two of them had a roommate situation lined up that they could afford. I was able to convince Lexie and Roi to let Kyd stay and that it would be temporary.

It is now July and that living situation has fallen through and Kyd is expecting to continue to live with us. Meanwhile he has not consistently done the one chore he was assigned (the dishes), did land a job but it doesn't pay enough to live independently, and has stopped looking for another job. He sleeps all day until it's time for work, uses my laptop without asking, uses and takes whatever he likes, and gets a ride to work every day but never offers to chip in for gas. He also makes a mess and when asked to pick up after himself cops an attitude and picks up only a few things. He flat out refuses to pick anything up if it isn't his. 

In other words, he's acting kind of like an entitled brat. 

Roi is growing impatient with the situation and we don't have a room for Kyd so he sleeps on the couch and generally occupies the living room. 

As I said in an earlier post, I get that the math doesn't add up and it's really quite impossible for Kyd to live on his own with his current income. So I talked with Roi and he agreed that if Kyd contributes a fair amount to rent he can stay. 

So, when I proposed this idea to Kyd, who was feeling cranky and pressured about having to move out, he said to me, "I'm not going to pay fucking rent to sleep on the couch". He wants us to convert one of the offices (Roi's business is here) into a room, AND he will do only HIS dishes. OR, if he has to pay rent, Lexie must pay equal rent too. 

I explained that Lexie has one more year before she transfers to a 4 year college, but if she were to drop out of school she would have to pay rent. Also that she does chores, has to contribute to the cost of the car she drives, and pay for gas that is not school-related. And finally, that she understands she must continue to progress forward and contribute to the household without attitude. 

He feels he is being treated unfairly. I feel he is acting like an insufferable brat, and I am FRUSTRATED that every attempt to make this a workable situation is met by contempt from him. I don't want to have to force him to leave, but things cannot continue like this. Every time I think I've come up with a workable solution, or at least a jumping-off point, we just end up in an argument.



  1. Honey, I feel for you and relate to all of this more than you can possibly know. Middle school, huh? I call it the "muddle school." horrible years. Anyway, I don't know how old Kyd is... but your Lexie is in her late teens, I'm presuming and he sounds like he's 21 or 22 or a bit more?

    Does he have a college degree? Does he have goals? What does he want to be/do when he decides to grow up?

    He sounds angry and depressed and he needs a therapist IMO. He needs someone, probably a male that he can relate to, to tell it to him straight, not his mommy, or his daddy. Both of my sons have had and currently have this,(one through his therapeutic boarding school, now) and it is enormously helpful. But that doesn't mean that you can't hold your ground and you must and I know... it is the most difficult thing in the world, but if you don't, it is only going to get worse and worse, I fear. Its very difficult.

    Is Roi, Kyd's biological father and if he is not, where is his real father?

    I see Kyd's acting out, anger, long sleeping times, all as coping mechanisms, albeit, dysfunctional ones. It sounds like he could benefit from some good talk therapy and possibly some meds for his depression, etc. He's "self-medicating" with other things which is common for people with neurological disorders such as ADD.

    It sounds like he has suffered through a life which hasn't had much success and he most likely feels like a "loser" at this point. He's actually down on himself, but it comes out as if he's down on you, especially when he's feeling stressed out. What's stressing him out right now, is the living situation.(and probably a lot of other things) So... I'm afraid, that you're going to be the whipping boy, in this scenario. :( Sometimes, when I have found myself angry at the apparent defiance, rudeness and downright abuse (yes! parent abuse!!!) what I have later realized after things calmed down is that my son simply wanted to be heard and understood. (this is from the one with autism, so "understanding" is a very complex notion-- very rabbit hole-ish.)

    I know... all of this is easier said than done and also that it is so difficult to see the answers when one is eyeball deep in the incessant muck.

    I don't know if any of that helped, but just know that you're not alone.

    Wishing you well...


  2. Lexie - my daughter is 18, turning 19 this winter. Kyd just turned 20 today.

    I agree, Kyd could probably benefit from help, but I've recently offered that and he angrily refused to even talk about it. I also do see that he's probably feeling overwhelmed and I've tried on multiple occasions to see his side and approach conversations from that point of view. Then, before I know it, we're arguing again because I'm just so flabbergasted by his thinking and attitude.

    Roi is not Kyd's father and they don't have much of a relationship, not to mention Roi is not very good at the parenting gig. Kyd's real father, as I've posted about, starting doing drugs (at first prescription painkillers for his back) after our marriage ended and has not been emotionally, physically, or financially supportive for the majority of the time since our divorce.

    I want very much to have a situation that can be supportive to Kyd digging out and get on his feet, but it's not workable when he seems unwilling to give back.

  3. I wouldn't discuss it. Just make the appointment and take him. He needs help and its not up to him to decide whether he wants to go or not. He's a little boy--- yes a KID, still; he is not able to give back, or compromise, or anything right now, but he needs this help-- desperately. You can't do it all by yourself, but you could make it worse, unwittingly.

    Yes, I know its tough... Believe me, I've had the cops over here several times-- chairs being thrown into doors and computers smashed... yeah-- good times. Things are so much better now, but I had to shit a brick to get the (right) help for the younger one and the big one is maturing (a bit now, but is still a big baby sometimes, but he's got a job 800 miles away, for the summer! yipppeee!!!), but its an entirely different situation. Gotta get in there NOW, or Kyd will still be sleeping on your sofa when he's 30.

    He has plenty to be very angry about and it has nothing to do with you. Unfortunately, the male role models in his life have been pretty lame, to say the least and for a young man, that is very, very bad.

    Is there a reason that he's not going to a college or trade school of some sort?

    I think that you're a great mom, Briar, but you've been presented with a very tough situation. One day, in the distant future, he'll thank you. He will... Just make the call for him. :)



  4. I don't know. It is hard to say, because I'm not in it. I can tell you what it sounds like. It sounds like some kid is getting a free ride and he is going to use it up until you say that enough is enough. He doesn't care or respect y'all enough to do the dishes, yet he sure thinks highly of himself to ask that you rearrange your home for him to have a bigger living quarter for him to sprawl out in.

    Roi has a very sound idea. Rent for the couch and he continues to do dishes. It is logical. It is how the real world works. It isn't unfair or unkind, especially with his attitude, you know? But- with the rent, and even the chores, that has to be something that he is held accountable for. And, that, my friend, is something I don't know how to do. Maybe you could motivate him, ask him for healthy, helpful behaviors, and you could even save what he pays in rent for him so that in a few months he might be able to get his own place (if he has a good enough job by then, that is).


  5. Briar, my heart goes out to you and your situation. It appears that you are being really hard on yourself. Birthdays with loved ones that are still acting out can be an enormous set-up. I understand your desire to want to put it all aside for his b-day and the multitude of disappointments that ensued when it wasn't possible. There are just so many conflicting feelings and you really "want" to celebrate your son's life. And that's hard right now for both of you and sad to see the pain you're both in.

    Good for you for going to see your therapist tomorrow, I imagine you'll find some answers between now and then. I admire your desire for truth and balance, and your kind heart trying its damndest to do the best for your whole family.

  6. Hugs for you, Briar. This is a very, very tough situation. The protection instinct would kick in for me followed immediately by frustration when Kyd wasn't showing any type of appreciation for all that you're extending to him.

    I don't think it's unreasonable to expect everyone in the entire household to chip in one way or another. All of my children (19, 18 & 12) have daily chores. We don't charge the 19 year old rent but he pays his own bills, the 18 year old is still in HS.

    I agree with Lexie, having him talk to someone could greatly benefit him.

    Once he's able to pay rent consistently, then maybe you guys can consider giving him his room again? Maybe put a password on your laptop?

    Thinking of you

  7. Wish I had got here sooner, because I do know what this is like.
    We lived with your exact situation off/on for 6 years. Difference is, our son had a heroin addiction that eventually took care of the problem of his living in our house when he went to prison for 16 months.

    It was a very, very difficult decision to let him come home, but this time the Dad and I had educated ourselves. We work very hard on communication, not just with son, but with each other. We don't undermine each other or make unilateral decisions anymore. It would help a great deal if Roi was on board.
    1) Kyd is not actively using but he has the same addict behaviors.
    2) Rent is a must. Make it income based. Andrew pays his rent to us OFF THE TOP
    3) Do not allow him to disrespect you by yelling "fuck" etc. Not sure how you can make this stop now, talk to the therapist
    4) Do not allow him to make the rules!!
    5) Fair is what you say it is, not what he says it is

    There are ways to initiate change. Remember Alanon, "it only takes one person to react differently to effect a change". Looks to me like that will have to be you.

    Set the rules, don't back down. When he sees you mean it (this will take time) he'll change. Not exactly the way you would like, but at least it will be tolerable.

    Take what you like and leave the rest:)

    Love, Lou

  8. We teach people how to treat us.
    Sherry (new to commenting on blogs and not 'registered'/don't have a URL, etc.)