View Full Version : Those "guilt trip" phone calls...

Nervous Nellie
07-03-2005, 10:12 AM
Long story, but as most of you regulars know, my 18 year old son is a crack addict (plus a whole lot of other stuff). He left the apartment I rented him and went back to the city streets voluntarily.

He called me on the phone today. Here's the gist of how the conversation went:

Son: Hello, Mom?

Mom: Hi, Son, how are you doing?

Son: How the $%#& do you THINK I'm doing? I called you to say that I'm still mad at you (for not letting him stay with me the last time he knocked on my door while he was coming down from crack).

Mom: Son, I sent you to the rehab centre at the hospital instead, but when I called, you had discharged yourself.

Son: I was there for TWO days!

Mom: Oh.

Son: I am starting work on Tuesday. Fixing computers and stuff. They're going to train me.

Mom: That is wonderful! Good for you!

Son: Yeah, well, I don't have a place to stay. Can I stay with you tonight?

Mom: I thought you were getting help with that from the counsellor at the shelter. I thought you were going to stay with friends. Your apartment's already been rented out...

Son: I don't give a #%@& about the apartment.

Mom: It took me a month to clean it out and restore it back to it's original condition...as you know I have a bad back and severe nerve damage...

Son: I don't give a #%@&...I didn't call you for that reason. I want to pick up my skateboard and I need a pair of old skate shoes.

Mom: Huh? I didn't know you still had a skateboard here, you're brother's away for the weekend, so I'll have to ask him if one of his belongs to you. As for the shoes, you already borrowed a pair of his and wrecked them...

Son: When will he be home?

Mom: Later this evening, I'm not sure exactly when, is there a number I can reach you at?

Son: What do YOU think, of COURSE not!

Mom: Oh well.

Son: Can I stay with you tonight?

Mom: No.


Mom: You had family support. You had a nice apartment and you walked away.

Son: Can I pick up my skateboard tonight?

Mom: NO.

Son: Can I stay with you tonight?

Mom: NO.

Son: Don't you care about my life? Don't you care about what I've been through? You really don't want to hear about my life...you just don't wanna know...I NEED MY SKATEBOARD!

Mom: Well, you'll have to call back tomorrow morning when your brother is home.

Son: What the $#@%?

Mom: Goodbye, son.



07-03-2005, 10:32 AM
Nervous, I have to say good for you. My son is only 2 1/2 years old so I have no idea what it is like to have to deal with this. But I think that his comments definately speak for themself.

I think that it was Carol Burnette who said once about her son that she had to let him go and let him "hate" her. I don't know if that is the right thing to do but it sounds like you did the right thing standing your ground. My Mother had to do the same exact thing with my sister at one time and it was not until my sister checked into a sober living community that she would let her come over to the house again.

Thank goodness my sister got clean and has stayed clean for years now. She was hooked on crystal meth and lived on the streets stealing and pan-handling money for drugs. She got sober and clean and went back to college and now works for a hotel as a staff accountant and all of that is just a distant memory.

My point is is that people do change and my mom had to be tough on her at that time.


07-03-2005, 04:57 PM
Nervous Nellie:"

Thanks for the example of a classic attempt at manipulation.

It looks like you passed the test. He probably isn't done yet. If your son's patterns are typical, he will up the volume of risk, concern, threats, blame, and guilt until he gets what he wants. Get ready for the adult version of a temper tantrum.

Good luck. Be strong. We are rooting for you. When it gets really tough, talk to God and ask for his help. God will help you.

07-03-2005, 07:32 PM
You handled that phone call so very well. I'm very proud or maybe in awe of you is a better adjective. Good job.

How did you feel afterwards? I know even when we do the right thing in these matters it can feel sort of wrong, at least that has been my experience. Deep down though, I know it's right.

Take care,

Nervous Nellie
07-03-2005, 10:25 PM
Thank you Havehadit, Thgtsreal and Toomany. :)

During this dark time, your empathy, support and kind words mean so much to me. It sucks to be alone in this situation as each of you know far too well. :(

Havhadit: Thanks for sharing what your Mom and your whole family had to endure while your sister was actively using. If your Mom hadn't put her foot down, perhaps your sis would never have gotten into rehab and overcome her addiction.
Perhaps if your Mom was always there to cushion her fall, she would never have learned to cushion it on her own. I pray that your own little son never goes down that road...and I'm sure he won't...the odds are very slim that he will. Thanks again for your kind words. :)

Thgtsreal: Thanks for the reminder of how manipulative an addict can be. They will lie to ensure that you come to their rescue. They will lie to ensure they have a safety net to fall back on while they continue to kill themselves. They will lie as long as you continue to believe their lies.

Toomany: Patty, yes. I always feel awful after I encounter him, whether it be by phone or in person. Doing what I know is right doesn't make me feel any better about doing it, yet I know I must. I look at my pushing him out of the "nest" (albeit, a "nest" that he destroyed) as absolutely necessary to his survival. If I were to die tomorrow, he would be lost. I don't mean 'lost' as in his grief and mourning the loss of a loved one (me), I mean 'lost' as in coping with normal life on a day-to-day basis all on his own.

The overwhelming instinct I always feel is to gather him up in my arms, soothe his pain, listen to his woes and protect him from the big, bad scary world that he uses drugs to escape from. But I know if I allow and support him to give up the RESPONSIBILITY for his own life, his own happiness, his own purpose...I won't be doing him any favours. It will merely prolong the inevitable...

You guys are awesome. Thank you so much!

Nell (Karen)

07-04-2005, 08:16 AM
Karen -

I truly believe that in years to come your son will look back at yesterday's behavior--his irrationality, his cruel, painful words, and his inability to understand that it was LOVE that spurred you on, to say what you said--and suddenly--you will find yourself scooped up by him in the biggest, most loving hug of your life!

What you faced yesterday.....and how you faced it......was a statement of just how much you love and care for him. And, some day, he will know that. :-)

Lynn :-)

07-04-2005, 08:33 AM

I know that has to be the hardest thing ever to do but I do think you handled it in the best way. Share a little. My sister was an alcoholic. She died 2 years ago. She drank for 20 years. I tried and tried to help here. She didn't really want help. Then one day she was giving my mom a bad time and I threw her out of the house. She lived with my mom. About a week later she got serious about doing something about it. She quit about 15 years ago and was sober up until she died of cancer. She really was a different person for those 15 years and our relationship was great. The point is I made
it very difficult for her by moving her out and not helping her anymore. It was so hard but the way she was going, she wasn't going to be with us much longer anyway. What so strange is I couldn't imagine back then that I would have the same problem now. Not with alcohol but with pills. I really hope everything works out for you.