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Now That Your Loved One Is Home... Please share stories about your loved one now they are home.

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Old 03-15-2020, 05:08 AM
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lizlizzie2 lizlizzie2 is offline

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Default 10 months Update - the bad and ugly

It's been hard on some fronts. Mostly, the communication between us and his pride getting in the way. His method of dealing with being mad at me or not agreeing with me was to talk loud and aggressively, not let me get a word in, then head to his room and not talk to me for days. Trying to prove something, he cut off his nose to spite his face, by refusing to drink my coffee, eat my food, use my TP, etc. and bought what he needed for himself and declined leftovers or anything from me. It reached the point that I just wanted him gone, but before I said anything, he made arrangements to move in with the girlfriend. The two times they have been here since, he and I argue, they leave. I last saw him a month ago. He told me because of school and work he would have no time to help me with anything until the school year was over. I told him some things just can't wait until then - a roof patch, the watering system for my garden, and the weeds, and he would have spring break from school. I also told him in the real world, people work full time, go to school, raise families, take care of kids and do a lot more than 30 hour a week job. His response was that when I went to school there was only 3 planets. I have had the urge to smack him across the face more times in the last 10 months than I have had in the 1st 20 years of his life.

The girlfriend was his sister's best friend. Sadly, them getting involved took away that resource as my daughter couldn't tell her best friend, "no, I am not able to be besties if you are involved with my brother because then I can't share my inner most feelings worrying that you will tell him what I said." The girlfriend and my son didn't understand why she said ok when they asked her (which was after they had already been to bed together). Nor did they understand my daughter no longer talking to the girlfriend. The end result, my son is in love and living with her and my daughter has lost her best friend of over 10 years. Sadly, the issue came to a head at Christmas and my son made it very confrontational,loud and intimidating with his sister, with me trying to distract the 4 year old granddaughter from realizing her uncle was yelling at her mom. He went to his room and she sat there crying. As soon as I could, I told him if I ever saw him act that way towards any woman ever again what I would do. He apologized, but that really does not take away the hurt for my daughter, who has now lost both her brother and best friend in her mind.

He and I constantly bashed heads. He is so busy trying to prove he is right and his pride has put him on his high horse. His reaction when he thinks he is right or that he is being disrespected in some manner is to overtalk the other person, swear, and between loud and big it is overwhelming. Then, with me, he withdraws and refuses to talk about whatever it is because in his mind I am just repeating myself and I don't get it, because he is right. He has moved out and we can talk on the phone, but we can't co-exist in the same house.

We talked yesterday on the phone. Our first real conversation where he actually listened since before Christmas. While he acknowledges he was wrong to behave the way he did, he then followed it with reasons as to why he did it. I tried to get through to him that 1) being confrontational is not the best manner to deal with things; 2) that even though he felt he was being talked down to and treated like a child, he will experience that in many situations throughout his life by people who have power (like an employer) and if he doesn't learn to get over it, he will have more trouble for himself; 3) that he will always be his sister's kid brother (she is 5 years older than him); 4) that in the real world is usually best not to deal with things immediately, but to take time and find alternate methods. In prison, I understand you can't show weakness or allow anyone to think they have advantage over you, but he can't respond the same way now; 5) that he was reacting based on his perceptions, which perceptions were coloring the interpretation of events. He went in to prison as a kid and grew into a man and he has been completely defensive about he is not a kid, even when we weren't acting like he was. Trying to teach him things he didn't know and help him, because they were things he has never dealt with before - a teaching voice doesn't mean he is being talked down to like a child. His sister is a high school teacher. 6) I am his mom and he will always be my kid, but he was so resentful about being 30 and living in mom's house and that while he appreciated all the help I provided he had been fighting against it because he thought he had to prove he was grown. (He did agree this was all pretty much true, but aside from doing it in front of his niece he feels he was right to confront his sister.)

So, for now, our family is broken, with them not talking, blocking on social media, and so on. They used to be close. I suspect next Christmas won't be a family one, because everyone is stubborn.
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Old 03-15-2020, 05:23 AM
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Default 10 month update - the good

Parole really likes him. They agreed that he could move out of the county for employment purposes and he could move in with his girlfriend, whom they met and approved.

In February he started a new job that provides for a raise, insurance, and retirement after 90 days. He works 30 hours a week in a refrigerated warehouse filling orders that go to prisons, among other places. The company provided his cold weather gear. Obviously, they are ex-felon friendly.

He is completing his last semester of classes needed to get his AA degree and will graduate in May from the community college. He got all As for his prior semester. He had over 40 credits that transferred in, but the required courses that he was missing resulted in him needing 8 classes. This semester his classes are all on-line, so that allowed him to move in with the girlfriend - 4 hours away.

He continues to pay me back for the car loan and such. He pays his parole fees on time. He made enough money he had to file a tax return. Making him a productive member of society by some people's standards, he is no longer on any state aid programs. With the new job he loses the state health insurance before the job's plan kicks in so hopefully nothing goes wrong for those 45 days.

He got to attend his grandmother's 104th birthday party.
He has stayed clean and sober.
He wants to be a counselor figuring he can bring his experiences to the table to help others who are on the same path he was. He seems happy and focused on his future.
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Old 03-16-2020, 08:23 AM
sidewalker sidewalker is offline
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Im sure this is very trying for you Liz. And sad for your daughter to lose both her brother and bestie in one fell swoop.

So son wants to do it his way. It sounds like he has a way to go, but seem to be managing ok as far as school, and his debts to you and the state so that is a plus.
Let him do his thing. Either he will flourish or flounder. I'd stop trying to offer advice or correction, unless he asks. By now Im sure he knows how you think.
And it might be helpful if he does ask......rather than say....well I'd do it this way.
You might approach it more like.....well have you thought about this? Ask what his reason would be to do it *his way* rather than another.
He also needs to understand that all people think in a different way. What works for him may not work for another, and vice versa.

And yelling to get a point across, wont make either one *more right*
It may be that after years in prison the only way to make a point and be heard is to yell and intimidate. I guess that works for some, but it can be an ugly look.
sorry if this makes no sense. Just thinking outloud.
I thought about why that frisbee was getting bigger and bigger.........
then it hit me.

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Old 03-18-2020, 01:57 AM
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miamac miamac is offline
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Sounds like he's tried to round out his social maturity by taking prison 'etiquette' into the free world. Otherwise, he appears to be hacking it pretty well.
None of that helps you feel better, I'm sure. And as we're two weeks out of prison on our side of things, I promise you I get it. Not his mom, of course, but as a wife having a know-it-all come out has been tough. I've had to start doing pretty much just as sidewalker suggested-- let him flourish or flounder. I started to suggest something tonight that would fulfill a requirement by the transition house and he was sure that the way he planned to handle it would work (I'm pretty sure it won't) and I could feel myself amping up, trying to get him to see where it could go wrong. Finally I just stopped myself and said, OK. Try it. It's your time and you'll figure it out. I definitely think it will not work and it affects me as it involves our ability to visit, but I need him to see that choices lead to consequences and me telling him what to do doesn't teach him anything. But it absolutely exhausts and frustrates me.
As far as the sister and best friend relationship, that's appears to be a lack of maturity decision. Something a lot of our loved ones struggle with. I would be disappointed in his choice, but more the decision of the friend who hasn't been to prison and has less of a reason to act selfishly. But all of that doesn't help your daughter.
I know I'm once again a newbie, having finally got the prison wife thing down now he's out and I'm learning about reentry wife status. But what I can say thus far is that prison was hard, parole time is a different kind of hard. We can't fix everything for them and we can't force them to see what they're not ready to see. I pray that your son has a light come on regarding the relationship he is risking with his sister by choosing a woman who was willing to sacrifice her best friendship for a boyfriend. It's an awkward triangle but the friend really is a pivotal point.
Try to focus on building up your daughter and keeping the line of communication open, with boundaries in place, for your son. If this relationship falls through, all three of you will need it.
Thanks for the update.
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Old 03-18-2020, 09:04 AM
GaReform GaReform is offline
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I am the mom of a son who has been out for a bit over 2 years now. He lives in another state so most of our dealings are over the phone. At first we were up visiting & getting him settled several months & then once he got in a safe place to live & involved with his church & advocate work, we have spaced out going up there. He came home for Christmas & was going to come home for his birthday next month but this virus thing has our plans up in the air. We do talk or text almost every day because we are both involved in advocacy work since his experience happened.

I have to say that he had a BIG emotional adjustment once released. Remember, they have been powerless to control even the most basic things in their lives for the time they served. Add to that the lack of privacy & basic treatment & respect of being looked at as a worthwhile human being. Their survival instincts made many of them use whatever they could to get by. So when they come out they look "normal" but inside they can be a hot mess. Dealing with perceived disrespect, control, & really anything can trigger that incarceration behavior. It took most of them a while to learn how to survive so it will take the time to relearn how to survive outside.

I wish you could find some free/low cost therapy that the whole family could attend. A neutral & skilled 3rd person can help guide you to a way that acknowledges the pain all of you are dealing with & helps work to find a way through it. You & your daughter are allowed to feel hurt, disappointment & anger at the way things are now but those are defeating emotions that waste energy & get nowhere. He is allowed to feel anxiety, stress, frustration & confusion but again, it gets him nowhere. The key is to understand that these emotions are there but so is hope, compassion & love. It takes a lot of love & patience plus working at it but it can be done.
My son is doing the best he can. He had a talk with us when he first was released & told his dad that he would need a lot of emotional support from us for a while. The hardest thing for me is being ears only. As a mom I am used to being the fixer & I have to really work at not trying to step in & tell him what to do as I see it.

Hang in there & know that when they are the most unlovable that's when they need us the most. He shouldn't get a free pass when he acts like a jerk. He needs to understand that you & his sister are people who happen to be related to him. It doesn't give you any special powers or make you act so much different from any other person.

If what he says or does would hurt someone else's feeling he needs to understand it hurts y'all worse because you love him more than strangers do. And for you, if how you approach him with advice wouldn't be appreciated by another person then it probably won't go down well with him. I've learned to ask my son if I could offer a suggestion & am prepared for him to say no sometimes. Be proud of how far he's come & let him know that the door is always open. He will realize that your giving him space is a gift not given lightly.
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