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Forums / Long term support over the journey / Sadness,grief and regret over sons incarceration

Topic: Sadness,grief and regret over sons incarceration

  1. July
    July avatar
    241 posts
    13 March 2015

    Hi, I am new to this but  need to talk to someone, anyone, I am a mother of 4 children , three adults ages 25, 29,32 and a 10 year old son from from second marriage. My eldest son was convicted of  a crime and is now in prison,he is 32 and the whole experience has devastated me , sitting through the trial I cried the whole two days everyone was looking at me  obviously knowing I was the mother ,then his sentencing was a day I shall never forget I had to write a letter to the judge about my son, about his drug use, about his father not being in his life since we divorced and his downfall, I also wrote about  how I loved him would stand by him, I'm sorry I failed him  and he turned to drugs too take away his pain, but underneath all that was a wonderful creative boy who just took a wrong turn, the judge  starting reading my letter word for word out to the court room, I looked at my beautiful boy and there were tears running down his face, I think he finally realised what he has done not only to himself but to me as his mother, that image is burned into my memory ,for once in my life I could not protect my child and it killed me, his sentence was given and they took him away, he will be released about september. I cannot tell  anyone and the stress is unbearable,I have to lie to people to excuse his absence , he is clean and sober now and has turned this life around he is doing all the courses to correct his life while in prison and is deeply regretful of his choices, I do not excuse his behaviour  but I am his mother and I have to stand by him, I look at all the other families visiting in prison and it is so sad it affects the whole family. This is the first time I have said this out aloud it is so hard to live with this "secret",I just don't know how to live with this.

    7 people found this helpful
  2. white knight
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    white knight avatar
    9215 posts
    13 March 2015 in reply to July

    Hi July.  welcome to beyond blue.

    I', an ex RAAF, ex Pentridge prison officer (1978-1981 long time ago), ex private investigator and ex security guard. I know a bit about jail and crime.

    With nearly everything in life there can be positives. For whatever reason your son went off the rails....dont we all? just some of us dont go off so far to result in jail. While I was reading your post I expected you to tell us that your son's sentence would be several years...then you said he'll be out around September. Just the right amount of time for him to realise fully his lessen, enough time to consolidate his education courses and just enough time for him to value his post prison life.

    After a couple of weeks, maybe less, he would settle into his environment. He would learn to be aware of other prisoners, learn to keep his mouth shut and learn to obey officers directions while not showing that in an obvious manner to appear too eager by other prisoners. He time in jail isnt a concern for me as an adviser to you....its after he is released.

    When he is released try to make sure he doesnt continue any relationship with any prisoner he befriended while in jail....it can only lead to future issues. To do this encourage a "clean slate" approach eg "I'm going to be proud of you John because together, our family will make sure, as a team that you start a clean slate and we put this jail time behind us....I'm determined to make that happen...so John, are you going to help us do this?"  There are ways to talk to a grown man, even your son (more on that soon) to get the best from him.

    I'm rather proud of you and that letter to the judge. It impacted on your son. He hurt you more than he could imagine. But remember - drugs are involved. And they have grabbed your sons inner soul and potentially destroyed his life. We know drugs with some people with wind them in more than others.

    In the meantime dont despair July. You didnt fail him, he failed himself and his family. Your forgiveness of his actions is very important and his determination to go "straight" will be tested upon release.

    During my time as a prison officer I can reveal...some prisoners I'd trust my life with, some not, some officers I'd trust my life with, some never!. I was only 21yo when I began that career and I learned that evil people come in all varieties of clothing.

    Some time ago I wrote an article here called "Talking to men- some tips"  Use search to find it.

    Good luck and think positive.It isnt that bad.

    Tony wk

    2 people found this helpful
  3. July
    July avatar
    241 posts
    16 March 2015 in reply to white knight

    Hi Tony, Thankyou so much for your reply, I started crying as soon as I saw your reply, just to have someone hear me ,I felt relief, and you, of all people would understand .My son has already been in prison for 11 months and has always been very respectful to all the guards and officers and he said some of the older guards have spoken to him about his future and have been like father figures to him, I think thats made him feel better ,his security rating went down to minimum within 6 months due to his behaviour and cooperation,  to be honest, sometimes I feel prison has saved his life, because he has hit rock bottom and has seen what a good life you can have if you try. I have always told him that is your past life and now you cannot associate with anyone  from your  past, as they will bring you down, and where are these so called "friends"now ,not one has been to see him or made any  contact so that proves who really cares about you and your wellbeing, and he always tells me he wants nothing to do with anyone in that drug lifestyle as it only causes pain for you and your family, apart from the divorce he had a good home life and finished year 12 at a good school, it was when he finished school he began to associate with that lifestyle .

    I tell him it his second chance at life and he needs to respect that , he tells me about prison and it scares me, he keeps a low profile and does was he is told,  and keeps to himself, I think this has really impacted on him and he never wants to go through it again and nor do I, it has really opened my eyes going into the prison to see him I think the discipline is good for him, thats what he needs, and he has never had a problem with anyone in there.You can't imagine how good this feels to talk to someone who can relate,thank you .

  4. Neil_1
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    Neil_1 avatar
    4232 posts
    16 March 2015

    Hi there July

     

    It’s great that Tony has come along to respond to you with his wealth of knowledge and past experience.

     

    I’m just stopping by to say “hello” to you (as I’ve got no experience in this kind of thing at all) but just wanted to say, that (a) I’m very sure you were so pleased to read Tony’s response to you, but also (b) that I hope by coming here and “unloading” it has kind of helped you in a way.  To kind of get things off your chest and to write about this situation.   As you say, with most others that you know, the ‘secret’ is in operation.   Perhaps he’s taken some time to go overseas to travel?  Or has gone interstate searching for work??   I’m sure you’ve got that all sorted now, and so the others don’t need to know a thing.

     

    It is good to hear that he hasn’t encountered any problems while in there and I’m really sure, as you say, that this will have impacted on him massively and that the discipline he has no doubt received will serve him well once he’s out.

     

    I do hope that you’re managing as best as you can over this time and that you’re keeping occupied as well as you can also.  I know it’s very easy for me to write this but the actual act of putting it into action, I imagine would be such a tough task for you.

     

    The last thing I wanted to say was that we are always here and so if you’ve got other things or more things that you’d like to write, then please do so – as long as you feel ok to do so.

     

    Kind regards

     

    Neil

  5. July
    July avatar
    241 posts
    16 March 2015 in reply to Neil_1

    Hi Neil, 

    Thankyou for your reply,my situation is uncommon and I because of it, I feel the need to not tell anyone in my life, because of fear, prejudice and judgement and to protect my son when he gets out ,as I do not want people to label him over one mistake which he is paying for.

    I have had a bad situation at work as well just after the time my son was incarcerated and that was very stressful as it was a betrayal of a "friend" Ive known for over 5 years ,she knew nothing about my son, although I told her I had some major family problems, so I had to take time off work as I couldn't face work and I was always on the verge of tears and the stress and tension was to much, and I work in a very stressful environment to begin with, something has to give and I couldn't tell anyone at work so it just all got to much.

    I have no family support at all and that makes it hard, I don't tell friends because I am worried about their reaction, so you go along pretending everything's ok when underneath it all you can hardly breathe.

    But on here I feel at least I can talk and  get some stress released.

    Thank you hope to hear from you soon

    July

     

    2 people found this helpful
  6. white knight
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    white knight avatar
    9215 posts
    16 March 2015 in reply to July

    Hi July,

    We live with stigma everyday. Worried others will find out about our Mental illness. Then again some here announce it easily and have a "too bad" view about it. As if their illness is a part of them and take it or leave it.

    In the same way you have decided to approach this incarceration of your son as a bad stigma for you, for him or for both of you.. Yet there are many people sent to jail. And this stress is raised by you "telling fibs" about your sons current location. This is because its hurtful all round.

    I'm wondering if this is putting more strain on you, keeping it a secret. As I said in my forst post- it isnt that bad. He gets to learn what he couldnt learn i.e. that if you continues on the path of drugs and drug related crime he will go to jail and until he learns that or it sinks in, he will go there. It is several months of compulsory learning of lessens.

    We have carers here. People that care for their loved ones that have mental illness. They read here and write here. When their mentally ill partner or child refuses help from the carer the carer tries all sorts of methods to "lead that horse to water"....but as we advise them eventually..."you cant make them drink".

    Once you have accepted you cannot change his sentence then its time you cared for yourself. Look after your own mental well being, your work and your life. Focus on this as your number one priority. This focus is the best thing you can do for your son.

    So essentially July, start looking at yourself now. Your son, and your other children need you in good health. Your son in jail needs things when he is released. And what are the most important things he needs when that day comes?

    Accommodation, food, care, stability, friendship, your ears and a mum that is composed, relaxed, one that wont smother and a mum that will be mentally well.

    This should be your focus. And as you are a caring and wonderful mum, you can get through this by caring for yourself as your priority.

    As my friend Neil said. We are here for you

    Tony WK

  7. July
    July avatar
    241 posts
    17 March 2015 in reply to white knight

    Hi Tony,

    I just had this conversation last night with my husband, and I know you are right about looking after myself, I have had that struggle because I have always had to look after someone else, as I became pregnant with my eldest son at just 19 and I have had no "free" life as such , my commitment to others started early, and I find it difficult to let go and relax, I think to because my childhood was very dysfunctional, I over compensate with my children because I don't want them to feel as I did, my mothering goes overboard because my mother was an abusive alcoholic and did not show any compassion or love to me.

    I am going to attend counselling to sort through this, I want to feel happy again as you said, I need to support my son through his release , he will be coming home to live with us until he is settled and self sufficient .

    Some days I just want to run away from everyone and everything  but I know I can't cause I have to many people relying on me, and your parents are supposed to be someone you can always trust to  be there for you know matter what, although I never had that.

    Its a hard process to accept but time will tell and I know it will get better eventually,its just the here and now thats hard .

    Thanks

    July

  8. Neil_1
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    Neil_1 avatar
    4232 posts
    17 March 2015

    Hi there July

     

    It was great to hear back from you.

     

    Yes, things can become all too much when we take on different issues and if there becomes too many, it can have bad repercussions for us.  The ability to cope and deal with things, so while you are in a stressful job environment, I do hope that you are able to get some kind of respite during your work – a bit of downtime so it doesn’t become too much for you.

     

    But yes, bad situations (no matter where they happen) are never good – and somehow they are made worse, if it’s caused by someone who we thought was a ‘friend’, that somehow makes it worse, I think.

     

    That does please me to read that you feel good about coming here and posting – it can be a very good way to release tension and anxiety and I hope that you find that you’re able to continue to do this for as long as you feel you would like too.

     

    Kind regards

     

    Neil

  9. July
    July avatar
    241 posts
    17 March 2015 in reply to Neil_1

    Hi Neil,

    Its funny I am not one to really spend time on a computer but since joining this I find myself looking froward to my posts and responses,  like its my lifeline at the moment, and the words of wisdom from others who are not directly involved are of comfort, I must admit I was scared at first wondering what people would say, but you can't judge until you have walked in those shoes, and I never expected to be in this position.

    Its hard to ask for help sometimes, to admit you can't cope or things are getting on top of you, its like the world is moving around you , and you are  standing still ,frozen in that sadness and heartache.

    Your head and heart  in a conflict against each other for some peace and answers which I'm hoping to find.

    Thankyou

     

    July

  10. white knight
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    white knight avatar
    9215 posts
    18 March 2015 in reply to July

    Hi July,

    So glad you are benefitting here. Yes, over compensating is common and you are normal there in terms of your motherhood compared to your own mother.

    I'm happy you are seeking counselling. It's not so bad eh. We all need a stronger rudder at times to overcome the issues that overtake us.

    There is a lot of pain out in society July. Pain such as your is not unlike a parent losing a child through death or separation. Dads often lose their children through mind poisoning or the mother moving away (and in reverse)

    And in my life nothing can compare with my youngest daughter's comment when she rang me at age 13 "I dont want to see you anymore". I then held onto hope for 7 years before I said enough is enough. That daughter has only one way to see me, at my home and alone. If she cares enough one day she'll come. This daughter has been brainwashed by her mother, vengence from my older daughter coming to live with me at 12yo. I paid child support for 14 years with not one late payment plus a one off payment of $14,000 to pay for my daughters jaw alignment and teeth.

    The pain lingers but you have to accept and get on with life. What I have seen here in you is a mother totally devoted to her son and other children. What a mum!!!It would be surprising how much pain is out there that we dont think is there.

    Tony   WK

  11. July
    July avatar
    241 posts
    18 March 2015 in reply to white knight

    Hi Tony,

    Thankyou for your kind words, yes my children are my world, the ups the downs,the happiness and the sadness,I have always wanted to be a mother, I am not a career person, I just wanted to be a mum and Im trying my best.

    Being a parent is not easy, your kids forget sometimes that you hurt and feel pain and I think it is not until they experience some life lessons do they realise what you as a parent have been through, although my son in prison has been hurtful at times due to his alcohol/drug use I have never stopped loving him, and now seeing him clean and sober is all I want in life, visiting him is very stressful but he always hugs me and tells me he loves me, to me he is still that  precious beautiful little boy ,my first born, at 19 it was me and him against the world and it always will be.

    He tells me he wants to have a family of his own, and I hope that happens for him, to hold your own baby in your arms is to me more precious than anything in this world.

    It is so sad to know that there are wonderful men who want a relationship with their kids and are denied it , when all you hear about is the dads who get divorced and basically divorce their children to  start a new life without them.

    I think you both make a decision to bring a life into the world and you are both responsible to care and nurture that child and  not just to 18, not until they mess up and make mistakes but until.... and we know us parents aren't  perfect either.

    July

    1 person found this helpful
  12. Chris B
    Community Manager
    • Works for beyondblue managing these forums. Not a mental health professional, but here to help. Email: christopher.banks@beyondblue.org.au
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Chris B avatar
    1757 posts
    19 March 2015 in reply to July

    Hi July,

    Great to hear the forums are helping you. You might want to check out this thread in the Men's forum, written by a guy in prison. It might help you with some further insights into what your son may be feeling.


  13. July
    July avatar
    241 posts
    19 March 2015 in reply to Chris B

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks I did post him a message ,my heart feels for him, I am lucky my son will only do 18 months or so, thank god.

    But I do have an understanding of prison life , and it is hard, my son tells me  what goes  on in there and how he has heard grown men cry in their cells, they are human to, we all understand they need to pay the price for their crimes but we need to show each other some compassion  and kindness.

    It is scary just visiting  a prison, but being in there must be the worst, I see the look on my sons face as Ieave, I try to be happy and strong when I am there because I don't want him to worry about me but often I have cried in the car on the way home.

    It is a heartbreaking experience for the prisoner and the family, we are all paying the price for this.

    July

  14. white knight
    Community Champion
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    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    white knight avatar
    9215 posts
    19 March 2015 in reply to July

    Hi July,

    And a lot goes on in prison most inmates dont realise, like tensions between officers. Some officers in my time there were ruthless. They expected you to guard the cell door as they got their revenge on an inmate for things like smurking at them or questioning their attitude.

    And the same goes for some "career" criminals. Some good others bad, real bad.

    As an officer you might display kindness to an inmate not realising he is acting in a way that inside he doesnt respect you and is looking at your weaknesses.

    By now your son would have settled in somewhat. It is an opportunity for you and him to plan things upon release.

    An example would be- on the way home if you said to him "I bet you's like a beer at the pub"?  he'd say yeh....you could answer - I've got two cans of beer in my fridge...we can celebrate at home as a new step in changes"  Something like that. Subtle changes that will help him feel he can do things but best to do them differently.

    Anyway I have confidence you will do fine. You know of course there are different ways to look at things. If he had taken an overseas trip for 18 months you would have seen him less.?

    Try to be positive. And bare in mind 70% of released prisoners return to jail. But if you take away from that the fact that most of those are career criminals you have a lot of hope for your son with your love and care, guidance and wisdom.

    Tony WK

  15. July
    July avatar
    241 posts
    19 March 2015 in reply to white knight

    Hi Tony,

    I can imagine that some officers get a hard time by prisoners and their fellow officers, but my son is respectful to the officers and understands they have a job to do, and he has a job to .. rehabilitate himself, show self restraint  and behave accordingly.

    I always talk to him honestly about why he is in prison, how he got there and what "we" can do now to lead a happy and honest life outside, I dont "sugar coat"anything, but also at the same time encourage him, the change in him and his attitude is remarkable he is of clear mind, and he even admits the drugs/alcohol never solve the problem, it just pushes it down and makes you more angry and resentful towards everything.

    He has to complete mandatory alcohol and drug rehab courses, aggression and violence courses and many others before parole which is the best answer, he has to"own" his crime, which he does, he is not just sitting in prison living the high life as some people think.

    In my job I see people in car accidents and suicides all through drugs and alcohol and then watch their families grieve,  as I care for their loved one in death, I would prefer to see my son in prison than bury him.

    July

    1 person found this helpful
  16. Peutetre8
    Peutetre8 avatar
    9 posts
    4 May 2015 in reply to white knight
    no one has the right to judge anyone for their mistakes unless they themselves have lived the life of a saint,empathy is putting yourself in someone else''s shoes and showing compassion
    1 person found this helpful
  17. Hopefullseeking
    Hopefullseeking avatar
    228 posts
    12 May 2015 in reply to Peutetre8

    Hello July

    My name is Anne and I too have a son in Jail.

    I have been directed to your post and I believe it is fate as no one but us can understand fully what torture it is to have a child inside. When my son went to jail my world fall apart.

    Brief history, it sounds bad but everyone is different.

    My son Peter started taking drugs in his teens, his father was abusive and left the family when Peter was 8 yrs old.  Mid to late 20's he went to jail for drug related crime, soft crime nothing to hard but he got 4 years as each time he appeared in the courts, total 11, he kept going back to bad habits, and when drugs are involved they get a harder sentence. He served 22 months, paroled, lasted 3 months and breached parole, back to jail,  1 month later sent to rehab, last 3 weeks, breached his conditions, went on the run for 6 weeks because he was fearful of going back to jail, he did hand himself in and went back to jail, served another month, back to rehab, lasted 4 weeks breached conditions and back to jail.  Finished his sentence. He took drugs in jail for a short time. I visited him regularly. We have always been close. He is almost 35

    I tried when he got out then aged early 30's to help, tried to get him in rehab, NA,  but he pulled away, I realised he was involved in drugs again so gave him tough love, he disowned me, blamed me as he could/wouldn't take responsibility.  Almost 2 years later, last christmas eve got a letter saying he was back inside and had been for 6 months. I fell apart again.

    Everyone who meets him says what a lovely gentle boy he is, even the guards I spoke to said he was one of the good ones. I said to him before he got released that if he went back to jail I would not go and see him, too hard, my psychiatrist reminded me of this, I can't go back on my word as he would see that as weakness and walk all over me.

    I love my boys with every molecule of my body but can't allow him to hurt me again.  I nearly had a break down last time he went to jail, I love him but must put myself first this time.  I will never stop loving him and I am here for him if he wants help to go straight  but I can not allow myself to go under. 

    I suffer from depression, dysthymia, PTSD, anxiety/GAD, a lot of my depression is from him.

    My story is tough but that doesn't mean your son will do the same.

    Anytime you want to chat I am here for you.  I know how much you are hurting as I am too.

    Heaps of Hugs

    Anne 

    1 person found this helpful
  18. July
    July avatar
    241 posts
    14 May 2015 in reply to Hopefullseeking

    Hi anne,

    I am glad you responded to my post and you are right it is torture for us left behind on the outside, because no matter what, they are your children, and it breaks your heart to see them go down this path, I sat through my sons court case and I know it hurt him to see me so distressed and helpless.

    It is a situation that only someone else who has been through, can "truly" understand the anguish and pain you feel as a mother, it seems the same profile of someone in jail, drug/alcohol abuse, no father supporting them and them turning to  something else to ease that pain it is so sad.

    I have learnt so much since my son has been in prison, about him ...and me, he has changed an enormous amount , now clean and sober he is back to that beautiful little boy I had, he has admitted his mistakes and the reasons why and does not ever want to be back in that place again, he is doing all the courses in prison that is required of him and I think personally that prison has saved his life.

     

    I have no family to support us and none of my friends know about my son, so its been a major stress in my life , but I love him and will stand by him no matter what, I truly feel he has redeemed himself and we talk about it all the time during our visits, it will be a long road but I feel he needs for me to believe in him and give him that love and trust so he can move forward in a positive way.. we all need a second chance sometimes.

    I am so sorry your son has not found his way yet and I completely understand where you are coming from as I would not allow my son in my house when he was under the influence of drugs/alcohol and we were estranged many a time but the court case and eventual imprisonment has some how brought us together, and I just pray he has the strength and resilience to stay strong on his release and to make a good life for himself and I do have faith in him....and myself.

    All the best ,please contact me again I would really love to chat with you as we do have this unfortunate bond, but as mothers we are invincible.

     July 

  19. Hopefullseeking
    Hopefullseeking avatar
    228 posts
    15 May 2015 in reply to July

    Hi July

    I didn't get to see my son's court case as it was brought forward and I wasn't aware of it. He told me nothing about his convictions and didn't involve me at all with his lawyers except to ask for money to 'pay the lawyer' yeah well we know where that money went. So sad. 

    I had the police visit me every week for a year trying to track him down.  The first 6 months I knew where he was the last 6 months I didn't.  Every time I asked the police what he had done they said 'nothing much' or 'don't worry about it' but I knew it was bad.

    I have learnt how far down my depression can go and how resilient I can be.  My depression goes down around holidays, birthdays.  This time around he has not called me, in fact the prison hasn't called me to get permission for him to ring so to me that says he isn't going to ring.  Mother's day was painful. It feels like he is trying to punish me, I haven't done anything wrong.  He hasn't learnt anything and I can't even think of where he is headed it's too painful.

    When I use to see him in prison I saw my old son back again, the loving caring son yet when he got out it didn't take long before the old son disappeared, around 12 months.  He assured me he was doing everything to stay clean, maybe he was but I believe he was still involved with drugs, selling maybe.

    Then when I challenged him he disowned me, I didn't hear from him for almost 2 years when I did hear it was to say he was back in side. I'm typing this on the verge of tears, he's my baby, my youngest and the one I was closest to.

    I am lucky in that I do have family support and some of my closest friends know but it is not something you go around telling everyone.  I just say he is up the coast and I don't see much of him.

    I have known of other drug addicted children to go straight and stay that way, they have to want to more than anything. Your son sounds like he will be one of the lucky ones.

    I too will stand by and help my son if and when he wants to involve me again in his life.  His birthday is next month so I will send him a card.  Can't do much else.

    I love my son as you do, we will never stop no matter what they do.

    Please keep in touch. Its wonderful to know of someone else in my boat. Sorry that sounds bad, you know what I mean.

    Anne

     

  20. Doolhof
    Champion Alumni
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    Doolhof avatar
    8756 posts
    15 May 2015 in reply to Hopefullseeking

    Dear Anne and July,

    Just want to let you know that my heart goes out to you both.

    I never had the opportunity to meet my children, but I still love them immeasurably.

    I have no idea of the pain you both must feel regarding the path your son's lives have taken.

    Thinking of you both. Love and hugs from Lauren xxx

     

  21. July
    July avatar
    241 posts
    16 May 2015 in reply to Hopefullseeking

    Hi Anne,

    Oh your life sounds just like mine and it is so comforting to know there is someone who completely understands, what a relief just to talk about it and you know that another person is feeling in their heart the same, trying to comprehend how things got so far and out of control, it is a living nightmare no doubt and it hurts you to the core of your being.

    Of course I am nervous and concerned about his release, to learnt trust again is hard especially as he will be living in my home, but he will have rules in my home to and I think it will be a anxious time for him and me , but I have had discussions about his release and I think if we are both honest and upfront with what is expected of him, it should go ok, I am not naive to think there will be no hiccups as that would be unrealistic , but I also need to support and encourage his sobriety and guide him till he gets on his feet.

    I hope he does not let me....or himself down, as I told him this is a huge wake up call, I think prison has shown him you can have a life without drugs and alcohol and there are people in there who have wasted their whole life...and what for? It is a sad reality of the world we live in, I was talking to a mother outside the prison on mothers day when I was visiting we didn't say why our sons where in there, but we could empathise with each other for those brief moments , I asked my son about that other young man and he told me that he was in for murder, I felt such sadness for his mother knowing she will have to live that for another 20 years or so and he had wasted his young life because of drugs.

    I am going to counselling every two weeks to sort myself out and prepare for  his release, I cry a lot of the time but I am also learning to deal with my own childhood issues and problems, as I need to be strong for me and him , and I should have gone a lot earlier than this.

    Funny isn't it, I have a happy marriage, a nice home, and it looks all great from the outside until the depression grabs you, and makes everything  unimportant, the sadness, the tears, the feeling of emptiness , I know now that happiness does come from the inside and making myself better will in turn help my son,and it was very hard for me to reach out for help ,because I thought I would appear weak, but actually its is the bravest and strongest thing you can do and  I'm so glad I did.

    Take care, and so glad you reached out for the "both "of us.

    July

  22. Hopefullseeking
    Hopefullseeking avatar
    228 posts
    17 May 2015 in reply to July

    Hi July

    Yes it is comforting to know of someone else who understands. Even my psychiatrist and psychologist try to be empathetic but it is not their child inside, none understands but us. 

    I have often thought about P when he was inside the first time how it was a living nightmare that I couldn't wake up from.  Only in my dreams is he the old P and sometimes not even then.  I know intellectually I have lost 'the old P' but inside, the mother in me, doesn't want to acknowledge that. If I did I would totally lose it and break down completely so a small part of me is hoping he is not completely lost. I'm rambling sorry.

    I couldn't let P come back to my house, (he fully understood and was ok with it) he had taken money from me, stolen my key card to get money, when he did that all trust was gone.  I couldn't believe my own son would steal from me.  All this has caused a small part of me to die, people don't understand that. I did pick him up from the prison and drive him to the half way house. He said he had to rebuild the trust with me and his brother.

    I first saw my shrink in 1993 - 2003 then stopped for  7 years.  Funnily enough that was when I had all the troubles with my son.  When I went back to her my depression PTSD etc.were at an all time low,P was in prison the psychologist (number 2) I was seeing along with my GP wanted to lock me up.  I knew my shrink wouldn't do that so I left both these women and went back to my old shrink and found a new GP.

    I fell apart when my son first breached his parole and went back to prison, didn't expect it, but it also hardened me up so I set stronger boundaries with him, hence him saying it was all might fault and taking no responsibility. It is good you are having counselling but it doesn't matter when you have it so don't feel bad about going now and not earlier.

    I am working hard on childhood issues, an abusive marriage, my son in jail along with all the mental illness, don't know how I do it sometimes. 

    I am getting their and you are too, I wish I was more prepared when P got out the first time, it might have helped, I will never know.

     I have had depression all my life but I am finding strategies to cope.

    I am so glad we have connected even if it is just to vent to someone who understands. I am here for you when ever you need me to be.

    Hugs

    Anne

     

  23. July
    July avatar
    241 posts
    18 May 2015 in reply to Hopefullseeking

    Hi anne,

    I found it so distressing that the drugs/alcohol turned my nice and decent boy into someone I didn't want to know and that is the sad truth, they just become someone desperate,frantic and unstable and do not abide by any boundaries, thats what gets them into trouble,it changes their personality. But I still knew underneath all that poison he was a good boy he has never stolen from me or done anything physicallly, but again I would not let him into my house when I knew he was under the influence of any narcotics, and yes that hurt him but I had to be cruel to be kind and I think he deep down understood and its only now while he's in prison that he said to me he completely understands why I did that and he knows the drugs change people into monsters.

    He knows  this is the worst thing I have had to go through and I don't cover up my heartbreak and pain over what he's done, he needs to accept and realise the deep distress he's caused me and himself .

    His own father has moved back to america to live, that was 2 years ago and even while living here never supported him and rarely ever saw him, so he has only me and his step dad who has known him since he was 12, and he is 33 next month.Its been hard for my husband to watch me crumble over all this , the tears and pain, feeling I have let my son down and could I have done anything different ? I will never know but I can only go forward now.

    But I to sometimes sit and wonder how am I going to get through all this and I answer myself by saying I have 4 children I brought into this world and its my responsibility and duty to care and love them unconditionally, I am not a bad mum, and my son is not a bad boy, just life has taken us down this dark path and I hope we will walk into the brightness again one day.

    Don't be hard on yourself we can only do our best in the moment, sometimes trying to forgive yourself is harder than forgiving someone else and we are only human to and our hearts are not made of stone, one crack cannot make us crumble .

    Take care of yourself

    July

  24. white knight
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
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    white knight avatar
    9215 posts
    18 May 2015 in reply to July

    Hi July,   what wonderful mums you all are, that have children in jail andyou care and love so much. Sometimes I wonder what us men would do without you to take up the bulk of the nurturing. We love our kids just as much of course but in different ways.

    I've spoken in these pages before about the importance of diversion mind. How you can caress your mind ....feed it....to give it another direction even for a short time.

    July- if you dont have a dog get one. I had a dog as a child then no dog for many years until prior to my first marriage failing. I had to leave my dog with my ex as I went to live in a caravan park. Each time I dropped my kids off every fortnight I'd walk 4 metres to a gate and pat him. Then one day my ex yelled "I dont want you to pat the dog anymore". End of that. Sad how soem can break your heart.

    Three years ago my wife and I bought a mini fox terrier pup. She eats our food, sleeps between us under the doona and rides on out motorcycle.. She has been responsible for diverting my mind more than any other source.

    In your case July, you will have more of this if you buy a pup, even if you already have a dog. And it could be an important conversation topic between you and your son???

    Anyway, my main reason for posting here was that I was so impressed by your attitude.

    Tony WK

  25. Hopefullseeking
    Hopefullseeking avatar
    228 posts
    19 May 2015 in reply to July

    Hi Tony, nice to see you again.

    Hi July

    You called your son desperate, frantic and unstable, yes that was my son, the drugs did change his personality he became someone who I didn't want to know and because I love him so it broke my heart.

    He said to me that at the height of his addiction he became obsessed with where his next hit was coming from, that was all he could think of, not how he was hurting me or anyone else just where he was going to get the money for drugs.  I believe deep down he wasn't lost completely as he never hurt any individual physically but emotionally he hurt all his friends.  In fact he lost them all, some being childhood friends, how sad.

    The first paragraph you wrote I have said that many times, the only thing different is even though he did acknowledge the pain it caused me it wasn't enough to change him.

    I did cover up the heart ache as I still wanted him to love me and I knew I was loosing him but it was nothing I did so now I am being strong and putting in strong boundaries but it is bitting me in the butt. 

    Hopefully one day he will see the reasons why and take responsibility for his actions.  In the mean time I am getting on with my life, not that the pain ever goes away.

    My son's father disowned him when he first went to prison, he said and I quote 'I can't go and see him because it will tarnish my reputation'.  I was disgusted in him.  He has never had much to do with the boys since he left and now has no contact at all.

    I also sit and wonder how I am going to get through this.  It is a shame we do not know each other in person as I am sure we would be able to comfort each other enormously and help ease each others burden and pain.

    All I can say is I am doing the best I can but with the depression being as bad as it is that is not much.  I try to find the good and fun in my life and helping others with my volunteer work does help.

    Hang in there July

    Hugs

    Anne

  26. July
    July avatar
    241 posts
    20 May 2015 in reply to white knight

    Hi Tony,

    Thanks for your post yes, I am doing my best under the circumstances and with counselling I am finding my strength and my voice , I saw my counsellor yesterday and she is recommending me someone for my son to see when he is released as she said he needs to get to the real reason for his addiction or he could relapse,I completely agree he has deep issues and when he gets out he has one chance to make it and I am going to give it one hell of a chance.

    About the dog..sorry I am a cat person we have three now, cause in december we got two kittens from a rescue shelter, and I agree animals are life savers they are there for you and seem to understand when you are down, and my son loves cats to so they will give him great comfort and its funny they are sleeping on his bed in his room all the time, I even took pictures of them on his bed and sent them to him he laughed like mad and said he can't wait to be home.

    I have everything ready at home for him and hope we have a smooth transition but I can't predict everything so its a day by day thing I guess, and I am doing my best  and when he comes home it will be his turn to "do his best".

    Thanks again

    July

    1 person found this helpful
  27. July
    July avatar
    241 posts
    20 May 2015 in reply to Hopefullseeking

    Hi anne,

    Hope you are well, yes it would be nice if we knew each other in "real life" as we both have such similar histories.

    Its hard dealing with someone with an addiction, you can never predict what they will do , one day it works the next day it doesn't and above all, as a mother  you never want to lose their love and I truly hope for you, your precious boy comes around and confronts his demons, I think we all have "demons" of some kind we are dealing with, but the drugs are evil.

    The absent father,  yes I can relate, you feel like everything is up to you and you know it,  so I cannot change anyone else, so I have to  get on with it  and to me they are your kids and both parents should support them but life doesn't  always work out the way you want it. Of course it upsets me that my ex husband literally abandoned his children but you know what, thats on him, and I'm not going to waste precious time on him when I need to focus on my sons own well being and at least he has one parent that has his back.

    Don't worry about your ex, in the mean time carry on with your life and when your son needs you, you will be there for him it might take months or years but our love never dies, and I feel your pain, you carry it everyday and you are right helping others does help, just put one foot in front of the other and keep going.

    We are now the "protective mother lions" and we will make it, that mothering instinct is in built and when the times get tough we get tougher.

    Take care, thinking of you.

    July

  28. Hopefullseeking
    Hopefullseeking avatar
    228 posts
    21 May 2015 in reply to July

    Morning July

    It is so comforting to know someone else that knows what I am going through and how i feel.

    Yes I have my demons, my addiction is food, and something I just can not get a handle on as my weight will testify to.

    I did over compensate my children, to make up for their abusive father and then no father, worst thing I could have done on reflection.  Never mind i did the best I could under the circustances.

    Yes I am a protective lion, over protective but I am trying not to be. My son called my bossy but it was because I could see where he was going wrong and was trying to stear him in the right direction.

    I try not to dwell on my son as when I do I become so emotional, I thought he had changed and was going on the straight and narrow when he first went to prision, he was saying all the right things but when he got out it didn't help.

    I found my son walked a great deal when he first got out as that was something he couldn't do in prison, he walked for miles just becasue he could.  Also my son had trouble adjusting to a metal knife and fork as inside they use plastic,  he nearly chipped his front teeth a couple of times getting use to a metal fork again.

    He also had trouble socialising agian and fitting in.  Just little things that may help you and your son. If I can think of anything else that will help you and your son I will let you know.

    I think of you and your son all the time. 

    Bye for now

    Anne

  29. July
    July avatar
    241 posts
    21 May 2015 in reply to Hopefullseeking

    Hi Anne,

    I could feel your pain when you said thinking of your son makes you emotional, yes it does, and I to am a very over protective mother, I always want to mother them and I forget my older three kids are adults , so I have  to mind myself sometimes, but my mother was an abusive alcoholic , she never in her life told me she loved me or showed any compassion to me, if fact she always said to me that she never wanted a daughter, so this is why I am so mothering to my kids as I don't want them to ever feel like I did, my mother died two years ago and went to her grave never saying sorry or anything to me, when your  own mother rejects you it scars you forever.

    Thankyou for the little things your son did ,it helps me to try to adjust to when he comes out, I guess its all the little things we don't think about that they need to re- adjust to , it is going to be so strange.

    I am going to see him for a visit tomorrow, its very stressful going there as you well know, trying to put on a happy face, and it takes well over an hour to get there and the visit and then back home, so your whole day is gone, but thats part of my duty, part of my "mothering job" right now.

    But its funny visiting the prison, I at least think we are all in the same "sad boat", I just look around at all the other families and we all have that same look  on our faces, sadness, despair and fear for our loved ones, cause prison or not ,they are your children, and I had the same hopes and dreams for my little boy just like anyone else.

    Take care, catch up soon,

    July

     

  30. Hopefullseeking
    Hopefullseeking avatar
    228 posts
    22 May 2015 in reply to July

    Hi July

    I have been thinking a lot about you today because you are visiting your son and I know how horrid that can be.  I use to totally focus on my son and the pleasure I got in seeing him, that was the only way I got through.  I hope your visit went well.

    Yes thinking of my son is emotional but when you try to explain to others it means nothing to them.  I know you understand that deep hole inside you, the feeling of loss and pain. This in itself helps me.

    We have so much in common, my mother wasn't physically abusive but emotionally she wasn't there for me. she said once that she couldn't relate to me as I was female, I have four brothers and she had no trouble relating to them. She didn't protect me from sexual abuse from one of my brothers, she said when I told her as an adult she did know.   I do try and put all this aside when I see her. She loves me I know she does but was not sure how to show it when I was growing up.  She does now but the damage is done.

    I use to feel it was my duty to visit my son, my duty as a mother, I don't now as I realise the damage to me is far worse.  He knows I love him but that is not enough, for now.

    You nailed it, I had hopes and dreams for both my sons and they didn't come true.  Prison never entered my head and their is so much shame attached.  I hear others joke about criminals and people in prison, feel like saying 'that is my son you are talking about' but don't, again the shame.

    My oldest son works hard as a kitchen hand, he is happy.  He is intelligent so I expected more but he also has anxiety issues so I try and be thankful that he is working and supporting himself.  He rents a one bedroom flat and is happy and contented.  I don't know if he will ever earn enough money to buy and that is sad but he is doing the best he can and I am happy for him.

    I would love to visit my son but said to him if he did go back to prison I wouldn't visit him and  I feel I have to stick to this.  I often wonder which would be more painful, visiting him or not.

    Sending my love and positive vibes to you and your son.

    Anne

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