How can I help my 19yo son?

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    October 13, 2023 at 11:10 pm #1126250

    How can I help my 19 yo son?
    Long story short, he met a girl while online gaming, talked to her for two years before meeting in person. About a year later, he left with her to go “visit” for 6 weeks, of which after they left (with the car we pay for the payments and insurance) we found out that all his accounts were closed here and his address was changed to her parents address 13 hrs away.
    Since he has been gone, (almost 3 months now) there has been a lot of lies about his family doing and saying things that we aren’t. Anytime, we tell him that that is not the truth he doesn’t believe it. He has become more isolated each day, not talking to his friends, his family, even his own sister now. He has me (mother) and his sister blocked on all social media, phone numbers, etc. Every time anyone has talked to him on the phone since he left, the girlfriend is alway there, so no one can have a real conversation with him. She actually started crying when my husband told him he can’t cut us out and stay there forever. She constantly makes dig posts towards our family on social media that others send us, like today stating “I’m sorry you are confused, he belongs to me, that boy is mine”.
    He isn’t acting normal at all, and we miss him very much. This is hurting me so much, I have cried everyday for almost 3 months, I don’t know how much more grief I can handle. Please help!!!

    October 14, 2023 at 7:11 am #1126251

    I think the only thing you can do is try to keep the lines of communication open, and be there when he comes back. He will come back. I’m so sorry. I’d ask for the car back?

    October 14, 2023 at 1:14 pm #1126252

    I would enlist the help of a therapist or professional who specializes in coercive control, high control groups, and abuse. Your local domestic violence organization might be a good start to get recommendations.

    Most domestic violence resources are directed at women, but you should educate yourself on how to support a family member who has been isolated by an abusive partner. Unfortunately these relationships can be extremely difficult to leave, and it will be harder the longer he’s there. It’s hard to tell from your letter whether her family is also a part of the isolation and manipulation, in which case you definitely need resources directed towards high control groups/cults, or if it’s just her. Either way, start doing your research. Leaving the door open any way you can is key, even if it means keeping quiet about obviously awful things, so he hopefully retains the knowledge that he’s got somewhere to go if he does decide to leave. I’m so sorry you’re going through this.

    October 14, 2023 at 8:06 pm #1126253

    Thank you both for your responses.
    Anonymousse: Thankfully he will still talk to my husband sometimes, and I am doing my best to get him to talk to me and his sister, to try to get him to agree to at least come visit. As far as the car, I do feel that it will be his only way to get away if he does come to his senses and realize what is going on. I have been talking to a counselor, but I probably do need to look into some groups that you have suggested, I have been looking alot up today about covert narcissists, and I am seeing alot of similarities. We have reached out to her parents twice, once before he left, and again about a month after, they have not responded, and of course our son was mad that we even sent the letter. He said we were trying to be controlling and trying to hurt him. They have also lied to him saying I sent them messages via social media of which I did not, and when we asked for proof, they could not provide any. Also the day after he left the mom posted on social media, “A & K are finally home” when I addressed this with my son (as people were asking if he moved there) he said its just a misunderstanding, and she did not mean anything by her post. After that conversation they all blocked me from social media, and he deleted his only to make a new one, that only her family is friends with him on, basically deleting his past with us. They also bought my son a different phone and put him on their phone plan, and mailed the one we bought him back to us, (writing was female on the box and envelope it was in) and there was a nasty typed out letter, (which was not his wording, or sounded like him at all) stating how her parents were helping him through all his trauma and abuse. Our kids were never once spanked in their whole life, and always were talked to about things, and actually pretty spoiled compared to most of their friends.
    The girlfriend told my son that I told her she needed to break up with him, and all he would be is a deadbeat dad, (of which again was never said), and is now targeting my daughter and his best friend, since he won’t talk to me, she’s onto those that were left that he did talk to. I really feel they are doing whatever they can to keep him there, and away from those that truly do love him not matter what.
    You are now the 4th person that actually brought up cult. Are there certain cults that I should be researching? They are towards the upper East coast, not sure if that makes a difference. Any websites or insight would be much appreciated on groups, or cults, etc.
    I am praying he will start talking to me again and come visit us. I really believe that if he sees all of us, he will feel much different, and I think that is her fear. As a few weeks ago, I said I was going to drive there to see him, as this has all become too much, and I was told that if I showed up there, the police would be called, and I would be arrested. So, we really feel like we are at a loss right now, and I don’t know what to do. We are just very worried about him, this is his first girlfriend ever, and I know he is head over heels right now.
    When I looked back at a lot of her old social media, she was posting things like “she was in love” “she was going to marry him”, then also telling him how she was in a past abusive relationship, of which she posted “he saved her after that relationship” these were all posted even before they ever met in person.
    I just pray her realizes what is going on before she ends up pregnant or even gets him to marry her, which I would not put past her parents planning without our knowledge.

    October 15, 2023 at 8:23 am #1126254

    It does not sound like he’s in a cult. It sound like he’s with this girl and her parents.

    Have YOU seen a therapist? You should.

    I think as hard as this may be, you may need to stop trying to contact him for a little while. Your husband is the point of contact with your son now. It’s clear he’s having issues with you and his viewing your behavior as control over his life.

    He’s an adult, and he can make choices himself. He’s trying to maybe show you that, in a very messed up, hard to swallow way. I would really encourage you to reach out to a therapist for yourself. They can help you work through scripts to use, to help you negotiate and communicate better.

    October 16, 2023 at 6:19 am #1126256

    You are going to hate (and I mean HATE) my advice but I’m going to tell you now- I’ve seen this work and it will be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done.

    Write him a letter, tell him you were wrong and that he’s an adult and that you were so sad that he left but that you understand this is his choice and that you support him and his relationship. That you realize now that you were reacting from a place of fear and confusion, but you see how committed he is to this relationship and you see how committed his girlfriend is.

    Now before you freak out at me – is any of this baloney true – fuck no. Not at all. But here’s the thing… your kid is 19. He’s bought into the Romeo and Juliet nonsense where you and your family are the evil Montagues but her family is some weird version of the Capulets where they’re just fine with everything. So your first step – and this is critical – is to take the barriers away. Don’t ask him to come home. Don’t ask him to stop seeing her.

    When he tells you how happy he is, tell him how happy you are for him. When he tells you that they are engaged tell him that’s wonderful and you’re happy that your family is growing. THESE ARE ALL LIES. These lies keep the lines of communication open with your kid. When he complains about her – and he will – you say NOTHING bad about her. You say things like “relationships can be hard, but communication and compromise are key” or “each person has to give 100%” – things that sound supportive but give him a little reminder about what he’s not getting. Partnership, common goals, shared responsibilities, whatever you can insert to help him understand that he’s made a terrible mistake but without telling him he’s made a terrible mistake.

    And I’m not lying when I say this is going to be the hardest thing you’ve ever done -but you have to treat your son as if he’s a bitchy coworker who always picks the wrong partner and then complains that the partner is wrong. You have to put seventeen dampers on your emotions because you will want to yell at him and beg him and everything else but if you do that – you’ve shown your hand and it’s all over. Seriously consider getting some anti-anxiety meds to help you through this.

    It’s time to treat your kid like an adult. All you can do now is support him and subtly let him know that you’re still there for him, but in a different way. Good luck. This sucks.

    October 16, 2023 at 8:03 am #1126257

    You know, Leslie is right. Somewhere something with your son went off, he’s upset. I spend a lot of time researching adult relationships with adult children and most kids need their parents to just own up and apologize even if you personally don’t agree. That’s what it takes and you’d be shocked by the 99% of grown adults on one hand wanting their child, but also being stubborn people who cannot apologize or take responsibility for anything they may have done however unknowingly that hurt their child.

    He’s got a rapt audience with his new gf and her family. Take some space and think about it. see a therapist and work out what you need to say to get him back sooner.

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How can I help my 19yo son?

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