Communication is terrible

worries

#1

My son is in active addiction I think with meth and his thinking is way off. Paranoid. Sometimes talks in circles. Blanes me for all kinds of things. I know I am learning in the study but when they just talk ridiculous things or make you mad with the things they say probably on purpose. What is the best way to respond. If I try to just hang up sometimes he blows my phone up. And he lives next door. :cry:


#2

Following. I am in the same boat


#4

This reminds me of an excerpt from a book I’m currently reading, “Thriving as an Empath: 365 Days of Self-Care for Sensitive People” by Judith Orloff:

The Three-Minute Phone Conversation
Of course, you would like to lend support to a friend in crisis. However, if someone starts playing victim with a “poor me” attitude or keeps going around in circles, it’s healthy to set limits.

The three-minute phone conversation is a useful solution. Listen briefly. Let the person know you care. Then calmly but firmly tell them that unless they want to discuss solutions, you can only listen for a few minutes. Limiting your conversation is a loving way of saying no to enabling nonproductive behavior and yes to being available when your friend is ready for solutions.


#5

I was in this place such a short time ago. I learned that when a person is in active addiction, they are using the part of the brain called the brain stem. This is the survival part of the brain. It tells your reflexes to duck if you see a snowball heading for your face, without spending any wasted seconds thinking, “hmm, I see a snowball. It might hurt when it hits me. Maybe I should move out of the way.” Instead, it screams at your muscles to duck, and you do. The frontal cortex thinks things through and makes decisions that are helpful.
The brain stem tells the person with addiction “ I need my drug of choice to survive, and I will do whatever it takes to get it.” The front of the brain isn’t invited to the conversation. So your person, using his brain stem, will say anything, won’t really hear and understand anything you say or do, because the focus is what he perceives as survival. He won’t remember what you said most of the time. But we moms have spent our lifetime being respectful and nurturing and concerned about their self esteem. We can’t easily walk away. We can’t bear to say I can’t talk to you when you are like this.
Until we accept the hardest truth of all. The only way to help is to be strong, take care of yourself, and set boundaries. What boundaries would you set that would protect you from feeling stressed, angry, helpless or weak?


#6

The three-minute phone conversation is a useful solution. Listen briefly. Let the person know you care. Then calmly but firmly tell them that unless they want to discuss solutions, you can only listen for a few minutes. Limiting your conversation is a loving way of saying no to enabling nonproductive behavior and yes to being available when your friend is ready for solutions.
@momentsandlight, I love this concept! It could be used when trapped in any conversation with a little modification. Very helpful!


#7

Plus! The belligerence that comes with addiction is hard on the ears of every parent no matter how practiced you are at seeing things on the bright side. I think that’s why I get so angry and hurt. But, at least knowing it’s the fiendish addiction that’s controlling the behavior helps make it survivable.


#8

Your snowball analogy made me think of Calvin and Hobbes, ha! And then I found this drawing and wow, I feel for you, Calvin. :persevere: (click/tap the image to see the full drawing)

I love how you bring the effects of addiction on the brain into this conversation, because it’s really helped me too in understanding my husband’s behaviors, and has helped me not take things so personally. Like when he slips again and I start to wonder, “How could he do this to us? He loves drugs more than his family!?” I know that that’s not the case.

Thankfully, he’s told me that he starts to think about how awful it is to detox, and all the shit he puts me and our son through in the process, and that has helped him stop in moments when he has the opportunity to use again. And that is huge progress. The brain heals. Recovery is possible.


#9

Hi all! Thanks for starting up this important topic @dede, and great insights from @momentsandlight and @Alair. I’m here to drop in a couple of conversations from the Village Community that you all might find helpful, too:


#10

My son and I both love Calvin and Hobbes!
I agree that knowing about how the brain is affected by addiction, helps so much with the feeling that behaviors are negatively directed at me. It also helps me to remember that short statements are more likely to be heard and remembered. Lengthy complaints or even statements setting boundaries will lose meaning after a few words.
As my son continues to get better, I can tell that he is better able to process information. When we have conversations about something that happened in the few months that led up to everything falling apart, he says that he doesn’t remember that period of time or that incident at all.
I continue to worry that when “real life” starts again, he will choose to escape the pain of difficult days by using again.
On the other hand, I am much more confident about my boundaries. I’ve learned so much about addiction, and accepted that I can manage only my behavior.
It is actually a relief to be able to let go of feeling somehow that I should have the power to control the behavior of anyone else.