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Adult son 33 is homeless, Im Mom, 57, trying so hard to detach, not enable...

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Payla, Aug 24, 2012.

  1. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    Thank you MidWestMom.
    I'll get that book
    ... and start my own thread.
    (once I can see properly through my tears)
  2. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately your daughter is right. There is nothing you can do. At least till he wants to do things differently on himself. He very well might some day. I have known quite a few people who have done about the same your son is doing. Most, especially those with university degrees or strong socio-economic backgrounds, have decided to do so in some point. Many have been very successful in doing so. For example one of the most financially successful person from my High School class (it was kind of elite school, most have done very well in life) spent half a decade hoboing in Goa (I'm from northern Europe, hoboing around here is not so much fun, too much snow half a year, not much sun.) However there is very little you can do to speed up that process or even ensure it happens. He does know how to get help to get back to organized society, if he wants it.

    By the way, against what MWM said half of our eco-warrior types tend to be very straight edge, no alcohol, drugs or tobacco. Other half does pot, but only self grown and organic and maybe some mushrooms, so not buying drugs at all.
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  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Lucy, welcome. You've tagged onto an old post and you will have more responses if you cut and paste this onto a new thread of your own.

    I am sorry you are going through this with your son. Many of us here have grown kids who have similar issues and make similar choices to live on the fringe of society. There is nothing you can do. He is a grown man of 26 and he gets to make whatever choices he wants regardless of your feelings or what you want.

    There is a great article at the end of my post here on detachment, it would be helpful to read it. Detaching from our kids is sad, it is hard and it takes a real commitment to override those feelings of being responsible for your son no matter what. Your daughter is correct. There is nothing you can do, only he can make the decision to change.

    Here in the states we have NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness which provide resources for the parents of mentally ill people, perhaps you can look into something like that for YOU. Once we recognize we have no control over our adult kids lives, we can start to put the focus back on ourselves. Most of us need as much support as we can get, therapists, parent groups, 12 step groups, Family Anonymous, whatever it takes for you to find someone who can support you, have compassion for you, offer you tools to help with detachment and guide you through.

    At a certain point we have to stop enabling our adult kids and learn how to detach and accept what is. Your son is aware that it is cold and raining, he is CHOOSING this. You can't change it. You can ruminate about it and have it impact every moment of your life, which will ruin your life, or you can begin to learn how to let go.

    You can learn to "do nothing" as we have on this board. Doing nothing doesn't mean you stop loving your son, or praying for him or wanting his life to be safe and happy. It means to stop giving him money, stop doing for him what he has to do for himself, stop doing more for him then he does for himself, stop worrying about his life when you have no control over any of it. We have to learn how to take the relentless focus on our adult kid and put it on ourselves. That shift is particularly hard on us parents.........but for his sake and for yours.........you have to learn to let go.

    If his choices lead to his death, then that is his choice, you cannot prevent that outcome. Our kids are remarkably resourceful, manipulative, cunning and quite smart, they usually land on their feet and live the life they have chosen to live. We stay up late horrified and full of fear for the choices they make and yet, they don't suffer in it, we do. With support, understanding, empathy and tools, you can learn to stop suffering about the choices your son is making and rejoin life and in fact, enjoy your life.

    This is hard so please find supports. Keep posting, it helps. Read books like Codependent No More by Melody Beattie.........., attend a Codependent's Anonymous 12 step group.............change that focus onto yourself. You will get through this..........we're here...........hang in there...........wishing you peace.
  4. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    Yes Suzir, it's not about drugs, it's about wanting to opt out of society and take no responsibility for anything. Your post makes a lot of sense, i have to find a way to deal with just waiting to see what happens. Thank you. I have started my own thread. It's so helpful to read these messages.
  5. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Lucy, your story is my story. My son has been homeless three times---once for a month, and the last time for 10 days this past Christmas and New Year's. He's back in jail right now---and I'm glad because as his mother, I have comfort knowing he has a roof, a bed and three meals a day. He will be out again soon and who knows? It just keeps getting worse and worse.

    It IS sad. It's the saddest thing in the world.

    And it is impossible to grasp and understand. You can drive yourself absolutely crazy trying to figure it out.

    So...if it's true we didn't cause it, we can't control it and we can't cure it (an Al-Anon saying called the Three Cs)---and I believe that IS the truth, the best thing we can do for us and for them is to STAY OUT OF THE WAY.

    If he gets sick and tired of this life of his, he will go in a new direction. If he likes that life, then, think about it, there is nothing to do then either.

    Grieve. Cry. Mourn.

    Then, turn your energy and your light on yourself and your life. Then, when you need to Grieve, Cry and Mourn again, do it. Do it every time you need to do it.

    And soon, those times will be fewer and shorter in duration, and the joyful times, the calm times, the times of true peace, will be longer and more frequent.

    It will take work---work on yourself and through it all, you will discover a better person within you than you ever knew.

    There are many helps for us just like there are many helps for our adult children. The question is: are we open to the help? Are we going to do the hard work of change?

    It is worth it. I am doing it, and it is so worth it. Keep coming back here, Lucy, for strength, hope and experience. Bless you and your son today.
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  6. Carri

    Carri Active Member

    Childofmine-I love your post. I'm going to read this a thousand times.
  7. struggling mom

    struggling mom New Member

    I understand and commiserate with your pain. I too am the parent of a 33 year old homeless man. It breaks our hearts. Tough love is the hardest thing to do, setting limits hurts us worse than they can ever know. I wish I could ease your pain, today is my son's birthday and it crushes me that the celebration isn't what I would want. You are taking the right steps and I think all of us here understand and feel a similar pain!
  8. struggling mom

    struggling mom New Member

    childofmine, thank you. my tears flow but it's good to be here. how heartbreaking though that there are so many of us.
  9. JulieAnn

    JulieAnn Member

    I know. Birthday's and holiday's are soooo difficult. I'm sorry.

    I just put this into my 'Tool Box' today: Sometimes both ACTION and INACTION go hand in hand with regret. If that's what you consider fun, then by all means keep mulling and obsessing over what you did or didn't do, but what a pointless and colossal waste of time.

    Yep, mine is 34 and I'm still at it......He's 2100k miles away though. Got him a room for 2 nights. Had to, it's 107 degrees there. I know, I know.....enabling AGAIN. Dang it.

    Found a Shelter and emergency rehab information.....By now, all we can do is hope for the best, I guess.

    Starting Al-Anon on Monday.
  10. struggling mom

    struggling mom New Member

    Julie Ann, please don't put yourself down for trying to help. We have all done it, it's our nature. Tough love goes against what we are created to do but it is necessary in some cases. Keep strong and know you are not alone, loving parents can stand together and grow here and with proper counsel.
  11. JulieAnn

    JulieAnn Member

    I know, you're right...But do you ever feel like you're their last chance? That if they die, it's on you? Because you didn't want to 'enable'? I know, I know.....that's wrong. Swear word, swear word, swear word.
  12. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    THEY want you to feel this way.
    But in reality... it isn't your choice to make. The choice to live or die lies with THEM. Once in a while, you might buy a little more time. That is the limit of what can be done at the best of times. If they are going to self-destruct, it will happen no matter what you do or do not do. The outcome is on THEM, not on you/us.
  13. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    If they die, which is unlikely, it is due to the life they chose to live. It's on them, not you.

    The only child death I've heard of in fifteen years on this board had nothing to do with living on the streets.
    They use that to make us feel guilty. If you associate with drug addicts and criminals, even if you shower at home (few spend much time at home) the danger factor goes up.

    I also know of a young man whose parents never posted here. He lived with his father, never on the streets. He died of alcohol poisoning at age twenty six. He was bright and a college grad and had everything to live for, but he knew he had an alcohol problem (talked about it to me) and did nothing about it. It was really sad. But do you blame his father, who loved him so much that, in a day when men never got custody of children, he fought his wife for custody of this child and won?
  14. struggling mom

    struggling mom New Member

    Our loved ones have become adept at this game. They want handouts and sympathy and us to worry. Julie Ann, for 13 years I have known my phone could ring with the worst news. I tried everything, guilt still gets me but this is his choice, I can't help him. There are things I can do for me though, I can get therapy, read, learn, talk on this forum. I work with and for animals and that is my best therapy. The love I get there doesn't fix my pain but surely helps.
    Somewhereoutthere, thanks for the reassurance.
  15. Jacquelina2

    Jacquelina2 New Member

    I came across your story while browsing for help online this morning. My 22 yr old son has schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. I've been trying to help in him become self sufficient for the past 3 yrs with no success. I've too enabled my child and is currently struggling with detachment because he refuses to seek treatment . Just wanted to tell you that your story gave me hope and that I will pray for you and your child. Good to know that I'm not alone.
    Jackie Bautista
  16. Quicksand

    Quicksand Active Member

    And what you've said has helped me not feel so alone. Hugs...
  17. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi JB, so sorry for your heartache and reason to find CD. If this is your real name you may want to change it....we remain anonymous for privacy and ease of sharing our stories. This is a public site and others do have access. Also, you have posted to an old thread. You may find more response if you start your own thread, and share your story. There are many moms here going through a similar journey. Welcome dear, do keep posting, it helps. You are not alone.
  18. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    @Jackie Bautista If this is your real name and/or real picture, please change it for your own safety. This board is anonymous. This is what gives us the liberty to freely discuss our situations.
  19. Jacquelina2

    Jacquelina2 New Member

    Yes, this is my real name and picture. I wasn't aware that the board was anonymous. Thanks for the head's up. Will change it.
  20. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Good you may want to start a new thread too, more folks will respond. Welcome to the forum.