I need help. Adult son is out of control.

Mixed up Mom

New Member
I'm so tired and drained mentally. My 45 year old son is on the streets after many years of drug addiction and bipolar disorder. I am 64 years old and on social security and my husband (his stepdad, age 71 and with health problems.) My son has lived with friends, girlfriends, etc. until all that has finally run its course.
He lived with us and would become violent so we can't take him back in. He lived with my elderly parents until their death. He stole from them and they were afraid and thought I should take him back in. We have been through several rehabs, psychiatric wards, and jail with him. We have carried food to him regularly but now we just have had enough. No matter how much we do, it is never enough. There is always something else he needs. He calls my cell and house phone over and over. I feel so guilty. Sleepless nights filled with worry. I have given my son the address of the city's soup kitchen and shelter. My husband has said enough is enough. Can anyone help me feel better about this?
 

YogiLori

Member
You are doing the right thing 100%, You care about your son but you are NOT his caretaker. You must not help him through this just because you always have. It is the easy thing for him to call you constantly and expect you to help him. It is so scary and sad but you you have your own peace and serenity that you must try and obtain. It is really easier said than done but you have to do it. He is an adult and can find help if he really wants it. The guilt is awful but you have done so much for him it seems. Please manage the guilt - I know it is hard too - He must figure out his life without you intervening or enabling him. You have to let go and trust your higher power.
 

BusynMember

Well-Known Member
I recommend joining Narcotics Anonymous. They are on Zoom now and really teach us how to take care of us even with an addict child. Look up Nar Anon zoom on the internet.

It is not good to enable our kids who are not making safe good choices.

Hugs and love.
 

Blighty

Member
You matter. Put your needs first. Many other parents have come to the same conclusion after a long time of trying. You are in good company. You may find the detachment thread helpful at the top of the forum thread list. It's a heartbreaking situation, but you don't have to become broken by it. We cannot control the uncontrollable. hugs. It's hard.
 

Nomad

Well-Known Member
I too would recommend joining a support group. I tried NAMI, which is a good group, especially for information gathering, but we preferred Families Anonymous. Narcotics Anonymous, also good. Any of the "Anonymous" groups that makes sense to you and is available in your community. Of course, there are also "on line" versions of these programs as well. You will see you are not alone.

You can make some choices here, and I believe should. Yes, enough is enough. Consider setting boundaries to protect yourselves. If you want to perhaps pay for him to have a cell phone, for example...do that and ONLY that. BUT, try to keep your involvement in his life very limited. VERY. Can't stress that enough. At 45...it's time. Past time.

And don't be guilted into doing anything more. He would be LUCKY if you do anything for him at all. If he is ever violent with you, or even threatens to be or steals from you.... immediately call the police. If you can change cities...consider it. Make sure you have good locks on your doors (different ones if he might have a key) and get a ring doorbell installed if you don't have one already. The ring doorbell is easy to install...but if you don't know how...it shouldn't be costly to have it done.

Consider setting boundaries on when he can call you. Perhaps 9-5 everyday but Sunday. No calls on Sunday. This is just a made up example. Whatever you want. And then , consider blocking him if he calls during the wrong times. IF, he is rude to you on the phone, consider blocking him for a period of time. A week, a month...whatever you want and/or need. Do NOT put up with inappropriate behaviors. Set boundaries/limits. Learn how to put on and take off the blocking feature on your phones. Again, set firm boundaries and limits.

It's imperative.

know/consider...You are not alone. Protect yourselves. Avoid enabling. Set boundaries. Greatly limit your interaction. Wishing you well.
 
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Mixed up Mom

New Member
Thank you all for the kind and helpful comments. I'm trying to deal with my guilt. I do answer a text from him sometimes but I am not answering his calls. I'm sorry we all have to deal with this but it is good to know we are not alone.
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
Many of us are in your shoes. Maybe not the same style and size but close enough.

Your son is best helped by having to face the music. Which means the consequences of his choices. When our help only serves our child to continue to live in the same problematic way he has been living, how can we continue to kid ourselves?

As far as your guilt goes, for what? Are you the one making these choices? Has enabling helped him? Has it helped you? Do you deserve violence in your own home? Is the harmony and security of your marriage worth sacrificing?

Nobody can help you feel better, except your belief that you deserve to be contented, secure, safe, and happy. And then deciding to follow through. One thing about being human is we can decide what thoughts to have in our heads. Trust me, it is doable, to choose happiness and freedom instead of bondage to negativity.

I have made this shift. Others here can vouch for the truth of this. Over and over again I brought my son back. Over and over again the result was the same. I am not going to say I won't do it again. But I will say this: When I accepted that my son and only my son was the person who will change himself and his life. When I accepted that my life and my happiness were my priority and that I had the absolute right and responsibility to protect them--my life changed.

My son is homeless. He is mentally ill. I feel a stab of pain in my stomach even typing these words. I love him with all of my heart. He is the love of my life. That changes not one thing in terms of my responsibilities. And it changes nothing about my choices.

There is not one thing good that will come from destroying yourself, for your son; or my doing the same. Our sons have free will. They can learn. They can change. They can become motivated to choose for themselves.

It is not meant that parents take ongoing responsibility for middle-aged people. There are societal resources for this. You have tried and tried. So did his grandparents. So have I. There are programs. There are resources. There is therapy. He can do this. You can't.
 

Rockyroads!

New Member
That is great advice! I have a son who is 37 in the same situation. This is my first post and I am so thankful to hear from people who have experienced this type of stress and heartbreak. Thank you, Thank you!
 

Fairy dust

New Member
Many of us are in your shoes. Maybe not the same style and size but close enough.

Your son is best helped by having to face the music. Which means the consequences of his choices. When our help only serves our child to continue to live in the same problematic way he has been living, how can we continue to kid ourselves?

As far as your guilt goes, for what? Are you the one making these choices? Has enabling helped him? Has it helped you? Do you deserve violence in your own home? Is the harmony and security of your marriage worth sacrificing?

Nobody can help you feel better, except your belief that you deserve to be contented, secure, safe, and happy. And then deciding to follow through. One thing about being human is we can decide what thoughts to have in our heads. Trust me, it is doable, to choose happiness and freedom instead of bondage to negativity.

I have made this shift. Others here can vouch for the truth of this. Over and over again I brought my son back. Over and over again the result was the same. I am not going to say I won't do it again. But I will say this: When I accepted that my son and only my son was the person who will change himself and his life. When I accepted that my life and my happiness were my priority and that I had the absolute right and responsibility to protect them--my life changed.

My son is homeless. He is mentally ill. I feel a stab of pain in my stomach even typing these words. I love him with all of my heart. He is the love of my life. That changes not one thing in terms of my responsibilities. And it changes nothing about my choices.

There is not one thing good that will come from destroying yourself, for your son; or my doing the same. Our sons have free will. They can learn. They can change. They can become motivated to choose for themselves.

It is not meant that parents take ongoing responsibility for middle-aged people. There are societal resources for this. You have tried and tried. So did his grandparents. So have I. There are programs. There are resources. There is therapy. He can do this. You can't.
Copa you are so right and your advice over the years has been spot on! at my lowest point I could no longer go on and sought out therapy and help for me to finally let go. I had to learn to love myself enough to let him go. When I finally did significant changes started to happen and there was a major shift in my relationship with my son. Although not perfect it is better than it has been in years. He is taking responsibility for his life and slowly getting back on track. one step at a time, but while I am always here I Am so in the background. Copa I can’t tell you how much your advice has helped me! I am eternally grateful to you and the others on this forum who have walked through hell but kept on walking. Together we can all get to the other side!
 

Frettfull

New Member
I'm so tired and drained mentally. My 45 year old son is on the streets after many years of drug addiction and bipolar disorder. I am 64 years old and on social security and my husband (his stepdad, age 71 and with health problems.) My son has lived with friends, girlfriends, etc. until all that has finally run its course.
He lived with us and would become violent so we can't take him back in. He lived with my elderly parents until their death. He stole from them and they were afraid and thought I should take him back in. We have been through several rehabs, psychiatric wards, and jail with him. We have carried food to him regularly but now we just have had enough. No matter how much we do, it is never enough. There is always something else he needs. He calls my cell and house phone over and over. I feel so guilty. Sleepless nights filled with worry. I have given my son the address of the city's soup kitchen and shelter. My husband has said enough is enough. Can anyone help me feel better about this?
You need to take back control, change your phone number, he will never change now, he is draining you of what little energy you have, I know because my 45 year old sone has gone one step further and trying to get me arrested for historical cruelty. You have to sy enough is enough and leave him with the choices he has made. Or you will go to an early grave x
 
I too would recommend joining a support group. I tried NAMI, which is a good group, especially for information gathering, but we preferred Families Anonymous. Narcotics Anonymous, also good. Any of the "Anonymous" groups that makes sense to you and is available in your community. Of course, there are also "on line" versions of these programs as well. You will see you are not alone.

You can make some choices here, and I believe should. Yes, enough is enough. Consider setting boundaries to protect yourselves. If you want to perhaps pay for him to have a cell phone, for example...do that and ONLY that. BUT, try to keep your involvement in his life very limited. VERY. Can't stress that enough. At 45...it's time. Past time.

And don't be guilted into doing anything more. He would be LUCKY if you do anything for him at all. If he is ever violent with you, or even threatens to be or steals from you.... immediately call the police. If you can change cities...consider it. Make sure you have good locks on your doors (different ones if he might have a key) and get a ring doorbell installed if you don't have one already. The ring doorbell is easy to install...but if you don't know how...it shouldn't be costly to have it done.

Consider setting boundaries on when he can call you. Perhaps 9-5 everyday but Sunday. No calls on Sunday. This is just a made up example. Whatever you want. And then , consider blocking him if he calls during the wrong times. IF, he is rude to you on the phone, consider blocking him for a period of time. A week, a month...whatever you want and/or need. Do NOT put up with inappropriate behaviors. Set boundaries/limits. Learn how to put on and take off the blocking feature on your phones. Again, set firm boundaries and limits.

It's imperative.

know/consider...You are not alone. Protect yourselves. Avoid enabling. Set boundaries. Greatly limit your interaction. Wishing you well.
I was so relieved to find this forum. My daughter is 46 years old and has been homeless for 10 years. She says "nothing is wrong with her". We give her about $300 per month but nothing else. I grieve for her because her body is starting to suffer from lack of sleep and a proper diet. She refuses to get any kind of mental health treatment. Her step dad and I don't want her living with us. She can be very verbally abusive. I have tremendous guilt over this. My friend recently hired an expensive lawyer and interventionist to get her daughter into a 5150 hold with the goal of Conservatorship, but we cannot afford to do this. Plus I don't think my daughter fits the definition of "gravely disabled" in California because she manages to obtain food and clothing. She just prefers to be on her own, it seems. It breaks my heart. I just want to know how other parents deal with the pain of this. We let her visit once a month and stay one night with us. She refuses to get a cell phone because the get stolen or broken and she says they "charge her too much for the service". She calls me from stores that tolerate her. How do other parents cope with this behavior?
 

Mixed up Mom

New Member
That is great advice! I have a son who is 37 in the same situation. This is my first post and I am so thankful to hear from people who have experienced this type of stress and heartbreak. Thank you, Thank you!
I'm new here too. It's sad that so many are in our situation but it helps to talk to others.
 

Mixed up Mom

New Member
I was so relieved to find this forum. My daughter is 46 years old and has been homeless for 10 years. She says "nothing is wrong with her". We give her about $300 per month but nothing else. I grieve for her because her body is starting to suffer from lack of sleep and a proper diet. She refuses to get any kind of mental health treatment. Her step dad and I don't want her living with us. She can be very verbally abusive. I have tremendous guilt over this. My friend recently hired an expensive lawyer and interventionist to get her daughter into a 5150 hold with the goal of Conservatorship, but we cannot afford to do this. Plus I don't think my daughter fits the definition of "gravely disabled" in California because she manages to obtain food and clothing. She just prefers to be on her own, it seems. It breaks my heart. I just want to know how other parents deal with the pain of this. We let her visit once a month and stay one night with us. She refuses to get a cell phone because the get stolen or broken and she says they "charge her too much for the service". She calls me from stores that tolerate her. How do other parents cope with this behavior?
I have the same situation with my son in his forties. He is on disability for mental problems, homeless, and living in a tent. I feel guilty too. I lie awake at night thinking about him. He can be physically abusive though so I can't let him stay with me and his stepdad. I did recently carry him a new coat and some sweat pants and shirts, but no money. It is hard.
 

february

Member
Ladies, I used be in this group and I do miss it. And I did get a lot of help from here seeing that we're all on the same boat. But I did lose my son to a drug overdose in July, and I miss him so much. Just like a lot of you I was also detaching and letting him grow up and be on his own but unfortunately he just couldn't deal with life and the drugs were part of his life. He passed away of a fentanyl accidental overdose. I pray for all of our children here that think they're doing one drug and it's laced with fentanyl. Hugs, hang in there mamas.
 
Ladies, I used be in this group and I do miss it. And I did get a lot of help from here seeing that we're all on the same boat. But I did lose my son to a drug overdose in July, and I miss him so much. Just like a lot of you I was also detaching and letting him grow up and be on his own but unfortunately he just couldn't deal with life and the drugs were part of his life. He passed away of a fentanyl accidental overdose. I pray for all of our children here that think they're doing one drug and it's laced with fentanyl. Hugs, hang in there mamas.
February, I am so deeply sorry for your loss.
 

Mixed up Mom

New Member
Ladies, I used be in this group and I do miss it. And I did get a lot of help from here seeing that we're all on the same boat. But I did lose my son to a drug overdose in July, and I miss him so much. Just like a lot of you I was also detaching and letting him grow up and be on his own but unfortunately he just couldn't deal with life and the drugs were part of his life. He passed away of a fentanyl accidental overdose. I pray for all of our children here that think they're doing one drug and it's laced with fentanyl. Hugs, hang in there mamas.
I'm so very sorry. Prayers.
 

Blighty

Member
Ladies, I used be in this group and I do miss it. And I did get a lot of help from here seeing that we're all on the same boat. But I did lose my son to a drug overdose in July, and I miss him so much. Just like a lot of you I was also detaching and letting him grow up and be on his own but unfortunately he just couldn't deal with life and the drugs were part of his life. He passed away of a fentanyl accidental overdose. I pray for all of our children here that think they're doing one drug and it's laced with fentanyl. Hugs, hang in there mamas.

february, I am so sorry you lost your child to an overdose. I can't begin to imagine what that feels like. Huggs.
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
My daughter is 46 years old and has been homeless for 10 years. She says "nothing is wrong with her". We give her about $300 per month but nothing else
Plus I don't think my daughter fits the definition of "gravely disabled" in California because she manages to obtain food and clothing.
Your daughter is being sustained by you in a fashion. So it is hard to know whether or not she would be gravely disabled if she did not receive this money. Without it, she most definitely would qualify for food stamps and Medi-cal. I wonder if you have considered stopping this cash aid.
How do other parents cope with this behavior?
I am in the same boat as you. My son is 34 and he is homeless. He is also mentally ill. He uses some drugs--including very large amounts of marijuana and caffeine in the form of pills, etc.

When he would not cooperate with what I asked of him which was to seek psychiatric treatment and/or be productive, I kicked him out about 11 years ago. And then began 10 very difficult years when I tried to "motivate" him to do what I felt was the "right thing." The right thing for me, involves some form of work, school, and psychiatric help and ideally some sort of spiritual involvement. My son wanted none of it. Guess who won?

Largely with the help of this site, I changed. He didn't.

To answer your question there is no way that I have found "to cope" with this behavior. Living as a homeless person is degrading and dangerous. You are the bottom of the heap. You are treated like garbage and people look away. It is a dog-eat-dog life. Homeless people are traumatized. They begin to believe the world is hostile and persecutory and predatory. And that is before mental illness amplifies this paranoia.

What I am trying to say here is that a person who lives normally cannot tolerate how a homeless person lives. I love my son with all my heart and soul. Yet I cannot tolerate his presence. I cannot tolerate how he lives. I cannot cope with it. I react to it and against it with every fiber of my being. And so I must limit our contact. I also tell him what I will not tolerate.

The only thing I can suggest is to accept the way your daughter lives and set firm and clear boundaries based not on her needs, but on your needs. I would also re-think the $300 a month. With that money, you are sustaining her as a homeless person. This may take away any incentive and necessity she has to earn a few bucks, enter a rehabilitation program, or apply for government benefits.

My son receives SSI based on mental illness. While I am grateful that he has money, he uses the money primarily for his drugs, nicotine, and energy drinks. He prefers his vices, over having a home and a comfortable and safe place to sleep, eat, shower, and relax. Before he received this money he had to live in a drug rehabilitation program or live in such a way that other people tolerated him. The money enables him to sustain himself on his own terms.

While I understand why we would choose to keep our adult children afloat, what we are really doing is enabling them to live degrading lives. But I go back and forth on this.

Because often I fear my son may be incapable of making the changes I would want him to make. He had a traumatic brain injury. Waiting for my son to hit bottom and learn, if he can't do better would be cruel. I love him.

But my son won't cooperate to be psychologically evaluated, and when we do try to help him by letting him live in a property I own, while he arrives "humbly" (meaning he has no money and he is tractable and cooperative), the minute the money arrives he is domineering and demanding. We can't tolerate that.

I guess what I am saying here is we have no place to stand. Our children's conduct and choices seem to define the rules of the game, and there is no win at all for us except staying far away from the chaos and loving them from a distance. At least, this is the only safe place that I have found. It is heartbreaking.

I have given you way more information than you asked for. I am sorry. I got carried away. But I have not updated people on our situation for a long, long time, so this is it.

As always, I am very grateful for the support and the counsel I have received here over these many years. I can't even recognize myself.

Gratefully, Copa
 
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