I need to be tied to the mast.


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I don’t think there is a clear right answer. Only answers we decide we can live with. I can tell you what I would do if I had a spare house where mine could live. But only you know what makes sense for you, for J, and for your marriage.

Here’s what I would let go of:
Taking responsibility for whether or not they are clean. No drug testing, no nagging, no judgment, no asking. They are adults, and I no longer have parental responsibility or input for these decisions. It’s none of my business, any more than it is my business that my neighbors smoke pot most evenings.

Here’s what I would not let go of:
Holding them accountable for taking care of their own lives. It is not my business if they are spending money on drugs, but it is also not my responsibility to make up for financial shortfalls they may have for essentials if that’s what they are choosing to do. I will not enable them by fixing self created problems, patching financial holes that are a result of poor decisions, or providing them with housing or resources that will allow them to keep avoiding adult responsibility for their own lives. Enabling has never been the right answer for any of my kids, no matter what their circumstances. N’s Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) was severe - he had a nearly two year recovery period, and there are still lingering effects. But after a certain point I had to hold him to the same level of accountability as anyone else. Because he was not capable of learning any other way but the hard way. And he did learn, and is making a good life for himself. Any sense of entitlement is gone. C and S both have serious mental health issues. But they also will not get better by my coddling them or enabling them. Love and advice and emotional support when it is welcomes and needed, yes. But not rescuing, not enabling.

Here is what I think I would do:
Prepare the house for rental, and offer my kids the chance to rent it at below market rate. They would have to sign a lease agreement just like any other tenant and abide by it. I would tell them up front I would treat them like any other tenant and am prepared to evict them if they don’t comply with the lease. I think a lease or contract is even MORE important in this situation because our kids need expectations laid out for them very clearly. And we need legal protections in case things don’t work out. I would keep the business arrangement separate from the parental relationship. Let them know that my intention is to treat the property as a source of income, and if they cannot comply I will have to find another tenant who will.

I would also insist up front that they sit down with me to create a reasonable monthly budget that includes the rest and utilities. I would want them to set up an account where these things come out automatically so they are paid first. What they choose to do with the rest of their money is not my business, but they have to take care of the essentials first. How they use their time is also not my business, as long as they are bringing in enough money to take care of their responsibilities and not doing damage to my property.

I would save the money they pay me in a sperate account. But I would not tell them I am doing so. It is not Their money to control anymore. It is a fair exchange for a place to live.

If you can’t treat the housing situation as a business contract, and keep other emotion and expectation out of it, I wouldn’t do it at all. You don’t need more drama, and you know enabling him with no accountability or expectation is only a short term solution to his problem. HIS problem, not yours, remember.

That’s why I won’t have C here - because it would only be a short term solution and I know it would end badly. Eventually, our kids are going to have to learn to stand on their own two feet, with whatever resources they have available to them independent of us. We will not be here forever. We aren’t getting younger. I would rather my kids go through the pain now, and hopefully learn from it and figure out ways to live, while I am still here in the background. If they are moving in the right direction, I can offer some scaffolding to help them get there. But the idea has to be that it is a temporary scaffold, that will go away when they are strong enough to do without it.

What I can’t bear is the thought of enabling them for another 20 years, and having them face homelessness when they are older and weaker and I am no longer here to offer any kind of assistance at all. They need to figure it out NOW, if they are going to.


Well-Known Member
SWOT, we posted at the same time! I get where you are coming from and can see the value in that approach, too.


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Elsi, i usually agree with YOUR approach, especially if they are into criminal activities and certainly if they are dangerous to us. J is not a criminal or dangerous to anyone. He IS refusing to adult. This has been an ongoing battle for Copa with J. She has set conditions and rules for him over more than ten years on and off and he doesnt change. Meanwhile, she gets sadder and sadder. It breaks my heart, and has not helped either of them.

I think sometimes we can break our own rules to be kind to ourselves. But normally I agree with your every word. You are a great parent and loving, caring person.
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I will divide this into sections.

Part 1 is asking my son to do stuff (and what stands in the way.):
telling him he has to work.
I do not know how I could. I mean, I have told him, hundreds of times. That has been a major cornerstone of MY CONDITIONS the past two years.

As far as I know he has not worked at all in the metro. He used to work sporadically when he was there. As a concrete laborer. His friend has a landscape concrete business and he connected him up with a couple of other contractors. But either my son is not interested in working at all or they are no longer interested in him. He is strong but distractible and without a work ethic. But the thing is he was highly advantageous for employers with limited English to have around because he has near-native fluency in Portuguese and Spanish, and is quite presentable, despite all of his issues, (and the constantly worn hoodie). So what I am trying to say is he has worked hard NOT to have work. He can work. He is able to work. He does not want to conform to work. It is not a priority.

As far as services, SWOT, to get him to follow through is like herding cats. He drives me crazy. He will not do it. This is something that does not interest him.
Something in him wont let him.
Yes. This is true. I think it is mental illness. Anxiety and I think he would say it is his balding. That until his hair grows back he cannot do x, y, and z. He hangs onto the receding hairline for all it is worth. It is his organizing principle and his defense.

The body dysmorphic disorder began after the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). I pushed and pushed and pushed that he get rehabilitation. I pushed that he get trauma therapy, after he was attacked. I pushed that he see the liver doctor and adhere to treatment. He will not do it. He is not interested.

Part 2 is what I have to accept (and can't):

I have to accept that my son is mentally ill. I have to accept that he is entitled not to work. I have to accept that he does not have to volunteer or go to school. Right or wrong the government gives him money so that he does not have to do these things, and it is his right to do nothing, if that is his choice.

I can't accept that my son does not get medical treatment for his liver. Because he will get very ill and die, quite possibly in my lifespan. If he will not get treatment and verify his compliance I do not want him in the property no matter what.

Part 3, about my priorities:

My highest priority is that he live and that he be healthy. (See above.)

My highest priority is NOT my tranquility. It is my peace of mind. In retrospect, throwing him out of the apartment was traumatic FOR ME. I could not bear doing it. While my son set this into motion by not wanting to pay half of the rent, after he had not paid rent for two years...I could not bear throwing him out.

The other way to look at this is that I had to do it. I could not permit him to keep not paying. It is not real life and I had to look at myself in the mirror. This boundary had to be set and kept.

Every single struggle with him was about trying to impose a boundary and he resisted. If I stay away from him, he is pretty much OK. He goes about his business. Which is smoking pot and talking to people, shopping and going to movies. He has a lot of support in the community. People care about him. He does not look for trouble or make trouble. He is a good neighbor. The other neighbors rely on him as a positive presence. All of the trouble (cops, fighting) has come when I pushed him out or pushed against him.

It is clear that being pushed by either M or I, leads to conflict.
What I can’t bear is the thought of enabling them for another 20 years, and having them face homelessness when they are older and weaker and I am no longer here to offer any kind of assistance at all.
This is the bottom line. SWOT. I really do hear you about doing what will give me comfort and peace. To let go. But the thing is I think that any problem not confronted now...will present itself worse later. And my peace of mind is to a large extent contingent upon my ability to believe that I have prepared him for my death. He will have nobody except M, if M outlives me, and we are still together. I would say that fifty percent of my agony is fear of dying, that he will not protect himself or I would not have adequately protected him. Having not anticipated the right thing to do and having not done the right thing by him.

Part 4 is a plan:

If I was a smarter person I could find a structure--where I am out of it. Where he has supports and oversight and accountability, but it is not from M or me.

I have to accept, too, he would go homeless again next summer to the large Metro where he prefers the weather, and prefers the culture.

So. In some sense he is living both the life that is comfortable and the life that is desirable for him, given his limitations. He has two homes. A winter home and a summer home(less).

When I type that I realize again that SWOT is right. This is really 80 percent about me. That is why this has never worked. He is NOT all that miserable in his life. He does not see any of my machinations as HAVING TO DO WITH HIM. To him they are impositions. They are extraneous. They are bothers. Stopping marijuana. Productivity. Involvement. School. Treatment. Completely peripheral to him; he never bought in.

In some sense he is living his life as he chooses. Now M thinks this is ridiculous when I say this. He says: J is alive. He is not living. But M equates living with work and responsibility to a greater extent than most people. And my son does neither. But I agree. I have to get M peripheral to this.
I think I would have to say no, that doesn’t work, if you don’t like our stipulations here are some other places you can go that will help you get off the street when you’re ready. And then I would rent the house out to someone else to take it off the table.
I agree wholeheartedly with this. I think we will be done with the house in two months. That could be my time parameter.
If I had a spare house
I bought the house specifically for J. It has a house and a detached 2 bedroom apartment. The idea was always to rent the larger house as a means to pay expenses and get some income--and that my son live in the apartment while paying rent, perhaps sharing with another person. The dream was that someday if my son had a wife and family, they could live in the house. My son knows I bought the house for his use. He feels entitled and a sense of ownership. But not any sense of responsibility.
Holding them accountable for taking care of their own lives. I
Yes. I think one huge failing on my part is that I was the accountable party. I identified goals and while I thought I was holding him accountable, it was to objectives I had identified. And he could nominally say, yes, and then resist.

You see he feels that he is accountable to his life. But his sphere of accountability is very attenuated. He is accountable to his appetites, his moods, his whims. To him bills and responsibilities are to be avoided. He does not feel responsible.

I have no control over that. But I can insist he is accountable for the property. Now here is an idea. I could get a property manager and have them deal with both the property and the tenants, including my son. They could evict. M would be out of it. I would be out of it.
a reasonable monthly budget that includes the rest and utilities. I would want them to set up an account where these things come out automatically so they are paid first.
I like the idea of UP FRONT setting up a structure. I have long thought about going to the bookkeeper at my CPA (they know me well and for years, and they know the story) to put all of my bills on a program to feel there is order in my financial affairs. What about insisting my son is on the same kind of system? Not a payee, but a structure and a system of accountability. His rent would be paid directly from his SSI account in some way, and he would have developed a budget and be accountable to it. This would be overseen by the bookkeeper with whom he would be in relationship and I would not be involved. He would have to understand that if he chose to discontinue the automatic payment of rent on the first of the month, that the agreement between us would be cancelled. Kind of like late payments with a credit card. Another condition would be that he changed his address to the apartment. And he would have to keep the place clean.

I would want him to share the space with another person. So he would be renting a room, not the entire place. I would have the whole property with a "no drugs" policy, which would encompass marijuana.
He would have to go to the doctor, be treated and to verify that. I don't care if I would not apply the same condition to other renters. He is my son and I am his mother.

There is a real beauty to this way of thinking. I would be expecting him to do things that would benefit him when I die. Working with somebody to organize his spending and to pay his bills. Working with somebody to manage the property. Dealing with his health. There would not be demands that have to do with me.

Thank you, people. What do you think?


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Do you really think he would work with those people? He didnt do these things for you. Why will he agree to let others tell him what to do? Take care of his money? Other things?

He is not going to quit pot and is rather used to the street life now. In all seriousness, he has learned street living and doesnt seem to mind it. He has a place to wash and groom, which is important to him. He doesnt seem to care if he sleeps in a bed or a car or he would follow your rules or accept Section 8. He doesnt seem to give a flip about adult services to help him jumpstart his life. He would rather do the minimal. He is NOT alone in this. There are kids and adults who chose to live off the grid, in slab and tent cities on purpose, in vehicals, and in the forests. I dont get it anymore than you do but its true.

The one thing that makes me believe though that he is quite mentally ill (beyond anxiety....anxiety is not a serious or delusional disorder unless it is paired with something psychotic,) is that people have a strong drive to live unless they are suicidal ,( again dangerously mentally ill. Even depression can cause this,). But he hasnt tried to kill himself. Talks about it... they all do....but never ever tried that, as far as I know. So I think he wants to live but ONLY his way. So what makes me feel he is not thinking completely sane?

Copa he has a serious physical illness that HE KNOWS can and may kill him if he doesnt get treatment and yet he either doesnt believe this or, worse, doesnt care. So I dont know how clear his thinking is. His self preservation skills are low. Do you know why that is? Do you know why he wont accept SSI services that most street people accept? To make his chosen hard life a little easier? I also think body dysmorphia is serious. Its like anorexia. You have a delusional view of your body. Has he ever told a psychiatrist about this? Or his balding obsesdion. The balding obsession is ruining his life and is distorted thinking.

Your son is a very different kind of guy who does not seem to have the same priorities as most people. And maybe some delusions about his body, about balding about the government...

Now this is all up to you, but if it were my kid I would probably not expect him to act in a mainstream way. I would consider him sick physically and mentally.I would probably let him live in that house you bought with few demands, but one demand would be that he gets medical treatment for his hepatitis. I would tell him I had to go with and have written permission to go to appointments. That would be my first and maybe only demand.That is what someone like me (possibly not you...we are all different) would worry over the most. Nothing would come close with me.

I would say that getting mental healthcare could be a condition too, and fessing up to the body dysmorphia, but pushing him to do that hasnt worked before. One step at a time? I am pretending he is my child....so this is how I would prioritize. Again, it is fine if we dont think the same. My two cents is worth not even two cents. After all, J is NOT my child so how do I really know what I would do???

Getting back to my main point, in the end you can only do what you can bear. If you truly feel better when J is not there, that is a very acceptable option...to continue as is. As it stands now, J. does not serm eager to change how he lives his life. You can also bring him home with no conditions unless you want to force him to care for his liver. Whatever would make YOU most content. I think we all have a huge care and even love for you and J and truly just wish the best. We as people have to survive. We must not get sick from stress. You too!

Now I KNOW what would make you feel the best is if J changed to embracing your hopes for him. But right now that does not seem to be an option. Maybe later.

Please do what is best for you so you can stop suffering. You dont deserve to suffer.

I send you the hope of peace and the love of G-d.
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Well-Known Member
Copa, I think setting up systems that get you out of the management role is on the right track. Ultimately, you want him to be set up to be ok without your management and involvement.

It still seems to me that you are trying to control an awful lot one way or another, though. You can have a no drugs policy for the property, but how would you go about enforcing it, for J or anyone else? Aren’t you just setting yourself up for inevitable conflict? Do you think he’ll be willing to work with a bookkeeper and follow a strict budget? You say you want him to share the apartment with others - is he capable of living well with others? And how will you enforce your stipulation that he get medical care? It might help, as SWOT suggests, to really dial back your expectations to the essentials. Automated rent payment. Take care of the property.

I didn’t realize he had hepatitis. That is concerning and I hope he will do what he needs to do to get treatment. Unfortunately I don’t know you can force it if he won’t comply though. Same with mental health. I can’t get either of mine to comply with any mental health treatment.

He reminds me of C in a lot of ways. C does not want to comply with normal societal expectations either. He seems more or less happy to live on the fringes. He would like more comfortable and stable living quarters but seems unwilling to work for it. He does work sporadically, but if he had SSI I don’t think he would. He has always skated by on the minimum. He doesn’t seem to think beyond the next meal, the next drink, tonight’s sleeping arrangements. He is very well spoken and charming and people really like him, until he wears out his welcome.

I wish I had clear answers for you. I know this is hard.


Active Member
Copa, I think the same as SWOT, it would just set him and you up for failure to try to micromanage everything. Personally, knowing your situation, I would let him live there with few if any expectations other than he get medical care. I honestly don't think it would work otherwise.


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Maybe later.
I will start with this, SWOT. Because it means so much to me, that you hold hope for us.
He is very well spoken and charming and people really like him, until he wears out his welcome.
This is my son. Unfortunately as time goes by he is less and less appealing. He used to maintain his appearance. Now, except for cleanliness, he could care less. But still, people care about him, give him a hand. Normal people. When he first left here four years ago an ex- friend let him stay at his beach motel, an international destination, paying nothing for more than 2 years. My son could never understand why the help ran out. It ended with the guy telling him to not come near the place. Especially when my son started using the hoody. The hoody has only been about two plus years.
Do you really think he would work with those people? He didnt do these things for you. Why will he agree to let others tell him what to do?
You're right SWOT. I see that.
So I think he wants to live but ONLY his way. So what makes me feel he is not thinking completely sane?
I wonder myself. There are two types of body dysmorphia. One is like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Anorexia. The other is a type of a delusional disorder. I am uncertain myself. Just yesterday I looked again at the difference between the diagnoses.
Copa he has a serious physical illness that HE KNOWS can and may kill him if he doesnt get treatment and yet he either doesnt believe this or, worse, doesnt care. So I dont know how clear his thinking is.
His judgment is bad. He is in denial about his illness. He used to think he could control his illness through diet and supplements. Now he doesn't try, as far as I know. He is just in denial and says his viral load is fine, and the Doctor is pleased. (!!??)

He has some insight about the hair. The thing that makes me believe it might not be a delusion is sometimes he will refer to his condition as body dysmorphia. He is aware that he has a problem. He does have a receding hairline. He knows that other men with receding hairlines do not freak out. His friend H has less hair, for example. And my son is aware that it is his own psychology, not a realistic difference, that distinguishes him from H. He knows that. H says that when he tries to talk to him about his hair, my son just smiles. (When J lived with H and his father, he did not use his hoody in the house. I asked him why. He answered: "You have to draw the line somewhere.")

J. had a psychiatrist, actually a child psychoanalyst. (Actually, I was the main patient. So that I could cope. This was mainly until J. was about 18. Age 11 to 18, pretty regularly unless we were out of the country. The last time he saw him was maybe 3 or 4 years ago. He referred to J as self-aware. He had no idea why J. was having such a hard time. (!!??) Self-aware does not sound delusional.

But I agree, taken together, he is seriously mentally ill. The denial. The poor decisions and judgement. The poor functioning. The anhedonia. The body dysmorphia. The mood disorder. Anxiety.

I would tell him I had to go with and have written permission to go to appointments.
OMG, SWOT. I tried this. We went together on the train to the metro. I ended up collapsed. And after 12 hours on the road, he did NOT GO. He left me in a Starbucks sick, and said he would go on the street car. Within 45 minutes he was back. No doctor. That does not mean that I should not try again.

I have taken him to the laboratory for his tests and he sabotages it. I cannot control him. If there was an agreement that he will have to leave if he does not keep the agreement that he get healthcare, and I followed through, then maybe. (Maybe this episode of kicking him out may have served some role. Maybe he understands now a bit more that he cannot have everything according to his own rules and whims.) I have to have hope.
I would say that getting mental healthcare could be a condition too, and fessing up to the body dysmorphia
But SWOT. How do I do this? This has been my number one priority. I could not even get him to accept rehab after the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). He could qualify for Victim Witness therapy benefits, because he was hit on the head (the second head trauma) about 4 years ago and there is a police report. We have talked about it, to no end.

But I never threw him out because he did not follow through to get therapy. And I never made it a condition of coming back, that he have it in place (already) and maintain it. Like everything else he promised. And it was just words.

Maybe I could set as conditions, to come back, you need to set up therapy, have a schedule in place, have gone to your first visit.

And the same with the liver. Get tested. See the doctor. Have medication and be medication compliant.

Maybe I did not push hard enough. I am so confused. Did I push too hard or not enough?
I think we all have a huge care and even love for you and J
Thank you so very much. It is reciprocated and greatly appreciated.

So this is where we are now:

Treatment for his liver.
Mental Health treatment.
Pay rent, with an automatic deduction.

No property manager.
No roommate for now.

Thank you SWOT and Elsi.
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Well-Known Member
I would let him live there with few if any expectations other than he get medical care. I honestly don't think it would work otherwise.
Thank you very much Caretoomuch.

I am agreeing with you. The hurdle I cannot get behind is his taking care of the place. He is a pig. M will go crazy and come to me with constant complaint. M is the one who has worked hard to fix the place up. It is newly painted, new kitchen, virtually new bath, new floors, new wiring, etc. It is not too much to expect that the place not be destroyed. When my son moved in last time, the tub was clean. When he left it took somebody 4 hours to clean it.

I had proposed to M at one point, to have a house cleaner come and work with J every week to support him to clean on a regular basis. And to have him pay her or him. (I know somebody who would do this. She charges very reasonably.) M was adamant, no. That J had to do it. Well. There has always been conflict about this. What do you think about this idea?

I am understanding that the point here is to remove as many points of contention as possible, and to anticipate all areas of potential friction.

So here we are:

Prior to coming back, if he wants to:

--Medical treatment for liver and treatment compliance.
--Set up therapy, and go.
--Automatic payment of rent.
--Pay for someone to help him comply with keeping place clean.
--I really want to say no drug use on the property; and no smoking inside the unit. (I checked. It is legal to do so.) Do you really think this is a mistake? I would do this for every tenant. Even though I could not and would not monitor it.

I just read that the HUD rental agreement has a no-drug provision. It is not really enforce-able except in drastic situations. But it is a matter of principle.

Thank you very much.
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Copa I am so sorry. I did not mean you should push him. I was not being rational, just wishful. I think you pushed as hard as you can. If he wont do these things...your attempt to guide him have been gallant....then you cant force it. You have done MORE than you can! That trip to the doctor sounds like a nightmare. I would not do that again. Also, is it possible for the hep b to go i to remission? Goneboy was born a Hep B carrier and it has never required treatment at all. Ex tells me everything. I would know. Now I believe your son had active Hep B? If so can that become less dangerous by itself?? I really dont know.

As for mental health this is one place where you cant force him becsuse what he tells the doctor determines treatment. About eating didorders. I dont k ow a ton of people who have them but I was close to two. One was my sister snd my other was a dear friend. Both knew they had them, but they still did the dangerous stuff that makes an eating disorder a danger. Honestly, my sister never outgrew it! She is a walking stick who diets if she sees she is over 100 lbs. She wears a size 0 and probably fits into childrens clothing. Sadly one of her kids seems equally obsessed with her body weight and exercise and Im sure my sis thinks she is normal. So she knows, regarding herself, but is also in denial. So maybe its not a delusion as much as a serious form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) with depression. I cant say. This is one mental disorder that passed me by!! At any rate, she is 57,??58?? and never addressed her eating disorder and never will and she is still alive. So it is. But there are certain personality traits thst go with anorexia....maybe your son fits them. But forcing him to see a mental health professional is useless if he doesnt want to go. I would drop both requirements. All requirements.For YOU. Dont set anything up for failure.

I think its great thst M fixed up the rental house but I still think his feelings about J living in your house and the conditions in which he lives there should not keep you from peace of mind. This is my goal lol. Your peace of mind. I think a housekeeper is a great idea. The thing is, you can not both please M entirely and soothe yourself by letting J live on your property. M is forcing you to make a choice and that isnt fair. He is the one who is demanding these conditions and rules on an adult child who is not his child, that he didnt raise. I think he needs to gently be told to back down. He wouldnt be living with J and does not need to clean that residence. He shouldnt even go inside. If J lives there, it is his place. For too long you two have tried to police J and that is daunting, sets up conflict and doesnt work. It caused many fights between you and J. Would you let J live there if M was not in your life? This is important to think over. What would Copa do?

If your heart needs t,o know J is safe then I think no conditions is all that will work. Its not fair but if you feel better with him there who cares if its fair??? This would be for you, not him. He does not serm to learn whether in the streets or in a house. So this would be for you. Just for you. You are allowed to do this just for you. Not for Js growth, which at this moment is limited. Or to appease M. It would be something you do just for yourself. And your ability to talk sensibly to J will in my opinion expand if your relationship improves and he is helped with no policing. THEN perhaps you can get through to him. But mostly this is for you.

And its okay to do it for you. And, no, you cant and shouldnt have to please anyone else, even M. in my opinion he is too involved with your adult son. And although he doesnt mean to, sometimes he causes strife by being tougher on J than YOU want to be. It should maybe only be about you and your son. M doesnt know what its like for a child to be uprooted from another country and the baggage J had from birth. He loves J but I dont think he understands his challenges. But you do.

Bottom line...you don't need to suffer anymore. Please dont. Do what will make you whole, whatever that is.
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Copa, I agree with SWOT - do what you can bear, what will give you the maximum peace. It’s hard when we have partners who are not our children’s parents. Sometimes we have to follow our own instincts and do what is right for our children, even if they do not agree.

And remember that this does not have to be a permanent decision. You are allowed to change you mind later. You are allowed to say this isnt working. You are allowed to change conditions at a future date.

If you can get him into medical care and mental health care that would be huge. If you can break the sense of entitlement and get him to agree to pay something towards his own upkeep maybe that’s all you can expect right now. You can grow from there.

On cleaning. Perhaps give him the option. You can pay xx a month and do the upkeep yourself. Or you can pay xxx a month and we will arrange to have someone go twice a month to clean for you. Your money, your choice. But if you say you’ll do upkeep and don’t, you’ll lose that choice and have to pay xxx, and agree to let the cleaner come in. This is an adult choice we all have to make - do something ourselves and save money, or pay someone else to do it.

On the hair - would he consider shaving his head entirely? The shaved/bald look really works for a lot of men! C lost his hair early and was very uncomfortable with the receding hairline. He was much more comfortable when he just shaved it all off. He’s naturally bald now, but has grown a really thick beard.


Well-Known Member
Thank you SWOT and Elsi.
a child to be uprooted from another country
SWOT. He was born in the USA. In the same city I was born in.
The shaved/bald look
He did this. He looked great. His symptoms overtook this strategy.

I just told M that I want J to come back. (Although my son has not called me.) I called his friend again yesterday and left a message.
because what he tells the doctor determines treatment.
There are forms of treatment now, body-based, that are not mobilized or constrained by what the client says. I know because I am doing it. It is physical. The principle is that the body holds trauma, and then behavior is circumscribed by patterns that are non-functional or limited.
Would you let J live there if M was not in your life? This is important to think over. What would Copa do?
So. I told M and now we are fighting. He was not mad, initially. His response was: you change your mind. You change your mind all of the time.

And that galled me. How is this about changing my mind? I have a child who is living on the street. We kicked him out 7 years ago. He is 10 times worse.

Making him suffer is not helping. It is making it worse. You have the hypothesis, if he faces the winter and suffers, he could learn. I am not willing to try that plan. I know that now. Your kids, do you want them living in the street?

M: So J doesn't have to change at all?

I am not saying that. I am saying that for me to keep doing the same thing that does not work, only gets worse, is wrong. I am talking about changing me. If it ends up that our relationship cannot tolerate this so be it, but I do not want to insist that he live outside for the winter, to make him change. Because there is no reason to believe that it will work. Suffering has not motivated him.

M: You won't let me talk. I can't voice my opinion. You just want to talk, and that I should listen.

S: It is how you talk. You make me defend myself. Think about the position I am in. Why is it right that you make me defend myself? This is not kind.

I understand that you feel all of this is my fault. Well. I am the same person I have always been. But more vulnerable and less able to deal with this in the way that you believe would be effective.

But basically there we are. There is no other Copa. And I do not want to insist that my child be in the street. I cannot take it. I want to find a way to go forward.

How could I defend my position? Why should I defend my position? I am tearing up. M is a hard ass and he thinks he is right. I wish I was that way.

I think if J calls me I will suggest that I travel to where he is or we can meet halfway and that we sit down in a restaurant to talk about the situation. I will go alone. That is if and when he calls.


These are my current baseline thoughts:

Medical treatment. (SWOT. There are people that do not get ill from the Hep B. It is dormant in their bodies. Like Goneboy, they carry it. But J's is active.)

Some psychological/somatic treatment.

A neuropsychiatric exam.

Automatic payment of rent.

A housecleaner (or some other alternative).

Nobody is mentioning my no-drug policy. I think each of you has suggested I let the marijuana go. I don't know what to do. This is M's absolute priority.

J's friend H's father hates the marijuana, too. That is why J had to stop living there. H uses the marijuana away from the house, and does not bring it home. My son lived this way when he lived with them. I do not know where they stored the marijuana, but they worked it out. Is this unrealistic?

I feel some sense of peace today. My son would not participate at all. He promised and promised and promised he would do the above things. He is responsible for his choices. He was the one that refused to pay rent. He said it was because he had unanticipated costs (he had not returned a movie, so they charged him. Did I cause this? No.) And two years of unanticipated costs, so that he could no pay rent? No.

And I feel at acceptance (this moment) about M. If our relationship ends, so be it. I will deal.

Please opine again on the marijuana. I am grateful for your counsel. Thank you.
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Copa, why does M get the final word? This is not his child. He can voice his opinion. But in my opinion the final decision is yours. He does not know how it feels to have a child on the street. Pot is legal in CA. I dont like pot but I also dont like alcohol. Should I walk away when my kids have a social drink? Of course not. Should I not attend Jumpers wedding because probably everyone will get tipsy at the very least except for myself, Hub and Sonic? Should I take my principles so far that I alienate my daughter forever? I wont even consider this.

I think perhaps M is forcing this on you and its not fair. He is not in this situation. He has a large family too. You dont.

If J lives on your property and you let him be who he us for now and your relationship gets close and loving again, you could probably talk better to him and he IS going to mature (he is lagging way behind) and if he doesnt see you as the enemy, he may listen to you more as you grow a relationship again. Do you, in your heart, accept NO relationship with J? Is that acceptable to you? I am choosing to have a not so great relationship with Bart over none and nobody has been able to influence this. I need him in my life even if nobody else understands.

I know you hate conflict. Not a fan myself. Talking about things doesnt always resolve things though. People can be stuck in their ways. M sounds kind but very stuck in his thinking. That doesnt make for good compromising. In the end, this will be up to you.

You can ask yourself if appeasing M is worth completely losing your son and having him so angry at you that he may disappear. Goneboy has been gone for fifteen years. He will never be back. My other kids and grand and hub sustain me. But your son is your only, your heart.

I thought J started out in an orphanage abroad so I guess i was confused. He still had a difficult start.

I hope you can for the first time ever consider what YOU need above even M and do it. Whatever you need, I think it should be what you do. M will get over it if he doesnt like it. Or not. This is about you and J only.

On your side all the way!!
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Copa, on the marijuana I will say I do not find it useful to create rules that I know in advance I have no way to enforce. You can have a no drug policy at the house for all tenants if you wish, but I would not get into the business of daily enforcement. It would only be something you could pull out as something to use for eviction if it came to it. Outside of that, it just seems to me to be needless conflict to put this rule in place you know he will not follow. I would focus instead on the end results. I want you to take care of yourself and the property. I want you to be financially responsible. It may be the case that he can’t do those things without giving up the weed, but that’s a separate conversation and a conclusion he will have to come to himself.

Again, I’ll say if C gives up drinking and weed but is still living on the streets, too belligerent or irresponsible to hold a job or get along with roommates, blowing what money he did have on movies and fast food instead of taking care of his essential needs, I would NOT be happy. If he gets to a point where he is holding down a job, paying rent on time and maintaining an apartment, taking care of himself, and staying out of trouble but is still drinking socially and smoking the occasional joint I will consider those things none of my business. I may hold the belief that the one is not possible without the other. That is MY belief. But C’s journey to the end result - a safe and stable life - will have to be his own.

I agree with SWOT that the decision you make here should be YOUR decision. M has input where things directly effect him - his effort, his finances, his comfort in his own home, etc. Of course you should respect his wishes when it comes to things that he is impacted by directly. But he should not have veto power in how you choose to relate to J, and the expectations you hold J to, outside of those criteria. Or how you choose to spend your own time, money or resources when it comes to J.

Perhaps you can say, I respect your input, but I have to do what I feel is right for my own child. I am not asking for your permission, and I am not asking for your help. This is what I have decided to do. It is not going to affect you, so please respect my right to make this decision.

And once the decision is made, I would just say, I am not going to discuss this any more right now. I have made my decision.

One more thing I would add - I also have a policy of not offering help that has not been asked for. J has not asked for anything yet. It’s good to be clear in your mind on what you will or won’t do. But that doesn’t mean you have to make the first move. I would let him know the door is open to talk again. But you don’t have to jump in with an offer. Let him ask first. He may surprise you. But if he’s not asking, I would say he’s not ready.


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Else you are kind but new here.

You get upset when you worry about C and S but you still function. And you have other kids. I have been here over a decade. Copa has been here maybe three years. I have followed the story.

She can not function without her beloved J and J is completely unwilling to follow any rules and does not change. If someone cant function because their only child is on the street I think its time to think about oneself. Its nice to set boundaries but J wont follow them, he will choose the streets and Copa will not function. Its different with her than us. We may get sad or frustrated but we still function.

I feel being estranged from J could kill Copa. Under those circumstances I see nothing good coming out of conditions. She needs him safe for her own health and well being. I think for her health she needs to have a close relationship with him evrn if he makes no changes. This is not true of most of us but her only family is him and she loves him more than life itself and cant just let go. So I feel she has a right to do anything to stay close to J, even if he wont do any rules at least for now. She NEEDS him. This is not about fairness or J, its to me about her.

Copa please forgive and correct me if I am wrong.


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This is not true of most of us but her only family is him and she loves him more than life itself and cant just let go. So I feel she has a right to do anything to stay close to J, even if he wont do any rules at least for now. She NEEDS him. This is not about fairness or J, its to me about her.
Yes. This is true, SWOT.
M sounds kind but very stuck in his thinking. That doesnt make for good compromising. In the end, this will be up to you.
M is fine now. He backed off. We did not again talk about it I will just do what I want, and I will not again speak with him about it until and if it is a done deal.

I have good news. And J called!!! At first he said, "I don't mean to be hostile or sarcastic, but...(I forget what he said after.)

I set it up this way: J. We have a choice here. We can either start out from the framework of the past, or we can decide to start from where we are now and communicate from the heart with the intention to come together. We can see we have a common interest which is your own welfare and mine. It is your decision. I want to talk and I want to work together, but I cannot choose for you.

So. We kept talking. J proposed that he come here for a visit to talk about things, and I said no. I said it was an accident waiting to happen to not work out our intentions and commitments first. And he agreed.' We agreed that I would travel to a small city close to where he is and he will meet me there, if near the train station there is a café or restaurant where we can talk. I told him we could do this as many times as we needed to, in order to reach agreement. We agreed to meet this coming Saturday.

I did broach that there are non-negotiable things for me. One is his medical treatment, and that he right now could handle that, if he chose. And I brought up the neurospych exam and an MD referral. And he brought up the money, that he did not know why I rejected the idea that I hold his money and dispense it to him as he needed it. And I responded, I would prefer he used a professional for this, and not me. And he also brought up the psychotherapy. Except again it was to say that the University Clinic will have openings in January, that it is a sought-after program. See. He knows.

So there was the beginning of communication. Except for the beginning wariness, the only other real sticky part is when he began to talk about some World Trade Economic thing that happens next week, and I would not go there. (I held my tongue with the chemtrails.)
If J lives on your property and you let him be who he us for now and your relationship gets close and loving again, you could probably talk better to him and he IS going to mature (he is lagging way behind) and if he doesnt see you as the enemy, he may listen to you more as you grow a relationship again.
But C’s journey to the end result - a safe and stable life - will have to be his own.
It is interesting. My son's only mention of M was in a good way, that M and he had agreed that it was a good plan that he turn over his money to me, to hold, not to manage. J corrected me, when I said, "I do not want to be responsible to monitor your choices, or to take responsibility to manage your money." He responded: "That would not have been the plan. It would be to hold the money to give me a chance to be conscious, not impulsive in my decisions. It would support me to have more oversight."

I have hope. I am going to look right now to see if there are restaurants within walking distance of the train station. He said he would call back in a couple of hours but in any event I have his new phone number now.

There was no mention of marijuana. Not by me. Not by him.

Thank you everybody. Thank you SWOT and Elsi. Can I consider you both, my friends? I have never ever had better ones. I wish I could meet you some day, to thank you.


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Copa we have been friends for a long time. We shared deep, hard secrets in FOO and you helped me heal. I wish you and Else and I could go out for coffee roght now!! I give you a virtual hug!!

I am over the moon that J called and sounded very willing to work with you AND M. I do believe that once you are close again he will be more willing to listen to you and not feel as if he has to do it his way. The rebellion thing. He will at least talk to you. So great!!

Copa even my very well adusted child Jumper has told me that being adopted is a challenge. Now I KNOW she is crazy sbout us. She did not mean it to insult us. But during her middle school years, when she was, like all kids, trying to figure out who she is, she said something interesting.

"Adoption should be considered a special need."

I hugged her and tried to ask more but she said not much. I don't think she could define it other than that it can be hard.

Jumper had texted her birthmother during that more difficult time (our permission) and she seems fine and very attached to us, but I think that such a well balanced tween saying that means that there IS more to finding your identity if one is adopted. She is fortunate that I love her birthmom and she was able to contact her when she needed to. I hope we all meet again.

in my opinion adoption is an extra, confusing layer of growing up without seeing who you look like and why adopted kids are more in therapy and jail than others percentage wise. These are facts.

But Jumper, Sonic and Princess overcame it and are not struggling with criminal behavior and neither is J. I think adopted kids feel easily abandoned so we need to be careful NOT to abandon them. We (both my hubs and I) did not adopt kids thinking that it would necessarily be easy. And with Goneboy and the foster kid who did bad to our littles, adopting kids ended up very challenging but I would adopt again. I would not give up my other three for anything. Anyone. Ten biological kids (I dont consider biology better). I woyld do it again and again to have them.

But I am very mindful of never making my angels feel abandoned or not part of us. Like you, my kids are my heart and loves of my life. I would add that to me THEY are my people, my DNA, my flesh and blood...they are a part of me that I carry forever. I suspect you feel the same about J. So I get it. Your connection. His need to feel loved and wanted. But his adoption fear of abandonment.

J probably wants go desperately be a part of you. I feel as though you two have an everlasting connection. I also feel that this is the start of better things for you two. I know you love M, but I wouldnt let him destroy this bond, your only family. People with huge support systems may not get it. But I think I do.

Im so happy J called! That made my day!!!

Hugs!!! To my friend from your friend :)
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Copa, I am just getting caught up on this thread. I too am very happy J called, and I hope this all leads to a place of reconciliation and healing for both of you. You and J will be much in my thoughts for the next few days.


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I am over the moon that J called and sounded very willing to work with you AND M.
Thank you, SWOT.
being adopted
SWOT. In J's case it was compounded by our discovery when he was 19 that he had the Hep B. He felt infected (he was) and abused by his birth parents. He despises them. And thereby he despises himself, for being a part of them.
J probably wants go desperately be a part of you.
I feel as though you two have an everlasting connection.
We had an immediate and profound connection. The love between us was instantaneous and unquestioning. We recognized each other as mother and son in the first seconds. He spontaneously called me Mama. He did not know who I was. He recognized me.

Paradoxically, I think the strength of our connection has made this last decade so very difficult. We have had to fight to separate. Not just him, but me.

Interestingly, M and J got close first, before M and I. Each of them were drawn strongly to the other. M thought J was the most impressive young man he had met in this country. (Part of this was the language. You know how few young people bother to learn other languages. Part of it was J's manners and how articulate he is, and his social skills.) J thought M was an incredible guy.

But as soon as M and I became a couple, BOTH they came to knock heads. The real people in them came out. J articulated he felt left out and jealous. He was able to tell me. "Mom. It has always been just the two of us." I felt so guilty I could not continue the conversation, to my discredit.

But I knew that at 20, 21 years, J and I had to pull apart. That the same intensity could not continue. I could not renounce a relationship to remain in a dyad with my son.
I also feel that this is the start of better things for you two.
Oh. How I wish this would be so!

I was impressed that my son was willing to talk to the extent he did. And he did not ask for anything. He was the one who set the date for our meeting and he did so a week out. He seems willing and wanting to work things out.

I will not let M sabotage this. His aim is not to sabotage. His aim is to impose his views and will. And I have let him. Because I have been lost, and not known what to do.

I had always been guided by love. And when J grew up, love could not be the compass, because that very love came to be something that he had to resist. I was disoriented and lost when my love for him was an obstacle, not a solution or the main event.

I am a little bit afraid. Because of the hope. This is a step. It is not a solution. Nobody changes in a conversation. Not me. Not him. But you are right. Things turn a corner, where there is a before and an after. I will pray that such is the case.

It has been a long time since I had a conversation with my son, that reassured me to the extent that did this one.

Thank you SWOT. Very, very much.


I am unclear why I was ready to do this. Clearly. This could not have happened, until I was ready. I do not know what changed.
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