43 year old homeless son

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by MarieCS, Oct 22, 2014.

  1. MarieCS

    MarieCS New Member

    I started this thread in the general forum and was told it would be better to use this forum. Bottom line: my 43 year old son has been dependent on me forever. He lives in CO and I live in MD. I got him a phone so he could stay in touch but he "lost" it for the umpteenth time. I finally took away the credit card I'd given him when he started racking up thousands of dollars on it. That was about a year and a half ago and he has been all but homeless since. I kept sending him $ through friends but was no longer paying his rent. He called last week to ask for $ and I told him no. It hurt and I am so worried about him. He called again today, desperate. When his friend arrives in Nov. all will be well he says but until then he needs a little cash. I again refused. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. This group helped me when I first posted. I am again reaching out. I know this is the right thing to do. It just helps when others agree.
     
  2. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    Absolutely it is the right thing to do. When we cut them off financially, they are savvy enough to find someone else to pick up the slack. The guilt you feel is a way your son keeps you entrapped in this situation that should have ended so long ago. Also, if he is homeless, the government can provide him with a phone and minutes. If he doesn't want to go that route that is HIS problem. Giving him phone, after phone, gives him the ability to stay in contact to manipulate you.
    Maybe you need a while of NO CONTACT - to see for yourself that he will do just find when you back out of the situation. He is a 46 year old man - taking advantage of you. What he is doing is caused financial abuse. Do you have enough money to take care of yourself through retirement?
     
  3. MarieCS

    MarieCS New Member

    We need to work several more years to continue to live like we live now. If I had not been paying him all that $ his whole life it would probably take a whole year, maybe more, off of my working life. I know I've sent him more than 100,000.00 over the years...maybe more. Meanwhile, I have another son, 3 years younger, son #2, who works and is in a loving relationship with a lovely girl. But even there I am paying off his $27,000.00 school loan that I stupidly cosigned for because he can't keep up the payments. I have been a $ sucker all my life and I shockingly never realized it! What I could do with that cash like remodeling the 34 year old bathroom in the house!
     
  4. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    Only asking because so many people keep giving, giving, giving, without realizing that the difficult child (so : Gift from God) is unable to be there for you in your later years as witnessed by their current state of affairs. Expecting that result (them caring for you) is fantasy, pure and simple. I think that you should consider all the ways this son has victimized you: Mentally, Emotionally, physically, financially. When you can first see yourself as a victim to someone who is either mentally ill or has a personality disordered - then can you begin the long path to cutting their poison behavior out of your life. It is not for the faint of hearth but YOU CAN GET THERE from the first no - and sticking to it. Stop taking the calls and try to stop worrying. You came to a great place to get support - and from what I can see people on this board will hold your hand through whatever path you take as long as you need and ask for it.
     
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  5. MarieCS

    MarieCS New Member

    Well, I guess it is becoming serious now. He called me back. I said it was never ending in the previous conversation and he just said well it IS ending. " I will either starve to death or die of pneumonia. I just can't take it anymore. It's ending." he said in response to my ? what do you mean by it's "ending"? He's telling me he's dying! That he is suicidal! he said "Good bye. I'll maybe talk to you later, maybe not. Goodbye." Then he hung up. I was speechless. I didn't want to give in and I didn't. But what if something does happen to him? OMG. Really scared.
     
  6. MarieCS

    MarieCS New Member

    Thank you 2much2recover for your kind message. I am struggling right now...especially after his last dreadful call.
     
  7. newsolutions

    newsolutions New Member

    Has your son ever been in any type of program to learn life skills? Rather then sending him money or cutting him off, you could give him the ultimatum to go to a program where he will learn to be self reliant and independent.
     
  8. MarieCS

    MarieCS New Member

    I had taken him to psychologists in the past but he hated it and refused to continue. Music is his passion so I sent him to a music school in LA and paid for his room and board while there but he would only involve himself in the playing but not the studying of music and eventually quit. He is mentally ill I am certain of that but I cannot get him to accept that and to seek treatment. Added to that now is the fact that he lives in CO and I am in MD and I have no way of contacting him unless he calls me. He is homeless and lost his phone which was his only lifeline to me.
     
  9. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    Your man-child difficult child is 43 years old. You deserve a break - do not feel guilty that you need to take one. The further out you get in NO CONTACT, actually the better you feel. Reason? You start getting your own life back, which by your post, difficult child has been stealing your peace of mind for a very long time. I can not say it is easy but it is one step at a time.
     
  10. newsolutions

    newsolutions New Member

    My daughter was in a very unsafe situation with her mothers drug abuse. I spoke with my support group about it and the best advice i got was "she is not your daughter, she is God's daughter". Now not being much of a religious man, this made me think. After prayer I spoke with my ex wife and she agreed to get help and I got full custody of "God's Daughter". I know your situation is much different, however the moral values are the same. There are programs out there that help people with these life skills/mental disorders that your son is expressing, along with interventionists that will go to the streets where he is located and intervene on him to get him into the proper placement.
     
  11. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Often when we discontinue the financial gravy train, our kids react in dramatic, sometimes violent, almost always highly manipulative ways. He is used to getting what he needs from you by applying guilt, so think about it, if guilt has worked, he will now apply a lot more guilt, the "I'm going to die" is the trump card often used in one way or the other. If you feel he is serious, call the police and report a possible suicide threat. Tell your son every single time he threatens that, you will call the police. It's hard to work ourselves through those kind of threats, but give it serious thought before you respond in your usual way. At some point in this dynamic, someone is going to have to change and let's face it, it's going to have to be you, he has a big stake in you staying the same.

    Don't allow your son to squeeze all the life and money out of you, you deserve your own life. There is an end to parenting in the way in which we continue to take care of them. It's your life, grab hold of it and take care of YOU.
     
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  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Do you think he is mentally ill in the way of being psychotic or do you think he perhaps has a personality disorder? If it is the latter, he knows exactly what he is doing and he can change if he really wants to. He has no reason to want to change, if you keep helping him be the same way he has always been.

    On religion: Hate to say it, but, although I'm sure there are examples of it working, religion isn't very successful in changing addicts. Actually, nothing is. Ther person has to want to change first.Then some addicts even quit on their own. Even atheists who find other ways to grow stronger.

    And, RE, good advice.
     
  13. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    MarieCS, I am so sorry this is happening to you. We are all familiar with this kind of story...sort of unbelievable to anyone who has not lived through it themselves! ONe thing seems clear to me...if you respond to his call by sending him money, you will get more calls just like this whenever he wants money. There is really no world in which a 43 year old should be expecting support from his mom...like you, I was very liberal with money, and I am suddenly realizing that...every $100 I gave away (and there were many many many hundreds!) is another day of work for me...so I have added years of work onto my life! Which is OK, but I don't think I recognized the clear tradeoff until recently. And then...what will happen when you have given it all away? Or when you are gone?

    I am sorry he is reacting so vigorously. We do see this over and over...they escalate when we change the rules, expecially if it means they have to figure out a different way to get what they want or need. First...they try banging on the same door they have always used, only louder! That is what we would all do...I always go this way, right, so if the door is closed now I should bang on it, no kick it, no break it down...before I go for a walk and look for a different route.

    Suicide threats are very scary. It is OK to call the police and alert them, and to let your son know that you love him and because you love him you are going to take his threats seriously and do that. Sending money won't prevent suicide. That just isn't an equation that works.

    Hugs to you sad mom.

    Echo
     
  14. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Marie, I have a 41 year old daughter who has some disorder, I am not sure what since she hasn't been diagnosed, but suffice to say there is something amiss in her thinking. In the last 3 years I have practiced detaching, one step at a time, with a lot of professional assistance........I also raised my granddaughter who is now off in college this year. As I little by little removed myself from my daughters sphere of influence over me, I have observed my life growing and expanding in every possible way. It is astonishing to me how much more money I have, when it's given out in increments ALL THE TIME, it's harder to see the size of the amount. My days are calm and peaceful, I have much more energy since it isn't spent figuring out how to handle each drama that is continuous in the life of our difficult child's.

    We are in our 60's Marie. It is time to let go. A 43 year old man needs to "man up" and find his own way. When I let go, my daughter began finding her own way. Is it the way I would choose? No. It isn't. But she is floating through her own life on her own terms without my interference nor my continuing assessing where she is on my own scale of success. She has a very different perspective on life and I have had to accept that.

    As you step back inch by inch, with a lot of support I hope, your life will improve in every possible way. It is not easy. It is a new learning curve for us former enablers, but it gives you your own life back. At some point in time, we are supposed to be separate from our kids, to know where they end and we begin, enabling keeps those lines unclear and in my opinion, it is to everyone's detriment.

    Stay the course Marie, hang in there. We're here for you. We know the terrain.
     
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  15. MarieCS

    MarieCS New Member

    I am so grateful for all the affirming responses to this hell I am living with. It is really helpful as I feel there is no one I can tell these things to other than my husband (not his father). Everyone else's kids are just peachy keen. I cringe when the topic of kids comes up because I don't want everyone to know what a failure he is because I feel it reflects on my ability as a mother. I did not make him turn out right. I failed and I failed at the one thing that everyone else seems to have done perfectly and easily. I actually know that this is just venting and probably not the way it actually is but that's how I feel and I haven't had an outlet for these feelings before so they are all gushing out here. Thanks to all who are listening and responding. I can't tell you how much it means to me and how it gives me strength to see your posts. I knew I was not alone but having this place to speak out and be heard by those who have been there and moved on is just so gratifying.
     
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  16. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    I, too, have banged my head against that bad mother door endlessly. Once I had enough of my 40 year old difficult child I had a lot of thoughts about my mothering (first went no contact 4 years ago than talked for 1 year now at no contact again). In truth, I am a nurturer by nature - this my difficult child daughter takes advantage of. I say she is a sociopath because I have discussed it with my Dr. One big tip off was as crawling and walking toddler, if I would tell her no-no, say playing with an electric cord, she would crawl/run as fast as she could to put her fingers down her throat an make herself vomit to stop the "no -no" In other words at such a young age, already had figured out how to manipulate and control situations.
    Through out the years I have met and played with many other children and they love me because they see and FEEL the nurturer that I am. With difficult child her needs are like a fountain I can never fill. Exhausting.
    It sounds to me that you - as a mother - have gone above and beyond to "help" your son and like my difficult child daughter it is a fountain that can never be filled.
    Cut yourself some slack - you have done the best that you can do. At this point in your life your difficult child son has discovered that the only way for YOU to have PEACE of mind is if you pay for it. The BUCK STOPS WITH YOU. At his age he deserves no more money from his parents. Period. You are doing the right thing.
     
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  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Don't be so sure that what people tell you about their grown kids is true. There are a lot of us out there.

    This has nothing to do with our parenting. They are in their 20's mostly...some are older. By that age, they are making their own decisions.

    Did any of you ever read "A Child Called It?" the true story of abused child David Pelzer?

    He never got into trouble, never went to jail, has tried doing good all his life. And he was severely abused...I think the book said it was t he third worst child abuse case ever recorded in the huge state of California.

    We do less to make our grown children what they are than biology, I'm conviced. Psychiatry is heading in that direction as well. We know that things like bipolar, schizophrenia and autism (which is actually not a mental illness) run in families. So do personality disorders. We can't control the cards they deal with, maybe because when we were very young we picked a crazed boyfriend to have a baby with. And his DNA is in our kid, even if the kid never sees him. Or maybe it is in our own genes. Mine is. My family tree is a horror show. Yet I took a chance and had a baby.

    Wow.

    I adopted my other kids.

    In the adoption world, you learn, by talking to so many adoptive families, that usually their adopted children turn out to be more like their birthparents than the family that raised them. When all people finally meet, I have heard stories of how shockingly alike the children are to their birthparents, even sometimes using the same facial expressions and hand gestures.

    If they were dealt bad cards, they can still change them if they work hard in therapy and in life. Most of them would rather us do the hard work for them so that they can sit back and do whatever it is they do. I don't believe any of us should be a "mommy" to a man in his mid-late 20's, 30's and 40's. I have been told by professionals, and I also believe in my heart, that this stunts their emotional growth if they are inclined to suffer Peter Pan Syndrome.

    Marie, you have put in enough time and your son is not different. It is his doing, not yours. You can't change him. Only he can change himself. I'm sorry he pulled the suicide card. Most of our grown kids have done that one, often to manipulate us into handing over money. I've been on this forum for about fifteen years and I don't recall even one difficult child actually committing suicide, at least that we heard of here. If they really mean to do it, why would they tell us?

    When my son used to threaten that, I hung up (he lives two states away) and called 911 immediately. He stopped using that card.

    You know what? Many seemingly well adjusted people commit suicide. We can't control when somebody ends his or her life. And we never know who that will be. Usually, though, if they are serious, they don't want to be found out or rescued.

    You take care of yourself. You earned your Warrior Mom stripes.
     
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  18. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    You are being abused by your son: Emotionally, mentally AND Financially!! Just thought you might like to hear that. No, you are not crazy and you are not doing anything wrong. Your own son is using and abusing you knowing what to say and the power that it has over you. Control and Manipulation are the words you are looking for.
     
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  19. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    No Marie, you did not fail. You are a victim of not only your own guilt and sense of mother responsibility but of a culture that blames parents, especially mothers for what their kids do. It is almost inevitable that we will suffer the agonies of the damned on this path, beat ourselves to a pulp wondering what we did wrong and how we can fix it.

    The other part of that is that many of us measure our worth as people by how well or how badly our kids have done. To take a bow for our kids accomplishments or hide in shame for our kids failures although common, in my opinion, is inappropriate and not the truth. Once an adult, any accomplishment or failure is the sole responsibility of that person, not his/her parents. We guide, support and cherish our kids and what they do with that guidance, support and love is entirely on them.

    It was very helpful to me to have therapists and this board continually tell me that I was not responsible for my daughters behaviors and choices. I thought I was. It took a village to convince me otherwise. But as I started seeing the big picture in a completely different way, with my daughter at the helm of her ship and me on the sidelines setting boundaries and staying separate, my own life began to flourish.

    Presuming you are at fault, that your sons life choices are your responsibility and that his choices reflect on who you are as a person and a parent is what will keep you very stuck in the merry-go-round of enabling. It becomes a vicious cycle within which you are a hapless victim because you believe it is all somehow your fault. It is most assuredly not your fault. Even if you made mistakes, even if you were a bad parent, once a person becomes an adult, they then launch into their own lives and whatever happened to them will be their task to figure out. As it has been for you and me and most people.

    Unless your son is psychotic, unable to know right from wrong, unable to care for himself because of a severe mental illness, he is responsible for his choices. Not you. I have a schizophrenic brother and a bi-polar sister, both of whom have a constellation of diagnoses along with those, and both of them are cognizant of right and wrong and neither of them manipulate anyone else to get their needs met. A wise person on this board, who actually has a number of diagnosable mental disorders told me once, "Mental illness doesn't give you a pass on personal responsibility." That sentence changed a lot for me. My daughters obvious "disorder" whatever that is, kept me hooked into continually helping her. And nothing ever changed. I just got older with emptier pockets and more and more depleted in every possible way. We cannot endlessly give without any return without that causing a severe deficit in our lives.

    You will need to be the one who changes this dynamic. You will need to learn a different way to respond. Often that way is to not respond. Step back. Wait. Give it time. Our difficult child's often require instant gratification, if you aren't going to get on that bus on his time table, he will up the ante with you, make it seem as if only you can save him from whatever terrible fate is presently your doing. But if you step out, wait, leave it alone, he will have to figure out another plan. Over time, you will re-train him. But, it will take time and it usually isn't easy on us. All our mother guilt buttons get pushed over and over again, until we stop reacting to them.

    You're at a crossroad here Marie. It's time to choose you.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014
  20. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    I've never heard it put like that before but that is the harsh truth of what is behind a lot of the manipulation we see around here. Ouch.

    Marie, he is 43. His choices and their consequences are his to bear at this point.

    How generous and supportive you were to encourage his musical abilities by not only paying his tuition but also paying his living expenses while he went to school. There are SO MANY young people who can only dream of having parents as supportive. His decision to play it and not exercise the self-discipline to learn about it is his failure, not yours. It is a consequence he must bear, not you. You COULDN'T "make" him turn out right or wrong or any way in between. That is a power we don't have, no matter how much we try to force or sacrifice.
     
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