Adult child choosing to be homeless

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Carol B., Feb 4, 2015.

  1. Carol B.

    Carol B. New Member

    Has anyone been dealing with this? MWM your I, I, I, Me, Me, Me post hit home. For the past three years my son, who just turned 30, has chosen to be homeless. We (I) have gotten to a point that I refuse to help him try to figure things out, especially since he is telling us that he wants to be in charge of his life. A little background, we moved from one state to another--hubby's job---he was struggling back at home, we helped find an apartment and he transferred his job to where we are. Things were good for a while, then he got with a group of "friends" that used his gullible nature. This is a person that has had learning disabilities since he was 3, friends haven't been easy to come by, and he is a follower. Having said that, within the past 5 years he has managed to get into drugs/drinking and who knows what else. Three years ago he decided to run away from everything and become homeless.

    The guilt we feel is overwhelming, as we have done our best to drive him to interviews, type up resumes, teach him how to budget--help him on many levels with that, helped him find places to live after getting kicked out of a couple places...what we thought parents are supposed to do. He basically, without words, told us to blank off, since he ran away from life. He even ended up into the hospital seriously ill and could have died from it, although that had no effect on him.

    The problem I have at this point like MWM is how selfish he is when he calls it is all about him. His dad had major surgery recently, when I told him it was like oh really. Not even a tell him I hope he gets well soon.

    Just need to know I am not alone.
  2. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Carol, welcome!! You are not alone.
    There are many here that have been through it all. My son is on and off homeless. I too have tried everything to help him and yet he manages to screw things up.
    It hurts so much when our children treat us with such disdain and disrespect.
    I'm glad you found this site, you will learn skills to help you cope and to detach.
    Yes, they are so selfish, it's as if they truly believe the world revolves around only them.
    It sounds like you and your D H have done all you can. You get to the point where there is nothing else left to do but let go.
    Read through other pages on this site, there are years of experience and advice from those who have weathered the storm.
    ((HUGS)) to you....
  3. Carol B.

    Carol B. New Member

    Thanks Tanya. I did find this site sometime last year, just have been happened. I think I just need the support system that this site provides. One our biggest concerns is the fact that he keeps saying he wants to get out of the situation and doesn't want to be on the streets anymore, yet he can never get that accomplished. We feel that part of his inability to move on is not having a consistent place to live, he refuses to get into programs that can help him--too much religion pushed on him--is what he says. We wish there is a way that we could anonymously help him get a room with someone. We figure if he has a place to be, obviously living with us is out big time, that would give him that portion of stability, and not have to worry (at least temporarily) about rent money and could focus on finding a job and getting situated that way. We also feel that if he knows we are helping then it is the issue of, yeah--mom and dad came through again.

  4. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Hello Carol and welcome.

    I don't know if it's an option for you, it looks like you've tried before...but my husband and I have co-signed an apartment for our son (19 years my signature). It's dirt cheap - as apartments go - $285 a month, and we can afford it if he doesn't pay the rent. It's only a six-month rental. We told him by then he has his life together and pays his own rent or sleeps in the streets, his choice.

    Granted, right now he is looking like he'll sleep on the streets. :( But he has been given EVERY chance to get his life together, including a place to live while he does it.
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  5. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Even if you helped him anonymously the outcome would be the same. If he truly wanted to change his situation then he would. One thing I've learned is if our difficult child's can survive on the streets then they have what it takes to get a job and turn their lives around. Living on the streets takes effort and smarts.
    Using that religion is being pushed on him is just an excuse. Again, if he really wanted to change then he would accept the help that is offered.
    My D H and I gave our son more chances than I can remember. We paid for apt's, clothing, food, auto, etc....... we did everything we could to take the "stress" off of him so all he had to do was focus on getting a job and keeping the job.
    After all we have done for him he has had the nerve to say to me "no one has ever helped me or cared about me"
    You know the old saying "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink"
    Of course he doesn't like being on the streets, of course he wants his life to be better but he is the one who needs to do the work not you.
    I know how much it hurts, I've been there.
    Hang in there!!!
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    There are avenues of help that do not involve religion. I call "excuse" on that one.
    Yes, having a stable base helps... only if you're prepared to do what it takes to get that.
  7. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    We have done the rent something / co-sign for both our kids. It is a good thing to do because then we know we tried that already. If things continue to go downhill, knowing we have done what we can allows us to look into our own eyes in the mirror.

    Or, while considering this option, we may come to clarity with ourselves about why we do not want to take that kind of action.

    Either way, mental and emotional clarity, freedom from guilt, from shame, from self accusation ~ these are the things that must become our goals I think, if we are to recover and rebuild our lives.

    None of this is easy.

    I am sorry this is happening. It is almost impossibly hard to come through it in one seamless piece. But you are here with us, now.


  8. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    At 30, there isn't much more left to do. This adult "child" is just that, stuck in perpetual adolescence. There is nothing more left to do by anyone but your son to turn his life around. I do believe in the new psychological term "delayed adolescence" bu you son is way past that age. He has made his choice that life is too hard so he is just not going to participate - doing so now at his own peril. I don't know anything that you can do with someone who doesn't want to help themselves AND has an entitled attitude. I think anything that you would choose to do to help him would always be a one time effort on your part because your adult child clearly doesn't want to help himself. Because he has no insight about his motives and issues, the only tool he has left in his toolbox is to blame others for his life choices. Don't fall for it. Read the article on detachment here on the site. Also realize that your son is going to escalate mental and emotional abuse (yes the same kind as in other domestic violence situations) any time you don't give into whatever he wants from you. At 30, you have done your job as a parent. As for him, you too must put away childish things - like giving in to temper tantrums.

    Also I always like to remind parents to remember that our "children" are entitled to their feelings no matter how screwy we may see them. He has the right to be angry, to rant and rage with his feelings even when they don't make sense to others. That is the right of every human being. Having said that you also have the right to your own feelings and to be free from being manipulated by the feelings of your child. So is summary, he has the right to his feelings and you have the right to ignore them and do what is the right thing to do for you (no responsibility to cave to his feelings, rantings or demands)

    If you do not learn to detach and move on to the happy life you deserve, years will pass by and you will be dealing with the rants and the raging of a 60 year old when you are in your 80's. Sounds wonderful? NOT!
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  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Carol, I agree with 2m2r, her post is very clear.

    Welcome. I'm glad you're here.

    Your son is an adult and he has made his choice to live the way he is. You do not have to continually pay for his choices. Whatever you allow will continue. Often what perpetuates our continuing to help our adult troubled child is our own fear for them. Living in that fear is terrible. For me, the way I found my own way through that fear, was with A LOT of support. Professional support, therapy, programs for recovering from codependency and therapist lead parent groups. Fear can take over your life and deplete every ounce of joy. Considering that your son is an adult and you have absolutely no control over his choices, the only recourse you end up with is to choose how you are going to respond and how you are going to feel. You can learn how to change in those 2 areas with support.

    Guilt will rob you of your own life. There is little we can do to alter the course of an adult's life. We are powerless. That powerlessness is difficult for us to accept. Getting to acceptance of what is, is the path most of us here are on. It is not in any way, shape or form, easy. But, it is often the only path left. Getting there is treacherous which is why I always strongly suggest you find yourself support in whatever way feels right for you.

    My daughter is 42 and chooses to be homeless too. I've been in your shoes. I get it. YOU have choices. Focus on YOU now.

    Keep posting it helps. I am so sorry you find yourself in the situation you are in with your son. Hang in there. We're here........and we're glad you found us.
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    At his age, I wouldn't pay for any apartments or any places to live. He has the option of getting a job and finding very cheap places to stay. Some are week-by-week pay. You can give up all your retirement, your health, and your wonderful golden years to this little darling who is now a man...and it won't change him. He needs to be on his own and decide to join society or stay an outcast. At least, that is my thinking.

    You don't want to be 85 years old with a 60 year old "child" still living with you, on your dime, having ruined the best years of your life. It happens. I pity those who are not able to say no at some time. Please don't feel guilty. It is his life now. You have done all you could and it didn't work. Now it's his turn to do all he can.

    If he can't take care of himself, have him apply for Disability through Aging and Disabilities. They will set up free testing for him and a job assessment and see if he is disabled by state standards. If so, he will get SSDI and services. That is on him too. However, having learning disabilities usually does not make one homeless, but if he thinks he can't live life, he can certainly try to get services. My best guess is that he chooses homelessness so he has no rules or accountability and is free to abuse drugs at will. And he probably sells them too. Don't worry. Junior knows where to get meals and to sleep if he wants a bed, but he has to be sober to have a bed. The meals don't matter...he can get meals regardless. They know where to go on the street. There is a whole community there.

  11. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Welcome Carol,

    Many of us have adult kids who are homeless or who have been homeless. I think some of them have more or less purposely set out to live that way, at least for a while. I have no experience with homelessness, but I have learned quite a lot about it through the experiences of forum member's adult kids that have been shared. It seems scary, but they seem to do OK and have somewhat of a network of support out on the streets.

    Keep posting, it really helps.
  12. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Caybre,

    I'm glad you found this site. There are so many here that have been through what you are going through. You are not alone.

    My son is also homeless / couch surfing. He is 33. I know how you feel. First and foremost, you are not to blame and you have no reason to feel guilty. You did not create the mess he's in. Our adult children make their own choices and we have NO control over what they do. He is an adult and should be taking care of himself.

    There is a good article about detachment at the top of the Parent Emeritus forum.
    No, letting go and detaching does not mean that you don't love him or care about him. You are allowing him to hold your emotions hostage and he knows it. He is counting on you feeling guilty so you will give in and rescue him. You cannot help someone who does not also put forth effort to change the situation.
    If you do anything for him you will be enabling him not helping him.

    This is not an easy journey to be on but know that you are not alone in your heartache.

    You will get more responses by starting a "new thread" I will do that for you and move your post.

    ((HUGS)) to you.....