Homeless 46 year old daughter and a son in jail

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by jodiehooks, Aug 2, 2016.

  1. jodiehooks

    jodiehooks WEARY MOTHER

    Today I am pondering all the good advice and examining my ability to stick to the things I know I need to stick to and how I handle grief and anxiety. This is not an easy task, especially for those who have experienced homeless children, or children who live lifestyles that are very dangerous for different reasons. I would like to think it would be easy to know the path to take, and take it and not look back, but in my case I just at times fall apart in the face of possible harm to either of my adult children. Not to say I disagree with any of the known detachment processes, just that I am at time unable to detach due to fears of my own, so I am trying to meditate on this and see if I can get better at it. I really like this forum and am glad to have all of you for input.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    JODie, sometimes I'm too quick to say that the grown kids stop addiction faster if they are homeless. That must be so scary for the parent. My daughter who used found a place to stay so she was not happy where she had to stay, but she was safe at home.

    It must be terrifying.
  3. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    ((HUGS)) to you!!
    I know how hard it is, I've been there too many times.
    While being in jail is never an ideal situation and has it's own safety issues, I felt my son was safer in jail that on the streets.

    I think you are very wise to take time and meditate on this before you do anything. As mothers sometimes our initial reaction is to go into savior mode and that is not always the best response.

    There are no right or wrong answers, we as parents can only do what we are comfortable with. We are not obligated to bail our adult children out of the troubles they find themselves in.

    Please update us and let us know how things are going.
  4. jodiehooks

    jodiehooks WEARY MOTHER

    I am unsure of what actually helps, I think it is an individual matter, each addict or troubled person is different. What works for one won't work for another. I believe in boundaries but with compassion. I believe that with love you can detach, not with anger. It is hard when they cause trouble and you are being annoyed to death.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Jodie, if one thing worked for all we'd all use that method and there would be no more addiction.

    Wishing you a peaceful day.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    It is hard when they cause trouble. They don't have a "right" to disrupt our lives - and some of their disruptions can be serious.

    However... I have to continuously remind myself that nobody ever died from being over-annoyed. And trust me... my super-challenging-adult-kid is extremely annoying, most of the time.
  7. jodiehooks

    jodiehooks WEARY MOTHER

    too funny, but true. Not really funny, but sometimes humor helps.
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  8. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I always feel like I don't have anything new to add, because the same things keep helping me, so I am forever reposting things I have posted, before. But Jodie? Here are the things that help me.

    The concept of "toolbox". Knowing, when I've received That Call, that even if I can't recall any of what I've learned right in that moment, I do have a toolbox of ideas. That helps me very much.

    The concept of FOG: Fear / Obligation / Guilt

    When That Call comes in the middle of the night. That is the feeling of FOG. If we can name where we are, then we can give ourselves time. Just a breath or however many breaths it takes.


    For me, understanding how to detach ~ I couldn't do it. Then, once day, I finally got it that what everyone was talking about was a twofold thing: First, we need to unravel what it is to enable. Enabling is harmful to our troubled kids. Enabling turns them into beggars who believe, because that is what we inadvertently taught them, that if only the story is bad enough, we will help. That is the danger to our children in continuing to enable. Recovering Enabler posted to me once that we can tell if we are enabling if we resent the helping, this time.

    That was priceless, to me, to know that.

    Our resenting the help we give is a key part about what changes helping to enabling.

    When we decide to stop enabling, FOG is overwhelming. The skill we need then is detachment. We need to detach from the emotions, from FOG.

    To accomplish the above skills, I needed phrases, I needed words to say. Because what I wanted to say was: Yes. What I knew I needed to say was: No. What I needed to say was: "You are bright and strong and well able. I love you. I am right here with and for you. I no longer believe I am being the best parent I can when I fix things for you. So, I'm not doing that anymore. I love you."

    There is a link at the bottom of my posts having to do with how to speak with our adult children. It helped me very much.


    It helped me to learn how to suffer.

    Doesn't that sound strange. It helped me to learn how to bear it. I googled the Mary, and the Christ. Paintings showing the raw suffering of a mother whose child suffered.

    That helped me.

    Sometimes, there are no words.


    Albatross gave us the concept of living in the rabbit hole ~ of living in Alice's nightmarish Wonderland where nothing is as it seems and the Red Queen is coming.

    That helped me.


    Learning about the possible genetic component to personality disorders and addiction helped me see both my children and myself with compassion.

    This song helped me understand that loving doesn't have to be perfect ~ helped me understand the pain in loving that turns into suffering and how to bear it.

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  9. jodiehooks

    jodiehooks WEARY MOTHER

    How true, but as I am a problem solver, this is frustrating to not be able to manage my own anxiety and behavior in regards the my children's problems.
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have diagnoses of generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, panic attacks, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) thinking and severe depression/mood disorder. Quite a load!!!

    I decided I just did not want to waste my retirement skipping the fun I could have and fretting over the things I could not control. I used to think (not sure why) that if I didnt worry, things woukd be out of my control and get worse. I am not sure why I felt that way, but I got anxious NOT worrying and, in the back of my mind, it was a sick Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) superstition. "If I dont worry things will get worse," This really impacted the quality of my life.

    I finally decided I needed to fo to the wall for ME and do the maximum for ME to get better.This meant diligent, good therapy, not talk therapy (for me talking about it did not change it.) I needed concrete coping skills; a toop box. I did not have any tools.

    Always a researcher of mental health and a logical thinker, I checked every method over the internet and in books. In my 30s cognitive behavioral therapy had helped me tons. Although it didnt eradicate my anxiety, I wasnt really focused on anxiety either at the time plus CBT was new. It did help my self esteem, social fears and my vuiew of the world as a whole, which was huge. HUGE.

    In my 50s I read about a new therapy that combined CBT with the idea oif mindfulness (learning difficult skills to keep me in the NOW) and accepting reality, even if I wished it were different. While dialectical behavior therapy was first established to help borderline personaliry disorder (and it did...and borderline is hard to help) it is now used for everything. I have changed so much from DBT, including being able to sometimes live IN THE MOMENT (something I used to think I could never do at all) to radical acceptance, meaning accepting what IS reality, good or bad, without judgment, even when I wish it was different. This has truly changed how I cope, and how we cope is everything. It is a big part of who we are ..how we cope.

    I also realized that it is irrational to think that if I don't worry about something, it will get worse. Instead, after hard work, which I was willing to sweat to learn, I now live with the rational and calming view that even if I destroy myself with worry, life will be no better or worse for others. It will not change. Worry does not change a loved one, unless, like me, we resort to magical thinking. I also have dtopped a lot of catastrphizing about the future. It doesnt do one good thng to predict the future in our minds, and, yes, we can learn how to diminish this. After a while, I even laughed at it when my psychologist told me with mock sternness that she did not think I quite had psychic powers. Struck me as funny and I laughed loud and long.

    Jodi, your son, chose his lifestyle for nearly 50 years, and may have it tough when he gets out of jail. Whether you worry about that or enjoy your life, this will still stand. Catastrophizing wont change things one iota. He will be clean out of jail and has a chance to stay clean if he chooses. Your worry won't change his decisions. Also there are services to get parplees jobs if he decides to use them. Again, if you worry enough for a heart attack, his decision wont change. So why risk your life over it? He is an oldster now. He understands everything. Not one thing regarding your excessive worrying about him will accomplish good things for him if, as a man his age, he chooses his same lifestyle. Some people like living dangerously.

    I never dreamed I could drop the catastrophizing and let each day unfold without horrible anxiety that hit me before I even totally woke up in the morning. Anyone can get much better, if I got so much better. Not perfect. Just much better so I can enjoy my life and focus on the good times ahead. IT requires you to take a commitment to heal from toxic anxiety and self_destructive l behavior, same as an addict. Its not easy. it is doable, like kicking addiction to substances.

    We are worry addicts. we must help ourselves. Worry kills, like drugs do. Maybe more often.

    Will things be better for anyone if you are dead? Do you want to die with so many potentially good years left? Do you have a spouse, other family, friends who you can have fun with? If not, you can build a support system. We are not the only people with kids in trouble. We can all still enjoy life. You can make friends at senior centers, book clubs, church, hobby groups (such as crocheting), volunteering, line dancing, many options.

    I hope I didn't ramble. Fear I did...sorry.

    I hope some of this helps you. You do not have to be a slave to anxiety. Find a CBD ir better yet DBT mental health professional and do enhance that with DBT self help reading. DBT is special to me. The skills taught are new and invaluable for worriers.

    I also recommend AlAnon.

    Good luck from the core of my heart.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2016
  11. jodiehooks

    jodiehooks WEARY MOTHER


    Thank you for sharing. The more I read other people's stories, the more I realize that I am like a lot of people and it gives me strength. It helps me know that my struggles have been experienced by others, and the advice I read is helping me. As for me, I have had a therapist for over 5 years, the same one and she has helped me a lot. I have had a much more stressful life than just my children. My father was a case and a half and caused me a lot of stress as did my mother. My father was diagnosed by the armed forces as a paranoid schizo and spend years of his life wandering, not able to hold a job, professing his love of god to anyone who wanted to listen to him rant, all the while committing crimes ranging anywhere from murder to theft. He thankfully stayed out of my life long enough for me to grow up and wonder what happened to him, which was he died on the streets of Phoenix, after being released from a prison mental ward, and wandered around for 3 months starving, finally dying on a loading dock. Hence my fear of losing another loved one to homelessness. My mother was a depressed woman who had no spine, and cried a lot, but refused to and still refuses at age 83, to get any type of help. She fed us, clothed us, but had no insight to raising us, nothing to offer us to give us any strength to live our lives. So, I had a rough start, depression, anxiety, bad decisions. At this age I feel better than I did as a younger person. But for my difficult son and daughter my life may be as normal as can be expected. I lived to get a decent job, and live a relatively peaceful life on my own. I do have a long term relationship, play rhythm guitar and have many interests. I am so glad I found this website, it is such a comfort to have all of you.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Jodie, I am so sad that you have a "rough" family. My parents were too. My mother disherited me and tossed me to the trash before that. My dad is still alive and still abusive, but it doesnt bother me anymore. He is 92 and I believe he had personality disorders that makes him unable to love. I get your fear.

    I am glad you have a good therapost snd fun activities. Try to focus on yourself This was hard for me, but I never did change one other person but me.
    I have had good luck making myself happy.

    In the end, we can not change anyone but outselves.

    Hugs!!!! You are a good person. Time to take care of yourself first :)
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  13. jodiehooks

    jodiehooks WEARY MOTHER

    thank you so much, I am lucky to have found you all here, it inst the same as therapy but in some ways better. I did try AL-anon. I couldn't find a sponsor and felt that the people in the group had all been there so long that they were complacent. So I stuck with therapy and other forms of support. You seem to do very well and you are a a great blessing to me, thanks again.
  14. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Jodie, I think sometimes we see our feelings as something to "fix" and we end up making ourselves even more anxious, adding a label of WRONG, instead of just accepting that what we are feeling is a natural and appropriate emotion for a parent to have in these situations.

    What would change, if we just allowed ourselves to FEEL...anxious, or angry, or sorrowful, etc., without adding the expectation that we have to alleviate it?

    What if we could just relax into it and say, "Of course I'm going to feel that way. I'm their mother."

    As COM has said, feelings aren't facts. We don't have to act on our feelings, especially when our actions won't fix anything.

    All of the things Cedar mentioned above have helped me too, and so many others. One I remember still makes me smile...Cedar's description of a pirate woman hiking up her skirt and calling out to her son's captor: "Go ahead! I will make another!" What great fun, imagining having that mindset with our difficult ones. But it also pointed to a truth I think is easy to lose sight of. We are stronger than we give ourselves credit for. Our passions and feelings are evidence of that, not a sign of weakness.
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    Last edited: Aug 11, 2016
  15. jodiehooks

    jodiehooks WEARY MOTHER

    How true and thank you, easy to forget sometimes to relax!!