My son is about to be homeless...again

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by raylea, Nov 20, 2014.

  1. raylea

    raylea New Member

    Hello everyone,

    Long story short: My son (24 yrs old) moved to Seattle with nothing, basically the clothes on his back. Lived homeless for about 6 mos, got housing through a homeless "housing" program and got a job. I thought he was on his way to a happier life. Well, hes quit his job, is about to be evicted and calls me to rant about everything under the sun. He tells me he suffers from aspergers syndrome, ptsd, depression and crohns disease. Okay, the crohns and depression were diagnosed before he ever left but the aspergers and ptsd is something hes just come up with. He saw a counselor breiflybut said he didnt know what the h*** he was talking about and wanted him to take medication, which he is dead set aginst.

    I have suggested he file for disability due to the crohns because I know when he is having a flare its impossible for him to function. I know hes not eating right because of being broke and having to eat at shelters which aggravates the crohns.

    I am in no position to help him out financially. My mom (his grandmother) adds minutes onto his phone monthly just so he has a life line to us but thats all she is willing to contribute.

    I almost hate to take his calls anymore. Just dont even know what to suggest to him.

    Any advice would be appreciated. I know I cant fix his situation or solve it for him but need help on how to not feel guilty for not being able to.

    Thank you all so much
  2. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Raylea,
    I am so sorry you are going through this. It is not an easy thing to deal with but you are not alone and will find lots of wisdom on these pages. My difficult child is 33 and also homeless. I think you have done all you can in offering the suggestion that he file for disability. His grandmother is very generous in adding time to his phone and she is smart to draw the line there. He is a 24 year old man that has made a choice to live his life the way he wants. I have found over the years that my difficult child only contacts me when times are tough and he is in need of something. I too have had to endure his rants about how horrible his life is and how stupid everyone is and on and on and on. I have learned to not engage him or try to discuss anything with him as it only fuels his temper. I keep my comments very simple.
    Remember that you do not owe him anything. If you are like so many here you have already bent over backwards to try and help him. You have NOTHING to feel guilty about.
    While you will find wonderful support and advice here I do hope you have an immediate support group or some type of counseling.
    Wishing you the best
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. I wanted to add my sadness at what you are going through. Honestly, I have learned it's best not to say too much. When my son asks for things, I am short and sweet: "I offer you my love and emotional support. You are a smart, capable man (I always make sure I use the word man) and a survivor and I'm sure you can figure it out without me." If he persists, I repeat, rinse, repeat. "You are a smart man. I know you can do it. I am not able to help you financially, but I will always love you." He will probably get angry, cuss and hang up, but in the end you are teaching him to take care of his own needs and be an adult. Whether he learns your lessons is totally up to him. You did your job. You taught him to be a good person and how to succeed and he chose to ignore what he knows.

    These adult kids tend to be very good at two things:

    1/Twisting arguments until we are so dizzy we give in
    2/ Blaming us for their own bad choices and again making us feel so guilty that we give in.

    I don't give any advice. It's not like they don't know what we are telling them or that they do what we suggest. So I don't waste time with that.

    Do they ever call to ask us, "Mom, I am worried about you. How are you doing? You need anything from me, even just emotional support or love?" They tend to surface mostly when they want something from us...usually money, often for illegal stuff, like drugs, although they will claim they haven't eaten for a month.

    "Give them roots to grow and wings to fly." The way they fly is their own path. I, like you, don't have enough money to even consider helping any of my grown children out financially so that particular question never gets asked of me. I'm glad. I find it offensive of our difficult children to expect financial help for their bad habits and for living in ways we don't approve of. Do your own is none of our business how our grown children decide to live...but don't expect me to fund you when your bad decisions (in my opinion) fail.

    by the way, my brother has Crohns. Got it at twelve and was very, very, very sick many times. I'm sorry he has that going on. It would be so much better if your son would take good care of himself but, of course, you can't force him to do that...

    Hugs for your hurting heart.
    • Like Like x 2
    • Winner Winner x 2
    • List
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2014
  4. raylea

    raylea New Member

    Hello Tanya,
    I so appreciate your validating and thoughts. Its amazing (sadly) how so many of us have the same stories. I, like you, just sit and listen when hes going on and on, I actually CANT get a word in edgewise, and then his bus arrives or he gets to where hes going and says "ok, i gotta go". He has no vehicle and it seems like he usually calls during his walk time or wait time for the bus.

    The only person I have to lean on is my mom. My dad has pretty much written my son off and gets irritated when the subject comes up. He probably doesnt even know mom puts minutes on his card. My boyfriend is an unsympatheic jerk (another story, another message board..ha). Im a pretty private person so dont really care to talk about it with friends, plus I hate the idea of others passing judgment on my son. It seems like you bring up the word "homeless" and everyone gets some negative opinion going. My ultimate wish would be to see a counselor, not just about my son but for other things but just cant afford to. I am so thankful, for those reasons to be able to find this message board.

    Most days I feel confident about what I feel and do but today just wasnt one of those.
    wishing you the best as well :)
  5. raylea

    raylea New Member

    Hello MidwestMom,
    Your words are very wise, they are exactly what I feel in my gut but then my emotions get in the way. Its so disheartening to watch our intelligent children flounder and struggle. Sometimes I wish someone would just tell me exactly what to do, step by step to navigate life. Thats completely unrealistic of course so why should I feel I should be able to do that for my son, right?

    Thank you for taking the time to encourage me
    hugs to you as well
  6. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Just wanted to say I empathize.. my oldest has Crohn's, and is Borderline. I know all too well that parenting a difficult child who also has a chronic illness is very challenging, especially when it comes to detaching and worrying about their health. She was close to homeless a few times over the years, slept in her car or couch surfed here and there. She's been more stable the past few years (mentally and physically) but she's taken pretty inconsistent care of herself over the years and it's catching up with her. She's flaring again and it's looking like more surgery. The newly added medications are making her moods unstable again. She hasn't been able to work for several weeks now, and I'm helping with some prescriptions and groceries.. but I can't afford to support her completely. Disability for Crohn's isn't an easy thing to get, but she's ignored my suggestions to look into it, anyway.

    You can only do what you can do.... but I know it hurts, and is pretty scary. To be honest I keep my head in the sand a lot about the Crohn's part, and just try not to think about the future. I help with what I can, but she's almost 31 now.. she's got to figure this one out on her own. Her choices. If those choices lead to her health worsening, well - I can't do anything about that.

    I know it's a tough place.. hugs.
  7. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Raylea, you've received good advice from the others. I am so sorry you find yourself where you are with your son, it is a difficult and painful place to be.

    As a support, you may want to read the article at the bottom of my post here, on detachment. It can be helpful information. You may want to contact NAMI, which is the National Alliance on Mental Illness. You can access them online, they have chapters in most major cities. They offer parenting courses which are extremely helpful. I received a lot of good advice and support from them. If you want to go to a therapist, you can contact Social Services in your region, they can usually give you a list of therapists who do sliding scale. You may also benefit from 12 step groups. Even if you are not quite a "fit" they can be of enormous help and support for folks. You may have to dig around a little to find a group that works for you. I found CoDa to be helpful.

    It's pretty difficult to be in this place alone without any support. It doesn't sound as if you have much support and in order to make the changes necessary and to be able to find our own joy and our own peace, outside support is usually a very good thing to have, often necessary because lets face it, this is pretty devastating for us parents. We need a place to go to vent, cry, get compassion, understanding, support, guidance, information and nurturing.

    My daughter is about to be 42, suffers from some kind of mental anomaly, she won't get diagnosed or get help, so I don't know what it is, but it is 'something' which prevents her from having a 'normal' kind of life. She is presently homeless with a warrant out for her arrest. Like your son, she used to call me constantly with a litany of requests, drama, blame, manipulation and was extremely distressing. Over time I developed boundaries, learned to step back, say no, refrain from acting, giving, offering advice, judging, resenting, worrying and hurting. It takes time, but you can detach and learn to accept what it is that you cannot change. You are powerless to enact change in someone who will not get the help he requires. He is an adult. There is nothing you can do.

    You might start by telling him you cannot do anything for him, he needs to make the changes for himself and that it is painful for you to know every detail when he doesn't heed your advice anyway, so you are going to limit the time spent listening to him. Figure out what you want to do. Then tell him. "You can call me once a week and we can talk for 10 minutes, that is all I am willing to do. I trust that you will find your way." Or whatever it is you are willing to do. The relentless calling to you is exhausting and debilitating. There is nothing you can do, you are powerless. Ask yourself what you are seriously willing to do and what you are not willing to do. Then set boundaries. You cannot save him.

    This is hard stuff Raylea, get yourself some support and find ways to be kind to yourself, to nurture yourself, to give to yourself. Focus on you now. Take the focus off of your son and place it on YOU. Learn to take very, very good care of yourself. Keep posting, it helps. I'm glad you're here.
  8. one sad parent

    one sad parent New Member

    Thank you. I am a new member just learning about this site. Your words in this post were so wise. This is exactly what I'm going through with my 22- year old son. He does twist my words until I don't even know where I stand. Thank you for the reminder to keep my responses simple.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Nell, if you ever want to "talk," you can start your own "new thread" just click on those words and start one. You'll get a bigger response that way.

    Welcome to our family.