struggling mom

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by struggling mom, Apr 23, 2015.

  1. struggling mom

    struggling mom New Member

    Looks like I may have found an appropriate forum . My son is 33 and I am now single st 54. Feels like my heart rips apart at times. My son has been homeless with issues off and on since he was 18. I know I tried my best with flaws of course but at times the guilt is overwhelming!
     
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome to the forum. There must be more to this story and we'd love to hear it, although we are sorry you are having a hard time.

    Your son is 33, nearing middle age. You have NOTHING to feel guilty about. Whatever is going on, he is old enough to be making his own choices and certainly too old for you to be taking care of him. If he is drug addicted, it is up to him to get into treatment and stay sober. You can not do it for him nor is there anything you can do to make his life better. This is on his shoulders, regardless of his past, regardless of the mistakes you may have made because, as you said, all of us have made mistakes.

    If you share more we can help a little more. Sorry you had to come here, but happy to meet you. Kind people are here.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    StrugglingMom, i am right there with you. My son is 26 and is off and on homeless, with issues. This is the right place to be. The other parents are dealing with similar situations to ours. It makes such a difference when others understand, having been through it themselves. They will show you how to deal with the guilt, as nearly all have struggled as do you. You will see that the guilt gets in the way...solves nothing...and does not help your son. Welcome.
     
  4. struggling mom

    struggling mom New Member

    Thank you, it is a combination of mental illness and addiction. He us proving we are wro
     
  5. struggling mom

    struggling mom New Member

    Just finding other parents that understand, I suddenly find for the first time in a long time, tears are flowing. thanks for letting me know I am not the only mother feeling this. Hoping we all can find peace ! Thank you all!
     
  6. struggling mom

    struggling mom New Member

    It seems part of my post is missing. I am very confused. He is a veteran discharged for issues. His issues include both substances and mental but the dichotomy is that as a homeless veteran , he has had perfect attendance and almost constant president s list in college. Yet he has been arrested right before several times, been very threatening and volatile and stolen as well as having criminal friends. He refuses mental help or substance counseling. I feel very confused and somewhat helpless with him
     
  7. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Struggling,
    I am reading along. Please know that we are with you. Stay with this forum. Keep posting. You will receive much reinforcement. My son recently turned 34. No time in the service, but many problems.

    It is difficult, but you will get support here like no place else.

    I am so sorry.

    Know that your life will soon get better, based on what you learn here.

    SS
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  8. struggling mom

    struggling mom New Member

    Thank you, I think it's time for me to learn how to live with this. Think we all have the same bleak fears and I don't know how to accept them..tears still rolling. ....feel like no one can understand without being here. I give much of my life helping animals and people and can't help my own loved one..
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  9. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi Again, StrugglingMom
    It is time for us, now. To rest, to heal. People have choices, including our sons. That is not to say we abandon them. Rather, let them be men....and find their way. We will always love them but our love no longer makes it better as it did long, long ago.

    It is your time, StrugglingMom, and it is mine. Of course we are afraid. I too work in a role where I help others. That has been my identity, too. I understand the pain of having all of the love in the world...and it does not help. The other Mothers and Fathers here...well know this pain, too...that our love no longer helps these grown sons and daughters. Here you will learn another way....I am here with you...and so are many, many more.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List
  10. struggling mom

    struggling mom New Member

    Thanks but how do you come to grips with the mental issues? I feel so bad that it's not his fault, the paranoid aspect means without force he won't medicate and I do know it's beyond me. Even medicated he will choose to stop. I would and can do more for a wounded animal than I can for my son.
     
  11. struggling mom

    struggling mom New Member

    I hope I am not opening the emotional wounds for others
     
  12. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welome struggling Mom. I'm so sorry you're going through this with your son. You've arrived in a safe place where we understand how you feel because we've been in your shoes.

    You may want to read the article at the bottom of my post here on detachment. Detachment is what is now necessary for you to do with your son. YOU will need to make the changes, it is unlikely that he will at this point. You will need to set boundaries around his behavior and learn to respond differently. It is not easy to do, in fact, it is very difficult because it goes against all of our natural tendencies with our kids. We want to help, we want to support them, we want to love them. However, none of that is going to change him. You cannot control his life, only he can.

    That guilt you feel is a part of this for us, however, it not only serves no purpose, it will keep you stuck longer. The guilt is a product of what you believe you SHOULD be doing and letting it go will likely take some help for you. I highly recommend you find a therapist, counselor, support group or some kind of professional assistance. It is very difficult to do this alone. You might call NAMI, they have excellent parent courses which will give you some guidance and information for an adult child who has mental issues. They can assist you in getting help for you. You can access them online and they have chapters in most major cities and towns.

    I have a 42 year old daughter who has mental issues and refuses help of any kind. She is presently couch surfing in a relatively safe place and apparently can stay there indefinitely. I've been exactly where you find yourself, a mere 3 1/2 years ago. I was devastated, exhausted, angry, filled with guilt and sorrow, resentful, cried a lot and felt I had no where to turn. I knew I could not go through this alone and I sought help. I found a codependency program offered by a large HMO here in California which offered private therapy and a parent group. It changed my life. I learned the tools necessary to change the pattern I had developed with my daughter......I received support to make those changes.......I learned what my part in the connection was and I changed how I responded. I learned to let go of the guilt and I found peace within the chaos of having a troubled adult child. I found this forum and began writing down how I felt and receiving guidance and support from others further along the detachment path. I went to 12 step groups, I read a lot of books about detachment and letting go, the ones which helped me the most were books by Eckhart Tolle, Pema Chodron and Brene Brown. The Power of Now and the New Earth by Tolle and any book by Chodron but especially Living with Uncertainty.

    This is a process. It's challenging and doesn't follow a linear path. It often follows the 5 stages of grief, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Not necessarily in that order, often we cycle through them repeatedly.

    My advice to you would be to continue posting here, it helps considerably to be heard and acknowledged and to not feel alone anymore. Find a therapist or someone to help you through this. Read books that guide and inspire you. Take the focus off of your son and put it on to YOU, where it belongs. Every single day, do at least one kind and nurturing thing for yourself. Begin to say no and set boundaries. Take a step back and refrain from your usual responses........take your life back, you deserve to be happy and feel serenity. It is time to make your life the priority.

    I'm glad you're here. You're not alone anymore. Sending you a hug for your wounded heart.......take care of you now.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • List
  13. struggling mom

    struggling mom New Member

    I am lucky enough to have a counselor but some of my issues havent been addressed yet. It helps to see parents further along in this, to know I am not the only one and to have more resources. Thanks everyone!
     
  14. struggling mom

    struggling mom New Member

    One more question, finding the right counselor. I have benefited from those that rehash the past, I know I am codependent and need counsel but my best counselors have given me constructive and sometimes painful critique and life tools. I have relocated sometimes and am trouble finding one that works and males me work
     
  15. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Welcome to the forum Struggling Mom. I'm glad you found us but sorry you had to.

    I also have a 33 year old son who is basically homeless. He manages to couch surf but has yet to hold down a job or do anything productive with his life. He likes his alcohol and pot and I'm sure there are other drugs too.

    We have all been where you are. It is such painful thing for a parent to go through and other parents who have not lived this have no idea what it's like. This forum is full of people who know what's it like, the ups and downs, sleepless nights, worrying, wondering, crying, anger, fear, anxiety, etc.....

    RE gave some good advice about reading the article on detachment. It really helps.

    As much as you love your son you have to understand that you have no control over the choices he makes. There is no amount of "help" you can offer him that will make everything ok.
    Oh that mothers guilt. Something about being a mother, the innate way we nurture and try to make everything ok for our children and when it's not that darn guilt sneaks in and consumes us. The thing is, we as mothers do try and make everything ok for our children, we do the very best we can for them and with that, we have nothing to feel guilty about.

    I by no means was a perfect parent and no such person exists. We have all done the best we can and we have made mistakes and when we made mistakes no one swooped in to save us. It's the same with our children. Once they become adults and make poor choices and mistakes we must fight the urge to swoop in and save them.

    One of the best things you can do is to take your life back. Start with little things. Find something you enjoy doing and do it.

    Keep posting here and reading other posts. We are all here for each other.

    Hang in there.

    :staystrong::group-hug:
     
  16. struggling mom

    struggling mom New Member

    I am so thankful to be here. Counseling gives us tools, friends - ears and shoulders but till now I have felt alone. THANKS!
     
  17. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You might try contacting NAMI and inquiring about a counselor through them. Because they are all about mental illness, they may be able to provide you with a roster of therapists who specialize in how to parent a troubled adult child. I found them to be very helpful and their parent courses are very good.

    It does help to be in therapy with someone who is well versed in having to deal with troubled kids as a result of mental illness, substance abuse or conduct disorders. The codependency course I entered was part of a very large Substance Abuse Program affiliated with the HMO I am a member of. The people who ran it were all trained in substance abuse, mental illness and codependency, so I was really getting the very best care for my particular issues with my daughter. Make some inquires through NAMI and through your health care provider, you may find a program you can enter that your insurance covers.

    If not you can also attend codependent anonymous groups or Families Anonymous or Al Anon. Any 12 step group that fits and you feel comfortable in. You may have to "shop" around for a group that works for you, they are not all the same. Many parents here have gotten their lives back through these programs. I never found one that I continually attended, but in the worst of times I just went to be surrounded by folks who knew what I was talking about.

    Feeling alone in this territory is awful, so I just kept putting myself in supportive environments. It helped a lot and I believe shortened the time I spent suffering over things I had no control over. I was so ready to stop the struggle I was really willing to do whatever it took to get to a place of peace of mind. My entire commitment through it all was to find peace of mind. I didn't even know that was a possibility when I began, but turns out, IT IS!

    Hang in there Struggling Mom, this is not easy, but it is doable. Read through this forum, you'll find strength, camaraderie, wisdom and tools.......we're all in the same boat and it isn't sinking it's floating just fine......
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • List
  18. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi again Struggling Mom

    My 26 year old son was born drug exposed, to parents who were homeless, on drugs, and probably mentally ill. He was taken from them and went to an orphanage just weeks after his birth.

    Sometimes I feel guilty because I gave him opportunities. I know that sounds crazy, but hear me out. I am highly educated with a profession. Because of advantages he got by living with me, he speaks multiple languages (we traveled a lot), is articulate, intelligent and can be socially adept. But he seems unable to put these talents and capacities into practice in a way that in any way improves his life.

    It is like he can make it shored up by a Mommy, but seems lost otherwise. He drifts looking for free and cheap places to stay...has little motivation...and no real goals except to get to a homeless shelter in a big city near us. The highlight of his life...were the years in his childhood that we traveled a lot and lived in various foreign countries. Sometimes, I feel I set him up.

    While he receives SSI for mental illness, he does not think he is mentally ill and does not believe he needs therapy or drug treatment. To him, the solution is always the same: that somebody step in and treat him like a child---help him clean up his messes (literally and interpersonal), find what he has lost, loan him money, give him a free place to stay, lots of good food, and listen to him complain about the problems that have been caused by the above....without saying one thing....except yes....you can...yes I will....and nothing more. All on his terms.

    My guilt (and really, what did we do wrong...except want to be mothers?) only hurts him. Because he can use it to manipulate me to say yes...yes...yes...yes...infinitely.

    If I continue along that road...he really has no chance of a future...and what will happen when I die?

    Really, why is he any different from any other adult?

    So it really is a set up to put the words guilt and love in the same sentence. The only way I can love, really love my son now--is to get out of his way.

    There is nothing in my son's history that is his fault. However everything in his life is his responsibility. Everything.

    A paradoxical thing is happening strugglingmom. The more I resist taking responsibility for everything that goes wrong, the more he seems to step up. I do not mean to imply that he is acting responsibly...yet....(I have hope.) But he is accepting my limits more. He is listening more (and not so much hanging up on me.) Yes, he still plays the martyr but...he calls back and apologizes. We are having a conversation about his life. A true conversation (Scent of Cedar talks about that--our responsibility to tell them the truth and to always take a stand for their doing the stronger and righter thing.)

    Nothing about life is promised. I do not know what life holds for my only child. However, this is the thing that makes that uncertainty more tolerable: I can decide to take care of me.

    It is not my son's responsibility to take care of me. My hopes, fears, needs, desires...are my responsibility. Not his. That is one of the primary messages of this site.

    This is a very hopeful and powerful thing. We can be independent, happy, and whole. Maybe that will be possible, for our sons. We cannot choose for our sons or do it for them. Only for ourselves.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • List
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2015
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Copa...we also adopted a child who was drug exposed.

    Copa, it's not true that everything is alwys the fault of the person. Drugs and alcohol on a developing fetus can cause brain changes and damage and my son has autistic spectrum disorder probably due to the drugs. As soon as we adopted him, we took him to a neuropsychologist to see what kind of problems he would have because of his challenges in the womb. We did not expect no problems because of this. We got on him right away and we loved him anyway and we accepted him, challenges and all. He has exceeded everyone's expectations and is the happiest young man on earth who works and only needs a tad of help in certain things, mostly social. He will never be 100% indepdendent, but he is 95% indepdendent. He got help from the time he was born, before we adopted him, and we realized t hat he would be a bit more challenged to do things, but we loved and accepted him knowing that.

    Copa, I read something once long, long ago and I think it's often true.

    When it comes to adoption, it said regular, down home, not highly educated people make better parents because our expectations are more realistic. We are not going to try to make our adopted child, often who are damaged by drugs and alcohol before birth, get a college degree or become a financial knockout. Our expectations are more "let him be happy. We'll try to help." The irony is, we DID adopt a child whom you would have really helped thrive...Goneboy is a genius and we were a bad fit for him simply because we are average, blue collar folks who do not feel we have to hit that high level of financial and educational success to be happy. And he looked down at us for that. It was a horrible match by the social workers. He should have gone to a family of doctors or lawyers or college professors. But he didn't. We can not help it if the children we adopt are not actually the kind of child we hoped for. Goneboy was not born drug addicted. He is a millionaire today with his own business. by the way, he never went to college. He told us he was going to start four years ahead of everyone and make more money than everyone else he knows. He did.

    Copa, your son being born drug exposed is significant to who he is today. Unlike young adults who were not born with drugs in their system, he actually may not be able to do better than he is. There ARE people who are, for various reasons, unable to achieve and find life very hard. My son is doing great, but we had everything in place, ready for him to hit adulthood. Being drug affected in utero is not a mental illness. It actually can cause brain damage in various degrees.

    My son was born with crack in his system (he knows this as he has been warned that if he tried drugs, it would probably lead to addiction so he never has). He was also born with syphillis and needed open heart surgery. By the time we got him, he was acting out and delayed, but we wanted him anyway. We do not know his DNA family, but we always thank her for this child in our prayers. She was probably impoverished and had no idea how to care for herself, got into drugs and maybe even sold her body for those drugs. But somewhere inside of her she or Sonic's birthfather or both were good people who never had a chance. Sonic is such a goodhearted young man. I think about his birthparents sometimes. I feel love and sadness for them and have told Sonic that his birthmother was too sick to take care of any child (I read once that you don't say "couldn't care for YOU...as if it is personal). He has never demonstrated ANY interest in his birthparents. Even when he had a chance for his agency to search, he said, "No thank you." But he has never been told anything negative about his birthparents and we would have helped him search.

    Copa, when we adopted each child, we had each neuropsychologist tested so we knew what to expect and worked from there. Your son may actually need more help than he gets. Has he ever been tested for having a Disability? I don't mean a mental illness. I mean his level of function. A spoiled defiant young person is one thing. A young person is isn't making it because he really doesn't know how to make good choices because of his birth experience is way different to me. She probably also drank and alcohol is a bigger problem for a developing brain than even cocaine. Once the brain is damaged, progress can be made, but the person will always have certain challenges.

    Anyhow...so sorry for your pain. Just sharing from another point of view. Maybe your son needs you to back off your expectations and help him learn how to navigate this thing called life. He probably did have some brain differences from the drugs or alcohol at birth.My son will have enough services all his life to make it after I'm gone. He has a caseworker and a job coach and an agency keeps on eye on him, but, really, he is so high functioning, he doesn't need them too much.

    Hugs!!!! I mean this post gently!
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • List
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2015
  20. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Well said Copa!!!
    :bravo:
     
Loading...