33 year old difficult child homeless in CO

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Tanya M, Nov 4, 2014.

  1. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    I’m so glad I found this forum. I have a 33 year old difficult child who is homeless in CO. I live in the Midwest. I have read many of the posts on here and it is so comforting to know that I am not alone. My difficult child has been breaking my heart since he was 13. His bio dad dropped out of the picture when he was 4 never to be heard from again. I remarried a wonderful man who was more than happy to adopt my difficult child. Together we did the best we could. We offered a stable home and set the example of being responsible. However my difficult child has always had a very defiant nature. (very much like his bio dad). Over the course of years there were many court dates and jail time. We spent tens of thousands of dollars on family counseling but in the end he still chose to be defiant against all authority. When he was released after a two year sentence, I knew he would need some help to get on his feet so I flew out to CO and brought him to the Midwest. My husband and I purchased a small house for him to live in. (I knew better than to let him live with us) We told him that all we expected from him was to get a job and start living a responsible life. This was short lived, he met a girl and she got pregnant. They married and had two beautiful children. My husband and I continued to try and help. When my granddaughter was 2 ½ and my grandson 3 months old he left them. He went back to drinking and smoking pot, living his life on his terms. He eventually made his way back to CO where is now. During all this time he has had very little communication with me (he blamed for this too) A couple of years ago we were communicating via private messages on FB. He became very ugly and abusive in his words to me so I blocked him. After a week I unblocked him to find he had “un-friended” me. I was ok with this because I had gotten to the point that I had endured enough!! About a year ago I received a letter from him, he was in jail again. We wrote to each other for a few months. His letters sounded encouraging but I read them with guarded optimism as I had heard all these “positive” things before. Then the letters just stopped. My husband contacted the jail and he was told our difficult child had been released. This was about 6 months ago. Last night my sister called me and asked if I had seen what my difficult child had posted on FB. I told her I had not because he had “un-friended” me so she copied it and sent to me. Here is what he posted.

    *****Being alone is shittty I'm not any sort of priority to anyone not even my own mother tries to contact me I begged to receive correspondence in jail and nothing I wrote letters and accepted the fact I am not loved enough to even be the recipient of a post card. I don't know how to live in this world I am paionfully alone and if I were to disappear nobody would notice let alone care. Every passing day makes it all worse I have so much to be excited for, I get to wake up homeless by the river, I get to beg people for left over food so I don't starve, I don't recall my last human touch but it was probably a pat down by the cops, I am so over all off this I don't want any of it I am sadder than I have ever been*****

    Needless to say, it broke my heart to read this but also angered me because he outright lied about my not writing to him. This is what he does when he gets desperate, he wants people to feel sorry for him. I learned a long time ago that I am not to blame for the choices he has made. I put my life on hold for him for years because all I could focus on was him except for the one year I battled cancer then I had to divide my attention. What’s really hard is fighting the feelings about what others who read that post think of me and wonder how I could allow my son to be homeless. I know deep down inside it doesn’t matter what they think but I’m still human and I know I am not responsible for his situation. I gave him chance after chance to get his life together, there is nothing else I can do except pray for him.

    Thanks for letting me vent on this site.
  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi Tanya, welcome. I'm sorry you are continuing to be dragged in to your sons orbit of drama, manipulation, lies and blame. Your son sounds much like many of our adult troubled kids. We call our kids, collectively, difficult child's which is Gift From God.

    You've done enough. No one here is going to judge you, we understand how far we can be pushed into insanity before we realize we cannot control another nor have any impact on the choices they make. Your son is a grown adult man, his postings on FB are typical behavior, looking for sympathy so someone will either feel sorry or guilty, either way, he would get yet another free pass. Don't let it impact you, it's intended to have the effect it is having on you, your sister, everyone who sees it. That is how difficult child's maneuver through the world, using manipulation. Generally, they are masters at it.

    It sounds as if you've done a lot of work to get where you are. We pay a huge price by the time we get to where you are, it is devastating on every level. And, then all we end up with is the option to detach and learn how to accept what is and move on with our own lives. It's a tough path, but now that you're here, you know you aren't alone. When I first came here 3 years ago, I was astonished that so many others were living the same kind of life as I was..........it has a certain comfort to know you aren't out there all by yourself anymore. Vent away, I'm sure you have a lot to say. That's what we're here for. It helps so much to spill the words out to others who understand and can simply accept your story, knowing you did your level best and this is how it turned out. You're among many wounded warriors who have been battling similar issues for a long time.

    You may find the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here interesting and informative. Perhaps you've already memorized similar articles...........I know you've been at this a long time. My own daughter is 41 so I understand where you're coming from. Hang in there. Keep posting. I hope you have a good support system, a group, or a therapist, somewhere you can go to feel heard, to get compassion and understanding, to get info and support. This is a painful journey we are on, the only way that I've found to find peace is to detach and accept what I can't change. I have no control over my daughter's choices.

    If others read your sons post and believe it, then they don't know you. Let that go. We also can't control what others think of us. I know it's hard, but all it will do is cause you suffering and really, you can't change it, so.........

    I'm glad you found us Tanya. Wishing you peace.......
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  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Agree with RE. He obviously knows that whatever he writes, even if you are not friends with him, somebody will report it to you and he is trying to make you feel guilty for not enabling his dangerous lifestyle.

    We have to learn not to worry about what others think, even family members.

    If it were me, I would tell anyone I know that I did not want to know about FB posts. If people act flabbergasted or judge you, just say, "It is best for both me and my son." Keep repeating it over and over again until they get it. If they don't get it, say you have to go.

    Sometimes we have to detach from family too. Our difficult children cost us a lot, however those who really care about us and know us, do not judge us. They know we have done all we can and realize we are trying to survive with our sanity intact and accept this. If they don't get it or won't listen, it is possibly just better to put a distance between ourselves and them as well. There are drama queens in every family t hat like to stir up trouble, and judge us when they have not been through what we have.

    "Walk a mile in my shoes." And if they haven't, they don't understand. Sounds like your son, who is a middle age man by now, has put you through a lot, still expects you to either take him in or support him with money, and is not making an effort to get his life on track. Lying to others or changing reality to suit their agenda (gaslighting) is common with our adult kids and is abuse. And pointing out his hurtful posts on FB is a form of abuse as well.

    It is not easy to develop a tough skin. And, yes, some people try to hurt us in our situation and make us feel WE should take care of our criminally inclined, drug addicted, and abusive adult children forever, but that just is not the case. If you have not joined a twelve step group, that would probably give you A LOT of support from people who HAVE walked a mile in your shoes. A private therapist can help you as well. You might also want to join The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) to get support as the parent of a self-destructive and abusive loved one...you can get understanding there as well.

    Only those who have walked in our boots, up and down the hill and through the snow, can even begin to understand. Anyone who has not been there/done that...I would try very hard (yes, it's difficult) to put their opinions on disregard. They have no idea what it is like to be afraid of your own child and what you have to do to remain mentally intact both for your other loved ones who treat your well AND, most of all, for yourself. YOU MATTER!

    Hugs for your hurting heart. We are here for you and all of us have been through similar stuff. Please stay.
  4. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Thank you both so much for your heartfelt replies. Yes, I do have a great support group within my church. It's just nice to be able to chat with others that know exactly what I am going through. I will always love my son and will continue to pray for him. I do hope someday that we can have a relationship but am realistic in knowing that may never happen. I will continue to live my life and be happy. I am grateful that his ex-wife and I keep in touch and am able to see my grandchildren. They are such a blessing. Of course my difficult child doesn't understand why I won't let him know where they are. I've told him, you lost your rights when you abandoned them. Again, thank you for your comments it means so much to me. Wishing you a wonderful day.
  5. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I think the vulnerability we feel to this kind of exposure, to this kind of public spewing of what the difficult child presents as our coldness and lack of humanity...I think this affects us only as long as we are not sure ourselves of the wisdom of our responses.

    Acceptance comes with time.

    Turning away from a child, however old they are, is a radial thing to do. It requires layers of acceptance I think, and each layer comes replete with its defensiveness, with its own particular flavor of self accusation, with its own horrific condemnation of why turning away from someone who is troubled is wrong. Until we have confronted every layer of resistance in our own hearts, we are vulnerable to the judgments of others. But here is the thing: there is no way anyone who has not lived this could possibly understand this.

    It is a very hard thing, to turn away. It changes our self concept.

    However kind, however much in control, however well we are living the rest of our lives, turning away from a child in trouble, however old that "child" is, tarnishes and changes us. Maybe just for a time, but maybe, for all time.

    It is difficult, if not impossible, to view ourselves as decent human beings when we do not help someone in need, and it is a thousand times worse when that someone is someone you love and suddenly, do not understand.

    That is where the peculiar cut of this kind of shame comes from, I think. Our own vulnerability, our own uncertainty that there was a better way we could not find or did not take.


    It was a very cruel thing for your child to have done.

    I have learned that if I have a phrase like the one MWM has given you at the ready, I am able to get through the public encounters intact. It is shaming to lose emotional control in public, or to not know what to say or how to accept what is said to us.

    It is too easy to say too much.

    A phrase like this will enable you to keep private those vulnerabilities that should only be shared with those you deeply trust.

    I like this phrase, MWM.


  6. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

  7. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    My difficult child was just homeless in Co and somehow they had money to go to concerts in the near by towns.

    Mine is another that I have had to step away from. He and girlie were having verbal fights on FB using vulgar language. Friends and family stepped in to weigh their opinions. Then he was posting suicidal messages and one female sort of friend pointed out to him that anyone reading his posts had to call the authorities. That stopped!

    When I was searching for answers (or any kind of help) and the online forums were very new a member would post to every newbie, 'just face the facts, your kid is a loser, accept it and move on with your life'. I do not think any of them are losers, I think they face very real (to them anyway) trouble that they can not (or do not want to) find a way to control.

    Mine started at a very early age, had the bad father figure, and I struggled with guilt. They use it against you! I'm long over the guilt. I've tried so many time to help him, and he has had so many opportunities to turn his life around. I have finally accepted that he doesn't want a different life.

    Find things you enjoy to take your mind off your difficult child and his ever continuing problems and drama. I have seen mine clean and sober and I know how much the drugs and alcohol add to the difficult child behavior. It's their choice, no one can change them, and until they want to change, they will continue exactly as they are now.

    My difficult child and girlie like to fight, he cuts himself and threatens suicide, and she thought she would call me each time (which was often). I refused to get involved, other than call the police to check on him, and she is furious with me. She started leaving me voice messages at 6AM, 'it's on b****!' and I finally called the police to stop the harassing calls. They had a bad fight and she was arrested, two years ago. They just moved back from being homeless in CO, and now after another fight HE is arrested.

    I also have close family members that like to tell me it's all my fault, he needs help, same ole same ole. So I don't discuss it with them.

    To ease your mind, girlie posted frequently about how good CO is to the homeless. She frequently said she never met a homeless person that was going hungry or need clothes to wear.

    You are fortunate to have a good relationship with the daughter in law. Mine is another difficult child just like my son and together they make a scary pair.

    I also hear from mine when he is in jail, they are clean and sober, have good intentions that are forgotten the minute they walk out the jail door.

    (((hugs and blessings)))
  8. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    MWM is so correct in this statement. This is not the first time he has lied about me and it probably won't be the last.

    Scent of Cedar, your words truly touch me. I struggled with this for many years, harboring feelings of guilt, thinking it must be me, what should I have done different. You can drive yourself crazy with that. I came to the point where I had to let that thinking go. My husband and I did the best we could. We had a stable home, we both worked, we ate dinner every night as a family, we drove out of state every year to visist the grandparents, etc..... and when we started having trouble with our difficult child we did everything we could to help him but I learned that no matter how many different counselors you work with, unless that person wants to change, nothing will change. I started focusing on these facts and that really helped me to let go of the guilt. Even after my difficult child turned 18 I still continued to try and help him. Things would appear to be ok but my difficult child is a master manipulator and he would say and do all the right things but he couldn't keep up the charade for long. We went through that cycle for quite a few years. You love this person and you do everything you can to help them, you give them chance after chance only to have them break your heart over and over. The "straw that broke the camels back" for me was when he abandoned his wife and kids. One good thing that came out of all this misery is my beautiful grandchildren and their mother whom I adore. All I can do now for my difficult child is to pray for him.
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  9. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Thank you so much for your comments and sharing your story. One thing I learned a long time ago was that my life is important and I can't put it on hold waiting for my difficult child to grow up. My husband and I love to travel so we do so whenever we can. I am very involved with my church which I love. I can say I finally love my life after all the hell I have been through. It is hard when my difficult child wants to drag me into the drama again but I am much stronger now and grow stronger after each episode. I will never stop loving him or praying for him but I have to live my life. I am so glad I found this site as it really helps to have the affiramtions that I am doing the right thing.
    I hope you too are doing something good for yourself.
  10. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    Thank you Tanya, I do now, it took me too many years to get to this point to let my difficult child's behavior take it away.

    My salvation is also spiritual. A big help is my hubby, he came into my life when difficult child was an adult, so he is not emotionally involved, he helps me stay grounded.

    I have a friend going through the same thing with her 25yo difficult child, no drugs or alcohol, just difficult child behavior and dumps it in mom's lap. I just listen when she talks and cries, no advise, there's none to give.

    I do keep my difficult child's behavior to my self, simply because in the past (and now with my family) it's all people want to talk about when we are together and if I did not get away from it I would go back to being very close to stark raving mad lol.

    My days of life revolving around my difficult child are long gone. We all know it's still painful, we love them regardless, but life does go on. I never give up, but I don't hold my breath.

    I'll give myself short bouts of 'pity me' when he really gets me down, then I have learned to shake it off. My heart goes out to the newbies with the young difficult children, it's a coin toss whether they will 'straighten up and fly right' or continue to wander aimlessly through life.

    I have so many positive things in my life, and many blessings.
    (((hugs and blessings)))
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