37 yo daughter facing homelessness


New Member
I don't even know what to post here. I'm learning about detachment out of self preservation because I physically hurt from all this stress and heartache. I am feeling selfish but also guilty because I really just don't want to take her in or bail her out. She isn't even returning my calls. I don't know if there is mental illness. Surely there is an anxiety disorder and depression.

I'm barely getting out of bed myself. I went to my first CODA meeting but I don't know if I'm codependent or not. I want to do what's best for her and every book says you need to let them bottom out. But I'm so scared for her! And, frankly, I'm scared for me too. I have an appointment for counseling next week but what really helps is knowing there are others out there who are faced this and survived.

Burying myself in my pillows.


I Am The Walrus
Detachment is a process. It doesn't happen in a day or a week, and it is different for everyone. I have been exactly where you are, so depressed and just burying my face in the pillows, crying. The hardest part of me was accepting the loss of the the daughter she WAS to the daughter she IS. It was truly a grieving process, and it never ends. It just gets easier. Most days I am fine, but there are days when I feel overwhelmed with grief, guilt, loss, fear...and I have redirect myself, remind myself she is where she is because of her choices and that she is can only change by making better choices. Nothing I say or do, no amount of "helping" or "saving" or "rescuing" will change her situation. That is a solid truth for all of us. Praying for you to find your place of peace.


Well-Known Member
I'm barely getting out of bed myself. I went to my first CODA meeting but I don't know if I'm codependent or not.
I think you are a Mother who cannot bear that her child suffer, 37 or 7.
Surely there is an anxiety disorder and depression.
Anxiety disorder and depression are major mental illness. That still does not mean you should bail her out. If she is not answering calls, I would let her be.

Do you want to write more about her, her circumstances, your relationship, so that we understand the context?
she is where she is because of her choices and that she is can only change by making better choices. Nothing I say or do, no amount of "helping" or "saving" or "rescuing" will change her situation.
I agree with Walrus.

My own son has been making better choices, progressively better. So I am helping him to a point. But he still pushes it, and wants me to enable him sometimes. I find that it gets easier to distinguish between enabling and support, and that I am able to provide support, and better catch myself (in the act) of enabling.

I think you are taking the right steps: therapy, Coda, and going to bed! I am glad you are here. I hope you keep posting. It helps.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
McMary, attending a CODA group and counseling is a very good thing. You're doing a lot to support yourself and I applaud your efforts. This is a devastating path for us parents, we need support and guidance. Hang in there, keep posting, continue with your support efforts. The following article on detachment may be of some help to you. Sending hugs.......you're not alone.

What is detachment?
Detachment is the:
* Ability to allow people, places or things the freedom to be themselves.
* Holding back from the need to rescue, save or fix another person from being sick, dysfunctional or irrational.
* Giving another person "the space" to be herself.
* Disengaging from an over-enmeshed or dependent relationship with people.
* Willingness to accept that you cannot change or control a person, place or thing.
* Developing and maintaining of a safe, emotional distance from someone whom you have previously given a lot of power to affect your emotional outlook on life.
* Establishing of emotional boundaries between you and those people you have become overly enmeshed or dependent with in order that all of you might be able to develop your own sense of autonomy and independence.
* Process by which you are free to feel your own feelings when you see another person falter and fail and not be led by guilt to feel responsible for their failure or faltering.
* Ability to maintain an emotional bond of love, concern and caring without the negative results of rescuing, enabling, fixing or controlling.
* Placing of all things in life into a healthy, rational perspective and recognizing that there is a need to back away from the uncontrollable and unchangeable realities of life.
* Ability to exercise emotional self-protection and prevention so as not to experience greater emotional devastation from having hung on beyond a reasonable and rational point.
* Ability to let people you love and care for accept personal responsibility for their own actions and to practice tough love and not give in when they come to you to bail them out when their actions lead to failure or trouble for them.
* Ability to allow people to be who they "really are" rather than who you "want them to be."
* Ability to avoid being hurt, abused, taken advantage of by people who in the past have been overly dependent or enmeshed with you.

What are the negative effects not detaching?
If you are unable to detach from people, places or things, then you:
* Will have people, places or things which become over-dependent on you.
* Run the risk of being manipulated to do things for people, at places or with things which you do not really want to do.
* Can become an obsessive "fix it" who needs to fix everything you perceive to be imperfect.
* Run the risk of performing tasks because of the intimidation you experience from people, places or things.
* Will most probably become powerless in the face of the demands of the people, places or things whom you have given the power to control you.
* Will be blind to the reality that the people, places or things which control you are the uncontrollables and unchangeables you need to let go of if you are to become a fully healthy, coping individual.
* Will be easily influenced by the perception of helplessness which these people, places or things project.
* Might become caught up with your idealistic need to make everything perfect for people, places or things important to you even if it means your own life becomes unhealthy.
* Run the risk of becoming out of control of yourself and experience greater low self-esteem as a result.
* Will most probably put off making a decision and following through on it, if you rationally recognize your relationship with a person, place or thing is unhealthy and the only recourse left is to get out of the relationship.
* Will be so driven by guilt and emotional dependence that the sickness in the relationship will worsen.
* Run the risk of losing your autonomy and independence and derive your value or worth solely from the unhealthy relationship you continue in with the unhealthy person, place or thing.

How is detachment a control issue?
Detachment is a control issue because:
* It is a way of de-powering the external "locus of control" issues in your life and a way to strengthen your internal "locus of control."
* If you are not able to detach emotionally or physically from a person, place or thing, then you are either profoundly under its control or it is under your control.
* The ability to "keep distance" emotionally or physically requires self-control and the inability to do so is a sign that you are "out of control."
* If you are not able to detach from another person, place or thing, you might be powerless over this behavior which is beyond your personal control.
* You might be mesmerized, brainwashed or psychically in a trance when you are in the presence of someone from whom you cannot detach.
* You might feel intimidated or coerced to stay deeply attached with someone for fear of great harm to yourself or that person if you don't remain so deeply involved.
* You might be an addicted caretaker, fixer or rescuer who cannot let go of a person, place or thing you believe cannot care for itself.
* You might be so manipulated by another's con, "helplessness," overdependency or "hooks" that you cannot leave them to solve their own problems.
* If you do not detach from people, places or things, you could be so busy trying to "control" them that you completely divert your attention from yourself and your own needs.
* By being "selfless" and "centered" on other people, you are really a controller trying to fix them to meet the image of your ideal for them.
* Although you will still have feelings for those persons, places and things from which you have become detached, you will have given them the freedom to become what they will be on their own merit, power, control and responsibility.
* It allows every person, place or thing with which you become involved to feel the sense of personal responsibility to become a unique, independent and autonomous being with no fear of retribution or rebuke if they don't please you by what they become.

What irrational thinking leads to an inability to detach?
* If you should stop being involved, what will they do without you?
* They need you and that is enough to justify your continued involvement.
* What if they commit suicide because of your detachment? You must stay involved to avoid this.
* You would feel so guilty if anything bad should happen to them after you reduced your involvement with them.
* They are absolutely dependent on you at this point and to back off now would be a crime.
* You need them as much as they need you.
* You can't control yourself because everyday you promise yourself "today is the day" you will detach your feelings but you feel driven to them and their needs.
* They have so many problems, they need you.
* Being detached seems so cold and aloof. You can't be that way when you love and care for a person. It's either 100 percent all the way or no way at all.
* If you should let go of this relationship too soon, the other might change to be like the fantasy or dream you want them to be.
* How can being detached from them help them? It seems like you should do more to help them.
* Detachment sounds so final. It sounds so distant and non-reachable. You could never allow yourself to have a relationship where there is so much emotional distance between you and others. It seems so unnatural.
* You never want anybody in a relationship to be emotionally detached from you so why would you think it a good thing to do for others?
* The family that plays together stays together. It's all for one and one for all. Never do anything without including the significant others in your life.
* If one hurts in the system, we all hurt. You do not have a good relationship with others unless you share in their pain, hurt, suffering, problems and troubles.
* When they are in "trouble," how can you ignore their "pleas" for help? It seems cruel and inhuman.
* When you see people in trouble, confused and hurting, you must always get involved and try to help them solve the problems.
* When you meet people who are "helpless," you must step in to give them assistance, advice, support and direction.
* You should never question the costs, be they material, emotional or physical, when another is in dire need of help.
* You would rather forgo all the pleasures of this world in order to assist others to be happy and successful.
* You can never "give too much" when it comes to providing emotional support, comforting and care of those whom you love and cherish.
* No matter how badly your loved ones hurt and abuse you, you must always be forgiving and continue to extend your hand in help and support.
* Tough love is a cruel, inhuman and anti-loving philosophy of dealing with the troubled people in our lives and you should instead love them more when they are in trouble since "love" is the answer to all problems.


Hi Mcmary. So sorry for what you are going through. I remember the days I could barely get myself off the couch and that never ending knot in my heart and stomach. Some ideas that helped me and may help you: nice hot bubble baths; walk in nature...even if you have to force yourself to put one foot in front of the other do it. Breathe....learn how to mediate and if needed go to meditation classes to calm your spirit...there are wonderful guides out there. Cry when you need to....allow yourself only so much time each day to dwell on this...so perhaps for 15 minutes howl at the moon, scream, stamp your feet, do what you need to but at the end of that time force your mind to think of something else. I found structure very important...while my then husband took time off to deal with things I continued to work. I needed the distractment. and perhaps journal....detachment is a whole lot of hard work but by going through it you will reclaim your life and you will be giving her a gift as well. Hugs to you.....stay strong.

pigless in VA

Well-Known Member
Welcome, Mcmary. I can't improve on what the above posters have said. I only wanted to add that it may take homelessness for your daughter to hit rock bottom. Her life is up to her.
It's time for you to focus on you. :beach:


one day at a time
McMary, please keep us posted on how you are doing. We so understand here. The other folks here have compassion and understand, and also good ideas for you to consider as you navigate this tough journey.

Accepting what is...is the hardest thing in the world. Letting our adult children go...to find their own journeys...no matter how awful they look to us...is the hardest thing in the world. But in time, if you work at this, you will be free to live your own life, love your adult child right where she is, and watch her navigate this hard world and learn in the process.

We're here for you during all of this.


New Member
OK, I'm doing all the right things but I'm still doing the wrong things as well! She is not answering texts so what do I do? I send her daily inspirational texts from the reading I've been doing (Course on Miracles, CODA, whatever is helpful that I read that day). I'm probably driving her away and how do I even know she is receptive to ANYTHING coming from me. She must need to detach from me because, in her mind, I'm causing her anxiety or whatever. So, no, I'm NOT Detaching the way I need to be. There is only one CODA meeting here in town each week and that group says there is a 30 day no contact rule for their relationships (not parent child). I've left her alone before and I'm not sure that was the right thing for her (it did help me, however).

Did I post here about the session with the very expensive "expert" therapist on estrangement? I actually do feel he is very knowledgeable and he was ABSOLUTELY right in all his recommendations he gave us regarding our daughter-in-law and estrangement. But this time I talked to him about my bio daughter and her anxiety/mental illness/homelessness. I told him I needed help detaching and letting her go homeless. You know what he said? That isn't always the right answer! He wants to meet her (kind of hard as she won't answer calls or text) and see what's going on. Maybe help me figure out how to help her! I would gladly pay for some family therapy but she needs to be receptive to it... anyway, he confused me all over again! Everything I read talks about letting them fall on the floor and he says maybe I should show my support and help her with some conditions....


Well-Known Member
So much you write resonates with me. I will just write what I feel about myself, and maybe it will apply to your situation in some way. Or maybe it will help you clarify what to do. I hope so.
I'm probably driving her away and how do I even know she is receptive to ANYTHING coming from me
I cannot take responsibility for how my son hears me or experiences me. I can only try my best to do what I need and what I feel is right for me and for those around me.

The assumption about another adult, is that they will try to do the same. I try to give others the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes they come through and sometimes, not, but then I try to reassess and take responsibility for me.
I've left her alone before and I'm not sure that was the right thing for her (it did help me, however).
Then the right thing to me would be to leave her alone. She will find a way to reach out when she chooses, if it is right for her. (Personally, I would try to observe the CODA no-contact advisory, because as I say later that is not that long, and it would be good, I think for each of you.) After that I would find a way to reach out to her in a neutral way, like a card or a text--just to say, I love you--if that was what I felt in my heart. At least, that is what I hope I would do.

There are two people in a relationship. Two adults. Each one can reach out, or not. If one is detaching, the other person can still reach out. There is not one hundred percent responsibility on one side. You are trying to dance both roles, it seems.
. I told him I needed help detaching and letting her go homeless. You know what he said? That isn't always the right answer! He wants to meet her
I agree with him, based on my own experience. My son does better when he is close to me and I do better when I am close to him.
he says maybe I should show my support and help her with some conditions....
But that does not mean there are not boundaries and conditions. But this is a dance with two people. We are negotiating. That is different from doing both parts.

We do not have to be rejecting and isolative. We can be open and responsive and supportive. It is hard but doable.

With respect to the CODA 30 day no contact rule, I can understand it. If your daughter seems to be avoiding you and resisting contact, perhaps this might be a good thing for her and for you at the moment. A 30 day interval is not a long time. Maybe you have already met the 30 day period. 30 days might give you the chance to listen to yourself and what you need, to make this work FOR YOU. We cannot decide our lives based on putting as primary the needs of another adult, unless they are profoundly disabled. There is a book called: Choose Yourself. I am not recommending it but I like the title.

How can we be there for another person if we are not there first for ourselves?

We are not meant to know everything all at once, even for the future, that may never exist. I know I expect that a lot for myself, to know everything right now. It is impossible.

From my way of thinking you may be taking on yourself, too much. Could you be looking to others for the correct answer? An answer that nobody could know? But if it could be known you would be the one who could or would know it?

To know this one would have to begin the practice of listening to oneself. And paying attention.

Now. When I listen to myself I pretty much just feel anxious and self-judgement. And then I feel desperate because the answer does not feel like an absolute truth.

Of late, I am talking with a spiritual director of my faith. And I was telling her about all of this self-doubt that I have and guess what?

She told me about a book she was reading about Moses. Called I think: Moses, A Human Life. By Avivah Kornberg. And who knew that Moses was filled with self-doubt?

He kept asking g-d, why me? Are you sure, g-d? And then kept telling g-d over and over again that he was NOT the right one. And g-d prevailed. And guess who was right?

I was blown away that I had something in common with Moses. (Is that sacrilegious? I hope not.)

The summary statement of this post is: Give yourself a break.
Last edited:


Well-Known Member
I wonder if this expert is a Dr. C. If so, the posters on an estrangement forum do not think he is a very good expert. He blames the parents for every estrangement. Self proclaimed experts are not always helpful. I think you need to find a therapust who you feel comfortable with.

I would not feel comfortable trying to contact a sulking adult child and dragging her to my own therapist.

In reality, if somebody does not want us in their lives at the moment, I am guessing that it is best to respect that. The stuff you send is most likely annoying her or she isnt even reading. It is not to your benefit to think you can fix anorher human being, even an adult child who has challenges. I feel, and it did work for me, that detaching is best for me and for adult child. There is nothing you can legally do to make her get help nor give her motivation to work on herself. It has to come within her.

I went to CODA years ago and it really helped me realize i was totally codependent and to stop it. But my group never had rules we had to follow. Im not sure how i feel about that.

Im a big believer in less is more when dealing with somebody either mean or irrational. If it were me Id leave daughter alone for now. Sadly, as soon as she is really in need, you will likely hear from her with demands to help her. Thats what the types of adult children who bring us to this forum tend to do. Lay low u til they demand money, shelter or other stuff. Tbeydo not tend to work.

Take care of yourself. Do nice things for you. You earned it!:)
Last edited:


New Member
Well, I know that there are no experts per se because every situation is unique, but I will tell you that Dr C was absolutely right.. like he had a crystal ball about what was going to happen if we did what we did despite his warning. He doesn't say that parents are always wrong but he does tell you that if you don't want estrangement, you have to say you are sorry for things and do things you absolutely don't want to do. And you feel like he is telling you that you were wrong, but he isn't saying that at all. He's saying that taking the ego out when dealing with emotionally immature "adult" children is a necessary evil... at first at least until things defuse. And we refused to do it, even out of love. We thought we found a better way and he warned us and he was right. If we had just sucked it up, we would be seeing our grandson.

On the otherhand, this particular situation with my daughter isn't true estrangement, it's something else entirely except that she is staying away right now. I will see what he says at our appointment this week given the circumstances. I do trust that he is really smart about this stuff. And, yes, I've read all the naysayers... but they probably just read his book or did his webinars; they didn't get true advice and counsoling about very specific situations. You get what you pay for.

Anyway, please keep writing me back as I do feel that only moms and dads can help each other with this stuff. I hope to hear from others as well and be able to help you all be strong too!


Well-Known Member
My gosh. He sounds like a fabulous doctor with a great deal of wisdom. And you too, to have the tolerance to hear him, which is itself a gift.
he does tell you that if you don't want estrangement, you have to say you are sorry for things and do things you absolutely don't want to do.
I believe this is so wise and I think it bears listening to in all relationships. I believed I was a non-judgmental and soft person and I am realizing at a quite late age that I am very hard. Hard-heated and I expect way too much from other people, especially those I love.

Sometimes people just have to be heard. It can be all covered up in rage and other trappings that are very hard to bear. I am dealing with this in a close relationship now. He gets extremely mad at me, and is blaming. And I will do almost anything to escape these feelings. Get defensive. Withdraw. Etc. When what it took was listening, without judgment and without fighting back in any way. Had somebody told me this years ago I would have been spared a great deal of heartache and loneliness.
And you feel like he is telling you that you were wrong, but he isn't saying that at all. He's saying that taking the ego out when dealing with emotionally immature "adult" children is a necessary evil
I would literally go anywhere to find a therapist like this. Honestly. I would. I have worked around so many professional people and have lost rather than gained trust and confidence.

But the thing is: you are bringing a lot to the table, too. I give you a lot of credit and I believe the doctor must, too.


Well-Known Member
I guess you are right. Also most people on that site, including me, have already been through so much that we aren't interested in having to walk on eggshells forever. You probably would not have to. I know I would have to mull over all i did and every word i said word I said with the possibility of another estrangement. Most of us already apologized repeatedly but we also were never told what we did wrong so we weren't sure what we were apologizing for. And our apologies mostly didn't work, although you said it isn't a true estrangement with your daughter.

My son's wife was the instigator and all my letters and birthday cards and gifts and even had one intervention at his church (the only time I saw him in the last ten years) ...He was just not going to forgive for issues he never addressed. And he did not address them even at the church. I know he never would have gone to see a therapist I wanted him to see. His wife wanted him to herself and he stopped communicating even with a sister he was very close to...All happened right after he met his wife. Before that he actively engaged with all of us.

But he was in an orphanage for six years before we adopted him and always had attachment issues. Your daughters past is that she was with you from birth. It is certainly more hopeful. I never read Dr. Cs book. By the time it came out, I was done trying and had moved on with my kids who were close to me. I did not want this son to ever get to hurt me for unnamed reasons again. I do know he is doing well and for that I am grateful...I don't have to think about him with worry. And I am able to enjoy my hubby and four other adult children in peace.

I wish you well :). You have every reason for hope.
Last edited:

pigless in VA

Well-Known Member
My daughter has been living off a divorce settlement for 7 years..either sponging at her dad's house or, when he kicked her out, living unsuccessfully in a shared place...she never gets along even when she has a good thing going. She hasn't worked in 6 years and, if she even is looking, she's not getting interviews much less offers. I really don't see her much since I now live 800 miles away. She seldom calls and evenore seldom returns my call. I think she lies in her bed or plays on her iPad all day. She's a slob and a very negative person. I hate being around her..in fact, I sent her packing 2 days early the last time I flew her here to visit.
Well, she's now broke and in about a month or two will be homeless and will have burned her friend who is letting her rent from her. She has few friends. She's a stunningly beautiful woman but a slob
She has always been one who lays around so I can't say for sure she is depressed. She is worried and scared. I don't know that there is a mental illness issue..she's seen a few therapists over the years
They sometimes prescribed antidepressants but they never have an effect. She says therapy doesn't help.
So, her dad is done with helping her . I know she wants to move in with my husband and I but we will be miserable and won't even be able to go on vacation because he feels she isn't trustworthy in our home alone. And we'll never be able to get rid of her.
Yet I can't bear the idea of my beautiful daughter living on the streets. There is no addiction involved, or children involved which means there is very little help out there for her.
I am besides myself with anxiety. How do I find a therapist to help me know what to do? Even if I do let her hit rock bottom, do I let her stay that way living in the streets. How do I live with my guilt and, if I let her move here,how do I keep my sanity around her when she makes me furious just to see her lazing around. And, I suspect my marriage won't last if she's here either. Is it wrong to dislike your own kid?
I see something about coda groups and I don't feel like I enable her but maybe I just need to go anyway.
Sometimes it helps to reread what we say about the situation. Wishing you wisdom and strength for the days ahead.


Well-Known Member
Our adult children who bring us here mostly feel better living with us, normally adults want to be independent unless they are disabled. Certainly if bed and board and food is guaranteed, they will feel less anxious. Bart didnt leave Dad until he married at around 24. And his girlfriend lived there too. I would not have let her, but it was not my business. Since leaving, Bart is self sufficient. I dont have to worry. I get the worry part.

I am not sure i think it is usually a good solution to have a grown kid at home for long. We must die. Then they are alone unless there is a large supportive family. We dont have much family. I even helped autistic son get set up well so he could be safe and self sufficient when we are gone...without us. He will perhaps grieve the most of all my kids because he is younger in mind, but he is going to have support and is used to living in his own apartment...working...running bill payments to various places by cab. He likes being on his own. It was his idea. All I can say is thank you, God.

I do not think that in my case, and we are all different, that id feel comfortable with any if my grown kids living with me. I am already 63 and i am very aware of my mortality. I dont want my kids to dwell on it, but i do want them to be equipped to deal with it when it happens. I desperately want them to go on as normal after we are gone. A big goal of mine was this as i was 40 and 42 when I adopted my younger two. I think about that now. Was it selfish to adopt two kids who will still be so young if I dont live intil a healthy 95??? I did not think it was selfish when I did it, but now I wonder. Husband was 38 and 40. Is that better? Not much. He smoked for a long time and his parents died young.

At any rate, at least my adult kids are as ready as any grown kids can be...thats the best I can hope for, after the fact.

But...we all do what we feel is right and there are no wrong answers.
Last edited: