A little bit of hope.


Well-Known Member
I want to give you a little update. It's a little bit of good news at the end. You can skip to that below, if you want. The first half of this post are set up.

My son's been homeless off an on for 8 years. My son just had his 31rst birthday.

About 2.5 months ago my son came back here to our town after a number of months in the large, very expensive metro a few hours from here, where for the most part he was paying rent to sleep in a garden shed. Doing nothing. He did not ask for monetary help (he gets SSI, which doesn't make a dent in his expenses) while he was away, but in the near 3 months he's been back, he has not had enough money to get through each month. I have required he pay a reasonable rent.

He has shown no incentive to manage his money. He has offered to permit us to help with accountability, but as soon as his check arrives, all incentive to do anything differently evaporates. He is arrogant with money. And humble, even servile, without money. Two weeks of each month he has expected us to help with food, cigarettes, bottled water, etc. He pressures, whines, begs, acts morose, shows up at my house, etc. It's horrible.

We have learned to try to NOT help. Which makes our lives living hell. He hounds us day and night.

Despite this there have been a few positive changes. He has gone to doctors, including a therapist and a psychiatrist. He is smoking waay less marijuana, and he is not using it on my property. He is not coming home visibly high. He is NOT talking about the loony conspiracy theories (Gold Standard, Illuminati, Reptiles, clouds that are chem trails, vaccines, etc. OMG. So grateful that seems to have stopped.)

This month, on the first, he announced that for his birthday he wanted to take a trek in the northern part of our state. He has broached this before, and I told him if he wants me to maintain his room he needs to pay rent for the period he is gone.

So. He decided unilaterally that my terms were onerous, and I responded, leave, then. He had not given me any rent by the 4th of the month, only paid back M $140 that he borrowed when I hounded him. And when he said he wanted to come and talk, which meant he wanted more favorable terms, I said, leave.

He left town, and then immediately called M to see if he could come back. And then he took the train back here, and presented himself at the door (he lives with M.) 24 hours after he had left. He was back at the door.

So. There we were. In 6 days he had spent nearly half of his SSI check. There would have been no money left to pay rent, and to eat. What were we to do?

I was traumatized. Just over a year ago I had had to call the police repeatedly as he was squatting/sleeping (and peeing) in the yard, and coming to my house and depositing himself in my yard. It is very hard for me not to regress to panic, when things seem like they are going back to the worst.

So, this is what M and I decided to do.

I decided NOT to ask for rent, even though he did have the funds to pay it. Because that would have made him dependent upon me, for the rest of the month to support him. Instead we gave him 24 hours to find a full time job or volunteer position. If he had no job (confirmed in writing) by the end of today, he had to leave, immediately. He could earn more days one day at a time, by working--one day of confirmed work, for one day of lodging, until the end of the month.

Our backs were to the wall and his was too.

M and I were desperate. Resigned that by tonight we would have all kinds of drama and would have to kick him out again. We did not know how he could get a position. He wears a hoody all the time. He did not shave. He looks like a thug. A handsome thug.

And guess what? He called about 130pm saying this: I have kinda good news. I got a full time position as a volunteer at the food bank. I start tomorrow at 7 am. It's Monday through Friday. The director is writing up the paperwork right now to verify it.

Who knows what will come of this. I will try to take it one day at a time. Hard. He has not had a regular, full time job, either volunteer or paid for maybe 7 years. He has worked but casually, a week at a time, at most.

It's hard to hold onto hope. The reality is I'm afraid to hope. I get panic stricken. But I realize that's all we really have.

I know he could have gotten a paid position there at the food bank but he's afraid to demonstrate that he can work at a job, for fear he will lose the SSI. I kept my mouth shut.

Writing all of this, makes me afraid. I don't want to have to write tomorrow and tell you all, how it all fell apart. You know how that is. But at the same time, I don't want to be afraid to hope. That would be even worse.

Thank you very much for being here. Besides M, I don't have anybody else in my life really, that would understand.
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Well-Known Member
Copa, I am right there with you hoping and praying for the best. I hope so much that your son has finally made the positive turn towards the good. I have seen many people make this change around 30 and sure hope he is one of them.


Well-Known Member
Copa - No matter what happens it is really good that he followed through and got the volunteer position. That is something. Thinking about you and hoping along with you.



Sending good vibes...

I like to call these moments “nuggets”. That word makes me feel optimistic, thankful and happy. These are all things I wish for you and your son. The way I look at it is that it’s a small step in the right direction. Another piece of the puzzle of life. All the pieces may not be attached just yet for your son but eventually you will step back and view the connectivity of what has been and still needs to take place for his journey in life.

You are such a strong woman and I am certain your son has inherited that from you. Even if you look at his ability to survive these last 8 years. That shows he’s just been using his strength in a different way.

Many prayers for your healing and his and for more steps in the right direction.


Well-Known Member
Does he know he can make a certain amount of money and keep SSDI? I wonder how good SSDI is for him if it shuts down his willingness to get a paying job.

It's so hard to know what to do with these kids.

I'm glad he is at least volunteering for a good cause. That is actually important in my opinion.
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Well-Known Member
make a certain amount of money and keep SSDI?
Yes, Busy. He knows he can earn money without it affecting his SSI/SDI. I think he can earn close to $1000 a month. But he does not want Social Security to know that he is able to work. He fears loss of the benefit. He thinks if he demonstrates capacity he is at risk. It's a very poverty-based way of thinking. I have no control over what he thinks and little if any over what he does.

My hope is that this "job" will be a positive experience. Maybe he will be motivated by this "success" and seek more of it. That is the prayer. Certainly anything would be better than sitting in his room on his phone.
I have seen many people make this change around 30 and sure hope he is one of them.
Thank you newstart. I have seen this too. I know I've written it a hundred times but in my work in prison for a few years I worked in a reception center, screening newly arriving prisoners for mental illness. I saw that there were massive numbers of 20 to 29 year olds and then, very few older than 30. For every man over 30 there were 5 o4 6 younger men. Many of these men were parole violators. I would say the majority.

I would ask the men over 30, why aren't you coming back so often? And the answer to a man, was "it's not fun anymore." You see, for younger men even a reception center locked up almost 24 hours a day in a cell, can be fun. They lay back. They scream. They party. They read. They eat. After being on the run on drugs, they come to prison, emaciated. They eat and rest and recuperate.

And then, it gets old.

My son does not find homelessness and street life fun anymore. Partly it's that he is using less marijuana. He is feeling the discomfort now. He didn't before. Not so much. When he wanted to come home this time, I asked him why. He answered: I can't find anywhere safe.

In his imagination even a few days before, it would have been an adventure. I guess this is positive. If, and only if, he follows through with taking responsibility.
No matter what happens it is really good that he followed through and got the volunteer position.
Yes. It sure is. Thank you TL.
You are such a strong woman and I am certain your son has inherited that from you.
Thank you JP. I don't feel strong. But I must be. I am really grateful for your words. And thank you for the vote of confidence in my son. I think he is strong. But wow. What a different perspective. Glass half full. Thank you so much for that.

These (adult) kids are just so stoooopid.

I will need to practice that. Confidence in him. There's been so much water under the bridge. Hard, hard, hard. You know how it is. It's hard to not live from fear and negativity. It takes courage.

Thank you so much for your kind words and support, everybody. What would I do without you?


Well-Known Member
praying this will work out for your son.
Thank you Beta.

You know the hardest part for me is hope. It is so easy for me to fall into despair, anger, and shut down. Just to scream: Leave. I never want you back here. Stay away from me.

When I feel this way I just want to shut down. To stop this. To stop it coming at me.

Shutting down has become like a reflex. Like I'm some kind of tiny marine creature that snaps shut or coils inward with even the smallest sense that danger could be near. Or maybe I'm more like an octopus. And I spew ink. My son represents danger to me. And I spew negativity.

It's become dangerous to stay open to possibility.

I am glad I started this thread. All I am asking of myself is one day at a time. To permit each day to come and to be, and then to become the next day. That's all.

I will read and re-read this thread. I already have.

Imagine that. I have to re-train myself to tolerate possibility.

Thank you very, very much.
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Be gentle with yourself,Copa. You've been on this ride for quite a while,and J is making a positive step. You are also changing and growing stronger. Many hugs.


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This is a positive step for him, and I rejoice with you. For these kids of ours, even the smallest thing is to be received with gratitude. I know what you mean, though, about hope and its effect. It can be a good thing but it can also keep us emotionally in bondage. That's why I'm trying to reconcile myself to the possibility that I may not see Josh again but also not give up all hope. And definitely continue to pray and pray.


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I know what you mean, though, about hope and its effect. It can be a good thing but it can also keep us emotionally in bondage.
I think we might be alike Beta. Unfortunately for you.

I am one of the mothers here who has had the hardest time detaching. I seem to have operated with two speeds. Intensely on and off. I have worked very hard to find another speed, detached with love. It's hard for me, because I am not wired that way.

The way you put it, emotionally in bondage is exactly how I feel. I feel like a trapped animal, when I have no control, and my heart is involved. It feels like relief to be able to say even out loud, I don't ever want to see you again. I say it to escape the trap. (Anybody reading this, please know I am not recommending this as a parenting strategy.)

Thankfully, my loved ones know that while I might say it in the moment, I don't mean it. They know it's a way that I escape the torture I feel.

I think your realization is very powerful. That you go there, to the possibility of never seeing Josh again, for self-protection. But it's one thing to do this, and another to go there in the sense that you believe it is real. That's a big price to pay.

I am saying it's one thing to hang out there for a few hours, knowing that it's your safe place, and knowing it's for relief. It's another thing to have our hearts turn. I feel that for me that would be giving up the best thing that I am and that I have been.
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Well-Known Member
There are moments when, out of a sense of needing relief from the torture of it, I "harden" my heart to the extent that I intentionally turn my thoughts away from him and from what "might" be happening to him, refusing to allow those images to come into my mind. Because if I let myself, I can picture all sorts of terrible things, both now and in the future, and it just kills me. I'm working on trusting G-d for him and not trying to be that in his life. Loving detachment is a new skill I'm trying to learn, but after a lifetime of feeling responsible for making people around me happy, it's a tough one. I'm glad we are all here for one another, to help one another through this hard journey.


Sending good vibes...
For myself I realized that the hardest part from "detaching" with my sons was the approval I so much needed from them. I needed to know they loved me, thought I was a good person, thought I was a good mother and that they could and should know I'd always be there for them. Just like Mamma Bear and all the wonderful "mother's" who would die for their offspring.

What I realized for myself is that God does not want me to "die" mentally, emotionally or physically from the constant bad choices, irresponsible and/or "non" decisions my adult sons make for themselves that somehow seem to affect me to a level only you mothers can comprehend. It was difficult to say to myself, "so if I detach from them they may not "like" me." Hmmmm...the reality was "did they really like me even when I enabled"? I don't think so. I think for me that's what I lead myself to believe so I could "feel" their approval because I had nothing else and it was my own kind of thought process I was using to survive their behavior. "MY" taking care of them to the point of enabling was really only for my benefit. To ease my pain, guilt and hurt over so many things that happened that somehow I took on as my full and complete fault. It was what kept me afloat, for a while, until I sunk. I sunk in sadness, hurt, pain and grief that no matter how much I helped them and supported them they had no ability or inclination to step up and take care of themselves.

They knew they "had me hook, line and sinker". My past behaviors told them I would succumb to whatever they dealt me because somewhere along the line, I had decided their lives were my lives and were more important than mine because I was their mother. Gosh, I got so confused because I am a helpful, good person but their sick Victim, Persecutor roles and mine kept me in the game a very long time.

Some very subtle changes have occurred since I stopped enabling. My younger son is working (still living in his car) and I don't really know how long that will last. I already have heard intonations about "injustices" taking place at his work. My stomach flips a little but I get strong and tell him, well if you don't like that job you'd better get another one before quitting because it will be a very cold winter here in New England soon. He has not badgered me and been disrespectful, which is another good change. He has a lot of mental issue that I worry terribly about as to when or if this will ever get better. But (for now) I seem to have an inner strength I can only attribute to God's Graces that is getting me through. I'm able to communicate with younger son but it's not to the degree he's contacting me every day so I know he's doing things to take care of himself. I'm not initiating contact and have been able to keep other boundaries I've made for myself.

Older son, still detached completely for a couple of months. He has not even begun to change and I know now I must stay the distance until I see sustained changes.


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They knew they "had me hook, line and sinker". My past behaviors told them I would succumb to whatever they dealt me because somewhere along the line, I had decided their lives were my lives and were more important than mine because I was their mother
Yes, same here.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

One day at a time my friend. Baby steps. This is a big change for all of you but it could be the start of good things.

Good things start somewhere.

Hugs xoxo


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Well. M came over this morning to help me and his first words were, I'm not sure this is going to work out, with J.

J was to report to work at 7 am (he would have had to leave for the bus at 645. He was still in bed when M got up at 645. He didn't leave the apartment until well after 7, and had to have been close to an hour and a half late. His first day.

I had offered to bring over an alarm clock. Oh no. I won't need that. I have my phone. Anyway, I wake up early.

J knows that we will require a signed note on letterhead, that he worked today. Both M and I were anxious and exhausted. The awareness that J is directing everything. And every day disaster will present itself, and I will have to deal. I try to explain detachment to M and he doesn't get it, no matter what I say. I guess I don't get it so well, either.

I know I have to let go of the result. To really, really accept that J controls everything, especially the consequences of his decisions and acts. But it's hard to relax.

J is just so squirrely. He holds everything and everybody responsible except himself.


Sending good vibes...
This is difficult, isn't it? It's as if we are holding our breath waiting to see if they will at least succeed at a small goal which quite honestly for me sometimes I'd wished I could do it for them.

When I finally decided that I was so very done with them controlling me is when I was finally was able to make changes for me. I had realized that to some degree, even though it was miserable, it was easier having the certainty they would fail or not change a thing than to have to try to orchestrate their success at life for them and hold their adult hands through it too.

Then for me, I realized I wasn't obligated to do either of those things. I was not in charge of whether they succeeded or failed, whether they worked or starved, whether they had a roof over their heads, whether they had gas in their cars. I did most definitely think this up until only a couple of months ago. It took me a long, long time with much agony, frustration and financial stress to get to this point, and of course prayer.

A little while ago I had been posting that I couldn't stop looking at my older son's e-mails which were always, always, always verbally abusive and threatening to me. I think it was Copa who told me that your perspective (which I loved) was that it was because each time I looked at the e-mails I was hoping that he might have changed and was this time, saying nice things to me and giving me the love and relationship I always wanted and hoped for. I was, at the time, willing to take the slim chance he was better or go with what I knew in my heart, that it was likely garbage again. Not anymore. This hasn't been easy because I use the excuses they have addictions, mental issues etc. and therefore, have more of a struggle to succeed.

For me, for a very long time, I kind of kept one foot in and one foot out. I didn't set down the boundaries and keep the boundaries I needed to with my adult children. I did this for so long (and I'm likely not cured yet!). For myself, I'd say, they're going to have to get a job, they're going to have to have responsibility of their lives, BUT I went back on my own boundaries and began to try to fix and rescue them again.

There is so much to and fro in our learning to finally detach which is agonizing at first and many a tear will be shed but to stay on the merry-go-round that made me, by my own accord, believe I had to fix, rescue and save my 30 yr. old and 26 yr. old is mentally, emotionally and psychologically draining.

The change for me has been like walking on the tightrope but without a net below me. When I finally realized, the net below me, was God and that I didn't have to do it anymore, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.

I'm not out of the woods yet but I can see the light through the forest.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Copa, sometimes we just need that little window of hope. I'm so glad that after all this time and after all your son has put you through, that he showing some progress.
I hope and pray that this will be the beginning of him starting to realize that he is not only capable but that he can really do this!


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Staff member
Great news!
Remember, I have posted a few times about a friend who had her son volunteer. Lots of intricacies and lots of personal involvement on her part. Debatable if it was too much involvement on her part. BUT, fortunately, in the end it led to paid employment. Steady paid work and that led to better friends and a variety of positives.


Well-Known Member
Lots of intricacies and lots of personal involvement on her part.
Dear Nomad:
I have NOT wanted to copy that friend. I thought that the extent of her involvement was way over my head. That I do not have the capacity to tolerate frustration. That with an extreme lack of self-control with regards to my son, and a complete intolerance for micro-managing, I thought I could NEVER do this. And the reality is I can't. But here I am.

Here in that situation I find myself. Why? Because I can't tolerate my son homeless. I'm caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.

But, so far, so good. Second day, my son left the house at 6:15 am and walked to work. He seems happy and on the second day he seems to love the experience. He says his colleagues are "very professional" and cordial.

Thank you very much Nomad and everybody.
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