A million steps back.


I was doing okay for a few days until I found out she doesn't have a place to stay and I think she's out of money. I have offered for her to come back but once again we're 'abusive' and she doesn't want to come back. I don't know where she is or where she will stay and I am scared to death. Sobbing out loud at the moment. I'm afraid she's depressed and will harm herself. I'm afraid she's with a bad crowd, I'm afraid of everything right now.


Well-Known Member
It is a journey not a race. We have all been where you are, and it stinks. The fear you have is harming you and not 'fixing' her. "It is her life. It is her life." rinse and repeat.


one day at a time
Lila, your feelings are your feelings and...you need to accept them and feel them. Don't try to fight what you feel.

But...here is where the change comes in. Don't act. When you are feeling panicked and anxious and scared...that is the time to scrub the kitchen floor, walk 10 times around the block, hit a pillow...but don't act. Don't call don't text don't go don't write.

If you can start changing the pattern of her dropping a "bomb" on you...and you reacting to that bomb...you will start to change the pattern that has developed over many many years. And Lila...where has that pattern gotten you or her? Right where you are today.

Almost nothing is ever an emergency with DCs. Truly.

Start creating and maintaining your own private peace that is completely separate from her.

Have you been to any alanon meetings? They will be like an instant tonic and antidote to your panic, fear and need to react. I used to go to a meeting every single day when times were really bad.

I am sorry for your pain. This is a journey, taken one step at a time, one day at a time.


Well-Known Member
Hi Lila,

I know so well where you are at because I am in and out of that state. We have something in common, Lila. Each of our children was born with challenges. My son was born drug-exposed and abandoned by his birth parents and with Hep B which went undetected until he was 19; your daughter with gender identity issues.

Both of our kids have to work out issues that were not their fault.

But the thing is, I sometimes think I feel on some level it must be my fault. After all, my child sometimes seems to think it is and act like it is. And somebody must be at fault. So I take it on.

And I think I take it a step further. I think I try to bargain deep inside of myself. If I take the blame, and really punish myself very, very hard...please G-d will you keep him safe? And in this way in a situation where I have no blame, no iota of it, and no control, I come to feel at once both punished and in a sort of weird control.

At least I control one thing. I am torturing myself.

And that is what is called a symptom. Kind of killing two birds with one stone. And we unfortunately are the birds. Because I think you may be doing the same thing as me.

If you are doing this it is based upon flawed thinking. Because after all, it is not your fault. And you have no control. Only of yourself.

Try to stop it, Lila. Because it is not helping your daughter at all. Only she can decide to help herself.

Are you old enough to remember the song "Feelings?" Feelings....nothing more than feelings...I forget the rest of the lyrics but remember the melody.

My son has been out of my home for almost 4 years. Except for a very short time he has always had a place to stay. He has had food. While he may have been around bad people, he has always tried to stay above the fray. In fact, he prides himself in his difference from misguided and problematic people.

There is not one thing you can do right now if she does not want to come home. Nor can you let her if she is abusive to you. Allowing your daughter to abuse you will only hurt her and hurt you. Try to remember that.

Your daughter is OK. You are OK. Keep posting. All day long and into the night if you need to. That is what I do sometimes when I am really a mess. It helps.
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Thank you. Thank you all. Yes Copa, I am doing the same thing. Self blame and guilt. I got down on my knees and prayed for the first time in a very long time. This is awful terrible and just breaking my heart. I never imagined this is where she would end up. She feels like she can't work due to her issues but she's so damn smart it's frustrating to no end. I have a feeling we are in a for a long painful journey.


And I am a fixer. I have always been a fixer, in my profession I am the fixer. I can't fix this. I do need al-anon but I'm too chicken to go.


Well-Known Member
Lila, two things.

My son is smart, too. And he too feels he cannot work (I disagree but who am I to say?) Do you want to take the risk and suggest SSI? I did not, but my son applied for it anyway and got it the first time. I do not like that he gets free money, but on the other hand I am grateful that he has it. If that makes any sense. I fear it may not.

Let's stick together Lila, Okay?



He has looked into SSI but not sure how far he's gotten. At this point I would be relieved of he had it.

Yes, please let's stick together because I could use some propping up about now :)


Well-Known Member
My son is smart, too. And he too feels he cannot work (I disagree but who am I to say?) Do you want to take the risk and suggest SSI? I did not, but my son applied for it anyway and got it the first time. I do not like that he gets free money, but on the other hand I am grateful that he has it. If that makes any sense. I fear it may not.
Trust me, it is hard to qualify. He must have good reasons for being approved. Why does this upset you??

I know it is hard to accept that he needs this money, but he must. I know people who have applied for SSI ten times and were turned down. He must have serious problems to get it the first time.

I got it the first time too.

These are unusual. Your son did the right thing for himself, in my opinion.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Lila, this is not an easy journey to be on but you are not alone. It's hard to let go, if it were easy we wouldn't need this site.
One thing I do know is our D C's have an amazing knack for finding shelter and food. They might say they are desperate but that can be a ploy to get us to feel sorry for them.
You just have to keep reminding yourself that it's her life, her choices. You have no control over how she's living her life, you only have control over how you respond.
I know the heartache you are feeling, I've been there. I've had many sleepless nights wondering where my son was. I spent time driving around looking for him. Worrying and wondering will only drain you of precious energy and it will change nothing.
You really have to try to redirect your focus. I know it's not easy but you can do it.
COM suggested attending Al-anon meetings, I think this is a great idea. While this site is a God send being able to share with people face to face is really good therapy. There is nothing to fear when you go, you don't even have to talk until you are ready, you can just sit and listen. No one there will judge you or what you are going through. It's worth a try and if you don't like that particular group you can find another.
Find something that you love to do or try something new that you've always wanted to try. Do something just for you.
It's ok to have a good cry, it helps to get it out but then you need to pick yourself up and move on.
You will get through this.


one day at a time
Lila, you don't need to be afraid of Al-Anon. The first time I went (I stayed for 18 months and gained a lot but not as much as I could have), I just sat there and cried and cried. I didn't say a word.

Al-Anon suggests coming for 6 times until "you decide if Al-Anon is for you." That's because at first it's hard to take it in, the routine, what people are saying and sharing, the fact that you are fully accepted, the silences, the respect. If you will go, you will find healing and peace and a new life. It's like anything else, you will get out of it what you put into it, and that means just...showing up.

Warm hugs tonight.


It's ok to cry. In fact I'm crying right now for you. What you are going through is so close to all of our hearts. You have to let it out or it will eat away at you. Take the time to grieve, then move on. Turn it into a positive time of growth for you. You will find the strength within. Don't be afraid of Al-anon. They are very kind people. It's easy, they won't force you to do anything.



I finally stopped crying then ate dinner with my mom who had a minor medical procedure today. I had a few moments of peace and was too drained to go back to that panicky dark place. I got a text that said she has housing for 3 weeks. A bit of relief but who knows if it's actually true. I should have gone to Al-Anon years and years ago during my marriage to my alcohols ex but I guess better late than never.

Thank you all again. I will keep reading your posts. Finding you has been my anchor in this terrible storm.


Well-Known Member

Do you think that your daughter may want you to THINK her situation is worse than it actually is, so that you will feel bad?

I mean, wouldn't she come back if things really got too bad?


Active Member
I feel your pain and am joining the "I suck at detachment" club.

Difficult Child had a bed in the shelter for 30 days and has just been uninvited to return because he wasn't doing his daily chores.

Now he's back on the streets, drinking and wants to die.

I feel very hopeless today. He is sad, I am too. So I get it and am sending you hugs. I don't know how or when this torture will end.


Well-Known Member
I do not like that he gets free money, but on the other hand I am grateful that he has it.
Trust me, it is hard to qualify. He must have good reasons for being approved. Why does this upset you??
SWOT I believe in work. I believe one does what one has to.
I know it is hard to accept that he needs this money, but he must.
I accept he needs this money, but at the same time I have seen him work a full time job and keep it for over a year. I know he has it within him do to this again.

I am against anything that acts as a barrier to his doing so, doing what he can do.

There are sheltered work programs. There are supports available to work or study through Dept of Rehab. Job Corps accepts disabled people and trains them.

All of these options are available to him. That he not feel like working does not impress me. Neither do I. And that is hurting me, that I have the means to indulge my fear.

All the free money is doing for my son is permitting him to indulge himself, to read more conspiracy theories, to live marginally, to run from county to county, couch to couch. Living this way is causing him to feel worse, to be less capable. It is a deterrent to his well-being, not a help.

If he did not have it he would either have to work to be independent or to meet our conditions for help. Either with us or with a program that demands productivity, activity, and goals, and insists upon learning and responsibility.

That is my ambivalence about free money. When President Clinton reformed welfare I was opposed, adamantly so. I am not so sure anymore. I have always been in favor of social supports, whatever they are. Less so with my own child, when they may be enabling him.


Well-Known Member
but my son applied for it anyway and got it the first time.
To get it the first time, he had a diagnosis that made the people in charge think he is not capable of working. It is hard to get SS the first time. I think perhaps you are not realistic about his ability. One can be smart, but think so differenlty or have such bad learning disabilities that working needs to be very specific and you can never be what somebody else with your same IQ can do and you need a supplement for support.
I think it was smart of your son to apply. He did it because he knows...he knows, like I always knew, that there was something different about me that made working very hard. Getting fired from fifty different jobs did not make me confident in myself AND I tried hard at all of them. I have been fired from places such as McDonalds for not being able to multitask (frontal lobe damage), as a file clerk (inability to keep my mind on task and misfiling), typist (skipped sentences when typing letters) and etc.

This was but another trauma I have, however now that it has been explained to me, I feel a lot better. But I do get a little ticked when people think "You should work." Yes, and I do to the best of my ability, but there aren't many jobs I can do with all my differences and most of them don't exist anymore, such as answering services. Also, I could never have supported myself on any of the jobs I was able to not get fired from.I have worked for up to four years at one job, but it was very specific to my strengths...answering services for my verbal skills and some incoming advertising for same. But they were not moneymaker jobs.

I feel for your son and agree to disagree...in my mind he did the right thing, although he is unwilling to take it a step further and admit he really DOES have a disability and that somebody needs to handle his money and possibly other things. I would not have fought any of t hat, but those options did not exist at the time or else I did not think I was disabled because I was not in a wheel chair. I don't remember which, but I think it was the latter.

Please stay mindful, sensitive and kind, like you almost always are. That stellar heart shines through.


Well-Known Member
It is not a shame to be disabled or else you think I am shameful too.
SWOT, you know I do not.

To wish that my son worked is not to be ashamed of him when he does not, or even if he chooses not to.

In the original post I said I was ambivalent. That I wanted him to have the protection of SSI, but to have the incentive to work. Is that wrong?

I understand that what I want is inappropriate and wrong to impose on him. I am not doing this. Anymore.

Is it wrong in my heart of hearts to wish he wanted to work, or volunteer?

Or to wish that he felt the need or incentive to participate in a program that would help him achieve his potential?

Before he received the SSI he had to go to residential treatment for 4 months, because he had no other way to support himself. As a result he seemed to be more stable, mature and focused there than he had been for years. He could have continued in the program and gone to a satellite apartment. From there he could have gotten a subsidized apartment in the expensive beautiful Big City we both love.

He did not do it. He did not continue. He stopped as soon as his SSI was approved, and he got money in his pocket.

Had it been your child, would you not have wanted him to continue in the program, and resent what seemed to support the disincentive to do so???

SWOT we are always on the same side, when I really think about things. I accept you have been right in stuff where it really caused me to work hard and accept failings in myself...to come to your point of view.

I am not saying he should not receive his SSI or that he is bad or shameful to seek it. I just wish he had the motivation to choose better for himself, when he has the money in his pocket. You did.

I will reply to you next time on the FOO thread. I feel guilty hijacking here.
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