Brilliant son nearly homeless

Mom to 4

New Member
My nearly 29 year old son has been on a downward slide for nearly 10 years. He graduated high school healthy and happy, active in band and sports, with nearly a 4.0 in honors classes. He entered the University of Michigan and was on the Deans List his Freshman year. After that his grades dropped as did his demeanor. He graduated with a degree in engineering and moved home where he locked himself in his room playing video games 24/7. We were in total shock, but were not going to allow that kind of behavior in our home. We took the door off the hinges and took away his computer. He was furious, moved out, and got a good engineering job. That job lasted 6 months as did the next 3. When he lost each job he stayed in his apartment playing video games until his money ran out, not even bothering to apply for unemployment. After the 4th job in our area he moved to Chicago where his oldest brother lived and got his “dream job”. Six to nine months later (not sure exactly when) he lost that job. When his money ran out he got a job making pizzas, was fired, and got another job making pizzas. He came home with his brother on Thanksgiving. I was aghast when he came to me after everybody went to bed and blasted me that his problems were all my fault, largely because we took the door off the hinges and denied him privacy. He also claimed my infrequent texts were so awful he couldn’t get out of bed after getting them! He does not answer his phone or reply to texts so I only text maybe once a month letting him know we are here to help and love him unconditionally. The next day his middle brother talked to him and he showed him my texts and his perception of them was nowhere near what they said! He has admitted that he can no longer make the rent on his ramshackle room and is fearful of homelessness. He finally agreed to get help but will only cooperate with his brother’s wife who lives near him. We have agreed to pay for a psychiatrist and he began to go last week. This psychiatrist is $300 a week and we are not made of money! This problem with my son is my biggest heartache and I don’t talk about it to anyone. However, it is only one of 3 big problems. My daughter’s husband had an affair, filed for divorce, and she and her 2 toddlers moved in with us 6 months ago. She is devastated, as are we. She is educated, but has lost her certification and will need to go back to school. In the meantime she is working a low paying job while I care for her 2 little boys, ages 2 and 3, who fight all the time. I love them dearly, but they take every ounce of my time and energy. She does attend a support group, but leans heavily on me for emotional support. That is problem #2. Problem #3 is that my 92 year old father lives in assisted living close to me and is incredibly demanding. I have one adopted brother, an alcoholic, who lives 700 miles away. My father was still taking care of him until I brought Dad to live near me 7 years ago. Needless to say brother is no help at all. Over the last few months Dad has been calling me up to 15 times a day. He is totally focused on a noise he hears at night that keeps him awake. Nobody else hears this noise. I have spent the night there; have talked endlessly to doctors who he will not cooperate with because he says the noise is from his furnace, not in his ears; and, in the past month, my husband and I have moved his two rooms of furniture over a dozen times at his demand to get away from the noise. Recently he has been demanding that I take him to a motel! (Initially he wanted to move in with me to get away from the noise, until I reminded him that my house is anything but quiet!). Now a room has become available this weekend and he plans that we will move him in ASAP. Problem is that we are going to Chicago for problem son’s birthday and feel that it is very important to do so to show our support. Dad will be very upset. Any time we have anything else to do he whines about how that other thing, no matter what it is, is so much more important than he is. That is it in a nutshell. I had never envisioned such problems at 64 years old.
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Active Member
You have a lot on your plate. I'm sorry you're going through all of this. It's so hard. This is a great place to talk about your problems with your son. Do you know if he's doing drugs or drinking? Or is he just having mental health issues? Either way you have to remember there is only so much you can (or should) do as he is an adult. There are several posts on this site about boundaries and self-care and I think it would be great for you to read them. Perhaps he could qualify for mental health payment assistance, that way you wouldn't have to spend so much money. It may not be where he wants to go, but he has to be responsible for whatever recovery he undergoes. Sending peace your way. I know how difficult this road is.


Well-Known Member
You can not possibly care for that many people. Not only is it terrible for your own health (I am about your age and am done caretaking) but they are not getting YOUR best. And YOU matter. I recommend taking big breaks and having a great rest of your life. Here are some suggestions. Take them or leave them.

1. Stop helping and angsting over very bright 29 year old son who insists on working at pizza parlors. You know he can support himself. If he is on drugs or something else is going on, at his age you cant do one thing. Other than encoraging him to go to rehab or to his county mental health center, where they have low cost help, you can do nothing. Nothing. Dont fight with him. Dont do for him. If you run out of money, will he be there to help you? I think not. At a certain age, I think 60, we deserve to back off and let it be. We will not be around forever. We deserve great Golden Years and they need to stop crying and learn to do for themselves. Who will play Mommy for them when we leave?

2. Your Dad is next. He is in Assisted Living. He is paying good money to have care. Let them do their job. Other than visiting on YOUR schedule, who cares if he gets irrate? Call his nurse, alert them to his state of mind and see him when it is best for you.

Why let him or anyone boss you around at your wise and deserving age? Its not as if you deserted him! Do not not not take him to a motel and stay with your Dad. Dont do it! Does he have dementia? Nobody else hears his noises. Dont get involved. Let the doctors do the best that they can. They ARE doctors. They can do more than you.

Let your other brother figure life out himself. He needs to grow up or get Disability benefits. Not your problem.

Your son is a bit old to need you at his birthday but its your decision, not your dads. Im thinking no "suppirt" will make your son any better. Dont give cash as a gift or anything he can sell.

Sound cold? Think of this. Most nice, loving kids are starting to worry and sometimes almost overworry for 64 year old parents, not put more stress on them.

Most fathers of all ages do not make unreasonable demands on loving children. You are a person,not a slave

So.what if they might get mad at you? Do they worry about YOUR feelimgs?

There is a time to be Mommy and darling daughter and a time when this has to stop. A time when it is no longer appropriate.

Of course nobody can stop you from what you will do, but this is my.opinion. I still love my family but hubby and I are going to travel south in the winter in our RV starting next year.

It is our time now. Of course we will help with reasonable requests, but your son, dad and brother are not being reasonable. They are all adults and need to grow up. And you need to enjoy life!

Are you rich? Your son can find a cheap therapist. Your father can stay where he is. Now if you are Paris Hilton rich maybe you can and are willing to pay it all....

Love and light!
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Well-Known Member
I forgot the kids. Daycare. If she doesnt make enough money the state will help her pay. Why hasnt she done this? Head Start is free too. Why not?

I love my granddaughter with all my heart but would not want to chase after the little princess all day long. She would need at least partial daycare in your situation, even of it required headstart or state help.

When your daughter isnt at work, she stays home or pays for a sitter. You are not her sitter for party time. Nights should ne for her studying to get her certificate in your state. No reason not to get it. That will help her and you. Partying/ dating will just waste your times.

We need to stay healthy and keep thriving :)

Turning your phone off for most of the day would cure Dads annoying calls. Dad can ring for a nurse. You are not one.

You seriously must learn hpw to say NO!
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Well-Known Member
My grandma was hearing noises and hums that no one else heard. If your dad moves, the sound probably won't go away. Whether it's Alheimers or fluid in the ear.

I don't know why your son is having trouble at keeping a job. Does he get along well with people? Did he choose the engineering major or was he pressured into that major? You mentioned your other son was in engineering. Is that why?


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

Welcome and sorry that you have to be here. You have a lot on your plate!!

I agree with everything SWOT said. You need to get tough and push back!!

If you even do half of what she suggested that will be a huge improvement over what you are doing now. Maybe you can do a little at a time until you get to the point where YOU can ENJOY your life!!

This is not harsh. This doesn't mean you do not LOVE all of these people!!!

Agree that it's YOUR time now. Stop being bullied by your family.

Tired out

Well-Known Member
I am with SWOT 110%!
These people are completely selfish. They are all -including your daughter, thinking only of what they want and need, not at all about you. In their minds, "It's fine. Mom wants to do it."
Learn to say NO to son, daughter and father.
Yes to state assistance for daycare.
AS for your son who is an engineer and is having a problem keeping a job. The company my husband works for is having issues with fresh out of school engineers. They are LAZY! They think they are going to get hired, sit at a desk and dink on their phones all day. I have lost track of how many they have let go within a year over the last 5 years. It is crazy. I don't know if college programs have gotten so computer based that they don't teach engineers how to be engineers, troubleshoot, design etc.

NO way could have he just gotten a degree in engineering by mom wanting him to It is work to complete the years of college. Are you SURE he actually graduated? you saw the diploma?
I would dump the $300 therapist. Obviously this problem isn't solved.


Well-Known Member
Hi and welcome!

Your daughter should be able to get temporary alimony (along with child support) to allow her to go back to school and get her certification. She should do that instead of working a low-paying job. And, as SWOT said, get the kids into Head Start or preschool through your school district and/or subsidized day care through the state. Some colleges have day care at the facility at low or no cost for students. Many colleges have programs available for displaced homemakers for people in your daughter’s situation.

Tell your dad that he will need to hire some people to move his furniture if he insists upon moving apartments yet again. Was he always this demanding or has his personality changed recently? You may need to get Aging & Disability Services involved.

Is your son abusing drugs or alcohol?

He needs to look into low/no cost alternatives through the state or community (unless you can EASILY afford $300 per week indefinitely). Mental health needs isn’t something that resolves quickly. If he has mental health issues, he will need to be under professional supervision for a long time, maybe even for life.


Well-Known Member
I hear the noise too. For me it is a boom boom boom. Like a bass drum. We went all over the neighborhood to find the culprit who played music in the middle of the night...for weeks. It has to do with hearing loss. I found a way to deal with it. One way is I turn the TV sound up. (Smile).

This is very common. There are no remedies. There are strategies to deal with it. But your dad seems unlikely to be open to learning them.

The noise could also be a psychological symptom for your dad. The assisted living will have a staff psychiatrist. There could be medication that will help him.

I agree with the others. Daughter, son and Dad need to deal with their real lives. You can't take away the pain of real life. You can love them and be there. But that is not the same as being a universal shock absorber. You absorbing the blows does not work and it is killing for you.

Your son sounds addicted to gaming. Has that been broached to him? I agree with the others. Until he is willing to confront himself and take responsibility to do what it takes to change, you may be throwing money down a hole with the psychiatrist.

I would not take his mistreatment. It's one thing to sit and talk. It's another to let him scapegoat and bash you.
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Well-Known Member
Wow. You’re taking care of of four generations.

It sounds like evertbody’s default position is to dump all their problems on you instead of dealing with them themselves. Running yourself ragged at age 64 isn’t really sustainable - you need to establish and enforce boundaries in all these situations.

Son. Can you really afford $1200 / month for a psychiatrist? What about retirement? He needs to find resources on his own if he needs them. He has a degree in an in- demand field and can get jobs if he wants to. If he wants to make pizza instead, that’s his choice and it comes with consequences.

Daughter. There are programs for single mothers for food, housing, child care, etc. Also, the father should be paying child support. If he’s not, she needs to take him to court. It’s easier for her to just work a McJob and have you pick up all the slack. Let her know that’s not happening anymore.

Father. Let him know he can call once a day, once every two days, or whatever works for you. He’s in assisted living - let them assist him.

You’re not abandoning these people by standing up for yourself. You’re taking care of yourself. You won’t be any help to anybody if you let them dump all their problems on you and you end up debilitated or dead.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
You will not be alive forever. What would they do if you weren't here?

Let then start figuring things out on their own before they put you in an early grave.



Well-Known Member
I agree with all of the people above. Please learn to take care of yourself and read the article on detachment under parent emitrius.