Choosing to be homeless

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by StrugglinginCR, Feb 24, 2018.

  1. StrugglinginCR

    StrugglinginCR New Member

    My daughter and her husband will tell you they are living their dream with tiny living. They are in a very old travel trailer on a friends lot. No water, no electricity, no sewage and no vehicle to pull their trailer with. They will only work enough to survive. We still provide medical insurance for our daughter. They are dependent on us for charging batteries, showers, water, electricity, storage of their belongings and our friends lot. Now we find out they are spending their money on marajuana.
    Is it time for some tough love? They are intelligent and very employable. I don’t know what to do.
     
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  2. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Struggling, welcome and sorry for your need to be here. I will tell you that when our adult children “live their dream” doing barely enough to get by, depend on their parents for essentials, but manage to fund a drug habit, this is not a dream, it is a nightmare. For us.
    And eventually them.
    Then even moreso, for us.
    That’s my experience with trying to “help” my two wayward daughters, who would come and go through our home as if it were a convenient pit stop hotel, lounge about while we went to work, party at night, sleep all day. Etc. etc. What was sworn to be “just smoking pot” turned into mixing it with cocaine, then eventually a full blown meth addiction.
    This happened over years of them teeter tottering on the edge.
    They were good kids. We taught them right from wrong. Somehow, they grew up, but never really matured into their potential. It started with pot.
    They worked here and there, but never seemed to take it seriously that they should be earnest about providing for themselves. Thought that we were supposed to rescue them from the consequences of their choices. We did, for years, struggled to “help” them, but that did not help them launch into responsible people. The more we gave, the more they took, the easier it was for them to shirk off their becoming self sufficient, the deeper they got into the “party” life.
    It was a vicious cycle.
    I have no problem with people trying to live off grid, tiny house living. Many young couples are doubling up with parents and that’s okay too if it is a mutually respectful and responsible living arrangement.
    Heck, it’s expensive out there.
    It is a whole different ball game when adult kids are not pulling their load and using drugs. Oh yes, pot is legal in many States now and looked upon as medicine. But, when smoking it takes priority over taking care of business and being self sustaining, that is addiction.
    I am sorry for your situation with your daughter and her husband. They are living on your dime, and it is not fair to you. They are taking advantage of your generosity. If they want to live “tiny” why do you need to store their stuff?
    Most folks here will tell you that whenever we help our adult kids this way, we are enabling them to continue to use drugs. We make it easier for them to use, because they don’t have to worry about providing for their needs.
    There is a very good article to read on detachment at the top of the PE forum. It is a good start to gauge where we are at in our relationship with our adult kids. Detachment doesn’t mean we coldly cut our kids off, it means we work hard to become balanced. We don’t allow ourselves to feel responsible for our adult children’s choices and the consequences. Because we are not. They have to learn.
    They need to use their talents and find their potential.
    Will they do this, if they continue as is? Relying so heavily on you?
    You have come to the right spot to sort this out. None of us are experts here, just folks who are at different paths on the journey. One thing you must know, is that you are not alone. We have all struggled with what to do, not wanting our adult children to flounder, fearful of what may happen if we don’t help them.
    They are capable, and can support themselves, if they choose to. The key is for them to understand their responsibility to make better choices.
    Most times, that means us stepping aside and allowing them to carry their own load.
    (((Hugs)))
    Leafy
     
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  3. newstart

    newstart Active Member

    Leafy, You are so right, the problem with so many of us parents is that watching them struggle is so painful but it is in the struggle that they grow. As hard as that is to watch it is nessesary to do. I have to admit that I am the worst enabler, but not anymore, to get my 35 year old daughter unstuck I have to step away and allow her to feel the full blunt of her own actions.. I kept thinking that if I help her this time she will pull herself out and use my help as a step to move forward but all it does and did was make her lazy and dependent and kept her stuck in her awful cycle. I will be the first to admit that it is extremely painful to watch my daughter suffer when I can do something to stop her suffer and struggle but I have to stand back and watch it happen..What helps me stop the enabling is thinking about her picking a 1/2 ass boyfriend and thinking its ok to let him live in our rent home and disrepect us. We work hard for our money and she has wasted thousands of dollars on bad decisions.
    StruggelinginCR ~ please write a signature so we know how old your daughter is and what other information you would like everyone to know so we all could help you better. I am all for tiny living but not at your expense. Tiny living is suppose to help everyone finacially including you. Good luck and welcome.
     
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  4. StrugglinginCR

    StrugglinginCR New Member

    These two are 25 years old and were gifted and talented students! They were both very strong in the Christian faith growing up and now the husband is Wicken. They were surrounded by hard working adults their whole lives. But they now want to live off grid and embrace many idealism’s. He is gifted in music, visual arts, cooking and computers. My daughter has an associate degree with medical terminology. She Has many years of preschool teaching experience, medical billing experience, a talented singer and exudes kindness. Everyone who meets her, adores her!
    The down slope happened after we all moved to Colorado 4 years ago. After a year, he became depressed and lost his job. I think that was all due to marijuana use. They tried for another year...But that was basically the end of them trying to lead a conventional lifestyle.
    Do I start by finding counseling or treatment, do I just give them a few weeks or months and then they know our assistance is done? I don’t know where to start but I watched my mom be an enabler and my 51 year old brother still lives in her basement smoking his weed.
     
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  5. StrugglinginCR

    StrugglinginCR New Member

    Leafy and New Start, thank you for taking the time to comment and share! I am so thankful for this support!
     
  6. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Oh my, 25. Old enough to be on their own. To know better, to do better. I am sorry for your heartache watching this go down.
    So it seems they have been struggling for two years now. Our adult kids will shun a "conventional" lifestyle, but have no problem living off their "conventional" parents. For me, I am on a widows budget and can't afford to foot that load. We won't be around forever to fund these adult kids who go off the rails and figure they can lean on their parents.
    I would definitely find counseling, for myself. It is not easy to get off the enabling path, I got so caught up in trying to help, it really hurt when a therapist bluntly told me I was an "enabler". That word just reverberated through my head, as I walked out of her office kind of stunned. "Aren't we supposed to help our own?" That was my inner retort, but as I reeled the tapes of incidences with my two, their failure to manage caring for themselves and growing up, "adulting", they say, I realized that the more we helped them, the more they felt entitled, the less they tried.
    They didn't get better, they got worse.
    What 25 year old wants to listen to their parent, or in-law for that matter? Most of them seem to think they know everything. They will choose as they do.
    You can suggest counseling, hopefully they will agree.
    You didn't cause this, can't control it or cure it.
    Is your husband on the same page with you? I would definitely start to figure out a plan that the both of you could stand by. Be honest with your daughter and son in law, let them know how you feel and give them a timeframe. Then stick by it. That is the hard part. Hopefully they will wake up and take on their responsibility. If they don't, it is imperative for you and your husband to know what your next step is. That is tough love, because what parent wants to see their kids struggle? On the same token, parents help their adult kids all the time, but there has got to be some initiative on their part, some forward movement.
    This is a good, real life example of letting your daughter know what you do not want to happen. That you know she is capable. That you are going to start to give her the reins to her life back. She is old enough to take care of herself, and you know her potential. She has to be the captain of her own ship.
    Please know you are not alone. Most of us are here because our adult kids are floundering. We want to help them, but not to the point where they continue to make choices that lead to consequences that prevent them from thriving.
    Love says no. No, I will not fund your choices to smoke weed and not take care of your responsibilities. They can stand on their own two feet, if they choose to.
    That to me is truly helping, helping them see their value and worth and capabilities. This means saying no. Nothing changes, if nothing changes.
    When we make a decision to stop allowing our adult kids to live off of us, it feels strange. Almost like abandonment. We are not abandoning them, just showing them by word and action, that they can take care of themselves, if they choose.
    These feelings that run through us are strong and we need to work hard at strengthening ourselves for whatever comes down the road of this. Keep posting and let us know how you are doing. Find ways to take care of yourself. We get lost in this shuffle, when the kids behave in ways we never imagined. It is important to fortify yourself and know you are doing the right thing for your daughter and for yourselves. There are websites and books and videos that can guide you along whatever path you choose. We are not experts here, just folks who have similar experiences with our beloveds, it is heartwrenching.
    I am sorry for you troubles. There is a way through this, and that is to start to change your way of reacting to the consequences of their choices. To switch your focus on to self care. That is not selfish, Struggling, it is after all what we wish for our kids, to be able to take care of themselves.
    When we take care of ourselves, we are leading by example and we learn to set healthy boundaries. Boundaries help our adult kids learn that we will not be taken for granted, or taken advantage of.
    Then, they have to look themselves in the mirror and figure out what they need to do, to do better.
    Many warm hugs to you.
    Leafy
     
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  7. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome, CR

    They are definitely living an addict’s dream—having someone else pay their living expenses so that they can take drugs and enjoy themselves. All our difficult young adults would love that set-up.

    My step-son has managed to get his mom to, yet again, support him. He quit his very good job because they were going to drug test him, and he is now “going back to school” on her dime. She will get tired of it, sooner or later.

    It sounds like your daughter and son-in-law have some means of making money at this time. That’s a good thing. This is a good time to grant them their freedom.

    The problem with giving deadlines or ultimatums is that, our difficult young adults almost always choose to do nothing and call our bluff when the time is up. You must be willing to follow through.

    If you feel you need counseling, get some for yourself. Many of us do.

    Dont wait too long to get started, though. It only gets harder, the older they get and the longer they have been dependent on us. Your 51 year old brother is case inpoint of that. They lose their self-confidence and grow more entitled the longer they stay dependent on someone else.

    Stay with us and keep posting.

    Apple
     
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    Last edited: Feb 25, 2018
  8. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I've been interested in tiny home living for many years. I currently live in a 730 sq.ft. apartment and could go quite a bit smaller. I feel safer in small spaces.

    What these kids are doing is NOT living off the grid; it is living off of mom!

    When I was a teen, (I was adulting by the time I was 18) I would've loved a separate living space with all my bills paid by my parents. Somewhere where I could do whatever i wanted, whenever I wanted to, and not have to worry about food or utilities, just coming up with money for the occasional high.

    I'd say to cut them off, and get them out of that camper/trailer, but I don't know the best way to do it.
     
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  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    What they are doing is squatting. It isn't tiny living. If it is their dream, then let them live it FULLY. Let them handle their bills. They have college degrees, they are smart enough to figure out that if you don't pay your lot rent or your other bills, you have to find a new lot and new sources for those other things. Turn off the showers, stop giving them money. Tell them that they are now ADULTS and it is time for them to support themselves.

    Blow their minds. Tell them that you are thrilled that they have found their dream and that it is so affordable. You are absolutely positive that they can figure out how to afford it without any help from you. Of course you can give them the odd meal when you are wanting to, or whatever else. But right now? You are enabling them to spend all their money on marijuana. If they didn't have you paying the bills, they wouldn't have so much money for pot.

    It is rather simple, if you think about it. Let them get stinky without showers. Sure they will get angry. That is why you don't have to answer their calls or even your door. They are not stupid. They WILL figure out how to survive without having you pay for everything. It just won't be as easy and comfortable for them. You will have to have a difficult talk with your friend about the kids having to pay their own rent, and you being perfectly fine if they are thrown off the lot.

    I advise getting a therapist to help talk you through this process. Detaching with love isn't easy. You can teach them to be respectful as you go through this process, if they get angry and demanding, but it isn't fun to go through. Some parents here will tell an angry and demanding child that they cannot call for 24 hours if the child is abusive or disrespectful on the phone. Phone calls and texts are not answered for the next 24 hours. If the child tries to call during that time, they get another 24 hours. These are adult children, of course. If the child has a legitimate emergency, you will get a call from a hospital or a jail. Not from your child's cell phone. Any other problems, the child is old enough and smart enough to figure out for themselves.

    You could even be kind enough to give your adult children a list of shelters and food banks in your area, if you feel compelled. Given their ages and educations, I probably would not.

    Read the article near the top of the forum on Detachment. It may give you a lot of strength. You also may find support by going to AlAnon and/or NarcAnon meetings. These are for families of substance abusers and give a whole lot of help and support.

    You raised your kids. By 25 many of us were parents. I had 2 kids by then. If your son and his wife want to live in a tiny house like squatters, that is their business. But it needs to be ALL their business. It isn't up to you to support them, no matter how appalled you are by their choices. When they are hungry enough, they will find food. WHen they are tired of stinking, they will find a shower at a friends or at a truck stop. You don't run a shelter or a truck stop. Isn't it time they had to actually pay the price for their choices?

    Of course this is a process. It isn't easy on you. But there is help here and at AlAnon/NarcAnon and you might even want to see a therapist to help. Many parents find that helpful as they go through this process. If your adult children are choosing pot over basic necessities, they may have a problem. If they do, it is their problem. They won't ever get help until they are sick and miserable of their lives. The easier you make their lives, the harder things will be when they are ready to get clean. You don't want to be dealing with this when they are 45, do you?

    Do what you can, as you can. We know you cannot take all the advice right away. No one here will judge you for not immediately cutting them off (or for immediately cutting them off). This is a journey, not a jump. It is as individual as each member on it. Know that we are here and we support you.
     
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  10. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Actually, if they get stinky enough, they can take a shower at a truck stop. Last time I did so, about 6 years ago, it cost me 7 dollars because I wasn't a trucker with a fuel/etc card from a trucking company.

    Nothing fancy, but it got me nice and clean, and it beat driving down the road in hot weather covered in mocha coolata.
     
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  11. StrugglinginCR

    StrugglinginCR New Member

    I guess I should have let ya all know that they do pay a monthly lot rent and I no longer give “loans” or pay any of their actual bills. My issue is they still owe people money and they are not progressing towards being self sufficient and have no desire to. I appreciate everyone’s input.
     
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  12. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    This comment right here will give me strength to continue detaching from my 18 year old son. This is my greatest fear.

    The rental fee sounds like a token sum and the rest is not self sufficient living you can empathize and support without giving them money or taking accountability for providing them with electricity and water.

    It won’t be easy and they certainly won’t be happy about it.

    Trust me I know. I was disavowed as a mother yesterday for giving my son the choice of Detox and rehab or jail. Not easy but as you say who wants adult children sponging off of you for life.
     
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  13. StrugglinginCR

    StrugglinginCR New Member

    So sorry for what you are going through, that had to be so hard! I’ve done that with my brother and pray I will never have to do it again! By the way he chose jail because he didn’t believe we would follow through.

    We have decided to meet with them this week and set expectations and deadlines. With everyone’s support, we know it needs to be done for them.
     
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  14. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    This is what makes me so vehement about these situations: I had an aunt who died in her late 70's.

    She had two sons in their 50's who never launched. Both lived at home with my aunt.

    When she died, they lived off her insurance money until that was gone, lived off what they could make from menial jobs for a while after that, but one died in his late 50s of heart disease and the other died at 61 of renal failure.

    They were NOT drug users or alcoholics, or in any way criminals. They simply could not live without their mother who had cared for them since birth and never forced them to learn how to take care of themselves.

    It was a very sad situation, and what comes to my mind whenever I read of children who don't fly the nest on time.
     
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  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I have had the same issues with my child. For the longest time I tried to pressure him tied to help. It did not work.

    i had to accept he had a right to make his own choices and my only right was over what I did or did not do or allow in my home or around me. It was tough. I had to ask him to leave a home I own. I told him I did not want him here. I realized I could not change him. It did not work and I came to see I did not have that right. I could only love him.

    If they are squatting on land that is not yours I do not see what you can do unless they are there through some effort on your part. As adults they have the right to live as they choose. We may not like it but our only vote is over what we choose to give or allow of our space, resources and support.

    The showers, batteries, electricity, insurance you choose to provide. You do not have to. If it makes you uncomfortable you have an absolute right to withdraw this access or support.

    It is normal for parents to disapprove of lifestyle choices of adult children. My own mother was infuriated when I chose to live in foreign countries. I had a profession, had been a mother for 12 years, had been self supporting for 40 years. She believed I needed to work. I had worked 40 years. She absolutely believed she had the moral authority to decide. Guess who won?

    Now. The marijuana is tough. Personally I hate it but it is so widespread, I don't know what to suggest. It is highly personal the stances we take. I chose to not let my son even in my home if he continued the mj habit. I know this is very harsh. But I felt he was compromising his life to such an extent that I felt compelled to take this step.

    As I type this it appalls me that I took such a harsh stand.

    I guess that is how you feel about your daughter's lifestyle.

    Yes. We have have a right to limit contact. But would you want to do that?

    In our case the result was that my son went to a sober living home. But if I gave an inch I know he would return to our other home and use again.

    My son is mentally ill. Had he had more resources he could well have turned his back on me and our town and not looked back.

    This is the minefield we operate in.

    Anyway. Welcome and good luck.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 26, 2018
  16. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I think you have options. Therapy if you want. Setting limits on the support you choose to give, if this feels right.

    There is an article on detachment on this site that spells out how it would be to detach with love.

    Some parents find what they need at al anon.

    The thing is: you are not the one with the problem. Their lifestyle has not one thing to do with you.

    Almost all of us struggle with boundaries. We feel the effects of their choices.

    When we come to see this, there can be solace for us. That your two are able bodied and capable could make this easier for you to let this go.

    It really, really does not have to be your problem.
     
  17. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Hi

    I honestly see marijuana as I see alcohol. Some people can use recreationally and function, even excel at whatever they are doing, and others cannot.

    Your daughter and her husband are not functioning normally be it the marijuana or their thinking.

    As others have said, you can control what you enable. I wouldn't like how they are living either. We all want our adult children to be happy and function normally as deemed what is normal by society standards.

    I think you are doing the right thing by setting boundaries on what YOU will do for them.
     
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  18. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi CR

    Let us know how the talk with your daughter goes.

    Don’t get lost in the FOG (fear, obligation, guilt). They may try anything and everything in their arsenal to get you to continue enabling them.

    Bargaining, threats, tears, anger, victimhood, whatever has worked for them in the past could be used to keep you as their enabler.

    Good luck, keep us informed!

    Apple
     
  19. StrugglinginCR

    StrugglinginCR New Member

    We had them for over for dinner and we explained that we really don’t want to be up in their business being that they are grown and married. However, we feel they are making it our business by relying on us for essentials. We told them the lot they are on was meant as a temporary location that isn’t zoned residential and that they needed to plan to relocate by May. They were respectful and we just have to wait and see. I didn’t bring up the MJ use that I feel is excessive and causing their financial troubles because I thought now that they have to get money together to move they might just see it on their own. I’m praying for them and want to see them thrive. I’m all for tiny living if your thriving while doing it, unfortunately, they are using it to hide from life. Their dreams sound amazing but their actions are supporting said dreams! Thanks everyone!
     
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  20. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    You handled that beautifully. Just perfectly I think.

    The ball is in their court. It always was.

    But the ball is in your court, too. And you followed through beautifully.

    Now they, not you, will be responsible. You may lament their choices but will not feel you enabled them, or supported them to act badly. I think that should make a difference. They seem like good people. Let's see if they step up.

    Take care.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018