Deep Breaths...trying to stay at least semi-detached

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Lil, Dec 2, 2016.

  1. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    So...This is totally ME. My son hasn't called for help (in a while) but I think it's just the season - winter is SO HARD.

    He's managed to stay on campus, in some girl's college dorm room. I don't know how that's working out, but he's been crashing in this dorm for weeks apparently. (As far as I'm concerned - that's her parent's problem.) He did have to vacate the weekend before Thanksgiving - I bought him a new sleeping bag because he lost the old one. Otherwise, I didn't help and he's had to sleep rough a bit. Over Thanksgiving, he managed to pretty much stay there, hiding away from the RA while everyone else was gone, eating Ramen and otherwise fine. Bored, but fine. School will be out soon for winter break and that's going to be a couple weeks, minimum, that he's going to not have a place to sleep. Colorado Springs doesn't have much in the line of shelters; they are full and the winter shelter uses a lottery system to decide who can stay. I read in the paper that the non-profit disbanded the tent city on their property after pressure from the city. My son tells me the cops are rousting any homeless from public parks, etc., and throwing away their belongings if they are caught. I believe the fines are for "camping" on public property - a new way to penalize people for being homeless. :(

    I'm getting more and more worried. He doesn't know where he's going to go. I know the shelters are full. It's snowing there - a lot. I try not to think about it, but this sucks so hard.
  2. RN0441

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


    I can certainly understand you being worried.

    What happened to the one friend with the car?

    I'm assuming he is romantically involved with this girl he is staying with.

    Are you going to kind of "wait and see" what he does? He hasn't asked to come home which is good.

    I agree, this time of year everything is magnified. For me anyway.

  3. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    I know the local public school has a guidance counselor who would know every local resource available. Go on the website , it should all be there. Many families don't come forward with their issues, the school goes overboard trying to help those in need, for anyone in the community. Food, clothing, shelter, toys, coats...I swear even more, people donate things, pedicures, show tickets....tell him.
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  4. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    No idea. I think the car got repo'd and that's how he lost his sleeping bag.

    Also no idea. He refers to her as "his friend".

    I can't do anything but "wait and see", can I? :( He has specifically said he doesn't want to come back...and I agreed with him, mentioning that he would be in exactly the same spot he was in when he left. That was the weekend before Thanksgiving, when I pointed out that semester break would be coming up.

    So idea.

    Colorado. :( If only he were someplace warm...
  5. RN0441

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


    We always imagine the WORST. I know that I do. Try to give yourself a break. As my therapist says, only allow yourself to "worry" for X amount of time per day or per hour.

    He got this far on his own. I think he will probably figure it out.

    In my other post I mentioned that being near the ocean confirmed that there is a higher power for me. Find whatever it is that you feel may be yours and turn your worry over to that. It helps me.

    Keep us posted.
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  6. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Lil, I hear you. It's scary to think about them in the cold.

    As you know, my son is in the very same cold right now, yet he managed to (1) find a job working on a weed farm, then walked away from that and (2) immediately find a bed in the new winter shelter.

    Your son may not know where he's going next, but maybe he is OK with that.

    Heck, maybe he prefers it. Maybe we are the ones who need the certainty that they find stifling.

    You son didn't know where he was going before either. Yet he managed to secure lodging for weeks, on a college campus, no less.

    Not long ago he felt he couldn't make or keep friends. Yet here he is, surrounded by people his own age and making loads of new friends.

    He's doing it. He's having his adventure.

    Your son has shown that he certainly WILL call when he has a problem. If there is a problem, you will hear soon enough. I know it's hard, but in the meantime enjoy the quiet and the knowledge that he is figuring things out.
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  7. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Oh Albie, I know he'll call, which is part of the problem...the waiting for the inevitable call.
  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I agree with this. I keep imposing my values on my son...and even more, I want them measurable and he is some lab rat.

    I knew a man who was married to a famous movie star. He was 37 years her junior which made a lot of news in his country. His response: I am a man not a molecule.

    I think what you say, Albatross, makes a lot of sense. These are men, first. While they are still our sons, they are men, not molecules. Every single thing I request of my son reduces him in some way: to a child, to somebody who must comply, losing his authority over himself and his own life.

    Of course, he sets it up. He comes to me, wanting what I have to offer. Describing himself and his situation as dire--that he absolutely requires my assistance--in order to survive.

    That is always the trade-off every single time. To offer help is to collude with my son to take away his manhood. To dance that dance.

    My son will have to make his own way now. I do not see another way.

    Lil. From where I sit, your son is doing well, and you are too. Very well indeed.
  9. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    When I was much younger, I chose to live a life of freedom from what I perceived to be the constraints of society. I sought out other like minded individuals to share this way of life. I came to find out that there were just as many "rules" to this way of life and some were darn near archaic. The lifestyle they choose is not for the faint of heart.
  10. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Lil. Your son always lands on his feet. Every single thing he does, he is developing resilience and a sense of what he wants or does not want. This is exactly what a parent wants. He is learning. You are letting him.
    I think I am in the same age cohort as PASA. I lived in Berkeley. My mother was pretty indifferent to how I lived. My father, completely unconcerned.

    I was never a wild kid, but the milieu then was wild. Rioting in the street (I got an FBI file). Orgies in college housing (I politely left.) I worked but at night as a waitress. There I was thrown in over my head. Alcohol. I drank a lot at bars. Every night. Near, too near, serious crime. Hells Angels. I was exposed to heavy drugs. Which I mostly did not use. The early punk thing. Everywhere was heroin, even where I lived. Shooting up. Beaten up by boyfriends. Guns drawn. Victimized sexually. I lived like that from 21 to 23, and to a lesser extent to 25. To give myself credit, I managed to graduate from a good university and start a professional job while all of this was going on. How I did this I am not quite sure.

    In a million years from my posts you would not guess that that had been my past. I am certain of that.

    PASA is one hundred percent correct. Our experiences shape us. To decide based upon experience what we do not want. How we do not want to live.

    What we need to do to overcome our false starts or wrong turns.

    From your son's posts over the year and a half or so I have been here, he is learning. He seems more confident, more resilient, more stable, more independent, and more socially competent. He seems to whine way less. He has more self-control.

    And he left of his own accord. OK. He might have had to get out of Dodge. But he did it on his own steam.

    And you are doing it, too.

    I think my son has not been served by our attempts to "help him" grow up, to accept responsibility, to become productive. While he may have accepted in part our aims, he did so to accomplish his own.

    My son cares deeply about his physical security. He wants to be in an a middle class or upper class environment. He does not enjoy street life. He has learned that it is dangerous and anxiety provoking. He has been attacked and robbed several times. Once by several people at once. Once, he was hit over the head and robbed. Once, somebody came at him with a knife. Maybe he has PTSD, now, too.

    So, this he has learned. To want to get out of the cold and to want to stay out of danger's way. To keep problematic people at bay. To avoid conflict when he can. To check himself before he explodes in anger, so as to avoid attacks or retribution by others. This, I will give him.

    Now. What my son has not learned is reciprocity, or really, to learn that love or any other favor that is granted-does not come without conditions. In our case, we spelled them out.

    For some reason, he believed he could continue to fool us because we love him or because we are fools. Or is he such a fool that he continued to try. I do not know anymore who is the fool. Who knows?

    Maybe they live moment by moment, and they do not think down the road. At this point I do not care anymore. He will have to find a way to survive, or not.

    Maybe he can never ever be by us. I do not know. Maybe he will never love me.

    I do believe that it helped him to come out of the cold. Because it could help him feel safe, he was less defensive on the street, and could evaluate his circumstances and better control his emotions. That I know for sure.

    But will I be able to keep him alive for ever? Can I prod him to go to the doctor for his liver until I am 85 if he lives that long? Can M scan the yards for marijuana when he is 80? Do I really want to choose to have in my environment somebody who lies to me and tries to deceive me actively?

    M I believe would accept my son back, if my son accepted responsibility and cleaned up his drug test. Myself?

    I think part of my despair is I am beginning to fear that I am at the end of the line. That I cannot do it anymore without great cost. And I will not.

    I am sorry this is hard. It is hard for me, too, but not as hard. I can hide out in anger. You do not seem to have this refuge.

    In this long, long post I just want to tell you that you are doing very, very well. And I believe you are acting in the best interests of your child.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016
  11. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I never respond to your posts anymore. I feel they somehow hurt you and you are such a kind, caring, loving and, yes, forgiving soul. I never ever want to hurt you. I'm just sharing some wisdom I judgment is intended. Take it or leave it but it is to think on, not to harm. I feel it would stain me to harm a sweet spirit like you. And I will again stop responding to you after this.

    This just jumped out at me and is fodder for thought, not critism.

    You are your son's mature adult figure and I believe he watches you. I don't believe he is indifferent to your lifestyle, like some of our adult children are. So if you are not able to change to give yourself peace and the joy you can you expect this of your son?

    I think you are brilliant and can change for a saner life. You know what hurts you. You are self aware.

    You can change and your son can change. If you change he may have a higher chance of doing so...our difficult adult children of all ages do change but many won't change if we tell them how to change...

    I wish you a mended heart. I promise not to post to you again. Very much love to you and yours. I truly wrote this with deep caring and not for a response. We can all think about this.
  12. mof

    mof Momdidntsignupforthis

    Lil...just loving thoughts your way. It's the season of hope, love and grace.

    And it's for you too...he knows he has a family who loves him to the moon and back.

  13. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I don't know if you were responding to me or Copa - but I assure you - you have NEVER hurt me. I know you would not intentionally do any such thing! Do I sometimes get upset? Sure...but the truth is sometimes upsetting. I may not agree with every response, but I treasure the input of everyone here - please don't feel you should not respond to anything I say. :hugs:
  14. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Thanks. Yes, I was addressing her. You are always kind
  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Lil, I have lived in a college town most of my life. I grew up as a PK, or Professor's Kid. I have seen SOOOOO many kids like your son, who are basically homeless, not going to classes, freeloading in the dorms or apartments off of kids who's parents are paying the bills. Please don't be surprised if some college kid takes your son home for the holidays. Not necessarily as a romantic thing, maybe that, maybe as a 'friend who can't afford to travel home for the holidays' or 'friend who doesn't get along with his parents' or 'friend with sob story x' or 'friend who needs a place to stay over break'. It happens ALL the time. There are also kids who all pile into someone's off campus apartment for the break rather than go home to the 'parents who don't understand' or whatever the story du jour is. Some of these kids can't get time off work, some can't afford to go home, some don't have homes to go to, some won't follow the rules at home, and some just would rather party. This happens too. The EMTs here tell some WILD stories about things they find. So do the cops.

    By the time your son is a bit older, he may remind you more of my brother. You could plop my brother down ANYWHERE on this planet and within a day or so he would have friends and a place to stay. Would I stay there? Probably not. Would he be safe, happy and fed? You bet.

    Your son is making his way. He IS learning to cope. There are resources, and other kids his age will point him to them. You would be surprised how well the kids network about resources on and around college campuses. So not hearing about plans for the break doesn't mean he doesn't have plans, it just means he doesn't have a crisis that is 'Mom-worthy' yet.
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  16. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Thanks all. It makes me feel a little better and @susiestar I do hope it turns out that way. I said earlier that waiting for the call is the worst. I just expect a call on December 19th, "Mom, the dorm closes tomorrow and it's 10 degrees and the shelters are full...I don't know what to do! I've looked and tried and I need help!" I just expect that every day.
  17. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Relax because if you are that uncomfortable with son's situation, you can always relent and let him come home. It may not be ideal but you have that choice.

    Your son is not a bad person. He is one kid who really might get tired of roaming. He did have that job in the deli and he does not break the law, except for smoking pot in Missouri and he is far from alone in this. He never tried to harm anyone. He has a good heart. He loves you doubt about that.

    Big hugs ;)
  18. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    My son is out of our house. When he called yesterday mid-day it was unpleasant. I do not know where he is. The anger which protects me some is now dissipated. Now I am sad and scared. I would do anything for him to call.

    You see, I want him to call. I do not dread the call. I want the ties that bind us. I want to know he is OK, and where he is. I want to speak to him.

    Our sons, Lil, have always thus far landed on their feet. Every single time. I have to have faith he is OK. (M said tonight that my son has grown way stronger. But does not give a :censored2: what we want, in terms of conditions. He'll change when he wants to. Not when we want him too. (all In Spanish. M says my accent is much improved. After 8 years, you would think so.)

    I just want my son to love me again. I want him to care.
  19. so ready to live

    so ready to live Active Member

    LIL. Oh Lil. It's so hard especially when it's cold...add the holidays?
    I'm having a worse time now than in months. Last year at this time, we let our son come home for the LAST time.
    It was cold.
    He had no where to go.
    Sleeping in his car.
    "I don't have anyplace to goo, you are my family..."
    He was home for 2 months, started out great, gradually went back to old friends, old ways and then we found drugs in our home and once again made him leave. I don't want to go through that again with him. Here we are, 1yr. later, he is being evicted, no where to go again. and it's cold...
    Copa's broad description of "want the cake and eat it too" mentality fits my son to a tee. Our son is adopted and I'm always afraid that his "can you help me?" calls equate to do you love me? If he only knew how much we do.
    I will think on this although who plays what role at any one time is fluid. Is the fool the one trying to figure out who the fool is?

    I believe this but am not so sure of the I will not, for us. There's a part underneath my skin that fears stopping still. I know this is about me. It's the PTSD of years of him failing. I expect it, I'm so afraid of it.

    My anger lasted a few months only. Now it is cold again and I am so sad. For me, it is tears brimming many times a day. It is awakening over and over at night with my son as the first and only thing on my mind. For hubs it is inability to concentrate at work.
    Isn't this the leap of detachment? Lil, your son is young and has landed on his feet many times. I feel he is out there figuring it out. I have hope for him.
    I try to remember when I'm sad all I have learned here, it is easy to speak a good case to you, so much harder for me to live it. When my heart beats hard at the sound of a loud truck, a car door, I am afraid yet again. Afraid I am not better, that I just talk better. When we go to pick out a Christmas tree and I think I don't feel like it, then remember I didn't feel like it last year or the year before...Can one person, even one we love so much wield that much power? To ruin our years?
    My love and blessings to us all this season, praying that our understanding of "can't control it" would equate to health for us. To happiness despite our circumstances, to living above what happens or doesn't. Prayers.
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  20. mof

    mof Momdidntsignupforthis

    Is this not the truth! Any binding to know safety...more for us than them? Because I now know that when he was OK, he was not.

    Copa, the love that flows to our sons is never-ending. But truth...we have no power, we can love...that is it.

    You loved and supported...u had conditions. If he feels he can live e under his conditions....he certainly will. He knows your lo e for him...anger is a shield but they hide behind.

    Blessing sweet woman.
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