Detaching etc....

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by toughlovin, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Hi all,

    I have been mostly posting over in the SA section but recently have been catching up here. My difficult child is currently homeless and travelling around CA. He was with a friend which made me feel better that he was not alone. I did get him a backpack last week and felt good about doing that, and good that he had the wherewithal to figure out how to virtually meet me at a store on his end so we could do the transaction. We have been in sporadic contact via facebook and that contact between us has been really postive. So yesterday we communicate and I found out the friend left him stranded. It is so hard not to get caught up in his day to day issues. I felt so angry at the friend on his behalf, and of course we all know that I do not know the whole story!! I have a friend out there who is willing to take him to dinner aand get him a book to read (no more than that, nor do I want her to do any more than that. I certainly dont want my friends to trust him if I dont!!). I sent him that message which I dont think he got.

    So in my gut I know he is ok. He is surviving by panhandling or whatever he is doing. Not a life I know anything about nor do I want to. And yet when things feel a little in limbo it is very hard for me not to get emotionally caught up in it and want to just wait by computer to get a message. And yet I cant do that, I need to keep going on with my life.

    I am forccing myself to do that but sometimes it is hard... and what better place to express that than here to all of you who know how I feel. I am hoping he will get my message, see my friend (who can lay her eyes on him for me), and then meet up with his friend or better yet get himself to a place where he wants help.

  2. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    You are one of my HERO'S.
  3. cher

    cher New Member

    WOW how do you do it? I am amazed at your strength.
  4. BKS

    BKS New Member

    Hi Toughlovin',

    I am sorry you are going through this. It must be very frightening and frustrating - to say the very least. I (and I am sure others here) are behind you with support. Can I virtually send you a pot of tea and a hug?

    My husband and I are working with a therapist over issues of our son launching from home and as I get horrified that my son "may not eat", "may not have somewhere to sleep", etc. the therapist reminds me that difficult child has *plenty* of skills to use to reach out for help and get by in life. This has all been a terrible lesson in learning to let go or as they say in Al-Anon "Let go and Let God".

    Cyber hugs to you,
  5. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    TL welcome to PE, perhaps not a place you actually want to be though. This detaching thing is a real drag isn't it, it has layer after layer of stuff we parents have to keep on learning about and then mastering in order to stay sane. When I read your post I thought, he could be here in No. Ca. I could walk right by him. It made me think about a young, good looking boy, perhaps around your sons age, who was pan handling at a shopping center I often go to. He was holding up a sign, he was pretty well dressed and had a dog with him. I drove out and as I was driving home I thought, gee, he is someones son, that could be my kid I drove back and went back into the shopping center and drove past him, rolled down the window and gave him $20. I haven't seen that many of those kids here, but when I do, I give them money, always thinking about their moms.

    You and I may not have any experience being 'out there' without a job or a place to live, but many kids do it. Janet pointed that out in another thread. I grew up in the 60's where our entire generation was 'finding ourselves..... many of us were pan handling,..... living in 'communes' alternative lifestyles our parents not only didn't understand, but were appalled by. I recall leaving Grand Central Station in NYC when I was about 19, and walking right into a girl with a cup asking for money. Yikes, I went to HS with her! We grew up in an affluent Long Island community, this was unheard of! Now I see her on Facebook, she's a Mom and grandma and lives in Florida. Somehow she survived somehow as most of the kids who were "out there" finding themselves did.

    I remember listening to Joseph Campbell on TV talking about the 'Heroes journey' and the reason Star Wars was so popular was because it was the path young people had to take to grow into adulthood. He said Luke Skywalker left home to find himself and had to battle the forces within himself, good and evil in order to find his true self. An interesting note was that Campbell spoke about his own youth and that his parents flipped when he dropped out of college at about your sons age and stayed in his room reading book after book on myths and other cultures, what he was fascinated with. And of course, that lead him to become the world renowned expert he ultimately became. He had his own Heroes journey.

    We don't know our kids destinies, with their mental 'issues' and perhaps even their substance abuse, they are trying to find themselves and find a path that makes sense to them, one in which they can comfortably live and survive. We're not a part of that journey, and I think many really need to separate from us completely in order to even have it, so they can do it all on their own, without our interference. I look back on those young people I went to school with who took a path like your son has, and 'out there' they found themselves, their frontal cortex finished forming, and they transitioned into adulthood. As a young man, your son may have a very strong need to find his independence his own way, especially having been adopted. A few of my friends who were adopted had much more of a need to find out who they were and make an exhaustive search for the SELF, in most cases, putting their parents through a lot of turmoil. Some kids, of any generation, have to really put a distance between themselves and their parents in order to understand themselves and come out the other side as whole and distinct authentic adults.

    I may be just rambling aimlessly here, just some thoughts I had while reading your post. Whenever I read your posts I have a sense of a young man who is really trying to find himself and CA. is often the place young people go to do that. I wanted to be in CA. from the time I was 15 on. And, when I read that his friend abandoned him, although that's a horror to a Mom, it may offer him a big dose of resourcefulness he didn't know he had. TL, I have had life throw me a bunch of curve balls which forced me to grow up and quickly figure out the landscape to survive .....and as a very young person, I knew I could be dropped from a plane in Ethiopia with nothing, and survive and thrive. Life can either knock us down or offer us remarkable skills to be able to not only function and survive, but to thrive and succeed. Every choice your son makes, under whatever circumstances he is presently facing, offers him more courage and strength, self understanding, perseverance and knowledge he'll never forget and be able to use for the rest of his life. I just think your son is on an important and meaningful path right now and your ability to be non judgmental and loving to him as he walks this path is commendable and in my opinion, necessary. I always think you do a wonderful job in riding that invisible very thin line between loving your son and keeping all the boundaries intact, which is certainly a ride on the razors edge and you do it beautifully.
  6. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    TL, my adopted difficult child 2 went the same path as your son. He started pulling away at age 16. He had been befriending a lot of single mothers who had made many mistakes in their youth. I believe that he was trying to understand why his biomom "gave him up". he ran away and lived on the street, lived in a car, couch surfed, panhandled, went on food stamps, etc. After some years, he decided that he didn't want to live that way anymore. He still says that he would never give up those experiences because he learned a lot from them. He has thanked me for raising him and using tough love.

    He is now a married man, in love with his wife and in love with his job. He can't wait to have children so he can "raise them right", lol! He is constantly surprised by our willingness to forgive and forget and be willing to help when he and daughter in law need it. There were so many times that I thought he would not experience gratitude. I can say this to you now, because the insane years are behind us, but I now understand why many native societies used to send their teens out in the wilderness to face their own mortality.

    God bless your mother heart!
  7. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Thanks for all your good thoughts. A part of me thinks that hiking, hitchiking around, having these adventures may help him grow up and be his journey and he may end up like ThreeShadows and RecoveringEnabler describe. That is my hope. I just hope it actually happens. And yes I think his adoption issues are huge and he needs to find himself and hopefully sleeping under the stars will help him do that. As longs as drugs dont get him first.... but I am comforted that he is moving around and not just sitting on a street corner somewhere.

    Pasajes4 - Aw thanks!

    BKS and Cher... you are both newer to the board. This has been a process for me. Unfortunately I have been dealing with this for years and have had a lot of practice in dealing with this and learning to detach. There was a time when I was totally and completely obsessed all the time with what my son was doing and trying to rescue him... and I did rescue him in one form or another several times. Over time I have learned to continue to live my own life and I only get really obsessed in the worst of times and even then for shorter amounts of time.

    I have given him an option of calling a friend of mine out there in the recovery community for help. I asked my difficult child in one of our fb conversations why he didnt go for help... and he said "Because sometimes it is easier sleeping on the streets than conforming to the rules of recovery". Somehow that clarified things for me and it is good to remind myself of that statement. He has options but he is choosing to be homeless and is choosing not to follow the path of recovery... and until he is really ready to do that there is literally nothing I can do. Knowing I have done everything is freeing somehow. So now my only goal really is to continue to let him know I love him... and here and there offer small indications of that (hence I got him the backpack for his birthday, and gave him the number of my friend for a possible meal).

  8. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You are a rock.
  9. winama

    winama New Member

    Hello, new here to this site. I have decided to take the new path to detachment as I see others here are as well. As Einstein says " keep doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity"....well, my oldest son is now homeless. He's homeless in the very city I live in...maybe not 7-8 miles away. Very uncharacteristic of me, I've denied his living with me or even "staying for a minute to get myself together" as he would say. I have also stopped communicating with him as this only results in long drawn-out texting or emailing where he, through manipulation, will tell me all the things wrong with my personality and what a horrible mother I am. His way of talking to me is abusive and I've finally come to see this and to see how I've enabled him for far too long. I now have drawn the line in the sand and said NO MORE ABUSE. I've enabled him by not setting strong enough borders around myself as to how much I'll take before closing the door. Well, now I'm changing finally. No point in explaining to him why I've not answered his calls or txts. He'd only find some way to tell me I'm crazy or wrong or or or.....This hurts me. Although it hurts, I feel this peace within that I've not felt before in my decision making as a mother in regards to him. After much prayer and consideration I do feel what I'm doing is right. In a roundabout way, I'm actually letting him know I trust him to make his own good decisions about his life without my corrections or interference. It's getting cold outside and I do think about it much and my heart is beating harder-literally as I let go and trust God and my son to work this out alone. I have also decided that if my son never gets straight and recovers from the blame of family and doesn't accept total responsibility for his own life, then our relationship may NEVER be close. I have sacrificed a relationship with him out of love. This is the ultimate in love. To not control. To let go. I know this but it still feels strange and I still feel like some of where he is is my fault.....but I know in my GUT that this is right for let go and let him find his way.....he's smart and resourceful. I do, however, understand others pain on this site and my sincere prayers and wishes go out to you, I know your pain.
  10. Graille

    Graille New Member

    I too am new here and find comfort in reading other parents posts that are going through similar situations. My 28 year old son is now homeless. My exhusband and I are finally on the same page and have recently come to the conclusion we must stop "helping" our son by giving him money, food or shelter. Its heartwrenching to think of him cold and lonely out there...somewhere, but I am trying to be strong and keep telling myself "Maybe if he hits bottom, he will start looking for a way up..." He has had many excuses as to why he can't change, keep a job or take care of himself. We have been through all the lies, manipulations and schemes with him and were at our witts end. I miss the warm, affectionate little boy he use to be and pray one day the person I thought he would become will show up. I would love nothing more than to have the kind of relationship with him that I see my friends and other family members have with their children.

    Again, thank you for sharing so that others know they aren't alone.
  11. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Toughlovin: You are very brave and very wise. It is so sad that you've had to learn how to detach and to cope with this rather extreme situation. But, you are doing it with great dignity. Good that you have given him some options to use, if he so chooses to use them. The adoption part of it is very interesting to my difficult child is also adopted. I'm glad you are moving forward with your life.

    Three Shadows: Wow, your difficult child story is inspiring and fascinating. Our son (bio) went through a brief difficult child period and is a super easy child today. Nothing like your story, though. No doubt your son will learn more about parenting when he has his own children.

    Our difficult child daughter is adopted. She was difficult child as a young child and is a difficult child today. She seems so lost.

    This sentence caught my eye in particular: "There were so many times that I thought he would not experience gratitude."

    I have often thought that many mentally or emotionally ill people simply have great trouble experiencing gratitude. I know this is often the case with our daughter. Fortunately, not always, but often...

    What a blessing that your difficult child finally learned gratitude and in the end, saved himself.