Homeless 43 year old son


New Member
I am 66 years old and the parent of a homeless son. I have been sending him money and got him a phone so he would be able to communicate with me. He has now "lost" his phone for the umpteenth time and called from a pay phone leaving a desperate message. I am beside myself with worry and guilt that he is in this position. He lives in CO and I am in MD. It's getting cold out there. While I know his situation is not my fault I can't help but feel responsible as I am the one who raised him. Today at the funeral of one of my sons friend's daughter (a terrible tragedy) I kept thinking how awful it would be to lose a child. But the friend whose sweet daughter had died told me HE had been sending $ and paying for hotel rooms for my son as well! I am appalled that he would do this and it makes me wonder who else he is hitting up. I keep telling myself that this is the life he has chosen. I gave him so many opportunities to avoid this and he did not put forth the effort to succeed. His friend told me today that my son is the laziest and most selfish person he has ever met. It is sadly true. I'm struggling. I'm sad. I'm worried. I'm also putting off retirement so I can keep helping him. I am desperate for a voice of reason.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Marie, welcome.

It would work better if you posted your thread in the Parent Emeritus forum where our kids are older then 18.

You may want to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post. You may want to read the book Codependent no more by Melodie Beattie. You may also want to get yourself some help. A 12 step group. A support group for parents. Therapy. Someplace you can go to talk about this and get guidance and support.

You are not alone, those of us with adult kids on the PE side have been where you are now. The only way to change this dynamic between you and your son is for you to stop enabling him. Unfortunately at 43, the likelihood of him changing is remote. YOU have to be the one to change. And for the most part, we parents need a lot of support to make that shift in thinking.

You are not responsible for an adult who makes poor choices. Your son is entitled and is manipulating you. At this point he excels at it. If you change and begin to say no, he will likely get obnoxious and up the ante with horror stories to make you feel guilty so that you will give in. It's tough not to fall for that, but you have to stop enabling him. He will continue to abuse you and use you until you say STOP.

Get yourself some help so that you can change this dynamic and retire and have your own life. I am 65 and have a 41 year old daughter who I have had to detach from. Interestingly, as I removed myself from her sphere of manipulation of me, she began to find her own way. The only time they begin to do that is when WE STOP enabling them.

You are in an unhealthy connection with your adult, middle aged son. The parenting ship sailed a long time ago. It is time for you to let go. Most of us need guidance and support to do that because it feels as if we are supposed to keep helping them until they grow up, but some of our kids just don't launch for whatever reason and we have to step back and let them go into their now destiny without us saving them. Whatever that means. He is 43. He is not 15, or even 25, he is a grown man. He is making choices to use whoever he can to stay in the life he has chosen. You don't have to be one of those people he uses. You can step away. The only way you will stop this is if you do step away.

Your guilt is what he uses to control you. You have to move beyond that guilt. You didn't cause this and you can't control it and you can't stop it. Only he can.

The "voice of reason" is for you to detach from your son and go have your own life. Start that process today by seeking help to detach. Put your own needs FIRST. Do not respond to his requests. Do not replace his phone or send him any more money. Stop enabling him. If you have to, do not speak to him for awhile, give yourself time to gain strength. He knows exactly how to manipulate you through your guilt so until you are strong enough to not succumb to that, you may want to consider no contact for awhile.

Keep posting it helps. Put your thread in the PE side, you will receive more responses there from folks who are or have been in your shoes.

Sending you warm wishes for peace of mind in the stormy sea you find yourself in.


Well-Known Member
Hi, Marie. I also invite you to come to Parent Emeitus.

I've felt the pain you feel and I'm very sorry for your hurting heart. There is a big BUT...But at age 43, your son IS a selfish person to accept a dime from his mother who should be retired. in my opinion you need to let him be the middle age man he is. You raised him, but that was a long time ago and you did not raise him to become an addict. Addicts take money from whomever will offer it, but that money goes for drugs and could end up killing them. I am assuming drugs is the issue and apologize if it isn't. Usually that's the problem, but not always. Some of our grown adult children are just not very nice or have personality disorders such as narcissistic or antisocial or borderline. These sort of folks are not crazy, but have no problem leeching off of the world and they don't like working. they lack normal empathy for others as well.

I have a 36 year old son who is a problem and I refuse to help him...his father helps him sometimes, but his father wouldn't help him if he weren't at least working and not selling and using drugs (they go together...my daughter took drugs for a while and told me the details of drug life).

I am guessing that, like most of our adult children, he had your unconditional love all of his life and whatever you could give him. And he didn't appreciate it. And he probably just calls you for money, not to ask how you feel or what he can do to help YOU?

I feel really badly that you have spent so many years taking this journey, but I feel it is time to retire and live the rest of your life and enjoy every single day and let your son decide his own fate. You can't change him and a few bucks or a lot of bucks won't help him either. There are shelters when it is cold. I volunteered at one. Of course, you must be clean and sober to stay. There are usually some rules.

I am 61 and started my journey of detachment long ago. If I hadn't, due to a lot of both misfortune and naivety on my part, I would probably be dead from the grief of all I've experienced. Instead, I have chosen to learn by it all and to thrive. I am not always perfect...I have suffered mental illness myself all of my life so nothing is easy. But I did it and have so much to be thankful for, in spite of th e harder lessons I had to learn along life's ways. I'm sure you have loved ones who wish you'd let this man, your son, fall or rise on his own...they would probably be happy to see you retired and enjoying yoruself. So would I. So would all of us here. Most of us have made a decision to take care of ourselves and detach from those we love, but know we can not change.

With all my heart and with every fiber in my being, I hope you can learn detachment skills and retire and not waste the rest of your life on a 43 year old, even if he is your son. You matter, and your happiness matters, as much as his does. And you can control your happiness. You can not control anything about your son.

Do something great for yourself tonight!!! Order a scrumpteous hot fudge sundae that you can't finish and watch your favorite movie while you eat ir or take a hot bubble bath with a book in hand and try not to get the book wet. Call a dear friend or loved one and go out for a drink or coffee. Throw a party alone all for YOU. You have lived your entire life for your son and it's your day now :)

Join us over at PE :) Lots of nice people hang there.


New Member
Such a heartfelt and direct response. Thank you for taking the time. You are spot on. I know I need to do these things. I'm afraid my 86 year old mother will think I am cruel for disregarding the needs of her grandson and that I am not the mother she was. It's time for me to live my own life. I think I may need counseling. I keep thinking I am living in the lap of luxury while my son is struggling and homeless and cold. I know these are self destructive thoughts but I can't help but have them.


Well-Known Member
Hey...you're too old to worry about pleasing your mom :) And your son could be living a good life too if he'd gotten a job and not gone the route he did. It was his doing.

You deserve the best from now on. You earned your lap of luxury :)


Well-Known Member
We're proud of you too :)

Now be prepared for a barrage of abusive messages or phonecalls. I hope they don't happen, but often they do.

Next time you post, why not post on Parent Emeritus? You'll get even more support there, as this particular forum (General) is mostly parents who are dealing with minor children. As you know, that is a huge difference!

Hugs to you...I know what you did was hard for you.
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that was a tough decision, i am proud of what you did, even though it's hard. Though, I hope nothing bad will happen like those abusive calls Mildwest Mom said.