Homeless daughter

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by susanrn68, Feb 15, 2016.

  1. susanrn68

    susanrn68 New Member

    I'm so...bewildered...my daughter is 23. Over the last year she spiraled downward living on her own, was not able to hold a job (she would just stop going), would not take an antidepressant, or keep appointments with therapy. She has been diagnosed with boarderline personality disorder and severe depression. She was hospitalized 3 times last year for suicidal thoughts. I finally had to stop enabling her and let her get evicted and go to a homeless shelter. She won't go through the motions with case management to apply for disability. She has now been at the shelter for 3.5 months. No drugs or alcohol. She has a car, and did finally get a job at a Braums ice cream and grocery store. The shelter was working with her to get an apartment. Then she just stopped going to work!!!! She spends 8-10 hrs a day on the Internet at McDonalds. (She purchased a laptop via credit card prior to eviction). She has now said she never wants to see me again.

    I guess my question is... Is there anything else I can do for her? Legally? Do I just have to accept this is the life she wants? It is just so hard to accept!
  2. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Susan, welcome to the forum, so sorry for your need to be here. It is oh so hard when our daughters grow up and choose this. I am sorry for the pain of it. My eldest girl is homeless. We do not have a good relationship either.
    There is not much we can do when this is their choice. They are adults in the eyes of the law......
    The way I live day to day with this reality is that I gave my girl back to God. If you have a belief in a higher power, there is much relief in doing this. If I find my thoughts drifting on the river of sadness over my twos situation, I say a quick prayer and rest assured in faith that He will watch over them.

    I also feel that we do our kids who are out there finding their way the best service by working hard within ourselves to live life to the fullest. We have no control over what the kids are doing, but we do over ourselves. When we strive to live well, we are showing by example, what we hope and wish for them.

    It does not do anyone any good for us to go down the drain with the pain of this. If we did, and they got on their feet, what then?

    I know this is so extremely disheartening and sorrowful. It can make us raw with worry.
    Worry doesn't help and only tears us down.
    There is an article from the top of this forum that is a great tool to build ourselves back up.....

    There are groups- https://www.nami.org/#, and it is also important to gauge how you are doing, if feelings get to heavy, go see a therapist. I did, just to try and get my head back on straight.

    We need to feel whatever we have to feel and let it out. Otherwise, it just kind of festers, not healthy. Take the time you need, it is a grieving we go through, a strange empty feeling, because our adult children are out there, and it feels like we have lost them. I also have this sort of mantra "They will be okay, they are out there, finding their way." It has a bit of a calming affect.

    Make time to take care of yourself. Exercise, eating and sleeping well, all of those things are so important, but sometimes hard to do when gripped by intense feelings.

    So dear, please take extra care to be very kind to yourself.
    You have value and you matter.

    Keep posting here, because it really helps to write your story and receive hugs from the caring folks here.
    Post as much as you can.
    This forum is like journaling with loving responses.
    The parents here are on a similar journey at different areas on the path.
    You are not alone.
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Winner Winner x 2
    • Useful Useful x 1
    • List
  3. Feeling Sad

    Feeling Sad Active Member

    I use Leafy's mantra...and it does help.

    My son is homeless and has unmedicated schizophrenia. I had to file a restraining order due to extreme violence and he has refused treatment for 9 years.

    The police told me that because he is mentally ill and I do not know his whereabouts, that a missing person's report could be filed. If your daughter got taken in due to erratic behavior or a crime, you would be contacted. She still, of course, can refuse to let you visit, not let you know of her possible treatment, and can still refuse medication.

    The police also told me to write a detailed log, with approximate dates of past behavior or hospitalizations and send copies to the police stations, mental health hospitals, and regular hospitals. By doing this, they will have a complete record for her.

    It sounds like she is in the system already and that you have had some contact with her. These steps might be way down the road for you... But, in the future, they may afford you some peace of mind because she was suicidal in the past.

    Some shelters will talk to parents...others won't. Do not ask for information, but you could volunteer information.

    She is very newly homeless and may find that she does not like it. But, it is her choice as an adult. She may soon feel the 'natural consequences' of her choices and yearn to get an apartment by following the shelter's rules.

    Stand your ground and be firm in your expectations. You did the right thing by allowing her to be evicted. This time will be very difficult, but be extemely kind to yourself. It is not your fault and she is, sadly, considered an adult that can make appropriate decisions...

    Keep posting. We are here for you.
  4. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Hi Susan, and welcome to the forum. We're glad you're here.

    I am so sorry about your daughter. It is so hard to sit and watch our adult children make these kinds of decisions, and nothing we say or do matters.

    As we all know, it's not sustainable in the world to sit all day at a McDonald's and be on your computer. However, for many, it will work for a while.

    My son was homeless a number of different times---days, weeks months---in between jail terms, over the last 7 years. He has been doing much better for the past 20 months and now works full time and has a place of his own to live in.

    I had no idea, during the worst times, if it would ever be any different, and I finally had to learn how to let him go, as New Leaf describes. I was going crazy with it all.

    And because I can't truly know what my son's thought processes were (and are), all I can say is this---it seems like he was "scared straight" finally. The last time he was in jail, the public defender told him to get ready, that the next morning in court the judge would likely sentence him to four years in state prison for probation violation (of course, there was a long history of charges by that time). My son later told me he lay awake all night long and was terrified he was going to prison. The next morning the judge let him walk out of there. My son has been doing steadily better ever since. It's not all pretty and perfect, but there is steady progress. I am very grateful.

    We can't know their journey. And it's not journey to walk or to even know. I finally understood that, after years and years. My journey is mine, and his is his. He has to walk it. When they are spiraling down and out of control, we are but one thin spoke on their wheel. There are many spokes, and they will tap each one to get what they want.

    I think it's good that there are homeless shelters and help for people who live on the street. But sometimes, I feel perhaps there is too much help, and that enables people to stay homeless for longer. But it is what it is, and that's another of my key beliefs. We can't control all of this. All we can control is us, and that's a full time job.

    It doesn't stop the hurt and the grief, and we have to feel those feelings fully, and then live to get to the other side of them. I grieved for a long time, and I lived in a lot of fear for my son. In time, though, long before he started to change, I got to the other side of that deep grief, and I started learning to live again.

    That took a lot of work. Another resource, in addition to New Leaf's great suggestions, is Al-Anon. I still go to weekly meetings because Al-Anon gave me my life back, and it is a much richer life than it ever was even before all of this happened. It's a great way to live for anybody.

    Also, some good books are CoDependent No More by Melody Beattie and Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. I also read Brene Brown and Pema Chodron. All of these books and programs have helped me profoundly learn what is mine and what is someone else's, even my grown child.

    This is the hardest stuff in the world to navigate, Susan. We understand that here. You will find lots of support and encouragement and ideas here that may or may not be relevant.

    You can always come here and tell the truth about what you are thinking and doing. We understand here.
  5. susanrn68

    susanrn68 New Member

    Thank you all. This is the first time I have felt like someone actually understood the pure heartache and grief I have been experiencing. I will try to take all of your suggestions and try to start focusing on me again!
  6. TheWalrus

    TheWalrus I Am The Walrus

    My daughter also has Borderline (BPD) along with some other very serious health issues she brought on herself. She has attempted suicided several times, is drug addicted, can't/won't keep a job...I know where you are coming from.

    We didn't learn about her addictions and mental illness until her nearly successful suicide attempt, and we got a temporary guardianship to make medical decisions. I went through the process of getting her on disability bc I knew she never would. I was only able to do that bc I had the guardianship, and I did it for myself so I could lay my head down at night knowing I had done at least that much.

    Legally, with the guardianship expired, I can do no more. I cannot make her go to rehab, drug counseling, medical appointments, psychiatric appointments...I cannot make her take her medicine, stop doing drugs, or pay her own bills...she is legally an adult and regardless of her mental state, she can legally make her own choices.

    What I CAN do is take care of myself by not spinning my wheels in a situation I have no control over. I can choose not to enable her bad choices, which I no longer do. I can choose not to "fix" her mistakes instead let her experience her own consequences, which I do.
  7. JMom

    JMom Active Member


    Welcome to the forum that saved my sanity. Last December I found this post when my 20 year old son became homeless. You can read his story under the heading "I bought my kid a tent today, who does that?".

    It was such a strange irony that just last year he was sitting in a high school classroom having to raise his hand for permission to go to the bathroom, and now expected to be a man and all that it entails.

    My son started smoking weed around 14 and progressed to meth in the last 2 years. The day I bought him a tent (he chose homelessness over rehab) I went home and wrapped Christmas presents for my two youngest. I was so hurt, a slave to fear.

    I want to give you hope. He turned 21, in a tent, with new friends, all addicts.

    Fast forward to today. He has been sober since the day his dad and I showed up with the tent. He spent Christmas, New Years and his birthday in a small tent city, panhandling for food.

    I drug tested him 3 times and he passed. He hasn't asked for anything except a meal or two. Today my husband and I wrote up a contract to bring him home, if he chooses.

    He has matured so much in the last 3 months, got sober on his own. He has no idea that he has gained back our trust, optimistic, yet guarded.

    Today is a good day. I pray that your daughter will find herself in a situation where she sees others who don't take medications and the consequences. I hope that her natural consequences lead her back to your family, healthy and happy. I pray for her safety and conscious efforts to be well.

    I pray for your peace. Codependent no more and this forum gave me my life back. It was the first time I laughed out loud and was able to give my other kids 100% that they deserved since this all started.

    Have hope, dear Susan. Sometimes the thing that works is letting them figure it out alone.

    Hugs, you are not alone.
  8. Weary Mother

    Weary Mother WEARY MOTHER

    Susan: I recently joined this forum and also have a daughter with similar mental issues. My daughter has refused to go to a homeless shelter and said she would commit suicide before she does that. After a long 6 mo. of her being between this place and that place, she finally has a job, a working vehicle and small apartment in a town 500 miles away. It has been hard to accept this and I struggle also with what else can I do. This forum has helped me realize that most of the time there is very little that can change what our children do. Our problem is how to detach and manage to live our own lives with some happiness when they are not ok. I want my adult children to be ok, and there are times when I can't let go of their problems or quit worrying about them. But here in this forum there are people who have been there and done that and understand. I am glad you joined, and I hope you are able to try letting it go and see what happens.