Homeless Son Gone Completely Missing

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by AJ's Mom, Sep 9, 2016.

  1. AJ's Mom

    AJ's Mom New Member

    My son is 23 years old, he has mental illness and addiction issues. He has been in and out of jail and homeless on and off again for the last few years. I know I cannot help him, I finally learned that last year when he had his sort of stepfather arrested for assault, there was no assault, only an argument that was well justified. It was like a game to him an I'll get you type of stunt. It nearly cost me everything. Lucky for me the man is very kind, and did not blame me for my son's behavior. I cut him off from me at that point, he didn't ask me for anything, but he would send me a message on facebook once in a while to let me know he was okay. He ended up in the street after that, and seemed to have pulled himself up, he got a job, found a roommate and I thought he was finally getting himself together. About two months ago, I had a heart attack, my son came to see me in the hospital. He told me he had been accepted into the Job Corps program and I was actually proud of him. He messaged me almost everyday, told me how he was doing, talked about his new friends and his new roommate at school, even went into detail about what he was learning. For the first time in years, I thought he was going to be okay. Two weeks ago, he stopped sending messages. At first I thought maybe his phone was broken or something, I finally called the Job Corps center, they had never heard of him. He lied about all of it. I tracked down his roommate, who was as surprised as I was, he had given them the same story, he had given his employer the same story. I got a hold of one of his old friends and they told me they had seen him a week ago, at the library in a town about 20 miles away. He had been living in the park for the last month, now he has vanished. It is a small town, a homeless kid is easy to spot. I spoke to the police there, they knew about him, but they said they thought he must have moved on because they haven't seen him for a week or so. I am very worried, and confused by his behavior. I think he has had some sort of psychotic break. I can't understand why he would make up all of that, walk away from his home, his job. I don't know what to do now.
  2. RN0441

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

    Hi AJ's Mom

    Your story is very touching. I don't know what to say to you. I would be worried too. That is strange about the Job Corps thing; that they had not heard from him. Is it possible the person you spoke to was not fully informed?

    Can you report him as a missing person? I don't know what the laws are on that. Will the police assist you to see if his phone is being used? I probably would drive around the town he was living in and see if I could find out anything. It probably wouldn't do any good but I think I'd do that anyway.

    Others may have more to add but it sounds like you've done everything that you can do at this point. He knows how to contact you.

    Do you see a therapist or have any support for yourself? It is very important that you take care of you right now also while you wait this out.

  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I will try to help. It would help us help you if we knew more about your sons history si I hope youre not offended by a few questions and reflections.

    is this type of lying uncharacteristic of him or has he always made up stories? This is important. There are people who are pathological liars and know what they are doing. There are people who were nice normal and truthful, then develop psychotic mental illness in their teens ir early 20s. Still there are those who use street drugs that mess with their heads. Meth can cause psychosis. Has your son ever been diagnosed as schizophrenic or with a personality disorder?

    If your son is in the first category, he may be embarrassed that his lies were found out so he is hiding out due to embarassment and not wanting to answer questions. The second two categories indicate he is not aware of fantasy vs. reality and he will probably show up eventually, even if in jail...he will likely call for help to you. If he is mentally ill, hopefully he will get help. I am not sure how jail works, only that the mentally ill have nowhere to go so they are often arrested. Sad, I know.

    You know your son best and what is likely going on. Is he disappearing to teach you a lesson? Some do that too. Is he revengeful or more paranoid. Paranoid is more indicative of mental illness.

    I don't think anyone will look for a missing adult. I wish they would, but usually they don't. My advice, and I apoligize if its not helpful but I dont HAVE any other advice, is to wait...he will likely show up. Easier said than done. You can check around, but take SO with you and be careful of your own safety.

    Hugs for your hurting heart.
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    Last edited: Sep 9, 2016
  4. BWilliams

    BWilliams New Member

    My son is 22 and was homeless from 19 to 21. There are no words for how I feel. He came home a couple times and I got him back on his feet. The last time he came back from Seattle I had to move out of my home to deal with him because his step dad was unable to handle it. He has never stole from me or even raised his voice. I took him to job corp 4 days ago and he messaged me last night that he was now on the street about 8 hrs away from home. He had surgery and they told him that he would have to come back in 60 days. He had a doctors release but I don't think he showed it to them. I have always put money on a bank card for him so he doesn't have to beg or steal food. I have no idea what happened or why he cant handle normal life. I cant stop worrying or crying. I really hate my life because my son is so lost and sad. He is now on the street with two large bags of clothing and knows no one at all where he is. If I don't help him I honestly think he would harm himself.
  5. AJ's Mom

    AJ's Mom New Member

    Thank you for the hugs and replies. The job corps thing has really got me puzzled, I spoke to several people there, since he is an adult it was hard to get any information, but finally, someone did look him up well tried to, there was no record of him even applying to the program. I knew that that was true when his old friend told me they had seen him last week, the job corps center is over a hundred miles away, he has no car, if something would have happened he would be stuck up there. He has been known to lie to get out of trouble, but nothing like this. To make up this whole story about going, quit his job and move out only to go live in the street. He has mental issues but has never gone for help, and he has a history with drug use. Although, and his roommate agreed, he had been clean for months before all of this, and can't figure out why he did it either. I have gone out looking for him since I found out he was living in the street, I have even looked up online at both of the local jails to see if he had been arrested. The town where he was last seen lies in two different counties so if he got arrested, it would depend on the location in the town where he went to jail. If I could find him, all I could do is try to get him mental help, for legal reasons he cannot come to my home, and I don't have the money to get him a place to go. It breaks my heart because I know he is sick, but as an adult, I can't force him into treatment. So I guess I wait, and hope to hear from him.
  6. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    I get you. It was all a lie. This is my own son. I know how badly you must feel. It's a punch in the heart. My son is 29, I am sorry that I cannot have the relationship I want, the one I have with my other kids. It is very sad. Trust me, if something bad happened to your son, the police will knock on your door. The lies got me every time, and most likely still would, he just got better at them and I was blind. Do you have other kids? This child may come back to you..there's nothing you can do...he has to figure it out, he may, this could all be temporary. Live your life. (HUGS)
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  7. AJ's Mom

    AJ's Mom New Member

    Yes, 1905, the lie is like a punch in the heart. It makes me feel like a fool, I just can't figure out why, but I guess I will never know that. I am trying to go on with my life, but it is not easy. I know he did this to himself, I am not responsible for any of it. I do have other kids, my oldest I had similar problems with in the past, it took her a while and some time in prison, but she is okay now. Detaching from her was not as difficult. When she was using, she was a mean and awful person, a physical danger to the rest of the family. When I threw her out, it was a relief, the thing she had become wasn't my daughter. She thanked me years later, she said I had done the right thing. We are not close, and I don't think I can ever fully trust her again, forgiving is easy, forgetting is much harder, but we do have a civil relationship and are on friendly terms, but I never let my guard down around her for my own emotional sense of security. My son is different, his problems stem more from mental illness than drugs, and watching him going through this breaks my heart. He is so lost, and I've tried to point him in the right direction, but he just can't find his way.
  8. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    My own difficult child thanks me too. I was rough thanks to the reality check from the wise ladies here. I know I helped him by backing off, just like mine, yours will come back. My hard heart made him see he has to fix himself. No more blaming mommy. He did it. Trust me, yours will come back and thank you in a few years.
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  9. jetsam

    jetsam Active Member

    The lies used to get me too . At first i would bite for the bait all the time.( My husband still does and i have to remind him who we are dealing with !) But after time i just got very jaded. I pretty much don't believe much he tells me anymore... that way if i find out something is actually factual I'm pleasantly surprised. It isn't easy to know fact from fiction with him since he has been lying for a lot of his life. Even as a child he would lie...I truly believe he would convince himself it was true..to the point of hysterical crying when he was younger He would have gone to his grave swearing it was true even when caught red handed. Now he is more sophisticated...he mixes truth with lie just enough to be believable (or so he thinks) But i regress, I totally understand not letting your guard down not even for a second to preserve your emotional wellbeing! I just feel so drained all the time from being on guard.
    I don't know if i can ever get to a point of forgive or forget, but maybe some day, if he were to get some help , get under the care of a Dr. and get some counseling maybe......
  10. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    I am sorry for your worry, AJ's Mom.

    Has he made up stories like this before? My son has done so. For example, he would tell me in great detail how many meetings he was going to and how proud the sober living director was of him when in reality he was on the verge of getting kicked out, or a story about something that happened at work that day when in reality he had been fired weeks earlier. I don't know why they lie when they are sure to be found out. Maybe they just want to bask in our pride for a little while before they are found out? Maybe an attempt at reaction formation? Maybe they want to throw us off the track? Who knows?

    Has he dropped off the radar like this before?

    I am struggling with this myself. The last time I heard from my son was 10 days ago, when he said he was living in a shelter and had a part-time job. Now his phone is off. He has not posted anything on FB since early July.

    My son has gone literally months and months without attempting to contact us, if he doesn't need something. If we can see he is OK by checking the activity on his FB account, honestly that is fine with us. I am not sure what to do, because it really isn't unusual behavior for him not to call. Still, it would be nice to know he is all right.
  11. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    We too have had to deal with a version of your story.

    Lying. Mental illness. Calling the cops on us to put us in jail. Gossiping to neighbors. Homelessness. Aimlessness. Drug use. Deception.

    My son will be 28 next month. He is doing better. Not great, but better. He is voluntarily in a residential treatment facility for the mentally ill.

    He started turning things around in earnest a year ago. I believe that many male brains do not even begin to mature until age 27 or 28.

    I would try to look at your son's behavior from this vantage point. That he really does not have the mental capacity to handle himself or his life. Yet.

    For some inexplicable reason your son created a fantasy life thinking it might work to make or maintain a bond with you. He dished out what he believed you wanted him to be. Except it was a fantasy. Wrong it was. But he did not do it to deceive you, I do not think. He was really clueless. From the vantage point I have now, this is how I see it.

    There was something my son used to do that baffled and upset me. He would say (and tell other people) that he planned to be a nurse practitioner. He called it a NP. Yet he would do not one thing to pursue the goal--or any goal. (How in the world I asked myself, can he think he can attain a goal without lifting a finger?)

    The last time he mentioned this goal I challenged him: How realistic is this goal, with your disorganization distractibility and unwillingness to work at a job or to take one class at college, your resistance to taking responsibility for yourself, let alone others, and your refusal to seek treatment?

    I mean, it sounds as if I was mean, but how kind is it to go along with self-deception? Eventually in life the chickens come home to roost.

    Then I got even tougher. When he did unacceptable things I told him he had to leave my house if he did not get treatment. So he entered treatment.

    I agree with everybody else. We have no control what so ever in what they do or choose. We only control our response.

    Right now you are frightened. How could you not be? Every single one of us knows what this spot you are in feels like. But the reality is that he needs to stew in his own goose. Not you. You are not the goose. He is. As long as we climb in the pot, they do not have to.

    I encourage you to keep posting. This situation will resolve itself very quickly. He will make contact and he will be OK. But he will not be helped by your suffering. He will be helped by your making boundaries and waiting for the time when he is able to begin making intelligent and responsible choices. Baby steps. Lying to mothers and other people by inventing lives is not that.

    But let me put that into context and perspective.

    I have known very highly educated, mature and so-called responsible and ethical professional people,at the highest echelons, acclaimed by all, famous, etc. that have deceived themselves, their families and their colleagues by living double lives. Lives were damaged or destroyed. The person I am mainly thinking of here, I was very close to. He was central in my life.

    Let me underscore here. He was not 23. He was in his fifties and sixties.

    Your son is still a child really with a child-brain. But that does not mean that you should volunteer to be hurt or distressed or that your relationship be put at risk, until he gets it.

    In a sense, by dropping out for a while he is protecting you. I would try to see it as that.

    Last September my son left my town. (I do not have enough fingers and toes to count the times he has told me I would never see him again.) Even though I knew where he was I did not call him. When he called me I spoke a few words at most. I let him know that I was not available to be trashed. And his conduct had been trashing me. I raised the bar. I did not chase him. Actually, I turned away until he chose to do what was necessarily to re-enter my life.

    I let him back in. When he backslid, I pushed him out.

    There must be conditions in life. There has to be a bottom line. If not, what do we really have? Fill in the blank.

    You are OK. You can do this.

    What I meant to say earlier was this: You may think you do not need to post anymore after this immediate situation rectifies itself. To me, this would be an error. Posting will help you change. Posting is not about problem solving. It is about building necessary muscle to do and be we what need to be so that our children mature into responsible people.

    I say this based upon my own maturation these 16 months or so. I have changed more in this time then in any time in my life. In large part by posting.

    Take care. I hope you stay with us. Be well.
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    Last edited: Sep 11, 2016
  12. worried sick mother

    worried sick mother Active Member

    If your son has a mental illness, could it be that he really believes all those things he told you? He could be in psychosis especially if there was drug use. I agree with everyone that you should take care of yourself but I do think you should report him missing to the police. I would just tell them the truth. It may be nothing and he's just a chronic liar or he could really need serious help. Sounds like you have tried to help him and maybe if the police find him he can get the help he needs.
  13. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Hi AJ's mom, I'm so sorry. I can hear your bewilderment in every line that you wrote. Feeling like we've been duped is an awful feeling. It permeates everything and makes us not trust ourselves or anybody else. I have felt that way about my son, too.

    I think, though, that believing people is good. You had no reason NOT to believe him. Everything you wrote sounded plausible. I found that my Difficult Child would tell me exactly what he thought I wanted to hear. He knew me so well that he knew what would please me and make me more open to him, so that is exactly what he would say. It is manipulation, and we are such innocents.

    I agree with others who have said that you will find out if something bad happens. There were also times for me that my son was homeless and I didn't know where he was for days. I used to get very anxious---not knowing---because I felt so very out of control when I had no idea where he was. That was worse than anything.

    But as time went on, I came to believe that no news is good news. Right now, you can't do anything about this. This is beyond your control and out of your hands. As you can, turn it over to whatever power you believe in. Something greater than yourself. You've done all you can right now. Let it go, as much as is humanly possible. When you find yourself obsessively thinking about it, give yourself 10 minutes to do that, and then redirect yourself to your own life, people you love, work you enjoy, hobbies that make you happy. You will find out soon enough.

    Today one thing I like to tell myself is this: You'll know (whatever it is) when you need to know. When you're "supposed" to know. Until then...

    Hang in there. We're here for you. We understand your emotions because we have all been right there, right where you are. You are not alone here. We're here with you.
  14. AJ's Mom

    AJ's Mom New Member

    I found my son!! He is in a program for homeless youth and has been there the whole time. He is getting help for his mental problems, and he sounds good. I am so relieved.
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  15. RN0441

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

    AJ's Mom

    Thank God! So happy for you and son also.

    Hopefully now you can get some rest and have some peace for yourself.

    I am glad that he contacted you.
  16. AJ's Mom

    AJ's Mom New Member

    Thank you, now maybe I can finally get a good nights sleep. I can go and see him on Wednesday. I can't wait. He did really try to go to Job Corps, they never picked him up, they told him there was an issue with his paperwork. After giving up his place to live, his job and everything, he was totally devastated. He did not want me to worry, so he lied and told me he was there. When he found the program he is at now, they make them give up their cell phones for the first 30 days, that is why he stopped contacting me, his 30 days were up today, and telling me the truth was the first thing he did. He said he is happy, and doing the best he has in a long time. At least for the moment, I have real hope that maybe he will finally turn his life around. He sought help on his own, which is the most positive step, he wasn't forced into it by me or a court system, he truly wants his life to be better and that is a great first step and the most adult thing he has ever done.
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  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    He sounds very motivated. I mean...a young adult gives up his CELL PHONE????

    I am very happy for both of you. This is awesome. Keep us posted!
  18. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Great news, AJ's Mom! It sounds very promising!
  19. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    That is wonderful news!! Thank you for sharing with us. I'm glad you will be able to see him soon.

    ((HUGS)) to you.....................
  20. worried sick mother

    worried sick mother Active Member

    Awesome news!!!! So happy for you!!! Keep us posted!!