Homeless son's e-mail excerpt


Sending good vibes...
So, my homeless son who lives in his car (that I am trying to stop paying gas for) has recently gotten himself a sunburn. He is 30 yrs. old and just fails to see that he's responsible for his own actions or in actions. I probably replied harshly to part of the e-mail I've pasted below but wanted to get feed back on if I'm handling this correctly by still not "helping" him with some basic needs.
He stated:
"I'm not asking you for money but I just want to say the last three days I've had the most acute sunburn poisoning of my life and even the first day i had it I only got one glass of water. In fact, subsequent days I have had very little liquid since I have no containers. Also, and most importantly, even one application of a coconut oil or even an old sunscreen would have taken the scorching burn out. I'm still in decent pain. But can finally move. I haven't been able to wash myself in the shower because of the absolute pain of the water touching my skin. I haven't brushed my teeth in over ten days, I couldn't move to brush them with my sunburnt body and no water. Anyway I'm not looking for money. This is a general statement because I want you to see how hard it is to live in a car. I feel very upset over this happening to me. I cant help feel a little abused . You're not my "mommy" and here to solve anything. But I can't count on anyone to even help me survive anything now. I hope you will understand in the future why we wont be communicating much. This is unfortunately a pivotal time you fail to recognize my worth to live as a human being. Imagine what a few waters or burn ointment would have cost? I definitely won't forget this. I may be out of sight and mind for you but I still bleed . Im literally getting cancer as we speak. AND
From here on out if you respond to me I'm asking you to refrain from mentioning:

-Any soupkitchens
-Any mention of "case worker"
-The "ER" room.
These are all passive aggressive and loaded statements."

This is the kind of stuff I emotionally deal with that makes me question if I'm doing the right thing by not going to buy him water, sunscreen etc.

I would welcome some advice.


Well-Known Member
I think you have to do what makes you feel ok. He is probably making more of this to make it dramatic etc.
I suspect there will be a variety of responses of what people would do given this email. I personally would probably give him some water bottles and sun screen but no money.



Well-Known Member
He is being dramatic. If you want to, bring him a cup from home. He can use it to fill with water. I suspect he could have found one himself at those homeless shelters he doesnt want you to mention. Or asking for a plain cup made of styrophome at a restaurant or mini mart. They even have them by the coffee. I doubt he has only had one glass of water in many days. Bottles of water are a waste.. he will be asking for more tomorrow.

You can bring him a baseball cap for the sun plus there is also shade. He knows this. He is putting you through a guilt trip. He isnt so helpless that he needs this from you. He can figure these things out himself. He can also get generic cream for $1.99 or you can bring him some. No money. He is a drug addict.

That is as far as I'd go to help these days. I was one who gave, gave, gave and always felt guilty yet my daughter repeatedly spat in my face. I ask you not to do what we did. Its a trap to suck us back in.


Well-Known Member
Is this the one who was in the Marines or your other son?

I don't know what resources your city has for the homeless, but we have the Water Angels, who hand out bottled water. We have about four shelters stocked with water and sunscreen. For those who don't want to go to a shelter, several food trucks go by and hand out food to the homeless. A lot of churches hand out sunscreen, etc. Our city does a lot for the homeless because of how bad the problem has gotten. I'm guessing your son isn't taking advantage of these services, or isn't in a place where they are offered. Make him aware of where to go if your city offers these things. If he's too weak from dehydration to go, take him some fluids, aloe, sunscreen, along with a list of places where he can get these things. When he builds up his strength, he should be able to get there.

If this is the one who was in the military, he has been taught how to prevent and treat these types of problems.


Sending good vibes...
This is not the son who was in the Marines. This is the older son. I'm not sure I've heard of Water Angels in our area. It seems difficult getting a "live" person when I've called the local food pantry before for different questions. I've left voice messages and received no reply back. It seems he already has the sunburn and is looking for some kind of lotion to relieve the discomfort.

After posting this I contacted my therapist as well. She thinks he's being manipulative and although is likely in some discomfort is using this as a tool to work on me to get money. He doesn't even want me to suggests shelters, food pantries etc. It's very hard to separate emotions and just use my "head" to think this through. Someone recently mentioned in an Al anon meeting that someone told her you "don't" just have to use you heart or your head but you can use both. Just like someone needs to oars to row a boat, not just one. I get the whole scenario but living it is tough. Not enabling feels like I'm only using my "head" which makes "me" feel uncomfortable and I know is part of the problem. I tend to take on the "feelings" that my sons are experiencing...thus my migraines. So, I know that's not the way to go about it.


Well-Known Member
What a tome! He is well-written and articulate. Talk about passive aggressive!
But I can't count on anyone to even help me survive anything now.
Well. What about himself? Will he step up? That is the question.
This is unfortunately a pivotal time you fail to recognize my worth to live as a human being.
Who here needs to recognize their worth to live as a human being? And their responsibility to seek this.
I definitely won't forget this.
This is a mean, below the belt threat. Fine. Don't forget it. If this helps him begin to learn to put one foot in front of the other to solve a problem, so be it.
Im literally getting cancer as we speak.
So. Here ends the passive aggressivity and out come the knives.

This is inevitable. The thing front and center is this: He has cared less about your welfare. He prefers that this paradigm continues. It can't. Eventually you will get sick and die. We all do. Either sons find a way to survive from their own efforts, or not. Sooner or later they will have to. It might as well be now. While there is still time for you to live a life that gives you peace and tranquility and self-respect and autonomy and well-being. And they can have this too. But you can't fund their lives forever. Nobody can.

This is the terrain you are fighting on. Fighting for. That they have self-respect, autonomy, and well-being. And that you do, too.

You are doing this. Bravo.

If son wants to explore options to the way he is choosing to live, which is crying and moaning, and helplessness and meanness, he will stop with this drama, and seek out the emergency rooms, soup kitchens, case workers and rescue missions. This is the life he is choosing. These are the resources for people in their position. Not Mamas. Who are at the end of their rope, and need respite and refuge, and are seeking it.

Deni D

Well-Known Member
I haven't been able to wash myself in the shower because of the absolute pain of the water touching my skin
So he has access to a shower, a gym membership or something? He could get drinking water there also.

It's obvious he doesn't want to get help where he knows he can get it. Instead he wants you to be responsible for him and give him what he wants. There's nothing at all passive aggressive about suggesting a soup kitchen, case worker or ER. If he's got such a bad sunburn he can't move then an ER or urgent care would certainly be in order.

One of the most confusing things for me to work out with this kind of behavior (and I've had a lot of it with my son) has been is he really unable to do the smallest things for himself or is he holding out to get back on easy street with mom? In my situation I've learned what my son communicates to me is not exactly his situation. He will make out like he's in a dire situation and then later in the day someone will report a facebook post where he's hanging out or doing something entirely removed from his "dire situation".

It's very hard to separate emotions and just use my "head" to think this through. Someone recently mentioned in an Al anon meeting that someone told her you "don't" just have to use you heart or your head but you can use both.
Oh boy can I relate to this but in an opposite way. For me for many years when I've used my heart I've been yanked down the rabbit hole by my son. Now I recognize I'm staying in my head these days in dealings with my son. I don't like it, it feels so distancing and strange. But I think I have to until/if my son stops blaming his every inconvenience on me. I would love to be able to figure out how to use both my head and my heart with my son and still keep myself safe from the chaos of his life.

My son could have written that email, has written many very similar one's. All of the guilt tripping and manipulations when he could very well have gotten what he needs for himself, and most likely had before he even wrote it.


Active Member
OK, I didn't read all of the other responses as I am short on time, but I really wanted to respond to this. Wow- is he a drama queen. If he was seriously so sunburned that he couldn't brush his teeth then he needs to go to the ER. I believe if someone else read this email to you and you looked at it objectively you would easily see the drama, manipulation and general immaturity of the person who sent it. Your son obviously knows he can play on your concern for him, but he is a 30 year old man. When I was around his age I broke my foot in the grocery parking lot. I knew it was broken, but I went home, put the groceries away and fed my pets before I took myself to the hospital. There was no one else to do those things, so as a grown up woman I did them. I see him as trying to portray himself as a victim of circumstance who through no fault of his own is living in a car without a cup to drink from. I'm guessing if he wanted to get high or eat a burger he would find a way to do those things. He could have easily gotten a cup of water for free from McDonald's. Guess what else? People asking for help from you don't get to make the rules about how you communicate with them. You can talk about anything you want, or not talk to him at all if you so choose. He is the one who needs you, not the other way around. I understand your concern and worry but I know that when my daughter was acting nuts like this I had to remove myself from the relationship for a period of time because it was so toxic. My priority is my health and peace of mind, so if you're not contributing to that I'm not going to have a relationship with you. Also, when I take a break from my daughter when she is in a bad phase it helps give me objectivity about our relationship. If I am away from her for a bit I can think about the situation more rationally and make a plan to deal more effectively with her. Take a breather from the insanity and focus on yourself. Sending peace to you.


Well-Known Member
I think the part about using both your heart and head makes a whole lot of sense. Our heartstrings get pulled and then the drama and manipulation tends to work.... and yet my heart tells me that my son needs to know he is loved. My head helps me put things in perspective and see the manipulation for what it is...and it does help me keep my distance. But if I only followed my head I probably wouldnt even have a relationship with my son because I wouldnt put up with all this baloney from anyone else. So we need both our heart and head.

I think what works for me when I do it is to process this in 3 steps. First let myself have my feelings which often means feeling his desperation, depression, anxiety or whatever. I cant go here for very long but I do feel his feelings so I need to allow it for a bit. And then second take a look with my head at the situation....from more of a distance at the realities of the situation. See the manipulation and drama for what it is. And then having done that figure out what I feel comfortable doing or not doing. What is best for me and my own sense of well being and mental health.

I recently had a middle of the night phone call needing something and it woke me up and I just reacted and did what he wanted. Afterwards when my head kicked in I realized I had totally enabled him and it was totally unnecessary for me to do that. It reminded myself that when my son asks for something I need to give myself time to think with my head, and not just my heart.


Well-Known Member
What a good point.

The only ones that do know their moms will dole out money even for discomfort that they can handle on their own. They know we have soft hearts for them even if they are awful to us

They already know how much we love them. I never worry that Kay doesnt think we love her. Giving her money and loving her are seperate.

in my opinion I feel, as one who has been often manipulated and tricked, that your son's story was just drama and looking for money. Its hard to resist! But, speaking only for my situation,my daughter's growth in my opinion has been stunted by our running to take care of her for problems as mild as a cold sore. I rememver bringing her cank-aid. And this was not so long ago. And she has a husband who could have bought some for her, but we did it. Not the only time but never again.


Well-Known Member
Totally agree with many of the folks above. Shortly after finding this forum, our Difficult Child emailed about his broken pinkie. His email sounded eerily like the one from your son.

The responses I received after sharing his email here were priceless and helped husband and me tremendously. Basically, the members pointed out it was pure drama and manipulation; Difficult Child absolutely wanted $$, and nothing else. There is some manual these DCs know about. They use the same tricks to try to manipulate us. Ridiculousness, but it took a long time for husband and me to see it. We were accustomed to feeling guilt.

JPG, my son was a few years older than yours when I found Conduct Disorders. With the help of the members here, we finally found my footing. You will, as well, and will feel much more centered before long.

I cannot even believe he sent that to you (but, sadly, of course I can).

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
This is the same kind of thing my son would do and say. It's obvious he is trying to pull on your heart strings and guilt you into to doing something for him. He mentions 2 times that he's not asking for money when in reality, he is. This is classic manipulation.
Of course it's hard to live in a car but that's the choice that he's made for himself. Him trying to transfer the blame of the sunburn to you because you didn't buy him water or sunscreen?? He has no one to blame but himself for this. Please know that what he is doing and saying is typical. My son and many others adult kids do and say the same kinds of things.
Please don't buy into him trying to make you feel guilty or sorry for him. Again, this is typical behavior and is to be expected when a parent stops funding them. The longer you stand firm with your boundaries the less he will react in the way he did. He will come to realize that you are no longer a push over and that the "bank of Mom" is closed.
Of course it's sad and the relationship will be fractured but you will be able to take your life back.


Active Member
I was re-reading this post and responses and it reminded of something similar my daughter did that I had forgotten. At one point, years ago, she moved to another state with her infant daughter to live with some guy she met on the internet. That year she called me on Christmas, not to wish me a merry Christmas, but to scream at me that I should have sent her money so she could come home for Christmas. WTH? This was in the early days when I would try to have rational conversations with her and I was so confused I was trying to understand why she was upset. I thought maybe she had asked me for money and I forgot or something like that. Nope, she was just mad and blamed her lousy Christmas on me. She hasn't done anything like this for a long time, and I'm glad. I know it's very upsetting and confusing. But realize it's HIM, not you.