How did it come to this?


New Member
Hi everyone. I have posted before, but not in some time. I read post here almost daily. It keeps me strong and not feeling so alone. I have 3 sons ages are 32,26,22. My oldest is a journeyman plumber but refuses to to work for the man. I am sure that he is doing some serious drugs and has been for years I have not communicated with him since he left a threatening note on my front porch in early June. He was angry with me because I was not responding to his brother the 26 yr old who is living at a shelter. I left their father in 2011 and at this point no one is speaking to my ex and I am only communicating with my youngest a little and he goes looking for his brother every every few weeks to make sure he is okay and calls his older brother sometimes because it never goes well. I am remarried. I finally have a normal life. A nice house a great man who has 5 great functioning kids 26, 23, 19, 11, 10. I was the one with a career in my last marriage and supported everyone. My ex didn't work for years. He always used the kids as an excuse he smoked pot daily for years and with the boys. Over the 24 years we were together he really changed and I just didn't see it I think he is bi polar. It was not until we started having so many problems with my middle son that I realized what was going on. I just had to leave and basically the whole family just crumbled. My middle son is schizophrenic and by-polar. His dad controlled them so much and every part of his life that when he left for college he failed in two weeks he was in trouble with the law and the school was kicking him out. He can not hold a job and sat at home with his dad for the last 3 years while his dad controlled him with pot... well in June his dad evicted him so he has been on the street basically the 5 of us live within 10 miles of each other but do not interact. I love my life now but I do feel guilty all the time. They have accused me of turning my back on them. But I just started saying no to request for money. They got angry. They say some really horrible things to me. It's getting cold outside and the snow is on the way.... I see from post that we all worry, but has anyone ever had the worst happen? I keep hoping that he will snap out of it.. I know that sounds stupid. I am sad that It came to this. I miss my boys. All three of my boys are all alone the couldn't even manage to ban together. If I try to communicate then they suck me in and start calling me for every emergency. Yes I was an enabler I paid car insurance for my oldest until he was 26 then I told him to get his own and that lasted for 6 month. Now he just does not have it. He has some clever ways of showing "proof" if he is stopped. I paid his cell phone for years too. So I know I helped create this but I just don't know how to fix it. Guilt I have been helping my youngest the last few months with his phone. I have to stop. But grrrrr I hate that I may lose that connection. He is at least trying and motivated. He has a place to live. A car insurance and a dog so he is the most functional although I am not sure if the job. He does also manage a men soccer team. Weird but it is his passion. Sorry for the long and all over the place post. We went to dinner last night with a friend who has 3 boys, 2 came to dinner and I guess I am feeling jealous and sad for myself.


Well-Known Member
What you feel is normal under the circumstances. There will come a time that you will not be around. It is likely that if you had continued to let them live with you and drain your pockets, they could be in there 40's or older and less able to fend for themselves. You have given them the 'gift' of their youth to figure things out.

You deserve the life you now have. You can't undo the past......none of us can.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
Welcome. We have had a hard road with our youngest also as you can see by my signature. We sent him out of state in March because we just couldn't take it anymore.

He has been floundering and right now we are still supporting him but he is to find a job so he can also pitch in. He wants to go take computer classes and is very smart so we want to help him as long as he stays sober and moving in the right direction. He is doing better there than he did here and our home is peaceful.

It sounds like your ex really enabled the boys until HE got tired of it. Like you said, you are their mother, not their ATM. You are very fortunate that you have found a nice man to settle down with and live a normal life. You deserve to be happy too. These kids will drain the life out of you if you let them. They really do have to figure it out on their own.

Others will come along to offer advice but it sounds like you are doing pretty good at detaching. Just let them know you love them and that they can figure it out.


New Member
I am so glad that this place exist. When trying to talk to a spouse or friend this subject gets old fast. The need for affirmation is never ending and our family and friend just can't keep providing it. Thank you pasajes4 for your response, it really helps.

A dad

Active Member
Yep forget the past and move towards the future their adults now their problems are their problems. Just look towards the future that is the only advice I can give you the only thing you can do.


I can hear your pain, but also your resolve. The only thing you can do is point them towards help, and it's up to them. As you signature our man child is home so he can grow..he is medication compliant, sober and works.

The worst...hasn't that occurred already? It's time for you to heal, and pray that just because life might have thrown them a few lemons, doesn't mean they can't help themselves.

Guard your heart, and yes...we all get jealous, we are human.

Chin up...your future is bright, and they have a choice.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
I see from post that we all worry, but has anyone ever had the worst happen? I keep hoping that he will snap out of it..
My son is almost 35 and has been living his life as a homeless drifter for close to 8 years. I had to accept the fact that the worst could happen because it could. Once I accepted it I was able to move on. No longer does my mind wonder to all the possible scenarios that could happen.
My husband and I bent over backwards and spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to help him. I finally had enough and was able to detach. My son is grown man and is living his life on his terms. I have no power over him so for the sake of my own sanity and to move on with my life, I let him go.

I know that sounds stupid.
Hoping he will snap out it does not sound stupid, it sounds hopeful. There is nothing wrong with hoping just as long as you keep it tempered with reality.

So I know I helped create this but I just don't know how to fix it.
You can't fix it, only your son can. None of us are perfect parents, we have all made mistakes. Did you enable your son, perhaps, but that does not mean you helped create this. Your son allowed you to enable him.

He was angry with me because I was not responding to his brother the 26 yr old who is living at a shelter.
I say let him be angry. You did not put your son in a homeless shelter, he did that himself. He is 26 years old, old enough to take care of himself.

Something very common with adult difficult children is they refuse to own the consequences to the choices they make. Your son's choices are what led to him being in a homeless shelter. His choices could turn that around but that's for him to do, not you.

Thank you for sharing and hang in there!


one day at a time
Hi Alaska, and it's good to hear from you.

It sounds like you are doing great. You have re-focused your own life. I think that is the best possible thing for you...and for your three sons. Don't question yourself about that. The more you can step back from the daily "stuff" of your three sons, and the enabling from you and any other people in their lives slows down and stops...that is when they have a real chance to look in the mirror at themselves and realize their lives are on them. No one else but them. That is the best first day of their lives.

I have 3 sons ages are 32,26,22.

These are important years for them, when they can find out what they are truly made of, and what kind of lives they want to live. We, as their parents, have to let them live their own lives, no matter if they make sense to us or not. Yes, this isn't what we hoped for, raised them for, or dreamed of, for them. But they are now grown people. Adults. They have a right to chart their own course. But they don't have a right to expect us to fund it.

Stopping the money is vital. As soon as you can, stop the flow of money.

I keep hoping that he will snap out of it.. I

Ah, I so get this. I actually thought a switch would be flipped and magically, one day, all of the lessons I had raised my son with would penetrate his brain and he would "get it." Overnight. That is NOT the way my son's progress has happened. It has been steady progress, but slow and many times he still thinks, says and does things that I don't get. He is growing up, finally, and he's behind his peers, but he's doing it his way. My job is to stand back, be supportive (verbally) and accept it. That is what I work on every single day.

So I know I helped create this but I just don't know how to fixit.

Like Tanya said, you can't fix it. Nobody can, but each one of them. Yes, you enabled, and I enabled and we all did and still do at times, but that is what people do, until they learn not to. We did the best we could do at the time. Our errors (I believe enabling is an error) are not fatal errors. They are just delays for our precious DCs. The sooner we can stop enabling, the better off they will be. I have seen this as the absolute truth and I have found it to be true, but I was a very slow learner and I didn't believe it and I couldn't stop for a long long time.

Hang in there. We are here for you. Focus on your new husband and family and love your precious grown sons at a distance. That is the key.


New Member
Thanks everyone, it is so good to get positive feed back! It's hard to watch kids with so much potential live this kind of life. I understand that this is a free country but it sucks when it's not against the law to be crazy so we do nothing until they hurt themselves or others. I worry that my 26 year old will end up in jail. I worry because of his mental condition and the way he is he really tends to get on people's nerves. He has his whole life. He would argue with a fence post. And add his conditions and it's 10x worse.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
It's mind boggling how so many of our adult difficult children thrive on debating and arguing. My son loves nothing more than to be able to prove someone wrong.


New Member
It's mind boggling how so many of our adult difficult children thrive on debating and arguing. My son loves nothing more than to be able to prove someone wrong.
Too true! Very oppositional, but then so am I and so is my Difficult Child's father.


New Member
Alaska, I am also a new member, and I have received so much support. I know I can trust what is shared because we all love and are bewildered by our troubled offspring. We just hope that they will someday love themselves enough to treat their lives with respect and gratitude.
I was impressed with your ability to appreciate your significant's functional children. I, too, often feel jealous and a little sad when I see the progress young people my Difficult Child's age are making. But I know she feels worse.
I say the Serenity Prayer frequently. I'm also learning to wait on circumstances to prove what is true, if that makes sense. I have a bad habit of worrying for disaster when all is well and feeling smug and secure when, unbeknownst, all hell is breaking loose.


Active Member
I agree it does help to post, venting safely releases the pent up emotions.

I had hoped my son would grow 'out of it'. The last relationship was 7 years and they were both alcoholics/drug users. Lots of drunken brawls and jail time for both.

She basically still lived at home with her mother and her entire family enabled her. The problem with that, they expected me to do the same with my son.

I know my son spent years living on the streets and woods homeless. There are places they can go for help, if and when they choose to.

I also agree with other members, when I stopped enabling and handing over money my son did realize he had to work. He did have a full time job before he met girlie and then he quit his job to go to school for computer security full time. He was on the Dean's List, problem is, he is a convicted felon. When I pointed this out to him he became angry. How did he think he was going to support himself while he went to school? His retired mother of course!

He tried another con to extort money from me to finish school. I fell for it and when I did figure it out and confronted him, he was angry. One of them, or both, hacked into my computer to try and steal my banking information.

I also have a degree in computers and I retired from a tech job, so I do not store anything valuable on my computers.

It always hurts when the people we love so much tries to play us. I don't blame girlie for my son's problems, they both had problems, together they were poison. I had to finally call the police to stop her from harassing me.

If you truly have a difficult adult child (mental, drug, alcohol addictions) it is a life long process, until THEY decide to change and get help.

I think a major problems for us is getting over the guilt of not being able to 'fix' our children, but we can't, so let it go and let them take over their own lives.

Enjoy your new relationship, you deserve it.

(((hugs and blessings)))
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