Issues with my son


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TL. I am so ambivalent. About my own son and about yours. I start out rambling about my son, which you can skip. But I think I wrote some useful stuff about your son's situation below.
He was living by panhandling and dumpster diving and with the help of a youth homeless program
My son has NEVER helped himself when I have kicked him out. While he does not use hard drugs as far as I know, when he leaves he goes someplace else to be dependent, if he can. And while he has picked up bad habits such as cigarette smoking and marijuana, I am grateful he has not done worse.

But that said, he did not do anything good. At first he tried to work some, but he cannot retain jobs. He looked good and is articulate but he is disorganized. And then he felt bad when he'd lose the jobs. So. Now he doesn't try. Except for the concrete, but the reality is he doesn't much want to work.
So my fear at this point is that he will relapse and go so far down he wont come back
I would be very afraid of this.

I have another idea. This is assuming he has not relapsed. Something we do not know. What if we accept what he feels, that the welfare checks are intrusive. (Clearly egging the car, and the letter of trespass are off the wall, inappropriate and ineffective responses. ) But what if you support his presenting the issue to the program and negotiating something that he would not feel to be as onerous.

This would reward in him, his proactive and appropriate problem-solving.

There would be a risk to this. Because the program could say no. But an alternative would be that you broach it to the program, to see if there is something to be done to loosen but not eliminate the welfare check procedure. If you wanted.

So it's not so "all or nothing."
So if he walks away from the program that is really providing a safety net for him (and us)
So far he is not walking away from the program. Maybe he won't.
As long as he is involved with them, is engaging with them at some level I feel there is hope. If he stops doing that then I need to withdraw financial support.
Yes. That's why I am hoping that a way could be found for them to work with him.

By this egging stuff, and even the letter of trespass, he is communicating. Just very, very ineffectively.

Maybe he wants to leave the program. But maybe he doesn't. But he wants a bit more freedom or privacy. Maybe it's possible. Maybe it's not.

I don't want either one of you to be backed into a corner. It doesn't help.

I don't know how I feel about the times I have asked my son to leave. I felt I didn't have options because he wasn't helping himself. But being in greater harm isn't helping either. Maybe these guys can't do better right now.

I don't know TL. It sounds like he might be trying to get them to throw him out of the program. Or maybe it's a test. But who knows what result he wants. If it were me, I think my only condition would be that he keeps trying. Something. You said it. He want's to quit.
Maybe this program isn't working as well for him as it is for you. If it's not working for him, that's worth hearing. And talking about.

You've hung with him this long. Maybe it's worth staying in the game, and let him take the lead, as long as he keeps at it.


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What I love about this program is they really hang in there unless he is really a danger to others in the program which he is not. So I dont see them kicking him out of the program or refusing to work with him. They do set boundaries and limits but they have also shown a real willingness to work with him and figure out his boundaries and limits. So yes I think the hope is to have a conversation with him with all of us and talk about what works for him in terms of his need for privacy etc and our need for safety etc etc. The thing is as it is currently if they text him, and he responds they don’t go over there.... they only go and check on him when he doesn’t respond so when they have cause to be concerned. Or when we do.... but maybe that needs to be better defined I don’t know. Clearly we need to understand better what his issue is. I am also really thankful that they are not very far away so that we can drive an hour and go meet in person which makes it all easier I think.

We spent today with my daughter so I did not try to contact him today.... I decided it was probably better to just leave him alone for today anyways.

I think there are many examples here where withdrawing support ahs worked well and the person has pullled their life together, gotten clean and done well. Your son and mine are examples where that has not happened. I think some may feel that we have supported and helped my son too often and too much but honestly I at this point believe it is our support and love that have both kept my son alive and kept him from being in more serious trouble and doing hard time in prison. Unfortunately there is no one answer that fits all, we all have to find our own best path at the time.



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What I love about this program is they really hang in there
What I am thinking about here is that my son has a lot of self-hatred. Not because he was rejected by his birth parents or abandoned by them, so much as that he cannot accept that his birth parents lived such degraded lives. And he feels that he is defined by their degradation. And then repeats it. M says why can't he identify with you and your great love for him and all of the advantages he had? And I don't know the answer.

What I am wondering is if your son has self-hatred too and the very thing you love about the program is problematic for him; that they don't give up on him. On some level he may not think he's worth it.
I think there are many examples here where withdrawing support has worked well and the person has pulled their life together, gotten clean and done well. Your son and mine are examples where that has not happened
Gosh TL. I am just filled with pain here. Do you think it's because of their troubles or do you think it's that and also because they need us? And throw in adoption on top of it; and in my son's case there is his great pain about the illness he contracted at birth, and his mortification about it.
I think some may feel that we have supported and helped my son too often and too much
I don't think this is the issue. What are you to do? What am I to do?
honestly I at this point believe it is our support and love that have both kept my son alive and kept him from being in more serious trouble
I believe this too.

TL. If you don't mind my asking what is your son's personality like?
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Copa (I cant figure out how to easily quote with my ipad)....

I am not sure why this is true but I sure tried the tough love road when we first kicked him out....and things only got worse, much worse with him. That is not to say that I would not stop supporting him in the future because as I have said if he stops doing anything to help himself I will..... but I am also convinced that he needs to know we continue to love him and will help him when he needs it. I also do believe he does want to be fully self supporting one day..... he has felt best about himself when he has been working and mostly self supporting. He does like working and being productive.

I do think adoption issues play a big part in his issues. He has a lot of anger at his birth mother for what I think he sees as his genetic wiring....,. She should have known she was handing him some genes that would make life harder for him. I dont buy that.... but I think that is how he feels.

His personality..... He is an interesting mix. He is a good looking guy. He can be very charming and personable. He is more introverted than he first comes across.... and when he is depressed he tends to isolate himself. He has a good sense of humor which is a bit quirky. He is quick to anger but also pretty quick to get over it. He feels things deeply but has learned to hide his feelings. He is impulsive which as a kid got him into trouble a lot. He is compassionate....but tends to hide that under a tough exterier.



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TL. With the exception of quick to anger, in your description of your son, you are describing my own. To which I will add, very loving, with the kindest heart. I think that has been the most painful part for me, is that in the last decade, I struggle with feeling in moments that I have lost his love.


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Did biethmother use drugs or drink while pregnant? This is huge. Sonic's birthmother did and it harmed him.

Does he ever say he wants to meet his birthmother? That helps sometimes if they resolve some identity issues. Maybe there are siblings....anyone he can see himself in. Facebook makes it easy. Goneboy found his soblings and birthmom on FB and flew out ro meet them. I hope it helped him because he often said he wanted to be better than "just an orpham" which is how they viewed children without parents (biological) in Hong kong. It affected him deeply. He was six when we got him and never felt comfortable. He married a woman frim China and from what I hear they live a culrurally Chinese life.

I have offered to help Princess search but so far she is afraid and this is huge..she has to do it when ready. Her birthmom and possible bio siblings are in Korea. Sonic has no issues and doesnt want to know. Jumper has texted her lovely borthmom and seen pictures of her half bio sib brothers but so far thehy havent met. Seeing who she looks like and seeing B text that she loves her really helped Jumper. She is . not stuck in the who am I hell some adoptees are stuck in.

Just a few thougjts. Take them with a grain of salt.


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I am not aware of his birthmother drinking or using drugs while pregnant with him. I do not know for sure but I do not think so. He has at times in the past expressed interest in finding out more and meeting siblings but not recently..... we have always been supportive and would certainly help him meet and find his birth family and he knows this. I think right now he kind of doesnt want to really deal with his adoption issues... I would really like him too.... but once again it is not up to me to decide when is the right time for him to do that. It is his issue to look at and he needs to choose the right time..... I just need to be sure he knows I am ok with it so that I am not in his way in any way.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
I did not read the entire thread but my first thought is that he does not want them coming to check on him because he is hiding something. I hope I am wrong but I do not see any other reason why he would not want to comply with the rules.

My son never wanted to comply with anything so I get it. We want them to be sober more than they want it. We know that even sober, they need to change their thinking and that is EXTREMELY difficult to make someone do if not impossible.

I would seriously not negotiate with him at all. When my son acted like this he did not get to talk to me. I was not interested. We handled him with kid gloves as they say. My son has a very strong personality - like his father - so I let his father handle him. I just couldn't do it. I got too upset and it was not good for my health.

Even if this program does not get your son sober or where he needs to be thinking-wise, they do have some takeaways from each program they attend. My son was in some wonderful programs with wonderful people and he put very little effort in.

My son is 23 and wasted 5 years of his life doing this crap.


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Well I had a call with the program and my son today. It was extremely frustrating.... my son is extremely difficult and frustrating to say the least. Basically the program is saying they have some minimum expectations... he needs to check in with them every day by at least text and he has to be respectful. And he should meet with the therapist once a week. He doesnt think he needs it... oh and he doesnt need medications because he isnt drinking and he isn’t depressed (according to him). Ugh. So the program doesnt feel if they arent providing him services that they can offer him anything and they should find him different services, When they said this my heart sank to say the least. EVentualy I said to my son the thing is you may not think they are providing you with anaything but they are providing your dad and I with something, which is peace of mind so we dont worry as much and can sleep at night,,,,,si if you are no longer participating you are taking something away from us. At which point he totally capitulated to tehri terms.

I am not sure why....not sure if he figured we would stop paying rent or what, I suspec the capitulation is temporary.... but at least it got us a few more days and I will talk to the program some more tomorrow.\

I dont have a good feeeling about this at all, I have been here before. My son is at that place where he feels like he is doing pretty well, he knows iti all, has it figured it out and doesn’t need the program or any help.... and so is headed for a fall.I sus[ect we are going to need to let him fall..... but I am hoping at least if I talk to them that at least they can be there to help hi pick him pick up the pieces when that happens.




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I would seriously not negotiate with him at all.
I was going to say that I agree completely with RN, except that our sons TL are a breed apart.

I was going to say this: There has to be connecting with internal resources and operating based upon those. And I think this is where our kids are having trouble. It is not to say that they don't have inner resources, but so far, they have not been able to access them.

And there you go. With the program you held firm 100 percent and he capitulated. Son was testing. RN was right. And you passed the test.

If you're right and son is calculating and strategizing based upon his short term interests and goals, which seem to be housing and support, with maximum freedom and autonomy, you've learned something. If you hold firm, tell the truth, and don't get ahead of yourself, you can support him to make better decisions.

I think the key here is not to be afraid. And to have the confidence that he will respond to support and his best interest.

Oh. This would terrify me. I have a very hard time doing this. Trusting that the right thing will happen.

But you did it. With the program's help. I admire them so. And I admire you, TL. Sometimes the worst thing does NOT happen.

With the program you held the line 100 percent, and it worked. There is no reason to believe it won't keep working.


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To what do you think your son capitulated? To this:
So the program doesnt feel if they arent providing him services that they can offer him anything and they should find him different services,
Or to this:
if you are no longer participating you are taking something away from us.
You see. I think he capitulated to the first one. That the program set a firm and hard limit and called his bluff. They said, fine leave. Our way or the highway.

And then when you said: Your Dad and I need this. You gave him cover to fold.

He was testing. While he may bail, he may not.


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So I just talked to my husband who is out of town. He too is worried and is very suspicious.... and I tend to be the suspiscious one!! Copa when I say my son capitulated.... he all of a sudden agreed to check in daily and to meet with the therapist weekly which he had not been agreeing to do. At this point we really think he is hiding something... we are not sure what but we think he is up to something. Maybe it is drug use, although he was at the program today and they would have seen if he wasnt sober....but it could well be drug could be something else. Who knows but something is up. I just feel by his attitude on the phone that something is really off. And I know from past experience that my gut instinct is almost always right in these situations.... so time will tell. I will be talking to the program tomorrow again.


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Copa when I say my son capitulated.... he all of a sudden agreed to check in daily and to meet with the therapist weekly which he had not been agreeing to do.

I am remembering here that your son likes to work. He gets jobs. He has maintained himself economically for long periods, right?

He doesn't need you for economic reasons, am I right?

He could easily get a job and leave the program, the apartment, could he not?

So the question is why not? Why would he be playing ball?

My own son IS ZERO PERCENT INTERESTED IN TREATMENT OF ANY SORT. I have no leverage over him. He will capitulate to me in word only. Not in deed. As in pay lip service. Is this what you think son is doing?

Why would he compromise his independence? For what? If he has alternative means of survival at hand? He has to be getting something besides money.

He seems disinterested in complying with the program at this point. But interested in maintaining something.

This will play itself out. I think in the next week you will know.

This is stressful. Is your son somebody who plots? Does he have this kind of strategic personality?

He has not appeared to me this way. I understand that he capitulated. But maybe it was all posturing. Is he this sneaky? He sounded more transparent.


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He does like to work but I would not say he has maintained himself for long periods of time nor does he make enough to completely support himself. He doesnt have high level skills so he can do labor jobs or menial jobs and rent is high here. Plus he has a felony on his record and does not have a car. Right now he is signed up for 2 classes at the community college...although one of our wonderings about what is he hiding is how is that going? So no he is not in a position to totally support himself yet but he could get there.

And he does get jobs...but it is harder because of his record.

And yes he can be strategic and definitely can be sneaky. So him plotting something is totally possible. I actually would think with his capitulation that he was planning on leaving town for a girlfriend (done this before) except the current girlfriend is out of the country and he doesnt have a passport and I dont think has the means or ability to go where she is at this point.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
I'm sorry that you are dealing with all of this.

My thoughts are that your son is 28 years old. This could literally go on the rest of his life - and yours - if something doesn't stop him. If something doesn't change. But what?

I know that is all overwhelming because we tend to think one day at a time when we're in this but that is how I think. I cannot NOT think that way from time to time.

If you and dad were not in the picture what do you think he would do? Would he have to straighten up and fly right (as my dad used to say)? I am not saying I have an answer, just trying to provoke thoughts.


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This could literally go on the rest of his life - and yours - if something doesn't stop him. If something doesn't change. But what?
I am responding to RN's post as if she wrote it to me, about my own son.

I have been forced to recognize that EVERYTHING is about me: the visceral turmoil in my gut, and how I respond to it; the panic; the seeking for control over which I have no influence; the chasing him.

When I back off, letting him live the effects of his choices, and staying minimally engaged, I am way better off in the sense that I feel better and when I think about him I am able to have the generalized sense that he is okay.

When I filter his "OK-ness" through my own gut, I fall apart. I am trying to keep myself out of it.

While my son is not using hard drugs as far as I know, he does have a mortal illness which he does not treat, so more or less my situation is comparable to TL's.

I think what RN's post implies is that if we keep ourselves tethered at the blow by blow level with these guys we live in peril, and they view us as a player in their psyche, kind of like a superego, and they play to us, or against us, which is not good. Let alone the costs to us. And how such a dynamic affects their maturation and coming to grips with themselves and their own lives.


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RN at this point I really dont know. I think if we werent in the picture there is a good chance he would either be dead or in prison.

What I am feeling today is I need to get a handle on what is really going on before he is off probation in march. If he is just feeling cocky and I can do it myself and headed for a fall thats one thing... if he is using again and doing bad stuff to support a habit thats quite another and I want no part in helping him avoid the consequences of that. Those are two extremes and it could be either or something imbetween. I think I need to get a better handle on whats going on. At least thats what I am feeling at the moment. Of course I have to figure out how to do that.


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if he is using again and doing bad stuff to support a habit thats quite another
I am wondering if he is bringing people to the apartment and that is the reason he doesn't want the program people anywhere near. Is he hustling something for drugs or money, that would be my question? Isn't he drug tested at the program?

This indeed would be worrying.

That said, TL. Is this a question of drug addiction or is it a question of indifference to consequences, or both? If he can't buy into this program in even a minimal way maybe there might be a better one.

I think there needs to be a discussion about what the goal is. Is the goal a babysitting function by the program to reassure you and your husband? Or us the goal treatment? If it's the latter, and son continues to not respond, that is another thing entirely. Maybe you might want to talk to him and the program. I think getting real (to self and others) is important, although I have great difficulty with it) is ultimately the goal.
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My husband wondered if he has someone else in the apartment and is charging them money fro rent to get money for drugs....I think we need to get in there to see. You are right we need to get clear about goals.... I think the goal is to for him to move forward in his life which on the surface he seems to be doing but I am really doubting at the moment.....


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Yes they are and he is passing them. I talked to them today. They are also concerned. They have seen him and he looks good. If he was seriously using or has seriously relapsed we all think they would be able to tell so that is good news. So it may have to do with a girl or something else... we shall see. Time will tell.