my adult son is homeless and I am heartbroken

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by seo, Jun 28, 2013.

  1. seo

    seo New Member

    My son is 19, and awaiting a court date for 2 felony arson charges. Now, because of this he lost his job and a place to live (there is more drama to all this). He showed up at my door needing a place to stay. He called his dad's parents to ask them and they turned around and asked me if he could stay. I cannot allow him to live with me, the last time he did was a nightmare for me and I neglected my 13 year old daughter because I got so wrapped up in trying to keep him straight along with all the mental anguish he caused me. Now I am so heartbroken that he is so young and has the very heavy charges. when he showed up at my door, I spent more than half my day trying to help him (I am self employed so I easily could, but now I am behind in my work schedule). I ending up driving him to the cheapest hotel in a decent area and lending him a bicycle (he has drug his feet on getting a drivers license as well) and enough money for two more days of a hotel( 3 total), food and a phone card. And sent him off with love and the understanding that I cannot do any more.

    I woke in the middle of the night with worry and wanting to figure it out for him....and told myself if I want to sleep again that I have to be 100% out of his life, no accepting his calls or his other grandparents calls,,,I just do not want to know anything going on with my son's life...I feel truly sad about everything...I have support from my parents, my husband and some friends.....I never wanted this for him,,,,,,,,and I know he brought it all on himself...... The next obstacle I may face is ..what to do if his shows up at my door again?????
  2. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Don't answer the door. Sigh. Welcome Seo. I am so sorry this is happening with your son. I am glad that you found us, we understand the anguish this is causing you. Many of us here have gone through what you are going through, dealing with an adult homeless kid who makes poor choices and manipulates us to keep paying for their lifestyle choices. Once the felony charges come through, will your son be spending time in jail?

    If you are inclined to help him with shelter, you might investigate the local homeless shelters, he can stay there until his court date. You can call social services and find out what is offered in the way of shelters in your area. The likelihood is that he will show up at your door once the motel money runs out, unfortunately you will again have to deal with him. You might write up all the options for shelters in your area, even call and see if they have any room and offer him that option. Some here have spoken of the YMCA too. You are under no obligation to continue helping him at all, it is completely your choice, you could also just refuse to help. Some here have had to resort to obtaining a restraining order to keep their kids away. I don't know the history, only you can make the choices that feel right for you.

    I know firsthand about the middle of the night worry, most of us do way too much trying to figure it out for them. That is enabling, when you are working harder then he is for his life. Since you cannot change him or control his behavior, what we learn is that it is up to us to change OUR behavior, to stop enabling them and to detach from them. There is an article at the bottom of my post on detachment which you might find interesting.

    It is not easy to detach from our children, but continuing to save them, over and over from their own choices robs them of the ability to make any good choices for themselves and keeps them stuck in being a victim. They have to deal with the natural consequences of their behavior in order to learn anything. And, truthfully, some of them do not learn. You did not mention if your son is involved in substance abuse or if he has any mental or emotional issues, all of which exacerbate the situation considerably.

    Often it takes a lot of support to detach. It would be helpful, in my opinion, if you got yourself a good therapist to help you to learn how to let go, it is a very difficult road when our children face disastrous circumstances as a result of their own choices. It takes a lot to learn to detach and be able to live our lives with any peace and joy. If it fits, 12 step groups are very helpful. If your son has mental issues, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) has parent groups which are excellent and they are a good resource for us, you can access them online and they have chapters all over. Codependency groups are helpful too. Learning to disengage from our adult children is filled with struggles, I encourage you to seek out as much support as you can so that you can make good healthy choices that take care of you and your 13 year old daughter.

    Again, welcome. This is a very supportive and healing place for parents, I hope you continue posting. I wish you peace.............
  3. seo

    seo New Member

    I feel so sick today,,,like I just ended a longterm relationship....yet, I am the only one who knows until he tries to contact me again...which I am not taking any calls....I did find some local groups that I am thinking of attending...I made a list of shelters and crisis numbers to give him if he does show up and I do answer the door,,,I know I am in for some more heartache...
  4. seo

    seo New Member

    also, no substance or alcohol abuse that I am aware of.
  5. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    My son started getting into trouble at a young age and almost went to prison. I scratch my head that he just can't get his life together.

    After his last conn with the girlfriend from h*** I finally said, 'no more' and this time I meant it. He threatened suicide and said he would steal to get money. It hurts, but whatever he does is his choice. I'm so tired of his drama and poor choices.

    Mine quit his job to go to college full time. He was on the Dean's list and getting a degree in computer security - now what
    person with any common sense doesn't know that a convicted felon is not going to get a job in security?

    He tries over and over to get me to cosign loans and I keep saying no - I guess he thinks he can wear me down. He went no contact with me in November and it has been difficult some days - but it gets easier and most days are so peaceful.

    Mine abuses alcohol and drugs, so does girlie. She is very jealous and controlling and has cut off all contact with his friends. He was posting strange things on FB and offended some of his family so he dropped off the face of the earth.

    As hard as it is to understand (I really can't) everything he does is his choice, and I have told him that. He had a fight with girlie and she came after him with a knife - she was sent to detox and he Baker Acted himself - I spent $ once again to help him and now I am certain he is back with girlie. His choice again! He cuts himself so one day he very well may succeed at suicide.

    Learn to detach, turn it all over to your HP, find hobbies that you really enjoy, stop talking to family that doesn't agree with your choice (about him anyway). Some of my family doesn't understand either.

    The bottom line is you have zero control over him, so let it go and take care of you. It's very hard, we all understand your pain. I can't tell you how many times I have asked, what did I do to deserve this - what did I do wrong. Regardless, the past is history and I can't change it or fix my son.
  6. seo

    seo New Member

    Yes the felony charges..... (hoping to get dropped to a misdemeanor) and a week ago I suffered my first panic attack over that fact.
  7. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Seo, I am sorry. Yes, you are likely in for more heartache, however, as you begin to learn how to detach and hopefully get into those groups or therapy or some supportive environments, you will feel better. It takes time, it is a process. It is hard too. These are our children, we love them, we want to save them.................but we can't. That is up to them. Please find someplace to go to get support, PTSD and panic attacks are prominent for us..................the best thing you can do is TAKE CARE OF YOU. Hugs.................
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Seo, did you adopt him at an older age or get custody of him when he had been living in chaos? Arson is pretty serious. Are you 100 percent sure there is no substance abuse? Has he always been a problem and fascinated with fire? You really have your hands full. I'm sorry.

    At any rate, I think you are wise not to let him ruin your 13 year olds life and you just have to move on with your own, even if he begs to come back. I think therapy would REALLY help you.

  9. seo

    seo New Member

    I called my local county office and was given a list of groups by a very helpful and insightful person. There is one I want to attend...
    My son was living with his father and step mom, the step mom and my son didn't get along. My son went to live with his dad at age 13, He was saying threatening harmful things to me and tormenting his sister (which she at age 7-8) was wanting move out because she couldn't take it anymore with her brother, I spent everyother nite in the bathroom crying because I didn't know what to do. (also he was diagnosed with ADAD,)..anyway I was a single mom at the time and thought his dad could handle him more than I.....

    Midwestmom, It is like you already 17 his stepmom charged him with "curse and abuse"....(at an appeal hearing it was dismissed) I asked if he wanted to come and live with me to get out of that situation, he didn't accept my offer....a few months later he called me (more problems with his stepmom and his dad) so I dropped everything that nite and picked him up in tears because of all the horrible things he told me about his dad and stepmom and how they were treating him...............after about a month of living with him, I began to realize that he was more than likely lying.

    Two days before he turned 18 he moved in with his girlfriend family after a confrontation we had. later I learned that he lied about me and how I was treating him (I guess to get more sympathy)...and unfortunately this has been his MO for several times more after that....(that was painful to find out, yet I kept hanging around for more)...

    I am not sure if he is fascinated with fire,,,there was a 16 year old involved, and since he was 18, he was the responsible one. I cannot be sure if drugs were involved

    A man he was living with before posted bail for him a week ago and he went back to live with him (a free place to live and food in exchange for helping the man with whatever he needed, my son didn't cooperate which is why he became homeless two days ago. I don't understand why my son is not more grateful) and now this man who is responsible since he bailed him out is considering revoking the bail.....I wish he would,I hate to say, but at least my son would have a place to stay and maybe figure out that he is just not entitled to others peoples kindness. Everyone my son lived with has been more than kind and helpful to him only to have him turn around and lie about them to be taken in by another is so sad
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2013
  10. seo

    seo New Member

    Yesterday was my first day of detachment. I got one call in the am from his dad's mother (I didn't answer...she just wants to baby my son and wouldn't understand my unwillingness to help anymore) I didn't get any calls from my son til later in the afternoon...which were calls one after the other for about 45 minutes accompanied by repeated calls from his grandmother (his dads mom) of which I didn't answer....I had the paper with a list of shelters and crisis numbers taped to my front door with his name in it, if he comes by that is all that will be here for him...I am proud that I made it thru my first day... the last contact I had with him was when I sent two text messages in the middle of the nite before last hoping he would read the following morning..I said: I cannot help him anymore, I love him and believe he can do it. and that a library will have computers you can use to search for jobs. ....

    I read a post by Star that reenforces my decision to detach. I have read several posts from people here, all just bring tears to my eyes....other peoples sadness...... I never thought that things would come to this, but I realize that this is my life and if I want any sort of peace in it I don't have a choice but to not be involved in my sons life. I am better off not knowing.

    and to add more to my amazement I heard yesterday a rumor that several weeks ago my son was spotted driving a truck which belonged to the family he was then living with......I am 100% sure it must have been without permission,,my son doesn't have a drivers license nor auto insurance. one bad choice after the other.
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think you are doing the right thing, but that doesn't make it the easy thing. However, I also think you are partially in denial as to how serious his behaviors are. He could be hurting your daughter in ways you don't want to think about. And, no, she wouldn't tell you. Been there.

    He sounds like he has traits of somebody who is antisocial and, if so (and of course I'm not sure), he would not have a conscience or much of one and will continue to use, manipulate, and hurt people. You didn't cause it. He has probably been tossed around a lot because of the over-the-top way he treats those who love him. He can't keep doing it. Especially to Little Sister. Think of that when you have to make hard choices. A boy who would even help do arson has a real dangerous streak and should not be living with a younger my opinion you should have let him be charged. That's very don't want him to do it again.

    Sounds like your son is homeless due to his own choices and behaviors. Many have offered him shelter. I believe you are doing what you HAVE to do. But I would definitely get into therapy so you can not only stand strong, but go on with your own life. You deserve a happy, rich, fulfilling life regardless of what your son is doing to destroy is own. You are not him and you will learn, I hope, that there is life without difficult child doing well. Most of us have had to learn that hard lession. (((Hugs))).
  12. seo

    seo New Member

    I am sure I deny things regarding him,,,it is had to swallow that your own child is this way..
    That is why I had to go let him live with his dad, the abuse he was projecting on his younger sister along with the fights I was having with him.
    The court case for the two arsen charges are two months from now in August.... I knew arson is a serious thing, but when I looked up his charges they were more serious than I imagined (class 4 and a class 6 felon). Today and now after reading Midwestmom's post, I am realizing that accepting this and him for who he is , is one thing I need to work on...
  13. seo

    seo New Member

    I do have so much regret for having to send him to live with his dad at age 13, I just didn't know what else to do. he had said many threatening (harm) to me before but the last comment he made was " if I ever punish him(I do not remember what kind of punishment was spoke of then) he would stab me with a knife (and he made the stabbing gestures with his hand). At that point I was afraid to sleep with him in my home with my daughter... I was and probably still on the soft side as far as having to discipline....(although my daughter has rarely had to be disciplined.) My son on the other hand I didn't discipline as much as I should have and honesty when I did it would only escalate the situation and it was very exhausting. He had been to psychiatrists earlier, but he would never want to talk to them.

    Anyway, I was a little reserved to say that I sent him to live with his dad those many years ago, Because I was afraid of being judged negatively here...but my story runs deep with my son, as I am sure it does with a lot of people...

    Now all of this has me thinking back to up to age 4 years old,,,my sweet kind so sweet little boy who would give me hugs and kisses. He changed tho as soon as he started school...kindergarten --always I was finding notes from teachers with frown faces on them, I would find the notes tucked away in his bookbag and in his toy box.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2013
  14. seo

    seo New Member

    I am so sorry you had to go thru similar things....
  15. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Seo, the regret, the guilt, the denial, the sorrow and memories of our sweet young children are very difficult. Detachment is not an easy path and each day you get through is a triumph. I don't recall if I mentioned it already, but you may want to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post.

    This is a safe place to talk about your feelings, we will not judge you, we are most likely doing and feeling all the same things and have made similar choices. Having a difficult child puts us all in a class by ourselves, other parents, other people, like your ex husband's mother, cannot know what this is like for us.

    Making the choice to send your son to your ex's when he threatened you was the right choice to make. It was a hard choice, but you also had your daughter to consider. We make these horribly difficult choices and then we suffer guilt about them, which just makes us suffer more. The truth is you did everything you could for your son out of your love for him. As he progressed through his issues and got worse, you had to keep making hard choices, don't beat yourself up over those choices. This is a devastating landscape to be on, the ground is always shifting and we are off balance trying to gain our footing again.

    This has been a long, long road for you and I imagine you are exhausted, depleted and filled with angers and sorrows which surround you most of the time......................which is why seeking help is a good step, we generally need so much support for ourselves as we go through the detachment process. Keep up the good work, you're doing a good job. Hold the line and take care of YOU now. Sending you warm wishes for peace and many gentle hugs..............
  16. seo

    seo New Member

    thank you so much and I did read the article. My husband, my family and friends are very supportive :)
    Again thank you and everyone here for the kind words and support it is truly appreciated.
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thank you, hon. Trust me, I have a son who is 35 and I denied until very recently just how dangerous he has the potential to be and how dangerous he had been to his younger sister. She despises him to this day. He has also made graphic threats of harm to me. I don't think he meant it, but who knows? He keeps inviting me down to visit him and my grandson in Missouri and while I'd love to see my grandson, I'm afraid to go visit him. Isn't that sad? Most of me thinks he'd be fine, but part of me really IS afraid of being alone with him. When he gets angry at me, he changes and it scares me.

    He could never live with any of us again. So....I totally do understand....and trust me, you aren't alone. Sadly, the two of us have lots of company. I wish we didn't.
  18. seo

    seo New Member

    today is another day and after a full nights sleep (finally) I find myself wondering if my decision to not have contact with my son was a good one...I find myself thinking what if he is really being truthful? He didn't out right ask me for money, he just showed up at my door with no where to go, does that make any difference?, Maybe I should not have given him any money to begin with?, He was nice that day when I did give him the help( the driving around all day, the calling all the hotels in the area, emailing about jobs on craigslist, the food I gave him....) what if the charges are dismissed in court (a long shot I know) but am I gonna be the bad guy for turning my back on him? I did give him money and a bicycle, should that be enough for me to think I helped enough?

    Has anyone had those thoughts of second guessing yourself?
  19. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh boy Seo, I think second guessing ourselves is a large part of this process of detachment, all those thoughts you are having are exactly the kinds of thoughts I have and I believe most of us have. You can't help it, there is no road map for this, you are in fact going against your own instincts to nurture, protect, care for, love, provide for..........And, you want so much for him to change and heal and for it to work, that you LOOK for anything that will prove that he is.

    You have to change the dynamic of enabling which means you have to now define what that is, see when you are doing it and stop it. You have to learn to differentiate enabling from loving kindness because the lines between those have been severely blurred for you. You must take a step back and allow someone you love dearly to suffer the natural consequences of his behavior, while staying on the sidelines doing nothing............when the likelihood is if you stepped in you could make it easier for him, you could save him. You have to learn to live with the remarkable discomfort and anxiety of stopping your behavior, your enabling, which is why many of us continue stepping in to help, we can't live with that anxiety. That is a huge part of this, being able to feel all that anxiety and let our kids face their own consequences.

    Only you can decide what is enough and when you've reached the point where you need to allow him to experience the consequences of his behavior without your assistance. It is easier to detach when we are angry, once we are not, and we see some humanity in them, some kindness, we begin second guessing ourselves.

    Seo, as you can see, this is a treacherous experience for us. You mentioned you had support from your friends, your husband and your family, which is a huge asset. I would still encourage you to seek out a professional, a therapist who is trained in this so he/she could guide you through these feelings and offer you not only support, but clearly defined boundaries for you to set, tools to understand how this all works and understanding of what your role now has to be in order for you to detach and learn to accept what is. That acceptance is very, very hard for us because for the most part, we continue to feel as if WE can do something, anything to impact the end result. The truth is we can't. We are essentially powerless to enact change in another, only they can do that.

    Your regret, your guilt, your love for him, your hope, your second guessing yourself are all parts of this process which keep us stuck in the same behaviors. It becomes about changing those feelings within ourselves, understanding the difference between love and enabling, realizing that our kids make choices and they must be responsible for their actions and deal with the consequences, even when those consequences are so hard for US to allow. If you are working harder then he is, then you need to stop. If you are feeling resentments, then you need to look at what you are doing.

    He was nice while you were doing all the work for him, of course he was, once you give that role back to him, you may see his "niceness" turn to real anger, that's usually what happens, as soon as they can't get us to do it for them, we are blamed and all the anger gets turned on us. Didn't you say he threatened you when he was younger because you set a punishment? I doubt that will change now. They are master manipulators and know how to push our buttons.

    Once you learn how to set boundaries, then you must keep those boundaries intact. If you give in, then it is for naught, your word ceases to matter, no one will believe you anymore. You set boundaries and then you hold them, you hold that line, he cannot cross it, you keep your word, you force him to figure it out, make other choices. Otherwise, what's the point of setting the boundary if you yourself don't uphold it?

    We are only human, having to step back and distance ourselves from our adult children is a horror, it is something none of us know how to do and all of us make mistakes and all of us suffer greatly. That is why I always, always recommend that parents get help, therapy is an excellent tool, but parent groups, NAMI groups, 12 step groups, any kind of group will help. Your friends and family, although they can put their arms around you and comfort you, don't usually know any more then you do about how to do this, so often professional support is necessary, it just makes it easier. Doing it alone is treacherous and all the self doubts can catapult us right back to where we were and keep us stuck in the same cycles. Seo, this is hard, perhaps the hardest thing you are ever going to do, all your feelings are normal and valid, I hope you find someone to guide you through it.
  20. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member


    We give and give and give to our adult children ~ and they cold-bloodedly take everything we have and imply that it was not enough.

    Or not good enough.

    Or not soon enough, or frequent enough.

    We suffer, agonizing over everything that should have been, over why our children's lives have turned so sour, over how to help them become the adults we could see so clearly in our dreams for them, when they were little.

    Here on the site seo, we have suffered as you are suffering, now. We have learned to come here for support, to come here to tell those terrible secret thoughts that are draining the life out of us, that are stealing the color from our days and making our nights a living, breathing Hell of recrimination and worry and hope and despair.

    This helped me, in the night. It is the Serenity Prayer. Years ago, when I was new here, one of the ladies on the site told me I needed to read and reread it until I got it, until it worked. That is the key, seo. Read and reread it until you feel strong enough to go through the next five minutes with your head up and your eyes dry.

    It's like we are in a battle, seo. Or a war that never ends. We need to learn those little things that will give us enough strength to face and function through the next badness, the next horror, the next unbelievable, crappy thing.

    Here you go. Know that we are holding you and your son in our thoughts and in our prayers. I know it doesn't feel much like it right now, but you are going to make it through all this just fine. Your son's situation may not improve? But you will learn how to bear it, here with us.


    I still say this prayer, over and over and over again, when I wake up in the night and cannot sleep because of the horror of what's happened. Those soothing rhythms, that feeling that we will be given the courage we need to see things through, helps me to rest.


    The "McCoy" link at the bottoms of my posts tells us ways to think about, and words to say, to our troubled adult children.