Son on the road, somewhere, cold, wet, skint, stuck.


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I'm close to screaming.

Texts from son. Left the squat over a week ago, texted he was hitch-hiking to Scotland, no money.
More texts from him today:

"Hey, homeless in Edinburgh, pretty hard, freezing cold, wrapped my feet in bits of an old scarf, trying to find food and somewhere to sleep each day, hoping to get energy to hitch back."

me "OK, take care, I'll put £20 in your bank account, you can get something hot to eat, keep me posted"

"thanks, love you, will use the money to get a bus back to England"

"Don't think £20 will get you that far"

"found a bus leaves tomorrow night, gets to Wales 5.45.a.m. gonna find somewhere to crash til then, met some anarchists, maybe can crash with someone rather than on the streets"

"then what? love you loads but bit worn out with all this"

"I'm not strong, this adventure has been harder than I can manage."

me "bloody bonkers. You chose this life and these adventures.I've accepted that. it causes me worry and sadness, but you're a grown man"

"love you loads too, I chose it, it's not always gonna be easy, i'm always going to want to talk to you when I'm down or when I'm happy. I'm pretty down now"

Do I send him enough money to get a bus to Wales now? Then what?
I'm worn out.


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I've had enough of this.
It's just ridiculous.
I'd got my head around the squat.
But what sane person hitch-hikes to Scotland with no money in pouring rain to sleep on the streets and scavenge for food just to try and get the strength to hitch-hike all the way back again when even if he hitch-hikes all the way back again there's nothing at the other end for him anyway, no home or money or anything.
I'm so angry.
How has he ended up like this?
Where's the end of it?


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Staff member
I am sorry that you are hurting. At 27, he made the choices that made him cold and hungry and I wouldn't rescue him. I don't know anything about your story, though. Has this happened before? Does he ask you for money to help him out?

by the way, welcome from another math teacher. What grade do you teach? I am always a little surprised to see "maths" since we don't use that here.



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I wouldn't bother to save him. Sounds like he was able to find food without spending the money you gave him. Maybe he needs to find out how to get back from Wales too.

So sorry I know you are worried but think about it like this if he wasn't a difficult child would you be aware of where he is or worried about him. No.......Because he is 27 years old and wouldn't feel the need to keep his mommy on speed dial to rescue him. He would be smart enough not to do this stuff and leave himself in a bad spot. He probably wouldn't even bother to tell you if he decided to travel for a few days.

He calls and texts because you listen and you save him. It is a shame though I would hate to have a child on the street.


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So sad
So worn out
Thanks for your replies.
Would like to crawl under a rock right now and leave my stress behind.
So hard to remain detached at times of crisis, even though I was getting quite good at practising detachment from day to day.

Kathy, I teach mainly year 11 now (age 16), but have taught from age 5 to adults over the years.
Yes, it's 'Maths' here, not 'Math'. haha. But Maths is Maths in every language and every culture. I wish life was as straightforward and 'black and white' as Maths. I always disliked Probability as a slightly unreliable branch of Maths. Give me some definite answers and some fixed and reliable outcomes any day. What's the chance of a talented, educated and optimistic son ending up on the streets? Close to zero I would have thought, but sadly not.


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You could answer the phone and just not say anything other than hello and goodbye. I am about to do that with mine. I can't really help him and he put himself in his current position.


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I really liked RE's post about "what you continue to allow will continue." That resonated with me with my teenage easy child's, my SO, and my difficult child...and probably how I treat them as well! My teenage boys will NEVER do the dishes as long as I continue to let them play on their computers (pretending to do homework) while I stoicly (is that a word?) do the dishes after a full day at work, walking the dogs, shopping for dinner on my way home, and making dinner. I pretend that they will see me modelling responsible behavior and magically pick up on it, magically stand up and do the dishes. Guess what...that ain't going to happen. I am allowing, and it will continue until I don't allow anymore.

My SO and I had a tumuluous beginning, and early on he cheated on me. I didn't find out for a year, but then I went CRAZY---he was the first person I loved and trusted in my life. We spent a year in therapy, both separately and together. I cried yelled struck him struck myself demanded details and went on and on. After a year he said...this has to stop. And you know what? He was right. I want to be clear...I would NOT have stopped on my own. But he was right. My behavior was nonproductive at that point. So I stopped. He allowed and I continued. When he didn't allow...I stopped.

It ain't just difficult child's who need lines drawn.

You are allowing him to contact you and tell you about his life. There is nothing inherently wrong with that.

You get upset when you hear about his life. That seems like a thing you might want to avoid (being in the position of getting upset).

You can accomplish this by (A) limiting contact or (B) learning how to disengage so you aren't upset.

Child allowed 10 minutes a week of contact, which worked for her.

I cut off all contact completely for 2 months, during which time I used this forum, radical acceptance, allowing, and mindful meditaiton to get stronger. Later, when I let difficult child back in my life again, it soon got to be too much and I found myself distressed and angry again. I had to cut back again. I am still working to find my boundaries.

If it were me (all the usual disclaimers) I would NOT send him money. That is an easy one to stop. Just tell yourself no, and remind yourself that all the time you've sent him money have changed nothing...he still is where he is, but he's smart enough to contact you to get a 20 to get through the night.

If it were me (all the usual disclaimers) and I were as upset as you are, I would tell him I love him, I am sure he will figure things out as he always has, but it is very hard for a mom to hear about her son being cold or scared or upset even if it is temporary, so for your own sanity, not because there is anything wrong with him, you are going to limit conversations to xxxxx (once a week? once day? check ins without details? whatever works for you).

Good luck. Holding you and your sorrows close in my heart today.



one day at a time
Oh Lucy, I'm sorry. I hate these phone calls, desperate, middle-of-the-night-driving-rain-I'm-cold,starving-homeless-save-me. My difficult child even added I'm bleeding from my "bottom". Sorry probably too much information. Drama, chaos, unbelievable.

We all get them. We are not alone here. You're not alone here Lucy.

I read today in some recovery literature about people setting lots more limits about contact. I read it with interest.

They talk to their difficult child at predetermined times---Wednesday nights between 5:15 and 5:30 and Sunday nights the same. That's the time. No other calls at any other times. And she met with her son once a month for coffee for one hour---again predetermined place and time.

It cuts out all of this stuff, the desperate calls help to get them out of yet another crisis. But it allows us to offer something.

I like this concept. If you remember, Lucy, I tried to create this with difficult child---phone calls on Saturday mornings between 10 and 11 I believe it was. I didn't perfect that, that time, but the 10 minutes on Fridays in the car outside the day shelter worked.

It worked until I allowed him to come over that Saturday and spent time here, taking a shower, seeing about his car, etc. I learned then, that it was too much for me.

It took me some time to recover from that.

Will I be able next time to set stronger boundaries? I hope so. I am working hard not to cut off contact, because of course, I'm his mother and he's my son and that is the last thing I want to do.

I know that people do it for a while and for even longer, when things get bad enough. From what I read, it hurts a lot at first, but it gets better with time. I read today about a woman who hasn't talked with her son in five years and she's okay. She's happy.

I think you did the best you could here, Lucy. Let yourself off the hook. You might think about writing down what you'd like to see happen from now on and then let it rest for a few days and look at it again.

i'm always going to want to talk to you when I'm down or when I'm happy. I'm pretty down now"

Interesting comment he made here. Our sons haven't grown up. They still rely on us for that emotional support that with PCs, would be okay to provide. With difficult children, it's not good.

This is tough stuff, Lucy. Big hugs to you today.


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Staff member
Oh Lucy, I am so sorry. As others have said, we ALL know exactly how you feel. I agree about limiting contact. I also agree about no more money. YOU decide exactly what it is that YOU want to do. And, while you're deciding, ask yourself what is it that you are willing to do WITHOUT RESENTMENT. That's the dicey part.

He is out there making these choices which you and me and most everyone else wouldn't think of making. That's fine.What is not fine is that he believes he can call you up and upset you with his tales of woe and then pause in the conversation which is your cue to rush in and say "well, I'll send you $40." I learned awhile ago when those pauses happen, that is written in the difficult child handbook, "pause after you tell Mom some God awful thing you're facing and once she gets the feel of how crummy it is for you, wait, just a moment, while she jumps in to save you with money, energy, ideas, whatever." When the pause happens, say, "oh, look at the time, I have to go, my yoga class is starting."

I went through all of this with my grown adult daughter and I kept changing the script to be what I WANTED. Now I hardly speak to her, there had to be so many boundaries around her behavior that there is little left now. I know how bad that sounds, but I just couldn't go on with it the way it was anymore. I wanted out of the drama. So I got out.

Ask yourself exactly what it is you would like. To talk to him once a week? Then do it. When you are on the phone, practice refraining, practice silence, practice not responding. Limit the time. Get off the phone. Do not give any money. Do not make any suggestions. A grown man doesn't have to check in with Mom when he is happy or when he is sad. My guess is there is an ulterior motive and that motive is what you do after the "pause."

You are in charge here Lucy, not him. Their lifestyles are treacherous mine fields which blow up all the time and for whatever reason, they like to drag us along for the ride. Don't go. That's your choice. Don't go.

Read the article on detachment or something by Pema Chodron, or Melody Beattie, or read the serenity prayer......whatever it takes to get you back in your center again........our difficult child's are masters at pulling us out of ourselves..........hang in there.........keep posting.............sending hugs..................


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Thank you all for reading and replying.

I was awake most of the night. I started making a list of what I wanted to happen. It says this:

1. I want out of the drama.

That's it.

I read a book through the night that my eldest daughter gave me a while ago. I'm not religious. My daughter is. So anyway I read this book because it was there and it was short enough to finish in one night. It's called 'The Manual of The Warrior of Light' by Paul Coelho. Have any of you guys read it? This one page made an impression on me:

"The warrior knows that the most important words in all languages are the small words:
Yes. Love. God.
They are words that are easy enough to say and which fill vast empty spaces.
There is, however, one word - another small word - that many people have great difficulty in saying:
Someone who never says 'no' thinks of himself as generous, understanding, polite, because 'no' is thought of as being nasty, selfish, unspiritual.
The warrior does not fall into this trap. There are times when, in saying 'yes' to another, he is actually saying 'no' to himself.
That is why he never says 'yes' with his lips if, in his heart he is saying 'no'. "

I don't know what's going to happen next or if I'm going to find the strength to say 'no'.

You are in charge here Lucy, not him. Their lifestyles are treacherous mine fields which blow up all the time and for whatever reason, they like to drag us along for the ride. Don't go. That's your choice. Don't go.

Just tell yourself no, and remind yourself that all the time you've sent him money have changed nothing...he still is where he is,

He calls and texts because you listen and you save him.

At 27, he made the choices that made him cold and hungry

I can't really help him and he put himself in his current position.

Drama, chaos, unbelievable.

It's the recurring true theme isn't it? They've put themselves in these positions. Made themselves into martyrs, victims, masochists. Dragged us along.

I just need to sleep. Another day wasted. Maybe I'll feel stronger after some sleep.
Hope you all had a good night's sleep.


Active Member
Lucy, I am so sorry also that your difficult child is breaking your heart once again. It is so hard. We are tenderhearted moms, and sometimes what we need to do is in direct opposition of what a mother's natural loving tendency is.

Yes, we do understand how hard it is to say no. A year ago my difficult child was kicked out of her boyfriend's stepmother's house, and called me in the freezing cold from many hours away saying that she had nowhere to go except her car, and would I send money? I told her no, but that I would look online to find a women's shelter for her to spend the night in.

Guess what? She found money from someone else to get a hotel room. difficult children are very resourceful. Your son is described as bright, and I'll bet he can find money elsewhere, also.

Best of luck and keep us posted.


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Staff member
Yup, difficult child's are certainly resourceful. When my difficult child relapsed, she managed to get her car booted and had the nerve to give them our phone number to call for payment. husband told them we were not going to pay the fee. It was then impounded and difficult child told us that we would now have to pay an even higher amount to get it out of impound (in a very smug tone of voice).

We are finally learning to set firm boundaries and told her that we did not park the car illegally so we were not going to pay the impound fee and that she had just lost her car.

Surprise! difficult child managed to get the money to get the car back. She wasn't working so I have no idea how she did it or where the money came from. I really don't want to know.

Every time we have set firm boundaries and said no to her she always manages to get what she wants. Recently, she wanted us to buy electronic cigarettes for her since she couldn't afford packs of cigarettes. We said no. She called a couple of days later and said she had a "vap." husband asked how and she said someone gave her one at an AA meeting. She said the person had tried it and not liked it so she gave it to difficult child.

It is amazing how my difficult child always ends up with what she wants.



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Well, he's been here. I drove and picked him up, pushed him into the shower, fed him, washed his clothes, gave him a bed for the night, bought him breakfast, drove him back to the squat, gave him a hug, told him I loved him, drove home.

There's no hope for me is there?
I think you should ban me from this site.


one day at a time
Oh Lucy, we are so very human. I am glad you saw him, could help him a bit---like any of us would help someone, and why not our own children?----and then send him on his way.

We love them. We are human. I don't think you did anything wrong at all.

Blessings and courage and compassion and peace from me to you. Be kind to yourself---you are great!


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Staff member
Lucy, that's what we do. And, then one day we don't. There is no right or wrong, for Goodness sakes, we're their not berate yourself for the compassion and love you showed to your son. Each incident requires different choices, this is the choice you made today, it would likely be my choice as well. You make choices based on what is occurring in each moment, not a blanket choice for all time...................that's why it is so hard. Be kind to yourself Lucy, be oh so very kind to yourself.


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I nearly laughed out loud at the "ban me from the site" comment.

I only ever blocked one person on this site, and that person wasn't the parent of a difficult child. The rest of us...we are all in this together.