the ball is in his court??


Well-Known Member
my son finally called last night.

3 weeks ago he had called saying he had been robbed at gunpoint. lost pack, phone, access to money. Wanted to come home. I said no. The robbery is a direct consequence of how you choose to live. Solve it.

For 3 days i stood firm until i could bear it no more. i think what undid me was remembering his antivirals were in his pack. i became very afraid.

i called his friend to relay the message he could come home for respite and to regroup to make decisions. for my part. no conditions to return. but you need to call m and work it out with him.

he said: i know how deep is your concern about the marijuana. i want to tell you i will stop. i have a few things to handle and i will call m. he mentioned somebody gave him a car to sleep in, in front of a kfc.

he never called.

so last night he said: you said i could come home. no conditions. there are always conditions in life. i have weaned myself off marijuana. i want to come home. (there is another property. in the week or so before he left 3 months ago he had punched holes in the walls. we had been lovingly remodeling it. in a rage.)

i said. why? you hate it here. just yesterday your friend told me how much you do not want to come back here to our town.

friend had said a friend had a room my son could rent--$700--a high rent area. he assured me there was lots of work for my son. there is a network of contractors that dominate a subset of trades. my son is able to do this heavy work and because he is trilingual and nobody speaks english he is useful. friend said my son understands he has to take his hoody off, dress neatly and cleanly, etc. friend said my son could work just 2 or 3 daya a week and have the rent paid.

he will not give my son work unless my son gets housing.

i asked my son. what about this plan?

what do you have here? you hate it.

my family. he says. bs.

j. talk to a therapust. . think deep inside of yourself what you want.

after i hung up i remembered he had never called m. nor did he mention him. m said. its the end of the month. j is out of money.

i do not think so. friend will loan him money.

m continued. don't think about it. j will decide. all of this is just words. the friend. j. i don't believe the bulk of it. let's see what j comes up with. until there is a concrete plan,it's all words.

i am so conflicted.
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Active Member
Rent an extended stay hotel room for a week. At the end you will test him. If he says the MJ will still be in his system, offer to test him now as a comparison reference to be able to verify that levels are going down. At the end of the week you will rent another week, same conditions. Repeat until it is logical he would have saved 700 from earnings.

Sometimes these schemes out them. But if what he says it's true, it is the landline he needs and not any extra, but is still generous on your part.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
3 weeks ago he had called saying he had been robbed at gunpoint. lost pack, phone, access to money. Wanted to come home. I said no. The robbery is a direct consequence of how you choose to live. Solve it.

Copa, one thing I have learned is what our difficult children tell us happened isn't always the truth of what really happened. I have lost count of how many times my son called me complaining that he was robbed at gunpoint or with a knife or beaten. His stories never held water for long. Usually what happened is he was too high and either forgot his stuff somewhere or someone stole it because he was so out of it.
I think our difficult kids will sometimes add the drama of a gun or knife because they know it will play on our emotions. Your son knows you well and he knows how to pull your heart strings.

I know how much you love your son and are concerned about him taking his medications but you cannot babysit him through it. He will either take his health seriously or he won't.

You have let him come home and have helped him out so many times. Each time he has always told you what you wanted to hear. He would be on his best behavior for a while then things would fall apart again.

I know you have to do what you can live with but I really hate to see you let him come home only to have things end up the same.

I'm so sorry you are cycling through this again.



Well-Known Member
thank you both.
Rent an extended stay hotel room for a week. At the end you will test him. At the end of the week you will rent another week, same conditions. Repeat until it is logical he would have saved 700 .
a couple questions sam. so i understand.

first. if i did this, rented an extended stay motel for a week, would it be here in the town i live? or where he is?

i don't understand the part about the $700. is he staying where he is and working? Or here?

i suspect he wants to come home to avoid commitments and expenses.

so far no phone call.

which i think was m's point. nothing is real. until it is.

i believe it is in nobody's interest that he come back. what is hanging me up is what he said about the marijuana, and medication compliance.

except that if he is sustaining this while away, and has an the potential for housing and regular work, why would i get in the way?


Active Member
Sorry it did seem like a blueprint, huh?

I meant it conceptually.

The 700 was the rate for the room he wanted to rent right?

And he said he needed housing or he can't work, right?

So the concept would be to give a chance to the things that are healthy without enabling the things that are not. Give him temp housing and put some food in the mini fridge, wherever he needs to work until he can earn the money to rent the room he wants. Bus pass, uber account or whatever will get him to work.

You mentioned his medications and he mentioned discontinuing pot but are those conditions for your assistance? I have no opinion on whether it should be or not. If pot has consistently sabotaged him then it seems to make sense not to throw good money after bad, so conditioning the temp housing on clean tests would be perfectly legitimate.

Re the medications, leave them with him and the phone number of his physician and a pharmacy.

I'm trying to figure out a similar living arrangement for mine.

I think it was Clooney's character in the Decendents who described his wealthy father's position on helping out kids like this. "give them enough so they can do something, but not so much that they can do nothing."

That's always stuck with me.


Well-Known Member
thank you sam.

actually, i think he wants to avoid work, commitment and respinsibility. at least part of him does. i think coming home--about 2.5 hours from where he is--is an escape valve. but i think he is ambivalent.

unless he had concrete plans that make sense i think i would be enabling him to let him come home.

for what? that is for him to come up with. a plan. in place. doing it.

i think that must be why he waited weeks to call me. he is torn too. i think he wants independence without responsibilty beyond minute to minute, day to day.

personally. i do not think he has the means to take on a $700 rent obligation. he could if he could sustain full time work. but i think this expectation is unreasonable at this point.

i guess i am ambivalent too.

thank you.


Active Member
Mine also wants independence without responsibility minute to minute.

But it helps to remember that my two younger ones don't even think in those terms. They act reasonably responsibly and growing independence is the natural consequence. They make teenage mistakes and pull teenage moves to try and get away with some things. I'm sure they will not ask me if they can roll around in the hay or smoke a cigarette or drink a beer and they will lie about a sleepover when the parents aren't there.

It isn't the dishonesty or lack of performance at any given moment. It's the long and consistent history of that coupled with the mantra that if he did it, and of course I'm insane to think that he did, that he's a victim of the cosmos and entitled to reparations. It might be a defense mechanism, sure -- but it's always the same small universe of one who is capable of "getting it."

I am tempted to print out and read him the stories of the dozens of other uniquely afflicted DCs from this forum, to give him some perspective. The scenarios are so old, I swear there are times I have read posts that I thought I had written and had just forgotten.

Maybe I can use his narcissistic tendencies against him and let him know he is just average in the large group of young people who claim to have "a parent problem" rather than a drug problem or behavioral issues. Maybe he would conclude he has
to rise above that meme in order to really be special.


Active Member
But I won't

I'm frustrated. We had a nice birthday celebration for him and today he's jacking me up about his living arrangements.


Active Member
And sorry. I hijacked your thread with my frustration.

Re his suspected ambivalence, I so feel you for wanting to read the tea leaves. But I don't t think well-being is that precarious that we have to decode it. So many people here describe their kids improvement in a "know it when you feel it" kind of way. It can be sudden or gradual but nobody described it as fragile or mysterious. It sounds like both of us are still trying to "figure out." Maybe this is where we let go and let God.


Well-Known Member
hi sam.

coincidentally i was just now reading your 2015 thread and re-reading your madness thread. felt i wanted to understand better your son.

you are not hijacking my thread. perish the thought. this endeavor is part process, part modeling, part conversation, part soothing and hand-holding and part parallel play!

i do not know if i fully agree with your comment. let me explain. (that there is a demonstrable and palpable turning point.) i think it is a spiral for many of us.

when your kid got out of rehab you felt, i think, there had been qualitative change. you were uncertain and anxious, but you voiced tentative optimism.

just now i was thinking--why???? in my son's life there are real reasons. his first 22 months were horrible. then at 19 he was presented with the reality, until then, unknown, that his mother at birth (not me) had transmitted to him a potentially fatal disease. said disease worsenned at age 21.

after that he felt toxic. felt self-hatred. he hated her for using drugs.

so. this is my point.

your son sounds strong. cagey and manipulative and deceptive perhaps but strong. he sounds a bit full of himself. like he needs to be tamed by life a bit. very intelligent. a leader. capable. did you know that the male brain does not mature for many until age 27 or 28? i have confidence he will learn. become a bit humble. and fly right.

looking at your situation i very much understand and empathize with how you are handling this.

my son called while i was typing this. i think he feels cornered. his friend is pressuring him to take the apartment and he is trying to get me to not give him money for the deposit. because like i said. he fears the commitment and reaponsibility.

i got the sense he might go forward with it but m thinks not. i was clear that coming home would be something he would have to earn through demonstrable and sustained deeds. not for safe harbor and avoidance. the easy way out. but asked him. why would you want to. your opportunities are not here at present.

what i was tring to say is that these guys are working out their lives in real time. all of this. the fits and starts mean something. while we are dissolving--they are doing some kind of psychic work. i believe that.

the key as you keep saying is staying with them. but at a distance. so there is conversation and counsel but we are not doing it for them or insulating them from the learning. the suffering.

yes. i do agree that he is too much in my head and i am too much in his. if i said he is my everything would you scorn me?

there was a song years ago. i forget the singers name. my first. my last. my everything.

barry white. what a great song.
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Long road but the path ahead holds hope.
Wash Rinse and repeat ladies. It is all so hard on our hearts. They ruffle us all up and for what no follow up, disappointment and more blame. I am so sorry for the distress for tou both Copa and Sam. Big cyber hugs.


Well-Known Member
tanya. thank you. your strength is something to behold. your counsel is helping me understand better my own life. let alone my life as a mother. to understand the way i betray myself and the roots of it.thank you.

i see now that enabling him would be a self-betrayal and a vote against his own capacity and hope. i would be undercutting him. and my own belief in what is good. thank you


Active Member

I'm touched that you did "background." You are right -- all kids are different and you have aptly described mine. But like you, there has been a lingering doubt about his competence, which is why I did background too when I was uneasy about whether he could even have a wake up call while homeless.

I think many things can affect the ability to be woke: traumas, organic disabilities, addictions, and even in my sons case Cluster B defenses and no real life experience because of them.

A mothers instict is often the only triage they have. I wish it wasn't -- it seems easier to pick an approach and not look back.

I think we've all gone through the cycle of being whipped, seeking support and input, picking answers that speak to our own emotional turmoil, getting some relief and then have a nagging sensation of guilt. And the ones who work hard, like the parents here, look at the whole thing fresh again when they are more distant from their own pain, to check our instincts about what will really serve our kids.

and each iteration can give us more certainty. I am steadier now than In 2015 because of the iterations. I feel more reliable even though then I had more hope.

Copa, you are a loving person always doing your best to adapt and serve, and that's the limit of what can be given or received. I think we need to get comfortable putting a period there.


Well-Known Member
Copa...I've been off the board a bit and didn't read this until last night when it was too late to answer. I think giving him money for an apartment he really can't afford would be a bad move. As for coming made the offer and it's up to him to take advantage of it or not. He didn't. You can withdraw that offer any time. Your son has some income and he should be able to figure out things on his own. I have said, more than once, that the best thing that happened to my son was having his license expire so I couldn't easily send him $$ whenever he called begging. So he quit calling and begging...and he's slowly figuring things out. I expect set backs. I expect things will go bad again at some point. But for now he's improved his situation and he can keep that up. I think your son can figure things out too.

Hang in there.


Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
i think he wants independence without responsibilty beyond minute to minute, day to day.
This sums it up in a nutshell.
Our difficult adult children want to have their independence and be completely void of any responsibility. They enjoy living their care free lifestyle and for many that involves drinking and drugging and yet when something happens to them as a direct cause of their poor choices, they reach out to us the parents and expect us to "fix" everything.
Many of these difficult adult children have expressed to us, their parents how much they dislike us or even hate us. How they are better off without us. How living their life without us will be so much better, etc....... and yet, here they are, reaching out to us with their "apologies" and "promises".
Our difficult adult children break our hearts over and over again. They have no regard for the pain they have caused us until of course they "need" something and they tell us how sorry they are, how they will change, blah, blah, blah....... I would like to think on some level they truly are sorry but as time goes on they slip back into their poor choices.
For me, it took some time to finally make the decision that I was no longer going to buy into the lies and false promises.
As you know my son is doing 2 years in prison for assault. In one the letters he sent me he said "I don't know what I'm going to do when I get out, I'll be homeless" I was quick to recognize this as a manipulation tactic. Seriously!! my son was homeless when he got arrested so why would it be different when he gets out of prison. He is hoping that he can pull those mommy heart strings. Don't get me wrong, I love my son and I worry about him but he IS NOT MY PROBLEM anymore.
Yes, they want their carefree, independence without responsibility.


Well-Known Member
hi lil

thank you for your response.

my son is homeless. he is living in a car. sadly. i do not think it bothers him as much as it does me. or as much as it does his friend.

i had a vivid horrible dream last night. he was camped out in a tent. you know those men who have been on the streets for years? grizzly. face wizened and red. dirty.

in this image of my son in the dream he had a red oozing infection on the lower part of his face. like where a bandit would wear a mask.

his tent was pitched in front of a house that was supposedly mine. when i entered it was trashed. there was a gas burner on. a dozen people were sleeping inside. all except one unknown to me.

my son was groggy and unaware. he never woke up to be accountable.

i think this pretty much sums up how i feel to be my situation.

unfortunstely i am still locating the responsibility in me and the suffering in me, too. i guess. because i still feel us as one.

honestly. i do see that i have a hand in this mix. i am trying to force my son to accept the commitment to trigger something in him to take responsibility.

i am having to face that this too may not end well.

i have told my son for a while i would help my son with a deposit for stable housing. part of me believes he should within reason decide the parameters. i have pretty much told him both that this is a lot of money but that he could make it work if he wants. his ssi would cover the rent and give him $200 left over. that is enough for food.

if he wanted to he could work a couple days a week. he has proven capable of this and way more. the issue is commitment, responsibility and necessity. he stresses. this may be the deal breaker. and why it is a bad idea to pressure him.

thank you everybody.
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Long road but the path ahead holds hope.

It is so very hard for is to let go of the FOG. Clearly even in our dreams it haunts us.

his tent was pitched in front of a house that was supposedly mine. when i entered it was trashed. there was a gas burner on. a dozen people were sleeping inside. all except one unknown to me.
A premonition or fear of what would come if your son stayed with you again.
Their choices and consequences. But we are human and we do suffer right along with them. As much as we try to detach, we suffer.

Thinking about you and hope you can find some peace and do something nice for yourself.


Active Member
A while back, I had copied into a notebook some things that really spoke to me from this forum, when I was thinking about accepting my son back into the home out of fear he was getting worse, not more realistic.

I'm not sure I wrote these two from you verbatim.

"What I hope is that by offering him structure, opportunity and safety, he will begin to do more and from that have more and be more."

"I want him near me not in the street. I want things for him, even if (especially if) he cannot want them for himself. I want to have hope."

I felt exactly like this. It made me cry to read those words of yours.

But i also remember the words of a friend in a parent support group who wisely reminded me that there are many people in this world who are happy without the things that make us happy.

I think it's difficult to accept that anyone with the support and potential to live better lives, by our estimation and maybe even most people's, would choose not to. But I guess the question is whether they are fine that way.

And maybe either way, most DCS are not going to want things we already want more for them. We have to trust that they want to live though, unless they don't. And there are much faster ways to the end than being sickly, smoking the days away and not taking care of themselves.

It's hard to figure out what would be a crisis for them and whether we should stand in the way of them experiencing it. It's harder to figure out whether it's subcobscious self-destruction or lifestyle choices that risk ending badly.

I'm trying to stop trying to figure that out and just treat the flotsam for what it is. Its his dilemma or it's not.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
I think it's difficult to accept that anyone with the support and potential to live better lives, by our estimation and maybe even most people's, would choose not to.
Yes, this is a hard truth to accept but once we do there is a freedom that comes with it. I had to grieve the loss of the life I had dreamed for my son. It wasn't that I wanted him to be a Dr. or Banker, although he surely has the smarts for it, I had hoped that he would want to live a more conventional type of life. Get a good paying job, live in an apt. or house, pay his bills, etc... you know, be a productive part of society. My son wants no part of living a conventional type of life and I had to accept that, to let him go. I spent many nights worrying and catastrophizing every possible horrible thing that could happen to him. My worrying didn't change a thing. When I finally came to accept that yes, the very worst could happen, he could die and I may never know, was I able to truly let go. I needed to let him go so he could live his life and I could live mine.