Homelessness and living parents who appeared to not give a *

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Wife#2

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Homelessness and living parents who appeared to not give a *
« on: January 23, 2017, 08:19:42 PM »
I'm posting this in adulthood onset because I think it's better suited here. The problem is really from childhood on, but these parts played out as I was an adult.

I've only become really aware of the ways that my father has rejected and rejected and rejected me. Beginning in childhood, after he remarried. Since then, my father has pulled away from me and towards his 'new' family. That's in quotes because he and my stepmom have now been married longer than my own parents were married.

Now to the point of this post. Most parents will agree that we recognize our 'parenting' isn't always done just because our children turn 18. In fact, for a growing number of families, this process goes on well into a child's 20's. Not so in my FOO. At least not for me. And the rub was that I was paying the price for things done or not done by older siblings - or step-siblings.

While I was away at college - which Dad did pay for - I struggled. I was not equipped to handle campus life (uBPD/possibly Narc mom only in-home parent for my teens). I watched my dorm-mates for clues about how I was supposed to be. Many of them were just as lost as I was, so we were all repeating each others' mistakes. At some point during all this, my father made a loan to oldest (not GC) brother. He failed to pay Dad back. When I warned my Dad that my grades were not good at all, but that I was committed to doing better and bringing them back up (third semester, hoping for a fourth), he told me that I should call my brother. That because brother hadn't paid the loan back, Dad didn't have the money to help me continue. I would have to leave college.

Later, when he saw the actual grades, the reason for my leaving was turned into the fact that I failed history. I explained to him that the teacher did not believe in make-up tests and I'd crushed my finger a week before the first exam. Trying to learn while taking Tylenol III was more than my young system could handle and I failed the test. Under a teach who bragged about having a fail rate of 80% for first-time enrollees. None of that mattered. I failed, he was forcing me out of school.

He never did discuss WHY he would lend my college money to my sibling while I was at school. He never discussed WHY he wouldn't consider getting a loan, or cosigning a loan in my name, so that I could continue. His mind was made up. He did what he did. I paid the consequence. And the family legend became that I flunked out of college. That's not true, but I didn't have the energy or the courage to correct my Dad. So, I began saying the same thing. Since I verified it, that is now family fact.

The fact that Dad had told me I must hold a job beginning that semester had some bearing on my ability to study and get good grades. That didn't matter - for the first time I really saw my Dad be completely 'results' oriented - the why or how didn't matter. Only that F.

Then, I needed a place to live. Mom wouldn't take me in - she was rather enjoying single life with no children around. Dad refused me also - no landing zone for a flunkie. My heart-mom sister is the one who gave me a place to stay, but only a short while. She was NOT my mother and I was NOT her daughter and she was busy with her own life back then. She just couldn't stand the fact that BOTH our parents had refused me.

What did they expect me to do? I was barely 19 years old, had only a little retail experience, no money saved up, no transportation and no place to live! Sis was angry with them, but also willing to help her kid sister out. I stayed with her 6 months. During that time, I was talking with EVERYONE I knew about what to do next. I had a friend from college who had left school and could use a roommate until she got married.

I was desperate, so I went with that. It was a one-room flat with a bathroom. She was engaged to be married. Her fiancé and I both didn't have cars, I didn't even have a license! But, when they wanted to be alone, I was tossed keys and told to disappear. In a city I didn't know. During the winter months. I was miserable and terrified I'd wreck her car. If I got caught in it, we were all in big trouble. Or just me - she was the kind who might turn on me and say I stole it while she was 'busy'.

I stayed in that situation past when they got married. With all three of our incomes, we got a better apartment - two bedroom. I still had nothing and was completely dependent on her for rides to work. Despite supporting their marriage completely, I was forced to move out - she didn't want me around anymore. I had no options, so took the first offer of roommate I could get - the husband's best friend.

From his apartment, I couldn't walk to work and he wouldn't provide transportation, though he didn't work (His Dad was paying his way). I quit that job, as I couldn't get there, and found one I could walk to. Within days, an eviction notice was posted on our door. When I confronted my roommate, I found out he'd taken my share of rent and bought a motorcycle, which he then wrecked. He'd then called our friends and she'd loaned him her car to go visit his mother. He killed her car on the way and hadn't been heard from since. So, I had a job, but no place to live.

I called the parents AGAIN. AGAIN I was told no by both. But, at least my Mom made some calls, found out about a friend who'd moved to the same city I was in and got permission for me to sleep on her sofa until I found something else. I had babysat the lady's kids when we all lived in the same town. It was awkward, but I was desperate. Within a month, she'd (the friend) called her OTHER friend and arranged for me to rent the second bedroom from this new lady. Who had an 8 year old daughter. I would be renting the daughter's room while the two generations shared a room.

I couldn't stay there long, between the mother's racism and the poor child being grossly overweight and the mother feeding the girl junk- then harassing the girl for being fat. An 8 YEAR OLD CHILD! I couldn't hold my tongue, so I began looking again. Again, parents said no. But, a co-worker had just had a roommate bail on her and she needed help with rent. The only caveat - I couldn't be racist. Not a problem! So I moved again.

Where this new roommate lived, she had to drive me to work and back - it was WAY to far to walk and the bus schedule didn't work for our work schedule at the mall. I couldn't afford cabs. So, I was dependent. At this point, I asked Dad to help me find a car. Nope. I found one in his area that I could afford. Nope. I found one in MY area that I could afford, I just needed some help, would he co-sign? Nope. I was told that the Bank of <Father's Name> was officially closed and he didn't do financial dealings with children anymore (a lie, I know he helped others after that call, just not me). He called it tough love - telling me I'd appreciate it much more if I did it on my own. So, I asked Mom - her credit was in the tank (something she blamed on Dad though their divorce was almost a decade old), she literally COULDN'T cosign. I wasn't about to ask a sibling.

So, my kind roommate and I made a deal. We'd move to an apartment close to our work. That's what we did. She'd been going to community college the whole time and graduated. Soon after, she found another job, but we stayed roommates. At least I could walk to work again. And to the store. And to get out of the apartment for a while - she was engaged to be married.

I'd reached my breakpoint. I'd done the live-with-married-couple thing and it had been a disaster, so I started calling parents again. Dad - NO - because he'd just caught my step-brother smoking dope and kicked him out. Mom - yes, this time, if you get a job within a month and a car within a year and that I enroll in college immediately (my dime this time - fine with me). I'll help you - come here. I couldn't pack quick enough! I turned in my notice at work, I talked with roommate - who completely understood and wanted her fiancé in full-time anyway. Since I did finally have a license, but no car, I rented a truck for my measly few things. My roommate's father co-signed because of my youth. HE had more faith in me and helped me more than my own father had done.

At last, it looked like I finally had a parent who gave a * about me. Who understood that I wasn't looking to mooch or live 'at home' forever, just long enough to 'launch' correctly this time. For the first time in three years, ONE of my parents was actually willing to offer help. She was willing to even be bothered to find out that I will live up to the terms of the agreement. That I would accept parental terms as an adult because I WAS an adult.

They didn't know what I'd survived during that time. They didn't know about the date rape. They didn't know about the racist or her sadly overweight daughter being bullied by her own mother (I kept trying to defend that little girl - I was sure if nobody spoke up for her soon, she'd be suicidal before she even had two digits in her age). They didn't know about the roommate to bought the motorcycle - only that he'd taken my half of rent but not paid it. They didn't know that the great roommate's father had helped me half a dozen times, taking pity on me that my folks wouldn't - not understanding the 'tough love' stance Dad had taken.

I move to this town (I'm still here). Still driving the rental truck, I get a job and enroll in school. Mom and I work out sharing her car, her apartment and one vehicle. It works. I'm to share with groceries, gas and a token rent. The rest I'm to save towards my own car. Mom even says she'll match me penny for penny on the car fund. I find out later, she's storing my rent for this - SMART. Within 6 months I have enough for half of a good car. We go shopping. I find just the one. We talk the dealer down until what I have is half and she does pay the rest.

I find extra work babysitting around the job and the school. I want to be on my own as soon as possible. I'd forgot that Mom is a little crazy, being back home brought it all back. I move out. I still pay Mom her half back - that was the deal - a loan, not a help. She does help by letting me keep my car on her insurance - it helps her as well by having multi-policy discount.

I quit the job - it's related to the insurance world and I have problems with the ethics. Within days, I have another job. That lasts a few months, then I'm laid off (tax season is over). I find another job, then get stuck in the world of temporary workers. It keeps me busy, but I'm getting scared.

Back to Mom's. She's opened her own business and money isn't coming in too regularly yet. Crazy gets crazier. But, I've got a good temp job, so we do ok together. Then, my sister (heart-mother) dies. Mom becomes the child and I become the parent. It's not a good thing. Oldest bro has the same illness and it's a bad time for him as well - above and beyond the grief of losing a sister. I move out.

I get a better job because the third shift I'd been working became too much. My roommate preferred me working nights and moves out while I'm at work. My brother moves in to help me out. Eventually, he finds a better place and moves. He's given me warning, though and I find another place to live. Job change again. Mom fails to pay car insurance. Bro and I are both affected. We get it right, but now we're cautious. Bro takes over making sure the money gets to the agent.

I finally give up on college. I'd been trying, but I was overwhelmed and running out of money besides. I never even guessed that I should have qualified for Pell Grant, but live and learn.

This time, I've joined Amway, hoping it will help GC bro and I get closer. For a while, it does. But, I'm losing money and he doesn't appear to care. I don't want to play by the broken rules and make it clear. Bro won't help me. Dad and Mom are both upset with me for encouraging GC Bro on this - it's not like either of us quit our day jobs, but whatever.

To save more money to put into Amway, I move BACK in with Mom. This time, I tell her that the next time I move out, it'll be to my own house. She laughs and pretends to encourage me (like she did with GC bro and me about Amway). Whatever, I'm serious. I still have to pay Mom rent. But, at last - after a series of dubious temp jobs - I have landed a real, good, full-time w/benefits job.

After a series of semi-good, great and horrible roommates, I've put my sights on homeownership. Both of my parents are less than enthusiastic. I'm nearly 30 years old. I have no addictions beyond cigarettes and caffeine. I have never been pregnant or arrested. In all my years, I've received only one ticket - for speeding. I've already been in therapy for over a year. But, they still can't find the room in their hearts to believe in me. I'm the family *-up and that's just what I am to them.

When, at age 30, I find a home, get a mortgage approved, close and move in on my 31st birthday, they appear stunned. At last, I'm not homeless anymore. Nobody is going to bail on me or tell me I have to go. Nobody is going to say no to me anymore. I can afford it on my own, but if I choose, I can invite a roommate in - it's three bedroom after all. After a few months, my bro moves in. He lives there until shortly before he dies. I still feel his presence at the house sometimes, but it's a warm feeling - not bad at all.

PS - I still live there - nearly 20 years later. Without any help or encouragement from Dad. With some help, but little encouragement from Mom.

The only time, since buying my house, that I was angry with Dad about his lack of help was shortly afterward. My step-brother - I guess to not be outdone by the family *-up, also bought a house, in the same town where Dad lives. They helped him buy it, they helped him refinish the floors, paint and they helped him in his yard. He lost it two years after moving in, but I didn't find out until I was up for a visit. I asked if we could go over and visit him - THEN, they told me about his losing it and moving back in for a while until he could get an apartment.

Yup, he, the drug-using, alcohol-drinking self-described bum, got help. I guess because he was there in town and they couldn't pretend they didn't know. I don't know. I'm done guessing. It's just a reality that my father would be ok seeing me suffer and struggle then to offer me any help. That's the way it's been since I left for college at the tender age of 17. That's the way it is over 40 years later. And he wonders why we don't talk much (what's the point, you're just going to listen and worry, but not DO anything to help). And he wonders why I get PO'd when he tells me about him and his wife worrying about me. It means NOTHING to worry about someone if you don't reach out and help them!

*** Trying to put this to bed. I want to mourn this and get past it. I want to learn to accept him as he is, flaws and all. I just can't afford anymore of his looking down his nose at me and waiting for the 'other shoe to drop' whenever I have good news.

PS - his response to my first full-term pregnancy at age 40? - Not congratulations. Not, wow, are you ready for this? It was, 'You know you're not a spring chicken anymore, right?' Thanks Dad. You're consistent if not loving.

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sanmagic7

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Re: Homelessness and living parents who appeared to not give a *
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2017, 01:19:02 AM »
wife2, reading this made my head spin!  that you continued to find your way through that labyrinth of no help whichever way you turned, just wow.  your strength, courage, and determination  are daunting, to  say the least.  you reminded me of the movie 'labyrinth' when she tells the goblin king 'you have no power over me!', and that's how she found her way home. 

i do hope you can lay this to rest, no matter what way, shape, or form that takes.  what a terrible way to have to spend your adolescence.  not fair at all.  i hope you know you're not a *up, no matter what anyone in your family thinks.  i admire you - you are a fount of wisdom for me.  thanks for sharing.  blessings to you, always.  big hug.

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Contessa

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Re: Homelessness and living parents who appeared to not give a *
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2017, 12:07:39 PM »
Goodness Wife#2, such a long time suviving. You are definitely an example of strength. I cannot even imagine.

As Sanmagic says, you are a font of wisdom. Definitely a guiding light here.

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Wife#2

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Re: Homelessness and living parents who appeared to not give a *
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2017, 01:33:03 PM »
Thank you both.

I've never doubted that I was strong, I am strong. I've had to be. They (my parents) talk about it as if it's some wonderful trait they passed down to me. In an odd way, they're right. They gave me no choice but to be strong or fail - and even if I failed, I'd have to be strong enough to figure my own way out of it.

There are things I've had to face knowing emotionally I was completely alone - or worse having to emotionally support THEM when it wasn't about them.

Even my husband is stunned at the total lack of support, inclusion or consideration I get from my birth family. He's used to it from his. He has spent most of our marriage trying to earn my family's respect. I tried to tell him that he'll never REALLY get it because he's MY husband. He's seen evidence of that a few times. Now, he finally gets it. Now, he understands that, when we were close to divorce and he would say that I have resources he doesn't - thinking of my family, the tears I cried were because I *should* have their support, they said they would offer their support. But when rubber had to hit road, they'd all have excuses of why my timing was bad and that help they offered wasn't available when I needed it.

At least I do have my wonderful husband, my great step-kids and my little man. All I can do at this point is support my husband while he supports me and we both learn to break that chain for our children. I think we're doing that. I hope so. That I'm strong is no surprise to me. I don't want my children to be so strong for such painful reasons. Yes, I want them to be strong, but I want them to step out from a position of being loved and sure of themselves into the world knowing WHO they are and WHAT they're about. I want their strength to be from a place of loved security. I see it in our oldest two. Our youngest is young yet, I hope we can build that confidence in who he is and that he is absolutely unconditionally loved. I hope to see him strong enough to defend his core values because they are good and he is worth it. I hope he learns that, no matter what, if life gets ahead of him that he'll have a safe place to land, to heal and to try again.

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sanmagic7

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Re: Homelessness and living parents who appeared to not give a *
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2017, 04:59:11 PM »
with you and your husband making such a wonderful, loving team, i think the kids will get what they need from that and find a positive kind of strength there.  it's no easy task breaking these cycles.  hats off to you!  hugs all around.

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Contessa

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Re: Homelessness and living parents who appeared to not give a *
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2017, 07:27:16 PM »
You have said it all Wife2, there is nothing I can add. You have made something good come out of a negative in a way that really means something.
The only thing I can do is cheer :)
X

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abcdefghijohnnyz

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Re: Homelessness and living parents who appeared to not give a *
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2017, 12:03:03 AM »
Thanks for sharing this. More people need to be aware of the trauma long-term homelessness can cause. I have a few friends who have been through it. It's so terrible.

I admire your strength.

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Three Roses

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Re: Homelessness and living parents who appeared to not give a *
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2017, 03:28:05 AM »
 :hug:

You are bringing healthy insights and tools to the people around you! You are making your little corner of the world a brighter, more vibrant place to be.

I admire the way you have with words, thanks for this thread. Truly inspiring!

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Wife#2

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Re: Homelessness and living parents who appeared to not give a *
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2017, 03:44:59 PM »
Thanks for sharing this. More people need to be aware of the trauma long-term homelessness can cause.

I agree. Homelessness occurs in so many ways. It isn't just the person on the street - though that is the most extreme form and most dangerous for the human being trying to stay alive like that. It's also the person who gets evicted - then can't get an apartment because of their credit situation, then can't improve the credit situation because being homeless is more expensive than having a place (hotels, $$ for sofa surfing, $$ for safely parking the vehicle one lives in). Then, because of the struggle, the stress and the inconsistent conditions, work begins to suffer - now the income is gone. Of course hopelessness sets in.

It's seeing an eviction notice on your door. Talking to the landlord to find out that your name was never added to the lease. Sorry, nothing they can do.

It's having a friend (boyfriend, girlfriend, someone sharing the apartment) decide they want out or they want YOU out - NOW. Or just moving out while you're at work and come home to find them gone (along with your personal journal and the last roll of toilet paper).

It's losing your job and knowing that you won't have enough left by the first of next month to pay rent. Even if you found another job right away. It's not knowing what to put on your job applications because you know your 'address' is temporary. It's that distant, hard look in the interviewers eyes when they see the 'time at last job' and 'time at last address' are both less than 6 months and they make that decision that you won't work out - based on THAT.

It comes down to the constant fear. Knowing that nothing is sure and that it - whatever it is that you've accumulated in this life - can be gone in no time. It's knowing that, but for the Grace of God, you would be literally on the street next week. It's knowing that being on the fringes of society leaves you exposed to crime - and that little will be done for you if something happens. Because of the fear of actually not having any shelter, it's putting up with horrible situations just to have an address. It's accepting things you normally would refuse because the idea of being hungry one more day scares the crap out of you - then (for me anyway) having my father coming to town all high & mighty, taking me out to lunch and telling the rest of the family that I'm anorexic because I'm so thin - NO, Dad, I'm poor and practically homeless. But, thanks for the 'tough love', it really is making me appreciate things more - like food.

It's the humiliation of knowing how many people think you've done bad things to deserve this fate. It's the humiliation of having to beg sometimes - for a place to shelter, for food (yes, I've begged friends for food), for soap so you can cold-water clean in the apartment where the power has been cut off so you can look for work without smelling bad. It's walking around the mall because it's air-conditioned and one of the restaurants hands out free samples. And the nice girl handing them out knows she's seen you five times, but doesn't say anything because she's figured out your hungry. Really hungry. It's being nice to the mall cops so they don't toss you out for loitering.

And all that is easier because I'm a white female. Don't let anyone ever tell you that it doesn't matter. People weren't crossing the walkway or holding their purses tighter or refusing eye contact with me. Yes, the pity stank, but it was a far cry better than fear and hostility that is the reality for any non-white person. Especially, the non-white male. I would get a benefit of a doubt before any other group. I was more likely to be asked, 'What happened to you?' instead of 'What did you do?'. That may seem subtle to folks who haven't faced it, but let me assure you - that is the world of difference - that is the difference between kindness and blame.

So, yes, after my decade-long struggle, after all the hurts and crimes and humiliation - my ability to by MY house by MY self was all the sweeter (yes, Dad, you were right that I'd appreciate it more). It's why, even when it almost broke up my marriage, I wouldn't just let that house go. I couldn't. It had come at too high a price. I still don't think my husband really understands. But, at least he made peace with the house being in my name. After all I'd been through, I just couldn't share it. I couldn't give anyone the ability to have any control over that house or my ability to live in it.

Chronic homelessness is a big part of why I believe I developed cPTSD as an adult. The childhood traumas were bad enough on their own. I know that. But, the condition of my 20's - seeing no other way and being homeless again & again, hungry again & again, unemployed again & again - was what stripped away my trust, my faith, my understanding of who I really was - I was whoever I had to be to have that sofa or bed and that meal to eat. That was true whether I was rooming with strangers, friends, siblings or Mom. Whoever I had to be to make this time pass easier is who I was. So, I end up 31 years old with no idea who I really am - being sexually harassed by my boss and afraid to do ANYTHING about it lest I lose the job AND the house (more than I could handle).

The part I didn't realize, the part I couldn't accept, so I blocked it all out for years, was the part where my parents could have spared me so much pain but chose not to. They chose to leave me in the shark-infested waters struggling alone.  Only one finally had a heart for a while and ended up using me more than helping me in the long run. The other - I don't know. I can't fathom leaving my child out there struggling in the world even after she asked me to come home. Maybe that's because I know the hurt it caused when it happened to me, or maybe it's that I'm not a cold-hearted ** who's more concerned with making my spouse happy than I am with the health and welfare of my adult child.

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tea-the-artist

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Re: Homelessness and living parents who appeared to not give a *
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2017, 05:00:17 PM »
Wife#2 i'm almost speechless. you have.. really just incredibly experienced so much.

so much i know, and the others know, and you know, that you should never have ever had to experience at all. although it came from a place of unnecessary hurt, i just can't commend you enough for your strength. you are 5000% correct in that you're strong and that you KNOW it!

while i cannot even imagine being as experienced as you i can also say i could not imagine letting my own (hypothetical as they may be) children suffer out in the world as you did. we know, from experience, that parents should be supportive of their children, encouraging them, no matter what their age. even if in someway somehow they could not offer the help, a parent ought to know by then that showing their children they are doing their all to help keep them afloat, will not make that adult child feel like there is no hope for them. as though no one is even interested in helping them out.

thank you for sharing this story. i can really earnestly tell from how you've spoken to me that you just... truly know what you're talking about. that you mean it with every incredibly sturdy fiber in your being! there's so much strength to what you've written here (you know that! we do too!). i hope you continue to know what an amazing person you've come to be. just as you told me the other day, from trauma has come something stronger. though from a negative place, something positive came out.

it moved me to tearing up (again, i've been tearing as i'm writing this at work as usual) that you spoke of your children and that you want them to come out of their lives with you and your husband as strong too, but strong coming from a positive place. strong children who are sure of themselves. i have much hope for you all to continue living life and growing stronger every day!

but also, many many cheers for you, the you who finally got her true place of her own!!
:cheer: :cheer: :cheer: :cheer:

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abcdefghijohnnyz

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Re: Homelessness and living parents who appeared to not give a *
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2017, 07:27:54 PM »
Wife#2 I really admire your awareness of your privilege even through everything you went through! It speaks highly of your empathy for others.

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Wife#2

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Re: Homelessness and living parents who appeared to not give a *
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2017, 07:48:03 PM »
Thank you so much, Tea.

What I've been through is one of the main reasons I want to support you moving out, but given who your father is (the narc man) I hesitate. I so want you to be 100% sure that you'll never have to look back. Your situation may be different, but I suspect that the result would be the same - once you are out from his house, you will not be welcomed back in. Even if you were to be allowed to return, the emotional price may be too high.

It's also the reason I am completely content allowing our adult son to stay with us. He's not failing to launch - he has plenty of friends and social activity. He's just not leaving until he can do it the best way for him. I applaud that - I count it as wisdom.

When our daughter moved out, it wasn't the best of times or circumstances. She's known the whole time, though, that we would welcome her and her daughter back if needed. We've helped her where she is because moving home is not an option she'll entertain. She is struggling, but she knows we're there behind her, ready to throw down the safety net below her if she wants it. The biggest part of our lesson for her is that there are NO strings attached. If we help, it's because we want to. If we can't, we can't. Sometimes, she's able to help US - drive hubby somewhere while I'm at work as an example. As she and I and hubby say in these situations, 'That's what family does - we help one another.'

'That is what family does - we help one another.'

How many of our lives would never have spiraled out into the mess they are/were if that had been true in our families of origin?

Johnny -Thank you. Your words are very kind indeed.

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Contessa

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Re: Homelessness and living parents who appeared to not give a *
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2017, 08:50:15 PM »
 :yeahthat:
And that
And that

Tea, Johnny and Wife:
Xox

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sanmagic7

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Re: Homelessness and living parents who appeared to not give a *
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2017, 02:24:45 AM »
once again, wife2, such wise words.  my horrible first therapist was of the firm mind that kids needed to be out on their own once they reached 18, and i channeled that down to my own daughters.  i was able to turn that around in my own mind, and now do help my youngest, and she knows that if she ever needs it, she has a home with me, no matter what her age.   your story brought home that parents and kids need each other in ways that reach out further than cliches.   thank you for sharing this.