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I am cross-posting this from the "Parenting Teens and Young Adults" in case anyone on this board is still reading and active.

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First, some personal background which may not be directly relevant, but might be helpful.

I am a 46-years-old woman living in the ever-interesting city of New York City (outer boroughs). I have not worked full-time since the year after 9/11, but have had sporadic short-term temporary work. Happily two months ago I was approved for SSI/SSD primarily based on my own history of a psychiatric diagnosis, bipolar disorder, and in particular my hospitalization in fall 2009.

I have never had my own kids and only sporadically babysat for friends, neighbors, etc., but usually "normal" kids, meaning without fullblown psychiatric diagnoses. In the last six years, my 21-years-old godnephew (GN) - soon to be 22y.o. - has frequently spent a lot of time (over the years and months) staying at my apartment as his parents have essentially thrown him out since about 20y.o. He spends a lot of time at his grandparents' house and miscellaneous friends as well. This one isn't my immediate concern though, but in the near future I think I need to make a choice about him. For future reference, I'll refer to him as "Jack."

My main concern is my now 22-years-old godchild. Let's call him "Nick." He stayed with me last year after running away from his parents and biological family in the midwest, and came to NYC. Before my hospitalization in fall 2009, Nick returned to the midwest, eventually catching up with his biological family again, but again having a falling out.

Note: I do not get along with his biological family at all (they have made violent threats and are generally mentally unbalanced at many levels as well) and I actually didn't know anything until bumping into Nick unexpectedly in NYC last year. Since the age of 16, Nick has had a history of several separate psychiatric hospitalizations for self-injury to attempted suicide. Much of this has been related to Nick's coming out as gay and at times gender dysphoric.

Though his psychiatric history includes diagnosis of bipolar disorder, schizotypal disorder, and major depression, I believe the strongest and most relevant diagnosis is Borderline Personality Disorder with strong features of Antisocial Personality Disorder. He also suffers from a lot of anxiety and other things, but the aforementioned are the most prominent.

When he lived with me, it was a roller coaster of both moods and behaviors. He turned my household upside down despite my repeated, failed attempts to set down clear household rules, from as basic as cleaning up after himself to no guests. I now realize too late that I should have also had clear penalties for each, but I just didn't anticipate anything.

In general has never lived independently without severe dysfunction (e.g. other than the hospitalizations, he has runaway repeatedly from his biological family in the midwest, ran away from me a couple of times, has been homeless for long periods whether on the streets, or in the shelter system, and ha also been jailed a couple of times briefly for misdemeanors).

Currently he is not in treatment and has not been in any sort of treatment for more than 18 months. Over the last year and more, I had asked, begged, demanded, and pleaded with him to voluntarily go into treatment. He has often said yes, but then never complies. Since he is a legal adult, if I am correct, he cannot be compelled to do so (unless - obviously - he presents as a significant danger to self or others). Though there are also many other social services agencies that can help a young man like himself (with or without mental illness), he refuses to follow-up or comply.

Nick has been back in the midwest. About a week ago, we talked on the phone and he told me that he bought himself a one-way ticket to come back to NYC. I told him firmly that I will NOT allow him to live with me again for a host of reasons not limited to the fact that I need my own personal peace of mind, one of the reasons I needed to be hospitalized last fall.

I love Nick more than can be explained by any rational person and want to help and protect him even though I've actually only gotten to know him in the last two years. I also have finally realized that I can't help him by letting him move in with me and abiding by no structure. Nick has been extremely injurious to my household, fragile finances, and especially my vulnerable mentality while not being helped AT ALL by my efforts to support him and remaining available.

When he arrives in NYC in a couple of days, we will meet and talk and he says that he has a friend that he can stay with (he has many such 'friends' that he stays with, but usually only until they throw him out for mood swings and related). Undoubtedly I will expect him to be literally homeless again, but I refuse to let him back in.

Other than telling him that I'll talk with him and meet periodically to see how he's doing, what else can I do?

Lois Carmen D. in NYC

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A few more thoughts.

Also let me add that his biological family in the midwest had thrown him out the last few times he had tried to go back home. (In the recent months that he's been there saving up bus ticket money, he has stayed with friends, not with family.) His parents have given two dominant reasons: that he refuses to grow up and be an adult (true at many levels) and that he is gay. His father has mentioned that he knows his son is clearly mentally ill, but there is little to no help in the town/city where they live for someone like their son. They also don't seem to want to be bothered with their son and expect their son to stop being gay, telling him that he's going to hell and that he's doing it just to hurt them, etc.

There is a lot of history with parents as they have their own issues, but please know that no help is expected from his biological family in terms of helping Nick.
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