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I think my son is a sociopath

(58 Posts)
AltheaVestrit Mon 28-Apr-14 19:37:33

Where to start?

Last Friday I had fetched my 18mo grandchild. When I got home with him my dad and son were already in my house. We had a cup of tea and got ready to take the dog out. Because I suspected money had gone missing from my bag I keep it by me when at home. With the kerfuffle of DGC, cups of tea and getting the dog ready I had left my bag in the kitchen.

Before I left to fetch DGC I had put in £40 (2 x £20). When I checked the contents as we were about to set off on our walk there was only £20 in it. I knew the money had been taken in the last 10 minutes, so it could only have been my son who had taken it. I confronted him and when I asked where my £20 was he said "it's in my pocket. Sorry mom, sorry". I took it back off him, told him to get out, and that I should be calling the police. I didn't.

My son's situation is dire ATM. His partner (the mother of his child) asked him to leave the family home about a month ago. Son was made redundant in February, and from what I can gather they were arguing a lot and he was generally unsupportive as a partner and father. He's supposed to be starting a new job in May, and we hoped that once he was supporting the family financially again, they could sort their problems out and hopefully get back together as a family again.

He was welcome to stay with us as long as he followed the house rules - basically keep yourself clean and tidy and tidy up after yourself. He declined and has been staying at my dad's house around the corner. Family are coming to visit dad this week and he asked son to move out for a few days. Dad assumed he'd be coming to me. Well, after the thieving incident that wasn't going to happen. Son sent me an email saying "Hi mom, ok to stay with you a few days? Love you." I replied that it wasn't ok.

So, I don't know where he is staying atm. I'm worried about him, but he doesn't seem to acknowledge that his stealing is a problem. I suspected he's been helping himself for ages, but i doubted myself. I even confronted him a couple of times over the last 6 months or so when I thought I should have had more cash in my bag than I had, but he denied taking it and left me feeling very confused.

In fact, this incident has brought things to a head for me.

He's lied a lot in the past. It's mostly been stuff that he knows I want to hear, but there've been a few incidents where his lying has got him into trouble. We have extricated him from trouble with the police, where if he'd told us the truth in the first instance we could have advised him how to sort it out easily. But his continued vehement denials he was any way involved lead to him going to court with a solicitor. And when we had irrefutable proof that he was involved, he continued to deny it until I pointed out that the people we'd spoken to about the incident must also be lying. You could see the ratchets in his brain clanking away until he realised all his lying options weren't going to get him out of trouble and he finally admitted his involvement.

There's other things he's said and done which made me wonder how on earth his brain works. He's rubbish with money. He wants instant gratification. With his redundancy money he bought himself a PS4 when he was advised to wait until his new job started before treating himself. He's made a mess of paying the rent on the house my DH and I bought for him and his partner to ensure our DGC had a roof over his head.

We've bailed him out so many times and each time we thought well, he must have learned from this. But no.

Over the weekend I read the thread in Chat about sociopaths and I think he ticks a lot of the boxes. It appears there's no cure for someone who has no empathy, no conscience and doesn't believe they are or have a problem at all.

So, where do I go from here?

Offred Mon 28-Apr-14 19:42:42

I don't think he's a sociopath. It's more likely he's just never learned to be responsible because you've always bailed him out.

Is there any history of drug use? Lying and stealing are often signs of money being spent on drugs.

AltheaVestrit Mon 28-Apr-14 19:56:02

Offred, you may be right in that we've always bailed him out. But what strange circumstances to have bailed him out of. No other young men I know tell so many lies or get themselves up shit creek without a paddle so often without realising that for every action, there must be consequences. I repeat, what do I do?

SGB - no, I don't think so, but what do I know?

Shortchange Mon 28-Apr-14 19:59:41

You need to let him suffer the consequences and not bail him out.

ihatethecold Mon 28-Apr-14 20:04:19

He sounds just like my DS.
Same pattern of behaviour.
He made his young family homeless twice, first by stealing the housing benefit. 2nd by setting up a cannabis farm in his loft.
I don't know how his girlfriend stays with him..
I don't have contact anymore. I had 10 years of lies, stealing and heartbreak.

I had to move on for the sake of my sanity.

HauntedNoddyCar Mon 28-Apr-14 20:10:18

But he never has been up shit creek without a paddle has he? You always give him a paddle.

wyrdyBird Mon 28-Apr-14 20:22:26

This must have caused you huge stress over the years, Althea.

Forgive the cliche, but there are no easy answers. However, others on MN have been where you are, or are there now, and I hope they'll find a way to this thread.

Why not try a look at 'In Sheep's Clothing' by George K Simon.

He pulls no punches when it comes to dealing with people who manipulate (eg by lying or gaslighting). He suggests quite a robust approach. It may be a starting point.

PrincessBabyCat Mon 28-Apr-14 20:28:09

You can be a jerk without being a sociopath. Calling him a sociopath is giving him in out by saying he can't help it because he has a disorder. This is just looks like another way to bail him out. wink

Hope your situation gets better.

AltheaVestrit Mon 28-Apr-14 20:31:49

Wordy bird, thank you so much! That's what I call help. I'll look it up ASAP.

And no Haunted Noddy Car, not every time he's been bailed out. I've given a few instances of the things I've dealt with. There've been others he's had to sort himself. And then there'll be those I don't know about because he knows that they will upset me so he won't bother telling me.

Ihatethecold - sorry to hear what you've been through with your son. Do you wonder if you did anything different when he was growing up he would have be more responsible?

Pleasedontstopthereading Mon 28-Apr-14 20:34:50

Poor you, this sounds so difficult.

I don't think your son sounds like a sociopath, though flowers on the limited information you've provided, of course. I bet his mindset runs along these lines:

It's ok, I'll pay it back before she notices it is missing.
If I tell the truth, they'll be let down. I'll sort it.

He's sticking his head in the sand. I think he's made some mistakes - bad mistakes - but sociopathic? No.

I hate saying this as it is not your fault and I don't want to suggest in any way it is, but I never learned to manage money. My parents bought everything: they weren't stingy with me but I never had a budget to stick to. They never showed me how to. When I got money I spent it. It became a really bad habit. When I ran out of money I'd get it in other ways, I never stole but I certainly did some extreme things to keep spending. Spending made me feel good. I ran up a lot of debt.

I can understand the redundancy money - it's like "need to treat myself." I've never been made redundant but it's horrific I think.

Talk to him. Let him know you love him, you want to help but not by bailing him out. My dad won't let me talk about financial problems - he shouts and shouts then gives me money then complains I made him give me money. I can't talk to him and say "look, I've got a debt," - can your son? Again I'm not blaming you but staying calm and letting someone come to you can work wonders. I second SGBs suggestion about drugs.


Troubled and misguided people don't equate to bad people.


ihatethecold Mon 28-Apr-14 21:04:53

It's a very long and complicated story but in essence. Yes things possibly could have been different if my parents had butted out, I was young when I had him and they used undermine me and replace things he had lost or possibly sold.
I wasn't very well off and used to try to make him understand that there are consequences to losing things.
To make him understand the value of things.
My parents did the complete opposite.

I also chose to have a child with an abusive arse which didn't help.

I think about him everyday but he has done some god awful things to family over the past 10 years.

HauntedNoddyCar Mon 28-Apr-14 21:18:06

Op you did say you'd always bailed him out.

BrunoBrookesDinedAlone Mon 28-Apr-14 23:01:05

He just sounds like a liar and a thief and a coward...

Not necessarily anything else.

My advice? Get on the phone to his poor ex-partner who's now bringing up their child alone (as if she was ever not doing that, by the sound of it!) and let her know you're there to help.

mummytime Tue 29-Apr-14 06:15:34

I think you need to know tough love. He could have some kind of mental issue, but that means he needs to see professionals, not be bailed out by you.

elizalovelace Tue 29-Apr-14 08:39:52

Op stop bailing hin out.Help with your DGC. Be strong, your son needs to grow up and learn responsibilties. Ihatethecold,i feel your pain.

ihatethecold Tue 29-Apr-14 11:04:06

eliza thank you

althea I really hope you get things sorted, you have my best wishes but I'm leaving the thread.
It brings up to much hurt for me.

Sorcha1966 Tue 29-Apr-14 14:47:00

my son is like this (theft and lying) He has aspergers syndrome - its not the reason he steals , but I think it has some bearing on the lying.

tough love. No bailing out. No hand outs. No he cant stay because he STOLE money from you. Help DGC (and the child's mother) but he needs to sort himself ....

Psypher Tue 29-Apr-14 15:14:29

He's not a sociopath. You can be a feckless, thieving twat without any underlying cause, you know.
If I'd taken your money and you'd asked me about it, I most certainly would not have admitted it straight out, more likely I would have denied all knowledge and made you start to doubt you had ever had the money in the first place.

LiberalLibertine Tue 29-Apr-14 15:20:57

How old is he op?

PoundingTheStreets Tue 29-Apr-14 15:25:16

None of us can comment on his mental state. To my mind it sounds more like a personality disorder than sociopathy, but it's impossible to diagnose over the internet and there may actually be nothing wrong with him at all.

What matters is the effect this is having on you. You can't control your son and you can't "retrain" him now he's an adult either. All you can do is decide the terms on which you want to have him in your life. Take steps to protect yourself while continuing the relationship. Be kind when you can but remain firm. Do not let him borrow money and do not give him the opportunity to steal it from you. If he asks for help, consider whether it's a reasonable request and respond accordingly. If he messes up, don't gloat but don't step in either.

Sometimes that may be hard. For example, if he turns up at your house after you tell him he's not allowed, so you tell him to leave and he won't, you call the police. If he's like the many people out there like this, he'll rant and rave at you, storm off in a protest that he'll never speak to you again, and casually call you a few days later as if nothing's ever happened.

You won't change him; only he can do that. But if you think hard about what boundaries you want in place and stick to them, you can maintain a relationship with him while protecting yourselves. There will always be emotional pain for the parent of a child with such a pronounced streak of self-destruction though, and for that I'm really sorry. flowers

CailinDana Tue 29-Apr-14 15:29:56

He could have some disorder, perhaps not sociopathy though. Sociopaths are quite cunning, he sounds pretty childish really.

There are quite a large proportion of people in the world who come across as quite functional but in fact are incapable of leading an independent life. My sister is one, and your son sounds like another. If my sister was less academically able she would have received extra help at school and perhaps be in supported housing now. But she can read and write like any 33 year old, and so she has had no help, despite being functionally incapable of leading a normal adult life. She lives with my parents who still, after 33 years, labour under the hope that she will one day suddenly be cured. She won't. It's incredibly sad.

horsetowater Tue 29-Apr-14 17:02:00

Has he every done anything good?

You seem to dwell heavily on the mistakes he's made which so far seem to be money related.

Why would having an income improve his relatioship? Does his ex only love him when he's earning? Is that why he took yours out of your purse?

Also I think you are giving him mixed messages by renting out your house to him.

struggling100 Tue 29-Apr-14 20:08:38

He doesn't sound sociopathic... He's not nearly charming enough!! He sounds selfish and irresponsible, and there is no excuse for that. The thing is, when he acts up and does something stupid, you are always there ready to bail him out. So what incentive has he got to take his life on like a grown up?

You need to protect yourself from him, and that means letting him make his own mistakes and pay for them. That is the only way he will learn. And you need to let him know that no I do think there is a good chance that he will be able to do this: the fact that he owned up to stealing the money this time may be a good sign.

AltheaVestrit Tue 29-Apr-14 21:03:55

He's 23. He's very charming and laid back. On a certain level he can be very good company.

I suppose I mentioned the money issues because you'd think with his responsibilities he'd look to provide for his family. I don't understand why he doesn't put them first.

I am supporting his partner. She is now the named tenant so she won't have any housing problems. We have our grandchild with us ATM. He's into everything so DiL can have a break and get things done.

I mentioned the back to work thing as they wouldn't be in each other's company all day and whatever equilibrium they had before he was made redundant would hopefully have been restored. I think I'm being too optimistic though.

Psypher - I think you were very informative on the other thread I mentioned. There was no denying the theft this time. I knew exactly what had happened, and i was quite assertive. Before I may have said have you seen or taken any money, to which he'd reply No, and then I'd doubt myself. This time I demanded my money back and where was it. A different approach from which he could not wriggle. If he had denied it the outcome would have been the same because I just KNEW he'd taken it. There was no chance of gaslighting me this time.

He won't rant and rave if he doesn't get what he wants. He's quite gentle. He just shrugs and gets on with it.

It is time for tough love. I haven't heard from him since the email, but I know he saw his son yesterday, so he's still around. He must be dossing with friends.

I just wish I could get inside his head to see what makes him tick, like in Being John Malkevich. His actions have been so alien to me that I thought he must be from another planet. It is not how he's been brought up.

I wondered whether he had some issues which needed sorting. His biological father abandoned us when he was 6. His stepfather has been all you could wish for as a mentor, role model and is an excellent father figure. Many of my son's attitudes are similar to my ex-husband's, which gives me pause for thought on the nature/nurture debate. I wondered whether some sort of counselling would set him back on the straight and narrow.

Of course, as some of you said up thread, he could just be a nasty little shit. And I have to accept that.

Thanks for everyone's input

horsetowater Tue 29-Apr-14 23:15:31

I think if I were him I would feel completely emasculated and humiliated at having my mother support my ex partner and grandchild, then take me off the tenancy of the home that was bought for me by my parents.

There's something very wrong about this set-up - the best thing you can do as his parent is to support them to get together and live together happily. You're not doing that by taking his name off the tenancy.

What happens when DIL finds a new man - as long as they are apart this could happen. Will you continue to support her?

Your son must be feeling very trapped and could go into self-destruct mode if you're not careful. It may well be that he is taking to using drugs if he's so laid back as you say, and has started taking money.

AltheaVestrit Wed 30-Apr-14 09:09:59

Horsetowater - the tenancy was changed with his consent. He didn't argue the toss. At least in this instance he did put his family first. How many times on these threads do we hear than the primary carer of children should stay in the family home, and have trouble getting the abusive or unsupportive partner out? I tried to do the right thing under the circumstances.

Besides, if his partner found his behaviour unacceptable don't you think he needs to realise it? Realise what he's in danger of losing? I would have thought the fact he was asked to leave would give him cause for introspection and change his behaviour to something more acceptable. If I'd supported son instead of his partner wouldn't that just be bailing him out yet again?

Tryharder Wed 30-Apr-14 09:44:51

Thread consensus:

OP's son is a lying, thieving fuckwit?

And so that's the OP's fault because she didn't set boundaries and always bailed him out.

Why can it not be accepted that some people do bad things because that's the way they are rather than it being someone's fault (usually the mother's)

We bail our children out of problems if we can because that's what parents do. I just don't see why the OP has to be at fault because her son has done bad things.

Jayne35 Wed 30-Apr-14 11:26:00

Just wanted to hand hold really, I have similar problems with my DS, he is 15 now and it all started very early when I look back, no matter what I did or didn't do, he feels entitled to have what he wants. It used to be just little things but now he is almost 16 he is taking things to sell (weed habit). DS moved in with his Dad just over two years ago, he wanted to, I wanted the break tbh, thought he would come back - but hasn't.

We haven't spoken since Feb, he took a large item from me and sold to a pawn shop, did say sorry but doesn't appear to mean it. If it was just me I suppose I could cope with it but he has also recently taken Christmas presents from my sis DCs, and my Mum, and won't face them (Ignores their messages/calls etc) to apologise.

I tried Doctors, Counselling, Group Therapy, NSPCC groups for difficult children. Mostly they blamed the divorce, but he wasn't right before then, unfortunately it ticks a little box for them!

BUT, we still love them, my son can be so loving and I expect your DS is the same. I wish you well, and hope he sorts himself out.

NutellaLawson Wed 30-Apr-14 11:41:30

is he the youngest? He sounds like my sister (3rd of 3) who always gets battled out. She used mums back card and took the accoujt to overdraft. Had had cc and phone bills paid fire. She currently has a whopping tax bill and fine to pay becauae she ignored hmrc letters. she doesn't steal outright (as far as I know) but I think her inability to take responsibilty in dealing with money, to grasp the nettle instead of avoiding are because of her situation. She is the baby of the fault by 8 years. always gets bailed out each time, was 9 when my parents divorced and so had a very close relationship with mum that, in hindsight wasnt healthy (mum relied on her for emotional support when she was too young to provide it) and the divorce was traumatic (dad had psychotic episodes around her).

I would NOT describe her as a sociopath though. I don't think your son is, either. Just unable to deal with difficult siruations with good judgement. I do think tough love is in order. No more bailing out or enabling.

AltheaVestrit Wed 30-Apr-14 11:51:42

He's an only child.

Jayne - you keep hoping that they'll grow out of their stupidness, don't you? At 23 I think I'm giving up.

horsetowater Wed 30-Apr-14 12:29:55

Did he have much choice about whether to consent to taking his name off the tenancy?

My concern is that if his relationship is over with his ex then you should accept that and let him make his own mistake. She also needs to understand what she's dealing with and if necessary, move on. By supporting her you are really interfering in that personal development. You should be supporting him to support her - not with money and property, but with emotional support and guidance - even if it's just 'get out and make your own way in the world'.

Did you discuss with him how he would like you to support his children? This is the crux of the matter to me, you are going over his head about his own family. I would be furious if my mother did that to me.

blueshoes Wed 30-Apr-14 12:44:40

Althea, you have done nothing wrong. As a parent, I would have done the same for my child. I agree with what Tryharder said.

At what point does a son stop being a child that we love and protect with all our heart and resources to one that we leave to let them stand on their own feet and fall if necessary.

Others should bear that in mind if they think they know all the answers.

horsetowater Wed 30-Apr-14 13:07:32

My point is that Althea is not letting him stand on his own two feet by supporting his ex partner and son. She's still covering for him by doing this and it's unhealthy.

perfectstorm Wed 30-Apr-14 13:23:05

So the ex and child should suffer because he's a useless father and partner? Single parenthood's demands less important than hoping a magic wand will convert him into father of the year, so he'll pick up the slack instead? Because of course, that always happens - ask anyone on Lone Parents. hmm

OP I can't see anything you are doing wrong. You've challenged him on undeniable wrong, you've refused to have him to stay as a consequence, you're providing excellent support to the single mother of your grandchild, as a buffer against his fecklessness. He's made horrible choices, and at some point kids are adults and they and those around them need to look to the actual, genuine children in the situation. Here, that is your GC.

JaceyBee Wed 30-Apr-14 14:30:10

It sounds as though he certainly has the impaired limits and entitlement schemas we might associate with anti social personality disorder but this is only the more extreme end of the scale of normal personality traits we all have. Absolutely nothing to suggest full blown sociopathy which is much rarer than is made out on here. Some people are just twats!

I think if his dad abandoned him when he was 6 that will have had a MASSIVE impact! Definitely he could benefit from therapy, but only if he decides he is unhappy with himself currently and wants to live differently and make the necessary changes which is bloody hard work!

horsetowater Wed 30-Apr-14 17:26:49

The GC will be fine, they have two sets of grandparents and when their Mum finds another boyfriend they will have him and his family as well.

OP should stand back and let things happen. Be a cushion and a support for the GCs if needs be but don't get too involved. I've had two feckless brothers who had four children by women they messed about with. My mother supported at a very long distance because she knew it would prevent them moving forward if she got too involved. Out of the four women involved - two found new men and have a happy new family, one stayed single and did a fine job with her son alone despite the hardships, one had a breakdown and lost residence of the child to him and he did a fine job as a single Dad. In all cases (except the breakdown one which is debatable as it was a serious MH illness), my brothers suffered emotionally far more than the mothers of their children, and the children didn't suffer at all as they had lots of people around rooting for them. What didn't happen was my Mum offering any of them a roof over their heads etc or giving big financial support (I think some childcare costs were covered and music lessons).

perfectstorm Wed 30-Apr-14 21:29:05

I'm - genuinely - really happy things worked out so well in your own family, horses. However, that doesn't make it the one-size solution for everyone else. I also highly, highly doubt that all the kids in what sound deeply difficult circumstances emerged wholly unscathed. Often such damage doesn't begin to show until after adolescence, and a feckless father who eventually gained custody due to severe MH problems in your mother... um, yeah. That's not a childhood you can gloss over as "the children didn't suffer at all as they had lots of people around rooting for them." In fact I'm quite staggered anyone could make such a claim about children - puppies, maybe. Kids, no.

AKeyFox Wed 30-Apr-14 23:10:17

Did you think about letting him and his partner make their own housing arrangements ?

AKeyFox Wed 30-Apr-14 23:26:13

Over the weekend I read the thread in Chat about sociopaths and I think he ticks a lot of the boxes. It appears there's no cure for someone who has no empathy, no conscience and doesn't believe they are or have a problem at all.

To be frank it sounds like you wouldn't be that greatly bothered if he were in fact to be certified as a sociopath. At least you would know it's an insoluble problem and you could focus on things you could change instead.

ie you yourself don't exactly come across as brimming with empathy, and I wonder if this is a trait he has picked up from the family.

Was his DF involved in his upbringing and how empathic was he ?

MexicanSpringtime Wed 30-Apr-14 23:26:57

Yeap, can't agree with Horses point of view either.
I have a friend suffering like this with her adolescent son, who also has a drug problem. After wracking our brains to try to give her advice since the problems started when he was about thirteen (not drugs at that point) I've had to realise that it is not easy to know what to do. He is a lovely young fellow (if it weren't for the lying and stealing) and he has good parents who have good morals and love him.
The only thing that I think might have been a problem is I think they were too strict with him when he was smaller, but that is just another stab in the dark

horsetowater Wed 30-Apr-14 23:43:41

Perfectstorm I don't want to get into an argument with you about my family because this thread isn't about them and it is far more complex than it seems. I wrote about this in order to clarify where I think the line should be drawn when it comes to helping adult children.

OP seems to be highly dismissive of her son and brimming with sympathy of her daughter-in-law and this would be deeply unsettling for any child. He not only feels a failure as a partner he will be feeling a failure as a son as well.

The accusation of sociopath is very serious and I find it surprising judging by what his behaviours are.

perfectstorm Thu 01-May-14 00:31:43

I'm not trying to argue, either. I just think that stating extremely troubled family situations don't harm kids inside them if other adults are about is dangerous. Too many women post here trying to rationalise toxic and/or abusive setups, and kids thrive best in stable, calm and consistent homes, if that is remotely feasible (obviously it isn't always).

CookieDoughKid Thu 01-May-14 01:36:17

I think your son has never really understood what it means to live on the breadline and also understand the consequences of steeling. He doesn't does he because he knows you're never going to call the police. It's only going to get worse imo . difficult but you need to cut the apron strings lose and let him look after himself.

nooka Thu 01-May-14 02:05:36

The OP said that the house was to provide a roof over the head of her grandchild. It's still doing that. The mum is paying the rent and the father has left the home. The OP should not get involved with their relationship - if she is finding her son very difficult despite loving him as her child then it's possibly not too surprising that his partner has had enough!

I think it's a bit of an odd attitude to take to say that she can just find another father for the grandchild and the OP should effectively abandon them. Many grandparents in that situation are devastated to lose contact.

AltheaVestrit Thu 01-May-14 08:52:23

Nooka - you seem to have grasped the housing situation. They were struggling to find anywhere suitable; council lists were impossible and private renting was gone before they could even view. The house was bought because it suited them, and was an investment for me. This was made clear to them from the start.

So I am wearing 2 caps. One as a mom/granny and the other as landlord, and the two I consider to be kept very separate. Perhaps I shouldn't have mentioned buying the house for them as I'm not sure it impacts on what my son has done and how I feel about it.

My relationship with DIL has not changed since son left the family home and to be honest there isn't much of one anyway. I look after their son 1 or 2 nights a week as before. The only thing I've done is change the name on the tenancy as requested. This was after getting them round the table and talking them through options and potential scenarios because in a way transferring the house away from son wasn't one that I'd ever thought would happen. I am not particularly close to DIL and this is not for the want of trying. So this is how I'm supporting her, only in a practical way. I certainly haven't talked about specifics within their relationship; I know it's nothing to do with me and I won't interfere.

Horsetowater - you say my son feels a failure because of the things I've done. I don't know how you can speculate on what son is feeling. The point of me starting the thread was because of his lack of feeling for others by continuing to do peculiar and ultimately unacceptable acts. In fact reading back you've made some assumptions that just aren't there or been implied in any way. Perhaps this thread has touched a nerve with you but whatever your lovely mum did or didn't do with her feckless sons is neither here nor there.

But as many of you have suggested, the apron strings are well and truly cut. I haven't seen him or communicated since last Friday. When I dropped off GC last evening son's car was parked outside the house, but I just handed over the baby, had a little chat with DIL and came home.

But I don't want to be NC forever. He's my only child and I'd like some sort of mutual respect for each other and our boundaries.

I repeat from my opening thread. Where do I go from here?

AKeyFox Thu 01-May-14 11:33:34

Have you discussed the specific concerns you've raised here with him ?

ie that his behaviour amounts to sociopathy rather than for instance spoilt brat/ immaturity/ casual drug user/ layabout.

I think it would be a good idea to have that discussion.

Hi OP.

I can't say whether he's a sociopath or not but from experience I've known a lot of people like this and I don't think they are sociopaths.

One of them being my sister, been awful since a teen and stole from the family home regularly. She seemed evil at times. In trouble with the police a lot.
Now with 2 DC my mum still regularly bails her out and from my point of view it drives me bloody insane to watch but then if it was my DC I can't say I wouldn't want to bail them out.
It must be incredibly difficult.

With my sister, like your son there seems to be an inability to prioritise, going out, buying things for herself before the rent is paid
The world is against her she believes she deserves more. She mentions lack of support, and I don't know how our mum sits there with her mouth shut, she is incredibly lucky to have my mum and is very supported.

I cannot relate to this attitude, take a tiny amount of comfort in the fact that this is none of your fault. My mother has other DC's including me and none of us are like this. I do sometimes think there is a missing link and do not understand how her brain works.

She's a bit better now. She's found a job which has given her some drive and she's got some brave ambitions.

I think it takes really being on your ass to realise the support you have had, if you keep giving it it becomes a norm, they take advantage, they don't realise how supportive you're being - take that away, and they soon realise how lucky they have been. They soon have a drive to do something for themselves when they have no one else to rely on.

You've done the right thing by not letting him stay. I would now have a frank discussion with him and explain to him why, and how you feel and what it is doing to you. I might even ask how he would feel if his DD had came back home at 23 after having a child and was stealing money from his wallet and lying to him. I don't think it's abnormal to say what you think you want your parents to hear. You don't want to disappoint your parents. I would advise counselling, explain he can always talk to you but sometimes it's easier to talk to someone without any ties to the family.

Nomama Thu 01-May-14 11:55:01

Althea (love the name by the way, Hobbs is great [smile)

Niceties over, I am afraid.


Have a read back and put my name wherever you see yours. How do I sound?

Do I sound like a mum who has done her very best to protect her only boy from a horrible time. From a dad who left? From lies he has told? From thefts he has perpetrated? From fecklessness he has enacted? From not having to live in a shitpit until he could afford better, work his way to a more successful life? Am I, mummy and landlord bending over backwards to allow my darling boy to survive?

Do I sound like a mum who has accidentally forgotten to let her only darling boy hit that brick wall and find himself out on his ear because of his own actions?

From my posts here, I most certainly do!

I suppose I need to grow up a bit myself. Grow into an adult woman, a separate human being, no longer a mummy.

I suppose I need to harden my heart and not allow myself to emotionally blackmail myself with 'what ifs'.

I need to let my darling one and only boy grow up too.

That is what you think of me isn't it?

AltheaVestrit Thu 01-May-14 16:05:39

Akey - I couldn't trust him to tell me the truth. He'll tell me what he thinks I want to hear. I wouldn't turn down the opportunity to try and sort things out, it's just that if his lips move, he's probably lying. He'll say he's fine and there's nothing wrong. I can't get through to him.

AKeyFox Thu 01-May-14 21:53:39

Althea there's quite a few things I could say, but I wonder at the root of this whether you really dislike his biological father and see rather too much of him in DS.

Did XH lie much ?

MorningTimes Thu 01-May-14 22:03:29

What did your son need the money for? Have you asked? Could it be heroin? Maybe he is stealing because he is an addict, not because he is a sociopath.

Also, although you don't know the specifics about his relationship & you aren't close to your DIL, you seem happy to blame him & to think that he was an unsupportive partner. Why? You say he reminds you of his father. Is that why you are assuming that he was an unsupportive partner?

I can't help feeling some sympathy for your DS. He has been made redundant, his partner has asked him to leave, his mother only sees the worst in him, he doesn't know his father, he needs to steal money for some reason...

It is all very well for you to care about your DIL but your priority should be your own child. He sounds like he needs help. You don't actually know why they spilt up. You might not think you are 'taking sides' but reading your post, it sounds like you are.

horsetowater Thu 01-May-14 22:05:37

If you want to know where to go from here I think it would help if you try to rebuild your bond with your son.

If you keep focusing on all the bad things he's done and try to label him as a sociopath it won't help either of you. He's young, he's learning. Have hope and stop taking it personally.

MorningTimes Thu 01-May-14 22:07:11

Also, does your DIL work? Why is the onus on your son to support the family financially? You hoped that she she would take him back once he was able to do this. It doesn't sound like she has been supportive about his redundancy, which, presumably, wasn't his fault.

Seaofyou Fri 02-May-14 00:15:06

servere attactment problems can nurture sociopathy! Did you have depression when your ds was young OP?

curiousuze Fri 02-May-14 07:12:12

Wow people really seem desperate to find a reason that this is all the OP's fault.

OP I have no advice, but agree with people who've said that at the end of the day, it doesn't matter if he's a sociopath or not. What matters is how you deal with what he does to you. Good luck.

Nomama Fri 02-May-14 08:58:41

Not really blame, curious, her son is the author of his own ills. But Althea's posts indicate that she has been trying to make sure his life in a good one.... probably at the expense of her own.

At the age he is now she needs to feel fine that she can step back, she won't be an awful mum/grandmum, she does deserve to have a life that is hers and not one that revolves around fixing his.

I think we have strayed into the territory our American cousins call tough love - blech smile

horsetowater Fri 02-May-14 11:57:54

Nobody's blaming anyone here, Althea has asked for help and advice and the only way to provide that is to look for the reasons this might be happening.

Labelling her own son like this is telling - but not sure of what. It might not be because she's a neglectful mother, it might just be because she's realised she needs to push him a way and this is the only way she can do it - put him in a box as it were. She might even be doing this to reduce her own pain of losing someone who is so obviously key in her life - like taking an anaesthetic before you chop your arm off - her son is part of her and it will be painful to allow him to move on.

Understandable behaviour, nobody to blame but there are opportunities for this to be a positive as well - however she's sabotaging it by trying to find a label. She needs tough love, but labelling him like this is not loving and this is why people are questioning PND issues.

I was kicked out at 21 and it was the best thing my parents did.

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