Grown up stepchildren(16 Posts)
I have a stepson (M) aged 24. Last year he had a breakdown and I had to retrieve him from A&E and bring him from London to live with us in the Midlands. My 18 year old daughter gave up her bedroom for him and moved in with her 15 yo sister. M has poorly controlled Type 1 diabetes and was suffering from depression. I took him straight to the Gp and he was put on anti-depressants. after a few weeks he was much better, got a bar job and seemed to be making real progress then he stopped taking the medication in January. My daughter's room is a disgusting mess, he is not really eating with the family any more but filling himself with junk food and high sugar drinks such as Sunny Delight. he throws the litter in his room and stuffs it down the side of his bed. He has cancelled 3 GP appointments in a row - the last one because he was ill apparently- and is either in bed (which is full of food debris and chocolate wrappers) outside smoking or at work. We have also found traces of cannabis in his room. He shouted at my daughter when she had a go at him because of the state of her room, and his father seems unaware of the problems. Last night M tried to cause a row between my and my husband because I had tackled him about these issues (we have just recovered from a very serious row about him a couple of weeks ago). I have withdrawn my support from him ( I am no longer taking time off work to make sure he goes to medical appointments) and have told the girls to ignore his bad behaviour and that once he moves out I will have the bedroom stripped, redecorated and fumigated. I am really worried about my relationship with my husband - he split from his last partner over this son. I don't know what to do - we can't throw him out- he will die if we do- but he is refusing to take any responsibility for his own health.
Hi, OP, sounds like a terrible situation, sorry you are going through this. You have posted in "Blogger's Chat" - can you report your post and ask it to be moved to another topic (Relationships or Step Parenting) so that you might get some responses to help you?
All the best.
We'll pop it over to Step Parenting now.
He sounds very depressed, and I know first hand how hard it can be to live with someone else's MH problems so you have my sympathy, and so do your DDs.
Why did he stop taking his meds? He seems to have stopped engaging in his own recovery, which may mean you or DH need to take time off work again to get him to appointments, but if he won't take his meds or engage then it can't continue long term.
Is his mother involved at all? Does he have friends?
This sounds tough.
This phrase "his father seems unaware of the problems." stands out for me.
You collected him from A&E, you reorganised your children to give him a home/space, you monitor the high-sugar foods, you are alert to lack of meds and now the cannabis etc etc. Where is his father? Is he not interested in his son's mental and physical health? His role here is SO important to his son and also to you. Is his mother in the picture?
The fact that your DH's last partner left him over this is a big worry.
I know you say you had a row with your DH recently but have you had a very serious talk with him about this and where it is heading?
Thank you both. Although physically he is 24 it's more like living with a difficult 14 year old. I begged him not to stop the anti-depressants without seeing the doctor but he took no notice. I think he stopped because he thought he was better - he was on a strong dose. When he had the breakdown he got himself chucked out of his mothers house which is where he was living, after he got violent. After a month in hostels ,2 A&E admissions and 2 police sections I managed to get him to agree to come here. He hasn't been violent here but it's a worry. His friends are all in London although he is starting to make friends here through his job. His father has problems dealing with emotional stuff and copes by staying out of anything that might be difficult for him to deal with and he is out of the house a lot so doesn't really see what's going on. My daughters are here more than either of us and tell me what's been happening. It's wrong to say DH isn't interested in his son's physical and mental health but I don't think he really realises how serious this is and if he did he wouldn't be able to cope with it -he doesn't have the "emotional tools". When things get stressful he tends to blame me hence the big row. M lived with his father from about 12-17 then went back to his mother's. There's no way he can go back there. Ideally he would get a flatshare in our town but his current way of living makes him a very bad flatmate. DH left his previous partner after he found her in a fist fight with M when he was about 13. My relationship with my husband is the most important thing to me after my daughters - I loved him the day I saw him when I was 20 (I am 55 now!) and i would be devastated if I were to lose him again. We are fine at the moment but last night I couldn't believed that a 24 yo man would try to engineer a row between us.
His father has problems dealing with emotional stuff and copes by staying out of anything that might be difficult for him to deal with and he is out of the house a lot so doesn't really see what's going on
Then you need to get him to seriously open his eyes because all the things he wants to avoid because it is too hard to face, he is just dumping on you. It isn't easier or less stressful for you, just deal with it despite the consequences because someone's got to do it. Your husband attitude is coward and selfish. To then blame you when tension flare up is unbelievable.
The problem is that he has probably got used to you taking over his responsibility, so expecting him to now change his way is going to be quite a challenge. Since you love him so much as he is, what incentive he has to do anything differently?
Agree with swing - he is dumping on you and probably used to it now. The stress will have consequences for you and your children though, you need to protect yourself somehow.
Best thing my mum did for my brother when he was about 20 and threatening suicide, smashing up cars, stealing from the family, fouling up his bedroom, not paying debts sending bailiffs to the door, was to kick him out. We had no guarantee of what he'd become, or whether he'd survive. In fact we didn't see him for about 3 years, and had to rely on people occasionally saying they'd seen him here and there.
I dread to think what state the marriage (to my stepdad) would have been (if it survived) or what the impact would have been on my brother and the rest of the family, if mum didn't kick him out. My parents even moved house after a while, they had to still live their lives.
It all came good. Now he's a respectable father of 2 with an enviable job and treats my mum - and our stepdad - like a king and queen. Always there for them and I can see the man it's made him in relation to his sons, who he's taught to have utter respect and love for their grandparents. It's lovely. If anything my brother is now firmer with his sons than our parents were with us.
So it was the best thing she did for him and the wider family, even though it was probably the hardest decision of her life. Just saying.
Why are you the responsible adult in this situation....he's not your son?! Step right back from the whole scenario, let go of any feelings of guilt and culpability, and just get on with your life! If he disengages totally from the family, it's his DF's problem....not yours for goodness sake!!!
Maybe we made a mistake with D2 moving out of her room. It would have been better if M had to sleep in shed from start But things are getting difficult. I have told DH I think M is using his diabetes to self-harm. This really can't go on. DH has said he will speak to him.
You need to do more than get his DF to 'speak to him'! You both need to sit down and thrash out a strategy for coping with this situation, one which considers your DSS's condition and life generally, but even more importantly, the well being of you and the rest of your family!
If things go on as they are, then all your lives will become miserable and intolerable. How would you feel if your DD's said...'enough is enough, we're moving out because DSB is making life impossible'! And it could happen!!!
You need to get some proffesional help and advise, both medically and emotionally....before it's too late!
You've known, loved in fact you said, this man since before his son was born. You're aware of the physical violence between his son and his ex a decade ago that ended that relationship, and his troubles prior. You chose to be with him despite this.
Your DH checking out emotionally is, sad to say, probably large part of your DSS problems. You said you'd be devastated to lose him though...Your gonna need to change your mindset if things have a hope of getting better. i.e. taking responsibility (not blame) for your choices in this and planning your action (e.g. If this happens, I'll do that). Can you get counselling singly and as a couple from your GP / work?
Agree with Widgin. It's his son, so your DH primarily has to take action. You can support him, but honestly you need to think hard about shoring your own self up emotionally first. Your own kids need that. Isn't the 15 year old doing GCSEs? Is their dad supportive? If so just wondering what he thinks.
If you think it might stir him to action, show your DH this thread.
Sorry to hear your having problems.
I'm currently in a similar situation with my 26 yo SS who has moved back in and has no responsibilities at all. I've had difficulties with him for about 7 years now. DW always defends him no matter what I say and I feel my opinions and rules have no importance in the house. I think this has had a massive impact on our relationship, because SS and SD always go to their mother for advice and I never even get included in decisions most of the time. Like you I have now only taken the decision to withdraw my support from him so I can focus my energies on more positive times.
My thoughts are with you...
Superdoop how are things with you and your family...any resolutions?!
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