My difficult child....where do I even begin? I have 2 children. One is my daughter, my eldest, who I'm extremely close to, mostly as a result of everything we have had to go through together. She is the child of a HS boyfriend & has never met her bio dad. My son, my difficult child, was born almost 3 years after her. His father is a textbook psychopath. right down to the last drop. In some ways I hate myself for falling for his charm and subsequently putting up with his controlling, abusive behavior, but on the other hand I have to tell myself I was only an 18 year old girl. My mother was horrified by me being an unwed teenage mother, so she made me feel as if I had to hurry up and get married, so I did. After 5 years I finally managed to break away from that relationship, but not without trauma to both my kids and to myself. My son's (difficult child) father would over the course of the next 17 years pop in and out of our lives. He's disappear for years at a time (once prompting my difficult child to tell everyone that his father died in the twin towers during the 9/11 incident). I remarried once during my kid's childhood, but we later divorced. I found that manipulative people aren't always violent and aggressive, sometimes they are quiet and just degrading. My difficult child has displayed behaviors over the course of his life that have always indicated something is amiss. I've always felt as if I am the enemy. While he was in school, he would regularly fail classes but get "pushed along" because he was obviously not a stupid kid. His reading level, math skills and worldly knowledge has always been far beyond his age level. My daughter's as well, but she lacked the personality defects that my son had displayed. In his mind, the world was against him and everyone around him hated him. Love and material gain always went hand in hand. In order to show him love, It had to come through some physical source. Hugs, kisses & cuddling never were enough. In later years he loved to pull out the "you always loved my sister more than me" card, but what I tried to explain is that I've always loved both my kids equally, what he saw is that she loved me back. He would be charming & funny to everyone around us, but verbally, emotionally and physically abusive towards us. I'd try to talk to people about it, but they would act as if I were this awful parent who just mistreated and/or neglected him and he was just acting out. When he turned 18, he got worse. He started smoking cigarettes (this was my fault, apparently. Even though I never smoked, he blamed it on me by saying the 2 men I married were both smokers and those were the biggest male influences in his life) and then he started smoking pot. Given that he was of a legal adult age and also almost a foot taller than my daughter and I, it became even harder to control him. He had always stolen from us without guilt, remorse or admission, but now it became even more callous. He stole Christmas presents that were intended for him (!), justifying that they were for him anyway, he had nothing clean to wear and didn't feel like doing laundry, so it was ok. He also stole candy that was meant to put into stockings that were not necessarily meant for him. This, when I called him out on it, was justified because he didn't think there was anything in the house to eat, thus making it my fault in his mind. When we finally were forced to move because he destroyed his bedroom in the apartment we were living in (causing me to pay 2K to the landlord, 2K I didn't have as a single mom with no financial help from anyone) I had hoped for a new beginning. It never happened. He was as violent, disrespectful, abusive and manipulative as always. His new bedroom got trashed, he stole from me and his sister (didn't matter what. Everything from money to restaurant leftovers) and became even more unpredictable. Things finally came to a head, he once again acted out physically against his sister and I, and I got a restraining order against him. My sister took him in for a while. He gave his usual story about what an awful mother I am and I'm a total psycho etc. She bought into it initially, but after a few weeks he did the same thing to her. Utterly trashed the space he was living in, stole money from her purse and even took her medication out of her bedroom. She kicked him out and he went to his father's, the only place left at this point. From there his father found him a rooming house in some trashy neighborhood and then he went into job Corp. After he graduated from JC, I thought it was finally over. I let him move back home come November after he graduated from JC. He promised to pay rent, he promised to keep his space clean, to not steal and to contribute to the household in general. Meanwhile, the August before I let him move home I had remarried. It went ok a first. There were things missing on occasion, but I could fluff them off as just being misunderstood. Then there were more things going wrong. He never paid rent, not one dime, even when he was working. He trashed his room. Again. Still, I denied. This went on for almost 2 years. Things would disappear, I'd cover it up. He'd trash his room, I'd justify it by claiming he was at least working. Now, he is 21. He is hardly ever home since he is now with a new girlfriend. My daughter moved to ME for most of the year and now I cant fluff off or deny things he is doing or has done. While my daughter had been gone my husband and I went on vacation for a week. A few weeks after coming back I found that my Grandparent's wedding rings are now gone. I tried to ask my difficult child about them and even left him an "out" by asking If maybe he had friends over who may have taken them. Nope, of course not. I've had money taken from my purse, movies taken out of my room, my daughter "lost" her train pass and so many other things on such a regular basis I can't keep track. I bring my purse into my room with me at night & bring my medications with me wherever I go, that I can say. This past week he took an electric blanket that my daughter had just bought. Seems like such a small thing, but it screamed things I can no longer deny. When I confronted him about it he said "well Laura's heat is off so we don't have any"(Laura being his girlfriend). I told him it wasn't his to take and he said "well, she has 2 and I have none". After explaining to him that she bought it because her other one broke the response was "Well, it was on the floor". Again, when I told him it wasn't his to take, he started to yell at me, claim that his sister has screwed him over & I don't even know about it & that my husband is an and claimed that I am the only person in this family he gives a (excuse my language) about. After this he left the house & hasn't been around since. Thanksgiving went by and nothing. I'm in anguish because I alternately want him to be around because he is my son, but also know how much he is hurting my family...and me. I don't know where to put my feelings and emotions. He blames me for everything and I feel guilty because its true that I couldn't be there as much as I wanted because of my job, but I also know that I have one child, now 24 who knows what we've been put through and tries to tell me it's him, not me who is flawed. I've tried everything. He was evaluated back in grade school & found to possibly have NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD). Every time I've tried to bring him to a therapist they tried to tell me he was "normal", because he would be polite and charming throughout his visits. His daycare teacher did pick up on some unusual behavior once. Back in the post 9/11 era. He would build Lego towers and drive a plastic plane into them. She said it was perfectly normal for an 8 year old to act out their fears in such a manner right after such an event. However, this was almost a year after the event and the average 8 year old does not do that. God knows I've got parenting regrets from over the years, but, not enough to warrant what he has put us through. I can't deny anything any longer. I've tried to explain to my daughter & my husband that when people make excuses for the wrongdoings of their loved ones, they aren't making excuses for that person, but for themselves. How do you live with the thought that a person you brought into his world and have loved with all you have to give can give a rat's ass about you?