New member: need support

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Angie, Sep 23, 2014.

  1. Angie

    Angie New Member

    I have a ss that is our difficult child. I don't know all the abbreviations yet but am learning. I have been with my partner for 4 years now and difficult child is 18 now. He has had trouble from a very young age that his mom has been dealing with. Latest diagnosis is psychosis non specified he has had audio and some visual hallucinations. He graduated last year and since turning 18 stopped taking his medication. He has anger problems says he hates both me and his mom but we are the only ones who give him rules. We believe if he is living in our home that he has to follow some basic rules and they aren't much. He does ok if we just leave him alone and let him ignore us and we ignore him. The minute we ask him to help with the kitchen or get his dirty dishes out of his room he get angry and that starts a fight. I try to stay out of it as much as possible. But it's hard when I hear him talk to his mom in such a disrespecful way to the point of calling her b****.

    I am having trouble myself with anger over all of this. I'm angry at him sometimes I think i take out my anger at my partner and I don't want to do that. He is almost all I can think about how difficult he is. I have been reading about detachment and that is helpful but honestly I find it so hard when he is living in our home. I see him everyday and just seeing him gets me in a bad mood and seems to be all I can think about. I just need a place to vent, I 'm not even sure if all this is making sense there are so many emotions going on in me right now.

    My partner used to be part of this forum when her difficult child was younger and she was learning. She said it helped her and she recommended the forums to me.
    Thanks for listening.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Funny, I have recently taken my research of mental illness to include psychosis/schizophrenia, something I really never experienced or understood. I'm going to say, perhaps differently than others, that while your stepson certainly seems unable to live with you or manage his illness, that psychosis is a different animal that what most of us are dealing with. Psychosis is a real, very frightening (to the patient) and solid excuse for not being able to follow rules. Their thinking is so delusional and so fragmented that half the time they don't know what is real and what isn't and in my opinion the best thing you and your partner can do for him is to find him a group home. But I wouldn't treat him as if he were "bad." He is definitely one of those difficult children who is quite ill. Often they don't take medications because they can't...they forget...or the voices in their head tell them it's poisin and not to take it. It's a scary world. I would try to find him a safe place that can give him structure and monitor his illness, including medication. This is not self-induced and he didn't ask for it.

    This youtube video simulates somebody who has psychosis. I just listened to it myself and was shocked at how bad it is for the patient. I had no idea that psychosis could be this scary and life altering. It is truly something to pity rather than to get angry about. Ok, here's the YouTube video! Hope it moves you the way it moved me! Should give you a better understanding of your stepson and what he needs and how hard it would be to function while psychotic, hearing voices. It drove me nuts just listening to it! Imagine if you couldn't turn it off!!!

    I don't think you can call somebody this sick as disobedient. He is sick. This auditory hallucination film doesn't even touch visual hallucinations. This is a very ill young man, not a bad one. There are other such videos are YouTube.

    Here is another really scary b ut good simulation. It has pictures in it.

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    Last edited: Sep 23, 2014
  3. Angie

    Angie New Member

    Thank you MWM those videos are helpful. It is sometimes hard for me to remember he is ill. He doesn't talk to his mom about his illness at all. There is schizophrenia in the family too, my wife 's mother had severe schizophrenia. This was very helpful
  4. Angie

    Angie New Member

    LucyJ, I will look into these books. Thank you so much. Being step-parent is difficult. There are two other kids in the family that we get along great and have good relationships. difficult child's bio mom says his anger toward her is actually less now that he directs it toward me. I already feel better being on this site talking with people who I know understand.
  5. Angie

    Angie New Member

    LucyJ, your post here with the books disappeared, I don't see it anymore. Can you post the names of the books again please. thanks
  6. 2much2recover

    2much2recover Well-Known Member

    So informative - thanks for posting!
  7. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    No idea what's happened there.

    Yes of course, the books are:

    'The Step-parent's Parachute' by Flora McEvedy


    'The Courage to be a Step-Mom' by Sue Patton Theole

    I hope they're useful!
  8. Angie

    Angie New Member


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  9. OpenWindow

    OpenWindow Active Member

    @MidwestMom, I remember you from way back when I was active here. Good to hear from you.

    The difficult child in question is my son. He's has been diagnosed with Psychosis, but hasn't had any (or at least admitted to any) hallucinations for more than a year. The psychiatrist said he could be lying to us, or it could be true. I haven't seen any signs but I'm not convinced difficult child wouldn't lie and cover up so he can stay off medications and I can't do anything about it. Even when he was having the hallucinations, he could tell them apart from reality. So it's hard to know whether this is something he has no control over, or if he does. I know his behaviors are because of his disorders, but I'm not convinced he has lost touch with reality and at least some self-control, if that makes sense.

    He is a huge black-and-white thinker, and in his mind, Angie and I are bad and nothing we do will change that. We are ruining his life and making him miserable. He doesn't give respect "unless it's earned" and in his eyes, we haven't earned it. This despite the fact that we are there for him, and have done what we can to help him. So his attitude is based on his distorted thinking, which we can do nothing to change. His behavior towards us, however, can be influenced at times through consequences - just not the general feeling and attitude he gives off that he hates Angie, and his feelings for me aren't far off.
  10. Angie

    Angie New Member

    Came home Tuesday after work to find out difficult child had been smoking pot in our house very recently, the smell was strong and unmistakable. His sister was home, who is 14. It was a bad night. My wife, his bio mom tried to talk with him but he just ignored her wouldn't even look at her. He did admit he is depressed but he refuses to do anything about it. Bio mom suggested therapy, medication, getting some excercise but doesn't want to do any of it.
    I made a therapy appointment for myself to help me deal with the anger and all the other emotions I feel toward ss-difficult child. The only person I had been venting to is my wife which I know puts more pressure on her. I don't want his illness-problems to come between us. I feel like that is something he wants to happen anyway.
    thanks for listening.
  11. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    I think that is a definite possibility. Maybe you and your partner should talk about this and have some strategies in place to ensure that your relationship doesn't fall into second place behind your SS's needs. He is 18 now. Is he likely to be living with you for the foreseeable future? Or is there a plan for him to live independently?
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I am very interested in psychiatric disorders because myself and my genetic family on both sides have been riddled with them so I study anything I can about them. Take this as a fact. If he is schizophrenic, he can not control what he does, even if he knows he has hallucinations. Not with schizophrenia. Psychotic depression...which is a seperate do know they are hallucinations. I had one delusional depression and I was not sure I was delusional, but a part of me did know it. It didn't make me act normal though. I felt I had to whisper so that the people listening to me outside my house couldn't hear me. That only happened to me once (at age 13), but I still remember it. Weird! I've had many depressive episodes since then, and not delusional. Digressing..

    Schizophrenia, which often is not diagnosed until the hallucinations get so bad that it can't be denied, do affect the ability to function and cause cognitive impairment. I don't know what you are dealing with or if your son really does not have hallucinations anymore. They likely will not go away forever. Even medications are effective for only some symptoms and often the voices remain. Listen to some people talking about their schizophrenic experience on YouTube. It is eye-opening. I had no idea it was that bad.

    My advice, being a little more aware of mental illness than some, is not to just throw him out. He is very sick. He isn't sick with something he can cure himself. He is sick with something that makes him irrational. I would definitely not want to live with him. I'd look for assisted living or group homes. Then if he walks out of them, which many psychotics do because they feel they are being watched or their minds are being read or they just can't handle the people, there is no more you can do. Our mental health system does not protect the mentally ill. To me, as one who suffers, it is insane (no pun intended) to give the psychotic "civil rights" to refuse treatment that they may think is the FBI trying to kill them for their powers to read into the minds of others or whatever their hallucinations/delusions are. But it is what it is. Even psychotic folks in our country have "rights."

    You do not have an easy rode to walk, but I definitely would not take his rantings to heart. It is one thing to have delusions/hallucinations due to your own self-inflicted drug abuse. It is another to have them because of your mind's betrayal. Atlhough I have never had psychosis (that one episode was the most extreme and years ago), I do have the ability to comply with my treatment plan as mood disorders can be managed well in many cases (not all). But schizophrenia is far more serious than any other mental illness. Any form of psychosis takes you out of reality and we, as people who do not have those symptoms, can not guess how much it affects the other person. Often psychotic individuals try very hard to hide their symptoms so that people will not think they are freaks. Yet, when push comes to shove, they can not function with voices and fake visions that seem real to them and are flooding their brains without respite.

    What you choose to do and how you choose to see this young adult is your decision. I am probably considered a real hard a*** on this forum because I totally believe tough love is the best answer to addiction or personality disordered behavior. But I don't think it is fair to apply the same treatment to those who truly have serious mental illness and may not even be able to take their medication because the voices tell them it's poison. I would not expect a psychotic child of mine to be able to make it on his/her own and I would diligently find the best support I could and the best help. This is not the type of adult child I would expect could live on his own in his own apartment and remember to or be able to take his medications and recall appointments and how to get there. They simply aren't rational; not deep inside. Sometimes, though, they can act out dangerously if they get paranoid, which is why I wouldn't want them at home.

    In my family of origin, we are riddled with mood disorders, severe anxiety and panic, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), depersonalization/derealization and, worse, personality disorders. Nobody has had schizophrenia. I think schizophrenia is like living in a waking nightmare from the simulations of hallucinations that I've seen. I feel lucky that I am sane and can control my disorder. But I don't believe psychotic individuals are capable of caring for themselves without a lot of support. So there's my two cents. Take what you feel is helpful and leave the rest.

    Have a good day.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2014
  13. Angie

    Angie New Member

    We have talked about that and we do have good communication with each other. Our goal for him is for him to move out and live by himself. He has had one job so far that only last a couple of weeks, so we are not sure if he will be able to hold a job. We have talked about getting him on disability want to wait and see how job thing goes. His bio dad is not real involved and not too helpful but he did pick him up yesterday and will keep him for few days to give us a break.
  14. HeadlightsMom

    HeadlightsMom Well-Known Member

    Angie & OpenWindow -- First, welcome (and welcome back) to this group. We do support you! That's such a difficult position you're in. While we have many huge difficulties in our situation, we do not have psychosis nor hallucinations (that we know of). I can only imagine how difficult that would be to deal with. I have no wisdom for either of you on that front.

    But I do have support! I feel your hearts in your words. I hear how you're sticking together (way to go on that....these things can tear so many couples apart!) to try to make a safer, healthier home. I honestly don't know what decisions will make that wiser for you all, given your situation. I do have 2 questions, though...

    1) Is your difficult child safe living in your home? (without 24-7 care? I don't know the extent of his symptoms, nor do I know if 24-7 care is required or even an option........just asking)

    2) Are you both safe living in your home?

    MWM -- Thank you so much for posting those 2 YouTube clips. Holy cow! The first clip gave me chills for how scary it must be for difficult child's who battle psychoses. That would scare the buhjeebies out of me. The second clip gave me chills for how scary it could be for all who encounter difficult child mid-hallucination. It seems to me that both difficult child and all around them are at heightened risk.

    Angie & OpenWindow -- We are here for you and we do care!
  15. Angie

    Angie New Member

    I am glad I started sharing here it's nice and helpful to feel supported.
    We feel safe now and I think he is safe without constant supervision. There is an assisted living program we tried to get him in but he needs to see a psychiatrist, be evaluated and therapy first which he refuses to do. He was having the audio hallucinations about a year ago so we don't know if he still is since he wont' see a therapist or talk to anyone about it. Maybe a condition of him con't to stay with us is to be evaluated? If he was out of control or obviously hallucinating we could get him to a hospital. I guess we are at a place where we are waiting to see what happens, we feel like our hands a tied and we can't con't to live like this.
    My wife's mom had schizophrenia and was in boarding homes and hospitals most of her life.
  16. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    Considering the drug use in your home and the anger management issues I would make it mandatory that he sees the psychiatrist and be on medication if he wants to return to the home. This is for his safetly and yours even if it is mental health safety.

    Once you get that started you can truly be able to start evaluating how he is able to function. Right now you are judging his abilities while he is in an altered mental state. Even without hallucinations if he is experiencing any form of psychosis he is not well. You would also be able to look at getting him in assisted living.

    Knowing that following rules is a major stressor for him I might see if there were a way for him to earn something by doing something. Instead of just yelling for him to come pick up his dishes maybe you could say "difficult child, if you will pick these dishes up I will make you a sundae." Or maybe you could offer to make his favorite dinner. It doesn't have to be food oriented but hey he's an 18yr old boy I imagine he eats you out of house and home. LOL It may sound childish but I have found with my girls it helps to avoid the anger which is the most difficult part of dealing with them.
  17. OpenWindow

    OpenWindow Active Member

    MWM, my mom had schizophrenia as did one of her sisters. Another had bipolar. In my 20s and into my 30s, until she passed, I was her main family support. I took her to hospitals, found her boarding homes, talked to her doctors and caseworkers. She could not live on her own nor could she live with me. I am prepared for that to be the life of my difficult child but I am not resigned to it yet. He is more capable than her at this point.

    The main issue is that he refuses to see a therapist. He's with his dad right now, and I texted him and told him that if he wants to stay at our house, he has to agree to see at least a therapist. He responded quite vehemently. Among the responses: not going to a half wit know-it-all who thinks they can help me; do you ever think I do these things because of you; make me live on the streets like the terrible mother you already are. And don't worry about changing my opinion of you. I feel the same about you now as I would if you did that.

    So what do we do with someone who won't get help or even make an attempt to help himself?

    Headlights Mom: thank you for the welcome back! difficult child is living in our home 24-7. He graduated in May and stopped his medications for good in April when he turned 18. I told him I disagreed but really had no control over it and his behavior was much better at that point (because of the medicine, go figure). It took a month or two to get to the point we are at now. I kicked him out of the house and he stayed with his brother for a few weeks and got a job. That was one of the stipulations of him moving back in. The others were behavior-oriented. He agreed to them and moved back in, followed them for a few days and weeks off and on. He got fired from his job this past weekend and refuses to get out of bed, unless it is to go off with his friend and smoke pot.

    I feel like difficult child is safe living in the house - I don't believe he's suicidal and while he's verbally abusive he's not physically unless pushed and provoked. He has pushed me out of his way before, held me to grab a phone I've taken away, but it been a few years since then. It is definitely not a pleasant environment to be in, but we are not in physical danger. It is odd for me so say we are safe because the house does not feel "safe" emotionally at all.

    dstc, thank you as well! I have been using positive reinforcement tactics with him for years and it works at first. Then he "sees through it" and sabotages himself because he doesn't want to be played. The only things that work are his phone and the Internet. I tell him he can have those things if he does what he is supposed to do, that they are the rewards. But he looks upon them as necessities and if I take them away he says he will only get worse because the only thing that helps him is his friends. I do often take them away, however, and it usually motivates him. But he is looking for a job so if I take his phone away he will never find one. It's a catch 22. And... if I take his phone away, then his internet, and he still balks? There is nothing left as incentive for him.

    We really are wrestling with the question of just how sick he is. During school he took care of his responsibilities. He went to regular classes after being in resource in Middle School and being closely watched in jr. high. He held it together and while he got some really bad grades, most were very good considering he didn't do homework or study. He did need some intervention late last winter because of anxiety over whether he would graduate or not, but all it took was telling him he would even if he flunked algebra to get him over that hump. He was in band and the teachers couldn't say enough about how he helped teach the younger kids the marching moves and stayed after often to help. I believe he could thrive in an assisted living environment where someone could make sure his bills were paid, remind him to clean up, and help him find a job. I even believe he could move past that to be independent in a few years. I also believe he could be homeless in a matter of days, get lost in depression, do something stupid and hurt himself or someone else, keep refusing to take his medications and have a break he won't recover from. What I hope for is something somewhere between those two extremes.
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    OpenWindow, I do know there are options, although, because of laws, you have to tread carefully.

    My autistic son has supports and lives mostly independent and is doing well, but, of course, he does not have a mental illness, which makes a big difference.

    If schizophrenia is in the family, he probably has it, considering the hallucinations. It is very hereditary, unfortunately, and even the medications don't necessarily make a schizophrenic sane. It is a sad disease, but I hear that you already know this. Very often schizophrenics think their medications are poison or the voices tell them they are poison and they have so much going on inside themselves that they don't even remember appointments. It's very sad. I have been very interested in this for a few months and have gobbled up anything I could find on this terrible theft of one's mind.

    Whether or not he is more capable right now than others in his family were, without help he will get worse. If it were my child, I would get him Disability and Case Management. That doesn't mean he can't live alone right now, but it means he does get somebody keeping an eye on him in case he gets worse. If my autistic son needed medication, somebody would come in to give it to him. If he needed hospitalization, that would be made known. There is nothing beyond exploring these ideas that you could do. Just remember, he has inherited a nasty set of genes. Please don't get offended. My oldest child and only biological son did too! And he seemed to have picked up the worst of everyone...that is why I adopted all my other children and, trust me, not one of them is mentally ill the way my biological son is. It is nothing your wife did wrong...or you. It just happens in some with t he bad card genes.

    This is a really difficult problem since we don't deal at all with mental illness in the US. We keep them in the hospital for 72 hours if they become a threat to themselves or others and there is no go-to place that they are taken. They are discharged like any other patient, without any supervision. If he can get help and is reminded to take his medication and given it each day, that can stop the disease from progressing. That is sooooooooooo important. But, you and I both know that our laws don't allow us to force them to take we are fresh out of luck here in the U.S.

    I hope you find a satisfactory solution for this adult child that is good for both of you. Living at home is obviously not an option. It is way too stressful and the things that he says, even if psychosis induced, would wear on any normal human being's stress level.You need to be healthy and free of stress as does your wife. You need your home to be your sanctuary. You deserve a good life. You sound like a kind man. Your wife deserves peace as well.

    You have my most heartfelt good wishes as you are in a situation that is so very difficult and none of us can possibly know what to tell you to do. The situation is unique, even to us.

    I will keep your family in my thoughts. Let us know what you decide to do. Nobody will berate you here. It is safe.
  19. OpenWindow

    OpenWindow Active Member

    MWM don't worry about offending me. difficult child got the worst of my side's genes as well as my ex's. He has severe ADHD and possibly Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

    by the way I am not a man. Angie is my wife, difficult child's stepmom. (Same-sex marriage) Back in the day my username was Linda until I changed it so the ex wouldn't invade my privacy.

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  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, ok. That's cool.

    I don't remember you. I'm so sorry. I just hope for the best for your son and you and your partner. It is so challenging when a grown child is unwell. And all of our adult children are unwell.

    I hope you both can find some serenity in your lives tonight. It was a long road for me to find peace and serenity and I sincerely hope you can find it more quickly than I did. Peace :)