Adult child stealing from us....

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by JerseyDad, Sep 29, 2010.

  1. JerseyDad

    JerseyDad Guest

    For the past 4 years, we have been dealing with an adult child who has stolen jewelry and hocked it, removed my wife's debit card from her pocketbook and removed hundreds of dollars from our checking account, and then took her credit card number and charged up a storm. We kicked her out of the house and changed the locks. She was in college, dropped out without telling us and moved in her friend. In the process, she stole jewelry from her friend's mother, was arrested and stayed in a cell for one night. She got slapped on the wrist with probation and paid retribution. She was admitted into a Rehab facility for both drinking and emotional issues, was diagnosed Bi-Polar and placed on medication and monthly counseling after her inpatient followed by outpatient care. She came home with understanding if she ever did anything to us again, she was out for good.

    She was on the road to recovery, or so we thought, until March of this year when she was fired from her job for stealing almost $5,000.00. She is in court today for her 2nd slap on the wrist - more probation, more retribution and a big fine.

    As if that wasn't enough, yesterday I realized my credit card bill was 3-4 days late and called the toll free customer service line to discover that over $2,200.00 was charged to my account. It turns out when I reported on September 1st that I never received my new card (old one expired August 31st, 2010), that it was actually delivered and intercepted my our daughter. They sent me a new one overnight but she went to town in all her usual haunts in an 8 day spending spree.
    I had the credit card company close the account and send me an appeal form that will have to filled out and sent back. In addition I have to file a complaint with the local police department.

    It's fairly safe to say that this will never end and that she's not be treated for the correct problems. I believe she is a sociopath with a criminal mind. I believe she gets a rush from stealing. I do NOT believe she's bi-polar.

    She went from saying she was sorry to screaming profanities at me. I wanted to kick her out of the house immediately, but I rethought my position because today she's sentenced for the 2nd time and when I file my complaint with the police, she will be facing a VOP - violation of probation. The judge told her that one more offense and she goes to jail.

    We have been enabling her, as has the rest of the family. My father, who has onset Alzheimer's gives her money, including this morning when she showed up at his door. I've told him over and over to stop giving her money and today he finally got the message.

    To me, our only choice is to have her removed from the house, arrested and cut ties.

    It is affecting our entire family and we can not live like this anymore.

    Any advise or suggestions?

  2. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Jersey dad, I don't think there is anything as awful as not being able to trust your child. To think of all the sacrifices you made to give her the life she had and the repayment is stealing gives me a sick feeling. Unfortunately, she isn't looking at it that way.
    What makes you think or not think she has bipolar? Has she been evaluated? Does she have a substance abuse problem or is that secondary to her mental disorder?
    If she can get inpatient rehab for substance abuse would be my first thought. Second, is do the vop so she ends up in jail and third, change the locks on the doors and not allow family to give her any money. Especially if she is using it for drugs.
    Has she been evaluated for Boarderline Personality Disorder? If you have a clear understanding of what is going on in her brain, it will give you a direction in what you can do to help your family. She doesn't get to suck the life out of the whole family.
    You may want to post this in the Parent Emeritus forum. It's for parents of difficult child older than 18.
    Also if you go to the forum directory, you will see the title "Board Help" It will give you the abbreviations and how to do a signature that gives us some additional info.
  3. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    BiPolar (BP) seems to be a general diagnosis thrown around. I do not believe it is being diagnosed correctly. I do not think my daughter is bipolar, either, yet supposedly after a day in a psychiatric hospital that is what she was "diagnosed" with. Yup, her and every other kid in there. You may be right - she may get the rush from stealing. Either way, she very obviously cannot live in your home and you need her to deal with her own consequences. She is an adult. Let her experience jail. If we keep bailing our kids out, they will never have an excuse to stand on their own two feet. (This is advice I also have to take only I have another 356 days until mine is 18.)
  4. JerseyDad

    JerseyDad Guest

    She was in a well known East Coast rehab facility -- for 1 month as an in-patient and 2 months as an out-patient - both times. The first time she was there she was diagnosed Bi-Polar. I have doubted and questioned it from day one. I believe she is a sociopath or to be politically correct -- Antisocial Personality Disorder. She has the following symptoms:

    Glibness/Superficial Charm
    Manipulative and Conning
    Grandiose Sense of Self
    Pathological Lying
    Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
    Shallow Emotions
    Incapacity for Love
    Need for Stimulation
    Callousness/Lack of Empathy
    Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
    Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency
    Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity
    Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle
    Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility
    Contemptuous of those who seek to understand them
    Does not perceive that anything is wrong with them
    Only rarely in difficulty with the law, but seeks out situations where their tyrannical behavior will be tolerated, condoned, or admired
    Conventional appearance
    Has an emotional need to justify their crimes and therefore needs their victim's affirmation (respect, gratitude and love)
    Incapable of real human attachment to another
    Unable to feel remorse or guilt
    Narcissism, grandiosity (self-importance not based on achievements)

    It's almost textbook.
  5. JerseyDad

    JerseyDad Guest

    Thank You! I agree with you 100%. The trick was to get my wife on board. She seems to be - FINALLY. Enabling her will NOT help her at all, it only hurts her.

    I told my wife (to quote Dr. Phil - even with a little souther draw) -- you keep helping her and enabling her and feeling sorry for her -- HOW'S THAT WORKING FOR YA? We both laughed a little (humor is the BEST coping device) and she agreed that we have to take a strong stand and show tough love.

    We're in our 50's, looking at retirement in the next 5 years, what kind of retirement will we face is she continues this? I have a friend who's sister's son is 39, still living at home and stealing, and abusing his mother all the time. She has cancer too! She's now afraid of him and that can't be helping her health at all.

    The more I think about this, the more I know I'm doing the right thing.
  6. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    This doesn't sound like Bi-Polar to me, even though that's the latest thing being thrown around as an excuse for celebreties acting badly. I have BiPolar (BP) and I do not steal. I do not abuse people, and I abide by the law.

    Bipolar people are more prone to self medicate with drugs/alcohol, but that's usually the result of the anxiety that goes along with the disorder, or the depression
  7. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    You might wish to work with the police. You absolutely need to remove her from your home. But as an adult she has some rights, and in some states you are required to give her a notice and go through an eviction process. Although if she is stealing or doing damage I think the laws have exceptions, but make sure you know what you can legally do first. She will not stop doing the damage and even with a mental illness she is responsible for her actions and her life. You and your wife are not putting her out, she is destroying her own opportunities. You can't continue to fund thousands of dollars of theft, and you can't guard against future theft if she is determined.

    Our hearts are with you. This is a very difficult place you are in.
  8. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    If she is stealing and has a history of substance abuse, there's a good chance that the substance abuse is one of the issues here. I would be tempted to search her room. I also agree that borderline is a strong possibility, based on the behavior your describe. The list of behaviors/symptoms is very similar to borderline (in fact, many personality disorders have those same symptoms). There are some good books out there for dealing with borderline personality disorders, especially the "Walking on Eggshells" ones, which may help you as you struggle with this situation.

    I would definitely contact your local authorities regarding the laws for evicting an adult child from yur home. Here, you have to give 30 days notice and file using the eviction process through the courts. Of course, if you find illegal drugs in your home, all bets are off in my book.

    At this point, you are not doing her any favors by refraining from pressing charges. She needs to own her behavior, and suffer the consequences of her choices.

    I want to echo the suggestion that you come on over the Parents Emeritus forum; there are many of us over there who have "been there done that" with our adult children. If you read through the posts there you will see many stories similar to your own.
  9. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    In your opening paragraph, you said this: "She came home with understanding if she ever did anything to us again, she was out for good."

    You answered your own question. I feel for you and your wife, because I know it is easier said than done. You both want so badly for her to change her ways and you feel like you would be giving up on her if you do kick her out. What a very tough place to be in. Whatever you do, you have to be able to live with it - with peace in your heart and minds, knowing it is the best decision.

    How much time in jail will she receive once you file the police report?
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think BiPolar (BP) is thrown around way too much too, both for kids and adults. To me it also sounds like a personality disorder or a combo of a few personality disorders...maybe borderline is one of them.
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    My sister lived next door to our parents. My sister's son was off the rails, on drugs, selling his body for money for drugs, breaking into homes to steal, I'm certain he was stealing from y sister but she wouldn't tell us. He of course grew up knowing where the key was for my parent's home and found their stash of cash in the freezer (people don't realise, everyone hides money there!). My parents had hidden the cash there even in their own home, because they knew their grandson was in the area and had previously stolen from the more obvious places such as their wallets. They did not call the police when he stole from family, which taught him that family money was his for the taking, it BELONGED to him.

    Nephew is now clean and straight. He served serious time in prison and now realises there is a lot wrong with him. Not antisocial personality disorder though. But while he was on drugs, he behaved as if he had antisocial personality disorder. The drugs were secondary to other learning problems not well managed by schools back then, although my sister did a great deal to help him. He now acknowledges this. He is back in my sister's life, but only from a distance. I think he feels deeply ashamed and feels he doesn't deserve to be involved with family, although we did make a point of inviting him to all three of our kids' weddings. I didn't expect him to come but would have made him welcome, because in his case, I think he really has changed.

    But what it took was awful, and very upsetting. He was abusive, he told my sister he would make sure she never saw her grandchildren again, he told her she was a horrible mother (she wasn't). In other words, after stealing form her, stealing from family, turning his back on everything she had tried to do for him, seeing her try to save him from jail - he taunted her with everything he could think of that was designed to hurt her as much as he could. But that was the drug addict talking. Never trust a drug addict.

    My sister finally had to stop trying to save him from jail. That hurt her a lot. But he had to reach rock bottom, and the longer she tried to save him, the longer it took for him to get his back to the wall.

    You took your daughter back in, in March, saying that one more incident and she would be done. Since then she's done some pretty big things. You need to stick to your original claim. The trouble is, in her mind she did those things months ago, and only now are you getting angry? Of course she stopped stealing, you just haven't had the chance to notice yet. Then it will be, "Oh well, if you're not even going to give me a chance, if despite all my assurances you won't trust me, I might as well go on stealing form you. After all, it's what you expect, isn't it? which of course makes you feel, when she does steal, that somehow it's your fault. It is not.

    Be strong, talk to the cops. Dump her in it. Chances are, she's done the rounds of the mail boxes and stolen other credit cards as they come in. Ask the neighbours. Not everyone is as vigilant as you (they don't have to be) and also, credit card companies often pay up quietly and don't report problems when someone insists, "But those purchases are not mine, check the signature."

    We had something similar happen to us a couple of years ago - our cards were about to expire (husband & I share cards on the same account) but the new ones had not arrived. The PIN had been posted and arrived several weeks (a month, I think) and finally, a few days before expiry, the cards arrived. We keep extra credit on that account as a rule (to avoid incurring interest charges) but when husband first tried to use the card, the transaction was declined because it was maxed out. husband is very good at tracking, got online to check his credit purchases and found someone had been buying opera tickets in bulk in Rome. No way was it us. We went to the police as well as the bank and have not heard anything since, apart from a letter form the bank saying, "We are giving you the benefit of the doubt for now, that you did not make these purchases. If this changes, you will be made to pay it back."
    I'd love to know what happened; I suspect something happened way back at despatch, the card eventually had arrived in the bank's envelope as it should have, so whoever intercepted it was able to use the bank's envelope. And we had never rung to ask for the card to be re-sent - we did eventually get it. Just delayed. But nobody will tell us, because our part in it is done. And so these crimes can be so easy to get away with, because people do not know to be vigilant, or to complain, or to report it. We nearly didn't go to the police, husband didn't think it was needed, he thought the bank would look into it. But the banks try to keep these things quiet. it costs money to investigate; if only a few thousand are involved, that's the cost of an investigator for a day or two and that won't tell them enough.

    So ask the neighbours. Talk to the bank Talk to the police. If she has done this to neighbours, then it's not just you sending her to jail. It would be best to be obvious that it's her own actions putting her in jail, and not vindictive parents (which will be her fiction, unless there are other cases as well not involving you guys).

    Be strong. You need to be. There is almost certainly a lot more going on with her than you realise - March to September is a long time for her to not commit a crime of sorts, she seems to be addicted to the adrenalin rush and the need to feel superior to the people she steals from.

  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi, welcome to our corner of the world. I am so sorry you had to find us.

    You seem to have my son's female twin. I wouldnt rule out bipolar but she could also have a personality disorder along with the bipolar. My son does.

    My son stole from us too. He also shoplifted and stole gas from gas stations. He has many of the criteria for ASPD but he does have empathy for others and he wouldnt physically harm anyone unless they harmed him first. We had him charged for stealing from us which was a very hard thing to do but it was probably the best thing we ever did for him. He now has a bigger fear of what can happen to him if he breaks the law. I still feel a bit sad that it came down to that but I know I didnt have a choice.
  13. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Hopefully, once in jail, they will refer her to another treatment program for substance abuse. I know there are a few facilities, through the county jail systems in NJ, that are located in Westfield and another one up in that area too.

    Be strong. I know it will be hard, but hopefully, she'll get the treatment she needs.
  14. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi, and welcome.
    I agree with-the others, both that you can't really diagnosis when she's using, as well as the amt of overlap between all the dxes. Don't know if the BiPolar (BP) medications helped at all... also wanted to add that I know a few BiPolar (BP) people and, while they spend like crazy when they're manic, they have never stolen other people's money.
    There's a big difference.
    I am so sorry for the hurt you and your family are going through. Your daughter is clearly out of control. I can see from your note that she is supposed to be out of the house for good now, and that you are following through with-the police. That is all you can do at this point.
    I hope that once she is in jail and gets off the drugs she's on, she can get some real help.
    There is nothing more you can do but detach, and in the meantime, have yourself a gut-wrenching cry.
    Just because she has destroyed her life doesn't mean she gets to destroy yours, too.
    You've got to get your life back.
  15. Farmwife

    Farmwife Member

    When I was at the height of my mania and was *ahem* "partying" a bit I fit 90% of that list of behaviors/symptoms. As soon as I hospitalized/stabilized I became much less *ahem* twisted.

    I quite literally looked up many diagnosis in the DSM and posed the question to my psychiatric that maybe I was a sociopath, I really was thinking it may be the case, I thought I was textbook for many many disorders. I was a very not nice person at the time. What they told me was that the deeper you get into your illness (BiPolar (BP) in my case) and the further away from stability you venture the more it is possible to display some behaviors from other disorders, crossover behaviors if you will. Or in my own words "the more spun out of control you get the more mixed up the illness gets."

    The true sign of BiPolar (BP) is the manic and then depressive states. You can mix in some "flair" or have extra labels tacked on but the up down, hot cold nature of it is the biggest sign. At the time I thought I was a socio I mixed in a lot of flair due to my immaturity and sadly, character flaws which in hindsight I have spent a lot of time trying to change. Now, today I am nothing like that list, nothing. I still live with BiPolar (BP) though. Everyones BiPolar (BP) presents in uniques ways, same goes for other diagnosis. I just happened to take my BiPolar (BP) to the extreme, I'm just that kind of person, never was well behaved.

    Ultimately, and in my opinion, labels are not incredibly useful. It does give one some clues and direction but it still comes down to:

    1.Is she willing to do the work it takes to accept her issues and grow/move on to be a better member of her family and society?
    2.How much more are you willing to tolerate, what are your boundaries?

    As an adult she is the captain of her own fate. The medications that are used for various disorders are often times interchangable. Managing these types of conditions isn't an exact science. You try a little of this and then a little of that and see what works best. The common theme to recovering a normal life is a willing patient. Without that the rest is spinning your wheels.

    I had to make a miserable rock bottom crash landing before I woke up. Between 18 and 26 I was a MESS. I am amazed I didn't end up worse off because I made every possible bad decision there was. Then one day I got tired of rock bottom and made my first good decision. I had to get there on my own, no amount of family love would sink into my thick skull.

    It was an especiallly painful process for my family, something I still deeply regret and work on everyday. The medication that stabilized me was an antipsychotic, I was never psychotic though...

    I am chewing on the idea that I could have been misdiagnosed. That is an interesting concept brought up today in this thread. Still, I am who I am and the road to recovery was what it was. Six of this and half dozen of another. You know?:peaceful:
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2010
  16. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Am I correct in assuming that the credit card company will only remove the $2200 on the condition that this truly is theft - with the filed police report to prove it?
  17. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    That is how it is for us in Australia, DaisyFace, so I presume it is for you guys too. It would just be too easy to go on a spending spree yourselves then try to get out of the expense by claiming your wayward teen got their hands on your card and spent it. If you want the credit card company to not bill you, they need to be sure you're not just stringing them along. Let's say your kid goes on a spree and buys a big screen TV, maybe buys other stuff you can use for the house which you actually get to enjoy - but you want to get out of it for free. Blaming the kid would be a good way, and would be used a lot, if there were no consequences and if it worked.

    So really, it stands to reason that if you did not authorise the expenditure and you want to be rescued from what your kid has done, you have to be prepared to drop them in it. Just as if the neighbourhood car burglar broke in and stole your jewellery. You would need to file a police report in order to claim on your contents insurance.

    In the same way, the credit card company has to file their own insurance claim and for this, it generally requires a police report. It's why a lot of parents don't dob their kids in, but quietly pay the bills. Until it gets too much.

  18. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    In the same way, the credit card company has to file their own insurance claim and for this, it generally requires a police report.

  19. JerseyDad

    JerseyDad Guest

    I made that comment when we THOUGHT she was properly diagnosed and on the proper medication, but we both believe now that she was misdiagnosed, whether it's borderline or antisocial personality disorder, it's NOT BiPolar (BP) Disorder.

    I am going to the police department tomorrow. I have to file a complaint anyway or the charges will not be removed from my credit card.

    I told my wife, this morning, I will NOT live my life as her hostage anymore. This was the final straw. When I discussed it with her last night, after she came home from court for her sentencing from her March embezzling, she basically called me a Piece of S... and that was when I realized that this 2nd slap on the wrist did nothing. She is a person that will have to bottom out or become so disgusted with her life that she WANTS to get help. I can not support her lifestyle anymore.

    Thanks so much!
  20. JerseyDad

    JerseyDad Guest

    DaisyFace -- we've been through this before with our daughter, but at that time we didn't know she did it or even think of her as a suspect. This time, I know for certain because it's all of her favorite haunts. You call your credit card company, they send you a form, you list every charge you didn't make. Then you go to the police department, file a complaint. I can't remember if we had to supply the credit card company with the docket number or if the police dep't. did so, but I'll find out tomorrow.

    Depending on the credit card company, you do NOT pay for these charges that you did not make.