Hi there - thank you for having this board! I have seen this problem described elsewhere on the board, but I didn't want to hijack anyone else's thread, so I thought perhaps this could serve as an introductory post as well. Thanks for reading... like so many stories it's a long one, although I'm condensing it considerably. My husband and I have been married for almost 24 years and we have four children, two of each. Our youngest, 14, is at home but the other three are either gone or close to it. The person that I am writing about is our oldest son, 23 years old, "John." Even from the earliest times, John was not comfortable being a member of our family. He was snide, and aloof, had a very fuzzy relationship with the truth, and also (again from the early days) felt that if he wanted something, namely and mostly money, he was entitled to it. When John was 13 he was diagnosed with a serious medical problem, and all throughout high school he was on heavy medication. This interfered with his schooling, and he did not get into the college of his dreams. John is quite bright, however. John has always been a thief. Money disappeared here on a regular basis. He had counseling (psychiatric and spiritual) for it but it never changed much. So far as we know we are the primary victims, although he has stolen from relatives and friends as well. John's stealing increased dramatically when he left for college in 2008. He primarily steals by taking my debit card number and using it to purchase things online; he has also taken checks and forges them; he also creates emergencies that need to be solved with large amounts of immediate cash. I would say that he has taken between $50-200 every week since he's been gone (although sometimes he'll steal a big amount at once, like $2000, and then stay quiet for a few months). He tried (unsuccessfully thank God) to obtain a credit card in his Dad's name and have it sent to him, and he also stole my other son's paycheck and forged it. He has stolen from at least one girlfriend that we know of. He visits my husband's office when he knows my husband won't be there, and riffles through his desk and briefcase looking for checks or financial information. Needless to say, we have taken every protective measure possible short of involving the authorities. One of the reasons we have not yet involved the police is because John is actually, genuinely, medically ill. He had a major organ transplant in the summer of 2011. Although we had hoped that this "second chance at life" would cause John to re-think his life, it hasn't done so. We have always been leery of getting John involved with the criminal justice system, because we've been afraid that he might actually die in custody (he is on a rigorous anti-rejection medication schedule and missing even one dose could be fatal). Just as a side note, although I know that very often stealing like this can indicate substance abuse, I don't think it does in John's case - first, because it started so early and second, because, with his medical condition, he's blood-tested almost every week and I know they screen for drugs. Plus, for him taking illegal drugs would put him in the hospital immediately, he's that debilitated. Of course, John knows about our concerns for his health, and to a large extent plays on this fear, and our general pity for him and his situation, to continue to steal. That is the only reason he's been in our life as long as he has. He radically increased the pace of his stealing over the past Christmas break (just in the past six weeks, we are down by over $3000) and so, finally, yesterday, we "pulled the plug" and told him that he was no longer part of our family and that he is not to contact us or visit us ever again. I'm sick and sad and sorry and guilty and don't know what to do or where to go. I feel like we are the only family ever to have this problem! I feel so ashamed, like we must be to blame for this, while at the same time I know that's not true, either. I do believe that John is a sociopath. The reason we finally cut him off was because we both came to the conclusion that he will not, actually, ever change. He puts up a good front - I think he can "mimic" the emotions of caring and loving very well, but when it comes down to it, it's really all an act. I have held him, sobbing, laying on the couch, and found that at that identical time, he was stealing a debit card number from me. He has repeatedly victimized my husband, even though he knows that my husband is fighting cancer himself and may not even be around all that much longer. In short, I do not think that John really has any feelings for anyone besides himself, although he is very good at appearing as if he did. I guess what I need to hear is encouragement to stay strong in keeping John out of our life, and also some assurance that one day I will feel happy again. Will I?