At a loss....

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Hospicenurse, Nov 14, 2017.

  1. Hospicenurse

    Hospicenurse New Member

    I don't know what to do anymore. My 22 year old son driving me crazy. I have been dealing with compulsive lying and stealing for many years now and it just keeps getting worse. When he was 17 he got his girlfriend pregnant and they didn't tell me until she was 7 months pregnant. Once the baby was born both parents were very irresponsible and almost lost her to the foster care system. I stepped in and am now raising a 4 year old. When the baby was about a year and a half he decided he was now gay. I was so angry. Not that he was gay. I was angry because he should have decided that before he got a girl pregnant and saddled me with another child for 18 years. I love my grandchild, but all my children were grown at that point. I have helped him so many times. From buying him 2 cars, giving him money, bailing him out of jail, paying deposits for him to have a place to live etc. I can't trust anything he says. He lies about the simplest things. He's stolen from everyone in my home. He even stole an iPhone from his sister once and she found it in the glove box of his car. I recently let him move back in because he had no where to go. I got him a job and enrolled in school. He worked full time for about a month and then just quit. He is finishing up school (it was a 3 month program) but it's by the skin of his teeth. He has stolen from employers as well. He won't hold a job and he won't pay bills. We found out last night that he stole a jug of change that my husband has been saving for years. When confronted he admitted to it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I wouldnt let a kid that stole live at home for any reason. He must not mind being homeless to keep stealing from you. And i know I would have called the.police. My kids all knew that they would face consequences if they did anything illegal under my roof. They were not all angels, but they didnt steal. That would have been an automatic ticket out the door and a date with tje cops. Call me old fashioned, but I think wayward adult kids NEED consequences or they seem to just hurt us more...financially, verbally, even physically sometimes. They dont respect us if we let them run all over us. 9

    Is your son using drugs? He has every symptom of a drug addict. Thdy steal anything to pay for drugs and are not truthful either.

    If he is not using drugs, he has serious personality issues and you need to protect yourself and your daughter from him. Does he get verbally or physically violent or break things? Where is Dad?

    Sometimes "helping" them hurts everyone, them included.
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  3. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    110% SWOT
  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome hospicenurse. I'm sorry you 're going thru this with your son.

    It may be helpful for you to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here.

    It may also be helpful for you to read the book, Codependent no more by Melodie Beattie. It's a wonderful resource for all of us.

    Your son is a thief and a liar. He steals from everyone without consequences so the behavior continues. You're enabling him. Sorry to be so blunt, but it usually takes a direct hit of truth to force us to wake up from the FOG, 'fear, obligation and guilt'. From your post, there is no other way to interpret your son's behavior.

    It can be extremely difficult for us parents to admit to what our kids are really up to. If your son is not a substance abuser, then he has other issues which only he can fix. You can't do it for him.

    What most of us here realize is that WE are the ones who have to change. If you want any change then you will have to make it.....starting with boundaries around your son's behavior. It may be time to tell him that the next time he steals, you will call the police. In order for any change at all to happen, your son must face the consequences of his behavior. You are not helping him by allowing the behavior, you are teaching him that it is ok to lie and steal if you aren't providing negative results when he lies and steals.

    Not working and not paying bills is not real life. If he is unwilling to work, then it may be prudent for you to force him to leave your home. There are shelters in most towns, you can google it to find out where they are. Many of our adult troubled kids act in similar ways and usually at some point, the parents remove them from their homes. You don't deserve to have your sanctuary contaminated by lies and theft, you deserve a safe, peaceful home where you can trust the others living there. You cannot trust your son.

    Many of us require professional help to make these changes. I would suggest you find a therapist, a parent group or somewhere you can go to find guidance, information and support. It is not easy to force our troubled kids to grow up and find their own way when they are refusing to launch. They will manipulate us to continue their entitled lifestyle, so if you choose to change the dynamic and begin to allow your son to face the consequences of his own behavior, gear up for the onslaught of manipulations.

    If your son is a substance abuser, many here find solace and support in Families anonymous, Al Anon and Narc Anon. CoDa, Codependents anonymous is also helpful. If you need support in finding a therapist, you can check out the Psychology today website or Both offer local therapists.

    Disengaging from our adult kids negative lifestyle choices is difficult, we often need a lot of support to make the changes necessary. I encourage you to find support and to keep posting. It helps to write it down and have others, who truly get it, to hear you and respond.

    Hang in there. It sounds as if you've reached the point where change is now necessary. We all understand where you are, we've been there. Take care of YOU, do kind and nourishing things for yourself as you seek support. You've done enough for your son, take care of yourself now.
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  5. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    This is so very true.
  6. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    I agree with the others. His behavior reminded me of substance abuse behavior instantly.

    Please keep reading and posting. It really does help to journal what you are going through and in the end it could actually HELP someone else by reading it!

    Good luck and keep us posted.
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  7. DoneDad

    DoneDad Active Member

    One more thing to consider - how will it affect your grandson going forward seeing his “father” acting like this in your home with no consequences?
  8. Lost in sadness

    Lost in sadness Active Member

    Everyone here have given you words of wisdom and I agree with all of it but I am still at the stage of just 'knowing' and not always 'acting'. It's so very hard and the pace of your actions will always be yours. I think I am learning that I am only stringing out the inevitable most of the time. Its hard stuff, you are not alone. x
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I forgot about grandson. Son has to model better behavior for this childs sake or maybe its best to send Son packing.
  10. Hospicenurse

    Hospicenurse New Member

    Thank you all for replying. All of these are hard truths, but they are the truth none the less. He is not a substance abuser. I know it appears that way from everything I've described, but he isn't. It seems like there is some sort of disconnect. When he lies or steals and is then called out on it he shows no emotion what so ever. But interfere with something her wants to do and he will show you an emotional outburst. I've done quite a bit of research on his symptoms and it does appear that he has a personality disorder. Most of my research has said that medication doesn't fix it. And that sadly, most don't ever change because they think the problem is everyone else. I'm so fearful that this will be his norm forever. I fear that the mother son relationship is gone do to all the lies sms deceit. And that just hurts my heart. My daughter is a straight A college student studying to be a nurse. I just don't understand where I went wrong. His dad has never been in the picture. He had many of the same characteristics that my son does. My husband has been a saint through this all, even taking on the role of father to my granddaughter. When we combined our family we had 5 kids total and he's the only one who behaves this way. The others go out of there way to please us, even though they are adults now.
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I get it. Count your blessings every day for your other kids and angel husband.

    I have a son who I think also may have a personality disorder. He doesnt steal or lie, but he can be abusive unless I set clear boundaries. I have been through a lot with him. Now he lives two states away. He still calls every day...sadly I am like his only friend. But that is partly because he doesnt try and isnt always so pleasant.

    You did nothing wrong. Your other kids are fine and kind. I always think DNA shapes them more than environment. Your son probably did inherit undesirable traits from Dad. He his Dads DNA too. Maybe he got more of Dad than yours.

    You have many blessings. So do I. I choose to focus on those.

    Be good to yourself. You deserve it.
  12. Sam3

    Sam3 Active Member

  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Regardless of what the problem is, until he has to deal with the problem himself, until the consequences fall on him rather than on the family, nothing is going to change. Right now your husband is without his change but your son has no real consequences. He got lectured or yelled at, but he didn't get charged with theft by the police. He didn't get thrown out. Depending on the size of the jar, it could have been hundreds of dollars of change, meaning a felony. Given that he refuses to work, he isn't worried about a felony on his record, so why not press charges? If you press them, you cannot drop them later. You have to go through with them no matter what. I wouldn't even post bail for him. I would use that time when he is being held in jail as time he wasn't living with you so that he would have to find a new place to live when he gets out. But I am like SWOT. I am meaner than most moms. I grew up with a difficult brother who made my life a living Hades on Earth and I swore than when I had my own home, no one would do it to me.

    It is time to realize that you are teaching your grandchild some lessons you don't want to teach her. You don't want her to grow up like her dad. Your other kids are doing well in spite of your son. Your grandchild is watching everything the adults do and wondering and learning. She is wondering why you are letting him walk all over you and break all the rules and not punishing him? At some point she will wonder if that will work for her if she breaks enough rules or is rude enough or loud enough. You need to get your son out of your home before his influence ruins her. You may feel sorry that he is homeless, but you cannot let it ruin her. You accepted responsibility for that little child when you said you would raise her. If you want her to have a chance to turn into a decent adult, you have to kick him out so he doesn't ruin her. Otherwise he will show her that what you say she is supposed to do only counts some of the time, because he doesn't have to do it. That is a very slippery slope.

    He is making choices. When he is truly allowed to fall, and fall hard, he will continue to make choices. He will either actually find a job and work it, or he will find some sucker who will support him. Either way, it won't be your problem. Until now, you have been the people he has chosen to support him. You have to realize that something is more important that the guilt you feel when he starts whining about being guilty or he starts throwing a fit. Clearly you don't consider yourself and your husband to be more important, or you would have cut him off long ago. Please consider the long term welfare of your grandchild, and cut him off.

    He considers it YOUR JOB to support him for the rest of his life!!!!!!!!!! Yes, isn't that a shock?? It is the truth, I bet. When you are gone he will consider it your granddaughter's job to support him. Do you want that innocent little girl to spend her life slaving away to support him? No?? Then toss him out now to set a good example!! Stop the funds and let him figure it out for himself. If nothing else, he can steal for a living. Then the government will give him 3 meals and a bed for various stretches of time over and over again. He can steal small items or large items, but eventually it is choosing to live in a jail. His actions are CHOOSING to not live with you. So far you have just not been able to see it through the smokescreen of FOG (fear obligation and guilt) he has thrown up. Read up on codependency and detachment, and then put your grandchild's needs above your own and kick this overgrown idiot to the curb to live with his choices. When he gets all upset about being homeless, tell him to go find a shelter or a friend, but he cannot be on your property. When he whines about being hungry, tell him to go find a soup kitchen. You can use google to find those in your city or county.

    I know this is hard. Change is really tough, especially after years of dealing with this. But it really is what is best for you, your husband, your other children, and even for him. If he is to have any hope of a better future, he needs to break these awful habits. He won't break them until he learns they are not working for him. But right now, in your home, they are working for him. So you have to make them not work for him by kicking him out. Then he can try them in the real world, where on a lot of people, they probably won't work. They might even get him arrested. In which case, you do NOT have bail money for him because he won't show up for court. he really won't.

    Keep posting here. It really does help. No one here is going to judge you or get mad at you for not taking advice or suggestions. I know you are not ready to take my advice. This was mostly meant to shock you and make you think about the impact of his actions on your grandchild long term. I don't expect you to actually be able to throw him out without help just like that. It might be great, but if you could do that, you would have done it long before now. It is much harder than it should be, that is the pitfall of codependency. Been there, done that!! The t shirt is really ugly, if I do say so.

    You might consider seeing a therapist to help work through things. It really can help. Having someone live outside of the situation to talk to can be a huge help. It is different than just posting here.
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  14. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Do we have the same son?

    Mine isn't gay and loves his weed and passed high school early (because he had enough credits when they kicked him out) but the lying and stealing! That was what pushed us to put him out.

    We put our son out of the house the first time when he was barely 19, after an abortive college attempt. He's an only child so the only people to steal from was his father (who adopted him) and I. He was in and out, mostly out, until age 21 when he decided to move to Colorado and he's been there over a year now and doing well.

    Putting my son out of the house was the hardest thing I've EVER had to do in my life, but we will not live with a thief. My husband works in a prison...he won't live locking things up to keep them safe at home and neither will I. The first time we put our son out we literally drove him to a homeless shelter a couple days later after arranging a place for him...he was with a "friend" and it was a bad situation. After the shelter we paid for an awful, buggy apartment for 6 months - we were only going to pay the deposit and co-sign, but you know how that goes. He couch surfed for a while and squatted in an apartment. It was kind of one thing after another. He came back for a short time and was doing kind of okay...the jar of cash was our final straw...he took over $600 we'd been saving. He was only allowed in one time after that, when his apartment building had a fire and he was homeless again thru no fault of his own. The stipulation then was he gave us 50% of his earnings and we kept it for his next place.

    He seems to be turning his life around now that he's in Colorado and has met a nice girl. He's working and not asking us for anything really. We're very cautiously optimistic.

    I guess my point is, he didn't change his ways until he was forced to do so. I never thought that I would be capable of "tough love" but that is what it took. I know how hard this is for you and I'm so sorry you've had to find us.
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  15. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    It is so very hard. Nothing changes if nothing changes right?
    Our too is an only child. It has been a revolving door since May and he has been out more than in the house. He has stolen so much and causes so much pain and suffering. Setting boundaries and expectations, refusing to enable them and detaching with love is the only thing (if any), that will save them.
    Drugs, bad behaviour or both. I’d rhey are choosing not to help themselves and mistreating their loved ones and stealing, it’s time to go.
  16. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Wow I love this post. It gives me strength too and I don't even have a grandchild!
  17. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hospicenurse, it will help you considerably if you stop that line of thinking now.......looking for what you did wrong is a waste of time and will only serve to keep you stuck in guilt. Your son went off the rails, so did my daughter, so did all of the adult kids on this forum.....we didn't cause it, nor can we control or fix it. It'll make your own path easier to let go of trying to understand where you went wrong.

    It appears your son has some kind of mental or emotional issue.....another resource you may want to explore is NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, you can access them online and they have chapters in most cities. They offer an excellent course for us parents which will provide you with information, guidance, support and resources for you and for your son. Give them a call if that feels appropriate. I took one of their courses and it was extremely helpful.

    I raised my granddaughter too because my daughter, although considerably older than your son, has some kind of conduct disorder or mental illness (refuses to get help) and could not be an appropriate nor healthy parent. It is difficult to learn to detach, but at a point, it becomes necessary for OUR health and well being because our kids can keep us firmly placed on a hamster wheel spinning relentlessly out of control.

    Find a support system for yourself. Read thru the stories of how other parents navigated thru this, you'll see many similarities. Take care of yourself, your husband and your little granddaughter. Learn to set strong boundaries around your son's behavior.

    Hang in there, you're not alone.
  18. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Ditto to all the awesome advice here.
    Very sorry you are hurting so badly.
    If you aren't going already, I would consider seeing a therapist to help with this enormous burden.
    No way would I allow him to stay in your home.
    And I would set boundaries everywhere!
    Your granddaughter needs to be aware that logical consequences is a real thing.
    At most I would pay for him to have a cell phone for safety reasons and help with employment.
    Is he still working?
    Asap I would get him out if your home.change the locks. Get an alarm.
    And I would tell him firmly (without anger but very clearly) that if he steals from you again, you will immediately call the police and then if it does happen again absolutely immediately without a second hesitation do so.dont let him steal from you!
    So very sad.