Bipolar adult son, is wanting to move back in.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Gary, Oct 7, 2018.

  1. Gary

    Gary New Member

    Hi, first post! My 23 yr old son from a previous relationship is wanting to move back in with us. He lived with my wife and I and our 2 young daughters for 4 years after his mom passed and lived with us till his senior year in high school. Things were fine for awhile then it started getting bad cursing,threatening violence, I was always nervous of what he would do while we slept. We tried to get him counseling but he refused to go it was getting bad around here.Finally I gave him the option of straighten up or move in with his grandmother. He choose the easier route and moved in with his grandmother. Fast forward to two years ago, he started hearing voices and these voices were telling him to hurt himself. and he ended up slitting his forearm. He went to a hospital and stayed there for a month and was diagnosed with bipolar. After he got out then he started getting violent and beat up his grandmother several times and even put a knife to her throat. The cops finally arrested him and he spent 6 months in county jail then 9 months in a half way house. while this was going on every time he talked to me it was F***off or when I see you I will kill all of you on your side of the family. I even sent him some money in jail and still got told to F***off. So anyways I haven't seen him in roughly 3 years 2 weeks ago out of the blue he pops up in the town we live in which is a 8 hour drive from where he was living in the halfway house. So with the threats he made and knowing how he was, I immediately go on alert on why he is here, He burned all his bridges with his friends that live here because he threatened them also. first thing he says to me is your not my dad...He calls me by my first name! Well to finish up after 2 weeks of living in his truck out in the woods, he calls me at midnight wanting a place to live. I know he is supposed to be taking bipolar medications and antidepressants. But he stopped taking the bipolar medication. and he is drinking while on antidepressants. Sorry this is so long winded I guess I just needed to vent to people that are going thru similar issues. with their kids. I cant trust him with being in my house with my young daughters living here. He wont go to the suggested rescue mission. I don't know if I even would want him camping in my front yard and that hurts to say that. Thank you for this website and any suggestions or comments.
  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Omg! No, he cant come home and risk the safety of your daughters. No, no, no. He is dangerous. Dont even let him in your yard. He could break in.

    He can go back on his medications and live in a halfway house but not with you and NEVER with grandma. Who beats up a grandma?

    Let him find his own solution and dont bring your other loved ones into his violent world. Clearly he is better off away from you even if he refuses help and lives on the street. Many have unsuccessfully tried to help him. None have succeeded. You cant. Anyone who threatens to kill anyone needs more help than you can give. In fact he could end up back in jail. Dont make your daughters the reason why

    Love and light.
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    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018
  3. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Gary I am so sorry you are going through this. SWOT is right, he can not come back to your place under any circumstances. You can’t put the rest of your family at risk. It sounds like you know This already, but if you need validation you have it!

    It’s really hard having adult children dealing with mental illness and addiction. We can’t force them to get help and be treatment compliant. And when they are dangerous, we can’t have them around us or around other vulnerable people. I feel for his poor grandmother. You absolutely cannot bring him around your younger children.

    Don’t feel guilty about this. It sounds like you have already decided me a lot to try and help. Sometimes their problems are bigger than we are.
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  4. Just say no, Gary. He is dangerous. Protect your younger kids, your spouse and yourself. Don't even allow him to sleep in his truck parked on your property.
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  5. B’smom

    B’smom Member

    Hi Gary,
    I’m very sorry to hear everything you have have been going through with your son. I understand how traumatic this can be, although my children are still young; I to have been traumatized by their actions.

    I have to agree with the others. I personally wouldn’t allow him back in, especially if he’s not taking the necessary steps to be mentally healthy.
    You’re not alone in this journey. Please continue to share and vent. We are here for you!

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  6. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Gary, I'm so sorry for what you are going through. Your safety and the safety of your family and home need to be your top priority.
    I am not without concern or compassion for your son but from what you have shared with us, he is not safe to have around.
    My suggestion is that you make sure your home is secure and that everyone knows that windows and doors need to be locked at all times. I would also suggest getting a security camera and motion sensor lights. You might also consider notifying the local authorities just so they are aware.
    A good resource that may offer some good advice for you is NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) here is a link to their website.
    I'm glad you reached out. Please let us know how things are going.
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  7. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I agree with everybody else.
    I would not entertain for one second (and hope you do not) that he come near me, my home, or my family.

    He is making dangerous choices by not taking his medication and by drinking. You cannot expose yourself or anybody else to his potential for violence.

    I have been advised by the police that if anybody sets foot on your property without your consent you can insist that the police come and arrest them.

    He is committing a felony even by threatening to kill you or anybody. I am surprised he was not put into state prison for his violent attack, and his terrorist threats in my state would give him a prison term of 3 to 4 years if reported to the police.

    Almost all of us have to make choices with our kids that cause us great pain. I am sorry.
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    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
  8. Sinking Heart

    Sinking Heart New Member

    Hi Gary! I agree with everyone here too. What I have learned from many on this site are: to detach with love (am still learning), your safety & everyone else in the home is also important!, it is not healthy for any of you if all of you are miserable, & your adult child's bad behavior is not your responsibility. Yes, it will hurt and it is awful to watch people we love struggle but you need to take care of you now. I am only sharing what I am learning here which I have found so helpful. My youngest is homeless and I think about her everyday, especially at night. Since the 3rd grade, she has refused therapy and medications. She has never hurt herself physically but her violent behavior towards everyone and self-medicating is so self-destructing on so many levels; she also continuously burns bridges, can't keep a job, couch surfing, & even calls everyone who want to help her out of their names even while they're trying to help her; & of course, everything bad that happens or her bad behavior is never her fault. I am praying and hoping that detaching with love will finally force her to get the help she desperately needs. I also hope this site puts your heart & mind in a better place.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
  9. Smithmom

    Smithmom Active Member

    Taking anti- depressants only controls the downside moods. The upside ones are the aggressive, violent and psychotic moods. So anti depressants alone won't help bipolar. Alcohol is a depressant. So his self-medicating routine is making things worse, obviously. But you know this. Convincing him another problem.

    My advice knowing that you don't want to outright say no... Think about a plan. That is, a list of conditions under which you would take him in. Starting with a psychiatrist for medications, weekly individual and family counseling, no alcohol or drugs period, job in one month, etc. This is after hospital stay and halfway house. Cant come in until he's stabilized and counselor says he's ready for family life.

    Make it clear that everyone loves him and his lil sis' would love to have big bro in their lives. But neither he nor you want that to be a bad experience. That you know that he couldn't forgive himself if someone got hurt... Any more than he can forgive himself now for what happened to gma. I know that in his illness his answer to all this will be fyou. But you're setting up a plan that will be in effect for many years to come.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
  10. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I would personally not let him back for any reason. medications are no guarantee that he will be no longer be violent. He was extremely violent. medications dont cure all. It may not be his bipolar alone causing violence. This is a man who beat up his grandmother. How can you trust him??

    I think a long term plan in my opinion has to be outside of your family home. He is a man now. He can rebuild his life with community supports. Or not if he chooses to keep refusing

    It is fine to tell him everyone loves him if they do. I know my three nice kids dont love their abusive brother who they are appalled treats everyone so badly and my son doesnt care and I dont lie. Only you know what is true.

    I have suffered extremely serious depression, enough to be hospitslized for ten weeks, and medications dont always make it perfect but I was never violent. medications are not magic. in my opinion therapy matters just as much with the right medications (which can take years to find) and your son is old enough to fix his life without coming home to you, which will always be a risk to your precious young girls. I wouldnt consider it. They dont deserve to be involved in their adult brothers very serious and dangerous life. They deserve a childhood that is calm and safe without his influence.

    Love and light!
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
  11. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Personally, my sense is that you DON"T want him back. But you feel guilty that you SHOULD let him back, in that he is vulnerable and mentally ill and has nobody else.

    While I understand totally why somebody would feel this way I think acting on these feeling is an accident waiting to happen. Why? First because of what is on this thread. As important, you would be denying your real feelings. This would backfire on him. It is not in his interests to be in a situation that would blow up. And if you let him come to your house without a real thought through commitment, it would be a set up. And it would be dangerous.
    I think these should be conditions for help but I do not feel convinced that you want him home. I think you feel a bunch of shoulds. Personally, I do not think the possibility of him living with you should be mentioned, until he has stabilized and completed all of the conditions: stabilization, medication compliance over a long period, therapy, productivity, drug free over a long period, family counseling, if at all. A demonstrated life change. And then I would be hesitant. Because he would have established an independent life. He would have a family, without the need to live with you.

    But why would he come home if he has achieved all of that? What is the reason to come home? I can see none at all. He is an adult.

    I believe that people do become stabilized on medication. Bipolar people become stabilized and productive. But the thing is they often LIKE the manic state. They like it. It is a feel-good state for them, frequently, that they do not want to give up.

    There are so many programs for mentally ill people who are motivated to be stable. But it is the same as for all the rest of our kids...there has to be motivation. And all to often they do not want the structure of programs or even required to get support.

    They prefer our homes and our help because they perceive they have power and because they do not feel accountable. They believe (rightfully) that they can impose their own rules on us, and make us accountable to THEM.

    If you feel guilty about not housing him, you are acceding to and conforming to HIS expectations for YOU. This would not be a good way to enter into this. I do not believe my son is bipolar although he has self-identified as such. I have tried and tried and tried to make housing him work out. It was always his terms. He never had the incentive to really make it work. He never accepted that there is an exchange required in relationships.

    And still I want to bring him back. It is not guilt on my part. It is misery. But that is not a reason.
    I would not say this, although I respect the spirit of these words. He assaulted his grandmother. He is making death threats. Nobody alive would want somebody like this close. Terror decimates love. I would be more apt to tell him the truth if it ever comes up: I am afraid of you. I am afraid because of what you did to grandma. I am afraid because of the threats you have made to kill me.

    This is real and this is true. I would try as hard as I can to figure out what I really feel, and act from it. Sometimes love is hard.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
  12. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Copa I believe and trust most of what you say. But, if in fact this adult is bipolar and nothing else which cant be proven, medications do not work for everyone. And it can be a decade to find medications that work if they do. It took me a decade to find medications that not just took the edge off but demolished my depression. And therapy helped too. It is a lot of our cooperation and being a ginea pig. What helps one person may cause a toxic reaction to another. Rarely is it a slam dunk.

    In many people the medications good affect wears off and constantly needs changing. Some need monrhly shots. I work with the young mentally ill and it is not easy to maintain stabilization nor is it easy to get a correct diagnoses since there are no blood tests to prove what anyone has. It is guesswork.

    Now if only adults live in one's home and are willing to risk a beat down if the patient loses it, I think that is a personal choice. But if two young children live there too, I personally feel it is immoral to take a chance that a child could be seriously injured because an adult with a history of violence burned all his bridges and we feel bad. The minor children need protection first and foremost.

    This is a man who beat up his grandma more than once. He could have a personality disorder on top of bipolar and there are no medications for that. Bipolar seems to be overdiagnosed in my opinion with doctors ignoring more serious possibilities. And again there is no test to prove one has bipolar and not antisocual persoonality disorder, which of yet can not be treated and can be deadly. The doctors guess because of a lack of scientific testing in psychiatry.

    I am not perfect. This is just my opinion. I would not ever allow this man in my house. He in my opinion needs to learn to function on his own. In his own area. However he can. But he needs to leave grandma and the kids alone. They are vulnerable and ge bullies the vhlnerable. And there will never be a guarantee he wont go off again.

    Love and light!
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
  13. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    I think I would also be inclined to offer supports to get him on his feet elsewhere, if he seems willing to work towards it, rather than offering up the possibility of him coming home. The risk seems too great with this history of violence and psychosis and younger children in the house.

    This is something I identify with very much in my own situation. I do not want my difficult children in my house. Why would I? It is calm and peaceful in my house right now. Even if they were on their best behavior, it would be tense and awkward with one or both of them here. They would bring messes and late night noise and bad attitudes. They would want to do adult things like stay out late or have friends over. And I want to go to bed by ten in my clean quiet house and not have to worry about anyone else’s drama or potential drama anymore. Worst case scenario is potentially catastrophic.

    I do feel guilty not wanting them back here. But since they are adults, any time back here would only be a temporary reprieve anyway. And would probably end badly, with me kicking them back out again, possibly with police intervention. It seems to make more sense (for mine at least) to skip all that and proceed straight towards trying to achieve independence outside my home sanctuary.

    I don’t know how old your younger children are, but I would definitely put their safety and stability first. My home during my marriage was constant conflict and frequent violence or threats of violence. I wasn’t able to get out until my youngest was going into her sophomore year in high school. And then I watched her bloom. I didn’t realize until I had her out of it just how much the constant tension affected her. She had friends over for the first time in years - before she was afraid to because you never knew what kind of day it was going to be at home. She did her homework sprawled on the living room floor instead of hiding in her room. She practiced her instrument as long as she wanted and got really good. Little things that broke my heart, because she never felt comfortable enough in her own home to do them before. If your daughters feel safe and comfortable in their home right now, I would not do anything to risk that, even for my adult child.
  14. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Well-Known Member

    My son is 36 Bipolar noncompliant. He has never hurt me but has certainly threatened to. I like to believe he wouldn't but i am nervous with him because of his oubursts. If we as adults feel this way think about how your daughters might feel. Can you guarantee that a situation won't arise where they end up alone with him? I wouldn't be willing to take that chance. My two younger sons won't show up if he is around and moved to another state to live. Are you willing to have your daughters do that when old enough? I know these are tough questions and you love all your children but your son is an adult and needs to be able to survive on his own. How can he do that if you are providing everything? I would be honest due to what you did with your grandmother and the threats you made against us and the fact you are drinking and choose not to take your medications we are not comfortable with you being here.
  15. Smithmom

    Smithmom Active Member

    Just a point of clarification here. Your post indicates that all of the threats and violence were 3 years ago. Your only contact with him since that time started 2 weeks ago and there has been no threats or violence in the last 2 weeks Your concern is based on what happened 3 years ago and the fact that he is not calling you Dad. Further you indicate that he is depressed.

    I am not suggesting that you open your door. Nor that he should have any contact with anyone but you. I have written in other posts about depression being the absence of hope. I see nothing wrong with telling him that you love him and hope to some day have a better relationship with him. Trust is earned. If he takes the steps you outline you will learn to trust him. Plus indicate that you are willing to work on your relationship and trust via family therapy. I did not suggest a timeline as given his lack of mood stabilizer he is unlikely to be stable in the near term.

    I disagree with the others in that to me 3 years without threats has to count for something. Emotionally you are having flashbacks. Certainly normal. But you can eventually overcome those. You do love him, that's clear from your post. Protect yourself and family certainly. But to me permanently closing the door after 3 years of silence is unkind and will contribute to his depression.
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  16. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    I would never say close the door on the relationship. I just don’t think I could have him back in my home. I would have to offer support and love in other ways.
  17. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Have a relationship. My grown kids dont live with me because of age and maturity but I see them all the time. You dont need to bring him into your home to live to have a relationship with him.

    I had younger kids and older kids at the same time. Three years, six years.... Please keep this son away from your young ones until they are old enough to decide if they are able to have a relationship with him. And your mother. It is far better to be safe than sorry.

    I suffered from suicidal depression and did not need to live with my parents to get help. I didnt even really have parents. What I did was try hard to get better and complied with treatment.

    I did not spend ten weeks in a psychiatric ward because I am not acquainted with DEEP depression. I never hit anyone though.

    I urge you to see you son in a public place where he is unlikely to hurt you like a busy restaurant (take him for dinner) or Starbucks and let your young daughters have an airtight safe childhood with only definitely safe people in their home. Your spouse deserves peace as well. This man would be a major disruption to what your girls are used to. Not to mention your marriage!

    Your son can see you outside of your home.

    Love and light!
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
  18. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Smithmom. I agree with much of what you write but read the post differently. I read the violence started 2 years ago and since then he has been in jail and halfway house almost a year and a half. I presume he was on medication, receiving treatment during that time. Until he left.

    It seems clear he needs support and is seeking such from his dad. We all seem to agree that the parent has the right and obligation to define the help and conditions. Not the child.

    And such does not have to consist of living in the family house. I agree.
  19. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    The last time I invited my son to come back here he was homeless in the large Metro a few hours from here. He was riding the rapid transit in order to sleep. His exact words when I said he could come back, were Now I have Hope.

    It only got worse when he came home.

    Too often our children identify hope as something that the universe provides, free. They take a hand, and see it as a hand out. For which there is no obligation. With us they cannot see any reciprocity. And all too often, no limits.

    I have posted this many times, but I worked with seriously mentally ill men in prisons. Many had diagnoses of bipolar which was compounded by personality disorders frequently and by years of drug use and hard living. The thing is acting out in prison is severely punished. By the system. Either inmates or guards. But the consequences are severe of having no control over your behavior. Way more often than not the inmates did what they had to do to control their behavior including medication.

    Finding the right medication is trial and error, but when the patient is motivated more often than not a medication is found. Psychopharmacology is getting better and better. I believe there is hope for this young man. But I do not know what it is beyond severe consequences that will motivate this young man or others to make the required changes.

    Nor have I had any success trying to build a treatment plan for my son. Therapy, voc rehab, college, volunteer work, job training, neuropsychologist, drug treatment, residential treatment, spiritual direction--I tried to push and push. Some of it he played along with to string me along. The rest of it, just never happened. Until they want to do it, if ever, it does not happen.

    This parent is in a tough spot. And so is this adult child.
  20. Deni D

    Deni D Active Member

    Gary, so sorry you are going through this. I agree with everyone else here, there is no place for your son in your home. More than likely it would make things worse for him and really, really bad for your family, especially the younger ones who need your protection.

    Hearing he’s drinking and taking antidepressants alone without other medication, if he really is bipolar is really bad, a recipe for disaster in my opinion. It’s well known that someone who is bipolar should not take only antidepressants alone and should not drink period. It brings on hypomanic/manic episodes.

    My son is 24, he can’t live with me because he was too aggressive in my home. He can’t live with his father because his father just can’t take the stress and must take care of his own mental health. Don’t feel you have to house him because you are the only parent he has left and he is mentally ill. My son has two parents, nether can effectively have him in our homes. At 23 where were you? I was not living with my parents, but if I had been I know I would have had to mind my P’s and Q’s. He’s not someone who will come close. Regardless of his mental health issues, he is responsible for himself.

    There are places for people in his situation to get help. My son found a non-profit mental health organization, one that I didn’t know about, by going back into the hospital for a short stay. I got to the point where all I could think to say to him was “Go to the hospital, you are not thinking right.” I called the local crises hot line, they reached out to him and he went to the hospital. Before they released him, they got him in with the non-profit mental health organization. The mental health organization continues to work with him today even though he is not medication compliant. You could try to call your local NAMI organization to see what is available for someone in your son’s situation. In my case I didn’t realize the non-profit mental organization was linked with NAMI because my connection with NAMI was when my son was young. I would have started with NAMI if I knew. Social Services also helped my son with some things.

    So I guess what I’m saying is you can support him, from afar by trying to get connections for him. In my son’s case he had sold his car, that I had paid for, for spending money. So I ubered him to these places, and these places only. Your son has a truck, not bad, he hasn’t sold it. I’m thinking maybe a gift card for a place he can get gas to get to somewhere that will help him along with a list of where you find for him to get help is something you can do if you feel you must do something. Or you can tell him to contact these places himself.

    I hope you are still reading what everyone here is telling you. Good luck to you