Tonight I helped my 20 year old son to move to his own place and although I know it had to happen for the sake of my family I feel completely devastated and heartbroken. He has always been a challenge with a history of behaviour similar to many other stories here.
Life has been just happening for the past two years and today I had enough, said some awful things and told him to find somewhere else to live. I meant it too but when he arranged somewhere I wanted to throw myself at his feet and hold on. Now I feel so scared what will happen and I feel so worried that he will do something stupid. He has depression, doesn't work, uses and deals drugs, was recently arrested and has demonstrated threatening behaviour to my family. But I love him.
How do you deal with this? Like everyone I've questioned my parenting skills and know I've made mistakes but I really do not feel his life was bad. He is so angry and is completely unable to forgive and forget anything that has happened to him, it's like he only sees black or white, I strongly suspect he is autistic but he will not even entertain the idea. I persuaded him to see a private counsellor but he does not engage and did not want follow up.
My family is me, my husband (sons step dad but has been hid dad since he was one) and my daughters who are 16 and 18. He has not really spoken to his dad or his younger sister for the last year because they do not entertain his bad behaviour at all. He split with his long term girlfriend about 8 months ago and this has obviously affected him badly and I feel horrible for him but don't know how to help.
I have been living my life on the edge. Scared of phone calls, checking his social profiles, afraid to go to work and afraid to come home, I'm sure people will understand. My younger daughter cried last week that she didn't want him here and was scared because she let the police in when he was arrested, she was scared he would hurt her. I almost left with him because I didn't know how to protect him. My eldest daughter has a stronger bond with him but she told me she was struggling to deal with him off loading to her and that she was feeling depressed, I've seen the Change in her. He treats my husband so badly and he really doesn't deserve it.
As I am writing I am not sure what I want/need - just unload I suppose. I just feel so sad.


Nessie. I am so sorry to hear about your hardships. I can completely relate. We had to have our son removed for his bad behavior and I remember feeling like I couldn't breathe for the longest time. He was abusing drugs but also has underlying mental illness. We were all scared to live in our own home because of his outbursts. He did come home for a short time on the promise that he would complete his GED , not use drugs and respect our boundaries. The honeymoon lasted for 6 months. While he did complete his education and then post secondary as well, he has been out on his own, on SSI and currently lives in a group home. Slowly by facing consequences is he realizing that he cant treat his family like crap and is becoming more mature. He will be 29 next month. Was out of the house at age 16, home for one year and then out again. He needs to sort this out himself. You cant fix it and don't for a minute blame yourself for any of this. Some kids are just , well, very difficult. You have other children to protect right now and need to begin to find peace in your life. Others with far greater advice will be along shortly. Stay with us does help to share. Many hugs for your hurting heart. and be kind to yourself.


Well-Known Member
I have one strong suggestion before thinking of more advice.

STOP STOP STOP CHECKING HIS SOCIAL MEDIA...COMPLETELY! STOP STOP STOP! No good comes by doing that. If you need to, block him to stop temptation.

Also stop thinking of him as your cute baby boy. He has a deep voice, a beard, he is tall, he is old enough to serve in the military. He is not a little child that you can can kiss and make better. He is a man of legal age and this man, your adult son, is not yours to fix. You cant. Its impossible. He has to fix himself. Thats the only person who can fix him.

He is a man abusing you, hub and sibling. He is friends with drug addicts and DEALERS, although there isnt much of a difference. My ex drug addict daughter told me many times "if you use, you sell." You risk a lot if he lives with you...these other people may get angry and be after the rest of you. Right now, he is dangerous.

Once we get that little boy picture ouf of our heads and really see them with their beards, low voices, breasts (if a woman), and other adult features, it brings us back to reality.

Dont ignore your well behaved, loving loved ones because of him. And dont forget you deserve peace and a good life as well. You can do nothing for him but a lot for yourself!!
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Well-Known Member
Agree with above posters.
But, I might add, even with a difficult child, it seems it can be difficult to transition when they move out of the home.
Although, in this doubt there is much relief as well.
Who is paying for his apartment?
Totally NOT check his social media. I would only check it if someone reports something grave/life altering/threatening...I just wouldn't check it unless it is some extreme situation.
Calmly care and love and nurture yourself, family / spouse.
If appropriate, you might give him information on how to get food stamps.
You might continue to offer to pay for counseling...but make absolutely sure he is going and you pay directly to the counselor.
Never let him abuse you or your family in any way, shape or form.
Consider getting at least short term counseling for yourself, if you are not doing so already.
There are groups you might consider joining like Families Anonymous.
If he has a key to your home, make sure you change the lock!!!
If you haven't gone on a "date night" with your spouse recently, consider taking the time to do that.


Roll With It
I am sorry that this is so hard, and I know that it is. It is also totally and completely necessary.

SWOT is right. He isn't your baby boy and you cannot fix him. It doesn't matter if he is autistic or not. He is a grown man who is choosing to break the law in your home. You are a mother. You MUST turn your attentions to your baby girls - they are younger and more vulnerable and they need you more right now.

Your baby girls are scared to be in their own home. You were too. It is time to focus on them and how they felt and what they need rather than what your adult son does or does not do. It is also time to focus on your husband and your marriage. These things are all sacrificed on the altar of the difficult child far too often and when we make the difficult child finally leave, we can start to repair the damage that has happened.

It does hurt your heart when they leave like this. Especially when they don't seem to care, or they say things that hurt us. Hopefully time will help your son grow up and will help heal the rift.


Well-Known Member
Hey - Nessie. We seem to be in same boat. I don't have an 18 yo daughter but the 16 yo seems to have the same dynamic with her brother. It is changing though, she used to love him so dearly at the beginning of his behavior (but this was pre puberty for her- he started around age 12). She is homeschooled and calls me often fearful when he would have his deals going on. I do work from home some but I hate having to deal with that but I hate leaving her with it. We've kicked him out a few weeks ago and it has been difficult. I've had to check myself and I know I have sent my son mixed signals (texting him if he's ok once.) I don't check his social media, but I do have a locator on his phone and check that often. It seems to be getting debilitating though. His father is his biological but they have issues and I feel so sorry for my husband sometimes as all he ever wanted was a son (he's adopted but loved his adoptive father dearly and had a brother that died very young). But he is also very lenient and won't back me up on anything unless I put my foot down (like kicking him out). Please message me if you'd like to talk.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
Welcome Nessie:

Of course you are struggling with your decision. It's the hardest thing ever to do. As a mom I wanted everything to be perfect for my kids because I did not have that myself growing up.

We moved our son out a year ago this month and he is doing much better away from us. I still struggle with guilt though. Guilt that he is missing precious time with us and his brothers. Missing the day to day family time. As I get older I realize how short life really is and our loved ones and friends are really all that matters.

I have been seeing a therapist for six months but now have just made an appointment with a new one that I will see once a month or so to continue to help me deal with my feelings on my son and everything that we've been through due to his addiction and poor choices. I had been undecided on whether to continue this or not but I think I still need the support and unbiased discussions with someone that is well trained.

I agree with everyone else's posts. Your daughters are at a critical age and they need you. You have raised your son. He is an adult now. I know they don't seem to be adult like because drug use can really slow down their maturity and we know that boys are way behind girls in the maturity department in most instances.

I, like you, gave my son every opportunity to follow our very basic rules. Go to school and/or get a job. No drugs. He just could not comply for whatever reason. So in truth HE made the choice not to be with us as your son made the choice not to be with you. I felt scared in my own home also because when he was using I felt like I was living with a stranger. A stranger that I did not like and I did not want around me. He turned our home into a battleground.

My therapist helped me to set boundaries for both him and us as his parents. They need boundaries. It does not mean you do not love him, it means you are getting out of his way and giving him the opportunity to figure out this thing we call life. How do you want to live? What kind of person do you want to be? I gave my son those questions to answer for himself. He is the only one that can answer them.

I love my son but I never want to live with him again. We have not even let him come for a visit. That will be a long way off and I hope someday that he earns a visit home but it's really up to him. I will not let him come home until I'm absolutely positive I can trust him not to be the same person he was when he left.


Thank you to everyone for support/advice and mostly understanding.
I cannot say my tears have completely stopped or that there are not a million things racing through my mind but I can say I knew he had to go for all of our sakes.

I know things will not suddenly be okay but I am starting to accept that I do not have any control over what he chooses to do next even though that is of little comfort when the night creeps in. It is just all so very disappointing. I read on one of the threads about how the mother felt that all of her friends kids seem so perfect and that is so true. I know it isn't because I know people do not like to discuss their difficult children as it makes them feel like they failed, how sad. is something I have considered. When I paid for my son I couldn't help but think he did not want it and it would have probably been of more benefit to me. I have thought about seeing my doctor but I really don't know what good it will do. I would just love to see the joy in life again. It's like you end up feeling guilty for laughing or enjoying yourself and I know that is not a healthy mental status I just need to find my way out, not only for me but for my husband and girls. Any advice on how to do this would be appreciated. As a registered nurse you would think I would have a clue but I don't, it's like I'm letting all this define me and it's driving me mad. I used to be strong!


Well-Known Member
Nessie, I've tried counseling off and on but never found anyone who could help. I suppose it would take a decade of questions and answers before they even get to the point where they even know what is really going on.
We just have to take this a day at a time, and if your life is anything like mine, there are enough other things to distract us most of the time. I'm like you though in that hardly none of it brings me joy anymore. Maybe that's part of getting older, my friends with the 'perfect kids/adults' don't seem to find much joy in life either. We must keep striving!


i think you need to really focus on yourself right now. Read, read, read books about healing. Broken Open is one of my favorites. I sought out meditation and regularly went to classes; I try to practice that every day now. There are great books for daily reflection from a spiritual sense...the book of Awakening by Mark Nepo for instance. I went way out of my comfort zone to spiritual retreats by myself with complete strangers and gained so much strength from those. Finding a good counselor as well. Your mind, soul and body have been through so much. Now is the time to gain your strength back by taking a BIG STEP back. Your soul and spirit will then guide you if you let them but they have likely been shut down for a very long time in order to deal with this stress....time to find them and YOU! Hugs!.


Well-Known Member
Wisernow, wow. We are definitely on the same route of a spiritual path! I am so calm sure I am never alone...

I agree that meditation is calming and amazing. It teaches you to quiet your mind, among other things. I use guided meditations from youtube. It works better if I dont just try meditating on my own. I definitely feel a huge change in myself on every level. I do extra meditations if I am stressed out and it calms like magic. For mr, meditating even trumps exercise. I feel very close to God.


Well-Known Member
Nessie...I have found it hard to find therapists. I think I simply just asked around and took a chance. You can always say you are not sure and agree to one or two sessions only. Don't be shy about saying you aren't sure if you wish to continue. Even if you quietly wish to continue...just with someone else! AND if you do continue, don't be shy about saying when you wish to stop. That is a tricky one too!!! I went for a few years when our difficult daughter was a teen. Then I stopped for awhile. Then I would go back for two weeks. Recently, there is much on my plate and I'm going back for a few weeks and might continue monthly for awhile. So, for me it's an "as needed" basis. It's important to be able to speak up. IT might not be for you at all, but if it works out, it will very likely be calming and helpful. You can ask friends, co workers, doctors, etc. I probably wouldn't ask just anybody and make a huge announcement. Just a few people you feel might have information about such things. Wishing you well.


Well-Known Member
I've tried counseling off and on but never found anyone who could help. I suppose it would take a decade of questions and answers
I have found it hard to find therapists.
This is true for me, too.

But I struck gold recently, because I found a spiritual director. She is a Rabbi who is also a dance therapist. I speak to her on the phone.

I have found that for me spirituality is a large part of the answer. But I need a therapist too. I have a lot of fear about therapy because of a lifetime of disappointments and even abuse, at the hands of therapists. I will try...

Broken Open
Awakening by Mark Nepo for instance.
Wisernow, thank you for these references. I will look for them.
I went way out of my comfort zone to spiritual retreats by myself with complete strangers and gained so much strength from those.
I have not yet gotten to this point, but hopefully, I will.

I credit you for your strength, hope and risk-taking.

Things began really to change, to turn around in my relationship to my son when in desperation, guided by the Rabbi, I prayed. I did not realize I knew how to pray. Instead of demanding, controlling, beseeching...I asked g-d, please g-d let my son be safe; let him live, please g-d; and more.

This created space. In me. Between us, to reconnect through our love, my con and I.

Our struggles continue but not as intensely, and we are able to reconnect quickly. Both of us take steps toward the other. Miracles, all.


This beautiful dance we have with our children. You are correct Copa when you say:

"Our struggles continue but not as intensely, and we are able to reconnect quickly. Both of us take steps toward the other. Miracles, all."

I try to see every action as some type of miracle albeit some of these are so bittersweet.


Funny how we all try to see "logically" where we went wrong or where are children went wrong. What I get frustrated with is that whether a parent was a perfect parent or the worse, once the kids become adults they have to quite blaming everyone and grow up. Of course, I understand that none of us were perfect as there is no such thing but I am just so tired of the excuses.


It has been an awful few days and I am unable to trust my own feelings. I pictured my son alone, maybe regretting his behaviour - basically my little boy. What a fool I am, eldest daughter tells me he has been drinking, has been foul about our family and has been horrible to her even though she has been to see him. To say I am furious with him is an understatement. What I am thinking now is how can I stop making excuses in my own head for him?


Well-Known Member
The first step, one most of us have to make, is to stop thinking of him and picturing him as your little boy. Yes, they were all adorable kids who put dandelions on our desks and cried to us for comfort when they had a booboo.

Thats over. They are men with beards, chest hair, low voices and most of them have changed usually due to drugs and their unwillingness to grow up. They get angry when we do not sustain them like we did when they were ten. They are abusive to those who love and helped them the most.

We all need to stop thinking of our adult children as our little boys and girls. If we dont, we think we are abusing our minor children, still with smiles and childhood vulnerability. But they are actually abusing us and they are hard and capable of physically hurting us. Many do. This is so far out of normal, but we excuse the assault, phoney lies snd fake police calls about us, the stealing, the crime, the drugging, the entitlement...we excuse it because to not deny is to accept the unthinkable.

Second, we need to stop blaming ourselves. None of us raised our kids to do.these things. Not one of us. There are bigger factors than our parenting...peer groups, school, DNA (often from a father they never knew but they carry their genes forever), and their own unique abilities/disabilities and experiences outside of home.

Let it go the best you can. Detach from his drama. Still love him. Nothing will stop your love. But you can detach from the drama and poor choices. And must for your sake.

Wishing you some peace this day.


Well-Known Member
The first step, one most of us have to make, is to stop thinking of him and picturing him as your little boy. Yes, they were all adorable kids who put dandelions on our desks and cried to us for comfort when they had a booboo.

Thats over. They are men with beards, chest hair, low voices and most of them have changed usually due to drugs and their unwillingness to grow up. They get angry when we do not sustain them like we did when they were ten. They are abusive to those who love and helped them the most.

I think this is key. At least it was for me. Granted, I'm not exactly "detached" but I've come a long way.

I've had my job since before my son was born. As a result, I literally had photos of him from newborn, to school, to vacations, to senior year all over my office. I still had drawings he made me framed on the walls. One day, I took virtually all of them down and put them away (I still have one of me and him when he was about 12 - I look awesome in that photo, lol). Once those reminders of him as a little boy were gone, I began to be able to think of him as an adult.


All of your comments are so true and informative. I stalked this forum for weeks before joining and posting because I kept on thinking maybe things were not so bad. I told myself my son was different from the ones causing so much worry because of this or because of that...making excuses basically.

SomewhereOutthere I really do admire your strength and attitude. I do think you are completely right with regards to DNA, he never spent time with his biological father but his behaviour is very similar.