Feeling so helpless and confused

Hello, stumbled upon this at work and I really need to vent and just hear someone else's opinion. I truly don't know how to proceed with my problems and writing it out might actually help. Some background: I am a mid 40's year old man, I have an 8 year old, wonderful daughter with my wife of 10 years. My wife has a son, let's call him "D", who was 5 years old when we first met and now he is 17. Without making this into an 1000 page document, let me summarize his issues. He was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, ADD, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Personality Disorder and without having his file in front of me, let's start there. We noticed small issues when he was like 7 or 8, but we dealt with him, adjusted his cirriculum, and had IEP (custom school plans) in place for him. As he turned 11 or 12, he started to become more defiant, getting into fights, not following directions, troubles at school and typical stress. One particular day he hit a girl on his bus and was expelled from school. This started his first of literally 4 expulsions until he was placed in the last resort, prison type of school. We even had him enrolled in an Academy, got him a scholarship for tuition, and the school was for kids with learning disabilities, etc. A good school for him. The principal, an educator of 35 years, sent us a note home and to present at our hearing for residential care, that in all of his years of teaching and dealing with problematic students, he had never encountered anyone as challenging and in need of specialized residential treatment as D.

One particular day about 4 years ago, he lost control and was kicking walls, shouting profanties, and making vague threats. As is turns out this day at school (one he was expelled from) someone punched him in the face giving him a black eye. I physically restrained him by pinning him to the floor until he regained control, and long story short, he told the police I hit him and I was charged with child abuse. The case was dismissed 2 days later but it was humiliating and I recognized he was able to use his 135 IQ to suit him when needed. I moved out during this process with my daughter so my wife could get him into a group home which we did. It was not easy but eventually he was in 2 group homes for about 3 years in total. He came back like a gangster thug, talking about getting high, drinking, etc and when returned to us he was arrested for prowling as he would sneak out at night. To top this off, he is an absolute slob, would literally raid the refrigerator, take food in his room, and just leave it there. He had debris piled up to his knees and you could not walk across the floor. We had in home counselors, therapists, and through it all he would go through cycles of taking medications, being manageable at least, then going back to the bottom. He was like an EKG chart with these ups and downs.

To point, after his arrest and when he stopped attending school (legally they can at 16 in my state) my wife and I were at wit's end and we sent him to stay with his grandmother in another country, far away. We thought a fresh start would do him good, he could get better social services over there, but mainly we needed a break as he was tearing our marriage apart as I would try to keep my daughter's exposure limited to him. Well while overseas, he used his guilt and bullying tactics on his grandmother, who was not ready to really deal with him. He bullied her into buying him drugs, driving him around to friends houses, allowing him to drink, because as she told us "she simply could not live with him unless he had what he wanted.' He would knock on her door, literally for like 2 hours straight until she relented. Flash ahead 6 months, he gets arrested over there for battery on law enforcement and basically was sent back to us a month ago. We arranged a friend of the family who had the space and willingness to try to house him, to provide boarding with the agreement he would get his GED and find part time work. He has done neither, he ran away and went to another city for 4 days on a weed binge with his fellow delinquent, and when he ran out of money he called my wife and said come get me. When she did not, he said he would call the police and say he asked his parent for help and they refused and threatened her with abandonment. I told her to call a bus station, get his ticket back and that's what we did. Upon returning, my wife, daughter and I were out of the house and needed to return for something and we discovered he had a key to our house (unknown to us) and went in and had his buddy come over to get high out back. I confronted him and told him he is not alone in our house unless we were there and asked for the stolen key back, He refused, cursed at me. I called the police and they came out but he had run by then. The bottom line of the police visit is that until he is 18 years old, he is our responsibility and is allowed in the house unless he is in foster care or someone else is his legal guardian. So after this, the police went down to where he is staying to look for him and the person watching him rightly told us after that she can't deal with him and dropped him off on our doorstep at 9:30 last night after I put my daughter to bed.

So he stayed there last night, my wife is hysterical and does not what to do, and we cannot have him live with us in our house. She is looking on Craigslist for apartments and our short term plan is to find an inexpensive place she can house him and check on him part time, bring him groceries, have a meal with him and try to split her time with the 2 households. I don't know what to do. We have given him so many chances and the result is always the same. I am worried about my daugher being raised around him and thinking this behavior is normal, etc. but she is taking it better than anyone else, she is a great little girl. I don't want to lose my wife but I think he is tearing us apart on purpose. I don't know if I should move out and keep my daughter part time, do I get an attorney and explain what we are living with and try to get full custody? I want my daughter to have both parents and not feel pulled apart but I don't know what else we can do. My family has seen what he has done and has pretty much washed there hands of him. My wifes family is overseas and they can't and won't manage him and his biological father is a waste of space who has never met him and is not on the birth certificate. I just need to vent so thank you for letting me. I feel so alone and like this situation is so unique. We have been to counselors, family counseling and all that, no results. Please just tell me what other humans think of this..


Active Member
I'm so glad you found us but sorry you needed to. Unfortunately your situation is very common on substance abuse and parent emeritus forums (you might want to copy and paste this entire post to one of those forums also), where you posted is fine but many of the readers on general parenting have much younger children... so don't have real life experience to be able to advise you.

This isn't a situation where there is always a right or wrong thing to do, often all the choices seem wrong; so we do the best we can to decide on what gives ourselves & family the best chance of survival. Again welcome, others will be along soon to give their support.



Well-Known Member
Have you considered getting a CHINS (child in need of supervision) or PINS (person in need of supervision)? I would seek to have him removed from your home on the grounds that he is a potential threat to his younger sister and you must keep her safe. Hopefully, he will hit bottom and pull himself up. It's heartbreaking to see someone so young throwing their life away.
Have you considered getting a CHINS (child in need of supervision) or PINS (person in need of supervision)? I would seek to have him removed from your home on the grounds that he is a potential threat to his younger sister and you must keep her safe. Hopefully, he will hit bottom and pull himself up. It's heartbreaking to see someone so young throwing their life away.
Well yes, I found the emails for the 2 contacts that came up from the state website for my county and sent them a detailed email summarizing where we are. I sent the email yesterday (Tuesday) and have not heard back. My wife is driving to the local DCF facility tomorrow as well to ask for help. For now, we are still in a holding pattern..


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Stepparentincrisis, thinking about you and sending good thoughts.........I hope you get some information soon..........keep us posted as to what is happening...........give your wife our regards as well.......hang in there.....


Warrior Mom since 2007
Just wanted to add my support. I can identify somewhat in that our difficult child is tearing our marriage and family apart as well. We have definitely considered two households so our easy child can have a better environment in which to grow up in. If we could afford it, we would do it. Then just alternate the children week by week or something - so each parent gets a break too. I just feel so badly for easy child because he is young and does not want to be without either me or Dad.

At this point, sad to say, I think placement out of the home would be best and I don't know anything about that - so I will follow this thread. Peace to you and your family.