Help to get through a complicated situation

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by cakewalk, Mar 20, 2009.

  1. cakewalk

    cakewalk Member

    New here, wishing I had found this site earlier, reading every post looking for similarities and guidance from all of your every day struggles.

    I was a single parent to two boys for 9 years after my ex husband left (no contact since.) Three years ago I married a wonderful man who accepted my children as his own. Both kids said they were excited about the marriage, but looking back, that's when the problems with my difficult child started.

    My relationship with my siblings and mother has always been toxic, but it was all I had. After marrying my husband and experiencing his "normal" family unit, I decided to set boundaries and sever contact with my family. My children were allowed to see the family since we live close.

    My difficult child and husband began to clash shortly after our marriage. The defiance grew stronger and 1 1/2 years ago, my son showed his first signs of rage toward my husband and me.

    There are so many things that have happened since, but whenever my son is unhappy or angry, he runs to my sister or brother, who welcome him with open arms. They have a common bond with my son, they don't like me either.

    Each time I pick up my son, he tells me that if I make him come home, he'll make my life hell. And, he does. My walls are destroyed. My doors have holes. The F-word is used as an adjective. He calls us names. He laughs and mocks us constantly. He refuses to be a part of our family. My sister and brother have given him options, therefore my rules are a joke to him.

    The police have seen through his self injury (initally blamed on my husband, of course) and recommended boot camp. The bogus abuse stories have led my family to call CPS. CPS has come and determined there is no abuse, just anger and defiance of an out of control teen, and offered family counseling and coping strategies.

    The counselor determined my son needs testing and therapy (that he's alittle off in the head). My son said no way to any testing or counseling. He'll run away. He'll refuse to speak. He'll make the cops pick him up and phyically take him to each and every appointment. (Another should have... I never made him go.) As the behavior worsened, the counselor instilled strict rules. I, of course, was berated by my son that I need help parenting, because I a terrible mom. The rules got tougher, and my son got more defiant. When he'd run out of options or his being in control of us, he'd run to my sister's. I'd pick him up and bring him home, he'd be more angry... the cycle continues.

    He ran away three weeks ago. He had been told this is the last time we pick him up. The counselor said a couple of days in detention would do him good. I filed a runaway report. The cops said at this close to 17 they won't look for him. So he's now in a big house, with a lot of kids, with everyone jumping through hoops for "this poor child" that has gone through hell because I manipulate the cops and CPS to believe what I want them to believe. My sister thinks the counselors rules were terrible and harsh. I reminded her that they invited the counselor to my home with my son's bogus charges. My sister questioned if they were really bogus or did I manipiulate them? (These attacks are common in my family.)

    I finally called my sister and told her about the last year. The conversation wasn't pleasant. She is standing beside my son and is willing to take guardianship to rescue him from his mean mother and wicked step father. The counselor says to sign the papers and to get my life back. My easy child is "relieved" that he is gone and doesn't want him home. My husband is emotionally exhausted, and his feelings are hurt, he's been accused of some really crappy things from this kid.

    But, I'm still mom... and I'm really struggling with this. I talked to my son last night. He is filled with more hate and rage toward me than ever. (This doesn't surprise me one bit.) He vehemently denies any wrong doing to this day. The scary part is he has no recollection of a lot of things he's said and done over the last year (or he's really that good of a liar.) He always says I'm lying or I make all this stuff up. Each conversation in the last three weeks (there have been four) is more draining and exhausting than the last. He wants me to sign over guardianship and leave him alone.

    They are enabling him, handling everything for him... including simple tasks that he can do himself. They've basically taught him that if doesn't get his way, throw a fist through a wall, hurt yourself and property, and runaway. They've condoned his last year's egregious behavior time and again and continue to reward him.

    In my state, I can have him brought home by police due to his age. But, at what expense? I know the answer to this question! So, he's gone. Nothing legal has transpired although I have taken him his belongings. Part of me is relieved to have quiet, love, and happiness in my home again. Part of me knows that my son has good in him but that he needs serious help. But I also know that this is bigger than me and I can't fight the enablers. Any advice?
  2. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Hi cakewalk,


    At first glance I'd probably hesitate to sign the guardianship stuff, too. I'd definitely make sure he can get his medical needs taken care of if needed. I'll have to think about whether or not I'd turn over school contact....maybe it could be set up as joint? I know me and I'd have a hard time giving that up.

    My son was just about your son's age when he completely went to pieces. He has never lived home since. The break in living arrangements was courtesy of the juvenile justice system but because everything had deteriorated to such a degree it's probably the only reason any of us is still alive today.

    Take a deep breath. Other than making sure his medical needs are taken care of, no other mandatory decisions need to be made right this second. You could all use a cooling off period to relax and regain some perspective.

    Hugs to you. I remember the chaos and heartbreak during those years.

  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Welcome to the board cakewalk.

    Sounds like you and husband have been thru the ringer more than once with your difficult child.

    I think with the fact that difficult child is not yet 17, which gives you some time before that magice 18 rolls around, I'd have trouble just handing difficult child over to family that are the source of the problem.

    Does your son have a diagnosis? Is there any history of mental illness in the family?

    The only thing I can think of that I would try if in a similar situation would be to have your son brought home, if he becomes violent, have him admitted to the nearest psychiatric facility on the basis of danger to self and others. Hopefully there you'll be able to get a diagnosis and a treatment plan. If violence continues to be an issue you could look into having him placed in a residential treatment center (Residential Treatment Center (RTC)) where he can work on his issues in a safe environment without outside influences, while the family can also be safe.

    But I'm not experienced in this sort of thing. I moved far away from my family because they are so toxic so I'd not have to deal with it. Others on the board do have experience with the sort of things you're going thru and I'm sure they'll be along shortly.

  4. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    Hi cakewalk and welcome to you!

    Glad you are able to take a little emotional break from the drama. Sounds like everyone needs it. I think Suz makes a good point about giving everything (and everyone) a little time to chill out. Don't make any snap decisions.

    My daughter left home twice when she decided our rather minimal rules didn't suit her liking. When she came home the 2nd time, we told her, in no uncertain terms, that we did not run a hotel. We did not have a revolving front door. And we were supporting the "Three strikes and your out" rule. That is, if she chose to leave home the 3rd time - it was permanent. Just food for thought.

    What sort of mental illness runs in the kids family trees?

    I would seriously consider the family counseling. With or without your son. Adolescence is tough. Step parenting is tough. Blended families are tough. Extended family dysfunction is tough. You might find some family therapy refreshing and really helpful.

    Welcome aboard.
  5. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    My son was your age when he went through a year of horrendous difficulties. Previously, he was a good kid...doing well, etc. and after a break up wit a girl, life went upside down in a major way. Since he was close to age 18, we sent him to a wilderness camp, followed by a boarding school. Some said it was extreme...and in some ways it was. We did it largely due to his age. We followed it with short term therapy at home and tough love. Today (knock on wood), he is a very productive...very happy...role model type. So, in the end...the money was well worth it.
    So...I'm thinking if your son has poor grade performance, is very defiant and particularly if he is doing drugs...this would be a good choice (just double/triple check your choices).

    With reference to other choices...I'm not sure. It's too bad you don't get along with your sister. Your son has formed an alliance with her and is defiant. Now, he is using that alliance against you. Could you go to family counseling with you, your husband and son? Perhaps your sister and her husband could join in on some sessions.

    The trouble is...he lives in your house. It is your home and he needs to abide by your rules.

    What might you use to entice him to get to a doctor to get a possible diagnosis and/or treatment/therapy?

    On the home page of this website is a listing of books you can get that discuss life with teens. That is a difficult age. Boys mature later it seems. They also can get very depressed and it manifests in different ways than it does for girls.

    Does he have any interests? Sports? Hobbies? If these areas were explored/and or encouraged...perhaps he would feel better about himself.

    Make sure you keep your emotions in check. If your son sees you fly off the handle...he will use that against you. Do what you can to soothe your aching heart. Let this not be a "fake" thing either...find whatever tools you can to provide comfort during this stressful period.

    Wishing you well.
  6. Dollhouse

    Dollhouse Guest

    Hi Cakewalk! Welcome; I'm a newbie myself :)

    I can totally empathize with a lot of the things you have experienced. I too, married only 4.5 years ago, with the previous years of being a single parent. I've experienced the name calling, the hatred towards my husband and the 'punch the wall' behavior.

    My son and I were close; probably too close. I am guilty of not setting boundaries, etc and I'm am paying for that now. He is 18 and is just getting worse. I tried counseling with him many times, many therapists, but didn't stick through it long enough to reap the results. I was too 'scared' to really stick to my guns with him.

    In any case, I too would be hesitant to just sign your son over to your family; although I understand what it feels like for him to be gone and enjoying that peace without the constant chaos his abscence has provided.

    Since he is NOT 18yet, I would agree with what Daisylover stated; if he becomes violent, have him sent to a psychiatric facility to be evaluated and/or possibly to a Residential Treatment Center (Residential Treatment Center (RTC)). You DO have control over that right now, because he is still a minor. You can send him there kicking and screaming and he won't be able to do anything about it. (and neither would your family -- you are your son's legal guardian and they wouldn't have a say in his mental health care). Perhaps he can get the help he needs if that is done.

    I should have done that with my son and didn't and I'm paying the price for my fear. I didn't want to 'send him away' when I had the chance. Once he is 18 (like my son), you can't do anything. :sad-very:

    I will be praying for you...please try to hang in there.

    Lasted edited by : Mar 20, 2009
  7. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I think the boarding school/Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is a possibility...

    However...what about this....

    First of all...
    Although you don't get along with your there any major concerns with her or her family? LIke drugs, alcohol, no one working in the home, abuse, etc?

    Would your sister have any ulterior motive for wanting your son in her house?

    If not...

    How could you bargain this?

    Somehow....everyone goes to family counseling and son gets to stay at sisters home without argument from you?

    However, you would have to make sure that your sister buys into it or there would be no hope of it happening.

    There might be certain advantages to having your son at her home AND going to counseling. I don't think I would want her at your sister's home if I wasn't also trying to strength my relationship with him and seeing to it that someone was watching over his mental health.

    Perhaps when he gets older, he will find his way back.

    p.s. Before I said you shouldn't "fake it." I guess sometimes you have to "fake it to you make it." LOL! Keep looking for the tools you'll need to help you during these stressful times. I remember them well. Yikes!
    Lasted edited by : Mar 20, 2009
  8. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Welcome! I can relate...Miss KT did well with Hubby for a while, then she decided she was miserable because I'd remarried. She was the child from he!! at 15, no better at 16, and last May I told her she was spending the summer with her father because I'd had enough. Incredible rudeness, punched walls, screaming fits, horribly mean attitudes...and she called my mom, who was enabling her, and said I'd thrown her out. She lived with my mom for nearly nine months. I had minimal contact with either of them, but did stay in touch. She came home last month, and there's a world of difference. She's more polite and pleasant, doesn't pick fights, will graduate on schedule, and has signed up for college next year.

    I'm not saying this will solve your problem, but having Miss KT out of the house for that period of time was a good experience for all of us. If nothing else, she saw that life wasn't always wonderful over there, the way she was imagining it.
  9. cakewalk

    cakewalk Member

    Thank you, everyone, for your advice and input. It is so helpful to read posts from people that understand what goes on behind closed doors.

    To answer a few questions, my difficult child is very gifted athletically. He is amazing at his sport. His GPA is a 3.5. He's a good looking kid with many, many friends. He holds two part time jobs in addition to his sport and his schooling. The problem? He hates living in our home.

    Most people never see the side of him we see. Most of my friends couldn't believe it when I told them what I was going through. He can turn on the charm. But when he blows, he blows. He never remembers most of his actions or words (or he refuses to admit it and tells me I make the stuff up.)

    Not one time has anyone called me and said, "difficult child said.... and we would like to hear your version of the story." With each story he told, the more attention he got. The more attention he got, the more the stories changed. The police and CPS have seen through his stories. My family refuses to. They do not like me and I do not like them. My sister is angry that I walked away from her family and all of her children. I have no regrets in doing that. My counselor agrees that it was the best thing for me to do at the time.

    When I told my sister that CPS saw through his made up story, she said it was because he was the last person they had spoken to and we had manipulated them to believing us. The poor child never stood a chance being the last to speak. (He refused to speak to them at first, it was only after pleading with difficult child, did he come down and speak.) When I told her that our family counselor fined him for bad behavior (since money is the only motivator to this kid), my sister said that was reprehensible and did we give the money back when he behaved? (Um... no.) She said how fair is it that your family counselor makes decisions for you to parent your child when difficult child hasn't spoken to her? difficult child refuses to meet with her and refuses family counseling. Our family is hurting daily and we all need and welcome her advice. When I told my son that I sacrificed everything to make his athletic dreams come true, my sister told him to tell me that I'm selfish and perfect and refuse to give him any credit for anything. That yes, while I did sacrifice, it was difficult child that played hard and developed skills and why can't I give him any credit FOR ANYTHING? My point being that anything that he tells them gets turned against my husband and I. There are so many unresolved issues between me and my siblings, the war continues through our children. My sister is playing the martyr and will be the saving grace and "fix" what she thinks I broke. That is the ulterior motive of having my son in her house. My son isn't the problem here, it's me, and she's going to prove it.

    When I said that my sister is teaching my son to punch walls, throw fits, and run away from his problems, I didn't mean that they do that in their house. I meant by their allowing him to stay against my wishes, and taking care of him the way they have been coddling him, they are teaching him that the way he behaved is acceptable behavior. He's now living in a gated community. My sister drives him to work and his sporting practices and games. She has made his lunches, bought him things, made a room for him, calls for counseling appointments, helps him with his busy schedule. He's a runaway! He's living the life of dreams right now. So he learned what?? Swear, curse, bully, break things, call names, defy rules, slip out a back door and wah-lah country club living. Oh, they belong to the country club and have a cottage on a lake. And, he doesn't have to lift a finger and he gets all the benefits.

    I loved the post about KT. I can't hang on to that because expectations lead to disappointments, and I've had enough of those. But, it sure is wonderful to hear that happy ending!

    My son will have no part of counseling with me. My sister has said that will never happen. She said she'll get my son counseling but I'll have NO part in it.

    If I force the kid home, he'll leave in a second. Or, yes, he will become violent eventually . Is it worth the risk to get him in residential treatment? I don't know. My son tells me that he's only this way around us. We're the only people that bother him and make him so angry.

    The other dynamic is my easy child. The family has completely ignored him for two years. They have set up a private email account for my difficult child, with password, telling him not to tell me. They all sent him "you can come and live here" emails. difficult child left the email and password in his dirty clothes, which I found. easy child never got a private email from the family. easy child is angry with his brother for the behavior, for the damage, for the F-Bombs, the police, counseling, my tears, etc. He is frustrated with my family for not seeing through difficult child's ****. What I didn't tell you is when CPS closed our file and said, "There is no abuse in this house." easy child said, "Yes, there is. The three of us are abused by difficult child." He is the only one in the house that dared to say it outloud.

    Thank you all for your advice. It is very helpful to hear from people who understand.
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    When my daughter was using drugs, she wasn't fun to be around. If I'd had a nosy sister that daughter seemed to love, and at 17 years old (they can leave home at 18 anyway) I just may have taken her up on her offer to be a guardian. I wonder how long before she'd be calling you back in tears, but that would be her problem. If he was 14, I'd say absolutely not. But 17? He'll probably run at 18 anyway. You could have a peaceful home with your easy child for a while. Or else I'd move as far away from this "family" as I could. I have a toxic family and I consider my friends my family, not them.
  11. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Hi and welcome, cakewalk. Sorry I'm coming in late. Everyone has made very good points and suggestions. I know how hard it is to consider letting go, but I have to say that in your position (I have been there done that re the anger, violence, punching walls, assaults, and ongoing h*** for my other kids and me) I would think about waiting this out and enjoying the peace and freedom from abuse that you have now. Your difficult child has inflicted so much on you and his brother. His brother deserves some calm and a stable household. There's no need to sign anything permanent right now and eventually difficult child will show his colors to your family. They may not admit it to you, but he isn't going to change his spots.

    It hurts when your difficult child slanders you and others believe him. We've endured this too, we've had the false accusations of abuse, the CPS investigations, and even in the past year while our difficult child has been 20 he's slandered us to his rehab counselors, the social services people, and everyone he meets at work and socially. I have no doubt he'll continue to do it all his life. All we can do is keep our heads up and demonstrate, through our behavior, who we really are. Eventually difficult child makes his 'charming' self clearer to people and they begin taking a second look at his assertions. If they don't, there's nothing I can do about it. Developing a very heavy rhino skin has been part of the process.

    I'm sorry you're in this position. But letting things chill for a while and getting on with your life could be very sanity-restoring.

    All the best,
  12. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    I say let him go live with your sister. As MWM said he is 17, not 14. Your easy child kid deserves a peaceful sane environment and so do you. If someone had offered to take my difficult child when she that age I would have let her go. She was just unable to live with us.