I think it's time to cut off all ties to my oldest...but scared to do so...


New Member
Hello, fellow warriors.

I'm hoping to tap into your collective wisdom. For a while now, I have been digesting the fact we have an ASPD son (who will be 20 years old in a couple of weeks). My husband and I (my husband came into my life when oldest was three and adopted him) thought it was just ADHD and drugs. However, our troubles with him began when he was about 12...and he began to fit the profile of someone with conduct disorder. As he grew, our problems with him grew, too. Drug abuse, lying, stealing from us - check. Sneaking out, hurting his younger siblings, feeling no remorse, bringing our family to the brink of disaster. Check, check, check. We went to countless doctors, psychotherapists, psychologists, tried medicines of all types...all to no avail. He ended up in another state with bio dad but then he stole bio dad's credit card and bought himself a one-way ticket to yet another state. After four months, he was incarcerated for corruption of minor charges and spent six months in jail. The detective we spoke to held our son in high contempt because of the egregious nature of our son's behavior.

When our son was released, I flew to meet him and try to set him up for success. Silly me! I believed he had had a change of heart while in jail. When I was with him, I found out that no social service agencies would help him. Some were afraid of him. Some didn't want to deal with him because they had heard of him. Some both. I ended up taking him to the hospital for his threatened self-harm but this, too, was a game for him to get service agencies to help him. I found out that he had a confirmed diagnosis of ASPD while he was in jail...and the service providers that would talk to me confirmed that they believed him to have ASPD. At the hospital, I found out he had stolen over the counter drugs almost immediately upon release. I was devastated and flew home. I cannot help someone who doesn't want to help himself...and my heart shattered a bit more.

Since that time, he seems to be sliding more and more into insanity or drug-induced psychosis. We communicate through the snapchat app (text not video) and occasional calls. He thinks he's the antichrist and that I am Athena. He thinks he just met his alien parents (60 year old make and 39 year old female) who have waited for him for the past 20 million years. He says he is finally free to live like he wants to live.

I am having a hard time with all of this...and have contemplated completely severing ties with him. The psychologist we work with introduced the concept of "ambiguous grief" and how our family is rather stuck. Our son is toxic, no doubt about that. So our therapist suggested we do a small memorial for the son we've lost and so that our grief can be acknowledged and we can begin to heal. I haven't been able to bring myself to do that, especially as part of that would be to sever ties with my son.

Then my youngest son dropped a bomb on me last night. My youngest is 13 and absolutely amazing. He let me know that my oldest sexually abused him when he was 9 and 10. My oldest beat him and threatened him into performing sexual acts on my oldest. My youngest said he was terrified of my oldest and so never said anything. My youngest also said he didn't realize he'd been abused until health class last year. That resonates as true because for the past year, he has had anxiety, which wasn't there before. We are filing a report with the police. We will try and see if there is any way for the state our oldest is currently residing to rescind his probation. We our taking our youngest to our therapist...and we are letting him know in no uncertain terms that we love him, that none of this was his fault, that there is no shame, and that he is strong and a survivor. We checked in with our daughter, who is a year younger than our oldest and his biological sister, to see if she had been likewise abused. She said never sexually but oldest would physically harm her...and she never said anything because she didn't want to add stress and drama to the family.

Oh, my God! He hurt my two youngest children right under our nose!! I am so angry finally!! I had felt despair, defeated, hopeless and hopeful all at once, emotionally exhausted but never angry. How that has changed! I feel like it's time to let my oldest go and cut off ties with him. Our family needs to heal. My youngest needs to know that he is important and his needs and well-being are of value to his parents. And even so -- my husband and I worry that if we cut off ties, that our oldest will kill himself...or...if we cut off ties he will never turn himself around (if that's even possible, which as a true ASPD isn't) because his parents lost faith in him. My husband and I realize this is the guilt trap - but it feels so very real.

I need you guys to tell me things will be okay. That we will find a new normal. That life will be more than shades of gray and black. Above all - as silly as it may seem - I'm looking for permission because I'm a chickensh*t with a massively broken heart who just can't seem to see clearly for the pain. Is it okay to sever ties with one's child? And what happens next?


Well-Known Member
AKAnnie, if what you need is permission, you have it. You are a hero for having gotten through this far. He is an adult now. Your legal and moral obligation to him is done, and the way his life turns out is up to him now.

What happens next? You live your life. You find your peace. You protect and care for your younger ones and help them heal. You take steps to protect them, yourself and your property if you feel your eldest potential ongoing risk.

Do the memorial if it will help you. Don’t if it just brings up additional anxiety or pain. Write all your darkest most secret thoughts down and burn them if it will help.

Whatever happens next your eldest is out of your hands and will not be your fault. His choices are his to make, and no longer your responsibility.

If you haven’t already, check out the pinned post on Detachment

I know this is really hard and painful. I can only imagine all the emotions that are going through you right now. Hugs to you and your family. I hope you are able to find your peace. Keep posting.


Well-Known Member
I have actually had similar horror in my family. I dont think anyone else here has. If you want to send me a PM we can talk. It is not exactly the same but we had a sexual abuser in our house and I would be happy to tell you what we did. This is huge and one thing I will offer is that I would NEVER bring him back to the house, assume he can be cured of this for sure, or trust him to be truthful. Antisocial Personality Disorder is very serious and of yet there is no cure. Son is on the very severe spectrum of behavior disorders and your other kids should not have to see him again. He traumatized them. If for some reason they want to confront him or see him for another reason after they turn 18 then it is up to them. Until then, if you decide to still see him, please, for the sake of your other kids, see him yourself in crowded places so he cant hurt you. Like crowded restaurants only. If you need to sever ties, this is okay. This is a very serious criminal matter with him harming children. It is likely he has hurt other kids too. He WAS arrested for something to do with a minor.

Sometimes even our own kids are not good, safe people and this does not mean we are not good parents. Your other kids are fine. They need protection from Oldest.

My kids who this boy acted out on are adults now doing great. We however chose to never see this foster,/adopted teen again and decided to focus on healing. If anything our family grew closer. There is hope. Therapy for the ones he hurt and you and hubby is essential. Do not try to do this yourself.

PM me if you like.

Love and light!
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"And even so -- my husband and I worry that if we cut off ties, that our oldest will kill himself...or...if we cut off ties he will never turn himself around"

Nope. Nope. Nope. This is a huge fallacy. (I sadly suffer with this same delusional thinking too about my daughter.) You cannot make your son turn himself around. The proof is that you tried to help him and he didn't change.
Your son is apparently psychotic or is pretending to be psychotic to manipulate you. With his ASPD and psychosis, he is a very real danger to you, your husband, and your other children. If you won't protect yourself and you must continue to have contact with him, that's your choice but move out of your home away from your family members to protect them. Realize that antipsychotic medications do not always work and many psychosis patients eventually end up resistant to all antipsychotic medications. Don't fool yourself into thinking medication will "save" your son because they frequently will only cause other scary issues.

If you choose to protect yourself, the memorial service to grieve the son you "lost" is an excellent idea. Find a lovely tree in a nearby cemetery and make that his "gravestone". Go there and grieve for your lost son exactly like you would do if he was buried.

As long as your son isn't incarcerated, you must be very aware of your surroundings because he can locate you. I fear my daughter and now I must also fear her boyfriend, but I lessen my fear by concealed carry and going frequently to the shooting range. I always have a gun in appendix carry unless I'm in the shower or asleep. My daughter is not going to take my family's lives if I can help it. It took me several weeks to handle a gun. It took carrying an empty gun in my waistband for a several week before I could load it and carry it. Now I don't even notice that I'm carrying a loaded gun (with the safety on). In fact, I feel naked when I don't have my gun in my waistband. This is my new normal and I'm enjoying life. You can adapt also and be happy.
If you are sending your son money, you need to stop supporting him. Let his ASPD behavior send him to jail where he will be safe and your family will be completely safe.


Well-Known Member
I don't know what I would do if it were my son, but I definitely wouldn't let him be around or even speak with his siblings. That is tragic. I'm so sorry.

Tired out

Well-Known Member
I am with Crayola13. I wouldn't let him be around his siblings in anyway. I haven't been in your (exact) situation so I can't say I would totally disconnect and bury him. That depends on you and your ability to compartmentalize. For me it would be useless, I would still know he is out there somewhere.
I wish you peace, happiness and lots of hugs.


Active Member
I don't have any experience with your situation, but in my humble opinion I think you need to step away from older son and do whatever you need to support yourself and other children. I just don't see how keeping a relationship with him can be anything but harmful. My heart hurts for you and your family.


Well-Known Member
For whatever its worth you have permission to do what you need to do to heal your family.

Having said that, be grateful that your son is far away. Always easier to heal when there's distance between you.

Personally I never say never. So if it were mine I'd say not until we heal and you change. Our healing is likely to take 10 years but I don't know how long its going to take you to change. Our healing includes our guilt at not knowing what you were doing to your sibs and allowing them to grow into adults. Don't contact any of us until you have completed rehab and been sober 5 years with AA documents to prove it. And not until you have lived in the same place with the same job for 5 years. Is this likely to happen? Perhaps not. But it is leaving a window open for down the road while not allowing contact till you and all the family have time. 10 years is a long, and a short time.

If he does contact anyone then reinforce the limits and set up safeguards to prevent further contact.

I can tell you that your family will find a new normal and this will some day be distant history.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Hi AKAnnie, I'm so sorry for what you are going through but I'm glad you found us here. There is nothing worse than living in fear of your own child. I'm glad to hear that you are working with a counselor.
So our therapist suggested we do a small memorial for the son we've lost and so that our grief can be acknowledged and we can begin to heal.
This is a very healthy thing to do. I have gone through a grieving process for my son. I mourned for the sweet little boy he once was. I mourned all the hopes and dreams I had for him. I mourned for the relationship I wish we could have had. Doing this helped me to move on.
I do not have regular contact with my son and for my mental health that is best.

my husband and I worry that if we cut off ties, that our oldest will kill himself...or...if we cut off ties he will never turn himself around (if that's even possible, which as a true ASPD isn't) because his parents lost faith in him.
This is where acceptance comes in. I went through a period of time where I was constantly worried and wondering where my son was, what he was doing, if he was okay, was he eating, where was he sleeping, was he going to break into my house and ransack it yet again, would he steal from us again, was he alive or lying dead in a ditch or abandoned warehouse, etc...... you know the drill.
I finally faced my fears, my worst fear was that my son could die and I would never know it. Yes, that could really happen and there is nothing I can do to stop it. I do not have any control over what my son chooses to do or how he lives his life. Once I truly accepted this, that the worst could happen there was a calm. It was okay to let go of the worry and wondering.
Never let your son hold your emotions hostage. Come out of the FOG (fear, obligation, guilt) You have done everything you can to help your son and he has made a choice to live his life the way he chooses.
None of us can control what our adult children will do. The only control we have is how we choose to live our own lives.

The most important thing you can do is be there for other kids. Help them to flourish. Do whatever you need to do to keep you, your family and home safe. Continue going to counseling, continue to heal and to grow.

As for the sexual abuse, I was sexually abused by my bio father from toddler to preteen. I am proof that it can be overcome and does not have to define someone. You are doing the best thing for your son by having him go to therapy.

It's not an easy journey you are on but you are not alone. It's time to take your life back and live for yourself.

Stay close and keep posting. Let us know how you are doing.

((HUGS)) to you....................


Well-Known Member
I agree with the others. He can not be around your other children at all ever. I would add a security system if you don't have one already. I am sorry you have to go through this but i feel you need to take care of your family without your son. I know it will be hard more at some times than others.


New Member
I took courage from your words. I sat and reflected all day. I thought long and hard about the journey we've been on for the past eight years. I reflected on what my daughter and youngest son had to endure. I thought about what my husband and I endured...and are still enduring. I pondered how even though our oldest hasn't lived in our home for the past two and a half years, he STILL colors our world and impacts our well being. Then I thought about my oldest. He doesn't care. He just doesn't. He's said it himself numerous times. "What? You want me to cry about it?" was/is a popular response for him. He does what he wants to do with no regard for anyone else. With ASPD, I imagine he is truly not capable of regarding anyone else, which makes him a predator. He is scary. He scares me. And so then I thought about how the rest of us bleed with hurt and the fallout of his existence in our home and lives. I thought about how we all have just one life...one...and so we should make it count, make it the best we can. So with many tears, I blocked my oldest's phone number...and then I sent him this final snap chat:

"I'm going dark. Don't know when next we'll talk. Even if we're not communicating, here's what I would like to leave with you... I know you've hurt people. I know you've hurt people in our family. Even so, you weren't born to be evil. You were born to be good and do good...and the dark forces in this world saw the threat that you were and have effectively taken you out. They have wrapped you in a haze of darkness and have so muddled your brain that you see the darkness and think it is real, not knowing that there is a beautiful, light-filled world just on the other side of the deceptions you've bought into. Here's something else I know... Dark cannot defeat the light. No matter how hard darkness tries to stifle light, it can't. Light wins. Always. So even though I won't be talking to you for a while, I can promise you this. I will be blasting light your way. We walk on the same earth. Your feet touch the same land that mine do. The wind in our lungs is the same as is the light that vibrates in every living thing. When I see grass, trees, water, birds, rain, clouds, anything and everything that either has light or can conduct light - I'm going to send my light into the ground, into the grass, into the trees, through the mountains, until it infiltrates your body through your feet, your lungs, your eyes. You cannot escape the light. The light will win. The darkness that tries to hide your light will despair at how bright and powerful and inescapable my light, my love for you, is. To little D... Do not give up the good battle. You are loved beyond measure. You are stronger than you think you are. You were made for greatness. Do not give up, my son."

I don't know if that even makes sense but it's what came out of my heart before I uninstalled the app. Maybe I wrote it more for myself than for him. At this point it doesn't matter. What matters is that I took the courage you offered and I took the step I know is the right one. My heart is bleeding but I want to start healing. I won't be a stranger here. Thank you...


Well-Known Member
AKAnnie ... that is beautiful. I have tears in my eyes. I think you have chosen a wise and compassionate road for all involved, including him. Stay strong, and keep posting. I’m glad you’re here.


Well-Known Member
I agree with the others. Your priority and your focus now is the healing and safety of your other kids. And your own healing.
We are filing a report with the police.
That is the right course.
my husband and I worry that if we cut off ties, that our oldest will kill himself...or...if we cut off ties he will never turn himself around (if that's even possible
Suicide threats are one way that people like your son get what they want. It is called an "instrumental threat." I worked in prisons with many people like him. It was my job to determine if there was risk of suicide or not. The patients would make threats and even identify a plan. If I believed it was a manipulation I sent them on their way. They could have done it. But the thing is you cannot give in. There are not the resources to protect somebody for whom this is one M.O. for control and manipulation.

There is not one thing that will stop people who are hell bent to hurt others or to put themselves at risk. Your son in every which way has burnt bridges in society and his family. He is clearly psychotic now, as a consequence of his drug use, apparently. This will play itself out. Very likely and very soon he will be re-incarcerated. There is no role for you. People like your son do not change as a consequence of help and support by their parents.

He is an adult now. He is responsible to society for his bad acts. And he is accountable to himself for the risk he puts himself in and the harm he does to himself.

I do not know how I feel about the memorial. We are all of us so different, and have such different needs. There is no one size fits all.

Many families have one child who bullies the others, up to and including sexual aggression. With the me-too movement we are seeing how common it is that people feel entitled to aggress sexually against who are weaker or under their control. This likely begins in childhood.

If your son had not gone out in the world and continued to be a predator, there could be options for a parent. But your son has confirmed and reconfirmed that he is dangerous. It seems that you do not believe that his behavior is a product of a psychosis, especially that which occurred in the family. But sometimes it is. By your account it seems that his current psychosis is drug fueled.

From what you write there are no stones left for you to turn.

In my own experience the agony does not easily go away. It is a process not so much of letting go of hope, but a change of focus. And then little by little we have pulled our energies back into our intact family and into ourselves. None of us (even with well-functioning kids) ever had any real control of how they live or what they do or their safety or even their lives. It is an illusion, that we do.

If the adult child has made a nice and conventional story for themselves, college or military or business, and a nice partner and kids, for example, we feel pleasure and pride, perhaps. One day they can decide they do not like us. They can decide they will move to a foreign country. They can have a mid life crisis and go off the deep end.

Your story is extreme because your son has followed a path, over and over again to deviate from normal and decent behavior. This is tragic. But your role and your responsibility have ended. There is not one thing you can do. Not one thing. Now you have to decide not just what you can live with, but how you can live. Nobody can know what heals us. It truly is one step at a time. Backsliding and baby steps forward. But you will heal I know it.

I am very sorry you are going through this. Truly I am.


Well-Known Member
He was not psychotic when he sexually abused your kids. He knew what he was doing as mine did.

I would never believe he was truly healed.

I feel a bit creepy about the Memorial. Not sure why. How do YOU feel about it?

I found this child who was my legal son for a few years on FB. He us now 29. Scarily he has five babies and a wife and Im sure she knows nothing. I dont think he is cured or can be cured and may very well perp on his babies. And others but he has many at his disposal. Oldest must be five or six. Seems she has a baby each year.

i found out way long ago that this now man would take a knife and hold it to my baby's throats and force them to perform sexually on him and each other. Sexual abuse is as ugly as it gets except maybe for murder. My son and daughter got great help from CPS resources and healed well and I am not sure they would have if they hadnt seen us totally reject what he did and say good bye. I do think his ill deeds helped my dear daughter...my perfect daughter...to always be a kind, helpful person and go into law enforcement. My son also is well, never breaking the law, being so kind and loving...he is very beloved in our community. I do believe it hurts to keep the abuser in the lives of our kids. I dont see how it works... its like finding out a live in boyfriend or, heck, a husband abuses our kids yet we keep him around.

I couldnt be more sorry. And sad. But there is lots of hope. Start now. Never trust your older son. He is very sick. And antisocials do not normally change. But the rest of you should go into theropy.
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Well-Known Member
My son and daughter got great help from CPS and healed well and I am not sure they would have if they hadnt seen us totally reject what he did and say good bye.
I will not tell you what to do. This is your decision. Nobody lives your life except you.

But I will say this: I think this is true what SWOT says. That your victimized child could, even would, see any contact with their abuser-brother as a message that their welfare and their feelings are not so important to you. By turning away and going forward you are modeling to them a path forward.

In life we have lots of different reasons to do things. And we are often split, ambivalent. We feel this, and the exact opposite at the same time. But there are times when we have to choose one voice to follow in ourselves and in our lives, no matter how conflicted we may be; no matter the pain. We do this because we see the writing on the wall, and we cannot look away. By deciding to not have contact with your adult son you would be telling your other children that you SAW THE WRITING ON THE WALL. IT MATTERED. AND YOU ACTED. Decisively.

What SWOT is saying is that for you this is one of those times. Your children's pain and their futures depend upon your decisively choosing for them, and this means, deciding against your son.

I am more like smithsmom, who never closes the door completely. I have not lived your story. But SWOT has been through this tragedy and she knows how her children healed. I would listen. But if in your heart you want to believe that someday there can be contact in some form, at a time when your other children are healed and living independently, I think that that is your right to hold that in your heart.
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