Just turned 18


Well-Known Member
Well, I haven't been here in a few months, didn't really feel like I 'belonged' until he turned 18. Your advice has helped me tremendously and I've been reading on everyone's stories and trying to keep up.

The last time I talked in May, we were about to go on a family vacation. That went well, a couple of episodes, but nothing major - he didn't have any alcohol or pot the whole time. He did bum a cigarette off of a bum when we went to town one day (Savannah riverfront). My 14 daughter was mortified when we passed him and he was smoking a cigarette with a bum, but husband and I just shook our heads, this is difficult child - this is who he is now.

He attacked my husband in June, for trying to get to the backyard where he had several friends gathered with coolers full of alcohol, after repeatedly asking him to break it up in about 15 different very polite but firm ways. difficult child tried to suffocate husband, when my daughter and I were prying his fingers away from husband's mouth, he ended up digging into the sides of his mouth with his fingernails. This later became infected and husband had to take antibiotics. His friends had to come in and 'extract' him from his attack and took him away. There were marks on difficult child from the struggle so I could not call the cops (did that once and husband landed in jail, now he cannot get a job because of his 'record' - not to mention the thousands in fees, classes, etc - another charge will be a felony). We tried everything, begged relatives to keep him, begged relatives for money, begged juvenile court to do something and begged area hospitals to open up a bed, even went to the cops later. There was no help. It was another dark day. He went to my mother in law's for a day and she bugged the crap out of us until we let him back home (she had company coming of course!)

difficult child showed remorse this time - a lot of it - and never has before. He has not attacked or blown up since the incident. He has gotten and lost two jobs and is currently unemployed for the last couple of weeks. He has a juvenile court date for a drug offense back in April at the end of September, not sure what will happen - if like the last 5 charges he has - it will be nothing but 'probation'. We'll see. He had been drinking and drugging - but the last couple of weeks he has slowed down considerably - only hanging out with a couple of friends, home at a decent hour (and some nights not going out at all!?!) and actually pleasant to be around. He is playing video games again, which he has not in the last year or so - since the violence started (that seems counter-intuitive doesn't it?) I don't think he's smoking pot or drinking either, he says he's trying to get clean for his court date. I am only stating the facts, believe me, I am not a victim of false hope here.

We have spoken with a lawyer, and have plans to execute if he goes south - order of protection and change the locks. I have talked to an adult rehab (many more options now that he's 18), he 'might' have that choice if he wants to come back. Right now we are just waiting for the court date and/or the other shoe to drop. Of course, we are stating the house rules - which he is following - except that he needs to get another job.

Sorry that was so long, just trying to catch everyone up. Birthdays were always HUGE - extravagant gifts, week-long, multi-events - in our house. Of course, they haven't been in the last few years because he is usually in some sort of trouble, but we have always done 'something'. This year was different, his birthday was on a Wednesday - we've always taken him out to eat on the actual day - kid's choice. He brought it up, asked if we could go to his favorite (expensive) German restaurant an hour away, and we said no. We took him to get a burger and a chocolate shake down the street, they sang to him. I haven't seen him smile like that in a long time - it was worth every penny. :) This crap hurts so bad, I can't even explain. I know you all understand exactly what I am saying. Thanks for listening.


New Member
Oh Bluebell, I wish I didn't have the slightest clue what you are going through, but unfortunately I do.
I hope and pray for you and your family that he has maybe started to realize that it is time to grow up and get his life sorted out. However, I have experienced these same lulls in behavior. Now, I have had 2 different outcomes, one of my difficult child's finally did, on his own accord, completely change his behavior, over a few months time. But, his twin, has gone back and forth a lot over the years, he would seem to be on a better path, only to digress, and get to the point where he was much worse off, than before the good period. So, as you see, it really can go either way. My only advice is, that if he is truly trying to move forward in a new way, support him.
My son who has improved immensely, has told me that one of the hardest things for him, was getting out of the shadow of all the bad things that he had done. That, whenever we treated him in the same manner that he had been treated when he was in his worst period, it made him want to give up, because if him changing wasn't going to make things better between us, than maybe it wasn't really worth it in the end.
The thing is, it's soooooo hard to differentiate between what is real, and what is manipulation sometimes.
I have my fingers crossed for you all, that he has finally seen the error of his ways.


Well-Known Member
I wish you well and am crossing fingers, toes and eyes. In our case, although we don't think substance abuse is the main problem with my son (it was with a daughter, but she quit), we have stopped hoping for any real change. As soon as our son has to handle any stress, he regresses back to being unbearable. He's fine as long as the moon and stars and sun are all aligned properly. Any pressure and he falls apart, which we could handle, but he gets abusive and mean. He lives a few states away, which is good. He could not live with us anymore. He is 36 and I think this is just who he is and he doesn't think anything is wrong with him. When confronted with many of his mean and dangerous behaviors he always claims he doesn't remember them. I just plain don't believe it.

I do have one bit of advice for you. I don't think, now that your son is a legal adult, that your husband will get into trouble if your son attacks him. I would call 9-1-1 the first sign that your son is going after anybody in the family. If you feel this is not an option you have, I would not allow him to live at home. He is obviously capable of serious violence and that is a threat to anyone in your home. There is no guarantee he will remain calmer. These adult kids seem to cycle in behavior, having times that give us hope then sometimes reverting back to where they came from, sometimes even worse. It is not worth it, especially if he will lie to get your husband arrested or harm a sibling of his or even a pet. Nobody deserves to have to walk on eggshelves around an adult or have his mouth torn open. Actually, I would make it a clearcut rule that he can not bring his "friends" to you house at all, if he is going to live there. Rather than having your husband go try to make them leave, don't let him know you are doing it, but call the cops. Let them handle it. They know how. They can get help for themselves too. Your son is young, no doubt in better physical shape than your hub. In our house, physical violence is an automatic "you're out." I think of it this way. If I wouldn't let somebody else treat me a certain way, I expect the same from my son. Yes, it took me a long time to get here. And he can still upset me, but I no longer make excuses for him and I go for help if I see my serenity slipping out of my hands.

I went through what you are going through, wondering what was real and what was manipulation. II still don't always know. I decided I don't need to know. If it feels like maipulation, then I will tell myself that it is. Our difficult children are very good at putting on "good little boy" acts when they want something from us...money, housing, for us to pay their bills, the car, etc. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELVES!!!!! You still have a fifteen year old son at home. He is a minor. He does not need to see his brother getting violent and substance abusing.

Other than that, others will come along too to give you their two cents. Hugs for your hurting heart.


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So many good points and advice! MWM, I have a 14 yo daughter but yes, the point is the same, she does not need to see the violence or substance abuse. She has already been affected a great deal by these events as it is.

All of this has been legally difficult when he was a minor, but now we have options and will not live this way any longer. We have told difficult child as such. I honestly don't think this is manipulation because he is getting nothing from us right now, besides the basics of life. I don't think he can fathom that we would actually kick him out (although he should!), so I don't think he's being good to 'stay'. Usually his manipulation manifests itself in lots of talking, and he is strangely silent. I think he's about run out of options in the crowd he's hanging with, he could always find another.

He had about 10 or 15 kids over when the incident happened - and I haven't seen or known him to be around but a couple of them since. Can you imagine what they must have thought about that horrific scene? He's never had a real girlfriend and there were several that day, beautiful girls in swimsuits enjoying the pool. They had brought burgers and charcoal - it looked like an idyllic teenage scene - the reason we put in a pool many years ago. Except for the alcohol. And he was adamant that this 'hangout' was going to happen whether we liked it or not - he would not tell them to leave or that they had to remove the alcohol. Needless to say, noone comes to our house anymore, news gets around fast, I'm sure they think he is bat**** crazy (or we are? who knows about teenagers these days)! He is living squarely in the shadow of his bad deeds as well. I don't think SA is his primary problem either - all of his stunts have revolved around not being able to solve problems. He has gone for months at a time with no substance abuse - when he was younger and we had him on lockdown or living elsewhere. But he's young and the self-medicating episodes could turn into something much more sinister.

My son is just like yours BennieB, he gets discouraged and gives up on everything way too soon, and considers himself an 'outsider' in our family. He has put himself there. Oh I could write a book. We'll see what happens if the judge makes him uncomfortable, might blow the whole thing out of the water....


Well-Known Member
It was short lived. He came home drunk last night and sold his video game he got from relatives for his birthday for weed. He left his phone and I saw texts where he thinks some certo crap is going to detox him for his court date next week. Back to normal...

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Bluebell -- I read your story twice to grasp it. That outdoor attack scene is horrific! I feel for you and your husband so much! So sorry you had to endure that.

MWM said something REALLY terrific......... If it feels like manipulation, I will tell myself that it is. GREAT advice. If it isn't, nothing lost. If it is, potentially a lifesaver. Our radar is really honed after all these years. Let's face it.......We KNOW what it's manipulation. We KNOW. It's ok and good and HEALTHY for us to heed our own radar warnings.

Are you safe there? Really? This may sound awkward, but.... Do you have quick phone access from every room? Do you have an escape hatch (door or window) in every room? Are you sure you're safe? Not just you, either, but I'm worried about your husband. Have you discussed tangible, strategic ways to handle "explosions"?

At the first sign of inner alarm........KEEP A PHONE IN YOUR HANDS AT ALL TIMES. Stay safe! Call 911.

Now, that's survival stuff. But there's more. See, you also have the right to feel sane in your own home. I realize he's just barely an adult (18, you said, right?). But.....he IS an adult. Legally. Things change for you at that point -- for the better.

Take care and keep us posted!


Well-Known Member
Thank you for your concern! I wish I was embellishing this but unfortunately quite the opposite. We do have 'safety plans', but I don't feel safe. I never thought I would say this but he just needs to leave our home.
Maybe he will fail the drug test next week and the judge will see fit to dole out a consequence. I can hope.

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Well-Known Member
I do care! Trust your instincts and know that even Charles Manson had a mother! Not saying that your (or any of our) difficult child is Charles Manson. But saying that you have experienced a tangible event of violence. IT IS REAL.

I hope you and your husband do discuss a safety plan. That event was domestic violence from your difficult child. Look at the physical layout of your house. See possible dangers. Hide possible weapons (this includes butcher knives, etc). by the way, I'm not telling you anything that we didn't do in our own home before our difficult child was booted out (by us, at age 16). At the least, you'll be safer and sleep better at night. At the most you may save a life -- yours, husband's, or your difficult child's. We got ideas for our safety plan from an on-line site for domestic violence. It was years ago, but I have no doubt there are many remaining.

He's 18 now. Remember, you have maaaany more legal rights now. Things have shifted in your favor. I once called a domestic violence hotline and they were AWESOME with specific suggestions.

I hope this all just fades into the past for you. However, unless we take very different actions, history will tend to repeat itself. Your concerns are real and valid.

Stay safe!