Hi all, this is my first post. I’ve been reading through these threads for a while now, and so many bells are going off regarding my own difficult child. I’ll try and keep this short. (Re-reading this now I see it got pretty long. Apologies.) My son will be 19 in March. He finished high school in November 2013. Since about the age of 15 he had become defiant and oppositional at home. There were many issues: not doing his schoolwork, verbal abuse, general destructiveness of the home, garbage in his room, his nocturnal sleep pattern, a lot of lying. In particular we had terrible battles over his excessive use of the internet and electronic gaming. We also had battles with him because he was smoking cannabis in his room. Despite promises that he had stopped, I kept finding bongs, lighters etc. in his bedroom. He was verbally abusive to me in particular. (I think he is somewhat scared of his father.) He also intentionally broke various items of my personal property, such as my phone and my reading glasses. (He still has not expressed any remorse for breaking my things.) I feel like I have always been the particular target of his anger, which is quite a painful feeling. He acted strangely entitled. He wanted to us to pay him to study. He wanted us to pay him for the privilege of teaching him to drive. He seemed (and still does seem) to have the delusion that he is destined for great success and riches. After he dropped out of uni in July 2014, he told me he was planning to become either a music producer or an entrepreneur. Either way his main objective was to “have subordinates”. The one thing I could say in his favour is he had been a very bright child. Although at school he was mainly lazy and often inattentive, he had a sophisticated sense of humour for a child and was unusually quick-witted. He could charm anyone and make anyone laugh. He was also unusually gifted at maths. But he seems to have peaked at 12. This is hard to explain but around the age of 17 he started to use the threat to fail as leverage to get what he wanted. Eg. in the weeks before his final exams at high school, he threatened he would not attend his exams unless we allowed him free access to the PlayStation. Around that time, he also told me he was considering failing academically and “going off the rails” intentionally to spite us, or, as he put it, so we couldn’t “boast about him to friends and family” and “people will think there is something wrong with you”. Believe me, we his parents were never particularly invested in his success at all. (Maybe he was confusing us with his friends’ parents. I still don’t know why he seemed to believe we had such expectations for him. If anything we were now getting worried that he wouldn’t even be able to live independently.) I included this information as an example of how oddly manipulative he is and also how twisted his thinking is. We often felt like we were dealing with a terrorist. He left home in February 2014 and moved into a boarding house near the university where he enrolled. His being gone from the home was such a sweet relief. He received a government allowance to study. Of course he did not attend classes, do his assignments or even attend his exams, so failed the first semester and dropped out. I believe he was smoking cannabis pretty heavily for all of 2014. In July he tried unsuccessfully to share an apartment with a normal working young adult, but was pretty swiftly kicked out, and found himself briefly homeless in August 2014. He left Sydney for a while for a country town where his sister lives, but made no effort to find work, although she, feeling sorry for him, had busied herself setting up job interviews, etc. besides performing many other services for him. But in October 2014 he returned without warning to Sydney even on the day she thought he was attending a food preparation course. He moved back into the boarding house he started out in in February, and lives there now. Back in May 2013 when he was 17, he had been hit by a car crossing the road. Although the accident was his fault, ultimately he was awarded $30,000 in compensation, on top of his medical expenses. The insurance company had to pay the money to him since then he had legally become an adult, but advised me because of his young age to open a joint signature bank account with him. In the end his father was the one who became the other holder of the joint account. The amount was $30,000. We hoped the money could be wisely invested or even used as a deposit to buy a place he could live. But that conversation never happened. He harassed and menaced his father for the money as soon as it was transferred, and eventually when it became too painful, his father caved, saying once he took that money he could not return to the family home ever, and that he (the father) would be cutting the difficult child out of his will. Difficult child then went on a silly, Pretty Woman-style spending spree buying himself brand name clothes and luxury goods. (I could track some of his spending because I was a signatory to one of his bank accounts.) Certainly also a lot of the money went on drugs. He revealed recently he has been smoking 3 grams of cannabis a day, which I’m told equates to $50 a day. However, dear Parents Emeritis, he had also decided to embark on a career as a sports gambler, gambling mainly on British football through an online gambling site. He had also started suffering delusions of paranoia. He even texted me a couple of times to ask if I knew why people were following him. I tried to stay in touch with him, meeting him about once a month for coffee in the city. In December, I was also sad about his decision not to come to Christmas lunch with our extended family, so I invited him to come to lunch at my apartment on Boxing Day for a small Christmas celebration with just his sister and me, which he accepted warmly. But something must have changed in his brain between that day and Christmas day. At 5 am on Christmas morning he sent a barrage of hate-filled text messages to my phone, starting with the sentence: “You and Dad are s*** parents and always have been”. Also in the end he did show up very late and unexpectedly for my family’s Christmas lunch, disrupted everything for about five minutes, shoved some food in his mouth and walked out the door! I proceeded with the Boxing Day lunch despite all the crazy behaviour the day before. Unfortunately at 11 pm on Christmas night he chose to take crystal meth, apparently for the first time, had stayed up all night and had also not eaten for a long time. While his sister was driving him to my place, he started screaming violently in the car, endangering both of them. When he arrived he seemed angry and was verbally abusive. When I left him alone with his sister, he started ranting to her that she should kill herself, just kill herself now, she should cut her wrists, it wouldn’t hurt, etc. What she told me he’d said to her was very creepy and disturbing. When I came back, she’d climbed the wall of my courtyard to try and escape from him. Then he left pretty abruptly, but changed his mind and buzzed my intercom continually for about half an hour to get back in. My daughter, who was in a state of shock, said “no” so I didn’t allow him back in. He kicked and shattered the glass security door, which was caught on video by security cameras. The building manager called the police. In the end no one seemed to want to charge him. Everyone was only concerned that the damage be paid for. Not long after he sent me an email wondering whether he could be Asperger’s. In a follow-up email he stated that he thought he was half Asperger’s, half sociopath. The Aspie thing had to be wrong as he was a very sociable child. (He just started acting like a jerk at about 16.) The sociopath thing does kind of chime with my experience, and disturbs me. On the other hand, I felt that email was also a kind of breakthrough, as he himself was wondering what could be wrong. When I dragged him to family therapy back in 2013, he acted all reasonable and agreeable during the session. The social worker assessing our family saw no reason for us to return. About two weeks ago he contacted us that he was broke, would be unable to pay the rent when it fell due, and was hungry. In my reply I attached a list of soup kitchens near his boarding house. After more emails, I told him I would buy him food if he agreed to see a mental health specialist. In the end he did go to a hospital with me. He’s been interviewed by various medical personnel, including a psychiatric registrar and a psychiatric nurse. So far there hasn’t been much of a result. Except for this one perceptive doctor who thought he was very disturbed and wanted to admit him to the psychiatric ward, but got overruled, I keep getting told “It looks like a personality thing”. Still he has an appointment with a psychiatrist this coming Tuesday, which is better than nothing. After we came home from the hospital, to my fury and disbelief, he said he intended to continue to gamble. He said he’d learned from his mistakes. He now knew how to do it right. He’d given up taking drugs so he could gamble with a clear head. He was planning to live in different houses around the world, a lifestyle he saw himself easily affording as a successful gambler. His father is currently loaning him rent, which he (the father) is paying weekly directly to the landlord. His father also collected some items belonging to my son for security, which honestly have no resale value. My son has very recently again applied for a government allowance to study. He has got himself a place in an IT course at a technical college which is almost next door to his boarding house. He has promised he will repay the loan for the rent when his allowance is paid, which he said would take four weeks. I have a suspicion he will gamble with any lump sum deposited in his account. I also have a suspicion that the point of doing the course is simply to get that payment, and again he won’t attend classes or do the required work. Please parents out there (if you’ve read this far)! I’m stressed and can’t stop wondering where this is going. I’d welcome anyone’s feedback or advice.