Hello all. I have posted here a couple times before, but I forgot my password and the Captchas were giving me grief on requesting a new one so I just created a new screen name. I am wondering this: is anyone else on this board a step-parent to a mentally ill child who also has severe behavioral issues? I feel so alone dealing with all of this. My situation is not the same as a bio-parents is. I didnt carry, deliver, nurture and love this child from the moment of his conception. Ive know him for just over three years. I am overwhelmed and frustrated and just need to vent. I hope to find some support and maybe even someone else who is walking in my shoes. Heres my story. My stepson (Ill call him SS from now on) is 11 years old (12 in February). I call him my SS although his father and I are not yet married. We never marry because I dont know if I can commit to this child for the rest of my life. We all live together and there are the three of us, 2 dogs and 2 cats. SS has two brothers, one 9 and one 5, who he never sees. I have no biological children of my own, but I am like a second mom to three AMAZINGLY beautiful, respectful, intelligent, fun children who I love like they were my own. These are my two nephews and one niece who I am wildly proud of!!! Anyway I digress, back to SS. When I came into the picture 3 years ago, I knew almost from the get-go that something was wrong with this child. He had no rules, limits, expectations, discipline, consequences he was basically an 8-year-old boy ruling his own world. He would play violent first-person shooter videogames on a 52 TV while chatting online with other players via large headphones with a mic attached. He came and went from his dads house as he pleased (mostly to his grandparents house down the street). You dared not tell this child nohe would go into a screaming rage like nothing I have ever seen. However, if an adult asks him to do anything, the response was invariably no, do it yourself, Im busy, you get the picture. Compliance is not one of his better qualities. He is unbelievably disrespectful with adults. When he does not get his way, he goes into an all-out rage of screaming, slamming doors, kicking, pulling at his clothes, punching things. A couple times he assaulted a cousin. Nothing major, but assault nonetheless. He received repeated discipline referrals at school for behavior, one time having the police called for assaulting a teacher. He goes from melancholy to giddy in a New York minute although he tends to be more melancholy than anything. He has expressed suicidal ideation on a number of occasions. This is a child who has never had any friends (save for one juvenile delinquent down the street from the old house), has severe language/reading Learning Disability (LD), has no hobbies or interests, performs poorly in school, does not engage in sports or extracurricular activities, has no responsibilities or structure at home, and spends his entire life outside of school in front of a TV or videogame. His mother is almost entirely out of the picture. She rarely calls him or bothers to spend time with him, even though she lives maybe 10 minutes away. She is an alcoholic and we suspect has mental illness (Bipolar?) as well. She has never been an integral part of SSs life. Sadly, SS would see her every day last year at school. He has a 6 y.o. stepsister who went to the same elementary school and the bio-mom would pick her up every single day from school. Pretty sure I dont need to go any further anyone reading this understands how sad and disturbing that scenario is. In the last 3 years, some things have changed. Videogames are now regulated and he no longer has a TV or computer in his bedroom. He cannot come and go as he pleases anymore because we have moved across town, too far to walk to his grandparents house. I dont think he even knows where his mother lives. Beyond these things, though, the behaviors and activities have not changed a bit. Last Fall SS had become so unbearable to be around that I urged his father to take him back to counseling. He did and they upped his Straterra. (SS was diagnosed with ADHD at age 5 or 6). This sent him into even worse behaviors and violent, destructive rages. In December, again at my urging, we got him in for a NP evaluation with a reputable psychologist in a Midwestern town which boasts a renowned University. The NP was a disappointment and frankly just a joke. The guy said SS was borderline ADHD, had severe learning disabilities that placed his IQ in the borderline retarded range, and sent us on our way with the recommendation of two books. No diagnosis, no treatment recommendations, no follow-up, no nothing. So we took him back to the psychiatrist who had prescribed the Straterra and at this point he added Abilify to the mix. It helped some, although SSs moods and behaviors were still erratic. But he managed to make it through the school year with no major incidents at school (although home was still a living hell). Then after school ended, SSs fatherin all his brilliancedecided to take SS off his Abilify due to weight gain concerns. No consultation with the doctor, mind you, he just took the kid off his medications cold turkey. SS became crazed and violentworse than I had ever seen him. He threatened suicide, became physically destructive of things in the home, would leave for days on end (to his grandparents), called me names Ive never been called by a child, and was just downright vicious. Again at my urging, we took SS in August to a new psychiatrist I had found. This doctor was much better and we had a positive feeling about him. He suggested SS go back on the Abilify and add Fish Oil and Metformin into the mix. He did NOT suggest Straterra, as he explained how it can trigger mania in Borderline (BPD). He said there was a clear indication of Bipolar Disorder, but because we cannot get a family history out of the bio-mom (no mental illness hx on dads side), he could not make a firm diagnosis. So he diagnosed Cyclothymia but is treating for Bipolar. The medications stabilized SS quite a bit, but he was still having screaming, raging episodes at least a couple times a week. The Abilify was recently upped from 5mg to 7.5/day. However, I have yet to see any notable difference in behavior. Thats the historynow comes the part about being a step-parent. His father refuses to address any of SSs problems beyond giving him pills twice per day. He takes no initiative to get this kid into counseling. ALL of the treatments, doctors, evaluations, etc. over the last year or so have been because of me. If I do not take the initiative, it doesnt get done. Frankly, Dad just doesnt know how to be an effective parent. When SS refused to go to school one day this week, he never discussed with SS or the school what might be at the root of the issue. Instead, he called the kid in sick and let him watch TV all day. Dad sets no expectations for this child at allno chores, no rules, no responsibilities, no nothing. There are few consequences (granted, the kid doesnt have much to lose except TV or videogames). The kid does what he wants, when he wants. He is not expected AT ALL to regard me as an authority figure, even though Dad wants me to be a sweet, loving, understanding step-mommy to his poor, motherless child. SS often tells his father to shut up, f*** off or some other such disrespectful thing, and Dad says or does nothing about it. When SS called me a b***h, Dad never addressed it with the kid. Dad has never been involved with the school systemhe doesnt follow up on the IEP, never communicates with teachers, and basically feels like while SS is at school, he is the schools responsibility. Dad did not even know his own son can barely write until I pointed it out! The kid is in 6th grade and cannot write cursive at all, and his printing is barely legible. Some of this is the Learning Disability (LD)but some of it is SSs laziness and lack of applying himself. Dad has never bothered to help him develop any skills, writing or otherwise. Dad also never follows up on any of the psychiatric recommendations. Frankly, I think he is just too damn lazy. The kid gets no counseling and Dad gets no counseling. I tried to get us all into individual, couples and family therapy but Dad didnt exactly put effort into any of it. I finally gave up and quit making the appointments. So here I am, living with a mentally child with severe behavioral problems, with a father who is essentially useless. I am smart and intuitive and know how to get things done. If Dad would listen to me, I could help him. I dont have all the answersbut I know where to go and what to do to get help. But he refuses to listen to me. He has never been one to put his children first and that doesnt change even with all of SSs massive problems. I really think that Dad thinks the problems will just go away. I live a nightmarish life where every day you walk on pins and needles, not knowing how the kid will react to a given situation. Last night, for example, he was asked by Dad to get his math book. He refused, argued, started getting attitude. He walked out of the room and responded to his father by saying shut up. I had had enough and said something. I told him, you know what, maybe your father doesnt mind your awful behaviors, but I do. I am done doing nice things for you just to be nice. You want dinner, make it yourself from now on. Im done. And I meant it. (I had made a really good supper that I knew SS would love. No more.) He responded to this with an all-out rage that lasted an hour. Is anyone else a step-parent in a situation like this??? How do you cope?? I have resolved to locking myself in my study so I dont have to deal with it. I am NOT the parent here I am the STEP parent. Dad needs to take control of this situation and he refuses (out of sheer laziness and some denial). He told me the other night well if youre not going to help, then why should I bother. Ummm because he is your CHILD! If I was given equal authority and allowed a say in decision regarding SS, it would be different. But Dad doesnt like when I point out his parenting flaws. Doesnt like to be told he has to actually do something and not sit back and make me do it all. Doesnt like hearing that his kid is all screwed up (even though he knows it). Doesnt like being told he needs to man up and take responsibility. Doesnt like ANYTHING that makes him have to put forth effort on anyone but himself or me (he is very good to me). He truly does not acknowledge the frightening reality of the situation his son is in and what it will lead to if he doesnt start intervening RIGHT NOW. I have done loads of Internet research, read books, gone to counseling, educated myself as much as possible on Borderline (BPD) and parenting difficult children. Dad has done nothing. Literally nothing. I have stepped backdisengaged, if you will. I do nothing with, for or because of that child. Nothing at all. I dont wash his clothes, wash his dishes, buy him treats, take him anywhere (although the kid really never leaves the house) I do nothing for him. Im not mean to him, but I only speak to him when absolutely necessary and for as briefly as possible. I am so damn tired of doing nice things for this kid who is out of control and always ends up kicking me in the a** in the end. Any other other step-parents out there who relate?? I am desperate for someone who gets my situation ..