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I think I can speak somewhat to your situation. My husband (stepdad) threw my 43 year old daughter out. One day he just had all he could take. He did what I could not do. I was extremely unhappy with him for a long time. I didn't leave him, although I thought about it. With her went my two granddaughters. She should not have been living with us in the first place. We had rescued her for almost 7 years at that time. She's never stepped foot in our house again. I would go to visit my granddaughters iin another town where they lived. It's been very, very hard. I immediately got into Codependent's Anonymous, went to counselling, etc. Now almost 2 years later, I'm beginning to see what a difficult person my daughter is. I've finally broke through the denial. There are days I still want to deny reality because ii miss my granddaughters so much and want so much for them to have a good life. Right now they're living in a weekly motel. I understand your wife. I've been there. My husband stood and did what needed to be done. Have i completely forgiven him? Probably not, especially when I'm grieving my loss . But, on the other hand, I understand why he did it and we now are enjoying our life. We're in our 70's and it's about time. I don't miss the stress. Maybe one of these days I'll see my granddaughters again. I'm not advising you what to do and this a difficult time to anything with the holidays and all. I'm just saying there are days I'm grateful he had the guts to do it. I didn't.


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But, on the other hand, you know your wife better than I do. I guess I mean how she would handle you throwing her son out. Hopefully you can both come to an agreement about how to handle ther situation. It's just not easy. If it was, we wouldn't be here looking for support and advice.


You are probably correct that he is abusing substances. Candy, sugar cereal is typical of opiate abusers...and if he's thin.

Your wife needs help, she might need to see his drug abuse. She is living in denial...shielded. y her love for him.

Help yourself first.

We have been there! Some still walking this crazy path...but HE is t he only one who can help him. The only thing the both of you can do I s unite...Tough stuff for sure.

Intervention...but you have to get on the same page...
OK. I finished the first book I bought that was recommended. Setting boundaries with adult children. A book cannot describe your situation but I found it had covered lots of core issues that we are facing. I already told my wife I bought 2 books and reading them to see if it is worth for her to read. I thought it is a well written book. I underlined a lot for her to focus, too. Gave her the book before I left the house with little instruction. "Be patience as the book is not tailor made for you. However, this book touches lots of similar issues we see and I definitely think it is worth for you to read". Her response was kind of dull, not paying attention... She did not even look at the cover. I told her the book came up on the first line on the research and had 5 stars.

Well, no matter what, I try to teach, discuss and work things out but it is either her way with her son's manipulations or NO WAY. Our caring neighbors, her siblings, me and some people have given advise to my wife which is all the same. Get him out of the house first. Things have not been worked, mother gave too many chances (Endless chances) to her only son that she feels guilty as his father was never in his life. Just giving what he has wanted is not a proper way to raise a child. Before my wife met me, they were not financially on the top side but she was treating him like she was on the top as she thought she had to do it for him. Not only did he not appreciate things but still has absolutely no idea why his mother and I are upset.

When reading the book, I saw lots of things that the book recommended that I put into action already but failed. For example, I wrote a simple house rules, got it even notarized and presented to him. He laughed at it, told us he could have written a BS paper for 15 pages in 10 minutes, laughed and threw away. That is the day 1 when he flunked out of college and came back home. I threw out, explained the house rules and his staying is temporary. However, he has taken advantage fully with mother's support and now living in our home like he really deserve 100% to live with us. His mothers sayings are very typical what the book described. When you do not enforce rules as you planned, the rules automatically become obsolete and parents and other people living in the house are going to suffer. That is exactly what is happening around the house.

I know that I have a very slim chance (Almost none) to turn the tings around. When we bought a new house and moved in last April, my wife told her son "Why do you think you are moving to the new house with us, why do you think that you deserve to move with us?" But they were all talk but no action followed. Both mother and son only talk lots of things but nothing gets put into a real action. An epidemic problem where myself and book says unless you do what you say, it makes things worse as the person(my stepson) will never believe what his mother says. He has, and will take it as "Here she goes again but as time goes, she will forget. Therefore, ignore her, give her some things that she would like to hear but I have no intention to follow will get me out of this moment"

I feel like I could have written a book and the contents would have been almost identical. All the symptoms of a troubled child's behavior is pretty identical as the book said. Now and again, I threw the pressure and the ball on mother's side of the court. How she plays is her choice but it will have consequences this time as I have a hard time dealing with her drinking already. I am not capable of dealing 2 HUGE problems at the same time. I am just another human being.

My life, as a spoiled child yet disciplined to prove how I have made myself as an high executive in a Fortune 50 company, now working for a reputable but a lot smaller scale company. In my professional sense, I have made to not a lot of people do. I have worked around no weekend calendar, lots of times, pulled all nighters in the office and traveled 160+ days a year for the first 20 years of my career to be where I am. I have lived in 6 different countries and 7 different States. I am not a perfect father but decided to leave the company I had worked for 20 years as my wife wanted to stay in US plus the youngest begged me to go to 1 high school. It was not what my career could offer as I was an ex-pat and my company would relocate me to troubled spots in the World to fix things as I was trained to do. I gave up my career for my family. Another awesome opportunity came and received a great offer.. The negative term was we had to move to Chicago, which is colder than NY so my wife said "No" and they would keep me in Chicago HQ than would move me again in Singapore or UK after 2 years where I could not keep my promise to my youngest that wanted to go to one high school. I turned down the great opportunity, not being a selfish father and settled with current company that offered so much less money but relocated to California once for good.

I have done my best to support my family and kids and know that my kids sacrificed a lot for me, too. I did not want to be selfish again and we moved to California. It's been more than 3 years. Our house was a happy vibe environment until the stepson flunked out and moved back in. My wife will lecture me it is a trend that kids move back home as they can't find jobs and all other things. For me, they are nothing but all excuses. With the technologies replacing human jobs, it is tougher than ever out there and unless you are focused and pursuing your goal with dedication, the life would be very difficult. Helicopter parents do not think they have problems but blame it on society and others. I do not blame on things where I try to find solutions to prevent issues. Taking current position with a huge pay cut was very difficult as you had no choice but to downsize. That stress was large enough for me as I had obligation to support my family, which is my number one priority. Financially, we are still struggling as we kept on downsizing. It is not fun at all where all the things you could have then now it seems impossible. Well.... When you take a chance, you will also have to deal with consequences and I am doing exactly the word says.

I told my wife again that I am going to cancel my stepson's health insurance. I have to enforce things and give him some real actions to realize that he cannot continuously take advantage of things that he thinks he deserves. When we went for Christmas shopping, she could not even ask me or discuss about presents to her son. I discovered few boxes of shoes and others for him when I came home last night. It made me very angry. He treats his own mother without respect, thinks his mother is a joke as he texted me few times saying the exact thing. He buys expensive stuff on his own already. I do not know where the money is coming from but he has a catering job and delivers dominos. I know for fact that he doesn't even work hard enough at Dominos where he comes home to watch football and basketball, which are more important than anything else. Now he is gone at night as I would not give up the TV in the living room so he goes somewhere else to watch the games. He comes home after I go to bed.

My only wish is to make this house a happy house again. It is tensed and fake happiness around that makes me very angry. Both at work and at the house, I would like things in order and everyone is happy. Everyone has been unhappy for last 2 years because of 1 person and I really do not think it is fair for others have to suffer. If the ONE is making efforts to change, it is a different story. However, it is on the constant line where there is no consequences for non acceptable behaviors and breach every single very basic etiquette is acceptable. I feel like I am running into some sort of a finish line.

Stress from work, my own father was just diagnosed with a stage 4 Lymphoma, wife drinking and her son keeps getting everyone's nerves are just a few to start with. I am living in a very not healthy environment.

I just wrote an article on Likedin, a business networking platform where I wrote about "Change Management" With my experience, I love to teach and write articles so that people can share. While I was writing that article, I thought "I can't even change anything in my own house but writing an article about THE change in workplace..." It made me feel a little odd but I did it and got lots of responses.

Again, this holiday season will be a tough one to swallow as Thanksgiving wasn't a disaster but not a good one. I know it is coming, something will happen. My wife will probably demand not to talk about anything negative on the table but I will. I am a human being and have all the right to express myself.

Very simple, I would like to be a happy person as I was. That is all I want. I do not want to see a million dollar bonus check where I just want my little house to be a happy house again where everyone can laugh all the time. I think this is needed before my youngest leaves the house for college. I do not want him to remember living in home in his last 2 years of high school was ugly and ridiculous. I want him to come home for weekends, holiday seasons and during the breaks to spend more time with us. An extremely independent oldest saw what is happening around the house decided not to bother with family issues and staying in NYC for the holidays. It breaks my heart not to see my own daughter I raised but can't blame her or force her to come home. It is sad as a father. I hate long weekends, holiday seasons as I am not in a happy mode to celebrate. A lot of people will hate me for saying this as there are so many other people in a lot worse circumstances.. Yes I know that... But this is just my personal feelings at the moment.


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Staff member
What a sad tale yangstein.

I have only one response to you, which of course, is my own judgement, so forgive the straightforwardness of it........if your wife won't change and your son won't change, in my opinion, I say it's time for you to go.

You're frantically running around a hamster wheel trying to do everything you can to change everyone around you, but you are the only one with any commitment or intention of changing. It sounds like an extremely unhappy situation. Your daughter not wanting to come home for the holidays is really sad. You've given so much, (I can relate) and it sounds to me as if you are in a black hole of unhappiness where you can't do anything to change it.

Perhaps your wife would go into therapy with you but since you've already done that and she was unwilling to enact any changes, it doesn't sound promising.

It sounds as if you are at a choice point. You may need to stay there for awhile, I don't know, that's up to you. I'm so sorry. There may be many other options for you, but that is the option that lights up for me.....remove yourself from this situation as soon as you can.


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
Why don't you do what we did and tell him either to leave or go to rehab?

We did that and it's the best thing that ever happened to us. Of course you and your wife have to be on a united front but if she is in denial that her son needs help, it will be difficult. You cannot do it alone.

My wife said she can't abandon her son (For me, let him face the real World by himself but you can't do it) and would leave with him in intention to
threaten me. I said go ahead but it did not happen.

I know that the pressure is building up uncontrollably but it is time to face it in reality, otherwise, we are facing more severe consequences.
It will be difficult to convince my wife.. As an addition to the already started conversation long ago, I gave her the book this morning. Let's
see what and how she responds to it. I stopped everything as you mentioned, I cannot do it alone. It is 2 versus 1 where I would like to leave
my youngest one out of this drama. If she agrees as other people tell her, then it will be a lot easier to go to the next step.

Thank you for your concern.... I am pretty desperate these days....


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It sounds as if you are at a choice point. You may need to stay there for awhile, I don't know, that's up to you. I'm so sorry. There may be many other options for you, but that is the option that lights up for me.....remove yourself from this situation as soon as you can.
This is the bottom line as I see it, too.

You find yourself as the odd-man out. You say your wife wanted therapy, but you see her as not following through. But it sounds like you may be resistant, too. That there is warfare rather than compromise. In a relationship there is seldom one side more right. Both people matter. Your wife seems unwilling or unable to deal with her son in the way that you want. As I see it, you have a choice here: you can blame her; you can try to understand and work with her; or you can leave.

Many of us have children who overuse marijuana. Your step-son works, this is good. I will not and cannot justify his behavior or advocate for him, but many of us have worse, and our spouses or partners work with us as a team. They take on our responsibilities as their own to share. They care deeply about our children who are not their own. If you cannot find this position in your own marriage, it may be the marriage that is being sacrificed. It may be that your wife already sees this.

I can't, do not want to and continue to go on like this.
I do not want to come home after work.
And perhaps, you may have reached this point too.
My wife begged me to seek counselling and I went with her. We have gone counselling few times before but mother would not follow up as the counsellor said. That is why I did not want to attend and waste my time. I thought I would give it a last shot so decided to go.
I have told my wife she needs to kick him out, let him hit the bottom, start to appreciate things, gather his thoughts and get back on his feet to be a real man. Well.... it is not happening.
It seems to me that you may be taking a power position towards her and implicitly telling her: My way is better. And that may why she is tuning you out. She has heard you already. She has made her choice.

This is clearly your view. But there are other views and vantage points. Other philosophies and ways of thinking that have merit.

For example, the book you reference takes a very hard line. Some reviews question its suitability for families where they may be acting out, but no hard drugs or criminal behavior. There is a spectrum of possibilities--which are all viable.
My wife screamed and went through the facts what he has done. Him? He acts like "Here she goes again" and acts as if nothing ever happened.
Most of us, mothers of sons have found ourselves here. We feel caught between rocks and hard places. We do not want to eject our sons. And our sons, too, need their mothers. They are struggling against, but needing to be adult men. For some of them it is harder, way harder than others. It can be because of emotional problems, experiencing divorce, single mothers, etcetera. But these kids cannot be compared, fairly, to other kids who have not had these issues.
Well, no matter what, I try to teach, discuss and work things out but it is either her way with her son's manipulations or NO WAY. Our caring neighbors, her siblings, me and some people have given advise to my wife which is all the same. Get him out of the house first. Things have not been worked, mother gave too many chances (Endless chances) to her only son that she feels guilty as his father was never in his life.
No matter how many people or sources, or books or experts, you can get to line up on your side, your wife, this young man's mother is entitled (even obligated) to do what she feels is the right thing to do for her child. She is obligated to act from what she believes. To keep trying to erode her position would seem to undermine your relationship, your marriage and your family, more. You have a choice here: To leave the marriage or to decide to stay and to support your marriage, your wife and family. There is the potential for communication. For listening and respect, without the imposition of your own sense of being correct.

I see this as an issue of taking responsibility. Your wife is acting from responsibility to herself and to her child. She may feel that you are acting from your own self-interest, I do not know.

In your situation, it is you who has to choose. However objectively wrong you believe your wife to be, however out of order you believe the conduct of her son to be, she cannot be forced to act in a way that she is unprepared to do. To pressure her to do so, would only make it harder for her.

The ball is in your court, so to speak. Like for all of the rest of us. There are decisions to be made. Often (usually) they are not easy.

Take care.


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Is your youngest her son as well?

Your youngest deserves a peaceful, sane home, not just before he goes to college but when he comes home for the holidays. The step son is not the only consideration.

I feel badly that you have to sort of decide between enabling wife, her son, and the family you built. I would not want my own kids of any age to live with the step son and the enabling mom. But I know that you love her, you are not me, and for you this sounds hard

How do your kids feel about the situation? In the end it isn't up to is up to you, of course. But grown kids can resent our choices and it can come between our own adult kids and us.

I do think therapy just for you is a good idea. If you had no kids, there would be more leeway for putting up with step son but you have two kids and they matter as much as stepson does. And your feelings are equal to your wife's in importance. Is she not concerned about what step son's behavior is doing to your two other children and you?

You have much to think about. Keep us posted. You don't want to feel like an outsider to these two in your own home. You have given in a lot. Wife has not. Can you afford to find a separate place for stepson to live? Would she do that? Many people here do.

I feel your heart is in the right place. I also feel you are the saner one here. There comes a final straw...good luck.
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Yangstein, your post brings up memories of when my life was devastated by my daughter's behavior and choices. My husband stepped up the plate in every possible way as well as helping me raise my granddaughter (my daughter's daughter). He's a wonderful, kind, loving, generous man......much like you.....and he's not my daughter's Dad......As time went by, I could see how my daughter's life choices would slowly erode my relationship with's just such an awful place to be.......but the look of pain in his eyes as he watched me lose it time and time again stays with me to this day. He felt powerless to do anything. I was working diligently, constantly and with an enormous commitment to change and detach, I was willing to do whatever it took, seriously, to stop the pain, the heartbreak, all of it. And, I didn't want to hurt him, I didn't want to lose what he and I had. I didn't detach from my daughter because of him, that was for me, but he was a MAJOR consideration......

That's the part of your story I respond to, that it sounds as if you are not a consideration. I certainly understand how difficult it is for a mother to make choices which may be painful for her child, I've been there..........however, you matter too. It doesn't sound as if there is an open dialogue for you to express how you feel or offer options which actually get heard and considered. I remember my husband and I talking continuously about how we were going to handle it.....he had valuable input and I always considered his feelings and his opinions. I may have missed something along the way, but it doesn't sound as if your input is valued or considered.

Part of that may indeed be that you have codependent/enabling/rescuing tendencies where it is difficult for you to identify, express and ultimately get your needs met, certainly I fall under that can work on that for yourself so when you are at that choice point, you will make the choice that is best for you and for your family.

Although it seems that your step-son is the culprit in your story, to me it sounds as if you have a broken family system. Your step son's acting out may be the catalyst for a change that is necessary for all of you to build a stronger foundation which is built on mutual respect, love and communication.......or not. However, if your wife is not willing to change at all, then you are alone, you are stuck and you are powerless.

In any negative life situation, in my experience, we have 3 options, change it, leave it or accept it. You can't change it alone, you need to have a united front which you don't have, at least certainly could accept it, but from what you've written, it doesn't sound as if that has worked out for you, given the depression and the not wanting to come leaving it appears to be where you're headed.

We're supporting you here, not your wife, if she were here with you, and we heard her view, it might be different, but here, now, it's about you. There is a lot for you to consider......I feel for you......I can look at your situation and see myself and my husband and how it could have turned out if we had made different choices.......there is no right or wrong choice, every one of us here is on a very similar path with our adult kids, but we all make different one is right, no one is wrong, it's what we can live with.

You have much to think about. Keep posting. We're here for you, you're not alone.......hang in there yangstein, you're on the right track, a tough track for sure, but you're headed in the right direction, the direction where whatever happens, you will feel as if you matter.....


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......As time went by, I could see how my daughter's life choices would slowly erode my relationship with him.
I have been here, too. Actually, recently. My partner, for example, told me: I have all the responsibility but no authority. You yell at each other in English (he speaks Spanish only) and it excludes me, makes me powerless to help you or to help myself.

Very recently, he acted to insist my son get a drug test. (There had been months and months, and my son had not acted on any promises or commitments.) I backed him. I backed M. My son left.

But M also sees my agony when I do not know where my son is. Out in the cold.

There are all degrees of detachment. And detachment is not the only way. Culturally, individually we are all different. Our children are different.

There is no right or wrong way.

At bottom there has to be listening and the understanding and support.
it sounds as if you are not a consideration.
I know M, my partner, felt this way. He felt like he was not considered. His feelings unimportant. He felt disrespected. He felt used.

It was not that I chose over him, that I chose my son's or my own interests or feelings over his. It was that the drama being acted out between my son and I was so compelling to us, it was as if nothing was real except this. I was forced to choose for myself. To wake up enough to realize that nobody was being helped by this kind of intense struggle. For what? I am not sure, still.
I remember my husband and I talking continuously about how we were going to handle it
This did not happen in my own household for a long time. M did not leave but I bet he sure thought about it. He did need to believe that I factored him into the equation. I do not know how I did it, or how he became convinced that he was not only collateral damage. But I changed. Maybe you need to speak very honestly to your wife. That you will leave. That you must, for your own integrity and emotional safety.

Because the thing is this: you cannot make somebody else change. You can only honestly appraise yourself, your situation and decide. Your wife can then respond or not. Commit to try to change, which would be, initially honest communication.

I would stop trying to convince her, and try to center myself on what I need. And then I would try to communicate exactly what is in your heart. How you feel. Your suffering and pain. And how the marriage is not meeting your needs. And what you need to happen to feel if you counted to her. Because as RE says: it is about the family as a whole. Not your step-son. He is the focus, but the communication of needs and wants and pain, and truth is the issue. Either this can happen, or not. But it takes the attempt.

M has a quality that I thought was a defect: he is direct. Sometimes brutally and aggressively verbally direct. And only recently, I realized. That is what it looks like when somebody communicates their pain. It doesn't come out pretty and sweet. It comes out sometimes harsh and hurtful. At first. Especially, when one feels that nobody has been listening. Then I realized that M was fighting for us. Fighting for our relationship. He was not necessarily fighting for himself. He was trying to get my attention. He kept having to try, and try and try. Because I was ignoring him.

I was like your wife. I am so grateful to him for not giving up on me.

When he realized that I cared about him, TOO, he was able to keep giving and giving. Nothing changed. Really. My son is the same. I am the same. Except I found a way to show him that I cared. That I needed him.


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Wow Copa. You described my relationship with my husband to a T. Thank God he and I were able to stay together. He too is a stepdad. I don't really need to describe any more other than to say our stories are very similar. My husband is also very direct,so for awhile I blamed him for throwing my daughter out. I'm seeing more clearly now and am happy we are together. Were going to enjoy our remaining years.


Active Member
Hi, and welcome. I highly recommend al anon as well for you. Just for time being, don't worry about what he is doing. (does the vape shut off after a few minutes, was it a fire hazard?) Stop trying to find a solution. Put that on hold for a little bit. Go to a meeting. You need support, but you also need to look at your own behavior. Back in the day, when I went, that idea shocked me. Me?? But I was the "good" one, I was the one who was "right." But you are contributing to this. Go find out how. And then you will be in a much better place to relate to your family.
Well... According to Copa, I feel like I am selfish and a control freak. If I were, I wouldn't be here talking about it or trying to find a solution. Marriage is a constant compromise and I have done my part. Going through therapies for my wife, checking out rehabs and all other activities. It just did not work as she would grab a bottle again. I learned to live with it but when it gets too much, I try to give her a signal, not to hurt her feelings such as yelling or making her feel bad. Instead, I say in the morning "Are you feeling ok?" Then she knows that she had a bit too much to drink the night before.

For the stepson, I shut down the conversation about him with my wife as she doesn't want to talk about it anymore. She is already in serious stress because of him and I do not want to add more. It is like pouring gasoline to exiting fire. I love my wife so I try not to upset her. When I used to ask her questions, she got angry and yelled at me. Therefore, I would rather shut the front door for the peace of the house. I guess I am a kind of enabler, too.

Let me tell you about last night. It is stupid but my wife bought a sleeve of Klondike, an ice cream sandwich for me. I had one the day she bought it. Then it's been 3 days and she offered me one last night. I kept on saying no but said yes at last after being asked 5 times. She went downstairs and found nothing. Her son had them all.... She came back and said sorry there is nothing left and I said that is just fine. It was really fine with me. It was.... She said she was upset because she bought them for me. I said that is really ok where we could get another tomorrow. Am I being a hard person?

I used to have very positive expectations from my stepson. Not huge but at least to become a decent member of this society. I used to talk to him a lot, gave him good advice through out all those years even when he was in trouble for the first few years. However, even unconditional love has to have boundaries. He knows that he could fool his mother left and right as he would like but can't do that to me. That is why he doesn't want to be seen at the house these days. I do not know what exactly his mother said to him but I rarely see him anymore. I just hope he doesn't get into serious trouble with the law as he hasn't gotten to that point yet. Knock on wood....

I am not asking for pity here but a realty check. What is the root cause and how can we fix it? Yes. The ball is on my court. I could make the call and end this misery by leaving my wife. That is the quickest and easiest to do. I am not afraid for that. However, I love my wife no matter how she is so I am trying to find a solution here.

There have been all talk but no actions. You could plan all you want, whatever you want. However, if there is no implementation, constant empty promises and no execution, then why bother planning things?. I say I want to run a full marathon course in 3 hours over and over again but sitting in the couch eating pizza, drinking for 6 years and doing nothing. I will not be able to run at all. As you said, I wish I could tell my wife that my way is better. It is always she is right and I am wrong in the house. That is why we have been dragging this issue for so long. If I wanted to do things my way, I wouldn't be here venting. I would have finished it long time ago. Did I mention this? When my stepson was 15 or 16 and was supposed to protect his step brother as any step brother would, he bought and gave a THC edible lolly pop to my son and got caught. My son was only 11. My 22 year old stepson takes out my son's friend to smoke pot together in his car. I swallow all these for the sake of the family and love. If I were selfish, that would have been it long ago. I am miserable because I feel helpless in this crappy situation. Things aren't getting any better. I feel trapped. I feel terrible everyday. There are so many times I just wanted to end everything.....


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Staff member
Yangstein, sometimes our words come across more harshly than we intend, it is the nature of a public board like this. We can feel judged and criticized (and believe me I have felt it too!) however, each one of us brings all of our experiences and our feelings to the party, and we as 'listeners' to others points of view have to recognize that and do our best to not take it personally. We're really all doing the best we can with horrific issues most parents never ever have to face.......

You don't need to justify your actions or your choices, it's pretty clear how much you love your wife and how committed you are to your family. You're facing some monumental changes in your life, however you decide to move is a very, very difficult place to be. I have to say that feeling "trapped" and "hopeless" are the hardest for me to feel too......I empathize with you.

I hear how terrible it is for you right now........there doesn't seem to be a way out.......the decision making part is always the toughest part.......once we make any decision we're then engaged and on the move......but the part before where we agonize over all of it can be treacherous.

You may want to sit your wife down and share all of your feelings with her. Not in an angry way, to let her know how hurt and sad and stuck and trapped and hopeless you feel. That you miss the love and joy you once had in your family. Put all your cards on the table and tell her your truth...... that you are dying on the vine with the way things are and something has got to change for you to feel as if you are a valued member of the family and that you matter. She may not know how you really feel. Perhaps if she hears your deep feelings, it will allow her to see how much you are alienated and how much you are suffering. You might consider doing that in a therapy session if that would make it easier for you to have a third party to support you in saying what you need to say. Sometimes the truth can open the doors for a new option. Sometimes the truth will let us know there are no real options here and then we are clear we are at a choice point.

You're posting here, reading books we recommended, seeking support on many levels to try to figure out what to do next, exactly what I did when my life was off the rails because of my're doing all you can..........and until you make whatever choice you make, it is probably going to continue to feel crummy. You're in the in-between place where you know "something" has to change, but how do you get there? I hate that place. I struggled through that for awhile with my daughter before clarity emerged.........keep doing what you're'll get may not be a time of action, but of pondering all of it and looking for a fresh perspective......and sitting in that level of uncertainty is not a place we humans do well in.


Active Member
I really wish you would go to al anon! I can so relate to you - I know the anger, the hurt. Not about my son, about my ex husband. Years ago, it was a lifesaver for me. And you can really let your "uglier" feelings out at al anon. Everyone has felt them, nobody will judge, and there is shared laughter. Shared humanity, no judgment. Which you need right now.
You may not want to stay long term, but right now it is like an ER.
Are you embarrassed to go? Drive to another town, and wear a baseball cap.

And with that...I won't say anymore! Hugs!


Well-Known Member
Youngeim, i think you think like most people do. There is no compromising with some spouses. Your wife is choosing this divisive and toxic person over everyone else else and does not in my opinion know how to let go. She refuses any help from professionals. Yes, we love our kids but there is a time to stop trying to parent a grown adult and to let him grow up or insist he leave.

You do not owe your wife your sanity. What about YOUR kids? Step son gave THC to your 11 year old? This is not okay. He is unsafe. You have your son to protect.

I agree with going to Al Anon. Your Step son AND wife maybe have substance abuse issues and you are still loving your wife and don't know what to do. Al Anon was a lifesaver in my home.

Everyone here has one thing only,,,a point of view. That's all. I disagree that you should stay there and lose your mind and help her enable this man who is old enough to be in college, to be married, to work full time and to fight for our country.

i feel you have been a Saint. I would have taken my kids and left probably long ago. But I don't feel you should have to leave yet either if you don't want to. That's where Al Anon can really help and support you.

I would never put my husband of 21 years, whom I love very much, through what your wife is putting you through. Does she love You? Your children? I don't feel she is giving anyone any consideration at all except disturbed son. That in my opinion is wrong. I know you love her, but does she love you back? Does she show you respect?

Many of us detached from adult children who have gone wrong. Sure, we hope they change. No, it doesn't always happen and certainly, if it does, it is because of them, not us. It is not helpful or healthy to caregive an adult child forever. Your relationship with a grown child is usually as a friend, ally and mentor...not a mommy. Your wife thinks she can fix him. She will find she can't.

And you can't fix wife or marriage. Get help, get help, get help! We are not professionals and our points of view come from our own situations.

Wishing you all the best. :)
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Well-Known Member
Something I learned a long time ago-it takes two healthy people to make a good, healthy, happy marriage.

We have all heard the saying 'it takes two to tango', and is usually meant to imply that it takes both spouses partaking in the discord, and one can refuse to participate.

I have not found this to be true. If one person is doing unhealthy and destructive things, both people are affected. The marriage is affected. Neither person is happy, nor can the marriage be healthy.

The other spouse is left floundering for ways to try and fix the other person, and thereby fix the marriage.

But we can't fix another person. They have to be an active participant in their own recovery. They have to recognize that they have a problem and they have to want to fix it.

If one person is in denial and refuses to get well, the other person has two choices- to stay in the marriage, be miserable, and hope that eventually the spouse will see the light, or push the envelope and give an ultimatum to the spouse. Our marriage or your addiction. Our marriage or your unhealthy relationship with your son (as opposed to a healthy, normal one).

It usually takes a bold move to get the attention of the spouse who refuses to change.

Long ago, when my adult step-son was living with us, I had told my hubby that I would never put up with his son being disrespectful of me or calling me names. It happened with my previous spouse, and I was never going to allow anyone to talk to me that way ever again.

And then, one day during a shouting match between my hubby and his son, it happened. He told his dad that I was a (use your imagination here).

I threw down the item I was holding and looked at my hubby and said 'that's it'.

I had every intention of getting my daughter and leaving, but my hubby ordered his son out. It took that stand to get us out of the unhealthy pattern hubby had with his adult son. Now we realize how harmful that situation was to all of us, and we will never allow that type of situation to ever happen in our house again. Our marriage is even stronger now.

Think about it, and good luck to you.

Keep posting.


Thank you for your words... It does more than any Christmas gifts... I feel that I will break one day as things have been building up and the needle has been on the redline for a while. I am not a perfect person or trying to be a perfect person. I am just trying to make things work that I have committed myself into. It would be so much easier if it were my own son or daughter was causing issues. I am being more patient and not to be judgmental towards my stepson as I do not want to hear "You say that because he is not your son", which is not true. When I got remarried, I took all the chances and committed that I would treat my stepson as same as mine, which I have. Each child is different. Yes I know. However, all I want is just a little respect for others in the house not to hurt each other's feelings by following simple rules. When you work, there are rules. When you go to school, there are rules. If you want to become a member of society, there must be some sort of rules to follow in order to be the member. That is all I want. I do not want to be an enabler. I do not run a military academy. I have already been in the army for 2 1/2 years but do not ever want the discipline level up that high in my house. My youngest one's friends comment that my wife and I are the coolest as we listen to them and try to understand them. There is no generation gap that we make them feel, try to absorb and understand their feelings is what we try to do.

I saw a good sign that my wife started to read the book I gave her. Hope it has some positive effect on her. Cross my fingers.

Again, thanks for all people here encouraging me to stay positive... I will do my best as I have been. It will not stop and I am fully committed to it.

Happy holidays and I will be back here on Tuesday when I return to the office.