Protecting Ourselves from Adult difficult children

Stress Bunny

Active Member
Please help.

Today has been one of those hard difficult child days for me.

I recently had knee surgery, and after physical therapy, I stopped in at work to pick up some things when my work phone rang. It was JT. He said he needed advice since he'd just been run over by a car in his work parking lot. Of course he didn't initially mention that it was his foot only that had been run over or that he was wearing steel toed boots. He sounded fine and said he was going to the ER (yet again, as he goes there regularly).

He wanted advice on how to sue the driver for his medical bills and anticipated lost wages. Whatever.

I suspect he wants paid time off of work to go hunting and prescription pain medications AGAIN. He does stuff like this regularly. I don't know how he keeps his job. He probably won't have it much longer.

This isn't my main issue today. It's the whole ball of wax.

Since I last posted, I learned that JT showed up at his grandparents' with a big beer keg in his truck. He's 20, underage. His elderly neighbor is upset with the loud parties he has. He is living with his 5th girlfriend over this past year. He continues to use people by trying to get them to give him things. Since close family have caught on, he is reaching deeper to distant relatives and friends. He sent me a text making a joke about the stupidity of learning competencies for students ( hubby and I are both teachers) and insulting the party he knows we usually vote for. JT also text messaged me details about a deer he tried to bow hunt, knowing how I love animals and don't want to hear details about killing them. He missed the deer, but of course, it wasn't his fault, it was the fault of his bow! He never bothered to call or see me after my surgery. No surprise. He only cares about himself.

JT has something wrong with him. He is completely oppositional defiant, adhd, and I believe, sociopathic as well. He gets a kick out of hurting us. I have read books about sociopaths, and it was very disturbing to recognize JT in them. He isn't satisfied to just live his disgusting lifestyle. No, he must do so and then tell everyone in the family all the details he knows will hurt. He actually had the audacity to tell his grandfather that a beer once in a while wouldn't hurt him (grandfather), knowing his Grandpa struggled with alcoholism for years. He texts us when he is drunk to make sure we know he is drinking. I have begged him not to mix pain medications with alcohol, but it was a mistake to reveal that concern to him. He used it to scare me every chance he got after that. Then he wonders why we don't want him around our younger boy. He is actually insulted and doesn't understand why we don't let Bubby go with him (JT) hunting or fishing unsupervised.

I realize there is nothing more I can do for JT. We have set decent boundaries with him except possibly with his thoughtless texts. But now that I see him for who he is - a conscience - lacking, drug/alcohol abusing freak who delights in making us miserable, I want to focus on protecting ourselves, particularly our younger son.

I'm worried sick that JT will take Bubby, who is on the autism spectrum and gullible, right down with him. He knows that would destroy us.

All sorts of things are running through my mind about how to protect ourselves, such as moving far away from him, getting guardianship of Bubby as an adult, getting a restraining order, cutting JT out of our will and preventing him from manipulating Bubby financially someday, and cutting off all contact.

I am hoping JT ends up in prison before Bubby graduates. Isn't that awful? How nuts is that? But then we'd be protected from him.

JT turns 21 next month, and I wonder if his drinking will escalate.

I am so ashamed of JT's behavior. We tried so hard. I have virtually no hope at all for him, and no illusions about whom he has become. He continues to lie and manipulate and use people. He doesn't seem aware that people do not view him positively. In fact, he really believes he is superior to others and that others are very impressed with him. Ridiculous! There is no way to penetrate his delusions. The truth is that I feel very ashamed of what he's doing. I don't know how to feel good.

I thought when he moved out that I would feel so much better, but I don't. Please help. I'm despairing about the future, afraid we'll lose our other son as well. I also wonder how we can enjoy our life and future retirement years and family gatherings with an ungrateful, sociopathic adult son around.

I'm so sad that this is how things turned out and that there is absolutely nothing I can do to fix any of it. My heart is broken.


Well-Known Member
Wow. Read this just before I am going to turn in and here is my two cents. You can take it or leave it. It will be blunt, but I do want you to know I am hurting for you as I read this. My own son did harm my daughter, although I didn't know it until they were both gone and I don't know exactly how as she refuses to tell me. And she WASN'T on the spectrum. They have no relationship, but she is capable of setting boundaries. A spectrum kid probably can't. I have a spectrum kid too.

I would, for Bubby's sake, cut the contact with JT and if you can move, move. Don't tell him where you are. It sounds drastic, I know, but what WILL he do to his brother if he is allowed to have contact with him??? To get back at you, probably anything. Your son has no conscience and is probably a sociopath and you can't save him and you know that well. Why risk your other child who is going to be vulnerable all his life? by the way, I do have guardianship over my spectrum son and it works out well. He likes it, I can help him when he needs it and help him make decisions, which he has trouble doing. I also take care of doling out my autistic son's money to him. If I didn't, he has no impulse control and would spend it all the first day he got it. I think you have to do what you have to do to protect your younger son from JT. Is he the one who robbed your father? I can't remember. At any rate, if you feel he is a danger to the younger child, do what you know you have to do. Think with your head, not your heart. Autistic adults tend to remain very vulnerable and trusting beyond the norm.I like that Sonic has a caseworker who looks out for him. Try to get services for Bubby so he also has a caseworker who will look out for him, even when you no longer can.

I think you adopted JT, right? I'm tired so I may be a little forgetful. If you adopted him, and it was not an infant adoption, you did not make JT this way. He is genetically wired differently and, very sadly for your entire family, not in a good way.

My own son has antisocial traits and, yes, it is heartbreaking. It was something I knew about him even when he was very young. I hoped it would improve. It never did. He left a trail of things he did and people he hurt and now has really nobody except me and his clueless father who will still talk to him. He won't admit what he has done. He will claim he didn't do it or doesn't remember that year of his life and he lies and gaslights and he could be very dangerous in the right mindset.

So I feel for you.

I wish I could sound more optimistic, but I had to protect my two youngest kids from my son and I think you have to do the same thing with yours too.

You can do this. You are strong. We are all on your side. Try to have a good night.


Well-Known Member
You have to protect your younger son. Why would you leave anything in your will to this brat. It all needs to go to younger son with someone appointed ( not family) to oversee the funds.

Change your phone number. If you can't or won't, change you responses to a few pat answers. " Your an adult. I know you can handle it." " That sounds good/awful." You get the drift. Since you know he wants to get a rise out of you, don't give it to him.

Stress Bunny

Active Member
Midwest, thank you for the response. I was hoping you would reply. I know you understand what we're dealing with. We adopted JT out of foster care at age 4, after he had lived with us for 2 years. He has been this way his whole life. It's as if he never wanted or needed parents. I remember taking him for a walk down a nature trail when he was so young, and he refused to walk WITH us or even close enough to talk to him. He had to walk in front of us. I think it made him feel powerful. My hubby tried to show him how to play baseball, but JT refused to be taught anything. He wanted to make up his own rules. At the time, we just thought he was stubborn. We didn't realize that his issues would worsen over time. He has never been able to accept personal responsibility for anything wrong in his life, and he has increasingly conned and manipulated as he's grown older. The thrill he gets from the drama he creates, seems to drive him to continue this way. He doesn't care one bit how he hurts others. We tried to instill a moral compass in JT. We took good care of him, and our extended families loved him. We were strict I guess, because JT was always pushing limits. Maybe we failed him. There is nothing about him or what he is doing that honors the role his dad and I played in his life. He has rejected everything.

For the first two years of his life, JT was neglected. His bio mom just didn't take good care of him physically or keep her home sanitary. He had multiple caregivers, and eventually his bio mom left town with the carnival and without her children so her rights were terminated. Now, I am just struck by how his behaviors, attitudes, and mannerisms even, remind me of his bio mom. She had drinking, drug, and alcohol problems. I practically begged JT to never drink or drug. Maybe JT was exposed in utero or maybe he has attachment disorder or both. I don't know. He is very intelligent and charismatic.

JT is not the one who stole from his father. That was someone else.

Leaving here would mean leaving our aging parents, and hubby is an only child. Plus JT lives just a few miles from them. I have a very good job that I love and would like to continue until I retire 12 yes from now. Bubby would struggle with the change of a move. I have been secretly hoping JT would take off to another state. I told my hubby last night about my fears and that maybe we need to move far away before it's too late.

You're right that Bubby doesn't and won't have great boundaries. He is high functioning. Any info about getting him services as an adult would be really helpful. He is 13 now. I think he will want to see JT and blame us if he can't when he gets older, which is another issue.

Pasajes, believe it or not, I have guilty feelings about leaving JT out of our will. I always believed in treating children equally, and I would never want to hurt my children so deeply. But maybe, in this case, knowing JT, things are different. Let's face it. This is dysfunctional.

Love the pat answers. I have to try really hard to under-react to his drama. I'm getting better. I know he just wants the power of upsetting and hurting me.

JT'S birthday is coming up. Am I obligated to send him a card and gift? I struggle with this stuff. He didn't even bother to tell us his new address.

Thanksgiving is coming up and my parents host. Of course JT is invited, but it's so hard for us to be around him. Hubby wants an exit strategy. I'm resentful that even his presence ruins the gatherings we used to enjoy so much.


Well-Known Member
SB, out school for supports. They are "in the know" about transitioning our special children to adulthood. I got every service I had from the school. If they won't help you just call up your local Aging and Disabilities office and t hey will talk to you and tell you at which age you should come in. That's really the two best resources for getting him into an adult program...and there is peace in knowing that our naive spectrum adults will have somebody watching over them, even after we are gone. It is never too early to ask. Then you can plan. It is imperative to keep JT out of his life. Some adults swindle disabled adult's SS checks, which your son will probably get even if he works part-time, due to his disorder. My son would give the shirt off his back to anyone who says "I am your friend." Please don't let JT prey on this wonderful young man. He is probably ilnlnocent, pure and very trusting.


Well-Known Member
And a big NO CONTACT with JT is the way to go here. Sociopaths do not change. On one level you understand that but you seem to have a hard time following through because YOU are a decent human being, the opposite of what a sociopath is; and because of that, boy is that something that they will do/can do with ease; prey upon your basic human decency. All these things you are thinking about, grandparents, your son, Thanksgiving, your legal will etc - if you were having these same thoughts about a non-related sociopath, what would your choices be? JT, because he is a sociopath, is not a member of your family because sociopath's can't be part of a loving close group. They are a tribe of one: me, myself, I. Every thought they have revolves around self. Knowing that, how would you protect Bubby from a stranger sociopath? To protect yourself, your other son and family, you have to delve deeper into the understanding how seriously damaging a sociopath can be. When I have doubts about my own sociopath daughter I usually go to YouTube and watch video's of sociopath information and that puts me back on the right path. Hearing someone else say what I already know to be true has a comforting effect as in; we are not bad parents because we can't be around a sick and damaging person - even if, or especially because they are what we consider to be ''family", as that is something THEY, actually are able to hold against us by manipulating are sense of basic human decency. Bubby's life can not be affected if you are in NO CONTACT with JT. In planning for JT, you have to be willing to say out loud - Bubby's older brother is a sociopath so how can I best plan to protect him in the future?

Once you are able to go to NO CONTACT, JT will move on to others he can victimize, possibly, as you indicated, other family members, and as they go to NC he will just move on to other people to victimize. Trust me, there is no special connection to you/your family , it is just for him, you are all easy prey. You are easy to victimize - and a sociopath gets great delight in being able to torture anyone! When I first went to NC I changed my telephone numbers and blocked email etc. It is easy to stay NC when you are not letting their craziness into your home. Things become peaceful and life begins to go on, and well then we are able to make the right choices for ourselves and our loved ones because we are not longer caught up in games of manipulation and control. (Which is the basic bottom line of a sociopath, they act this way because that is who they are.)

Try to keep researching Sociopath information to access how dangerous a sociopath JT is. (Like I said You Tube is a great resource.) If he is not violent, (although his thrill killing of animals is a huge tip off) YOU don't have to move, as you follow though with NC he will probably move on.


one day at a time
I realize there is nothing more I can do for JT.

This is a huge realization, SB, so stop for a minute and reflect on that. You really do know that, this time, right? You're finally at this point, and this is a very good place for you to be at. I've been reading your posts for months (almost a year, perhaps, which is how long I've been here). JT is going to be who he is unless and until he decides to be different. You're 100 percent right to let go completely.

I am so ashamed of JT's behavior. We tried so hard.

So, read the above again. You didn't cause any of this. None of it. Not one bit. Don't be ashamed of what other people do and how they act, even if they are our own kids. They are separate people from us. Let it go.

I have virtually no hope at all for him, and no illusions about whom he has become.

Well, that may be. We have no way of knowing what the future will hold for JT or for any of us. I realize that just acknowledging that this may/is going to be like this for all time is a way of letting go, and that is a good tool. Do and think what works for you.

You have to protect your younger son. Why would you leave anything in your will to this brat. It all needs to go to younger son with someone appointed ( not family) to oversee the funds.

Absolutely. I am struggling with his as well. difficult child is right now entitled to one-half of all that I have. If I keel over today, that would be an awful thing for him---to get that one-half. I am getting married in November and we are going to change that provision and make "his" share available at a much later date with an executor named. Different for easy child. I have always felt that things should be exactly the same and 50/50 but we are not dealing with "normal" here. Our solutions cannot be "normal."

Change your phone number. If you can't or won't, change you responses to a few pat answers. " Your an adult. I know you can handle it." " That sounds good/awful."

I agree. Make a one-pager of your possible responses, like "interesting." "Sounds good." "Good luck." "I hope that works out." and so on. You can also just say: "Oh." A million times if necessary. But don't, because you don't need to be around him that long, because even with these responses, you will pay a price for having to listen to it all. So don't.

T'S birthday is coming up. Am I obligated to send him a card and gift?

If you must do something, you could send him a card with no money in it and say that you are putting the money you would have given him into a bank account for later use. Or you could just give him the card and money and let it all go. Do what works for you.

Thanksgiving is coming up and my parents host. Of course JT is invited, but it's so hard for us to be around him. Hubby wants an exit strategy. I'm resentful that even his presence ruins the gatherings we used to enjoy so much.

Hmmm, this is a tough one. If you go, and he is going, I would limit the amount of time I stay to the bare minimum. then, go have your real Thanksgiving.

I'm so sorry for all of this. I know it is so very hard. Please know we care and we are here for you.

Stress Bunny

Active Member
MWM, thanks for the info. We haven't yet checked into these sorts of resources, although Bubby is currently receiving teen social skills training (group sessions) twice per week through a local autism organization, and they are working with young adults for job placement, etc. We definitely need to contact the school and aging/disability resources as well.

2much, I don't have an official sociopath diagnosis. Of course, JT doesn't think he has any problems, and he is quite smitten with himself, so he would probably never seek out evaluation or treatment. But, I do believe he is on the sociopath spectrum, to the point that his behavior is quite detrimental to those around him.

Once you are able to go to NO CONTACT, JT will move on to others he can victimize, possibly, as you indicated, other family members, and as they go to NC he will just move on to other people to victimize.

I wonder how I'll be able to keep him away from Bubby, though. What if he still tries to get to him? With phones, computers, and other technology, not to mention the fact that Bubby will be an adult himself at some point, I worry what JT will do.

It sounds like you know firsthand just how serious a problem a sociopath in one's life is, and I am very sorry for that. It is so foreign to understand them. They lack empathy and conscience. How is it possible to have reciprocity in a relationship with such a selfish person? I understand what you're saying about feeling better researching sociopathy, as I have had that experience already as well. I need reinforcement though, so no doubt I'll need to continue to educate myself about it.

COM - Thank you so very much for the terrific emotional support.

Don't be ashamed of what other people do and how they act, even if they are our own kids.

I struggle with this. I wonder what I've done wrong, and I go over and over it in my mind, thinking if I had only done X or Y or Z that maybe things wouldn't have turned out this way. I blame myself for not helping JT bond better. Maybe I was more focused on his behavioral issues than on helping him bond. More about discipline than unconditional love. I don't know. But what if I caused this? How can I live with myself? These are the thoughts I go through every day.

Even though some people tell me that JT is still young and going through that young adult freedom phase, I have my doubts that it is just a phase. First, JT has always been this way, right from the start. He has always opposed us, even in elementary school. This is nothing new. It was like raising a teenager from age 2. Also, if he is sociopathic, there is no real effective treatment, and sociopaths don't usually seek out treatment either. There is some evidence that they mellow in mid-life.

Your post helps me because it validates my feelings. Otherwise, JT's gaslighting and constant drama cause me to doubt myself and this sad reality.


Well-Known Member
This may be hard to hear but if it were me I would start preparing for a life without JT in it. He will be 21 soon, he is an adult now. Hopefully he will make his life further and further from you. I would not encourage him to contact you or come visit. You may want to contact an attorney to see what preparations you can make for guardianship over your younger son. I would also protect your assets so that your younger son can be taken care of when you are gone.

I did not realize you adopted JT at 4 after he had lived with you for 2 years. I suspect he has some attachment disorder and never made the normal bonds children make with their parents. My daughter acted very similar to your son. We adopted her at 3 days old and from the very beginning she seemed to reject us and everything important to us. It wasn't until she was about 21 years old that she acted like she really wanted to be connected to us at all. I always suspected sociopath or borderline disorder. We are fortunate because she is much better, but she is now on her own and our boundaries are firm.

I would have very little contact with him, cut the conversation short. When he begins talking about things that are upsetting just calmly tell him you have to go. I didn't read everyone's responses but just now saw that 2much2recover said the same thing about no contact. You can;t fix him, whatever made him like he is was done long ago before he was born. You have a husband and another son to take care of, and yourself of course.


Well-Known Member
2much, I don't have an official sociopath diagnosis. Of course, JT doesn't think he has any problems, and he is quite smitten with himself, so he would probably never seek out evaluation or treatment. But, I do believe he is on the sociopath spectrum, to the point that his behavior is quite detrimental to those around him.
I don't have an "official" diagnosis either I just go by the old fashioned "if it walks like a duck" common sense and go from there because so much of what I research fits to a T. Also it was my own therapist that put me on to what I was dealing with. Aa sociopath sees nothing wrong with what he does, it is highly unlikely you will get an official diagnosis.

How is it possible to have reciprocity in a relationship with such a selfish person?
That is the whole point of going No contact - THEY ARE THE MOST SELFISH PEOPLE ON THE PLANET! They will use and abuse anyone that even tries to help them because using and abusing is the basis of their personality. Think about this: we are talking some kind of personality disorder here with your son - can you completely and utterly change every single aspect of your personality to be a complete user and abuser? No, you can't change your personality and neither can JT. You can hold out hope that he will change, but just like you he is unable to change his personality. This situation with your son is not of your making and you can not fix it no matter what you do. Try and see him as the "broken" person he is. All of your focus should be on protecting Bubby because JT is NEVER, EVER, going to be able to come through for you. Plan what you need for Bubby's future needs!

I wonder how I'll be able to keep him away from Bubby, though. What if he still tries to get to him? With phones, computers, and other technology, not to mention the fact that Bubby will be an adult himself at some point, I worry what JT will do.
With a Sociopath you should indeed worry about what he is capable of. Let me say that the reason you keep being victimized by JT is that he has identified you as an easy target on the basis of all that you have done for him in the past. He is very comfortable in controlling and manipulating you/your family because he KNOWS he can do that so well with you and he has figured out you are an easy "mark". He knows how to gas-light you into sometimes even doing things you swore you would never do because of your own guilt! Hearing your story, it worries me too what he is capable of doing to Bubby because he knows you want to protect Bubby; so that is somewhere he can hit you where it really hurts. JT is definitely capable of leading Bubby down a dark path just because Bubby can't understand what JT is capable of. So it then again is up to you/your family to find ways to protect Bubby and your family.

For telephone I use VOIP (internet calling NetTalk) easy to keep the number secure and easy to block callers if JT finds out the number. Secure every bit of your families credit and identity as a sociopath has no problem robbing their own family.

I watched a You Tube Video the other day and the main message I got was either be willing to expose the sociopath for what they are or get away and stay away from them. Yes, 2 choices only.


Well-Known Member
Nancy's post was very wise. Most people who have not adopted don't know about attachment disorder. But JT's history would point to that. He was damaged before you ever got him. You did nothing. His very early neglect/abuse made it impossible for him to bond and unless you see serious changes in him, I would not have anything to do with him. This is a very serious disorder if untreated and he does not seem to b having any lightbulb moments.

As most know, we adopted an unattached child and he did it all, including sexually abusing my youngest two.It is not possible to have any sort of relationship with an unattached person. They are only interested in their own needs and will prey on others without guilt. It is the same, symptom-wise, as anti-social personality disorder. Honestly, many psychiatrists are not familiar with reactive attachment disorder. But the adoption community is. We know. We have lived it. Or know people who have adopted children, often older ones, who can not bond, no matter how hard we love them. It isn't their fault, but it makes things dangerous. It isn't YOUR fault either.

I'm so sorry for you. I know you love JT, but he clearly can not love anybody back and that makes him dangerous. You did all you could to love him and heal him and so far you couldn't. If there is any blame to pass around it is his birth family and those before you who neglected and/or abused him so that he did not learn to trust and his developing brain was affected.

You, on the other hand, did all you could to help him but you couldn't and that is common in older child adoptions and very sad, but you still can not risk your younger son's well being. He is innocent.

Hugs, from one who knows only too well.


Well-Known Member
I agree with what others have said. I also can imagine how hard this is. I wonder about my son being a sociopath or having some sort of antisocial personality disorder... however I do feel like he has real attachment to us. I just dont think he has much of a moral compass...but I do feel he loves us in his own way. He certainly loves drama and does some stupid, screwy things but except when he is angry with us he doesnt do things to intentially hurt us. I dont know what I would do if he did the kind of things JT does to you..... but I think you really do need to take care of yourself and your younger son. And if that means walking away that is what it means. You need to do what you have to do for you.

What I have been feeling lately, and in a weird way it gives me peace is ...It is what it is, it will be what it will be, whatever is going to happen is going to happen. It really is me giving up any real sense of control over my difficult child or his destiny. All we can do is take care of ourselves.

And in no way is this your fault. I think that is usually true even with bio kids.... but with adopted kids we are getting kids with wiring we sometimes dont really understand because it is not the way we are. And if you didnt get JT until he was 4, then he has a whole lot of history that had nothing to do with you and that early history makes a huge difference in a persons makeup.... like others have said real attachment issues.


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Roll With It
I just saw this thread and don't have time to read it all, but wanted to say a couple of thigns. First is that I am sorry your son hurts you on purpose, and that you had to realize this The other is to say I am proud of you for seeing the damage that he can happily do to your other child. Because the damage will be done knowingly, with planning, and with great enjoyment. That is why it is so disturbing.

Years ago I got scolded and fussed at by soooo many tdocs psychiatrists neuros etc.... because I didn't treat Wiz in a vacuum, focused only on what was best for him. I refused to do things because they would harm the other kids or if we could not do them for all of the kids. MANY docs of all flavors wanted us to spend special 1 on 1 time with Wiz as we did expensive (for us) things with him. At no time were we ever suggested that we should also do them with the other kids, because for the docs the other kids simply didn't matter. After all, they didn't have problems with their anger and moods and other things. Doing free things was NEVER good enough for the various 'experts' because how is that showing that you value your child? (Yes, more than one 'expert' actually said those words to me, the frimpin' idjits!).

I refused their advice on this because each of my kids was equally important. Wiz wasn't more important and it was hard to understand why the docs couldn't see that. I finally started telling them that I would not sacrifice my other children on the altar of Wiz' mental health/developmental problems. They didn't like the wording, but they 'got it' after a while.

This is what you need to do. Take steps to provide great distance for your younger child. Work with him and a therapist to help him understand what is going on wtih your difficult child and what he needs to do to make sure he is not enticed down difficult child's path. TALK to the youngest about how difficult child's nonsense could keep him (youngest) from having a great life and career if he isn't careful. You can sort of 'innoculate' youngest from difficult child's koi by giving him enough info to see what difficult child will do and how it would make difficult child actually HAPPY if youngest ended up with major problems rather than a happy, stable life with a loving family.

Just my thoughts though!


Well-Known Member
You can sort of 'inoculate' youngest from difficult child's koi by giving him enough info to see what difficult child will do and how it would make difficult child actually HAPPY if youngest ended up with major problems rather than a happy, stable life with a loving family.
I was thinking this last night. It comes down to what the experts say - expose them for who they are. In this case you tell everyone including Bubby (in language he can understand) that JT is mentally ill. The more people you tell, the safer Bubby will be. Put things in writing. Keep things like text messages, anything you can document that JT does. (court documents, emails, FB posts, just anything) Keep a diary of behaviors and actions. If enough people know that JT is not a good influence over your other son and mentally ill - it is highly unlikely that anyone would trust him to later take care of Bubby.
It is never too soon tor protect Bubby by telling him the truth - that JT is not a good person and he should never be trusted.
I was legal guardian over my sister who was daughter, until she passed. I warned her many times of my daughter sociopath ways and she was able to understand it and not trust her. This is someone with an IQ of about 50. Also the state "system" she was in was full of sick and demented people so I also instructed her never to sign anything and she was able to understand that and refused EVERYONE that asked her to sign her name to anything. She was also able to tell me when things going on around her were not "right" So, educated correctly anyone can get an understanding of "not to trust" if handled in the right way.


Well-Known Member
Im sorry things just continue to get worse. I can understand your inner turmoil about what you leave behind for your kids when you pass but maybe it is just not a good idea for JT. Or you could put aside money in a trust for Bubby, or set that up in your will, and there will be nothing else left because you spend the golden years of your life having the time of your life and spending his inheritance! If you absolutely feel you have to leave him something I would do it in a trust with a very firm trustee that only gives him access to a very limited amount of money per quarter if certain guidelines are met. You dont want to finance criminal activities. Or you could set up the trust to say that if he ends up in prison for any length of time the executor could place X amount of money on his books per month. Something that would make you feel better. If your younger son has a chance that he may end up on disability as an adult you will want to set up a special needs trust for him as well so he wont lose his disability. I would talk to a lawyer about these things.

Now about some of his shock and awe statements to you. One in particular comes to mind...the one about hunting. I realize you are against it but put that aside for a moment and beat him at his own game. I would tell him you have realized just what a wonderful sport hunting is and have recently started getting ready to hunt yourself. You cannot wait to get your first buck! You may or may not know but my family hunts and I can send you pictures that we get of deer in the woods from our game camera's and you can text them to him saying they are yours! I can give you words to use. You can even say you are planning on visiting a friend for a hunting weekend and I will send a picture of

Whatever he is using to try to get your goat, start doing it too. With the booze...tell him you are so glad he is having a great time. Arent keggers fun? Boy those were the days. You have to think outside the box. Remember he will want to do whatever you dont want him to do so if you act like what he is doing is aok, that takes the fun out of it.
That is an interesting point Dammit Janet. The thrill for him is to shock and hurt. Maybe trying not to give reaction is the way to go. As far as his birthday goes, I would give him a card only or, perhaps a card with a one way plane fare to Hawaii or a place of his choice in the US. Has there ever been a place he has mentioned that he would like to visit? Okay, maybe a little far fetched, but you get the idea. You don't need to uproot , he does.

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
This is an amazing thread. I am beginning to see the first, faint glimmerings of some things (many things?), I haven't allowed myself even to consider.


In fact, I think I may have pushed myself into a desperate kind of depression about me, about what I did, about how this could have happened, so I wouldn't face these things I don't want to see about my children.

But they are almost 40.

And the same kinds of unbelievable things ~ and worse ~ have continued to happen through all those years....

Truly unbelievable things have happened and happened and happened.

Runaway Bunny, definitely take every precaution where your younger son is concerned. As I...if these things I am thinking this morning turn out to be valid things, then persons with sociopathic tendencies really do feel joy when others have been hurt, or when someone can be tricked and betrayed. Even a mother or a father; a brother, especially one who could be perceived as having stolen the love or attention of the mother away, would be seen as fair game by a sociopathic sibling, I would think.

It seems disloyal even to think in this way.

What kind of mom does this, right?

Strange, isn't it, that we can see what is happening in someone else's life, or with someone else's children, but will staunchly refuse to see those same things in our own lives.

It is hard to think that this could be true.

But my "kids" are 40. And things have just continued to go from bad to impossibly worse for all these years.

I remember MWM posting articles relating to sociopathy on P.E. I was too uncomfortable thinking about that whole thing to read the articles.

Denial ain't just a river in Egypt, right?



But just imagine. If this is what it is, if this is what has been happening...what would it be to live a life without harboring that sense of fraud, of something wrong that is hidden away? Of, finally, letting go of guilt for the way things turned out.


I am so sorry you are going through this. As I read your posts, I realized that many of the things your son does remind me of someone I once knew. I am quite certain that in addition to sociopathic behaviors he also had narcissistic personality disorder. Those grandiose feelings of superiority and need to manipulate and control others are very familiar, as are the communications meant to hurt and/or shock, especially if you aren't behaving the way he wants you to.

And, no, you can't fix that.

I completely agree with the advice to remove any indication that it gets to you, and to totally cut off all contact if that's possible, and on behalf of Bubby as well, as he probably doesn't have the ability to realize when he's being used.

You do realize, right, that you aren't obligated to leave anything to anyone? You might indicate in your will that you leave a trust (taking into consideration the special needs issue that DammitJanet mentioned) because he needs ongoing support, but mention that difficult child is able to support himself and will be just fine. :)

Stress Bunny

Active Member
Thanks to everyone for the helpful replies. Inside, I know rationally, that it's not my fault that difficult child is the way he is. Yet, I grieve for the hopes and dreams I had for him and his relationship with us. I don't know what to do with the sadness, hurt, and pain.


Well-Known Member
I really feel for you and what you are going through. Once one understands that their child has facets of being a sociopath, whether the full diagnosis or just tendencies it is heartbreaking. When I faced this, (my difficult child is an only child) it drove me to an emotional breakdown. Fortunately I had the support of my husband, his family and my best friend to see me through this dark time. Discovering that your child is a sociopath or has the same tendencies is extremely distressing because you then have the knowledge that you need, whether you want it or not, that you have to do something to protect yourself and your loved ones from the actions of the difficult child. It is like the grief for someone dieing with the same 5 steps of grieving: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, depression and Acceptance. (Although we can bounce back and forth through any stage over and over again) I think the bargaining, in dealing with a Socio-difficult child can more be described as we go through self blame and wondering what we did wrong and how we could have prevented it. I know it helped me to talk to a psychiatrist that helped me to understand that for my difficult child the signs where there early - at the crawling/early walking stages with behaviors of control that she displayed. My difficult child has also showed signs of rage and aggression and hugely inappropriate behavior. She is lucky she is not in prison for some of her behaviors but she is also as she self calls her self "the great manipulator".
Anyway, I can completely empathize with what you are going through and as I said I understand how heartbreaking coming around to the acceptance part of the grief process is very hard because our child is still here. So it is back and forth we go until something in us awakens to the fact that we may be better off without them in our lives. You may get to that point, you may not but at least you with the thought process in place you are going down a path that will bring YOU to a point of safety from the painful acts foisted on you by your difficult child.