Son 21, stealing, denying, swearing.

Tired out

Well-Known Member
I don't know where to start. Maybe a little family background. My hubby and I have been married 36 years and have 3 grown children. Boy A is 27 and has cerebral palsy due to an after birth injury. He is a cognitively intelligent, kind, loving, quadriplegic. I am his full time care giver. Daughter 24 is a wonderful girl. Graduated Cum sum laude from college, married and in a successful career. Son B used to be a very happy, charming. loving boy. Things started to change around age 15, moody little things of no importance would go missing, no proof it was him. this has progressed in little bits money missing, change jar gone,, . At 17 we had to put a key lock on our daughters bedroom door and on or master bedroom closet door. Hubby had to put a keyed lock on his tool room.
He graduated from hs with a trade degree and got a decent job (he refused college) he had that job for almost 2 years and got fired. No explanation. 3 months got another job, better one in the same field, it lasted 8 months and he lost that job. Again not sure why. For the next 3 months he said he was looking for a job but he was sleeping all day. I smelled pot on him a couple of times when he came in, confronted him and of course he said I was nuts. He finally got a new job (thanks to his dad) 2 months ago. Christmas 2016 he gifted a 9mm gun to his father, in 2017 he gifted 200.00 item to his father.....we had a blow-up with him the week he started the job and told him to straighten up of move out. He put a bunch of his stuff in duffel bags and left in a huff after yelling, swearing cursing etc.. He cam back a bout 4 hours later asked to sleep at home he was sorry and on and on. Things seemed to be ok then 3 weeks later hubby wet to get the gun to go to the range and it was gone! he looked and looked..Son B came home was asked and swore he didn't take it. I let things settle an hour, knew he took it, I went to his room and told him I was calling the police to report it stolen that if he didn't take it obviously someone broke into our house, had to go through our master bedroom and do heavy duty searching to find it , we would have noticed! Son B knew where it was and took it. He said, "no don't call the cops. I took it I sent it to Glock to have some modifications done as a gift for dad. It will be back in 3 -4 weeks. 2 weeks ago he told his dad it was shipped (to his friends house, whose credit card he supposedly used to pay send it) Now supposed friend is out of town and stuff is held at UPS till he gets back.(eye roll) last week hubby goes to use the other $200 gift and it is gone. Yesterday items missing out of hubby's LOCKED tool box ( key is hidden in our bedroom, obviously he searched our bedroom). Hubby asked him for the items, he denied, they got into altercations. Hubby said I want gun, tool etc back by tomorrow or you need to move out. He went ballistic, swearing grabbed a duffel bag and left. Text be with all sorts of gilting for the next 3 hours also asked if he could have his mattress (new queen nice) I told him i'd trade him for his dad's gun. I turned my phone off. turned phone on this morning he had text asking to come home to sleep.. then phone rang..he asked if he could get his stuff. I had spent all last night packing his room, we didn't want him in the house any longer than possible. while he was here getting his stuff (all teary eyed- or stoned?? not sure after doing some reading) he asked if he could take his mattress. I told him again, that he can take it when he brings the gun, again said friend isn't answering his texts to get the gun (eyeroll)


Well-Known Member
I'm so sorry you are going thru this. Glad your husband is on the same page with you.

You might think about reporting the missing gun... Just in case there is any liability... Ksm
I hear your sadness and know how it feels to kick a son out but when your heart strings start pulling, remember this. He’s been stealing from you guys for 6 years counting on you being distracted caring for your disabled child. He TIMES when you are totally consumed w care taking your 1st son (bath time, feeding etc) to do his dirty sneaking around; it takes time finding keys etc). It appears he has OPTIONS as to where to he can stay, esp if he is able to take his big mattress w him! Most people don’t have a spare room waiting for a friend to land w his own mattress! If the gun is registered in your husbands name, it will be your husband sleeping on a steal kot w a bag of wadded Cotten lumps for a mattress when the gun becomes police property in some gang related crime! Change all locks on doors and get alarm system! He’s not w out resources, not out on the streets and I’m sure not going hungry. He’s had your number for a long time mama. And he doesn’t care who gets hurt in the long run... save yourself the heart ache. Protect your other son who can’t protect himself and unite w your husband. You’re STRONG! You have to be to have taken care of your 1st son all this time. Don’t allow him to manipulate and use your kindness to weasel back in.

Tired out

Well-Known Member
Is it odd for me to say that although I am sad about the situation I also feel lighter. The last 3 years have gotten harder and harder..
Yes the gun has been reported stolen/missing.
I just hope you get some rest and find some time for yourself. A walk alone in nature away from all demands helps me center and recharge. It doesn’t have to be a “big vacation”! I still think he’ll try to come back and I hope you will not allow it. It’s amazing how resourceful they are when the option of YOU us taken out of his deck of cards! At the time tho, they make you feel like you’re the only answer there is to their problem! Beware of the sleeping tiger when the word “NO” gets used! Best of wishes from my broken but wiser heart.

Tired out

Well-Known Member
He came by tonight, picked up more of his stuff. He went up to his ex-room and saw it totally taken apart. Furniture moved, empty, I washed the carpets and the walls. nothing hanging on the walls as I had taken it all down and put it in a box for him to take if he wants it. I wonder if he felt anything. I asked "how are you?" he mumbled "golden"
Oh how I miss the person he used to be. My heart is broken, I hope it heals. My hubby said to me , "i was afraid you would hate me over this". No. I don't hate him over this. I still love him too. But I want my son back but, right now my son doesn't exist. Some odd being has taken his place.


Well-Known Member

We are here for you. I understand your pain and missing your son. Our eldest was about 35 when I found CD. It was such a gift to husband and me. Each time I posted, i checked/refreshed the page continually because the posts helped us so much. husband and I were taking such baby steps to climb out of those depths of despair - that we had been in for years!! I would print the responses and read/re-read with my husband. We were in such awe to find this safe place with folks who understood.

It is almost too much to bear, until we practice the advice found here. Move forward, look after yourselves, do something good for yourself each and every day, etc. etc.

Our son has not gotten better. In fact, he has committed (another) felony, stealing thousands from his grandparents --- my mom being the last person on the planet to help him. For years, she felt certain the problem was husband and me. It was maddening, but that story is for another day.

My parents are 86 and 87; this should never have happened. It is ugly and more bad stuff ahead, but thankfully, husband and I are standing strong. Much of the credit for that goes to Conduct Disorders folks.

Please stay with us. Share whatever you feel like, whenever you feel like it. Feel our love and support. We are in this together.



Well-Known Member
You did exactly right, as far as I am concerned.

Stay strong. Let him figure it out. He may have progressed to stronger drugs.

At some point there may be a role for you, but not now. He is violating too many boundaries. And not showing one bit of responsibility.

In some cases the courts make available drug treatment as an alternative. I hope this does not progress, but that would be a silver lining.

The only thing to do is to take good care of yourself, and family. There is too much risk with him near. Drugs hijack our children. Mj is a drug!

You have not lost your son. He has lost himself. Until he gets into treatment or is stopped by circumstances, there is not much to do.

I go through periods of agony. Other days are bearable or better. I find exercise helps me.

Posting helps. I find a clarity here I do not often feel.



100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

You have certainly come to the right place. The whole gun thing is terribly scary. I hate guns. I would have reported it stolen also. You have to protect yourself. Did you tell the police that you suspect (know) your son took it? I imagine he sold it to buy drugs.

Our son went off the rails at 15 as well but he wasn't able to keep a job as long as your son has.

He is doing well now in a long term faith based program but this is the only thing that worked for him after MANY tries at everything else. My son needed God in his life. His soul was broken. He had become a stranger to us and we had always been very close.

You may want to get some therapy for yourself to help you deal with this although it sounds as if you are doing well. I do hope your son gets himself together. Our son COULD NOT. Firm boundaries are really what you need for your sanity and your son needs that also. He is an adult now, as is ours.

Keep posting. Lots of wisdom and compassion to be found here. We.Get.It.

Tired out

Well-Known Member
Thank you for taking the time to read my posts and answer. I does help to read other peoples experiences with this. Hubby and son haven't seen eye to eye for quite some time (since son was about 12) Hubby is a straight and narrow guy, extremely hard worker. Honestly sometimes he is so work oriented he is family neglectful. I did my best to fill in when that happened. I love hubby to the moon and back and admire his work ethic but don't like his inability to tell work no, not today. I think he has a fear of them saying that they don't need him (ha! I know that won't happen, when things were bad a work-2009- other people all had to take staggered 2 week layoffs in each department, hubby was gone 1 day and they called him and said to come back, we need....) I KNEW that would happen. But then you have son who had a fab job, don't know what he did to loose it and would randomly say, "I have a headache, not going"..seriously!
He still has some stuff to pick up. It is sitting near the front door.


Well-Known Member
Don't give him more than one more opportunity to come get his stuff. Our son did that, kept picking up just a handful of stuff every time. That way, he had an excuse to keep coming back to our house to try and guilt us into giving him money. Not saying to throw it out, but don't let him keep coming back over and over again to get a few things or his favorite shirt/pants/cd/movie because its a ploy.

Tired out

Well-Known Member
he was doing the bit of coming here and there to pick up stuff. Today I loaded all the rest in my van and drove it out to where he is living. No one was home. I piled it all on the parch next to the door. I put a sheet over it and a note. "here you go. I wanted to save you the time and gas of so many little trips. Love you. Mom". His trips back here were just manipulative. He says he isn't ever coming back to live here (I darn well hope not!). I told him last week that I love him dearly but I think we will all get a long much better with him not living at our house. He says dad has been miserable to him for a long time. I told him his brain in warped and someday he will be praying for forgiveness and he better look in the mirror and figure it all out before something does happen to his dad or me and he can't ask for forgiveness in person. Oh how I want my fun loving beautiful sparkly eyed boy back. It is fine that the boy is now an adult. I would love to see the sparkle reach his eyes like it used to. This was a kid that lit up the neighborhood with smiles and helpfulness. Where did he go?...oh yeah, teenage, hormones, pot and who knows what else,


Well-Known Member
Oh how I want my fun loving beautiful sparkly eyed boy back. It is fine that the boy is now an adult.
Keep this in mind. Its entirely too easy to think of them as "our little boy" but they are adults. You never gave his age but based on what you originally posted, he's at least 20 or 21 years old. At this age, many are almost through with college and busy planning their future. At this age, many are in the military, defending our country. At this age, many paid that ultimate sacrifice in that defense.

I know it feels right now like things will never be normal again. Stick to your guns, allow him to suffer the consequences of his actions, and allow him the opportunity to grow up. He no longer needs input from you or your husband. You have probably taught him everything you're capable of teaching him. Now let him learn to use that information and learn those other things that we all had to learn on our own. Stay strong.

Baggy Bags

Active Member
I told him his brain in warped and someday he will be praying for forgiveness and he better look in the mirror and figure it all out before something does happen to his dad or me and he can't ask for forgiveness in person. Oh how I want my fun loving beautiful sparkly eyed boy back. I would love to see the sparkle reach his eyes like it used to. This was a kid that lit up the neighborhood with smiles and helpfulness. Where did he go?...oh yeah, teenage, hormones, pot and who knows what else,
I have said these exact same things.

And the things that FlyMetotheMoon says make me realize that so much of the stuff we go through is all so common among us. Straight out of the "Parents of Difficult Children Manual". That's why it's so helpful to be here. Honestly, I think I have found this forum more helpful for me than any of the (crazy amount) of therapy we've been to.

My son is 15 and we've been going through this for a year. A very, very hellish year. I realize now (that he has gone to live with his grandmother) after getting violent (again), how the whole last year has basically been me holding on with everything I have, needing to make absolute sure that my perfect angel boy wasn't lost in there somewhere, so I could save him. He has only just left a week ago, but he's been gone much longer than that, and I think I already knew it. So I understand about the feeling lighter. I feel a lightness is my head, but a heaviness in my chest. Hopefully we'll feel ourselves again soon. Stay strong!


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
It sounds like you are doing great with all of this. You are a lot stronger than I ever was! It is good he has a place to stay so you can have some peace.

Tired out

Well-Known Member
Exasperated. That is me. I have read plenty about the subject estrangement. The only contact I have had with son is when he text me regarding his own bills and his bank account. He works full time, deposits his check, has a couple of new bills that he asked me to set up for auto withdrawal. He doesn't have a smart phone or a computer since he left home. I replied ok and added them. I know, I know you ask, why do I have access to his bank account..because I set them up when he was 12 and he never took my name off and I never bothered with them. Since he doesn't have computer access right now, he did say he is going to try to save enough in the next month or 2 to get a smart phone so he can do all this himself (he is using an old style flip phone right now) Apparently paying for his own food, housing is putting a financial squeeze on hi, (oh well).
Anyway the reason I am exasperated..hubby/dad text him today, "I'm home you can ring my stuff back" (why oh why did he have to do that? I feel he was looking for trouble, he is acting all innocent saying he was trying to open the door for son to step up and return items and lines of communication) Son replied saying, "leave me a lone or I will get a restraining order, I don't want to talk to you. I don't give a **** what you want"..then he added a couple of more of his lies.
Hubby said, Want to read what your son texted me? I asked , "What? out of the blue? " at first hubby was acting like he hadn't started this exchange. Grrrrrrrrr. I told him DO Not contact son. let any initiation of contact be his. HE needs to come to his own realization that he is in the wrong. I have offered ages ago to get him an appointment with a therapist and I have offered again. He declined. he doesn't realize or want to admit how wrong he is. This may take time or it may never happen.

Tired out

Well-Known Member
HELP... son's car payment is due 6/21 (comes out of bill pay 6/18) . I set up all of his bill pays for him. he asked me to do that as he doesn't have internet access where he lives. I was in my online banking and even with this weeks check on Friday he won't have enough to cover it. I have told him he needs a second job. (I know you are wondering why I see his banking-- that is annoying all in it's self, I have been trying to get my name off them but we have to go together for me to sign off and we haven't been able to work that out. He works when the bank is open so he would have to take time off which he can't afford. I could just close the account but then it screws him and I probably should but, I can't. Anyhow he had me set it up so that from his paycheck 250/week goes to savings bill pay account the rest is for day to day. He would be fine if he stuck to that but he keeps taking money from the bill pay account so now he won't have enough for the payments. I am an all my ducks in row person. I pay my bills on time and always have. This is making me nuts. I don't want to see this. I told him if he needed to borrow any money from us he would have to bring back the things he stole. he has given me a story about the stuff. supposedly the friends house that it is at isn't answering his texts and is never home and he can't get the stuff...I know he is full of bull. The kid may not be speaking to him but his stuff isn't there either.
Sorry for the long rambling post.. I am so sad and stressed and I am putting on a calm face for hubby and my other son. He knows I have been trying to get my name off of account but not that Ben draining his account or telling me more lies about where stuff is. I can't take much more of this. It is making me sick.
I don't know what I want any of you to say. I just find myself taking a lot of deep breaths. and walking..always walking.. sit still and I just think of this mess. at least when I am walking I can blast my headphones so I don't hear myself :)


Well-Known Member
Well...this is the kind of thing that can drive us (me) nuts.

OK, deep breath. Here are my thoughts on the car payment situation...

You and son agree that you should not be on the account anymore, right?

And if you WEREN'T on the account, you would be none the wiser that he's about to bounce his car payment.

in my opinion that's the goal -- to detach completely from Ben's finances.

The fact that you always pay your bills on time really isn't relevant. Ben isn't that kind of person (YET -- and maybe learning *why* we shouldn't bounce checks is a lesson Ben needs to learn).

I wouldn't offer to loan him money if he brings your stuff back. He needs to bring your stuff back and certainly doesn't deserve a bailout for doing so.

Since you are on the account, will you get dinged if Ben bounces his car payment? If so, I would give him a heads up that he's about to be overdrawn, and let him figure out what to do about it. If not, I would let it slide.

Then I would give him the option right away of either taking an hour off to get to the bank and get your name off the account by XX/XX, or you will close the account.

If you feel he truly CAN'T manage his checking account because he has no internet access, I would help him set up an account in his name only at a branch he can get to on his lunch hour. Then step out of it. You definitely don't need the worry, and as parents we can't help but try to deduce what our difficult children are up to reviewing financial tracks. That's a direct bus to Crazy Town, as fruitless and stress-inducing as tracking their cell phone records.

I would also add that I don't know ANY young adults who don't have internet access. Even a cheap burner phone and the abundance of free WiFi would be more than sufficient for him to monitor his checking account.