Son kicked out of the house and my wife enabling him - What do I do?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by AlexS, Jun 24, 2010.

  1. AlexS

    AlexS Guest

    I feel alone and am seeking advice on how to deal with my son and my wife.

    First an impossibly succinct background of my family. My son is 20 years old and first ran away from home when he was 14. He was diagnosed as having an opposional defiant disorder and the reccomendation was to send him to a wilderness camp. He was smoking THC and drinking by then. We managed him at home the best we could during which time he has continued to drink, smoke, get in trouble and do poorly in school.

    Over the last 6 years all sorts of triangles have been set up between him, my wife and my daughter. My wife has been very supportive of my son trying to give him every chance to "see the light" and "grow out of it." I have complained but have accepted her desires. My daughter is about to enter graduate school and wants nothing to do with her brother anymore and does not want to come home when he is here.

    My son went to University of Alabama two years ago and within the first month was kicked out of the dorms for THC and a controlled substance (adderal). He went throught a year long drug treatment program which was court ordered. I suspected he was still drinking regularly and heavily. His grades were poor. He has recently finished his court ordered obligations. Two years have passed and he has earned enough credits to be a sophomore and has a 2.31 GPA.

    He was set up to continue at Alabama but fled there last month because, according to him he had gone to an "all black party" (he is white) with someone he met in his drug rehab and got in a fight. During that fight he reportedly called the person the "N" word. He says several people from the party tried to kill him and he will never go back to Tuscaloosa He also says he found out the school would be hair testing him and he has smoked THC and would not pass the test so he wants to go to a junior college near home.

    IT is very difficult for me to talk to him regardless how carefully I try to approach him. He is quick to anger and tends to turn discussions around to what a terrible father I am. Trying to talk to him about leaving Alabama and what his options were was no different. I told him he would have to work during the summer.

    I asked my wife not to give him any money. (she continued to give him a $100 a week) He basically was doing nothing and I started giving him work around the house for $10 and hour. His work was half hearted around here and he was obviously adding to the hours he did.

    IT was a constant stream of boys coming and going through the house and very late hours. He typically woke up at 11-1 in a very bad mood. I suspected he was drinking and smoking.

    Then last week during a typical day for him he got up around 1 and was getting ready to pressure wash. I saw him out the window on the side of the garage taking a hit on a bong. I immediately confronted him. I told him this was not appropriate and that when mom got home we needed to talk about it. He proceeded to escalate the encounter into an argument. Basically telling me he did not know what my problem was and he was going to smoke if he wanted to. It turned into the typical you are a worthless father. I told him to leave which he was more than happy to do.

    Sorry this is so long.

    In his room I found a paraphernalia used for snorting other drugs (?meth, oxycotin, cocaine?). There is a pen tube with a white powder in it and I found hose clamps which are used to cut down Oxycotin in to a powder. Later when asked about this he denies it all, saying it must have been one of his friends.

    I have told my wife I no longer want him at home if he is drinking and doing drugs. I also do not want to pay for more school under the circumstances. I feel that after two years of poor performance and a year of drug rehab that I am just throwing my money away if he is telling me to my face that he is going to smoke and drink. I have spent around $70,000 for the last two year of school.

    My wife had a trip planned with her sister and her family at Hilton Head. She has been talking to my son while he has been out of the house. She went ahead and took him with her on vacation despite my wishes.

    I have had it with the situation. My wife is a very kind hearted person that just can't "turn her back" on our son. AS far as I am concerned my son is a young adult and I cannot stop him from making the choices he makes. I am under no obligation to financially support his drug habit nor put up with his abuse in my house. I believe the best thing to do is not bargain with him, let him go live the life he wants and be there for him when hopefully he truly is ready to move forward with his life.

    My wife readily admits she has enabled the situation. She agrees that something needs to be done but she just won't stop. I am at the point that I am ready to move out and take my check book with me. I am not sure what else to do.

  2. Bean

    Bean Member

    Welcome to the group. Sorry you have to be here. Your story sounds familiar to mine (and many others).

    You are entitled to a drug-free, non-abusive home and if your son chooses to continue to use, you are under no obligation to financially support his use. We are working on the same boundaries with our family (daughter is nearly 19). Unfortunately, right now my daughter is choosing drugs and poor decisions. I still love her, but I won't support her drug use.

    Difficult situation when both parents aren't on the same page. I hear ya. My husband and I are pretty similar in our approach, but not always. It has been my parents (who my daughter lived with), who would enable her continuously and it was a real strain on our relationship, so I can see how that would be hard. How are you and your wife doing? Has it been trying to your relationship?
  3. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    It's an impossible situation when the parents aren't on the same page.

    You're right. You're son is an adult. It's time for him to face the consequences as an adult. You are correct in that you are under no obligation to support him in any way, shape, or form while he continues to use.

    I strongly suggest that you and your wife seek counseling together so that you can come to an agreement and get on the same page.

    You may also want to post this on the Parent Emeritus forum as those are the parents of children over 18 who have been through it all.

    I'm sorry you have to be here, but am glad you found us.
  4. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Hi Alex, and welcome. Glad you found us.

    I can only give you my take on this based on my own marriage. In the last 13 years, there have been some points when one or the other of us has been sorely tempted to take a walk based solely on the discord that dealing with our difficult child brought into the marriage. While we've occasionally been on the same page when it comes to him, most of the time my husband and I have not even been in the same library. At the very lowest point, when I was looking for an apartment for the other 2 kids and my pregnant self, so that husband could deal with- difficult child the way he saw fit, the light bulb finally turned on for both of us. Sappy as it is, we really do love each other but more than that, we like each and enjoy (for the most part) our life together. We were giving our then 6-year-old son ridiculous amounts of power by allowing his behaviors to drive a wedge between husband and me. It was for the most part a turning point. Not to say it's been all hearts and roses since, because we rarely hit the same emotions regarding our difficult child at the same time, but we kind of just ended up agreeing to disagree. Whichever parent felt most strongly generally gets to dictate how any given situation with- our son will be handled.

    So, to my eye, just based on my experience, you're dealing with- 2 problems. I think you've handled the situation with- your son about as well as you can. Zero tolerance re: drugs is not an unreasonable expectation (and you're just going to have to joint the "My Kid Thinks I'm Rotten and Unreasonable" Club ;)). in my humble opinion, inviting a 20-year-old to fend for himself if he refuses to comply with- basic rules in order to live at home (a privilege at this point, not a right) is also perfectly reasonable.

    As far as your wife... I have to say I understand how she feels (and my husband would understand too - we've both been there but of course never at the same time). It's hard to tell our kids to get on with their lives when it's pretty obvious they have no intention of doing so. I have to say I think it's very positive that she didn't fight his eviction. That's actually pretty huge. Her giving him cash is a problem in my humble opinion, especially with the drug use, but a possible compromise would be her buying groceries, or whatever he tells her that $$ is going towards. Yes, it's still enabling but at the same time it's also taking back some control and setting some limits. It's also giving her a chance to work on coming to grips with- the fact that your son isn't going to follow the hoped-for path you guys had for him.

    In the interest of fair disclosure, I will admit that I pay for my son's cell phone, and I have paid 1 month's rent (paid directly to landlord). husband was not thrilled but since it is no longer an option for our son to return home to live, and husband knew that his life would be miserable with me if son became homeless in the dead of winter, he gave me the old "Yes, dear" and let it go. The cell phone is so that I have some way of making sure he's still alive, if only thru his daily updates he makes on myspace via his cell. ;) When he showed up after a 4-month absence gaunt and obviously malnourished, we did agree that we would buy him groceries. No cash - never cash.

    I think it's a matter of picking your battles and trying to keep an eye on the big picture. Only you can know if your wife's difficulty in detaching from your son and his choices is a big enough hurdle to make you leave the marriage.

    Anyway, just my thoughts.... Again, welcome and I'm glad you found us.
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I think your stance is entirely reasonable and I understand your wife's position also. I think you AND your wife need to see a counselor and to attend Narc-Anon and/or Al-Anon. I strongly recommend both the group and the therapist. The therapist can help each of you work individually on your feelings and help you see the other person's point of view. They can also help you through the rocky points in other areas of the marriage. The group will give you other people in the same boat and let you see how they handled things AND that their children did not usually die from being left to their own devices. (I am pretty sure on some level your wife feels your son will die if he lives on his own - it is a very common fear among parents with drug and/or alcohol addicted children.) You will also learn which family habits and patterns contributed to your son's problems and enabled them, so that you can learn healthier ways. I am NOT saying that his problems are your fault. Far from it. But addiction is a sickness that infects the entire family, including siblings, parents, grandparents, even aunts, uncles and cousins. You and your wife may have learned habits that are related to addiction if you had a parent or even a grandparent with an addiction issue.

    Your son may also have other problems. After he is sober and clean he will have to face them and get help if he wants to stay clean and sober. Until he is clean there is no point in addressing other problems. I suggest other problems because ODD is a symptom of many things but is almost never a diagnosis in and of itself. It describes behaviors but gives no clue as to cause or treatment. A real disorder or diagnosis gives at least some direction as to how to treat or help the problem. Many times ODD goes away when the underlying problem is treated properly. ODD is about the smallest of your issues though.

    I know your wife must be terrified of what your son is doing. Having him live at home is her way of at least knowing he is alive every day. Every time he leaves the house part of her (and probably of you) is afraid that he will either get into an accident and die, upset the wrong person and die, or be in the wrong place and die, or overdose and die. It is overwhelming and can completely chase common sense and what is right out of your mind and actions. Narc Anon or Al Anon will help her with this.

    In the meantime you need to set some guidelines that you both follow. You have the right to have son out of the house. As his mother she has the right to help him. She has to realize that every single penny she gives him goes to put drugs into his body. If she buys him food he can use the money he would have used for food to get drugs. If she pays rent or a hotel room for a night he then has whatever he would have used for rent to buy drugs. Giving him groceries instead of cash, or paying the rent to the landlord may be something she can handle doing for now. She could at least reassure herself that he wasn't taking money from her hands and giving it straight to his dealer. When you talk, try to be descriptive and make her SEE that giving him cash is the same as crushing the pills and blowing them up his nose, or injecting them into his arm for him. It IS going to hurt her, but less than having him die from taking drugs he bought with money she gave him.

    You are both going to have to compromise. I think that paying for school is a waste of time and money because he probably is polluted when he is in class and his brain is not really able to learn then. on the other hand, if he goes he might try to be sober so it might give him something to be sober for. Depends on how he sees it, and probably on how he sells it to your wife. I would say that given his GPA it would be reasonable to pay half of his tuition if he pays the other half. He has to show you the CASH for the tuition before you pay it though. Or show you a money order or certified check. A check he writes is likely a lie, just as telling you he paid it is. Even receipts can be forged.

    Maybe you and your wife can set a budget for how much she is allowed to help him. Whether she gives it to him all at once or a little at a time would be up to her, but only a set amount per pay period. Maybe if she chooses to give him more she has to give up having her hair done or going somewhere or buying new clothes or something. It will take a while before she can handle cutting him off completely and this would be a way to compromise while not cutting her out of your life also. Unless you really want a divorce, that is. In time a therapist and NarcAnon will help her move toward the view that giving him even a stick of gum is the same as buying that much $$ worth of drugs and pouring them down his throat. Just be adamant that anything she does for him is NOT in the form of giving him cash or a check. Take the $$ to the utility co or landlord or whatever. Don't do giftcards. They would be convenient for YOU but they are easily sold for cash. Just yesterday a guy in Target asked me to let him pay for my purchases and to give him the cash. He said he had gotten a giftcard for a birthday and they didn't have the game he wanted to buy so he wanted the money. I have no clue if he was really wanting a game or he wanted the money to buy drugs or to pay his rent. Don't care. I just don't ever do that because it feels wrong and because many many druggies do this. (I also had three dollars worth of stuff so it would have been a hassle for nothing.)

    Think long and hard if your marriage is worth ending over your son's addictions. It is up to you. For some people it just goes too far and it does destroy the love and trust. Others are able to work through it. Regardless of what you choose, being in the "Terrible Father Club" is a big neon billboard saying that you are doing exactly the right thing. No matter how awful it feels. Your wife won't agree now, but once she has conquered her fear and codependence she will see it. (She is almost certainly dealing with issues of codependency with your son. His addiction rules her happiness in many ways. It is also a sickness and it is heartbreaking to watch.)

    You will find much valuable info on our Teens and Substance Abuse forum and archives, and also in the Parent Emeritus forum and archives. Search the site for "detachment" and you will find many helpful things also.

    If you go to a therapist and the fit isn't right try another. It can take a few tries to find someone that both of you can work with. When my husband and I went for some help we made appointments with 3 therapists and saw each of them before we chose one to continue with. It was very helpful. NarcAnon and AlAnon each tell you to try meetings in several times and locations before you decide it doesn't work. Even if one feels perfect it is helpful to try others because more than one may be helpful and each group has its own dynamic. When meetings are labeled "closed" it does not mean you need permission to attend. It means you must have a loved one with a substance or alcohol problem. AA and AlAnon say alcohol but recognize drugs also (meaning that if your son only used drugs you could still go to AlAnon closed meetings, or at least that is the way it is in every group I have attended.). If the meeting is labeled "open" it means that those who are curious but do not have a loved one can attend. Sometimes the psychology majors at our university go to these meetings to learn more about them and about addiction. I don't know if it happens everywhere, but it could. They still have to abide by the rules - esp anonymity and what is said/done in a meeting stays in the meeting.

    Keep coming here. We do understand and we don't judge.

  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Susie beat me to it - you and your wife need to get to Narc-Anon or Al-Anon. Yo both are making some basic mistakes, although I must stress - NEITHER OF YOU IS TO BLAME FOR THIS.

    If you can, get your wife to read the thread here. My message is for both of you.

    First - get to the meetings. There are others there who will show you how you have both been hooked in to enabling this MAN. Drug users are cunning, they are skilled at getting what they want. They have yo be - it is an expensive habit.

    Now think - how much have you and your wife been giving him, between you? Really? Honestly? Now, how much would his lifestyle be costing to support? Really? Because I'm sure that if you and your wife are bankrolling the lot, you would have noticed an even greater financial drain. And I don't think you have been paying for it all. He is getting money elsewhere to pay for this, and it's likely he's supplying.

    Once your kid becomes a drug user, he stops being your kid. He becomes an abusive, dangerous stranger. He also has made his own choices. Did you tell him to smoke or sort drugs? What parent would? No, you told him not to. So how is it your fault?

    Next - with both of you, again. When he pushes the guilt buttons to make you give in to him (or to deflect you form the real topic, which is him making bad choices) you need to be aware that this is classic blame and deflection, and don't buy into it. Take the wind out of his sails - "Yes, we have been bad parents. Absolutely shocking. We failed to provide you with food, shelter and clothing. We failed to give you access to basic education so you're now unable to read and write. We beat you senseless every day and made you work in the mines. Yes, we are abusive. But we did not put drugs into your hands. Around the world there are many abused children who are not drug users. You made your choices; our parenting or not is not relevant to this issue."

    Agree with him. It's the scariest thing you can do to someone who is oppositional. Because what they have become accustomed to is the childish degeneration of argument to the "Tis! Tisn't!" stage. So observe yourself.

    Now, to costs - OK, there are cultural differences here, but my father taught me that if people don't pay for what they want, they don't value it. In our case it was the offspring of our dogs. I was upset at my father putting a price on our beloved puppies, especially when I had a young friend who wanted a puppy and couldn't afford one. My father showed me - there was one customer who wanted him to cut the puppy price back a long way. My father had initially refused, but he let the man have the puppy really cheap. And sure enough, the man brought the puppy back the following week. It wasn't good enough. Meanwhile others who had bought puppies (including the people who later bought the rejected puppy at the full price) were very happy, they sent us photos or rang us up to tell us how the puppy was doing and how their kids loved them.

    We aren 't wealthy. We wanted our kids to go to uni but we can't afford to pay the fees. Student loans are available, plus in Australia uni fees can be held over and paid back once you are in the workforce. Some parents still pay their kids' fees for them; we didn't. Sis-in-law paid her daughter's uni fees and then complained when her daughter didn't bother to study. Meanwhile easy child worked really hard, because she knew that every bit of the cost was coming out of her pocket; if not now, then eventually.

    I remember my ow uni days - I had to pay for my own expenses. I did my best to study hard because I had a personal investment in this. Meanwhile a friend of mine whose parents paid her fees (and who was a really bright girl, could have done brilliantly) goofed off with her boyfriend the whole time, never bothered to attend classes and eventually got kicked out for lack of progress.

    I've seen it over and over. I gather in the US it's the custom to put money aside for your kids' education. Some people take out mortgages etc to pay for it. But here, while some parents do this, it's not held to be bad parenting if you choose not to for whatever reason.

    In your son's case, I would have stipulated some positive academic outcome as a requirement for the next year's tuition to be paid. Otherwise, you can go get a job like other people, and work your own way through college. Frankly, for some people, this is what they need to do in order to survive.

    We have a native bird here in Australia that you undoubtedly know - the Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo. It's a large white parrot with a bright yellow crest it can raise when it gets excited. We have flocks around here, huge flocks. They used to be considered a pest and people were allowed to shoot them except inside national parks. They are beautiful, they are intelligent. But when people feed them, put out food to encourage them to come near, they get the immediate benefit of the company of these beautiful birds. You might begin feeding one pair, but after a matter of days or weeks your personal flock will have grown to hundreds. As long as you keep feeding them, they will come. They are seed eaters and will rapidly become tame enough to take food from your fingers. But they remain wild birds.
    The problems begin when you discover that wild birds that are intelligent, need to work for their food. If they get their food too easily, they have too much idle time on their hands (or beaks). And cockatoos then get to chewing stuff, getting up to mischief. Even if you weren't the one feeding them, simply living near someone who does, can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage.
    We've had the guttering on our house attacked, all the leaf guard gets pulled out. We put it back in, even rivet it in, and that only gives them more of a fun puzzle trying to work out how to remove it. If your house is made of timber (especially Western Red Cedar, a beautiful but soft wood) then you can find yourself literally eaten out of house and home.

    The problem with cockatoos is that they are like kids who get it too easy, who don't have to work for their keep. When they get bored because they have too much idle time (they've been fed and they still have some daylight hours left) you always find new mischief they've gotten up to. They become like gangs of hooligans roaming the streets, terrorising the neighbourhood.

    Maybe that is why Aussies tend to make kids pay their own way once they reach tertiary education!

    It is not bad parenting to cut your kid loose financially. Your wife needs to understand that as long as she enables your son, she is hastening his death. Our aim as parents is to raise our children to be happy, independent, productive and law-abiding members of society. That is our aim. If we do not succeed despite our best efforts, we shouldn't bet ourselves up about it, but also we shouldn't do anything that interferes with that aim. Enabling someone who refuses to take personal responsibility goes against that aim. You love your child (even if there are times you don't like him much!) but if he is to ever learn to live as an adult, he needs to learn NOW. The more money you keep throwing at him (either by direct handouts, or make-work that he doesn't respect and abuses) then the longer you keep him dependent. And he won't be grateful - no, he will be resentful.

    You can't win with that kind of nasty, self-centred logic.

    Your son needs you to cut him loose financially. He is a lot further down the drug abuse path than either of you realises. Your daughter has it right. Sorry. Your daughter perhaps has more claim to accuse you both of bad parenting OF HER, because you are so focussed on saving your son, that her sense of personal safety is neglected. Bur how does your daughter respond? With maturity, with strong personal choices, with clear communication. And with love towards you both.

    Your son dishes out disrespect, rule-breaking, deceit - and you let him do it and what's more, you make it possible for it to continue.

    The original diagnosis of ODD was unhelpful - there is generally an underlying disorder with ODD, the real cause which can often be missed. Again, not your fault.

    As parents, we do the best we can do, given the circumstances and our own fallibility. What sort of a father would your son make right now? How perfect would he be? Your daughter knows this, which is why she loves you and keeps coming home, although under her own stipulations. So you both need to know this too - you should not allow yourselves to be guilted into enabling him any further.

    It is te kindest thing to do for him, and the fastest way to force the issue to the point it is heading anyway, where HE has to realise that he is on his own and has to choose to live, or to die. HE has to choose. You can't save someone who wants to self-destruct.

    Get to NarcAnon or similar. You both need it.

    Also, stick around here. Others here know what you're both going through and can help.

    The drug-using creature is not your son. Your son is in there, but the drug-user has to be cut off before your son can find his way back. he will say terrible things, he will accuse you of bad parenting, he will threaten to kill himself (he's already doing that) and will threaten to never see you again. My nephew told his mother that if she cut him off, she would never see her grandchildren. ANd she worried about those children terribly, being raised in a house of drug abuse. She saw herself as the only chance for those grandchildren. So it was a threat that so easily could have had her giving way, as she had for so many years. She gave him household goods like a washing machine and furniture (from my mother's house, part of her estate which should have been shared among us, not handed to an addict) and he sold it all for drugs. But she gave him the stuff, in order to try to provide for her grandchildren. But that was HIS job! And while she did it, even in part, she was continuing to enable him.

    He is still in her life. So are the children. He is now clean. But the journey took over 20 years and it was torture. However, there has been a lot of light at the end of the tunnel now.

    If my sister had cut off her son sooner, things would have come to a head sooner and he would have learned sooner.

    You can't fix it forever.

    So - welcome to the group. Welcome to your wife also.

  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Marg is totally right. The things I mentioned about codependency and patterns being handed down do NOT NOT NOT make his drug use your fault or your wife's or anyone else's but his. MANY millions of people grow up with these patterns and never take a drink or touch a drug.

    I would also suggest the book Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend, and the workbook that goes with it. You would each benefit by reading it and using it.

    Al Anon and/or NarcAnon would also help your daughter. She will have learned habits that will affect her children and partner when/if she chooses to have them. Many people who grow up in families with an addicted person choose partners with addiction issues or who have addicted family members. It can be kind of strange feeling if you look at your family tree and your partners and see which members have addictions. It usually doesn't even skip an entire generation unless they have all been through the 12 Steps many times.

    It can be very helpful to have meetings that all of you attend together (or just you and your wife attend) but you should also have at least one meeting per week that you attend alone. It can be helpful to air feelings and thoughts when your family is not there.

    Regardless of what patterns exist, it is still NOT YOUR FAULT.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Whatever else you do, go to a Narc-Anon meeting. Try to get wife to go with you, but, if she won't, still go.

    Please take care of youreslf. I know how hard this is.
  9. Doddlin

    Doddlin Guest

    I highly recommend attending Families Anonymous. I have found that I have to change me and not my child. It's time they work on themselves. Apparently some of us (it was me in my home) tend to manage the lives of our children which stunts their personal growth and robs them of creating their own success. You stated, "My wife is a very kind hearted person that just can't "turn her back" on our son." You'll find something called "detaching with love" that will help you all through the guilt and allow your son to begin living his life on his terms ... consequences and all. Once he sees the change in the way you react (or not react) to his behavior, he will begin his journey toward changes in his OWN life. This sounds more painful than it really is. In fact, in the past month since my husband and I started the group, I'm feeling very relieved and looking forward to living my own life for a change. My son (well, both of them really) have nothing to argue with me about. The basic idea at FA is "I am not his God... I didn't cause it (not his creator), cannot cure it, and cannot control it. Here is a great article. If your son is going to change, it will be change he creates... NEVER you. You can't control him, you can only love him. Get your life back and look into this. I promise, it will be the thing to bring your sanity back. Here is a good article to start:
  10. maril

    maril New Member

    I'm so sorry you are in this position. You are obviously well aware that in order to help your son, he must face consequences for his actions and that enabling him only prolongs (all of your) pain and lessens the likelihood for positive change.

    Indeed, it is very difficult when parents are not on the same page. My husband and I are now on the same page as far as my 18yo son goes but it was not always that way . Personally, I came to realize that I was probably the "weakest link" in our family and have steadily been working away from that designation; however, it is not easy and I have to keep on my toes. I have a good support system.

    Others have good input. I agree with attending Nar-Anon meetings and seeking professional counsel.
  11. Farmwife

    Farmwife Member

    Without actually reading all the other responses...

    I am a classic enabler and I know it so I can possibly shed light on your wife's perspective. My difficult child is just 16 but behaves in many of the ways yours does minus the far. I don't mean to be sexist but I think moms and dads generally approach things differently. My husband is solution oriented, everything is a do or do not, he wants to fix things and now. I on the other hand am the nurturer, the worrier. He and I both have our own parenting styles that don't always mesh and we both see different potential problems/solutions. I worry about a young man who is depressed and may sink if cut loose one day. husband sees a young man who needs a kick in the rear to get him acting like a real man. We both love our difficult child equally and want to see him do well.

    That being said, difficult child's have an uncanny knack for manipulation as well as creative ways to get out of doing the right thing whilst getting plenty of extra perks in life they don't deserve or earn. My difficult child's issues have put a huge dent in my marriage. Aside from the stress of parenting a difficult child there are the constant discussions about him so we never escape it and then just the garden variety tension/bickering from exhaustion of everyday life, stress and disagreeing about parenting. Life is certainly less sunny in general with a difficult child around. It adds up even if you don't sense it.

    Your son is an adult now fully capable of making adult decisions, he just seems to be comfotable making bad ones. Maybe if he were less comfortable he would be forced into action? If I were a 20 year old guy I would be very lucky indeed to have a gravy train like you guys provide. Free room and board, lots of chances and allowance to get high. (sorry to put it this way but try to see it from his point of view at his age kids still only care about themselves for the most part) All he has to do is be emotionally abusive and he gets his way, behavior that is reinforced by giving in.

    Does your wife know you are ready to jet? Maybe if she knew she would wake up a little. Maybe you could suggest some couples therapy/counseling. With "grown" children it is time for the two of you to find some freedom and some joy as just a pair. Imagine that...coming home to a quiet peaceful house, knowing no one has any drama no walking on eggshells and even walking around nude if you feel like it. That $100 a week could go a long way to a second, third and even fourth honeymoon. This is the time in life that you two earned and deserve. I suggest couples counseling simply because she may be reluctant to go for difficult child coping skills on her own. It sounds like he has her wrapped up in his dysfunction. Maybe you could step up and take control of the house and defend her if she is feeling weak. Sometimes when my husband steps in it is such a relief. I get so used to the grind that I don't know how to tell my difficult child "Mom is off today go ask your Father".

    If you love your wife concentrate on her and yourself. There is no reason why your adult difficult child should leave your marriage damaged as soon as his ride ends. The "powder drugs" do lead to theft, even from family. I knew a guy who stole his deceased fathers tools after they were given to his disabled (in a wheelchair with no use of any of his limbs) brother just to get high. How sick is that? You could be dealing with an addict now, that is a whole new ball game. You won't "see" your real son again until he is clean and sober. It hoovers but it is what it is. You can offer all the support and resources in the world. Unless your difficult child decides he wants help and he wants to get well he won't. Going through the motions to get you guys off his back will never last. He has everything he wants right now and no motivation to change.