Stolen from again.


New Member
Hello everyone. I am new here to the site. I am utterly heartbroken. My son has stolen from us again. He has had a problem with this for years and it has now resulted in an issue that caused someone else to be blamed. He denies having a drug problem though I know he smokes pot and drinks. He will be 21 in five days. He is living with a group of friends that are known for trouble. He needs serious help but doesn't admit that he does. I am at a loss. He says he will be leaving in a week and I won't ever see him again. It has caused serious problems in my marriage and I am not sure if we will pull through it this time. I know I am not alone in this and would like some direction. I don't want to lose my son or my husband but it looks as though I just might. I don't know what to do.


Well-Known Member
First off take the blame off the innocent party and ensure it lands on difficult child.

Second why is your husband leaving you if difficult child is the issue?

Third he is most likely trying to scare you and your husband into thinking he will leave. In the case that he isn't all you can do is ask him to contact you occasionally to let you know he is ok. Then only allow the contact if he is nice to you when he calls.

Last he is a grown man. You can't stop him and neither can your husband. The best you can do is hold him accountable for his actions and let him know you love him but aren't willing to be continue this way.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
LostandBroken, welcome. I am so sorry. It is a hard road you find yourself on, I understand how you feel. I'm sorry that right before this holiday you are in pain and heartbroken over the actions of your son.

At 21 your son is an adult. He is responsible for his choices, regardless of how poor they may be. You cannot control any part of his life. As painful as it is, usually the only choice left to us is to begin to let go, to detach from their choices and their behaviors and learn to live our own lives as well as we can.

You may want to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here. It also sounds as if you and your husband might benefit from counseling. Years of this kind of trauma wrecks havoc on marriages and relationships. You will need help to repair that damage.

Many of us have been in your shoes and have learned different ways of responding so that boundaries are set and we can step back from the edge and evaluate what it is we truly want to do next. Not out of guilt or fear, or anger or resentment, or worry or sorrow, we've all been through those emotions.........but to ask ourselves what is it that I want and what is it that I need. You have likely been taking care of your sons needs for a long time and if he has a drug and alcohol problem then you are dealing with the substances, NOT your son. Usually most of us begin to change after we are utterly sick and tired of the way our lives are not working. We hit a wall. We can't see a way out. But sometimes that is exactly what needs to happen to wake us up so that we take a different action.

You won't lose your son by something you did or didn't do, he is making those choices.........he is choosing drugs, alcohol and stealing. He will have to bear the consequences.

Take back control of your life. If your son is moving, there is nothing you can do but to learn to let go, to accept his choices, to accept what you have no control over. It is not easy, but otherwise you will suffer trying to change something you have absolutely no power to change.

Get yourself support. You can likely find some immediate help, particularly around the holiday, at an Al-Anon group, or Narc Anon, or Families Anonymous, many of our parents here find great solace and support in these groups. Private therapy and a parent group helped me. CoDa, another 12 step group is helpful. Continuing to post here will offer you support as well.

You will need to find ways to bring your marriage back to life if it has been attacked by the insanity of troubled young man who has been stealing from you. Step away from the immediate issues and take a look at how you can move ahead now. It is heartbreaking to have a troubled child who won't seek the help they need, who behave in ugly and hurtful ways towards us and use our love for them to harm some point though, we need to be the ones who change, we need to realize that our lives are worth saving, worth finding ways to bring our joy and our peace and our aliveness back. You deserve to have a life which is separate from the negative choices your son is making. You deserve to feel joy and pleasure and to have peace of mind. You can choose joy and peace. You can let go of what you can't control. You can move through this and come out the other side feeling good about yourself. I know this because I've done it. As have other parents here.........we've struggled like you are and we changed. So can you.

Hang in there and get yourself some support. Keep coming back. We're here.


New Member
Thank you both so much! The article on detachment is great. I am sure I will find myself referring to it often. I really appreciate your responses. I am glad I found this site. I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.


Well-Known Member

Your title caught my attention. Let me tell you why. My son stole precious things from us, wedding bands, my husbands recently passed away fathers jewelry, irreplaceable things. He also stole from his sisters and even his 2 year old nephew. So I know how you feel. It made me & my husband sick. But when a person is addicted to drugs they will do anything to get them, even steal from their own family. You have no control over him, he will need to change when he is ready. Be firm, be united with your husband and don't give up. My son now is clean & sober for 96 days and he's a new man. We went through this for 3 years and it took him getting arrested and going to jail to change. Best of luck to you and your family!
My son stole from us too. He stole my jewelry, my husbands wedding ring, my credit cards, etc. we got all of the jewelry back except my husbands ring. Very sad that it took pressing charges to put a stop to it. we were in denial for so long. My son is now in rehab. 33 days sober he told me just tonight. we will have Thanksgiving without him but I am thankful he is alive and we are accepting what is. I am very sad but I am so glad we found the strength to finally play hardball. We wont see him for Christmas either,but that's ok. He is safe and I am at peace. Be strong and believe in yourself. Keep him away and keep your sanity


Well-Known Member
Same here, as you can see from my signature, my son is currently living in our towns homeless shelter since we put him out after finding nearly $700 missing. It was not the first time either. He'd stolen before, taking things and pawning them, then went off to "college" and when he came home he was warned. We didn't put him in jail, as we had said we would, but we did put him out. It has been the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I'd like to say he's changed and he'll be coming home to be welcomed with open arms. But it would not be true. He is sorry...but sorrier that he got caught than because of the pain we've caused. At this point our focus is simply letting him make his own way. He has to get a job and hold it and then, maybe, we'd consider it but he's looking at a place with some other homeless guys. We'll see.

I hope that you and your husband come to terms together and you don't let your son ruin your marriage. As the others have said, he's a grown man and you have a life outside of him that you must work on. Welcome to these forums...I'm sorry you have to be here.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Hi Lost,

So glad you found this forum but sorry you had to.

I can so relate!! My difficult child stole from me and my husband more times than I have followed Dave Ramsey for years and used the envelope system where you have different envelopes that you put money in so when your bills come in you have the money to pay for them. I thought I had these very well hidden, taped to a hidden backboard on our bed. My difficult child found it and took all $3000. Over the years I would come home to find my house ransacked because he was looking for money. Our basement had a hanging ceiling, he tore that down too.

My difficult child is now 33 and at present homeless.

I know how much strain it can put on a marriage. It's so hard when you see things one way and your spouse another. My difficult child has been in out of jail numerous times. He used to call us (collect of course) and beg us to put money on his account because he was starving saying they didn't feed him enough and he needed the extra money so he could buy extra food from the commissary. The first few times he was in jail I agreed and put money on his account, however, over time I grew to resent this. He kept getting into trouble and going back to jail. I put my foot down and said no more money, my husband on the other hand wanted to continue. This caused friction and fights. There was a defining moment when my husband and I were discussing this issue and I asked him "why are we allowing difficult child's behavior to divide us". That was an AHA moment for sure. We decided our marriage was too important to let his issues tear us apart. We agreed to no longer support him while he was in jail.

We have tried to help him in many ways over the years unfortunately our efforts were wasted. He has made the choice to live his life his way. As much as I wish he would make better choices for his life, it's just not happening and there is nothing I can do to make him change.

My husband and I have weathered the storms and there have been many. The blessing is we have grown closer and our marriage is stronger.

You could really benefit from seeking out some counseling preferably for both you and your husband.

Most important, do not allow your difficult child to damage your marriage.

Wishing you peace.


New Member
It really is sad to see so many that have been hurt by this kind of behavior. I am encouraged though. I see that you all have made it through some of the darkest days of your lives. I will talk to my husband and suggest counseling for us. I think it would do us a lot of good. We have two older difficult child that we didn't have much luck with either. One just turned 30 and the other is 28. They are not around but do cause us grief from time to time when the drunk phone calls at 2 in the morning happen. I have such a hard time trying to figure out what happened. I know drugs and alcohol play a huge part with the older ones. I will try to let go of my difficult child and not let the guilt suffocate me. I have been in the cycle of blaming myself for what he is doing. What is it that I did wrong? It is so hard to change that thinking. He has already been to jail and of course we bailed him out. I have been to both court appearances he has had so far. I don't think I can do it anymore. I want to help him so badly but I know in my heart of hearts that he is the only one that can help himself. Thank you for your kind words and your great advice. I wish the best for all of you and I hope that someday my difficult child will learn a lesson that helps him to change for the better.


Well-Known Member
I hope you can mend things with your husband because difficult children can tear the best of us apart, yet it isn't either of our faults and only we know what the other has gone through.

You did nothing wrong. The adult kids made bad choices and are mired in the illness of addiction. Your youngest too.

I hope you can find happiness, in spite of your grown children. You have suffered a lot and deserve the happy rest-of your life.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
What is it that I did wrong? It is so hard to change that thinking.

L&B, you didn't do anything wrong. That is a tough one to get through, to stop blaming ourselves, but if you hang out here you will hear that in almost every case, our kids went off the rails of their own accord, having nothing to do with our parenting other then possible enabling tendencies which helps them manipulate us. As you let go of the guilt, your suffering will start to diminish.

I don't think I can do it anymore.

That's the wall we hit, we just can't do it anymore. That's when we change. WE are the ones who need to change. Once we do, our experience changes, we can learn to detach from our kids behaviors and let go of taking care of them and ruminating about them.

Hoping you're feeing better today.........keep posting, it helps.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
I will add to the chorus. My difficult child stole from us many times. We never pressed charges because the amounts were always small. However, she did great emotional damage. We actually reached the point of putting a deadbolt on our bedroom door and had to carry a key with us whenever we were in the house so we could get into our bedroom.

Looking back I am astounded that we let it get to that point. Why in the world did we let an adult steal from us and continue to live with us? My therapist asked me that in our last session and it took me back for a few seconds before I could think of an answer. My answer was that I felt that we were trapped and didn't have a choice.

Of course, we did have a choice but couldn't see it. I guess I was blinded by fear of what would happen if we put her out. I also still thought at that time that we could fix her somehow.

Years later (and thousands of dollars poorer for numerous treatment programs), I realize that only she can decide to get sober and we can't change that. What we can do is start taking care of ourselves. My husband and I have stopped helping our difficult child financially and she is finally starting to believe it. She has managed to get a job and find herself a halfway house to live in.

Your son is an adult and is going to do what he wants to do. There is nothing you can do to change his lifestyle. So concentrate on you and your husband and saving your marriage.



New Member
I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We did even though our hearts are heavy. I am going to let my difficult child go. You all are right in the fact that I can not stop him, but I can take control of me and my situation with him. Someday I hope to learn that he has moved on from the bad choices but I have done everything I can to guide him in the right direction. Each day I feel a little better and thank you for the encouragement. It really is sad that so many of us have had to go through this. I gain more strength each day with all of the positive thoughts you have sent my way. I know my husband and I will pull through this just like all of the other very difficult things we have gone through. I wish everyone the best and hope that there will be something to celebrate when all of them decide what they do is wrong and change their ways for the better.


New Member
Well I haven't posted in a little while but my difficult child went to court today. He has another court appearance tomorrow for another issue. I have spoken with his real dad and he has no interest either on what is happening.
difficult child did run to his hometown then begged for a ride back with a promise of whatever... The other difficult child's have since caused enough trouble with the drunk calls in the middle of the night and showing up unannounced with demands that we called the police. It sounds like a horror story or soap opera and it really is! I just can't believe it.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
I'm sorry L&B, you're right, it is a horror story/soap opera, one in which we are not the stars but bit players dragged in when the plot thickens. Do your best not to be dragged in.

Boundaries are what needs to happen. Set your boundaries. Get support. Read books. Keep yourself well supported so you can stay the course. It's hard stuff and our difficult child's will manipulate us with their antics as long as we allow it. Remember that you have to nourish YOUR life. Focus on YOUR life. If you need to find a therapist or a group or somewhere you can go to vent, get guidance, find support. This is hard.

Hang in there. Keep posting. We're here.


one day at a time
Take back control of your life.

You are writing with resolve about this, and that is a very good place for you to be. No matter what he says or does, stay your course. Start working every day on yourself with daily practices. There are many, and many are discussed throughout these forums.

You will start to feel better, I promise you that. You will be more and more able to let him go and turn him over to your/his Higher Power.

I know how hard this is, and please know we are with you. We get it. Warm hugs.


Well-Known Member
I agree. been there done that. Stay your course.
Be strong.
Let go.
Odd ... you'd think that letting go meant being weak. But it means being strong.


New Member
I wish everyone a Merry Christmas! It was just a day for me and husband. There is so much that we are trying to take care of without the things our difficult children are doing. We will be closing our business on New Years Eve. In our small drama filled town it is a handful and making sure our P's and Q's are taken care of is overwhelming enough. We will be so much happier when it is all said and done.

I have to say though that Facebook has been way to informative and makes us too accessible to the jabs and messaging from the difficult child that I am going to delete it when our business is done. I may have our phone numbers changed as well. I am trying to distance myself but it is to easy to "check" on what is happening.

Our middle difficult child has been in the hospital since the 21st with severe dehydration and a "virus" that I would contribute to acute alcoholism. Prayers are sent from everyone but he supposedly started dialysis today. Things are not improving. The youngest difficult child who is why I originally became a member here for sounds just like the others. I can't take much more.


Well-Known Member
Prayers sent.

Get rid of FB now. Why wait a week? There is nothing good that ever comes from FB.

Get help for yourself. You can not save your grown children. You want to. We all want to. We have no control over anyone but us. What we CAN do is join Al-Anon for support, get private therapists to help us find coping skills, take vacations together, immerse ourselves in hobbies, just do our best to move on. Getting support and help is in my opinion mandatory in figuring out how to move on while our difficult children are in trouble. I used to superstitiously believe that if I didn't worry things would get worse. Dumb, no??? But I got over it with help, lots of therapy plus Al-Anon. I am still in therapy even though the worst of their problems are over because I have a mood disorder myself and my well being matters to me. Yours should matter to you.

You can help yourself A LOT. You can have a full, rich life and detach from difficult children drama. But you have to learn how to do it and it's very hard to do it without professional help and I also really like Al-Anon.

"God grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I can not change,
The COURAGE to change the things I can,
And the WISDOM to know the difference."

I used to wear a necklace with this prayer on it. Now it is a magnet on my refrigerator. I love it's meaning. I try to live it.

Never forget that you are precious and matter. Never stop loving yourself and being kind to yourself. You didn't CAUSE their problems, you can't CONTROL their problems and you can't CURE them. That quote comes from Child of Mine. I value that sentiment and I believe it. You should too.



Well-Known Member
They are not around but do cause us grief from time to time when the drunk phone calls at 2 in the morning happen.

The other difficult child's have since caused enough trouble with the drunk calls in the middle of the night and showing up unannounced with demands that we called the police.
I think changing your home phone number is a great idea - that will end the late night phone calls. If you have a cell phone number you can give that number in case of emergencies but you can also both turn it off at night and block their number for how ever long you feel comfortable when they are acting out, and unblock it after the storm has passed.
Since you have been stolen from I highly recommend you take whatever security measures you need to do to keep you, your husband, your home and belongings safe. Maybe talk to your local police about what would work for you. Get cameras if you can afford them and then tell difficult child's that they are in place and you will prosecute if they try and enter the house. Prosecute when your children steal from you. Yes it adds to heir legal woes, but it sends a strong message to all of them when you do it to the first one.

Also for people who have had their own children stolen from them I recommend they get a credit freeze on their Credit to prevent identity theft. I am not talking about those expensive companies with ongoing monthly rates, but each state has their own ways for you to freeze your credit with the big 3 agencies.

I don't want to lose my son or my husband but it looks as though I just might. I don't know what to do.
It may take time to heal the hurt between you and your husband, but it didn't get to this point overnight and it will take a while to fix. You need to determine for yourself how much longer you are willing to be used and abused before you are truthfully ready to tell you husband that you are done and then make strong moves that shows your husband you are really ready to change. Only then can you begin to repair the trust, that not you, but your constant attention on the difficult children has been lost. If this life with the difficult children truly tearing at your marriage this badly - then your children have so far, successfully been able to divide and conquer. It is over time for you and your husband to be a team of the two of you against the difficult children instead of the other way around.