Can we stop the train crash?

Hi, my son , 17 yrs old, has been diagnosed with Aspergers (Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)), ADD, possible conduct, possible bipolar and lately starting to bloom into possible ASPD😯
Because of severe emotional abuse towards us, we got him his own flat, where he is currently staying. He is still attending school, we pay for everything, we go and clean his flat, we take food, medications, transport and all he needs, because he is under aged and legally still our responsibility.
He has been smoking for few years ( not infront of us, he knows we wont approve), tried some marijuana (at school), but lately also starting alcohol ( behind our backs)...he has been in therapy, didnt want to open up, he lies, we dont know where and how he gets it, we dont give him any money....
Its so sad, because we really tried to prevent all this, but it seems as if he chooses to go down this road.....its like watching a train crash thats going to happen but dont know how or if we can stop it??!
Any advise will be great, please...


Well-Known Member
Dear Sunshine

I am rushed for time but want to welcome you and respond, however briefly.

My son just turned 32. I have been on this forum 5 and a half years. Based upon my own experience the only thing that worked was to get out of the way of the train wreck. This was not only self-serving. It helped my son..

I recognize your son is still under age and that you are still legally responsible and at least in theory you have some control. For most of the time after I came here I argued that we as parents of already adult children had moral responsibility still, even absent legal responsibility. And that would be the case with you in your situation. Because your child is still legally a child you have obligations.

Yet, in retrospect I see that my own child always had a will of his own that was equally strong or stronger than my own. He prevailed in every single thing. What he wanted to do he did do. I was the roadkill. I suffered. I cannot want even one thing for my son, if he does not want it for himself. That is my reality. And I have seen this borne out in other families of other parents who are here. Had I acknowledged this earlier, and acted from this, suffering for all of us would have been less.

I think life is it's own teacher. Your son will have to learn from the consequences of his acts. He is choosing not to listen to you. I think the only operative principle for you is to protect yourself. To provide for him as long as you are legally responsible to do so. You are the person to protect here. If he is acting 100 percent from his own locus of control, without regard to consequences to himself, to others or to you, you need to follow suit. For example, If he is breaking the law you have to protect yourself, not him. For example, if you've signed a contract where drugs are not allowed, he has to either vacate or stop, because you could be liable.

I have found that my own locus of control has to be in me. Not in my son. In many cultures young men of 17 are fathers and husbands.. If this is the life your son is choosing, he, not you, must bear the consequences.

I am not a hard woman. But eventually I learned.

I wish it was easier. I wish our love could carry the day. But I have learned that we can love our children, but need not be consumed with fighting so that they will live well. At 18 they will live as they choose, and bear the consequences. For right now, the only important thing is that you stay protected and insulated by fulfilling your legal responsibilities and your moral ones. As I see it now my moral responsibility toward my son is to make sure that he does not hurt me or my interests. I try to let him know what I think is right or wrong about the way he lives, but I don't put myself on the train tracks over it anymore.

I wish it was different. I am sorry.
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Thamx this was really helpfull. I love the idea that I need to get out of the trains way ....they pull you down so easily. We need to realize he is also able to make his own decisions, even if its not what we would have wanted for him ..its sad but its true...


Well-Known Member
Welcome Sunshine,

I am sorry for the circumstances that bring you here but glad you found us.

My son is almost 25. He had some mild learning difficulties at school but wasn't really a problem until after he turned 18. After school he struggled to find his way in the world, turned to alcohol and marijuana and spent much of his time playing video games.

He's been diagnosed with anxiety and depression, but I strongly suspect he has other mental health or personality disorders. He may be diagnosed with these, or not. I don't know, because he doesn't share any of his medical stuff with us. He was seeing a psychologist but now claims not to be able to afford it. I have offered multiple times to pay for his therapy but he refuses this.

Right now he is working full time and living away from us. He lives in a house we own and he shares the house with three other people. He pays rent and we treat him like we would any other tenant. We have someone managing the property on our behalf. Other than providing access to this home, we do not have any active role in his life. I've stopped calling him, unless there is a reason to (eg mail delivered here for him.) He is welcome here to visit, but only if he is respectful. This is working out for us, but it's been a long hard road to get to this point and he still causes me grief.

He was just here five minutes ago and mentioned that some of his housemates are moving out and he will need to find other people to move in with him. (Frankly, I'm surprised the current housemates have lasted this long. He is impossible to live with.) He was ranting about the housemates moving out and I had to walk away from him. He was saying how he didn't want to live with "randoms" (people he doesn't know) and would probably end up living in his car. I know this is a manipulation of me, and I didn't react, but inside I felt sick. Obviously I don't want him to be homeless. But I have resigned myself to not getting involved in his decisions anymore. He is an adult. It's up to him how he lives his life, not me. All I can control is how I live my life.

Your son is legally a child, but not for much longer. Something you might like to think about is how things might change (if at all) when you are no longer legally responsible for him. It might be an idea to discuss this with your husband/partner and perhaps decide what boundaries you will have in place for him going forward.

The thing I struggle with the most is the worry of "what next?" I am really working on trying to let this go. I seriously think I have PTSD from years of dealing with my son. I am triggered every time I see him and spiral into thinking about what the future might hold for him. Even though he's gone from my house, I'm still living with the fallout from his actions. Thankfully this forum has helped to set boundaries and to let go. I have many good days now. I hope you will find as much comfort here as I have.


Well-Known Member
Copa said things much more eloquently than I can.

I've compared our exoeriences to a slow motion train wreck... you can see it, and hear it coming, but your child is oblivious to the danger and consequences.




Sending good vibes...

I'm sorry for all you're going through. Most of us on this site have experienced a lot of what you're going through to some degree. It's likely not identical but similar. This forum will help you if you continue to engage and share. Part of that, besides the great wisdom, courage and strength many have to offer on this site, is the fact that you are coming out of denial of the problem(s) with your son. Once we put the issue out there and expose it and share it, we (I feel) begin the healing process. When we hide or squash a problem, I think we spend so much energy on that instead of focusing on getting better.

I agree with the comments from others. Keep doing what you need to do while you are legally responsible for your son but start working on a Plan of what boundaries your future may need to hold once he's 18.

It took me years and years and years to begin to take the focus off my alcoholic husband and my two adults sons (27 and 31). I lived in murky waters and didn't realize I was important and needed to care for myself. Until I began to see how "sick" I was from my obsession with their problems, drinking, drugs, mental issues etc. through Al anon, therapy, this support group and good books to inspire and uplift me, I didn't even know I needed the help.

To me, when you realize "YOU" are just as important as everyone else you want to save and rescue, you will have some change in the situation. There may be no change from those whom you love with theses problems (right away) but if you take care of yourself, you will empower yourself.

Miss Lulu...thank you for your post. I needed to hear what you said today.

Many prayers coming your way Sunshine!


Roll With It
I do recommend getting into AlAnon Family meetings. They are free and available in most places and online. The help and healthy behavior that you learn is a huge help if a family member has a substance abuse issue (or is working on one). Other than that, there just isn't much you can do. You can tell him that if he gets involved with the police over drugs or under age drinking, you won't pay bail. You will support efforts to get healthy, not efforts to get a substance abuse problem. Make sure he knows that whatever you are willing to do for him and what you will be willing to do after he gets into trouble for substance abuse will be different. Draw those lines now, at least in your head.