Feeling Defeated

Hi all. This is my 1st post. I’m tired. I’m scared. I’m stressed. I’m frustrated. I could go on… The ironic thing is I’m a mental health nurse. BUT, I’m a new mental health nurse and new nurse in general (just over a year). After overcoming many things in my own life, I felt the need to give back after so many people contributed to saving me which lead me to my current career. The downfall is now that I’m starting to learn some things, I’m becoming increasingly concerned with my step son’s behaviors. But I’m so far off from being an expert that all I’m doing is creating more worry and questions for myself.

I’ve never had an idealistic relationship with him but I was able to somewhat manage it as we would only have him summers and then he would go back to mom’s for the school year. His dad and I married just last year. Then, my twins graduated this year and started going their own ways a bit and all of the sudden he wasn’t leaving, he was here to stay. His mom called claiming she had lost their home. Even though we have had a rough go at it, I would absolutely never consider being the wife/step mom that would throw a fit about this or demand it wasn’t going to happen. Actually, I tend to go the opposite direction and clam up and then feel a little taken advantage of. (still working through my own issues and will openly admit that)

So much has happened so I will do my best to give an abbreviated version. I do need to say his dad is in denial about pretty much any bad behaviors so he has not been diagnosed with anything because I have yet to get him to a doctor or counselor. I love my husband but I am already at the end of my rope and need guidance to save any hopes of this family working out.

Here goes… He is now in his 3rd year of being in the same grade. Mom didn’t make him attend school regularly so at this point he just does not care. Out of 3 summers, the first 2 he spent peeing in our drinking cups (glass not plastic or throw away) and hiding them in his room that was so filthy you couldn’t walk through it because he “didn’t want to leave his room at night”. Refused to share toys and I’m talking with kids who were like 2-4 and he was 11-12. Was mad at age 12 that I had moved in because he could no longer sleep with his dad he had to go to his own room. Which he refused to do and would spend the entire summer on the couch on the other side of our bedroom door. To this day, 3 years later, he still will not clean up after himself anywhere in the house. He will not shower to the point my couch smells (teen/hormones)… He expects to be treated as an adult and included as an adult like in conversations which dad obliges. He steals but it only seems to be from me so dad thinks I’m just “misplacing” things. (started as silly stuff like I swear I went through 5 pair each of my tweezers and nail clippers, and then money, clothing like my Hey Dudes; scrubs; cami shirts, cigarettes like by the carton and then bigger things like the physical copy of my nursing license). After working so very hard, I guarantee you a nurse does not just misplace their license. He takes food or soda if he feels entitled to it. My boys would be allowed to have 1 soda a day and he would chug a 12 pack if it was there while looking at us and smiling. My husband said “He can’t control himself, hide it.” Which I found ridiculous but I would put certain things in our room if it needed saved like for a certain dish or I just wanted to be able to drink a soda in my own home and he would wait to be home alone and go into our room and take it anyways. He would say hurtful things to my boys like making fun of their weight (and then he gained a bunch of weight). It’s to the point where he literally did nothing here and my boys did A LOT and if things weren’t completed my husband would yell at them while his son came in to sit on the couch after mowing for 5 minutes and nothing was said and now I can’t even get any of my 3 to visit because they’re hurt. He will sit in front of us and do homework or so I’m being told but he turns nothing in and is failing this year already too. (I am night shift so I need to learn how to help parent on that schedule.) I’m so fed up that I redid our bedroom and put in new furniture and a tv so I don’t have to leave the room because he has stood in the kitchen peeking around the corner staring me down before work because he didn’t want to be in the same room and he doesn’t do anything in his room so he’d watch until I left. He is in the living room with his dad from the time my husband wakes up until he goes to bed. Making me so uncomfortable that I stay in our room. If my husband comes in to sit with me as I’m waking up or after my shower he gets mad and wants to know when his dad will be back out. He held a knife to his own neck when my son declined his help moving a dryer. His father bought him the rather large knife and a hatchet for his 14th birthday. His dad will ask him to start my car if it’s cold (I do not ask.) and he’ll “laugh” so it seems cute and say “um yea no.” In front of other people, he tries to be polite and lovable, the model child. My neighbor sent me a trail cam picture of him watching another neighbor like in the bushes. He has stood outside under the bathroom window when I was getting out of the shower making noises so I’d know he was there. One night my husband slipped up and mentioned him sleeping in our room when I’m at work at night. I think I gave him the most disgusted look and when one of my boys was here it had at least come to an abrupt stop at that point but who knows now that my boys left. My husband will have no problem arguing with me in front of him which again treats him as an equal as he sits there smiling. I’ve had suspicions of him mistreating my cats but no hard proof. He lies more than he tells the truth. I think he does it so much that he doesn’t even realize he’s doing it. It can be over the littlest thing or something huge but it’s a lie or it will be greatly embellished. And he argues about EVERYTHING to anyone but mostly with his dad like it’s how they communicate. Again, doesn’t even realize he’s doing it until his dad starts yelling. And my husband will admit when he was younger he would be afraid he wouldn’t come back if he didn’t let him do what he wanted. So he has no bed time, obviously he isn’t doing homework. He doesn’t suffer any real consequences for failing school. He lost watching tv with his dad for all of maybe 3 days and that’s our other than he isn’t allowed to go to his one friend’s that he does have. (who we recently found out is currently being accused of doing something pretty horrible to a preteen girl). So friend choices also not good. There are a million more things I could list like he refused to dance with me or stand near me the day I married his father but I get so worked up that I forget things and I’m pretty sure you have a good start to read here. I feel like the stealing small things from me or moving my stuff around when no one is home is like him saying “yea I’m in charge I do what I want”. I feel as though I’m the 3rd wheel as he takes over the living room refusing to leave his dad’s side while I hide in our room. The constant lies are off the charts. And what made me really consider throwing in the towel after all that was a month ago he got into a fight at school and kicked out for 3 days. Since then, he has gotten a warning for never listening to a particular teacher in class which his father never told me about I found out weeks later.But again… If front of family and friends sweet and polite. I am starting to worry about my own safety with his jealousy as are my coworkers.

All I want is for my marriage to work and to have at the least a civil relationship with this child. But how with dad in denial? I very much appreciate any tips or opinions. Like I said, it’s hard to work in mental health but not be able to get him help, whatever that may consist of.

Thanks for listening…
 

KTMom91

Well-Known Member
Speaking as a stepmother (and a cat mom), I would pack my stuff and get the hell out of there. Dad's in denial. The kid will only get worse without intervention, but you already know that. Save your cats and save yourself.
 

Newksm

Member
Step relationships are hard. Even though you are working in the mental health field...find a trusted psychologist and start therapy. Later, you might feel comfortable adding your husband, if he will be open to this.

So the boys mom is still homeless? Why isn't there shared custody? I think the school counselor would also be a good place to start getting help. Does he have an IEP? Would your husband listen to them and try to get him help? As a step parent, you have very little rights and authority to do anything.

Please keep us updated. Newksm
 

Mirabelle

Member
I echo Newksm.......step relationships are hard. I found myself in a similar situation two years ago. My stepson was not openly hostile but was using drugs, refusing mental health medication, and refusing to work or go to school. He fully expected to be allowed to sit around and get high and have us take care of him. After a year of contracts, wasted opportunities, and empty promises, I finally had to tell my husband that I loved him dearly, that I was not breaking up with him or leaving him, but that I would be moving into an apartment if my stepson did not go. This jolted him into realizing he was fighting a losing battle as far as trying to grow his son into a responsible adult. Within a few months stepson was gone.

The daily strain of living with the enemy is soul draining. Add to that the guilt you feel about feeling this way. I am sure you love your stepson, as I do mine, and it is so heartbreaking to be pushed into feeling this way. But that's the thing....he is the one straining / sabotaging / destroying this relationship....not you. While your husband continues to enable and make excuses, I can almost guarantee that absolutely nothing will change.

If it is financially viable for you to stay somewhere else, even for a while, the relief you and your kitties will feel will be immeasurable. It may be the jolt your husband needs to find his son some real help and to require some real accountability from him. This would give your stepson a chance of a better life too, rather than having the red carpet rolled out for him to be lazy, creepy, and entitled. Dad surely loves him dearly, but he loves you dearly too, and he is not making the right choices by his son or his wife right now.
 

Fairy dust

New Member
I agree that maybe you should take a step back and move somewhere else even if temporary. This will give you time to get some clarity over the entire picture, and give you some much needed alone time for self care and the beginning of your much needed healing. When we are in the soup like the frog, we can’t see what is happening because we are too deep in it. You don’t have to make any permanent decisions right now. But you do have to put yourself first. love yourself enough to let this toxicity go. Hugs to you!
 

Crayola13

Well-Known Member
I don’t understand why he doesn’t shower. I couldn’t deal with that.

Your husband has allowed him to become this way, but his biological mother is also at fault. He’s in denial and probably thinks it’s too late to straighten him out. I see a very bleak future for your stepson—crime, dropping out of school, drugs, homelessness. Sounds like he unofficially dropped out already. Your husband feels like he’s in an impossible situation because he doesn’t want to have to choose you over his son, or vice- versa.
 
Step relationships are hard. Even though you are working in the mental health field...find a trusted psychologist and start therapy. Later, you might feel comfortable adding your husband, if he will be open to this.

So the boys mom is still homeless? Why isn't there shared custody? I think the school counselor would also be a good place to start getting help. Does he have an IEP? Would your husband listen to them and try to get him help? As a step parent, you have very little rights and authority to do anything.

Please keep us updated. Newksm
As far as I know she's still homeless. She does supposedly work full time. Drugs are suspected but we have no proof. She's in another state. I have suggested an IEP as my boys had them and it was a wonderful thing. He just says he was tested when he was younger and was a few points shy from being able to have one. I have encouraged revisiting it but he hasn't this far. And he won't add me to his list as someone the school can talk to. I can't even sign excuses. You are correct, I really don't have right. There's so much help I could assist with but my hands are tied.
 
Thank you all so much. I feel relief just being able to talk to people that have no steak in the game and will just listen. My heart breaks for my husband being in this situation "between" us. But it breaks for me too being looked at like I'm crazy or just losing things. He keeps saying "he says he respects you. We don't understand why you think he doesn't."

He "couldn't find" his school issued laptop this morning, so dad asked me to look for it while they were gone. I lifted his mattress and found several little things of mine with a lighter and a very big knife hid.
 

Newksm

Member
We adopted our granddaughters when they were young. In grade school, they were able to make decent grades, but I saw issues with their behavior and problems relating to other kids their age. Nmy oldest granddaughter had a fairly high IQ, but was deficient in some areas. But she couldnt follow thru and finish AND hand in!

She was given an IEP! What is acceptable behavior for a 10 old is vastly different than a 15 year old.

Good luck. Newksm
 
You found a knife and a lighter!! How many red flags does your husband need??
Apparently a lot because he got upset yesterday that I said something else is missing.

And I did look for a full month before bringing it to his attention because it was something more expensive and I didn’t want to be falsely accusing him.

Grounding and taking electronics doesn’t seem to be touching the problem so I told him every time I know something is missing I will look diligently. If I don’t find it, he will have 1 day to return it. If not, I donate one of his Christmas presents to someone in need. I have no clue what else to do. Nothing is working.
 

KTMom91

Well-Known Member
I don't know what state you're in, but here in CA, my daughter was eligible for Medi-Cal, because her parents were divorced, even though my husband (her stepfather) made good money, but wasn't eligible for health insurance (temp to hire situation). His income wasn't counted.

I appreciate your desire to have a healthy and peaceful marriage, but I still think your best bet is to relocate until/unless Dad gets the kid some help. As a mental health nurse, you already know you can't help people who do not want to be helped. And if you rock the kid's boat too hard, he may use that very big knife and kill you while you sleep.
 
I don't know what state you're in, but here in CA, my daughter was eligible for Medi-Cal, because her parents were divorced, even though my husband (her stepfather) made good money, but wasn't eligible for health insurance (temp to hire situation). His income wasn't counted.

I appreciate your desire to have a healthy and peaceful marriage, but I still think your best bet is to relocate until/unless Dad gets the kid some help. As a mental health nurse, you already know you can't help people who do not want to be helped. And if you rock the kid's boat too hard, he may use that very big knife and kill you while you sleep.
It’s been awful the whole 3.5 years I’ve been here. But it’s getting increasingly worse every day recently. His dad has insurance here too but mine is better so we decided to go with that. I’m going to message someone now to see if his could be used until the new year or if they have a waiting period too.

I’m looking into apartments as I was just told a few minutes ago “I just found out the stealing was going on at his mother’s too so it’s not you, you can chill out a little.”
 

Nomad

Well-Known Member
“The daily strain of living with the enemy is soul draining.” This sentence by Mirabella hit home. Truth.

Proceed with caution. You e gotten some great advice. It might not be wise for you to stay in this home. In this situation. Consider short term therapy. Explore all your options…sounds like you are doing that. Be strong. Sending good thoughts.
 
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