How Much Is Too Much?

Mirabelle

New Member
The last time I posted about my situation with my stepson, he was living in a shelter and bristling at having to follow their rules. Just to quickly recap........he suffers from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and a drug addiction. After several failed attempts at having him live with his father and I, it became apparent that we could not have him in our home any longer. He was stealing, lying, refusing to get a job or follow his treatment plan, being rude, demanding, highly disruptive and disrespectful etc. etc. ............you guys know the drill. Our blood pressure improved the instant he finally left.

He has since left the shelter and bounced between a friend's relatives and dive motels, with a new friend in tow. It is my understanding that his friend has family issues and elected to leave home several years ago as a teenager. Although I am certain they are drugging together, and this might sound crazy, my stepson's mental health seems to have improved since having a companion to walk with. He seems to be thinking in a more linear fashion and says he has not heard voices in over a month. He does not seem depressed and says he doesn't feel depressed. It is comforting for us to know that he has a friend out there in some capacity, as he can be hard to deal with on a day to day basis.

So far their disability checks have been covering their rent and food, but the rest disappears (probably on drugs.) As a result they are two weeks away from receiving their next checks but only a few days away from having to leave the hotel they are currently living in. They keep making excuses about being unable to find jobs. My husband found them both a part time job at a nearby fast food restaurant. He offered to drive them to work in the mornings with their bikes in the back of his truck. When finished in the afternoon they could bike back to their hotel (about a 20 minute bike ride.) My stepson does lack confidence in new situations but we hoped with his friend alongside him he could make it work. It would not be a madhouse environment as this restaurant currently only has two employees, doesn't do much business, and they do drive in only at the moment because they are so short staffed.

My son and his friend were completely disinterested in this proposal. As my husband says, they must be holding out for management positions. He has emphasized repeatedly the fact that they have no money, that we have no money to give them, and that in a matter of days they will not have a roof over their head or food to eat, let alone weed or vapes. Again........crickets.

My husband and I have found this road so hard to navigate because we know that our son has challenges that others in his position do not. His friend has no mental illness. We know there are some things that his disorders will preclude him from. We know he has trouble ordering his thoughts and staying focused. We know he will never be able to hold a full time, or a fast paced job. But...........he doesn't seem to want to try and do anything to help himself at all. Before his illness became apparent in his late teens, he was never a go-getter. Had no interest in getting a job or a car or his license...........he was quite happy to put his hand out for money and let others chaffeur him around. He told his sister when he was 16 that although he was interested in going to college, he had no interest in getting a job, ever, and that he wasn't concerned because he knew his parents would never kick him out.

We fear and hate the idea of letting him fall and having to sleep rough, but we don't know what else to do. He has the ACT program working on permanent public housing for him, which shouldn't take too much longer. We do not want to dig into our pockets to house the two of them because we will never see our money again and we can't afford it. Is it time to place the ball squarely in his court and see what he does with it?

Thank you for reading this far. Before I finish, please know we have become experts on schizophrenia, bipolar, thought disorders, and drug addiction. We go to a specialized therapist and attend NarAnon meetings. Please don't chastise me for not understanding the seriousness of these illnesses. My husband has taken the lead on deciding on our approach to this whole situation; my role has been to support and help him. Please don't tell me that because this is not my son this is not my business and I need to butt out. I am not trying to control anything or anyone - I'm just in the stands cheering and praying like hell for a good outcome. :):)
 

Simion

New Member
Thanks for sharing Mirabelle. I certainly don’t have an answer to “How much is too much.“ I am sitting here contemplating that very same question. I just came from a meeting with my young adult daughter who has PTSD & Borderline (BPD) & her in home treatment provider. The point to the meeting was to discuss how can we work to have a relationship with one another that isn’t so volatile. I tried to express that even though I had much knowledge of her mental health issues & my own, I do not have an understanding of how to communicate with her in a way that respects us both. [ I am a survivor of abuse myself & have complex PTSD ] The discussion went as all discussions of this nature have. Her interrupting, not allowing me to finish what I was trying to share. The she would quickly jump to her own conclusions of my thoughts to come & the rude mocking would begin. Needless to say it was a ride on the never ending wheel of Borderline (BPD). Halfway through, the true agenda came out. She wants to go on vacation with her two older sisters & myself. I have already had a discussion with her regarding this. Reminding her of the last vacation she joined me on. [ She went off on older sister screaming how she’d stab her ] Of course I did it diplomatically and did not recount the details, left it at
“ that the last vacation had not gone well & I did not care to do that again. “ Her response was “ haven’t you got over that yet ?”
Now here we are again. So I try to be validating of her feelings. That she must feel really sad & left out. I quickly learned that little communication skill is an open door for further abuse with her. And off she went…. I did this to her, I didn’t care. On to the absolute end zone of delusional thinking. And she paid for part of this vacation, that I won’t even let her go on. Reality I asked her to pay me back the $22. she owed me, that I had to finish paying for rental. She spun on that unable to grasp, no you didn’t pay for part of vacation . The vacation cost $6000. but she paid part of it. At that point I needed to just get out.
I got in my car and thought, how much is to much, when is enough enough. I didn’t even want to go on vacation after that. I came home and journaled to calm myself & then I read your post. I didn’t feel so defeated & alone. This is no easy journey and although we share the common bond of having children with mental health issues. How we travel & what we do along the way is as unique and complex as our children. If there was one sure answer there’d be no need for groups like this. Best wishes for the journey ahead.
 

Mirabelle

New Member
Thank you for your reply Simion and for sharing your story. I had actually read your previous post about your daughter today. Sadly it all sounds very familiar. We try and try but it always seems we are butting our heads against a brick wall that will not give. It sounds like you are working really hard to find an effective way to communicate with your daughter, as we have with our son.

My son will take no advice from anyone. When my husband tries to reason with him, it ends up being our fault that he has no job, no home, and no money. Our fault that someone ripped him off for $500. Our fault he was kicked out of a friend's place for keeping everyone up at night. I don't know whether this is pure gaslighting or his thinking is delusional as it sounds like your daughter can become. My husband retrieved my son's MacBook computer from the hotel after my son's friend called and said our son was trying to sell it for $100. Now it is our fault he doesn't have a job because we took away his computer so he can't apply for jobs.

Husband : But you were going to sell it.
Son : That doesn't matter.
Husband (and me) : WTF??

My son's bio mom has a Borderline (BPD) diagnosis. My husband has a dreadful time trying to communicate with her about their son because she is combative, dishonest, manipulative, nonsensical, and could start a fight in an empty room. I am so sorry you are experiencing this with your daughter, as well as trying to manage and heal from your own trauma. I am so glad my post gave you a little comfort. Knowing we are not alone helps. Best wishes moving forward in your journey also.
 

RN0441

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

This is all tough stuff. We can only answer that of ourselves - how much is too much? We all have different ideas of what too much is. We always think one more thing will be the sure fix and it just never is. I used to drive myself nuts analyzing everything and it is exhausting and I still am doing it.

You sound like a very loving stepmother and I give you a lot of credit for being so supportive of your husband. When my son put us through the ringer I think both of us would have bailed if it were not OUR flesh and blood. I know that sounds cold but that is where we were with him. We are a very loving family but this type of experience brings you to your knees and it's where I stayed for many years.

My story is different of course but many things are relatable.

I prayed a lot during this time because I really could not get ANY comfort from anything else and even that left me empty at times because I did not always feel like my prayers were being heard because I suffered so much. The people on this site and a LOT of prayer is what helped me the most I guess. I prayed for guidance and strength and I still do because although my son is much better than he was he is still immature and entitled which he doesn't see. He does work part time and will finish his associates degree in August. We are moving back to the Chicago area also in August due to my husband's job here ending and have given him until April of 2023 to get his own place. He games a lot and I do expect more out of him than he delivers.

Keep posting and talking to others here. It is very therapeutic and you just never know what you may learn. Boundaries are very important and that is probably the very first thing that I learned here. Your son is still very young so hopefully some maturity will kick in at some time and that can help somewhat.

We enable them without meaning to because we don't even know we are doing it and when they are minors or early 20's it's easy to do. It sounds like you are very aware of the situation and getting outside help so you are doing everything you can do to COPE with the situation that you are in.

Stay strong.
:notalone:
 

Simion

New Member
Mirabelle You have been such a gift. The universe heard my prayer / screams for help. So identify with what you & your family are experiencing. I don’t honestly know if this bizarre pattern of thinking is delusional or gaslighting. Honestly I feel as though it is both. She has experienced delusional thoughts when she was younger. However she was on so many different medications I don’t know if they were part of that. All I know is it’s a duck, it quacks & walks. Bio dad number of personality disorders his brother schizophrenia. All I am certain of is PTSD & Borderline (BPD). That out in left field thought, reasons & justifications are crazy making. Thank You for the “ WTF “ My exact thought. Loved that & the last paragraph in your original post. I laughed like hell. The women in my domestic violence group were laughing & teasing me. Asking , “ how long before you get thrown out of this group. “ I’ve never been thrown out of a group but I am brutally honest if I sense any bs & my language is quite colorful.“ So appreciate the lifeline.
 

Crayola13

Well-Known Member
People who have personality disorders don’t believe anything is wrong with them. They think everyone else is the problem. I hope she can become more self-aware and want to change her behavior. With such a strong family history of mental illnesses, plus childhood trauma, her behavior doesn’t surprise me.

I’m sorry you didn’t get any results from the therapist. It might help you and her both to just avoid each other for a while. I know that isn’t what you wanted to hear, but I think it would give you some peace for a while.
 

Simion

New Member
Thank you for validating the belief that it’s not them, it’s everyone else. I am not waiting with baited breath at the chance of her becoming more self aware or be willing to change. If you don’t believe your the problem, what do you have to change. None of her behavior is surprising to me anymore either. Nor am I surprised by her treatment provider. My daughter is extremely engaging, draws people in with her wit & never ending smile. She can’t tell difference between change or manage money [ learning disabilities ] has problems retaining information but she has all the lingo & knowledge of psychiatric issues. She is very well versed in the art of manipulation. I do believe she exhibits symptoms of anti social personality.
I appreciate your suggestion of taking time out from each other. I had arrived at that conclusion before the meeting was over. Time to regroup.
 

Mirabelle

New Member
Mirabelle You have been such a gift. The universe heard my prayer / screams for help. So identify with what you & your family are experiencing. I don’t honestly know if this bizarre pattern of thinking is delusional or gaslighting. Honestly I feel as though it is both. She has experienced delusional thoughts when she was younger. However she was on so many different medications I don’t know if they were part of that. All I know is it’s a duck, it quacks & walks. Bio dad number of personality disorders his brother schizophrenia. All I am certain of is PTSD & Borderline (Borderline (BPD)). That out in left field thought, reasons & justifications are crazy making. Thank You for the “ WTF “ My exact thought. Loved that & the last paragraph in your original post. I laughed like hell. The women in my domestic violence group were laughing & teasing me. Asking , “ how long before you get thrown out of this group. “ I’ve never been thrown out of a group but I am brutally honest if I sense any bs & my language is quite colorful.“ So appreciate the lifeline.
Simion - I will respond in full soon! Hang in there!! :)
 
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