Where Will It End?

Mirabelle

New Member
I have been a member for a few months but this is my first post. My lovely husband and I have been trying to help his 21 year old son for three years now. He elected to live with his mom for the most part from 16-18 years of age. We knew it was because her rules were laxer than ours, but we had no idea how lax. Being a recovering alcoholic, she assured us that she had no alcohol or substances in the house in maintenance of her own sobriety. Come to find out he was smoking weed every day with her permission because he was 'stressed'. He had a full on psychotic break at 18 and was subsequently diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. We welcomed him coming to live with us under the condition that he either worked or went to school, did not use drugs, and followed his treatment plan. The first time he moved in lasted all of three days before he blasted us for restricting his freedom and laying down impossible rules eg. How dare we insist that he not stay up all night playing loud music, even though we work full time and he does nothing. He moved back in with his mom at that point. She had started using again and her home was a toxic chaotic mess. We again offered him a place to live with the same conditions as before, but he declined because mom let him do what he pleased, including stealing from her because she was so messed up she didn't know the difference. He relapses into psychosis after dabbling with cocaine and acid and is again hospitalized. She refuses to take him back, so he reluctantly agrees to our rules. Two months in it is apparent he is using again. One night we had to call the police to take him because he was delusional and becoming very verbally abusive and threatening toward us. In one final attempt, we moved him into our heated outbuilding. After the honeymoon period was over, he quit the job his Dad had lined up for him, refused to get another, refused to clean up after himself at all (to the point of that outbuilding becoming a biohazard), and again began treating us like his own personal wait staff. Bawling his dad out on the phone because he would not leave work to bring him something to eat, blaming us for his position in life etc. We were investigating homeless shelters and had started working with the ACT program when he was hospitalized again. As suspected, he had been smoking weed again and his mom had helpfully been leaving kratom tablets in our mailbox to help with his 'anxiety', part of which she informed my husband was caused by him and I having unreasonable expectations eg. How dare we ask him to hang up his towel after using the shower? Just today, after fighting the hospital who were trying to bully us into picking him up, he has been accepted into a local homeless shelter with a good reputation and a lot of the programs and services he needs to help him. We have finally concluded that this is all above our pay grade and it is time for someone else to take over. After so much, we do not feel guilty, just sad that this maybe the pattern of his life. We have done everything we know how. I apologize for such a long vent!! But it feels so good to get it out and I know people on this site will identify with our story like no one else can. Thank you for listening!
 

Crayola13

Well-Known Member
When I was that age, I didn’t care about hanging up my towel, either, but the part about him refusing to clean up his own human waste from the outbuilding blows my mind. That isn’t normal. If he’s frightening and threatening you, he has to leave. It’s time for him to go, even if it he has to stay at the shelter. His mom obviously feels the same way since she won’t allow him to live with her again. I hope he accepts the services available at the shelter, but there is a strong chance he won’t. I’m glad you don’t feel guilty because you have done all you can do. He needs professional help which none of you are qualified to provide.
 

Mirabelle

New Member
Thank you Crayola 13. Just now an update.......the shelter now says they don't have a bed until the end of the week and the hospital says he is on his own and they can still discharge him onto the street. They have been trying to pressure us into picking him up which we refuse to do. I wouldn't have thought a hospital was allowed to put a person with a mental illness out on the street with nowhere to go? Wishful thinking?
 

Crayola13

Well-Known Member
It’s a common problem. Because of the way the system was changed in the 1980s, the mental hospitals are notorious for doing this. It’s rare they keep people more than three days anymore. The logic behind that is this: The patient gets started on medications, which usually improves their behavior. After the third day of being on anti-psychotic medications, the patient starts to see more clearly. The doctors tell them to make sure they take those medications and go to counseling/therapy after release. But, many of them stop taking the medications and revert back to problematic behavior. Families are then left with no options.

Hopefully, your stepson will comply with taking medications, etc. It is sad because homeless shelters are full of people who could probably live normal lives if they stopped using drugs and took the appropriate medication and went to therapy. It’s extremely rare that an adult can be court-ordered to take their medications.

Copabanana will probably log on soon. She can give you better advice because she’s not only a doctor, but she has also been through the wringer with her son.

I’m sorry you and your husband have to deal with this. I believe you did everything you could.
 

Mirabelle

New Member
It’s a common problem. Because of the way the system was changed in the 1980s, the mental hospitals are notorious for doing this. It’s rare they keep people more than three days anymore. The logic behind that is this: The patient gets started on medications, which usually improves their behavior. After the third day of being on anti-psychotic medications, the patient starts to see more clearly. The doctors tell them to make sure they take those medications and go to counseling/therapy after release. But, many of them stop taking the medications and revert back to problematic behavior. Families are then left with no options.

Hopefully, your stepson will comply with taking medications, etc. It is sad because homeless shelters are full of people who could probably live normal lives if they stopped using drugs and took the appropriate medication and went to therapy. It’s extremely rare that an adult can be court-ordered to take their medications.

Copabanana will probably log on soon. She can give you better advice because she’s not only a doctor, but she has also been through the wringer with her son.

I’m sorry you and your husband have to deal with this. I believe you did everything you could.

Thank you so much Crayola 13 for taking the time to provide me some information and advice. If nothing else at least we know we are not alone. I will look out for Copabanana. Thank you!!!
 

in a daze

Well-Known Member
It’s terrible the way they deal with the mentally ill in this country. My niece refused to go to the shelter. She was offered to a bed at a lovely treatment center which she refused. Social worker called her an Uber to her empty apartment ( landlord refused to renew the lease). No phone, no money. She’s back home with her parents. I expect the fighting, manipulation and the dysfunction to start soon, as I’ve been through it with my own son.

Best of luck to you and your husband as u navigate this situation. A therapist can help a lot.
 

BusynMember1

Well-Known Member
Hi there. You poor lady. A few ideas.

Yes, Healthcare in our country is woefully inadequate. Many of our kids come back home to live. Not call can peacefully live with us though.

If your son can not or will not follow rules and it is impossible for you to live with him, don't do it alone. This young an is very sick. You Can keep him at home despite the difficulties but that may be too hard. You can tell him he has to leave, which he royally can't handle, or you can guide him to help. If he won't accept it, he will be in trouble so hopefully he will. Here is the help I recommend.

First of all hr needs to apply for disability right away. His diagnoses are severe and he should qualify. With SSDI he gets monthly money, he gets Medicare, foodshare and a case manager who can help him find housing that is adequate for him (and very cheap) and work he can manage, if he wants to work. The Case Manager will help a lot!!! CM can do what we can't. They work with our system. We dont.

If your son refuses Disability services that's a problem. You may have to allow him yo go his own way and it could be heartbreaking. He needs these supports or he could end up homeless and mentally ill, like so many people. Disability can stop that.

Let us know how this is working out. We care.]
 

RN0441

100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
Welcome and you've come to the right place.

Prayers that your stepson gets the help he needs. It is all so very sad when this happens and yes, we are not experts. Just parents!!
:grouphugg:
 

Mirabelle

New Member
Thank you to all who commented on my post this week. My stepson does receive disability benefits for his condition and that has helped us in the direction of some support.

We have been able to get him into the homeless shelter. Last night was his first night after he waited it out in a hotel (paid for out of his disability payment). He preferred the hotel to the shelter of course, but we have support from transitional housing services who let him know that he will be at the shelter for a maximum of 30 days, after which they will be in a position to transfer him to permanent supported apartment housing through the ACT program.

The wheels could fall off at any time, as you all well know. My husband had to talk my stepson's mom out of picking him up from the shelter and bringing him to her house, which would put us back where we started from. I think if my stepson were to play her emotions (which he is very good at), he could talk his way back into her house. As I'm sure is typical of this condition, he does not think more that 5 minutes ahead. He has the intelligence to realize that would be a really bad idea, but his need for immediate gratification is much stronger. As long as he has vapes, snacks, and a computer, he is not concerned about where he will end up. If his bad choices interfere with his lifestyle, it is someone else's fault.

Although he has only been threatening with us in our home on one occasion, we do not want him to live with us. It is sad to watch him, and we become no more than wait staff expected to cater to his every whim. We hope he can stick with the shelter, but between you and me everyone, I don't hold out much hope.

Thank you again for all your kind and helpful words and well wishes xx.
 

Nandina

Member
As long as he has vapes, snacks, and a computer, he is not concerned about where he will end up. If his bad choices interfere with his lifestyle, it is someone else's fault.

Hi Mirabelle, I’ve thought those same things about my 21 year old formerly homeless son. I guess he finally hit his rock bottom after being in jail for 5 months and for now appears to be on a good path, currently in treatment again, but in the process became a convicted felon, among other consequences.

Was your son’s psychotic break/schizophrenia brought on by the drug use? My son had a similar situation in jail but seems to be thinking clearly currently. He was not a long time user though. And I don’t know for sure that he won’t eventually have serious mental health issues. Only time will tell that. He had a birth mom like your stepson’s, right down to buying his pot! He had lived with her recently for a year.

There is always good advice here and lots of support so I’m glad you posted. It helps.

One thing to consider is that your son, at 21, is still very young. I don’t know the full extent of his mental illness, but just a typical kid his age rarely has the maturity to make good decisions and add the mental health component and he probably is even less mature.

I think you are right to stick to your boundaries and to not let him take any more advantage of you. I think you’ve done more than enough and obviously he is not receptive to any of it at this stage. But there could still be changes in him as he matures, assuming he stays on medications, is respectful, etc., so don’t write the end of the story just yet.

I hope you’ll keep us updated. Many hugs
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
We welcomed him coming to live with us under the condition that he either worked or went to school, did not use drugs, and followed his treatment plan.
Hello Mirabelle. I am sorry after trying so hard to help your stepson, it's come to this. I have found by my own experience that my son (and many like him) may be motivated by secondary gain on a short term basis to pay lip service to our conditions, which they have no desire to honor. What emerges is their true attitudes: They feel they are free "adults," able to do and live as they choose, resisting any curtailment of their autonomy.

The problem and contradiction as we know is that while they may have the legal rights of adults, their judgement and functioning are greatly impaired they seek dependency upon us...at the same time they impose their dominance over our homes and lives as well as their own. It is pure craziness. There is actually a psychological category for these people who for whatever reason do not follow the normal sequence and imperatives of maturation.

My son is mentally ill, too, and he uses drugs to self-medicate. Nothing and no one(least of all me) has yet persuaded him of the inadvisability of his path. There has not been one consequence too dire including cyclical homelessness.
Two months in it is apparent he is using again. One night we had to call the police to take him because he was delusional and becoming very verbally abusive and threatening toward us.
We have called the police many times, too. At this point, my son is not allowed into my home, or to even knock on the door, unless he is invited by me and accompanied my ex.
he had been smoking weed again and his mom had helpfully been leaving kratom tablets in our mailbox to help with his 'anxiety'
While this may not be in the criminal statues, this seems criminal to me. In one fell swoop she's undermining her son and you and your husband.

What I am trying to say here is that you are finding yourself in territory that has been well-traveled here on this forum. While we try and try and try to help, if there is no buy-in from the adult child, and almost always there is not--we are just on a merry go round, that depletes and depresses us. There are problems and resources for people like our sons, but until they've run themselves into the ground, so that they are ready to change--like my son, they're uninterested.

How parents deal with this, depends on their makeup and the adult child's. My son is less overtly aggressive now, but he can be verbally aggressive and domineering, and he does not participate or take responsibility at all, for what he does. But I am one of those parents who has a very difficult time closing the door. At this point I don't think I will ever change. What I mean by this is that we each have to take a hard look at ourselves and circumstances and face who we are. There is no one size fits all.

As I read your post I think you've done everything that any responsible parent could and should do, and that your limits, are understandable and warranted. To keep doing the same thing over and over, while your stepson becomes more and more aggressive, dangerous, defiant and non-compliant would NOT help him, and it could destroy your lives. I am so sorry.
 
Last edited:

Mirabelle

New Member
It’s terrible the way they deal with the mentally ill in this country. My niece refused to go to the shelter. She was offered to a bed at a lovely treatment center which she refused. Social worker called her an Uber to her empty apartment ( landlord refused to renew the lease). No phone, no money. She’s back home with her parents. I expect the fighting, manipulation and the dysfunction to start soon, as I’ve been through it with my own son.

Best of luck to you and your husband as u navigate this situation. A therapist can help a lot.
Thank you In a Daze. I do hope things improve with your niece in the future.
 

Mirabelle

New Member
Hi Mirabelle, I’ve thought those same things about my 21 year old formerly homeless son. I guess he finally hit his rock bottom after being in jail for 5 months and for now appears to be on a good path, currently in treatment again, but in the process became a convicted felon, among other consequences.

Was your son’s psychotic break/schizophrenia brought on by the drug use? My son had a similar situation in jail but seems to be thinking clearly currently. He was not a long time user though. And I don’t know for sure that he won’t eventually have serious mental health issues. Only time will tell that. He had a birth mom like your stepson’s, right down to buying his pot! He had lived with her recently for a year.

There is always good advice here and lots of support so I’m glad you posted. It helps.

One thing to consider is that your son, at 21, is still very young. I don’t know the full extent of his mental illness, but just a typical kid his age rarely has the maturity to make good decisions and add the mental health component and he probably is even less mature.

I think you are right to stick to your boundaries and to not let him take any more advantage of you. I think you’ve done more than enough and obviously he is not receptive to any of it at this stage. But there could still be changes in him as he matures, assuming he stays on medications, is respectful, etc., so don’t write the end of the story just yet.

I hope you’ll keep us updated. Many hugs
Hello Nandina,

Thank you for your kindness. :) In answer to your question about the cause of my stepson's mental illness. I think it was the perfect storm of genetics and environment that caused this to occur. His mother has a history of severe mental illness on her side of the family. She herself has been diagnosed with bipolar and a borderline personality disorder. She put him and his sister under tremendous emotional and psychological stress during her years as an active alcoholic - it was pretty bad. Add to this his nosedive into drugs at around 16 years of age. His substances of choice are cannabis and acid, which from my research are big no-not otherwise specified for people predisposed to mental illness (and for all young people and their developing brains in general).

It is a good sign that your son is now thinking clearly after experiencing what sounds like drug induced psychosis. After my stepson had his first break, he would slip back into delusion and depression quite quickly if he was not diligent with his medicine. I do hope your son's case was nothing more than drug related.

Thank you for your encouragement. I have not written my stepson off, but am kind of at the point where I don't see him achieving a better quality of life. You are right - with his gender, his age, his trauma, and his drug history, he is woefully immature. Our therapist has explained to us that his form of mental illness generally worsens over time, and that every time he does drugs and quits his medication, he is putting himself further back in his recovery. My stepson will go to therapy and does talk to his therapists and psychiatrist, but at the moment this is all he is willing to do to maintain his health and it is simply not enough.

Many hugs to you! Keep us updated with you and your son also. :):)
 

Mirabelle

New Member
Hello Mirabelle. I am sorry after trying so hard to help your stepson, it's come to this. I have found by my own experience that my son (and many like him) may be motivated by secondary gain on a short term basis to pay lip service to our conditions, which they have no desire to honor. What emerges is their true attitudes: They feel they are free "adults," able to do and live as they choose, resisting any curtailment of their autonomy.

The problem and contradiction as we know is that while they may have the legal rights of adults, their judgement and functioning are greatly impaired they seek dependency upon us...at the same time they impose their dominance over our homes and lives as well as their own. It is pure craziness. There is actually a psychological category for these people who for whatever reason do not follow the normal sequence and imperatives of maturation.

My son is mentally ill, too, and he uses drugs to self-medicate. Nothing and no one(least of all me) has yet persuaded him of the inadvisability of his path. There has not been one consequence too dire including cyclical homelessness.

We have called the police many times, too. At this point, my son is not allowed into my home, or to even knock on the door, unless he is invited by me and accompanied my ex.

While this may not be in the criminal statues, this seems criminal to me. In one fell swoop she's undermining her son and you and your husband.

What I am trying to say here is that you are finding yourself in territory that has been well-traveled here on this forum. While we try and try and try to help, if there is no buy-in from the adult child, and almost always there is not--we are just on a merry go round, that depletes and depresses us. There are problems and resources for people like our sons, but until they've run themselves into the ground, so that they are ready to change--like my son, they're uninterested.

How parents deal with this, depends on their makeup and the adult child's. My son is less overtly aggressive now, but he can be verbally aggressive and domineering, and he does not participate or take responsibility at all, for what he does. But I am one of those parents who has a very difficult time closing the door. At this point I don't think I will ever change. What I mean by this is that we each have to take a hard look at ourselves and circumstances and face who we are. There is no one size fits all.

As I read your post I think you've done everything that any responsible parent could and should do, and that your limits, are understandable and warranted. To keep doing the same thing over and over, while your stepson becomes more and more aggressive, dangerous, defiant and non-compliant would NOT help him, and it could destroy your lives. I am so sorry.
Hello Copabanana,

Thank you for your reply to my post. I am sorry to hear what you have experienced with your own son. I can certainly empathize. As you described, it is a dreadful conundrum to find yourself in trying to guide a legal adult with all the sense and judgement of a goose. Sense cannot be talked to my stepson at all. He actually admitted to my husband last week (and not in an angry or retaliatory way, just matter of factly) that he pretends to take in all the advice we give him but never intends on actually following through with it. (At least he was honest.)

At the moment he is obsessed with getting his hands on all of the disability money we have saved for him, approximately $3000. He is currently living at the homeless shelter, waiting on ACT to arrange supported housing. Although he has no bills and three meals a day, he insists that he needs $100 a day to survive 'on the streets'. My husband is placing $15 a day in his bank account for vapes and snacks etc. but this is not enough. He has an inexplicable tendency to spend money on things he simply 'must' have, for example clothes, jewellery, and DoorDash takeout deliveries. (Yes, he called DoorDash to deliver to the shelter.) But when he gets these things he wears the shirt one time, and takes two bites out of his $35 food order, and the next day insists he must have money for the same things all over again. When he was living in our outbuilding, his Dad would take him to the store to spend some of his money on groceries - a junk food bonanza of his own choosing. A few days later he would insist he had no food, but the outbuilding contained 12 Coke bottles with two sips taken out of each one, an open but full box of cereal, popped bags of uneaten popcorn etc. He is blowing up my husband's phone relentlessly, pressuring him into giving him 'his money'. Social Security deemed him unfit to be in control of this money at the time of his application being approved, so we have set up a savings account for him which he does not have access to. If he got hold of all the money it would be spent in about 2 weeks flat on absolutely nothing. We don't know how to stop this other than to continue to ignore him. His father is ready to pull up stumps and move away, depleted and depressed, as you say.

Thank you again for sharing your story and a sympathetic ear. I hope things are well with you. :):)
 
Top