damned if I do..
I only just "officially" joined this forum an hour ago so the abbreviations et al that are used in other's content are foreign to me at this point (sorry in advance!)
I have two biological sons and two step-children. My sons are 19 and 15; his kids are 21 (girl) and 11 (boy).
My husband and I met in 2008 and dated a year, breaking up for ten-odd months, then rekindling our relationship. We married in 2011, and, well, that's when the proverbial rose-coloured glasses came off. Initially, he moved into my home and his children (97% of the time, only his son) would come every other weekend, as they remained in the City my husband is from which is 1.5hrs away from my home. There were little to zero issues at the beginning of the marriage with his children, but my husband began building resentment toward my sons. My children's father and I split when they were 7 and 4, and walked away from his parental rights so we became the Three Amigos, forming a very close knit that my then new husband started to resent.
From that growing resentment that my husband started to nurture, he manifested it into being verbally and emotionally abusive toward me. And, when I wasn't around, he would direct it at my children.
It was hell.
During the dark, dark times, it came to light that while my husband felt my sons were lazy, disrespectful, unambitious, etc, **HIS** son was the end all of perfection and could do no wrong. When I would hear his son calling my sons "stupid" or being likewise name-calling, and I would correct the behaviour, *I* was the one who got screamed/yelled at by my husband. Once, when his son lied about my sons "abandoning him" while we were out at a social event (my eldest was 15 at the time, and "babysitting" them), my husband screamed, yelled, cursed, threw things, proclaimed the marriage over, and stormed out; he and his son went back to the City his son lived in, rented a hotel room for two days, took him to the Fair, movies, suppers, water sliding, while demanding that my children be put on a month long punishment, including picking garbage in ditches. There was no reasoning, no questioning, nothing. If the six-year old said that he was abandoned, that was that. (*my kids had gone downstairs to play games and asked the step-son to accompany them.... he refused, and opted to stay upstairs on the computer left for him by my husband). Remember: the sun was set in the sky by his son, and he can do no wrong...
It took me much longer than I care to admit, but through counselling and lots of work, I asked my husband for a marital separation in the month of our third wedding anniversary. It was cathartic. My sons were happier, I was happier, and as Fate likes to throw wrenches into things, the boy's father came back into their lives, and I worked to foster that relationship with them.
My husband and I agreed to go to counselling together, and, again, through hard work, tears, and baring of emotion(s), we started to work on our relationship. I will note at this time in my discussion, that my husband and I agreed that he needed to move back to the City his children live in, and I would stay in my home. To this day, we maintain two separate homes Monday to Friday, and on weekends, we see one another. Work also plays a factor in this, but I honestly believe that I wouldn't have made it if I continued to live with him.
Now, all this back history is to shed a light onto the here and now. My step children's bio mom died of liver failure 17 months ago, due to alcoholism. She married the man that she cheated on my husband with, who had a huge drinking problem and, in turn, enabled her to develop one, too. Her and I would talk (without my husband's knowledge) during the abuse he'd reap on my children and me because she too had endured it with him. It helped strengthen me to have someone to talk to, someone who understood where I was. Little did I (or anyone outside of her home) know she was drinking a bottle of vodka a day.
It was in the midst of her decline, possibly four months before she passed, that the step-son and a friend broke a window to gain access into someone's vehicle and steal items therein. His punishment for that was 1h of garbage picking.
Another time, he was given detention for bullying on the playground. BOTH of these instances were "the other child's fault" as poor step-son wouldn't do that to another kid! (rolls eyes)
During her last days, her parents came to the City to be with her and the step-children. The grandmother cleaned out the step-son's bedroom one day and found an enormous amount of dirty bowls, plates, containers, garbage from ready-to-go meals, glasses, cutlery, etc. Everyone pitied him, as they believed he did this because he never knew where his next meal was coming from. During this time, he also gained at least 30lbs, and has continued to steadily gain (he's not quite 5' yet and likely 110lbs)
After his mother died, he moved into the condo my husband owns. My husband bent over backwards to buy everything he needed, wanted, desired. A new computer, a new tablet, a new cellular phone, a new PS4, a new tv, a new bed. It was me who suggested he get into counselling ASAP (he did and the counsellor declared "nothing wrong with him").
Soon after, behaviour of food hoarding, sneaking, and lying started, at the condo but not at my home. During my weekends there, I came to notice that his room reeked of urine (he still pees the bed at night and wears Pull-Ups). I finally couldn't stomach it any further and investigated: he'd been tossing urine-filled Pull Ups all over his room: in the closet, under his bed, between the bed and wall, in his dresser, under clothes on the floor, under blankets. It was gross. I also found dishes hidden in the same spots, and empty candy wrappers, pizza boxes, soup cans, plastic bags from fast food places, microwave dinner trays and boxes, rotten fruit cores and peels. It was as though a garbage can was up ended and dumped on the floor.
When he was confronted by his father, his response was "I don't know".
Why did you do it? I don't know
Why are you hiding food? I don't know
Why are you throwing garbage everywhere? I don't know
There were (are) never any tears from step son. Never any remorse. Nothing. His dad could be screaming and the kid shows ...nothing.
The punishments (supposedly) have been stiffer: no tv, no computer, no tablet, more chores. It doesn't faze him. He could have gotten hell ten minutes prior, and he will be literally singing and cavorting about soon after. He just seems to lack "normal" reaction.
In the times that he's been guest in my home (yes, I say guest as, well, I just can not like the kid), and been asked to stop doing something, he has a habit of looking over the top of his glasses and smirking at me, knowing that he's managed to irritate me. The pain and the suffering that he has caused (what I've briefed you on, dear reader, is only a tip of the issues) my children and myself, leads us all to loathe him coming to our home. He's disrespectful to me (telling me at Thanksgiving when we were going around the table saying what we were thankful for... he couldn't think of anything so his dad prompted him with being thankful for supper, and the kid looked at me, shrugged, and stated "meh. I've had better"). He lies. He smirks. He struts. He's a know it all. And I feel like a schmuck because, despite what hell his dad put me through, this kid has had his own hell.
Both his parents were teenagers when they had the daughter (who, by the way, seldom ever sees her brother; she prefers to see her younger cousins), and both his parents had U-Haul trucks of issues they passed onto their children. I speak confidently when I say that my husband has narcissistic tendencies, as did the mom (to a lesser degree). Some (most?) of the blame needs to lay on the parents of this ...obnoxious child... but I do wholeheartedly believe there is something dangerously and behaviourally wrong with this kid.