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Here we are- now what?

dragonfly878's picture

Ever since I've known SS15 he's always been about 3 to 4 years socially behind. It's the one thing about SS that DH and I actually agree on.

When DH and I fist got together DH and SS may as well haven been married. They did everything together- codependent like. That should have been a major red flag but I chalked it up to divorced dad with 50/50 custody- when he has his son he wants to do everything with (and for) him. In the beginning our relationship was like a rollarcoaster- half the time it was perfect (when SS was not around) and half the time I took a major back seat (and why wouldn't I? We were new and his son was 10). Over the years the coddling didn't ease up the way I thought it would as SS grew older- but instead got worse. I called a family meeting and laid it out- things changed or I was out. As a result DH started live his own life instead of revolving his every move around SS (at this point we had our daughter and it couldn't be all about SS 24/7 when he was with us) DH recognized things needed to change but felt major guilt during this time. He encouraged SS to do the same- live his own life (make his own friends and learn to occupy his own time) but that never took. Why would it? His only playmate (his dad) would do anything and everything he wanted, SS was never wrong and always in charge. No friendship with a peer could ever replicate that dynamic. This was how it was with us- and seems to be how it still is with BM.

Its been years of therapy, tough love of not rescuing him from his boredom, long talks of support, and here we are today- no change. DH now has healthier boundaries with him- but I guarantee SS would fall right back into the old pattern with DH if allowed. This keeps my anxiety about the whole situation at a level 6 whenever he's around wondering if this will be the weekend DH wants us to do things as a "family" so as to drag him out of his room. I have absolutely no desire to engage with (or have my little kids around) him due to his over the top attention seeking ways. He's almost 6 feet tall and acts like he's 12. It's embarrassing. 

When asked what he does with his mom- it's spousal stuff- they run errands together, go on walks together, watch shows together, work on house projects together- he is in essence her spouse. That's the dynamic he craves with his parents. To be their equal. To call the shots.

He's now in high school and seems to have developed social anxiety- as he is SO far behind his peers socially it's noticeable. However he seems to have no desire for change. He doesn't work (only 15 so idk if he can), is involved in absolutely nothing, and has no plan for his future. Any time DH tries to push him to do more socially- he makes up false accusations against DH. DH is quick to empathy and guilt- round and round we go.

There are no consequences for doing nothing and for the accusations. THIS is where DH and I fundamentally disagree. I'm disengaged- SS and I have no relationship. Not good- not bad- nonexistent. He made false accusations toward me to his mom when I picked him up one day from school- telling her I got him hours late (the school confirmed with her that was not the case) and that was the last time I ever spoke to him (that was two years ago) as there was no consequence to that lie. He still lives with us 50/50- we do not interact. He has no use for me as he can't manipulate me and I don't kiss his ass. 

Now here we are. A socially anxious 15 year old (in my belief was created and enabled by his parents) with no desire for chance. I focus on DD3 and DS newborn- but it's like living with a dumpster fire 1/2 my life. DH feeling bad for him is the hardest part- IMO DH created then allowed this to happen! We can't talk about SS without it turning into an argument of "you just don't like him" and with DH becoming consumed with guilt about the whole situation- I just don't see it the same way he does. I have no empathy- I wish I did, but I just don't... 


Cover1W's picture

Have you discussed SS's future with DH? Instead of discussions of what he's like now, what you expect of him once he's done with high school? I told DH very early on that no kids living with us after they were in college (visits excepted of course). There never was an issue with the SDs going to college of course. I made it clear I would be out otherwise.

ESMOD's picture

I think discussions that can at least masquerade as having a legitimate concern for their child has a better chance of getting traction than "picking at" their percieved faults.

this isn't really a case of whether you like.. or dislike his son.  This is a case of "Hey DH.. can't you see your kid is struggling with a lot of things?  How do you think he is going to become a happy, well adjusted and productive adult when he has a real reluctance or inability to put himself "out there". "And.. I get it.. the pandemic probably has not helped and allowed him to really stay stuck in a more introverted mode of living, but if he is going to be a success in life, he needs to learn how to do things outside of his comfort zone.. develop relationships.. etc.. don't you want your child to have a happy life?  If he doesn't get help now.. I don't know how you expect him to figure this all out on his own."

Cover1W's picture

Exactly.i framed a lot of discussions with him like this, and sometimes with the SDs directly. If you/they are in a roommate/restaurant/work situation don't you/they want to be ready for it?

dragonfly878's picture

Thank you so much for your response-

While I have had a general "I will not live with adult children (not even my own) past high school converation- I have not had the concerned "if he's struggling now- what do you think might be helpful for his future" discussion.

Side note- my husband is in recovery and has a very "day at a time" mentality. I think it's really difficult for him to do any future thinking without getting overwhelmed. He know's SS's future isn't looking too good if he stays on his current track- I just don't think he knows what else he can do. SS has no desire to change- he's not motivated to put in any effort and I think that's where we're stuck. DH did recently notify SS's guidance counselor so as to try to get him more involved in extra school activities- but even with nudges from adults SS is the ultimate passive wallflower who refuses to engage. I think he could catch up- but it would take a lot of effort and SS simply has no desire to do anything differently because it feels uncomfortable.

advice.only2's picture

This was my DH with Spawn!  The one discussion I would not back down on was what happened after she graduated, I told him she would be out of our house by the end of summer after she graduated.  I told him I didn’t care what she did (military, school, moved back with Meth Mouth), but she was no longer welcome in our home.  I told him if he wanted her to continue to live with him then he could either divorce me or find an alternate living station for the two of them.  I refused to continue to put myself and my kids through their toxic hell scape just so he could have “his little girl” there with him, and she could just sit at home all day watching Kardashians and not lifting a finger.

dragonfly878's picture

I agree with this. I was thinking the same (he can get an apartment for the two of them to live in until SS is ready to live on his own-- if it comes to that then so be it!) May I ask- did she ever launch? How did that all shake out with your DH? 

advice.only2's picture

Spawn ended up moving in with her maternal grandmother her senior year.  DH allowed her to do this because I had told him once she returned from summer with her meth mother I would not be in the house alone with her.  Spawn called CPS on me in an attempt to help meth mouth regain custody of her.  I was planning on moving me and our kids out and DH freaked and instead let his precious Spawn stay with GrandHag....that's what it took for him to finally realize his spouse and other children were as important as one child.  

dragonfly878's picture

OMG! I'm sorry to hear you went though that... that's what freaks me out- SS is one false accusation away from having CPS in our lives. That's exactly why I stopped engaging with him. So help me god I would die on that hill, too. I'm happy to hear she's finally out. 

TrueNorth77's picture

I've dealt with the false accusations also- SD claimed I "hit" her, when she was like 7. It was within the first year I was with DH. Of course the accusation initiated from Crazy, so who knows if SC even actually started it. The story had 3 different versions, 1 from Crazy, and 2 from SD, who looked me right in the eye and said yes, I "pushed her face" in front of DH. DH and I both know it never happened. No version of the story. Last year, SD brought it up again after we had long forgotten about it, and is convinced it really did happen, except, her version this time is completely different than what she said back then. It's funny how in all of them, DH was right there when it happened, so there is no room for him to even doubt if it happened. Now, since DH has filed for Contempt of Court against Crazy, and she has filed CoC against him in retaliation, a Guardian ad Litem has been appointed, and I just KNOW this is going to be brought up again. DH thinks SD actually believes it happened, like a false memory. So I'm just waiting to see how this is going to go. In none of her stories did I ever actually hit her. The latest one she said I "grabbed her arm and pushed her into her room". DH even told SD, ok, even if she did, so? If Truenorth was punishing you by putting you into your room and it was 1 time, that is not the huge issue you're making it out to be. 

Anyway, I totally get how you feel in your post. It's hard to feel empathy when you know the parents help create the issue. 

If it does come up, I saved the texts from 7yrs ago when Crazy text me the original story from SD (which is now completely different), so I will be happy to show the GAL how the story has completely changed throughout the years. 

dragonfly878's picture

It's wild the things they will lie about! And for what? To be a victim so as to thwart any expectation? Get attention? Sympahty? It's sick! 

Then for us to have to live this way-- how can we not be a walking anxious wreck knowing that false accusations can be tossed out at any given moment. I saved the emails between SS, BM, DH, and the school, too. Just in case he ever tried to lie again- it's proof it's not the first time.