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At OUR wits end with SS9

PushedToMyLimit's picture

Eeek, sorry it is long! Background: I have a BS13 who I split 50/50 custody without a CO, CS etc, my priority. SO moved into my home April 2019. SS was 5 then, living w/BM. The CO was grey due to SOs job. He worked at the railroad-on call 24/7/365-impossible to have a set visitation schedule. They have 50/50 custody on paper still.  SO would get SS every opportunity possible & I immediately saw he was behind in life. BM never had a job, collected excessive CS, asked for it early, wanted more, was verbally abusive, married a felon, taught SS no basic skills. July 2020, BM says she is moving 2 states away w/husb to care for MIL. They leave in 2 wks. No family there, BM a horrible mother & we request she leave him to live with us. She dropped him like a hot potato & ran, but continued to collect CS until the state put an emergency stop on that. Anyway...

SS9 is an absolute mess (expected). Forget upon arrival he was too fat to do anything but this onion seems endless. My SO & I are on the same page with parenting, discipline, rules, etc & but this kid is destroying us. My SO immediately quit a career he loved at the RR and took a $60k paycut, because he knew needed to be home every day for SS. New job-working weekends so eventually found a job w/weekends off, another small pay cut. Had to sell his beloved truck. After a year of searching got SS a counselor (worthless year wasted of no progress) so found new one. SO swears something is wrong w/SS in the wiring (I agree) but no one who matters seems to see it. I honestly feel SO has done everything possible for SS & us as a couple & has sacrificed so much. I really don’t know what else he can do.

I was very actively engaged w/SS for almost 2 years but it was wearing on me quickly as giving him attention seemed to just increase his hunger for it. I couldn’t get any air. He saw BM 2x for a total of 10 days in the 2 years she was gone. She rarely called but gave him a tablet which she threatened to take away constantly if he didn’t call her or reply on Snapchat. The conversations typically were BM making SS feel guilty, asking if he missed her & empty promises/lies. He has clearly been abused, neglected, guilted & blamed & it hasn’t stopped but there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it but continue to deal with the fall out. We also found he was left alone a lot at age 4 or so with video games & garbage food as a babysitter. We are SURE more has not been uncovered because the counselors say he doesn’t really talk about anything other than being left alone. He once told me he doesn't want to talk about his mom & get her in trouble. Screaming RED FLAGS. 

April 2022 BM moved back here as fast as she left & he has spiraled since. In school, in life, in general. He has gained significant weight, has no motivation to do anything & it’s a fight to get him to go outside or do anything alone. He is obsessed with TV/electronics. He goes to BMs every other weekend, holidays & a week at a time this summer. I need the break because I work from home so I always have him as SO works outside of the home. SO has no other family to help & my family won’t take SS because he is too much for them & annoying. The trade is he returns absolutely wrecked. Sleeps 12+ hrs, lies, sneaking food, attitude, mouthy, has zero motivation, self confidence, doesn’t care to follow rules, just acts bizarre…the list is endless. He has such serious food issues that I now won’t do anything outside the home that includes him because he ruins it for everyone. Actually, I don’t want to do anything inside the home either (family games, etc) & no longer participate in any of his activities. I refuse to pick up slack for a BM who is capable of participating in sports practices & lives close yet chooses not to be bothered. Any appointment on her time is always missed. I have disengaged to levels that probably aren’t healthy for a child in my home but I don’t know what else to do. I admit I have likely added to his issues by doing this but I am out of patience with it all & trying to save myself. I am very particular in my home & this kid is an absolute slob, his father agrees. You can show him something 10x and he is so inconsistent with it to the point I believe he just doesn’t care. There is no other reasonable answer. OR, he can do it 50x for me but if dad is here he acts like he’s never been shown before. He says “Dad” 500x a day & I want to scream. 99% of our bickering surrounds SS & most of our irritation (that includes my BS13 being irritated by SS). Everything about him drives me insane & I guess I expected after 3 years he would have been doing way better than he is progressing to understand basic tasks, follow rules, deal with easy things a toddler can understand, and so did everyone else around me who is aware of the situation. They are puzzled & also convinced something is wrong with him. I could give 10 examples a day of stuff that I just don’t find “normal” (lots of odd blank stares like no one is home upstairs when you talk to him or ask basic questions) but until a dr agrees, diagnoses him & gives us tools to address it, that’s a moot point. 

Yes, I feel sad for a child who didn’t choose to be here, was used, abused & discarded by his BM, has a father who never wanted him in the first place & was basically guilted into it (long abusive marriage story for another day) and has sacrificed so much & looks like it all hangs by a thread anyway. SS will never know that about his father & SS has NEVER been treated that way by his father, EVER, he loves him & clearly has moved the damn earth for him. SO knew he had to do the right thing & take him even though it’s about to kill us all. It’s an absolute horrible, heartbreaking & infuriating situation. I will be honest, I think so many days we should have just let her take him when she moved because I don’t know if I can take another 9 years of this getting little to no traction no matter how hard we work. Unlike most stories I read on here, my SO doesn’t wear rose colored glasses, isn’t Disney Dad & is literally about to die trying to save everything and dammit, we don’t know what else to do here. My SO checks every single box but his kid is a mess, he fully agrees & os frustrated too, he is & has done everything he can & I don't know what's left. 

Any of you wise ST peeps got any brilliant gems of wisdom up your sleeve? 


PushedToMyLimit's picture

SO has a 20 y/o son with same BM who he sacrificed his entire life for because she refused to work. That son no longer speaks to SO as he was asked to repay the $2k his father fronted him when BM up & moved. That kid was in HS & living with BM as well but had already lived in our home 2 months & burned that bridge (stealing from me/drugs/lying) so SO got him an apartment. SO & I BOTH see qualities in SS9 that exist in his brother SS20. I have made it very clear this relationship will end if SS9 progresses to those levels as I have zero tolerance for that behavior & SO understands.

Rags's picture

He needs structure and accountability.  There isn't time to reverse parent him to get him to launch at 18.

Outsource to professionals who are expert at building performance and confident in kids who have failed parents.


PushedToMyLimit's picture

But I don't think it's enough or the right one. Here in WA If you aren't on state aid good luck finding a counselor to take you, it isn't like you get to be picky when you have private insurance. He needs to be going at LEAST weekly, and he was until the counselor said he was doing really well so they reduced him to every other week. Excuse me? Where do we get to have input here? They have not even once dug into the food issue but we've reduced sessions because why again? Oh and BM has missed both of his last 2 appts so he hasn't been for a month which is super helpful as well.
What other professionals are you referencing we could source?

PushedToMyLimit's picture

Sorry Rags missed the title tag of "Military school". Yes his father has said that will be the path if he can't get it together but at 9 it seems awfully young? Maybe not. 

Rags's picture

9 is likely too young for Military School.  My dad was 15, I was 16, my brother was 17,  when we went.   My son 9SS who I adopted) was 16.   It made a major positive impact for all of us.

Most Military Schools start at 7th grade or older.


Lillywy00's picture

That sucks that ss's parents act like they couldn't be bothered and now you're the only one who can provide structure and nuturing but it sounds like too much for you to take on by yourself. 

Your SO is partially responsible. He knew that the BM was a horrid parent yet he let his young son stay in that environment for years only doing something once she left town and he was backed into a corner and forced to parent. 

He needs to be more proactive, take initiative, and help you more (set up conseling, activities, be more present).

Good thing you set your boundaries and your limits.

PushedToMyLimit's picture

SO doesn't deny he is partially responsible & he had no idea how bad this was (none of us did) as we still 3+ years later uncover stuff. I am NOT making excuses for SO & he isn't making any either because that helps no one & neither does looking backwards. Bottom line (and SO knows it) you breed with bottom of the barrel this IS the result. No way in hell would he have ever got custody of SS9 with the hours he worked (being gone 2-3 days at a time) and without her giving it up willingly (which at the time would have never happened because SS was her paycheck). Once SS17 at the time moved in with her, SO started paying her $1000/mo support for both kids - an out of court agreement. She was so jealous of our lifestyle & saw that we weren't poverty stricken that she filed to receive $1800/mo support said she was entitled to. SO The court IMMEDIATELY demanded he pay $430/mo for the ONE kid that was filed as living with her and not a cent more because she was too lazy to file paperwork for the change of custody & only wanted CS. By then, the older one turned 18 & she ran out of time. SS9 no longer had the paycheck she needed to match the inconvenience for her so she dumped him here. We fully believe she never intended to take him with. 

SO handles ALL SS appointments, sports, school, everything to do with SS. I do not handle or get involved in any of it & have made it painfully clear. It's just difficult because he is probably more in the game than most I have ever read on this site & I still won't touch it with a 10ft pole. It's just the reality of poor choices in a past life. 

NieMojCyrk's picture

This blog is a great read for newly SMs, who think that since the stepchild lives with BM full/most of the time, then it's all good. This can change like bam-bam! 

I feel for you, this is not your mess, but you are left to pick it up. I can't give any advice, at that point i'd be working on my exit plan. 

PushedToMyLimit's picture

I should have titled this blog entry exactly that! So very right you are that things can change in an instant. We thought we were ahead of the game to get him at 6 vs her dumping him here as a troubled teen but man I don't think any scenario was going to be good when you have the DNA that this rotten BM provided. What she contributed was tainted, blank or has been destroyed by the drugs & neglect. My goodness what a mess. 

Survivingstephell's picture

He needs to go back working for the RR and send SS off to a boarding school of some kind.  

PushedToMyLimit's picture

But the issue is the hours & strain it put on us & SO's health because the lack of sleep & inability to make plans for anything. Hell he could be a SAHD & send the kid off to boarding school, I'm totally fine with that! Smile