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Deadbeat ex of my wife, stepson with mental issues

HadEnoughWithDeadbeats's picture

I am a widower and remarried after finding true love. I have a college student son living with us, aged 20. Before me and my new wife met, she had an accident which required long term rehab and she could not provide proper care to her children, because she herself had to live with her parents after the accident and her parents cared for her. Their divorce happened before the accident. She's since fully recovered. Before meeting me, and for a while after, her kids, girl 15 and boy 18, lived with her ex.

Her ex remarried about 3 years ago and that's where the wheels came off. If I told you all the stories about her ex and his wife, you'd say I was lying. Suffice to say that the ex's wife is a horror of a woman. Uncontrollable rages, for no reason, apparently. She puts video cameras in the kids' bedrooms to spy on them and spies on their phones. Goes ballistic if they don't thank her repeatedly for buying even them the basics, such as soap. The ex husband is not much better; a weakling and a deadbeat, who never backed his own kids against the new wife. He also resigned from his perfectly good teaching job, cashed in his retirement money, and now has no job. Sits at home all day, drinking and gambling online. His wife got fired from her job soon after for screaming at the manager, whom she slept with too.

Eventually my wife's daughter could no longer stand it, and moved in with us, even though this wasn't the deal when we were married. Happily she's a joy to have around, does well at school and extremely well-mannered.

The problem is my wife's son. He suffered from ADHD, and, after his dad got married, started doing drugs with the new wife's brat who's the same age. And when I say deadbeat dad and horror of a new wife, I also mean that these two adults actually started buying weed for the boys (!!!!) This we only found out when the girl came to stay with us. Of course, it didn't stay with weed and went on to harder drugs too.

And now what has happened is that, possibly because of the drug use, my wife's son has developed signs of schizophrenia. Hears voices and believes NASA is out to get him (don't laugh!). Deadbead dad and deadbeat wife no longer have jobs or medical insurance. So guess what? My wife and I are also paying for his treatment, out of our own pockets, because he's not on our insurance and deadbead ex and his wife don't have jobs. Stepson left school last year - barely scraped through - but of course he also doesn't have a job and has no ambition to do anything with his life. We're not rich people and this is placing a huge strain on us. Thank god our apartment is too small for 5 people, else we'd have the stepson living with us full time too.

My wife is taking strain too, over and above financially, because of concern for her son living with the ex and bats..t crazy wife, but what can we do? He's an adult and can make his own choices. I've got a wife who's depressed about the situation and it's affecting our relationship too.




ESMOD's picture

Can you or your wife put the boy on one of your insurance plans?  I believe he can be on your plans as a dependent.. until 26.. even if he isn't in school.  That would at least help with some of the medical costs?

notarelative's picture

Is there a family support group (NAMI? Nar-Anon?) nearby the you and wife could attend? Joint counseling for you and wife to gain perspective on how much support to offer? 

bananaseedo's picture

He likely won't be able to hold a job with his condition, I know this from experience with my own son.  She should absolutely look into getting him on medicaid and SSI -it's too bad he's already 18 and legally an adult or she could have forced him to get help before he got to legal age.  He can also still get on her insurance until medicaid kicks in.  It's a very long difficult road, you're lucky he's not living with you.   

Rags's picture

He is an adult and can make his own choices is exactly right.  So,  quit all support and he can get a job to support himself.

bananaseedo's picture

Rags, knowing what I"m talking about here again, people with schizophrenia cannot work unless they are well managed with medication and therapy- it can often trigger delusions and paranoia.  They can look into SSI and Medicaid and also into some type of group housing for longer term.  

Rags's picture

He has not been Dx'd though.  Until then.... time for some tough love.  IMHO

My childhood BFF was DX'd in his early mid 20s and has never worked.  He has cycled between his parents garage apartment and being hospitalized by the State.  To protect their resources they had him declared a ward of the State.

It is a challenging situation for the whole family. 

bananaseedo's picture

It takes a long time to get a  proper diagnosis.   Saying he brought in on himself is like telling a cancer patient the same.  There are tons of kids that smoke weed and do drugs and never develop these serious life altering conditions.  It's so easy to say there are resources when it takes years to even effin find them. I'm in this mess, I know what I'm talking about.  All you hit is wall after wall.  

Rags's picture

I would not say that Schizophrenics bring it on themselves.   I think this is one of those chicken and egg things.  There are certainly Schizophrenics that have major problems with substance abuse, often prior to Dx.  While there is most definately a link between substance abuse and Schizoprenia I am not aware of any indication that substanced abuse is causal to the condition.

With my childhood BFF there was not a substance abuse component to his phsychosis.  He was never a big partier and did not use drugs.


bananaseedo's picture

I strongly believe there is a link-that said, it could be that those that develop the condition are more likely to get it if they abuse drugs- like they could  have a genetic component and abuse drugs and wham-it's triggered vs someone who is not.  I also strongly believe that the current number of people with psychosis related to MJ is much higher because of the current strains that are made, they literally had bred out the CBD portion and just went higher and higher with THC which is the main trigger.  It's oddly found that CBD itself is very helpful for those symptoms and counters the effects of THC>

This makes sense to me -since in prior breeds/strains of MJ- you didn't have this many young adults going into psychosis, probably because they contained more CBD to counter, and now you have what we do and it's a mess.  

The issue with my son in particular is he has ansognosia-which is no insight into his condition and does not recognize his diagnosis and he is completely non-med compliant, and refuses ANYTHING big pharma.  I'm hoping to find in his group therapy outpatient intensive program that they tread lightly with pushing meds, if they do too hard he will stop going to the program which at least the therapy can be very beneficial.  I plan to speak more to several Drs about the possibility of simple broad spectrum CBD since that of course is a plant he is not opposed to.  As of know he hasn't smoked MJ in 4 weeks.  Probably the first time in years.   I doubt it would work as good as an antipsychotic drug but if it's SOME relief I'll take it.

Oh, btw, if you're interested in a really good documentary CBD Nation was fantastic, the science between the human bodies own cannaboid receptors and the plant are incredible to say the least.  

My husband is taking it now for severe neuropathy (along with gabapentin-which alone was simply not working).  I'm considering it for my anxiety/depression which has been triggered massively due to all the issues going on with my son and husbands health, loss of jobs, etc.    

Rags's picture

As a miracle of modern pharmaceutical science myself (40+  years as a T-1 diabetic) I have no qualms about modern pharma.  I also have no issues with a more natural/plant based approach as long as it is supported by ... science.  I generally discount the extremes of demonizing modern pharma, etc, etc, etc... as lacking credibility.  But... over all, what works for someone works for them and is not really my issue.

As far as my schizophrenic childhood BFF... he used to cycle between extended periods of stability when he was compliant to his med and therapy schedule... then he would get sick of feeling emotionally neutral and would get off of his meds and end up getting picked up running through town naked convinced that his clothes were bugged with tracking devices, convinced he had a fortune stashed around various European banks (he would send me coded notes with account numbers, safety deposit box locations, etc....), and his mom and dad would have to engage the State to intervene.  I have a Manet inspired painting he did while he was living as a starving artist in the Netherlands when he was in his early 20s after he took the money his parents had provided for his college expenses and ran off to Europe.  The back of the panting has all kinds of symbols, codes, all over it.  That painting hangs over our bed.  

I saw him two years ago for the first time since the late 80s.  When I pulled up to his parents home he was sitting on the patio, walked up to me, grabbed and held me in a tight embrace for several minutes.  It was very moving.  We spoke for a few minutes then he just walked away and into his apartment and stayed there for hours.  I visited with his dad for two days.  He would come out of his apartment periodically to sit and talk with us but would have to go back to his apartment for hours.  His dad explained that the longer he is around people the more he struggles with discerning between who is really there and who is only in his head.  We went for meals at their favorite restaurant a few times over that two day visit.  He would step out to the parking lot for a cigarette every 15mins of so to get away from the crowd.    I had taken pics of the painting he had sent me, front and back, when I showed it to him he got very excited, until I showed him the photo of the back of the painting, he immediately got very agitated as he saw the symbols and codes.  I have no clue what they mean but even a couple decades after he sent it to me he obviously understood his symbolic code message.

While I did not have a lot of comprehension of his struggles, when the Russel Crow movie A Beautiful Mind came out the parallels between the mathematician in the movie and my childhood BFFs experiences were noteworthy.

I suppose my DW and I are fortunate that loss of jobs, health crisis, etc... have not been overwhelming for us.  So far.

I hope your son engages in addressing his issues so he can have a quality life.

Good luck to all of  you.



weightedworld's picture

My advice is - point him in the right direction and let him fly/fall/fly/fall and then fall some more. You will grow broke and ruin your lives trying to save him now. After all his is an adult and has made his choices that left him sailing on the boat he's jumped on.  
And whatever you do, do NOT open your doors at any time to live with you. You will depleat yourselves trying to get out of that mess. 

There are plenty of benefits/resources out there to help him that don't require you guys to spend a dime of your own money.

Suggest support groups/counseling for mom so she can adjust to this as well because she is going to have to disengage to a point with the diagnosis he now has. 

tog redux's picture

He may be eligible for social security disability and Medicare comes with that.  If not, can you or your wife put him on your insurance?

At least help the kid get some services and insurance, if possible - there are likely other supports that can take over from there. 

He should learn how to function on his own, but may need help from outside service providers. If he won't accept that, then there isn't much you can do. 

Harry's picture

Does not go away, it doesn't get better.  It's there for the rest of his life.   He needs help in management of his illness. People with mental issues can be on medical insurance for ever. Not the 26 yo age out