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38 year old son with Aspbergers living home with Me and Step-dad

Alammy's picture

I am new here and hope to get to know you and read about the trials you are facing in your lives. I am not new to being a step-parent and I can tell you it stinks!

My problem is this.
I have a 38 year old son who moved in with us about 2 years ago. He is separated from his wife and tried to commit suicide. He has aspbergers and life is very challenging for him, for he suffers from severe depression and anxiety. He has a job a new one that he seems to be able to handle and he even likes. He has been employed for about 3 months now. Prior to this he had a full-time job he worked for for about 10 years. (Thats another Story I don't need to get into now.).. He has a son, my grandson who we see during the week after school and on the weekends.

My husband wants him to leave our home by June. But he only makes $10.00 an hour not enough to live on.
He also has no money, he has nothing. The thought of kicking him out with nothing bothers me. I don't feel its fair for him to be thrown out when he is trying to get on his feet. My husband does not understand what my son goes through in his head every day. If my husband makes him leave, I feel like I would want to leave too, because I know my son lcannot make it on his own with the challenges he faces. And I could not live with myself if I let this happen. I really need some un-biased opinions. If you could help, I would so appreciate it.

Thanks so much!

hereiam's picture

Seems like 2 years should be long enough for him to get on his feet and get his own place.

What did he do with his earnings while living with you for the past 2 years? He shouldn't be completely broke.

Has your son ever lived on his own? Are you in a city with resources that can help him be more independent?

You can be supportive and help him in other ways, other than letting him continue to live with you. That is not necessarily helping him, enabling him is probably more like it. Has he taken ANY steps towards independence?

I don't blame your husband, nobody would be thrilled to have a 38 year old step son or step daughter living with them.

Lady Tea's picture

I agree. If he is not severely disabled or limited then he should be capable of living on his own. It may not be at the caliber of life that you would want for him but unfortunately when a person has a child with disabilities there are times when you have to grieve for the life that you had dreamed of for them. Sometimes they are just not capable of it. So maybe he will never be able to buy a home of his own and he will rent rooms but this is still independence for him. If you feel that he truly won't make it then maybe you could talk to your husband and come to a compromise that you help your son find a room to rent at a reasonable rate and help with rent assistance for the first 6 months or something like that. And during that time you really need to work on teaching your son that he will be on his own. Use visuals on the calendar to let him see how much time he has to get things together and let him know that you will always support and help him when you can but explain the difference between being enabling and being supportive. Your husband sounds like he just wants to be able to have a private home with you without adult children and I don't think this is an unreasonable request.

Stepped in what momma's picture

He has lived there 2 years and hasn't saved up enough money to get himself a one bedroom apt?
Based on what you've presented is that he has it together enough to get married, and have babies but now all this sudden he can't take care of himself? Perhaps he shouldn't have had a child if he can't even take care of himself?
Your husband is right, he should not have to share his home with a middle aged man and his child EOWE. Why do you think your husband should pay to support your grown adult child?

Evil3's picture

If your son was married and had a child, then he seems to be functional and therefore capable of making enough money to live on his own. Are you sure that your DS' Aspbergers is really a handicap enough that your DS can't make it on his own? I'm a professional and I work with two people who have Aspbergers and they have been able to carry on with their careers for a number of years. From what I've seen, having Aspbergers does not make one unable to function. You might be babying your DS and your DH sees it and is stuck having to live with it. As a SM who had her SKs not launching until ages 23 and 25, I can tell you how bloody frustrating it is to have perfectly capable adults living in your home messing it the hell up and causing damage. My DH parented out of guilt, which made him emotionally unavailable to me. Maybe your DH sees your DS as the cause of you being emotionally unavailable as a wife. Maybe go for counselling for yourself or couples counselling to get to the bottom of why you don't see your DS as being capable. I have an uncle with Down's Syndrome and he is in his 60s and worked since he was 15 and has his own condo. He cooks, he cleans, he walks his dog, and he can host dinners at his condo when I visit him in his city. If he can do it, surely your DS can do it.

Lady Tea's picture

I have worked with adults with disabilities and I agree very much with this comment. I have seen this happen over and over. Parents make their children more "handicapped" by enabling them because they feel guilt and feel bad for their child. Many parents have blinders on when you try to have a discussion about this. Sometimes I have been able to get through to them and open their eyes when I ask them "do you think your child would be okay if something happened to you?". This is something that most parents haven't thought about because they are too busy caring for their disabled children but it is a very real situation. This is when I am sometimes able to convince the parent that independence needs to be the goal for their child, as much of it as they are capable of.

SMforever's picture

What does your son think of the prospect of leaving? Is he fearful of not being able to cope? Have you discussed finding a cheap place for him to settle?

My only experience of an adult man with Asperger's was an ex boyfriend who was 52. In all that time, he had married, produced 3 sons, divorced, and sort of slammed his way through life, employed but always having conflict and challenges. They are so obsessed with certain things, and have a hard time sensing social signals. He had managed to save about $20k in all that time, then went and spent it all on motorcycles.

The only thing you can do for your son is ensure that you leave him some money in your will so he has some sustenance in his latter years.
It is a fine line to walk whether to move out with him, and keep on enabling him. I see why you think DH is being harsh, but it is HIS home, and he does have a say in how disrupted it is.

Rags's picture

Time to initiate having him made a ward of the state. There are processes for making it happen and you may try looking into an attorney that can help with the process.

One of my late single digit childhood BFFs was Dx'd as Schizophrenic when he was in his late teens/early 20s. His parents initially spent everything they had trying to get him help and when they were broke realized that they could not care for him for his entire life as they had a younger child to finish raising, their own retirement to fund and live, etc, etc, etc..... So they had him declared a ward of the state. His care, support, etc... all come from the state but he does live in an apartment attached to his parents home and "works" for them. They are engaged and involved in his life but when he decides to get off of is meds or forego treatments a call to the state sends out the padded van and the big attendants in the white clothing with the straight jacket and he is institutionalized until he stabilizes.

I understand both your perspective and your husbands regarding your situation. On one hand your son has a documented mental health issue and is making an effort and on the other your DH does not want to martyr himself on the alter of making is life about supporting an adult child.

I would suggest that you investigate what support options may be available for your son through the state including the possibility of having him made a ward of the state. My friend and his parents have navigated it fairly well for 30+ years and remain close.

Good luck.

Alammy's picture

Thank-you all for your comments they are very much appreciated. I want my son to be able to be independent. And he wants to be independent. When he was married and before marriage he and his wife lived together. She carried the burden of living with my son. So he has not ever been independent. He would probably qualify for disability but he does not want that.
He has been unable to save any money. His car wasnt working for quite some time so when his father passed away he left him a small sum of money and he finally was able to get his car fixed and go out and find a job.

. Maybe I am making excuses for him. But i don't like the idea of his being kicked out. He does self-medicate with alcohol and i feel this is holding him back to be honest. He does see a psychologist who is nice enough to help him without insurance. Insurance kicks in in about 10 days then he can go on his meds again. So being off meds has not helped him at all.
He knows he has to move yet seems to be doing very little about it. I don't get it. I have talked to him about all of this and discussed where he might move to. Maybe his sisters.

It seems like there is a disconnect. The same thing his wife used to say.
No your right he does not pay rent.
But he gives his wife money and he has bills to pay. He talks about getting a part time job, but says he can get overtime at his job instead.

I am not being defensive here. If I am wrong I want to know.

uofarkchick's picture

I'm going to come off as insensitive but it sounds like your son is an alcoholic and you are enabling him.

Alammy's picture

Yes he probably is. He self medicates and that is holding him back too. I have addressed this with him too. Going to address it again, thanks. I am just trying to figure this all out.

Alammy's picture

Yes he probably is. He self medicates and that is holding him back too. I have addressed this with him too. Going to address it again, thanks. I am just trying to figure this all out.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

I think it's great that you came to a step parent's site with this issue. It shows that you do care about your husband's position in this mess.

I also think that as a mother, you are emotionally handicapped and perhaps too involved to see the situation clearly. At some point helping seems to have become enabling, which isn't healthy for you or your son.

At 38, it's not appropriate for your adult son to be living with you. Two years have gone by with no sign of him leaving, so I can understand your husband's frustration. Do you love you husband? Value your marriage? Then you need to develop a PLAN to launch adult son. Sit down with your H, and get him to help you put together a plan AND a deadline. Start by informing your son that he must pay rent (you can save it and then put it towards his new rent, deposit, etc), and that he is not allowed to have alcohol in your home. Contact social services to see what help is available for him, and too damn bad if he doesn't like it. And give him a concrete move out date.

Alammy's picture

Yes i understand my husband's frustration. His daughter has lived with us on and off for 3 years. We also have our grandson living here too. He is going to be 21 this year. He doesn't pay rent either with no sign of leaving.
All this stress is killing me! I am depressed myself but I put on a good face for everyone when I am dying inside!

Wifeypoo's picture

"We also have our grandson living here too. He is going to be 21 this year. He doesn't pay rent either with no sign of leaving."

Talk about carrying a heavy load. You certainly have a lot on your plate and it must feel overwhelming. I'm glad you found Steptalk. ((((Hugs)))

You mentioned something about him going to live with his sister. I don't know if that would be such a great idea for your daughters sake. If she has her own family that would put a enormous strain on her families lives as well as hers.

I have a brother who was diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic when he was late teens,early twenties. He has been a ward of the state ever since, but I still carry some financial responsibility for him, (by choice) and it's nerve wracking for me to deal with him. I don't even live in the same state as he does, yet I still stress and worry about him. There's no way I would ever be able to take him on full time. That's why my ears perked up when you mentioned your son going to live with his sister. I always felt like my dad(deceased now) would have happily dropped him off on my doorstep if I would have agree to take him. Part of why I live so far away.

I'm not suggesting you are like that one bit, in fact I'd say your the opposite of how my dad was, however I wanted to point out how a sibling might feel about taking on a dependant brother.

Alammy's picture

Thanks for you advice. I seriously don't believe he can do this alone. I will talk to him again about the situation. I kept thinking things would get better for him. He has told me that if it wasn't' for his son, he would have ended it already. I'm just so confused!

happystepmum's picture

I feel for you OP, my SD has Aspergers too. She is still a child however.

I believe that June is too soon to force him out. I think a fairer and more realistic, sustainable goal is 6 months. That will give him time to get back on his meds, stabilise, and start saving some money. I would keep him focussed by requiring that he pay you rent each week (you can put this into a savings account for him if you feel it would benefit him when he leaves) starting with his next pay cheque. Hold him accountable - he's 38 years old. This will help him have pride in himself and build his confidence. A man pays his own way.

Another suggestion is either building or moving to a home with a self contained flat on the property - then you and your husband, and your son would all have your privacy, and he would also have some independence but be close by if he needs support. Personally, that's would I would do in your shoes.

The other option is to set him up in a small flat/apartment, near your home.

I would also refuse to discuss this any further with your husband, without addressing the coming/goings of his daughter and your grandson. They ALL need to GTHO of your home.

happystepmum's picture

I'd also be regularly (weekly if necessary) sitting down with him to see how things are he on track? If so great, if not, why not and what does he need to do to get there? This will both provide him with support, guidance and focus and will also show him that you're serious about this.

happystepmum's picture

It is, I know Sad I love my SD and if I were in your position that's what I would do for her. I want her to have every opportunity in life, to travel if she wants to, live independently if she wants to, achieve anything she wants to.

I know she will always need support...your son may be 38 and yes he should be making moves to live more independently but 3 months and you're out is harsh.

Alammy's picture

Thank-you for all your support and suggestions. They are invaluable to me in helping to sort this situation in my mind.
I am ready to sit him down again and have a conversation to see where he is at. The drinking has to stop number one. Paying rent and saving it for him is #2. Keeping him focused #3. #4. Discuss the possibility of going on disability. I have a daughter who suffers from bi-polar. She had a six figure job at one time, but her bi-polar got the best of her. She does work part time to make ends meet and she does have her own apartment.
We do have these discussions and after he seems more resolute. But eventually he slips back into his old habits.

I just so resent having to keep reminding an adult how to be an adult. So frustrating!

Goodluck's picture

Can I chime in even IF it is rather late.

It may be time for you to set up an appointment with your local Social Services. They have a lot of resources for your adult son. Just go and see how they can help him.

There is NO shame in asking for help and guidance. And there is not shame in understanding that some things are bigger than we are.

Thankfully YOU want him to be independent. Reaching out to all available recourses thru Social Services such as HUD housing, health insurance, transportation, counseling, group, AA is not throwing him out on the street. Your giving him the tools to stand on his own two feet.