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No End In Sight...

HoosierHalfDad's picture

Hello, I am new to this site. I am a 45 year old man, who is overwhelmed, full of anger, and have tried just about everything else I could imagine.
I have reached out to friends, family, co-workers, and, even law enforcement. None have been helpful.
I married my wife, around this time last year. She has two adult children, a young woman, 23, and a young man (yes, 19 is a man in my book), 19.
I have had few issues with my step-daughter.
My step-son is a complete different story.
He quit school at the age of 17, and has worked a couple jobs, for a couple months at a time, since dropping out of high school. I did not know him then, as I met his mother when he was 18 years of age.
A little background...
My step-son's name is Seth. He likes to smoke weed, and sell it, and other drugs like Xanax, and other scripts.
He bought a truck on Halloween, last Fall, and has yet to plate it. He has driven it around on the expired (pushing 2 months, now) temporary tag, and done his drug deals. Yesterday, while I was at work, he took a plate off of our other vehicle, and put it on his truck.
He has taken our jeep and caused minor damage. He ran into our porch with it, too.
Our home was broken into last winter. They went downstairs in to basement and all they took was weed and Seth's drug money. They knew what they were there for, and grabbed it and left.
Seth has stolen THOUSANDS of dollars from us. I had to install key-entry locks on our bedroom door, and on the door of my wife's office, which is in the home as well.
In December, a young girl had Seth's child. She won't let him see the baby, due to his lifestyle. She has blocked all communication from Seth, and our family. My wife is unable to see her grand daughter, because her son is a complete jackass.
My wife is too worried that Seth will harm himself, as he has threatened to do on multiple occasions, if we were to throw him out of our home. I've tried to tell her that it's an act, and that he's merely manipulating her, but she won't listen.
I just don't care anymore. I will not help him.
I have begun to put money aside, in case I am forced to leave the house, or my marriage. I love my wife very much, and can't imagine life without her. But, I can't imagine living like this for one more day.
Her son is a their, liar, drug dealer, deadbeat dad, and he's unemployed. He is a complete loser.
I've tried to tell my wife that he's either going to prison, or she's going to bury him.
She will not listen.
I need some advice, beyond "get out of there", "kick his ass", or "call the police".
We have fought, I've called the police, and I don't want to leave my wife. So, those are no longer options.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks, men.

sammigirl's picture

Oh, I've been here. My YSS did all of the above. I finally kicked him out of our home permanently. I'm not going to suggest what you should do, because what goes on in your home is not a total picture to me. I can tell you how it went at our home.

My YSS was 15 when I met DH. He did all of the above. He wrecked both BM and our vehicles, he would drink and drive, he would lie, he would vandalize other people's property, he used drugs, steal from us, write hot checks; he even used family members identification and there were bench warrants out on other family members, on and on...My YSS was in and out of the Judicial system until he was 18; then he went to jail as an adult. One day, he stood before a Judge that sentenced him to 30 years in State Prison, because the Judge was tired of seeing YSS in his court room. YSS54 (now) spent 15 years and is now out for the past two years. He seems to be doing ok, holding down a job etc. DH says he's doubtful he will change.

What I did: I stayed out of it and let my DH handle it, even though it was a long drawn out few years. I figured everything was insured and I took care of my own business. When you step back and let it happen, it happens faster. When you get tired of it all, you know what to do. In my case, I resorted to putting my foot down; since I would NOT hesitate to call Law Enforcement. Ask my DH about my calling Law Enforcement and obtaining court orders???? I have flushed my home out and made a peaceful place. I do not interfere outside my own home and well being, but I do not allow it to happen in my space. I NEVER give DH advice or talk about it to DH; I just listen, when he needs to talk.

I'm very sorry for what you are going through, but you have to take charge of your own life. Tough love will surprise you. Your DW will probably stick with you, maybe not. But you are at the point, you need to make peace for yourself.

Sorry I can't give you better advice, it's touch!

HoosierHalfDad's picture

Thank you very much for taking the time in your day to offer your thoughts. I know that there are others out there that are, or have been, where I'm at. I helps to hear someone's thoughts on my situation, specifically, too.
Every time I decide to stay out of it, and let my wife deal with him, he does something terrible, she crumbles, and I have to get involved again. That's my problem.
I have decided to disengage from Seth, and the situation, and force his mother to handle things. I work hard, take very good care of our home, and treat my wife like a queen. I shouldn't have to deal with this monster, too.
Thanks again. I owe you a beer.

Veritas's picture

It looks like you have covered many of the bases. I know you don't want to hear "leave", but it may help for you to break this down:

You don't want to leave your wife.

You want your SS to leave the house.

He is an adult, he needs his own place to live.

To get your way, you can make him leave.

If he leaves, your wife may choose to leave as well.

You can leave the home as this is in your control.

You can stay and be very unhappy.

Again, you can only control yourself. If you feel that you cant live with this another day, then you need to tell your wife what it is that you expect or what you want to happen. I don't get the impression from your post that there is adequate communication between you and her as to this subject.

He stole money and the band aid was new locks. SS has no consequences and, if your description of the situation is correct, he has protection from consequences by his mother. Everyone has to choose what they want. I know you want peace but if your wife isn't with you, then she's with SS, and may not be a part of your picture of peace if she cannot support having a healthy home life with you.

Gimlet's picture

Hi Hoosier,

You got some great advice above. I'm going to add to it the Ghost of Hoosier's Life Future.

Your SS is like my brother. He started the same way, although a bit more gently, finally graduating into full blown addiction and criminal behavior. He is now 42 years old. He lives with my parents. He has completely bankrupted them and taken every last bit of emotional energy they have, among other things. They are old, sick, broke, hollow shells of human beings who have lost valuable years of enjoying themselves and their grandkids.

They started off just like your wife and they never stopped it. "If we kick him out, he'll kill himself" "He is our son, we will never give up on him". I've heard it all.

This is unlikely to get better. Your wife is taking away your SS's consequences, just like my parents did. This allows him to continue with his addiction and criminal behavior, completely insulated. Why would he stop? A former poster here used to call this "Loving him to death" and I agree. You are correct that she will eventually bury him or visit him in prison, but that can take a long time and years upon years of destruction first.

I know you don't want to hear "He must leave" but that truly is the answer. Your wife is co-dependent and unwilling to give him the tough love he needs. Has she considered Al-Anon meetings? The right group might be able to help her make the next step in her journey. Has he been to rehab yet or is he still insisting there is no problem? I assume she did not press charges for his theft.

Your SD will eventually come to resent both her brother and her mother if she's a functional adult. More than likely, your wife will sacrifice her at the altar of helping her brother. Your needs will be brushed under the rug as well, Hoosier, that's just how this works in co-dependent situations.

I would recommend that you look into a therapist to help support you through this process and consider Al-Anon meetings yourself. I really don't want to see you and your SD end up paying the price for other people's bad choices including the choices your wife is making.

Best of luck to you.

HoosierHalfDad's picture

Yes, the "I'll never give up on him" is a daily mantra. What my wife likes to call it is, "unconditional love". I've tried to tell her that's not what unconditional love is, but my words fall on deaf ears.
If we did kick him out, I know he wouldn't harm himself. People you commit suicide DON'T 'talk' about killing themselves, they go out and DO IT. Those you talk about it, or threaten it, are looking for sympathy, trying to manipulate, or, maybe, just need a hug.
I have no more hugs left in me.
You are correct, Seth is free of life's consequences. And, with that, where is his motivation to change? It's not there, and it doesn't have to be.
Your assumption is correct -- no charges were filed in the theft(s). Last summer, I am 100% sure that he stole upwards of $8,000 in cash from us. Add, the property damage, and the rent-free lifestyle, and you get the picture.
A short story...
The area that I live in is ripe with manufacturing jobs. The RV industry is huge here.
The SS went to an interview and was given a plant tour, at an RV manufacturer.
When he got home, he told his mother that "it's too much work".
He is 19 years old, lives at home, and has virtually no bills. Pays nothing to live with us. We buy all the food, etc. Yaddah, yaddah, yaddah.
Seth hasn't been to formal rehab. He refuses. A few times, his mom has told me that she's going to threaten him with rehap, or being kicked out. I already know who would pay for that.
As far as counseling goes, I believe that I'm far beyond that. I am cynical, angry, and emotionally withdrawn from my SS....and, I'm beginning to do the same with the wife. I am, although, fighting it with her. I love her very much.
I had never heard of "disengagement", until I happened across this website. It seems to be my best option now. I'm going to give it a try.
Thank you very much for taking time out of your day, and offering your advice. I don't take your kindness for granted. You have a great Wednesday.

Merry's picture

I can't say it better than Gimlet did. But your wife needs to stop protecting her son. Sure, she is afraid for him. But protecting him (from what, himself?) is not helping him. He needs to his his "bottom" and every addict's bottom is different. But before he will acknowledge he needs help, he needs to feel that pain of being at his lowest.

I have found that the community of recovering addicts is a truly giving and generous community when it comes to helping others through addiction issues. My SS is about 3 years clean, and he put his dad (my DH) through hell. Like your wife, my DH wanted to protect him. All that did was prolong the addiction and drain our bank account. Finally when SS was kicked out of the place he was living because of his drug use, he ended up on the street. DH couldn't stand it and paid for a night in a hotel so SS could find somewhere to land. Day 2, no solution so another night in the hotel with tv, movies, free breakfast, hot shower. Day 3, no solution and another night in the hotel. Day 4, same, except that I said no more money. DH was frantic, but he knew I was right. Miraculously, SS found a place to stay that day.

Find Al-Anon or a counselor familiar with addiction. This is for your wife, but you would benefit as well so you can support her. She will feel like she's abandoning her son and it will be awful for her, but that's the only solution. Other than prison or a funeral.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Gimlet nailed it, sir. I have a destitute brother in his sixties, a dry drunk who lived off my impoverished mother until her death. Then there's my sisinlaw, the IV drug addict who was enmeshed with her enabling daaaddee until his death. In her fifties, she literally doesn't know how to take care of herself and lives in an adult care home. THIS is what enabling creates.

Your wife is sick WITH her son, so you might consider ways to educate her about the disease of addiction and codependency.

Will she agree to couples counselling? Speaking with an addiction specialist? Hearing the ugly facts from an unbiased expert might help, since spouses often reject what their spouses have to say.

Helping another human without enabling them is complicated, and no one can save another human being; they can only save themselves. All you can do is educate yourself, try to get your wife help and education, and accept that at some point you may only be able to save you.

Aunt Agatha's picture

Have you considered getting your own place and dating your wife? It would at least protect you while she figures it out and helps you restore some sanity if she won’t?

Hugs! This is a horrible situation that puts everyone involved with your SS in danger.

HoosierHalfDad's picture

I hadn't considered that. I do make the money to afford another place to live. The problem with that, is that my wife would view it as me abandoning her. I would be told to just leave, and stay wherever I go.
I realize I'm making excuses for her (a LOT of them), but she's a special kind of crazy at times.s

Rags's picture

So, don't call the police. Go to the police station and speak directly with a detective and set up your SS for a long stay in Prison!!! Do it on the QT and keep your mouth shut about it. Never forget that loose lips sink ships.

Once he is incarcerated you can then work with the proper authorities to keep him there, get his child benefits, and do what you can to keep him out of the overall picture as thoroughly and for as long as possible.

No need to fight with your DW about it, no need to "call" the police causing direct drama in your marriage and the situation. Better to go the under the table route which will likely be much more effective.

You cant fix this tragic waste of procreation and you can't fix your wife's failed parenting. But you can deal with the problem and mitigate much of it.

Just my thoughts of course.

Shhhhhhhh!!! Be vewy, vewy qwuietttt!

Good luck and take care of you.

HoosierHalfDad's picture

"Setting him up", would involve setting me up, and my wife up, too.
SS goes to jail.
Wife completely falls apart.
I have to become her care giver, instead of her husband.
My wife would spend, at least, a year in bed, with the curtains closed, if her son went to prison, or died.
I am already well aware of how bad our quality of life would suffer, if either one of those things happened. No, our quality of life isn't great now, due to the SS, but I don't want to go down that road.
Thanks for your thoughts.

Rags's picture

Be careful about aiding and abetting SS's criminal activities. If you aren't getting him out of your home then you and your DW may be at risk for losing your home, etc... Confiscation of assets gained or used in drug sales is a thing.

Talk to an attorney to determine an effective path forward.

I get that your DW is fragile. But... she will be a whole lot more fragile if the two of you are homeless and prosecuted along with SS.

Good luck.

HoosierHalfDad's picture

New info:

Last night, Seth got a call from an old friend in Florida. He is moving there in 2 weeks. My wife will drive down with him (and, undoubtedly, hand him a wad of cash), and then fly back home.
I slept like a baby last night, for the first time in almost 2 years.
At this point, I don't care what he does, or where he goes. He will be gone, and that's what matters to me.
The only negative here, is the old rule: "A change of address, won't change the man at all".
He will still have the same bad habits: laziness, weed, selling weed, irresponsible living, etc...but, he won't be doing those things under MY ROOF. That's all that matters to me.
I am ecstatic!
The one major "downer", is that he has a 5 week old daughter. For a guy that whines that he "never had a father around", and blames his attitudes on that fact, he sure is just fine and dandy with repeating the cycle. A little girl will grow up without her father. That said, she will be better off without him. He's going to go down south, have no restraints, nobody bitching about his lifestyle, and he'll end up in trouble with the law, and end up locked up. His daughter should be kept FAR from him.
Thanks for all of the advice, and encouragement.
I'll be back to bitch, when his plans fall through, and he's still living with his mom and I, in 2 weeks!
Have a great day, all!

HoosierHalfDad's picture


Step son in jail on a no bail warrannt. He was picked up last night. I don't know if he had a bunch of drugs on him, or not. I am a work, and the wife got a hold of me.

HoosierHalfDad's picture


HoosierHalfDad's picture

Ispofacto --

Correct...not a shock at all. But, I didn't need you to sarcastically tell me that.
Unless you have something productive to add to the conversation, I'd just rather you move on, and try and brighten someone else's day.

mathfed's picture

OP, I've been in much the same place you are with my wife's youngest son. In my opinion, you are going to have to draw your line in the sand. I got to the point that I simply couldn't fathom living with my youngest SS's chaos anymore. He has many of the same traits your SS has. My wife has enabled him and rescued him from consequences most of his life. He also uses suicide threats to manipulate her into giving in to him. He dropped out of high school, uses drugs, gets violent, and is basically an all-around jackass. He's also 19.

What I started to realize, and I see the same thing in the way you describe your situation, is that my wife was giving her son all kinds of excuses for his behavior, and I was giving my wife all kinds of excuses for hers. My wife was enabling her son, and I was enabling my wife. I really needed my wife to take a tougher stance with her son, but I also needed to take a tougher stance with my wife. Things eventually got so bad with her son that I had no other choice. I told her that I do not want her son in the house, at all. After his latest tirade at me, I no longer want anything to do with him. I told my wife that if me parting ways with her son is a dealbreaker for her, then I want to know that sooner rather than later. If protecting myself and my kids from the situation her son creates in our home means that I have to leave our marriage, then that's what it means. I told her that I am supportive of her relationship with her son, but it needs to happen somewhere else. If those terms aren't acceptable to her, then we need to figure out how we're going to end things and move on. I wasn't kidding. I meant it, and was ready to leave.

My wife finally saw that light. I wasn't making her choose between me and her son. I was being forced to save myself and kids from being potential casualties of her son's behavior. She finally realized that her marriage was at risk, and I was very close to walking out the door. Things are better since then. Her son doesn't come in the house. My wife spends time with him somewhere else. I've completely disengaged from him, and don't get in the middle of their situation anymore. I told my wife that none of my paycheck is going to be used for her son's expenses. If that's what is expected to happen, then she'll have to cover those expenses herself.

I'd expect a full court press from your SS to get back into the house, and the same kind of pressure from your wife to rescue him again. You can't control their behavior, but you can control yours. If you've truly had enough of the chaos that your SS creates in your home, then you're going to have to step up and insist that it stop, even in that means removing yourself from the situation entirely.

I say this with utmost respect, but I think you're going to have to get your head into the space that leaving is a better solution than staying in the situation you're in. Be frank and honest with your wife about that. She may be so enmeshed with her son that losing you is a sacrifice she's willing to make. If that's the case, then you know where you stand and how your life will be if you stay with her. In my opinion, you're going to have to take a hard stance.

HoosierHalfDad's picture

I'm at work, but we've already began to have that conversation.
My SS's charges are domestic violence, and strangulation. They stem from an argument that became physical, with his, then, girlfriend, about 3 months ago. She spent the night (against my wishes) more nights than she didn't. I guess that's why the charge is domestic, vs assault.
The domestic violence comes with no bail, and the strangulation has a $5,000 bail. So, I don't have to worry about anything until he is taken to court and seen by a j
He was pulled over last night, while speeding...with a license plate from one of our vehicles, on his truck. The arresting officer called my wife and told her that the plate theft would likely be added.
The Strangulation charge is a D Felony, here in Indiana. If it sticks, I won't have to worry about seeing him for a short while. That's 1-5 years in prison. But, most likely, it'll be dropped to a simple assault charge, and he'll be placed on probation.
His mother is already talking about helping him "change"..."finally", and "for the good". I told her she's been insulating him from accountability for far too long, and that if she wants to rescue him this time, she'll do it on her own. I will not participate. Nor, will my wallet.
I'm actually thinking of contacting the prosecutor, and begging him to make sure that SS is locked up for, at least, a few months.
Who knows what will happen?
Thanks for your input. Have a great weekend.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Great male perspective from mathfed.

I agree with everything he said, especially about not enabling your spouse to enable her son.

Please take steps to protect your wallet. Your SS is going to need an attorney, and money for his commissary account, and Dog know what else. Don't let your wife use marital assets for any of this. You can open a new account for yourself, placing only the necessary household funds in the old, joint account.

I'm glad he's off the streets and out of your home. Enjoy the peace. Oh, and pack up his room while he's gone. Bye bye, jailbird.

Cara1128's picture are awesome to even imstall locks instead of kicking his punk ass out
Geez...your wife needs to understand she is enabling abuse by continually bailing him out

Sometimes the best way to support our spouse is to take control and not let go(you go to that judge and let he/she know about all u wrote here-yes he is a man and this will go to his character- he is asking for jail by his actions not by yours)

See a lawyer about your rights in regards to: where he lives, restraining order to bar him from your home(robbery as result of his activity), visitation rights with grandbaby for you and wife,

My little heart leapt with joy when I read he was going to disappointing that u still have to deal with this

Each situation is different as each marriage is different but this is my advice

markwvualum's picture

I say kick him out of the house and if your wife objects then you might consider divorce. Im being serious here. I know its not easy. 19 is an adult so your wife is no longer responsible for him legally or financially. If you kick him out he will be forced to get his life together and it will save your marriage. You are enabling him by allowing him to live there. I say kick him out and save your marriage.

Merry's picture

I hope your SS does get jail time. But sooner or later he will be released. The LAST thing he needs is to go back into the same environment of no rules, no consequences. I hope your wife can see that. He needs to start working on a housing strategy NOW so that he is released with a plan and doesn't just show up on your doorstep.

There is no way your wife can "help him change." He has to do it on his own, perhaps with the help of addiction or other counseling. But your wife needs to stay OUT of it. She might need help understanding how her role of rescuing him time and time again needs to stop.

thinkthrice's picture

At this point for DW to do anything; she has already failed as a parent during toddlerhood by coddling Seth,  no doubt.  As a woman and a single mother, I cannot understand for the life of me how it is beneficial to hobble a child into entitlement.  I was very strict with my children as a single mom and they have both grown into productive adults citizens that have never been in trouble with the law they are in their thirties now.  

However I see the exact same behavior in my SO's (Chef) ex-shrew, the Girhippo.  Unbelievably piss poor parenting and is raising a pack (3) of the most useless, trouble making snowflakes that I would be embarrassed to have my last name if I were a man.  

I don't know how her current husband can stand it-- he just sits by the wayside, forks out money and keeps silent to the domineering Girhippo.

 And frankly if I were a man, that would not be a desirable trait to me at all in a woman who has abdicated her parental responsibility and failed to train her own child.  

In my case I had no idea Chef was such a guilty Disney parent and it was disgusting and pathetic to me.  I lost boatloads of respect for him while watching him treat his kids like mini spouses.

The problem is not Seth, the problem is your wife. JMO

HoosierHalfDad's picture

3 years later, and nothing has changed. Seth is now on house arrest, until next December, and he's doing it in our home.

I receive zero respect, zero thanks, and it's now my fault. I've began backpacking funds for my eventual exit.

Wicked stepmo.'s picture

The only suggestion I have in a addition to the advice you have already gotten. Is to start taking your wife to ALANON meetings so she can be with other family members learning how to deal with thier loved ones addiction.