Published Mar 3, 2005
I am asking for help and advice regarding my 17 year old son. I work registry and deal with kids quite often in crisis, but failed to notice the one living under my roof. He is now 17 and last week end, while my husband, loving and supportive man that he is, and I were gone for the week end, leaving my son with his trusted uncle's, he stole my BMW and , while drunk, high on drugs and seeking cocaine, ran into a pole somewhere. Fortunately no one was harmed, however I am worried to distraction over this repeat behavior.
A little history.. I divorced a very abusive father when my son was 13. We all went thru professional family couselling and my son and I lived alone for a few years, me working day shift registry with trusted neighbors waking my son and taking him to school. In between I endured horrific continued physical and verbal abuse by my ex husband, including an attempted rape while my son was in his room, ex being in a drunken rage.
Despite the fact that my ex continues to call me horrific names, tell my son that I am a liar and want to have him "put away" I always felt we had a good relationship, having since remarried a wonderful, fair and supportive man who has been very good to both of us. "J" recently began behaving very reclusively, keeping to his room, declining grades despite hiring a tutor and our concern was voiced, this kid was very good at telling us all what he thought we wanted to hear.
My son returned with my damaged car on Saturday, had his father pick him up and take him to his apartment and refuses to let me speak with him on the phone, telling me, " This is all your fault for divorcing me and you are getting payback for marrying that home wrecker and this kid is going to know just what a piece of &hit you are!!!". He denies there is a drug problem, even tho my son confessed to using pot, coke, meth and drinking, feels like he can handle this with "a good swift kick in his ***!"
I picked my child up from school yesterday and took him to a drug treatment facility so he could be evaluated, he tested positive for several drugs, admitted he was out of control and needed help. They feel intensive out patient psychotherapy would be best for him, he also was felt to have suffered from some type of sexual abuse although reluctant to describe. My son has informed me that he wishes to live with his father and his grlfriend for now but is willing to continue with therapy. My problem, my friends, is this...
How can I continue to stay strong, fight for my child, provide for him the help he needs when every step forward is followed by a phone call from his Dad berating me for taking him out of school for treatment and evaluation? How do I help my son overcome this man's constant diatribe of unthruths that he seems to be subjected to on a daily basis? I have tossed the kids room and found horrific hate notes directed towards me, my husband, that seem to parrot the verbal vomit that comes from his father. The dads girlfriend is helpful to a point but say's she is on the verge of leaving due to the verbal abuse and drinking. I have an MD appointment for my son tomorrow, and an appointment with his psychologist starting on Tuesday. We tossed the room and found several knives, razor blades, an air gun and some very hatefull letters. I am afraid of my own kid, and need some advice. I know this is off topic but I think the worst feeling I have, not including the anguish and heartache, is, I am a nurse and did not see the signs of a child in trouble.
Thank you for listening and for always being there for me...
I am so sorry. I don't feel qualified to offer any advice. Just offering my support.
If you are a person who believes in prayer, now is the time to do it. Prayer can
get into places were nothing else can get into, like the human heart and mind.
It can be sharper than a two-edged sword.
The only advice I can offer is please don't blame yourself it is not going to help you or your son, and please consider counseling for yourself as you have alot to deal with just now and having someone who you can talk to openly about all of this will help.
Tweety, BSN, RN
This man is an unfit father due to his drinking and abuse. You should petition the courts for him to loose custody and not allow your son to stay with him, despite what your son wants, and despite that this will make your son angry. It will be tough because your husband will claim under your care he became a drug addict.
Bad situation and I'm very sorry you're going through this. Don't forget yourself. If you need counseling be sure to seek advice. Good luck.
Spidey's mom, ADN, BSN, RN
This man is an unfit father due to his drinking and abuse. You should petition the courts for him to loose custody and not allow your son to stay with him, despite what your son wants, and despite that this will make your son angry. It will be tough because your husband will claim under your care he became a drug addict. Bad situation and I'm very sorry you're going through this. Don't forget yourself. If you need counseling be sure to seek advice. Good luck.
I was wondering about that too . . how did he even get visitation rights?
You probably need a lawyer. And to call ToughLove, an organization that helps parents in situations like yours. Also keep following up with his counseling . . make sure his counselor knows about what you found in his room.
My heart goes out to you. I'm so very sorry this is happening to you and your son.
I know this is off topic but I think the worst feeling I have, not including the anguish and heartache, is, I am a nurse and did not see the signs of a child in trouble.Thank you for listening and for always being there for me...
Hey - I hear you!! Been there done that...
I think the number one thing you need to do is put the focus on you - what do YOU need! Here you have had the toxic effect of your ex husband, and now your son, their chemical use. Did you also grow up with that? Counseling would help you know what to say and what not to say, and keep yourself intact (if you don't, you won't be of help to your son when he's ready, right?)
Need to check out some sites on the internet regarding the family disease of alcoholism, yes, you have a form of it too - just without the smell
The good news is that your son sees he has gone overboard - despite the undermining of your ex, he may seek help for himself anyway!
There is another thread for "Alcoholic Family Members" at:
barefootlady, ADN, RN
I am so sorry you are having this problem. I have said a prayer for you and your son. That said, I agree that emergency intervention is needed. The son sounds like he needs a few days in-treatment. It is wonderful he admits to being out of control, but did he admit it because of the blood tests and evidence from car wreck? Sexual abuse? Really need some deep therapy for that. You need to tell the ex husband if he won't shut up and be part of the solution to get help for this boy, then he needs to butt out. Under no circumstances does he need to live with this father, nor in his girl-friends home.
You need to seek some help and support from professional sources. I really hope things improve soon but it seems like these things run a certain course.
Please keep us posted. God is there to help if you ask.
renerian, BSN, RN
I read your story and cried. I am not alone now in what I face and have been facing for several years. I have a dtr who did similiar things you described about your son except my dtr went a bit farther than your son did. I let her go to her dads because at that point in time my dtr was a bit older/not much and once a person gets to a certain age the only thing you can do to stop them is to tie them down. I did not want to relent but I did. I can say for my dtr and I, it has worked out. My dtr hated it there, and all the great things and feelings she had for me and her dad, totally changed once she saw the real dad in action.
I also have three stepkids. Two don't like me at all. They are angry at their mother and vent all of that towards me. I have to say I have experienced all you listed from two of them at any given point in time, on a regular basis, sometimes daily. I am still afraid of one of them to the point I have a letter in a safe deposit box and that same letter was given to my older sister and brother should I turn up dead or missing. There is not much worse than living in fear in your own home. We put a lock on my door and for times like this week when hubby is out of town, I put a chair pushed up to my locked door at night. I have a make shift weapon/clobber only by the underside of my bed.
I do think your child needs therapy and fast. I also know if you feel your son loves you on some deep level, unless your ex over rides the therapy I think he will come back to love and know you but I also know the gap in time until that happens once he enters therapy, may be long. In my case, the gap was 4 years. At first I cried every day. Every day for over 2 years. Then it got easier. My dtr is doing better now, is in weekly therapy (not cheap and not covered by insurance), goes to several times a week AA, PO appointments-huge rigamarole for 3 years.
I do have concerns about any implications of sexual abuse. I do wonder if your ex is planting a seed of some nature. That I would investigate.
I guess the jist I am trying to say if you love them, sometimes you have to let them go, in order for them to come back. He is old enough where if he wants to go he will do it. I know many here may give me heat on this like it is akin to giving up but in reality it is reading the serenity prayer every day and realizing there are battles we win as parents and battles we don't, BUT having said that realize you did your best, so it sounds, to raise your child but sometimes a child does not go down the path we want. Kids take off in wrong directions sometimes and all we can do is keep them inbetween some fantasty borders.
I hope I have helped you some. I know I was wordy but I feel for you. I have 5 kids/2 mine/3 step and I would not wish what I am going through with my dtr on my worst enemy or what I live with daily related to my stepkids.
((((Haunted))))) my prayers are with you. If you feel that your son is a danger to himmself or others, you can have him involuntarily admitted for an extended eval. it sounds like he is scared himself, as well. Call his counselor before his appointment and let them know exactly what is going on, what you found in his room, the threats from your ex, etc. The counselor can reccommend inpatient treatment, and that s what it seems like your son needs. YOu should also seek some help for dealing with this..and stop feeling guilty ...you dont have xray vision to see inside your sons head, and at 17 they can be very manipulative and seem like they are giving you all the right answers, after all, he probably learned from his dad! Best of luck to you, keep us posted.Mary
I agree with the other posts, it's time to seek out counseling and family court protection. I had to get a restraining order because my ex threatened to come into work and kill me. That was the final straw! He got the hint that I was not kidding! We also went to court for set days and times. Have the judge order a drug & alcohol test for your ex. You sound like a loving and caring mother, try to open the lines of communication with your son . My teenage daughter would always confide in my mother and then the three of us would talk. I wish you the best of luck! my thoughts & prayers are with you to heal your heart and your family. Just know your not alone .
I watched my family go through this with my cousin. They tried counseling and it didn't work. they finally found a counselor that specialized in kids like her. his advice was to let her hit rock bottom. that meant letting her get arrested, spending a couple days in jail. finally she had hit rock bottom, I think being left in jail is what did it. she agreed to therapy and with time she is on the road to recovery. it was hard for my aunt and uncle to watch her spiral out of control but they realized she was never going to get better until she wanted too. That being said, i would get a lawyer about your son living with his father. he sounds way beyound unfit. I hope things will work out for you and your family.
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