I'm so depressed and my heart is breaking.

Sherri - posted on 05/27/2010 ( 20 moms have responded )

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Sitting on my couch in the dark with my laptop, listening to the thunder and wondering why the weather is so closely resembling my mood.



A little backround:



I've been with my husband for 5 years, married for almost 2 years. My SS is 13 and lives with us full time. since I met my husband, this kid has been a problem child. He is a compulive liar, he steals, he's in danger of failing the school year and he's so disrespectful it would make you sick to see and hear. Very little is expected of him, but he whines about how hard he has it. He takes NO responsibility for anything. As an example, he freaked yesterday about how we "locked him out of the house ALL afternoon. What would one expect when they forget their house key??????



We've tried everything we know how to do. We've grounded him, we've tried rewarding the good behaviour. We've taken everything out of his room when he stole $45.00 from my husband and forged a cheque at the age of 10. He's in counselling, just finishing temper taming and I bent over backwards to make sure that he had as much visitation with his mother as possible and go above and beyond on a regular basis.... his deadbeat mother doesn't even attend temper taming or cadets or ANYTHING for that matter.



For my SS's birthday, my husband and I got tickets for a baseball game... even got an extra one so that he could bring a friend. Last week, he was busted for stealing AGAIN. We told him that if he stole from us again, he was going to loose the tickets. The worst part is that it's not like we're pushovers.... we always stick to our guns. I don't know why he was so shocked and shaken last night when we kept good to our word and why were shared the privilege of the attitude and disrespect because he stole money straight out of our room.



I don't understand why he's acting like this... he has a paper route, so he's not hard up for cash. We don't allow him to sucker us into his drama, temper tantrus or excuses. He gets lunch snacks and treats, he just simply has to ask for them. Instead of asking for it, he just takes what he wants and I fear that one day it will get much worse.



To top it all off, I've been dealing with my own stuff lately. I have a deadbeat parent myself that I cut ties with years ago and he's managed to with one nasty email, bring back off of these supressed emotions that I'm just starting to process.

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Heather - posted on 05/29/2010

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WOW!!!! Do we have the same stepson??? You have described my stepson to the T! My stepson is 14, just failed 8th grade, stole 1100.00 from us,is soooo disrespectful its unbelievable, I'm calld a b*tch on a regular basis. I try doing something but he's 5'11" and 215 lbs and I'm 5'4" and 150 lbs and he's violent, he is going to court for theft of an ipod at school, his dad and I spoke up at his court hearing about how disrespectful he's been at home, and he was suspended 9 times from school since Jan. He turned around a week later and called dcfs on us in retaliation. I just don't know what to do with this kid anymore either. If you want to become friends maybe we can atleast offer eachother support since we have similar situations. Hope things get better for you! Good luck!

Heidi - posted on 05/28/2010

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Oh Sherri I am so sorry to hear what you are going through. Tough situation to say the least. I know he is pushing your buttons and doing things he shouldn't be, but I think its great that you and your husband are sticking to your guns. In time your SS will realize what you guys are doing is out of love and not hate. Its not fair that his BM is giving him everything and anything a child could ever want. If he lived there full time would it still be that way, or would things be different? All I can say is love him, and hopefully in time he will love you both back. He is a teenager now and is acting out. I have a stepson that is now 19, but I came into in his life when he was 10. I didn't have to go through what you are going through though. I know my SS was not an angel, but he never disrespected us or stole from us, so I can't say I know what you are goin through. I can only imagine.

You did mention that you are dealing with your own issues? Are you at least getting help with that? Don't just pack it in and head for divorce. You married your husband because you love him and want to spend the rest of your life with him right?! Its for better or worse, and by the sounds of it, it can't get any worse. It should get better.

Taryn has a good idea with Military school, but I know there is a "Boot Camp" for kids ages 12 to 16 not to far from you. You should maybe look into that. It is a week to week type of camp that runs all summer long. Just a thought.

I truly do hope things get better for you and your SS can turn his life around for the better before its to late. I will keep my fingers crossed for you.

[deleted account]

I think that's an excellent idea- might give him a wake up call. But like Tarynne I agree you might have to stand over him and make sure he DOES pay the bills since he's apt to steal it otherwise. Just say when he''s doing the bills "Ok this is what we have and this is what we have to pay for- you tell me how it should be done" so that he still gets the lesson but you are still in control of the actual cash.

Tarynne - posted on 05/27/2010

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as long as you keep an eye on him with the money business then go for it. tell him you wanna do role reversals. He be the parent and you just go fucking nuts - parden my language. Act like him or worse and see if he likes it. It might work you never know. Or if push comes to shove send him to live with his mother for a couple weeks. Only thing is, will it makes things worse for him like getting into drugs or what not or will he finally see that what you are doing is outta love?

[deleted account]

I think Tarynne's advice is awesome.
The only other advice is I have is this: You say you dont let him see you cry or get angry- maybe you should. It's what our therapist advised- kids need to see that we are human too and can get sad and hurt and upset. Plus he may be doing it all to SEE if you will get upset. I dont often let my SS's see my negative emotions but if they make me sad or piss me off I dont hide it from them.

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Lori - posted on 06/07/2010

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Look up Reactive Attachment Disorder. I have a SD and a Nephew that I have custody of, and they both have it... Sounds like you're dealing with the same things... And it ISN'T easy! But understanding it and getting help will make it much easier to deal with it!!!!!

Carol - posted on 06/07/2010

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First I will say growing up I didn't have a good childhood. Kind of bad but, I have learned to put that behind me. Thats where that belongs. It is over and done with and the only way that can hurt is if I let it. By saying why??? It really doesn't mater why because it happened and saying why, doesn't help. Say screw it. Maybe get cousiling for yourself, move on and leave your childhood crap behind you. As for your ss I have been looking on line for a summer school for kids with problems. I have found a few. Just type in troubled teens in your search and check them out some of them seem like good programs. They are expensive but if you check and talk to them some have areas where you can get financal help. There is a # that I got. I didn't call it as of yet so I can't say if it will help. I just got it in an E-Mail after inquiring about a few myself Call your Help My Teen representative Today at and than the #. If you would like the Number E-Mail me and I will give it to you. It sounds like you are at the end of your rope so you need to do something. I don't know if these programs will help you but it may be worth looking into. At the very least maybe give you time to deal with things and see where to go from here.
Well Good Luck

Sherri - posted on 06/04/2010

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Kristi,



Don't get me wrong, I am ALL for prescribing medication where it is needed. This kid jus thas an overwhelming sense of entitlement. When he was threatened with having his entire birthday cancelled, he was fully behaved-even offering to help with EXTRA chores. Right before Christmas.... an angel. He KNOWS how to behave and be respectfull and has proven it with his behaviour. The problem is that he only exhibits the positive behaviour if he sees an overwhelming pay off for it. For his birthday he was behaved, for the baseball tickets he didn't care.



I've been very overwhelmed with everything going on right now-including his behaviour, a new job, my parents are most likely getting divorced and I'm kicking my little brother out of my house for the same (but not as extreme) behaviour as my SS has). And to answer the question that I'm sure some of you will ask is NO. My SS did not learn his behaviour from my brother. My brother has been with us for a year and is only lazy and disrespectful and we keep any conversations with my brother behind closed doors so that my SS doens't think that he has a built in excuse. He basically manipulated my husband and I that he wanted to move in with us because there's more opportunity for school and a future in our town and has accomplished NOTHING.



Anywho, with all of this going on, the last few days since I broke down and has a full on anxiety attack, he's been a lot better, but it never lasts. We have some FUN surprises in store for this kid this weekend. Leason teachers aren't usually fun for kids so I anticipate a huge blow up.

Kristi - posted on 06/04/2010

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Try a psychiatrist...they can prescribe meds for him that will go in line with the counseling....

Sherri - posted on 05/30/2010

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Katina,



Thanks for your encouraging email. My husband and I went out today to see the Toronto Blue Jays wipe the turf with the Baltimore Orioles and we had a pretty good time. I feel a little happier and a little more energized to face the week ahead (other than the wicked sun stroke of course).



I know very well (coming from a much worse childhood) that my step son to a certain degree feels alone, abandoned, neglect, unloved, unimportant and unworthy of his mothers love... and it absolutely breaks my heart. Knowing what that feels like first hand and watching him constantly hurt is the hardest thing I've ever had to do. Unfortunately, I also know first hand that there's nothing anyone can do for him. He has to decide for himself that he IS worthy of all of those things. He has to decide if he's going to continue to put himself out there in a toxic relationship. All we can really do is be there for him, empathize and be understanding parents. Unfortunately for him, one thing that no one is automatically entitled to or worthy of is respect and trust. Those are things that have to be earned and accounted for.



I'm finding it difficult to be there for him and be supportive when he's choosing to manifest his issues into theft, compulsive lying and disrespect. When he's choosing behaviour like that, I want to build up walls because I keep getting hurt by him. I'm finding less and less of a desire to take him anywhere or do anything for him when the thank you that I get is for him to turn around and disrespect my home, my husband and myself. I'm constantly anger and bitter and full of regret when I go out of my way to attend something that's important to him or do something with him for him to turn around and ignore everything that's important to my husband and I. I realize that children by nature have an overactive id and they're first priority isn't to put others first, but the stealing or having a temper tantrum screaming in our faces because we caught him stealing is just plain ridiculous.



After we busted him stealing this week, my husband and I saw no choice other than to do something drastic and we refused to go to his big end of the year cadets bash. I fet horriable for doing it and wish that I could have brought mysefl to go and get that feeling of being a proud parent back, but I was so upset and angry that I just couldn't. I spent all Friday night and yesterday laying on the couch in my PJ's watching tv. I also haven't spoken to him since Wednesday night (in all fairness, he's been at his mothers since Friday and not due back for an hour). I have no intention of uttering so much as a word to him until he at least apologizes.... I THINK that's the right thing to do?



Anyone have any advice for me? I don't want to keep closing myself off to this kid because the last thing he needs is yet another person not unconditionally loving him. I do unconditionally love him no matter what he does, but because of my own warped history, I feel an overwhelming need to protect myself from more let down in my own life. Please help, I really need to get pasted this selfish need to self-protect... I think?

Katina - posted on 05/30/2010

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I too empathize with your situation. Raising step-children is hard whether they have obvious behavior issues or not. One thing I've slowly realized with my step-daughters, especially the younger one is she feels abandoned and unloved. She also has a problem with not being honest and being disrespectful. I'm not sure how the dishonesty and disrespect falls into feeling unloved, but maybe it's there way of expressing their sadness. The only piece of advice I can add to what others have said is to take care of yourself too. Make time to do something you enjoy every week or even every day. Build your own happiness and self worth. Your SS will see you experiencing happiness and begin to learn that his behavior doesn't have power over you. I'm not saying that he will all of a sudden stop being disrespectful or start being honest, but it may teach him that he can create his own happiness when others have let him down. If you and your husband don't do this already, try having some couple only time where you can enjoy each other's company. This will not only strengthen your relationship, but also show your SS that you're not going anywhere. Hope this advice was helpful and thank you for sharing your story. Just keep in mind that you're not alone, and it won't be like this forever.

Sherri - posted on 05/28/2010

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Hey Heidi, send me a message. I can't find your freakin' email address. I think I lost it.

Sherri - posted on 05/28/2010

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Yes, my husband spends one on one time with him.... not recently though. Not anyone's fault for that one but the hospitals. My husband had his appendix burst 2 and a half weeks ago, so the things they usually do like darts or playing catch haven't been in the cards.

Yes, Brendan knows about what's been going on with my sperm donor and so does my hubby. No, I'm not getting any help, but it's not anyones fault. My husband comes from a VERY nuclear family (I'm talking about an actual picket fence, a yellow lab, 3 sisters, no divorces in his family and his mom didn't work), so he has a really hard time trying to understand and empathize with my situation.

If Brendan didn't have a relationship with his mother, I think that there would be huge improvements. Unfortunately, that's not in the cards.

Tarynne - posted on 05/28/2010

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Does your husband spend any one on one time with your SS? that may be a factor too.

Sherri - posted on 05/27/2010

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He would LOVE to live with his mother..... no responsibility, no bedtime, no rules, video games galore (xbox, 360, wii, dsi, Ipod touch, laptop, etc)...... I think that with the lack of supervision he has there, he'd be on a quick road to drugs and booze. He'd end up a high school drop out and be on a dead end street to nowhere.



i think trading lives with him for a day MAY give him a least a SMALL appreciation for us (however short lived it may prove to be). Could be fun too,

Sherri - posted on 05/27/2010

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I've let him see the emotions before... he uses it against us and learns what buttons to push. Then any time we do something he doesn't like-example: make him clean his room or do his homework-he taps into the reserve of knowing EXACTLY what to do and say to hurt us.



Yes, I've saat him down with the therapist, just him and I AND ganging up on him with my husband to ask why he acts like that. His answer is right up the line with "because you annoyed me/pissed me off and I hit you back". We'll do something like not letting him play video games because he refused to do his homework and he'll retaliate by stealing from us. I really feel like I'm fighting a loosing battle here.



I've tried to balance the emotional support with holding him accountable for his actions, but the truth of the matter is that this kid lives in fantasy land... like accusing us of not caring about him and locking him out of the house because he forgot his key. He is the epitomy of "generation me". Nothing's ever his fault and there's zero accountibility.



I had a thought earlier that I'd LOVE some feedback on. Since he has it so "hard" and his life sucks..... what if I steal his childhood for a day? He wants to steal my money? I'll hand him my bills and the amount of money in the bank and make HIM try to budget it (we're short and at risk of having one thing or another cut off EVERY monthm so that might be a nice wake up call for him) He complains that he has to clean the "biggest room in the house" (living room).... well, maybe I should clean the living room and he can clean EVERYTHING else. I can give him a grocery list and make him put everything into the cart and make him unload it and try to pay for everything he has in his cart, take it out to the car, take it in the house and put it all away while he starts dinner..... etc.



Thoughts?

Tarynne - posted on 05/27/2010

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I am sorry to hear that about your husband. And I agree that something like that can definetly put a strain on your marriage. Do you think that your SS is trying to break up your marraige with your husband? I dont mean to offend you if I have, and I am not saying you treat him badly, since for what you are doing I agree to the end. Your trying to be strong and be the mother he doesnt have, and its hard I know.



And your right you shouldn't be told to get a divorce because that doesnt solve anything, and from the looks of it, it has nothing to do with You or your husband, just your SS. Have you personally tried sitting down with him and just flat out ask him why he acts this way? Let him know he can be honest with you and tell you straight up, without getting mad or hurt by him infront of him. you may not like the answer but it might even help in the long run.



Have you and your husband thought about a weekend just for the two of you? That might help the tension building within your relationship. Dont talk about your SS or the problems at home and just focus on the two of you. My husband and I least go for dinner once a month and sometimes a movie without the kids and it does wonders.



I hope I am helping in some way and not just being annoying. Just know your trying your best and be proud about that. You could be like some people and just walk away and let your husband deal with this himself. And the truth of the matter is there are very few women who can be with someone who has a child with someone else. Those women who are with guys that have kids are strong. It might not be working 100% but be proud of being a parent and not just this kids dads girlfriend.

Sherri - posted on 05/27/2010

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Tarynne,



It's more the constant chaos that has me wanting to run away from home from time to time. My husband and I don't have much of a relationship. If we're not discussing how to help my SS or how to curb his behaviour or what punishment comes next, then we're both on pins and needles waiting for the next ball to drop. We're always in chaos prevention mode.



Don't let me current condition be misleading. I don't put up with the behaviour. We follow through with punishments (hence taking away the baseball tickets) I don't let him see the depressed side of me and I don't let him see me cry. He currently has no privileges including TV, video games, IPOD (his mother sent it home with him) I've tried everything I can think of right down to refusing to drive him to Cadets (cadets seems to be the only thing that gets to him) and I told him that when he learns to respect and appreciate his father and I, then maybe we'd discuss the idea of him getting ANY favours from us.

Tarynne - posted on 05/27/2010

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Well first off, now that I know the whole story I understand alot more. In my opinion why not send him to a military school or something to toughen him up, take responsibility and lets him know what hes doing is not accepted. I may only have a 4 year old SS, but my brother pulled the same crap and he lived with my mother til the age of 24. She continues to allow my brother to walk all over her, even though she feels otherwise. This is something you and your husband needs to talk about, becuase you both may not like it but its not something to end your marriage over. Or if you would really consider it send him into a i cant remember what its called - my brother went to one when he was 14 - its a juvenile prison but its more like an all boys school. But of course its up to you, I just know i wouldnt have put up with the crap yur dealing with, and this is what I would do. But every parent is different. Good Luck

Sherri - posted on 05/27/2010

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OOPS-cat stepped on the post button....



I really don't know what to do. I'm in a downward spiral of depression trying to process my own childhood, I'm trying to help my SS process his feelings and emotions, but I find myself pulling away from him and don't know how to stop it. I find myself caring less and less about him because caring and having him continue to break his fathers heard and my own is KILLING me. My heart breaks that I can't spend the time with him, seeing him happy at the baseball game. I'm so hurt and sad and depressed, that I don't want to go to his big end of the year cadet event because I can't find it within myself to be proud of him with all of the other things he does to hurt me and my husband and let us down. Every time he does anything good, I try my absolute best to put on an act, but the truth is, I'm wondering in the back of my head what he's going to do to midigate anything good he's done, or how long it's going to take for him to metaphorically kick us in the face... we even took him to the drive in on Friday, Saturday he went to his mothers and didn't come home until Monday which is when he started his 3 days stealing spree.



I just want to have a happy, peacefull home. I want to love my SS unconditionally and want to be a proudstep parent. I want be there for him. I want to be able to do things with him and have him at least say thank you. I want to be able to play video games with him and spend time with him..... Please help me. I don't know what to do. This is going to end up ruining my marriage and my biggest fear is that I'll wake up one day and I won't care about my SS anymore because of the amount of anger, resentment and fear in my heart and in my head.



Any advice? OTHER than to run away from home and file for divorce?

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