I just joined this board am found this thread:
My boyfriend's 19 YO son is currently in a halfway house, having completed his second rehab. His dad kicked him out for refusing to take a drug test - he was using while "in college" and while home on breaks...wasted over $12,000 his dad paid for college tuition and board and incurred thousands of dollars for various visits to the ER and first rehab at age 17, etc. Now he is trying to convince his dad to let him return home, claiming he just can't find a job, will do so if he is allowed to come home, even though he also lost the car dad had provided due to driving under influence, etc. He even lost his new bike at college (sold for drugs?), so has no transportation. Dad doesn't live near public transportation, so not likely son will find job/be able to get to it if he does if he moves home.
The son has been getting financial help from my BF's mother, in spite of his request to let the son hit bottom. She is laying a guilt trip on my BF that the kid is HIS child and HIS responsibility. I disagree, due to his choice to do drugs, made a choice to refuse testing knowing that would result in being kicked out, and because he is 19 and asserts his age of majority in making his own decisions about most things. His past behavior includes stealing drugs from friends and relatives' medicine cabinets, stealing his dad's credit cards, stealing liquor (dad finally locked up the booze at my suggestion), etc.
I can see my BF is in agony over the situation, and fear that the son will be able to take advantage of his soft heart and talk his way back home, even though his dad has said that's not something he will allow. He has told his son that his way back home is to find work, and show initiative in becoming self-sufficient. He will reimburse him eventually if he gets back into college, etc.
I don't want to be accused of being controlling, but would like words to use to reinforce my BF's position and keep him from folding under the pressure. Also, any words that will help deal with the enabling grandmother? As long as the son is "comfy", having someone else pay the bills, I can't see him being motivated to enter the real world of working for a living. He has a huge sense of entitlement.
I don't like using ultimatums, but would it be advisable to let my BF know that if the son returns home, that he won't be seeing me around there much, if at all?
The son hasn't ever apologized to me for all the hurt and suffering he inflicted on me. No, I'm not a blood relative, but have suffered due to his addiction just the same. He manufactured conflicts to force his dad to choose him, his son, over having me around. Dad feels guilty over a divorce situation...
Thank you in advance for any help and support!
Last edited by mod-anon; 05-18-2010 at 12:27 PM.
Reason: starting a new thread with this post.
It sounds like you are your BF are in agreement. It is the grandmother who is the enabler not your BF. As long as your BF keeps towing the line and not let him back home then there is no reason for you to give an ultimatum. Wait until that happens. All you can do now is tell your BF that he is doing the right thing and not to let his mother take him on a guilt trip.
There is a book called Emotional Blackmail that I just read about how people use Fear, Obligation and Guilt (FOG) to make you do things that you don't want to do. It give very concrete advice on how to handle these situations and exactly what to say to people who are trying to send you on a guilt trip.
I'm in a similar situation with my 28 year old stepdaughter. She isn't on drugs but she is very manipulative and very much a free loader.
I know its difficult. One thing to consider is that this young adult will be in your life as long as you are with your boyfriend. So consider that before you get married. The way your boyfriend is handeling things now is how he will always handle things with his son.
Sorry I am no help, just wanted to point that out as I'm sure you've already considered that..
Last edited by River rocks; 05-21-2010 at 09:30 AM.
First of all, what you wrote......well, it's almost like you see your boyfriends son as the most horrible person in the world, and like if everybody would do things the way you want to, then the world would be a much better place. But this is his son. And until you have been there, you can have no idea how hard it is to make those kind of decisions about your child. I think he is torn between his son and his love for him vs. the right thing to do. And as far as an appology for you especially......well forget it, it's not going to happen. You are nothing more then a casualty of war so dont expect too much here. And the fact that you and your boyfriend arent even living together, well, it doesn't really give you a whole lot of ground to do much about anything. Really, at this point, it only affects you as far as you allow it to. The two of you haven't joined households, or finances, or anything really. Soooooooooooooo, tough choice on the ultimatum here.....son vs. girlfriend who I dont even live with. Which do you think he will chose?
In short, I really feel like this situation is not your business or place to try and change things. It's sad, definately, but this is your boyfriends child. And until your boyfriend asks you to marry him, or move in with him, your just the girlfriend. I dont think your wrong to hope he wont take his son back, but I think any action on your behalf other then admitting this is too much for you and walking away, or supporting him, is not going to be a good action.
I have not been in such a situation so my advise will probably be of little value.
I think the only way the son is going to get better is to lose all options but to get better. As long as he can take the easy road he will ... we all do, that's human nature. But I think your BF is saying and doing the right thing by telling his son the way to get home is by getting a job and staying lean.
I think the only thing you can do is let your BF know that he is doing the right thing by not letting him come home yet. And that he is not a bad father, it is not his fault and you support him 100% in his effort to help his son get better. You can help him set some realistic goals for his son ... that is if he wants your help to do that.
I think you also need to be sure in your mind that if the son does meet the goals and does come home, you are prepared to accept that. If you really do not want him near you no matter how well he recovers because he has hurt you, then I don't think you and your BF have a future together. If you will accept the recovered son onto your life with your BF, make sure your BF knows that ... if the son meets the goals tell him you will welcome him home at his side.
Your BF must be in turmoil inside and the last thing he needs is an ultimatum from you I think. He needs love and support. But at the end of the day he is only your BF. If he does take his son back and you totally disagree with that, you will have to choose to leave or stay. only you know how important your BF is in your life.
Thank you to all for taking the time to post a reply. It really does help to get other opinions and advice. I will try to find the book - sounds like it would be helpful (not for just this situation, but for life in general). I know that the father son bond cannot be broken. I don't want to even try to force that. I encourage his spending alone time with boys, because he was a father before he met me. I am just looking for helpful information from people that have experienced this situation to try and approach it with more wisdom. I really wanted to know if a few months was a sufficient time for an addict to make a substantial change, or if he is prone to just manipulating the situation to get back home into a comfy, supported lifestyle. Hard to say when you don't know any of the players, but in general from what I have read, it seems that long term behavior is a much better guage of whether or not he is serious about his recovery than short term.
My BF has plans to formalize our relationship this summer, with an anticipated wedding date of next May. We each own our own house, and in the current economy, that probably won't change immediately. We kind of migrate from one to the other currently (they are only 10 minutes apart).
I am a believer in free will and that you can't change anyone, you can only change the way you react to them. I don't have a problem with the son returning home if and when he demonstrates that he has left the drug abusing life behind him, but he is 19 going on 20 and adult children do need to begin life on their own at some point, right? I have been on my own since age 17. Granted, they generally won't enter their adult life at the same standard of living as their parent, but wanting to improve yourself and the way you live and the things you are able to do provide a great deal of motivation, in my opinion.
I still struggle with where help ends and enabling begins...I am beginning to formulate the idea that if is allowed to move back home and then fall off the efforts to work, etc., then that would be enabling. But again, how would he kick him out then? Anyone else done that that could tell me how it played out? I was thinking that perhaps he should be given one month's rent in an apartment and some money for food if that is the case. After that, he would be sink or swim. Advice on that idea?
I'd be grateful for hearing from anyone else that has opinions on this, including those of you that have taken the time to respond already. My BF always seeks my opinion and advice and tells me he values it. I like to speak from an educated position instead of shooting from the hip, which is why I came to this forum - for an education. I'm not offended by anyone telling it like it is. It helps me face reality. Take care everyone.
that's a tough situation.....where is this kids mother?
only use an ultimatum if you are truly really going to follow thru
His mother has remarried and doesn't want him to move in with her. They apparently have a history of not getting along well, and the son doesn't care for her new husband, either. May be a pattern there...
She apparently has decided that the son needs to do this on his own, or if anyone is to give further financial support that his dad is the only one that should bear the burden. Doesn't seem fair or right to me, but who said life is fair? BTW, BF's mother thinks the ex-wife is golden, and never asks her to step up to the plate or says anything about her having any responsibility to do so, choosing instead to inflict all the guilt on her own son. I can't see her ever changing, so why bother. I am just trying to help my BF not feel guilty over his decisions, even though his mother constantly tries to force him to do something else. I do not want to act like her. It is his son and his choice.
I won't give an ultimatum, but do believe in telling him my thoughts on the subject...i.e, that if the son is there and behaves as in the past, that I will probably not want to be around that much.
In answer to the question as to whether or not the BF's mother would open her home to her grandson, I have suggested that as an option to the son. As far as I know he wouldn't even consider it as an option, even though she has been financing his current living situation. I don't think the grandmother would have him either, as when his dad made the decision that he couldn't return home due to the drug situation, she immediately said she couldn't handle him at her house and hoped he didn't come there due to her age (70) and asked for advice as to what she should do should he come ringing her doorbell.
That's why it is so annoying that she renders all her unsolicitated advice that it is his dad's responsibility to take him back in and support him. For added guilt, she has thrown in comments about losing her middle son to suicide. I have a feeling that she somehow thinks (consciously or subconsciously) that if she can rescue this grandson, that it will somehow fill in the void for her own lost son. Sounds plausible?
I know we all have numerous motivations for how we behave, but laying a guilt trip on someone else because of your own feelings is out of bounds in my opinion.
I dont know if peoples motives go that deep all the time. I think she just loves her grandson, wants it to work, just not in her house. Kinda like everyone else here. I'm neither trying to criticise or praise anyones efforts here. I think this is a very hard decision for everyone to make. But at the end of the day, I agree that this boy should probably not be able to come home. The thing is, he CAN get a job without living at home, he can gain financial security. He may start off in a dump, and saving every dime he can while he buys a bus pass to take him to and fro....but we all start somewhere in life. I do however understand how your boyfriend, as well as hiis mother feel. It's really hard to watch somebody who you love with all of your heart go through such a hard time. And the whole, "even if it is their own doing" argument has never held much weight with me. I say it's hard ESPECIALLY if it is the childs own doing, because you know how much easier it could have been. I still think, all you can do is either hang in there, support, but be honest with your opinions.....Or acknowledge that it may be more then you can handle. If you go into this half ok, half not.....your just going to complicate it more. YOU have to also know exactly where you stand, and know, that completely ousting this child, young adult, whatever you want to call him, as well as harboring anomosity toward your boyfriends mother, is not a very good way to start things out and is the beginning of a perfect equation for HUGE DISASTER.