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Step Son being lead down wrong path

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Old 13th March 2019, 12:31 PM   #1
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Step Son being lead down wrong path

Hello. New to the forum, here, but need help with my step son.

A little background. I have been with my husband since 2005. He had shared custody of his 6 year old daughter and 8 year old son when we met The kids spent 4 days at bio-moms and 4 days at dads and back around again. It was difficult.

My husband, my step daughter and I can be quite loud and animated. My step son has always been more introverted.

Fast forward to now. Step son is 22 and has been with his first "real" gf for almost 1 1/2 years, We have seen very little of her and haven't seen her at all since Oct. 2018. GF just turned 20.

Problem #1: GF doesn't like us. Say's we're too loud and we stress her out. She refuses to come to our house. But, she very much likes bio-mom who supplies her with alcohol (I will not) . 44 year old bio-mom and 20 year old gf are drinking buddies. GF is "clinically" depressed and on anti-depressants.

Problem #2: Step son just got his associates in Criminal Justice and wants to be a beat cop. This has been his goal since before meeting gf. Since being with gf he breaks the law by buying under aged gf and friends alcohol. He drives with open containers in his car. He was denied entrance to the police academy because he pissed dirty for weed (he has not admitted that to us. We found out). He is now in therapy at the request of gf and feels he was abused as a child. He say that he is miserable and we are an abnormal family. He came over the other night and read us a 4 page dissertation about how horrible we all are. He even took the time to throw his sister under the bus. (btw, bio-mom doesn't care about any of this) Sister is wondering what brothers problem is as she grew up in the same two homes and states that there was never any abuse except possibly at bio moms who liked to throw things at people when she was angry.

Question: Has anyone here been through this? What do we do? How do we help him see that he is in a dysfunctional relationship without pushing him closer to this girl. I am afraid he has found himself a manipulative psycho and I can't do anything to help him. Help!
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Old 13th March 2019, 12:50 PM   #2
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Don't think there's any psychos here, just clash of personalities. Sounds like you guys are loud brash or whatever and so guessing some people gravitate to you and some don't.

Your son and his gf are just young and they're both at that age to pull away from parents and be rebellious and reactive and question anything and everything. She may or may not be a bad influence on him, but for sure it's not one way since he's buying her liquor. Not that this is at all unusual. Fact is teens and underaged find a way to drink, probably been doing it for years.

He's making mistakes if he wants to get into police academy, that's for sure, and he's going to have to stop any drugs and not get in trouble if he wants in. Departments are so desperate for people now due to the animus against police that they'll probably give him another shot, but he'll always be drug tested, so maybe he just can't do that until he gets partying out of his system. He's still really young and can't be expected to not make mistakes. You know, people brains, the amygdala, the part that can predict consequences, is not even fully formed until their mid-20s, so that's why so many mistakes and wrong steps when younger.

I wouldn't worry too much about him, though. He has to learn for himself. I think the fact he is at least focused on trying for being in law enforcement means he has a real plan and is maybe a step ahead of others his age in that regard, whether he stays on that path or not.

All you can do is keep things from being antagonistic between you and the bios and not voice that because all that does is set up a competition dynamic and make people have to choose sides. Stay neutral. Don't bad-mouth them. He is more likely to fault the one who is bad-mouthing the other, so be smart about that. Set an example. If there's anything in particular you can do to make the gf feel more comfortable around you, do it, though likely whatever SHE thinks about you, it's because HE told her that.
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"The greatness of a nation & its moral progress can be judged by the way in its animals are treated." -Gandhi
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Old 13th March 2019, 12:55 PM   #3
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Hugs, Shan1965.

The only thing I would offer is for you and your husband to 'run' as fast as you can, and consult with properly trained and qualified professionals, family psychologists, etc.

Your situation is way too complex to want to rely on receiving comments, suggestions and advice from an online forum, no matter how knowledgeable and well-meaning its members may be.

Wishing you and your entire family all the best for positive outcomes, individually and as a group.
"Good or benign intentions do not provide a defence." ~ Tony Wong, Reporter
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Old 13th March 2019, 1:18 PM   #4
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Thank you

Thank you. I appreciate the feedback.

When my step son sat down with us we did not judge him We did not express anger. We told him that we love him and that he is always welcome as is gf. We told him that we would try to tone it down if she were to come over but that we could not change who we are.

I suggested that he seek a second opinion from another therapist and I even suggested that we go together. He said he would get back to me on that.

My husband and I have agreed to keep the ball in his court and just make sure that he knows that we love him. We totally bit our tongues and will continue to do so.

It is just so hard to do this, and I can't help but to hope his relationship with her ends. He never had a problem with us before this and the dynamic with bio-mom was quite the opposite before gf and bio-mom became drinking buddies.

The funny part of all of this is that after he pretty much bashed us and called us abnormal I brought up boundaries. I told him that I felt that he was trying to set up some boundaries with us and that I understood that. I continued to say that if he was to set up some boundaries that we needed to know what those boundaries were so that we could respect them. He agreed. I asked him to please tell us, then. He said he didn't know.

As we were saying our good byes I asked when would see him again. I was expecting a few weeks to a couple of months. His answer...Thursday for dinner at our house. Good grief.
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Old 13th March 2019, 1:24 PM   #5
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Maybe he was abused. Unless he and his sister spent every single minute of their lives together she’d have no way of knowing if he were.

She shouldn’t be diminishing his experience by saying it couldn’t have happened to him because it never happened to her. Most predators wait until they have the child alone.

An adult needs to explain that to her.
a little messed up but we’re all alright
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Old 13th March 2019, 1:46 PM   #6
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I suppose anything is possible.

I know he was not abused by me, his father, or his sister. In fact, we don't believe in spanking and have never once laid a hand on the kids. Their mother, on the other hand, was down with with corporal punishment.

If he would like to tell us more about it we will certainly listen.

Also, his younger sister has been quite traumatized by her brothers behavior of late. They were quite close as children, but he suddenly doesn't remember that.

Last edited by Shan1965; 13th March 2019 at 1:51 PM..
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Old 13th March 2019, 2:21 PM   #7
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Maybe he’s forgotten about being close with her because she’s been vocal about diiminishing his experience.

I can’t say that I blame him.
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Old 13th March 2019, 3:11 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Shan1965 View Post
I am afraid he has found himself a manipulative psycho and I can't do anything to help him. Help!
Your fears are true. Since he's 22, your options are limited to keeping the lines of communication open and offering support and advice - when asked.

Anything else will be seen as meddlesome and only drive him further away. Many young adults go on an emotional "walkabout" from which they eventually return. You may find patience to be your best asset...

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Happiness is not a goal; it is a byproduct -

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Old 15th March 2019, 9:59 PM   #9
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Previous ideas of family therapy sound a good idea - if he will go with you.

It sounds complicated and, at his age, he's probably listening to his girlfriend rather than his family.

I would just be pleasant and supportive of his ambitions, try not to criticise his girlfriend in any way, and ride this out. Hopefully, he will start to realise his family are not all bad.

It sounds like his girlfriend is very introverted. Boisterous families would be difficult for someone like that. You should not have to change for her but bear in mind she might need to opt out more often than you are comfortable with because of introversion. I am an introvert: I frequently need a rest from people. I have a friend who is even more introverted than me. She regularly takes lunch breaks across in a remote park because she needs to get away from 'people'. Even introverts vary.

Regarding abuse, it could have happened with someone in or close to the family somewhere along the line. Next time he mentions it - if he does - you could ask him what abuse he is referring to. Then, keep quiet, however provoked you might feel. You never know what he is going to say, but let him say it and then let him think about it afterwards. You might learn something, he might learn something.

It is difficult when young people criticise their families when you feel you have (and still are) doing your best for them. Try and let the hurt wash over you and remember young people are still maturing. Some mature earlier than others.
"You ain't a beauty but hey, you're alright" ('Thunder Road', Bruce Springsteen)

Last edited by spiderowl; 15th March 2019 at 10:01 PM..
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Old 16th March 2019, 2:29 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Shan1965 View Post
Is there a reason that you are attacking me and my step daughter and defending someone you know nothing about?
Why do you take issue that someone defended your stepson and gave him the benefit of the doubt?

I think, based on the words you used, that you're not taking your stepson seriously enough. He came to you guys with his feelings and his own analysis of what has happened in his life. It must have been a big deal for him. But you flippantly called it "a 4 page dissertation about how horrible we all are."

It doesn't matter if you don't see it the same way or if you think his "psycho" girlfriend is the driving force behind this. These are his feelings right now, and I think you should try to respect that.

It seems as though you handled it well when he told you all this, but here, you come across as though you think he's wrong, and that his girlfriend is directing him to make this all up.

It's easy to blame the girlfriend, but don't. Forget the girlfriend. She's not really relevant to the issues that he's brought up. She's not to blame for his actions and behavior. He's an adult. He makes his own decisions and his own mistakes. Hold him accountable for those mistakes - they are no one else's fault.

For example, you seem to imply that she's to blame when your adult son is the one buying alcohol for her and her underage friends. It's her fault he smokes weed and drives with open containers and is ruining his chances to become a cop. She's a convenient person to blame, but again, it's not all her fault. Forget about her.
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Old 16th March 2019, 2:45 AM   #11
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I'm really confused about your comments about the girlfriend. You say you suspect her of being a 'manipulative psycho' and that their relationship is dysfunctional. However, from what you list as being issues with her, it's nothing more than her finding your family too loud and the fact that she'll share a few drinks with your step son's birth mom. These issues certainly don't justify such harsh feelings towards her, so I'm wondering what is happening in his relationship to make you so upset with her.

I'm just worried that if you're upset with her for no good reason, that your son may be justified in some of his feelings towards you. Hopefully I'm wrong.
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Old 16th March 2019, 9:03 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Shan1965 View Post
How do we help him see that he is in a dysfunctional relationship without pushing him closer to this girl. I am afraid he has found himself a manipulative psycho and I can't do anything to help him. Help!
For starters, you can STOP blaming everyone else for HIS **** behavior.

No one 'made' your stepson smoke pot and test dirty. No one 'made' your stepson buy alcohol illegally. He's a big boy making his own choices and he's made them and not surprisingly, his foolish choices have slammed doors in his face.

He lacks the passion and ambition he needs to do the right thing in order to get his life on track. It's not his girlfriend, it's his lack of passion and ambition. And now, he's got a therapist feeding him even more excuses for why he can't get his act together - and as usual, it's everyone ELSE'S fault.

Like your stepson, my nephew took Criminal Justice in college because he's always wanted to be a cop. He enlisted in the Army to pay for college and worked in the 911 Call Center. When a police position became available, he jumped on it. He got hired and had to report to the police academy for training. He told me a lot of the guys at the academy were always looking to party and go out and have fun and goof off, but he wanted NONE of that - he hadn't worked that hard for that long just to blow it at that stage.

That's passion and dedication.

Your step-son lacks it. For whatever reason. Sometimes it's plain old laziness.

He's old enough to accept the blame for his own failures and short-comings without everyone trying so hard to find anything else on earth to blame it on.
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Old 18th March 2019, 5:50 PM   #13
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This^^^100%....coddling your step son/ handling him and his GF with kidgloves only enables the irresponsible behavior. Damn it you are his parents, now act like it. Tell him straight your concerns, and what you see is happening....he needs direction from you. If he doesn't like it, then tough crap. He needs to be told, he needs to grown the f up.

You are a fool if you believe that having each others passwords = trust.

Last edited by Moderator; 19th March 2019 at 7:27 AM.. Reason: quote removed
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