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What to do when 20 yr old stepson wants to destroy the marriage

My stepson has made it his goal to convince his father that I am the wicked stepmom like in the Disney films. We have always gotten along (he chose to live with us his last 3 years of high school) until this last year. He moved out and lives with friends. We also have four other children (blended family 2/3 his/mine). We have given each of our children the same amount of money per month to help with college/living expenses for four years total time per child. We also help with dr copays and car repairs. My stepson feels he is entitled to more ...extra money whenever he needs it. He has a drug problem and recently he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He refuses to get help and the few times he did go to the dr he lied and didn't tell them the truth. He has sent his father horrible texts and email calling him names, hanging up on him, ruining family parties, etc. Lately he has turned his anger on me calling me names, blaming me for everything, violating my privacy and now he has told his dad he must choose between me or him. My husband and I know this kids in trouble but with him refusing to get help (and his mom is in denial as well) I fear for my marriage. Any advise on boundaries, or dealing with drug addition and mental illness is very welcomed.

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Asked by Anonymous at 6:39 AM on Feb. 14, 2011 in Adult Children (18+)

Answers (15)
  • I am so sorry. work together with your husband. Always remember that he is sick. He has a disease. His mind is not working right and you and your husband know this. Hopefully, you are able to help him want to get help. Do not give up on him. He does not want to be sick, he does not know how to stop it or he is not strong enough yet.

    Answer by tootoobusy at 6:43 AM on Feb. 14, 2011

  • Your DH has to realize that this is his son's drug problem talking. I would calmly tell my DH that his son's rage and dangerous behavior has to do with his drug addiction. I would then stay out of it as much as possible, let your DH communicate with his son. I would join a support group for families with loved ones addicted to drugs, a google search will turn up several. Even if your DH doesn't join the support group with you, there will be valuable information from others and it will show that you have no ill will towards your step-son. Good luck!


    Answer by RyansMom001 at 6:45 AM on Feb. 14, 2011

  • The problem isn't with your SS, it's with your DH. If your SS sees the effect he is able to have on your marriage, he's going to use it. You and your DH need to establish boundaries, and present a united front to your SS. Tough love may be in order - tell him no financial assistance until he gets his drug abuse/bipolar treated. He has no business calling you names, and your DH shouldn't be tolerating it. It isn't choosing between a wife and a son, its protecting his wife from someone who is hateful to her. Best of luck. On the best days being a stepmother can be trying. (SM here too!)

    Answer by Scuba at 6:57 AM on Feb. 14, 2011

  • ryan's mom gave great advice. stay away from your ss as much as possible. be as supportive as you can towards your dh - remember that he must be in terrible emotional pain because of this. just remember to never take anything personally - as pp said, it's just the drugs talking.
    make sure you and dh have plenty of YOU time together - go on trips, buy new underwears and turn off the phones, get a new hobby or start a new tradition. foster your marriage because you're in for some rough times ahead. hugs

    Answer by AngryBob at 7:03 AM on Feb. 14, 2011

  • quit giving to him. he is an adult now. if he is going to treat you this way then there is no way he would benefit from my pocket book. The most i would do is help him to see a counselor. Of course you should be there for him to encourage him and talk to him..but no way in hell would i give him money for anything else.

    Answer by shay1130 at 8:03 AM on Feb. 14, 2011

  • You need to be firm with him. Present a united front, both you and you husband together, and if your kids are over 18, involve them too. Have an intervention, like on the Dr. Phil show. Each of you write a letter telling him how his words hurt them. They may not be directed at your husband, but I'm sure they are killing him, too, as well as your kids. Tell him he will not be welcome in your lives unless he gets help. No more money, no more shelter, nothing. You will not see him under any circumstances until he gets his drug problem under control and seeks medical help for his mental issues. It will be very hard for you, but it is the only option for a young adult like this. My brother-in-law had bipolar disorder and is schizophrenic. He was abusive to my sister until she left him with their three kids, and this was the only thing that helped us.

    Answer by Robbiesmommy83 at 8:35 AM on Feb. 14, 2011

  • have you maybe tried talking to him with your husband by your side...maybe each telling him also how this is hurting you and how he is hurting himself. Basically speaking about what is going on now and what will happen if he continues..something like that

    Answer by Cegenetra at 9:45 AM on Feb. 14, 2011

  • I would stop giving him money. He is using it for drugs. Try to get him in rehab. If he is bipolar then he needs to see a doctor. He has to want help.  You and your husband have to stand as one. Good luck.


    Answer by HomeAlone45 at 10:05 AM on Feb. 14, 2011

  • My oldest son is going to be 19 in May and has Bipolar disorder and also self medicates and gets into trouble ALL THE TIME. We have 5 kids (also blended family) and the kids all get the same amount of $ and help and thats that. My son has tried VERY hard to destroy our marriage as well because he sees my husband as a threat and blames him for not getting more $ and thinks if he wasnt around I would do more for him. My best advice is to cut him off. That is what I did with my son. I completely cut him off and told him he was not getting ANY MONEY from us anymore. If he needed something like clothes, shoes, etc I would get them for him but no cash never ever again.
    My son claims he hates me. Thats fine with me. Until he gets help though it is what it is. You have to put your foot down at some point to get their attention,

    Answer by gemgem at 10:12 AM on Feb. 14, 2011

  • I think it's more than bipolar plaguing your stepson. I deal with bipolar myself, as well as depression that can get pretty severe at times. I have lashed out at people before (though never my parents) because I couldn't control my temper/what I was saying. I firmly believe, though, that you won't accept help for mental illness like depression and bipolar (and yes, those are mental illnesses) or for addictions, especially when the help is forced on you. I believe that you have to realize yourself that it's a problem before you can accept help. I don't really have any constructive advice, since I'm not much older than your stepson and I haven't found ways to deal with my illnesses myself... I just wanted to say that.

    Answer by AdensMama0308 at 5:59 PM on Feb. 14, 2011

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