Adult stepsons still spoonfed by Mom

slippery_biscuitApril 18, 2011

I found this site yesterday... I am pretty much drawing a blank on what to do. I could write a short story but will keep it brief and fill in spots if anyone is interested. I met my wife over ten years ago. She has four grown kids, two girls and two boys. The older daughter is a very self-seving person, acknowledged even by her mother. She is pretty much out of sight-out of mind. The other daughter and I get along super. She has since had two of her own daughters and they love me. The first word her oldest spoke was my name! The oldest son was in jail when I met my wife... some sort of alchohol issue. The youngest son was working at Costco. None lived at home. The oldest son has been in and out of jail since. Has not held a job for more than a few months. Been in 3-4 (at least) rehab programs. Never has completed court ordered follow-up treatment. By the end of 2009 son #2 had lost his job, car and condo to his drug habit, and spent 6 mo. in AZ drying out. Mom has always put up money, bought furniture, cosigned loans and leases with these two. By now this is our money, not just hers she is doing this with. And we are not rich. She gives them work, if you can call it that at our boarding home for senior citizens. Last summer the oldest went on a binge when we were gone for a long weekend and drank every drop of booze he could find in the house (not a lot), stole and pawned some electronics from the clients, stole a handgun from me I had hidden and tucked away in the back of a lower garage that nobody goes into and pawned that and stole a camera and other personal effects that I have had for 30 years. Gone. He was since banned from the premises but now his mother has had him back. I was not consulted at all about this. Son #2 has been "working" here since he returned from AZ. His resume would read like this... I go shopping, I help in the kitchen, I am really good playing with my phone, sometimes I drive people into town. He lives just a couple of miles away and when he shows up to "work" his day begins with clocking in, then making something to eat, then spending 20 min. in our bathroom.

My wife knows I don't agree with what is happening. She is convinced I hate them. I don't hate them. I am not thrilled about the thief being back. He has demonstrated in the past that one year is not sufficient time to get straight. He would need at least 2-3 years to establish a change of life. I do not want to be around him. #2 is taking his mom's support to heart and I have seen big signs that the relationship has degenerated into one not unlike a mother taking care of her juvinile child. She wants to sheild him from stress so he doesn't go back to drugs. What he is learning is that is can come and go as he pleases, not work hard, he always gets his way. When (if) he ever gets back to the real world it will be a miracle if he doesn't wig out. If he doesn't want to do something she asks of him, she says "okay". It's painful to watch.

I understand from what I read here and there that my role in this is to be the "bad guy" they are the victims, and mom is the enabler. The stuff I am being forced to deal with is so against me upbringing I am wondering how long I will be able to be around it. I haven't asked her yet and it seems to reek of finality should I tell her it is them or me. She will pick them, I think that goes without saying. Some places I read where the thing to do is to quit concerning yourself with the stepkids feelings etc. It seems like if I do that I will have to learn to brush of her anger when it comes back to me, 'cause they use her like a little child uses their parent when something bothers them.

I don't know how or what to do, but it can't go on much longer...

If reading that brightens your day, you need help as bad as me!

Gosh, it was still a bit long. Oh well.


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My take is that Mom won't stop enabling these two until she realizes (deep in her heart and in her logical brain as well) that 'enabling' is what she's doing and that it's not really helping them. But getting her to realize that is a delicate art --

You might try getting her to counseling. Or Alanon - the group for family members of alcoholics. Or if you think you can, you could ask her about 'enabling in general' -- and when/where the line would be when it comes to her sons. It's a lot easier to see in the abstract or in someone else's situation than it is in your own life...

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 12:02PM
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I understand from what I read here and there that my role in this is to be the "bad guy" they are the victims, and mom is the enabler

If you've read enough to understand this, then you know that the only escape from this drama triangle is for the "bad guy" to exit it. This doesn't mean you leave the house, but it does mean that you begin to speak your truth in a non-judging way, you draw boundaries and you calmly make clear what is not acceptable to you.

Just by being aware of the dysfunction is the first step. The next step is to create some distance between yourself and the situation so you can clearly identify the role that each player is playing. You observe the situation, the players (including yourself) and the interactions from a certain distance. It's helpful to work this through with a therapist, but if you have a friend who can hear you without judging, that's useful too.

There's no way out of the dysfunction without some amount of pain. People will cling to their roles, no matter how destructive they are, because it's what they know. Taking an honest look at one's life, if it's never been done before, is terrifying. But look at the alternative: more drama, more dysfunction, the cycle repeating through all future interactions with people.

I think for your own health you need to come to terms with your family's situation, look at your own role in it, and make the changes you need in order to stop this cycle for you.

May you find peace.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Drama Triangle

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 4:57PM
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