Three years ago my husband and I took in a 18-year-old young man who was homeless, abandoned by his parents, and the victim of childhood sexual abuse. We wanted to give him a better life and a chance to have everything he was deprived of during his childhood and teenage years. We taught him to drive, helped him to get his first car loan, got him enrolled in community college, and put a roof over his head.
We pay for him to have professional counseling twice per month at our out-of-pocket expense. We did all this out of the goodness of our hearts in exchange for nothing but respect and love.
My husband’s two children from a prior marriage are grown and live out of state. This young man became the child my husband and I also wanted but were unable to have when we married 24 years ago. Over the years, things have gotten progressively worse with our “son.” He dropped out of college, can’t hold a job down (been fired twice and is on the do not hire list at two other employers in which he walked off the job), is sexually promiscuous, began drinking excessively when he turned 21 a few months ago, and lately has been spending time with friends who smoke weed.
Our son knows we do not condone this lifestyle and cannot allow illegal drugs in our home. This weekend he was out 24 hours/day and we had a blow-up argument yesterday over his decisions. He currently has no job, cannot afford to pay his car insurance in two weeks, and wants to do nothing except sit in the basement, drink and play video games. When he texted me this morning to apologize for the way he blew up at me yesterday, I told him that I would be delivering his clothes to his friend’s tonight because he needs to go out on his own.
We are done being taken advantage of and treated like dirt in our own home. His response was to turn it around on me, play the victim, and blame me for why he chooses to get high stating that I judge him and make assumptions about his behavior. I refuse to accept that, but I know that he has manipulated me before.
I want to do the right thing, but I can’t keep letting him hurt me over and over again (emotional and mental abuse). I have great empathy for this young man because I am the victim of childhood abuse, too, but there comes a time when you have to stop dwelling on the past and take positive action to change your present circumstances and your future. I am worried if I follow through with this tough love approach and he hits rock bottom, I will truly blame myself.
Here is my model:
C = Son stays out all night and is smoking pot.
T = I don’t condone his behavior.
F = Angry at his poor decisions.
A = I kick him out.
R = He becomes a loser and gets into even more trouble because the only stability in his life is gone.