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( New Zealand)
I am a 46 year old married mum of four. Three sons, 9, 11 and 24 and a daughter, 21. Our girl does not live at home but the boys do. I am at my wits end with our 24 year old.
He is extremely verbally abusive and has also physically abused his younger brothers. He has not touched me but does slam doors in my face and verbally abuses me continuously. He sometimes throws things around the room, smashing windows etc.
He and his father have had 2 punch ups and he broke his grandfather's ribs when he threw a large pepper grinder at him. He has marijuana at home and sells it. My young boys, especially the 9 year old has witnessed him selling it and now knows all the terms for it. I have tried to get him out of the house and in fact when he and his Dad had a physical argument he did get arrested but my husband did not want to lay charges because my husband threw the first punch and he was worried about the repercussions of it all.
So our son did not get the help I feel he might have got then, had we taken it further. I get very little support from my husband who seems to want to bury his head in the sand.
All the while the abuse continues and the drug activity which I hate. My son threatens to kill himself when I try to make him leave. My younger boys are seeing all of this and are frightened of him at times. Especially the 11 year old. But they are growing up thinking the behaviour is normal and I'm really worried about it all.
I am such a happy person and try to be positive but can't put up with much more. For my children's sake I need to do something but don't know what. Please help with some suggestions.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello, and thanks for telling your story here. Your situation is very sad for your family. Your son has been given far too much power and freedom, and he is now terrorizing his own family.
While it is clear that he has a huge problem, the problem is actually a family problem. You and your husband are responsible for maintaining the safety and order in your home, and for protecting your younger sons. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers for you at this point. I know it must be very frightening to think of 1) Leaving it the way it is, or 2) Taking action when your husband won't back you up and your son is threatening suicide.
As far as I know, selling marijuana is illegal in all countries. One option for you is to go and speak with a police authority, and describe your situation to them. Ideally, they would come to your home, arrest your son, and put him in custody followed by mandatory drug rehabilitation treatment.
Another option is for you to tell your husband that if he does not support you in making your son move out that you will take your younger sons and move out yourself.
As I said, there are no easy answers for you. I do believe that either of the above choices would be better than allowing the present situation to continue. This type of family problem usually only gets worse until something is done to move the young adult out of the home.
You are being held hostage in your own home, and every day that passes like this, you and your husband are participating in a crime, and giving the message to your sons that this is all acceptable.
It might be helpful for you to read this page on tough love and this one on letting go of a relationship.
If you believe in prayer, I also encourage you to pray for your son and your husband to make the right decisions for your family.
My very best to you,
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