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My Abusive Adult Handicapped Son

by David
(Brook Park, Ohio, USA)

The very first day that I let him talk me into letting him live with me was about ten years ago.

I am a 61 year old male. He took my car keys and asked me to let him use my car while walking out the door. I said no but he was gone by then. From then on it went downhill. He has had numerous accidents and a DUI.

He is verbally abusive to me, raising his voice and using vulgarities. He takes my debit card with the pretense of buying groceries. I let him as I was too sick to go out and after that it is a nightmare. He buys groceries, puts gas into his car, drives all over even driving his friends around.

I had gotten a large adult dog but I didn't trust it and had it chained up; I drove to pick up my friend’s daughter to come to my home and clean the house for me, of course I paid. She kept letting the dog loose. Then my son opens the door and puts the buzzer on, and the dog runs out of the house; after I told him to wait till she left to do that.

He didn't and the dog got out and bit the neighbors little child. Now I am facing litigation over that. He doesn't like this house now he says, but he picked it out. He said he didn't wish to live in the house I had. Then when I got this one, he begged and cried to be left at the old one. I told him he'd have to pay $300 a month, he never did and rented the spare bedroom out.

He then began to remodel it to sell it, despite me telling him not to. He took on two dogs, adopted them. He had garbage cans in front of the house, he took out the front hedge leaving a large hole, he let the neighbors leave their basketball hoop in the driveway; how was I supposed to sell it like that?

And finally, since he wasn't contributing anything to me; I had to give him an ultimatum to move in with me here. The nightmare gets worse. It was too late to sell the house and I couldn't afford two mortgage and utility payments anymore, I had to let the house go into foreclosure.

His DUI cost me what little I had in the bank. He calls me all kinds of names, criticizes and is abusive. He now thinks he can take over. He takes my credit card and buys whatever he wants, doesn't even ask me, just goes into my wallet after I get it back from him and does what he wants.

Now he is remodeling the kitchen because he doesn't like it. He sanded inside the house, I told him not to. Dust everywhere. His contractor painted primer and now paint and I am stuck here smelling the fumes. Soon he will be relaying the countertop, so glue fumes are next.

I have no money to go anywhere. He used my car and someone put a nail in the sidewall. I have to have the tire fixed again, as the indicator light just went out. He yelled at me the other day because I didn't get him up early enough to make his dental appointment. I want him gone.

I didn't raise him, his mother divorced me for another man. I was not allowed to see him during my visitation rights/days or his sister. Why must I have to put up with him? I can't help it that he is handicapped. I can't help it that he can't find a job.

I too am handicapped. I have emotional problems. I am so depressed now. I can hardly function. I don't want to be here anymore! I think the only thing I can do is toss him out into the street, with his gun collection, his dogs and all his furniture.

I just want to be rid of him. Is that wrong?

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello David, and thanks for telling your story here. No, you are not wrong to want to be rid of your son. He is abusive to you in so many ways that he has destroyed any rights he may have had to your hospitality and generosity.

It doesn’t matter what his handicap may be, because what you’ve described is someone who is able bodied and mentally capable in many ways (just judging from what you say that he has done). If he wanted a job, he’d have one. But consider that as long as you support him financially, he has no incentive to seek employment.

I strongly encourage you to read this page on personal boundaries and how to stand up for yourself. It is written and designed to help people just like you to take care of themselves when faced with these types of challenges. I also strongly recommend that you read these stories by other contributors with adult children (like you), along with my advice to each one.

You have to take action on your own behalf, David, and leave your son to his own devices. Believe me, you are not helping him by allowing him to use and abuse you. You are contributing to his problem by providing financial support while he is being irresponsible and destructive.

You can do this. You’re worthy of a good life, and you can take steps to provide this for yourself.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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