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Toxic Parenting And Toxic Teens

by Janie
(Oshkosh, Wisconsin)

I am a 43 year old woman, and I have been divorced for 8 years. I am currently in a relationship with a man that has two teen boys, one age 16, the other age 19.

We live together in a home that we purchased 3.5 years ago, and have been dating for 5 years. Before moving in together I asked a lot of direct questions about my boyfriend's parenting style. We agreed upon rules of our home before moving in together and chores etc.


Once we moved in together it has been a living hell. The kids have full freedom. They hang with friends after school until later in the evening, they do not typically eat dinner with us during dinner times at our home, which is around 6:30pm. They and their friends smoke pot in our basement, and drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, and burn incense...all things that the father and I agreed was not allowed in our home.

Dad is typically working until 6pm or a bit later most nights, and is not home to "smell" or witness this bad behavior. I call dad and report my findings & he says he will talk to his kids, but all he ever does is talk--and not in my presence. So that bothers me, as well as the bad behavior.

The kids now lie and tell dad they are not smoking pot. After I call dad and report it, he talks to his kids & they lie, & dad will call me back and say "Are you sure you smell pot?" The 16 year old said "You're nuts, I'm not smoking pot". Dad doubting me and questioning my sense of smell of pot makes me very angry. In addition, the kids do not lift a finger to do any chores, and dad does not enforce the house rules, re. their chores (which consist of cleaning their bathroom, and room, & putting dishes in the dishwasher).

The kids do not do these chores until dad gets on them which takes a few weeks. The kids mouth off to dad and most recently I have been so angry that he allows it, I step up and tell them not to talk to their father that way. I tell the kids that I do not disrespect there girlfriends, and I don't want them to disrespect my boyfriend.

Lately the kids continue to smoke pot with their friends in our basement while dad is gone. I have recently told my boyfriend that if it continues I am going to call the police. It has continued and I call dad and all he does is talk to the kids and tells them that smoking pot is bad for them. Dad made a comment to me and said well you keep threatening to call the police so the kids think you're a joke.

Well I finally called the police and dad is so angry, all we have been doing is arguing. His son was charged with a felony possession of drugs. Dad said that I am disloyal and I did the wrong thing by calling the police. He says his family and friends agree. The kids' drug use has been going on for almost two years. Dad has just been talking and it has not been effective.

I think I did the right thing and so do my family and friends, but dad just keeps cutting me down for doing it.

My boyfriend has asked me to leave my home, and his excuse is that he needs to get his kids in line and he can't do it while I am here. We have been arguing a lot over the "kid" issues for the past two years. It has taken a toll on our relationship to the point of me having to move out.

I am very angry and have been yelling out of anger and making very nasty comments. I'm an emotional wreck now that I had to to move out. I feel like his decision has empowered these kids. I am very angry now and we can't go a day without arguing. I am moving out next week and I am not sure our relationship will make it or if I want it to.

Dad seems to think he is going to get "his" house in order. I think he just got rid of me so he looked like a good guy to his boys and that he is on their side.

I am lost and my anger is explosive. I think I need antidepressants on top of it. I have no medical insurance and I am unemployed so this is all very hard for me. I would like to get my anger under control and go from there. I do not like the person I have become and I feel very bitter right now.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Janie, and thanks for telling your story here. Your story is powerful, and very sad. We can only hope and pray that those boys get their lives together, or that their dad figures out what's right and takes charge.

Meanwhile, you got hurt, and you're angry. That is totally understandable. You were not respected in your situation, and your boyfriend chose his sons over his relationship with you. Right or wrong, that just hurts.

You are totally responsible for your anger, and I think you know that from what you've written. So, I will try to help you heal your anger so that you can go on and create a good life for yourself.

I think your anger goes back further than just this relationship. I suggest you take a look at your own personal history, and do the writing process described on this page. If you want to write more about your recent experience with your boyfriend and his sons, do that too. But be sure you go back as far as you can and write in detail about your past trauma.

When you feel you have a clear listing and understanding of the ways you have been hurt, abandoned and neglected in your past, use these imagery processes for emotional healing to resolve those issues.

Be sure and do all three of the journaling processes, focusing more on the positive journaling as you start feeling better.

Look for the learning and growth opportunities in all of your life experiences, Janie, including your recent experience with your boyfriend and his sons.

You are a good person with a good heart--remember that, and take very good care of yourself.

You can do this. Believe in yourself.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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