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Abusive Step-son

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 
Just hollering out into cyber-space to see if anyone else has one. I really don't think I can handle it but it turns out I have no choice but to. He (call him A) is 10 years old, and I have two sons 3 (call him H) and 18mo's (call him E).

He has done nearly every horrible thing imaginable, especially towards H. The cliff notes: tried to feed him dog feces, tried to feed him used motor oil, whispered to him that he was evil and stupid and that no one likes him, dropped a boulder on his toe smashing it which required surgery, tried to get him to pick up a red hot bolt that migrated into our campfire, etc. etc. culminating into sexual abuse four months ago. I don't know why I feel like I have to list what I was up to during those incidences, but I do so here goes in order: peeing, unloading camping gear from the truck into the shed where the used oil was, peeing, talking to the contractor, taking camping chairs out of the truck to bring to the fire, paying bills and repeatedly saying to my husband, "They're being too quiet. Go back in there until I'm finished."

That's just a taste of what it's like with him, it's actually much worse. When he's here, I have to be ON all the time, yet all of those things listed above happened so quickly even tho I thought I was being diligent. I have to bring both of my children with me to every bathroom break, no matter how much fun they're having everything has to stop when I have to pee.

My husband really does not seem to grasp the gravity of the situation. When the sexual abuse occurred, I told him, "You want A to see a therapist, his mom can not say no now." Well, he thought it should wait a few weeks until A came to stay with us for 8 weeks. Which was when I booked a plane ticket for my kids and I to spend those 8 weeks several states away. Now A's back at his mom's, and still no therapy in sight.

I did call the local guidance clinic the day my son told me of the abuse (which, if you ever feel the need to have your heart broken, just have a 3yo with limited speech use his thumb to describe that to you) and they said that it would be reported to the sheriff. But God bless the state of Arizona, nothing came of that. Unless you count how upset my husband was at the thought of involving the authorities.

This is my life. Do I really have to spend every summer away from my husband and friends to go kick it with my mom? I want to plant a garden. We used to have him everyother weekend, and that was terrible. I'd spend the whole two weeks after he left trying to cool down and catch up on housework (you can't do any when you can't take your eyes off a child for even a second.) I could go ahead and re-report this, and then piss everyone off again, and even then my husband is still his dad and I don't think it's possible or right to kick him out of our lives.

So if there's anyone out there who can relate, or has any advice for me on something I can actually do.... Nothing is changing. Maybe I was somehow drawn into this to find a way to help A, but it just seems so much bigger than me.
post #2 of 52
Wow. That sounds truly horrendous. You must really love your husband. Any idea what is up with A? Why he acts this way? What's your husband's theory?

Bottom line, I guess, though I really hesitate to offer this since I have not been in the same situation -- I think your first duty is to your kids, not to your husband or to A. I have a good friend who was abused by a sibling, and it turns out that that -- and having a parent stand by and allow it to happen -- can be pretty devastating, like abuse directly by a parent can be. So -- maybe you proceed by ruling things out? Like, ruling out that you will allow your kids to be exposed to A when they are still so little? And then see what happens when you commit to that position.

Good luck. That's so hard.
post #3 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veslemor View Post
Just hollering out into cyber-space to see if anyone else has one. I really don't think I can handle it but it turns out I have no choice but to. He (call him A) is 10 years old, and I have two sons 3 (call him H) and 18mo's (call him E).

He has done nearly every horrible thing imaginable, especially towards H. The cliff notes: tried to feed him dog feces, tried to feed him used motor oil, whispered to him that he was evil and stupid and that no one likes him, dropped a boulder on his toe smashing it which required surgery, tried to get him to pick up a red hot bolt that migrated into our campfire, etc. etc. culminating into sexual abuse four months ago. I don't know why I feel like I have to list what I was up to during those incidences, but I do so here goes in order: peeing, unloading camping gear from the truck into the shed where the used oil was, peeing, talking to the contractor, taking camping chairs out of the truck to bring to the fire, paying bills and repeatedly saying to my husband, "They're being too quiet. Go back in there until I'm finished."

That's just a taste of what it's like with him, it's actually much worse. When he's here, I have to be ON all the time, yet all of those things listed above happened so quickly even tho I thought I was being diligent. I have to bring both of my children with me to every bathroom break, no matter how much fun they're having everything has to stop when I have to pee.

My husband really does not seem to grasp the gravity of the situation. When the sexual abuse occurred, I told him, "You want A to see a therapist, his mom can not say no now." Well, he thought it should wait a few weeks until A came to stay with us for 8 weeks. Which was when I booked a plane ticket for my kids and I to spend those 8 weeks several states away. Now A's back at his mom's, and still no therapy in sight.

I did call the local guidance clinic the day my son told me of the abuse (which, if you ever feel the need to have your heart broken, just have a 3yo with limited speech use his thumb to describe that to you) and they said that it would be reported to the sheriff. But God bless the state of Arizona, nothing came of that. Unless you count how upset my husband was at the thought of involving the authorities.

This is my life. Do I really have to spend every summer away from my husband and friends to go kick it with my mom? I want to plant a garden. We used to have him everyother weekend, and that was terrible. I'd spend the whole two weeks after he left trying to cool down and catch up on housework (you can't do any when you can't take your eyes off a child for even a second.) I could go ahead and re-report this, and then piss everyone off again, and even then my husband is still his dad and I don't think it's possible or right to kick him out of our lives.

So if there's anyone out there who can relate, or has any advice for me on something I can actually do.... Nothing is changing. Maybe I was somehow drawn into this to find a way to help A, but it just seems so much bigger than me.
i am so sorry for you.

tell your kids ped. they are mandated reporters by law.

i hate to ask this> but your step son is acting out because of his own abuse> he had to have learned it from somewhere> do you think your husband could be not wanting to involved authorities because he is involved?

good luck
post #4 of 52
wow. my kids would never be alone with A again.
post #5 of 52
After the very first incident your kids should have never been left alone with your stepson. You cannot allow your kids to be around him, period, ever. If you reported the incident and were told it would be reported to the sheriff and it wasn't why didn't you report it? If your dh or the child's mother doesn't see that he needs help they are going to have to be forced to get him help before he seriously hurts another child. If what you are saying here is true he could have the potential to kill one of your kids. Making a three year old drink motor oil? Why would you care about people getting mad at you for reporting this kid when the safety of your children and I am sure others is at risk? I just don't get that.
post #6 of 52
Honestly, in that situation, I'd be calling a lawyer. I'm usually not one to advocate divorce to a complete stranger over the internet, but I could not stay married to someone whose child was (whether intentionally or not) trying to kill one of mine.

Are the children joint children with your DH, or are they from a previous relationship?

I second the PP who said to tell the ped.
post #7 of 52
I hesitate to say it, but I think it needs saying... If nothing is done in terms of reporting his behavior to the authorities and, got forbid, there IS another incident - you could find yourself on the receiving end of charges of neglect and endangering your own children.

I do think it's unreasonable for you to have to leave your home for extended periods of time, however. I would tell your husband that, when he wants to see the boy, he will have to do so away from your home - they can go stay in a hotel, he can go to the area where the boy lives, etc. When it's for extended summer visitation? He can rent a seasonal apartment for the duration. But he will NOT be staying in your home. Period. And stick to your guns.

Good luck - I think you're going to need it.
post #8 of 52
I want to say I understand your hesitance to stir up trouble, but I have to admit I don't. Your SS could kill your children.

Read that again. KILL your children. This is not a joke, give him some time or he will out grow it.

It doesn't matter that your Dh isn't on the same page. It doesn't matter that your Dh's ex doesn't want him to get therapy. When a child is this dangerous and acting out sexually it is no longer the parents choice. (argue with me if you like but that is the opinion of judges in the US)

call CPS, get your Dh mad, get everyone mad, get this child help if he can be and protect the actual lives of your children.

You say he's done horrible things to H, do you have any idea what he could have done to E! My sister fed my sleeping pills when I was a baby, and that was innocent, I could have died, but she didn't hide it, nor the evidence of little blue pills all over my face.

I'm sorry this can't be more supportive of waiting, but I would call today, you can tell your ped too, but there is no adult worth risking the lives of children for, no matter how much you love them.
post #9 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by pinksprklybarefoot View Post
Honestly, in that situation, I'd be calling a lawyer. I'm usually not one to advocate divorce to a complete stranger over the internet, but I could not stay married to someone whose child was (whether intentionally or not) trying to kill one of mine.
Certainly not when both of the child's parents are in complete denial and unwilling to seek any sort of help. I could see making arrangements while they were getting the child help, but in this situation...
post #10 of 52
Living with an abusive child can be similar to living with an abusive partner. People closest to the situation often don't have a clear view of what's going on and perspective tends to be twisted. There is a lot of denial...

OP- you should absolutely refuse to be in the same house with your ss until his behavior has been addressed AND significant progress is shown. My dd is bipolar and I spent years confused by her behavior but not seeking help for it. Now that I have it will probably be another year or two before there is an acceptable amount of improvement. If you have better insurance than I do things might be easier. You also need to get help for your son. He has been victimized repeatedly and you do not want him to later repeat any of these behaviors with other children or feeling like his parents allowed the abuse and then left him to make sense of it himself. Play therapy can be really great for younger children.

Since your step son's parents are not getting him the help he needs you need to document the situation. Write a timeline of the progression of his behaviors and detail them. If you know who his ped is send them the documentation, they can't discuss anything with you but having the information is important to making a diagnosis (his behavior is so far from normal there is likely some mental health issues going on). If your dh and his x are blinded they will not be very helpful in giving an adequate history of his behavior. You need to report this to multiple authorities so that both your son and your step son can be helped.
post #11 of 52
I have somewhat of a violent step-son myself... but honestly, he doesn't come CLOSE to what you are describing here. If one of your children was sexually abused by this child, you NEED to call CPS, regardless of what his parents think. These are your children and they need protecting... as do any other children he comes across. It is your duty and your responsibility to have something done about this. I can tell you right now that if someone finds out that your children were sexually abused by someone that has access to your home and you didn't call CPS, they will and you risk losing your own child and facing charges of neglect. Chances are this child is learning this behavior from another source and that needs to be addressed immediately. I am truly sorry for your situation... I can not even imagine how you held your temper around him after finding out something so terrible for your 3 year old... protect that baby, please.
post #12 of 52
Thread Starter 
Wow. With the exception of PoppyMama, this has largely been a great way for me to feel judged and not helped. If it sounds like I spent an ungodly amount of money leaving the state for the summer because I plan on having A come to stay with us in the future, you have misread my intentions. If leaving someone alone with someone else includes things like walking back and forth from truck to shed (10 feet away) with loads of gear while children help stack them into the shed, or leaving them with their dad while you try to pay a bill or deficate behind a tree, or talk to a contractor while they are five feet outside of an open door which is in your view; then I am guilty of leaving them alone together. However, it never felt like I was doing anything but obsessing over every movement that they made.
And if it felt like a good use of my time to record here on this forum for you every phone call I've made to every school (he's been to many, and expelled), every relative, every psychologist, therapist, the correspondence I keep with the head of the American Psychological Association, the multiple conversations I've had with my kids' pediatrician, the secret phone conversations with the ex's mother, etc I suppose I could do that. But not one of them is a very fascinating story as nothing has come of a single one.

I'm sorry if I came across as sounding like I was afraid to stir the pot, as that is not even close to the case. And if you think I haven't tried enough, just try making these kind of phone calls during the work day while you're at home with two kids who should not be listening to such conversations. Do you have any idea how much I detest planting my children in front of the TV? but I have to do it to get on the phone. And when I do that my entire mental status is a wreck for at least the rest of the day and I am a crappy despondent mother in that state. Kind of like how I'm feeling right now (cue the Baby Einstein movie playing in the background).
I suppose that the choice of the words "my kids" was inadequate, as these are our children as opposed to A, who is his kid. And I'm not going to leave my husband. Even during our roughest times when that sounded really appealing, the fact that this is a man who can't even keep a close eye for less than five minutes while I pay a bill online makes me pretty hesitant to enter into a situation where he is the only guy in charge during "his weekends" or whatever that would entail. So that was about the worst advice that I found here.

Sorry to lash out with such abandon here, I suppose that is what they call "projection". What I should have posted to begin with was not, "Here's how crappy everything is, please comment." But rather: "What does life after this look like?" Clearly I'm not going to give up at getting A in for some help. It will happen, and it'll happen soon as he starts school this week and I've threatened to tell the school what happened if they don't get him an appointment to see someone.

Our American idea of the quick fix does not exist in reality. The story can not go, "And she called CPS, and they lived happily ever after." The support I'm looking for is What next? It may seem like an unfortunate consequence of them being brothers, but A and H happen to love each other.
post #13 of 52
I understand that you have been very proactive in attempting to get the family to deal with this issue.

I understand that you have provided an extremely high level of supervision when A is in your home, and that you do not have appropriate support from your DH to be able to provide the constant line-of-sight supervision that is required.

I am not condemning you, and I am not judging you.

I am begging you to call CPS as part of a larger effort to stop the visitation in your home. If your husband will not respect YOUR insistence that a sexually reactive child cannot be under the same roof as your two little ones, then maybe he will respect the caseworker's edict.

Calling CPS is not a magic quick fix, that's true. But it's a necessary step when one of your children has been molested and you do not have the power to remove the perpetrator entirely from their lives. You need help and support to effectively deal with this. Calling CPS is a demonstration of your absolute resolve to STOP VISITATION IN YOUR HOME.

That is priority #1. Everything else (including staying married) is priority one millionth.
post #14 of 52
I don't know if it will make you feel less attacked, but this type of situation is pretty much incomprehensible until you live it. Until you've tried to get mental health services for a child it seems like it should be easy like getting help for asthma or some other chronic but treatable medical condition. Getting help for my own child has been the most stressful, frustrating, heart crushing experience of my life...I can't imagine how difficult it would be if this was my partners child and my children's sibling but I had no real authority. When it is your child, reconciling the warm memories of when they were "healthy" with what they have become is gut wrenching and if you're not strong enough denial is just easier. There is no good choice here, no good action, nothing that will make everything ok. All you can do is try to move forward and realize that if you make a choice that causes everything to blow up you are doing the best you can. Unfortunately, sometimes our best isn't good enough and that's just life. I think you are doing everything you can right now. My only suggestion is to document the timeline of his behavior, use bullet points and make it clear, include any info you've gotten from the grandmother, etc. Having a complete history is key in getting things to move a bit faster. I thought I would be fine when I spoke to the psychologist and psychiatrist but even though I was ready to be open about my dd I got so stressed out and nervous that I left things out and then I would have to wait till the next meeting, made things take a long time.

Take care of yourself, love your kids, and if you can love your step son try to do that too.
post #15 of 52
Thread Starter 
PoppyMama- Thank you for your kind words, and I will put together a history, which won't be too hard since I journal fairly regularly. Thank you for mentioning love for my step-son, which is a frequent request in my prayers.

As to all the comments that I should call CPS- none of you said why, i.e. what will that accomplish? I am not in the habit of inviting government officials into my private life, and I certainly wouldn't do so with zero knowledge of what to expect. I especially would like to point out Attached2Elijah's comment that I should inform them, and then they might take my kids away for not telling them soon enough. I can't say just how unattractive that sounds. It reminds me a lot of my first pregnancy when everyone was freaking out that I hadn't gone to the doctor yet. "You need to go to the doctor!" they'd demand, but couldn't quite say why. The feeling I got was, "That's just what you do." Same as here. But in that situation, and in this one to, finding my own way was the most appropriate (and fulfilling with respect to the former) experience possible.

This is my life, so I am not powerless. It seems that I have to state once again, as explicitly as possible: There is no visitation occurring anymore while the little guys are here. Hence the trip out of state.

What I was hoping to find here was someone else who has lived something like this. For example, was that the end of the brotherhood? Just never see them again? I go somewhere else every-other holiday so he can be with his dad? Does someone want to sponsor my future frequent vacation schedule? Just kidding. Unless you have a kid-friendly place that needs summertime house-sitting, then I'm listening. That type of thing. NOT wow you are just standing by and allowing this to happen.
post #16 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veslemor View Post
PoppyMama- Thank you for your kind words, and I will put together a history, which won't be too hard since I journal fairly regularly. Thank you for mentioning love for my step-son, which is a frequent request in my prayers.

As to all the comments that I should call CPS- none of you said why, i.e. what will that accomplish? I am not in the habit of inviting government officials into my private life, and I certainly wouldn't do so with zero knowledge of what to expect. I especially would like to point out Attached2Elijah's comment that I should inform them, and then they might take my kids away for not telling them soon enough. I can't say just how unattractive that sounds. It reminds me a lot of my first pregnancy when everyone was freaking out that I hadn't gone to the doctor yet. "You need to go to the doctor!" they'd demand, but couldn't quite say why. The feeling I got was, "That's just what you do." Same as here. But in that situation, and in this one to, finding my own way was the most appropriate (and fulfilling with respect to the former) experience possible.

This is my life, so I am not powerless. It seems that I have to state once again, as explicitly as possible: There is no visitation occurring anymore while the little guys are here. Hence the trip out of state.

What I was hoping to find here was someone else who has lived something like this. For example, was that the end of the brotherhood? Just never see them again? I go somewhere else every-other holiday so he can be with his dad? Does someone want to sponsor my future frequent vacation schedule? Just kidding. Unless you have a kid-friendly place that needs summertime house-sitting, then I'm listening. That type of thing. NOT wow you are just standing by and allowing this to happen.

Why get CPS involved?

Because obviously the things that you have been trying to do (you get a lot of credit for the stuff you are putting up with) are not working. You only have so many resources at your fingertips and with a husband that is not seeing the gravity of the situation, what else is going to have to go on before your husband sees that his son has MAJOR problems. The fact that he feels that another one of his children being molested is not enough of a kick up the backside to help his other is really sad. What happens if he kills one? Will that make him understand? It worries me more that your husband isn't moved enough by his sons behavior at one of his other children.

No one is here to outwardly attack or judge you. But here is the thing, when you come in and your talk about this heinous things, what do you expect us to say? If this was my family? My husband would be out of the house until he learns to take care of his kids properly. My stepson wouldn't be allowed to step foot into my house, my childs doctors would be aware, I would be getting help for the poor kid that had to sustain this abuse and I would be doing everything in my power to fix this situation. I know it sounds crass, but my number one priority is to my biological children. Not to my husband, not to my step son. My children. I make sure they are safe and taken care of and then I work on the others.

I am really sorry you are going through this, but you have clear options you are not taking.
post #17 of 52
You get CPS involved so your step son can get some help and they can find out who abused HIM and hopefully get that person behind bars. You get them involved so your dh & his ex realize the gravity of the situation. You get them involved to protect your children, because it's pretty clear your dh has completely dropped the ball on that one and there's only so much you can do by yourself.
post #18 of 52
You also need to get CPS involved YOURSELF and NOW because your child, who was sexually assaulted, needs therapy. He deserves to have that support and help because otherwise there will be long-term damage, and this is bigger than you can handle alone. When you go to get that help for him, you'd darn well better be able to say, "This is what happened, this is who I have contacted, these adults are aware, and I have contacted CPS already, as I also know you will have to because you are a mandated reporter."
post #19 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by TulsiLeaf View Post
Why get CPS involved?

Because obviously the things that you have been trying to do (you get a lot of credit for the stuff you are putting up with) are not working. You only have so many resources at your fingertips and with a husband that is not seeing the gravity of the situation, what else is going to have to go on before your husband sees that his son has MAJOR problems. The fact that he feels that another one of his children being molested is not enough of a kick up the backside to help his other is really sad. What happens if he kills one? Will that make him understand? It worries me more that your husband isn't moved enough by his sons behavior at one of his other children.

No one is here to outwardly attack or judge you. But here is the thing, when you come in and your talk about this heinous things, what do you expect us to say? If this was my family? My husband would be out of the house until he learns to take care of his kids properly. My stepson wouldn't be allowed to step foot into my house, my childs doctors would be aware, I would be getting help for the poor kid that had to sustain this abuse and I would be doing everything in my power to fix this situation. I know it sounds crass, but my number one priority is to my biological children. Not to my husband, not to my step son. My children. I make sure they are safe and taken care of and then I work on the others.

I am really sorry you are going through this, but you have clear options you are not taking.


Your situation sounds absolutely heartbreaking, gut-wrenching. And from your description, you've done everything a person can do short of involving CPS and the police. And it hasn't worked.

It isn't working. What you are doing isn't working. Your stepson still has access to your children, yes, even during those brief times when you're doing something like walking from the truck to your house. That's long enough to kill them. It doesn't take much effort to kill someone much smaller and weaker than you are, nor does it take very long.

Please consider that this thing is bigger than you, bigger than your husband and his ex-wife and what they want. Your stepson is exhibiting the kind of behavior associated with sexual abuse victims and psychopaths. He needs help, NOW, and the only way to get that help, since your husband is unwilling to take responsibility, is to involve the authorities.

Look, I am usually the last person here telling someone to call CPS. I hate the idea of government involvement as much as (it sounds like) you do. But in a situation like this, it is absolutely warranted. Your stepson is dangerous and you, as your children's mother, are obligated to remove that danger from your household--forcibly, if necessary.

Your marriage is not a priority compared to the safety of your children. You chose this man; they didn't choose to be born. Take care of them and worry about the rest later. But in all fairness, I can't even fathom remaining married to a man who thought it was no big deal that one of his sons was so viciously abusing his other children.
post #20 of 52
Call CPS. They aren't going to take your kids away- you've informed teachers, parents, doctors, and now you are calling them. There's no neglect going on. CPS workers may be a lot more conservative and conventional than most of us on this board, but I really think that 99% of them do that horrific job because they care about kids and want to help. My mom worked for CPS, as well and Child Welfare Services, which is related, but for long term cases. They don't take kids away from their parents without substantial proof from several sources that something dangerous is going on. I mean really- who gets a master's degree in social work because they want to spend their careers breaking up innocent families? Call CPS because what you're going through is way beyond regular "growing pains", and you need some backup to get your husband to see that. And you CAN refuse to let your step son stay at your house. You can say it kindly, but be firm- it's your house, and you would love to visit at the park or somewhere else. If you feel like you need to take your kids to another state when he is visiting, something is definitely not right.
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