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Adult son in a mess. What to do

(29 Posts)
Wetnosewheatie Mon 31-Aug-20 10:08:57

Before I start what could be a long post I'm guessing I know the answer but would benefit from your collective wisdom and sense check

My son is 26. I adopted him with my ex husband and then my current husband. My husband has 2 children both grown up and moved out. Our son has been difficult growing up. He was diagnosed with ADHD without the H and has always been disorganised and didn't fare well at school. He has had several jobs some for weeks with a couple for years but does just about enough and I suspect does not name a great employee. Last year he met a girl and despite neither having any money or any intention of being together she became pregnant with twins. Sadly the twins were born sleeping at the turn of this year at 28 weeks. Since then we have also lost my ex husband, his mum my uncle all of whom my son cared about. He can be manipulative and abusive verbally and it got to the point my husband was saying to me it's him or me. We found a 1 bed flat locally for him to move to with bills paid that he could afford. He moved in in July. We agreed to pay 6 months rent to get him set up. He had a car loan a bank loan and a store card. Since then it is as if he has lost the plot completely. He has taken out payday loans, not paid any of his car loan or Bank loan or store cards and has been let go from his job. He has nothing to show for anything borrowed. He is not taking drugs but it is likely he treats his friends to days out etc as he seems to buy friendship. He said losing his job was because of being on probation and having time off to go to hospitals with the twins but there must have been other things as I'm sure that wouldn't be legal.

Where do I go. I've always helped him when he's been out of work by sending in his cv. This time he didn't admit to losing his jo. For over a month. He lied about being in work all that time whilst borrowing money from universal credit . I've contacted his doctor as although he is an adult I was hoping with a bit of background He could check In his well-being ( he is very overweight and never seems happy)

I should just leave him to it. I suspect he needs to hit absolute rock bottom before he makes any change however what fears me the most us his birth father hit rock bottom and stayed there.

I can't afford to sort his finances and I don't like the way he is with me or my husband. The rest of the family ignore him. I am a bit fearful of him too. Whilst he has never been physically aggressive he's never been this far into a corner.

I've paid off a couple of the massive interest rate payday loans and will pay his phone and probably car ins and tax for this month in the hope he can get another job quickly. Plus a couple of speeding fines too. A lot of this borrowing is against our address. I have made him contact Step Change but he has not acted on their advice.

I have to stop now don't I. I'm really really sad. I see our other children doing well and settled and this situation is breaking me. Thanks for listening.

Oopsadaisy4 Mon 31-Aug-20 10:20:32

I’m afraid that unless your son is able to get Mental Health care professionals involved, he probably won’t be able to sort himself out.
It’s very sad, unless diagnosed when young and continuing to be checked during teenage years it’s so easy for adults to be left at the wayside.
We have a family member who is under the care of the Hospital for a Mental Health condition and it’s very hard to see him trying to cope.

So , can you contact the various authorities to Try to get him help? You really can’t continue to bail him out financially, maybe if he did hit rock bottom you could get some help for him.

You have my sympathies and I’m sorry I can’t offer any actual help, maybe others on GN can.

Wetnosewheatie Mon 31-Aug-20 10:25:49

Oopsadaisy4 I was hoping his GP may pick up on it. My son however is very good at not telling the truth and will say all is fine when it isn't. He is physically overweight as well but won't take any advice about this either. My nephew who is a GP has told him his health is at risk but he just shrugs it off. Incredibly frustrating. Thanks for your reply

Starblaze Mon 31-Aug-20 10:35:40

Was he a late diagnosis? Has the ball been dropped with this?

He really needs extra support from professionals. Ideally most of this should have happened while he was in education and still growing up.

His behaviour is all very symptomatic of ADD.

Have you done any courses on how to cope and handle a child/adult with ADD? There are many free courses available.

He really needs the support, often children become adults and people forget that conditions like autism or ADD are life long and can only be managed, not grown out of.

The way he is is normal to him, he has a different brain, he can learn to manage but he cannot heal it away.

Support doesn't need to be bailing him out with money you can't afford but there are other ways. Please don't give up on him.

Wetnosewheatie Mon 31-Aug-20 10:39:57

Hi starblaze. I am not giving up but can't continue to bail him out and cannot live the rest of my life under threat of being abused at our every interaction. I do understand ADD however he has to live in the world. I do think the ball has been dropped and I managed to get him support in school and college however employers are not forgiving I'm afraid and neither are people he owes money to.

Grandmafrench Mon 31-Aug-20 10:50:51

That’s a heartbreaking post. I am so sad for you and especially since you - and your Son - have suffered so much loss in recent months.

Your first instinct, and throughout, has been to try your very best to help him, support and motivate him - and keep funding him in the hope that he’ll be able to turn his life around. But to date that’s clearly not happening and it may even be that in sorting out much of the financial mess he keeps attracting, you could almost be enabling him. Allowing him to create further debts.

In no way am I judging you. In your shoes and desperate about where my Son’s life was going, I would probably try to do even more. But I think that would be wrong, to be honest. I think it’s time for a re-think and to involve others who aren’t emotionally involved and whose involvement might turn this around. Whilst your Son seems to be blocking out all that’s wrong and not wanting to co-operate in any sensible plan, and he’s an adult so you’re not responsible for him, your DH is clearly at the end of his patience, and his GP (of course) is in no position to have you involved in his patient’s affairs, perhaps you could give this idea some thought.

Your Son’s medical advisors, whilst being unable to give you information, would certainly have to take some note of your genuine concerns and - given your Son’s childhood diagnosis, his family history and the losses that he has now suffered - if you informed the Doctor (by mail,even) that you now have great concerns about him, at least you will have made a start on getting some help. You are very articulate - you will easily be able to provide the info and concerns that his GP should need to address.

It’s likely that if you suggest (and your Son is willing) that some professional counselling could make his life better and tell his Doctor this is what you feel he needs, and your Son agrees) you’ll probably get no objections raised. Spend some of the money - that you may be tempted to throw his way - on private Counselling sessions. You could pay those direct (so he has no excuse not to afford them!!) Do some local research and find a good Counsellor. You’ll wait a long time before his turn arrives through the NHS. Maybe with some professional help and an independent listening ear he will start to improve and be strong enough and motivated enough to deal with each challenge and change his life. Otherwise, it does look as if you will just keep on putting sticking plasters over something which isn’t healing...or worse, ruin your own life with worry because you just can’t fix him.

Be strong, be firm, don’t give up on him but choose your moment and if he’s in a mood to intimidate, just change the subject or leave him be. You are trying to help and it’s because you care. Hopefully he’ll be able to see that eventually. Best of luck.

Starblaze Mon 31-Aug-20 10:53:55


I am not saying he is not capable of knowing right from wrong or expecting you to put up with abusive behaviour but...

You mentioned him as being adopted as if to absolve you of some responsibility. You mentioned how well the other children are doing as if your son is somehow faulty in comparison. You sound disappointed in him.

Now the reason I mention that is that those are things he will pick up on too.

I imagine losing twin tiny babies is hard enough without his condition on top. Then there is all the other grief you have both had to contend with.

All of this will have an impact.

I work with many children with special needs and what most would quantify as bad behaviour often isn't ever meant that way and there are methods to teach them how to express themselves in non harmful ways.

Support and encouragement are free. He is not too old to learn how to behave. Changing your behaviour may change his which is why a course or some sort of professional help may benefit both of you.

Wetnosewheatie Mon 31-Aug-20 10:57:35

Grandma French

I have already done as you suggested and emailed his GP. he used to be my GP and he is the only one who ever knew right from the off that my son had problems (he only became our GO once my son was an adult unfortunately) I thank you for the counselling idea. I will look up some local
Options and offer this to him. I did pay for a session last year as I could slippery slope then but will revisit this now.

greengreengrass Mon 31-Aug-20 11:00:31

Two things, may or may not be useful. Either way I'm not at all offended.

1) Rethink Mental Illness have a legal helpline and if you are lucky your son could be allocated a finance case worker that might help him on the phone and in practice to sort his finances out.

2) I know it is tricky with Covid with colleges but he might have more luck with further education. Simply because sometimes they have disability or learning mentors attached to the colleges. This might help keep him going they can also eventually point towards work and help with contacts.

good luck

Grandmabatty Mon 31-Aug-20 11:05:23

I feel so sorry for you. You obviously love your boy and have been a very supportive mum to him. However, I think you know that you have to step back now. He has issues to deal with and losing babies must have been awful, but he is an adult. He will never find ways of managing his life if he knows you will always rescue him. You probably should take a step back from it all.

BlueBelle Mon 31-Aug-20 11:06:25

Oh how I feel for you and for your son too, it is so hard to understand ADD especially in a big bloke but he isn’t able to do the needed tasks (at the moment) they are all too overwhelming for him and his brain is not seeing them the same way as you or I He may be an intelligent lad but he’s not seeing the way things add up to make a whole he sees the beginning plan he sees the end plan which he wants to get to but the route in the middle is not clear to him
The aggression is his fear of doing things wrong his overwhelming need to get it right for once, his unhappiness in this world that doesn’t make sense to him
I think you do need professional help can he (or you if he won’t) go to CAB to set up a plan to repay things etc Can you find an ADD advice line/ helpline to help you with him or better still get him a mentor to help him see things through different eyes
The hyperactivity is there but inside the brain His brain will be dodging around flitting from thing to thing distracted by every little sound or movement and totally unable to stay with one task at a time

Is the girlfriend any good to approach and get on your side
My heart goes out to him and to you don’t give up on him he can’t help it he’s probably very unhappy and lost his babies too

Wetnosewheatie Mon 31-Aug-20 11:09:30

Starblaze I mention being adopted because he is. The other sons are not my sons they are my husbands but at appropriate times we have celebrated their successes. He passed his driving test first time after failing his theory 8 times. That was a very proud moment. I have been like Maureen Lipman incredibly proud over the years if he got an 'ology'. Am I disappointed ? Yes. He does know right from wrong and that is what I am disappointed about.

EllanVannin Mon 31-Aug-20 11:15:48

Sad to say but I can see this is going to be an on-going problem unless it's nipped in the bud sooner rather than later.
You're going to have to be very firm with him or your health is going to be severely affected.

If I were you I'd speak to your GP on your own behalf and tell him/her that your son's behaviour is grinding you down and can they recommend or put you in touch with the adult mental health services then you have a word with them and explain the situation. Someone should be able to help at this stage, better still if he can be seen in the home for starters.

He has to get help at some point. Medication will help with ADD as some of the medications suppress the appetite while helping the brain function normally. Amphetamines are given in some cases and also Ritalin is prescribed, depending on the general functioning of a person's ADD but over time I'm sure it would make a difference.

Wetnosewheatie Mon 31-Aug-20 11:50:09

Thanks everyone. His girlfriend has her own issues. That's what drew them together. I've just offered counselling and was told where to shove it. I asked what he wanted he said petrol in his car and a tenner in his pocket. He is in total denial. I have asked she speaks to Step Change,CAB and his Dr tomorrow. All met with a I don't need help response.

I will leave him now. He can start to figure this out in his own.

Luckygirl Mon 31-Aug-20 13:07:24

I have a close relative - a young man who was adopted and found to have a number of problems caused mainly by his birth parents' addiction to drugs and alcohol and the effects on him in utero. His life has been very difficult indeed and he is currently in prison.

I do therefore know how hard it is to get the sort of PREVENTIVE help that is needed by these young people. He is disorganised, cannot budget or control his temper, is vulnerable to exploitation by criminals and drug dealers.

All the family have supported him to the hilt and done everything we can to help him - but he needed more than that, and it sounds as though your son is in the same boat. Getting that help is so very hard as I know only too well; and it is more difficult the older they get because they just refuse to engage with any help.

You have all my sympathy - it is a hard road. But none of this means that you have failed him in any way.

Hithere Mon 31-Aug-20 13:17:19

You are doing the right thing - stepping back and let your son handle it.

Starblaze Mon 31-Aug-20 13:26:36

Wetnosewheatie please don't think I am having a go at you, it's an awful situation to be in and a difficult one to advise on.

I do think you are right to step back a bit for you just that others should be stepping in and doing a course would help you manage the situation better without there becoming an emotional gulf between you where he feels you have stopped caring.

I don't think the fact he is adopted matters though. He is your son.

beverly10 Mon 31-Aug-20 13:31:25

So sorry for your son.Losing his babies was the final straw. Will he NOT talk to you ?How can you be expected to help unless he comes to you not you to him.

mumofmadboys Mon 31-Aug-20 14:10:59

My experience is that lads take longer to grow up than girls. Hopefully over the next few years he will mature to some degree. I agree about encouraging him to seek help and also getting some help for yourself. You could investigate Stepchange and CAB so you have advice/ knowledge available if he asks you for help.It is really hard being a Mum and even harder when children arrive with problems which occurred before they joined the family.Can you try and praise him for anything positive he does or says to try and boost his confidence? It is good he is living in a separate flat. It is important you do your utmost to maintain that so he doesn't live with you again. Good luck. We are all rooting for you.x

Cs783 Mon 31-Aug-20 14:30:59

Heartbreaking stuff all round, Wetnosewheatie, and my heart goes out to you. What devotion and courage you have shown. From my experience (a brother with undiagnosed mh issues) you do need to create some distance now in any support you offer. Very best wishes to you all.

Wetnosewheatie Mon 31-Aug-20 16:51:42

Thanks everyone. I know you weren't being critical starblaze. :-). Today I have sent him a number of jobs that are available with immediate starts. Warehouse work. One has shifts starting today and is about a twenty minute walk . He won't go because I won't give him money for petrol. I've offered to pick him up provide drinks and pick him up at 4am. Guess what. He's not going because I won't provide petrol. He has no intention of even trying. This is not going to end well is it. It will be a test of my resolve to breaking point.

Alexa Mon 31-Aug-20 17:05:55

My best friend, now deceased, had a son very like you describe. She tried her best for him as much as she could, but eventually gave up on him, as she could do nothing for him, having neither money nor any other resources.

My friend had a difficult life in many ways, and she survived by a combination of light heartedness and stoicism. I had known her from childhood. I think this is how she coped with her very difficult family relationships, besides have some very good friends.

Starblaze Mon 31-Aug-20 17:22:50


I think one of the most important things everyone needs is to be appreciated. Just appreciated for who we are, what we do.. Its just important.

OK you clearly haven't given up and despite letting off steam you probably won't anyway. You just need to find the right approach... Or heneeds to because condition or not, he is an adult.

If it helps, I appreciate you. I work with children whose parents don't try. They don't try to understand or help or manage their children's conditions, they just expect us to do it all for them and a very different environment to home. Its very sad

Wetnosewheatie Thu 03-Sep-20 13:16:27

Alexa you sound like you were and had ana amazing friend

JenniferEccles Thu 03-Sep-20 16:15:35

I am certainly not an expert on your son’s condition, but from what you have said he is in the situation where he has got to his mid twenties without having developed any responsibility for his own life or actions.

You have, understandably, bailed him out of every financial pickle he has got himself into so it seems to me that he doesn’t have a huge incentive to take responsibility for his life as he knows you will always come to the rescue.

Did he express any gratitude for instance for the flat you set up for him ?
Do you think he kind of plays the “I’ve got ADD. I can’t help how I behave “ card a bit too much?