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Step son driving me nuts...help?

Ok, I feel like a horrible person for even complaining...but I also feel like I'm at the end of my rope. My step son who is 18 moved in with my husband and I about a month ago. To put it plainly, the kid has had it rough. His mom made sure my husband was not in the picture and her family and the step dad/step dad's family were very abusive. So, my step son has a lot of issues he needs to over come. I feel bad for him, I REALLY do. I am doing my best to be understanding and to help him as much as I can. For the most part, he is a really sweet kid.  He is reconnecting with my husband very well. 

The problem is that we (my husband and I) cannot have a conversation without him present. He is ALWAYS there. He only goes to his room to sleep and will not stay in a room by himself. We resorted to whispering in our room after he goes to bed. That was until last night. We were whispering and we hear from upstairs "I can hear you talking...stop talking about me". The house we are renting is small. We tried talking outside (1/2 acre away from the house) and we get back to "I hope you know I could hear you talking" and then he repeats our conversation.  If we try talking while he is in the room, he tries to take over the conversation...even if it does not involve him in the least...and some things just need to be talked about privately. As of last night's revelation, I am now completely uncomfortable. No hope of a private conversation, sex life...gone (hearing from upstairs "I can hear you kissing" is a total mood killer). To make it all slightly worse, he NEVER stops talking. If he is not talking to one of us, he talks to himself. 

He has been seeing a therapist 3 days a week since he was 9 and is not refusing to go because its "stupid". Does anyone have ANY suggestions on how to deal with this? I don't want to be the evil step mom, but at the same time...is it too much to ask to be able to have a private conversation?

Re: Step son driving me nuts...help?

  • WahooWahoo member
    Ancient Membership 2500 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    Stop letting him run the show.  Even though he had a rough background, he needs boundries.

    What is he doing while at your house?  Going to school?  Working PT?  Just "hanging out" at home in your house doesn't cut it.  Make a plan with DH that SS needs to have something going on - even volunteer work.  I would tell him that he is REQUIRED to go to therapy while he lives in your house - - it's your house, your rules.  If he doesn't want to go to therapy, he can move out and support himself.  He's 18 and old enough.

    If you want to talk privately, go have coffee someplace.  Or have a lunch/dinner or ice cream date and don't bring SS.

    And if you are having a private conversation and you hear "I can hear you...." tell him if he doesn't want to hear the conversation, then plug his ears!  Ditto "I can hear you kissing!"  Tell him to go outside and take a walk or if you re lucky he will start hearing moans of pleasure.  Personally, I would just tell him you and your H want some "alone time" and he has to get out of the house for an hour.
    image "Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.
  • Thanks Wahoo. He is working FT with my husband. 

    We can't leave him alone, he freaks out and we come home to him sobbing and shaking because he's afraid we aren't coming back. 

    I'm not use to this. I will talk to my husband though and see if we can work out some sort of schedule or something for some time to ourselves. 
  • WahooWahoo member
    Ancient Membership 2500 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    If he starts sobbing when you leave the house, then he NEEDS therapy.  Not up for discussion!  If he doesn't fit with the therapist, maybe he can work with another one.

    Also, separating from you / H for short periods of time should be something that you work towards in therapy.  
    image "Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.
    PrincessVegan
  • Can I suggest something else in addition to making sure your SS goes to therapy on his own? Perhaps it would benefit all of you if you went to see a family counselor together - that way you can work on setting boundaries etc together. The other stuff that your SS is dealing with though, he absolutely must stay in individual therapy because of his deep seeded problems. Poor kid, but like Wahoo said, your house, your rules too....GL

    spikeinc
  • edited April 2014
    Ok, I feel like a horrible person for even complaining...but I also feel like I'm at the end of my rope. My step son who is 18 moved in with my husband and I about a month ago. To put it plainly, the kid has had it rough. His mom made sure my husband was not in the picture and her family and the step dad/step dad's family were very abusive. So, my step son has a lot of issues he needs to over come. I feel bad for him, I REALLY do. I am doing my best to be understanding and to help him as much as I can. For the most part, he is a really sweet kid.  He is reconnecting with my husband very well.

    This has to be rough for him indeed.

    The problem is that we (my husband and I) cannot have a conversation without him present. He is ALWAYS there.

    When we were kids and our parents had something to discuss and we were not to be on the scene, we were told "Go to your room" or "Step out please." And we did as we were asked.

    You and your H need to start doing this and start doing it now. And make it clear that "Step out" or "Go to your room" means exactly that. You are the parents, whether or not he is of majority. A private conversation is a private conversation.

    He only goes to his room to sleep and will not stay in a room by himself. We resorted to whispering in our room after he goes to bed. That was until last night. We were whispering and we hear from upstairs "I can hear you talking...stop talking about me".

    This is where it gets dicey. If he is going to do this every time you say something, perhaps he needs some intervention that is better than what he has now; sounds like he's got an issue that nobody looked into.

    Geez, privacy is privacy, the same as it is when he has a conversation with a friend and you and/or your H aren't meant to be included in the conversation! Can't you tell him that? Respect our privacy and we will do the same in kind to you.

    The house we are renting is small. We tried talking outside (1/2 acre away from the house) and we get back to "I hope you know I could hear you talking" and then he repeats our conversation.  If we try talking while he is in the room, he tries to take over the conversation...even if it does not involve him in the least...and some things just need to be talked about privately.

    As of last night's revelation, I am now completely uncomfortable. No hope of a private conversation, sex life...gone (hearing from upstairs "I can hear you kissing" is a total mood killer). To make it all slightly worse, he NEVER stops talking. If he is not talking to one of us, he talks to himself. 

    He has been seeing a therapist 3 days a week since he was 9 and is not refusing to go because its "stupid". Does anyone have ANY suggestions on how to deal with this? I don't want to be the evil step mom, but at the same time...is it too much to ask to be able to have a private conversation?

    He's got a real issue --- he needs another evaluation and possibly medication.

    I would make it clear to a therapist what he is doing --- and unfortunately, you cannot make him see a therapist; he is of majority and he can do what he wishes.

    Perhaps it is time to tell this young man to find a place of his own or send him back to whence he came -- does he work? Does he go to school? you don't mention that he does either! He's allowed to hang around your home all day?  Might I ask why?
  • ^ OP said that he does work full time with his father....
    TarponMonoxide
  • Perhaps it is best that the stepson live elsewhere.

    They can't walk on eggs around him --- and they can't let him have the upper hand. This kid also apparently doesn't care about privacy or can't understand what privacy means.

    The living arrangement isn't working out. Probably be best for him to live elsewhere.  He can get an apartment with 2 or 3 other guys --- considering what's going on, there's no way I'd let the living arrangement continue.
  • I think that one thing you can do is to try to address his paranoia about you 'talking about him'. Stop having whispered conversations, that would make ANYONE paranoid.

    Sit down with him and treat him like an adult - just because you two are talking without him doesn't mean that you are talking about him. You might be talking about work, the weather, a TV show - you are a married couple and it is an important part of marriage that you sometimes just talk with each other. It doesn't mean that you are trying to exclude him, far from it - he is part of your family. Just that this is an intimate part of a healthy marriage - he will understand when he is in his own relationship.

    Apart from that, get some white noise going on in your house so you aren't all listening so acutely to eachother's conversations. TV on, radio on in the background... get things going so they aren't so quiet and tense - this may help. Also, de-sensitize the chatting - waiting until you are alone to talk will just add to the paranoia.

    It sounds like the kid has serious security and abandonment issues - I can relate to him in a way - but to me the more secretive you become the more you feed into it.
    image

    Chronically hilarious - you'll split your stitches!
    I wrote a book! Bucket list CHECK!
  • I think it may be time for him to find a new therapist and one that can do family therapy as well. It sounds like there are abandoment issues. On the positive front, your husband and him are working on their relationship. Maybe after doing some new therapy & family counseling, you can start out on small trips away. Like, telling him that you are going out for a date night and will be back in 1 hour. Even if that only allows you time to go to a fast food place or just to go sit in the car somewhere & talk, but then be back make in 55 minutes. Do that a few times and then start adding time to it? A therapist can maybe help him with how to deal with that. But maybe after enough times of you going out & coming back when you say you will, he'll get more comfortable. Hopefully after time with having a routine that he gets more settled into & he feels that he can start to trust, he will get better. Keep in mind, he has lots of years of talking with you that he missed.  Since he's 18 are there any community sports that your husband & him can do together? This way maybe he can make some friends in the community & even if he only feels comfortable with having a new friend come over to hang out & watch a movie it would distract him giving you guys some times to yourself. Also try to see if there are any hobbys you can get him interested in, building airplanes or cars, reading, heck even online video games.  Good luck!

    Personally when you were outside talking, I think he was probably following you & hiding off in the distance, else that would seem pretty hard for him to hear your conversation off in a distance. Also check to see if your house is properly insulated, if it isn't, doing that might help with the sound issues too.

  • I don't have anything to add other than what PPs have suggested, I just wanted to say that this is so difficult and draining.  GL.

    Remember that your relationship with your husband comes first.  Don't let anything damage that.
    Tofumonkey
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