Question: Dear Luise: I have a 22 year old son that lives at home with me, my husband (his father) and his two younger brothers. He is destructive in the house, smashes walls, stove, washer, etc. He smokes in our house, though we ask him, tell him not to. He yells at us, calls us names, swears at us. He does not pay any sort of rent, though we ask him to. He does not help around the house. We are not allowed to talk to him, ask him anything, or be in the same room as him, unless it is OK with him. To top it all off we found out recently he is an IV drug abuser… heroin. I know it sounds easy to kick him out. We have told him many times to move out; he doesn’t. I have asked a friend that is a police officer if we can have him kicked out; no! We would have to go to court and file for eviction. The only thing we could do is to have him arrested. As bad as he is, he is still our son and I’m sure if we had him arrested we would probably never see him again. What to do? L.
Answer: Dear L.: He is your son but I think you are doing him great harm by supporting such attitudes, conduct…and habits. He is setting a horrible example for his brothers and so are you by being doormats. He won’t “allow” you to talk to him in your own home? Why would you “ask” anything of a person who behaves like that? Your job is to “require” that he conform or leave. When did it stop being your home and become his? How can you justify what he is getting away with?
Your son is making self-destructive choices and yes, one may be to never see you again. Don’t be blackmailed by that possibility. This is his mess to unravel once you stop enabling him. It’s time for you to join Al-Anon and get some support and direction regarding your part in this. The last I knew it was for the families of all addicts, not just alcoholics.
Evict him because that is what is sane. Condoning his psychological abuse and physical destruction by not taking the necessary action to stop it is unhealthy for everyone concerned. Let him know that you love him but you do not love what he is doing or what he has become. Also let him know that he will be welcomed back into your lives when he chooses to become a responsible adult, which includes paying you back for his room and board and the extensive damage he has done to your home. Blessings, Luise