When we married, my stepson was normal. He got married, and had a son.
He did have a previous issue with drug abuse, was arrested for auto theft, and was diagnosed as bipolar.
After four years, the bipolar signs appeared and worsened. This ultimately ended his marriage.
He returned home to live with us, “temporarily.” For a year, he just sat on the couch constantly depressed.
During his child visitations, he’d let us take care of our grandchild. He had no desire or interest.
Then he went manic, buying vehicles he couldn't afford, starting new businesses, selling off its needed tools plus his car, for a boat which got smashed, uninsured.
We bought him a cheap car so he could get to his new job (it lasted two months). He sold the car for a truck, which he “lost.”
We take him to doctors, they prescribe medication, he claims he takes it. But the pattern persists.
We keep helping him with a place to stay, providing him with vehicles, and my husband keeps bailing him out of jail for his acts of stupidity.
For me, enough is enough. But, he's not my son, just my stepson.
But I cannot imagine that we’re helping him by repeatedly bailing him out.
It’s become a real problem in our marriage. We all need help. I feel badly for our grandson whom we care for in his father's absence.
I love my husband, but I'm feeling like this man’s going to be the death of our marriage.
Yes, you ALL need help.
That’s not to blame any one of you.
It’s hard for his father to give up on his son, just as it’s hard for you to see your lives and relationship constantly stressed.
Become pro-active. Your grandson needs counselling help to understand that his father’s emotional abandonment isn’t his fault.
Your husband and you need a specialist’s advice on how to know whether a response is supportive, and when it’s enabling.
Seek out a support group for families caught in this turmoil, through your local mental health association.
Most important, keep looking for ways to not let the situation divide you two.
I’m an attractive, 30-something, single woman. Two years ago, I broke up with my long-term live-in boyfriend and started dating someone secretly because of our age difference and work relationship.
The relationship became abusive and I left him. I’d become pregnant and suffered a second-term miscarriage.
It left me emotionally brittle and terrified of dating, which I’ve avoided for two years despite seeing a therapist. But I’ve made a good life for myself.
However, my mother's troublesome (and adulterous) brother, started a rumour in our family that I’m a lesbian.
I told my mother I wanted nothing more to do with him. Yet she keeps trying to throw us together at family functions.
She thinks I’m overreacting, that he’s done nothing wrong.
Her failure to stand up for me really hurts.
Recovering Emotional Woman
Dismiss the rumour outright, avoid your uncle when you can, and ignore him when in his presence.
He’s revealed an adolescent mentality about sexual identification and behaviour.
Unfortunately, gay people often hear this level of stupidity, which is insulting to them, but it shouldn’t be to you. He’s a know-nothing jerk.
Your mother lacks understanding of your emotional state. Tell her you’re fine but won’t put up with his nonsense.
Avoid family functions until she backs off trying to put you two together.
FEEDBACK Regarding the retired husband who’s a poor handyman (July 23):
Reader – “While he needs to discover how to still feel productive, it's not fair for his wife to not have equal input into their home renovations.
“Being financially secure isn't an excuse for letting him lash out at her, and pay someone to fix what he ruined.
“It can cost significantly more to fix, than hiring someone initially.
“A life change doesn’t excuse one from behaving immaturely, or unilaterally making decisions about home projects that affect another person.
“He wouldn't get away with that behaviour in the workplace, so why does she have to put up with it?”
Ellie – Thank heavens marriage isn’t the same as a workplace!
Women and men alike need extra compassion for awhile, while experiencing life transitions. She can cut him some slack, while helping him get retirement counselling for a still-active, productive life.
Tip of the day:
Dealing with a relative’s mental illness requires informed, well-researched, understanding of what can help and what cannot.