sex, drugs and alcohol

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Findingmyvoice

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sex, drugs and alcohol
« on: August 09, 2021, 08:43:48 PM »
Hi everyone!

It's been a long time since I have been on the forum.
I was here lots leading up to and during my separation from exBPDw 2 or 3 years ago.

This site was a savior for me.  I really appreciated having a safe place to talk to people that were going through similar situations.
I have grown a lot in the last two years.  I look back at the behavior that I accepted from my ex and can't believe that I was actually the same person.
I would never accept that from someone now, especially a partner.

I had lots of struggles through the legal process but we have a parenting agreement and are officially divorced now.
My son who is now 16 wanted to be at his mom's house 50% so that is what we agreed on.
He was definitely coerced, but he's old enough to decide if a new phone is worth it or not.

He is the golden child so there are no boundaries for him when he is at his mom's house, he acts like the parent when he is there.
He doesn't have to be accountable for what he says, where he goes, what he does.
As much as I think this is unhealthy, there isn't a lot that I can do about it aside from reinforcing positive values and boundaries when he is at my home.

I also have twin daughters that are now 15 years old.
I have had to go pick my daughters up a few times over the summer because things are not going well.
They are normally at exBPDw's house 4 days every 2 weeks, but over the summer they are there 50% of the time.
But generally things have been pretty quiet with exBPDw, no big disagreements, no outbursts.

Just yesterday my daughters started telling me some things that have me concerned.
There are the usual things that bother them about how their mom doesn't listen to them or seem to want them around.
They have a lot of responsibilities and rules and their brother does not.
I help them cope with these things the best I can.

The things that are really bothering me are related to alcohol, drugs and sex.
Apparently exBPDw's current boyfriend has been to federal prison on drug related charges.  I try to keep an open mind about this, not everyone that has been to prison is a bad person.

But then more information starts flooding out.
The girls call him a drug dealer.  They told me that exBPDw buys drugs illegally because they are cheaper and to avoid the taxes that the government places on them.
I don't know how they would know this unless exBPDw told them.
There are also apparently a couple of other "drug dealer" boyfriends in addition to the main guy.

They told me that exBPDw offered to get one of my son's friends some Ketamine.
She then blew this off as a joke.

There are marijuana edibles and marijuana vapes laying around the house.
One of my daughters scolded exdBPDw about this and told her she shouldn't be leaving that stuff laying around.
exBPDw turned it around and played the victim and turned on the waterworks because my daughter was accusing her of being a bad parent.
My daughter didn't actually call her a bad parent, but you all know what PDs are like.

My daughters also say that exBPDw gets so high that she doesn't remember doing things.
exBPDw makes all sorts of baking with pot as well.  I cautioned my daughters to make sure they know what they are eating.

exBPDw buys alcoholic drinks and makes or leaves them accessible to the kids.
My daughters said that my son had 20 to 30 empty cans in his closet.

My daughters have a pretty good moral compass and seem like they are disgusted with all of it.
But it sounds like my son is taking advantage of having no adult supervision and a parent that is checked out.

My son also apparently comes and goes whenever he wants without asking, leaves and comes home at all hours in the morning, takes exBPDws car without asking,

My son has a girlfriend now and she spends a lot of time there when he is at his mom's.  I have met her twice, she seems like a nice girl.
But my son installed a lock on his bedroom door at his mom's house when his girlfriend started coming over to visit.
exBPDw is apparently OK with this. 
It also seems like exBPDw is promoting sex.  She bought him two costco sized boxes of condoms.
If they are going to be having sex, then I definitely want them to be using protection.
But I think taking the lock off and dropping in to see what they are doing would be more effective.

What I would really like to do is get my kids the heck out of there.
It's a bad environment for them, that might be dangerous depending on what kind of guys she is hanging out with.
They are getting the wrong signals about what is and isn't acceptable.  I feel that this is making them more vulnerable to peer pressure in the future with drugs, sex and alcohol.

But I have had enough dealings with the legal system to know that it's going to be next to impossible to get the kids out of her home.
Especially now that our kids are nearing adulthood.
I don't have any evidence aside from what my daughters have told me.
I could ask my daughters if they are comfortable talking to their lawyer about this. 
This would kick off a whole other round of confrontation and legal battles and would probably go nowhere.
I'm thinking I should at least talk to my lawyer and see what my options are.

Of course I'm going to talk to my son about all of this.  I have to think about how I am going to present it so that he listens and understands.
The last thing that I want is for him to decide that he is better off at his mom's house full time.  That would be a disaster for him.

I have an email typed up to send to exBPDw about my concerns.  I don't imagine it will do a lot of good.

I have not met the girlfriend's parents yet.  I really want to clue them in to what may be going on when their daughter is visiting at exBPDw's house.
I know I wouldn't be comfortable with my daughters in an unsupervised "anything goes" situation.
I also know that disrupting my son's relationship with his girlfriend is not going to make me popular, but if the relationship is centered around being able to drink, do drugs and whatever else behind closed doors then I don't think its a good relationship for either of them.

I don't really know what else to do.

Finding.


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notrightinthehead

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Re: sex, drugs and alcohol
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2021, 03:06:39 AM »
Sounds like your son is living a teenagers' dream and your daughters are mature beyond their age. I would praise and admire them for their maturity tell them that it's not ok to have to know better than an adult at their age but I am so proud of them that they do.
I would be very careful with telling the girlfriend's parents anything I cannot prove.  Are you concerned that your son is getting involved in illegal dealings himself? Kids are capable of accepting different rules in different places - he might be going wild at his mother's house and behave well at your house.
I can't hate my way into loving myself.

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Penny Lane

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Re: sex, drugs and alcohol
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2021, 11:56:10 AM »
Yikes, this is really scary. Unfortunately I don't think you have a silver bullet cure here. Your son is almost an adult, and he won't react well to you trying to pull him out of the situation. And then even if you succeeded, he'll be back in a couple years if not sooner. So I think with him you need to focus on mitigating damage rather than getting him out - although it sounds like the situation is unstable enough that you might end up having no choice than to try to pull all the kids out of her home (more on that in a minute).

First thing first I would think through what are the worst outcomes, things that would have yearslong or lifelong impact. Smoking pot with their mom - really bad, but easily recoverable. Developing a binge drinking habit - will make things very tough. Drunk driving accident - could become paralyzed or go to jail, definitely a huge problem. Getting his girlfriend pregnant - changes the course of his entire life.

So, triage - make sure your son knows about safe sex (I wouldn't rely on the mom's box of condoms to really get the point). Make sure the girls have a safety plan for if one of these men that come in and out of the house turns out to be dangerous (it sounds like they're already comfortable calling you to pick them up). Talk about and model appropriate drinking behavior, driving drunk, etc. and how to recognize when substance use becomes substance abuse. This is NOT the time, IMO, for "all drugs are bad" or "just don't have sex." Drugs are happening, sex is happening, and your son really needs to teach himself how to stop before things get worse.

Second tier - really smart to tell them to watch out what they're eating. I think your son needs all the tools of responsibility that a young adult (say, college student) has - is there any way to speed up the teaching process? And the kids need to be able to deal with neglect, figure out how to make themselves dinner or get themselves to where they need to be.

I think finally then teaching your morals comes into play. These behaviors are not OK, they don't make you happy in the long term, and they disrupt your life. These are things you will impart to the kids slowly, over years, both with words and by example. Don't worry about immediately getting them to see that these behaviors are wrong. Share your values and your thoughts with them as they come up, especially when BM isn't the topic of conversation. I think this is the most important long-term, but it takes a lot of time to sink in. You also can talk a lot about the WHY. Why are drugs bad? It's not just because. It's because they give you a short term burst of happiness but in the long term make you reliant on them. It's because they disrupt your ability to get natural enjoyment out of things. It's because addiction consumes your life and blocks you from getting what you want. And so on.

On the court side, I would send that email to your ex, but not really because you think it's going to change anything. I think you will want to have it documented. I would keep the email extremely to the point, write out the most concerning behaviors, explain why you're concerned and ask her to stop. (Dealing/using illegal drugs, allowing sex). If your ex is like my H's ex, she probably doesn't have the self-control to actually stop. But you can document that you tried. And maybe she'll tone it down when she learns that you're watching.

I also think you need to have a serious conversation with your lawyer. 1. Is what you have enough to prove what's happening? 2. Even if a judge believes you, what realistically would they change? You might hear, yes this is alarming and a judge would grant you full custody. You might hear, no they're not going to change anything for kids that old. That might help you decide on a path forward.

What do your daughters want you to do? Do they want you to intervene?

At some point these things become so bad that we feel compelled to act. An outsider with no PD experience might say, your children are in a dangerous situation of course you need to go to court! However, the situation is more fragile and delicate than that. If you act now and do what's ostensibly the "right thing" - getting the kids out of there - it could have negative consequences to your relationship with your son, without actually setting him on a better path. So if you do find a way to set him on the right path, even if that means not aggressively getting him out of the bad situation, to me that is a "win." Like you said, your son being at his mom's full time would be a disaster for him. These are things that we have to weigh, that outsiders don't really understand. My point is that, you have a lot of bad options here. Whatever you decide to do, it won't be perfect, and you shouldn't beat yourself up. You can only do what you can do. Don't take on the responsibility in your own mind of the situation. The responsibility and blame lies with your ex.

I'm so sorry. Good luck. You are smart and a very good dad, and you'll figure out the best thing to do. All the kids, even your son, appreciate the stability of your house even if they seem to like the allure of bad behavior at their mom's. No parent should have to deal with this, but you are doing a good job.

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Findingmyvoice

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Re: sex, drugs and alcohol
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2021, 02:25:05 PM »
Thanks for the replies, this helps me get things into perspective.
As always, I wait a day or two and try to talk to people to get my head around the situation before I send off any triggering emails.

Notright, you are correct, I think he is definitely behaving differently at his mom's house.
My daughters tell me he sleeps until mid afternoon, sometimes 4PM which would never happen at my home.
He gets angry at them (my daughters) for no reason.  He throws his weight around because exBPDw backs up whatever he says.
Frankly it sounds like he's a tyrant and its encouraged.
Part of my discussion with him is going to be about integrity and self respect.
Living by a set of values and deciding which values are more important, talking to him about his good qualities and asking why he sometimes abandons those qualities in favor of negative qualities or values.
Choices lead to a path in life and If goes down the wrong path he misses out on a lot of things.  I can provide examples to him of friends and relatives that have gone down that path and hopefully he can recognize how those decisions have a long term effect.  The short term gratification of impressing friends, a short high, etc can lead to long term emotional suffering, health consequences, or in the case of a good high school friend of mine, death.  I have told them these stories before just in passing but I think I need to drive the point home about the decisions that lead to this kind of life.

For my daughters, I definitely need to praise their good judgment.
They know their mothers' limitations, I have talked to them about this many times about how they should not have to be the parent.

Penny, they are definitely learning to be self sufficient!  This is how the whole conversation got started.
I am working long hours this week and told them that they could stay at my place this week but they would be mostly on their own and I would only see them for an hour or two in the evenings.
They said they are on their own at mom's anyways.   They said that at my place there is at least food in the fridge to make something to eat.
They also know where I'm at and when I will be home. exBPDw goes out for a "walk" or to run errands in the afternoon and they don't see or hear from her until the next day.
Then we got into the conversation about how they are expected to plan meals, make the grocery list, etc.

I had the talk about sex with my son when I learned that he had a serious girlfriend.
He was open to the conversation (as open as I could expect) and had all of the right answers, but I am concerned about the fact that he seems to display differing values between my house and his moms.
He has definitely learned to play the system or turn his conscience on or off which itself is troubling to me.  I don't trust that he will stand by what he says and it seems a little narcy to be able to act one way at my house and another way at his moms.

Penny, you are also right about contacting the GF's parents.  I'm thinking about this differently today.
It's probably not warranted at this point especially until after I talk to my son about it.
I don't know for sure what is going on, I'm hearing only little bits from my daughters.  He may not be doing drugs, maybe it was one of his friends or GF that is drinking when they are over.

There is another layer to this as well.
My daughters told me that my son's GF is abused at home.
I don't know what this means exactly, they weren't able to tell me.  In teenager world being abused might just be not getting what you want all of the time, I don't know for sure.
This raises red flags for me about a whole other realm of possibilities.  how mentally healthy is she?  Is she taking advantage of a home where she can get alcohol and drugs?
If there is abuse at home, contacting GF's parents may put her in a bad situation.
My daughters are pretty observant, they think that GF is fake, they said she acts all bubbly and nice when people are looking but is moody and glares at them when no one is looking.
But once again, I am dealing with teenagers here.  My own daughters have been all over the place emotionally over the last couple of years.

You make some really good points about drugs disrupting your natural ability to enjoy things and how you end up reliant on them for the long term.

Legal action is likely not going to go anywhere but I do need to document that I have concerns in case it becomes necessary in the future.

I don't think my ex has the ability to say no to my son at all.
My daughters told me about a situation where he did something, I can't remember what it was.
it was bad enough for exBPDw to tell him he could not visit friends for the rest of the day.  It was only a couple of hours because he didn't get up until mid afternoon and kids were coming to my place at 6PM.
He ended up taking exBPDws car and going to the movies with a friend right after that and exBPDw didn't say or do anything.
My daughters called out exBPDw  and said "not fair".
So what did she do?  You can probably guess.
She texted my son and said "your sisters say you can't go out with your friends and you have to come home".
He didn't come home.
It just makes me sick to my stomach.

Anyways, I know it's time for a course correction.
I didn't know that it was this bad until Sunday afternoon and the flood of information was shocking to me.
I have a better perspective now, thanks Penny and notright.

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Penny Lane

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Re: sex, drugs and alcohol
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2021, 02:53:23 PM »
Like I said, youíre a good dad. Youíre doing the right things. Itís really hard to counteract the short term gratification of no rules. But I have to believe that in the long term, good values and good behavior wins out. BM throws a lot of temper tantrums and we spend a lot of time talking to the kids about how we treat people nicely because itís the right thing to do but also because thatís how you get what you want. We also talk about the importance of the sibling relationship and encourage them to work together when we know theyíre being pitted against each other at their momís house.

I worry that weíre headed down the same path as you. DH found a text in the 10 upís phone at MIDNIGHT to their mom, asking ďwhere are you? When are you coming home?Ē It wonít be long before sheís just not coming home overnight. And our BM, too, simply cannot say no to the kids. Even in low stakes situations, like thereís a play date that doesnít work for BMís schedule. We would just say no, letís do it another day. But she says yes and is angry about it. And she canít say no when the stakes are high, like she exposed the kids to covid and then didnít quarantine them. When DH asked her about it she told him it was ďtoo hard to tell them they canít see their friends.Ē She totally abdicates her responsibility as an adult and then gets jealous of DH for being more of a parent than her.

Like I said Iím sorry itís escalated so far for you. I hope itís comforting to know that youíre doing the right things. Good luck, I hope the situation improves at her house. Maybe the boyfriend will go back to prison?

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Findingmyvoice

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Re: sex, drugs and alcohol
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2021, 07:00:59 PM »
Thanks Penny,
This is one of the things that I love about this forum.  Getting advice from other good parents who are faced with similar issues.
Nice to know that I'm not alone and that I can only do so much to counteract the parenting on the other side of the fence.

It's super frustrating that we spent so much on the legal battle over child custody and when she has the kids she ignores them or just leaves to go on dates or whatever it is that she does.
My daughter asked me last year as we were finally coming to an agreement "Dad, why does mom say she wants us to be there but when we are there she acts like she doesn't want us?  Is it about money?  Does she get money if we are at her house?".  I had to dance around that one a bit.  I think I said something like "your mom loves you and wants you around but she just doesn't show it in the same way."
It's amazing how insightful kids are.  It was only a few months later when the same daughter told me "Mom says she needs us to tell our lawyer we want to stay with her so she can get another $300 a month for each of us." 
So even though I tried to protect her from feeling unwanted her mom just came straight out and said it.

There is a real struggle to get the kids to act kind to each other when at their moms.  For years I have been preaching to the kids that the expectation (my expectations for them and their expectations for themselves and their siblings) is the same no matter whose house you are at.  We don't speak to each other in a way that is mean, cruel, demeaning, blaming, we don't hurt each other, etc.
It's tough to enforce after the fact, there is always a "he said" 'she said" and most times it is aggravated or initiated by their mom.

The worst part is that exBPDw has no problem saying no to our daughters, but won't say no to our son.  Covid was a parenting nightmare. 
When social gatherings were not allowed, she would let our son have other teens over for sleepovers but only when it was just our son there. 
When daughters went to her house they were not allowed any social contact at all.  Everything was a hard no.
it's like she is punishing them for not agreeing to spend 50% of their time with her. 
She does the same thing with clothes and gifts for them as well, if they ask for anything she just says "dad can buy that".
It doesn't bother me to pay for things, but it has a negative effect on our daughters self worth.  it makes them angry and resentful towards their mom.  They lose respect for her.

Hahaha, I don't know what's worse.  ExBPDw with no boyfriend or exBPDw with a scumbag boyfriend.
She's way easier to get along with when she has a man.  When she doesn't have a man she is constantly picking fights over every little thing and involves the kids in it.
I can pinpoint every breakup she has had in the last 3 years just by looking back at my text and email messages.

I just thought of a good analogy that I can use to try to explain values and integrity to my son.  We were playing cards on the weekend and we were talking about swearing.
I don't swear very often, I have to be pretty upset to let it slip.  I dropped a couple f bombs (jovially) while we were playing cards to see what the reaction would be.
Everyone was uncomfortable and and my son simply said "Dad!" because he knew it sounded wrong. 
I know they swear around their friends and do and say things that they wouldn't do or say around me.  It's part of growing up and finding your identity, I understand that because i did it too.
But integrity means that you do the right thing even when no one is watching.  You behave positively even when you aren't required to.
I'm going to try to explain that feeling of uncomfortableness and how it feels wrong when someone acts contrary to what you know their values are.
It's the same when someone that is normally rude and abrasive starts acting nice and sweet, you know something is up and you get a gut feeling that something is wrong.
The reason is because you form an unconscious opinion about someone and when they suddenly violate your expectations it feels really strange.

Good luck to you too Penny.  I appreciate your support!