My stepson is stealing money, lying, in trouble at school, getting bad grades etc. Telling his mother complete out of no where lies that just has me in awe. Than she calls and screams at me and my husband about something that isn’t even true. Shes on meth and pot, bald on one side of her head from who knows what and lives with her parents and they are ready to kick her out, just outta control. I don’t know what to do? Half the time she never shows up for visitation which is every other weekend and every other Thursday for 3 hours. She rarely shows up on Thursdays on time its usually around 7-8pm and then flips out on me for feeding them dinner. Calling me every name in the book in front of the three boys. Then when she brings them back she needs money. Don’t owe her any she just demands it cuz they didn’t eat when she took them out. She bought them cell phones and texts them with horrible things. On several occasions she told them she was broke and to find some money around the house and to “shhhhh” she has told them I hate them and don’t want them around. Which is funny, because I’m the one who buys shoes, cuts hair and nails, buys clothes, does homework, shows up at school to help etc. In the 4 years I’ve been here she has NEVER done those things. It has not gottin any better either. I just don’t know what to do. She has called the police at the school when I’ve showed up to pick them up. Reason being she wouldn’t answer the phone to let us know she was coming so I went. It was terribly embarrassing. Why is she doing all this? Why is she telling the boys I hate them, she told them I was trying to kill them,why can’t she just be nice? The oldest boy is in real trouble emotionally, I believe. She tells him things that are just not appropriate for a 12 year old. She walks around the house naked in front of the boys. I just want for the boys to be okay and for us not to live in fear of her anymore. She’s crazy and I look both ways when I walk out of the house. I don’t put anything past her. What so I do?

A: What a nightmare. My guess is that she is jealous of you, feels guilty that she can’t be a better mother, and has significant mental illness. The combination makes her irrational. But – I think you are asking the wrong question. It doesn’t matter why she does these things. She does them. She is doing psychological harm to her boys and making you afraid. Your stepson’s behavior is his way of letting you know he’s hurting. Your first responsibility is to keep everyone in the family safe. It’s probably time for you and your husband to go back to your lawyer and see if you have any power to limit visitations and to put some boundaries around you and your family – at least until she gets treatment and starts to behave more appropriately.
I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 11 May 2007

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2007). How Do I Stop Husband’s Ex from Damaging her Boys?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/05/11/how-do-i-stop-husbands-ex-from-damaging-her-boys/