I was not surprised one little bit when I saw the article that my former stepson was arrested for kidnapping. Not shocked, not surprised, actually I kind of expected it. I was in the same house with this boy for almost six years, and I witnessed the making of a monster. The really sad thing is, it didn’t have to be this way. See the article by clicking here.
His mom and dad divorced when he was younger because mom was having an affair with, try to keep up, dad’s sister’s husband. Yes, it wasn’t good in either of the sibling’s households because both of the marriages ended in divorce when word of the ongoing affair caught up with them.
After they divorced. Mom, (now remarried to someone completely different) had custody of Eric and his little brother Aaron; Craig picked them up every other weekend, Friday through Sunday night.
I came into the picture when I married Craig in December of 1985, creating an instant family.
When Eric was at his mother’s house, which was 24 out of 28 days a month, she had him medicated on Ritalin. Whenever it was our turn to pick him up for the weekend, he would enter the car like a zombie with nothing to say and his head hanging down. We would ride in silence for the hour long drive back to our house. As the night would wear on, he would start coming out of his Ritalin coma.
I’m not sure if this is good for a kid or not but when he was at our house every other weekend, Craig refused to give Eric the drug and didn’t care about consulting with a doctor. He made the decision. This went on every time we had him.
My first experience witnessing Craig and his kids together was our first Christmas as a married couple. He bought the kids just about everything he thought they might like; everything that was “cool” that season. On Christmas morning, Craig and I sat on the couch while the two boys sat by the tree. As if someone blew a whistle and said, “GO!” the boys started ripping into the packages. Box after box, bow after bow, they tore through an entire pile of presents in what felt like microseconds, tossing paper and boxes all over the floor. With each present Eric picked up, after he opened them just enough to see the contents, he would throw the box, partially wrapped, and grunt as if to say, “Really? I want that crap!”
OMG, I couldn’t stand it! How could Craig tolerate such behavior? He spent a lot of money on these boys for Christmas, and within moments, everything was opened, strewn all over the floor. When they saw nothing left under the tree, the boys went off to do whatever they were doing before. They didn’t show one ounce of respect or say thank you at any time. I knew this was going to be a problem. I also knew, Christmas was not going to be like this ever again. Times, oh they were a changing!
Before we got married, Craig flopped between his mother’s house and his sister’s house. He started his own company and worked a ton of hours, so being closer to the plant worked best for him. When we first married, we briefly stayed at his sister’s house until we found a place to live. His sister and her family were out of town. Before they returned from their holiday travels, we found a duplex to rent.
Eric was ten at the time. Without the Ritalin, he did have a lot of energy, but he didn’t seem crazy. He seemed to warm right up to me in a short period of time. It seemed like he was craving affection and he liked to be hugged, a lot.
When I was a child, my mom’s second husband sexually abused me. I didn’t go to counseling or work through it; it still lived within me.
One morning, I went into the bathroom to shower. As always, I locked the door; a habit I started young and never faltered.
As I was washing my hair and my body, I looked up. Above me was my stepson Eric, standing on the toilet, watching me shower.
I screamed and pushed him off of the toilet and out of the room. In all my adult life, I’d never felt so violated. His dad came running to see what was going on and I told him what happened. He screamed at Eric to get in his room and for a moment, tried to console me.
As I would learn quickly, Craig had a knack for changing his tune. After holding me for a few minutes, he pulled me away and asked me if perhaps I forgot to lock the bathroom door, insinuating it was my fault!
I was beyond livid for many reasons, first because I always lock the door! No matter what, even if I didn’t, this kid didn’t have the right to come in and watch me wash my naked body.
It took weeks before I would even make eye contact with Eric. I felt that there was something a little off with the boy and I didn’t trust him as far as I could throw him.
When we started talking again, I wouldn’t let him hug me. I realized with the hugs we always did before this; his head was snuggled up against my breasts. Those days were gone.
We found a house to buy and moved out of the rental. It was a split level home on a pretty good sized piece of land out in the country with nothing next to us. Eric and Aaron would have their own rooms here upstairs while the master was down on the lowest level.
We weren’t even married a year when we got the news; Eric’s mother no longer wanted him living with her. He would now be with us full time. His younger brother, Aaron, would stay with mom. Great. Now I was a full-time mom.
When I married Craig, he weighed only 135 pounds. I didn’t care about his size; I cared about the man. After we got married, knowing that I was going to be approached by every man I came across, he started lifting weights. He figured he would be so big and intimidating that no man would come near me. It didn’t matter that I had zero interest in other men, according to Craig, it was a matter of time before I would cheat.
Through the years together, he would never believe that I could never cheat. It just isn’t in my nature. It didn’t matter. His ex-wife cheated and therefore, all women cheat. Nothing I could say or do would change what he believed.
During one of the short stints when I was “allowed” to work, I talked to Craig that night about Eric helping around the house while I was at work. Well, I got my answer to that in a blaze as he walked up to me, nose almost touching mine when he screamed in my face, “No son of mine will ever clean house!” Well, okay then. I guess I will cook, clean and work and watch your son sit on his butt doing nothing all day. Got it.
As Eric was getting older, he was getting into more and more trouble. We found out from the school that he shouted to a kid out of the bus window that he could “get him drugs” and the school suspended him. Craig knew this couldn’t be true, so he let Eric take the days off just to relax.
“No son of mine will ever clean house!”
One day Eric came home from high school with a friend and they were holding something as they walked in. I walked up and asked what it was. He nervously said it was a whistle; he made it in school.
I was not born yesterday. I knew exactly what it was Eric was holding… it was a pipe! I took it away from him and waited until Craig got home to show it to him.
Oh, how he went off on Eric! Screaming and shouting about the dangers of drugs and how dare you and la de da de da. Next thing you know, he was going to make an appointment with the local prison so Eric could go and experience the “Scared Straight” program. It was a program where kids would see how horrible jail life was so they would do anything to avoid it. You can probably guess by now that they never made it to the prison. By the end of the night, Craig believed Eric had a whistle (that didn’t whistle mind you), and I was full of shit.
During my time in the house, there were stories on the news about teenage kids losing their minds and killing their parents. Because I knew this boy was a loose cannon, I asked Craig to put a lock on the inside of our bedroom door. I found it ironic that he did it and never questioned my motives. Every night we locked the door.
I would cook dinner every night and often, we had just enough for the three of us so we wouldn’t have leftovers. I would make three or four pork chops or chicken breasts. As we would pass the food around the table, Eric would put two of the three or three out of the four pieces of meat on his plate. I would start to mention that each of us gets one when Craig would stop me and motion that it was okay. He would be the martyr so his son could eat more. I could have cooked more; it was deliberate and so disrespectful!.
We got a dog early after we moved into the house and she became my girl. She was a german shepherd, yet the biggest baby ever. As I would be working from home, she would chew her huge rawhide bone right next to me all day. We would go out back, and she’d grab massive tree limbs and run around the yard with them. She was a sweet girl.
Eric was doing something to her on an ongoing basis when he was home alone with her. It made me sick. I would walk in the door, and she would run to hide behind me. She was terrified of him! He denied ever doing anything but I know animals, and nothing speaks louder than an animal after it has been tortured or abused. The evil child was doing something to her – Craig saw the same reaction – but he refused to believe me or do anything about it.
I realized that Craig never, ever told his kids “no.” Anything they wanted or anything they wanted to do. I never once heard the words “NO” come out of his mouth when it came to his kids. All along, I knew this was going to come back and kick him in the butt.
Nothing speaks louder than an animal after it has been tortured or abused.
One night when Eric was 15 1/2, he was leaning on the entry to the kitchen as Craig and I were on the couch watching TV. He said, “Dad, can you take me to Tami’s house?” Craig said, “No!” At that moment, Eric and I caught each other’s eyes. Neither one of us ever heard him utter that word to either of his sons. No! How is Eric supposed to deal with this?
There was no discussion, no outburst, just silence – and shock on my part – as the evening moved on.
The next morning, I headed up to the kitchen to make coffee when I froze with shock. During the night, Eric took a butcher knife and slashed and stabbed the entire kitchen. Wood shavings and shrapnel everywhere.
Craig finally agreed that we needed to do something to intervene because his kid was headed down a slippery slope. I did some research and found out about a group called “Tough Love.” I found a meeting in town, and we signed up to go.
It was a series of meetings held by a local social worker. When we were there, listening to all the scenarios and issues other parents had, I felt like finally, we were going to get on top of Eric’s behaviors. We went to a few of the meetings, and we would go home and talk about implementing the “natural consequences” so Eric would learn.
Craig couldn’t do it. He couldn’t play hardball with his son even though his son desperately needed effective parenting, responsibilities, and consequences. Eric was going on 16. Craig quit going to the meetings and tossed out all of the literature because it was easier to live in denial. He was going to continue being the loving, giving parent he always had been.
The social worker who facilitated the meetings would eventually become my counselor and help me get the hell out of that house. I left when Eric was turning 16.
Currently, for about ten years, I have been getting calls from Child Protective Services in Ohio looking for a family member who could take care of Eric’s children while he was indisposed. I have told them time and time again I am no longer married to his dad! I am not a relative! Stop calling me.
My friend in Ohio sent me the article about now 41-year-old Eric kidnapping, beating and raping a 14-year-old girl. He drove from Ohio to Missouri to pick her up and bring her home. The thing that makes me sick is it did not have to happen. Just a little tough love, follow through and allowing your child to hate you for a little while would have changed the direction of his life when he was a kid. Craig took the easy route and tried to be the best, most giving dad he could be. He was busy running a manufacturing plant; he didn’t have time for parenting. Look how that turned out. It didn’t have to be this way. I knew, with the lack of responsible parenting this child was receiving, his adult life would be hell.
Take the time to parent your children no matter what the circumstances are in your life or how busy you are. If they don’t have firm boundaries, responsibilities, and natural consequences, how will they learn how to be an adult who can function on their own? Give them chores and responsibilities. Make sure they know how to do everything before they fly from the nest. Where and how else will they learn? Saying “yes” and buying them everything cannot teach them about reality because you know what, it isn’t reality! The world won’t treat them that way. When they reach adulthood, and they don’t know otherwise, they are screwed.
Raising a child for 18 years goes by unbelievably fast. If you chose to have kids, take the time to invest in their future. If you don’t want to spend the countless hours doing the work to produce a capable and functioning adult, do not have children. I beg you. Society begs you.