my ms son is tearing his family apart

my son in his 40s has never coped with his ms. He has a lovely family, wife works full time & 2 boys in private education. My husband & I have supported them for 13 years and can give them no more money. The boys are now old enough to stand up to his rages, he has pushed us away, and his wife is desperate. He needs psych help & threatens suicide - what to do? Both parents determined to continue private education but cannot afford it & the fees are due, hence the appalling christmas we all endured.Any advice???

If he has threatened suicide then he may be ‘elligible’ for sectioning,but it is only by consultation with the Doctors that you can find out if this is the case.It doesn’t look like he will ask for help, so steps will have to be taken.If there is a domestic situation which precipitates violence ,the police need to be called.This should ‘Kickstart’ various agencies

I wish you all the best of luck and once the medics are aware of the situation things should happen quite quickly.


Oh dear what a terrible situation. My heart goes out to you.

I think, by the sounds of it, that everybody has been treating your son with kid gloves. He may have MS but he’s still an adult and by the sounds of it he’s completely abdicated all responsibility.

For starters, why can’t the boys now go to state school? It’s really not up to you to pay for private education. If you sat down with them and simply explained that you can’t afford it at least they would know the truth. Yes the transition would be difficult but you know they will survive. I was taken out of private school aged 13 and put in state school. I survived… and they will too.

With your son, well, I think maybe it’s time people put their ‘foot down’ and stop giving in to him. He needs to be told that his attitude is not helping him or anyone… in fact harming his wife and boys (much more then going to state school could!).

The threatening suicide is bullying. He’s controlling you all with these threats and bullying. I know how terribly hard this must be for you but both of you and his wife need to stop enabling this bullying behaviour. He’s a grown man, not a baby (and let’s face it you wouldn’t put up with this from a baby!). He’s using emotional blackmail on you all.

Very hard facts. You should get together with his wife, explain that you can’t pay the school fees anymore, and join together in an effort to stop him bullying you all. Tough love as they say… but I really can’t see another option.

Sending you my best wishes,

Pat x

I agree with Pat,she has put,just what i was thinking,him threatening suicide is a form of bullying,he shouldnt expect you to support him,just so his sons can go to private schools,he needs to start living in the real world.

What amazing parents you are, but you cannot continue indefinitely to support your son and his family at this level.

Your son needs help, can you contact his GP or MS nurse?

Your grandsons will survive state education, lots do! They may even benefit from it.

Woblyboy and Pat have already given you good advice. I don’t envy you the decisions you must make but sometimes there is no option but to make the hard decisions. You don’t say what your relationship is like with his wife, can you provide mutual support for each other?

Good Luck! This is not going to be easy.

Crumbs, what stars you’ve been. In fact, you’ve been the sort of parents / in-laws that everyone aspires to have / be!

The advice above sounds good to me but I’d like to add one very serious comment: MS apparently has the highest suicide rate amongst chronic conditions and any threat of suicide should be assumed to be genuine and treated accordingly, even if it “only” seems to be attention-seeking.

Nobody knows why MS has such a high suicide rate. It may be because it’s such a spitty disease, or it may be because the damaged brain believes that’s the right way to go.

My very best wishes for 2013, the future and whatever course you take.

Lolli xx

So sorry, I completely lost the thread of what I was saying there (blame MS!).

It sounds as though your son could do with some personal attention:

  • his family’s GP should be made aware of the difficulties he’s facing, particularly suicide risk and not coping with MS. In view of the personality changes that can come with MS, cognitive behavioural therapy may help.

  • his MS Nurse, if he has one, ditto

  • getting him to sign up to the (free) Expert Patients Programme could be a real breakthrough for him. You get to meet people with other conditions and find out about the sort of things that go wrong and how to get help

Lolli xx

Good advice so far. Can’t commen on the suicide really, could well be attention seeking as the others have said or it could be more than that. Re the school fees, does the school know that they are struggling to pay? They may have payment options to help or they may have “sponsored” places where there is assistance to pay fees for those who can not afford it. The school might be sympathetic to your situation so do speak to them if you haven’t already. I wonder how long they still have to go at school? Cheryl:-)

Thankyou all for the supportive comments, it is wonderful to share. My DIL is now talking about divorce but it is she who is the most determined on this private education, reason being that she came from a very poor family and has had to work up from nothing - she is convinced that to be a professional is all. Whereas our son HAD the private education and wasted it!!! She can’t see that she has been successful because she was hungry for it and he wasted his opportunities because it was too easy.So she plans to carry on whatever on that ruinous path, the boys are under intolerable pressure, the whole thing is hurtling towards nightmare. I get on very well with her, think of her as my daughter, so thank god we do discuss everything. I will ask her whether to go to his GP but I’m afraid she will refuse as she won’t share her ‘private business’ with anyone. She has a very high profile career in this town. Thankyou all again.

has the wife coped with your son’s m.s.?

Perhaps it’s time for you to support your son and not the wife.

Such a painful and difficult situation. I’m not sure there’s much you can do while your son and daughter in law sort themselves out except be there to listen and support emotionally. Fixing their problems is not something you can do, hard as you have tried to help them. The tough decisions are theirs to make. It does sound as though things are coming to a head a bit, and everyone fears change, even when it is clear that things can’t go on like this. Once this crisis has resolved, however that happens, I hope that life becomes a little more settled for you all.