As humans, we all make mistakes, and there are instances where a second chance is exactly what we need to make things right.
But sometimes it can be really hard to give someone that second chance, admitted the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Throwaway56906 was already feeling hesitant when her stepson with a complicated history needed to come and stay in her home for a while.
But when he started repeating some of his old behaviors, the Original Poster (OP) did the only thing she knew to do.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for kicking my stepson after he tried to steal my necklace while I was asleep?”
The OP was worried about her stepson moving home for a while.
“My stepson (19) got kicked out of his mother’s house after stealing and selling a very expensive item from her husband.”
“He was going from one friend’s house to another until my husband brought him in.”
“I wasn’t thrilled to have him in the apartment given his ‘reputation,’ but he was almost homeless and needed help, so I agreed to let him stay with us until we worked something out with his mom.”
Bizarre things started happening in the house.
“Truth be told, he’s pretty respectful, helped with chores, and washed ours and the neighbors’ cars (for cash), so I thought he had changed.”
“BUT, something strange started happening. My 3k necklace disappeared once and I accidentally found it in the bathroom cabinet.”
“Then it disappeared again and I was lucky to find it, but it was somehow hidden under the couch when I found it.”
“I started realizing that my stepson was attempting to steal the necklace, but I kept finding it when he’d hide it.”
“I decided to wear it to keep it safe.”
Then the OP caught her stepson in a startling way.
“Monday evening, I was napping in my bedroom while my husband was at work.”
“I fell into a deep sleep and then suddenly got waken up by feeling someone’s fingers on the back of my neck.”
“I found my stepson trying to open my necklace’s clasp. I was lying on one side, and so when I turned and saw him, I started panicking.”
“He took some steps back, telling me to calm down.”
“I sat up and yelled, asking what he was doing, and he started stuttering. I figured he was trying to steal the necklace from me, so I yelled at him to get out then called my husband crying.”
Her husband didn’t agree with how the OP handled the situation.
“My husband got home and tried to work the situation out by making his son apologize, but I said I won’t have him here any longer.”
“I don’t feel safe anymore after he tried to snatch my necklace while I was sleeping! And this wasn’t even the first time he tried to steal the necklace.”
“My husband said his son had nowhere to go and it’d be cruel to kick him out, but I demanded that he leave.”
“He went to a friend’s house, and my husband got back and picked a fight with me about how I’m putting him in a position to choose between his son and me.”
“He kept trying to convince me to let him return and promised to make him swear he won’t do it again, but I refused.”
“I’m honestly worried and cannot be sleeping with both eyes closed with his son in the house.”
“Am I justified in my actions? AITA?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said the OP should be able to say who stays in her home.
“NTA. Three possible scenarios:”
“1. He’s stealing and selling things to pay for a secret habit.”
“2. He’s stealing and hiding your necklace to mess with you and make you feel crazy.”
“3. He has a touch of kleptomania and if so, needs to get some help.”
“No matter what, he should not be allowed back in your house. He has shown an alarming willingness to steal your things. Right off your neck, no less!” – C0pper-an0de
“OP should demand that the kid does a drug test. Everything about this screams addict.”
“I only suggest this since her husband seems to want to take the kid back in. I’d be terrified to have that kid anywhere near me.”
“Once she started wearing the necklace to prevent its theft, he got desperate enough to try to take it off her neck? What else might he do?” – psychotica1
“Stealing a necklace while someone is sleeping can’t be motivated by greed. The chances of success are too low – why risk it for no gain?”
“If he was desperate for money for drugs, I feel the stolen goods would not be around long enough for OP to repeatedly find it.”
“This kid is not a deadbeat, he’s mentally disturbed, and if his dad cares so much about him, he’ll get him professional help.”
“Obviously NTA. I don’t care if the motive for touching someone in their sleep is greed, hate, or something worse – that’s an intolerable line crossed. I’d tell my husband I’ll be leaving rather than stay with someone with so little concern for my safety, but that’s just me.” – JuliaX1984
Others wondered about the possibility of the stepson struggling with kleptomania.
“He ain’t acting in a logical way. If he were stealing to finance a secret addiction, he wouldn’t risk being this obvious. I would tell the dad to take the kid for a mental evaluation, this is really odd.” – onlytexts
“He didn’t get a fix hiding it in the bathroom cabinet or under the sofa.”
“That’s more consistent with kleptomania – once it’s been ‘stolen’ he’s got no idea what to do with it.” – _ewan_
“With kleptomania, would he keep trying to steal the same thing? and always an expensive thing?”
“Because that seemed to have been the issue previously- he stole an expensive item from a stepparent. So I sorta wonder if it’s the only expensive thing in the house or the only expensive thing the stepparent owns.”
“But it’s worth the parents taking the kid for a mental health evaluation (and definitely, the kid not living in their home).”
“NTA” – rak1882
Some were more critical of the stepson’s behavior.
“Sounds like it was in those places because he didn’t get it out of the apartment before OP found it. Could be he was finding a buyer and figured keeping it with his belongings would prove his guilt, while if it was found under the couch or in a bathroom cabinet, he could claim OP just forgot where she put it.”
“My guess is he’d found a buyer, hence taking the risk of trying to take it off OP’s neck while she slept. I’m not sure what else would justify the risk unless he’d be able to get a fix if he could just get it off her and meet the buyer on time. If it were kleptomania, I doubt it would be the same item every time.” – littlefiddle05
“He was trying to figure out how long it would take OP to notice it was gone before actually stealing it.”
“My brother was a junkie and I’d find my jewelry in plastic bags with a weight and price on it from where he took it to be appraised at a pawn shop. He was pushing my boundaries to see what he could get away with before he did it.” – psychotica1
“He’s already stolen and sold a similar item. It’s likely he was hiding it to sell later. We know he’s stolen 2 expensive things and nothing else.”
“Kleptomania is focused on stealing, not value. Why does he only steal highly expensive items? And go to the extent of going out of his way to specifically steal this to the point of trying to get it off her person.” – Worried-Good-7952
“This is actually really typical for addicts. I am on a support board for parents of seriously difficult kids. Most of the women have had this or a similar experience.”
“One of the Moms woke up one day to her son using a knife to cut her front pocket open to get her last $40. Where he was cutting, and as tight as her pants were, he could have seriously hurt her and he would not have called for help. He would just let her die if she couldn’t reach a phone.”
“Sadly, this isn’t an isolated incident on our forum. Most of the substance-abusing kids have tried something like this at some point.”
“The Dad isn’t helping the kid. Help is letting him experience the awfulness of being addicted and homeless until he finally has had enough and asks for rehab.”
“Making his life easy by allowing him to stay after this behavior? Is just asking for the son to become even more abusive and it endangers his life by enabling his addiction.” – GrizeldaLovesCats
While the subReddit could sympathize with the father for not wanting his son to be homeless, they otherwise prioritized the OP’s comfort and safety. Trying to take something from a sleeping person does anything but inspire feelings of safety.
The subReddit was insistent about looking into the stepson’s behavior, from acquiring a mental health evaluation to requiring a drug test. There must have been more to this than the stepson simply wanting jewelry from the mother figures in his life.