My wife’s (54M) son (12M) (53F) is suffering. He self-harms and claims my wife emotionally abuses him. What should I do?

So my family life is a mess, to put it mildly, and I’m not innocent of that. My wife and I grew apart while our daughters (now 24F and 26F) were in their pre-teens/early teens. We never really talked about it in detail, but I think we both knew we were staying together for the kids. She once said while we were fighting that she couldn’t wait for our youngest son to leave home so we could get a divorce. She then came home pregnant with another child, years after we were last intimate. Honestly, I should have divorced her. I regret not doing it now. The truth is, I didn’t want to bring that mess into my relationships with my daughters, and even once they moved out, I was comfortable just not being home much. I have other places I can be, and fewer chores and no alimony and child support I felt like it was worth fighting for, or at least close enough to be worth it that I wasn’t anxious to go through the process of divorce. We’re basically roommates wearing wedding rings and yelling at each other. I also admit that I didn’t get to know my wife’s son very well. I always felt that he was hers, I only took care of him when she asked me to. He is not a very nice boy, calm, grumpy, weird, used to disarming all the devices that he could get his hands on, he does not behave very well in general. Anyway, this weekend, I found out that he has been suffering. He wanted to go fishing and the wife didn’t want to deal with him so I took him with me. He insisted on wearing a hoodie even though it was hot, and I took it off when she started showing signs of heat stroke and still wanted to keep it. That’s how I ended up seeing the scars on his wrist. There are only a couple and they are fairly recent. I was quite shocked by that. At first he didn’t tell me anything. Maybe twenty or thirty minutes later, he really loosened my guts. He has no friends, the other kids pick on him, typical kid stuff. And then he continues with what my wife told him. He has said that he is an embarrassment, that he wishes he had never been born so he could have eloped with his partner, that he is the reason he lost his job, that he will never be like his sisters, that there is a reason why the other kids pick on him, and so on. She insults everything she likes just to hurt him and she teases him for showing sadness. He hates seeing us interact with his half-sisters because he knows he’ll never have anything like that (never be loved like that? I don’t know what he meant). He wishes he could never feel anything again. So, I hugged the boy and told him that none of that was true and that he would talk to her and that he would make sure that something would change. I haven’t. I don’t know how, and I know it’s going to be a bloody mess when I do. I tried to talk to his son again, but he is not interested in talking. He says that he made a mistake (talking to me, presumably) because of the heat (under which his mind wasn’t as sharp as usual, he probably means), that he’s fine, and that he should forget about it. . I don’t know what to do with this child. I’m a little afraid he’ll kill himself once he’s old enough unless something is done. Aside from the self-harm, he just seems to be emotionally dead. TLRD: My wife’s son is miserable and I don’t know what to do about it.

So my family life is a mess, to put it mildly, and I’m not innocent of that. My wife and I grew apart while our daughters (now 24F and 26F) were in their pre-teens/early teens. We never really talked about it in detail, but I think we both knew we were staying together for the kids. She once said while we were fighting that she couldn’t wait for our youngest son to leave home so we could get a divorce. She then came home pregnant with another child, years after we were last intimate. Honestly, I should have divorced her. I regret not doing it now. The truth is, I didn’t want to bring that mess into my relationships with my daughters, and even once they moved out, I was comfortable just not being home much. I have other places I can be, and fewer chores and no alimony and child support I felt like it was worth fighting for, or at least close enough to be worth it that I wasn’t anxious to go through the process of divorce. We’re basically roommates wearing wedding rings and yelling at each other. I also admit that I didn’t get to know my wife’s son very well. I always felt that he was hers, I only took care of him when she asked me to. He is not a very nice boy, calm, grumpy, weird, used to disarming all the devices that he could get his hands on, he does not behave very well in general. Anyway, this weekend, I found out that he has been suffering. He wanted to go fishing and the wife didn’t want to deal with him so I took him with me. He insisted on wearing a hoodie even though it was hot, and I took it off when she started showing signs of heat stroke and still wanted to keep it. That’s how I ended up seeing the scars on his wrist. There are only a couple and they are fairly recent. I was quite shocked by that. At first he didn’t tell me anything. Maybe twenty or thirty minutes later, he really loosened my guts. He has no friends, the other kids pick on him, typical kid stuff. And then he continues with what my wife told him. He has said that he is an embarrassment, that he wishes he had never been born so he could have eloped with his partner, that he is the reason he lost his job, that he will never be like his sisters, that there is a reason why the other kids pick on him, and so on. She insults everything she likes just to hurt him and she teases him for showing sadness. He hates seeing us interact with his half-sisters because he knows he’ll never have anything like that (never be loved like that? I don’t know what he meant). He wishes he could never feel anything again. So, I hugged the boy and told him that none of that was true and that he would talk to her and that he would make sure that something would change. I haven’t. I don’t know how, and I know it’s going to be a bloody mess when I do. I tried to talk to his son again, but he is not interested in talking. He says that he made a mistake (talking to me, presumably) because of the heat (under which his mind wasn’t as sharp as usual, he probably means), that he’s fine, and that he should forget about it. . I don’t know what to do with this child. I’m a little afraid he’ll kill himself once he’s old enough unless something is done. Aside from the self-harm, he just seems to be emotionally dead. TLRD: My wife’s son is miserable and I don’t know what to do about it.

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