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11yo DS emotionally abusing me

(167 Posts)
jayho Mon 11-Jul-16 08:44:17

He's following the script, I don't know what to do to stop him.

For background I split from his extremely EA father nearly six years ago. Ex assaulted DS in February and they have had no contact since. It was just the two of them in the room so one person's word against the other. I was offered the option to prosecute but opted for SS support in the interests of them maintaining a relationship. Ex maintains DS is lying and that he will not see him as he feels 'vulnerable to false accusations'.

DS does not know this, he says he doesn't want to see his father and that's that.

To be frank, DS is hard work. He's anxious and demanding, very oppositional and negative and can be aggressive. I have a strong sense that ex has grasped at a 'get out of jail' card. I know he and his new partner have struggled with DS's behaviour and now he doesn't have to anymore.

So the best interpretation I can put on the situation at home at the moment is that various authorities listening to DS seems to have given him a sense of entitlement. Since he stopped seeing his father he has become more and more controlling of me. I don't know if it's through anxiety or what but it is driving me mad.

We have a number of on-going flashpoints. One is bedtime. So I take younger DS to bed first, we have a story and a cuddle then I go in to 11yo. Elder has taken to repeatedly bursting into younger DS's room demanding to know when I will come in to him. I have explained to him a thousand times that if he keeps doing this I will be longer. He always acknowledges that I'm right but then does exactly the same thing the next night.

So last night before I took younger boy up I carefully and deliberately said to 11yo 'I'm taking boy to bed, please go up at 9, have a wee, brush your teeth, go in to your bed and I will come him when he's settled. Please do not come in to boy's room, I will come to you when he's settled. Do you understand?' and asked him to repeat it back to me to make sure he was clear.

30 mins later he bursts in to the room. He does it four more times. Eventually 7yo says 'don't worry mummy, I'll go to sleep on my own to stop him shouting'.

Finally got them both settled at 10.30 pm and I'm exhausted.

This morning 11yo absolutely denied that it happened. He came in once, he didn't shout. I was asleep and dreamt my version of events. He's adamant.

What can I do? Can anyone propose a strategy for dealing with this? I feel like I'm going mad and being bullied by a child in my own home. It's awful

AbyssinianBanana Mon 11-Jul-16 08:47:12

How is that bullying? He's competing for your attention with a younger sibling.

Hereagainalways Mon 11-Jul-16 08:51:33

I sympathise but this really doesn't sound like emotional abuse to me? Just sounds like a jealous sibling.

MoggieMaeEverso Mon 11-Jul-16 08:53:10

It is not possible for an 11 year old child to emotionally abuse an adult.

He is not deliberately trying to hurt you. I know it feels that way, but he is a young, vulnerable child who is crying out for help.

Is there any reason why you can't put the boys to bed together? At least have a story together and cuddles, then say goodnight to the younger one and take the older one into his bedroom?

sooperdooper Mon 11-Jul-16 08:55:58

Sit him down tonight and tell him to stop lying because you were all there and know what happened, then try and talk to him about why he's doing this?

jayho Mon 11-Jul-16 08:58:34

Maybe not a great example, another then, he has a couple of chores each week, in return he gets pocket money. Refuses to do his chores all week, is reminded each time that he will not get his pocket money if he does not. Saturday demands pocket money. I refuse and tell him why. Cue him following me round the house screaming in my face, telling my why I'm wrong, pushing and shoving me and eventually picking up a screwdriver and threatening me with that. Takes my handbag, threatens to smash my phone etc etc. I don't give in but this can go on for hours.

When he calms down which can take 24 hours, he will accept rational discussion, agree he was wrong, absolutely promise not to do it again. And then do it again.

Tis morning was a new departure because he absolutely denied that it happened.

jayho Mon 11-Jul-16 09:01:10

I think it feels like EA because he reminds me so much of my ex when he's doing it.

I agree he's vulnerable but I just don't seem able to get through to him. I sit him down, we talk, etc etc then he just does it again and once he's started I can't break through to rationalise with him.

He wants a separate bedtime to show he's older.

outputgap Mon 11-Jul-16 09:02:30

Are you doing what the 11 year old demands?

I don't think there's much point discussing it with the 11yo the next morning.

But I would ensure there are natural consequences to his interruptions at night, straightaway, that you explain. Maybe a clock/timer that shows that you'll have less and less time with him every time he comes into his brother's room?

At the same time, you say he's anxious, and that sounds very understandable. His dad has disappeared from his life. He might want to 'control' you in order to feel safer himself, tor prove to himself that mum won't go, that mum does what he needs, quite literally. That doesn't mean you should give into his every demand, but he obviously needs help with feeling secure and safe. Could you get advice on this from the people involved with him?

SpinnakerInTheEther Mon 11-Jul-16 09:02:54

I think you may have to have a word with both your children.

Are you actually staying with the 7yr old until he goes to sleep? Your 7 yr old has actually confirmed that you really do not need to do this when he said he could go to sleep by himself. Has your 11yr old been on a school residential? If so what happened at bedtime there?

If you can sort out not staying and 'settling' them, then bedtime will be easier. You can be pretty prompt at saying goodnight then. Is there something the older one would enjoy doing before you go into say goodnight? It sounds like he does not like indefinite waiting - none does. Also, if he is very tired, he could be falling asleep in between and worry he's missed you saying goodnight. So the lying might be unintentional.

outputgap Mon 11-Jul-16 09:04:49

Sorry cross post.

That is awful for you, OP.

Is there any help on offer for you, because that behaviour is unbearable.

CiderwithBuda Mon 11-Jul-16 09:05:21

It's not emotional abuse. He is a child.

He is obviously feeling vulnerable, lost and confused. He is also coming into puberty which leads to lots of unexplained feelings and moods.

Please don't assume he is just like his father.

Do you need to spend so long settling the younger boy? Maybe try taking younger up first get him into his bed and pop out to get older DS upstairs and into bathroom so there is some contact with you in that time. You shouldn't need to sit with a 7 year old until he goes to sleep.

Believeitornot Mon 11-Jul-16 09:06:51

Sorry but by labelling your child as an emotional abuser, you really are failing to take responsibility, as an adult, for parenting him properly.

Don't project your ex on to him, poor kid.

I would look at parenting classes and see it through that lens - it is a parenting issue.i wouldn't do chores for pocket money - it should be about helping around the home full stop.

For bedtime, he's probably a bit scared and feeling left out. But cannot articulate it. I would do the bedtime routine together then the older one can stay in his room while you settle the younger one.

He's emotional immature and also going through a tough time. Go easy on the child.

Wolpertinger Mon 11-Jul-16 09:10:22

I don't think he is emotionally abusing you as he is 11 and you are the parent and probably Relationships is the wrong place for this - there are some very experienced posters in Teenagers who would be able to offer you a lot of advice.

He sounds like a deeply troubled boy who has been exposed to a lot of abuse in the home by his father and does not know how to behave or conduct himself and both of you need a lot of support to sort this out. Equally you need help as you are still full of memories of his dad's behaviour. Are you still getting help from Social Services? School? Is he known to CAMHS?

SpinnakerInTheEther Mon 11-Jul-16 09:12:02

What chores are you asking your 11yr old to do? Tbh I think many will feel resentful over a chore. Certainly I myself did. I would actually not want the pocket money, as I felt it was not 'worth it'. Conversely, I don't ask my 12 yr old to do regular chores at all (actually am reluctant about accepting help) and he actually wants to help, specifically asks - so my theory is at this age they just like to feel they have autonomy.

merrymouse Mon 11-Jul-16 09:12:04

This may feel like your ex, but he is your 11 year old son, not your ex. You are the parent and you are in charge and responsible for him.

He sounds unsettled, anxious and unsure of himself. If you feel you can't help him, you need help from a professional - sometimes parenting is very, very difficult and you and he sound as though you need support.

However, remember he is a child.

jayho Mon 11-Jul-16 09:15:51

I'm trying, I'm trying so hard not to project but the worse he gets the more it frightens me.

I do not give in, ever. I left his father the very first time he struck me and only came to realise the extent of the emotional, financial and sexual abuse gradually and largely with the help and support of mumsnet.

I'm looking for some kind of strategy I can use to help stop him doing this. I agree he is vulnerable and needs support, that's what I'm trying to do but whatever it is I'm doing right now does not work.

I don't think I'm hard on him, I try very hard to be consistent but he is relentless

PinkFluffiUnicorn Mon 11-Jul-16 09:15:56

These sound upsetting for you, I'm unsure if it's emotional abuse or just him coming to terms with what happened with his dad. If it feels manipulate/ emotional abuse it's hard to deal with, but you need to detach the behaviour from the child and continue to be strong. When he lies write it down, his view and yours. Then discuss it at a calmer time. Maybe he needs a purpose at bed time? As he feels left out? Get him to read & help with younger child bedtime routine. But these behaviours also feel similarly to my ds , we are in the process of being assessed with a clinical psychologist for asd or something! Stay strong mum

jayho Mon 11-Jul-16 09:18:31

We have some support and his key worker is visiting tomorrow, I'd like to have some sort of idea of what to ask for I think, feeling completely lost with this and like I'm not getting anywhere or helping him.

springydaffs Mon 11-Jul-16 09:19:06

It is not possible for an 11 year old child to emotionally abuse an adult.

Of course it is possible. I do despair at the view that children are innocent.

Bit of a wild card but you could try contacting Joshua Coleman - a stateside psychologist who specialises in family relationships.

Sadly, I have no faith in psychologists this side of the pond.

PinkFluffiUnicorn Mon 11-Jul-16 09:21:51

Also maybe write down if chores are done at the end of each day? Both of you could sign it, & some pocket money anyway if you can afford it and extra for chores?

ravenmum Mon 11-Jul-16 09:30:03

Poor thing, he's been through a rough time. You too.

Do keep trying with professional help. My son had some problems that didn't fit into the boxes people wanted. No, not hyperactive. No, not gifted, not below average intelligence. Just anxious. Took me two lots of absolutely pointless testing and being told he was fine when he clearly wasn't before the third attempt turned up someone who actually asked him about his problems and reacted to them. It has been a big help. Well worth sticking to it.

SpinnakerInTheEther Mon 11-Jul-16 09:31:03

I wonder if you all can have a discussion regarding the bedtime plan - with key worker. If the 11 yr old has something to do, whilst waiting it probably will help a lot. My own DS does not like waiting without activity and would probably either interrupt me or seek to do something else. If not could you all be together for a story? Then he goes to bed next.

Regarding chores, I would not feel to bad he does not want to do them. my personal view is that household tasks are much better sold as 'increased independence' than chores. As long as he learns to cook, clean, wash etc I would not insist he does too much at this age by himself. I would just personally renegotiate the chores, so there is less room for resentment.

jayho Mon 11-Jul-16 09:32:31

His chores are emptying the dishwasher, feeding his guinea pig and cleaning his hutch once a a week. He proposed these chores himself as he wanted regular pocket money to buy something specific.

Over the last several weeks he has resisted paying for any treats for himself because he is saving for a birthday present for me. Today is my birthday. Yesterday we were at the shops and he said he wanted to get me a present then went ballistic at the suggestion that he would fund this out of his pocket money stash. I knew it was for something else. How could I be so stupid? Why should he pay for it? How dare I make him waste all his money on a present for me. How could I be so selfish as to demand that he, a small child, pay for an adult's birthday present. What a greedy and demanding and, frankly, unfair and cruel parent I am for forcing him to spend his hard earned money on me.

I hadn't said a thing btw other than 'that's lovely, have you brought your money with you or do you want to give it back when you get home?'

ravenmum Mon 11-Jul-16 09:33:49

For the moment, how about having a fixed time at which you go into each room? And maybe go to him first? My children still shared a room at that age as we had no space, but reading this I realise it actually saved lots of time. Any chance they could sleep in one room?

jayho Mon 11-Jul-16 09:34:48

Raven what help have you got.

Yes, I need to revisit bedtime. We were doing it this way because it was what he wanted, he wanted some alone time and to have a point of difference between him and 7yo, perhaps that has changed.

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