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What do we do now?

(26 Posts)
mumof2teenboys Thu 03-Sep-09 09:09:54

Firstly, I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, so apologies if it is wrong.

My eldest son is 19 nearly 20. He has never been 'easy' even as a baby, he didn't sleep, would only eat what he wanted although I did perservere with this one and eventually we managed to solve that.

He was very forward as a baby, sat up at 3 months, crawled at 4 months, walked at 8 months. Talked for england from a very early age. (I do think this has relevance)

When he started school, he was reasonably popular, always had a little circle of good friends. He was identified as being G&T whilst still at infant school. His particular 'thing' is linguistics.

Infant school went really well, teachers comments usually included 'pleasure to have in class, very capable boy, popular, friendly' Junior school was ok, we had a few issues with him being low level bullied (mainly, comments and silly digs) This was dealt with badly by the school so with my sons input, we changed schools. The new school was great, again he made friends quickly, settled well. He again became the positive litle boy I knew. He seemed to enjoy school, although he now says that he had no friends and hated his time there. This is not how I recall things, he had quite a large circle of really good friends, some of whom he still has contact with.

High school was his choice, I thought that it was better to send him to a school he felt comfortable with. He was very quickly put onto the G&T programme, which he seemed to love (again, he now says he hated it)

He did struggle to make new friends, but this was resolved fairly soon. He made some firm friends, seemed to enjoy the workload at high school. He din't get on as well with the teachers as he had a primary level. He became very challenging towards authority, he didn't respect teachers, his favourite saying was that all his teachers were idiots who gained their qualifications from cornflake packets.

By year 9/10, he was pretty much out of our control, we have always had an 'open house' policy, all the boys friends have been welcome. He became very distant from us, I know that this is normal. He started to spend a lot of time with friends away from the home, again I know that this is normal.
Looking back, I think that this was where the real problems started. He began to drink with his friends, but didn't we all at 15/16? We talked to him about the dangers of binge drinking and all the other things who discuss with teens. We both thought that he was basically a sensible kid who was testing the waters so to speak.

He was predicted good grades at GCSE level. He failed quite badly, we weren't happy about this, but helped him get into college to do A levels. He now says that he didn't want this and felt pressured by us, but never gave this impression. He failed his AS's and dropped out of college, but had a good part-time job which he seemed to enjoy. We supported him and he seemed happy, things got worse after his step-dad took a job abroad. Things got so bad, he became physically violent toward me, I had to ask him to leave. He moved in with my parents, this seemed to help and after a year or so, he asked to move home again.

That was earlier in the year, things are dreadful again. He is repeating his As's, got reasonable grades this time so has got onto the second year of his course.

He is rude, arrogant, dismissive of every one else in the house. Says that he doesn't like himself, doesn't see why anyone else should like him. Says he hates people, yet is out every night with his friends. He wants to go to Uni in Bristol because it will get him out of 'the hellhole we live in' Says that he 'prove us all wrong'

I have done some googling (!) and he fits the description of a sociopath to a degree, I'm not saying that he is one, but some of the points do seem to fit.

I suppose that I'm asking for advice/help/suggestions.

Sorry this is so long, but its been quite theraputical writing ti all down.

retiredlady Thu 03-Sep-09 10:49:39

Sounds just like the lad next door who went on to academic success at Nottingham University once he had discovered the wonderful world of girls.

If you son's "memory" of events in the past is so unreliable it might be that he likes being seen as sad and/or having had a bad time. Again just like the lad next door. It gave him (lnd) the excuse for being an underpreforming gifted and talented student.

It might be the same for you?!

DutchGirly Thu 03-Sep-09 10:58:32

It sounds like he had it too easy at school, he never had to work for anything so he didn't and then did not do well at his GCSE's.

I think his world was'shattered' at that moment, suddenly he was not as smart as he though he was (all teenagers think they know better but it must be worse if you have always been the 'smart' one)

He is probably feeling incredibly frustrated.

My only suggestion is to look for support, may be an idea to ask the GP for advice? Alternatively there may be a support network on the internet for gifted children, maybe somebody has experienced the same situation?

DutchGirly Thu 03-Sep-09 11:02:31

I just found this for you

It would be worth calling them, I am pretty sure they can advice you.

mumof2teenboys Thu 03-Sep-09 12:39:13

Thanks for the replies.

He has repeatedly said that he isn't G&T, he says that teachers are all wrong, that he isn't the person we all think he is.

We have suggested (gently) that he might go to the GP and explore the idea of depression, but he has no faith in doctors esp ours. According to J, our GP is an idiot who doesn't deserve the wage he gets.

When he was 14/15, we did go to the GP over an inicident of self-harm, the GP refered J to a pyscharist (sp) this did seem to work briefly, but again, J thought he knew better.

I do agree with you, DutchGirly, I think he is frustrated, but he deliberately refuses to allow us 'in'

He won't discuss anything with us, he won't listen to gentle advice. Shouting at him doesn't work. sad

I am so worried about him, I know that we can't carry on like this, he is not this horrible person he pretends to be. He has the ability to be horrible,but don't we all?
Somewhere inside there is a normal person but he pretends to be this automaton.

I know that i'm sounding negative, but I am just so worried about what the future holds for him.

DutchGirly Thu 03-Sep-09 12:57:52

First of all don't worry so much.
All teenagers are nightmares grin so this is not that much out of the ordinary.

Do contact the organisation I posted earlier, I am sure they have come across situations like this before.

I am sure he is feeling angry, frustrated and insecure which is why he is lashing out which is not right but I can understand the reasons behind it.

ErikaMaye Thu 03-Sep-09 13:04:07

Being 18 myself... Its a shit age to be!!

I think the best way you can handle it is to deal with the suggestion of Bristol. Its one of the top unis in the country - generally regarded as the uni of "Oxbridge Rejects" - so if he wants to get in there he's going to need to work his socks off, especially if this is his second time sitting his ALs.

HappyWoman Thu 03-Sep-09 13:14:21

I remember saying i was only going to uni to be away from the hell hole my family lived in too blush. But then i think it is normal teenage ways.

They need to rebel and get away to find who they really are.

Why not support him in his choice and let him know how proud you are that he is making his way in the big bad world.

He needs to make his own mistakes with the knowledge that you will still love him and be there - but not pick up the pieces for him.

We often joke with my son - that if he turns up with his dirty washing once he has left i will be changing the locks.

He seems to want to 'prove you wrong' and again i remember wanting to do that - my mother to this day will never say well done to mesad, so make sure you let him know you are proud of him anyway.

NichyNoo Thu 03-Sep-09 13:21:58

First time poster but felt that I had to post something here. He sounds just like my little sister who started acting like this after her GCSEs (she did surprisingly well) and is now 26. Drinking, drugs, dodgy blokes, string of random jobs that she always leaves because the bosses 'don't know anything'. She thinks she knows better than everyone and twists history (i.e. she always hated her friends at school and didn't actually enjoy anything we did as a family when this blatantly was not the case). I don't have any advice I'm afraid but I wish that me and my mum could have done more to help her when she was 18 and before she got settled in to the destructive cycle that she is now in. Good luck with your son!

mumof2teenboys Thu 03-Sep-09 15:04:39

He knows that we love him but he doesn't see why we do. He knows that we will support him whatever he chooses to do.

He knows that we will always be here for him but he doesn't want us to be.

He has been rebelling for the last 5 years sad

He doesn't really have anything to rebel against, we have always been pretty laid back as parents.

Happywoman, he doesn't want to prove me wrong in the sense you seem to mean (sorry if I've misunderstood). I want him to be happy and secure in whatever career he decides on. He wants to fail to prove me wrong. How does this work?


Your sister sounds just like my son, how is she now? He has completely rewritten history, he sees occassions in the past in a way that no-one else in the family does.

I am so unhappy with the situation, he seems to hate me, himself, the world.

ErikaMaye Thu 03-Sep-09 15:31:22

I really think yoiu should try and pursuade him to go and see the GP, if you can. If he's that angry and hurt by everything, its not just "normal" teenage angst.

mumof2teenboys Thu 03-Sep-09 15:45:20

Erika (lovely name)

I have tried to talk to him whilst keeping an eye on this. He has said that he will go to the doctors, if thats what I want. I have tried to explain that he has got to go because he thinks that it right.

He says he is doing it to keep me happy, although he doesn't think that the doctor will/can do anything for him. He is very impatient and if he can't see the 'right doctor' straight away, he will decide that he has tried but they let him down.

He likes feeling as though people have let him down. Then, he is justified in the way he thinks. He seems to believe that the world is against him and that no-one is on his 'side'

The one thing that I really struggle with is the rewriting of history. He has again told me that he was bullied all the way though school (from infants onwards) but I know that isn't the case. Why does he say these things? does he genuinely believe them?

I'm sorry, I'm rambling now sad

ErikaMaye Thu 03-Sep-09 16:17:44

(Thank you )

Its fine, ramble away! I just hope I can be of some help...

Maybe you should make a doctors appointment - express your concerns about him and his behaviour. Then depending on what the doctor says, make an appointment for him, and tell him the day before. My mum did this the first time I was put on my ADs, and although I was kinda angry, I was actually greatful, too.

Why do you feel he is justified to be feeling this way?

If he is suffering from an illness - I'm not a doctor, but it does sound as if there is something behind all this - then the fact he is only remembering the bad bits is very common. I was badly bullied at secondary school, but also had some good times too, although when I'm feeling bad, all I can think is, "Well people have hated me for years...", and that kind of thing.

Is there anyone outside of the direct family he would be willing to talk to?

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 03-Sep-09 16:24:17


"He has again told me that he was bullied all the way though school (from infants onwards) but I know that isn't the case"

How do you actually know this is not the case, what makes you so certain?. I only ask as in your initial post you do mention him being bullied.

What does his birth father think, what's his opinion on this situation?. Does he get on at all with his step dad, is he back in the UK now?.

Think you need to talk to a neutral third party, the organisation called Parentline may be able to help your own self further.

hettie Thu 03-Sep-09 16:32:50

hi- depression changes perception, so he might well feel that he was bullied all the way through school, or as the previous poster noted he might well have been. This "re-wrtiting" of history seems to be upsetting you most, have you thought of why this might be? What would it be like for you if he was bullied? In your situation I would consider family therpay, AFT (association of family therpaists) should have a list of people local to your area- they can help emdiate and see interactions from both sides. Good luck.

mumof2teenboys Thu 03-Sep-09 16:36:20

Sorry, I posted that badly, I think that he then feels justified, he has convinced himself that people will always let him down.

If I go to the doctors first, do you think he will be able to accept that I've done it out of love and concern for him, you said that you were kind of angry but grateful. Are things good between you and your mum normally?

Things have got so bad between us, I would worry that he would see it as a betrayal of his trust. Although, i'm not sure he trusts me anyway sad

I have suggested several people he could go to, close family friends but pretty level and able to be fair-minded. He won't talk to immediate family, he has convinced himself that he isn't worthy of any love from any of us vvvsad

The thing that hurts so much is that he seems so determined to believe that he doesn't deserve to be loved by us. He has a wide circle of friends and says that he prefers to be with them (I do understand needing friends at his age). He has told me this afternoon that he doesn't think things though and that the results of his actions aren't his fault, he doesn't see that his actions cause reactions, its like having a toddler in the house in a way.

He has also said that he is mediocre and will always be that way, when I tried to point out that he has talents and skills, he just blanks me. I try to boost his confidence and then he tells me that he 'feels sorry' for me because he is my child.

He can't/won't understand that I am his mum and all I want is for him to be happy and settled in whatever he chooses to do.

mumof2teenboys Thu 03-Sep-09 16:46:11


The infant school he went to was very 'hot' on bullying, it would of been picked up very quickly. There was an incident of bullying wrt another child and it was dealt with as quickly as it started.

At junior level, he was havibng some issues with one other boy, the teachers 'jumped on it' within a couple of days, it was dealt with, the child apologised and his parents made him come to the house and apologise all over again. J was happy with this but decided that another school was what he wanted (the new school was a faith school he wanted to be part of)

He has no real contact with his birth dad, this is J's choice. Him and his step dad get on ok, but his stepdad isn't happy with what is going on at the moment. Everyone knows that things can't carry on the way they are but its how to change things we are struggling with atm.

mathanxiety Thu 03-Sep-09 16:59:05

I don't think what you're seeing is a normal teenage situation. At the risk of being blasted out of this thread grin I would really suggest mental health intervention. When you feel you have a 19 yo toddler in the house, you're not dealing with someone who is functioning well for his age and may have deepseated emotional issues. You may have to insist that he goes. Otherwise he will keep on dealing with academic and general frustration by lowering his sights constantly, and running from groups and situations where he feels challenged in order to preserve an unreal self-image. I am wondering why you keep on repeating that he settled in quickly wherever he went and made a wide group of friends -- is popularity very important to you, or do you see it as some sort of validation? I don't really know where I'm going with that question...

mumof2teenboys Thu 03-Sep-09 18:00:38

I think I've been saying it to almost disprove his theory that he isn't popular and isn't a worthwhile person to be around.

He has always seemed to find making friends and being part of a group very easy and his interpretation of things is very different to how everyone else (including his friends parents) see him.

The not wanting to be accepted by people is very new, its something that he has developed over the last 2/3 years. I think thats why I put it in, trying to give a fairly rounded picture of him.

We have thought of mental health issues ourselves, but its always good to get another take on things. I truly believe that doing so badly in his GCSE's did knock him for six, but instead of picking himself up and getting on with things, he has retreated into a sulk (for want of a better expression) and now doesn't see the point because he has convinced himself he will only fail.

Its how to help him come though this period of trauma that we are at a loss to know how to do.blush

HappyWoman Thu 03-Sep-09 18:30:47

He does sound depressed - but the going to the GP needs to come from him surely - he is a grown up now.

My youngest son tends to only see the 'dark' side of life and i know how frustrating it can be. He is only 11 so we have a lot more to come i suspect. He takes himself off in a sulk and keeps repeating that no-body really cares about him... and that we would be happier if he wasnt around... all very hard at the time. We do try and give him a bit of extra attention but being one of 4 it is hard for us too.

Would he be up for some alterative treatments first?

gettingagrip Thu 03-Sep-09 18:58:52

Hello mumof2

At the risk of scaring you witless...I think you may find this forum helpful...

There are many wise people on there who are dealing with difficult children and who have some amazing advice.

You could perhaps post there to get some knowledgable opinions on your son.

The language is a but scary, but the posters know alot.

What is your family history and what is the family history of your son's father?

Psychopathy and sociopathy are mooted as being inherited. I believe they are, sadly, from evidence from my own family.

If you want to chat off the board you can cat me if you wish.

From what you say, anyway, I think your son needs some very knowledgable help.

I watch my children like a hawk for signs of these personality disorders, because my family are neary all PDs, and I then married into a family of PDs.

Good luck to you and keep posting


RealityIsNOTDetoxing Thu 03-Sep-09 19:09:04

Message withdrawn

ErikaMaye Thu 03-Sep-09 23:19:35

I have Borderline Personality Disorder, and also assist in mental health workshops. The not thinking things through and not realising the concequences (or entirely the opposite - over thinking them) could be a possible sign of BPD or of Rapid-Cycling Bipolar Disorder. I only mention this as was said to me a while ago.

The only time I ever felt like my mum betrayed my trust was when she went through my diary - admittedly, it started off as an accident, my diary fell open, and she saw some very concerning comments. But other than that, never. We bicker and disagree just like any other mother and teenage daughter, but we are pretty close, really. She's been brilliant since I've been pregnant, and I don't think I could have kept fighting for my diagnosis without her support. So if you did decide that that was the best way for you to go ahead, I don't think you have anything to loose, in the long run. He may well shout and swear at you at first, I'll be frank, I was a total bitch to my mum initally, but for all of about ten minutes. Then it really hit me how worried she must have been, and how much she really must love me, to have done that for me.

I wish there was some way I could be of more help.

mathanxiety Fri 04-Sep-09 07:03:18

Impulsivity, rudeness, arrogance, dismissive of others, lots of anger, 'potential' instead of achievement, a certain amount of substance abuse -- there are certainly Borderline traits here. Try for more info, or just google borderline personality disorder.

mumof2teenboys Fri 04-Sep-09 09:05:10

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to reply to me. My OH and I are going to the GP's this afternoon to discuss our concerns with him, hopefully the GP will be able to give us some advice as to what to do next.

I have checked out the BPD website and also the Bipolar websites. I am becoming convinced that he MAY be struggling with a slightly milder form of bipolar disorder. He certainly displays more symptoms than he doesn't iyswim.

I will let you all know what happens at the GP's, once again thank you so much for all the advice and support, mumsnet is a sanity saver grin

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