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Can someone help me cope better with my DS 's destructive/angry/agressive behaviour

(34 Posts)
Faigle Fri 07-Aug-09 18:32:40

My DS is almost 12 years old and has a lot of "behavoural" problems.
I seem to experience the worst of it as I live alone with him (no siblings).
He is very intelligent in a purely academic/absract/rational way but completely emotionally immature-it's like he stopped developing emotionally at the age of 5 He has always had a terrible temper with lots of tantrums, but now his regular angry outursts are often physically and verbally abusive.
He reguarly screams/shouts and swears at me, and quite recently tried to atack me with a hoover attachment. The situation really got quite out of hand so I called the police. At this point he tried to jump off the balcony....in attempting to restrain him he accidently head butted me which caused me a massive nose bleed. By the time the police arrived he was all meek and mild. He was terrified of being sent away to SS for he night,which i had the option to request. But i chose not to, hoping that the shock of calling the polce would stop his violent outbursts.
Since then he has not physically attacked me, but he contiues to what I can only describe as "torment" me daily. If I ask him to do something he doesn't want to do/or something doesn't go the way he wants it he makes my life hell and is really cruel and nasty.
For example I said i would buy him a milkshake if he got up and got ready in the morning easily and with no bad atitude (mornings are generally hell). He managed it, so I bought him the milkshake. After that he asked to be taken out to lunch ((earlier in the week I said we could do that together) However, his behaviour has been generally bad this week so i didn't feel inclined to do it. When i told him this,just after he'd had the £4.00 milkshake with double toppings he went crazy demanding a good reason (the fact that he'd been badly behaved wasn't reason enough for him) and then was calling me loudly in the street a liar and demanding an apology from me for lying to him about going out to lunch.

He is very argumentative, always falling out with the few friends he has, and has had a very difficult start to Secodary school where he has eneded up in a special unit because he was very argumentative/challenging with the teachers-questioning their authority etc.

Apart from his "oppositional/arguementative" side, he is also very "anxious" in new social situations,acting in a very awkward way and seemingly unable to behave in a socially appropriate way for his age. I think his aggressivness is partly a way of coping with his social anxiety.
Anyway,I know he has lots of problems/struggles and life for himm is possibly emotionallly more complex than for other nearly 12 year olds,(he is btw having counselling hrough CAMHS)but the main reason for posting is to ask if there's anyone else on MN with a similar experience to this and if so how do you cope, because TBH I am not coping a all well at the moment-the situation has made me very depressed/anxious and lacking in confidence/self eteem both as a parent and person generally. I am waiting for counselling myself via GP but am desperate now. I can't take ADs-physically don't agree with me so am waking up at the moment every day feeling sick with dread at what the day with DS will bring.
On he other hand when he is calm/relaxed and happy he can be lovely and is very affectionate and tells me he loves me a lot. At those times I can forgive him everything!
But on the whole he is very hard to parent and it is totally affecting my mental health to the point where I feel there's very little joy in my life-I just wake uo and look forward to when I can go back to bed and forget it all for 8 hours.

I don't want sympathy, and certainly don't want anyone to tell me what a crap DS I seem o have(that would merely make me feel worse)I just want to hear from anyone who might be going through something similar to perhaps share some coping strategies/give some moral support because I just can't switch off from it all, it consumes my every wakng thought (the fact that the person I love so much is being so destruuctive and ruining his life and our relationship)and that because he is y son I can't abandon him but he is mentally detroying me and for my own mental health feel the need to get away from him.
sorry this is a long post. Please anyone who can help me please reply.
Thanks for reading.

optimisticmumma Fri 07-Aug-09 18:56:40

I know you don't want sympathy but I would like to say I do feel for you and I can empathise with the 'waking up sick' feeling. My DD had ME for 2 years and it was the same (but obviously in a different way). It's very difficult for you to deal with this on your own. Do you have support? I also have a 12 year old boy and I would think that Y7 has been a real struggle for your boy if he finds the emotional side of life so hard.
One useful thing that I can suggest is that you look into the 'human givens' approach to counselling both for you and your son as it works extremely quickly. If you google it, it will come up. It differs from other counselling in that it doesn't delve into the past but takes someone from where they are and tries to get immediate improvement in their emotional state if that makes sense.

I hope this helps in some way....

Faigle Fri 07-Aug-09 19:10:59

Thanks for replying so quickly optimisticmumma.

I have some support, but not much. My DS is with his dad this weekend (we are not together anymore)so I have a couple of days respite.
I have some good friends who are very caring but at the moment feel so low don't want to see anyone-besides I feel partly ashamed/guilty about my situation so don't want to go on about it to people who can't really imagine what it's like.

I will google "human givers" straight away-anything is worth a try!

Has your DD recovered from ME now?

hanks again...

CrushWithEyeliner Fri 07-Aug-09 19:22:30

Faigle I hope things get better for you soon and I am sorry you are going through this. Please don't feel ashamed sad

What is your DS like when he is with his Dad? Does your Ex know of his violent temper and do you have a good enough relationship for him to work with you on getting help for your son?

I have some working knowledge of teens with this kinds of emotional issues. Do you feel like the councelling is helping him?

Sorry for the questions if you don't fancy going into more detail I understand. I just wanted to reply and offer some support you sound so down.

optimisticmumma Fri 07-Aug-09 19:22:43

Yes she has we hope!

I think the 'pit of the stomach' thing is a feeling of being out of control of a situation where you can't predict what is going to happen - horrible. What does your DSs dad think?
It's actually 'human givens' rather than 'givers'!!
Don't feel ashamed or guilty about anything. I'm sure you are doing everything you can. Most people will go through stuff with their DC at some point. It's very important that you look after yourself and don't beat yourself up about stuff.
Has your DS had anything diagnosed if you don't mind me asking?
Maybe you could try to get out a bit this weekend and try to take your mind off it all?

Faigle Fri 07-Aug-09 20:14:01

DS has been diagnosed with GAD-Generalised Anxiety Disorder and ODD-Oppositional Defiance Disorder-but only after the school pressurised CAMHS for a diagnosis- said thay would have to consider "permanant exclusion" if he were just "really badly behaved", but if he had a "disorder" would look into other "Strategies" to cope with his behaviour.

BTW, DS has, in some ways a better relationship with his dad than withme.
He can e argumentative/stroppy with him but never violent or abusive as he is with me.
Obviously he spends much less time with him-which might explain why,also DS claims to be scared of EX who also has a foul temper, and while Ex has been verbally abusive to both of us when angry he has never een physically violent towards either me or DS.
Also EX can deal with DS with humour-something I find almost impossible to do-I just take things too much to heart.

I have a fraught relatonship with Ex-our entire world views are different-hence we are not together anymore. Having sid that,since neither of us have got new partners we are still quite emotionally close,and see/speak/argue with eachother regularly

Ex has a lot of "issues" himself,doesn't get on with lots of people, very much an individual-was expelled from school doesn't feel he really fits in with society.He can empathise with DS more than me I suppose because I'm a "people pleaser"-neither of seem to be.

BTW, sorry for all the typos, half the keys on laptop are misssing/broken-due to DS banging it in frustration....

optimisticmumma Fri 07-Aug-09 20:27:56

I hope writing all this down is helpful for you. Often it is great to come back to posts as you can see things more clearly....
It seems to me that DS is very like EX.
Do you think DS 'blames' you for much of this?
I think if you had a bit of help with your own depression etc it would help DS too. Much of his behaviour may be feeding off your own lack of self-esteem.
I hope I'm not over stepping the mark. Please say so if I am...
My 12 YO is also v. bright/academic and finds social stuff excruciating. It is heartbreaking to see and I just hope he 'grows into' himself later.
It strikes me DS is very angry and is directing this at you. You absolutely mustn't take it to heart...

Faigle Fri 07-Aug-09 20:28:08

Just to add, in answer to your questions-Ex and I do not always agree with best way to deal with DS. We have disagreed on many occasions infront of DS which obviously empowers DS to play us off one another.
Ex does know how badly Ds behaves with me, an whenever DS has been violent and I tell Ex he talks to him and says that he believes it is totally "unacceptable" to "hit your mum" and never ever ever condones it.
Ex however blames my parenting for the way things are-which doesn't help the situation.

Ex thinks counsellng is "useless",-(I oviously don't)but doesn't stand in the way of DS going to CAMHS

optimisticmumma Fri 07-Aug-09 20:30:08

BTW - does EX back you up in terms of the violence directed at you from DS?

Faigle Fri 07-Aug-09 20:47:19

I can see a lot of DS in EX-which worries me ecause Ex is a very angry/frustrtaed person-and I fear that DS will grow up to be the same.
Unlike Ex I'm depressed because of my situation- but am basically a happy person underneath-not angry at the world (at peace with who I am!)

DS probaly sees me as weak at the moment-and indeed I am-and somehow takes advantage of it-I know my state of mind means i can't deal with things effectively at present, but I'm so caught up in t I can't dis-engage.

BTW, a friend just phoned and left message -(have been avoiding answering the phone recently too)suggesting we do something tomorrow night- so will probaly take your advice and make the effort and go out

optimisticmumma Fri 07-Aug-09 20:50:41

I think you should.
Try to 'deal' with yourself and then the rest will take its natural place imo.
You love DS. He is a unique person. Love what you can about him. When he is in 'calm and loving' mode try to bring up the other stuff. Most of all keep telling him you love him...

Faigle Fri 07-Aug-09 20:55:18

Yes, EX backs me up RE: DS's violence and often has "pep" talks with him-but he has never actually witnessed it-DS wouldn't dare do it when EX is here.

EX thinks I should hit DS back though....but I disagree-2 wrongs don't make a right IMO

optimisticmumma Fri 07-Aug-09 21:01:52

I totally agree with you. Of course you shouldn't hit DS - it will just escalate.
maybe you should perfect the 'deathstare'!!!!

Faigle Fri 07-Aug-09 21:04:11

He certainly is unique

Most days i wake him up wth a kiss and tell him i love him....even though I know more often than not he will shout at me for disturbing his dream.
I told him I loved him before he left with his dad this morning.

Anyway,I'm now going to watch the Big Brother evicton night and have a glass of red wine!

hanks for your lovely, caring posts OC.
Been really therapeutic talkng to you

Faigle Fri 07-Aug-09 21:06:10

What's "deathstare"?

optimisticmumma Fri 07-Aug-09 21:39:28

Oh, you know... when you can 'control' a child by a 'look'!!!
Enjoy BB and the wine.
take care....

maryz Sat 08-Aug-09 00:15:06

Hi Faigle, your ds sounds quite like mine - I don't have any time now, but will come back tomorrow and tell you about it! I don't really know how I cope - day to day, really. I sympathise with you - I have dh to help, otherwise I think I would have cracked up by now.

Faigle Sat 08-Aug-09 12:13:18

Thanks for replying maryZ- I look forward to reading your story when you get time to post

maryz Sat 08-Aug-09 15:52:28

Hi Faigle. I've read through the posts you have given and your ds does sound like mine! ds has a diagnosis of Asperger's - but sometimes I believe it is more like ODD, or sometimes I just think he is horrible! Most of the time, however, I feel really sorry for him because he is so unhappy.

Like your son, he is very emotionally immature - he doesn't seem to realise the effect his behaviour has on anyone else. He isn't really selfish as such (he doesn't generally try to make others unhappy), but he is self-centred - it doesn't occur to him to think of how something affects other people.

Your story about the lunch rings bells - ds's first real problem in school happened the day he called the teacher a liar, and wouldn't back down. The teacher had promised them something (PE I think) and had to cancel it. The combination of a broken promise and a change in routine set ds off, and brought a lot of his behaviour to a head.

He is 15 now, and things have got really bad in patches. I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that I can't change him, I can only change how I react to him.

This is very long and possibly not much help, but the few things I have found which are useful would be: Don't hit him - he will soon be bigger and stronger than you so that won't work! Try to take the emotion out of your dealings with him - don't appeal to his better nature or try to make him see how you feel. Be as practical with instructions etc. as you can. Keep him going to counselling as long as he is willing (ds won't go!), try and take time to yourself when you can be yourself, not just the mother of a troubled child.

Don't blame yourself, or let others blame you. That really doesn't help. Anyone who hasn't dealt with a child like this cannot possibly understand what it is like to live every day with a weight hanging over your head, just waiting for it to fall.

Faigle Sun 09-Aug-09 11:34:55

Thanks for sharing your experience maryz.

Some people have suggested ds has Aspergers, but CAHMS are pretty adamant he doesn't and that his behavour is emotional based not neurological. Though some of the way he behaves can be similar to someone with Aspergers, his counsellor feels that it is contextual/emotional because he doesn't do it all the time or in all situaions-therefore he has some control over it-it is not just something neurologically different with the way his brain functions as would be the case with someone with Aspergers.

But Mental health is not an exact science, so who really knows what's what!

Anyway, the main thing is coping with him-which unfortunately I am not doing at all well at the moment.
I just can't stop feelng sick with worry about the whole situation-I just don't know how it will all end up for him/us.

At he moment the situation seems completely lost/futile and I can't see a happy ending at all.

Tortington Sun 09-Aug-09 11:51:01

had he got an intrest - or ask him to look around for something he can get his teeth into - my kids love jump biking and skateboarding - but it could equally be karate - or cooking or anything - something for him to focus on.

also i think too much time on computer.plastation.xbox type games can make kids angy IME

maryz Sun 09-Aug-09 12:24:57

I also wonder sometimes if ds1 has AS - he also seems to be able to control his behaviour in certain situations, but I think it is more that he can control things for a certain time, and then it all seems to come flooding back, normally when he is at home, so his behaviour is much much worse with me than anyone else.

custardo is right about the interests - the problem we have is that ds1 has gradually given up all interests (including all sport and school) and has thus lost most of his friends who used to be good role models for his behaviour. He is left with a number of kids all of whom seem to have problems, and many of whom have poor family backgrounds. He accepts their behaviour as normal and copies it, which causes no end of rows with us.

I also feel sick much of the time and can't see him every being happy. Very sad.

Faigle Sun 09-Aug-09 15:19:07

How do you personally deal with "feeling sick" most of the time maryz?

I just feel so drained by it, and demoralised too. It has affected every aspect of my life, I just can't seem too be able to concentrate on anything anymore, because I constantly have worrying/anxious thoghts about ds running through my head, which exhaust me.

I don't want to live the rest of my life feeling like this-any tips for dealing with it on a day to day basis, you've had a few more years experience than me!

Do you belong to any support groups?

maryz Sun 09-Aug-09 15:39:13

It's funny, but he threw at me last week the sentence "you just sit on your backside doing nothing all day". And it made me realise that over the last year or two, I have slowly given up everything I used to do. I used to be fit, I had lots of friends and a good social life. I wasn't working because I had 3 children under 4, and by the time they were all at school it was obvious that ds1 had problems so I couldn't leave him with a child minder. But I did volunteer work, I was a member of a few groups, a book club, mother and toddler groups. I ran sport for the school etc. etc. I was very involved in our community.

Over the last two years I have given most of it up because I have been at home waiting for the next call from school, the next suspension, the next police visit. I can't give him a key, but have to be here when he comes back or he breaks in. I can't go out if he is here because he has people in who I don't want in the house, and he won't lock up properly when he goes out, leaving the house open. dh and I can't go out together in the evening, because the children are too old for babysitters, but can't be left with ds1!

His comment made me realise all this, and I know I have got it wrong. I need to stop waiting for it to happen. I need to spend time with my other children, and refind my friends. Recently I have stopped pretending that things are OK. I have told most people I know about it, and most are supportive (apart from the few school parents who turn their backs and walk away while muttering about parents not bothering to control their children).

I have stopped blaming myself for what he does. I am beginning to realise that I can only mark time until he is independent and hope he grows up (even if it is slower than other children). I have to stop worrying about what might happen - in our house more or less the worst has happened, so I should be able to put it out of my mind. Generally I don't worry any more if he is out, because I can't control what he does. I hope he isn't bothering other people, but can't stop him so it is up to them to call police if he is.

I can't change what he is doing, so I need to stop exhausting myself by trying, and learn to live with it!

maryz Sun 09-Aug-09 15:42:34

Sorry this is getting very long. One suggestion that I found useful was to write down all the things I was afraid of, e.g. expulsion from school, him being arrested, committing suicide, stealing etc. and decide what I would do. The list was awful, but made me realise that actually I could deal if I had to with more or less anything, awful as it would be! It helped to stop the revolving "what if" feeling in my head.

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