Is this good or bad?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Sep 7, 2009.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I saw difficult child yesterday and he talked a little about pulling the knife on me and the boy that's in there with him for stabbing his grandmother to death at 14yo. To refresh your memory, that boy was being raised by his grandparents because he had no one else and his grandmother was not an abuser- she loved him very much, was a good parent, and the boy was in therapy. He's not psychotic or schizophrenic(sp). I got that info from checking online news articles about the case, although difficult child doesn't know that I checked out this story after he told me about it. I did though and found it to be true.

    Anyway, difficult child says the boys sometimes just cries and cries over the whole situation but that he never showed remorse during the trial. I asked difficult child if he thought the boy was really remorseful or if he's just sorry he got caught. (It happened because the boy flipped out when his grandparents were trying to stop him from seeing a specific girl, then the girl broke up with him - a situation that I can see happening in my home as well.) difficult child says he thinks the boy is remorseful but understands when the boy says "what good does crying do, it will never bring her back"? I asked difficult child what the boy said about why it happened and difficult child said he just completely lost it. He says that they have discussed what they each have done and the other boy says he did not black out because he remembers what he did but says that he didn't feel like he had any control of it while it was happening- he said it was like he just lost all control.

    Then, I ask difficult child if that's how he felt when he pulled the knife on me. difficult child said that he could relate to the boy in the sense that he could not see, hear, or think of anything else than what was on his mind. He said he didn't black out either and just felt so mad that nothing could have interrupted him. But he said his goal was not to hurt me- his goal was to get the cigarettes.

    Now in a way, I'm glad to hear that he was not having thoughts of hurting me and he obviously wasn't trying to kill me and actually, did not cause physical harm. BUT, what would have happened if I hadn't had any cigarettes to give him? Maybe he didn't felt driven by wanting to kill me, he felt driven by wanting me to give him something. But what is going to happn the next time he wants something that much and the person might not be able to give it to him? Will he kill them? I really don't know if difficult child is any more able to maintain stability than the boy who lost it over a girl and killed the best person he had in his life. I'm sure that boy is sorry for it- his grandfather has since died and he has no one now except a father who's in prison but writing him ever since the grandfather left this boy some life insurance. But since difficult child didn't kill me, I know he can't really be feeling the same feelings that the other boy is.

    Is this a good sign or bad sign in difficult child? I have heard from a couple of people in Department of Juvenile Justice (staff) that difficult child is good as gold in there, that he loves me and wants to come home. But, he does not seem to get the seriousness of what he did and has not shown remorse- I've been told that and I see the same thing in him. How bad of a sign is that? He's never hurt animals or others- although he's had a few squabbles and fist fights with other kids from about 11yo to 12 yo mostly. He has set a brush fire (he swears accidently) and played with fire. He's been evaluation'd by numerous profs and none felt he was a psychopath. He's a sympathetic and compassionate and sensitive child. He's not autistic but has emotional issues. He takes me for granted a lot and always has. Do you think he's just not able to digest his actions or that some part of him doesn't really care?

    I'm afraid that difficult child is going to get released and at some point he's going to feel that desparate for something again and he's going to not stop and could kill someone because he'll have it in his mind that he did well incarcerated before (this time) and this other boy can do it and survive so he can too.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2009
  2. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It sounds to me like difficult child is learning to understand his own anger and his own motivations. Any understanding in that area is a bonus. A big problem with our difficult children in a lot of cases, is their maturity lags a long way behind. Part of that also is their own self-understanding lags behind. The end result can be someone who is physically an adult, but who still throws two-year-old tantrums. It's bad enoguh when a two year old attacks, but they can't do as much harm and we are more forgiving. But an adult who feels the same degree of rage but has an adult body with which to attempt to inflict damage - nasty. And sometimes tragic.

    I can't reassure you that difficult child will ever be safe enoguh to be around. But then - there is that capacity in all of us, to get angry enough to want to hurt someone. As we get older and learn more, we learn self-control. All we can do is hope that he learns enough to be able to trust himself, and to prove to you (and others to whom this matters) that he can be trusted.

    I remember when I was in high school, a girl who I thought was my best friend turned on me in front of a group of other girls I thought were my friends, and told me how much she hated me. She used very hurtful terms, she was vocal, she was verbally vicious. Unfortunately for her, I happened to be holding the school's hand bell (it was my job to walk around the playground ringing it - yeah, a GREAT way to help an already odd girl to make more friends!).
    I was angry and I didn't even think about what I was doing as I lashed out physically. If I hadn't been holding anything, I'd have slapped her face. Instead, I hit her with the bell.
    I was horrified with myself within minutes, even while I was still raging at how much she had hurt me. I was mostly sorry I had been caught (a teacher had seen the altercation, I thought I was heading to be expelled; at the very least my very strict mother would have torn strips off me when the teachers rang) but apart form the teacher who saw me giving me a harsh talking-to and telling me she was going to report it and call my mother and the girl's mother, I never herd another word. I was lucky - I had a reprieve.

    What horrified me was NOT that I had hurt her (I know intellectually it was wrong but even now I'm glad I hit her) but that I was capable not only of feeling such anger, but of physically lashing out in response to it.

    I am older now and have more control. That is what happens as you get older. I have, since then, felt similar anger. But I have been able to control it. I also was not holding a weapon at the time, other than my tongue. I have learned to use that (and more socially acceptable weapons, such as a well-placed letter) to good effect.

    I learned. I also had help to learn (beginnning, I think, with that teacher who never did ring my mother or take matters further). My mother was a tyrant at times but she showed me how to fight through official channels. My older sisters taught me by their example. My education took a lot longer than my physical maturity.

    KLMNO, I think he is also educating himself by exploring violence in himself and others. I'm glad he is also talking to you about it - this gives you the opportunity to help him learn even more.

    His brain will also need time, but he is putting his time to good use.

  3. ML

    ML Guest

    I have to agree that it's a good sign he is asking himself these questions and is trying to understand. True growth is happening and that is always good. Big hugs for you mom xoxo ML
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Little boys fight on the playground. They always have. Only in this day and age has that become something that is looked at as something that is odd. In years past, either they just let them fight it out or the playground monitors just separated them. They werent considered future psychopaths.

    Tony fought almost daily in elementary school. Probably weekly in middle school. Once or twice in HS. Never since until a year ago when a guy here attacked him with a broken bottle when they also jumped Cory and Mandy. He was attempting to talk the situation down. Sometimes you have to fight back.

    I think kids brains dont process remorse quite the same as you think they are going to do it. I was always terrified Cory would do something really stupid. Sometimes I still am. He spouts all kinds of dump stuff when he is on a tirade. He is getting much better at calming down fast. Cory has empathy for his friends and his family to a degree. I dont think he has total empathy. He is very attached to us and I know he loves us but I dont think he can totally put himself in our places and really feel what we feel. He will always be number one in his eyes. Thats why he has the PD traits.
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I agree with the others. Also, I don't know how one expresses remorse in a way that is deemed adequate by others. Deep emotions like love, fear, anquish, remorse and even happiness are not "sharable" in a way that assures the word receiver is actually receiving the depth of the message.

    Often watching programs like real court hearings I hear jury members say after the trial "yes, the defendant did say he was sorry but it didn't seem to me that he was really sorry". Children, teens and adults express feelings in unique ways.....and receive messages differently. If someone cries and sobs and begs forgiveness it doesn't mean to me that they are really sorry. If someone quietly says I'm really sorry with-o details they could be feeling the anquish of built much more deeply.

    It's complicated judging the sincerity of others....even our own kids. DDD
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    DDD is very right. Unless you are trained in voice stress detection, body analysis, and other things like that which they do at the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit, it really makes it hard to attempt to know if someone is telling the truth. I have taken classes from trainers out of the BAU. They were awesome! I still wouldnt say I can spot a liar with any dead on certainty but I am better than I used to be.
  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Ok, I'll try not to worry so much about it. I'm sure that some of this is some PTSD from him actually holding that knife at my neck and seeing the look in his eyes. I did feel like he was just trying to intimidate me into giving him what he wanted, but I swear, it's hard to get past the question of what he'd do if that didn't work and he got furious because it didn't work. This fear of mine will be an issue to be discussed in family therapy. The one thing I'm glad about is that I called the police and he got a stiff punishment so he knows he might have gotten the cigarettes, but it cost him a year being incarcerated. You know, he's never said to me that he is sorry he did it. He has talked around that and said he shouldn't have done it and wishes he hadn't.
  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Klmno it's good that you realize that your fear is real and that PTSD is likely the diagnosis. Wouldn't it be better for you to address your fears with your own counselor and focus on getting yourself to a better place B/4 you and your son have family therapy together? Although I realize that his choices are what triggered your problems, I don't think he should feel that it is his responsibility to help you find your solutions. The message that you are trying to enforce and reenforce is that "he" needs to face "his" problems and prepare to have a healthier future as master of his fate. I think that absorbing your ongoing stress will prevent him from focusing on his own choice and future.

    I would hope that the family therapy would be a joint opportunity for the two of you to meet with a professional to set happy productive goals for the future. Of course, neither of you can "forget the trauma" but it can be placed in your heads as a past crisis and not a defining moment that will forever change his future or yours. I wish you well. DDD
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Some people are not good at formally apologising.

    An apologiy is important, but it needs to be freely offered. And like other skills, he just may not be good at it yet.

    However, far more important - how does he feel now about what he did? If he is saying he knows he shouldn't have done it, he knows it was wrong, he wishes he hadn't done it - that is huge.

    And with some adults, that is more than you ever get.

    My father could never apologise. Other people can only offer a conditional apology. "I'm sorry I hit you; but you made me so angry."

    But to say, "I really wish I hadn't done that," is a good start along the road to never doing it again.