Let's all go for a ride on the emotional escalator, shall we? EPIC

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gcvmom, Dec 31, 2009.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I came this close to calling the police tonight on difficult child 1. husband actually asked me to do it, no, INSISTED that I do it. And these days he is the calm one who is able to step back and not get worked up over situations with the kids. So that has to tell you something.

    I can think of lots of different reasons why it happened: it was late, difficult child 1 was hungry, he was not medicated, he was tired, yada, yada, yada.

    It started with me giving all three kids notice at 10pm (who were up late because husband had taken them out to the store to use their gift cards to buy this system they've been wanting and they got home a little before 10pm) that they would have to stop their games and go to bed at 10:30pm. Fair warning, helps with transitions, all that. They all heard me and understood. I even gave them 15min and 5min warnings. I know how hard it is for them to stop stuff.

    So 10:30 comes and easy child and difficult child 2 turn off their games and go get ready for bed. Yay. But difficult child 1 decides that NOW he is hungry (didn't bother with it earlier -- the game was too engaging, the TV was too interesting, everything else was more important). Okay, I acquiese and give him 10 min extra to have a yogurt. Then I tell him he has to be in bed with teeth brushed by 10:45 or he gets consequences. He decides to go put on his lacrosse gear and chase difficult child 2 around with his stick.

    And this is the beginning of the end. He starts to get belligerent with me when I scold him for not doing what he was supposed to be doing. He declares that he's not going to bed. He declares that he's not brushing his teeth. He declares that he doesn't have to do anything, etc., etc. So I go to his room and unplug the TV that husband had allowed him to have in there over the break (he'd lost all TV and video game privileges due to bad grades and was not supposed to have these reinstated until the next report cards come out at the end of January and he pulls his grades up, but husband gave these privileges back for the break period -- not sure I would have allowed that had I been asked, but I digress). This really makes him angry because he had a video game unit plugged into the TV (so this means he can't finish where he'd left off since he didn't save the game and now doesn't have a TV to see how to save it) and he starts throwing things around his room -- mostly blankets and papers, and then he closes his door and blocks me from being able to leave, saying, "You'll have to kill me to get out."

    I remain calm and ask him if he really thinks that this is going to make me change my mind, and he just repeats himself, continuing to block the door. I tell him to open the door, and he starts to play a game with this, opening it a crack. I tell him again, so he opens it all the way but sits in the doorway, blocking me from leaving with the TV. I continue on past him telling him that if I trip and fall and the TV breaks, he'll have to pay for it. So he gets up and moves. He follows me out and starts pushing over a TV tray, throws the cushions off the couch, etc. in his protest.

    Then he goes in his room and slams the door and starts throwing things at the door. At this point, I go upstairs to talk to husband. Meanwhile we can hear difficult child 1 still banging around downstairs. husband goes down to try to talk to him to find out what the huge problem is and difficult child 1 refuses to cooperate. So husband takes all the game consoles/iPod/phone away and brings them up to our room.

    husband and I talk quietly -- I'm upset at the rudeness and disrespect, the threatening, the violence. I'm upset that I have to tip-toe around difficult child 1 when he's like this. I'm upset that he is so out of control. I feel that he has to take ownership for his feelings and he has to learn how to deal with them constructively instead of having a meltdown like this. It's been a while since he's had one of these, but it's still scary when it happens. We don't know what to take seriously and what to ignore.

    I go down to check on difficult child 1 and he's got the power drill/screwdriver and he's taken the locking door knob off the door to the garage and has put it on his door because he's not happy with the fact that the knob on his door doesn't lock properly. Nobody told him he could do this. He just decided to do it. (I don't think he realizes that the new knob on his door is keyed to the front door, so I'd be able to open it very easily anyway -- and I don't tell him this). I tell him that he absolutely has no permission to do this and that he has to put the knobs back the way they were and if they are damaged in any way he will have to pay for them -- quoting a $50 price tag per knob, whatever, he got the point and angrily started to disassemble everything to put it back the way it was.

    So after this little exercise is over, husband calls difficult child 1 up so we can all talk things over, hopefully calmly. difficult child 1 comes up and says he doesn't want to talk to us and goes back down. So husband calls him up again (difficult child 1 hollers back NO) and husband starts to count (which usually means that if we start at 5 and get to 0 and you're still not complying, you're going to lose something more) and difficult child 1 shows up, but is still refusing to talk to us. He's got a Nerf gun and is shooting darts at the wall. husband closes the door and says difficult child 1 can't leave until we all have a chance to talk this over.

    He gives difficult child 1 a chance to say his peace without any interruptions, but he refuses. So then he asks me to explain why I'm upset. So I do. difficult child 1 just keeps shooting his dart gun. It ends up with us doing most of the talking, and difficult child 1 pacing around and shooting the dart gun, sometimes pointing it at his own head, sometimes pointing the laser sight at husband (interesting he never pointed it at me), or using the laser light to play with the cat that happened to be up there.

    So husband decides to try to hug him to see if a physical connection would get through the anger and get him to open up to us. But difficult child 1 resists and pushes back -- and husband being a former wrestler easily gets him into a hold and puts him on the bed where we both try to hold onto him to talk to him. This just makes things worse. difficult child 1 starts to spit at me and bites husband, who bites him back -- must not have been too hard because nobody complained. I think difficult child 1 was testing him. But he got so angry I think he scared husband because that's when he told me to go call the police. I think he was afraid to let go of difficult child 1 at this point -- like he suddenly had a tiger by the tail.

    So I'm freaking out not knowing if I should really call or not, and thinking it might just make things worse for everyone but also thinking difficult child 1 needs to understand that this is not a game.

    While I'm trying to look up the non-emergency number for the PD, I hear them talking/arguing upstairs. I hear the slider open and difficult child 1 goes out on the balcony. Earlier he had threatened to jump off or use the hose that's up there to climb down and run away. I go outside and tell him to go back in the house. He says "Why, so the police can just find me easier?" And I ask him if he wants me to call them, to which he replies no, so I tell him to go back inside again and he complies.

    Then I go back upstairs and he's sitting on the floor and starting to cry. And we are finally able to have a conversation with him about the whole situation that has now evolved. Now he's finally listening, he's not angry and he's remorseful. He agrees that the defiance and the belligerence is not o.k. That he gets angry but can't stop. He thinks his medications aren't right or that we should see the psychiatrist to figure out how to fix this. Won't agree to see the therapist because he didn't like him (probably because he held him accountable for his behavior).

    He asks to be excused to go eat and go to bed, so we let him go. husband and I settle in to watch a bit of TV. Then around 2am I go downstairs to take my medications and lock up and difficult child 1 is not in his room. He's not in the other kids' rooms either and he's not on the couch. I go out to the garage and the light is on and the stuff that's in front of husband's drum room door has been moved. And guess who's locked in the drum room? He refuses to come out and asks if we can "Just pretend this isn't happening. Since I had such a bad night, can we just pretend I'm not in here." I tell him to come out, and he finally does -- red faced. Well turns out he was in there watching a porn video on our little 12 inch portable TV with the built-in VCR!!! O.M.G. Can this night get any more bizarre? He doesn't know it but I tossed the tape in the trash.

    And now he's up again (it's now 2:30) eating. He couldn't be bothered to eat during the day even though food was prepared for him. He couldn't be bothered to eat dinner either. Part of it is his medications and part of it is just him. I swear if I survive these next five years with him it will be a miracle.

    I'm calling the psychiatrist Monday morning to see if we can get squeezed in sometime very quickly. I'm starting to think he needs to be on some medications similar to husband's -- because husband used to have these similar anger problems where he would escalate and then get stuck in this intense anger directed at everyone around him. He told me tonight it was like an anger high. He actually enjoyed the feeling. But then he felt horrible afterwards.

    So if THAT Mr. Hyde can be helped, perhaps there's hope for Mr. Hyde Jr., too. But I cannot continue with him the way he is now. It has to stop.

    If you made it this far, I owe you a cup of coffee for staying awake so long!
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2009
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator


    What an absolutely horrible evening for everyone involved. I don't say this lightly (you know I think the world of your kids), but do you think he needs an inpatient stay? At least a medication check. Personally, I wouldn't wait until Monday to put the call in because physically intimidating behavior only tends to escalate without intervention.

    Also, it jumped out to me that hunger once again played a role in this. I'd wager that he would do much better if he went on a small meal schedule due to his crohn's. I know that I become terribly hungry and irritable if I go too long between eating when my IBS is acting up. Does he eat enough protein? It seems to be a fairly consistent trigger for difficult child 1.
  3. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    What an awful evening. Don't you just hate when they take a nice evening (new game system, played together) and make it ugly?

    I won't even threaten to take difficult children TV out of her room anymore. I KNOW it is a lifeline for her. Right or wrong - she can not go without it. Sleeping issues for these kids make the rules change, in my opinion. I try to put myself in my difficult children shoes. If I could not sleep (and it happens now and then) I turn on my TV and am thankful I have it as I know I will be asleep again within the hour. For difficult child not having that 'woobie' causes a meltdown.
    After report cards you and husband might want to discuss if this is a productive punishment for difficult child.
  4. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Lots of HUGS - and then more - because I understand. How awful. Any one little thing might be taken as no big deal but when you add them all up, and they're constant... UGH!
  5. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Your post sent me back to when my difficult child 1 was that age (slightly older, actually, when it was that bad)...and I just want to grab you up and run away with you...I'm so sorry.
    I hope psychiatrist can get you in and help you come up with some answers. Might be time for therapist to have a price-tag, too. If you go, you get_____.....and if you don't, you lose_______..... For us, even if difficult child 1 wasn't invested when he went, we found it was still better than not going at all.
  6. emotionallybankrupt

    emotionallybankrupt New Member

    Wow. Escalator indeed. Sounds like you stayed calm when you were blocked in the room, which I was never able to do. Of course, my difficult child knew that was a panic issue for me, and I know that's why she did it.

    What's with these kids and threats to jump off balconies? I thought that was MY difficult child's original idea!

    Sure sounds like you had few choices during most of this exchange. The only thing I see that I would have TRIED to do differently is to focus during that time on calming down the situation and deal with consequences later. Things always escalated in my house when I named up and/or enforced consequences in the middle of an episode. For me, that's not a natural response to separate the two. For MOST kids, I think the direct and immediate connection makes much more sense. When they're out of control, though, I think it pushes them further out of control and makes it harder to diffuse the incident. A quote I kept posted discreetly as a reminder to myself is that "to try to reason with an oppositional child in the middle of an oppositional episode is like trying to reason with an alcoholic when they are drunk." I definitely found truth in that but never got myself fully "reprogrammed" to do it that way. (Quote from book The Defiant Child: A Parent's Guide to Oppositional Defiant Disorder by Douglas Riley.)

    Also, what I would have WANTED to say, when presented with "I don't have to do anything you say," is "You're exactly right. You have a choice as always. You can do what I expect and face no consequences or refuse and accept the consequences." Long ago, a counselor showed me a video of a presentation by an expert whose name I don't remember. The big focus was that if you state it in the context of a choice, the brain has to make a shift to decide between the two rather than to argue. When I was able to think quickly enough to do this, I found it to be amazingly true. To say, "If you don't do what I expect you to do, you will have consequences," we all know means EXACTLY the same thing, but that would have caused an escalation here, whereas the other phrasing probably would not.

    Good luck on all the other angles--medication checks, etc. Like tiredmommy, I wonder about the hunger issue and what role that played in the whole exchange.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2009
  7. It is so hard when this kind of stuff happens. If I don't follow every rule in the book, difficult child might get set off. When we are "dumb" enough not to follow them, the end result is exactly what you had.

    It's terribly difficult to live with this and like this. I hope things go better today for you; my difficult child often doesn't even know what happens until after it's too late.
  8. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    First of all--big ((((hugs)))) What a night!

    And it IS difficult to know whether calling police will be the right thing to do...

    If the officers could appear instantaneously when you needed them, that might be one thing....but it's hard to know what will happen in between the time you call and the time police will actually arrive. Will things escalate? Will officers arrive in the nick of time? or will things have calmed by then and police presence will then escalate a situation that was about to diffuse on its own? It's a tough decision to make.

    Definitely look into a change in medications!
  9. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Hugs....that's one heck of a night for everyone. Besides the obvious, I always hate those the worst because even if everything is hunky dorey the next day, I still feel out of sorts for days after. I can't imagine how difficult child's feel after all of that.

    I do agree with emotionallybankrupt that maybe waiting till the next day for at least some of the consequence might have been better but without being there in the moment, who's to say. What may be feasible one time may not work the next.

    I hope you can get in soon to the doctor...something definately sounds off. My difficult child would make comments like yours did about the medications and how he feels also. Sometimes it was total bull but sometimes it wasn't and you could usually tell the difference because of the behaviors, Know what I mean??

    I don't know what difficult child 1's history is on this but I might also mention the porn to the doctor also. There for awhile (although I'm sure he still does it, it's just not as obvious) would use masturbation as a way to manage/cope with his stress and/or anger. A lot. In our case, the doctor wasn't too concerned but I was before talking with the doctor because I didn't want him to connect anger with sex. He already had some kind of skewed ideas on sex and related subjects because of bio mom and his past so I didn't want it to develop into even more negative things. 'Course, that could just be me and my own worries about my difficult child too so take that part of this for what you will. ;)

    In any event, what a koi-y night, I'm sorry. I hope things settle down for you and if his medications need tweaked, you can get it done quickly. Hugs.
  10. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This episode just screams "manic" to me, right down to the porn watching. Sounds like a medication check is definitely needed, and fast. I know you must be exhausted, mentally and physically.. I remember some similar nights with each of my girls. Hope you can get some rest.
  11. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry you all had such an awful night. Many, many hugs.
  12. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Okay, so it's nice to know that it's not just ME that thinks this is abnormal behavior :p husband actually questioned how much of this was typical teen behavior in difficult child 1 last night, saying he didn't know because he's never had a 15yo before. And neither one of us think that our own upbringing was the healthiest parenting style that we would want to emulate. So it's actually a relief to hear everyone's reactions to this thread.

    I agree that lack of food was a major factor here. It is so dang hard to get him to eat because of the stimulant, not so much the Crohn's. But if he doesn't have this medication he is soooo obnoxious to be around. And yes, he does look manic when the stimulant is out of his system, but I don't think that qualfies as BiPolar (BP)... mood disorder of some type, though, but probably not BiPolar (BP).

    What EB said about "to try to reason with an oppositional child in the middle of an oppositional episode is like trying to reason with an alcoholic when they are drunk," is absolutely on the mark. When husband used to get like this, I backed off for the most part until he cooled down. It's harder to switch gears for me with my kid because I'm the one who's supposed to be in control of the situation, Know what I mean?? But I like the idea of being clear headed enough to offer choices to these declarative outbursts -- I agree that it would likely take the wind out of his sails -- he's not expecting a response like that.

    I know where the porn came from, but I thought I'd rounded it all up a while ago, but apparently I missed a few things -- also found a magazine in difficult child 1's room earlier this week. Confiscated that and told husband to buy him a SI Swimsuit issue or something... I do worry about how he uses sex to cope with stuff -- some of this is normal teenage stuff, but there's a history in this family with maladaptive behaviors in this department. No doubt he was trying to feel better about everything last night.

    This morning he is very cooperative and humble. And medicated of course. husband and I will talk more on this today. We had to remove the TV and video stuff because he would stay up until the wee hours with them and it would interfere with homework (he's been getting D's because he doesn't turn in homework). And he did become more focused on his school work with those distractions gone. I think it was probably a mistake for husband to give this stuff back to him. The TV at least... But clearly our current methods are not working, so it merits a different approach.

    Monday I may call the PD just to talk to someone about options. I don't think hospitalization is necessary, but that's a call for the psychiatrist to help me understand better when we see him. husband thinks difficult child 1 would benefit from a "scared straight" session with an officer. I'm on the fence. Like DF said, it's hard to know if things will escalate when they get there or if they'll eventually diffuse on their own like they did last night.

    One thing I do know is that his anger pattern is like his dad's was. He's triggered emotionally, he blows and he gets stuck in the anger and it takes a long while for him to climb out of it unless there is something to shock him out of it. And then he is very remorseful and goes out of his way to try to make amends. So as I see it there is hope for him, and it's up to us to figure out what will work best.

    I think today will be a good day. And I'm going to try to somehow get him to eat more frequently... maybe that will help.
  13. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    Oh boy, GVC...I'm so sorry.

    My heart began to thump reading your post because I went through an awful row with Son this week and the not eating thing is a trigger for him too. Just the other day he didn't want to eat because he didn't want to leave his wrestling show. Then, when its over, he wants me to drop everything to make him something to eat NOW and got nasty when I wouldn't. I'm try to have things available for him to make himself, but sometimes when get goes past of point of no return, he just can't think enough to do it.

    Seems like the simplest things turn into epic meltdowns. For Son, this week, it was refusing to have a friend to spend the night. I was just too exhausted to deal with HIM and his difficult child friend after Xmas. It went down hill at a break-neck speed after that. Though, I find when I stay calm with Son, it tends to embolden him to new heights.

    I've called the police on Son and it was devastating for me. Now, he threatens me with calling the police on ME. I took his cell (actually, after an hour of him screaming-after he slammed it in my hand, which hurt A LOT, I hurled it on the tiled bathroom floor-it was his Xmas present-to which it was left in pieces-and he thinks its broken-its not, only the battery and back came off-but I'm letting him think it is).

    I think consequences the next day is a good idea. It seems when it's done "in the moment" it only escalates things. I'm starting to get THAT through my thick head, hopefully. However, when they are so belligerent, rude, and disrespectful, it is so difficult not to want to parent "in the moment".

    husband was EXACTLY like that before medications. He never described it like a high, but once he was in that anger state, he was locked in and unreachable. I could tell at twenty paces he was in that state just by the look on his face. Of course, once he emerged, he felt awful and extremely guilty. If he hadn't gone on medications, I don't think our marriage would have survived to this point.

    Sending ((hugs)) to you. Hopefully, a medication check/change will help.
  14. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    I want something in a breakfast blend with lots of cream and splenda blend - then we'll sit and chat. If you and in a few more insults....and a lot more ups and downs, a whole lot more violence, throwing, hitting, screaming, then add in NO remorse, NO apologies and the minute you DO get a little talk and a promise to NO do it again, turn your back and it HAPPENS all over again? You have Dude. :mad:

    I think you should just come here with your carafe, bring a giraffe...we'll find a nice bath, have a laugh, order some staff, float on a raft. :laugh: My mind she is daft.
  15. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Star, I think if you and I descended on a coffee house they'd either kick us out for overstaying our welcome, or give us our own corner couch... probably the latter since you spend so much time in the corner anyway :tongue: I'm just sayin'...

    Dazed, even husband is wondering if difficult child 1 needs to try Paxil since that's the medication that helped him a lot. I'd be willing to try that -- it might help with difficult child 1's Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)-ish tendencies, too. I also wonder if a MS would be beneficial to him. All topics on the list for the psychiatrist, to be sure.

    What medications worked for your husband, I'm curious?
  16. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    husband takes zoloft (I wrote medications out of habit, he takes only one for emotional issues) and what a difference. He had a therapist suggest it when she felt he was depressed. We did try it on Son a few years ago thinking if it helped husband it would help Son. Unfortunately, it made no difference.

    A couple of years ago, DHs GP wanted him to go off of it because he takes THREE medications to control his blood pressure. I freaked when he told me! husband said that he told the Dr that his marriage would probably end if he stopped. Dr. hasn't mentioned it since.
  17. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    :rofl: Yes, we had a similar scenario with a neuro when he wanted to take husband off Lamictal and try a different MS for his seizures -- I was scared to death that husband would backslide, becase the combo of the Paxil and Lamictal were magic. I told the neuro (with husband sitting next to me) that this combo had finally given me the man I thought I had married. The look on that doctor's face (and husband's) was priceless. Turns out Trileptal has been just as helpful in the long run. So as long as he stays on Paxil and a MS, I think life will be good for us and husband is finally recognizing it. :angel3:
  18. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Is he rebounding off the stimulant maybe? My understanding is that it can cause incredible irritability.
  19. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I was wondering about rebound too. On top of everything else that has been suggested. Rebound can also cause the munchies.

  20. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    What a frightening, emotionally draining night. We go thru stuff (with Major)similar enough to understand...hugs.