New Insight - What Makes difficult child upset . . .

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Wonderful Family, Jul 28, 2008.

  1. difficult child has always had issues with any tension or disagreements, even if it does not involve him. Nothing new, however . . ..

    I have been told twice in the last week that difficult child becomes very angry at the person someone else is mad at. husband mad at me - I become the evil person; husband frustrated with Cousin A, Cousin A becomes difficult child's target. "Mom, I get mad at the person who is making problems, it doesn't matter what it's about."

    Boy, if he could figure out how to change this thinking, maybe it might be a real step forward. Just imagine, I don't have to be in trouble with difficult child for an entire evening because husband is irritated that I forget to put a letter in the mailbox. Perhaps easy child could stop being viewed as a complete idiot by difficult child just because he get's corrected for normal kid stuff.

    Any thoughts or suggestions about how to approach? I will bring up at next doctor appointment. Or is this potentially just made-up? I really don't know.
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Sorry I don't have any specific advice, but it's very interesting to me that he looks to the world outside himself for interpretation and to formulate his perceptions. I know my difficult child's can be easily influenced by both husband and I, so we really have to be careful what we're muttering under our breath ;) Sorry it's becoming such a problem for you -- hopefully others will have some wisdom to share.
  3. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I don't think it is made up. I run across that from time to time with my difficult child. Being too loyal in inappropriate ways. People tend to gravitate toward the strongest feeling present. Anger is stronger than frustration. So if husband is angry and you are frustrated, difficult child will go with the anger and jump on board. Maybe partly to be part of the action?

    Last Spring my difficult child was angry at the other kids in school simply because they did not want to continue a game that I had suggested. I thought it was great that they tried it and when it didn't work that was fine with me. However, difficult child was ready to get revenge on the person that lead everyone back to the old game. He thought they were being disrespectful to me. (So, he can be disrespectful but no one else can be! hmmm)

    Your difficult child needs to work on letting go of other people's problems. He needs to trust that the other person can handle it himself. I think it would be wise to bring up the issue to the doctor.

    It sure is nice when we can actually pinpoint a problem area and put it in words to describe to the doctors. That is step number one!

    Let us know what the doctor suggests.
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Very interesting.

    You've already gotten some great insights here. Definitely work on it with-the therapist. It's definitely a step in the right direction.
  5. Thanks - I thought this was a "good" problem; don't know quite how to tackle it, but I definitely bring it up with the doctor later this week. Might have some impact at school too - we'll see how it goes.
  6. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Very interesting, and something I have seen repeatedly with my difficult child. It seems to be almost a problem of sorting and processing the information they receive, and since they have such little sense of self at this age, they are easily identifying with these tense situations.

    This was particularly bad for us when difficult child was around 12, and bio-dad waltzed back into the picture. Of course bio-dad blamed me for the entire world being off it's axis, and difficult child was consumed with anger towards me for months. It was really, really hard.

    I can say that it has gotten better in time. Again, I think my son is finally getting a sense of his own identity, and his own personal self. However, I can tell you right now that if one person crosses me, my difficult child still becomes like a papa bear towards his mom and irate with whoever is making me upset. Maybe that is somewhat normal, especially with single moms and sons - they feel protective a bit more than average.
  7. Behavior is not protective of me; he simply gets mad at "whoever" is causing the problem.

    I personally really like our therapist; but she simply cannot (unable?) do CBT with him; which is what we are going for. We'll see where we get in a few weeks; if not, I'll have to think of something else. He's too cooperative right now not to keep figuring something else out. Not sure where else to look though . . .
  8. Fascinating, I was just reading through some of the other posts and it dawned on me why difficult child might have been so furious with me when he was younger. We have extended family living with us; and until the last 2.5+ years typically tried to ride the fence to try to get along versus being "in charge"; of course, I was the "cause" of all the conflict at the time . . . still an issue, but not near as much as it was before. Something for me to really think about.

    I appreciate the ability to post my thoughts, get feedback, and hopefully make things better for all of us. Thanks to everyone.
  9. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I've been told that while CBT is certainly the therapy of choice for addressing anxiety and depression, it is very hard for preteens and even some teenagers to have the ability to be able to do it effectively. If you like your therapist and she has a good relationship with difficult child, I wouldn't be so quick to dump her. He may benefit from having another positive adult figure in his life.

    In terms of why he's reacting to conflict in this way, I'm guessing it's because conflict makes him anxious. If you do something that makes your husband angry, in difficult child's eyes, you are the cause of a conflict that makes him anxious so he becomes angry with you. He may believe erroneously that conflict can erode all the stable relationships in his life and he will no longer have that stability.

    Good luck figuring everything out.