Screaming Mad

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by JodyS, Jul 12, 2008.

  1. JodyS

    JodyS New Member

    I can't help myself. I just loose it with my difficult child son. Then I feel like the worlds worst mom! Yesterday we were cleaning for company and he was trying to get out of helping, and lying, and smarting back to me and I just lost it. I was screaming in his face because I just snap when he gets like that. I know the screaming doesn't change anything and his behavior is not going to change, but I don't know how to stop. I do so wonderful with him day to day and lately things have been awesome up until yesterday. No one else in the world can push my buttons like that little boy can, yet I love no one else in the world like him! Now I am balling and crying because I have such horrible mommy guilt. I've apologized and kissed and hugged him, but I don't know if he beleives me because it has happened before. How do I stop from getting to this boiling point?
  2. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    In this case, you probably needed to care less about how the house looked for company. Even moms can do just so much and when there is far too much to do, we get stressed. And when we get overly stressed we don't respond much different than anyone else.

    Are all the times you blow up at him related to high stress situations?
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I suggest just walking away. Like, going outside and walking around the house. No matter what the weather.
    Then make a list so you don't have to talk to one another.
    If worse comes to worst, get a scrip for Xanax.
  4. neednewtechnique

    neednewtechnique New Member

    It is interesting to hear you say this, becuase I remember that this is one of our biggest stressors in our house. Most of the time, if she has a fit and refuses to do something, I will take the time to do what has to be done to make her do it. but when company is coming and she knows that there is a timeline, she knows that if she throws a fit, I will give in and just do it because it has to be done and I don't have time to fight with her over it. Then the day turns into a nightmare and there is all this tension while company is visiting and she is in a bad mood. i really have gotten to the point where i don't discuss it with her anymore. when i know that there will be issues or arguments from her, i do not allow for conversation, i will make a list, hand it to her and tell her which things she is repsonsible for and when i expect them to be done, and she works until they are done. if she spends 2 hours vacuuming the living room and she is still vacuuming when company comes, then the company is directed to a different room when they arrive. for the most part, though, anyone who comes to our house has a pretty good understanding of our difficult child's situation, so they are very understanding and supportive of our methods too, even if we have to visit at the kitchen table for a while until she finishes up what she is doing. honestly, the only person i ever have a problem with in these situations is my husband, because he seems to think that everything has to be perfect before anyone comes into our house, but he also doesn't want to be the one to lift a finger to make it happen. i finally had to put my foot down with him as well, and just tell him that unless he decides to pitch in and help out, he doesn't get a say in the way i handle these situations!
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Until the child is stable, the last thing I'd do is force a difficult child to help me clean up. I'd rather do it myself. When he is stable, he can do chores. You're not a bad mother. I'd just cut some slack until you can figure out how best to help the child so that he doesn't drive you nuts and you don't do things to make yourself feel badly about your parenting. I'd buy "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene and live by it until the child is doing better. Tell you right now that your Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) son is going to be a huge challenge too, as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) zaps a person of even being able to understand right from wrong and to make good decisions. It is organic brain damage and can't be fixed. It's good practice to learn to let some things so now if you are planning on adopting the child.
  6. JodyS

    JodyS New Member

    What does Xanax do? I feel like I need something. It usually is in somewhat more stressful situations like cleaning under time pressure. I have read the book many times, but it is one of the few areas I "pick my battles" with and I just seem to loose it. Trust me day to day, it is a constant chore getting him to pick up after himself, put things away, brush teeth, etc. The time pressure thing is a definate stressor. To the point I've not had holiday's or parties or Company for the most part to avoid this situation. AARRGG I just wish I could give anything to go back and take every time it has happened and make them disappear. Calmly outside of the situation if I ever saw myself doing that to him, I would slap the sh$$ out of myself! It is something I am not o.k. with and feel terrible about, but just can't seem to stop.
  7. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    Xanax is a benzodiazepine, a member of the class of drugs also called minor tranquilizer. (The antipsychotics are the major tranquilizers.) Seems lately doctors are becoming more and more reluctant to prescribe them because they can be addictive but they work great PRN. They are the class of pills that back in the 60's and 70's were called "Mother's Little Helpers" thanks to the Rolling Stones.

    Let me ask: Am I reading that right? Are you taking Prozac, an SSRI antidepressant, for ADD? That seems odd. And Prozac can cause or worsen the sort of outbursts you described. They can cause agitation and hostility. Any chance that could be contributing?
  8. JodyS

    JodyS New Member

    Actually the Prozac is not for the ADD, it was what my doctor recently described to deal with my "anger episodes" as I told her about this outbursts I have occasionally with difficult child. I sure would hate to think it could be making it worse. I think part of why she chose Prozac because I told her I needed an affordable drug as I have no insurance and Prozac is affordable.
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Good catch, Sara. I hadn't even noticed that.

    Could you switch to Effexor, Jody? (I have no idea what the cost is.) The only problem is, like Prozac, it takes a few wks to kick in. How long have you been on the Prozac? I know several people who take it and it makes them forgetful and zoned out, but it does take the edge off.

    Yrs ago, when I started peri-menopause, I talked to my OBGYN about stress. He asked me what sorts of stress, and I said, "Oh, I just feel like clawing out my husband's and son's eyeballs and then shooting them." He nodded calmly, and said, "Okay, try Effexor for awhile and see what that does."
    ROFL!!!! I asked if he had a lot of women coming in and saying that and he said, "Yes, actually."

    Yrs ago, our pediatrician refused to give difficult child anything for his ADHD. (This, after difficult child had yanked the battery charged otoscope and other equip off the wall, cleared the dr's desk onto the floor, yanked the dr's tie on his neck and nearly choked him, and knocked his glasses off.) Over the din, the dr. shouted, "He's just a BOY! I had four of them! There isn't anything they can give for that!"
    I shouted back, over my son's screaming, "Then, can you give ME something?"
    And he shouted, "Yes, a glass of wine."
    I said "I already do that," and he replied, "Then have the whole bottle!"

    (by the way, he retired, and as my son got older, the teachers had a hard time dealing with-him, as did I--major understatement--so the new dr gave us a scrip. We'd run out of options after we'd gone through diet changes and counseling. Turns out that the scrip helped difficult child deal with and comprehend the diet changes and counseling. Sometimes it works backward.)
  10. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    Effexor? Have you read about Effexor withdrawal?
  11. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    medications are difficult...........certainly Prozac and SSRIs can cause increased agitation.........then again, for some, like me, they can make life worth living. You really have to be self aware.
    Xanax is highly addictive, and most docs only will only XR a small amount of them, and then tell you to "cope".

    The best coping skill for me is to walk away. Sometimes leave. Even if it is walking down the block. I know your son is young, but walking down the block for a minute is better than slapping and yelling.

    It is hard, because these kids knowingly want to trigger every response in us they can. We have to be constantly vigilant of this, and safeguard ourselves against being triggered.

    I could sit here and write all day about all of the things we should do - but I know how it feels in the moment. Try and find some outside things to release that energy. Yoga, meditation, prayer, exercise...........Read books, go to counseling, get some respite. Do whatever it takes.

  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    OK, a lot of these medications can have problems, but surely not in the majority of cases? While it's wise to be cautious, we also need to not throw out the baby with the bathwater. For example I am as aware of anyone of the record that Zoloft has, in terms of suicidal ideation. However, I didn't know any of this when difficult child 1 began taking Zoloft. I was very grateful to Zoloft for the way it probably PREVENTED his suicidal tendencies at the time from getting out of control.
    He still takes Zoloft. He's been on it for about 8 years now, on varying doses (fairly low at the moment).
    It works - for him. I hate to think what he would be like without it.
    However - in the last year or so, TWO women I knew died almost certainly connected to Zoloft and its depressive effects on them. In one of them, the post-mortem couldn't find any serotonin - her levels had plummeted to indetectable.

    Jody, you do have a problem and your son is not the main cause. He is just one factor in your environment; what is more, he is an environmental factor who is actually influenced by your response to him. In other words, he is an environmental factor that you can change. But you need to get help for yourself, in order to be the mother you want to be, for him.
    If medications are prescribed, inform yourself and ask questions but be prepared to take them. Keep alert, ensure those around you keep alert and report ANY concerns you or others may have to the possibility of reactions. However, the odds are that you would be helped rather than hindered, by medications. Also, the odds are tat if there ARE any problems, they will show up fairly early in the course.

    With your raging at your son - please also be aware (and I don't want to hurt you, but you must keep this in mind) that when you rage at your son, and then cuddle him in tears apologising, you are not making it all better. One session of screaming at him can undo many days' wonderful relationship. Instead, you are probably confusing him a great deal and it WILL take time to recover from this. You can't have this happen, and expect everything to be perfectly OK and back to normal. While apologising is better than not, the instability he will perceive in his environment will be almost as frightening to him as your initial outburst.

    I have a constructive suggestion or two for you.

    1) Next time you feel as frustrated as this, walk away. Do not engage.
    I hold in my memory a story my mother once told me. My eldest sister, who always loved children and couldn't wait to have her own, was permitted to hold a cousin's baby while the cousin left the room. It was my sister's first time holding a baby with the mother not being present. Suddenly my sister became nervous - "what if I drop the baby?" Her hands were shaking, which only made her more nervous. My mother said to her, "Put the baby on the floor. She can't fall any further from there. Then walk away."
    My mother COULD have taken the baby from my sister, but then she never would have learnt how to manage her panic reaction.

    2) Pick your battles. difficult children do NOT respond well to panic and anxiety in someone; it can make their behaviour worse. If something is urgent, they are MORE likely to dig their heels in and want everything left just as it is. It's better to never have this argument at all, than to have it and lose so spectacularly.

    3) Modify your standards. "Cleaning up for company" needs to take on a different meaning under these circumstances. While I would LOVE a house that is minimalist with artworks on the walls and fine ceramics sitting in solitary dust-free splendour on the freshly polished teak furniture, I know that such a look is totally at odds with the reality of our home, which is very much lived-in by a large and active family. I know from experience just what battles we get, when I either try to get kids to clean their rooms or (heaven forbid) I try to clean their rooms myself. And when visitors come - I can't even close the doors any more, there is just too much STUFF on the floor. And walls. And doorknob. You get the picture.
    BUT - we have a home that is lived in, where you can see the interests, the joy, the activities and the intelligence. While I would one day like our hallway to be filled with family photos, the few that are there share space with nursery rhyme friezes, children's artwork, cobwebs and dust. Food is restricted to areas dedicated for it, so what mess there is is primarily clutter and not compost.
    While I would love to hang a pretty painting in the toilet, that will take some time. For now, the area behind the toilet door is 'decorated' with a social story for difficult child 3, an Escher printout form the computer (with corresponding Lego version), some notes on Algebra, a sheet on balancing Chemistry equations and a laminated copy of the Periodic Table. Otherwise,e the toilet is odour-free and (moderately) splash-free with the difficult children (thankfully, due to their obsessions) trained to keep the seat wiped and the lid down. Even the boys.
    Because that is how we LIVE, that is normality.

    I used to tidy for company. Then enough times I had people just drop in, that there was no point trying to maintain the fiction that we lived in a tidy house. I had to make a choice - a tidy house, or a happy, enriched environment.
    Now, when company is coming over, I make sure I have enough chairs available for seating. If people are coming for a meal, I clean off difficult child 3's schoolwork form the dining table. And if I do it, then I know where it's all been put. Otherwise, company coming over has to take us as they find us.

    But we need to involve the kids to some extent, or how will they ever learn?

    How to involve the kids - the starting point is their own things. If I'm cleaning the living room and I find difficult child 3's jeans, a pair of sneakers, a stack of computer games and an empty chip wrapper, then I call him in. "OK kid, some of this stuff here is yours. First, put the chip wrapper in the bin. While you're doing that, you can also throw this old newspaper in the recycling (since you're going to the bin anyway). Then come back here, there is more stuff of yours."
    One task at a time. And I also make sure I'm still seen to be working too.
    When he comes back, "OK son, here are your jeans and your sneakers. Are they clean or dirty? Where should they be? Please put them there NOW. Thank you. I will call you back again if I find anything more of yours where it shouldn't be. On the other hand, if you look around now, can you see anything more you could deal with now?"

    We live according to how we open our doors. I'd love a tidy house, but I love the peace and quiet more. When people visit, they see happy kids, not scowls of resentment. If someone sits on our couch they won't find unpleasant surprises under the couch cushions - they're more likely to see the stuff BEFORE they sit down.

    The housekeeping rules we have tried to stick to - you are responsible for your own room. If Mum can't get into your room without risking turning an ankle, then you must take care of your own washing, linen and tidying. ENTIRELY. But communal areas are to be kept clean for everyone to share.

    Other rules which work for us as a family - clean up as you go. If you make a sandwich, put your dirty things in the sink or dishwasher. Take your fair turn at washing up. Whoever cooks does not wash up. If you want something extra special, but fiddly, for dinner - you may have it if you help make it. Otherwise - dream on.

    Washing - it's done on Thursdays except where specially arranged for reasons deemed by PARENTS to be important (otherwise, do your own). All washing is to be in the laundry tub by time of washing. All laundry must have already had pockets checked, stains soaped, sweat smells treated with vinegar.
    The washing will be hung on the clothesline, shirts hung on hangers. Please put empty hangs in the laundry for re-use. An empty hanger in your wardrobe usually means the shirt belonging to it is in the wash. That shirt will need to be hung up.
    Washing will be returned to you folded and/or on hangers. Please put it away yourself.

    And so on.

    By doing the washing the way I do - sorting and folding it as I get it off the line - I don't have piles of laundry to add to the confusion. It comes in the house and generally gets put away immediately. I do not iron unless it is desperate. Generally, clothes needing to be ironed do not get worn. Eventually, clothes needing to be ironed do not get bought. There are ways to hang clothes on the line that prevents any need for ironing, especially if you fold as you collect it.

    So if company is arriving - I won't waste the energy on tidying, unless I need to clear a space for you to sit down.

    Instead, I might bake a cake.

    I stopped worrying about what other people think, long ago. It was a luxury I could no longer afford. Instead, I now accept that I'm the person who makes other people feel so much better about the state of their own house.

    We may live in a mess, but we also live in a routine. That routine keeps us going and keeps it all working.

    One day, we will be able to throw out a lot of stuff and find the floors we haven't seen in years...

  13. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    Jody, are you taking any medication for ADD? I'm confused.
  14. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    "Also, the odds are tat if there ARE any problems, they will show up fairly early in the course."

    They may show up but they might be subtle and not identified as adverse reactions. My son's antidepressant induced suicide attempt came after he was on the drug for over a year and while he was becoming quite psychotic. Even so, his doctor failed to identify the antidepressant as the problem. The first sign of his having an adverse reaction was that his mood changed within hours of taking the drug. Stupid doctor thought that was a good thing and failed to identify it as hypomania even after I expressed my concern because antidepressants are suppose to taken about two weeks before improvement is noticed. He did fairly well for about three months then the anger, aggression and agitation started. It was a slippery slope that took him to the depths of hell. And his doctor's response was to increase the antidepressant because it worked so well at the beginning so more should help when things got worse. She shoved him further down the slope every time she increased the dose. And then she blamed my parenting for his violence.
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I had a psychotic reaction to imiprimine after being on it for six months. I woke up, couldn't swallow and was hallucinating. Scary. It isn't always just in the beginning. For some reason, medications store up in my system and suddenly erupt with a later reaction. I think the medications could be the problem too. That doesn't mean they ARE, but it's always a good policy to talk to your psychiatrist about medication if a child gets even more aggressive after starting a medication. I've taken too many medications myself not to know that they are just as likely to make things worse than better. It took me until my 30's to get a regiment that didn't cause eventual problems with me AND that actually worked. It's a real hit or miss struggle. That's why the right diagnosis is so important combined with not overmedicating (I cringe when I see kids on more than three medications--that makes me think that the doctor is trying to medicate away every single symptom and you can't). It can also make one feel like a zombie. I know THIS first hand too.
    So, I agree with both Marg and Sara. Look at the big picture and consult with the doctor! Good luck :)
  16. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    in my opinion, Jody needs our help in managing her anger, her life.............she did not ask us our advice on the nuances of every medication out there, or our personal stories about these medications. That can be too much information, and is confusing and scary for some people.
  17. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    That ignores the very distinct possibility that someone's -- in this case, Jody's -- anger is contributed to or caused by the medications she is taking. If that is the case, the best way to manage that anger is to address the medication issue.
  18. tryinghard

    tryinghard New Member


    I hear ya loud and clear. I am a very calm and soft hearted person. It takes so much to make me yell or get mad. When my difficult child use to rage for hours (yes hours!) I would stay calm till about hour two and three. Then I would loose it. There were times my easy child had to come in and tell me I needed to leave and she would take over that I was scaring her. I remember at least three times the look of sheer fear in my son's eyes because I was carrying on like a crazy woman. I never hit my son but my voice changes (like Linda Blair in the Exorcist:surprise:).

    As my difficult child got older, and the incidents were over, he and I would talk. I would tell him that my loosing my temper was unacceptable behavior and I was sorry. I explained to him that he needed to look at his own actions and how if he tried harder I would try harder. This was NOT a quick fix. There were times we went through this every other day for months on end. I thought I was going to go crazy.

    My difficult child now is able to self calm and sometimes tell us that he needs a moment alone to regroup. I do the same things sometimes. I explain that I am starting to feel very angry and I want to go outside / take a drive/ cry on my bed so I do not do something inappropriate.

    It has taken 10 years to get to this point, but it is soooo much better now.

    I am very sorry for the episodes I had. They were few and far between but I still feel guilty. I am not sure if I always had stayed calm if my difficult child would have been able to draw the correlation between his behavior and how it affected others. I think him watching me get up and then having to find a way to stop and control myself, and then apologize made him realize his emotions were valid, but he needed to deal with them in a healthier way.

    Reading the Explosive Child has helped a lot too. When I see him headed down the path we talk through the issue like the book suggests. It really has worked.

    I want to let you know you are not alone. We understand. Only if you have a difficult child can you understand what this is like. I hope you keep posting. We are a great support group.
  19. Christy

    Christy New Member

    Hi Jody
    I just wanted to offer my support and say that I've had a few of those not so proud mommy moments where I have yelled and said some unkind things to my son. Try to learn from the experience what you can do differently in the future. It is a good idea to apoloigize to your son and say that you made a mistake. Tell him how you were feeling and what you should have done differently. This will help him to develop the skills when he has an angry outburst.

    Good luck working through this and give yourself credit for acknowledging your problem and wanting to improve upon it.


  20. JodyS

    JodyS New Member

    I just want to state that I don't slap my son.

    I want to thank you for all your tips. I will look into Effexor or other medications for this issue. In high times of stress I tend to get overwhelmed. I am also wondering if maybe it is a panic attack? I have never had them or know any one that does. Has anyone had experience or tell me a little bit about Panic Attacks?