Spoke with defense attny

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Apr 29, 2010.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I called for PO again- got voice mail again. So I called defense attny again and he answered. I told him we really needed to discuss some things because he needed to know a couple of things in order to understand what is in difficult child's best interest. I told him I had thought he knew already but difficult child had whipped a knife out prior to pulling one on me and he had those psychiatric hospital stays- several of them with a couple being tdo's thru our mental health dept- around that time and and a lot of that was being triggered by issues discussed in outpatient family therapy. THAT is why Residential Treatment Center (RTC) became the subject to begin with- 1) they needed to determine if difficult child was just a kid who didn't care about rules or if he was BiPolar (BP) and 2) to deal with the more sensitive issues in intensive therapy while he was out of the home. I was feeling a lot of anxiety by that point and I'm sure it came thru over the phone and I kept talking and said THAT is what is causing me so much anxiety-

    He interrupted and said he didn't have time right now for that whole conversation but if I was afraid for difficult child to be in the home, we would have to go to dss (which is why I never brought this up and stressed it before). But, I had told him in there somewhere that the probation officer HAD known but she later lied and said she didn't- but there were witnesses that she did because I told them at a county team meeting and she was sitting right beside me. That is why she ordered in-home therapy that was due to start in a few weeks. Anyway, I told def attny that I am not scared of difficult child to the point that I live in fear if he's at home or I would have brought that up and discussed arrangements prior to his release from Department of Juvenile Justice. But, I am afraid about trying to deal with certain issues in an outpatiient setting because they always result in that sort of problem at home and now it's to a point where knowing that alone causes me a great deal of anxiety. And it wasn't just difficult child becoming aggressive- he was doing more self-harming than getting physically aggressive but I forgot to remind the attny of that.

    He said they weren't proposing family therapy- only that difficult child be required to see a counselor individually. (shewww, TG), He said if I had other options to consider, it would be fine to throw them out there (you know the option that went thru my mind that now is no longer available because they blew the only opportunity I could get into place). He said the judge will not consider letting difficult child out with just this time served and nothing else in place or required so I needed to decide what I wanted for my son.

    Well, that's what I was trying to lead into but he had to go. He told me to call him next week and we'd discuss it further. I think he's concentrating on just how to get difficult child out of incarceration and whether or not I feel so unsafe that he needs to get dss involved. I'm not worried about that- I understand this is his job as difficult child's defense attny and I could explain this better to dss because I think they would understand better- I'm not living in fear of my son causing me bodily harm on a daily basis.

    I, on the other hand, want to get back to discussing what is in difficult child's best interest with him. I hope this conversation helped def attny to understand where I'm coming from a little better.

    Can I come up with other ideas or options? Sure- a few of them- but now I can't afford them or don't have them available because I've been doing things their way for so long that it has cost me about everything. And of course, they have NOTHING available.

    It's a real shame that this couldn't be dealt with while difficult child was in Department of Juvenile Justice but they don't get into that much besides behavior mod and difficult child stopped self-harming and was not aggressive there. The only thing I can figure is that it was because they weren't dealing with the more sensitive issues and he was in a secure, structured environment. Even if a judge wanted difficult child to go back and try again to deal with these things while difficult child is in Department of Juvenile Justice, that wouldn't work because they can't hold him in Department of Juvenile Justice that long for something like this and by the time he got thru the processing stage, his time would be almost up.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2010
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    UPDATE: PO called this afternoon- maybe def attny recommended it or something. Anyway, PO has surprised me again- he really is working with me more like I'm part of the team than a part of the case. I was able to explain in greater detail to him so he understood that I wasn't saying we can't go to therapy and difficult child can't come home because I'm afraid he's going to kill me on a daily basis. But, I did explain my concerns and we have found solutions for them, I think. He said if therapy started getting too deep too fast and gfgg started cutting agin or coming home explosive or too emotional to deal with, we could back it off. We went thru each concern I had and came to a mutual agreement. He said when he saw difficult child on Friday that difficult child had come down to earth and had a different demeanor so he thinks reality is setting in and the judge will probably go along witth this plan. We all are in agreement though that if difficult child comes home this time and appears to not even be trying, that he gets violated and put back in immediately and the judge will order recommittal to Department of Juvenile Justice. That still would be just for parole violations though (assuming difficult child didn't commit a crime and get arrested), so the Department of Juvenile Justice stay would still be 3-6 months. This sounds reasonable to me. And PO, def attny, and I are all happy with this current plan after PO and I talking today. Well, as happy as I can be with no more being available.

    So I guess my fears the past couple of days have stemmed more from the way the probation officer and GAL handled things in the past and where that lead difficult child and me and the stress we were living with at home due to it all.

    If we'd had this PO the two years before difficult child was committed, I have a feeling it might never have gotten to that point- or if it had, difficult child would have gone to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) instead of Department of Juvenile Justice. Sigh. At least I can be grateful that difficult child has this PO now and not another one like the probation officer.
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I always thought he was. Of course there will be times when you feel betrayed and let down - it can be something so simple as him being unavailable for a while, or him being distracted at the time you call and him seeming to not care. But it has sounded to me in your previous posts, that you have felt things were finally beginning to fall into place properly.

    I did suggest writing things down - it would also help you to be able to keep your calls as brief and to the point as possible. I have been an activist and have friends who try the same things but they make the mistake of needing to talk for far too long, and so the people they try to talk to will keep ducking out of answering or returning their calls.

    Yes, it's a complicated case. But you need to be able to express the bare bones of it very simply.

    I've mentioned here that I am a writer. One of the best bits of advice I was given about writing effectively, was to look back over what I've written and then summarise it into once sentence. Then go back over my work and delete anything that doesn't need to be there.

    It can be done. And for you, the most important thing is to get your concerns HEARD and heard ACCURATELY. Otherwise you could talk to them for half an hour and they'll have zoned out after the first five minutes and you get totally ignored or misunderstood. Your energies wasted (because it Is exhausting for you) and everybody's time, and difficult children' freedom, also gone.

    So write it down. There mere act of writing it down locks it firmly into your mind in a more ordered sequence. This helps you get your point across in five minutes.

    And finally - whenever an official, ANY official says to you, "I havne't got time to talk to you right now," then you have two options. Do both.

    1) Reply with, "When Do you have time?" and make a time to call back. AND

    2) Put it in a letter (try to keep to one page - these people don't have time to turn the paper over) and send it off. Email is good. If you want to annoy someone and they're not in a position to do you harm, send a ten page fax. It clogs their system and uses their paper.

    You've been badly burned in the past, and tis goes back way before these problems with your son. So it's understandable that you will at times feel vulnerable and not heard. Learn from this. Whenever you feel like this again, Dig deep into your own psyche and try to identify why. Then act in that knowledge.

  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks, Marg! Yes- I need to work on those areas and have been working on it, but still haven't perfected it. It has been a useful process though- between the stuff the GAL stirred up indirectly and the stuff difficult child did, I have no doubt a large part of MY personal problems the past year or so have been fighting the return of PTSD residue. I have been trying to stop and go thru healthy articles and so forth to get my head reeled back in to being rational and more objective and trusting again, like I had been. Sometimes I post about stuff I rund across and even though in this situation, I didn't need to use all the tactics I was considering because PO and I were able to work something out, it was still good for me to review the tactics and reminders. I feel like I'm getting my head back on track and it is helping a lot to have a PO who sseems to get it instead of one who doesn't believe anything I say or believe in mental health treatment, is overly ...well.....it seems we have a much better team in place now so I can handle things a little better and am trying to learn to trust again.

    I understand what you're saying about the def attny and phone calls- I think this will; be ok though. He said he had another court case in 15 mins and that's why he couldn't get into too much right then and told me to call him next week. I'll just leave a message for him Mon. telling him that PO and I talked and we're on the same page, so no need to call me back unless he has something else he needs to discuss or the plan changes.

    The thing about the anxiety though- I don't think people over there understood before why I seemed to woried and nervous about certain things- the previous PO assumed I was hiding something and was just incompetent. The GAL thought I was just a nut, apparently. I think it was important to let them know that it was this kind of stuff contributing to it- but not because I am refusing or paranoid, but because this is what contributes to difficult child's problems, our problems at home, and ultimately crisis to the point of him needing incarceration or a psychiatric hospital so that is why every time we start being ordered to go down that road, I become more anxiety-ridden. Yes, I know that means I still have some issues- but neither difficult child's or mine can get solved until/unless some of these people realize how they are contributing instead of helping. Of course, some people care more about helping than others. I am so thankful that this PO does seem to have a reasonable level of concern and makes appropriate effort to help.

    For instance, one of my issues about the mental health dept was the quack that saaw difficult child there a few years ago- who difficult child hated- and the guy was a complete waste and misled us both. Then, the mental health dept had told me over a year later that if difficult child ever came back there for therapy, he had to see that same therapist. PO is going to talk to a different therapist over there and asked them to make sure difficult child is allowed to see someone different. If difficult child starts cutting agin or if I call PO and say it's getting to emotional in therapy and write now difficult child has testing at school and I have a deadline at work or whatever, he's fine with us backing off or taking a break for a while. TG! The probation officer would have said "I don't care, that's your problem, I ordered you to do this and if you don't do it you and difficult child both will be taken to court".
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I hear you on the PTSD stuff. In my case it wasn't related to violence on my person, but I still had to watch how I handled myself in front of other people. My in-laws, for example, would never be happy with the knowledge I was seeing any kind of therapist over it and would have made my life a living hell if they knew there was any such problem, so I had to hide all my symptoms completely when they were around. Even flashbacks - the first one happened while they were in the room and I still knew to hide it. I had my back to them and just froze for a minute while I did some deep breathing and reminded myself that I was safe and at home. I identified the triggers and as soon as I could, I smiled and handed my task over to husband and took a few minutes out of the room to compose myself.

    I knew there would be things triggering my symptoms (and there were!) over the next few years, and I just had to keep it under control. I did have a panic attack in the dentists' chair a few years later when I thought I was over it and had relaxed my guard - luckily the dentist was sympathetic. And luckily it wasn't someone like a GAL or PO.

    Seriously - you need to work on self-control, but explain to them from the beginning - "I have been stressed and hurt, sometimes I find myself having to deal with the beginning of a panic attack - none of this would be happening if it wasn't for the problems the original attack caused. I am dealing with this, I am getting help. But it takes time and understanding. Please don't let it bother you, we will continue to work as a team."

    You just do the best you can. Not much else you can do!

  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thankfully, with the GAL no longer being used by this court I was able tell PO and def attny more freely that due to all difficult child was doing at home and the blame I was getting and the way things were handled, I have a lot of excess baggage toward the people over there but I made it clear to PO that it was nothing against him because obviously, he wasn't even involved then. I think that has made it easier for him to realize that sometimes I just need a little reassurance from him that he isn't handling things that way. And I think hee does see that I am a fit parent who really is trying to do what is in difficult child's best interest long-term. That has made it easier for me to tell him more specifics about how things are going at home so he is better infromed than the probation officer was- buut she didn't "get it" anyway and seemed to just use any information against us. This PO has told me a few times that difficult child's trouble is not my fault - that he thinks I've handled things appropriately. So, little by little, the coommuinication gets better and I think that is allowing each of us to work with difficult child better. Now, if we can just get and keep difficult child on board!!