What Do You Make of This?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by WSM, Mar 20, 2009.

  1. WSM

    WSM New Member

    Is he playing and putting on a show, or dealing with great anxiety?

    I've discussed our unhappiness with difficult child's military day school: one of the big problems is the unreliability of transportation. It seems to come anytime within a 5 hour time frame and sometimes doesn't come at all, and there is no communication with the families--so on many occasions the kids (and families) are just left hanging there, waiting for a bus that never comes (once they cancelled school and told no one).

    I wrote last Friday how the driver did not come. difficult child thought he'd have to stay home and hid behind a truck so I (who leaves the house earlier, in theory just after he's supposed to be picked up) wouldn't know he was still here.

    husband found him an hour after I left and difficult child told him he WANTED to go to school but the driver just didn't come. husband is having lay offs at work (he's management) and HAD to go to work and could not take the time off to drive difficult child to school 45 minutes away. So he called me, I came home, difficult child ran away and hid in the shed for 13 hours.

    The school has two campuses about 20 miles apart. One is the boot camp campus. Kids go here at least 3 months and when they prove they can behave, the graduate to the academic (ha!) campus. difficult child was graduated even though he never did his homework, threw away his shoes and ripped or threw away his uniforms, and lost all his books and agendas over and over. We think they needed room for a new crop of kids and just pushed him to the academic campus.

    Last Friday the driver said he came a half hours early, knocked on the door, rang the door bell (he didn'), and left--and that was why he didn't get difficult child. difficult child didn't read his mind he was coming early. The school said difficult child wasn't picked up because they closed the academic campus and all the students were supposed to go to the boot camp campus. Apparently there hasn't been water or toilet facilities at the academic campus for two weeks!

    So last Wednesday the school told us all classes would take place at the boot camp campus because of the water problem. Fine so the driver's been picking up difficult child and taking him there.

    When husband told difficult child that husband couldn't drive him to the boot camp campus last friday because of the lay offs, difficult child started crying: he really, really, really wanted to go to school.

    Today the driver didn't show up again. difficult child went out to wait for him at 5:20 am and husband took him to work with him at 7:45 am. husband's plan was to go to work, give people instructions for the morning, then take difficult child to the boot camp campus. Ten minutes after they left, the driver shows up and talks to my other son. Excuses, excuses.

    So anyway, husband is driving difficult child to the boot camp campus and difficult child starts crying. He doesn't want to go. As they get closer to the school, his crying gets more frantic. Why? Because he doesn't have his uniform and will get into trouble; he will be in 'exclusion' (which means a day of pt and chores and a bologna sandwich for lunch). husband reminds him he had six uniforms and shredded them and threw them away and hid them under the car and in the bushes and this is his own fault and a consequence of bad decisions. But later husband tells me he feels real bad: difficult child was a mass of panic and anxiety and really bawling.

    So last week difficult child was crying because he couldn't go to school and this week he's crying because he is going to school. He hasn't had a uniform since before Xmas and it hasn't mattered at all. So why suddenly now? He's been going to the boot camp campus for several days now and never cried before, so why today?

    When he got home today I asked difficult child if he cried in the shuttle van yesterday and the day before on the way to school. I pointed out that last week he cried because he didn't get to go, but today he cried because he did go.

    difficult child's explanation was a long ramblind bunch of nonsense about different circumstances making things different. I said, "Is the different circumstance that you were alone with your dad in the car and thought you might be able to make him feel sorry for you?"

    He just looked at me steadily and didn't answer.

    husband said he suspected he was being manipulated this morning and didn't show any sympathy, but he said in his heart and gut he felt sick with the awareness that difficult child is mentally ill. He thought he was riddled with anxiety and frantic.

    I had the observation that I thought difficult child was crying more now than he's ever cried before--but ONLY when he's alone with husband. husband kind of agreed but wasn't sure.

    What do you think? Manipulation or mental illness?
  2. WSM

    WSM New Member

    I'm sorry my posts are always so long; I used to be a court reporter and type very fast.
  3. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I don't know enough about your difficult child. But I know my K who has BiPolar (BP), is honestly too Mentally Ill to do this. (the manipulation that well)
    I also know her well enough to know if she was capable of being pushed a little bit.
    When she is anxious, some days I can push her gently and help her through her anxiety. But when she is becoming unstable and I push her it will push her over the edge.
    It also depends on if she slept well, how her medications are, did she eat well, did anything weird happen that morning?
    Anything happen the day before in School.
    I, as a parent of a Mentally Ill child have to watch and try to know all of these things.
    I have to remember that my kid is sick. Especially when she is not stable.
    It doesn't sound like your difficult child is very stable right now?
    It is so hard and there is so much to do and deal with...
    It sounds like this guy needs so much right now. Something more.

    ***Your post are OK this is a place to get it out!!! Feel free to let it out!!! It is good for you! :)
  4. WSM

    WSM New Member

    We are going to do another round of evaluations and docs this spring and early summer. Most of the time he seems very stable; right now he's cleaning the pool and throwing the dog the ball. T

    his stuff just seems to come out of nowhere and then suddenly disappear. When he's at his most stable and agreeable--that's when the lap tops get thrown in the pool, the mattress is cut, the GPS ends up in the washer.

    Teachers almost always think he's emotionally disturbed because he has rotten parents who don't pay enough attention to him. Police, courts, probation officers, his drill sargeant (altho not the other school staff), and the last CPS lady we dealt with all think he's playing us. "If he can behave at school, he can behave at home".

    The therapists and docs are divided. The local five-day a week residential therapy school thought he was too personality disordered to be helped.

    Three pediatric psychiatrists refused to rx'd anxiety drugs or anything else. They said he didn't need it.

    We just don't know what's going on or what to do. I think we are being played, but why? What's behind the need to manipulate? Mental illness (sometimes I think he's schizophrenic and trying with all his might to control it) or personality disorder (just wants to subjugate everyone around him--which he has a lot of success with).

    We just don't know.
  5. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I would think you need someone who really knows his stuff in regards to Personality Disorders. Because then even if it isn't, they are at least up to date on all of the Mental Illnesses and what could be going on. It sounds like something that no-one can get a grasp on, and to blame you guys is just BS!
    You guys need help! Not to be blamed.
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am so sorry you have to deal with all of this. I have no idea what it is, but it seems very manipulative. You may never know what is behind the manipulation. Or someday you may find out a little of the reason - and it may be totally understandable or totally incomprehensible to everyone but him.

    I hope and pray that fresh eyes on this can figure out what is going on. I think if he is ONLY crying for husband then it is pure manipulation. He knows you probably won't buy it so he doesn't do it around you.

    I would NOT get a new uniform. Just in my opinion but the "desire" for a uniform must be strong enough that he EARNS the $$ for the uniform with HARD work for YOU AND husband, not just for husband. Otherwise it will be yet another uniform he trashes. If it is something HE has to spend HIS $$ on then it MIGHT not be trashed.

    No matter his reasons, Do To Get might be something you and husband can be united on that will apply to difficult child.

    As for the "long" posts - please keep them up. I like having enough info to base an opinion on. You are good at giving a snapshot of events that is very coherent and lets us see the different viewpoints of difficult child's behavior.

    I do long posts too, so you are not bothering me with the long posts.
  7. MyHrt31

    MyHrt31 New Member

    Tough call but I'd say go with your gut. Of course, I am in a similar situation with my son where I can't figure out if he is trying to manipulate me or if he truly is having anxieties. I don't know a whole lot about your difficult child but is the throwing away of the shoes and uniforms something that can be considered in the autism umbrella? Someone may have asked you this in the past and I know your signature says he's not in the spectrum but something about his behaviors just make me think that the next evaluations may show something different. I'm no doctor, and I have no right to make any diagnosis but the behaviors strike me as Aspie. I apologize if I am overstepping my boundaries in making this suggestion. I like Suzie's suggestion about paying for the uniform. I also agree about the long post, lol. I am the same way but its because I like to include all the details which can be important in pinpointing things that we as parents may not be seeing. Good luck with your difficult child! I will keep you in my prayers :)
  8. WSM

    WSM New Member

    husband and I go to counselling re how to parent difficult child. Altho she has not made a diagnosis with him, because he's not her patient, we are, and she hasn't spent the time with him. However, her purpose is to help us deal with him as a team. She's suggested having his blood tested for vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and when I said I was looking for a neuropsychiatrist she was very enthusiastic about it.

    Tonight she was listening to the latest installment, and asked two questions that I think are significant: "does he ever feel sorry for what he does? Does he have a conscience?" and "does he have empathy for others?"

    husband said 'very seldom' to both questions. To me those are the 'sociopath' questions. We also briefly touched on whether he could help it or not. husband goes through cycles when he feels very guilty about difficult child and starts pitying and excusing him and gets very protective of difficult child who can suddenly do no wrong, even if he does wrong (husband was raised by his neurotic mother to be codependent). Right now husband is in that stage.

    husband said he didn't think difficult child could help much. I said I think he can control most of it. And I pointed out that his drill sergeant, probation officer, and the last CPS officer thought so too, all saying if he could control himself at school, he could control himself at home.

    I might just be guessing, but I think she's sort of zeroing in on the personality disorder theory. There's no doubt a mix of the two and no separating the one from the other, and her job is to make us an effective united front whatever the problem is, but, even tho she suggested checking for vitamin deficiencies, I think she might be thinking personality disorder. She said several times, almost in amazement: he's so manipulative.

    I don't think husband gets the significance behind those two questions; we often hear them--and then a little bit later the professional/doctor/program says, "I don't think we can help, good luck with him."

    My gut says he's 90% manipulation--but husband's gut says he's about 50/50.
  9. WSM

    WSM New Member

    We've come to the conclusion that it was all a lie and a manipulation. husband thought maybe difficult child was honestly panicked at the thought that he was going to school because he left his backpack and uniform and books in the driver's van and was going to go to school without them and would be in trouble with drill sergeant and on exclusion. So he went into frantic panicked crying that made my husband believe it was real.

    But 'what's wrong with this picture' alarms went off in my head when he told me. After some consideration I thought, evidence leads to lying: he can't have a bookbag in the driver's van. The driver comes with a green van on some days' and a red and silver van on others and occasionally a van with a doubt cab. Sometimes the driver is a man,and sometimes the driver is his wife. And what good would it be to keep a bag with books and a uniform in the driver's van? I pick him up after school, he doesn't see the van in the evening to put his books and uniform back into the bookbag for the next day.

    Not to mention, if I pick him up early or unexpectedly, he's not in a uniform. And when I picked him up early I asked, "Do you have everything?" and asked his teacher, "Does he have a bookbag or books or anything he needs to take home?" She said no.

    husband said at one point he looked over at difficult child and knew he was lying. But the emotion can be so compelling.

    In counselling husband defended difficult child, he was 'afraid' of drill sergeant. He also told the counselor, difficult child ran out of the house because he's afraid of me. 'He's afraid of you, he's afraid of you.'

    Every victim needs a bad guy. At home I'm the bad guy. At military school drill sergeant is a bad guy. Out in the neighborhood and at his public school, he makes husband out to be the bad guy (he tried me for a while, but overshot his play and lost credibility so went back to portraying his father as the bad guy).

    The public school believes him so thoroughly that a year after he left the school they call the police on us reporting us for child abuse because they thought we might be putting his sister in to military school too because she had a messy desk, looks worried when the teacher yells at her for talking, and wrote an apology letter. He's so good that a year later they have forgotten that he was arrested three times on school property etc... They said we had no trouble with him and you put him in military school. That's how good he is at projecting fear and how convincing he can be with his lies.

    I remember the first time I was aware of how powerful a liar he was. He told my husband I was stealing his homework. husband: "How do you know?" difficult child: "I saw her do it while I was cleaning the pool." And he launched into a long detailed description.

    When I heard it, the 'what's wrong with this picture' alarms went off. I realized that from no place in the backyard or by the pool could you see th dining room when difficult child does his homework. I took difficult child and husband out to the pool and asked difficult child to describe how he could see me steal his homework when he'd have to see through walls for his story to be true.

    difficult child got this, "I'm caught' look on his face, just a flash and then insisted he did see it, and tears welled out of his eyes. I said: "Can you see through walls." He agreed he couldn't, but..."I did see it, I did, I did, I did, did, did..." He was sobbing heartwrenching sobs. I'd say, but can you see thru walls, and every time he'd admit he couldn't. But...and this is the kicker...even though I was standing there and KNEW the story was impossible, and even though I KNEW I'd never stolen his homework, I felt doubt. I believed him.

    I was shaking afterwards. I kept trying to try to make sense of what I KNEW was a lie. Maybe he saw something that he interpreted me stealing his homework? But...there was that initial flash of "uh-oh I'm caught." (not to mention all the hundreds of other times his homework disappeared and I was no where around).

    It didn't help that when it was all over my husband snapped at me: "Thanks, I didn't need a nice Sunday morning ruined like this." (Yeah, by me defending myself from lies, how dare I stand up for myself from the professional victim--which is why we are in counselling on how to parent him).

    He was in fourth grade, about 9 and a half when he did this. And he was soooooo good.

    A year later, he accused me of something else, and I said: "Is this like when you looked thru walls and saw me steal your homework?"

    He looked at me coolly, imperturbably for a moment, shrugged his shoulders and said, "I dreamed that. This one is real."

    I had such a chill.

    Anyways, husband and I both have come to the conclusion that his meltdown in the car was bogus. But I think husband is still baffled because difficult child was so frantic and anxious the closer we got to the school.
  10. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I don't know if I'll be able to explain myself well enough, but if your difficult child is continually involved in situations that make you ask, "What's wrong with this picture?" I think your difficult child has serious distorted thinking and needs serious help. You need to find the very best child psychiatrist in your area -- or travel if you need to -- to figure out what's going on. I'm afraid you're not going to get anywhere with therapists who are working with your parenting. It's not a parenting issue. You need to get at the underlying disorder that's fueling your difficult child's behavior.
  11. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hi WSM--

    Just my layman's opinion....but this seems like mental illness to me.

    Schizophrenics (not saying he is one) often do not realize that they are hallucinating....and so they don't know that they are lying because it is NOT a lie to them....even though what they think is the truth will change 180 degrees from day to day. It's impossible to deal with. There is absolutely no logic which can be applied. There is no continuity which can be followed.

  12. WSM

    WSM New Member

    There are two neuropsychiatrists in a fifty mile radius of us. difficult child will be seeing on this summer. Early summer.

    I believe difficult child is 80% antisocial personality disordered, but mixed into that 80% is the attachment disorder. I think he's 20% mentally ill, something on the schizophrenia spectrum. It's immature schizophrenia, or subtle, but I think it's there.

    husband thinks it's more 50/50, and the mental illness is fueling the behavioral stuff.

    Maybe he's right. We don't know.
  13. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    If my difficult child 1 wanted to convince you that black was white she could do it. You would know 100% that she was lying about something yet she could still cause you to doubt yourself because she was so heartfelt in her insistence that she was not lying. In our case it was manipulation and now that she is grown up and out on her own and we do not support her it really doesn't matter if she is lying or not. In your case it is hard to tell--others have given you good advice and things to consider. So sorry!