15 year old who is Passive Aggressive Antisocial traits and Conduct Disorder


Running on empty
For three years my husband and I have been trying to get help for our son; he has been diagnosed passive aggressive, with antisocial trait (because of his age), and conduct disorder.
He is unable to show empathy or sympathy. He has no emotions what so ever. :( He has been seeing a family therapist for three years and a Psychiatrist for two.
He is cruel to animals, no remorse for anything, has never said, I'm sorry for anything," controlling and very manipulative, and worst of all urinates at our bedroom door at night; if something doesn't go the way he wants.
He makes A's and B's in school and as a matter of fact he is in accelerated classes.
Today has been one of the hardest for me (mom). Just dealing with ALL the issues. All mothers and dads want their children to love them and have a form of respect; but when your child just looks at you like a deer caught in the headlights or dead eyes. It's very heart breaking.


Well-Known Member
Hi. I'm so sorry for you hurt. You do have your hands full, but either he was born this way or he had very chaotic early days. Was he adopted? Did he go through a very contentious divorce where he was tossed from one caregiver to another or was a caregiver not loving toward him? Any abuse? I asked because hurting animals is a very serious red flag.Does he like fire and/or pee and poop in inappropriate places? Does he use drugs? Was he always this way or is this new behavior?

At least he's smart. That is a blessing and a curse with children who have antisocial tendencies. They can really "play" us and we have to watch ourselves.

Can you share a bit more with us? Is he an only child? If his father his natural father? Did he have a normal childhood? Was he different even as an infant?

Do you feel he is a danger to you or any other children you have? If you have pets, as an animal lover, I hope you rehome your pets.

Whatever is going on, don't blame yourself. You are doing what you can and you have until he is eighteen. However, if he is violent and dangerous or crimianl, I'd consider looking for residential treatment. You can't put yourselves at risk nor any children or animals in your house, even though you love your son and hope he changes. Residential is constant therapy.

Hugs for your poor hurting mommy heart and so glad you found us (but sorry you had to).


Well-Known Member
Ok, I just saw that he urinates on top of cruelty to aniamls.

There are three main red flags for budding psychopathology in children: bedwetting inappropriately, intereset in fire or setting fires, and cruelty to anaimls. I am guessing his first few years were not good or that he is adopted and had no loving, consistent caregiver. If so, he coudl have attachment disorder, which is almost the same as antisocial personality disorder only the chld gets it because nobody loved consistently at a time when he desperately needed it...and he is afraid of love and has not learned to care for anybody esle. We lived with a child like that and he had to leave. We adopted him at an older age and it was too late for him.

Has your son ever acted out sexually?

Sorry to ask such intrusive questions. You don't need to answer, of course, but your son does have very serious problems. However, there is no way your parenting caused them. The answer lies either in genetics (maybe his biol dad is not your huusband and is a bad man?) or because of infancy to toddlerhood neglect and/or constantly changing caregivers. His brain is definitely wired differently and I am glad you are giving him your all. We found out our adopted chld was sexually abusing our two youngested adopted children and that was the line in the sand...he had to leave and we have not seen him since.

Hugs again. And more hugs. It is so hard to deal with this sort of child.


Running on empty
You ask for more information, that's a real hard one, where to start...Well start at the beginning I suppose.
He is our biological grandson; since age of 6 weeks he has lived with us. We adopted him at age 5.
Reasons for having him: His biological father was abusing him. He would throw him up in the air, throw him on couch or bed from about 6 to 8 feet away and tap him on the soft spot in his head. You'll ask where was the mother in all this, in her own world. She was 12 years older than the dad, already had 5 other children (taking away by their dad) and just really wasn't to stable. You see her mother is schizophrenic and when she was in the womb the doctors gave her mother electro shock. Sick isn't it? My 15 year old son, his biological father left town. Three years later killed his infant son in a different state with a different woman; went to prison for 7 years. The biological mother vanished. My oldest daughter has been diagnosed Manic Bio-Polar 2. ( I have 2 grown children and my now 15 year old.) My ex-husband was Bio-Polar as well as his mother.
Do I believe this is genetics? YES!!!
He began being cruel to animals at age 5. I caught him holding our small dog in an ant bed; he wasn't going to let go until I caught him. My son is fascinated with blood and fire. Does he start fires, no, but he watches fire as though it is a drug for him. Life circumstances have no effect. He cannot make decisions. Example: Go into the grocery store, tell him to get what he wants, what does he get? Nothing. Ask him to find camps to go to for the summer, nothing. Find a hobby, nothing. Oh, and please, punishment, that is one big joke. He says, "It doesn't bother him." I believe that is the anti-social trait. Or he really just doesn't care.
To hear my son talk, is as if you are talking to his dad or me. He mimics. We talk with him about how he is acting and the things he is doing and his words are the words either his dad or I have said before. Most everything is, "I DON'T KNOW, or I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE ASKING." Every morning it is: morning, how'd you sleep. Before school it is, bye, what are you doing today? After school, how was your day, what did you do? It's so robotic. He is very sneaky, he moves like a mouse. Nosey, he goes through cabinets, and outside sheds. What's he looking for? Who knows. He has been ask and his responses by saying, "Nothing, just looking."
He uses no drugs. Thank God!!! I do room and back pack checks at least once a week. No, he doesn't know I do these things. Yes, we have rehomed the pets. :(
You ask am I afraid of my own child, I will have to answer, YES. I carry a taser in my purse with me at all times. :cry: When my husband leaves to go to work, he locks our bedroom door. I do not like being alone with him.
About a month ago, we had to carry him to acute care. This place only assessed him for a week. If you think of test scores you will be able to understand their evaluation upon entering and leaving. My son was given a 30 upon entering and a 40 upon leaving. They ask, "Do you know your son knows how to fly under he radar?" That was the biggest joke I'd heard in a long time. My question to them was, "why isn't he being placed in long term treatment?" Response, "He's calm now." I ask for more information on where to go to for more help for my child. Again, response, "Go back to his therapist." I ask them for advice when we have these issues. Again, response, "Look for more help in other places." REALLY!!!
Our son told us, "that it was ok that he hurt the animal, that he want get into any trouble." This is what one of the kid told him in acute care. Said, "His brother hurts animals and they did nothing to him." Each morning they would ask the children how they were feeling. LOL. My son has no emotions; he would over hear what had been said from another child and use it. Emotions for my son is looking at you with a blank look on his face. You know, the duh look. His family therapist said, "emotionally he is on about an 8 year old level, but with a very high IQ." For about 2 years we had charts in the house with all the emotions and pictures to go with them. We would ask him what he was feeling at the time and he would say, "I don't know", and couldn't or wouldn't show us on the chart. He sad, "he didn't know what they meant."
I'm just a mom who wants the best for her son and don't know how to get it for him. Some days are better than others. Yesterday was horrible. Nothing really happened. It was just one of those days I allow myself to think. One of those days where I wished my son could really show me he loved me. :sad: My husband and I have felt so alone going through this process. There is very little family and they don't call or come by any longer. Friends just think my son is weird. :(

I do believe child labor was/is easier than this. This is one of the hardest things I've every had to go through or deal with in my life.


Well-Known Member
Welcome, Katherine61.
Wow. You are way out of your league.
Definitely, genetics, but on top of it, he was abused. What a sad, sad story.
The parroting sounds like autism.
The fire setting, urinating and animal torture sounds like sociopathy.
It's possible he has both.
However, early signs of schizophrenia often present just like you describe--the vacant stare, the inability to connect with other people. In fact, he sounds a bit like John Nash, the famous mathematician who won a Nobel. (The movie, A Beautiful Mind was about him, as well.)
You've got to find some way to give him consequences. Some way to create a give-to-get situation. "If you pick up all of your socks from your bedroom and put them in the washing machine and put in a 1/2 cup of soap, and turn on the washer, you can play video games for 1/2 hr." That kind of thing. Otherwise, no video games.
Since he apparently doesn't care if he hurts anyone, including you, you have to make a consequence for hurting you. If he hits you in the arm, you tell him "No video games for the rest of the day. You hit me in the arm."
When he says he doesn't understand what you are telling him, maybe he doesn't. He's got a zillion things going on inside his head and he needs to sort them out. You have to be detailed and very hands-on when you explain things to him.
How is he getting such good grades? HOW do the teachers teach him. WHY is it working? Is he on grade level? Above grade level? One-on-one? A whole room?
Talking? Reading? Figure out their technique and use it at home.

And don't both expecting him to say "I love you" and really mean it, the same way you do. Just take it one day at a time and completely lower your expectations.

Also, since he's already in therapy, I would do practice conversation sessions where he learns social skills and give-and-take conversations. It can be taught by rote.

I wonder where he will live when he's 18-21? Have you started looking for special homes for him?


Well-Known Member
P.S. I have never, ever, ever heard of anyone getting electroshock during pregnancy. I would be getting that paperwork and finding out the name of that hospital so fast! But it's his mother so there's nothing you can do about it now.


Running on empty
Hi Terry, thanks for your comments.
I will agree with you when you say there maybe some form of autism. When we first started taking him to the doctors/therapist, the first thing they tested him for was Asperger. On the scale he registered very high...the highest the numbers go to on the spectrum for Asperger's is 109, he scored 110. So, they labeled him, high functioning Asperger. Not all, but some of these children develop into the Anti-Social - Conduct Disorder. I believe the reason the doctor changed the diagnosis to, Passive Aggressive, Anti-Social traits, and Conduct Disorder is due to the cruelty to animal, control and manipulation. He knows exactly how to push buttons. Truthfully what teenager doesn't.
His grades in school are great...A's and B's. He has a very high IQ. But there is no common sense. I've spoken to his teachers every since he was in first grade. Due to his anti-socialness; asking them to please call on him, ask him questions, have him move to the front of the class, instead of the back. The response I have gotten for 9 years, "we want all our children to act like R; he is so well behaved and doesn't bother anyone." My response finally got to, "Hell no you don't!" I've even gone to the superintendent of the school. The response is the same, "as long as he is doing his work and not causing trouble there is nothing we can do." The schools are in a since raisin our children. The school system has a large impact on our children; they have them for 7 hours a day, five days a week, nine months out of the year.
All his facial responses are the same, a smile.
Doctors and therapist say, "he needs treatment. Okay tell me where and how to get it for him." We live in a very small town and a very slow state. In this area there is nothing.
Just knowing my ex-daughter-in-law went through electric shock while in the womb is horrifying to me. She too at time would give you those deer caught in the head light looks. :(
My husband and I both have said, "we don't believe he will ever leave the home." Reasons: He has to be told what to do and when to do it, nothing motivates him, not able to make a decision on his own. He cannot handle change very well. He has to be given a time when we leave to go the store, a count down. The is no spontaneity in our home.
That is what is so hard...I really want my son to say I love you and mean it, every mom wants that. It is so hard at times to know, he doesn't have this emotions, that he is only existing.


Well-Known Member
Yah, I figured his early years involved some sort of abuse early on. I think it is far beyond Aspergers. I think it is more a Conduct Disorder thing. Aspies don't hurt animals or deliberately harm other people. Some can appear to have no facial emotions, but inside they do have emotions. In spite of not showing empathy at times (my autism son DOES), they do feel for others inside. They are not cold-hearted. Kids with conduct disorder have rage inside and tend to only be nice when they want something and then it is phoney. My autistic son is way different than the child we had who was Conduct Disordered!!! They have RAGE. The smile isn't a real smile. It's just an expression he does. Aspies don't try to kill animals or enjoy watching fires or, unless very cognitively delayed, wet their pants.

I don't know what is up whtih his biological father, but this child carries 50% or his DNA and he sounds cruel so you have to be mindful of genetics. How painful and sad that he killed his infant...but that DNA is a part of your grandson. Also, the mother... Schizphrenia is highly hereditary as well. Your grandson may never say he loves you. He may. It is variable. He is wired differently due to his early challenges. I wonder if, beyond the ECT, Mom used drugs or drank too during pregnancy...so sad. Honestly, poor kid got his share of bad DNA. So did my son, but it turned out bad; not as bad as THAT though. I wish there were good words to make it better...

Grandson may well have Aspergers on top of the other things, but if you have to be so afraid of him that you have a taser gun..that is not consistent with simple Aspergers. I am guessing that he will not live with you forever. He will likely do something you can't tolerate and get into the system. There are supports for adult disabled children, good grades or not. You need to make sure your door is locked at night. It is a difficult situation. I lived with an antisocial/conduct disordered/reactive attachment disordered child for three years and he was great at fooling adults. Nobody knew thaere was anything wrong with him. No adults, that is. He was sexually aggressive and abusive to our two younger kids. I wish I'd known earlier, but they were too afraid of his threats to tell us. As soon as we knew, he was gone.

I wish you luck. This is not easy. I will attach an article about Conduct Disorde and also Aspergersr. SEe if it rings a bell. Not that it's much help, other than to make you very cautious, which you should be. There is no real treatment for Conduct Disorder.

So sorry you had to come here. Hugs and hand holding and lots of support from one who walked this scary and heartbreaking walk. With his genetics, it is unlikely to turn out bo be simple or just one thing. He could develop many things. I'm so sorry. You must be beside yourself. Hugs to you.

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Running on empty
To wrap my son up, if you were to meet him, you would never know there was anything going on. He is the perfect child, if you don't know him or live with him. The reasons I'm afraid of my son is when he was caught hurting one of the animals, he bowed up me, at 15, he is 6 foot 5 inches, and still growing. I'm 5 foot 5 inches. He has had some martial arts training and boxing. That lasted long enough for him to find out the other people in the class hit back.
His biological father is a first class jerk!!! I'm very mindful of the genetics, not only does this child have it from one side it has it from both.
Thus far he has not come in to sexual maturity, yet. But when he does I know things will change. As I said before, his mental state is at around 8-10.
I am going to the article now.
Thank you for the support


Well-Known Member
OH, I forgot about the taser! Thank you for the reminder, MWM.

Sigh. This is a tough case.

Do you need locks on the fridge or on door besides your own? Who else lives in the house?
I understand what you mean by others thinking he is perfect.
Katherine61, I don't understand what "he bowed up to me" means, in regard to when you caught him hurting the animals. Could you explain?
And I agree with-MWM, he will not live with you forever.


Running on empty
Terry you're great...In one day I have gotten more off my chest than I have in 6 months. It's as though I'm breathing for myself at this moment. Thank you!!!
Ok what I meant by bowed up at me, is when I caught him being cruel to the dog, he acted, as if though he was going to hit me. Fist clinched, body pushed forward like a cat ready to pounce.
There's 3 of us in our home, my husband, my son and myself. My husband has mentioned putting locks on the sheds.
You know you have a few days that are good, but when they go south they go south quick. We stay on guard at all times. We never know what a trigger could be that day or even that minute.
I know I haven't said much about my husband in all this, but he is awesome. To me, the mans a saint. We've been married 25 years. He works 12 hours a day, 5 days a week and sometimes 6 on Sunday, and once a month he has military drill. He is E7 in the Army National Guard. He's very supportive toward his family. But truthfully there are day when he just doesn't know what to say or do.


New Member
Katherine, I'm a grandma raising my granddaughter. She's 14 now and I've had her since she was 2 1/2. She too liked hurting animals. My heart goes out to you. I think hurting animals is such a incomprehensible behavior to those of us that love animals. I don't think that I will ever be able to comprehend how she could have done the things to animals that she did.

All I can say is I understand your concerns and fears and frustrations and glad you've found this place because talking about some of these behaviors and issues anywhere else is next to impossible.


Running on empty
Thank you Ginger. It has been a breather for me, that I found this forum with others who are going through the same thing. Some days you feel as though you're in this tiny tiny box and it is only you and your child. I've spoken with so many professionals who are suppose to know their jobs. Some days I may begin at 9 and not end until my son is getting off the school bus. Most of the time I hear we can help you, what insurance does your son have. Then there is a long pause, ma'am we do except that insurance. Most all facilities only want to deal with Medicare. This be withers me. Another road block. The facilities who do except our insurance, none would I even place a dog there. My sons therapist, whom I love dearly, exhausted all her co-workers and outreach's she knows about. I've even taken her a few for her other clients. There are days I feel if I have to put one more foot in front of me it's going to drop me.
In the 15 years my son has been with us, I too, never understood why he enjoyed hurting animals. He would always tell therapist /psychiatrist he was bored. REALLY NOW!!! That was the day I began watching him a little closer. Then about a month ago I found a suicide/runaway letter in his room. You talk about freaked out, I was in panic mood. Called my husband from work, he went and picked him up from school. Tried calling acute care facilities, got NO WHERE. My husband did most of the talking with our son at this time; till we got on the subject of him hurting animals. Something inside me exploded that day. I looked him dead up in his face and told him the reason he hurts animals is because he gets pleasure/a high from it. He responded by saying, "YES MA'AM." I thought I was going to be sick. How I came to this conclusion was when he got around any of the animals at the time, I would watch facial expressions, body language, anything that told me about him at that instant. What I found out from this was sickening to me...he was actually enjoying himself, he was getting some type of pleasure from being cruel. Then I began watching every move he made. He'd go outside, I was at the window checking to see what he was doing. That is entirely another story.


New Member
That sounds so like me. I watch M like a hawk too. If she's outside I'm at the window. It's insane. She told her psychologist hurting the animals made her feel better when she was mad. Its been a year now since the last time and I still can't wrap my head around what she did.

I did read on one of your posts that the police weren't very helpful to you. The policeman that happened to be there when I took her was the canine officer and he told her the next time she felt like hurting a dog he would be more than happy to bring his dog over and let her have a go at it but she might not like the results. Not that it helped any.

The dogs were my life and and how I made my living. Now not being able to do that any longer I have blown through my retirement, sold my rentals and am so far in debt I'll never see the light of day again. Long after she's grown and gone I'll be digging myself out of this hole. I have a little shop on Etsy that doesn't even cover groceries and probably am going to have to sell my home to get through the next 2 yrs till social security kicks in. How did I let this happen?


Running on empty
Ginger you didn't let it happen. It's my opinion, the system has let us done. I hope for people like us is there will be someone who reads our post and will be able to tell us where they found help/hope.
For the police, really, I've taken my son to the sheriff's department, ask them to file a report. Boy was that a joke, they just walked him through the jail; then told him not to do it anymore. REALLY!!! In a neighboring town ask an officer to please speak to my son about his cruelty to animals; another joke. The officer told me he couldn't do that because that would cause my son to become afraid of the police and they want the kids, these kids to know they are their friends. The only time the police are going to get involved is when these children do something deadly to another person. That's when they are going to want to point fingers at the parents/grandparents.
As for the money we have spent trying to get my son help is out of this world. My husband would have been able to retire by now. He is 55 works 12 a week and 6 on Sunday sometimes; he is also in the Army National Guard. He spent one year in Iraq. Will be able to retire from military next year, but is talking does he need to stay in because of the insurance and the money.
Sending you loving hugs...


Running on empty
Today has been a unique one. Because of all the support from all of you; my son and I sat down and had a talk. (One-side that's the norm.) I was able to express my feeling to him that have bothered me for quite sometime now. He informed me his phone needed more minutes. "Really Now" I was able to stay calm and explain to him that he had a few chores to finish before I would accommodate his request. Then came the blank look. I had to explain to him exactly what must be done. (Really, he's 15) He's 15 and his dad and I still have to tell him when it's bath time, when to brush his teeth, when he must just about do anything. Except when it's time to eat.

Our conversation went deeper. I expressed to him how hurt I am when he returns or complains about the things we give him. Computer, IPad, MP3 player, clothes, it just really doesn't matter what it is.(This has been going on for to many years to count) How the things I did for him made me feel unappreciated. After about 15 minutes I ask him, "what do you think about what I have said, response, "I feel bad." I ask, "bad about what?" I received no answer. Waited for about 5 minutes for the answer. Finally, I ask, "do you know what feeling bad mean, response, "No." The mother in me wants to think this is an honest answer; but I also question it because he is so good at manipulation and control.


Well-Known Member
Very interesting, Katherine. It's hard to say whether he is just feeding you what you want to hear.
If he is, then at least you know you can get him to follow your rules. For example, "If you want more minutes on your phone, you have to clean your room. That means all books and toys off the floor, and all dirty clothes in the laundry room." You have to be VERY specific. Some part of his brain is just not registering.

This sounds exactly like my son:
he acted, as if though he was going to hit me. Fist clinched, body pushed forward like a cat

We talked about that a lot in therapy. I also gave my son a tour of juv. det. (They were soooo nice to him, and the officer kept saying, "He's a good kid. He doesn't need this tour." Arrgh! These kids are the Great Pretenders.)
We had to create consequences for the "Attack Stance." I can't recall now, maybe taking away TV for a week or something. We prefer to have to act match the consequences but sometimes you just have to go for the gut. And Electronics is my son's middle name. :)

One of the things that scared my son the most was "sending him away" when he attacked me. He saw me typing on the computer and searching for boys' homes and military schools. THAT really had an impact.
But he is adopted, too, so there are some attachment issues, I'm sure.

Does your son ever, at all, express remorse when you cry or anything? My son does, but it took a long time. (Don't know if I typed you a note about the time one of the dogs died and he said, "Can I go outside and play now?") He'd look at me strangely and just stay away from me. As he got older and more verbal, he started to try to talk to me through the door. Mostly, SHOUT his side of the story and say "I DIDN'T MEAN THAT!"

It's a very long process.


Katherine61, so sorry you've had to go through all that. I feel your heartbreak, know it from the inside out. I don't have much to offer other than commiseration, but, on a practical note-- I will say that police interventions have been the one things that sort of gets through to my son (16). I've gotten A LOT of the same sort of flack from the cops that you are describing. I know though that they have to let me file Domestic Incident Reports and doing that-- having that trail of paper work has proven important. AND- if you have any special designated "domestic violence" cops where you live-- they are a very different breed from the others-- take things much more seriously. Once I got their attention when things got rough they started making house calls periodically just to check up on me/him…. having someone care about my safety was amazing. And while my kid is mostly immune to the influence of punishment and reward, he is influenced by the boundaries of the legal system.