Extreme aggressiveness, what happened in your case?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Robert_P, Apr 20, 2015.

  1. MrConcerned

    MrConcerned New Member

    Hello everyone. I am looking for some perspective. The Difficult Child in question is that of my sadly former long-term partner. He has been diagnosed with ODD since very early childhood, and now at 12 years old (12!), he has full-blown Conduct Disorder. His symptoms in the last year read like a sad checklist- stealing, running away, physical intimidation and abuse (he is a very big kid), physical fights, damaging the house, no remorse or empathy, lying, blame-shifting, verbal abuse, refusal to do schoolwork, non-compliance to almost every request. I love my former partner very much, but Difficult Child has at this point made a relationship not possible. I hung in there until my own anxiety and depression made it too hard to stay.

    For years, I've stayed outside of every interaction of my partner with him, doing what the therapists said, letting her apply the behavioral techniques. My relationship with him was neutral but friendly- he described me as "cool". Then there was an incident. Difficult Child stole over $500 from my partner. I was in the house watching her speak with Difficult Child about it. He was insolent. As she left, he kicked her. I got involved- he had no problem punching a grown man; then he got a butcher knife and threatened me. This led to his first hospitalization. The insurance company wouldn't pay for residential treatment, he was released to her. He is now even more heavily medicated. That was it for our relationship (not the first challenge, just the last one).

    I've read through the boards, but have found few incidents where the Difficult Child with CD actually threatens with a weapon. For those of you who have been through it, did the pattern continue, escalating with more use of weapons, more dangerous situations? Or were you able to control the behavior?

    For kids with really hard-core CD, I don't see there is much hope. He is going to a wilderness program this summer- those programs seem to be the only effective strategies. Has anyone had a turnaround?

    Looks like he is headed for anti-social personality disorder. It is frustrating not to be able to protect my former partner, but I think he is capable of killing me.

    Thanks for your perspective
  2. Ethansmom

    Ethansmom New Member

    Last year my sons anger got to the point that he threatened to kill me and ended up being charged with disorderly conduct and threatening me with bodily harm. He went to juvenile detention for 5 days. He got a social worker after that and was required to do community service and he had a list of rules he had to comply with or he would go back to juvie. He hated juvie, so he tried his hardest, but the littlest thing would set him off. He actually pushed his grandma so hard he bruised her ribs. Needless to say he ended up back in juvie. Then he was put in a local program here that works with troubled teens and he slowly got better. We saw improvement but we all walked on eggshells waiting for the next outburst. It wasn't until we got him on antidepressants and anxiety pills to help him sleep that we noticed a difference. He was at a 10 and now I would say he is at a 5. I have to remind myself of this everyday and pray that I have patience to deal with him when he has his next bad day. That day was today and I wanted to not come home. I wanted to run away! You're long term partner needs support and help. I don't know what I would do without my husband. He is the stepdad and he has a difficult time handling my son, but he supports me and my efforts to get him help!
  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    At that age my difficult child was very difficult. He punched, kicked, pinched, broke things, threatened me with a knife, pushed me down the stairs once. Over the course of several years he was hospitalized 6 times. Three of those times came when he was in 7th grade. He does have a bipolar diagnosis and when they finally found a medication that worked we were able to get the violence under control. He is not perfect, still gets loud and threatens and drives us crazy but he has come a long way. The one thing about him that sounds different from your former partner's son is he always had empathy and remorse.

    Have the doctors suggested any medications? Other than conduct disorder does he have any other diagnosis?
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Copa... sometimes things we post sound extreme. They come out of our own extreme experiences.

    My kids have never been hospitalized or in temporary out-of-home placements... doesn't mean I didn't think about doing it (we don't have that option where I live). Sometimes, extreme choices are necessary because of other kids in the family. Or because the situation is escalating so fast that someone is in danger.

    Only on this board have I found other people who actually understand what "extreme" means. From time to time, I've had responses that I though were over-the-top... until I understood the poster's past experiences. Some of these posts have made me thankful that my kids were not quite that bad. (still bad enough, though...)

    To the OP... take what you can use, what seems to fit, and... let the rest go.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    If a child comes at you with a weapon, tries to choke you or tries to harm himself, he is too sick to live in a family. If there are other kids, it is on us, as parents, to make sure the younger ones are safe too.

    I adopted a child who was eleven when he first came to us who ended up abusing my youngest two, who were five and seven. He was gone t he day we found out. Forever. I am not sorry. Our family healed and we are not sorry. You have to feel safe in your own house and nobody, no matter wh at age, has a right to hurt another human being.

    The child who we adopted then asked to have leave, was charged by the county with sexual assault in the first degree and found guilty. He was thirteen. We never had anything to do with the charges and we never went to court...we never wanted to see him again...but we feel he got what he deserved. Unfortunately, it did not teach him a lesson. In his lock up for juvenile sexual offenders, where they have cameras everywhere 24/7, he was found following a kid around and trying to assault him. Another child expressed fear of him. Since he was legally still ours, we got reports. At least until the adoption was dissolved.

    He never expressed remorse or even an understanding as to why he had done it other than, "I dunno." "I wanted to."
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
  6. Ethansmom

    Ethansmom New Member

    I agree with you that the other children in the house should feel safe, but with my son I was torn. I felt he thought I was picking them over him. How do you deal with that and couldn't that make him worse?
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    EthansDad, its simple to me.

    The child we ado
    [QUOTE="SomewhereOutThere, post: 654788, member: 1550"]The child who we adopted then asked to have leave, was charged by the county with sexual assault in the first degree and found guilty. He was thirteen. We never had anything to do with the charges and we never went to court...we never wanted to see him again...but we feel he got what he deserved. Unfortunately, it did not teach him a lesson. In his lock up for juvenile sexual offenders, where they have cameras everywhere 24/7, he was found following a kid around and trying to assault him. Another child expressed fear of him. Since he was legally still ours, we got reports. At least until the adoption was dissolved.[/QUOTE]

    My answer is what I wrote above. If a child is a danger to the other children, whether or not it hurts that child's feelings, he needs to live elsewhere where somebody can monitor him all the time and hopefully give him treatment. He may never get better.As for worse, how can he get worse? You need to make any house a safe place for all of the children. If one child is dangerous, he needs to live elsewhere, hopefully to get help but also because he could hurt or kill one of the younger ones. For all you know, he HAS molested or harmed one of the other kids in some way. Abusers make sure the kids are too scared to tell on them. When we had to make a choice, we chose the children this child was harming. Certainly the younger children were terrified of him and never wanted to see him again and neither did we. It was different because he had only lived with us for two years, but even if this had been my biological child, you can't allow an older child to be around younger ones if they are violent. It's a bad idea for everybody, including the child who is acting dangerous and abusive.

    Was this kid adopted at an older age or maybe had a very chaotic early three years? Or is his biological father violent? Sounds like his wiring is different and wrong, and there is not much you can do about that other than keep the other kids safe.

    At any rate, unfortunately it is your ex-partner's decision and hers alone.
  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I have to say that I have some resistance to the "wired differently" hypothesis. Of course I cannot and will not dispute the existence of developmental disorders such as Aspergers etcetera, and how can I dispute inherited tendencies towards psychosis, mood disorders and even personality disorders?

    That I have wanted my adopted son to be "like me" has been a real burden for him. He tries to tell me, "Mom, I'm not like you." Things that come easily to me, are not such for him. What has guided my life and improved it, does not guide his. I get it.

    Yes, he has followed in the steps of his birth parents...but not all of them. He is his own person. He is not me. He is not them. Yes he has inherited predispositions and he has limitations based upon what has happened to him, as do I, as do all of us. How is that different than for everybody else. He can make choices. Yes he is wired differently. So am I.

    I do not believe things are writ in stone. I have seen too much happen in this life... I know that for most of us, there is free choice. Eventually for some people...things click....and they may get it.

    There was the notion of the "bad seed" years ago, the idea that people are born bad and that this is their destiny. To me, the idea of "wiring" seems too much like the idea of "bad seed." Yes, I have to be realistic about biological determinants. At the same time, I do not believe that my son's wiring needs to carry the day.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member


    *I* am wired differently. I've known it all my life. People would say "all you have to do is...", and... whatever it was, it would never work for me. Everything I do that is "normal" takes WAY more effort than anyone believes (unless they are also wired differently). Being wired differently does not make me bad. I'm married to the father of my children, have a long-term career (in a field that is populated by many differently-wired people, of course), own a house, pay taxes, and all those other 'good citizen' things we are supposed to do. But I do NOT relate to "typical" people. I'm not "typical". My sense of humour is totally warped, as is my sense of time, space, priorities, and a hundred other things. I think differently, define problems differently, find different solutions. My "differentness" is part of my strength.

    You would never expect a sports car to haul a semi-load of stuff... and you would never expect a semi to drive like a sports car... and neither can take 6 kids to the game. These vehicles are all "wired differently". Just like people. ;)

    I'm different. Not wrong, not bad, not an illness or a malformation... I'm just... different.

    This is why I push the whole "wired differently" aspect on the board. I know what it is like to BE different, and yet have people expect me to be "typical". Not only does it not work... it's harmful. WE - us differently wired people - need to be accepted and appreciated for what we really are. Like Cromwell: warts and all.
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  10. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi again, Ethansmom

    Keep in mind that I only had the one child, so our situations are different.
    And keep in mind that I like you am new to the board.

    That said, this is what I think:

    You are taking a stand against violence in your home FOR YOUR SON as well as the other children, and yourself. You do that because HE MATTERS, HE IS WORTH IT. What is painful and difficult is often the most healing, because it is what we have to, must do, in order to take a stand for our children. Because it was just me, I waited to long to confront his moods, to curb his disrespect of me and his outbursts. I was willing to sacrifice myself. This was the wrong choice for my son.

    To insist that your son learn to control his anger and his behavior...is the right thing for him and to remove him from a situation where he dangerously loses control is the right thing for him. I believe that if you look at the situation in this way, and explain it to him, he will understand. Maybe not now, but later.

    I did not take this kind of stand for my son. I let myself be his victim, not by violent acts, but in so many other ways. I did this, I thought, because I love him. II did not get support from his therapist to take a stand. Rather, I was encouraged to keep trying, to let him mature. I see now that sacrificing anybody is not an act of love. My son, so long lived in a world where his bad behavior carried the day...now that I am setting limits. I fear he NOW wonders if I no longer love him.

    I cannot say what is the right thing to do in your circumstances. I waver in my own. Your great love for your son shines through in each of your posts.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
  11. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    My kid was extremely violent - knives, biting, hitting, kicking, throwing lamps, chairs, books, etc. ad nauseum. He had no problem going after anyone - police, teachers, parents, siblings (though he did show a bit of restraint with sibs, comparatively speaking), peers, staff, etc.

    I disarmed him of knives a couple times, then locked every sharp we owned in a keyed lock box. In hindsight, it was really *really* stupid of me to disarm him but I remember at the time I had a very clear thought that if I showed fear and didn't meet him toe-to-toe, all would be lost. Our kids can be ridiculously strong when raging and we were extremely lucky that no one every got seriously injured.

    I think the most important thing to remember and repeat is that you (or ex) and your children have the right to be safe in your own home. So very important. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE SAFE IN YOUR OWN HOME. Once violence erupts, I don't care about diagnosis or cause or any of that - it's not the time to address it. Safety has to be the primary concern.

    Violence in my home resulted in a call to 911. Every time. He had an extensive psychiatric history so 99% of the time he would end up being admitted for another medication tweak. It was a revolving door but... it's what we had to do.

    in my humble opinion every act of violence that is not answered with a call for help will only reinforce the idea that he can do what he wants with zero consequences. Not saying that calling for help will necessarily result in a change in the behavior anytime in the near future, and that's why it's so important to remember that YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO BE SAFE IN YOUR OWN HOME. The problem may not get solved, but you will be safe for the time being.

    My son got his act together, eventually. I can't point to a specific therapy or medication - I think it was more a matter of growing up and realizing that his complete disinterest in controlling his impulses was going to get him in a lot of trouble, one way or another.
  12. Ethansmom

    Ethansmom New Member

    Somewhereoutthere, my son is my biological child and my ex husband was physically abusive. My son has suffered a lot emotionally.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2015
  13. Ethansmom

    Ethansmom New Member

    I don't think he was ever sexually abused.
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, I'd get as much help as possible since you don't have much time, but he may just have your ex-husband's genes. Hopefully not. It doesn't help that his father abused him. Still...the main thing is for everyone in the house to be safe and for him to be contained so he can't harm anybody, including pets. There are three symptoms that often lead to antisocial personality disorder in adults, we were told after our adopted son was escorted out the door for the last time: 1/Fascination with fire 2/inapproprite bedwetting or pooping 3/cruelty to animals (sometimes they hide this and are nice to animals to your face, but hurt them behind your back. Our antisocial adopted child killed two dogs, but we didn't think it was him because he acted like he loved them so much in front of us). Kids who are violent also sometimes are sexually inappropriate with other children at home and even in the neighborhood. You know if your son is sexually inappropriate...well, I shouldn't say that. WE didn't know. But it's possible. Keep the other k dis safe. That's #1. Hope this kid can get healthier. Some can, some can't. The bond with his father must have been very weak and damaged which could cause attachment disorder/issues and that can also cause all sorts of faulty wiring in the brain on top of very aggressive behavior and a lack of empathy toward others. He is certainly not headed in the right direction. Aggressive help has to be given now or you lose all ability to help him after he turns eighteen.
  15. MrConcerned

    MrConcerned New Member

    My girlfriend was threatened last week by her Difficult Child. He knocked a glass out of her hand she was giving him so he could take medications. He then threatened them and they locked themselves in a room while he banged on the door. His father came and got him.

    I assume she could have called the police. My questions are:
    1. Is something like striking a parent's arm so that a glass flies out of their hand assault?
    2. Is having a child banging on a door shouting threats something they can be charged with?

    Thanks, people.
  16. MrConcerned

    MrConcerned New Member

    The Difficult Child recently collected all of his medicine bottles (he is on psychiatric drugs) and threatened to take them all and kill himself. I assume my girlfriend could have called the police and had him committed for that. Does anyone else have guidance?
  17. MrConcerned

    MrConcerned New Member

    He is already on a SSRI antidepressant and atypical antipsychotic class of drug.

    When he was hospitalized, was each time after police intervention?
  18. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Mr. Concerned
  19. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Mr. Concerned,

    You have cause to be concerned!

    Yes, when someone makes threats, knocks a glass out of his mother's hand in anger, and threatens suicide, I would call the police!

    It sounds like he has a younger sibling that is being threatened and is scared of him?

    This is not acceptable.
  20. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Do you have a mental health hot-line in your area? Sometimes, they can tell you what the "hoops" are... when to call police, what to tell police, when to take to ER, etc. They know how hard it is to get mental health care.