Help! Is this normal for a private Residential Treatment Center (RTC)?


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Copa...i dont believe in possesion myself. So I wouldnt go there. But I think there are things so bad that one can call the deeds evil....hurting children, for example. Nothing else for me but "evil" expresses the degree of how heinous I find that.

Except for maybe our foster kid, if he kept on going the direction he was going, I know of nobody personally that I would classify as evil. Evil also means dangerous with no remorse to me. If I ever felt that sort of energy from anybody, I wouldnt get a Priest, but I would stay far far away from him or her.

I do believe in the supernatural and hauntings but never experienced it!!! I have clearly felt and once seen loved ones who have passed on but I feel they came for good. I was comforted, not scared.

Baggy Bags

Active Member
I don't know what I believe anymore. My son is atheist, I swing between atheist and agnostic, and C is the most open to "spiritual" stuff.
But when we were in the middle of what seemed to be a supernatural attack on our house, we were having all kinds of "shamans" and spiritual guides doing cleanses, ceremonies, readings... I feel like such an idiot about it now. It was because things would happen in my office when it was locked, that we were so convinced that my son wasn't doing these things. But then my mom saw how he got in through a space in the stairs. It still baffles me. All of it. He was sooo sneaky. Like, waking up in the middle of the night to move furniture around? And we didn't hear him or see him ever. Over 25 incidents. Maybe he was psychotic, hearing voices telling him to do these things...??? Will I ever know? Ugh.


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The poisoning to me could be psychosis, the hauntings sound more :censored2:ing with you.

B. You are best served, I think, by objectivity and anything that serves and supports that.
Me too.

Like when I went off the deep end when my son said he was on the train coming back...all of us caught on that I needed a strong order to keep functioning.

My personal opinion and bias. I think we need to care for we stay in the here and now.


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You will never know.

Some people like to gasglight people as a means of control. Its mean and scary. You know your son best, what he is capable of. If your son did do that, I think his behaviors are very serious. Gaslighting is an attempt to make others feel crazy. Look up gaslighting in your search engine if you dont know what it means. It is a form of abuse.

Psychosis causes people to see and hear things that are not really there and while psychotic (saw psychosis a lot when in the hospital) they dont have the clear thinking to plot. They are here but not here, so to speak.

To me, with what I know, I would say that would be ominous and deliberate. But you will probably never know for sure.

Did your son try to poisin somebody? I hope I am understanding that wrong. That is soooooo scary!! That alone would cause me to not allow him home ever. No matter why, if he tried to kill somebody, he is not safe.

I hope I am wrong about this. But you must protect yourself from being harmed. It is heartbreaking if a loved one may harm us but we deserve a safe home! You matter!!!

If I truly believed my home was haunted, I would move! I mean it too!
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Baggy Bags

Active Member
He broke a thermometer and put the mercury in the glass of water he knew I was going to drink from.
Definitely gaslighting. Lots of gaslighting. So now I don't trust anything he says, which makes it all so much more complicated and confusing.

Update -
Today I find out that Residential Treatment Center (RTC) did not respect my very clear instructions not to give L any kind of medication without my authorization. He has been on Paroxetine and Gabapentin for two weeks with no notification at all. !!! I just got off the phone with one of the people who said over and over that they understood this, and she says that it was a confusion, she thought I knew, it won't happen again.... but in the case that I don't authorize the medication they recommend, that we will have to take him out of the center.

Some day last week, he broke a big mirror (in front of the whole group) to slit his wrist, and he's been threatening to hang himself. They say that it wasn't a serious attempt, and that he's just trying to be the center of attention. They had to restrain him and moved him to a smaller annex of the center, where there are only 3 patients. They say he refuses to shower and acts like a 5yo.

My son says that they grabbed him, dragged him through mud, tied him to a tree, punched him, and were pressing so hard against his head that he thought his skull was going to break. This is in phone conversation I had with him today. He was very, very drugged. And he says that this place he's in now is good and that he wants to stay there. (!!!) Very confusing. The doctor, of course, says that they never punched him. But I guess as long as my son keeps saying that he's okay to stay there, and they don't do this again (medicating with-o my authorization)...


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I can't respond at length. Every. Single. Thing needs to be in writing. Fax it date it. Write on the fax the date you insisted upon written review of and prior consent by you of medication. Say: I asked for x and x . On what date. That this is non-negotiable. Be neutral.

Personally I would go there. I would also get an attorney near there to do surprise visits. I would not assume he's okay because he says he is.

I have several concerns. How was he able to self harm? Where is the supervision? What provoked him? Was he attacked? Abused? And this pattern of ignoring, discrediting you?

How do they know he has no real intent? A try is a try. Every psychologist has to make judgement calls. But they were wrong. I was never one time wrong. With the sickest people. You can't make this kind of mistake. If he hurt himself they were wrong. An attempt is an attempt.

B. If there is a way to go there I would go. He is alone. He has nobody there. You don't know these people. This is too many red flags for a short time.
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Baggy Bags

Active Member
I gave him another code phrase to let me know if, when we are talking, someone is listening to him. But he was soooo drugged.
Good thing is that I'm allowed to call him in this new place as often as I want, and my son told me to please call often.
He talked about talking about coming home. But he also talked about staying in this place long term since they have a half-way program (I think that's what you call it).


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I dont believe your son. At all. And yes he did try to kill you. Very severe behavior.

If somebody wants to kill themselves nothing can.really stop them. When I was in.that psychiatric hospital, we had iron bars on all the windows and the windows were sealed shut. But a slender older lady somehow managed to jump out her room window and hit the roof below our level. I never found out how she did it but she did.. Patients had knives snuck in and there were fights. The staff couldnt control eberything. They went tjrough our luggage and purses when we arrived and took everything sharp or that you could use fir tying, like our shoelaces. But visitors sometimes brought in stuff.

This hospital I was at was comparable to Mayo Clinic, one of the best. Nobody can watch every single patient all the time. I dont know if legal the same in Mexico as it is in the U.S. In the U.S. you can sue. Not sure about Mexico. Not sure what good it would do to sue if you can.

You have an extremely troubled young man on your hands. It is hard for me to sugar coat things. To be homest though Ihave no experience wirh any child as dangerous to himself or others as your i.dont think coming home should ever be considered.

What is the age of maturity in Mexico? At 18 no facility in the U.S. needs to.check with parents for anything. They are adults. If 16 is an adult in Mexico they may not need to check with you on medication.

I do believe your son needs to try medications. I dont usually say so and I am not a doctor but your son is on a very seriously dangerous path and seems unable to control hurting others or himself. I think he needs to be able to slow down and think before acting. Right now he seems completely unable to behave in a socially acceptable, safe way. Nor does he serm to care.

This is not a phase he will grow out of without help and his desire.

Sounds like the facility will throw him out if they cant medicate him. This is your choice. They probably cant or wont or both handle a patient so out of control....they have other patients.

In the U.S., in my hospital, if you hit somebody you were discharged right away. That was a dealbreaker. You had to behave safely. There were no second chances for.violence. Your sons actions would have had him sent home.

I hope you can figure this out a little better. You have hard decisions to make. So does your son. He is extremely not okay.

Love and ligjt! I am so sorry. Please take care of yourself first.
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I dont believe your son.
Believing him is not the issue. The issue is whether she can trust the staff and the facility.
If somebody wants to kill themselves nothing can.really stop them.
That is true. Except for one thing. The staff and facility can make it harder. By 24 hour watch. By removing all personal property and anything that can be used in an attempt. Which would be clothes, belts, even bedding.

It sounds way better that L is in a higher level of care. It sounds like he likes it better. And he may be more motivated to make it work. It also sounds like he is thinking about the potential benefits to himself... from a long-term stay. This is good. And very interesting to me. A seriously disturbed young person would not be making these kinds of strategic or self-interested evaluations of long-term options. I find this encouraging, but also perplexing.

While he may be manipulating, and trying to hold out for the best deal for himself he is also impulsive, immature, and inexperienced. He is not playing with a full deck. He thinks he controls the game, and this is illusory, impossible and dangerous. I agree with SWOT. As long as he has this mindset he is dangerous back home. And I agree here with her, too. It is hard to think what would curb this, for right now.

I think the best options you have are to evaluate the current facility, and to keep him there if it is good enough, or to find another one, if it is not.

I am unimpressed that the facility is poo-pooing whatever attempt he made as
manipulation. It sounds like it was. But that does not mean it is no big deal. Manipulative attempts can be dangerous. But it sounds like they responded appropriately by putting him in a higher level of care.

This kid lies, manipulates, acts out, is aggressive and impulsive. He is untrustworthy and unstable. But he is also at risk. There are other facilities.
i.dont think coming home should ever be considered.
I don't agree. There are all kinds of scenarios possible whereby what is wrong can be determined, he can be treated and stabilized. The thing is, nobody yet has found out what's going on.
Sounds like the facility will throw him out if they cant medicate him. This is your choice.
B did not say don't medicate him. What she requested, is that she be advised, prior to her child being medicated. I think this is an entirely reasonable request.

In the settings where I worked, usually but not always with adults, we got new consents for every single new medication that was prescribed. Every single one. So. What she is asking is not out of line.

I agree. In a facility such as this, to refuse to allow medication is to refuse treatment. They would have every right to eject him if this was the case. But as I understand, B does not have this position.

Did they talk more about the tests, B?
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Copa sorry. Will have to disagree.

There is no way to prove what is wrong with him and he has already shown the ability to commit an act which could kill his mother. You can diagnose diabetes and control it, if the patient cooperates. You know its diabetes. You know what works.

This boy is absolutely a threat to others and in psychiatry all we can see for sure is what he has done. medications can not fix everything. Even they are a mystery. Nobody knows why they sometimes work. I would not be brave enough to let him home.

Copa I think maybe you are thinking of J again when you say she wants him to live another day. Of course she does! I want him to live too! But lets go back to you because I think you have thought of your own situation again. But J is nothing like this boy. Nothing. He hurts nobody, not even himself. These are totally different people.

It is up to each facility what their rules are for their patients, at least in the U.S. i saw patients who got violent get thrown out. They would not help the one at a risk to eveverybody else. The parents could yell and scream and stand on their heads but the rules won.

This big university hospital had lawyers of its own if it got sued. In the end they were great. They saved my life and my.brothers. He was in at the same hospital at the same time as me in the gastro section with sepsis from Crohns Disease, which they were the first place to finally diagnose. Great place but they had rules for patient behavior.

My daughter works as a Correction's Officer. She has already had to save the life of one man who cut himself with a razor that had been smuggled in. One inmate killed himself by hanging. I dont know what was used .My daughter is a strong person but she tries hard and these tragedies sent her to our house after work crying. In away, psy h wards need to be as strict as jails and neither one can control every person in its care.

Back to the hospital. I flat out dont believe they hurt the boy.

Now if they model the U S. at all they take everything you have, like belts, razers etc. Yet they can be smuggled in and patients pass things around. But they are taken. If 16 is of legal age in Mexico, and they model tje U.S., then L. would need to sign for medications, not his mother. I do t know how things work in Mexico. I assume each country has its own rules??? I do t know.

If this boy wants to hurt somebody who loves him or himself he will. I have heard of a few sad teen suicides in my day. My kids knew them. Most of the time they were very unexpected and at home.There is no way to stop a suicide for certain. I wish there were a way! Nothing is sadder!

Due to the limitations in knowing why behavior is off or how to fix it, especially when not one doctor can prove a diagnosis or know for sure what medications if any will help, I just want Bags to stay safe. I like her. My heart hurts for her too. I cant imagine that degree of pain.

Copa this is not an.issue you and her share. I dont even know J yet from all I read I would welcome.him into my house for a meal or overnight and not be one bit afraid of him. In fact I would probably.hug him and talk to him. I would probably not even care if he smoked pot as long as it were outside.

There are no safety issues with J. He could certainly live safely in your house or mine.

L....I woud be very afraid of him. I do hope he can get better but I dont think he could be considered safe to live with and I like Bags. I do not want her to take a risk. She can still see him is safer if she sees him in public. Such a very difficult problem this is.

Big hugs for everyone.
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Well-Known Member
here is no way to prove what is wrong with him
To a large extent you are right. Typically the best psychiatry can do is to correlate how symptoms respond to medication. If the symptoms recede from Depakote, for example, this would point to bipolar.

But let me tell you a couple of instances that could be verified.

Sometimes kids have mini seizures, that are virtually undetectable by observation. This neural activity can be verified by an EEG. Another situation would be if there are biochemical imbalances. Another situation could be if there is some kind of genetic predisposition.
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Well-Known Member
Yep. If it isnt cause by a mental illness, it can usually be verified, such as epulepsy. THAT I agree with.

Copa most psychiatrists thought I had bipolar II and three mood stabilizers just made me depressed.

Okay, okay. I admit I am giving you a hard time ;)



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I am worried about B, SWOT. We are missing the forest for the trees. She needs to be able to figure out what to do. She is supporting him with all of her heart, they are communicating and he seems to be responding. This is a lot.

I do not believe that this Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is a hopeless case, but I believe they have not taken seriously what she has said to them. This is traumatizing, because this keeps happening over and over again where she is invalidated or ignored by these stupid professionals.

It could be said that L has made his bed and needs to lie in it. But I do not think he has done so with sound, mature mind. It is hard to know what he was thinking and why his thinking was so distorted. But I do not think B's decisions here hinge on his prognosis. Because nobody can know right now what is L's prognosis.

This child is her birth child. She has raised him. She has done everything in her earthly power to save him. The question is what should she do now.

I agree with you he should not come home now. What has changed? Nothing.

Do you think she should rely on his reports of what is going on? Now he is saying it is okay.

Do you think she should consider other facilities? The problem with that is not only would it require a visit, but once she pulls L she is financially liable. And I do not know if her status as a non-resident of MX would make it difficult for her to admit him to another facility. And as I explain below I do not think it is realistic that any of us have what it takes to evaluate a facility, from outside in, especially in another country.

One way to look at this is that if the alternative is homelessness or jail, where he would surely be victimized, whatever this facility is like, it is likely better than those horrible alternatives.

And L has so-far showed himself to be so resourceful as to bamboozle and manipulate and out-fox his own detriment. Does B trust that this so-called capacity makes him able to protect himself in a locked facility and to appraise it for risk? Is he mature enough to consent on a de facto basis? Because that is what we are talking about here. Depending upon L. to evaluate where he is.

It could be argued that, yes, in a sense, he must be allowed to extra-legally consent. Because he has by his behavior created a situation for B that leaves her absolutely no options....I keep getting this flash of the olden days, when young boys would run away to war or to work on sailing ships. These adolescents then had to survive based upon their own wits, in the circumstances in which they find themselves. There were no mothers or fathers to negotiate on their behalf or to save them. By their own actions and decisions these kids made themselves un-savable except based upon their own smarts and will to survive.

That's the only way I can look at L's situation now. He has engineered this situation 100 percent. B is doing a heroic job in asserting her parental authority and monitoring him in another country. Maybe this is the best it can be right now.

B. While I could see that it might be a good thing to go to this place, and see, in reality what would you really be able to do? Your best shot is really to trust L to watch out for himself. How could you even evaluate alternative facilities? Would you really be permitted to see what you needed to see, to make an informed decision?

We were in this situation with my mom. And I made horrible choices. I visited various facilities and I made terrible, terrible choices. It was not indifference. I tried very, very hard. I cared very, very much. Sometimes circumstances are set into motion whereby we lose control. Life catches up with us. I think with L this might be one of them.

I think you are damned if you do and damned if you don't. I regret what I wrote above. I think differently now. I didn't feel I helped you by saying, everything will be all right. Because we do not know. And they (the facility) are :censored2:ing up. I do not think we are served by being ostriches. Although that is my preferred default. I try and try and try not to see. I fail.

I have great hope for L. But I don't think he should come home either. And I think L. does not think he should come home either. If he did why would he like the idea of the work furlough program?

At different points of my life I think I have taken both Paroxetine and Gabapentin. I don't think they are hardcore drugs. It is probably the latter one that is making him drugged up. Right now that would be the least of my worries.
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Active Member
Copa, so interesting you said that about the gabapentin. I know many people who are taking it for nerve or shingles pain, including myself, who have very little or no side effects. Of course we don't know his dose (or really why he's on it unless they think he's having seizures), but I'm on 600mgs a day and was once on 3200 and still had no side effects. DS was on Paxil for a short period of time and felt awful and was angry, which is unlike him. That being said, I think there is no question the young man in question needs something to help stabilize.

Baggy Bags

Active Member
Copa and Swot, thank you both so so so much for putting so much time and thought into this. You are kind of like more eloquent and experienced versions of the two sides of my mind, sometimes meshing and merging. It's so good to read you both.

What's clear for sure is that L can't come home now. We all agree on that.

Tests are happening this coming week. So hopefully we'll have some real information.

Baggy Bags

Active Member
Latest -

The psychiatrist and the rest of the staff are getting tired of me demanding to be consulted about what medication he takes. He got the EEG and they're doing other tests this week. They say I should start organizing his return home and find him the kind of treatment I agree with ((((FRACK!!!))). So, in other words, they're saying they don't want to deal with me anymore. They probably don't want to deal with him either. The first days he was there, I asked them what they did about violent behavior, and they said that they never have a problem with that, and that patients there don't do that. Well. This one does, and I said he would, and they didn't listen.

Bio-dad is supposedly looking for a different place, one that accepts parental involvement.

The nerve of this psychiatrist. He said that he had neeeeever had a parent, or even another psychiatrist, ask him to suspend a medication.
I was only asking they suspend the Gabapentin which has already been deemed "not getting therapeutic response" by the doctor himself.

L can't come back here. I'm clear on that. If he's breaking mirrors and threatening to slit his wrists, drown himself, hang himself... I can't live with the constant fear that I'm going to walk into my house one day and find him in a puddle of his own blood or hanging from a tree. Sorry to be so graphic, but this is where my mind goes. I'd rather get a phone call. And it makes me feel sick to write that, but again, this is where my head is right now.

Of course there's the other voice in my head saying "Get him outta there, get him off those drugs, bring him home and give him love. Love heals all..."


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I think he needs medication. He can not control his very impulsive behavior. But i have no credentials to say so.

Each country probably has its own laws. In the U.S. each facility has its own level of what they feel they can handle. Mine was very good but he would have been discharged from our unit and sent to ICU for the suicide attempt and breaking the mirror. And restraints can be used in ICU if the patient is violent. And Calm-You-Down shots in the butt against your will. Not fun, I suspect, from stories I heard. I did my program. I did want to get better and never wanted to visit ICU. Or possibly be discharged when it was helping me. However why did the facility in Mexico have such a mirror?

If he is a legal adult they wont or dont have to deal with you, I think. In the U.S. every state is different, but at the absurd age of 12 or 13 a parent can not force a child to take medication and at another young age cant make them go into treatment. At all. But this is U S.

It is hard to find really good facilities. I went by reputation....I had norhing else to go by. It would be nice if you can find a place somewhere that has a great reputation and meets your needs. Are you li ited to Mexico?
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Baggy Bags

Active Member
I have a wealthy friend who is helping to pay for this. She herself is bipolar and very involved in mental heath awareness and development of better services here in Central America, and she wants my son to go to this place in Argentina. But that is soooo far away, and it doesn't feel right to have him in a place with no family nearby. So, I'm limited to Mexico if I want to keep him near family, since bio-dad is there. I don't really have family in the US I can ask that of. We're not close. And they haven't seen L since he was 9yo. So, yeah, really only Mexico or here (where there is nothing), or sending him far away to a place where I have no one to be my in-between with the doctors, or to go check on L.

And yes, why on earth do they have a mirror there??? Thing is, I think this place, despite them saying that they also treat psychological problems, mostly deal in addiction and they are in over their heads with my son. The psychiatrist seeing him is from a different establishment. He was the one who recommended this place because of L's age, since where he works only has adults with severe mental problems - more of a psychiatric hospital than a center for addiction.


Well-Known Member
she wants my son to go to this place in Argentina.
In a heartbeat I would send him there. What is the difference between MX and Argentina? (I mean, I've lived in Argentina and travelled in MX. I know the difference!)

You are in different countries now.

I know about psychiatric care in Argentina. There is no better place in the world in my opinion for psychiatry. They are enlightened. They are compassionate. They are brilliant. They are theory, not ego or macho-driven. Your friend is a fantastic resource and advocate. Baggy. Listen to her! This could change your son's life and your own.

I lived in Buenos Aires for a short time and have visited several times more. My own study brings me to read about programs, projects, treatment centers, and psychological and psychiatric research from there.

Then there are the doctors and nurses and psychologists and patients and their families that your son would be exposed to. The culture. This doctor where he is, so to speak is using a mallet for brain surgery. Talk about ham-handed. How is it possible to divorce the facility from the general culture of a place (the paternalism, the arrogance, the lack of reciprocity or communication, the not listening, the wanting to silence you and then throwing you and L out because you won't do it their way. Let alone the complete lack of integrity in terms of different rules for you and them. ie. Do as I say not as I do.). How in the world will another place in Mexico be different? It is the culture!

You will have to get a lobotomy to keep dealing with this. If stuff like this keeps happening:
neeeeever had a parent, or even another psychiatrist, ask him to suspend a medication.
I was only asking they suspend the Gabapentin which has already been deemed "not getting therapeutic response" by the doctor himself.

It would be deeply destabilizing to L and to you. To repeat this. He is already in a foreign country. Your friend is a godsend. She knows. She is deeply aware of what she is speaking. (OK. Maybe it's because I agree with her. I accept that.) She is in it with you. I would listen to her.

There would be a state of the art, sensitive, enlightened, humane facility in Argentina. I can only tell you what I would do. I would send him to Argentina. There are telephones. There is internet conferencing on Zoom. So easy, I can do it. You are there at the computer and are with the other people there, no matter where in the world they are. Just like that. You see them. You hear them. There can be a dozen or more people, in different countries. There are airplanes. There was a time I was going back and forth from South America to the West Coast every six weeks. It was like nothing.

Baggy. What would you give for peace of mind, for hope, for L to settle in and settle down? What is trust worth? What is confidence worth? What would you give for the possibility of respectful communication and boundaries? What would you give for thoughtful reflection and humility and restraint and professionalism? What would you give for listening and warmth and kindness, by the people upon whom you and L so depend? You have been so mistreated (as have I) by the lack of these things in these people. Think about it. Please.

L is at the age where kids go to different countries as foreign exchange students. To the USA they come from China and Norway and Italy and Spain, Africa and Brasil, and everywhere! Things happen. But families take the risk because it offers opportunities and changes lives.

This is comparable for L.

L would be protected and contained and supported and monitored in a way that these exchange students are NOT. In his way he is very self-reliant and independent. He could do this. You could do it. I believe that.

Your situation, the gravity of it, and the lack of options where you live, makes this even more potentially transformative and urgent, that you seize the day and ask of yourself that you be strong...and hopeful. Think about it B.
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