How do you keep feeling love after they cross the line?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by wethreepeeps, Apr 9, 2011.

  1. wethreepeeps

    wethreepeeps New Member

    Thursday morning I found my difficult child suffocating our cat. Thankfully I caught him in time, but he was laying on the cat, all 100lbs of him, and the cat clearly would have died if I hadn't found him. He laughed when I screamed for him to stop. He is now on psychiatric stay #7, where they will tweak his medications a little and send him home in 5-10 days, max.

    I don't want him to come home. The way I feel right now, I don't ever want to see him again. Hearing him tell me on the phone tonight that he missed me made my skin crawl. Please tell me I'm not the worst parent in the world and that others have felt this way too at times. My other child asked tonight if she could take the cat and move to my sister's in North Carolina so we wouldn't have to rehome the cat to keep my son from killing him.
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    No... you are a mother that has been pushed beyond all boundaries. Is it possible to find a way for a longer stay or possibly a long term out of home placement? You and your daughter (& the cat) deserve to be safe. {{{Hugs}}}
  3. mamargentina

    mamargentina New Member

    I don't think you don't want to see your son again, you just don't want to see him do things like this gagain. It is perfectly understandable to reject this type of behaviour, but maybe you should consider that it is his behaviour, and not him, that you are rejecting. I'm sure you'd feel differently if you knew for sure this will not happen again.
  4. wethreepeeps

    wethreepeeps New Member

    There is no out of home placement in Louisiana. There is one hospital program for autistic boys age 13-18 to transition into assisted living, but they only have 20 beds. There is an 18 month waiting list. We have in the past moved to Tennessee for a year so he could get more comprehensive care. He went to a subacute program for 5 months. My daughter does not want to leave her friends, our church, etc. She asked if I go back to Tennessee if I could find someone for her to live with here so she didn't have to leave. Barring that, she want to go live with my sister in NC. Anything but give up the cat because of her brother.

    He's been in a downward spiral for months. Cursing constantly, he lies to me dozens of times a week without batting an eye, attacking other children on the bus and at school, punching holes in the walls, breaking the light fixtures and ceiling fans, and this is the third and most serious incident with the cat. I am looking for an attorney to advise me on relinquishing custody to the state, what the chances are that I'll be prosecuted for abandonment.
  5. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Honestly, I don't know. I've been in survival mode lately and I would want to focus on my daughter. She's being very clear about her needs. She and you deserve to feel safe in your home.

    Do you know anything about your son's bio parents and history from birth to age 3?

    I'm so sorry this is happening to your family.
  6. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Did you adopt him through the foster care system? If so, call them and demand that they help. Tell them he needs placement in a therapuetic home as the only/youngest child and no pets.
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I'm wondering about the diagnosis. If the boy is socially disconnected, has little to no empathy, then this could have been read as Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) when it could in fact be part of something entirely different - a budding personality disorder coupled with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD).

    An adult person I know (I no longer can call her friend, she's gunning for me, not sure why) used to confide in me in great detail as well as pick my brains about possible diagnosis. She has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and also very strong, detailed interests in some specific academic subjects on which she writes prolifically. She's also extremely religious (and at times attacks me for, as she erroneously claims, being a heretic). I blame myself for feeding her information about Asperger's. She went and talked her shrink into giving her n Aspie diagnosis. She told me afterwards she also has a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder.

    I looked up schizoaffective and especially as she became more unstable, I could see the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) becoming more of an issue, and times in the past when she seemed more difficult began to make sense to me. I personally do not believe that the Asperger's label truly applies to her, but superficially she probably meets the criteria. But the schizoaffective explains it all too.

    Medicine is an inexact science. Diagnosis always needs to be available to question especially when there can be other problems not fully understood.

    Laughing over trying to kill the cat is not a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) thing in any way. I also wouldn't see it as a mood disorder issue. But it is a huge red flag for a number of other worrying mental health problems which need intervention NOW to try to "head off at the pass" the chance of the kid developing worse sociopathic tendencies as he heads towards adulthood.

    The cat and the people in the home need to be safe. The cat cannot be there when he comes home. If necessary let your daughter take the cat and stay with someone else for a while - with her diagnosis, she is very vulnerable if he decides to vent his spleen on her physically. It was a very practical, sensible suggestion of hers.

    A related problem - a good friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer, just as her youngest daughter was entering puberty. The girl went to pieces over this, on so many levels - her mother's cancer was a nasty one, fast-growing, so the chance of survival was not good. Mother and daughter was carrying the gene for breast cancer so this poor girl whose own breasts were just beginning to develop had to know that those growing lady lumps were almost certain to turn cancerous sooner rather than later. Seeing her mother go through treatment at such a time was too much. The girl moved out to stay with relatives for a few months. They are a close, loving family but the daughter was a huge mess at this time, having a lot to come to terms with at a time when her mother was the last person she could accept help from.

    Good news now, 12 years later - Mum is cancer-free (although it was a huge struggle involving a lot of surgery, chemo and radiation over several years). Daughter is now grown into a beautiful young woman, very close to her mother and very loving. Of course they both have regular health checks, but it has worked out.

    My friend let her daughter go at age 13, when she needed some space. It did no harm, probably helped. It gave them breathing space to put some strategies in place.

    A different situation in a lot of ways, not so different in others. You have a 'disease' wreaking havoc in your home and individuals are in danger. Their safety needs to be ensured while you try to sort out what needs to be done.

    As for how you can continue to love when they cross the line - I think that is how you know the line has been crossed; when you find loving them to be so difficult. I read your post to husband, and that is what he said.

  8. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I am going to go out on a limb here and say something that probably won't be popular... First of all I understand these feelings of wanting to give the child up, over to someone else. I can only imagine how difficult this situation is. Some time ago when things were bad with my son - they have got better - I was fantasising a lot about one day asking my ex-husband to take him as I felt I couldn't cope. Not really serious planning but just a kind of idea that I talked to a couple of people about. And one friend said in a very matter-of-fact way, "He's not something you bought in a supermarket; you can't take him back because you've decided you don't like him"... And it is true. I could give in the towel but it would not be honouring the commitment I made to my son in adopting him.
    Now I know a teenager being violent and aggressive and unruly is not the same thing as a pre-schooler. I know the incident with the cat is very serious. But, without condoning his act, why did he do it? He must be in some great pain or difficulty... Is there no way in which he can now be helped or is the only solution to give up on him? It does concern me, the idea of an adopted child being abandoned again... his life would surely be mapped out then - there would be little hope, I presume, of him ever coming over onto the "good" side of the tracks.
    I am sure lots of people here would disagree, take issue with me. That's fine. And I am not in your shoes. But someone must also speak up for the troubled youngster that is your son.
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I completely understand how you feel. There were times iwth my son that I had no clue as to how we were to continue to be a family with him. At times I didn't know if I could continue to be if he continued to do the things that he was doing to us all. It was incredibly hard to love him but I still did even when I was angry enough to want to strangle him. It is incredibly hard, but it is what it is. Many people have absolutely no idea how devastating it is to realize that your child is actually endangering the lives of others. It isn't just that you want to abandon or throw away the difficult child. It is that you simply have no idea how you can continue to BE, much less continue to love the child that is so scary and dangerous.

    The worst weeks of my life happened when I found my beloved Wiz with his hands clamped around my also beloved Jessica's throat in the middle of the night. The very fabric of my life and existence were viciously shredded at that moment. I expected it to get better when we admitted him to the psychiatric hospital. I had no idea that it would get so much worse before it got even a teensy smidgen of an iota better. The things that ran through my head and heart and soul when he told me everything he had done to Jessical were things that I didn't even know it was possible to feel and think. And then I had to go home and tell my husband about all of it (I did most of the psychiatric hospital trips because he was working and in grad school. He did go many times for therapy, visiting, etc... but couldn't make the trip 4 times a week.) and devastate his world also.

    It is normal and acceptable to have the feeling that you are having. It isn't fun, but feelings are not "wrong". They are and must be recognized and processed. If you do not have a therapist of your own, go out and get one on Monday. It make take seeing several different tdocs until you find one that you can really work with. Strongly encourage your husband to also see a therapist.

    Animal cruelty is a MAJOR sign of serious problems in every aspect of his life. It is also considered to be very much a predictor of violence in the rest of his life/relationships. While it is super had to keep feeling the love, he is still the child that you adopted and loved from the first moment you welcomed him into your life. Abandonment is a major issue for adopted people, but that cannot be allowed to keep you from making sure that every being in your home is safe from violence at all times.

    It is very possible to have one child living in a psychiatric hospital, Residential Treatment Center (RTC) or even therapeutic foster home or group home and to STILL be a family and love each other. One mom here (Timer Lady I think) started calling it being a "family of different addresses". My family has been a family of different addresses for 5 years. Wiz could not be safe (nonviolent) while living with us. He went to lvie iwth my parents and it saved him and our relationship with him. I truly believe that one or more of us would be dead if we had kept Wiz living at home. He was only 14 and it wrecked me for a long time, but now he is entirely the sweet, quirky funny son we knew he was underneath all the gfgness.

    In your situation you really NEED that lawyer to help you. You have been working very hard to keep your son with you and to prevent the violence that he desplays very often (based on your info about psychiatric hospital stays, etc...). You have truly gone to great lengths to help him be able to have a loving home and good life with you.

    If he is to come home you will need to rehome your pets. Not just the cat that he tried to kill, ALL of your pets. It simply isn't right or fair to them to keep them in a home where one member wants to hurt/kill them.

    It is also important to put an emphasis on what your daughter needs right now. We often get caught up in the needs of our difficult children that we end up not paying as much attention to what our easy child's are going through and upset about. The pcs seem like they are doing okay and the difficult child seems like he needs so mcuh more that we let our pcs handle things more than we otherwise might. OFten the easy child doesn't want to upset us because the stress, strain and demands of the care and feeding of difficult children is so enormous. Then something like this happens and we cannot continue to put the major emphasis on difficult child. It comes to a point where we cannot sacrifice our easy child on the altar of gfgness that can monopolize our thoughts, feelings and actions.

    If you have ANY idea that difficult child has hurt his sister, talk to a therapist and have easy child talk to one. Then you may need to call CPS and report that difficult child is abusing her. If he is abusing the pets he may have already started to hurt her or he may be building up to this. Chances are that it will take difficult child beingout of the home for several weeks or even a month or two before you and her therapist will begin to realize all that difficult child has done to her.

    You should be able to talk to a social worker at the psychiatric hospital. It may be time to let them know that coming home is not the appropriate placement for him until he is stable and able to make safe choices. They may not want to help you with this, but most states have this as an option. This isn 't necessarily giving up parental rights but is often a way to help defuse the home situation, keep everyone (especially other children) safe from his violent behaviors. the lawyer may be able to help with this.

    I know some other members have taken this step before their difficult child was able to live in the family home safely. Timer Lady may be able to give more info on this, and Star also may be able to help.

    Personally, I would not be able to bring my son home if he was behaving with the violence that your son shows because I would be afraid for all of us and would be sure that it would be incredibly unsafe and even dangerously foolhardy to have him in a private home setting. He is just too likely to hurt someone, any family member or even to sneak out or go to school and seriously harm someone else. This is NOT giving up on him but rather it is making sure that he has what he needs to have a chance at growing up to be a responsible member of society and your family.

    If you have no other options you may need to give serious thought to disrupting the adoption. Some will see it as abandoning a troubled child. It may eben feel that way to you at times. But it is also choosing to protect your other child, your spouse and yourself AND the general communtiy from someone who is not capable of behaving in a manner that doesn't hurt or endanger other people.

    You have my support regardless of what has to happen to make sure that everyone is safe. (((((hugs)))))
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    One last suggestion that I didn't want to get lost in my other message:

    Go to the local Domestic Violence Center and ask for their help!!! They likely will not know what to do right off the bat, but they can give you and your entire family free therapy by tdocs who are experienced in dealing with domestic violence and who know how this tears you up regardless of what you do. They will also know which lawyers would be best to help you, and will have many other resources to help with this devastating time. They especially will be able to help your daughter learn how to cope (as best a child can), how to protect herself, and even more they may be able to get her to talk about the ways difficult child has hurt/abused her. in my opinion it is unlikely that difficult child has only hurt the cat and not your daughter in some way. He probably told daughter that he would kill the cat, another pet, herself or even you and/or husband if she said anything about the abuse to you.
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hon, I've been there/done that with an adopted child who was dangerous. He ended up killing two of our dogs. When he was taken away, he was diagnosed with Severe Reactive Attachment Disorder. Frankly, even if he had other riders going along with that diagnosis, it didn't matter to us. he had also sexually abused our younger kids and there was no way we could afford to keep him around. He was a danger to all the pets and kids in the neighborhood and once they get larger than you are, there is little you can do other than call the police. You can not fix every child. This particular child of ours was too damaged and should not have been placed in a family setting. There are three big red flags for a budding psychopath/antisocial personality disorder:

    1/Peeing and pooping in appropriately
    2/fascination with fire/setting small or large fires

    You do not know what he may have done when you are not around.

    Our adopted son who we gave up our parental rights for (the one who sexually abused the younger children) was questioned extensively as to why he did t he things he did. He truly could not answer and did not know. He was charged in court of sexual abuse to a minor and was convicted then spent many years in a lockup facility for young sexual predators, but, of course, was released at eighteen. I often wonder if he has killed anybody yet. He used to hold a knife to the throats of the younger kids and force them to sexually act out on one another and him...and, no, we didn't find out until he was gone. Love doesn't cure all...we had loved him and treated him with kindness...but he obviously did not really want that...he had already been too damaged before he came to us.

    He did not shed a tear w hen he left. Mostly he liked what we could offer and toys.

    Do what you have to do to keep your daughter safe. With all due respect to Malika, who is a wonderful person, she only has one child to think about. You have more than one and that's where it gets dicey. Your daughter deserves to have a normal life. Your son may do best in an out-of-home placement where he has structure 24/7 and can not harm anything. It could be the best thing for him.

    Big hugs and so sorry it has gotten to this point. I is so heartbreaking.
  12. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    First off many gentle hugs to you and your daughter. You are not the worst mother ever by any means. What you are feeling is absolutely normal. After my son pushed me down a flight of stairs (even though he showed immediate remorse) I had a difficult time being around him. I still loved him; I did not like him and I was scared to be around him and was hyper-vigilant when around him.

    Your daughter deserves to be safe and I can understand why she is asking to move if need be. I think it would be preferable to have him placed out of the house but if not then I would seriously consider what she is asking.
  13. Giselle

    Giselle New Member

    My heart goes out to you. If my child hurt a helpless person or animal in that way, I would have a very, very difficult time with it, and probably feel the same as you do. That lack of compassion is truly frightening.

    As others have said, get all the pets away from him. If he goes into any other placements they must know about his cruelty to animals.

    I don't know the next step you should do, but I wanted to let you know that your thoughts and feelings are understandable.

    I just don't know if this is true. I've come to think that some people are wired so differently that it's not necessarily pain or difficulty that causes them to want to hurt others, for some it's entertainment or boredom some other issue that can't be helped by understanding. Of course I don't know in this boy's case.
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Adults and child who are budding anti-socials do not have a conscience. In fact, they do NOT feel pain when they harm others or animals. That was exactly the issue with the child we adopted...he felt no remorse at all, was able to kill the dog, and pretend it wasn't him while wearing a happy smile and going about his normal business. He was able to hold a knife to my younger kids and make them have sex and then act like he loved all of us in front of me and hub (kids were too terrified of him to say a word against him...they BELIEVED he could kill us all).

    There is not always a reason other than the person is uncaring and has no feelings toward humans. For a good read about this, I suggest reading Robert Hare's studies.

    Some children are so damaged BEFORE we get them that they are already anti-social at tender ages. Others just seem to be born that way. There have been studies on humans who seem to have no consciences...their brainwaves are different. Therapy and medications doesn't help. They don't really want therapy and can't relate to the therapist. And medications just don't seem to be the answer...

    Good luck!
  15. Star*

    Star* call 911


    Hi there!

    Louisiana doesn't have an out of home placement - but they will place him out of state if he is a danger to himself and others. He does fit that criteria. I would talk to his caseworker and explain that you have another child that is suffering PTSD and you need time to try to find suitable arrangements for her because she doesn't want to live with her brother. I wouldn't readliy offer that your sister in NC is willing to take her in either. This may be of some benefit to getting your son placed temporarily out of your home in a group home or other Residential Treatment Center (RTC) so he can get CONTINUED counseling and therapy - while you and your daughter seek counseling to deal with the trauma. - I would put it to the staff in that manner so that your family has a 'healing' time.

    Bringing him home in 7 days or so isn't enough time to sort out the EXTREME TRAUMA.....suffered.

    Perhaps stating it like that? And explaining you have NO FAMILY regionally to help - may get them to see this is an emergency - and will place him further out - even out of state. They did this with my son.

    As far as loving him?

    You will always love your children. There will be times (lots of times) that you will not like their behavior, and with good reason. No one says you have to like them. No one says you have to love them either, but there isn't any guilt for saying I don't like my kids behavior today. Keep that in mind - you can even say "I hate his behavior most of the time." - Maybe that will help you separate love, and like or hate and dislike.

    Hugs & Love
  16. wethreepeeps

    wethreepeeps New Member

    He was abandoned in the hospital at birth. The biomom had several other children (4-5 of them) already in foster care, and there was a protective order for her unborn baby already, so she had him, got dressed, and left a few hours later. Was never seen again, as far as I know. He went straight into foster care.
  17. wethreepeeps

    wethreepeeps New Member

    Yes, but we finalized in Tennessee and live in Louisiana. We would have to move back to Tennessee to get services.
  18. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    You may be able to petition Tennessee to work out a way to provide therapy in Louisiana. You will need a good attorney for this. You may also consider disrupting the adoption and having him return to Tennessee.

    While the 3 behaviors MWM listed are the 3 big warning signs of seriously disturbed sociopathic behavior/disorders, there is also a LOT of evidence that just animal cruelty alone is a sign or big big problems and an incredibly accurate predictor of current and future violence to others.

    malika's heart is in the right place and years ago I probably would have agreed with ehr fully. But my son knew a boy who had these behaviors and his own family had to move away while he was in a locked ward - when the boy was just 13. He had done so many many things to hurt his mother, older sister and even his stepfather that the POLICE were afraid of him. He was NOT a large boy, more the size of a 4th grader than a 13yo boy who had already hit puberty, but the things he did were so violent and disturbing that even the next door neighbors got protective orders against him. His mom, stepdad and sister moved to a state many hours from the facility he was placed in. He was in our worst juvie facility and he deeply scared even the worst of the other inmates and the guards. It was the therapist there who told the judge and the family that they had to get as far away from him as possible and never have contact with him again or they would all be dead within weeks of him finding them. Two different boys who were in his cell at different times, one of them twice his size, ended up in the hospital because of the way he attacked them.

    This boy did NOT act out of pain, turmoil or trauma. He hurt people because it amused him. He even said it was the only fun he ever had. The rest of his life was boring. He was NOT abused and his stepdad was around when he was born and treated him as his son. It was NOT something that was done to him. It was the way he was and the only option for him was a locked facility.

    I don't know that your son is like this boy. I do know that the cruelty to the pet was a HUGE sign that he needs very long term intensive therapy and likely far more structure and supervision than it is possible to give in a home. I am so sorry because I know this hurts you.

    Give the boy the structure and supervision and treatment that he needs to ahve even a chance at a future. Push the state to put him in a therapeutic group home or foster home where he is the only or youngest child and the other children are NOT disabled. Or else let your daughter live elsewhere. I would push to have him in a group home, foster home or Residential Treatment Center (RTC) rather than sending the daughter away. She has a chance of healing if she is not forced to live with him and knowing you made her a priority over his needs would go a long way to helping her heal. A lot of the time our pcs feel they are ignored because the needs and demands of a difficult child are so great. When we finally had to say my son couldn't live wtih us because it wasn't safe for the ohter kids it went a long way toward helping heal their sense of not being as important to us and to healing our relationship with the pcs. We had to choose and it was past time for us to make the well being and safety of our pcs the priority over continuing to pour most of our time and attention into our difficult child. it also sent the message to difficult child that he had to figure it out and stop hurting us all and himself if he wanted a good relationship with his siblings. I don't know if your difficult child is capable of this. I do think your easy child is capable of understanding why you didn't realize all the problems until now, and of overcoming the stress of life with a dangerous sibling IF she and you get the help that you all need.
  19. wethreepeeps

    wethreepeeps New Member

    I have to respectfully disagree, as I have tried for years. No caseworker, through Mental Health, Department for Developmental Disabilities, any of the hospitals he has been in, None of the psychiatrists, psychologists, or social workers who have seen him, no literature I have found or parent in a similar situation in Louisiana has ever indicated that there is *any* possibility of funding for out of state placement.

    My daughter, who is 14, has a grave genetic disorder and is highly unlikely to live past her early 20s, if that. She is completely physically dependent on me. I think that living in fear of her brother, coupled with the thought of losing her beloved pets, will emotionally devastate her.

    The cat is only the most recent incident. Just last week he took off his belt on the school bus and was using it as a whip to strike other children. The driver had to pull over on the side of the road to restrain him. There are incidents at school 2-3 times a week of spitting, kicking, shoving and hitting other kids, all younger than him, because he's still in the 4th grade and most of the kids in his class are 9-10 years old. He's actually one of the oldest kids at the school, since it only goes up to 5th grade.

    I'm not trying to justify considering the possibility of giving up custody. It's an absolute last resort. But I can't bring him home if all there is from him is the typical "I know I should control my anger and I'll remember my coping skills and it'll never happen again." that I've heard a hundred or so times.

    The upped his Trileptal today from 150mgs 2x a day to 300mgs 2x a day. I guess we'll see if that helps.
  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I assume his birthmother used drugs or alcohol or both while she was pregnant? Is that the case?

    If so, the alcohol alone could cause brain damage.

    I know first hand...not all children can be saved. Love does NOT conquer all. And some kids are so damaged they don't want to be loved or to have a family (except for the money and the toys).

    Do not feel guilty if you have to do the last resort. I'm not sorry we did it. The boy did NOT care, and my other children would have been destroyed forever if we had stuck it out with him after what he had done. If your daughter is disabled, your son could sexually act out on her and you might never know it.'s not worth it. He is not a safe child.