I feel so alone

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by OnThinIce, Nov 18, 2013.

  1. OnThinIce

    OnThinIce New Member

    Hi, I'm new to this forum. I have a 17 year old son who has ruined my life. To type that sounds awful, but its true. And the guilt tears me up for thinking these thoughts, but it doesn't make it any less true.

    I have raised him as a mostly single mother. He is an only child. His dad has been in and out of his life as is convenient for him, in the past several years, mostly not. He was an easy, and seemingly normal, baby. The behavior problems start shortly after school started. There is no nice way to say this - he is extremely lazy. Will do the bare minimum of anything he is asked to do - schoolwork, cleaning up around the house, even taking care of himself. And usually only under extreme duress, arguing, threats, etc. From early on he seemed to care nothing about any kind of consequences - positive or negative - you could threaten or entice him with. He was unmotivatable. In grade school I took him to a psychiatrist, who diagnosed him with Asperger's and ADD (no hyperactivity). He did have some Aspergers qualities (few if no friends, relating more to adults, obsessing about things, speech issues), but other things did not fit (no problem with eye contact, for example). The ADD was also a bit iffy - he proved he could be very motivated and focus quite well if it was something he was interested in. Just not if he wasn't. Later, many other psychologists/psychiatrists/neuropsychiatrists, you name it, dismissed the Asperger's outright, couldn't agree on the ADD, added Anxiety/Depression, and Oppositional Defiance Disorder (which I now suspect may be its even more evil cousin, Conduct Disorder).

    My the time he got to middle school it became intolerable, because we would fight over homework completion for hours. He would prefer to refuse to do work for hours and hours night after night than spend the 20 minutes to actually do the work. What he did do was illegible and sloppy and he would force you into an endless cycle of having to review his work and make him correct it. He also began PEEING in his room on the floor, whether out of sheer laziness or anger at me/life, who knows. He has ruined his room. When he was 10, he lured my neighbor/best friend's 6 year old son into some sexual play that resulted in my friend calling CPS on me and the first sign that my son's problems were beyond the scope of imagination. I put him in therapy with a counselor that specialized in this. At 10, they don't take these things that seriously. She did discover that my son had been abused by a teenage babysitter several years earlier, who I filed a complaint against. After a few months, the counselor called him "cured". My friendship was over and later the friend moved her family out of state as a result of the incident. I had the first of many mental breakdowns at this point, and considered suicide.

    By 8th grade the behavior problems were extreme and he was failing every class. I took him to another psychologist who recommended I demand an IEP for my son. My son was then placed in a special classroom for kids with behavior problems, 6 kids and 3 teachers and a "quiet room" that was padded and locked. The relief in no longer having homework to fight over or getting phone calls daily from the school gave me a temporary reprieve.

    But shortly after that, and into his first year of high school, we discovered my son had developed a serious problem with pornography. Every attempt to lock it down was worked around. He racked up countless bills in data usage on his phone, downloaded movies on our Comcast account, worked around our firewalls to view porn. And then, Thanksgiving Day 2010 when my son was 14, he was at his father's parents house and they caught him in the act of molesting his 4 year old cousin. All hell broke loose. Rather than coming with us on a planned family vacation to Hawaii that next week, my son went to Juvenile Detention, where he spent the next 8 months, ended up pleading guilty to 1st degree child molestation. This was my mental breakdown #2.

    At age 15, he had a 1st degree felony record and became a registered Level 2 sex offender. His father completely turned his back on him. His grandparents were caught in the middle, wanting to help but forbidden to by their other children (the victim's parents). They helped by throwing money at the problem. So to avoid spending 2 years in JRA, my son went to a private treatment center across the country, for $14,000/mo. And after he did 9 months there, the state still deemed him too high a risk to come home, so he went to another residential program for more treatment and another 9 months (at $9k/mo). I cannot ever recover from the financial impact all of this cost me and his grandparents. It is unimaginable. While he was gone, due to the stress of all of it, I had mental breakdown #3 . I thought about suicide a lot. I thought about running away. I ended up completely upheaving my life - quitting my job, removing many people from my life who had failed to be supportive. And there were few people who really knew the extent of how horrible my home life had been/still was.

    Finally, he returned home last February after over 2 years away. He was now 17 years old. His school wouldn't take him back, they referred him to a specialized school an hour away for juvenile delinquints. At first, things were better. He did well at the school. He was mostly respectful at home, and did things we asked him to do. But slowly, things started to fall apart, and he started to revert back to the old behaviors. We did some family therapy, and it was a disaster. He is so mean and hateful to me it is unbelievable. And I'm hurt beyond hurt that he cannot be remotely nice to me or appreciative for all I've done. The grades are dropping again. I bought a car for him to share, but he was so nasty and ungrateful (and showed a scary lack of emotional control while driving) that despite paying for driving school I stopped driving with him or allowed him to get a license. He has tried but he cannot get a job, due to the felony. He owes $4k in restitution that he has no ability to pay.

    A month ago, he became defiant with my son and my fiance (who has lived with us for the past 6 years) and I told him to either go to his room or leave. He left, then called the cops and tried to get me arrested for child abandonment. He told me his goal was to ruin my life. Well, he wasn't successful in getting me arrested (they just told him to be respectful until he turned 18 and he could leave), but he has been successful in ruining my life.

    It is now one month until his 18th birthday. We've tried talking to him about his behavior. All we ask is that he is respectful to us in our house, and that he clean up after himself. We don't even ask him to do chores except occasionally get the mail or take the dog out because he is so abusive and argumentative. We are supposed to leave in 3 days for a trip to Hawaii - the trip he was supposed to get 3 years ago when he ended up in detention instead. We went over Thanksgiving on purpose because we are trying to invent that holiday into something positive, as it is forever ruined for me in my head because of what happened 3 years prior.

    But it's not going to happen, because his behavior has deteriorated badly, and I can't reward him with such a trip, and I don't think I could handle 8 days with him. We are going to leave him behind, which means the house will probably be destroyed when we return.

    And on his 18th birthday, he will become a homeless teen. Because I cannot live like this anymore. I'm on the verge of breakdown #4. He has no chance for success. No family that will take him in, no friends, no money, no job, no license, no HS diploma, and he is the lowest of all common denominators: the sex offender. And I can't do anything for him anymore. I'm sucked dry. I'm done. I'm in constant pain. I just need it to be over, he needs to be out of my house, and he needs to be responsible for whatever happens after that, even though I know it will be nothing good.

    Thank you for listening.
  2. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I don't have any advice, but I am listening. Sending many comforting hugs.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. I'm so sorry you are going through this. Did he have a lot of chaos when he was an infant/young child with maybe many caregivers? Is his bio. father perhaps like him in some ways?

    I adopted an eleven year old who was a lot like your son. He sexually acted out on my younger two kids and probably a lot more kids that we never found out about. He was so dangerous that we called CPS and asked them to remove him.

    It is harder for you because you raised him from birth. I don't know what made him the way he is, but he sounds like he is not safe for you or anyone to l ive with. Even though he was sexually abused, that is the norm with sexual predators. It does not make the behavior any less dangerous, because he was also abused, when he abuses others and no allowances will be made legally for that, since it is the usual that those who do it have had it done. Many who have been abused do not become predators, but your son and mine did. It is very excruciating.

    Our son got intensive interventions for sexual predators and his own sexual abuse, which he repressed, and he did not change. Like your son, he was charged in a court of law for sexually assaulting a child and is supposed to sign up as a sexual predator wherever he moves, however we checked and he hasn't done it. This is a felony. He was all of thirteen when he was charged and found guilty (we did not initiate the lawsuit. The county did it on it's own). After being in a residential home for young sexual predators, he acted out there too, and was diagnosed with severe reactive attachment disorder and antisocial traits.

    The healing for you has to start with your focus going back on YOU so that you can nurture and take care of yourself and move on with your life in spite of your son. You did not raise him to be the way he is and you can't help him. We are all able to help one person....us. You must have had friends/family once and there still must be things you are good at and love to do. in my opinion you need to detach from your son and move on with your own life. Your other son and your fiance need you and I know that once you get so caught up with the dysfunctional child, sometimes we have little to give to them...as well as to ourselves. This incident took us two years recovery and this child never came home again. He is still the same, I hear.

    I think you'll find a lot of friends on the forum of Parent Emeritus. This is the forum for people with grown and troubled children, many in trouble with the law. This particular forum is for younger children. After eighteen, things change legally and we have options we did not have before.

    Mostly all of us on that forum have had to learned how to detach and move on when our adult children were not doing well. We had to learn not to get caught up in what they were doing, because there is no point. We can't change them and everyone deserves a good life filled with love and laughter even if your children make horrible choices or are mentally ill in some way and won't or can't improve.

    You matter. Your life is important outside of your son. I highly suggest starting out by reading "Codependent No More" by Melodie Beatty. A twelve step group may help you...many of us find them useful. Families Anonymous or Codependents Anonymous are both good. So is NA and AA if your child is a substance abuser. NAMI has good classes for parents of the mentally ill and for those of us (yes, me included) who have suffered mental illness.

    in my opinion it is time you take back your life before you never have one. You gave this child seventeen years and nothing changes, but you didn't put a gun to his head and make him do anything that he did. It's not your fault and it's not going to help him if YOU never experience joy and happiness again. You are right that this needs to be over and that your son has to move out. Yes, he will probably get into trouble, but you tried to help him and now it is up to him.

    Big hugs and please remember that your life matters and you should try saving yourself. If you want to keep posting, you will have friends right here. Most of us on the Parent Emeritus forum have had to detach so you are not alone.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2013
  4. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hello. Thank you for sharing your story. It is very sad - and, as an outsider reading it, the feelings of sadness are for you and for your son equally. It really sounds as if he did not get the right interventions and help when he needed it - whether that could have changed his destiny will never be known, but it may have done. You did your best to get an accurate diagnosis for him but it seems not much happened as a result? Incidentally, it is really a very common misunderstanding of ADHD that these kids cannot concentrate - they can concentrate, but what they cannot do is persist in that concentration or resist distractions - they can, however, do these things when they are very interested in something, as you observed with your son.

    The trouble is that when one has a different child, the world does not change itself to accommodate their differences. Homework for example - I hate the thing! I really do... at least for kids who are simply exhausted at the end of the day and cannot concentrate on boring exercises. I think it is truly not that your son was lazy in not doing it but that he was desperate. I can't feel what it's like to have an ADD/ADHD brain but I can imagine a little... and I can imagine fighting and struggling not to do homework if I had one. And then the sex offences... you tell us that your son was himself abused. Surely that is the key to something, no? Again, you tried to get him help for this but it seems it was not helpful.

    All of this is such a vicious circle. These kids need positive affirmation, unconditional acceptance, understanding and more understanding - the very things it is so all but near impossible to give much of the time, for ordinary, human parents with their own limitations and stresses! But really much of it wasn't your son's fault. Not your fault either, needless to say. In six years of life with my ADHD son, I can see how little the world understands them, and how impossible it is for them to do the things everyone else does, even though they may want to. The intersection between the hardness of the surrounding environment and the inability to perform differently under duress is a main driver for oppositional defiant behaviour, I believe. But, let's face it, looking after a child like this is a task for super heroes, warriors, extraordinary people. We all fail at the gate. You mentioned right at the end of your message another son... how has that impacted things?

    Where do you go from here? I wish I knew... They say it is never too late to heal a broken relationship - but it may be too late for the time being. Your son may have to make his own way in a world that is not kind or forgiving, and he may crash. Maybe literally. That is really a hard and sad thing for any parent to face.

    I hope others will have wise words.
  5. OnThinIce

    OnThinIce New Member

    Hi, thanks for the replies. To add a few things - I mistyped when I referred to another son. I only have the one. After him, there was no way I would consider attempting another. My fiance does have a son - who is 15 now. He's with us every other weekend. He is a model child - straight A student, musician, Select Soccer, you name it. My son hates him.

    I feel compelled to say a few things about my son's sexual issues. I realize that this makes me sound even more codependent, but it is important to me that I cling to one shred of hope, that my son is not a lifeline sexual predator. It is a very common misconception that people who sexually abuse others are not able to be rehabilitated, that they are extremely likely to reoffend. This is true for adult sex offenders, it is NOT true for child sex offenders. In fact, the recidivism rate for juvenile sex offenders is only about 10%. The reasons why children sexually offend against other children and why adults do it are generally NOT the same. Adolescennts who do it usually fit the profile of my son - behavioral issues, no friends or social life, they have been offended against themselves, and SIMPLY because they have access to children and not other adolescents their own age to experiment sexually with. Adults who sexually offend have the ability to have consensual relationships with other adults, but choose to prey on children because of a psychological disorder called pedophilia. You cannot use the term pedophile to refer to an adolescent or child. Sadly, it does not change the laws which treat juvenile sex offenders the same as adult sex offenders - it is an unsealable crime, and he has to register as a sex offender like any adult. My son has been through years of therapy and has NOT reoffended (yet). He has a chance I think when he is 19 or 20, unless the laws change, to petition the court to have his records sealed and his registration requirement removed, IF he has no further legal issues.

    I feel the need to post the above because there are such extreme reactions when you say "sex offender" that are almost always similar to what "Midwest Mom" posted above, and a general feeling that he is not redeemable. After hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on my son's rehabilitation, I have to believe right now that at least that part of his issues have been resolved. It's entirely possible he will be one of the 10% and become an adult sex offender, but I'm trying not to go down that thought process yet, as there are no signs that he is going there. Right now, it is purely behavioral problems.

    I also do not think my son has ADD. He was on medications for several years - during which we tried several of them, different doses, etc. I can't even remember them all - Vyvanse was one, several others. He's not on any medications now, he was on Tenex for awhile, and probably needs to be back on it, although I really haven't noticed a change - he was still acting out behaviorally when he was on it.
  6. Confused

    Confused Guest

    Im so sorry and am praying for you and your son. Hugs are def in order too. I have not been in your situation personally, but do know someone who has been in therapy for many years and there is no intention on stopping and even being encouraged to go to therapy when an adult. ( was abused as a child and still underage) Hopefully your son will be willing to continue to get help. Your right, in some cases the child that was abused never abused another child/person or wont do it again..so I will pray this for you.

    As far as him being homeless. he needs to realize he needs to get a job but if he is not able to handle one, what about looking into halfway houses or places for troubled adults? You do need to do something for you and keep yourself and others around you safe. He can be tested.. again I know but hopefully correctly this time by a Mental Health Service ( MHR?) or other for adults.

    I know you love your son, but love yourself too :)
  7. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    I am so so sorry to hear your story. Your pain and exhausiton come through in every word. I do think you are doing the right, the only thing. Heaven knows what you have done in the past hasn't fixed him...I doubt you can think of anything going forward that will either. He has to fix himself. You need love, support, rest, and therapy. Bless you, good luck. I'm glad this group is here for you, and all of us.
  8. jayde653948

    jayde653948 FAITH, LOVE, HOPE

    Wow, that is IDENTICAL to my life. It breaks my heart to read your story because I felt like I was reading my own. My 17 yr old son has been in a P.R.T.F. the past 6 mthss and will be coming home for good by Christmas. I am thrilled for him to come home, but really terrified at the same time. I am worried he will resort back to the same behaviors as before he was placed. I am going to try to enforce rules as well as structure , but I am worried sick.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Jadye, you would get more help if you started your own post and told us your story. Is he also sexual? Do you have other kids?

    If he is over 17, your best bet for responses from moms who have been there is to post on Parent Emeritus...the laws change and our ability to control our kids in any way changes after they turn eighteen. That's why Parent Emeritus exists. This particular forum is best for minor children. Some states treat seventeen as if the kids are already eighteen.

    Hope to hear your story and am so sorry for your hurting mommy heart!!!
  10. Aimless

    Aimless New Member

    Hi OTI,
    Thank you for your courage to share and reach out to others like me who are really struggling with a child such as you are. I will hold you and your family close in my prayers as I too find myself on a journey to raise a son, though a little younger, 9, that seems built and bent for swimming against the current of life. I haven't had time alone to post my story but I will this week. Keep your chin up, hope for the best and prepare for the worst, and remember to take care of yourself first so you'll have something to offer others. This site seems very loving and supportive. I'm glad you found it. I know I am.
  11. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am sorry for you. It is a horrible experience that surely explains a few breakdowns for certain.

    My suggestion is to see what can be done, if anything, before he turns 18. Some setting that is right for him. Try to prevent having yo kick him out is your goal. Although certainly warranted by his actions.

    Super hugs to you! You have been through too much. I hope you are good to yourself. You deserve it.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I lived through this. The child we adopted is also a sex offender registered.

    I do not know why your son was listed as one at fifteen so I can't comment, but that isn't very young. Also, kids who are abused usually don't tell so it is hard to know who is offending and who isn't. A fifteen year old child can rape a ten year old and in my opinion that is not innocent, but I have no idea what happened to your child.

    I do think you need to watch him very carefully when he is around other kids in your house and I think people react to the words because they are serious ones. What will happen to your child, nobody can say. I certainly won't guess. I wish you the best. I hope your son is truly cured.

    Hugs and good luck!