I just had a light bulb moment and now I don't know what to do

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by klmno, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I assume most people here know how I have tried to defend myself against a highly dysfunctional family, legal people, etc. They thought, and my family at least still do think, that I'm just a weirdo. Now trust me here- my family was treating me this way from my earliest memories- long before any traumatic event. It was started by my mother believe it or not and justified everyone treating me "differently". I won't go into all of it but that negative feeling toward me has always been there. Nothing would make my mother and bro happier than for me to be diagnosis as a sociopath - I don't want to go into all of it, but I was locked in a closet as a child because "I would get in the way" otherwise.

    So here I have fought all that, rightly so I still believe. However, after reading some more about PTSD because I was trying to find something for a thread by another person in General, I am now learning that even though my childhood trauma was dealt with, the fact that I have PTSD might very well have caused difficult child's issues.

    I don't know what to do. The court appointed MH evaluator I had said he thought I had depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). I knew it wasn't Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). So I defended myself against that. But I never came forward with the PTSD. In his evaluation, he said I exhibited PTSD symptoms in the past. I can tell the difference just because of the way this plays out in my life.

    I had no idea that even though major PTSD symptoms are gone, it can still effect your child in a major way. And the ways? Behavior problems, among others.

    Now what do I do? I can't get a MH prof to back this up in order to file an appeal for difficult child's sentence in time- they have to be appealed within 10 days of court and the appeal is only supposed to be if you think the original judge erred and he really didn't. I can't even get access to a flipping VA therapist who specializes in this anywhere in the near future. They first told me I would have an outpatient stabilization therapist while on a waiting list for a PTSD therapist, then I was told nope- it had to be the first therapist I saw there who frankly, I wouldn't trust to diagnosis Hitler.

    I don't know what to do. It HAS been me- just not for the reasons they all thought it was. I knew those reasons didn't add up, that's why I fought against them. But THIS does add up. But I don't know how to prove it. I don't know what I can do to help difficult child now with this sentence. It isn't fair for him to go thru this if there really is something else that was never considered by anyone as being the cause of the problem.

    As an example- my bro showed clear signs of crossing boundaries and doing inappropriate things and leading my son to something bad in one way or another. My family tried to claim paranoia and "rights" that they had. I fought against that and won. I still think I was right to do so. What these articles are saying is that this wasn't the problem- the problem was the way my son interpreted my rage over it, my fear I exhibited, etc, because the child doesn't understand where all this is coming from and they think there is something wrong with them (the child his/herself).

    So I think it has been me- not due to paranoia, unjustified concern, etc, but because my child didn't understand the real family issues. I had thought he was way too young to explain all this- and they don't recommend going into detail. TG! I had thought the only benefit in telling the family hx was to let the child know he needed to protect himself and guard against future family abuse toward him and his future children. I had thought it was better for the child not to know how sick this family really was.

    Nope- it's so the child won't blame themselves when the parent flips over the signs they see that things are getting out of hand or whatever.

    Does that make sense to anyone? I don't know if I'm articulating this very well or not.

    I could call PO and def attny and tell them this, but with a therapist backing me up, it just makes me look like a bigger nut. The only other thing I know to do is to keep pushing for a PTSD therapist at VA, then let them coordinate with a therapist where difficult child will be in Department of Juvenile Justice. (difficult child would still have to do his sentence of 1-2 years probably).

    But then again, as long as difficult child is controlled by the juvenile courtts, we can only get a family therapist to do behavior mod. That won't solve the problem. VA was going to give us family therapy and get into more '"real" issues, but difficult child didn't stay out of juvie long enough.


    Given all that has happened, is it better for me to try to get difficult child out based on this or do I use the time he's in there to work further on myself and hope they can do more good for him this time than they did last time?

    Orr have I just driven myself in a circle- previous psychiatrists in difficult child's phosps did know I had intensive therapy before but they didn't know specifics. They recommended Residential Treatment Center (RTC) with intensive therapy (individual for difficult child and family) before difficult child came home. Would pushing this be another route down this road, only for difficult child not to get it again? Am I just trying to rescue him at this point?
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2010
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am not entirely sure I understand your thinking on this. Basically you are saying that because of your PTSD, you were a bad mother and difficult child interpreted all of the times that you reacted strongly to things he did in a way that said he was bad. That difficult child thinks he is bad, and then made bad choices, based primarily on the unspoken messages that you sent him because of your PTSD.

    You are going WAY overboard. Take a few steps back.

    Yes, having PTSD in all likelihood did color your actions and reactiong to things that happened at you raised difficult child. It may even have had a big part to play.

    NO, your PTSD after treatment did NOT cause your son to ignore all rules you set, to begin smoking at around age 12 and stealing cigarrettes from you, it did not cause him to steal your credit card and use it. Your treated PTSD did not make him think he was such an amazing person that he deserved everything he wanted. And THAT is what his behavior said. It said I want this and you better get it for me because I deserve it and am going to make you miserable, steal, destroy property, etc... if you don't let me do what I want.

    Your treated PTSD is not the reason he held a knife up at you and threatened you, it is NOT the reason he chose to use drugs, drink, sneak out of the house, steal, or do the other things he has done.

    It is NOT the reason he cut the pants you were wearing to steal the money you needed to pay to keep food on the table.

    Selfishness, entitlement and HIS OWN CHOICES did those things.

    Just like my brother did NOT beat me because my mother had not dealt with the things she learned from her alcoholic father, he did NOT use the threat of molestation to make me behave because my father is an untreated Aspie (want to talk about some strange messages passed on to kids? Have an aspie for a parent!). Bro did NOTtry to sell me in exchange for a 6 pack because our mother had untreated PTSD from all the years of living with an alcoholic father after he mother died and many other close relatives died in the next decade, all before we were born.

    I have known you for a couple of years. I KNOW that you are, and were, a dang fine mother! You did ALL that you could to love, protect, and cherish your son while teaching him right from wrong and communicating your values and teaching him personal responsibility, even when a lot of really stupid or sick or just foolish others tried to put all the blame for everything that happened since the second of his birth on your shoulders.

    You did NOTHING to purposely convey to your son that he was bad, worthless, or otherwise useless. In fact you worked pretty darn hard to convince him of exactly the opposite - and did as good a job as many, and better than some, would do in the exact same situations.

    There may be things that your PTSD did to influence your behavior. There may be things that being in the military did to influence your behavior. There may be things that being sober most of the time did to influence your behavior.

    Your son is easily old enough to own the responsibility for his choices. in my opinion that is one thing the judge meant when he said that he would NOT reduce difficult child's charges to misdemeanors after difficult child cut the pockets of the pants you were wearing to steal money from you. The judge was sending a very clear message that difficult child did this, and that difficult child is responsible for doing it, and that he has to pay the consequences.

    Trying to get ANYONE to let difficult child out of detention is ill advised and likely to do FAR more harm than good to difficult child and to you. It will truly send a message to difficult child that he isn't responsible for ANY of his choices because they were all made because you had ptsd.

    I know you are struggling very very hard to find some sense and logic in your situation, esp with the bizarre messages the juvenile justice system has thrown at you over and over. Your searching is understandable. It is very hard to accept that there really is not rhyme or reason for what happened to you and difficult child. You got caught in a storm of incompetence on the side of the various people assigned to help guide you and difficult child through this (def attys, GAL, first PO, judge, etc), which collided with the storm of family dysfunction which has told you for years that you are the problem that causes all the bad stuff in the lives of everyone related to you. These storms allowed your difficult child to adopt a common attitude that he can do what he wants and no one can stop him - and he was right. He was able to choose to do some really bad stuff and with-o any support there was no way humanly possible for you to stop him. You truly did all you could.

    It is really really easy for a researcher to look at some proble, PTSD, adult child of an alcoholic, etc... and find data to support a conclusion that if you have this and get treatment your disease will make you send X message. If you have it and don't get treatment you send Y message. Then they can say that that message will result in bad behavior or good behavior or mowhawks or dang near anything else they want.

    It truly is not hard to make almost anything seem statistically significant and to write a paper that sounds very believable about it. Did you know that pickles cause cancer? 99 % of Russian soldier who were treated for cancer while in the military ate pickles 2-3 times each day. Sounds like it is worth looking into, esp if you add some more jargon and sciencey sounding sentences.

    No one tells you that the Russian Army served pickles at every lunch and dinner, and included them in every combat meal. Or that the same % of all soldiers who did NOT have cancer also ate pickles that often.

    Right now, finding studies like this one, applying them to difficult child, talking about finding a way to get the judge to end his sentence because it is your fault sure seems like you absorbed your family message really really really well - so well that you don't even see how it is behind this.

    ALL of your life you mother has sent the message that YOU are the problem, that NO ONE in the family would have behavior or other problems if it wasn't for YOU. that no matter what you did or do, how hard you work, how much therapy you have, how many wonderful things you do, how great a friend you are, that YOU are STILL RESPONSIBLE FOR CAUSING ALL THE BAD STUFF.

    Please. klmno, take a few steps back and see how this is just taking ALL of those HORRIBLE messages from your mom and wrapping yourself in them like a giant blanket on a bitter cold night.




    Please keep telling yourself these things. You were not the perfect parent but you were better than a heck of a lot of them that I know of. You didn't drink yourself under the table every day, or even just often enough to become and alcoholic, you didn't beat him senseless every time he looked at you, you didn't make him starve, or wear rags, or in any other way abuse him.

    You are a good mom. If you take responsibility for his choices, it leaves him totally able to walk out of juvie, do whatever he wants, and tell everyone that it is YOU they should go after.

    IF all it takes to destroy a child is to have major PTSD that you get treatment for, how do we explain all the children who had parents who beat them, who dealt drugs, who killed others, who did all manner of unspeakable acts and illegal acts - and grew up to be decent people anyway?

    If all it takes is having treated PTSD to make a child choose bad behavior, my kids are all totally sh** out of luck, because their mom has a LOT more wrong than that - adult grandchild of an alcoholic, sibling of an alcoholic, aspie tendencies, sensory problems, raised by an undx'd aspie, raised by a mother who lost her own mom when she was a child, and I could go on so much more. So could many of us.

    The bottom line is this. You love your son and have loved him every day of his life. You did the best you could with the tools and knowledge you had at the time. You looked HARD for new and better tools and knowledge all the time, and each time you had better tools/knowledge, you used those to raise him.

    At NO TIME did you EVER wake up and ask yourself, "What can I do today to mess my child up in the absolute worst way possible?"

    It is time to work on forgiving yourself. To let yourself off the hook. You really didn't cause all of difficult child's problems, or anyone else's. I promise.
  3. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Wow, thats a lot to absorb. I'm going to give my opinion based on what I think I know about your situation, but fully well knowing I have missed some posts over time from you and that, well, we never know everything about someones life etc. So this is just a gut feeling of mine and said with caring and what seems from this outside viewpoint, to make sense.

    I think you should do as you mentioned in the end. Use this time to get things together for you. Let difficult child use this time to try to get his act together and a chance to forge a new beginning when he eventually is released.

    I say this for multiple reasons. First, you're in a fine pickled mess right now with the house, unemployment etc. It's a heck of a lot to work through and it really MUST be your focus right now, with or without difficult child in custody. Second, okay, lets say ALL of difficult child's problems are because of YOU (I don't feel that it is even possible, honestly, I mean that. We all do things we look back on and realize negatively impacted our children, but short of you being certifiable ? You in no way caused all of his problems. ANyhow, lets pretend it is ALL your fault. What difference does it make now? He needs help. Of a kind no mother can give. He needs the tough help, the professional help, the structured setting, and a great big light bulb moment of his own. Know what I mean?? He has to take this time to make or break his chances for success when he gets out. And frankly, even if in therapy he decided it all WAS your fault? Therapy is the tool he needs. And he needs a lot of help. Not some counsellors chair a couple times a week.

    Also, our kids grow up and our dynamic (parent/child) is not healthy, it isn't easy to change when still in the same household. It is much more likely to develop into one of mutual respect and compatability while in seperate dwellings. Right now, you need to do your own stuff. And really, I feel he needs to do his own. His issues aren't about mom. Even IF they were up until now, at this stage, he needs to learn to live for himself, make choices for himself, live with his successes or his failures, its time for your difficult child to claim responsability for his own actions.

    It is so easy to look back at our lives and think we could have, should have, etc did xyz different. Or crud! I wish I hadn't said xyz or shared xyz with them. Or I .... Or I .... It could be an endless loop for most of us. It ultimately gets us nowhere.

    If you do feel that ptsd is playing a roll in your own life and decisions and actions, you can for sure reach out and ask for some help delving back into the ugly old stuff, figuring out how to stop it impacting your current life. (Been through this when easy child was a baby, it was a tough thing for me and gosh I hated it, but so glad I did it!) If a counsellor does help you look back and does think that perhaps you had a influence on some of difficult child's stuff, well by all means the right moment in time may come for you to share with your difficult child how you've reached out and taken help available, how xyz has changed for you NOW, and that you recognize xyz about his life and its impact on his life, and you want him to know that from here on out things will be different etc. I think its important to maybe keep this to yourself until you are less "in the moment" of his imminent court stuff and all your tangle of housing and employment etc. difficult child's tend to do a lot of blaming and shaming and scape goating by their very natures. Until he is in a much healthier place emotionally, hearing this from you may well (and probably would for most difficult child's) just fuel his inner belief that he's been oh so wronged and its all YOUR fault and he is not responsable etc. Which is hogwash. And it will NOT help him right now. It may in fact hand him a gift wrapped "excuse" and a literal "get out of jail free" card.

    Sometimes we can't rescue our kids, even if we wish we'd done thigns different, even when we realize we messed up at times raising them and it impacted their development and their ultimate choices. This seems to be a stage your difficult child is at. What would saving him accomplish right now? Would he be so happy he'd come home, get a education, be a respectful and rule abiding son, respect rules of the home and community, respect laws, respect HIMSELF? It seems unlikely or he wouldn't be where he is. Sometimes this is what our kids need. Better now than as an adult. We have several parents here with adult kids incarcerated. We all know how heart breaking that is. I think your difficult child needs the real world reality check NOW. And I think in his own best interests, he should be allowed to climb his own way out of the pit he's placed himself in.

    Meanwhile, you love him. Write him letters. Call him. Keep positive in your calls to him. Keep your new awareness from impacting his path right now. Deal with your own path and at some point, the right time will come up to share some stuff with difficult child. Imagine if he's at some point receptive to it instead, and it could be a building block if used at the right time, to a healthy honest adult type relationship for you two.

    Hope that all makes sense. I'm super tired but feeling your pain in your post and wanted to respond. Your love and caring is apparent for your son. No mother with that heart is responsable for ruining their child, any more than all of us would do some stuff differently if we could now that we have hindsight.
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Ok, thank you for your support- honestly. I'm going to sleep on it. It might be one of those codependent things- difficult child needs to work on his issues and I need to work on mine in the meantime. That I can believe. Finding the right tdocs to help .... well, that's a different issue.

    One thing that always bugged me- if I talked to a therapist alone about this stuff, they have alsways said we need family therpay as a prirority. If I tried to deal with it in famile therapy, they'd say I could work on this in individual therapy. When these are typical LCSWs with no specialized training, I can't help but conclude that they just aren't qualified- it is going above their capabilities. Especially since I started difficult child with family therapy and that guy recommended I take difficult child to a psychiatrist because the issues were above his scope of competence. I was aggravated by that at the time, but he very well might have been the most honest therapist we've seen in years.
  5. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I totally agree with Susie. You are going way off here. Leave difficult child where he is. Let him pay the consequences for HIS actions. Surely there might have been some merging of your issues in parenting choices, but your son was not "damaged" because you had/have PTSD. You are grasping at straws to find a way to help difficult child. It's beyond that now. You need to help yourself now.

    Go to any treatment offered you, but stop delving too deeply into this information on your own. You have the type of personality that will grasp and over think. At this juncture, you need to focus on where the dogs are going, clearing out the rest of your house, continuing to look for a job, and finding new housing. Your best bet, in my opinion, is to go to a Kroger, Martins, CVS, Target, etc., and apply for a cashier's job. With college back in school, there has been an increased need in the area for these kind of jobs. It's money and something to keep you afloat while you gather your life together.

    You will be amazed how much better you will feel about yourself and how little time you have to over think difficult child's issues when you are employed. There is no shame in working these types of jobs. Holding out for something in your field is ok the first 6 months of so of unemployment - there comes a time when you take a job to have a job. You can continue to look for a position in your field while working somewhere else. At least you will have money for gas, food, etc., in the meantime. So, take a deep breath and use today to put out some minimum wage applications. Some income is better than no income.

    Let difficult child do what he needs to do on his own right now. It's time for you. Stop trying to find the answers FOR him and focus on moving forward for you.

    And I say all this without trying to offend, just what I believe is in your best interest.

  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Yes. Stop it.

    If you think you have PTSD (and frankly, you could ha ve simply with all the stuff difficult child did last time he was out) then get help for yourself. NOW. Based on the recent stuff. Let any therapist do the digging for old stuff, and if they think it could have a bearing on difficult child (I don't think it does; I think whatever is wrong with your mother and brother, difficult child could have inherited and that would be more a contributor than any PTSD you yourself had) then let it be put on the table. By experts. Not by you. And not now.

    Stop trying to rescue the kid. If you get him out, he will never learn the consequences.

    If your PTSD caused your difficult child to go so badly off the rails, how come my difficult child 3 (not to mention my other kids) is not the same as yours? My PTSD was not successfully treated, not for years and there is still a fair bit of it there. I've had to work out my own coping skills. But my son is law-abiding, loving, honest and conscientious. Frankly, much of that is to his own credit, and connected to his autism.

    Yo did not make your son into a criminal because of any PTSD. Your son made his own choices, especially as he got older.

    You have had too much crud from your family trying to convince you that YOU are the source of all things bad in the world. Stop letting them win!

  7. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    It would be wonderful if we could each go back and redo some of our parenting. Those of us with troubled kids
    normally hash and rehash choices. "If I had done X then Y might not have happened." Having those thoughts is,
    in my humble opinion, normal.

    on the other hand you can not "undo" anything that happend to you as a child and you can not "undo" anything that happened to your son. It is past. It is history. Nobody can rewrite history.

    The future has to be your focus. Your Mother, your brother and your son are not the focus for your future. Your
    future is your future. You are facing a bunch of uncomfortable decisions in a very short time. You will be alone for the first time facing the world as an adult women with the goals of growth, comfort and peace of mind. That is a big job that will be much easier if you focus on the present and the future.

    I believe that with the help of professionals (even if they are not perfect) you can find success. It may take alot of small steps to achieve success but focusing only on each future step will reduce your anxiety and lead to a healthier life. Everyone is rooting for you. DDD
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am certifiable, even have the papers. I have both diagnosis's of PTSD and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). I have no doubt that I am at least a tiny bit at fault for some of my kids issues simply because of genetics plus I wast diagnosed until they were older. I do not think my PTSD had a blasted thing to do with it though. I did have one idiot psychiatric doctor try to tell me that when Cory was three and I went for a consult because Cory was attempting to climb in the dishwasher and get at the knives and forks and he would block me out. It wasnt safe for him. This idiot said it was because Cory "knew or felt" that I had been raped and he was lashing out. Well Cory couldnt have known it because I never had told this three year old such a thing! please! I knever saw that quack again.

    In all the years I have been dealing with the mental health profession, no one has implied that I am responsible for Cory. Now we do believe that many of my problems stem from my mom but we believe she was an undxd schizoaffective who took pleasure in torturing me.
  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    That thought has started crossing my mind, too- along with whether or not his father has an un-diagnosis'd PD that difficult child might have possibly inherited, but I'm not positive how much of PDs is in the genes and how much might be learned behavior.

    After sleeping on it all, I'm thinking my issues probably contributed but there were other contributors, too, and I'll just work on what I can, as was planned anyway, and some "pieces" of it might be discussed with difficult child as the right time comes about. Not details of what happened, but things like making sure he doesn't take it personally if I'm being withdrawn for a while or something.

    I haven't turned down any "treatment" offered or any job. I'm not sure how this got misinterpreted but I am applying for any jobs I think I have a chance of getting, just because that includes any level of position in my own profession doesn't mean it has been exclusively that. But a min wage job would not keep me afloat financially without proceeding as heading toward a shelter anyway. I am pursuing that on one hand while still trying to find a job that would pay me enough to live in an apt. at the same time. I understand that some don't get that because it seems so much easier to believe if someone is unemployed a long period of time, it's because they are being too picky. That's not always the case though.

    VA has me listed as PTSD and major depression. I didn't know that until my last visit there. ( I don't think any MH evluator doubted that I had PTSD in the past- my concern was whether or not they had this listed as a current problem too. The last dr I saw acted like this was a no brainer and got it straightened out, I think.) Supposedly I'm on the waiting list for a PTSD therapist and now, an outpatient crisis stabilization therapist to help me untila PTSD therapist is available for another patient. I didn't turn down either of those. In the mean time, I can go in and talk to the first therapist I saw there who I got because she was available when I was in desparate need to get a referral to get on a waiting list for their work program. I got the referral and am now on that waiting list, too. I have no desire to see this therapist further because she makes me want to pull both my and her hair out. LOL! I do have phone numbers I can call if I get desparate- VA's hotline numbers for suicidal thoughts, PTSD hotline, and affter hours nurse who will talk to you about anything for a bit and put in for an emergency appointment with someone. The problem is, I'm being told no one is currently available except this first therapist. The dr can get past that but that requires seeing a dr for an appointment, and I'm working on that.

    I need to follow-up with them. When I went for a mammo, it turned out they had me listed for a gyn exam and that dr helped push for me to get on the MH waiting lists I mentioned above. They were supposed to schedule my mammo and send me an appointment letter saying when it would be. I was going to talk to a dr at that time about this pushing further MH appts but I still haven't gotten my appointment letter for the mammo. Generally, it is more feasible (and they recommend) keeping a list of "issues" then going there one day and addressing as much as you can while there. Since it ends up taking the majority of the day while you're there, albeit more seems to get accomplished that way, I haven't gone in a couple of weeks so I could deal with some other things. I thought my appointment letter for the mammo would come in during this time but it hasn't so I'll probably be making a trip there next week.

    The first therapist hasn't been able to keep any facts straight, is obviously very inexperienced but thinks she can help any issue. This makes her just knowledgable enough to be dangerous to me. The last time I saw her, I just ask (begged) if she could just let me talk and get some things out- this was the week difficult child was released early, did all he did, was arrested again, and Plan A went thru Plan B then onto Plan C and I was feeling like an emotional bomb. She told me no- "I shouldn't be thinking that way". Obviously she doesn't get PTSD as well as she thinks she does. Invasive thoughts are a symptom- if "you shouldn't be thinking that way" solved the problem we wouldn't need tdocs, in my humble opinion. So I can't see that there is anything she is treating me for and if she's not even willing to let me talk out some of this, but is just there writing facts down incorrectly, why bother?

    Going back to the original question though, about ptsd effecting our children- it was mentioned that they are starting to loopk into if a child "learns" ptsd reactions from living with a parent with ptsd- like the startle reflex and so forth. One psychiatrist - the one that led difficult child's MDE- said that difficult child was reacting to his learning about his father and my possible breast cancer (at that time it was a possiblity but later turned out not to be cancer), as traumatic for him. I can't help but think some tendency to have ptsd reactions were passed down. But still, just as that psychiatrist said, and she did say exactly this- the problem is finding a good therapist who can and will help a child with this.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2010
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Actually, I was on my own after getting out of the military until having difficult child, as a single adult - and that was for about 11 years prior to having difficult child. I get your point though.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2010