Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Lila256, Oct 28, 2017.

  1. Lila256

    Lila256 Member

    I have been lurking around for the last couple days, but I wanted to properly introduce myself and my situation. I’m still not entirely sure why I am posting this, other than some deep need to share this experience with a group of people who won’t gasp and look at me like I have three heads. It’s so difficult when you are going through this because people around you have such a hard time dealing with your reality, even if they have the best of intentions, that to some degree it becomes this thing that you don’t even really know how to talk about it anymore beyond the inevitable fight in front of you. I apologize in advance if this becomes a book in length or I start rambling. It feels like the emotions from it all are finally hitting me this week.

    For the last five years, I have been helping my partner raise his extraordinarily difficult son. I have been a peer counselor for vulnerable women for almost 20 years, and have helped many people through difficult situations, but I still don’t think I had any idea what I was really getting myself into with this one. At first, we suspected that his son was dealing with potentially mild autism and a history of abuse, neglect and overexposure from his mother (to what degree we are still not entirely sure because he protects her). He was having many of the issues I have seen many of you talking about with your children – stealing, constant lying, manipulating, refusal to follow rules, screaming, fighting with other children, refusal to cooperate in school, etc. People would regularly describe him as “evil” (in a nonreligious kind of way). Additionally, he was having bizarre issues like painting with feces in “the scary place” (his closet), defecating under his bed, saving bottles of urine and blood (from a chronically bloody nose that he eventually had surgery on), etc.

    Thankfully most of those particular bizarre issues went away with time, though we could never quite get him to clean himself after he went to the restroom. However, we eventually found out he was abusing my cat (and had a history of abusing his bio mom’s dogs), and he started to become violent and extremely manipulative towards everyone around him. He was constantly making aggressive motions towards his teachers (“shooting” them with his fingers, etc.) and they became terrified of him. He had no concept of appropriate boundaries with authority figures at all. He was eventually put into an observational program within the school district to assess the situation after he stole my 9 inch kitchen knife and brought it to school, and was then transferred to a specialty school that specifically deals with kids from the local psychiatric hospital as a day student. While there, he assaulted the principal and multiple teachers. He broke his hand punching the wall, and continued assaulting teachers with his cast.

    At home, we lived in a prison. There was locks on every door and every cabinet in this house except for his bedroom door and one bathroom door, but that didn’t stop him from breaking in through the windows or ripping the doors off of the hinges. He was ever more creative about how he got around things so we wouldn’t notice he had access. He assaulted his father on numerous occasions (at times because he was protecting me from becoming the target), all because he didn’t like an answer we had given him or didn’t want to pay the consequences of his actions. Mind you, his father is an ex-bouncer and is massive at 6’5”, but that didn’t stop him from attacking him. The cops refused to do anything when they were called, only telling us we needed to “beat him” (this was from three different cops on three different occasions) and that it was an issue for his psychiatrist/counselor. Meanwhile, the psychiatrist and counselor both told us to call the police. We tried everything, followed recommendations, constantly researched new resources. Not one thing ever changed the trajectory of the truly problematic behavior.

    The police didn’t even arrest him when the principal at the specialty school called them on my stepson because he admitted to trying to kill his father and threatened to kill me. The principal called me in a panic that morning because he had told a little girl on the bus that he was trying to kill his parents, and she got scared and told the principal. In the process of talking to her, it dawned on me that he had tried the night before. He was on restriction again, and I was in the process of making some coffee for his father. He heard me in the kitchen and called out that he wanted to take the coffee out to his father out in the driveway when I was done. I assumed he was trying to be nice to get off restriction, so I let him take it out. He came back in a few minutes later saying he needed a different cup of coffee because his dad wouldn’t drink it because it smelled funny. I was in the middle of cooking dinner, so I just told him to go back to his room and didn’t get back around to coffee until much later. When his dad came inside, he was still commenting about the weird smell in his coffee because it was unlike anything he had smelled before. The principal called me back a little bit later and said that he had admitted to trying to create a poison from roots in the yard and had slipped it into his dad’s coffee with the intention of killing him. When the police were called, he changed his story to that he was just trying to make him sick, but fully admitted to intentional action. They would only submit a report to juvenile hall, which did result in a charge. When I called his diversion counselor (from the charge for bringing a knife to school) to let her know about what happened, she promptly cleared his initial charge even though he had violated every aspect of the diversion contract.

    After they refused to arrest him, we panicked, calling everyone trying to figure out how to keep ourselves safe. The county sent an in-home counselor to the house to assess the situation, and the only thing the counselor offered was to take him out to a movie the next day “so we can have a break.” I repeatedly asked him why he thought taking him out to do something fun the next day would in any way address our safety concerns. The child was trying to create poison to kill us (probably harvesting the materials while we were sleeping, even though we slept in shifts), and you want to take him out to a movie? We made the decision to take him to the hospital for psychiatric hold at least to give ourselves time to figure things out. They only kept him for about four days before trying to release him as a “model patient” and we couldn’t find any answers after an exhaustive search. The only answer we were given by a number of people was that we could refuse to pick him up and force them to turn him over to CPS. His dad wasn’t quite ready to do that, so we still had every intention of picking him up until his father got there and he made it quite clear he still intended to kill his father right in front of the discharge counselor. His dad got up and left at that point.

    The last 6 to 8 months have been a whirlwind. He ended up at his bio mom’s for a few months, even though we let CPS know of the history there. He caught multiple more charges for assaulting his stepdad, trying to burn the facility they live in down, and molesting two little girls (I have cried myself to sleep more than once over the last one) while living there. He has been in front of a judge at least a couple times since then, and they still refuse to put them either in a psychiatric hold or jail. His mom made the decision to turn him over to CPS after that, which I don’t blame her at all for. She has done so many things at his expense, but he is just out of control at this point and she did make a real effort. Then, about a week ago, CPS literally just dropped him off in the driveway and left, saying his contract had been revoked. Queue a huge, dramatic scene involving parent advocates, police, his bio mom (who had just gotten back from chemotherapy), etc. Thankfully his father is not legal owner of the property and I am, so I was able to refuse to let him on the property. Now the state is trying to charge his parents with neglect, which is just hilariously ironic to me.

    I had figured that when he was out of the home, my anxiety would get a lot better, but I think when you are going through something like this, you kind stuff it in order to deal with what is in front of you, which is always something. Even with him out of the house, it is always something. After he left, his father couldn’t even look at his bedroom for quite a while, so my mom and I went in there to clean up. We ended up having to tear all the drywall down, because he had spit repetitively on every inch of every wall in his room, torn holes to try to watch me dress in my room, and drawn symbols in what I can only assume was feces. Since then, it has been a journey of trying to process everything and figure out where to go from here.
  2. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    I'm sorry for what you are going through. There is too much of a risk to let him come back home. I think he's too dangerous to be put in foster care or a group home, too. There may not be any easy solution. Get a family counselor and social worker who might be able to advise you. CPS didn't do their job.
  3. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    Hi there and welcome,

    You are in the right place. Our forum is quiet on weekends, so you will see many more replies on Monday and thereafter.

    Wow, your story is truly a doozy. I am very sorry you are dealing with this. Your partner's son is very disturbed as you already know, and I agree with Crayola that a home setting is not an option for him. I don't recall if you mentioned his age, but I am guessing he is still a minor if CPS is involved. Has your partner signed his parental rights over to the state as well? He needs to be kept in a locked facility unless and until he becomes stable, perhaps with medication.

    If there is any chance this boy may end up in your home even for a short time, please take steps to insure the safety of your cat. Some of us have had to re-home pets because they were not safe around our children. Sad but true.

    Keep posting, we are here for you.
  4. Lila256

    Lila256 Member

    I agree. He has already been kicked out of multiple foster homes and group homes in the short time they have actually had custody, which is probably why he ended up in our driveway. We have been in contact with all kinds of family counselors and social workers over the last five years, including recently. I wish I could say that any of them have had any answers. :) At least the charge of negligence allows his father to get a free lawyer to protect his interests in regards to that.
  5. Lila256

    Lila256 Member

    He is currently 14. His father and mother just went in front of the judge to sign away their parental rights this week, I believe. He had been on temporary placement with CPS prior to that. Totally agree that he should not be in any type of residential situation. He needs to be under 24 hour supervision. I didn't even go into all of it above otherwise it would have become a book. After he left, I also noticed that the tablet that he had controlled access to was filled with history of him trying to open loans and credit cards. It's just never ending. I was on the edge of finding a new home for my cat (even though he was the only thing keeping me sane some days) when he tried to kill his father. My stepson asks about the cat every time he talks to his father. I get so upset with the history with that every time I hear say he wants to see my cat because I remember the screams when I wasn't looking. I have made a promise to myself (and my poor mother) that he is never coming back to this house. I just can't do it anymore, even if it means his father needs to move out until he is old enough. However, I don't think his father can do it anymore, either. We are both just broken.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2017
  6. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    Once again I am so very sorry. No family should ever have to go through this. You are among others who understand all too well.

    These behaviors at 14 (or at any age, really) are very, very alarming indeed. I am so glad that his dad has taken the step of signing his rights to CPS. This will allow the child to be appropriately placed. And while I have never been through this and don't know for sure, I would guess that once he is a ward of the state you are no longer obligated to take him in.

    You sound very strong. I hope your partner is on the same page. It can be very difficult when partners do not agree on how to handle a child. I am a step-parent myself so I know what it's like to be in this position as a non-biological parent.
  7. Lila256

    Lila256 Member

    This forum has been such a breath of fresh air! Thank you so much for your responses.

    Thank you for saying that I sound strong. I've always been a very strong person that has fought for myself and others most my life, but this situation has a way of making even strong people feel pretty weak, as I'm sure you know. I'm working my way back there! His father has his quirks, but he has always had my back. I don't think we would have made it as far as we did without being on the same page. Even minute to minute, you just have to be.

    I have a cousin who has been a foster mom for the state for a number of years, and she has really been a wealth of information navigating this part of it. That's what she mentioned to us, that the only way to really get him the placement that he needs is to let CPS take custody. Knowing that has actually been really comforting in all of this, because no one from the state tells you these things of course. That is all we have ever wanted for him, is the resources to help him. It sucks that you have to sign over your parental rights to actually have some hope of help, but it is what it is.
  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Lila, welcome. You've been thru so much, I too admire your strength and resilience and the support you have offered your step son.

    I have no answers at all, I have no experience with what you're dealing with. All I can say is, we are here for you, you're not alone and we'll do what we do best the wagons around you and offer you our best support.

    Keep posting, it helps to write it and have others who understand receive it with the care it deserves.
  9. Littleboylost

    Littleboylost On the road unwanted to travel

    I just want to say welcome. Please know you are here with no judgment. We all are here to care and support each other.

    You have a very difficult situation on your hands. It is beyond me why they do not consider your step son to have a mental health disorder requiring intensive in Patient treatment and perhaps confinement and monitoring and observation for a long of time.

    I am disappointed but not surprised in the failing of the system. We have expedited this failure first hand as well.

    We are here to support one and other. Take care of yourself and stay strong! This is not easy stuff.
  10. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I dont know if you have ever read my sad story of adopting a child of 11 who was clearly damaged brfore he met us and was a budding psychopath. He was very much like your strpson. He hurt animals (eventually killed our dog), threatened fires (lit tiny onesin his toom in front of our two littles), peed and pooped in odd places, molested little the time we found out the worst of it, we called CPS and told them to take him now. That day. They did. And he had never tried to kill us, not that it would have shocked us if he had.
    Extremely early seperation and/or trauma in a baby/toddlers life can screw with a young toddler and childs brain wiring and the child is often severely damaged way before we try to raise them.

    Three big red flags of a budding psychopath are cruelty ro animals, fascination with fire and pottying in odd places. Molesting younger kids is common. Crazy lying and stealing are. A clear lack of remorse exists.
    I think your stepson may be a budding psychopath (i am so sorry) and I think that probably his social workers and other mental health professionals think so too which is why they cant tell you what to do. They dont know. To date, there is no way known to stop it. All you can do is protect yourself.
    I feel he is very dangerous and needs 24/7 watching and therapy without any plans to ever come home. At 14 he is doing things most adults never do. He is very sick. There is nothing you can do other than make sure he gets 24/7 residential until he is eighteen...then dont let him too close even after that, at least not close enough to live with you
    If it is hard emotionally (it has to be), please seek therapy for you and husband. You never need to go it alone. We are here too, but we are not professionals.
    Love and prayers. Take care of yourselves. You deserve it. You are diing the best fir him and yourselves.
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    Last edited: Oct 28, 2017
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am so very sorry for what you have and are going through. I truly do understand. This sight will be a godsend for you. There will be absolutely zero judgement and tons of support for you, and for your husband also. He can read your posts and the replies, or he can post if he wishes. He can just lurk if he wishes, for as long as he desires. You may get a lot of suggestions/ideas if and when you ask for those. Please know that no one will be upset if you choose to use none of them. Use only what works for you, no one will ever be offended. As for feeling you are writing a book, don't worry about it. I write a LOT (as you will probably see here, lol!) and it absolutely is not a problem. Just be sure to use paragraphs rather than one gigantic block of text.

    I absolutely understand what it can be like to live with a violent child. My oldest son, Wiz, has Aspergers, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Depression and ADHD. From the time his little sister learned to crawl he would attack her. We could not leave them alone in the same room even long enough to use the bathroom. For a number of years we had a totally adorable child who generally was adorable and well behaved in public but acted like a demon in private.

    We dealt with psychiatric hospitals, including a 3 month stay after he tried to strangle his sister when he was 12, CPS, and a ton of other stuff. When he was 14 it escalated to an intolerable level. I realized my daughter fully expected to be murdered by her brother before HE reached age 18. It was not reasonable or fair to make or allow her to live with him or in that kind of fear. The day after I learned this, Wiz lost his dang mind and had the fit to end all fits. When the deputy sheriffs came, I refused to let Wiz stay in the house. They could charge me with whatever they wanted. I was unable to cope any longer. Hubby could tell by looking at me that I had reached my limit.

    My son spent a couple of days in the county youth shelter and then we all went before a judge. A few days after that, I agreed to let my son stay with my parents. A few days later, I agreed to let him stay there permanently or until they couldn't handle him any longer. When my folks asked, I thought maybe if Wiz stayed close things could get better. It took a few years, but things did get better. None of knows what did it, we are just glad that it improved.

    Your son is doing some things that are very worrisome. Drawing with fecal matter is a sign of a severe problem. I don't know what kind, but something is wrong. Animal abuse is a sign of incredibly severe problems. It is a sign of a lack of empathy or a liking for hurting those who are weaker than you or more vulnerable than you. Make sure than he is never to have any control over you if you are ill or elderly. It isn't something that people grow out of, at least not without an incredible amount of therapy.

    Take very good care of yourselves. Know that taking care of yourselves is taking care of your son. If something happens to you, you won't be able to care for him.

    Know that this is a safe place, a place where you can talk about what is going on with you, what is keeping you up at night, what you are worried about. I have been here a very long time and this is a place where people genuinely want to help.

    (((((hugs))))) I know it is hard to reach out. It is even harder to face the fact that something is wrong with you child, that piece of you that you love so very much. No matter what, you love him so much. No matter what, it is fine to love him.
  12. Lila256

    Lila256 Member

    Susie: What a handful you had. I cannot even imagine going through this type of thing with another child in the house. It was bad enough just with a cat!

    And I know exactly what you mean when you realize you have just had it. I think my moment came when I was talking with the school/district officials on a conference call after he tried to kill his father because they wanted to do a risk assessment for when he came back to school to protect the teachers and other children. (My stepson was still in the psychiatric ward at the time.) We were going down this list of problematic behaviors, and I answered yes to almost all of them, and his teachers agreed. With each question, the district official got more and more quiet, and then finally said, "You know that these are indicators of very dangerous behavior, right?" I have a lot of experience with mental illness in the family and beyond, so I knew his behavior was highly problematic even for someone with mental illness. The teachers started chiming in, "Yeah, we usually only deal with this type of thing with kids who are being held [at the psychiatric hospital], not day students." Meaning we were the only family in the entire psychiatric specific school that still had our child at home with his level of severity. It was such validation in that moment, that I wasn't overreacting. It really was that bad. It really is dangerous.

    I have thought that he had something similar to Antisocial Personality Disorder after the first couple years, in addition to whatever else is going on with him. We fought for so long to get diagnoses, and we were blocked at every step. "He'll grow out of it." "He is just immature." "He just needs to work through his history in counseling." Like as a parent you don't know that there is something severely not right. There was always an excuse, no matter how hard we fought. He was recently diagnosed by a neuropsychologist with high functioning autism and "prodromal stage severe mental illness," but his psychiatrist (who has seen him for a couple years now) disagrees on the autism part. It's been nothing but chaos in terms of his treatment, despite constant battle on our part.

    Thank you so much for the welcome! I have been sharing my conversations here with my partner, which he's been enjoying. He isn't much for typing, so I doubt you'll ever see him "in person," but it is helping him by proxy. :)
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  13. Lila256

    Lila256 Member

    I had read about your experience when I was poking around. It was one of the things that let me know I was in the right place. (A silver lining, I guess!) It's such a sad situation. These kids go through things that no human being ever should, which is not their fault, and you try so hard to help them and to make up for all those things that happened that they didn't cause. But you are absolutely right, the damage is permanent no matter what the cause. It's just really heartbreaking to me. They deserved so much better.

    I also completely agree that my stepson is a psychopath (and several others that are involved on a personal level also agree), and unfortunately every day that passes proves that more and more accurate. His dad doesn't even want to answer the phone anymore. I think what really disturbs me in all of this is that we took all of the symptoms to his mental health supports (psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor, etc.) and not one person really put it together and took any sort of action to intervene at an early age prior to it getting violent. I realize there really isn't any largely accepted treatment for this type of thing, but an effort could have at least been made to mitigate and shape it. Or even understand it, so as parents we have a little bit more of a roadmap. Judging by the stories on this site, this is a widespread problem and it's just unacceptable.
  14. Lila256

    Lila256 Member

    Thank you so much for the welcome and support. :)

    Yeah, we really have no idea why he is not in some type of facility, especially at this point. Part of the problem I think is he is very good at playing a part in front of certain people. Most people meeting him would think he is an odd, immature, but relatively "normal" kid until they actually spend time with him. Even before he tried to kill his father, his counselor had repetitively told the psychiatrist that she could do nothing more for him as a counselor. She had taught him all of the skills she could, whether he chose to use them or not, and as parents we were going above and beyond what any of her other parents were. It wasn't helping. She said he needed psychiatric treatment, prior to all of the really bad stuff that has happened this year. It was never followed up on.

    That is why it is just so ironic that they are even trying to charge his parents with neglect. It was neglectful to not provide him the necessary treatment we constantly fought for. It was neglectful of the state to not hold him either in a psychiatric facility or jail after he assaulted numerous people and tried to kill his dad, especially because it resulted in several more people being victimized by him. (Two little girls may now have to be in therapy for the rest of their lives as a result.) There are multiple people who should be held accountable in all this, but it certainly isn't his father.

    So glad to have found all of you!
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  15. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Just adding in my welcome and support. You have been through so much and I'm glad he is out of the house. Sending some gentle hugs your way.
  16. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Welcome and boy you have been through the wringer!

    If I were you I'd get into some type of therapy for yourself and your husband. I am sure he loves his son and feels awful that he cannot have a normal life and it's really no fault of his own. He cannot be a father to him.

    I know I'd have a lot of guilt for that same reason - not that you should but it's a normal, human emotion.

    Its' so very tragic. I am glad you found us. There is so much love and wisdom here - and support - which we all need.

    Be kind to yourself. You deserve some peace.

    Please keep posting and keep us updated on how you all are doing.
  17. Lila256

    Lila256 Member

    I think he absolutely does feel exactly that way. Someone else posted a description the other day that said she felt "empty in that place we call mother" and I think that is such an accurate description of that feeling. I think he feels empty in that place we call father. He went through hell just to try to keep his child's family of origin together, hoping it would set his son up better than he had been set up for life. It's just been one thing after another for years now. You dream of so many things with a relationship with your child, but never this.

    We have both been through many sessions of counseling in the past, and generally as a peer counselor I don't even hesitate referring myself to counseling. However, I've also at this point had a lot of bad experiences with counselors and it feels like one more thing that I would have to battle right now. I'm definitely leaning my supports and actively processing everything in an intentional way. Thank you so much for the concern. :)
  18. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Sometimes you need some time before counseling. Know that this IS a type of domestic violence. You are eligible for help from a DV center, even if you may have to help educate a few people at the DV center about this. If and when you are ready to go for counseling, DV centers often have counselors who really want to help. They are in it for the right reasons. Many times they are the only ones in a community with the training to understand all of the different faces that DV can take, rather than just man on woman abuse.

    It is just fine to wait until you feel ready or strong enough to face the outside looking in to go for counseling. Sometimes you just cannot handle that any more than you could handle putting ice cream on a sore tooth without screaming.

    I am glad this is helping your husband as well as yourself. It is perfectly fine for him to not want to type or to interact on his own. It is just good that it helps.
  19. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    lila. hi and welcome. i came across your thread at bedtime. it will be brief. sorry.

    know this: we understand.

    and this: nobody could have traveled this hard, hard path with more grace.

    my heart goes to your partner. and to you. you were both forced by evolving circumstances beyond your control to take the steps you've taken. honestly. i do not see another course.

    i hope you stay with us for a time and keep posting.

    i am very sorry for the pain of this.
  20. kim75062

    kim75062 Active Member


    you've definitely found a good place to come and hang out with other compassionate, understanding like minded people.
    I am truly sorry for all you have been through and can offer no personal experience or advice to you in this. You will find theres a lot of parents on here that have dealt with some really tough situations that may be able to help and guide you in the right direction.
    Thanks to a handful of these ladies words of wisdom my difficult little guy is doing MUCH better and is now a manageable little pain in the rear :)