Just can't take anymore

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by brokendown, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. brokendown

    brokendown brokendown

    Someone sent me this link and I'm so glad to see that I am not alone in this. My 8 year old son has been diagnosed (after years of issues) with ODD, Anxiety Disorder, extreme Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and a Tic Disorder, with more to come. He also has an IQ of 132 and absolutely no conscience. I've fought for him for years and I'm tired of fighting. I'm a single mom who works full-time and feel like I'm going insane trying to juggle everything. He is evil. He bullies the other other children in school, is incredibly bright but refuses to do any work, and is horrendous at home. He just spent a week in the children's psychiatric ward and came home worse than ever. I hate living this way. There is no reason for him to be this way. We live a moderate but comfortable life, he's always been surrounded by love and kindness, yet he chooses to be this mean, petty, vindictive kid. And the docs said it IS a choice. So, why should I try??? I've reached the point where I don't even want him anymore.
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator


    Sorry you're struggling. I have some questions that I hope will help us point you in the right direction:

    What kind of doctor diagnosed him? What kind of doctor said it is his choice to act this way?
    Is he taking any medications? If so, what medication and what dose?
    Any speech or developmental delays?
    Any sensory issues (for example, sensitivity to clothing tags, loud noises, food textures)?
    Any mental health issues or substance abuse in the family tree?

    I strongly suspect this is not your son's choice to act this way. He may have a mental illness or this may be the way his brain is wired. We need to help you uncover exactly what's going on so you can put the proper interventions into place.

    In the meantime, you should get your hands on a copy of The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. It has helped many of us on this board parent our extra-challenging children.

    Again, welcome.
  3. brokendown

    brokendown brokendown

    What kind of doctor diagnosed him? What kind of doctor said it is his choice to act this way?
    He's been seen by a behavioral psychiatrist for the last four years. That doctor, plus the team assigned to him at the hospital all agree that this is about control with him. He's perfectly capable of understanding right from wrong and controlling his behavior - he simply chooses not to.

    Is he taking any medications? If so, what medication and what dose?
    Any speech or developmental delays?
    He takes Lexapro once a day... was 10 mg, now 15 mg.

    Any sensory issues (for example, sensitivity to clothing tags, loud noises, food textures)?
    All of the above.

    Any mental health issues or substance abuse in the family tree?
    No substance abuse, but I'm sad to say that he acts very much like my ex-husband, who was very controlling, constantly depressed, and never took any responsibility for his actions.
  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    So you're saying that he's worse since the Lexapro was upped from 10 mg to 15 mg?
  5. brokendown

    brokendown brokendown

    No. He had a meltdown two weeks ago. I sent him to bed early for punching a girl at school and woke up at 2:30 in the morning to find feces and vomit everywhere. He said he "couldn't remember how to open the door". The doctor suggested the inpatient stay. Now we have all these charts, star and point systems in place but he doesn't care. I feel like I've sired the next Hannibal Lecter.

    And, basically, the Lexapro doesn't seem to be doing anything anymore. It had briefly improved his mood.
  6. tryinghard

    tryinghard New Member


    I understand and you are not alone. I do not have the challenges that you have described and yet I feel like I can no longer take it either. Sometimes it feels like too much to bear...I understand.

    I would suggest you continue to post\read this board. The members here are wonderful and there are days I want to give up but reading their posts and getting their support have gotten me through and give me some GREAT ideas on how to approach and handle things.

    I use to believe my difficult child (son) did things on purpose. AFTER reading post after post that sounded like my son....I realized he is not doing this on purpose. My son has a mental sickness (versus physical sickness) and I am sure would gladly stop the chaos in his life if he could. Some days he fights against it and wins...others he just can't fight through it.

    I use to think I was a bad mom and some how if I loved him more, or surrounded him with more positives he would do better. I read how much the parents on this board care and realized we are not bad parents. We probably try A LOT harded than the parents of a lot of easy child (perfect children) do.

    If I were you, I would get another opinion.

    Another ray of hope...my nephew was ADHD and ODD. He was 100 worse than what you have described. We really thought he would be in jail by 12. My sister in law was a single mom with NO support. My nephew is now 19 and the MOST amazing young man. He is polite, he is thoughtful, he is NOT violent, he gets straight A's in college. He works two jobs and just paid for a trip for his mom to go to Europe as a complete surprise.

    She told me that every day she went to bed crying. She told me everyday she told him that she would help him through was he was going through and would not let him fail. She continued to look for a doctor who would figure out what was wrong. His behavior did not really start changing until 14 BUT it did.

    I know how hard it is...I am searching and trying to help my 12 year old. There are days I am better than others...but I have to believe that with my help he can get better.

    I wish I could give you a hug...I know how bad you probably need one right now.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there.
    Although, like everyone else, I'm just a layperson, I've been through a lot with wrong diagnoses and to me something isn't jibing between his behavior and the diagnosis. I don't believe your son was born evil or wakes up every day just to see who he can hurt. I think he likely has a deeper disorder that hasn't been found yet (not an uncommon happening). I would take him to a neuropsychologist. They do intensive evaluations that are far beyond even what Psychiatrists do (which is usually no testing at all). I wouldn't rule out Asperger's Syndrome in which kids can act like and appear to have no consciences because they simply do not understand human emotions and have to be taught about them. I am personally also "iffy" about anyone type of "behavioralist" as they tend to blame everything on the child and assume that this child is just a bad egg who is doing all this because he is "evil" (I think that was the word used). I don't buy it. He's still young. Are there mood disorders or quirky relatives on either side of the family tree? I would want to pursue this more, with other types of professionals. As I've said earlier, NeuroPsychs do the most intensive evaluations, often lasting ten hours. They find stuff the others miss. Often Psychiatrists and therapists don't know squat about neurological problems, such as high functioning autism. I'd make sure this child had a new evaluation. Good luck :)
  8. Brokendown,

    My heart goes out to you. I know I have felt what you are feeling on more than one occasion. The very caring people on this board are extremely helpful and in one way or another have all been there.


    I applaud what you have said. You have put into words what I have been experiencing with realizing that it is not my parenting (as I for so long thought it was in due in part to) but something within my difficult child's makeup that is making him the way he is. I do have hope that we will get through this and be able to get him to a point where he can be stable and happy.

    Lots of hugs,

  9. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Hi and welcome,

    I'm so sorry you are tired and worn out. I was where you were at one time only I had married a man that made Manson look like Bambi and given birth to the next Jeffrey Dahlmer. Swear. The x never got any better and I left. He actually got worse. He is by definiton evil. He's A true sociopath and a self medicating BiPolar (BP). I believe he talked the devil out of his pitchfork.

    My son is now 17. If I would have thought that he could get any better from age six to my near breakdown and eventual stroke? I would have said SURE (with enthusiasm) because I am an eternal optimist. Some of the behaviors my son had were beyond description to any other group but this one - at times abusing animals, fascination with fire, fingerpainting with feces (Poopcaso), yelling raging fits that lasted for 2 + hours, kicking holes in everything, and numerous medications, hospitalizations, Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s, group homes and now Foster care.

    I really did have a stroke because of the stress. My health went in to the toilet, and my relationship with my son is at best - I'll call you when I NEED/WANT something. I'm learning how to detach. But the thing that just flipping hit my switch was to hear after ALL the pshyco-diagnosis - "You know he can control this - it's just behavioral." and finally 'He's a budding anti-social with Borderline tendencies and you should lock your bedroom door at night if he spends time there."

    So I think I have an idea where you are coming from believing that he is evil. And what you both need in my humble opinion more than anything is a break from each other. NOW. There are agencies all over that will take a kid for you for the weekend. It's called respite. And you are much in need of it. NOT a family member or a friend - but someone who is trained and paid to watch your kid while you RECOUPERATE, take a bath with the sound of nothing more in your house than the hum of the fridge, the dryer going around and your own breath.

    The medications-go-round is not fun, but unfortunately sometimes it IS the lesser of two evils - and finding the correct medication is a parc shoot at best. I can name 65 medications my son was on in 11 years - I can't name all the incorrect diagnoses without looking back at my "here is who we are and where we've been sheet' - (Also a brilliant idea to do for any other doctors psychs you may see) it gives a history of what has been tried, where your kids been , behaviors, emerging behaviors and what has NOT worked.

    You can - ultimately file in family court a proclamation for emancipation and termination of your parental rights and he'll go into foster care and not be your worry any longer. That's always a last resort. And truth of the matter is - you CAN take more - you're just choosing NOT to because you have had it. I took a whole lot more than I ever dreamed I could - the difference came in my life when I said "NO - I won't TAKE any more." AND began to detach from my son at age 17.

    My best bet at this point for you would be
    1.) Make an appointment with a new set of doctors - and dont get into the details of the other place's diagnosis. Let THEM figure out what they see wrong in your son.
    2.) Get with a psychologist that will WORK WITH YOU to tweek his medications until you get something that seems to help your son better. Nothing cures - (UNfortunately)
    3.) Get with your local chapter of Mentor, or call your governors office and ask what programs are available in your state for seriously mentally disturbed children. Our's has a continuum and lucky us - we're in! (said with sarcasm)
    4.) Find out from any local mental health agency where your son can start getting counseling once a week with a good behavior therapist. Cognitive Behavior Therapy seems to work better with kids like yours and mine. ONCE a week for him and YOU get some therapy too so you have a weekly vent before you blow up. Money an issue - Mental health agencies in your county work on sliding scale fees for "wrap services" (someone that comes to your house and does thearpy, psychologist, psychiatrist services - and sometimes a camp in the summer time so you can get a break.

    5.) come here often and talk - vent - type. You can't type something that someone here has not gone through or understood - it's a very diverse, helpful and understanding community. I've learned a lot and hopefully helped more than I've taken from it.

    You are not alone -
    You are not alone -

    Just learn as much as you can - read, educate yourself, learn about HOW TO MAKE THE SCHOOL help you -

    Does your son have an IEP or 504?

    Do you even know that the school can PAY for your son to have a shadow in school to help him or remove him from the class when he's acting out?

    - If I had a nickle for every time I said "I can't take anymore -" I'd be in a seedy 3rd world country, rich and have a cabanna boy bringing my chocolate and booze." (author notes she does not drink as due to GFGism she would never have stopped)

  10. Baffled

    Baffled New Member

    Wow, I was going to say something, but Star gave more and better advice than I ever could. I will say "WELCOME" and sorry you're going through such a tough time. I think it's terrible that a mental health professional would say that an 8 yr old would make choices like that. I would think they of all people would recognize mental illness when they see it. Once your child is stabilized on the right medication(s), you'll see a big difference and will be able to better work with him. I used to think I gave birth to Hannibal Lector also.:confused: Much better now. I think a respite is exactly what you need right now. Take care. Stay in touch.
  11. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Just wanted you to know you are not alone.

    I would be quite surprised if you son's actions were "his choice". That makes it sound as if he chooses to be horrible because it makes him happy. Instead he may be choosing to act this way because it alleviates some pain or malfunction inside of him. BIG difference.

    I echo the others on this board - start over in establishing a new group of providers for your son. I have had docs tell me the same thing about my son, and I just walked away. I knew they were wrong - despite their degrees.

    Many hugs & much strength.
  12. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Just adding in my welcome-not much to add to what the others have offered. Glad you found us!
  13. Christy

    Christy New Member

    Welcome! As you can see by the number of responses, there are many of us with similar struggles. You have found the right place for support and advice.
    Glad you are here.
  14. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

  15. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi, I agree with-a lot of the comments here. Your son is still young enough that you can make progress. I would opt for a diff group of doctors too. I especially like this comment frp, Steely, which puts it into perspective--"Instead he may be choosing to act this way because it alleviates some pain or malfunction inside of him. BIG difference."
    I also especially agree that you need a break and to distance yourself a bit for a while. It makes a world of difference.
  16. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    You've already received some good advice from the others. I just want to add my welcome.

    I agree with those who have recommended that you try to take a break and get some distance. It really does make a world of difference.

  17. brokendown

    brokendown brokendown

    Wow. Thank you ALL for the immediate support and really helpful suggestions. I read through them this morning just before we left for yet another appointment with one of his behavioral psychiatrists and put them to use. One thing I told him was that I am tired of having all of these pros tell me "no one knows your child better than you do" and then downplaying some of the scary things that I've seen. My son is exceptional at this game and has a genius IQ -- one of the things we learned via the hospital stay. But he can control his behavior and was pretty much a model patient for the week. (Interestingly enough, he never once begged to come home. I think he saw it as a "vacation" from school, which he now hates.) I told him that I'm tired of the psychobabble and that I am seriously afraid that my son will seriously hurt someone. Until now, he's always been mean and a bully, but he's stuck to psychological torments. He's uncannily adept at identifying the other kids' weaknesses and torturing them verbally - but always under the teacher's radar. In recent months, however, he's gotten into kicking and hitting the other kids. We are trying to keep him mainstream because he is so bright (easy straight A's when he feels like it), but the school is obviously not too happy with him. We have an IEP in place and he's working with the school psychologist, etc., but I'm afraid he's going to blow one of these days. Anyway, I think the doctor really listened to me for the first time. I mentioned the neuropsychologist workup (thank you all!) and he has ordered that (a daylong neuropsychologist evaluation), an EEG and an MRI. FINALLY, someone is going to do something proactive and rule out any of the "easy" causes. You would think they would have done that at the hospital, but you know how it goes. So, at least we have a gameplan. In case you can't tell, I'm feeling a little better today and I have you all to thank. I'm sure I'll be here venting when I need to! Thanks so much!
  18. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    "genius IQ ... I think he saw it as a "vacation" from school, which he now hates."

    Any chance you could change his school, or at least have him test out of some classes or a grade level or two? He's probably bored silly. Einstein was a handful, too!

  19. brokendown

    brokendown brokendown

    He is bored for sure, but there is a lot more going on. Right now keeping him in school is the simple goal. He's in the gifted and talented classes, but refuses to do even that work, so they aren't going to consider moving him right now. And I have very limited financial resources, so a private school is not an option.
  20. Wow, brokendown! That is so wonderful that you finally got someone to listen to you. In some ways that you describe, my difficult child is the same. Very manipulative - plays their game very well. So tired of him playing his perfect game for the professionals. I have repeatedly told them that he is playing the game. difficult child played that game for 11 days during his first hospitalization! I think this time they are kind of listening because they have "tightened the screws" so to speak to try to see what his limits are.

    Good luck with the neuropsychologist, keep us posted.