Please consider starting your own thread to discuss your son's issues, so as not to detract from the original poster's need for feedback on their situations.
Next, I am going to be blunt and I am sorry if it is offensive, I do not mean it as such, but sometimes outsiders can see things we cannot.
Your son is a danger to himself and to you. He is violent, and you responding with violence in turn is not helping the situation to say the least.
You seem to have every excuse under the sun as to why help is impossible. It is only impossible if you make it so.
If you continue as is, you will end up in the newspapers as a tragic situation with one or both of you dead. In other words, things cannot continue as they are.
What are YOU going to do about it? Post here and seek sympathy from other parents of problem children? Wallow in your misery? I understand we all do that to a certain extent, but what ACTIONS are you going to take to improve your life and that of your children?
Canadian law in many ways is similar to US law. We also have members from Canada who hopefully will jump in with advice.
First, contact child protective services. Tell them your teenage son is violent and you are in fear of your safety with him in the home. Tell them he is mentally ill and refuses to seek psychiatric care. Tell them he cannot continue living with you as you are unable to provide him the care he needs as a mentally ill minor. Make them do their jobs and find him a group home or residential treatment center - or jail.
The next time he strikes you, call the police and immediately press charges. Tell them you want him taken to a hospital and evaluated for mental health issues. Don't do this yourself, make the police do it. That way if son lashes out it will be plain for all to see how sick he is.
Secondly, contact your ex wife and tell her you cannot handle him anymore. Perhaps you can take younger son and she can take older or if she is not willing to do this, once again CPS can get involved and find him a placement somewhere else.
Don't think it will necessarily be so easy to put him out at 18. He may have tenants' rights and you may have to forcibly evict him using the courts. For this reason as well as the others I have mentioned, seek legal advice.
I took your advice and started a separate thread...
First, I agree with much of what you say. The violence that has erupted between myself and my son is in no way anything that I endorse or feel is the correct way to manage things. It's terrible. Things have in fact sort of leveled off and calmed down ftmp in that regard. And yes, my intention is certainly to call the police if there are threats and so forth. The violence that has occurred hasn't really been us striking each other or him grabbing a knife or anything like that. It's more the "physical restraint" type of thing where I'm trying to prevent him from for instance kicking in my locked bedroom door. We end up in a grappling match. There's only been one such occurrence in the 5 months we've been in the current apartment and I ended it quickly. It didn't "escalate." Ftmp, I'm not in fear of my safety. At least not at this point. I'm just not very confident that things will stay leveled off like they are right now...
Am I making excuses for not finding solutions? I don't know...I guess maybe. Like I've said, we had a period of about a year where CFS and the police were regularly involved in our situation. We had for a time a person assigned to come in the morning and escort my son to school. He also spent a brief period of 5 days (the max allowed) at a "cool down" place after one especially bad night. Much of this occurred while I was staying at my own parents after my wife and I separated. Until that period, my extended family and friends really had no idea of the troubles we were having. Under my parents roof, they came face to face with the reality of the situation and over time they found it more and more difficult to come to terms with my son's behavior. I have a failry big family, and he completley has cut them out of his life. No contact whatsoever. Says he hates them (and me).
He's a very clever manipulator in many ways. He'll play the depression/anxiety card in circumstances where it benefits him, but then when you try and get him to take any sort of action to get help in that regard he refuses. He wants me to take him to his doctor's so he can get "medications" but refuses to talk to anyone to actually determine if he needs medications. And depression and anxiety never seems to interfere with him doing things he wants to do. Only with things he doesn't want to do such as going to school.
While we were working with local CFS, they recommended I take part in a counseling class where myself and a group of other parents in similar situations all sat around with a group leader/counselor and discussed the issues we were dealing with. I enjoyed the process and one thing I learned was that my story is in fact not nearly as bad as some others. One mom had a girl that had on occasion punched her in the face while she was driving. Several others had kids who had run away for periods of time and so forth. All of them were dealing with the same schooling issues and unpleasantness I was. In some ways, my situation isn't that bad - which I think is why I've found it difficult to get real help from the various local institutions. My story hasn't "hit critical mass" in quite the right way yet for them to take meaningful action. As well, the past year or so has seen some improvements. Much of that is due to his having this relationship with a girl who happens to be a good student and he is making some effort to do better at things in order to keep that going. I fear for what will happen when they inevitably break up. Even so though, he's still basically failing every class, doesn't actually do any real school-related work that I can see, and continues to skip a high percentage of his classes on a weekly basis.
My ex wife and I have tried to maintain a rotation where he stays with her every second weekend (in other words I have both boys one weekend, and she has both the next). It has worked at times and it's a nice break for me in a sense, but in another way it isn't really a break because I stress about him being there and how things are going - especially in terms of my younger son. However, he doesn't get along well with her either. They can get through a period of days ok, but soon they are fighting and then he often cuts off contact with her until he decides he needs something from her. He says he wants to live with her - but I know that's because he feels he can get away with more under her roof. She isn't able to maintain control over his actions like I do (in whatever small way I do). He's able to bully her more easily.
Wrt me putting him out at 18, yes I am aware that there could be issues there. I suspect he'll be wanting out as much as I might want him out. on the other hand, I still hold out some hope that he gets his head straight by then and maybe has taken some steps in a healthy direction.
As it stands right now, things are operating at a sort of "dull hum" of stress and anxiety. I'm getting through the days. He lives with me but really doesn't have much in the way of contact. I put up with him having his girlfriend over a couple times a week and I deal with the daily issues of providing for him. I mean I'm still his father and I still care about him and try to make sure he's getting some decent food into him and what not. But I always have that feeling in my gut that any day now the crap is going to hit the fan...