New here .... at my wits end


New Member
Would like to introduce myself as I joined a little over a week ago and have spent much of my time scouring this forum and finally feel I have found the right place to land. Many times reading your posts I found myself thinking that “you took the words right out of my mouth”. What a great and supportive community this is for parents struggling.

My story – I am the mom of three sons. My oldest two sons are difficult/challenged and my youngest son is not. What has brought be to find this site is my struggle with the middle son, R, currently 17 years and 10 months. I’ll try to give you a little background. He had normal developmental milestones but we did notice right away at 4 months he refused all baby food but applesauce and sweet potato – we found out later he had reflux. He was also subject to a lot of verbal and physical teasing by his older brother by two years (who is diagnosed with ADHD, Mood Disorder, ODD). The older brother made his life a living hell and my husband and I did everything to prevent incidents, but they did happen. There was a lot of jealously because middle son, R, was such a beautiful, charismatic child he would naturally get a lot of attention. This infuriated oldest son and the teasing was all beyond how normal brothers would fight. My oldest son was literally obsessed with making his brother’s life hell and ruining every family outing we tried. I carry a lot of guilt for what R went through during his early years as I was unable to prevent oldest son from acting out even though we tried our best. To this day they absolutely hate each other and do not speak.

When R was about six years old he began to stutter. I was not surprised as it seems to run on my side of the family. The first couple years of stuttering it didn’t seem to bother R at all – he was the first one to stand on stage and sing and his teachers all loved him at school. During this time R had continued to become an extremely picky eater. He has since been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) (Food Aversion basically). This made it difficult for him to go to friends’ houses for playdates etc. Around the time he was 9 years old we started to notice he was a bit “odd” and was a suddenly a social outcast by the time he was in 5th grade. Middle school was complete hell for him and us. He was argumentative with teachers, stubborn, got into fights at recess, and also had to come home to a brother relentlessly picking on him. He began to spend more and more time alone in his room online gaming. He qualified for an IEP in middle school and was diagnosed with anxiety, depression and ODD. The first couple years of high school were OK with him we had him in therapy and he really liked his therapist, but everything really changed he was 16 years old and we have been living in torment ever since.

It’s like a flip got switched and our difficult child became difficult on a whole new level. Long story short he had trained for making a cross country team and he got cut from the team. The coach made a remark that R didn’t train enough which if you knew my son, you don’t question his integrity. R really sees the world in black and white. From that moment on he slowly started to be late to school, then he started missing school without permission. He was irritable at home when and if we ever saw him. He stopped doing laundry, wore dirty clothes and stopped getting haircuts. The truancies became more and more frequent and my husband and I would confront him only to be sworn at or have doors slammed on our face. We tried a gentle approach, we tried a tough approach and nothing changed. Finally, one night R just went “off” about something minor and tried to run out of our home in the middle of winter. My husband physically held him back and R scratched and bit him several times. He was literally frothing at the mouth like a wild animal. We had seen him tantrum like this over the years but his was a whole new level. He was calling me all sorts of vulgar names and was really not making any sense. I had no choice but to call the police for help. When they arrived R slammed his bedroom door on an officers face, was belligerent to the officers when they were trying to reason with him, and would not calm down so they took him via ambulance for a psychiatric evaluation. Four hours later he was back home because he stated he had no intent to hurt himself. These attacks became more and more frequent and he still wasn’t going to school. He was taken for psychiatric. evaluations about three times – every time to be sent home because he is smart enough to say he didn’t want to hurt himself. He also spent a few times at our local police station cell for a couple hours. During his fits of rage, he punched holes in our walls, spit in my husband’s face, punched my husband in the face and destroyed household items. We finally pressed charges against him to receive some help. He was assigned a JPPO and we felt like that would be a saving grace. It wasn’t. At court the judge would tell R he needed to go to school and agree to go for neuro psychiatric testing. R agreed but still under court order would not go to school and kept on just sleeping all day in his room, up all night and sleeping all day to avoid seeing us. The day came for his neuro psychiatric testing (it was a 6-month wait) and R ran away from home. This was a violation of his probation as he wasn’t attending his testing appointment. When the police picked him up he was brought to the courthouse. His attorney, the JPPO and us, his parents, decided that we certainly didn’t want him at a juvenile detention center so we found a wilderness based program that focused on therapy for one-month.

Upon return we saw some minor improvement the first month or so – nothing too dramatic but we resigned ourselves just to try and keep the peace with him. In other words, we stopped being parents and have basically become landlords not receiving rent living with a squatter who lives in a trash can of a room, comes and goes as he pleases and has no consequences because (1) consequences don’t seem to affect him and (2) the juvenile justice system really puts it back on us the parents. We had to pay $3,000 out of pocket for his month long wilderness program and it got us nowhere.

I tried my very best as a mom to repair our broken relationship. R has stated numerous times that he hates us and has absolutely no respect for us as parents. He refuses to speak to us, refuses to answer a text message (phone is now shut off) and if we took away the one thing he actually cares about (his computer) I’m afraid he would burn the house down. I’m at my wits end. Things are starting to get ugly again. He is most likely not going to graduate high school and when offered to transfer to the adult ed program he won’t agree. I will use the word delusional in the frankest way – my son is delusional. He actually thinks he can still graduate even though he just failed all his classes.

Personally this has ripped me to shreds and I never, ever thought my life would turn out this way. I know my son has mental illness beyond (ADHD, anxiety and depression, ODD) but because he didn’t attend the testing we just don’t even know what we are up against. I’ve had Bipolar suggested, Asperger’s syndrome, schizophrenia … I don’t think I’ll ever find out. The one saving grace we have is that is does not use drugs. Every time he was taken to the hospital for evaluations there was no evidence of any substance. He will be 18 in March and absolutely refuses to cooperate. I can’t go on living on edge much longer. Last week I lost it… came home to our car gone without permission and all of our personal possessions that were in the car thrown out on our front lawn. I love my husband and my family but with anxiety and depression issues of my own I don’t know how much more I can take. I know I’m not alone after reading all your posts – just looking for some support from parents in the same situation. Not to mention my oldest son who is also difficult and just flunked out of college, no job, smokes pot in our house and almost 20… that is an another story. Thank you for taking the time to read my story.


Well-Known Member
Welcome SM, I am so sorry you have to be here, but very glad you found us. As you already know, you are in the right place.

I understand very well the heartache, chaos and upheaval caused by troubled children. It sounds like you have already taken many steps to support your son, and unfortunately he has not responded as hoped/expected. It happens. It is not your fault.

My stepsons also dodge calls/texts and refuse to see us. We are not custodial parents, so essentially we have no relationship with them at all. So I get that pain, too. Once again I am so sorry.

I hope that you and your husband are on the same page with this situation. It really makes all the difference in the world.

Once 18, you can legally evict your son. Same goes for the 20 year old. If they won't follow the rules or abide by any of your expectations, that may be your only option. Check your state's laws, you may have to follow a formal eviction process.

In my case we have accepted that we for right now, cannot do anything about our sons' professed hatred for us/choice for 100% estrangement. We have a very enmeshed situation that has been going on for a long time. We are choosing to back off and wait it out until they are older. Our sons are 17 and 15. Breaks our hearts but there is no other option, teenagers cannot and will not be forced to have a relationship with anyone, parent or no, against their will.

If you are not already involved in therapy or a self-help group such as Al-Anon or Codependents Anonymous, I highly recommend both. It is not necessary for substance abuse to be part of the issue, the family dynamics are poisoned in the same way even without drugs and alcohol involved. I have gotten a great deal of help from both of these groups and there is no substance abuse in my family of origin or in my marriage.

Keep posting!


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

I just wanted to say welcome and others will be here to offer you their wisdom.

My son has an addiction problem so we've been through the ringer and I so can relate to so many things you describe and I truly feel your pain.

The only advice I can give you is that you need to take care of yourself. I know you don't know WHAT you are dealing with exactly but I would think that your seeing a therapist for yourself could not hurt. I do and it's nice to have someone to talk to that is non judgmental and may have some coping skills they can share with you. You have to keep yourself mentally healthy and that is a real task in light of everything you are being forced to deal with.

I'm sure that, like addiction, this is not a quick fix. You're probably in this for the long haul.

Hugs and prayers to you.