Hi there. I am brand new to this site- in fact I am lost with-regard to all the abbreviations/forum nomenclature. I registered on this website two weeks ago and have been so hesitant to jump in. Strange, because I have searched high and low for a support group with other parents and professionals who even have the slightest insight to my family's horrifying situation. I am a single mother with two boys - one 18 and away at college, and one 7 who now lives with his father 20 minutes away. I have my degree in Occupational Therapist (OT) and practiced for 9 yrs. I switched careers a yr and a half ago- partially due to the voluntary custody change and resultant 'flip' of child support for my 7 yr old. I pay child support and have no resentment of same. My point in telling you this is my background and knowledge of human development enabled me to recognize VERY early on that things were not quite right with my then 2 yr old. Temper tantrums were through the roof and the violence toward me had already begun. I was surrounded by people who insisted it was 'terrible twos' so I resigned myself to wait until his 3rd birthday to seek treatment/help. We didn't make it- 3 mos before his 3rd birthday, my son returned from a weekend visit with his dad with black, blue, and purple bruises on his butt from spankings. I knew right away this child had frustrated his dad with the behavior I was witnessing daily and his dad had no clue how to react other than beating the tar out of him. I took him to court, revoked visitation for two months, had the judge order him to take parenting classes, and started my search for help for my son. I went through two psychologists, a psychiatrist, and landed in the office of an excellent pediatric neurologist. He took one look at the scabs and scratches on my arms and face and said "I bet you are exhausted!" - I broke down and cried. He formally diagnosed my son with Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) but I saw his notes and spotted bipolar and conduct disorder. I believe my son was so young and his father is so NOT on board that the doctor didn't feel at ease offering up these other two diagnosis. Summary of tx: 5-6 visits with-neurologist. Many converstaions directed at father by MD: "It is nothing she is doing....and NOTHING she is NOT doing" - trying to convince my ex that his theory of me just not handling things right was not the case. ENT visit because my son was waking several times every night which was stumping his frontal lobe development by interfering with REM. Sx immediately to remove tonsils, adenoids, and place tubes in ears. All this in hopes that his condition was due to sleep and brain development interferences and that he may 'catch up' and the Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) would disappear over time. No luck - sleeps much better but no change in his behavior. This was 4 yrs ago. MD offered two solutions: Medication and/or changing environments, thus the custody change. Trileptal was administered over several months all the while I was literally getting beat up every night at the hands of my small child. I cannot even attempt to describe this sad and unbelievable situation. All of 2005 I lived with clumps of hair pulled out, bloody scratches and scabs, bruises, etc. These battles were sudden, unprovoked, and NOTHING I did could stop them from occurring. Time out, positive reinforcement, rewards and consequences, attempts to tap into any remorse or regret in this child, nothing helped. All I could do was "gently" restrain him so I could ward off the blows. My older son witnessed ALL of this, and being the 'man' of the house (as he liked to think) was helpless because I would not allow him to step in. I insisted he continue being the brother and never share in parental responsibilities. I will never know the true extent my older son suffered. He ended up on anti-anxiety medications because he developed a hyperchondriac condition - I am 100% confident this was a manifestation of his feeling helpless. That has all subsided now but my now 18 yr old is the ONLY person who witnessed just how serious this situation was/is. Oct '07: almost two years after MD told me to hide my steak knives and give custody to the father for my own safety, I relented. I tried to 'love' it out of my son and was unable to consider not having my child under my roof with me every day. Once I realized my sons' relationship was completely shattered, and I was having kitchen chairs swung at me, taking baseball bat blows to my back, and metal toys crashed across my face......I clearly saw I was failing at helping my child and my safety truly was at stake. He now lives with his father- the 'righteous "my son has no problems" and you just stink at being his mother' man who believes a strict, rigid environment is the answer. We do not get along and he is remarried now with two stepsons and my son living under his roof. He does not communicate with me in any positive way, and he and his wife 'inform' me of decisions 'they' make re:my son. I have developed a good open line of communication with his 2nd grade teacher and have shared my concerns with her to an extent. I spoke with her Friday because my son now has a buzz cut and reported to me it was a punishment from his father for getting 'bad marks' on his daily school planner. He also told me his dad is going to shave his head bald this weekend. He also has told me he is made fun of at school and has lost 2 friends because they said he looks ugly. I am mortified that this man is resorting to humiliation- sending our already socially handicapped son to school where he will strike out at other kids for lesser crimes than calling him ugly. WHAT is he thinking???? His teacher informed me he is becoming more and more impulsive at school and is having trouble with a child from another class in the mornings. This child has told his teacher he is "afraid" of my son because he tells him he's going to kill him, and he's going to hurt him. I have made an appointment with his neurologist whom we have not seen in 2 yrs. My ex does not know yet and I NEED to have him on board and willing to try new medications that I know are available. This is the battle I am facing now. I am seeing my son's condition seep out into society - something I knew would happen when I removed myself from the 'punching bag' role. I have feared this for a long time now and feel guilty and selfish - and helpless. His dad is obviously struggling for answers, evident by his militaristic humiliation tactics recently. He will NEVER admit he is failing though, especially to me. I have my son every Thursday evening and every other weekend. He tells me frequently he wants to stab me in the neck and watch me bleed, and he's going to be a cop when he grows up so he can shoot me in the head, he hates me......the list goes on. I have collected pictures he draws of monsters killing people, "I hate you mom" and "I'm going to kill you mom" notes he writes up when I say "no" to the tenth piece of candy he requests, etc..... I could go on and on - I have had nobody who understands or even comprehends to talk to (thus my novel here). I don;t know who out there can offer any advice or help to this complicated situation but I can tell you I long for anything from anyone who has 'been there' or is there right now. PLEASE reach out to me.... I am completely alone in this.