Opinions, please...What should I have done?

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by alongfortheride, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. Yesterday, difficult child lost his cell phone privileges because he did not answer the phone when we called the evening before. House rule is that we pay for the phone and expect our calls to be answered. He perseverated on the phone for 7 hours. "Can I have my phone?", "Why?" repeat ad nauseum. He refused to accept my answers and after an hour I stopped responding. Unfortunately, this ramped him up.

    Although he never became destructive or violent towards me or the house, it was quite obvious that he wanted to. He threatened to. He was about to attempt to open the lock box with an ax when I decided to leave for my own safety. He then put his foot under the tire of my car and said I would have to run over his foot in order to leave. I sat it out and he eventually removed his foot. He told me he was going to kill me, cut off my head and *&%^ on it.

    My husband came home and all was quiet and well except that he had lightly cut at his wrist, definitely not with intent. I returned home and we all sat and calmly discussed the phone again except we were right back to where I started 3 hours earlier. During the "discussion", he put a cigarette out on his the back of his hand and pulled chunks of hair from his head. "Can I have my phone?", "Why?". Sometimes he changed the intonation depending on his level of anger but not often. He said nothing else.

    My sense was that he was trying to manipulate and bully his way to the phone. Another wave of calm and we were back at it again. Husband threatened to call ambulance/police and difficult child told him he needed the police to come so that he could press charges against husband for the cigarette burn which he had self inflicted. difficult child went to play video game and a half hour later came back to say he had finally processed the consequense and the evening proceeded as usual.

    The whole day was spent with me second guessing myself and feeling that I did not know what to do with him. So... what would you have done?
  2. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    You did the right thing. They can be soooooo persistent when things don't go their way, can't they??? I'm sorry it is so hard.
  3. mom_in_training

    mom_in_training New Member

    You did do the right thing by not caving in to him. Bigtime power struggle and you won by not allowing him to get the best of you. The rules you have in place should be adhered to period. I too would have stuck to my guns although it can be difficult at times. People to include our difficult children do say some pretty wicked things when they have to deal with unwanted consequences but never hesitate to call the police if you feel threatened in any way. The things he said were very harsh and the ax. Wow!!! I think I would be putting that along with other dangerous items in the home somewhere under lock and key for you own safety.
  4. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Here's another parent who thinks you did the right thing...you stood behind what you'd said. Sometimes it's so hard to do with our very persistent difficult child's.
  5. Thanks all. I appreciate your words. It would have been so easy to have given in but in the long run what does that get me...short term peace...maybe. Not to worry about the ax, it is very well hidden.
  6. Ephchap

    Ephchap Active Member

    Telling our difficult child's something and sticking to it is sooooooo important. If we back down, they know the next time that if they just wear us down, we'll give in. I totally agree you did the right thing. It's hard, I know.

  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would be concerned about the violence of his words. That would bother me way beyond the cell phone, which he never would have owned unless he paid for it himself. I think you did the right thing. I would have done a lot more. Are you afraid of him? I would be.
  8. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    You did GREAT!!! Just always stay as calm as you can. When he asked for the phone, "You will get it back ___________" (do you have a set time to give it back? If so, write it on the family calendar so everyone sees it in writing.)

    A 17 yr old without their cell phone is about the worst scenario I can imagine. My 18 yr old would not be able to survive without hers. She knows she is in big trouble if she does not answer. I will usually then just keep calling - sometimes leaving a message. This bugs her to no end, "Stop calling me!" "No, you answer the phone when I call!" This phone is their link to their world. It is also embarrassing to tell friends that you can not answer their calls because you have been grounded from it. He may also fear you looking at the phone's history of who he has called, who has called him, and incoming/outgoing text messages.

    Don't let him know that his words are reaching you. Act like they are just words with no meaning. However, listen to them and be prepared to act when they start being acted on. Call for help ASAP if he does start following through on his words.

    "I sat it out" - that is exactly how you need to appear to him. Don't let him see any fears.
  9. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I think there are a lot of red flags here....the ax, threatening you, putting the cigarette out on himself, pulling out chunks of hair. Does he seem to be really 'here' when he does these things?
  10. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    With the graphic threats of violence from a 17 year old and his attempted use of - and access to - an ax, I would have been very afraid. I think I would have called the police. He is not a small child. I would take serious threats seriously. If he claimed not to be serious, it would be a good idea to show him that serious words are taken as such.

    The cutting, self-burning, pulling of hair etc. are very typical of Borderline (BPD). Is he seeing anyone who can follow up on these things? Has he done them before?
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I think you did pretty well. I would be VERY AFRAID of your son. He sounds like he is dangerous to you and himself.

    If you do NOTHING ELSE, DOCUMENT this or he may press abuse charges. You and husband need to separately write down about the burn and cut and hair pulling, the entire event from start to finish, photograph the wounds, and seal it away in a safe place.

    Please do this TODAY. It may be what keeps him from successfully filing abuse charges.

    I also think he needs to be in a hospital the next time he does any of this. It is very very dangerous. PLEASE don't try to take him to the hospital yourself, call the ambulance or police for transport of person who is danger to self or others to a psychiatric hospital.

    He doesn't sound stable on medications, so maybe calling his psychiatrist is also important?


  12. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I would have called the police the second he touched the ax.

    Please keep yourself safe. The police can transport to a hospital, they don't necessarily arrest him.