So Sad

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by dreamcycle, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. dreamcycle

    dreamcycle New Member

    Hi, I hope I can get some objective input here. I have a 19 year old son who graduated (by the skin of his teeth) high school last year. He does not have an overall diagnosis, but suffers with anxiety, depression, ADD ODD Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) but worst of all, he has perception issues. If he says it is so, it is so. He can be paranoid, and growing up, all punishment was seen as persecution. That's the bad part. The good part is that, to everyone else, he is kind, generous, helpful, and is very sensitive. He totally enjoys children and is very good with them. All who meet him are touched by how nice he is. To everyone but his dad and I. He is verbally abusive, loud, demanding. He believes as an adult, we should not be able to tell him what to do or not do. He doesn't believe he should do chores because he no longer gets allowence. He doesn't believe he should have to pick up after himself until it suits him. He doesn't believe he should have to help rake leaves or wash the car that drives him around. He is 'not a slave'. He is emotionally young. He obsessively buys things and sells them soon after at a loss. He doesn't drive (because he is afraid). He has been taking 10 hours at the community college, but I don't think he is doing well. He believes it is because the 'community college is stupid and not interesting'. Therefore, he believes we should send him to a four year university. This is not happening as we have little faith he will do better academically. We see the community college as a proving ground. He is hardly ever 'wrong', it's always someone else's fault. His challenges and behavior and language as of late have led to many blow ups. It's like he WANTS his dad to deck him. I give my husband credit for not doing so. He harrasses and badgers me if I don't give him what or do what he wants. He has never physically harmed me, but tries to intimidate me when he's very frustrated or angry. We want to help him and encourage him to succeed, but don't want our boundaries requirements violated. These are our requirements:

    1. go to school OR
    2 get a job and pay rent (until a plan to move out or go to school is in place --with time limit)
    3. help with chores around house
    4. pick up after yourself
    5. be civil polite to all family members
    6. no lying

    Yet we are unreasonable. I hate to say move out, but I hate living like this. He will be lucid and agree to do better--until the next blow up. I want to give him the best opportunities, but I hate his rude abusive behavior. The crazy thing is, I know I am the most important person in his life and that he loves me to death. I'm just a safe target. My husband and I are Christians and we are trying to handle this with integrity and self control and wisdom. Trouble is, we are trying to figure out what that is.

  2. buddy

    buddy New Member

    At any age it is a good idea to have a neuropsychologist evaluation (and I have it done over and over to follow progress and for new insight etc.) to help sort thru thinking and behavior and to connect it to how his brain works. I think it is reasonable to have a plan for him to move out. There are programs for people with mental health issues to support them living independently so it may be worth it to call the county and also any private programs to see what people have heard of and what supports are out there.

    He needs to know your limits in my humble opinion and needs to realize you will for sure follow through with a plan if he is disrespectful and especially when abusive. I know you love him, we all love our kids, but we have to love them to growth and maturity. There are lots of parents here who can help you in how to go about this... He still needs your input but not to be allowed to cause such issues in your home.

    Do you dont charge him rent? Well, he needs to pay you through chores at the very least. Have them worth a certain amount and if he doesn't do them then he needs to go somewhere where he learns the real deal.

    Sorry he is struggling. And sorry there is so much stress right now. There are many really smart and experienced folks here who have been in similar shoes so hold on and I am sure they will be along Occupational Therapist (OT) help out.

    In the mean time, glad you found this site. I am here to tell you these are some amazing people. Hugs and hand holding to you... Buddy
  3. Star*

    Star* call 911


    Welcome to the board and our little family. I'm glad you found us for courage, strength and (although I chuckle softly to myself) wisdom. (I chuckle again)

    Isn't it absolutely amazing these children that have such a sense of entitlement? So demanding, so demeaning, so persecutory; then get out in the real world and they are just the apple dumplings of everyones eye? Kinda makes you think you're the one that's a little off somewhere doesn't it? It did me for a while, and when that went South too I don't know whether I was actually glad to see him lashing out at others, or sad that he really couldn't hold himself together any better for longer than I had hoped. On some levels I think I actually hoped it was my parenting skills. At least if that were true, away from us he would have a happy, normal, wonderful, well-adjusted life and he could just get on with it.

    Your son found a system at a very early age that worked for him in your home. Call it extreme manipulation where the entire family was taken in or just knowing his safe target. I say that not lightly or mockingly because my son too used me as a safe target for a long time. I really did him NO justice in allowing that to continue for any length of time. I just knew that I was the one that he could always blow up on and I wouldn't judge him harshly as everyone else did. Huge mistake. It taught him nothing other than the more he dug his heels in, the better he could manipulate me "OR ELSE".

    Hard words to hear I know....they were hard for me to hear also. When it got to the point that you are at for us? We had a blow up, and of course the accusations flew - What horrible parents we had been, IF we had only done what he asked us to do his life would have turned out like he wanted it, (taking absolutely NO responsibility for his choices or his shortcomings - none of which were pointed out to him like he made it out to the rest of the world as horrific parents). So when the time came and he decided he didn't like lving under OUR roof, with OUR rules, and OUR consequences? WE put him out. He had just turned 17.

    The amazing part of the story here for us is that while he knew he couldn't come back home, the first few months were almost like a vacation for everyone from everyone. It was bittersweet for me, and would make me even more angry when my DF(dear fiance) would make comments like "Well I sure don't miss HIM being gone, or Do you hear that? Silence....Isn't it wonderful since Dude left? All the silence! Even our dogs very large pit bull and American Bull dog would cower around Dude and his "moods". No one never knew which way the wind would blow or where we'd all be at the end of the day. Not a very good way to live when you consider you worked your ENTIRE life to be ON your own, and do things in YOUR house the way YOU want to - only to be held captive by a child. And a disrespectful, non-worldly OH BOY Do YOU have some good lessons coming to you ya brat-child at that.

    We also did the list, and contracts, and rewards and consequences and the final months were so awful I actually didn't know if I would really survive. About a year earlier his actions caused me to have a stroke. I kept thinking that this was way more stressful than that, and would I be alive when he finally matured? The answer is pending, but after three years on his OWN? HIS rules, HIS curfew, HIS way of eating, HIS way of talking, LIVING, friends, choices, and getting the full on bio-father is a rotten SOB treatment that I tried to protect him from? He finally admitted that life -on his own wasn't great. Eating out of dumpsters, and sleeping under bridges, worrying about how to feed his dog, or maybe having to give UP his dog due to living situations, not having any money, no car, no education, and friends? FRIENDS that will rob you blind while you're in the hospital. Some really valuable lessons on how life in the real world works and how good he had it here - under the Nazi-regime. I can still picture him shooting us a zig hile salute and calling DF commandant.

    True enough you have to do what you think is best for you and your child. If you're asking me do I think your son will conform to your list of "RIDICULOUS DEMANDS" - my bet is on not a chance. A lot of what I see here with other parents who choose to tough love their kids and ALLOW them the PRIVLEGE of living life on their terms is that the kids quickly try to back out of the deal, beg, plead, promise to be good, swear they won't do this or that again - and the parents cave and give ONE MORE CHANCE for the second time, third time - fifth time. Or at a very desperate level you hear of the child telling the parents he's going to commit suicide. If this is his choice? You should be prepared to call 911. Send a message that suicide is NOTHING to play with and you take the threat seriously -and if it happens - 911 will be called. He'll be put in a hospital and you'll go back home and he'll work out his life - STILL.

    The biggest worry I see from other parents is in saying "I know if I throw them out, they'll die. They are too fragile, they need me to guide them - I I I...." and well that is certainly a chance we ALL take whether you have a frail difficult child or a strong child with NO disorders. You can't predict loosing a child. If you could? I suspect none of us who have ever lost anyone would have ever let them out of our sights. I just had to sit down and decide that I loved my son enough to ALLOW him the opportunity to GROW UP....and maybe once again - not the way I had forseen it - but today he's doing better, and making things happen for himself. The best thing about that is the phone calls I get telling me "Yeah and I did it all on my own" and I am happy to know he's alive, and doing well.

    Whatever you do decide? Make a united front and stick to the plan. No wiping the slate clean or back-sliding. Hold him accountable and stick the consequences to him. Someday hopefully he'll thank you for it - or at least his life will be changed for the better and maybe he won't thank you. Either way if he becomes responsible for himself? It's a win/win situation.

    Glad you found us.
    More folks will be along soon with their thoughts and you get different perspectives to identify with.
    Hugs Star
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    usually when I post here, I don't try to figure out what could be wrong with the adult child. In many ways, in my opinion it doesn't matter anymore, especially if drug abuse is the issue. You can't do anything with anybody who is using drugs, but it does not sound like your son is doing that? May I ask about his early history and development? Any late milestones? How does he get along with his peers. Was he sort of an "odd duck?" Did he ever get any help in school or did he do well in school and not need help? Was his turn for the worst sudden or pretty much THERE all the time?

    Usually I would tell you that at eighteen, he either pulls his weight or I would suggest giving him a contract that he either follow or plan to go out on his own in, say, four-six months. However, is there maybe something wrong with your child that stops him from doing the things most kids do when they graduate from high school? I think moms have good gut do you think is going on? Has he EVER had a complete evaluation, like from a neuropsychologist? I agree it would help to have one, but at his age it can only happen with his consent.

  5. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Your requests sound very reasonable and appropriate. Would he consent to family therapy? What about private counseling? (Possibly both)
    Being harassed, verbally abused and intimdiated is NOT anyone and certainly NOT by a family member.
    Too bad, so sad that he feels entitled to specialized treatment.
    He is fortunate to have caring parents who are providing him an education and free room and rent. Again, your boundaries and requirements are reasonable.
    If he is so down on the community college and honestly feels it isn't challenging enough, would he agree to get all A's and B's for one year, and demonstrate appropriate and non abusive behaviors at home, in exchange for you sending him to a University after the year is over?
    My guess is there is a lot more going on here.
    Again, family counseling might be good avenue to explore these difficulties.
    I say stick to your guns. It's very important that you and your husband do not lose your temper. Instead, just stick to your guidelines, but also consider setting up LIMITS of some kind.
    If he continually breaks the rules and refuses counseling, you might have to consider asking him to live elsewhere until he has time to think/rethink his priorities and choices.
    Lasted edited by : Dec 11, 2011
  6. dreamcycle

    dreamcycle New Member

    Thanks I appreciate your response. I'm pretty sure he won't agree to a neuropsychologist evaluation. He's had 3 psychiatric work ups since he was 11, has been hospitalized twice, once at 11 once at 15. He is mad because he feels 'retarded' because he sees a psychiatrist and takes medications. So he has declared he won't take the medications and is done with doctors. I'm sure he won't accept help or input from any program that indicates he has 'special needs'. He just wants to be normal. I don't know what in my humble opinion is, is there a page where are these acronyms are defined? We told him as long as he is going to school, we won't charge him room and board. But he has not registered for classes in the spring and the cut off is looming. He has a part time job at Target in electronics which he loves. In the several altercations we've had the last few months, it's always about boundaries and limitations/expectations and how he feels he shouldn't have them. i.e. pick up your stuff, put your dishes away--shortly after you eat, do minimal household chores. He believes (read perceives) that he should do these things only if and when he feels like it and we need to 'chill'. We issue ultimatums, consequences and he becomes incensed. Self righteous and persecuted is his point of view. He honestly believes that. Yet all his friends would love to have us as parents. I don't want to give up too soon, because I know he really wants to succeed. sigh. Just want to help him without prematurely crushing him in the process. I understand tough love, but he is actually so fragile. Just wish I knew what the best timing was. ...Difficult Child
  7. dreamcycle

    dreamcycle New Member

    Thanks all for your responses, I would never wish on anyone what we have experienced, but it sounds like there are many of us. As far as drug use, I'm sure he has tried pot, but hasn't taken up smoking or drinking--at least to any great degree. He just passed a drug test for this job at Target. He is not promiscuous, and has never been arrested. He is very coordinated and has been since he was small. He could dribble a ball before he was 2. He is left handed (as all three of my kids are...) And never had trouble making friends until he got older. He is a small person, always dangling off the bottom of the growth chart. At 19 he is 5'7 and 154 lbs. We started to see strange behavior starting in grade school. Before that he was always pretty easy going. Easiest baby of my three. He became combative with teachers, more concerned with impressing his peers than his teachers. By 5th grade his grades were falling and the principal was thrilled to see him move on to middle school. In 6th grade he went to an ethnically diverse school that was influenced by gangs. He started emulating the 'gangsta' styles (which we monitored and limited) but was having nightmares about drive by's and having to save us from gangs. We tried spanking him when he was defiant, but that just made him angrier and vengeful. We figured out that would not work with this kid. Even consequences were perceived as persecution, as it was NEVER his fault. For example, if his younger sister told on him for slapping her and he was punished, he was furious because she caused him to get punished. So cause and effect punishments were never very effective, but had to be done anyway, which just contributed to his anger. We had to mete out consequences, because if he lost all privileges, he quickly realized he had nothing left to lose and our lives became hell. Punishments had to be short, quickly administered always leaving something out to lose. At 11 he lost it one day, cooly threatening all of us after a silly fight with his sister, and ended up admitted to a hospital for 2 weeks in and 2 weeks out patient care. No formal diagnosis, just treated the presenting symptoms. They put him on risperdal, and prozac. We moved, changed schools. He passed the 6th 7th 8th and 9th grade by the skin of his teeth. He's had teachers who told us he would never do anything academically, and others who were wowed by his math comprehension and logic skills. He HATES reading and spends more time figuring out how to get a reading assignment done without reading the book, than it would take to actually read the dumb thing. We finally got him into Special Education at the end of 8th grade. That was really not much help. He perceived teachers as peers. If he felt they were singling him out, he would cuss them out or challenge them in front of their classes. I have a 4 inch binder FULL of referrals and Special Education papers and paraphenilia. By the beginning of the 10th grade, he had 14 referrals before Christmas, and was heading to being expelled. We quickly changed his Eligibility for Special Education from ADD to 'Emotially handicapped', which gave him a bit more time before expulsion. His medicine at that point was changed to invega, abilify and lithibid. (these are the medications he has taken himself off of cold turkey as of last week) He never got another referral. His grades turned around and he made the honor roll. He still had to be dragged and coerced through many classes, but he graduated with a regular degree. He gets overwhelmed by big assignments and can't get started. He was still difficult at home though, challenging us on all boundaries i.e. what he could watch, what games he could play, what music he could own. etc. Chores have ALWAYS been a battle. He has had three different psychological testings and was hospitalized again in 9th grade for depression and suicidal issues. Now, at 19, he is improved but he seems to take two steps forward and one back. Sometimes two back.....

    Gosh, I've gone on and on. I'm sorry. Just trying to round out the picture.

    Thanks all for listening
  8. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Hi Difficult Child - no answers or advice - just {{{hugs}}}. I know how frustrating it is to watch your child turn his back on so many advantages. And I know how much it stings when he blames his shortcomings on you. Hang in there - others have given good advice - we're here for you. Welcome to PE
  9. buddy

    buddy New Member

    some of the acronyms are underlined and so if you put your cursor on them they will define them for you... in my humble opinion is in my humble opinion.

    Sometimes it will say IMVHO in my very humble opinion, etc.

    If you ever do decide you want to bring it up to him, one HUGE difference is these guys are not working as therapists. While they are psychologists first, they have additional training in figuring out how the brain learns and processes information. How it is connected to our behaviors and achievements. They are actually the ones that can give him some hope and clarity, though it can be hard to get the information at first. But to have a reason why things are so hard is really helpful. And if there is nothing uncovered (seems like he has grown to be really good at doging the real deal though... that's dumb, maybe self medicating??? but for sure acting tough so no one can see how scared and frustrated he really is???? These guys are PhD types, so no medications. They could let him know that a psychiatrist can be beneficial but could also say, heck.... if you work on this or might not feel as anxious because there is a way to work this out, etc. Of course, his multitude of diagnosis could just hold up too. But at least he would know. It is quite a different kind of evaluation to the psychiatric mood disorder types of evaluations. They can help sort out if this is more a chemically based mood issue or a difference in learning style etc. Or a combination of things. At his age, one thing he needs to remember is that anything he does is confidential, it is for his own benefit to get his life on track. No matter where he goes or what he does, he has the right to release testing etc. No one can force that of him. But it could really be to his benefit for finding support for school etc. because the ADA applies to post secondary school too. I hear what you are saying though, at this point he is probably so low in his self esteem that he might not hear it.

    I personally would rather know that there was something different in my wiring (and it has nothing to do with IQ if someone has a different style of learning and processing, the IQ tests tell more than overall ability, they tell the strengths and weaknesses of our learning styles...are we more visual learners? More auditory?? etc.) than to think that I was just whatever poor self concept had been built up in me. but my thinkig is not clouded by whatever is going on with him right now.... poor kid. Poor you and dad too.

    He sounds like a kid who could really use a mentor who has some of his own issues but has learned to live with them. Your post just hit me as a kid who has more than what is currently going on... I know you said you see it too, just validating you. I just feel so terrible for these kids. I know he is being a major PITA right now (pain in the you know what) but I bet you also love him dearly and wish he didn't have to go thru this the hard way. The thing that is breaking my heart at home now is not that my son has delays in learning etc. but that he is really feeling he is not a good enough kid. He makes mistakes and tries every single day to start over and do a better job and most of the time he falls apart at some point. Must feel like the pushing the boulder up a mountain guy. He is becoming a little depressed about that issue. I would give up his ability to read and write for a happy kid. I think your plan sounds really reasonable. How do you gear up for all of the things that several people are saying could really happen? It must be so hard.

  10. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    You might consider reading a book called "Boundaries: When to say yes and when to say no" by Cloud and Townsend.
    Not sure, but I believe they are coming from a Christian perspective.
    ESPECIALLY at his age (over 18) setting limits and boundaries is imperative. Even if he has special needs, it makes little to no difference.
    YOu very likely are doing him a disservice if you do not set limits and boundaries in the home.
    It is a BIG plus that he likes his job. This is a bright light in a difficult situation and could very well be a source of self esteem and positive reinforcement for him.
    Is he currently seeing a doctor?
    It also sounds like it is very likely that he needs to see a physician (probably a psychiatrist) to determine if he needs to be on medication. Certainly, there are indications of a possible need. I hope he will consent to going for an exam.
  11. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Try this book - it was like INSTANT communication with our teen ------

    How to talk to kids so they will listen and how to listen to kids so they will talk - there is also one for teens.

    It's all about HOW to ask people and kids/teens TO DO THINGS you want them to do. IT's like a miracle help. It's the foundation I believe for some people to become aware that HOW they ask difficult children is really the issue not WHAT they ask. It's an easy read with a built in work book.

  12. dreamcycle

    dreamcycle New Member

    So what would I be looking for? A neuro psychiatrist? Is there such a thing?
  13. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    A neuropsychologist. I don't normally post on PE. Your sons sounds to me like he could be on the autism spectrum. (Maybe that is why its sticking a cord with you Dee?) If he is the neuropsychologist can do tests to determine this. After he gets a diagnosis the school's accommodations office can do things to make school easier for him.

    If he is on the autism spectrum he needs very clear boundaries and very clear consequences. He will test them and will probably have to figure out for himself how fragile he is and that he needs you (or someone) to help him. Maybe he can make it outside the home on his own?

    Maybe I'm completely in left field.
  14. dreamcycle

    dreamcycle New Member

    Hi Nomad-He actually has been under a child psychiatrists care since he was 11. He has been on medications since then. We saw no help from the medications until he was almost 16. He just stopped taking his medications cold turkey a few weeks ago.
  15. dreamcycle

    dreamcycle New Member

    Thanks I'll look it up. I feel like I've read every book out there, but I'm willing to do anything if it will help.

    I really really appreciate all of you and your input. It has been heartbreaking, but it seems like you all understand. Some dear friends from our church offered him a place to come and stay for a few weeks to cool off. They say he has been delightful. He is very polite and offered to do anything they needed while he was there. What????? He helped their older son move everything he owned from the basement to the upper floor. I can't even get him to pick up his own shoes. He even ate what he was fed without complaint. If he could just have that attitude here, we would have no problem. Go figure. I'm really praying he will come back to talk about healthy choices, i.e. counseling, a neuropsychology consultation as has been suggested. Something helpful. I'm praying.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2011
  16. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hang in there, yes we do really honestly care.

    Kids dont have the same triggers in a strange environment so can often honeymoon. Eventually the usually fall apart.

    and yes, for the testing a neuropsychologist. BUT there is a specialty of psychiatry called neuropsychiatry... they focus on people like my son... people with neurological diseases, brain injuries, etc. So, what you are looking for is the differential diagnosis folks, the neuropsychologists, not MD's.
  17. dreamcycle

    dreamcycle New Member


    I hope we get there. Because he is 19 he has to be on board. I saw him at church this morning. (He was required to come with the family who so graciously has taken him in for a few weeks...) And he still seems soooo hostile. He mentioned he 'might' be coming back home--IF dad wasn't being a 'D-bag' I responded "If that is your attitude, then you won't be able, to come home." He looked at me strangely. He thinks he is doing us a favor by moving back home. Since he moved over to our friends house, my kitchen stays neat, my kitchen table is wiped off, the tv is not left on, there are no bath towels on the floor, there are no shoes,jackets,hats etc. dropped wherever they land. There have been no urgent irrational demands, and no screaming when we don't comply with someones wishes. If we try an negotiate him coming home, how do we navigate that? I don't want to set him up for failure i.e. one mistake and you are out, but I don't want to enable him either. Honestly, if he doesn't get a handle on this hostility, I have small hope for success. I want so bad to help him, but I know that doesn't necessarily mean coddling him. Should I make a visit to a neuropsychologist a requirement for his return? I think just mentioning that will cause him to go off the deep end. Any suggestion that he might be dealing with something that makes him anything but 'normal' makes him furious.
  18. dreamcycle

    dreamcycle New Member

    Sigh. My son didn't take any of his first semester college finals, so all classes were failed. He had a job at Target which he was really good at. Even though he was supposed to be seasonal, they have offered him a full time position as of yesterday which would include benefits. Tonight he called and quit. He said he didn't think the people there like him and it was too stressful. He is so depressed, angry, and anxious that he is absolutely miserable and only wants to stay alone on the couch. I told him this wasn't an option, but I'm not sure what to do next. He doesn't want to see any doctor and doesn't want to go to the hospital. He is 19. What can I do?
  19. pinevalley

    pinevalley Member

    I am so sorry to read about your son failing his classes and quitting his job. It does sound like your son is really depressed, and he feels like he can's do anything right. I don't have any advice for you, because my son is very similiar to your difficult child, but my son has a serious problem with drugs. Can you call the psychiatrist who prescribed the medications for your son and ask for his advice? I'm sure that the psychiatrist will not be happy that your son stopped taking all his medications all at once. My son is taking Abilify, and when he was not taking his medications he became very angry and defiant. We noticed a big change in his moods when our son is not taking his medications. Now he doesn't mind taking the Abilify because he realizes that this drug does help him with his moods. I'm sure that more people will be here to offer advice for you. Hugs...