Walking on eggshells...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Marguerite, Oct 7, 2007.

  1. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    easy child 2/difficult child 2 has been EXTREMELY anxious lately. Tantrums, door slamming, incredibly touchy - it's really difficult. She's increasingly obsessive and it's hard to even talk to her about it.

    Example - when she is talking to someone, maybe recounting an even or explaining something, she HAS to go into minute detail (often getting off topic) and WILL NOT be interrupted. If anyone tries to say, "Get to the point," she screams, "WHY SHOULD I BOTHER?" and slams off, usually for the rest of the evening. Yesterday the trigger was me telling her, as she got home, that one of her car ID plates (not the number plate, but the green "P" she has to display front and back as part of her restricted licence) had blown off in a gale a few days earlier, difficult child 1 & I grabbed it before it blew away and it was in our garage. I didn't even finish explaining when and why, she began to explain how she thought someone had stolen both her plates perhaps in the shopping centre where she was parked, because she had parked with the back of the car to the buffer and it was where people could walk behind the car... etc, looking like she was going to go on talking for another half hour, while I still needed to finish telling her to just go get the darn thing and put it back on her car, and let me get on with dinner preparations. But as soon as I began to try to speed her up, she screamed, "SHUT UP! I HATE being interrupted!"
    I'd had enough of walking on eggshells and just wanted to get on with dinner, plus her shout at me was too much - I looked her in the eye and said, "I do not appreciate being spoken to in that tone."
    She slammed out of the room.
    husband went after her, things were seemingly quiet, then she came slamming back in even more of a rage. About half an hour later I heard her sobbing in BF2's arms in the bathroom. There was no way we would be able to talk to hr about it.

    And again tonight. I was in the bedroom talking to husband, she had just interrupted us to comment on something totally irrelevant to us, and within a minute or two we heard her sniping at one of her brothers. I went out to find out what was going on and to try to defuse what sounded like an escalating situation. Turns out she was lecturing difficult child 3 about something. I asked, "What's going on?" and difficult child 1 said, "easy child 2/difficult child 2 is lecturing difficult child 3."
    She turned on him and screamed, "I'm not talking to you, I'm talking to Mum! Stay out of it!"
    I tapped her on the shoulder and said, "Remember me? I'm the one you're talking to, leave him alone and come and tell me." I walked away, expecting her to follow, but she stayed to badger difficult child 1 who wasn't taking it. By this stage I was outside and within seconds I head a door inside slam as she came outside. I said, "Please don't slam doors, it's not good for them."
    "I DIDN'T slam the door! Oh, why do I bother!" and she continued into the room she shares with BF2, slamming THAT door after her.

    So I went back inside and asked difficult child 3, "What was the problem?"
    "Don't ask me!" he was on edge. Last night's tantrum of hers also put him on edge. I finally got him to calm down and he had to admit, he hadn't understood why she was lecturing him.

    Half an hour passed. I went back to the kitchen and found easy child 2/difficult child 2 seemingly recovered, getting herself some dinner which I'd left out (since I couldn't go and call her for dinner, she is unapproachable in that mood).
    difficult child 3 was in the back of the room, trying to stifle giggles. I asked him, "What's the matter with you?" but all he could do was giggle, and his giggle is very infectious. easy child 2/difficult child 2 was smiling a little and said, "He just started giggling and he won't tell me, he's just being silly."
    After she left the room, difficult child 3 said, "It was something funny I thought of. I didn't want to tell her in case she got angry again, but I thought, she spends so much time yelling at people, it's no wonder she's always complaining of having a sore throat." And he burst into giggles again.

    When easy child 2/difficult child 2 came back into the room I risked telling her - to her credit, I got a rueful smile from her. When she's calm she KNOWS she's out of line, but trying to talk about it often sets her off again. She has agreed to talk to the doctor about her anxiety levels and her anger (a lot of which is fed by compulsions and other people's failure to follow her rules).

    I'm hoping the GP is available tomorrow, because I can't take much more of this. I don't think our doors can, either. We've already had to take the innards out of the door latches because they broke inside. Now we have a useless knob with a button catch on a flat striker plate. You pull the door shut or push it open, no more knob turning. For doors which need to close properly, we've installed a small bolt which is slid across manually. It's not affected by slamming.

    She's a great kid a lot of the time, but when things aren't going right, or she's extra tense, or things are challenging for her - it's not good.

    All suggestions and ideas welcome. Remember, this is a kid whose only diagnosis is ADD, inattentive type. She thinks she has mild Asperger's, she's also done the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) test on herself, but her specialist won't hear it. She's too old to change doctors (we would need to see a pediatrician and she can't simply go and find another, she's only seeing THIS bloke because she first started seeing him when she was a child). She's too bright to accurately assess anywhere that is geared to assess mostly children - even difficult child 1 was missed by such a clinic, when he was 16.

    So - any ideas, people?

  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Hi Marg, I'm sorry things have been so rough in your household lately. Is easy child 2/difficult child 2 on any medications for her ADD? If so, could they be making her moody?

    I think you first need to rule out medical causes for her change in mood -- hormonal imbalances from menstruation, pregnancy, thyroid, strep (which can cause Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) symptoms on occasion), etc. If all checks out normally, it definitely sounds as if she has anxiety. And being anxious can spill over into depression fairly quickly. It almost doesn't matter whether she has AS or not at this point. If she's suffering from the symptoms, they need to be treated. As you well know, these symptoms are treated with medications or therapy or a combination of both.

    Good luck at the doctor. Please let us know how it goes.
  3. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    As awful as it sounds, the only thing that worked for me was finally telling my daughter she had a choice -- control herself or move out. It truly had gotten to the point where I was afraid to say good morning because I didn't know if it would set her off.

    Mine can also go on and on about something forever! She'll try to give the details about a movie she's seen and, by the time she's done, I could have watched the movie twice over. And if I interrupted even to simply ask a question, the stomping, yelling would start. After going through this a few times, I talked to her about it when she was in a very good mood. She truly wasn't aware she was going on and on and on and she had no idea how to stop herself. So, we finally came up with a semi-solution. She would give me an opening sentence and I would then ask relevant questions.

    Fortunately, mine quit being a doorslammer when she was about 9 -- she slammed her door and her bookcase fell over. I put the bookcase up but I refused to put anything back in it. She had to do that herself. I think she's slammed a door maybe three or four times since then.
  4. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    I was also thinking something along the lines of hormones. Granted, I have been known to have a short fuse now and then but when it's around that time........it's basically non-existent. (which makes for some really fun times in a difficult child household)

    You mentioned that she gets upset when people don't follow her rules. I don't know much about it but could she be developing some sort of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)? Otherwise, I agree with the others. Possibly some anxiety or depression. Hopefully the doctor will listen to her and can find something to help her. Good luck with that. It sounds like she's going through puberty all over again and we all know how much fun THAT can be. :faint:
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    The Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) - it's been long-term, but I think is getting worse gradually. It's really come to a head in the last few weeks, but I can look back and see this going back for miles.

    The anxiety - husband did the survey on her this evening with me looking over his shoulder (I did difficult child 1 yesterday). And he put her down as having anxiety issues (but not so severe) years ago. The thing is, she always seemed to have it under control, mostly. At least, compared to the boys. But since talking to you guys since I joined this site I'm realising that a paranoid rattlesnake would seem calm compared to our boys...

    Puberty/hormonal things - she never has had PMT the way her older sister has done. I never got PMT, ever. But she would get a bit more teary round about Day 1 or so. Teary is a good way to describe her especially lately. College has been really stressing her in the last few weeks, she's not coping with it because of the current subject. We talked about it a couple of weeks ago and she has an appointment to see the counsellor in ten days, when college returns from holidays. But the teariness has been long-term, since primary school (when she was 10, and younger). We don't have elementary & middle school here - we have 7 years of primary, which goes to the equivalent of halfway through middle school, then six years of high school, which goes beyond your high school and into college. HER college - it's a university alternative, more practically oriented. It's local (thank goodness) with a really effective counselling service. All she has to do is USE it - and she won't do anything, even stuff she WANTS to do, without me pushing her. She likes to perform, loves the money it brings in, but won't ring around to find work. I have to do that and lately I stopped. She's a good actress, a skilled stiltwalker, very popular locally but I need to let them know constantly that she is available. And frankly, at her age she should be doing this for herself. I think her NOT doing it for herself is another indication that t his goes way beyond ADD.

    But I was talking about hormones - we considered that. She's been on the Pill for a few years (since BF1) and has felt that her prescription wasn't strong enough, so she's just had it changed. She's been on the new dose (slightly stronger) for three weeks and hasn't stopped spotting in that time; another reason to talk to the doctor. But this behaviour problem goes back to well before she ever went on the Pill - it's worse lately, but maybe because you guys have taught me to not accept things as they are. Also, she's 21 now, and what we could maybe forgive as immaturity, we no longer can accept. I don't think this is hormonal.

    Basically, my tolerance for this has reached breaking point; she IS worse, but not a vast amount. But it's enough for me to say, "Enough! Time to deal with this!" Plus her current stress over college, which goes back at least six weeks (back to early July, actually, now I think of it) - she needs help. I just wish I knew where to start.

    Thanks for all the ideas so far, keep 'em coming. husband will be reading them all too, when he gets to work in the morning. He may have his own observations about it all. I know he is concerned as well. Of course, as he would be.

  6. guest3

    guest3 Guest

    I can relate and difficult child II was put on luvox and he seems even worse now. He was up to 3:30 am last night, he just could not sleep, which would've been fine if he weren't slamming things around because he cold not beat his gameboy game! <<<HUGS>>> remember the good days, we'll get through
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    My first thought was "Is she pregnant?" The pill can fail, esp if she recently changed prescriptions. It can fail if you don't take it at EXECTLY the same time every day. Esp the low dose ones.

    I would test for this ASAP, the at home tests are very accurate.

    Next would be xanax or another prn anxiety medication.


  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh, Marg, I am so sorry you have to go through this. I don't know whether your tolerance level reaching the breaking point is good or bad, but I'd venture to say good, since when you make up your mind to do something, you do it! :smile: You are right --your family shouldn't have to live like that.
    I would think that a multi-level approach would work--you take her to the dr, get counseling, get her on some Xanax or something, AND lay down the law that her behavior won't be tolerated. On some level, she's got to know that bursting into tears simply because someone interrupts her is not normal. Sometimes people interrupt people because they're excited and happy--an "OH, Wow, tell me more!" thing. And in her case, she of course jumped the gun and jumped to conclusions, when you already knew where the car sticker was.
    You've always been so supportive and so full of ideas here ... I wish I could offer more.
  9. AllStressedOut

    AllStressedOut New Member

    Marg, I was thinking hormones too. Is her period regular? Is she taking birth control pills? I was much more moody on birth control, but I have friends who are much more moody without. I actually have more symptoms when I ovulate than I do the week prior to my period. Many months I have pregnancy symptoms during ovulation and more than once I've gone and purchased a home test only to realize later I was ovulating.

    I'm sorry everyone is having to walk on eggshells. I hope the GP finds something simple wrong that he can fix by changing up medications. Let us know how she's doing. ((hugs)) to you and the rest of your family dealing with her right now.
  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I wish I knew the answer. At 17 difficult child has similar behaviors. The
    motormouthing (often with no identifiable topic) can not be
    interrupted once it starts. Thank heavens it is not a regular
    thing because my patience is wearing thin. In our case, I keep
    trying to get HIM to identify that he is babbling and has no
    point by asking "Son, what specifically are you trying to tell me
    now?" He resents the interruption and usually replies "It's YOU
    who doesn't get it! YOU never really listen to me!" Often he
    then storms to his room or outside to hit a tree :hammer:

    Just want you to know that you are not alone! DDD
  11. Marg,

    This is just a thought. I notice in your signature you note that your daughter has AS signs. My husband has more than just signs, he definitely has AS. One manifestation of this is his tendency to go off on lengthy monologues. I mean LENGTHY. Though I love him dearly, he has never used 100 words when he could use 10,000.

    He has miraculously turned this characteristic into a plus in his professional life. He is an attorney and he specializes in writing briefs (trust me they aren't :smile: ) for Federal appeals for other attorneys who have lost their cases in lower courts. He can always find issues that they have missed. He learned long time ago that judges don't like his oral style , but they can tolerate his written style. He rarely appears in court. He also began a software business when other attorneys checked out (and liked) his office management software and this has become a booming business that he loves most of all the work he does.(The other attorneys love his attention to detail.) He is sought out as a visiting professor at various Universities and does quite a bit of public speaking. In short, he has turned what is his tendency to speak on and on into a good job skill - and we are all very proud of him for this!

    But, when it comes to socialization - well that's another story. His dear friends and family know to not ask him too many questions. And if you do, well, you better hunker down for an hour or so. If we don't at home - he gets furious with us because "we're not listening". His days of his passionate responses (to what he views as our disrespect) that your daughter has are over... but he used to have them. We've come to love and accept him as he is. We're not on the social track that I would like to be on, I'm a much more social person. But that's o.k. as the good outweighs the bad. I do believe that this "lecturing" characteristic is a very intergral part of the AS personality. I've never met a person with AS who didn't have it.
  12. Ohio

    Ohio New Member

    I am sorry that you are having difficulties with your daughter. It does sound like it's partly a hormonal issue, but it could also have something to do with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) too. Have you thought about taking her off the pill, and trying another form of birth control? If you get her off of the hormones, and her behavior improves, then you have your answer. By the way, expect for some mood swings when she drops off of the pill. I would also definitely have your daughter take a pregnancy test, as someone suggested earlier.
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    She's definitely not pregnant, Susie. She thought she was about a month ago because everything was late - she was quite frank with us about her concern, she bought a test kit and tested herself. It was this scare that got her to the doctor who changed her prescription, and since she started on this new Pill three weeks ago, she hasn't stopped spotting (and I suspect hasn't had sex, because she's really squeamish and fastidious, to a fault - another aspect of her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), I reckon).

    I've mentioned on other posts - when my girls became sexually active (would apply to my KIDS, but difficult child 1 has chosen to be celibate) I told them that sexual activity comes at a price - sexual responsibility. And although it was a long haul, she finally is taking good responsibility for her sexual health (and BF2's).

    I'm going to apparently waffle here, there is a lot of detail I need to share to understand the complexity of this:

    This problem goes back a lot further than her being on the Pill; I think she's worse at the moment because she is really stressed over her TAFE college course. She wants to quit, all because of one subject. And that is interesting too - she's doing teacher training, for Early Childhood. The subject causing concern - time study of children. I remember having to do this literally decades ago, long before we had technology to assist. We had to observe a child/adult/animal (I was actually a science student; when I did Animal Behaviour we had to do the same thing, but with animals across the spectrum). You write down exactly what the individual does, AND what time. You have to be really specific - "he turned to the left, stooped bending from the waist and picked up t he ball in his left hand using a palmar grasp."
    Now, easy child 2/difficult child 2 can be VERY specific. She also understands exactly WHY this is necessary - you get valuable information there from which you LATER make deductions.
    But there are problems. Back when I did it, we found out for ourselves that you shouldn't let the act of your observation affect what you are observing. Science and physics teaches us that this is unavoidable. And when (from my experience) you have a group of ten adult students in the play area of a child care centre, all carrying notebooks and pencils, the kids who suddenly feel they are being watched will lead you a merry dance. So easy child 2/difficult child 2's class have been told they MUST NOT write anything down while near the children; they MUST NOT look directly at the child. But somehow, they are expected to be able to fully document, with this degree of detail.
    Try it yourselves. Watch every small movement your child makes. "He turns his head to the left. Eyes look in direction of door. He turns his head back. [incidental note - the doorbell rang]. He tilts his head forward and picks up a pencil in his right hand using index finger and thumb. His left hand holds a piece of paper against the floor and he begins to apply the pencil to t he paper." Now remember all this, plus anything else relevant, including the sitting position, do it without looking exactly at the child, then go into another room and write it all down, WITHOUT MISSING ANYTHING FURTHER that he does.
    And this is where she is coming unstuck - she hates doing an imperfect job, especially when they are told to get it right and do it in detail, but feels this task sets students up for failure.
    I understand - I had to do it too, and I did finally get the technique down well enough to get valuable information for various projects I was working on. But she's at the learning stage and not coping. Because she hasn't had major problems to date, and because she is an evening student and t he counselling unit only work during the day, she hasn't come sufficiently to the attention of the TAFE counsellors for them to explain her needs to the TAFE teachers. I was with her when she enrolled; I remember one of the TAFE teachers expressing scepticism that she would cope with the course. Now easy child 2/difficult child 2 tells me that one teacher in particular seems to be making her really nervous and constantly criticising her, seemingly unfairly. I'm wondering if it's the same person. And because easy child 2/difficult child 2 has poor face recognition skills (another possible Aspie trait) she can't be sure if it IS the same person. easy child 2/difficult child 2 may be 21, but she LOOKS 14. She's constantly having to show ID. In our country you have to be 17 to have a driver's licence, you have to be 15 before you can pump petrol, but the garages keep asking her to prove she's old enough to pump the petrol for the car she just drove up in!

    This is the sort of problem many of us face in the workplace, at school, anywhere. It's life. And she's not coping with it, wants to walk away. Now I've told her she can get into uni to do a teaching course which would take her straight into the level she wants (Early Childhood teaching would only take her part of the way) and she wants to drop this and shortcut. But if she can finish this calendar year, she will get a head start in a uni course, otherwise she has to start from the beginning. AND do time studies, all over again.

    Does she have Asperger's? I do think so, even if it's just mild. Her coping skills are a mess, for someone labelled as a genius when she was 4. She's always done well at school until mid high school (which fits with my experience of Asperger's) and her attention to detail has ALWAYS been meticulous - when she was not quite 3, she drew a picture of a happy monster, solid-bodied, multicoloured, with pupils and iris in the eyes, detailed ears, fingers with fingernails and big smily mouth with each tooth drawn in. She then wrote her name on it. I still have the picture - this was drawn while I was being told by difficult child 1's school counsellor that he was retarded and feeling pressured by me, to achieve. I was able to point to his little sister and say, "When you've got THAT coming up behind you and another one in front of you, how would that make you feel?"

    I think I will talk to her again about going back to see her psychologist. I know she can fit it into her schedule; the psychologist is right near the fruit shop where easy child 2/difficult child 2 works and on Thursdays easy child 2/difficult child 2 finishes at 3 pm, while BF2 (who needs a lift home, he has no licence) finishes at 9 pm. She usually cools her heels waiting for him, she could see the shrink in that time. And if we organise that NOW, this morning (it's just after 9.30 am) then she can get the referral when we see this wonderful new GP at 2 pm this arvo (our medical system - the GP referral with a health care plan means that Australia's government health insurance, Medicare, pays for the psychologist for a block of 8 sessions).

    Thanks for the ideas so far, folks. And yes, the likelihood of this new Pill making things even worse is ALSO going to be discussed - I see the GP first for my BiPolar (BP) check, so if easy child 2/difficult child 2 doesn't want me in for her consult (unlikely - she usually grabs my hand and drags me in with her) then I get to tip off the doctor first.

    Phew! So it looks like we're heading to "the mainland" to get a lot done. difficult child 1 has urgent medical insurance paperwork to finalise, so he can send in his tax return - I've said before, our wonderful health system comes at a huge price in terms of Big Brother and personal freedom - all membership numbers must be registered with social security, taxation, government health insurance, doctors plus any employer and are constantly cross-checked. difficult child 1's paperwork is still in process. Meanwhile I can hear easy child 2/difficult child 2 at it again with her brothers, neither of whom have the social skills to just SHUT UP!

    Oh boy...

  14. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Wow, Marg, fascinating note, on all accounts.
    You've got a lot going on.
    I wish I could be of help.
    But I'll send wishes for strength and clarity. :smile:
  15. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We're leaving in about half an hour to see the doctor. She's a really good doctor, as good as the bloke we've seen trying to maintain practice with although he keeps moving! We need a good doctor with head screwed on, we've had some idiots locally, lately. And our previous GP - he's now too far away from easy child 2/difficult child 2's work, plus he's getting out of general practice and into palliative care - relevant for me, husband & mother in law, but not any of the kids. So all this is happening, right when we're breaking in a new GP1 Lucky she IS so good!

    I'l update when I know more. I DID have a talk to easy child 2/difficult child 2 this morning, telling her I think she needs to see the psychologist again and suggesting hormonal upheavals may be making things worse. She was OK with it.

    Talk in a few hours.

  16. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    If she's really stressed about school, it could cause what you're seeing...a need to control the things she can control because she feels out of control with school. That would be anxiety just spilling over.

    I do that when I'm feeling overwhelmed or anxious and I have to really watch myself. An example is when I'm feeling like this and ask the kids to do something (take out the trash for example), I don't mean in 5 or 10 minutes, I mean NOW. I have to force myself to chill.

    difficult child goes on and on in her stories, too. She'll get going and I'll look at her with a smirk and ask her in an exaggerated tone, "Is this going to be a long story?". She knows I'm teasing and it acts as a prompt for her to get back on track.
  17. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I didn't get a chance at the doctor's to raise the possibility of Asperger's - the doctor spent more time with me than I thought she would, so she ran out of time with easy child 2/difficult child 2. Plus, easy child 2/difficult child 2 needed her main object dealt with - the hormonal hassles from the current Pill change, plus the need for a Pap smear, etc. But the doctor DID get to the first stage of referring easy child 2/difficult child 2 to a psychologist. The new system - there are two tests, a short one and a longer one. Both involve filling in a questionnaire, and the doctor has to do it while the patient is t here. easy child 2/difficult child 2 has made an appointment for Thursday afternoon, to get the next stage done. But the first one - it indicates she needs the second bit - there IS a need, in other words. So currently - nothing prescribed, but that could come on Thursday. I don't think she will need me there on Thursday, the doctor now knows in broad at least, what the trouble is. easy child 2/difficult child 2 was happy for me to go in with her.

    And now, perhaps having had it brought out in the open and our concerns discussed with an impartial, professional third party, maybe she will be more aware of the need to hold herself together, and more aware that we ARE seeking help.

    I'll keep you all posted.

  18. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Marg, I think you are right. Now that she has been to the doctor with you and you have expressed your concerns and she has made the appointment for Thursday, she may be more aware of her moods/actions.

    I hope she is able to be open and honest about what is going on when she meets the doctor. Hope the next couple days go smoothly at your house.

  19. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts


    Glad to hear that doctor is starting the process for easy child/difficult child 2. Now that it's out in the open I hope things are dealt with swiftly & easy child/difficult child 2 gets in to see psychiatrist quickly.

    You're always so on the ball with your children. :warrior:
  20. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I don't think that's the problem any more. The biggest problem is whether she can actually explain, or answer the doctor's questions, instead of just looking blankly at her. But we gave it to her in a nutshell, I jogged easy child 2/difficult child 2's memory enough for her to fill in the rest after I started off a train of thought. She would correct me easily if I said something not quite accurate and I could see the doctor drawing her own conclusions. This doctor is a lovely lady, old-fashioned in so many ways (and ways that easy child 2/difficult child 2 values) but very, very shrewd.

    I think we're on a roll, all I have to do is keep the momentum going and keep gently pushing easy child 2/difficult child 2 along this track.

    Oh, and the doctor wants an abdominal ultrasound on her. I'm not happy about this; it means she's concerned that there could be something other than hormones playing havoc in this area. easy child 2/difficult child 2 is working tomorrow, off on Wednesday. I'll nag her to book the ultrasound for Thursday afternoon, if she can fit it in after the doctor's appointment.