son - control
My husband and eldest son have diagnoses of AS. In addition they both have mental health issues. My husband has lived separately from the family unit for nearly two years, although he visits daily, and my eldest son (nearly 18) has returned home to live after several months in a CAMHS unit.
However, it is my youngest son (nearly 16) who I am really worried about. My youngest has issues with anxiety and social/emotional behaviour. Professionals suspect autism, but my sn refuses to pursue formal diagnosis. The behaviour that worries me, and that I find so difficult to manage, involves control.
My youngest has refused school for 2.5 years and is now taught on a very part time basis, in 1-1 sessions in a local PRU unit. He also attends a practical mechanics workshop (cars are his passion) for one day a week. The rest of the time, he is at home, except for his daily gym sessions.
Yet, my youngest has an incessant drive to control everything in his environment. He has a rigid eating routine which, whilst very healthy, limits gluten lactose and cardbohydrates. He also works out at the gym every day. As a result he is lean (to the point of thinness) and very strong. However, he tries to impose his routine on his older brother and his father when he visits. He constantly questions them about what they have eaten, tries to force my eldest (who is a little laid back) to engage in rigorous exercise (my eldest goes on 30 mile bike rides to escape his brother) and discusses, at length, the content of every food item in the house. He asks me repetitively if he is 'fat' and seems moritfied if he feels he has eaten too much. He has looked up his father's BMI and calls him 'obese' and 'weak' when he visits. He also derides any success my husband has, saying he should get a job and stop being a 'dosser'. I clamp down on this rudeness, but my husband cannot cope and ends up leaving the house or screaming at my son.
Although I answer my son's questions about food/weight calmly and 'scientifically' I worry tremendously because I had a profound eating disorder when I was younger and the questions he asks are so similar to the ones I asked in the throws of an eating disorder. My youngest never singles me out with respect to eating or excercise, perhpas because he is aware of my history.
My youngest also seems to feel he must take over the houshold chores. The floor has to be bleached and scrubbed and all shoes left at the door; mess is not tolerated; I work from home and the boks I use have to be stacked in a box in chronological order, my laptop wiped clean after use and so on. I sound 'weak' as I list these things, but I find it much easier to pick my battles and allow the regime but come down firmly on any threats of violence that my youngest exhibits (and this can happen).
My eldest will be going to a group home soon. He is a very gentle young man and the group home is quite local. I feel sad, but I am glad that he will have the opportunity to relax a little at last.
My youngest is not happy. Anxiety and the fear of losing control seem to drive his behaviour. He has been violent towards me, in temper, for example, when I banned sessions at the gym because he lashed out at his brother. My youngest accepted his consequence, apologised to his brother and seemed genuinely remorseful that he had attacked me.
The problem is that, although de-escalation strategies such as humour, distraction etc work to a certain extent; the behaviour continues. Social services are involved with our family and my youngest keeps being referred to CAMHS and then discharged because he will not engage. He attends appointments, but uses them to talk to the psychologist about cars, fitness or anything in his immediate environment. Personal questions are normalised with retorts such as 'I just like to keep fit', 'I like to help Mum with the housework because shes busy', 'I want to help my brother to get a girlfriend'. One alarming aspect of his behaviour is that he will lose his temper with the family pets (cats) and this has resulted in one of the animals becoming almost feral. This is concerning, because the majority of the time, he is affectionate towards the cats, but they are wary of his unpredictable behaviour. However, i have to supervise him when he interacts with animals because he has slapped the cats and thrown one across the room.
I do apologise for the length and detail of this message, but soon i will be on my own with my youngest. He has many very positive qualities, but soon I will be on my own with him and I need effective strategies to help me manage this situation more effectively. Has anyone got any idesa?