Awful behaviour and broken family life

Hi everyone 

what I’m about to say on here may not be liked by everyone.  I hate that I am feeling it myself trust me but I just need to vent.  Please try not to judge me I’m struggling and trying to make my way through this as best I can.

i have a son who is 10. I have a daughter who is 7 and live with my husband.  Since my son was 3-4yrs he has struggled with things around him and his emotions. He has sensory needs and social interaction issues.  He was diagnosed earlier this year with “high functioning autism”.  For the past 11months he has turned into the most destructive, hateful, nasty, anxious, disrespectful human being.  He refused school for 7months.   He doesn’t go to sleep without us there with him.  He will kick off, shout, scream, kick, slam doors, break windows etc when he gets angry which can be caused by anything.  When we try to teach consequences it will go on and on and he gets over his meltdown but learns nothing from it.  My family is broken.  My husband is a shadow of the man he used to be.  We are both nothing like we were before.  My daughter puts up with an awful lot from having her brother destroy everything and shout at her for most of the day.  I hate to say it but he’s ruining our lives.  We are tired, miserable and just about surviving. Certainly not living.

Im grateful that we are healthy and have an amazing family around to support but I feel lonely confused and unsure how things are ever going to change for the better.  My son means the world to me. I love him so much.  He’s just become someone else. Someone we can’t go out with, have time off with or do anything without huge outbursts and stress.  I don’t understand him.  We stay calm, give him space, talk and listen but when we are met with such a power of negativity it chips away and we have become shells of our former selves.  I think we have reached our limit.  We now have short fuses, raise our voices and go crazy ourselves when we can’t take anymore. 

I don’t want to feel like this anymore.  I want to be able to enjoy life not wake up everyday thinking how long have I got until the abuse from my 10 year old starts.

We need help before we all break up and bonds get broken.

  • I am autistic, and also a mother (to a now adult son, who is likely neurodivergent too). Whilst I don't have experience of the situation you currently find yourself in, I can sympathise with the toll it is taking on you and the rest of your family.

    This is unlikely to be of any comfort to you, and I may well be stating the obvious here by saying that your home is probably the one place where your son feels safe enough to 'unmask' and let out all his pent-up anger and frustration.

    Are there any physical activities your son enjoys? Does he have anything at home that he can safely take his anger out on? An old cushion, or pillow that he can punch, kick, throw around, etc? Something that won't matter if it gets damaged, and will be considerably cheaper to replace than the likes of a broken window. 

    Hopefully, there will be parents here who can offer you some better suggestions than mine.

  • There's a lot here to take in. It sounds like you didn't get the advice and help you needed early on, so you might have set dynamics and years of built-up, unresolved issues creating a difficulty turning this around. 

    Here's a few key points which you may or may not know about. 

    Alexithymia:https://neurodivergentinsights.com/blog/autism-and-alexithymia

    When someone asks me How are you feeling? I have learned (now much older) to describe what is happening. How am I feeling? Well, it's blue skies and I've just had a coffee. Or in therapy about a situation that I was impacted by, I would say I feel 'unprotected' or 'lost', which are not descriptions of emotion. But the consequence of a thing which happened. I cannot access words or clearly articulate emotions. When young, I was told what I was feeling and often misread. I was often accused of motives I didn't have. And because it would cause further stress, it would further compound the frustration. I can honestly say there was a bit too much of my childhood spent in frustration and tears. But mostly just shutdown.

    Chris has a load of insight: https://www.facebook.com/autisticnotweird 

    Schools can contribute to more trauma than needed: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/everyday-neurodiversity/202108/are-we-giving-autistic-children-ptsd-school?fbclid=IwAR0e6pwWeDC7C0c3EJAE1qdd9PyMyCqkgwIvTDEIxPKGBOV7Qn9hrgN5kI8

    A few theories right now seem to be important: one is Autistics need Resolve. we need a great deal more uninterrupted alone time which aids learning and thriving. We need to be afforded agency and helped to understand how to make over-informed choices (we often won't ever catch the social rules which are subject to change). We need to be allowed our intensities, as we're far more impacted by sense perception including emotions (which we might not be able to identify) and sensing underlying systems we need knowledge for, along with external senses. From youth to mid 20's is how long it can take to learn to feel the impact, respond and learn to notice it, and breathe through it. The world can be too much and everything-all-at-once, thus a greater need for parents to reinforce doing things One thing at a time To Completion. And if it's a thing which will take a few weeks, help scheduling and creating small goals per day. Again, Resolve is the issue.

    Anxiety for autistics is biological from all the studies coming out now. Perhaps we're wired to sense danger. But apparently we can have less GABA inhibitors (the gut-brain axis) and this means we can't naturally shut down excited thought spiralling beyond our control. Some foods boost GABA, but for kids with added gut issues, we might have difficulty with certain vegetables in the mustard family. Or difficulty with grains. I take a mushroom blend with Lions Mane which helps. 

    Here's a good links to feed the soul and one of my favourite sociologists/philosophers from last century :

    https://www.themarginalian.org/2017/03/23/the-sane-society-erich-fromm/

    There's a lot here to hopefully start looking at things with a fresh perspective. But it sounds like mum and dad need a holiday and some time to regroup.

    Lastly, allow him to be negative, this can have benefit for someone working in health care, health and safety, someone responsible for making sure a bridge doesn't collapse. What he needs is tools and resources to problem-solve and troubleshoot. Once a week, help him list 10 things he's grateful for, even if it's just a pair of socks. The smallest thing is valid. And then to learn to not criticise a person, but things, actions, anything fixable. It's OK to say what you did hurt. But also accept if the person didn't mean to. As a parent myself, I started practicing "how can I help". Eventually my son started saying this back after many years :) 

  • Thank you I appreciate the time you have put in to respond.  You’re right we were given a diagnoses and that was that.  No one has told us how to be better parents for him.  That’s all we want is some guidance.  I think my husband struggles the most and they just clash constantly.

    i will look at the links you sent.

    thanks again

  • refused to go to school for 7 months, that tells me school is hell... and to me it was hell, but my parents forced me to go to school and i didnt dare mess with my dad because he was loud and frightening and old fashioned so i knew if i stepped out of line id never hear the end of it for days. my trick was going to school then escaping school and hiding in the bushed somewhere and going back after school pretending i had been, did it hundreds of times, only got found once, so didnt really care about taking the beating and telling off for being caught once as i had done it that way many times, plus it was funny watching them claim i will always get caught doing it without realising i had done it thousands of times and never been caught and being caught once out of all those times was nothing.

    anyway, it tells me your kid has serious issues at school that has caused distress. as for parenting im not sure in your case now whether my dads tough approach would help or not as the kid already seems to have asserted himself as dominant without any fear of challenge to his position. 

    theres alot of tiny micro issues and factors that play into it that would prevent any proper reply or construction though.
    i mean my mum treated me good as a direct opposite to my dad, so i had good cop and bad cop... when the issue of controlling me needed fear there was my dad... anything else was controlled by my love for my mum... so basically you need both the traditional rough controlling fear we all demonise and have banned these days... but you also need a strong loving bond too. you need both.


    like if hes breaking stuff, if i did that had tantrums and broke stuff my dad would have gone berserk on me and smacked me off my feet and sent me flying across the room, but then when im sad and have been contained that way my mum would then make sure im ok and then make me feel better. ofcourse this puts a burden on one of the parents... the tough discipline parent will have to accept they will be hated by their kid while the other one will have all the love.

  • It's really not my business, but perhaps something to think about - sometimes a parent who might 'clash' could have similarities they haven't been afforded a chance to work through in life. Assuming he's the father, is it possible your husband is NeuroDivergent? 

    One extreme difficulty between a parent and child, can be if one is ADHD (especially undiagnosed) and the other Autistic. Key similarities will be: 1. Sensory Perception - a difficulty with 'filtering' and inability to dull the senses the same as Typical peers. 2. Monotropism - see www.monotropism.org where the brain senses everything all at once and flow-state is easy to just 'pop' into.

    Autistics will need a great deal of uninterrupted introverted time, while ADHD might be able to thrive in smash-cut edits during the day, or quick transitions. ADHD'rs won't have the language differences, BUT, they can be our best allies, as most appear to be able to understand and 'speak' both Autistic and Non :) 

    However, sometimes the Non-Autistic parent who isn't divergent or 'on the spectrum' can be an extreme polarity from Autism. Freud and Lacan (Psychoanalysts) both studied Autism and found the traits completely undesirable similar to extreme personality clashes. There is a case for this, but that your husband is 'shut down' makes me wonder. It sounds less likely he's this type of polarity.

    It's typical for many mothers to have more patience with their children, not always. But also to not give up. You definitely sound like this! But I hope these things can help :) 

  • Reading this story is like reading mine. I however and had to go through this alone as a single parent with no family and have slowly lost all my friends due to the outbursts and behaviour. My son started school refusing in year 5 and he should be in year 11 but hasn't been at school for 3 years after being placed In a special school who could restrain children. He would lash out and come home Black and blue. 

    I have self referred social services numerous times, begged cahmns to help, he has attempted suicide 3 times and still there is nothing.

    The system is broken in my opinion. Our relationship is broken and I dread to see what the future holds for him.

    Because he is able bodied I wasn't aloud a carer to help with him. I can't work as have no one to care for him. He hasnt been away from me in 4 years. 24/7. He has stolen my car, stolen money, smashed windows, doors and all I'm advised is to call the police to have him charged.

    That will then be on my head his criminal record that will effect his life even more.

    I would like to follow this thread as I am also prepared to try anything for my lad. 

    I have an ongoing laddo investigation, complaint with nyc, senior and his school.

  • I myself was more like your son when I ate gluten and dairy, removing them from my eating routine helps me because both of those make me more unstable. Sometimes Autistic people have an epileptic kind of brain where sometimes behaviour that is aggressive or erratic is caused by a kind of seizure in which some control is lost. Epileptic people are sometimes recommended a ketogenic or as it is more popularly known keto diet to control seizures but that is an extreme step some will not be able to manage. It would mean only eating meat and vegetables (excluding potatoes and other complex carbohydrates). The downside of a keto eating routine is that it leads to less physical energy but I know from experience it does make your head more calm. However, ultimately, being Autistic can be a lonely experience, have sympathy for his soul.