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JackBQuick

Son cutting, complicating things, how the hell do I do this?

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I suck at compartmentalizing but I'll try to here--because I can write a book (and likely will once my son's legal issues are resolved).

My son has Aspergers and ADHD/Impulsivity. A friend of his began cutting when my son was @11 or so . My son began then. I wasn't sure if it was imitation, trying to find acceptance because he's never had more than 1 friend at a time and social engagement is a major problem for him since he was @5.

Partly because people don't understand his quirkiness and his autistic reactions to stuff and our culture trains kids to run to cops for every last thing that seems "odd" to them. He was bullied a lot and, because he's a boy, was blamed for either being the bully himself or for "being a whimp" and "not standing up to bullies." Great way to confuse the hell out of any kid let alone an Aspie.

But I also knew then he'd been through a lot of trauma as a kid. Public school was an unrelenting nightmare through 5th grade and we switched to an online/in-person school where he could get individualized education and the flexibility he needed. We've had lots of visits from law enforcement, only one of which was by an officer who was calm and professional and has an Aspie daughter so he knew was happening and didn't create chaos like the others had in the past.

When he began cutting @ 11, I wondered what it was. I tried to remain calm and was pragmatic: remove the instruments then he can't cut (boy was I an idiot). He handed me my missing X-acto knife and my blades from my art supply box.  Then he used the kitchen knives, scissors, the utility knives from my tools, edges of paper, paper clips, a machete, stuff he found along the side of the road, screw drivers. I tried not to be emotional in front of him. I couldn't keep up with his ability to find and use things. I installed a lock on the kitchen knives but the landlord fined me for "damaging" her cabinets. Whatever, I paid the fine and didn't remove the lock. I couldn't afford a giant safe to lock all my tools, all the paper and office supplies, etc. inside; still can't. But after a while there were no more marks so I thought it was done.
It seemed to be. then he started seeing this girl. She seemed very sweet. He was happy, he cleaned his room, he did his schoolwork so he could go see her, he bathed. But later we found out--through a whole sordid mess with her psycho fundie father who threatened his life before I knew what was going on and had to hire a lawyer to protect him from this asshole--she was a cutter. He had tried to help her stop. So for being in love with a girl and trying to help he's been blamed and victimized by the system. Plus the trauma from the girl's sick father.

So now he's in isolation for legal reasons... and he's back to cutting. I found out yesterday when I got the always dreaded "phone call" from his school. He used social media without our knowledge somehow and some girls he liked saw a pic of the new cuts, freaked out, told their guidance counselor at their school they feared he was suicidal (he wasn't) who called our principal. I had to call the lawyer and blabbity blah. More money to protect him from people's hysterics and drama.
I was pretty upset. I din't have to say anything; he's a sensitive kid and picks up on other's vibe with uncanny depth. He told me via a note he hand wrote last night telling me what he needed and what was going on. He wanted a different therapist and his pdoc referred us to some (all NOT on our insurance).  He wants to "talk" using a note pad and to only talk to someone else. The atty says he can't talk about certain things... I can't explain that to him and he needs help right the fuck now not later when the legal shit's resolved.

I never imagined in my wildest nightmares that I would have to parent any of this. I'm angry, with the system, with fundie Xtians, and especially with myself--I mean, I HAD to have caused this somehow. I know he got all my fucked up MI genes (my fam is loaded with Aspies, ADDs and BPs, her's has one BP and she blames me constantly for ruining her kids, yay). I've been the SAHP for seventeen years. I can't imagine i did a sufficient job of it. I know I haven't. He said in his note not to freak out about his cutting. I'm trying not to. Especially in front of him. But I don't know what to do. I don't get it. This is one more thing on a shitpile of things he has to deal with, why would he want to add this into the mix? I know I'm supposed to get it. I'm supposed to be a man and just carry it and not be emotional and not feel about anything and just keep everything and everyone together. Well, I've always sucked at that. That's why my marriage is shit.
All I know is I have to help him and I don't know how. And I don't know how to process and sort it out inside my own overwhelmed brain and heart... I used to hold him and hug him a lot when he was younger. I know he resents that I don't hug him. I cannot do it. If I do I'll fucking fall completely apart.

My dad was cold and angry with me all the time. He was analytical and fundie-judgmental and I was the of-the-devil artistic boy who was emotional and had Tourettes (Gods curse for my dad marrying my non-fundie liberal mother). I know how much it hurts to have a father like that. I don't want to be that way with my son. Never have wanted that. But I can't do it. It's like the connection point that'll just break me ad then what?
Everyone relies on me to get things done (and gets to hear from her how I don't help, seriously?!). I don't know how much longer I can. I have to. But if things settle down, I'm out. A person can only take so much for so long.

[Mods: Water had a great & helpful thread and it's specific to her situation so I'm doing this separately. Am I doing this correctly?]

 

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Not that this is remotely helpful to all the angst you feel as a parent, but wanted to float out there that if your pdoc is recommending people not on your insurance, you can sometimes ask your insurance and the therapist if they would do a "single case agreement" to let you use your insurance as thought the therapist were an in-network provider.

 

To start that process, you'd need to find a tdoc your kid likes and wants to work with, and ask if they would consider a single case agreement, then call your insurance. (or vice versa either way really)

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Go off, deliberately initate dam break. Cry, rant scream. In the car or something. Then when drained, go home and hug the kid.

Would that work?

It is really heartbreaking. I'm sorry y'all are going through this.

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oh gosh, I am so sorry. 

 

First of all, hug your kid. Just do it. Whenever you can. Especially since he wants it. It won't kill you and costs no money.

Second, STOP blaming yourself and your genes. You are doing the very best you can in a very difficult situation.

Are you in therapy? Are your meds stable?

 

I am a little confused about what isolation means. It sounds awful. Is it helping and what do his doctors say?

 

I do know kids cut for very different reasons, some to punish themselves, some because depression numbs and the cuts make you feel.

 

Do you have a blog here on Crazyboards?  Your life sounds overwhelming and it is nice to have a place to vent. 

I do not believe 'being a man' means not having emotions, not crying or yelling. 

You are bottling so much inside. Your post reads of weeks, months of frustration.

That is good!  Let it out. This is a healthy way to direct pain, as opposed to self harm.

 

Eating right, sleeping, taking your meds, making sure you have time to relax.   All of that mundane stuff will help.

I wish there was one answer. Cutting was/is a trigger for me. I figured out why and that has helped tremendously

What is most important is not the cutting - that is only a symptom.  Since my girl is now in therapy my mind has eased off it yammering.

She has someone she trusts where she is opening up. Does your son have that now?

 

One day at a time.

 

 

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Not that this is remotely helpful to all the angst you feel as a parent, but wanted to float out there that if your pdoc is recommending people not on your insurance, you can sometimes ask your insurance and the therapist if they would do a "single case agreement" to let you use your insurance as thought the therapist were an in-network provider.

 

To start that process, you'd need to find a tdoc your kid likes and wants to work with, and ask if they would consider a single case agreement, then call your insurance. (or vice versa either way really)

 

"Single Case Agreement." Holy cow, magic keywords. Thank you, he's got an appt this week so I'm bringing that with me.

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Go off, deliberately initate dam break. Cry, rant scream. In the car or something. Then when drained, go home and hug the kid.

Would that work?

It is really heartbreaking. I'm sorry y'all are going through this.

 

Tried that already. This is fifteen years in the making, highly compressed and potent in the last eighteen months to now. Struggling. I don't want to hurt him more.

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oh gosh, I am so sorry. 

 

First of all, hug your kid. Just do it. Whenever you can. Especially since he wants it. It won't kill you and costs no money.

Second, STOP blaming yourself and your genes. You are doing the very best you can in a very difficult situation.

Are you in therapy? Are your meds stable?

 

I am a little confused about what isolation means. It sounds awful. Is it helping and what do his doctors say?

 

I do know kids cut for very different reasons, some to punish themselves, some because depression numbs and the cuts make you feel.

 

Do you have a blog here on Crazyboards?  Your life sounds overwhelming and it is nice to have a place to vent. 

I do not believe 'being a man' means not having emotions, not crying or yelling. 

You are bottling so much inside. Your post reads of weeks, months of frustration.

That is good!  Let it out. This is a healthy way to direct pain, as opposed to self harm.

 

Eating right, sleeping, taking your meds, making sure you have time to relax.   All of that mundane stuff will help.

I wish there was one answer. Cutting was/is a trigger for me. I figured out why and that has helped tremendously

What is most important is not the cutting - that is only a symptom.  Since my girl is now in therapy my mind has eased off it yammering.

She has someone she trusts where she is opening up. Does your son have that now?

 

One day at a time.

 

Thought of blogging on CB many times. I have one outside for public stuff, trying to build readers and so on. Need to expand in the Goodreads blogs, an all that.

 

but for dealing with this stuff... it probably would be useful.

 

The "man thing" for me is surprising I talk things through, I take in things via intuition (not my senses) and process via emotions. Except for him. I've bottled up to minimize the damage.

  •  One because he's so sideways from the rest of the world (Aspergers) and I seriously can't figure him out most of the time also tough for me because I figure out people accurately all the time, especially in my day job.
  • Two because he triggers me all the time: things like honor, respect, kindness, generosity, etc. are all my core values and he violates them constantly--abusive, oppressive, steals my things & destroys stuff that I worked long and hard to get, or are tools for my job and no easily replaced, is rude, constantly in my face, resists med compliance, etc.
  • Three because now he's in a legal situation arising directly from his sideways-ness and the way he needs social media and text messaging to interact with others because he can't do it in person. And also because he adores girls and desperately wants the closeness of a girlfriend (he unfortunately got the male archetypal Lover from his dad).

The isolation aspect is because he only had two friends and both of them were involved in the incident (that is only an incident because the other party's fundamentalist psycho parent files charges that our local PD/DA are hyper-aggressive about prosecuting (panders to fundie Xtian voters)... I never even knew such a thing could be criminalized, in CA of all places, and the record of abusing and punishing teenage boys who are innocent is epidemic according to the stats). So his atty necessarily advised against further contact with the friends for his safety and to "find other friends" It took him six years of agonizing work to make these two. It's a nightmare for him. He's terrified to be alone outside. He was "picked up" by the PD under false pretenses recently and I spend the rent again to get him back from the system--all part of this twisted sick "gamesmanship" between the PD/DA and my son's defense. It's apparently very normal but the difference is most kids are poor (they don't pick on rich boys as much) so they just end up in jail and it takes years to exonerate them. the whole thing is disgusting. But bottom line, I plan to sue the living daylights out of that other party's parent for harming my kid. Can you tell the fundie angle's a serious trigger for me?

 

It's no wonder he's cutting. And his mom does a lot of the screaming that she never thought she'd hate her kids, blabbity blah toxic shit that's never her responsibility... *eyeroll* :wall::brooding:

 

I realize I need to find out more about cutting itself... is it something I should be trying to stop? Do I need to teach him "wound management" which sounds like letting him keep doing it... the school system here is hell bent on calling the police when they see cuts... so it's super risky.

 

The worst part is because of his legal issue he can't openly talk to a tdoc in case the tdoc gets subpoena'd. It's insane.

Edited by JackBQuick

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Cutting is a crappy coping mechanism, if you want him to stop, offer better coping mechanisms.

Umm...martial arts? Rowing? Team cycling? Soccer?

I was thinking team sport, but one where talking to his teammates wasn't necessarily a thing...just working in harmony with the other teammates, if that makes sense?

And somewhere to put all that frustration. Plus it would give him a verifiable alibi a lot...

He...sounds like he's angry at you.

He deliberately does things to hurt you...he's angry at you. I think. More likely than not. Covert aggression.

If you respond with anger back, things will go explodey...I suspect.

Can you just ask him who he is angry at and why? And not defend yourself, nor necessarily apologize unless the kid deserves an apology...just accept that he's angry, allow him to be angry at you free from judgment?

Or he might be just angry at the situation, but taking it out on you.

In which case you could point out that neither of you caused this shitstorm, that your kid was trying to be a good guy...and both of you are doing your current best to get the shitstorm stopped...together.

Reframe himself and yourself as a team,working together.

Might that work?

Don't guilt, lecture...that ain't workin', so don't do it. If there needs to be consequences for theft, well, figure out what you can enforce. No threats, no shouts. The next time he steals a work tool, the door comes off his bedroom until the tool returns?

His smartphone is shut off service until the item returns? Or is replaced? Or he does a certain amount of chores before he gets his phone back?

No cutting with your stuff, basically.

In the interest of avoiding battle, please to get lockable metal box or make a chest from heavy plywood.

I mean, maybe this is all stuff you have tried?

but shit, parents doing their job as parents, setting limits...sometimes their kids are going to resent the hell out of them for parenting. Or just being there or something.

Because teenagers are mostly walking identity crises and addled on a massive surge of sex hormones. Just GRRR.

That's adolescence for you.

Hmm...ask him as a favor...when son cuts, ask him to show you the injuries to make sure they don't need pro attention. Ask him also to tell you why he cut...and be prepared to not be mister fixit on the reason he cut.

Just hear it, be compassionate about what he says. If it is something you can fix AND it is your job to fix it, then probably just quietly fix it afterward.

...the idea being, he'll eventually skip the cutting and just come talk to you...and meanwhile, you are seeing that he's not in need of an ER.

BUUUUT, if you pressure or guilt him? Or disapprove, or do much besides provide a kind ear to explode into?He'll become the immovable object.

Edited by Stickler

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Hug your kid, just do it :), trust me he needs it right now, i used to self harm and think about doing it sometimes, the best thing anyone ever did for me was to hold me and let me cry and scream.

 

Above all else let him know he is loved. Don't force a conversation until he's ready.

Edited by tibbycat

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I'm sorry I can't be any help but seriously you sound like an AMAZING Dad. And you have to know that his cutting is not your fault. It's often a coping thing used to deal with feelings we can't process because we haven't found anything else that works. There are things my parents did that definitely stressed me out but never made me SH- that's a choice I made in order to cope with my stress and it was my bad choice. I wish I could just hug you- all the stuff you're going through for your son :( It sucks to have to be the strong one, the protector. I really hope things get better fast *hug*

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Could you consider family therapy? It sounds like it'd be good for at least you, your wife and your son. Then you have someone impartial in the room while you try and fix things

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