Originally Posted by Barbie64g
Found myself thinking of you and your little prince and hoping you are having a very blessed Holiday season.
Strange, I was just thinking about posting an update over the past few days! I do want to do that and NEED to do that, but it's almost 1:00 am, and I need to hit the sack.
In short, things have been up and down for us. The most distressing thing for me lately has been that our cat died (my beloved cat I'd had for over 16 years!) and we got a new kitty, which my son has started intentionally hurting over the past week or two. I never would've expected this from him in a MILLION years! My son has always been the most gentle and loving child you've ever seen with animals, so surprisingly so, even at a young age, that people have often commented on how extremely wonderful he was with animals. It was a source of great pride for me! I just was soooo proud of his gentleness with animals. He would even chastise the neighbor kids in our old neighborhood when they'd scream at the neighborhood cats or chase them. Those cats hated all of the other kids, except my son!
So, we got this new little kitty. She's five months old, a very adorable Exotic Shorthair (basically a short-haired Persian) and my son was just thrilled about her at first, but then he started getting frustrated with her that she wasn't reacting to him the way he wanted. He wants to carry her around all the time, and she's not into being carried or held much, even by me, so she started hiding under the bed to get away from him, which made him upset. One day I was in the shower, and when I got out, he said, "Mom, you need to put me in time out." "Why?" I asked. He said, "I hurt Lilly (our cat)." I asked him what he did, and he said he pulled her tail and that she yowled. I was SOOOOO upset and angry. The next day he pulled her leg, also while I was in the shower. I can't even begin to explain how distressing this is to me! He then told me that he had hit her and thrown her, and he was sort of laughing about it, like a nervous laughter, I guess. The kitty doesn't appear to be hurt at all at this point, but I don't want her to be physically or emotionally damaged by this, obviously! I don't want her to have pain, even temporarily, or be afraid of us. I don't want her to hide from him. I thought this cat would be a good, happy thing for us when we've had nothing but sadness, fear, and stress over the past six months or so with facing a serious, life-threatening crime, losing our home, and just having our entire lives ripped away from us. It started out so well, and he was so happy to have his new kitty, then suddenly he's hurting her!!! I don't really get it.
My mom, who always blames EVERYTHING on me, said that he was probably jealous of the attention she was getting, but I purposefully DON'T give her lots of attention when he is awake because I didn't want to cause any problems. I spend most of my time petting and playing with her when he's asleep or when he's not here.
I think his problem is that she isn't playing with him the way he wants her to, so he's angry. I also think that he gets frustrated with her because he gets in trouble for picking her up too much and getting her out from under the bed when she's gone there to hide. Sometimes I have to tell him that if he picks her up again (for the 20th time!) or bothers her under the bed (where she is going to hide from him, obviously) that he will have a time out. I think he might resent her because of this, like the new baby sister who's getting him in trouble. I have no idea. Just randomly hypothesizing.
Things have calmed down with that over the last week, but I've just been DEVASTATED about the thought that I might have to get rid of her. I don't want her to be hurt! I don't want him to be hurting her! But I also fear what it would do him to have the cat removed because he was hurting her. I'd like to see him be successful (stop hurting the cat) rather than have to take her away because he can't act appropriately, but I don't want to put the cat at risk to give him that chance.
He always was so extremely wonderful with animals. Cats, even those we didn't know, loved him so much that people called him the Cat Whisperer! Our neighbor's cats where we used to live would come running when they'd see our car just because they loved my son. It's just devastating to me to think "WHAT IS WRONG WITH HIM?"
His therapist said that she didn't think we needed to get rid of the cat just yet. I went into her office two days after this started (without my son, of course) and I was crying so hard for the first five minutes that I couldn't even talk. She was just sitting there looking at me like "Wow! What is going on???" She said she hopes that she doesn't regret this, but that she thought I should see if I can help him work this through and NOT hurt the cat.
I've been talking to him about how the cat will want to be around him more if he's gentle and doesn't chase her and pick her up all the time. He has been better over the last few days, and now the cat is lying down next to him while he's playing, but I am just so nervous every time I have to be away from them, like what is he capable of doing????? It just makes me sick to my stomach. I don't want her to get hurt, and I don't want him to hurt her, or to want to hurt her, or have the experience of hurting her. That is just so unhealthy and so sick. It just makes me ill. I don't want to think that he's a monster---hurting an innocent kitten!
I tried locking her in the bathroom with me when I took a shower after the second time he hurt her (I thought the first time was a fluke and wouldn't happen again after we talked about it so much), but he just screamed and cried and pounded on the door, and I was worried that someone was going to call and complain. (We live in an apartment building where noise travels easily.)
Ugh. So much for the quick update, huh? I started writing and it just poured out like a flash flood. I guess it needed to be discussed. You all have been such a great support system for me, so thank you.
I am a single mom, and I really have VERY little support.
The last time my son was totally out of control and I was feeling like I was going to literally (I mean LITERALLY!) lose my mind, I called my mom for support, and she said, SHE was going to lose it because it was so hard for her! She then said she wanted to kill herself because she couldn't handle how hard my life was
(What???? my life is so hard for YOU now you're going to kill yourself????), and that it was harder for her to hear about what was going on with my son than it was for me to live it! I swear, if I was raped, this woman would say it was harder for her to hear about me being raped than for me to be raped!!!! I understand that as a mother and grandmother, it's hard for her to see us in distress and to see her grandson having serious problems, but come on---it's not harder for her than it is for me to actually LIVE this. Please. Get a grip!
The conversation ended when my mom suggested, as she's done several times, that if I can't handle my son maybe I should just find him a nice, loving family. YES, she suggested I give him up for adoption.
I promptly hung up on her. She's done this several times, and each time she's said this, I've told her "DO NOT EVER, EVER, SAY THAT TO ME AGAIN!" The thing is that she loves my son beyond belief, and if I ever did think I wanted to give him up for adoption, something I would NEVER DO IN A MILLION YEARS, I know for a fact with 100% certainty that my parents would fight tooth and nail to adopt him. Heck, maybe that's what she's going for. I don't know. But it's just the ultimate cruel thing to say when someone has been having a full on battle for 3-4+ hours, alone, with an out of control child.
It's such an insult, such a huge slap in the face, like it would be better for him to live with someone else than with me, like the pain of him being given away by his mom when he's old enough to know exactly what's going on would be a better choice for him than staying with me. And why? Because I don't love him or don't want him????? NO. Because I am about to lose my mind when he's been hitting, screaming, biting, and being out of control for hours on end.
I have only a few friends at this point, none who are very close, and I don't feel comfortable calling them to say that my son is out of control, hitting, biting, hurting the cat, etc. I don't think people know how to handle that.
I did find out that there was a child abuse prevention hotline that parents could call if they were feeling overwhelmed with an out-of-control child, and I might try that the next time he gets that way instead of calling my mom, which obviously is not a good choice. Apparently they are non-reporting, so they don't turn people in for calling. I am not
suggesting that I am hurting my son, but sometimes after hours of this behavior I am just soooo at my wits' end that I feel like I am going to snap. I was beaten by my parents, so when I am extremely frustrated, angry, and just frazzled beyond belief, those aggressive tendencies want to come out----screaming, absolutely no patience, physically dragging him to time out----the opposite of how I want to act!!!! I just get to the point where I am like "WHAT IS GOING TO MAKE YOU STOP! I WANT YOU TO STOP!!!!!! NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!" I feel like nothing I am doing is working.
Next time I feel like that I am going to call the hotline and hope it's helpful.
I know this all sounds so awful and negative, and I don't want it to be that way. Actually, after my last postings, I REALLY tried to just suck up all my strength and patience, and my son did much better for a while.
I know some of you will say that this is just further evidence that he is mentally ill (bipolar has been the most common suggestion) and that he needs medication. I have not ruled that out, but I am not ready to go there yet. I have seen improvement in him overall, which is why this whole situation with the cat was SOOO upsetting. He seems like he wants to get a reaction out of me, so it seems like that is part of it too.
Wow. I am just going on and on. Thanks for listening to me, dear readers.
I know I probably need to look at his diet more. He's eating a lot more refined foods than he should due to our overly stressful, busy, hectic lifestyle. I work almost two full-time jobs on top of being full-time single mom, and in order to keep him out of full-time daycare, I do a lot of work at night when he's asleep, often losing precious hours of sleep. I know somehow we need to find more balance. There are so many things I could do better. Sigh.
I am also thinking about trying some alternative medicine, like acupuncture or acupressure and naturopathic medicine. I want to exhaust all avenues before I try hardcore chemical medications. It's just so scary to me. What are the long-term consequences for his brain if he takes these meds? I know there are consequences to what's going on now too.
He's awake, so have to go. Sleep disturbances and nightmares are another problem he's been having, especially since the break-in attempt we had in May. We're both suffering because of that.
Merry Christmas to everyone, and thanks so much for your continued support.