Strange and troubling interacting between mother/father/eldest son
Greetings, I'm new here, but have hope that wiser minds than mine can help sort through some of the issues we just can't seem to figure out, especially with my eldest son, who's 5 years old. He is a very intelligent boy, but struggles a lot with aggression and acting out. He especially dislikes me, I believe largely due to mistakes I made in raising him in the past, going all the way back to infancy. I was a very ignorant and lazy mother my first couple years as a mom, I'm ashamed to say. I've been trying to rectify that, but I sometimes fear it's too little too late.
Anyway, one thing I cannot figure out is how he views interpersonal relationships in regards to himself and his two parents. When I'm the only parent around, he's still misbehaving quite a bit, but it's much more low key and predictable- he knows I'm not watching so he steals a cookie. Or my cell phone. or he waits until I'm on the phone then he takes a marker and writes on the wall. He argues with me then when I try to discipline him afterwards and tell him the consequence of his action, but usually eventually dials down and accepts his penalty- at least for the next three minutes.
However, If his father comes home or wakes up or is suddenly present, his attempts to misbehave skyrocket and take a really manic turn. Suddenly he is desperately trying to show me he's being bad, and testing the limits by refusing to stop, and often begins screaming for no reason but to draw attention. Sometimes he was become physically violent towards me, hitting me and shouting that he won;t stop hitting me until I back down.
Just to give an understanding of interpersonal dynamics, when when he is alone with his father he is perfectly well behaved and under control and generally just having fun and acting like a little angel.
When he is alone with me he is considerably more out of control and ill-behaved, but still maintains some semblance of control and we can often play together and have fun, and he can behave himself, sometimes for an hour or more at a time.
But when he is in the room with both of us, even if only I am interacting with him, and even if I am *NOT* interacting in any way with my husband (I know when I was young I would get very resentful and angry whenever my two parents were conversing with each other instead of with me), he is completely out of control and "trying to be bad" as he will often shout as he runs around creating chaos.
Is this the right forum to post this in? Can anyone provide any insight? Thank you for your patience reading this...