Family…in crisis

I haven’t been writing for the last few weeks. It is not because I didn’t want to -it was because I felt the things I needed to write about weren’t really something i should write about. I thought things would change and I would get new topics in my head that needed to come out. Well that isn’t happening. In fact the situation has gotten worse. So what the heck maybe writing about it will relieve some of the horrible stress that has been weighing on me for – well- a long time.

Not only are we in a huge financial crisis that we are desperately trying to dig our way out of we also have a child crisis. Really our entire family is in crisis. Monetary issues aside we are living with a child that is out of control.  This one out of control child has created a big problem in the entire family.

My son – Ozzy (not his real name and I know friends who read this will know who it is- and i am sorry but this has to come out) is a sociopath. I cannot tell you that he has been diagnosed as such but the signs are there- and I am not saying he is destined to be a killer- there are many sociopaths out there that never hurt another human physically – but my son has no remorse and does not care how others feel. He is ME centered and blames the world for all his trouble. He never accepts responsibility for things and lies and steals from all of us here at home. I have no idea if this will start elsewhere.  He is only 14.

Ozzy was diagnosed very young with ADHD and later with mild autism spectrum issues. He is medicated with stimulants and anti-depressants. Ozzy was adopted at the age of 2 1/2 from Kazakhstan. We have no family history really. From the time Ozzy came home he has been a challenge. He is super intelligent and from a young age could be very manipulative. He was so good at it that more than once we had to tell his teachers they were being manipulated by him. Some didn’t want to believe it. Some probably thought we were terrible parents thinking Ozzy was able to manipulate them. When he began to throw things in their classrooms in anger they began to pay a bit more heed to what we were saying. Teachers have always recognized that he is very smart – many have tried to no avail to reach out to him to help him with his anger, attitude, and hurt.  As he has gotten older he has become more and more apathetic about school – making lower grades in classes where he could easily obtain A’s.  He became the angry kid at school from Kindergarten on…

He has a psychiatrist and therapist, We have done reward systems, consequences, we have yelled, we have praised. Nothing works. There is not a rule in our home that Ozzy follows. A couple years ago he was caught watching porn on an electronic device. We took the device away and had a talk. We gave the device back after a good long cooling off period. Sadly he was caught viewing porn again. We locked down our internet – we monitored him if he was using the laptop for school.  He was not able to have any device that was his own. The porn issue went away for a while. We still dealt with lying, stealing, school issues, shutting down, anger, damaging furniture- walls- and many other things, and lots of sneaky behavior..but we were managing- sort of. Then he got caught viewing porn again this past mother’s day. My husband had let him use his phone while visiting relatives and he found porn on the browser the next day. We had another talk – he got caught again, more talk- punishments.

He began stealing back devices that had been taken away from him or he would steal his siblings devices. He would watch porn, or play mindcraft or watch shows on youtube we would never allow in the house. We thought we had everything locked down and when he couldn’t find content to view he found it with items to read on our kindle account. He locked us out of his Kindle Fire that he stole back. he figured out my password on the parental controls and locked me out of that. Last night he walked into my husbands office and stole his phone. He got caught when we went to look for it and had to ping the phone using “Find My Iphone” – he simply walked back upstairs and handed the beeping phone to my husband. No remorse there is never remorse.We are now missing an old iPhone that we planned on trading in – he says he doesn’t have it- I beg to differ. So that phone will have to be kicked off the router-I will have to change the passcode. He obeys no punishments – none. When he is caught he just says “what does it matter? – I take it – you catch me.”

He is right- why should it matter to him – he doesn’t obey any rules or punishments. He comes upstairs every night and eats food – we have decided this is ok as stimulants can suppress appetite early in the day and create hunger at night- but he takes food we ask him nicely to leave alone. He prowls the house if he cannot sleep- he will watch TV in our family room and would be up all night if he isn’t caught. We have installed a key lock on our bedroom door where we house all devices..except the televisions. We will be locking our office as well. We have choices- we can get rid of our internet and rid of all cellphones (remember he does not have any of these devices as his own- he just steals them). We need internet here because we work from home. Anyway, I can go on and on but Houston we have a problem.

I have not been the mother to this child that I thought I would be – in fact I am not the mother I thought I would be at all. I am better in some ways than the vision I had and worse. The problem is with Ozzy – it has been very hard to like him. He causes huge amounts of strife in our family. I have yelled at him, spanked him and just been a crappy mom to him many times. I have found myself apologizing to him for my mistakes. There are no excuses bc I am the adult- but this is one challenging human I am living with. He is the kid that ruins your day at the park, your dinner out- your family vacation. And now he just causes stress in the home.  He has no connection to cause and effect. This morning before I told him i hated him (and yes I did hate him at that moment – and yes not a great mom moment for me) he just stared at me like i was nuts when I began discussing him stealing his fathers phone last night and then questioned him on the whereabouts of the missing iphone.  He will come home today and say “hi mom” open the cupboard and look for food to eat. He might wonder where all the food went..Um dude you steal it at night..when it is gone its gone… He won’t have an ounce of trepidation that he might be questioned on why he stole his fathers phone. He will sit down and do his homework. He might go find that phone he stole (i’m pretty sure he has it)after he is done with the homework – or he might climb a tree. But there will be nothing wrong in his mind.

If i have any discussion with him he will be quick to tell me how awful a mother I am and how everyone in the world is wrong but him. He doesn’t even try justify the behavior at all- he tries to ignore that he ever did it. He does not see that he is culpable in anything. The other day he could not believe that I would look on the laptop internet history after I found him using the laptop while we were out at the store (I had let him use it so he could turn in an assignment and forgot to make sure it was locked away when I left. Micromanaging is tiring and sadly I fail at it.).

A typical conversation with Ozzy.  Him: “I couldn’t’ hand in my homework bc you took away the laptop” Me: “Why did I take it away.” Ozzy: Because it was a punishment.” Me:”what did you do to get punished?” He looks down- mumbles. Me :”was that because you were trying to watch porn on a device?” No answer-Me:”yes Ozzy you were asked many times not to access those sites from this home and you did so I took away the laptop. I did also tell you that if you had schoolwork you could ask us to use the laptop and we would sit with you as you did your work.” No comment. He got a zero bc I took away the laptop. It was my fault. Clearly…

If you knew how much time I spend trying to lock our devices down and our internet you would be shocked- it is exhausting. Today I added router blocks- but at a high level the email won’t work. At medium level you can still see boobs when googled – but a site like pornhub is blocked(oh yes i know the names of porn sites thanks to my dear son). I have Family monitoring on their laptop, i have controls on their phones ( and Ozzy does not have a phone- well maybe he has the missing one – i am sure to find out sometime). But as we all know when they want something they are going to get it. But Ozzy is out of control…it is not just the porn and the devices- it is everything.

I have a hard time figuring him out. I always have and I might never be able to . He can be a huge help if I ask him to do farm chores. He will be extremely engaging if you want to play a board game with him. He can be very generous. He has these different sides to him and the ugly side is very ugly and deceitful…and he needs help. We need help. I don’t seeing this going well without it. Where do you go when you have limited financial resources?  This whole thing is stressing me out- the kid crisis, the financial – i worry that this can make my cancer come back. So I try to combat the stress with exercise though i am limited, I use prayer and meditation and wine (thank God for wine).

Ozzy thinks we are mean..he thinks we don’t care about him. That hurts but I know this is a teen talking and having been one that said a lot of nasty things to her parents I know he might feel that way now but I hope in the future he will see that we cared so much. If we didn’t care he would be watching porn 24/7 and would be failing school. We have spent years trying to get him help – trying to make that light go on,trying to get him to feel some sense of responsibility and remorse for his actions. It scares me to think of his future if he remains this way. No remorse, no care of how others feel… it scares me like crazy.

I want to say I love this kid unconditionally but i can’t. Or maybe I can..I can say i will always love him but I might not ever like him and I might not be able to be around him when he is an adult if things keep going this way. He said to me recently, “I bet you wish you never adopted me.”…Oh dude – not going to lie there have been times where a one way ticket back to your homeland looked pretty good..but I told him what I believe..that God brought us together for a reason. This is the journey we are supposed to be on. I told him that maybe now he doesn’t like us and he might wish he was not with us (and it is vice versa sometimes too!) but someday (I hope to God) that he will see that God had a plan for him and that he has this opportunity and this huge intelligence to make a big life for himself – and maybe someday he will see that his dad and I truly cared and that he was loved.  I am hoping that I someday can see why I was chosen to be this child’s mother- I am not equipped most days to handle what he dishes out but I sure as heck try.  I hope that someday I can look at this person and really like him. In the meantime, I have to get some help in the trenches because this crisis has got to end..it’s not good…

—to be continued—as the story continues—

Thanks for reading…

 

 

 

 

15 thoughts on “Family…in crisis

  1. Oh, Anne, I wish I could be there to hug you. You see, in many ways, I lived your story…the young man with ADHD, again, so bright he could outthink an adult any day. The therapy, counseling…throw in a stint in juvenile court. You try and try and try some more, and people just look and think, “Why can’t she control her kid?” It’s horrible and drains you so much. If you want to chat outside the group, my home email is paulateach@verizonl.net. I don’t have the magic answers for you, but I do have a listening/understanding ear. Much love to you.
    Paula

  2. Sandra Merchant says:

    My dear Anne!!! I KNOW EXACTLY THE FEELINGS YOU HAVE!! My son isn’t adopted, I gave birth to him! You are describing my son not someone else’s! He will be 37yrs old next month! There are no clear answers to give you! You have to know that you’ve been the best mom you know how to be! I’ve done that “I should have done better” tooooo many times! But as I reflect on the years past I can’t really say I’d change how I raised him! I did the best I could! We’ve dealt with addiction, lying, stealing issues with him many many times but it never changes! He’s out of rehab again now! We’re at the point, my husband and I, that we’re done! Our only concern now is our grandchildren! He has three! We’ll stand behind his wife and children no matter what! Please pm me if you need a shoulder! Only those who have been there understand our pain! Sandra

  3. Diane Cadenhead says:

    Anne, This is heartbreaking. Have you investigated RAD – Reactive Attachment Disorder? I know you probably have, but just thought I would ask. It sure sounds like that to me…. let me know if you want to talk personally. I know some who have been through this. Diane

  4. Christine says:

    How sad to call your son a sociopath, with no diagnosis, on a website where you have used the real names of your children and your own name isn’t a secret — where he, his siblings, their friends, the parents of their friends, and his teachers can all read it. Have you considered what sociopathy means? Have you considered that it might be you who lack a conscience?

    I have read through your blog extensively today and it seems you have a problem with all your adopted children in one way or another. You criticized your daughter until she no longer wanted to ride horses. You shamed her over taking selfies, but then posted a picture you knew she would not like. How conscientious is that?

    Perhaps you’re just disappointed that all these kids you adopted didn’t make you the angel you thought you were. Maybe they weren’t grateful enough to you. Maybe you couldn’t bond with them like you could with someone who looked like you.

    But now you’ve chosen one of them to be the black sheep. The target child for all your frustrations. I feel for the boy, and I feel for the other two who are no doubt learning the lesson of what happens when Mommy doesn’t feel worshipped enough.

    • I’m sorry that you feel that way. I definitely don’t want to be worshipped but you don’t know me. I’m just talking about what’s happened in my family. It’s very hard to deal with and anyone who knows us has an idea that what I say is truthful not a need to b worshiped by my kids. I’ve been the first to say I am not a great mother. But I also know when a child has an issue. Perhaps you are not opposed to porn in your home. We are. Esp when a young child is seeing this and we know it can effect him for life. We also know our son has a problem that needs to be addressed. His behaviors are sociopathic but I apologize if that struck a nerve. I love my kids but since you don’t know me I don’t expect you to know that or know my intentions. It was a risk to write about this topic. And it was hard and I figured some people wouldn’t like it. But I’m not alone in what we are dealing with. It’s not easy and unless you’ve dealt with these types of issues I could see why you might be shocked about what we are dealing with. I am no angel and never have thought myself to be. I’m flawed and i admit it. But I love my kids even if I don’t Ike them and want to help them. Thankfully many people reached out to is today that wanted to help and also that had similar issues with their kids. Are we all people who need to be worshipped by our kids? I think not. I think we are parents trying to do the best we can.

  5. BK says:

    Hi there, I just wanted to say that I have had some life experience with these children, in my experience they were known as children with reactive attachment disorder and they pose extreme difficulty to a family structure at 5, much less 14. I hope that some professional help for “RAD” is available to you where you live. This is not usually something a family can deal with on their own. No matter how good your instincts are as a mother to a child without reactive attachment disorder, in my experience this will not help you with a child who suffers from this.

    • BK says:

      PS, if you have not done this, there are groups and mailing lists devoted to parents of RAD children, who are usually adopted from countries where orphans are treated unimaginably badly. If you join some of these you may at least feel profoundly less alone, they will understand things that you simply cannot ever explain to parents of children without RAD.

    • Thank you! RAD has been mentioned today by others too. I have read about it and we have had therapy over the years but nobody specifically dealt with RAD. We see our therapist next week and i am going to talk with her about this and see if she has experience with this. In our area there are limited therapists that specialize in adoption issues but they are not far away. We may just have to travel a bit . We have been in family therapy since the kids were younger but as I said the focus was not as much adoption issues. Thank you for reading and your caring response.

      • BK says:

        It would have been good if the adoption agency had connected you to these professionals years ago, but doesn’t always happen. The main thing that seems to need to happen first is, you have to do everything you can to keep up your own strength because the demands of this kind of parenting can rip a family apart and push you too far. If you learn what is “textbook RAD,” which you have already described some of, you can stop second-guessing yourself for finding it so difficult and so illogical. You will learn some absolutely crazy techniques for dealing with this which are far more effective than regular parenting, and you may see how hard you’ve tried all these years, you just didn’t have the right support. And if your safety ever becomes at issue, you need to have specific RAD professionals on your team. There are not many therapists who work with RAD casually. It is more of a dedicated specialty.

  6. Diana says:

    I know it is hard for you Anne to read the words by “Christine”. But as many of us responding to you obviously know and understand, this has nothing to do with you, worshipping, angel desires or any other malarkey. She is clueless and you will find that much of the general population is misinformed or uninformed on issues in raising an extremely difficult child. If you go to http://www.eeadopt.org/ there are mailing lists for support groups where you find parents who have had or who are experiencing similar experiences, a lot of RAD discussions. The groups are so supportive because THEY GET IT. You are an awesome MOM, you are a beautiful person, you are open and candid. And I have your back any time you need it!!! Hugs, Anne!

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