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Is My Son’s Violence Just a Cry for Help?!

My son’s violence was ruling our lives. We’d beg him to stop, asking him what he needed so we could help him…nothing worked. But recently, in a family therapy session, he said something that made me ask the question: Is My Son’s Violence Just a Cry for Help?!

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My son left us with little choice. It was so bad, I had to quit my job to be home in case the school called, my husband had to race home 2-3 times a week to rescue me from the violence…it was horrible. He’d scream horrible things at us, threaten to kill us…it was terrible. It’s so hard to live with domestic abuse when its your child committing the abuse…So we sent him away to a residential treatment center–probably one of the worst days of my life. I cried for a week every time I was alone.

We visited once before the therapist called and asked us to come-in for a family therapy session. That initial visit went ok, but not great. So, I went into the family therapy appointment with the idea in my head that, like all the other family therapy we’ve had, we wouldn’t see any results. But I’m also kind of in a panic. If we don’t have a breakthrough soon…this is kind of the end, in my mind, of his ability to turn this all around before the consequences are too big to erase with time…

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So, my mind set was a little muddled for this family therapy, to say the least. I let the therapist and dad talk much of the time, but I too got in a few words to share my concerns. It was what my son said, though, that clenched the deal for me and made both my husband and I push back from the table with an “aha!” It was simple, what he said. He just told us that he was feeling less anxious and worried. That, at home, he feels worried and anxious all the time. Immediately a puzzle-piece slid into place for me. Perhaps the rages are a form of panic-attacks–especially if he is constantly in a state of fear…

Earlier in the week, he’d said (very mechanically) that he was feeling less violent and less impulsive. I laughed inside thinking: “he doesn’t even know what it means to feel impulsive–or what the word really even means”. But maybe I’m wrong. Since he’s feeling less anxious and worried, maybe he is feeling less violent and less impulsive–maybe he understands the meaning of the word better than me. So maybe, just maybe, we need to help him with that–help him not feel so very anxious all the time…

No treatment is a magical switch that suddenly makes all the bad behavior go away and gives me back my son. But it’s hard not to have hope. I want so bad for some little thing–a pill, a therapy, (heck–a combination of those two), anything to help him make better life choices. Because that’s what this has become. This is no longer a little boy lashing-out. He’s too big–too strong. And his choices are now capable of ruining his future life as an adult…So, when he comes home, we’re going to try to see if some meds will help take the edge off his anxiety.  Here’s to hoping.

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