View Full Version : Not sure what to write.


candleseh
12-17-05, 03:02 PM
I have a 15 year old that has severe conduct disorder. Tony will have adult something disorder(i forgot the name) when he's older, and near as bugger it that I can find he will literally get to chose which path he will be boxed into.... right now they are leaning towards sociapath (sp?)
I would dearly love to talk to someone who understands. I am so tired of being ignored because I don't have a degree, because I couldn't possibly understand my son.
I am frustrated too on how to teach my son emotions that I could have sworn he had. I asked him once when crying what he felt, he said it makes his chest tight to see me cry.
Is there any parents out there, facing the same?

speedo
12-17-05, 05:29 PM
candleseh

I thought I would respond to you just to let you know that you have not been forgotten. The problems you are describing in your child are outside of what I am familiar with, so I can't offer a lot of advice.

At 15, your son is struggling against hormones as well as his conduct disorder. I am sure it is tough for you and him.

Don't give up. If he has not been evaluated, it might be time to give him a full neuropsychiatric evaluation. Labelling someone as a budding sociopath with no prior test data seems unusual, and overly dramatic to me, so I think you ought to seriously consider having your son evaluated if you have not done so already.

I doubt it will provide any miracles, but it will give you, your son, and his doctors a better understanding of his condition and will hopefully make for a better basis from which to make important medical decisions.

Whatever you do, don't give up.

ME :D

candleseh
12-17-05, 06:31 PM
Thank you Speedo for writing. It's out of my expierence too. I'm grateful that you wrote... most of my friends have avoided me like the plague, lol.
My husband works in Bangladesh and although he's wonderfully supportive, I don't always get the hugs needed.
Unfortunately, Tony has been seen, and tested. He seen one of the top physciatrists of CHEO initially, it was his feeling that left untreated Tony would have antisocial personality disorder as an adult. There wasn't a lot of hope in the report and they brought in another specialist to work on Tony's conduct & hormornes.
Tony is in a special home for Conduct disorder.... The kids at the home are so different from Tony though.
The staff tell me that they groan when they see tony coming. He keeps trying different ways to get what he wants. He's quiet. He rarely explodes physically as the kids do, everything is always based on manipulation and gratification.
They will be transfering him soon, as they agree that Tony needs something else. I think they have a problem dealing with how to treat him.
They did a rate of risk for Tony and he's still over 80 %
He feels little remorse if any, and all emotions and belief's are mirrored from someone else. In most cases word for word.
He adopted a type of religion from a video game that one of the staff said were kewl.
He now believes treatment isn't necessary as he's not like the children there. He said he has more control then these losers.
My hair is gray..........

barbyma
12-17-05, 06:52 PM
Candleseh,

I'm so sorry you must deal with this. What you describe is textbook, but Speedo is right about not giving up.

I can't possibly understand your pain, nor do I have an answer. I really wish we could figure out how to help people like your son.

Please hang in there.

candleseh
12-17-05, 07:10 PM
At least I didn't scare you Barb! Thank you honestly for posting. Do you mind me asking what is text book, to APD? Or sociopath? I don't know which path, lol! Oh that's a sad joke even for me.
I haven't given up Barb, I'll always be there for Tony. My feelings are real for him even if he's are only based on feels good.
I don't fully understand all of it yet. No one seems to want to explain Tony's future to me. I only want to know what will happen. What can i expect. Is it ok if I dream a little? Is that too much?
I wish they could figure out Tony too. Do you think they know very little?

barbyma
12-17-05, 08:40 PM
At least I didn't scare you Barb! Thank you honestly for posting. Do you mind me asking what is text book, to APD? Or sociopath? ...

Well, for a 15yo, it's textbook conduct disorder. For an adult, APD or ASPD is a general category that includes sociopathy. This would not be a diagnosis until/unless he continues to exhibit these behaviors past age 18. The behaviors could be developmental and the outlook isn't hopeless.

The things you said that point toward ASPD are "He keeps trying different ways to get what he wants. He's quiet. He rarely explodes physically as the kids do, everything is always based on manipulation and gratification..... He feels little remorse if any, and all emotions and belief's are mirrored from someone else. In most cases word for word."

Sociopathy also includes arrogance and inflated sense of self -- "He now believes treatment isn't necessary as he's not like the children there. He said he has more control then these losers."



My feelings are real for him even if he's are only based on feels good.
I don't fully understand all of it yet. No one seems to want to explain Tony's future to me. I only want to know what will happen. What can i expect. Is it ok if I dream a little? Is that too much?
I wish they could figure out Tony too. Do you think they know very little?
No, it's not wrong to dream about him getting better or developing empathy. He isn't fully grown yet. He's also going through the worst part of life for this type of problem -- adolescence.

I don't think they know very much and I'm not sure they can know. A lot is up to him right now. The biggest challenge a practitioner faces in treating conduct disorder is convincing the sufferer that they NEED to change. These children (and antisocial adults) usually like themselves the way they are. They are not unhappy and can't understand why anyone would want them to change.

But, even if he does not change, there's no reason to think he will necessarily become distructive or that he won't be able to function in society. Yes, sociopaths are charming, manipulative, deceitful, and shallow. But most are also pretty smart and able to mimic the emotions they can't experience. I know that sounds scary, but it doesn't have to be. It's adaptive.

I wish I could tell you he'll grow out of it, but the truth is nobody can know except him....

candleseh
12-17-05, 10:08 PM
Do you know that in the last past year, that is the most one person has told me about this? Thank you SO much!!
May I ask how you know so much?
I mucked up the arrangement of each disorder but at least I was in the same ball park! Yippee!
I know I make light sometimes, it's my way to cope I guess. When I first found out I was devestated. A year give you a lot of time to cope or at the very least put on a great front! :)
I don't have anyone here to talk about Tony with. There doesn't seem to be a support group here for it. They have an ADD group here,but I think if I had indepth conversations I'd so be the odd one out. Kinda like standing in your underwear or something.
Most of what I have come to understand has been from the internet, knitting bits together, and honest reflection of Tony.
I don't know if they were developmental or not. He went thru a very hard time at 3, but the doctor at cheo had said that it was his belief that Tony would be Tony regardless.
The home that Tony is in now believes Tony's sense of greatness is masking low self esteem. I don't know if I share that belief, because Tony's never cared to think how others see him. He really didn't. Although having said that, he really loves being the center of attention. It really has to be all about him for him.
The doctor even told me that his accident last year, could have been purposely done... he amputated his finger.
Do you think the grand sense of self masks a low self esteem in people with this? Can you tell me how? I honestly don't understand.
Everything that he does is for himself. On the way to the group home, his first day... he told the social worker how crappy her car was compared to one we once had. He never cried. He never felt sad.
I cannot walk away from him, but I'm at a loss how I can help him.
I have always been a mushy person. I react with my heart, always have. It's so painful to think he doesn't feel.
I don't know how to teach him to feel.
I'm the only person he respects, the only person he really has a bond with. If i cannot reach him, I don't know how they will.
He can manipulate some of them. The others that he cannot, the mask slips. He allows them to see himself and his deeds. He went to the police station for hurting his brother, and didn't know Dave and I were there watching the cam. He acknowledged the possibility but showed no emotion. Just said Mom if your watching I'm sorry. His voice was so flat. It was the first time I got to see that part of him.
Oh, and another really weird thing, he REALLY HATES being wrong. It drives him batty. It's also the only thing that will make him cry.
The doctor said he is charming, handsome and polite. That he was sorry that he couldn't say more-positively.
Today he told me, that if everyone says there is something wrong with me, that if everyone is telling me there is a problem there must be. I know the words came from someone else at the plan of care, but if he adopts them for his own, even if they aren't that's a good thing? (fingers crossed, lol) It's his first time saying so.
Barb, do some of them have normal lives? Do they find happiness without it being at the expense of others.
I want him so to have a normal life. Right now they are looking at Trenton. I am worried that they are seeing only the symptoms of a problem rather then the core. It's how I see my son. Kinda like a car that continually breaks down... you fix the bits that are wrong, the symptoms without getting down to the problem.... or a pin cushion, with each pin representing a facet of Tony.... his eating disorder........ other things that I can't type here that are each in a pin without ever reaching the core, the cushion.
If they keep treating the pins, Tony will just add different ones. He never makes the exact same mistake twice, he keeps changing it slightly, so it doesn't really count. It's how he sees things.
I know that it has to come from within, any growth in personality, with your heart, has to come with reflection. I so hope he looks within. It's my dream silly I know, but to watch a movie that makes him cry. I would so love to share that with him.
Barb, this is the first time that I've talked outside my circle. And it's the first time I felt understood. Thank you kindly.
Sincerely,
Jenny

barbyma
12-17-05, 10:55 PM
Do you know that in the last past year, that is the most one person has told me about this? Thank you SO much!!
:eek: Really? I can imagine that most parents would react defensively to such information and it might make practitioners wary of telling you the truth.


May I ask how you know so much?
Certainly. I'm not an expert by an stretch and I'm not a clinical psychologist, but I am a cognitive psychologist. My research requires a pretty broad base of psychological knowledge and so does my job -- while I'm finishing up my PhD I'm also teaching. I've taught introductory psychology for a number of years, research methods, and cognitive psych. And this spring I'm actually going to teach abnormal, so I'm boning up on it now in preparation.


I don't have anyone here to talk about Tony with. There doesn't seem to be a support group here for it.
Sociopathy is relatively rare, so I'm not surprised you haven't found a support group. Also, conduct disorder isn't often noticed because people tend to attribute the behavior to "brattiness" or something like that. Then the child grows into an adult who's learned how to behave like everyone else.


The home that Tony is in now believes Tony's sense of greatness is masking low self esteem. I don't know if I share that belief, because Tony's never cared to think how others see him. He really didn't. Although having said that, he really loves being the center of attention. It really has to be all about him for him.
I think the "low self-esteem" hypothesis is common among practitioners and usually unsubstantiated. There's been some good research on self esteem and aggression, for example -- people always say that bullies really have low self esteem, but the research shows the opposite.

I think it's interesting that you noticed the ironing that he needs to be the center of attention and yet is unconcerned about what others think. It's not how you would think one would feel and behave, but it makes sense in this case.



The doctor even told me that his accident last year, could have been purposely done... he amputated his finger.
Do you think the grand sense of self masks a low self esteem in people with this? Can you tell me how? I honestly don't understand.
No, I'm with you. I don't think self esteem is "masked" through this kind of behavior. I think that people who spend all their time criticizing others may be masking low self esteem, but attention-getting behavior just doesn't seem to fit (to me). Unless, the doc is trying to say that self-loathing led to self-mutilation. That makes a little more sense.



Everything that he does is for himself.
Well, this is a trait of most adolescents. In the big picture though....



He never cried. He never felt sad.
This is what I would find heartbreaking as a parent. It might not be much comfort, but he will probably always tend to be pretty happy.


He can manipulate some of them. The others that he cannot, the mask slips. He allows them to see himself and his deeds.

If his behavior continues, he'll get better at this.



Today he told me, that if everyone says there is something wrong with me, that if everyone is telling me there is a problem there must be. I know the words came from someone else at the plan of care, but if he adopts them for his own, even if they aren't that's a good thing? (fingers crossed, lol)

This would give me hope.


Barb, do some of them have normal lives? Do they find happiness without it being at the expense of others.
Sure. Not all successes require that someone else fail. Even if he should remain as self-centered as he is now, he will have to learn to play by the rules of society if he wants to acheive.

Unfortunately, the stories you will hear about ASPD and sociopaths will all be about those that have stood out -- those that have gotten noticed and diagnosed. Con-artists and murderers. You will not hear about the guy next door who's managed to blend in.


I want him so to have a normal life. Right now they are looking at Trenton. ...
I know that it has to come from within, any growth in personality, with your heart, has to come with reflection. I so hope he looks within. It's my dream silly I know, but to watch a movie that makes him cry. I would so love to share that with him.
I SO hope you get that chance. I don't think a normal life is out of the question, even if it's a relatively emotionless one.

They are talking about locking him up because it scares them. I understand; it's hard to believe that someone without empathy can be harmless. They forget the fact that his cognitive skills are intact and likely above normal. If he wants to fit in, he'll follow societies rules, and he'll learn right from wrong by thinking rather than feeling. What does it matter HOW he learns it?

Hang in there and keep hoping and working towards getting through to him. Let us know how it turns out. My thoughts are with you.

jacaboon
12-18-05, 12:36 AM
They are talking about locking him up because it scares them. I understand; it's hard to believe that someone without empathy can be harmless. They forget the fact that his cognitive skills are intact and likely above normal. If he wants to fit in, he'll follow societies rules, and he'll learn right from wrong by thinking rather than feeling. What does it matter HOW he learns it? [QUOTE][/QUOTE



I agree with Barb here. I do reintegration counseling at a state prison ( not to frighten you )and see all types of behaviors as well as a variety of offenses commited. A good sign is that your son does show feelings and doesn't have a complete flat affect. I do have faith that he has the ability to be empathetic since he has expressed remorse to you. He tends to convey that ( IMO) his actions are a result doing what following through with behaviors others expect from him. I'm not in any way saying he is just "acting out" but disorders don't come in black and white. He has the ability to be aware of right vs wrong actions. "Fitting in " is up to him.
With his age and the pushing of his behavior I can see your confusion. People with these disorders often begin finding ways early on to "fit in" by manipulating. They have high cognitive function. When it becomes too hard they manipulate in other ways....possibly he is less impulsive and more planned in many of his actions so that he doesn't have to follow the rules. But you are his mother and he can't manipulate you fully. You sense something isn't right and you are the one he does make apologies too. If they do lock him up he may feel he is protected from that which he can't control. His age is very crucial since it is one of rebellion and trying to become an adult.
I have no doubt that he has issues that need addressing but please don't fear too much. As a mother I know it is hard to not feel guilty for your child's pain but his pain is caused by his actions as well. If he wants to be a productive happy member of society he needs to address his disorder and make the proper choices and actions. If you are confused you can imagine how he feels at his age.
This is something he needs to realize and accept on his own. Once he can stop blaming his behavior on others and his disorder he can take responsibility for the actions he , not his disorder, choose. He's young and going through much with a wonderful caring parent he knows loves him. All you can do right now is keep loving him for who he is as your son. Give it time and remember that we need to strive for progress not perfection. Best of luck and well wishes....JC

MafiaKiddo
12-31-05, 09:54 AM
I can definately understand the mirroring of emotions comment you made above. Or at least I think I do, he might be thinking something totally different though so I could be way off on this.

The first part is not understanding others emotions. What I mean here is not that he doesn't understand the connection between the cause and effect. He knows for example what actions will result in making someone cry, angry or jealous. What he doesn't understand is why they react that way. It seems rediculous to him for people to react that way and he knows he would never respond like that if someone treated him the same. Of course to interact with people you have to deal with their emotions, he knows he doesn't feel the same things they do so he fakes it by copying them.

Oh and the other thing I found interesting I don't know if I agree that the grand sense of self masks low self esteem. I tend to believe that he loves being the center of attention not because he's looking for approval from his peers( he doesn't really see them as peers anyway because he thinks he's better then them) but because he thinks he's wonderful and believes everyone else should think he's wonderful too.

Definately don't lose hope. I read again your comment about him never making the same mistake twice. He's smart and he's careful both are good things. I agree with everything the others have said he can choose to go with the flow and blend in with society. He's smart enough to see what is considered acceptable and not acceptable behavoir. Even if he doesn't agree with it he can force himself to conform because he is a careful planner.

I wish I could offer a solution sorry I have no answers. Stay strong and hang in there. Your son is lucky to have you. Best wishes to you both