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Old 06-06-17, 09:07 AM
TylerDurdon TylerDurdon is offline
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I never expected the anger .... I'm desperate

He's 17 and he has terrible melt downs. He breaks things, he says awful things to us, he screams that he doesn't want to live here anymore.

He will do absolutely anything to avoid any task that is not immediately fun and gratifying.

He sent me a string of insulting text messages at work last week because I took my own car to work and he had wanted to borrow it.

He will not put down his mobile phone. Ever. he hides in the bathroom for 30 minutes at a time when we ask him to do anything.

He will argue for 3 hours about doing something that would have taken him 10 minutes to finish.

He refuses to sit down and have a discussion with me about anything to do with school, employment, college etc. because, as he puts it, "we'll just have a fight" -- but he's always the one who starts the fight to end the conversation. He's actually told me that he does that as a strategy.

Tried 4 different kinds of medication, 4 different therapists from pill-pushers to feel-good therapists.

I'm just coming to sickening realization that he's going to have a pretty tough life and there's not much I can do about that.

His friends are announcing their college choices, talking about their plans, parents are bragging about their scholarships. We're planning a gap year out of sheer desperation and the knowledge that if we spend our savings to send him to college there is a high likelihood that he'll sleep through his classes, ignore the assignments and blame the teachers for his failures.

When you dream throughout their childhood of where they'll go and what they'll become and then you start getting the phone calls from the teachers about the inability to shut up in class, the missed assignments, the shoddy half-completed work -- your hope starts being slowly ground down to nothing.

Thanks for listening.

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Old 06-06-17, 10:25 AM
peripatetic peripatetic is offline
 
 

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Re: I never expected the anger .... I'm desperate

greetings and welcome to the forums,

has he been assessed as having anything apart from adhd?

i'm sorry you're going through this. x
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Old 06-06-17, 01:15 PM
dvdnvwls dvdnvwls is offline
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Re: I never expected the anger .... I'm desperate

Welcome to the forum!

You mentioned some therapists being pill pushers - is your son currently taking any ADHD medication?

I have inattentive-type ADHD, and I was confused as a younger teen, because I'd heard about rebellious teenagers and I was not rebellious at all. I was always the mild-mannered kid who didn't have anything to do with the "teenager stuff" that most of my friends did. I listened to my parents the best I could, didn't get in trouble at school, nothing.

But I did have a very... I don't know, a "dark day" in my life, when I was also 17. (I'm over 40 now.) I can't even remember what the argument was about, but I remember with shame that I punched my mother on the shoulder, pretty hard, out of anger at the way that argument was going.

I was a kid with unmedicated (and actually undiagnosed) ADHD. I think it's only luck that prevented me from being worse back then. I probably argued a lot when I was 17 and have just forgotten all the rest of the times - remembered this one because it was so bad.

My mother, in a tiny farm village in the 1970s, had no way of knowing about ADHD.

If you've known for some time about your son's ADHD and have decided against medication, I think maybe your level of surprise is not really warranted.
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Old 06-06-17, 01:33 PM
TylerDurdon TylerDurdon is offline
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Re: I never expected the anger .... I'm desperate

he uses terms like depression, but I also know that he spends a lot of time on the internet; I've asked his ADHD therapist to evaluate him for other issues, we're just getting into the normal cadence of regular visits to an expensive private pay therapist. My son absolutely loves talking about himself. When he starts a conversation with us and we suggest that his anxiety might be coming from his terrible time management or organizational skills, his defensive wall goes up and he accuses us of not listening to him. Essentially he just wants to vent and complain and externalize the reasons for his stress "my teacher doesn't like me.. my teacher never told us this was due ... the other kids don't the teacher either.." then we check with the teachers and get a whole different story.
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Old 06-06-17, 01:38 PM
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Re: I never expected the anger .... I'm desperate

Yes - he's on Vyvanse for focus, a followup dose of ritalin after school for extra focus and Amantadine which is an off-label use for the drug but is supposed to enhance executive functioning. Part of this is teenage behavioral stuff -- part is immaturity caused by ADHD - just can't figure out how to handle it. My wife and I are exhausted - if they're alone for more than a few hours they're fighting when I come home. I'm lost.
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Old 06-06-17, 01:47 PM
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Re: I never expected the anger .... I'm desperate

Anxiety can come from dealing with ADHD, it's true...

If you put it like "because of your terrible skills" though, I mean, what kind of reaction DID you expect? Blaming him for ADHD is not going to solve anything, and in fact blaming him for his symptoms is a textbook example of how parents can turn kids oppositional and defiant. He knows bad time management is part of ADHD and not his fault. If he's blamed for it by someone who ought to know better, he is going to label that person a liar, and he's going to stop listening to them.
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Old 06-06-17, 02:03 PM
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Re: I never expected the anger .... I'm desperate

Hi Tyler,

Thanks for posting, consider the information quoted below and compare it with your son's reactions/behavior that you have noticed.

Your son's reactions' have the combination of ADHD and counterwill, "written" all over them.

Considering what is called "counterwill"*, has helped me tremendously in understanding myself, my family, friends and even people I do not know much better.

Especially people like me who suffer from emotional/mental conditions that can make individual success even more of a challenge.

In this post I am quoting some general information about the term counterwill.

In later posts I will quote/post more specifically about counterwill and AD(H)D

After those posts I will quote/post even more about ADHD and how to "diffusing counterwill"

I now consider the concept of counterwill everyday, especially in my relationship with my son as he strives to be more independent.

I am not a professional, I am speaking as a parent, all information not quoted are descriptions of my own experiences, based on what I have learned having ADHD myself and being a parent, what I have learned in books, audiobooks and videos about ADHD and Counterwill by Dr.Mate and Dr. Neufeld.

I think counterwill is the most helpful concept a parent could know in general, ADHD or not, but especially in regards to a family members who have AD(H)D, simply because having AD(H)D and all the fustrations and misunderstanding that come with ADHD, make motivation, achievements and independance that much harder.


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Counterwill is a natural inclination and does not mean there is anything intrinsically wrong with the child.

It is not as if the individual does it; it happens to the child rather than being instigated by him.

It may take the child as much by surprise as the parent.

"It really is simply a counterforce," says Dr.Neufeld.

"The counterwill dynamic is simply a manifestation of a universal principle. The same principle is seen in physics, where it is considered fundamental to keeping the universe together: for every centripetal force there has to be a centrifugal one; for every force, a counterforce."

Like all natural phenomena and all stages in the child's life, counterwill has a positive purpose.

It first appears in the toddler to help in the task of individuating, of beginning to separate from the parent.

In essence, the child erects a wall of no's.

Behind this wall, the child can gradually learn her likes and dislikes, aversions or preferences, without being overwhelmed by the far more powerful force generated by the parent's will.

Counterwill may be likened to the small fence one places around a tender young shoot to protect it from being eaten.

The vulnerable little plant here is the child's will. Without that protective fence, it cannot survive.

In adolescence, counterwill serves the same goal, helping the young person loosen his psychological dependence on the family.

It comes when the sense of self is having to emerge out of the cocoon of the family.

It is a defense mechanism to protect this fragile, threatened sense of self.

By keeping out the parent's expectations and demands, counterwill helps to make room for the growth of the child's own self-generated motivations and preferences.
-Gabor Mate, "Scattered", Chapter "Oppositionality", p.187.


Quote:
*The term counterwill was originally coined by the psychoanalyst Otto Rank. The description of the concept in this chapter is based on the synthesis arrived at by Gordon Neufeld and is, by his kind persmission, adapted from Dr. Neufeld's lecture series on counterwill.


m
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Last edited by mildadhd; 06-06-17 at 02:30 PM..
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Old 06-06-17, 03:23 PM
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Re: I never expected the anger .... I'm desperate

Counterwill is natural in everyone.

When ever possible I first gave my son the chance to do things his own way, in general.

By giving him the option, he is more open to asking me for help, receiving my help, or at least considering my help.

In early childhood, everyday I would spare some time, usually at least an hour in the evening, sometimes exploring for a whole day on the weekend, depending on the circumstances, doing what he wanted, and I would follow him along making sure he was safe.

What is amazing, is when using this approach together, as we got older, is sometimes he comes up with better ideas, sometimes I come up with better ideas (that he is willing to try) and sometimes the best idea at the time is a combination of both our ideas.

My son is now in his early 20's and he does not want to hang out as much, but when he wants, I love going to the hardware store, grocery store with him and discussing about the foods, new tools/technology and materials. etc.

He teaches me a lot.



Quote:
Figuring out what we want has to begin with having the freedom to not want.

"Far from being depraved, counterwill is bequeathed by nature, to serve the ultimate purpose of becoming a separate being," says Dr. Neufeld.

"Counterwill, the dynamic, should not be identified with the child's self. This is really important. It is not the person that we are getting to know when we get to know the resistance. Nature designed the child that way. It is really Nature that has a purpose, not the child."
-Gabor Mate, "Scattered", P 188.


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Old 06-06-17, 04:56 PM
dvdnvwls dvdnvwls is offline
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Re: I never expected the anger .... I'm desperate

Saying that your son just wants to vent and complain and externalize things: You're on very shaky ground, trying to speak for him in this way.

If others put words into your mouth like that, claiming they know exactly what you're thinking, I don't suppose you're inclined to accept it.

Nobody deserves respect. You don't, I don't, your wife doesn't, your son doesn't. But to be a family, respect is needed - not just from son to parents, but equally from parents to son. Treating him disrespectfully (by dismissing his point of view, or in whatever other ways) is destructive.

I'm not saying you take every word at face value necessarily. He shouldn't take all your words at face value either. You have to cut each other some slack. But basic two-way respect, no matter what, is the only way you can work this. He is going to be disrespectful from time to time. Or let's be honest, a lot of the time - he is 17 after all. You may find yourself being disrespectful toward him sometimes too, because you're human. But it's important that you respect him the way you want him to respect you, because you're his main example.
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Old 06-06-17, 10:25 PM
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Re: I never expected the anger .... I'm desperate

Hi Tyler,

Because I am not sure whether you are interested in the information or not, I decided to posted the chapter information that preceded Dr. Mate's quotes I made in this thread, in another thread in the oppositionality section here at ADDForums. If your interested in learning more about counterwill?

I still have lots of (what I think is) very helpful information to post more about counterwill and ADHD and diffusing counterwill, when I get a chance.


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Old 06-07-17, 05:45 AM
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Re: I never expected the anger .... I'm desperate

Here's an underappreciated unofficial ADHD symptom: initiation impairment. I typed a big detailed description up here, but the short description is that it's a weird urge to not do things. (This multiplies any other reasons you wouldn't want to do something, e.g. other ADHD symptoms make it hard, it's a legitimately unpleasant task, counterwill, etc.) Not everyone with ADHD has this problem, but it sounds like it's a contributing factor in your son's case, since almost every sentence in your description is about him trying to avoid doing something.

This sounds like a fairly minor problem, because there aren't words to describe how horrible and soul-crushing it is.

I've found medication very helpful yet horribly inadequate. Medication lets me just barely hold a job. Otherwise, I just have to set life up to do as little as possible. I have a college degree, but at age 30, I am not a functional adult. I cannot live independently. I believe that life will get better someday, but that is a completely baseless faith.

I wish I could be more of a success story, because I know it sucks for your son to have this problem and it sucks for you to have a loved one with this problem.

Hopefully you can obtain at least some kind of improvement. I think it would require working together with a solution-oriented mindset, which requires that he trusts you to have both good intentions and good sense. Unfortunately, it seems like when parent-child relationships become adversarial for long time, it gets to where the child views every interaction with the parent though a lens of suspicion, even after the parent changes their behavior. Not sure if some kind of family therapy could help speed up the process of regaining trust? Possible relevant books are
  • How to talk so that kids will listen & listen so kids will talk (Adele Faber, Elaine Mazlish)
  • How to win friends and influence people (Dale Carnegie)
(They're similar ideas, but one is more parenting-related.)

Has he always been fairly angry or is this some kind of change? If it's a change, can you think of any other changes in circumstances that correlate with it? Two factors to pay particular attention to:
  • Medication. Especially since your son is on a fairly unusual combination of three simultaneous dopaminergic drugs. I think there's been very little, if any, research on the effects of a combination of lisdexamphetamine plus methylphenidate plus amantadine, but each of those individually are known to sometimes cause mood problems. That doesn't mean someone shouldn't take such a combination of meds, but I would say it should be approached with even more caution than a more typical treatment plan.
  • Quantity of expected activities. In my experience, it starts out fairly easy to make yourself do stuff in spite of initiation impairment, but the more stuff you have to do, the harder it gets. Number of classes? Number of class locations? Amount of actual activity during class? Amount of homework or "studying," not only in the amount of time required but in the number of different assignments per night and steps per assignment? Clubs, sports teams, or other hobbies where participation becomes an obligation? Expected household chores, or how complicated the chores are? Job? Work activities within a job? Number of self-care tasks he handles for himself?


Quote:
When he starts a conversation with us and we suggest that his anxiety might be coming from his terrible time management or organizational skills, his defensive wall goes up and he accuses us of not listening to him.
Gee, I wonder why he would accuse you of such a thing.

Yes, executive dysfunction (including poor time management, poor organization skills, or others) will cause anxiety. That is not a particularly useful or insightful observation in most cases.

Quote:
Essentially he just wants to vent and complain and externalize the reasons for his stress
Lots of people like to vent. I've never understood the appeal, but I do know that sympathy is usually the only socially acceptable response to someone's vent. (If you cannot bring yourself to act sympathetic but you don't want to start a fight, you can usually get away with something vague and neutral, but you probably don't want to resort to that too often with a family member.)
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Old 06-07-17, 08:40 AM
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Re: I never expected the anger .... I'm desperate

Honestly, and this will not be a popular response....I would take away privileges. ADHD can cause some issues. I have two kids with it, but what you have there sounds like a spoiled entitled brat who doesn't want the help you are trying to provide. This happens to ADHD kids and non ADHD kids.

He doesn't appreciate what he has....so take it all away. I wouldn't let him have a car, or money, or any other fun thing he likes to do. I would also charge him rent after high school. He doesn't know the challenges of real life....so I would show him. Otherwise he will be in your house for the extended future and letting you know that YOU are the bad person here. You are the parent...you need to parent.

P.S. That texting insults to you because you took your own car is totally unacceptable. What was your punishment to him?
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Old 06-07-17, 08:48 AM
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Re: I never expected the anger .... I'm desperate

Quote:
Originally Posted by dvdnvwls View Post
Anxiety can come from dealing with ADHD, it's true...

If you put it like "because of your terrible skills" though, I mean, what kind of reaction DID you expect? Blaming him for ADHD is not going to solve anything, and in fact blaming him for his symptoms is a textbook example of how parents can turn kids oppositional and defiant. He knows bad time management is part of ADHD and not his fault. If he's blamed for it by someone who ought to know better, he is going to label that person a liar, and he's going to stop listening to them.
I have a problem with this....while the deficit may not be his "fault" there are ways to adapt, ways to counter balance the deficit....this kid won't try to adapt or help himself. It sounds to me like these parents are trying to talk to their kid, trying to get him help when it's obviously over their head, and he refuses to listen and refuses to even attempt to help himself. That is not on them, that is on the kid. He doesn't want help, he doesn't want to attempt to help himself, and he wants to rant and break things in his parents home because he thinks he is entitled to do that, and that is the problem.
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Old 06-07-17, 08:51 AM
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Re: I never expected the anger .... I'm desperate

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caco3girl View Post
Honestly, and this will not be a popular response....I would take away privileges. ADHD can cause some issues. I have two kids with it, but what you have there sounds like a spoiled entitled brat who doesn't want the help you are trying to provide. This happens to ADHD kids and non ADHD kids.

He doesn't appreciate what he has....so take it all away. I wouldn't let him have a car, or money, or any other fun thing he likes to do. I would also charge him rent after high school. He doesn't know the challenges of real life....so I would show him. Otherwise he will be in your house for the extended future and letting you know that YOU are the bad person here. You are the parent...you need to parent.

P.S. That texting insults to you because you took your own car is totally unacceptable. What was your punishment to him?
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Old 06-07-17, 08:53 AM
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Re: I never expected the anger .... I'm desperate

Why would a 17 year old have a phone in the first place? Does he have a job to pay for it?
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