Failing to regulate one’s own emotions

14 Feb

I’m the type of patent who likes to embrace her son’s diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome, though there are days, when I fail to focus on any positives, these long hard days filled with meltdowns, the explosive type, filled with rage and a good degree of violence!

Violence used to be a huge problem back when Little man was between the ages of 7-9 years old, however, with a lot of work we managed to get his explosive ways under control, and although he has always hit his younger sister, this become less frequent and manageable. I myself used to be his punch bag and with some two years since he had hit out at me, I thought this milestone had been well and truly achieved.

Since Little man turned 11 on the 1st October 20211, things have once more turned nasty and have progressively become worse since. Having seen the huge reduction of such violent and challenging behaviour outbursts over these past 2 years, their return has simply knocked me sideways and I’m completely at a loose on how to fix this!

His violent ways often spring without warning, leaving myself or his little sister in the firing line. Strangely, since leaving the mainstream school and receiving a full education alongside his peers, in a place he is far more happier, this violence has grown worse at home! he went through so much at mainstream, he was isolated, excessively excluded and sadly discriminated against, yet despite this he didn’t become violent towards me, though he did self harm on a few occasions! So why now? School life seems good, it is terribly frustrating that he is now in the right educational setting, yet another issue as serious and worrying as this should arise! There is no bullying and I know that he happy at his new independent special school, so why?

His not 7 anymore, his a reasonably sized 11-year-old boy who can pack a pretty impressive punch! This is a child who despite his nick name, ‘Little man’ is now almost as tall as myself! My son is now, taller, stronger and about to experience a flood of hormones… if not already!

Lately, meltdowns have been highly explosive, his jackle and Hyde personality takes over without warning and my usual tools of redirection that I’ve created over the years, are sadly little use, if any at all! The Switch in mood is so sudden that I now struggle to see it coming, I cannot decode a trigger, something I would have once described as one of my talents! I usually see the forming of a dark cloud building and as a result, I am often able to clear it quickly! Sadly once more, myself and his sister have become his target when frustration reaches its limits… I have found myself jumping in the path of his blows to protect my daughter and regrettable, just recently she tries to return the favour 😦

Thursday the 9th February 2012, Little man was sat at the PC, writing yet another one of  his business plans for when he reaches adulthood, a calm presence filled the air and everything was… well, fine!

Suddenly, Little man unplugs my iPhone which happens to be charging, I tell him this and politely requests he replugs it in to the extension lead, while reminding him he should ask if he can use the extension in the future! This didn’t go down well, shouting and screaming he tells me to F#*k off and plug it in myself as it’s my charger!  I actually did this in the end, as not to fuel this any further! However two minutes later and for no apparent reason whatsoever, little man randomly switches of the TV which his sister is watching! I ask why, to which he states, “if I can’t do what I want, she can’t watch TV” This was all the crap I needed! Already feeling quite unwell, as if a ton of bricks lay on my chest, I told him I wasn’t in the mood as I felt reasonably unwell, to which he continued to refuse. Getting up, I head to the TV , Little man runs off to which I presumed he was heading for the extension lead to once again remove my charger… Like this was now a game! Though actually, I couldn’t have been more wrong! Suddenly as the TV screen flicked on, I felt a pain fly up my back… No bloody way! Turning my head slightly, my fears were confirmed, stood behind me was little man who had just punched me in the centre of my back! Feeling so angry I ordered that he went to his room, now I know I should have persisted, but given the fact… my 2-year-old toddler was becoming increasingly distressed and I didn’t want my 9-year-old daughter getting hit, I scooped the toddler up from his chair and ordered my daughter to follow me to the bedroom where she could finish watching her film.

Little man would now stay out the way, downstairs and hopefully become much calmer, he could finish his business plan before settling down on the sofa or heading to bed! Again… could I have been anymore wrong? He followed us upstairs swearing all the way  and at one point he even beat the hell out of my bedroom door… AGAIN! Losing the will to live, I informed him, I’d call the school and see if they could help me fix this, he flipped out, telling me to stay away from school before once more setting himself upon me like some frenzied lion! I know that this was partly my fault now as he then felt threaten. Although I normally reframe from such behaviours, it should be understood that by now I was close to breaking point, tears quite literally streaming from my eyes as I tried to think of a way to turn the situation around.

It got to the stage where the little man needed to be carried into his bedroom, I must have incurred super human strength as I lifted him, ignoring the thumps and pinches, I placed him in his room making a bee line for  the door, though I wasn’t quick enough as I found myself being hit by a number of heavy flying objects. Before I knew it he had taken up to running at me inflicting an array of high flying kicks directly to my body, seriously consumed with anger, sadness and sheer frustration, I told him that if he laid another finger on me I’d call the police! Again this wasn’t the best choice of words because 1) He felt threaten, 2) I pointed in his face, 3) he kicked me instead… well, feet do not have fingers do they!

I  was actually now extremely exhausted by the whole experience that had been continuing on for some 2 hrs now, not being able to bear a minute more of this, I turned to leave the room when he gave me one final blow in my back which  just happens to be the act that pushed me over the edge, giving me an intense desire to hit him back (which I don’t do, and don’t want to do)! I spun around and instead of hitting him I began screaming the words “No…… more, please no more!” as I proceeded in kicking toy boxes that resulted in them flying across the room, I also found myself knocking books from their shelf… I had lost it! Suddenly there was silence… stood shocked little man stared through me, he then lowered his eyes to the ground and started to cry as he asked me, “Mum why have you done this?” Then he very cheekily said out loud, ‘ Mum, you really should control your anger’ He no longer chased me just sat scrapping Lego bricks back in their rightful boxes, I retreated to my bedroom only to surprisingly discover the toddler and his sister were now spread out across my bed sleeping! Closing the door behind me I sat with my back against the door, tears filling my eyes as I looked at my bruised arms and legs, I cried, not due to the physical pain but the emotional one, plus the uncertainty and unanswered questions left me feeling isolated and alone! Should I be calling the police, what would make him stop! I couldn’t allow him to grow up with this approach to a problem, it wasn’t a solution! I love him and have that understanding… What if he hit someone else who then turned around and battered him, would he be behind bars by his teen years or even fall in love and beat his wife! Consumed with worry and knowing it was my responsibility to avoid any of the above happening! I grabbed the iPhone and visited my A boy with asperger’s Facebook page where everyone was so brilliant helping me find answers, making suggestions or just giving me a virtual hug!

The house was now silent, looking around his bedroom door I notice his laid out on the floor surrounded by a mass of Lego, I quietly pick up what seems like thousands of Lego bricks, I then slip a pillow under his head and place a cover across his body, kissing his forehead I then turn of the light (they is no way, I’ll even try to move him, if he wakes it could be an even longer night than it has already)!

I didn’t sleep for the remainder of that night, a host of things crammed my mind inducing a type of dull headache! What now? We have asked for help, but what with a massive waiting list for a CAMHS behavioural therapist, an LEA that avoid me like the black plague, I’m running out of options! Is there any respite? No! Do I look like it would help? Of course! With a Government only interested in throwing money at the 2012 games, I sadly hold little hope, after all our family situation isn’t as important as a sporting event is it? Well, it’s not every year we host an oympics…. but it’s everyday I host a meltdown, so…. I guess we will have to wait, after all we’re good at that, wouldn’t you agree?

10 Responses to “Failing to regulate one’s own emotions”

  1. Judith February 23, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    Just want to give you a virtual hug and let you know that you’re not alone, this describes a day in my house so exactly that it’s uncanny. My 9 year old son has Asperger’s and has been violent since he has 7, hitting, kicking, punching me and his older sister, swearing and spitting, destroying property, etc. The tiniest, seemingly irrational thing will set him off. I have tried everything, to no avail. Like you, I look for triggers (is something going on at school? Someone upset him? Tired? Etc.).

    And sincerely hoping that you will have better luck with CAMHS: we had 3 appointments and were told that my son did not appear to have a mental health problem that could not be understood as part of his AS, and since they only dealt with mental health problems and not developmental disorders, his case was closed. I asked them to consider CBT as described in Tony Attwood’s book, but was told that there was no one with experience of children with AS and in any case, children on the spectrum can’t generalise very well, so it’s not very effective. Argh!

    We’ve also had the police round, as he threatened me with a knife, and my daughter panicked and called the police. I have to say that they were brilliant, and spent an hour sitting with him on the floor of his bedroom talking to him and trying to explain how his actions could have serious consequences. I can’t say it made any impression on him though. And I resort to those same threats in these situations: you really do feel at your wit’s end. My 9 year old is very big and powerful for his age and getting bigger: I can’t imagine what life will be like when he turns 11. For the moment, I keep thinking that one of us is going to end up in A&E, and maybe then we’ll get some support, but that’s really not a way to live, is it?

  2. Steph February 19, 2012 at 10:00 pm #

    I feel for you so much, this has got to be really tough for you all. I’d suggest you email or copy/post this blog post to the doctor and Camhs team as somewhere to start being taken seriously – you all need help. I know it’s easier said than done, but you need to shout as loudly as you can, never give up. You have a tougher job than most and I hope you have the strength to fight for what you need.

  3. clairelouise82 February 16, 2012 at 5:23 am #

    Thanks all for the thoughts and comments, Gavin, The police talk is something I’ve considered and haven’t ruled out. Thanks so much everyone. Clairelouise. x

  4. Claire Pearcy February 15, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

    Though my son does hit he has very violent meltdowns like this, infact saying the same or very similar things to your own son. He hits furniture and doors, slams them, throws things, screams and shouts and when that doesn’t work becomes very spiteful and verbally abusive. He’s 14 now and finally also have a referral to Camhs after years of not being taken seriously. people do not seem to be able to believe that a child can be capable of such. I worry about what will happen in the future, soon he’ll be out there on his own, in his clearer moments so does he 😦 Hope there’s an answer out there for us all

  5. Andrew Lumley-Harvatt February 15, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

    You could be talking about my son who funnily enough was born on the 2nd of October 2001. Camhs are next to useless as our his school.
    All we know now after a 5 year battle is that he has major traits of Asphergers and ADHD which I myself at 43 have been put on Concerta XL for.
    I have no answers for you but would like you to know you are not alone
    Kind regards , Andrew L-H

  6. mumofthreeboys February 15, 2012 at 7:41 am #

    Sending big hugs to you. It can’t be easy and I think you coped really well with the situation just remember that you are a great mum x

  7. Gavin Bollard February 15, 2012 at 1:14 am #

    This escalation of violence is alarming. I hope you’re all ok.

    I’m really not sure what you can do and although I’m going to offer some suggestions, I really can’t pretend to be an expert. I’m sure that you’re very capable and I’m only offering these as an outsider perspective. Feel free to dismiss these as my 11 year old doesn’t have violent outbursts (he has non-violent meltdowns but hitting an adult is a capital offence in our household and we haven’t had an issue with this for about four years).

    I’m not sure if you have “family meetings” but you might have to have one, just for appearances so that little man doesn’t feel like you’re pointing the finger at him.

    You need to get a no violence rule passed. That means no hitting, kicking, biting or throwing things at others. No deliberate breaking of other people’s things would help too. The other thing that would help would be a “safe retreat” option. Little man needs to know that when it’s all too much, he’s allowed to retreat to somewhere safe – his room? and that nobody is allowed in without permission.

    You’ll have to find ways to enforce that behaviour, rewards for a good, timely retreat and a punishment (eg: loss of TV for one day for the first offence) with increasingly tough penalties as the violent behaviour repeats. This is a behaviour which needs to be stamped out – so it’s important to keep the repercussions going.

    If necessary, (and I hate to even suggest this given little man’s past experience), you may need to get a police team to talk to him just to let him know how little tolerance the world will have for his violence. It’s tough love but he needs it to prepare for adulthood.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family and I hope things calm down soon.


  8. clairelouise82 February 14, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

    Thanks so much for commenting, it is hard isn’t it! I hope you too find the answers you look for and if I do first… I’ll be sure to let you know.x

  9. Donna February 14, 2012 at 8:28 pm #

    I could of written that myself. My son has always had very violent meltdowns, and it worries me greatly that as he hits puberty it is going to escalate, and then what do we do 😦 we too are on the waiting list for Camhs, not that I’m hopeful they’ll have the answers but hey I’m willing to give it a go. It seems we’re all so encompassed in trying to find an answer to help our children and their siblings.

    I have no answers for you I’m afraid, I only wish I did but i wanted to let you know that you are so not alone in this.

    P.s. if you find the answer please let me know 😉


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