My second son is in crisis. Serious crisis. We knew things were bad for him, but yesterday found out just how bad, and how dangerous his behaviour had become. He has threatened another child, actions we knew nothing about and I am seriously mystified as to WHY nobody told us what was happening. I have expressed as much to the school, how are we to help him or change his behaviour if we are unaware? How does it help anyone if we are not told? If I am only hearing his side, and the teacher is confirming snippets, how on earth are we to know otherwise?
Please do not think I am excusing his actions, we are taking this very seriously but are now scrambling to catch up. And it is extremely serious - he threatened the life of another. He has threatened to take his own life, and we had and were still dealing with this, trying to guide him and give him the emotional tools to get through the darkness. But then it turned outward. Eleven years old and in such a terrifying emotional state as to feel desperate enough to do this, to seriously intimidate another. But I understand why he feels this way, I get why he felt so lost and alone and irrational because he is like me.
The child he threatened has always pushed his buttons (and I am not blaming this boy, everyone has someone they like but butt heads with, and these two have had a love/hate thing for many years), and my child preceived this as him being the cause of the loss of friendships. He grabbed hold and fixated on this boy being the root of all his issues, and to be honest, we thought he was isolating our son. Whilst we understood Boy 2's actions were why (along with the long standing rivalry) it was occurring, we did wonder why now, when our son so desperately needed his mates, was this child excluding him from everything? Obviously we had no idea how extreme our son's reactions had become. We now understand this boy was trying to protect his mates from the verbal and physical lashing out, the out of control emotional responses. We now understand because finally we were included in the loop, which we had not been. Not in the full sense.
His behaviour started to fall apart when Wise Woman fell ill. I have to wonder if he, being highly intelligent and as his psych says, emotionally articulate way beyond his years, knew deep down as I did that this was leading to the end of her life.
He became possessive and controlling to friends, a trait he and I share but one I have learned in my teenage years to control. He was losing one of the few people he could depend on, someone who loved him unconditionally, and he was scrambling to find solid ground. We are not blessed like a lot of others, we have little family and our really close friends are all interstate. You know, the ones that are like family who will be there for you and your kids no matter what, the ones who don't pull punches and will tell you in no uncertain terms exactly what's what because you have those long, solid years of history that bind.
And so, here he was, dealing with really, really hard stuff and trying to grasp tightly onto something, anything. And by doing so he pushed them away. The more he tried to hold on, the faster they ran. A completely normal reaction for ten and eleven year old boys. And the more alone and desperate he became.
Take a step back and think about it. He is a young boy, they are claiming he may be on the gifted side so there is no doubt he is smart, he constantly deals with a brother on the autism spectrum, he watches his beloved Nanna slipping away from life, and then loses all his friends. How would you feel? And you are an adult remember, not an eleven year old very scared totally lonely grieving little boy.
There are other issues, obviously. His perception of friendship was completely rocked by witnessing the verbal attack by my former friend turned stalker and the emotional repercussions it had on me, the one person he believed to be invincible. Financial pressures as our business struggled through the recession. Puberty hitting his already emotionally volatile older brother. All these emotional triggers building up inside this one small body.
Am I excusing his actions? No. But I am asking for compassion and understanding for whilst others see a child who they do not want their kids around, I see my son falling deeper and deeper into this destructive cycle that could take him from us. He is now the one parents will tell their children to avoid. The one who has no friends for sleepovers or playdates. The one alone. My baby, broken. And I am desperately trying to hold the pieces together whilst we find some a way to help him heal.
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