- violent uncontrollable anger.
"his face was distorted with rage"
synonyms:temper, fit of rage/fury/anger/temper, fit of bad/ill temper, towering rage, bad temper, pet, fit of pique, tantrum, fury, frenzy of rage/anger,rampage, paroxysm of rage/anger, passion, bad mood, mood;
Part of the reason I started to write and blog was to get negative pent up emotions out. To try and sort out my emotions and fears and make sense of them in some kind of format. For so long my life has revolved around 2 violent, mentally disturbed individuals. One I divorced and am able to keep at a fair distance. The second is my youngest son.
While everyone else is gearing up for Christmas and entertaining I struggle to even remember the last time I had people over to my house. I live a 'full life' - outside of my home. My home is not a sanctuary. I can't remember when last it was. It isn't to Nathan, my eldest, either. While both of us love Kyle and will protect him fiercely we both know that we ourselves are most at risk from him. Birthdays, Christmas, Easter, or even just a family braai - we've never really be able to celebrate them with any level of joy because we just never know if Kyle would get through the day calmly. And eventually the anxiety of trying gets too much - so you stop trying.
As some of you know Kyle has been 'diagnosed' with Conduct/Personality Disorder. I knew from almost the day I was told I was pregnant that something was right. Mothers instinct? Kyle was born angry. Despite the same loving upbringing as his brother, the same rewards, discipline, lifestyle, nothing I did or tried worked.
Since Kyle started school I have run the gauntlet of teachers, doctors, therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists. Kyle has been in psychiatric wards 4 times. He has been on medication I can't even pronounce. We have had numerous different conditions - ADHD, mood disorders, Bipolar Disorder... as you move through the chain and there is less and less of a response to medication eventually you realise that what you are dealing with is not chemical, there is no fix, there is no way around it. It is genetic. It is how the brain has been wired and while medication may help moderate SOME behaviour it will fundamentally never change who that person is.
Your Conduct / Personality Disorders can't be officially recognised until the age of 18. According to medical journals the personality is not formed until then. I think they need to relook at it and speak to the mothers. That personality is there and if there is a disorder believe me it is very much alive and well long before 18. By 18 it is too late. You can't unpick what is entrenched. I fear that even now at 15 I may be too late with Kyle. Personality Disorders include from worst to mild and just listing 3 - Antisocial/Psychopath / Narcissist / Borderline.
Sadly I see it with his Father. Having known him now for 19 years and having met him when he was 24 I see him getting worse. I see the turn around times between rages shortening. The ability to reason minimising. The behaviour more erratic every day. It scares me senseless. I continuously have to be on my guard. Even a simple text message can be read wrong and all hell can break loose. Again you never know which way the wind will blow on any given day and it is exhausting. Is this the future for Kyle? That same genetic link is so strong.
Kyle was a difficult baby/toddler/child. He never responded to reward charts, time out, begging, smacks - nothing. If he wanted something he would quite happily sit for 4 hours and scream until he got it. As a single mother from when he was 1-6 it was far easier to simply give in. After a long day at the office, having another child to deal with as well and trying to keep my sanity I simply could not withstand Kyle's onslaught, and he knew it.
When he started school the refusal to participate escalated. Galas would see him with the towel wrapped around his head. Sports Days would be screaming matches to get him to even go to school. In Grade 2 after being told to read in class he simply closed his book and said no. Oh cute some of you may say, but it wasn't. Kyle was defiant on levels that nobody seemed to understand. He was in weekly therapy - would make promises to conform - come out and do his own thing.
Manipulation is his game. And can he play it. He will tell you what you want to hear and you will believe him and he will go do exactly as he pleases. I see him doing it at Boys Town and it scares me half to death that they can't see through him. These are Social Workers, people trained to deal with complicated, difficult children. And all I hear is what an angel my child is. How soft he is... I wonder what they would've said if they had seen him this morning?
Bu age 11 the wheels came off. Kyle started having spectacular rages. I have no way to describe them except to say watch the original Exorcist. If he could scramble across the ceiling and turn his head 360 degrees he most likely would. How do I describe them - a feral voice like I have never heard before. Strength to rip doors off cupboards with his bare hands. Frothing at the mouth. Incoherent rage. There was no reason for them, no predicting when they would strike. It could be for the smallest of things... this mornings rage - I asked his brother to sort out some X-box games.
So started nearly 4 years of various schools, constant med changes to find the right mix, therapy, rages, home schooling, utter and total chaos. Just when I thought we had something working the wheels would come off again. To say I was reaching the end of my sanity would be putting it mildly. After issuing him with a final chance at the beginning of this year, at a private school costing R5k a month, which he managed to mess up in less than a term, I followed through and started proceedings for Boys Town. Finally getting it finalised after 7 torturous months.
I don't for one moment assume that Boys Town is the answer to my problem. Kyle is a master manipulator. He has very quickly learnt to play the Boys Town game and he is thriving at it. My attempts to try and warn them have fallen on deaf ears. So I have no idea how the next 2 years will pan out. Except that it is my only hope to hold onto my sanity and keep Nathan in one piece so he can finish Matric with some kind of peace.
There are days I feel immense guilt at sending him away. He is my baby boy. I love him. Nathan and I miss him and we both want him here with us. There are times when I catch myself doing stuff and wish he was here sharing in the fun and laughter and happy memories... and this morning I had ringside seats as to why I sent him away. All I asked was for Nathan to look at some Xbox games - I didn't interact with Kyle at all. The next thing all hell broke loose around my head.
Kyle flew into my room in a rage. Nathan was not selling his games. No amount of me trying to get him to calm down so I could explain helped. He simply screamed over me. Of course this infuriated Nathan. He stormed in telling Kyle to stop shouting at me. Kyle then called him a few choice names... Kyle's strength is his ability to use his mouth to his advantage ... well Nathan saw red. In my attempts to separate the boys I found myself pushed into the cupboard. I already know I'll need to take pain medication and muscle relaxants tonight - my wrists, neck, back are all buggered. Nathan stands head and shoulders taller than me. Kyle is my height. Both are stronger than me. Kyle is stronger than a full grown male when in a rage. He has held me down with little effort before.
Which child do you choose to defend? The one who is trying to protect you or the one who is telling you to die. I can't describe the pain of having your child, a person you gave life to, telling you to die. I had to leave the house to calm down and Kyle's parting shot was that he hoped I got hit by a car. What happens if I did? How would he have felt? I really don't know if he would have felt much... I know there is a serious gap in his ability to feel empathy. Of course by the time I got home he was over it. Hugged me, told me sorry, told me he loved me. Until next time.
But for me. My ability to bounce back isn't that strong. Especially not in the face of constant onslaught. Knowing this is genetic. Knowing this could get worse. Knowing that one day I may have to cut him off completely. It is like seeing someone you love die - except they are still alive.
When he was small I could dredge up the ability to forgive and forget. Patch over the hurts. Reason that he was a child. I find it harder and harder to do that now, especially understanding now that he is aware of what he is saying and doing. When he says he wishes me dead, in that moment as those words are being spat out of his mouth, he really means it. It isn't just the rantings of an insane person. He isn't insane. This is who he is. And the likelihood of him changing is almost non-existent.
Please don't tell me he isn't aware. He is. I have spoken to psychologists and psychiatrists at length about this. Trying to understand and reason. This is not the behaviour of an insane person who has no control over their behaviour. Kyle is able to switch this on and off at will. He is very aware of what it is he is doing. That is what breaks me over and over again.
He needs to choose to live a better life. He needs to choose not to lose his temper. Maybe over time he'll make those good choices. But for how long can I keep walking this life of eggshells. Some days I look at myself and I realise I'm a shell of the woman I once was. So much of the innocent, trusting person I was has been destroyed, first by his father and now by him. My ability to have faith in that what is good and true is sorely tested when I have seen so much evil. My faith in religion is pushed to the limits... how would any loving God, of ANY religion, want to put an innocent child through this? What could Kyle have possibly done to bring this down on himself. What did I do to birth a child like this? Questions I can never answer.
Please don't tell me to have blind faith. I simply don't. By nature I have always been a person who questions. This makes me just question more.
It has been a rough morning. I have to find the strength to pull myself back together again. Find inner calmness and settle down. Kyle is home until mid January so there is no taking him back today. Nathan and I need to regroup and try and move forward. We have no choice but to put this morning behind us. No matter how much pain it caused us. Kyle loves us but he doesn't really understand the heartache he causes.
Please don't be quick to judge if you did read this piece. This is more complicated than just a naughty child who needs a good hiding and to be put in his place. Believe me if that was all it amounted to I would have had that sorted years ago.
My only wish for this Christmas season is to get through it without another episode like this morning.