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Old 11-21-2020, 12:53 PM   #11
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Default Re: Trying to help my nephew

Really tough, that's got to be triggering for you too. Sounds like advice from colleges is a great idea.
I get the desire to encourage healthy relationships, but the way I see it, when it comes to abuse, especially for children, safety has to be prioritized, and your nephew is clearly at risk of harm and is suffering damage. It's really sad.
It's good that his parents are both in therapy. That should help with PTSD. Less likely to help with BPD or NPD, unless the person's gained awareness of their own disorder and they're not just projecting/blaming. My mum's behaviour fitted with NPD, and my dad's with PTSD. My dad was fairly volatile, and sometimes overly critical, but looking back I can see how hard he was trying, and appreciate so much of what he gave me. Really was very caring though angry, depressed, and confused.
Still have lots of resentment for my mother's behaviour. I married a man whose behaviour fits with NPD too, and ended up suffering physical abuse. I really tried to encourage a healthy relationship between him and his son. That always seemed the right thing, but when I had to leave, I had a long talk with my step son. He was sixteen at the time, and really very independent for that age.
I didn't let on how bad the abuse had got, and he really wasn't party to it, but there was a lot of tension and discomfort in our home.
I doubted then whether he was safe with his dad (I hadn't before). I asked if he felt safe, and what he would do if he didn't. He said he was safe, just didn't like his dad's moods, and he would go to his grandma and granda's. He told me that he was angry that I did everything his dad said. I didn't do that, but he might have heard his dad (that day) saying I should leave. He also said his dad was "like a robot". I think his dad was scared of him. I think he was scared of me too, and kept a lot hidden about himself, until I was at my most vulnerable.
It's really impossible to know what's going on in private. I think my step son's mum might have had a personality disorder too. She was at least emotionally immature, badly jealous, and he was often in tears because she had cried to him about how he "loved other people more than her", and things like that. He really was heavily burdened at a young age. I'm sure you know the feeling, which is why you want to help your nephew.
Really would just suggest encouraging him in his own endeavours, and only encouraging him to be safe with his parents, and understand their limits. He shouldn't take on the burden of their suffering at such a young age. Poor kid
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Old 11-21-2020, 01:07 PM   #12
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Default Re: Trying to help my nephew

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Really tough, that's got to be triggering for you too. Sounds like advice from colleges is a great idea.
I get the desire to encourage healthy relationships, but the way I see it, when it comes to abuse, especially for children, safety has to be prioritized, and your nephew is clearly at risk of harm and is suffering damage. It's really sad.
It's good that his parents are both in therapy. That should help with PTSD. Less likely to help with BPD or NPD, unless the person's gained awareness of their own disorder and they're not just projecting/blaming. My mum's behaviour fitted with NPD, and my dad's with PTSD. My dad was fairly volatile, and sometimes overly critical, but looking back I can see how hard he was trying, and appreciate so much of what he gave me. Really was very caring though angry, depressed, and confused.
Still have lots of resentment for my mother's behaviour. I married a man whose behaviour fits with NPD too, and ended up suffering physical abuse. I really tried to encourage a healthy relationship between him and his son. That always seemed the right thing, but when I had to leave, I had a long talk with my step son. He was sixteen at the time, and really very independent for that age.
I didn't let on how bad the abuse had got, and he really wasn't party to it, but there was a lot of tension and discomfort in our home.
I doubted then whether he was safe with his dad (I hadn't before). I asked if he felt safe, and what he would do if he didn't. He said he was safe, just didn't like his dad's moods, and he would go to his grandma and granda's. He told me that he was angry that I did everything his dad said. I didn't do that, but he might have heard his dad (that day) saying I should leave. He also said his dad was "like a robot". I think his dad was scared of him. I think he was scared of me too, and kept a lot hidden about himself, until I was at my most vulnerable.
It's really impossible to know what's going on in private. I think my step son's mum might have had a personality disorder too. She was at least emotionally immature, badly jealous, and he was often in tears because she had cried to him about how he "loved other people more than her", and things like that. He really was heavily burdened at a young age. I'm sure you know the feeling, which is why you want to help your nephew.
Really would just suggest encouraging him in his own endeavours, and only encouraging him to be safe with his parents, and understand their limits. He shouldn't take on the burden of their suffering at such a young age. Poor kid
Yeah, I am really trying to think, what are the things I can do to help, and also what are the things I want to do to help but might backfire? I really want to focus on what I can do that's actionable, which are the 3 things I agreed with my nephew I would do.

I want to try and talk to my brother, but I don't want it to come off as an attack, more of a "I want you to be aware of what I see, and it's not an indictment, just be aware of how you occur for me and possibly for your kids right now..."

Honestly it seems like they all just need a break. This might sound weird, but it's almost like they are over-trying to fix things. Or, maybe a better way to say it is that they are trying to FIX him instead of UNDERSTAND him. (and each other)
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Old 11-21-2020, 02:12 PM   #13
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Default Re: Trying to help my nephew

It doesn't sound weird at all. They're both obviously concerned. I think the big difference is whether they're trying to make him better for him, or better for them. That's hard to work out.
When I was a teen, my dad was pushy about having a routine, staying active, and things like that, which was a bit too much, sometimes really upsetting, and not totally appropriate, but wasn't damaging. He was mad at the world, and it sometimes got him aggressive, but I could always stand up to him and make myself heard with him.
My mum pushed for what she could do to fix me, had no trust or faith in me whatsoever, and really undermined me, and sabotaged my life. Didn't actually want me to be better, just less problematic for her. She could not handle her own disappointment. I wouldn't have been able to say that at 15, but was always happier away from my mum. I would have said at the time that she was a good person, and I wasn't a good person. My dad always thought that way, and my brother still things that way, himself.
Just saying there is different ways of trying too hard, and it's not always the person that shouts the loudest that's dominating the situation.
It's good that your nephew wants to be closer to his little brother, and that he can trust you.
Positive reinforcement, and encouragement is less likely to backfire, than pointing out flaws...if there are any happy memories or happy times you can draw on? I guess it's also important to let your brother know how his behaviour makes you feel, and hurts his son. With PTSD he is more likely to feel attacked even when he's not being attacked, though. Even if his symptoms don't seem so intense, getting out of an abusive marriage is really dysphoric, and could be really hard for him to get stable after that. If his ex's behaviour has triggered that stress response, he could well be getting triggered often with his kids, too. Think there's any way of helping him shift his try-hard attitude to positive things?... getting him building stuff up, and maintaining things, rather than being in crisis management mode all the time?
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Old 11-21-2020, 02:19 PM   #14
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Default Re: Trying to help my nephew

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Hes been on adhd medication a while. The AD is newer but long enough to be having an effect.
The reason I ask is sometimes medication can exacerbate symptoms. So while his current med might not be helping its possible that another med might. i dont know if I necessarily agree that his anger and outbursts are because he is not allowed to feel his anger or express it at least not completely. One of the hallmarks of adhd is this type of anger. it does have to do a lot with emotional regulation issues but IMO it is something with both a physical sort of cause and behavioral sort of cause. I think its also something that can sometimes remain in check-almost like remission and then flare up when triggered.

Dealing with Anger in Teens with ADHD: Advice for Parents
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Old 11-21-2020, 02:23 PM   #15
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The reason I ask is sometimes medication can exacerbate symptoms. So while his current med might not be helping its possible that another med might. i dont know if I necessarily agree that his anger and outbursts are because he is not allowed to feel his anger or express it at least not completely. One of the hallmarks of adhd is this type of anger. it does have to do a lot with emotional regulation issues but IMO it is something with both a physical sort of cause and behavioral sort of cause. I think its also something that can sometimes remain in check-almost like remission and then flare up when triggered.


Dealing with Anger in Teens with ADHD: Advice for Parents
My problem is that they are treating his adhd, which is neurodivegence, as bad behavior and trying to punish it to fix it, instead of help him deal with it in a healthy way.

I do think the AD he is on is particularly problematic as well.
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Old 11-21-2020, 03:25 PM   #16
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Default Re: Trying to help my nephew

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My problem is that they are treating his adhd, which is neurodivegence, as bad behavior and trying to punish it to fix it, instead of help him deal with it in a healthy way.

I do think the AD he is on is particularly problematic as well.

I donít agree with them treating his adhd as bad behavior but I also do not see personal value in embracing the neurodiverse theory when it comes to these conditions. The reason I feel this way is that the neurodiverse proponents sometimes ignore valid treatments including medication, and focus on a more broad definition of neurodiversity which seems to encompass all the positives while not acknowledging or treating the disabilities which contribute to that theory when there are scientifically sound ways to do so. Iím not saying that medicine always helps or that itís the only way but i think that viewing someone with adhd as simply neurodiverse is a matter of opinion and belief.

It sounds like his parents are actually leaning on the neurodiverse idea by assuming his deficits are bad choices and bad behavior that he is choosing to behave that way. People with adhd or other brain conditions still must be held to a standard of some sort. And that includes anger and emotional triggers and trauma. Someone with adhd is still expected to attempt to self monitor. If that self monitoring is not possible or not working out many recommend therapy and behavior modification. I think a combination of medication and therapy is the best bet. I say all of this as someone with severe adhd in addition to other things. Itís just my opinion.
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Old 11-21-2020, 03:55 PM   #17
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Default Re: Trying to help my nephew

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I donít agree with them treating his adhd as bad behavior but I also do not see personal value in embracing the neurodiverse theory when it comes to these conditions. The reason I feel this way is that the neurodiverse proponents sometimes ignore valid treatments including medication, and focus on a more broad definition of neurodiversity which seems to encompass all the positives while not acknowledging or treating the disabilities which contribute to that theory when there are scientifically sound ways to do so. Iím not saying that medicine always helps or that itís the only way but i think that viewing someone with adhd as simply neurodiverse is a matter of opinion and belief.

It sounds like his parents are actually leaning on the neurodiverse idea by assuming his deficits are bad choices and bad behavior that he is choosing to behave that way. People with adhd or other brain conditions still must be held to a standard of some sort. And that includes anger and emotional triggers and trauma. Someone with adhd is still expected to attempt to self monitor. If that self monitoring is not possible or not working out many recommend therapy and behavior modification. I think a combination of medication and therapy is the best bet. I say all of this as someone with severe adhd in addition to other things. Itís just my opinion.
That's fine to have your opinion, Sarah, but I'm actually watching this and watching them punish and punish and punish without giving him any tools to manage his anger or other emotions. I'm well aware and pretty sure my post spoke to my awareness and knowledge of other methods of treatment to help him. Your understanding of neurodivergence is actually 100% backwards. It's not toward labeling things as bad behaviors at all, nor is it on relying on medication.

I think you're ignoring the full picture I've illustrated of the emotional abuse going on and focusing in on one thing and that's not super helpful.

I really don't like the tenor of your comment. I don't really have the energy to argue with you or educate you right now. Please don't continue on this vein in this thread. Thanks.
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Old 11-21-2020, 05:03 PM   #18
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seesaw, I read what you shared and I think you are doing a good job with your nephew and I agree that his parents punishing him will only make things worse. I saw my parents do that with my older brother and it NEVER helped and only made him worse.

YES, individuals with ADHD can be extra challenged when it comes to learning how to control their anger. Actually, Yale has been studying children and what causes them to have temper tantrums and how to better address it instead of punishing. They explained that temper tantrums occur when there is an overload in the amygdala and the child genuinely doesn't know what to do and has a tantrum. So, instead of punishing them the advice is to give them time to calm down and then NOTICE they are making that effort and praise them for it. Taking away things he may already use to help calm him down is also not the answer.

The way you handled your nephew is much healthier because you LISTENED and you can tell how everything going on in his environment is stressing him. When someone has ADHD, they have very busy minds and they like MOTION so being home bound and tossed back and forth from one angry parent to the other is going to definitely aggrivate him and if he has no MOTION, he will have a hard time with the frustration he is experiencing.

I think that when you do talk to your brother, it's better to focus on how his son is struggling, why with his ADHD he can have a harder time controlling his stress and how to give him space instead of punishing him can help him rather than punishing him that is only going to cause MORE limit to him in his effort to manage his challenge with frustration that comes out in anger.

It's very hard to handle this kind of challenge seesaw for someone with ptsd AND a history of dealing with abuse that typically contains anger being thrown at him. It's possible his son triggers him and instead of stepping back, your brother feels anger and loses patience. From what I have noticed by observing my husband who has bad ADHD is they tend to ABSORB. So that means with the ongoing dysfunction your brother is having with his wife, your nephew is listening and ABSORBING. And at his age he doesn't have the coping skills to understand how to navigate with this ongoing problem between his parents. If your brother isn't careful, your nephew may end up using alcohol and that's the last thing your brother wants to happen. I have seen so many that have ADHD in those AA rooms including my husband. All the alcohol does is make things worse and prohibits emotional maturity.

And YES, the wrong medication can make it worse and if he is cutting, that's a red flag that he is probably on the wrong medication and more is not better, and often it can make things even worse.

I do think it's a good idea that your nephew be able to stay with you here and there. Can you take that on?? It's a big responsiblity. Yet, from what you have shared, I think you can provide him with more stability and help him learn to control this anger and manage it better.
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Old 11-21-2020, 05:12 PM   #19
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seesaw, I read what you shared and I think you are doing a good job with your nephew and I agree that his parents punishing him will only make things worse. I saw my parents do that with my older brother and it NEVER helped and only made him worse.


YES, individuals with ADHD can be extra challenged when it comes to learning how to control their anger. Actually, Yale has been studying children and what causes them to have temper tantrums and how to better address it instead ot punishing. They explained that temper tantrums occur when there is an overload in the amygdala and the child genuinely doesn't know what to do and has a tantrum. So, instead of punishing them the advice is to give them time to calm down and then NOTICE they are making that effort and praise them for it. Taking away things he may already use to help calm him down is also not the answer.


The way you handled your nephew is much healthier because you LISTENED and you can tell how everything going on in his environment is stressing him. When someone has ADHD, they have very busy minds and they like MOTION so being home bound and tossed back and forth from one angry parent to the other is going to definitely aggrivate him and if he has no MOTION, he will have a hard time with the frustration he is experiencing.


I think that when you do talk to your brother, it's better to focus on how his son is struggling, why with his ADHD he can have a harder time controlling his stress and how to give him space instead of punishing him can help him rather than punishing him that is only going to cause MORE limit to him in his effort to manage his challenge with frustration that comes out in anger.


It's very hard to handle this kind of challenge seesaw for someone with ptsd AND a history of dealing with abuse that typically contains anger being thrown at him. It's possible his son triggers him and instead of stepping back, your brother feels anger and loses patience. From what I have noticed by observing my husband who has bad ADHD is they tend to ABSORB. So that means with the ongoing dysfunction your brother is having with his wife, your nephew is listening and ABSORBING. And at his age he doesn't have the coping skills to understand how to navigate with this ongoing problem between his parents. If your brother isn't careful, your nephew may end up using alcohol and that's the last thing your brother wants to happen. I have seen so many that have ADHD in those AA rooms including my husband. All the alcohol does is make things worse and prohibits emotional maturity.


And YES, the wrong medication can make it worse and if he is cutting, that's a red flag that he is probably on the wrong medication and more is not better, and often it can make things even worse.


I do think it's a good idea that your nephew be able to stay with you here and there. Can you take that on?? It's a big responsiblity.
Thanks, Open Eyes. I am aware of the studies you mention, and the funny thing is that from a recovery model (versus treatment model) my response to them is, well duh!

My best friend and my stepfather as well as stepbrother have ADHD. I've come to really understand ways to support people with ADHD (and it's no cookie cutter approach but there are some sort of techniques that ring true. I also have seen with many individuals that medication sometimes does and sometimes doesn't help. And there's also a lot of controversy over medicating minors. And I certainly know, probably more than his parents, that pdocs and Ts aren't always up on the latest evidence based treatment.

But regardless, I feel the adhd is too much the focus because most of what I saw was bad regardless of any Dx.

My best friend who struggled with this growing up asked if he has an IEP, and I didn't even remember to ask that. It's really weird because my brother and SIL have always acted like they think they are these really progressive parents, but IMO they are actually acting really backwards.

It's not my job to figure out the best medication for him but to advocate for him so he can thrive. As his aunt and as the stand I am for patients as a patient advocate.

The one thing we talked about too was recognizing when he's angry and then removing himself so he can calm down or use coping methods. We still have to talk to his dad about understanding that my nephew is going to ask to remove himself when he starts feeling his anger triggered so he can de-escalate and just remove from the excess stimulation.
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Meds I've tried: Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Effexor, Remeron, Elavil, Wellbutrin, Risperidone, Abilify, Prazosin, Paxil, Trazadone, Tramadol, Topomax, Xanax, Propranolol, Valium, Visteril, Vraylar, Selinor, Clonopin, Ambien

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Old 11-21-2020, 06:52 PM   #20
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Default Re: Trying to help my nephew

Yes, you do keep up with a lot of studies and it's wonderful that you have all that knowledge and can use it to benefit others, I respect that immensely. You have access to the actual research vs what the average individual reads so that's another huge plus.

I agree that there is more to this challenge than your nephews ADHD. And you are seeing things that are very unhealthy and it's hard to advocate for your nephew when you're dealing with your older brother at the same time who is having his own ongoing challenges. And the wild card is the mother who seems very controlling and that's always a big challenge. Add to that the pandemic and how that limits the way the children can distance for their own mental health which makes it even harder.

Is that beach open that you took your dog to? If it is open that would be a nice place to take your nephews so they can get out and away from the chaos. And they can see how you play with your dog who LOVES to play in the water. This pandemic and all the restrictions have made it hard to distance and do fun things. It's especially hard on young teens and children who really need to experience healthy activities.

Actually, what popped in my mind was these two going to visit your mother at her place where they can get out and explore and be away from the conflict.
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