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does your teen have a 'dark' side?

Posted by on Sep. 3, 2012 at 7:51 AM
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My ds, who is extremely high functioning, is such a kind hearted & loving boy but then there is another side to him that throws out curse words & threats to anyone around when he starts a meltdown. I have looked into this and found some pretty scary articles about the 'dark side of autism' (most don't do these but for those that do it is scary).  My ds has been bullied for the past 5 yrs & for the most part feels unloved even by family (don't understand that). He is definately 'feeding' the negative thoughts & feelings with the music he listens to (yes, I try to monitor it but he is going to be 17 soon & I do have other children so I can not monitor it always).  He is going to get in serious legal trouble for threatening people if he doesn't stop but when he is melting down he is so out of control. He is on medicine for depression, moods and anxiety but none of them are helping very much. We just added the anxiety so it is too soon to really know if it will help or not.

 Have any of you experienced something similar? Can you offer any ideas on how to best deal with some of this? 


Thank you to the Admins for this forum again!

by on Sep. 3, 2012 at 7:51 AM
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by Bronze Member on Sep. 3, 2012 at 11:30 AM
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by Member on Sep. 3, 2012 at 11:54 AM
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My 17y aspie boy also has some of the same issues.  His brothers help me with his music, so eventhough it sounds all 'scream-o' and dark, his bands are christian scream-o bands.  

It does help me that we try to keep him as involved in church as possible, but that can be a struggle.

The only thing I can really say that helps is the fact that I treat him like he is 7 or 8 again by saying things like 'I don't allow that in my house ---- no matter what'.  Making him go to his room until he can talk in a civil manner.  At school, he has a free pass to go to the counselors office whenever he wants.  He has to go to her office (doesn't even have to talk to anybody) but is a way for him to get away from situations.

We took our son out of our local school for 3 years because he was being bullied (including by the teachers).  While he was away from all of the stress and drama, we were able to take that time to get him on the correct meds (he is on vyvanse and it helps with his ADD and his mood swings).  He is just a different kid.  

He returned to the local high school at the beginning of 10th grade and has had a fairly successful past 2 years.  He is now a senior and playing football for the 1st time and is also a teacher's aid.

Oh, I forgot, one thing we started doing when the 'dark side' started coming out was (after he was calm) we would sit and talk about what he felt might help in those situations because he knows he can't act like that when he is on his own one day.

He also is driving now --- and so far so good.  We have talked about making a card to give to any police officer (just in case) if he ever gets pulled over.  Because he would act so nervous and just make the police officer be suspicious.  But, for now, he only drives in our little town to and from practices and school.

Would love to talk anytime - good luck


by Admin Amy on Sep. 3, 2012 at 12:43 PM
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 Everyone has a "dark side" no matter how care and loving they are-everyone has one. Our kids with ASD are no different. It's our job as parents to teach them or find someone to do it for us if we can't, to deal with their dark side in an appropriate way.

 In my own dealing with my  teenage daughter, it is important to give her space to cool down, listen to her until she is done "venting" her feelings, as long as she is being respectful, courteous and calm when she talks. She is very high functioning and people tend to stop listening to her when she starts to  get worked up. That leads her to feel that people don't care about her point or her feelings and then it makes the issue 10x worse. I am trying to get her to not only realize how she is coming across to people in the heat of the moment but to also realize that before she can talk an issue out, that she needs to take a  couple minute sand calm/compose herself before she starts to talk. It is a work in progress. Sometimes she is able to do that and sometimes she's not.

I don't have my children on medication- not for or against it, I just don't feel the need for it for my children at this point in time. However, from what I have read and heard from other parents about the issues they have had medicating their kids in their teen years-I wonder if it's his medication causing these drastic changes in him.

And on behalf of Dawn and the other admins-You're welcome. I hope this forum helps you and other moms out and is more successful with giving support than it was the last time we had it open.

by Bronze Member on Sep. 3, 2012 at 2:42 PM
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Sometimes my daughter gets a little obsessed and fascinated with crime information that can be a little "dark," but for the most part she is a pretty upbeat, sweet girl.  Since she's a girl, that may be why I'm not seeing much of what you're describing.  I agree with Amy above that everyone can have a "dark" side.  Our kids do go through a lot and deal with bullying, so maybe sometimes they can go to a darker place because of that.  My daughter does take meds for anxiety (Celexa) and they have helped, but I know everyone is different and sometimes meds don't help or make things worse.  

by Bronze Member on Sep. 3, 2012 at 6:20 PM

Thank you all for responding. I'm starting to wonder if he is having a reaction to the Celexa. He was not on meds for a long time because he has such weird reactions (outbursts, worse depression, aggitation, etc...) but due to stress he ended up in a psyciatric hospital for awhile so of course they medicated him. He seems to be losing his mind. He is in legal trouble but it is for stupid stuff but when his anxiety is high or he has a meltdown he becomes verbally aggresive & threatens to kill who ever he wants at that moment. Once he calms down he becomes extremely tired and is fine when he wakes up. He makes things up in his head & then plays the thoughts over & over until it becomes his reality. I'm afraid there is more than autism going on....

by Bronze Member on Sep. 3, 2012 at 6:25 PM

This article is not about my son but it hits pretty close to home:

by on Sep. 3, 2012 at 11:08 PM
1 mom liked this

My son has been on lots of different medications, and that is the first thing I would look into--what side effects it could be having. Some of the meds made him have the equivalent of a psychotic break, but the latest ones have helped tremendously. 

We also worry about the anger and the meltdowns--I don't think it's so much that they have a darker side than anyone else, but that they lack the impulse control others have. But it worries me too because if he really hurts someone, saying "he lacks impulse control" isn't going to help him or the person he hurt. 

by Bronze Member on Sep. 4, 2012 at 6:21 AM

The use of 'darker side' came from the article I posted. I agree that they tend to not have the impulse control necessary to keep them under self control, which is what gets my ds in the most trouble. Unfortunately, when their mind is stuck on their pain & death then lack of impulse control can be a scary thing. The police had to handcuff him & bring him home because he was screaming, cussing & threatening to kill them while they were trying to deal with my ds's drunk exgirlfriend. While in the police car the handcuffs were too tight so he started banging his head against the windows & flipping out. Once my ds calmed down the police said he was a good kid & like a different person so they only charged him with disorderly conduct...again.

by Bronze Member on Sep. 29, 2012 at 8:41 AM
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um- Alynn74  sorry but not everyone has a dark side anything  like someone with aspergers- Yes NT people can have dark moments but do not generally flip out and threaten to kill people.  Comparing a bad day for someone with Aspersgers to a neurotypical person is just the same old story that makes getting help for high functioning kids so hard.  Aspies are NOT like everyone else and no aspies are alike to each other.  I am so tired of people downplaying the real behavioral age appropriate issues.  It doesn't really help the kids in the end. My oldest is now home on the weekends from therapeutic foster care after being in a teen psych. center for most of the Summer.  She was hearing voices telling her to do bad things, self mutilation,  cutting, fire starting , homicidal threats etc. in our home.  She was "cooking negative thoughts" for months So, no, the dark side of autistic teens is NOTHING like NT folks.   She is now MUCH MUCH better and has learned accountability for what she says and does- she is also on different medications.    We also found out that she had been molested by a peer nearly 5 years ago and never told- so add PTSD to the mix.  At a certain age- any death threats made in the presence certain people are mandatory reported and there are consequences- like not being allowed to come home even after you apologize..  She has really matured and appreciates her life much more now than ever-She'll be returning home the end of December.  Our relationship is much much better for it.  I encourage anyone dealing with these issues to contact your local tapline for mental health issues. 

by on Dec. 6, 2012 at 8:24 PM

I'm so relieved I'm not alone.

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