When these ODD combatants grow up and leave, I always find myself stunned and shocked at the peace and calm that immediately descends in their vacancy. Really? I lived like that? I don't miss them for one single second and I find that to be a very sad commentary, but I'd be a masochistic idiot to miss the above behaviors. Any one of them, for example the constant complaining, would be enough to send a relatively sane person over the edge, try any combination of those behavior on for size 24-7, and see how it feels.
Yes, it sucks.
In addition to PTSD, my child's numerous therapists have knocked around diagnoses such as ODD, Conduct Disorder, and Intermittent Explosive Disorder. Our current therapist has raised a concerning possibility, but changed her mind, because she wanted to give our child the least serious diagnosis so as to avoid causing her trouble later in life.
I'm not sure that a more serious diagnosis will make any difference for Danielle at this point. The fact that she has a diagnosis of PTSD has already precluded her from joining the military*.
Cindy's list of behaviors certainly does a great job of describing our child:
- chronic complaining
- overt and covert defiance
- temper tantrums
- throwing objects
- talking back
- use of profanity
- engaging in constantly annoying behavior
- ignoring requests
- physically resisting
- failure to complete routine chores
- destroying property, physical fights with others
- failure to complete school homework
- disrupting other activities
- ignoring self care tasks
Cindy went on to say:
No, it's about me now. I'm attempting to heal from within, to try and recover from the intense emotional abuse. Every bruise I've ever had on me from someone came out of one of two possible sibling groups. 'Nuff said. Is it any wonder that I find myself both grieving and furious?
ODD sucks for everyone. I have to recover, they have to change. Only one of these is possible I'm afraid.
In our case, it doesn't really matter what Danielle's true diagnosis is. We've realized that her problems aren't fixable, and she's going to carry these behaviors into adulthood. Even the therapist agrees that there is no way to create a happy, fairy-tale ending for our family. At this point, all we can do is try to declare a truce, and attempt a reasonably peaceful co-existence for the next couple of years.
Yes, Cindy, this sucks. Worse, there's no way to really communicate just how bad this is to anyone who hasn't already lived it.
* Even if she did not have PTSD, her extremely short stature, and lack of academic progress would likely keep her out anyway.