Is this a form of self injury?

Friday

Moderator
But is that a mistake a 15 year old would make? In the days leading up to that accident though, I could see him becoming agitated.
I slid across 3 lanes of traffic on my bike when I was 14 & pissed off at my parents. Not because I was trying to get their attention. Just because I was distracted whilst riding downhill, bouncing/sewing machine hammering my leg, and didn’t notice a wet patch of road. Not even hydroplaning. Just the wrong place to not be paying attention, and jouncing my leg, meant I tapped the breaks right on the slick spot...and WHOOPS! Bike laid itself out, I spread eagled, and rode the momentum zwwwip! until friction stopped me. Lil bit o’road rash aside, I was perfectly fine. My bike ended up a twisted mess under someone’s undercarriage, but they were so thrilled I wasn’t actually ON my bike when they drove over it, they didn’t sue me (Or my parents) for damages. I managed to pass the bike off as stolen, and I was usually covered in scrapes and bruises, so they never even knew. (Unlike your friends kid, I hid as many accidents & ER trips as possible, as my parents were fond of grounding for stupid behavior; if they didn’t physically witness what happened, and I could be home in time for dinner? They never knew.).

Pretty much every high schooler I’ve ever met has a
- Time I nearly died on my bike story
- Time I nearly crashed -or did crash- the car story
- Time I jumped off something taller than I should have story
- Time I ran from the cops/security/gangs/construction crew after deliberately f*cking with them story
- Time I snuck out & biffed it (having to hide the evidence a day or more, when ordinarily that’s the kind of thing they’d ask their parents to see a doctor/drive them to the hospital immediately) story
- Time I blew something up /set something on fire/ story
- Etc.

Active ADHD kids (instead of the sit in one place not moving for hours lost in their daydreams) tend to have a several stories in most categories. Just because it’s an impulse control disorder, when even people with neurotypical impulse control, are getting swept up in the moment. Because that’s what teenagers do. Inexperience+enthusiasm= a lotta “whoopsies” moments. Often fatal, but the vast majority “just” injuries, close calls, & angry/worried parents.

Again, my intuition tells me that there is an unmistakable pattern even if it doesn't quite fit any paradigms.
Do you have a lot of experience with teenage boys in general, and kids who haven’t been abused doing the normal growing up thing? (ie neither the too timid to say boo to a goose, all the spirit beat out of them; nor the too-old-for-their-years, über-mature, super-savvy, totally uninterested in normal teenage rites of passage/generalized hooliganism... although they’re often up to far “worse” shit, it’s adult-worse rather than teenage breakneck)?

If so? Listen to your gut.

If not? Everything you’re describing, especially as you go into more detail, reads as totally-normal-kid, to me. Even fairly tame/cautious as far as ADHD kids, go. My brothers and I were each in & out of the ER 3-5 times a year. As were most of our friends/teammates, some more, some less. Most of us had our “thing”. I was wicked good at rolling, so I almost never broke anything (my thing was stitches, I was always needing this or that stitched up); but one of my brothers always tried to stop his fall with arms/legs, and broke both repeatedly. (My mom finally put him in martial arts so he’d learn to take a fall). My own boy was very much the same as my brothers, friends, & I... until he started being abused, then he went the savvy-route & disengaged with his old friends who were busy flinging themselves at life, until he was about 2 years out of abuse... and shazaam. Hello football and those antics, and back to flinging himself at life, again. It’s a weird thing to be sooooo damn grateful for a kid showing off his bruises, split lips, dislocated fingers, when for 5 years the injuries were worse, and hidden, not badges of honor & tales of brainless blind luck shit didn’t end worse.
 
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PreciousChild

MyPTSD Pro
Thank you @kkd and @Friday. @Friday, your comments are always helpful, and sometimes I don't realize it until months down the line. But sometimes something you said will click on like a light.

I thought your perspectives were really reasonable, and were confirming of some of the things that I know is not right and maybe I should do more to encourage my friend to make it right.

And someone should help mom and kid come up with a plan for what he'll do, where he'll stay that doesn't require him to stay with the dad.
I do think the child should get more of a say, and he even had asked this week if he could just stay at his mom's during her heavy work periods instead of going to his dad's. But her son is not very responsible. He will sneak around (snuck a girl into his dad's even after being told not to) and lies. He shouldn't really be left to his own devices. And her work hours when she has a project frequently brings her home after bedtime. So it's not really possible for him to stay at his mom's without supervision. As for your other suggestion, I think it's a lot more complicated than keeping him away from his dad and finding a friend. That's just a lot to ask from a friend and if she were to hire someone to teen sit him, she couldn't afford it. But even if she could afford it, is the answer as simple as keeping her child away from his father? If a parent is narcissistic (not physically abusive, but emotionally so), should their rights be totally revoked? My friend thinks that they should at least spend some time together.

that is going to require the ones who CAN fix the suck to do so.
This is an important point. Unfortunately, my friend has blind spots and idealizes her son - his recklessness is bravado, bragging is confidence, and she dismisses some of his bad behaviors as "normal" - his bullying other kids, lying and sneaking behind her back. So there is no therapy on the horizon at all. I do think she does a good job in trying to talk to him about what is right and wrong, and she is good at listening to his feelings. He definitely feels safe with her. But as I said above, I don't think she feels she can revoke the rights of his dad, and practically she relies on him at crunch moments. She also has a bit of a blind spot as to how bad her ex is. He projects, condescends his son, invalidates, belittles, yells, and shows general contempt. But she thinks it's not so bad that her son can't stay with him every other weekend and for the work stretches.

I hope none of this comes across as mean, disrespectful, or dismissive of the family or the OP or any other poster.
Not at all. Thank you for taking the time to give me your thoughts.

Just because I was distracted whilst riding downhill, bouncing/sewing machine hammering my leg, and didn’t notice a wet patch of road.
Question for [email protected]: is it at all possible that slipping into this "distraction" there was an unconscious dark wish? Freud showed us that even though consciously, no, we don't want abuse in our lives, but we somehow pick the abusive bf. Or we sabotage ourselves against our best intentions.

Do you have a lot of experience with teenage boys in general
I used to volunteer for a youth group, and worked with dozens of tweens and teens from 10-15. I think today's youth is a hell of a lot more mature than in my own day. I think that has a lot to do with more child-centered attitudes about parenting. The parents I worked with were progressive. My own son who is now 17 is adhd, but does well in school, cooperates, does all his chores, etc. My friend's son is definitely outside the norm in my circle as well as in his school, etc. He is known as the "bad" kid, which is why no child ever comes around their house. Their parents won't allow it.

But you remind me that it could all very well be just accidents. I definitely tend to psychoanalyze things too much.

This kid does belong in therapy 100%. But it's not happening any time soon. Neither parents are going to go for it due to their own blind spots and the affordability. But maybe in the future, one of them will see his need for support.
 

Allie D.

MyPTSD Pro
If not? Everything you’re describing, especially as you go into more detail, reads as totally-normal-kid, to me. Even fairly tame/cautious as far as ADHD kids, go. My brothers and I were each in & out of the ER 3-5 times a year. As were most of our friends/teammates, some more, some less. Most of us had our “thing”. I was wicked good at rolling, so I almost never broke anything (my thing was stitches, I was always needing this or that stitched up); but one of my brothers always tried to stop his fall with arms/legs, and broke both repeatedly. (My mom finally put him in martial arts so he’d learn to take a fall).
omg @Friday. Your story has me thankful I was in gymnastics as a kid where they knew they better keep me appearing safe, whether my mom was allowed to observe the practice or not! And also, like martial arts: I know how to fall & even catch myself which is awesome because I am actually pretty clumsy despite that episode of my life.
Plus it's really fun to spin around and fling oneself into a foam pit once in a while :)
I thought your perspectives were really reasonable, and were confirming of some of the things that I know is not right and maybe I should do more to encourage my friend to make it right.
@PreciousChild How is this going? It sounds like a tremendously difficult position for you to be in with your friend!
 

Friday

Moderator
Question for [email protected]: is it at all possible that slipping into this "distraction" there was an unconscious dark wish? Freud showed us that even though consciously, no, we don't want abuse in our lives, but we somehow pick the abusive bf. Or we sabotage ourselves against our best intentions.
Heck no.

In point of fact... much later... I learned to use exactly that type of thing (gravity sports; pay attention, or the ground will reach up and SMACK! you) for grounding. One of my two favourite methods of grounding. Because it’s all-encompassing, every little bit of focus and attention right here, right now, in this moment. Past falls away, future falls away, all other thoughts/feelings fall away, as the only thing that matters? Here. This. Now.

But I learned that, by biffing it. Repeatedly. Lack of skill / pushing yourself ALSO creates sudden, unwelcome, & unceremonious impact with the ground (or whatever other nouns happen to be nearby). There’s an old saying in most gravity sports; If you’re not falling? You’re not trying hard enough. But even just a split second’s distraction means you’re eating pavement. Most seriously competitive athletes? Biff it in 2 places. When they’re pushing themselves to their limits... and the Mickey Mouse easy shit as their attention wanders.

I had a brilliant, awesome, amazing childhood. But that also includes normal growing up stuff.. like getting pissed off & distracted right when you need not to be. Even on a simple easy swoop downhill to meet friends at the movies. No dark wishes required.
 

PreciousChild

MyPTSD Pro
Thanks for asking, @Allie D. Things have calmed down a lot. The emotion and drama has gone, and my friend's son is on the mend. It's hard to look at him and think he has a death wish. He wants to get better and go back to normal. He got upset that he had to go to his dad's, but even more so now, he can't be on his own. She's in full project mode. The one thing I wish for the most is that my friend get therapy for her son, but that's not going to happen any time soon. You grow and develop so much at that age. There's a lot that could happen and I'm just a spectator here.

@Friday, that wasn't my experience, so thanking you for sharing yours. I do tend to read into things sometimes.
 
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