The human punchbag

Towards the end of December the violence started again in our house. It all began because I caught Robbie playing with his iPod way after his bedtime. He tried to lie his way out of it and only made things worse. I remained calm, which frustrated him, and he lost it. He became quite aggressive and, seeing that I was not rising to it, he kicked me very hard in the groin. It hurt. A lot. I was bent over double in pain for a few minutes, unable to move. Robbie has hit me many times before, but its rare that he actually hurts me. When he saw me on the floor he panicked. He ran out of the house, full of shame for what he’d done and as he did so, he tripped and hurt his hand. Glen managed to bring him in. Robbie was hysterical. He was saying that he is like his birth mother and he hurts people. It was very hard to convince him otherwise, since it was obvious how much he’d hurt me. I tired to reconnect with him, but he was so ashamed that he couldn’t bear to hear me say that I still loved him regardless, and kept telling me to leave him alone and how much he hated me.

Since then things have been very difficult. Robbie is completely stressed out in my presence. He takes everything I say or do as a criticism, and reacts angrily towards it. We had a break from this for four days when we travelled to Spain for epiphany. He stayed at my brother’s almost every night and played with his cousins every day. He also loved getting presents from the Three Wise Men, of course. But as soon as we returned home, the anger flared up again. The pattern keeps repeating: he’ll take something I say or do as a criticism, get angry and start becoming aggressive. Because I refuse to rise to it and manage to keep calm (and most importantly don’t hit him back, which is the response he wants from me – like it used to be with his birth parents) he keeps increasing the level of aggression until I have to restrain him to keep both me and him from getting hurt (on one occasion he was dangling from the upstairs bannister to get me to react). When I restrain him he accuses me of hurting him, therefore completing the vicious circle.

Glen does his best to contain Robbie, but most of the outbursts happen when he’s not around. Robbie’s also had a couple of angry moments with him, but nowhere near the level of the ones he has with me, and without violence. I’m finding it very hard to cope with this. I return to the house from work full of dread. Something inevitably happens most days. He takes everything out on me. Recently he became very angry and started having a go. I asked what was going on and he said someone had annoyed him at school. I said I was sorry to hear that and then added that what I didn’t understand was why he was taking it out on me. He didn’t have an answer.

Robbie’s also begun to carry his anger through to the following day. We’ve always been very good at starting each day afresh, and although I greet him every morning with a nice smile to show him I bear no grudge, he often refuses to cuddle me or give me a kiss. According to his teacher he’s also become quite defiant at school, which he’s never done before.

I’m struggling, and finding it harder and harder to be around him. I feel like a victim of domestic violence, and it’s not nice.