Content warning: this post deals with very severe mental illness and violence.
My son was very troubled. VERY troubled. If you have seen the movie “We Need To Talk About Kevin”, it will really help to understand what I’m talking about, because I swear to God when I watched that film I thought I was watching a documentary of my life. I felt like the writer must have had cameras hidden in my damn house, that’s how accurate it was.
The only difference is that in the movie, the boy appears normal to his father and only reveals his true nature to his mother. My son didn’t have that mask. His insane behavior was the same with everyone.
From the day he was born, my son just came out wrong. He was planned, my wife and I tried to get pregnant and were ecstatic when he was born. He was wanted and loved. We showered affection on him and really tried to give him a happy childhood.
But from the day we brought him home from the hospital, he was miserable. He cried for 13 months straight. I’m not exaggerating, 13 months without a break, he cried until he had no voice left and kept crying, you could see his little face scrunched up and no sound coming out, totally hoarse.
There were times he would literally be crying in his sleep, I’ve never seen or heard of any other kid able to do that. We brought him to doctors, specialists, tried changing his diet, held him, rocked him, toys, swaddling, music, mobiles, everything we could think of. Nothing worked. 13 months of grating, grinding, no sleep hell.
Once he got over the crying stage, we thought we were out of the woods. But it quickly became clear that for some unknown reason, he was just angry at being alive. I never saw that kid have a genuine, joyous smile once in the time I knew him. I saw him grin a vicious, horrible grin many times, taking a perverse pleasure from causing pain or suffering or breaking a rule, but a smile from real pleasure at something nice? No, never. Not once. He had no interest in anything positive; he was fueled by hate, and everything he did was bent toward that.
As soon as he could walk, his mission in life was to destroy things. He would break or try to break anything that came in his range, smash it, chew it, throw it in the toilet, whatever he could.
After a while he figured out how to get his diaper off and took great pleasure in shitting and pissing anywhere he could. After a while he figured out he could hide it, and started pissing and shitting in places we wouldn’t find right away, grinding it into carpets making it even more of a problem to clean and making the house stink.
When he got older, (ages 9-15) he would piss and shit in our bed, until we got a lock on our door and he wasn’t able to get in anymore; then he’d just take a dump in the hallway in front of our room. That biological warfare started around a 2 and a half years old and he never grew out of it.
As he grew older, he became more and more unmanageable. He would bite, kick, scream, scratch and spit at anyone trying to do anything with him. He was kicked out of school twice before he was 9, then let him back in and then kicked him out for good, he had to change schools.
The next one put him in a special class that kept him away from the other students. We had to install a door and lock on the kitchen because he would steal knives and use them to gouge the walls/furniture or chase people with them. When he was 10, he stabbed me pretty good in the hip and ass, I still have the scars.
And as he grew older, he grew darker. He moved into setting things on fire, and torturing local animals. There was a stray dog that hung out around the park near our house, and my son blinded it in one eye with a BBQ fork. He would dip cat’s tails in gasoline and light them on fire. He became a violent, stinking, vicious beast that lived in our house. We couldn’t do anything with him.
YES, we had the kid in fucking therapy. He saw a psychiatrist twice a week, and had god knows how many different medications prescribed to him over the years. Nothing worked. Therapy didn’t work. Meds didn’t work. Nothing fucking worked. He was like a poison cloud of hate and fury lashing out at anything in his reach.
When my son was 16, my wife got pregnant again. I can’t tell you how different our reaction was. Instead of joy, we felt horror.
This pregnancy had not been planned, and we really were at a loss over what to do. My son had been such an unending nightmare for 16 years, we couldn’t take the idea of starting again from the beginning. We talked a lot about terminating, but a) access to abortion was not as easy in those days as it is now, and b) my wife was very against it. We talked about many options. In the end, we decided that my wife would have the baby, and if it turned out evil we would put it up for adoption. We knew we just couldn’t do it again with another child like our son.
We had a daughter. She was normal.
Suddenly we saw what our lives should have been like the whole time, how things would have been had our son not been himself. She laughed at things. She breast fed without biting (she didn’t have teeth yet anyway, but you could tell she was just trying to eat, not tear her mom’s breast off). After 4 months she was sleeping through the night. She was happy. She was NORMAL.
I can’t describe the relief and happiness that we both felt, I don’t have the words for it.
This where I believe I may have started really pulling back from my son. Up until that time, whatever mistakes I made, I had always tried to do the best for my son, I am convinced of that. I tried to help him and love him and care for him, I really tried.
But when my daughter was born, my wife and I both instinctively just turned toward her. She became our focus, not from malice, but just because she was so much EASIER. She was so happy and sweet, every moment we were with her was like magic. I understand this was wrong, but we honestly couldn’t help it. I don’t have a better explanation than that.
My son hadn’t given a shit about my wife being pregnant, I honestly don’t know if he really understood it, but when we brought our daughter home he started acting out even more. I didn’t think it was possible, but he took it up another notch.
At this time he was 17, and we were having blow-out screaming matches daily. Usually after we fought, he would storm out of the house and disappear for hours at a time, or come back the next morning. It was a relief. I started to actually look forward to our fights because it would get him away from us for a while.
After the birth of our daughter, my relationship with my son was almost entirely gone, our only real interactions were screaming at each other. My wife was even worse with him, she just had nothing left.
By that time, if our son even came in to the same room as her, she would just stop whatever she was doing and start screaming “GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME! GET AWAY! GET THE FUCK OUT!” until he left.
He started spending more and more time out of the house, which was a blessing for us. I have no idea what he got up to out in the world, but we were just happy it wasn’t being inflicted on us.
As a consequence of our son’s behavior, we had invested heavily in locks around our house. All of the cheap, thin interior doors in our home had been replaced with think, dense wood doors that couldn’t be kicked through, equipped with keyed locks that my wife and I carried keys to. I know it sounds extreme, but locks and heavy doors were the best way we had found to create safe spaces from him.
And again, I was not locking my son in rooms like a prisoner, he had free reign of the house and could come and go as he pleased. My wife and I would lock OURSELVES in rooms to protect ourselves from him, if anything WE were the prisoners in our own home.
On the day in question, I had fought with my son in the morning and he had left the house in a rage. My wife and I were enjoying some peace and quiet in the kitchen while our daughter napped in our bedroom.
And then my daughter began crying.
Any parent who has young children can tell you, you get used to your child’s cries and you can tell after a while what they need, they cry differently if they are hungry, or need changing, or are just restless and want to be held. Babies can communicate pretty well before they can speak.
This cry was none of those things. This cry was terror. The second we heard it my wife and I were both up out of our chairs and running to the room. The door was locked of course, and it took a few seconds to get the right key and get it open.
My son was in the room. We lived in a bungalow, and the bastard had climbed in the window to get to her. He was standing over her crib with a steak knife in his hand. I have no idea where he got it, it wasn’t one of ours; we controlled our knives very carefully and always kept them in locked drawers. I think he may have stolen it from one of our neighbor’s houses.
He had broken her skin twice already, once in the belly area and once on her arm. I could see blood running down. When I entered the room he was dragging the back of the knife down her face, not cutting, almost tickling her with it, teasing her while she screamed. He looked up at us and smiled.
Before I knew what I was doing, I was already moving, running to put myself between them. I didn’t think about it, I just moved instinctively. Even with that, my wife got there faster, it was like a movie on fast forward, she got to our son and bashed his hand away, knocking the knife across the room and then shoved him with her whole body weight, so hard that he flew away from the crib and bounced off the wall.
I picked up my daughter and held her while my wife screened us. I could see her shaking, almost convulsing. I can remember the smell of the room, the sound of my daughter screaming and wailing. The look on my son’s face as he stood there. Just nothing. Blank, dead, there was nothing in his eyes, no emotion. He looked like an alien to me.
I watched my wife take a step toward him. I could have reached out and stopped her, but I didn’t. She stepped forward again, very close to him. I could have stopped her again. But I didn’t. She waited, looking at him for maybe 3 to 5 seconds without moving. And then she punched him in the face.
Now until this point, you may have been picturing my wife as a typical woman, small frame, dainty, delicate. This is not the case. My wife does have a small frame, but dainty and delicate she is not, never has been since I’ve known her. Since her early teens, my wife has been a boxer. MMA didn’t exist back then, but karate and boxing were big in those days, and my wife was a VERY talented amateur. She was about 130 pounds, she carried a lot of muscle and she knew how to punch. I had 70 pounds on her back then, and I have no doubt that in a real fight between me and her she could have and would have pounded me flat.
Neither of us had ever laid a hand on our son in anger before, but something broke in her that day, and all the years of anger and pain and sorrow and frustration just came pouring out. When she hit him his head snapped back and blood started pouring out of his nose. He hardly reacted, he just looked at her with this shocked expression like he didn’t know how to process what had just happened.
She waited another second. And then she hit him again.
I could have reached out and stopped her. I could have dragged her out of the room, taken her away, calmed her. I didn’t. I just stood there and watched while she systematically started to pound him to a pulp.
Every time he brought his hands to cover one part she would blast him somewhere else, body, head, body, head, over and over. He started screaming, crying out, yelling for her to stop.
It was the most genuine reaction I’d ever seen him have to anything in his whole life.
But she wasn’t stopping. I watched her ramping up, hitting harder, faster, working him like a heavy bag. He tried to swing at her and she slipped him easily. She was on auto pilot, sinking down into her training. I stood there watching for a minute. Then I turned my back on them and took my daughter out of the room.
I brought my daughter to the kitchen and gave her a bath in the sink. I found that he had cut her a third time on the sole of her foot. All the cuts were superficial. I cleaned her up and held her until she calmed. I put Polysporin and Band-Aids on her cuts.
In our bedroom, I could hear my son screaming, calling my wife horrible names, telling her he would cut her head off and fuck her corpse. After a while, I didn’t hear him saying anything anymore, didn’t even hear him crying out. I assumed that he must have been knocked out. But I could still hear her beating him.
That went on for a long time. Long enough for my daughter to drift off to sleep in my arms. I just sat at the kitchen table waiting for her to finish.
Finally she came out and sat down across from me. Her hands were swollen and red. Her face and arms were splattered with blood. Her chest was heaving. We just stared at each other without saying anything.
After a while I asked her “Is he dead?” She looked back at me and answered “I fucking hope so.” I nodded. That was all there was to say about that. I understood how she felt perfectly. I felt the same.
I didn’t know what to do, so we just sat there waiting silently. Eventually my wife started crying and went to go take a shower. I just stayed where I was holding our daughter.
After a long while, I heard moaning and sobbing coming from our room. It turned out that my son wasn’t dead. I went in to see how bad it was, and it was… pretty bad. I’ve never seen a more merciless beating laid onto anyone, before or since.
He was lying on the floor, rolling around with blood leaking out of his face, lying in a pool of vomit. His nose was squashed flat out across his face, both of his eyes were completely swollen shut and starting to blacken already. I could see that a couple of his fingers were bent out at weird angles and he had pissed his pants. I think he must have been missing teeth, but I couldn’t see any on the floor and I couldn’t see inside his mouth, his lips were all puffed up and swollen.
From talking to my wife about it later, I know now that she had systematically beaten every part of his body, focusing heavily on his legs. She told me she kicked him in the groin repeatedly until her legs got tired, and had kept beating his body long after he had passed out.
When my wife came out of the shower, I still didn’t know what to do about our son. I didn’t know whether to call the police or an ambulance, take him to the hospital myself, I honestly didn’t have any idea what to do.
After a while I realized that I simply didn’t care what happened to him anymore, and we decided to just let him live or die on his own. There was an in-law suite in the basement that we had never really used, and my wife, my daughter and I just moved down there. We simply ceded the top floor of the house to my son and locked everything down, separated our lives entirely.
There was plenty of food in the upstairs cabinets, enough for a couple weeks or more, he had a washroom and bedrooms to use. We had a washroom in the basement, a small kitchenette, and a separate entrance, so we just stopped going upstairs. We just decided we were done with him. I figured we’d let his food run out and see what happened.
Over the next week we could hear him moving around upstairs sometimes. I think he just spent most of time lying in bed recovering. I went to work, watching on high alert in case he attacked me in the driveway, but he never did.
My wife stayed home with our daughter. She was never out of our sight. One night we heard him going ballistic, smashing things and banging. We didn’t respond. He never tried to get downstairs or get near us though. I think he was afraid that if he got near us again, my wife might finish the job on him. After three weeks down in the basement, we hadn’t heard anything from up above for a few days, and I ventured upstairs to the main floor of the house.
The place was demolished, and there was no sign of my son. He was gone.
It took months to repair the damage he had done and get the main floor back to normal again. There was food and shit smeared all over the walls and broken glass on the floor, big holes in the dry wall, he had ripped the place apart. He tore up the linoleum in a corner of the kitchen and emptied an entire foam fire extinguisher into the living room.
I feel thankful that he didn’t burn the house down with us in it, I’m honestly not sure why he didn’t, the kid wasn’t shy about lighting things on fire.
After that, I lived in fear every day that he would come back, that he would ambush us out of the blue and try to kill us. We moved house about 3 years later and I finally stopped being afraid that he would show up again, as now he had no idea where we were. I finally felt safe from him.
All this happened a long time ago. My son was born in the spring of 1971, my daughter was born in ’88.
I’m an old man now, I’ll be 70 this year and my wife passed from cancer in 2016. My daughter is 31 now, I moved in with her and her husband after my wife passed.
I’ve got two granddaughters and they are the joy of my life. I see a therapist a couple times a month to talk about all this.
I don’t know where my son is. The last time I saw him was when he was lying on the floor of our bedroom, bleeding and smashed. I haven’t heard from him since he left, more than 30 years now. I don’t want to.
I carry a lot of guilt from that time, and a lot of conflicted emotions. I didn’t beat him myself, but I allowed him to be beaten, and I thought he deserved it. I was happy it happened.
I didn’t try to kill him, but I would have been happy if he died.
I will say that I do hope he was able to overcome his demons and go live a normal life somewhere. If he wasn’t able to do that, if he stayed the way he was, then I truly do hope someone out there killed him.
My crazy son.