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icon5's avatar

Is my son's behavior suspicious?

Asked by icon5 (19points) 3 months ago
73 responses
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My son visited town the other day. He has BPD and anger/anxiety-related issues. He’s always gotten very uncomfortable when people talk about sexual assault, grooming, or predatory behavior. The topics make him emotional, so he asks to change it whenever possible. His boss left a bag of candy in his locker the other day to applaud him for his work performance. He put it in his car, forgot about the bag and it was sitting in his passenger seat for a while.

There was a news report one or two days after about a kidnapper that had been apprehended and arrested. I started talking about the report and my son made a comment about how he finds it disturbing the amount of creepers that approach children in vans and bait them with candy. I made a joke that he should get rid of the candy bag in his car before people assume he’s a child predator and he argued that possession of candy alone is not sufficient reason to be concerned and that anyone who makes that correlation is stupid, but people who approach kids in vehicles randomly are definitely suspect.

I kept demanding that he get the bag out of his car and he ignored me, saying he was too lazy to do it at that moment. But that same evening when he went to his vehicle to put his wallet in the car, he pushed the bag on the floor.

The next morning, he told me about the bag being on the ground and told me it’s not a big deal as no one will notice. I pointed out that him doing that was really suspicious and his excuse was that he was planning to dump it along with the other garbage in his car when he cleans it out.

Regardless, I made sure he realized that I thought it was odd and I kept calling him out on it. This led to him getting confused and defensive where he began questioning if I was implying that he’s a predator. He wouldn’t stop obsessing about it and got teary-eyed and confided in me about a time he was assaulted in the past and said that was the reason he took my comments personally. He tried very hard to reassure me that he wasn’t a predator. This led to him asking me to elaborate on what I meant when I used the adjective “suspicious.” I explained suspicious was the wrong word to use and that it was a joke, to which he clarified that he’s perfectly okay with jokes, but that at the time, it really did feel like a subtle accusation.

Even still, wouldn’t you agree that his behavior was suspicious? I talked about it with a friend and she agreed with me, saying that he was gaslighting me. It doesn’t seem like a normal person would be THAT paranoid about something like this. I mentioned that his comment about strange vehicles and candy just seems a bit odd when he’s in possession of a candy bag in his car and his explanation was that the two are completely unrelated and his comment only applies to weirdos in general.

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Answers

JLoon's avatar

No. I don’t agree.

According to this post your son has bipolar disorder and anger anxiety/related issues.
His behavior is likely symptomatic of his condition – Not “suspicious” of whatever else you imagine may be going on.

What does seem odd though is that you’re evidently aware of his mental and emotional problems, but you continue to judge him against a “normal person” and keep “calling him out”. It just makes me wonder who’s obsessing about what.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@JLoon I suspect this is the same mindset as that of people who are biased against autism. They think the disorder is a weakness of character. As a result they acknowledge the disorder in their children while expecting them to “get over it” and become “normal” people.

JLoon's avatar

@Mimishu1995 – True. Chronic mental illness is hard on friends and relatives. Over time it’s exhausting and many people find it difficult to cope.

The situation described in this question may, or may not be an example. Hard to tell.

smudges's avatar

By BPD, do you mean bipolar disorder, or borderline personality disorder?

My first thought as I began reading this, when you mentioned how emotional he becomes, was that he had been sexually abused. How old is he?

JLoon's avatar

@smudges – Right. Good point. I’m more familar with bipolar disorder, and it’s more common.

But hopefully icon5 can clarify.

icon5's avatar

I’m not sure. He mentioned to me at one point he got diagnosed with BPD in a text, but I never asked and he never specified. Either way, his behavior struck me as suspicious and when I mentioned this to him, he got really defensive and tried making it clear he wasn’t a predator. A friend of mine who never met him speculated that he set up the incident and was gaslighting me.

janbb's avatar

Maybe he was just pissed off that he mother was badgering him and telling what to do? I think it might be more productive to ask him more about his mental health if he wants to share it than to assume he is a predator.

Mimishu1995's avatar

but I never asked and he never specified.

Your son said he got a mental disorder and you didn’t question anything?

smudges's avatar

I’d be interested in how old he is.

icon5's avatar

When I say he was being suspicious, I am of course referring to his comment about predators using candy and the coincidence of him having a candy bag in his vehicle, then his moving it to the floor of the car instead of taking it out, and his defensive reaction when I described it as suspicious.

He’s turning 30 in January.

smudges's avatar

Hmmm….borderline personality disorder is more common in younger people, and females, so he may have bipolar disorder.

I don’t know if he’s behaving suspiciously because I don’t know him. But keep in mind that another possibility is that he was abused.

It doesn’t seem like a normal person would be THAT paranoid about something like this.

Keep in mind that if he has bipolar disorder OR borderline personality disorder, he’s not exactly what would be considered ‘normal’. That’s not to say he’s ‘abnormal’ or anything negative. I myself have bipolar disorder and my thinking is different from other peoples’, but that’s not to say I’m sick or weird or ‘mental’. People who have mental conditions simply have brains that work differently. I don’t know where I’m going with this and hope I’m not just making a mess….I guess my point is that no one knows what he’s thinking. My best advice would be to try to talk to him without judgement.

Mimishu1995's avatar

My best advice would be to try to talk to him without judgement.

And while you are at it, take the chance to ask about his disorder too. It just seems to me that you need to worry more about your relationship with him than whether he is acting suspiciously.

icon5's avatar

I do know the morning of the interaction got very intense. I made the comment that moving the candy bag to the floor was suspicious and he asked me if I was saying that’s how a predator acts and I corrected him by saying that’s how a suspicious person acts. In our conversation, I told him that anyone else would have thought it was suspicious too and he argued that I’m the only person who thinks that way and the average person doesn’t make correlations like that which I think ties back into what my friend said about him gaslighting me.

He got very emotional that day and spoke with me privately to tell me that he had been assaulted in the past . He claimed that’s why he got angry and took my comments personally.
I did clarify I don’t think he’s a pervert or anything else in that category. He’s expressed the day before that he’s 100% against all pedos, perverts, and weirdos.

However, he’s spent an unhealthy amount of time ruminating on this one incident. He’s asked relatives for their feedback and would reflect back on the conversation, nit-picking certain details and asking me to elaborate on what I meant. He’s made it clear that he knows he isn’t a predator, but now he’s scared that I’m having doubts about him or that other people would too if I told them about my comments on the incident and that my perception of it has made him embarrassed to even talk to me or his friends because he can’t get the situation off of his mind.

Ironically, the level of paranoia and embarrassment he has given to this one situation, despite me and everyone else telling him to let it go only strengthens my feelings of him acting suspicious. He’s less trusting of me now after this conversation, despite his willingness to talk to me about it. And we’ve never really been close, so I’m not too concerned about how it impacts our relationship.

icon5's avatar

NVM, he doesn’t have BPD he said. I just asked him and it turns out I may have misread a text along the way. I asked him what he does have, but he won’t tell me.

JLoon's avatar

@icon5“He got very emotional that day and spoke with me privately to tell me that he had been assaulted in the past . He claimed that’s why he got angry and took my comments personally.”

What does this tell you?

Mimishu1995's avatar

He texted you right? Can you go through your messages again?

Mimishu1995's avatar

And we’ve never really been close, so I’m not too concerned about how it impacts our relationship.

Something about this doesn’t sit right with me..

Pandora's avatar

Either there is something more to this than you are saying or you and your friend are very cruel people or you truly suspect him of being a preditor. I have joked with my son a million times and never have I suggested such an idea.
He told you later that he was assaulted and your only question is why is he upset over an insulting comment made in jest?
Your idea of humor isn’t universal. No one thinks insinuating that someone is a preditor (much less coming from your mom) is funny.
Now if there are other things he has done in the past that make you suspect him like looking at child porn on the internet then you have a real reason to believe he is a predator.

If its none of that but that you simply don’t understand that jokes are usually laced with some truth in it, then maybe clean out his car as an apology and see how he feels about the missing candy.
And as for him believing it wasn’t a joke, but an accusation, I would have to agree since you continue on being suspicious even after he explained his reaction.
Hell, I don’t have any disorder and I would find such a joke offensive, even if they didn’t mean it. It would be a joke meant to disturb me and offend. Who the hell would be okay with that?

icon5's avatar

@JLoon Hard to say. He admitted to me that he thinks it’s stupid that he’s letting the incident bother him that much and that although he disagrees with me about him acting suspicious, he isn’t able to let himself live it down because my words have made him
paranoid of the social perception of the situation.

It doesn’t seem healthy for him to obsess about it even though the only people that know about it are me and his close family or whoever else reads this. Despite me telling him to move on and other people telling him to get over it, he chooses to ruminate.

icon5's avatar

@Pandora I guess. I just find it puzzling that if a stranger directly called him a predator, he would laugh it off obnoxiously or if one of his friends made a joke implying that he’s one, he would simply quip back as he’s done similarly in the past before. If he didn’t expect me to make that comment, I just don’t think he should have said it first about predators and candy.

And I think he is gaslighting me too, as my friend pointed out.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@icon5 ok, I’m going to crop out @JLoon‘s quote to the most important part:

he had been assaulted in the past

@smudges suspected that he was abused in the past, and he just confirmed it to you, and you said “hard to say”.

He is able to ignore strangers because he doesn’t care for them, they have no impact in his life. He is able to joke with his friends because he either knows they don’t know anything about his life or he knows they are genuinely joking. It’s the people that he thinks don’t take it as a joke trigger him.

icon5's avatar

@Mimishu1995 Could be. I don’t believe the joke was what impacted him, however. He seemed more affected by my comment about it being suspicious, more than anything.

I’m still positive the majority of people would agree that what he did was suspicious even with very little context of the situation. It seems more likely he’s overreacting because he knows I’m right.

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jca2's avatar

You know where the candy came from, right? It was a gift.

Is everyone that has candy in their car a predator?

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Pandora's avatar

@icon5 Wait, so are you suspicious that his overreaction may mean he is a predator or are you suspicious about his story about being assaulted? What I mean do you believe that is the gaslighting? That he either purposely overreacted and then realized he may have gone too far and then he tried to make up a reason to validate his overreaction? Because if it’s the second then I can see that being the case with someone who has anger issues. But that wasn’t what I understood from your question above.
Please clarify exactly what was it you were suspicious of.

flutherother's avatar

On the one hand I find a little odd is that you should start talking about a kidnapping report when you know this kind of subject makes your son uncomfortable. Also, if you were joking about him getting rid of the candy in his car why did you keep demanding that he did it, and how did you know there was candy in the car if your son himself had forgotten about it?

On the other hand, your son’s explanation as to where the candy came from sounds a little odd to me. A reward for work performance is usually given openly in front of the whole team and why would your son’s boss have access to his locker anyway?

There is a lot more to this situation than you have described but based on what you have told us I wouldn’t say your son’s behaviour was suspicious.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I find this question extremely disturbing in many ways.
For a child of yours with BPD who you aren’t close to, who is harassed by his own mother, then tells you about being assaulted and you still rag on him about damn candy?
That’s so messed up on YOUR part. He did nothing wrong at all. Good for him keeping the candy and not buying into your head games. I feel sorry for him.

chyna's avatar

@janbb and @flutherother are on the same wavelength as I am. You badgered him about the candy, made him paranoid about it, and now you are suggesting there is something wrong with HIM! You have the issue here. Let the subject die. You are making it worse. And no, I don’t think your friend is right. He is not gaslighting you.

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Mimishu1995's avatar

@chyna @KNOWITALL I feel as if she is asking this to get us to agree with her rather than wanting to find an answer. Just read her responses and see how she avoided everyone’s questions and kept on driving home to her point.

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Mimishu1995's avatar

@KNOWITALL he is able to take a joke from strangers and his friends. That’s quite good to me.

Forever_Free's avatar

I do not think it is suspicious.

I however think you are looking into it too deeply and creating an issue between you two.
The topic should have been dropped at the start. Constantly questioning, asking your friends their opinion and bringing him to a point of questioning himself is not healthy.

He apparently shared a very positive experience at work where he was rewarded. Applaud this sharing as a positive act. Somehow it got turned into this mess of questioning and demon thinking. I also suspect this is not the first time this type of spinning has occurred based on all I read in the OP.

This makes my stomach sick of how he has been treated.

If he is diagnosed BPD, then please support him in a caring gentle way.

icon5's avatar

I guess I may have taken it too far? My brother had bought Halloween candy for the family even though I thought it was a couple of months early. I asked my son if he wanted any to take home and he replied that he doesn’t accept candy from anybody with the amount of kidnappers who use it as their baiting tactic for vehicle abductions. This was a few hours after we talked about the report. That’s when I made the joke that he should get rid of the candy in his car before people assume he’s a child predator which he said people like that aren’t taken seriously anyway, but anyone who randomly approaches kids are rational cause for concern.

I still insisted he get the candy out of his car anyway because what was the point of just leaving it on the seat for it to melt? He was completely stubborn about it and when he finally did go to his car to put his wallet away and he pushed it on the floor, I did find the timing and his refusal to take it out slightly suspicious, yes, and he took it personally for absolutely no reason. But I admit I may have been overdramatic. I’m hoping I haven’t left out any details, but I am convinced this is the full version of the story. Only a few people on other forums agreed with me he was being suspicious, but the vast majority seem to think I’m being ridiculous.

Another relative of mine asked him why he pushed it on the ground when I explained my side. His reply was so I would stop complaining about it and he was planning to throw it away anyway. The relative admitted to not being able to follow my version of the incident and wasn’t able to find any justification for my way of thinking.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@icon5 Good to know that you are starting to see your problem. I hope this will be the starting point for you to better your relationship with him, or at least understand his point of view.

jca2's avatar

I think you should drop the whole subject with him. Just let it go.

chyna's avatar

I can’t see why you made such a big deal out of this that you told all your relatives, friends and strangers on different forums. No wonder he acted the way he did. You are relentless on the subject. Let it go. And in the future, if there is something similar going on, don’t act the same way.

janbb's avatar

And if you want greater closeness with this son find ways to communicate that are nurturing and not critical.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@icon5 I’m glad you’re re-thinking thing’s. Mental illness is no joke, and child predators are scum.

What I would hope is that you learn to recognize when your son is agitated and when you’re pushing too hard. Even jokes can be misconstrued when mental illness is involved, so we have to be sensitive with our words.

For anyone (even myself) being accused or in any way associated with child predators is extremely upsetting. To me, it sounded like you were accusing your own son of being one of those horrible people, and by the sounds of it, he took it that way as well.
In actuality, he was a victim and you treated him as a perpetrator. No wonder he was so upset.

My suggestion is to educate yourself about his mental illness and possibly get some counseling to improve or heal the relationship. And learn to treat him with a little more respect over silly issues like melted candy. It’s not worth it, trust me. The primary focus should be on your son being mentally and physically healthy, as well as happy.

icon5's avatar

@chyna He brought up the incident to several relatives so he could see for himself if I was justified in my way of thinking or if they could point out how ridiculous I was being. I was forced to explain my side and then I agree I got carried away with it. Although, I’ve acknowledged to him that I was wrong and he accepted my apology, I can tell our relationship from this point forth is strained.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@icon5 So do you know who assaulted him? Do you know that person?

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think you filled him with anxiety over your obsession with the.candy.

sincere's avatar

“And we’ve never really been close, so I’m not too concerned about how it impacts our relationship.”

This is so sad. He’s your son. I have three sons and I’d never be so flippant about them.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@icon5 I can tell our relationship from this point forth is strained.

It was already strained before this. It’s just this time you are aware of it.

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