When we had our first son I knew there was something wrong right from the beginning. He cried constantly and slept very little as an infant. Maybe 20 minutes at a time during the day. He was always very "intense" as you say. He could throw fits as a younger child that would last for a couple of hours at a time and we would be completely worn out dealing with him. It wasn't until his 4th grade teacher recommended that we take him to a doctor to be evaluated for ADHD that we did because previous teachers had told me that he was just very active and could pay attention when he wanted to in class. When we described what was happening at home they treated him for mood swings and things improved greatly. The number and length of the fits decreased a lot. In the 8th grade the doctor recommended that we try Concerta for ADHD and his teachers again told me that he had improved greatly in class in his ability to sit still and pay attention.
I know that my son can control himself when he wants to because he never threw fits at school. When I asked him why he said that his friends wouldn't like him if he did that. I guess he knew that we would love him conditionally so it was ok to flip out at home.
He is now in the 11th grade and things were going pretty well, so well that at the last doctor appointment my husband asked if we could try to wean him off the Lamictal. She said that we could and that's when the trouble started. It's been a terrible last month, even though he's back on the full dose.
Anyway, my husband is a good man. He is normally calm and is a very popular second grade teacher. A huge problem is that when my son acts out he sees his father all over again. He gets very depressed and says that he thought he had escaped that life of living with a "crazy" person. He says that Matthew acts just like his father did with the same intensity and persistence. I think that he needs to talk to a counselor about separating the two people. He doesn't want to talk about it. The weird thing is that his mother is a licensed mental health counselor and he won't talk to her at all about it. One time he tried to talk to her about Matthew and she said that she was too close and that he should talk to someone else.
Sometimes when I'm dealing with my son I can feel that I'm about to "lose it" and I will go in my bedroom to cool off. I will tell my son to leave me alone for a little while, but he will sometimes continue to argue with me and will follow me into the bedroom. There have been times when I've locked the door and he's kicked on he door until I open it. He's damaging our house. This happens usually when only one parent is home.