I think my DS6 has a little bit of what you are describing as far as pushing me away and telling me to go away, but really wanting me to be close and hold him. Sometimes I think he is testing me, seeing if he can push me away or make me leave him (when I think he really just wants the encouragement that he can't do anything that will make me leave him).
I think the best advice I've gotten in counseling is to keep my cool and simply put him in a timeout if he acts up. If I start yelling or losing my shit, well I've noticed that ALWAYS makes the situation worse.
Hitting and threatening to kill you are very serious, so I would stick to the specialized counseling for how to handle those behaviors, but I'll share a little thing I came up with that has made things so much better for us. When either of my DS act up, they simply get a timeout in their room (2 minutes for a curse word, 5 minutes for hitting, etc), but really it's just a chance for them to calm down. There's no yelling when I put them in there, it's just simply a consequence for their behavior. Then I go in (and sometimes test their mood a bit to see if they need to just calm down further) and then hold up my 5 fingers and we do a countdown of the 5 things they have to do to come out of timeout, which are 1) admit what they did wrong, 2) explain why the behavior was wrong, 3) say "sorry", 4) promise to not do it again or tell me how they will try not to, and 5) HUGS. I always end it with hugs so that we can be calm and comfortable to return to our activities in a better, loving mood..
My counselor told me that times when they were acting up were learning opportunities that I was missing, and she was right. It gives us a chance to talk about why the behavior is bad, how it is hurtful to other people, how to prevent it, etc. I think a lot of it is teaching empathy, which STBX is severely lacking in.. But I have to take the time to explain "why," not just "no," which I admit is not easy when they are frustrating me and I just want them to stop..
Sorry your ex is such a selfish ass. It's really not fair, but your boy is so very lucky to have you. And you are noticing the problem and doing your best to find solutions. I very much applaud you for what you've endured. Good luck to you guys. I hope things start looking up soon..
[This message edited by ButterflyGirl at 6:15 AM, August 15th (Thursday)]