Argh! Kid is a mess. And very volatile mess for that

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by SuZir, Jun 17, 2015.

  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Ache hasn't been home full 12 hours yet and I'm already pulling my hair. As I suspected, he is in the bad place. Extremely negative, passive-aggressive boarding to just plain aggressive, self-pitying, volatile, snide, snarky, disrespectful, catastrophizing mess in the foulest possible mood.

    Pretty much like he was on the first half of his sick leave last autumn, just bit more actively seeking for fight. Hubby already had to leave the house for few hours to cool down and not to let him pick a fight.

    It is very clearly anxiety based and I really do believe Ache will calm down with time and low expectations of being home, but I'm really not looking forward for this weekend. It is Midsummer weekend, the second biggest holiday for us. The time of the year we remember our pagan origins, pack our bags and flee to the countryside, to cabins and boats and have a good three day drinking binge.

    It is popular, if morbid, past time for us to make bets with our friends on Midsummer bingo: guessing how many dies this Midsummer by drowning, in vehicle accidents, in homicides or by Darwin factor (by showing they are too stupid to live.) Having two kids in prime age to be part of those figures dampens the mood. And having a kid like Ache in the mood he is and heading to the friends cottage tomorrow really dampens it.

    Only good thing is that he will be spending this Midsummer with his older friends, and one friend's girlfriend is visible pregnant so there will be one sober person in that company.

    Joy will be spending Midsummer on our cabin with his friends and there will be no sober people so I worry also for him.

    Big open bodies of water, lots of huge bonfires, little bonfires for warm and cooking, grilling, hot, hot saunas, fireplaces, young people who feel invincible and huge amounts of alcohol just can make an ugly mix.
  2. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    Sounds like every weekend around these parts. Our pagan roots begin and end with Jose Cuervo and the boot scoot boogie.:runcirclsmiley2: Have fun!!!!!!
  3. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Oh, at least here not everyone is falling their face drunk every weekend, , just for special ones, nor do we close every store and other establishment for three days but couple times a year. Not that I have anything against closing everything up, deserting the cities and having a break nor use of alcohol nor plan I be sober through Midsummer.

    But I do worry that three day drinking binge with others also in drinking binge and Ache's foul mood are not a good match. Even if nothing really bad happens, the likelihood of him being total pain in the ar** and shaming himself is sky high. I just keep telling me that it is not my shame but if he does screw things up for himself, it will affect also to us. If not in other ways then by him being even more agitated for next month he will be at our house.

    Me and hubby will be partying the Midsummer up with friends too and I will try not to take these worries with me there. If I can't make a mental break for those, it will be a very long three days for me. Not just because of the worry but because then I have to stay away from booze and keep mostly sober while watching other people's drunk antics (and everyone knows how fun that is) in fear of losing control and pouring all my worries on someone in drunken tirade. And I think it is enough that Ache is likely to make an ar** of himself, I do not need to follow suit.
  4. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    I am always ( I should not be) amazed that our Difficult Child's can worm their ways into every aspect of our lives, and they don't even have to be physically present.
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  5. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Love does that. Carrying someone in your heart does that. It is the same with our more typical kids. It is just that with our more troubled kids the manifestation of that tend to be more troubling than with our more typical kids.

    For me, at least I imagine, situation would be the same if Joy would had been recently diagnosed with, say epilepsy or type 1 diabetes, I would worry, I would fret, I would need to guard myself tight not to pour that fretting and worry about him handling it all to others in embarrassing and violating Joy's privacy way. I would be awake 3 a.m. worrying for him too.

    My Ache is mentally ill, but in the end, it is not much different from if my Joy would have a serious physical illness. What I would be worried about would be slightly different but the essence of that worry would be the same.

    And yeah, at times I need to guard myself also so that I wouldn't boast too much on how awesome kid Joy is.
  6. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    I was just discussing the other night with my husband how it was hard to relax and enjoy things for myself. The kids always seem to have a gripe when I get home.
    "Why didn't you take me."
    "You could have gotten me a tea too."

    Those little digs take the joy out of things. I sit there worrying about what the reaction is going to be when I get home instead of enjoying the foot massage I came for. ARGH!
  7. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    I am so not looking forward to those days when Difficult Child gets out. He is starting to ramp up and he is not even home yet.
  8. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    For us, especially when he is as foul mood as he is, Ache doesn't even need to say anything. Just having him home is enough to make us feel like we are walking on the eggshells. Especially hubby whom Ache tends to challenge more nowadays.

    I have to say that hubby has really stepped up his game, in some point he finally got it that what is going on with Ache is both serious and not something he just wantonly does to annoy hubby.

    Ache is annoying, the situation is stressful to us others and it is anything but ideal. But, in our case, he is our child, we can handle it and it benefits Ache. So we do solider on. The other options would not be any more appealing.
  9. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    T is the same way. I never know what to expect when I walk in the door to deal with her. The eggshells thing is just downright exhausting though.
  10. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I don't know what country you live in...but I want to move there. You often say things that make it sound really wonderful.

    Young men his age often make a**es of themselves, even those who aren't troubled.

    They're always there in the back of your mind, aren't they, our boys (and girls)? They take up real estate there and you have a hard time getting on with your life without them popping up. I know that even going to our favorite pub (which we tend to do when stressed) is fun, but still my son is "there"...the stray thought will be, "he loves the food here". Or other such things. If he's in a state, the worry is there...waiting for the phone to ring. It steals some of your joy.

    I think it's something about boys and their dads. I can overlook things our son does whereas Jabber sees things as annoying or testing limits or rudeness. I'm much more likely to say "Oh ignore him."

    I hope you have a good weekend and that Ache has one as well. I hope that relaxing with his friends will be good for him.
  11. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    We are all back home and no deaths or even broken bones or burnt buildings in our family. And weather, mostly chilly and rainy most of these three days, kept also overall deaths way down. Only few people felt like drowning, when water is generally still under or around 50 F (someone did manage to drown to some kind of outside tub though, but I guess that goes to Darwin and drown category in betting.)

    Ache apparently was total PITA, at least the friend who did drop him to our house actually asked hubby who was out if it is just about the move and starting therapy again or if Ache has something more going on because he had apparently been 'quite wearisome company' whole three days. He is also drunk as a skunk and continues being total PITA also here at home. But hey, no police or ambulance needed.

    Joy seems to have had fun and he is more hangovered than drunk at this point which is good considering his summer job starts tomorrow morning.

    I have had more enjoyable Midsummers before but hubby was able to have reasonably good time. And midst of all bad weather the midsummer night was absolutely exquisite, for few hours the sky was clear, wind went still (like it often does for the night in summer) and there was this most loveliest thin mist covering the sea from about three feet above the water to maybe 15 to 20 feet and red sundown/rise duplicated in the water. Summer nights around here are short, just a short twilight between evening and morning and light enough you can read a book outside without any extra light also during the most darkest moments so just sitting those couple hours on the rock and watching sea and listening birds and enjoying that beauty made this Midsummer worth it. Even though I did volunteer for a designated sober person (we were on the island, someone had to stay sober enough to drive the boat if it would had been needed) for Midsummer Eve (and had to stand drunken company while sober which is never too fun.)
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2015
  12. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Well I'm glad there wasn't too much damage done, PITA or not. Your description of watching the sea during the twilight sounds just beautiful. Continuing to keep your boy in my thoughts.
  13. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    It is a relief. Apparently not even relationships were shattered. It is lucky he had plans with these friends, if he had been with some of his younger friends or with Joy and his friends, it could had turned uglier. The friends he was with are considerably older and have more patience than his peers would likely had shown. In fact Ache just picked me up from work, because we were hit with thunderstorm and I had rode by bike to work this morning and didn't fancy riding it back home in this weather nor waiting at work and on our way back home I overheard a call from one of these friends he spend Midsummer with. He asked if Ache would join them at the golf course at Sunday or was he still to busy tantruming to take a break for anything else. Ache told him he has moved to three tantrum at day schedule but he can postpone his before lunch tantrum to evening if the weather is nice and join them.

    I did bite my lip and pretended I didn't heard and didn't ask if this schedule was very new development or if he meant he has scheduled three tantrums a day, six hours each, because I haven't really noticed the breaks between his tantrums this week.

    Today there has been also first material damage, a vase from our patio table is shattered. Ache tells me that a kettlebell did hit it, but again I didn't ask how that happened considering the table is not in the area he tends to train if he trains outside. Instead I just asked him to make sure there are no pieces left to break anyone's feet. I liked that vase a lot and that is why this brings back all those times, when I had a conflict with Ache and next day found something of mine missing or broken or my car tires slashed. But he hasn't done that in a long time, nor did we had any bigger disagreement yesterday or this morning. And he used to do those stunts so that there was no evidence and always blamed someone else. Now he isn't even trying to blame the dogs while that could be totally plausible explanation. So I'm leaning to accident during temper tantrum more than anything.

    While I'm not happy with the vase, like I said, I really liked it and it was a wedding gift, I guess that phone call I overheard was hopeful. Both that he hasn't burnt those bridges and finding his sense of self irony. Where motivational quotes and positive thinking messages are a sign that things are getting worse quickly, sense of self irony and ability tends to be one of the first signs of him starting to pull himself together again.
  14. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member


    Everything right out in the open!

    This is beautiful.

    Do you serve traditional foods for Midsummer Eve? I can picture the sea and the bonfires and the sun never quite setting.

    You write beautifully.

    D H would say that two adult males cannot share the same territory ~ that one of them will have to be dominant male.


    I hope all goes well for your son, SuZir. It could be that being home with old friends around him will be very good for him. It was frightening, to learn about the vase and the other things that have mysteriously happened.

    It sounds as if you are coping well.

  15. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    [QUOTE="SuZir, post: 659788, ]Ache told him he has moved to three tantrum at day schedule but he can postpone his before lunch tantrum to evening if the weather is nice and join them.

    I think this sounds positive. He's recognised his moods enough to joke about it. His friends are treating him the same way, not excluding him and teasing him gently. All things considered, this is good.

    Until you know for a fact, or other things get broken, I think your reaction to the vase is the right one.

    I hope the rest of his time there is as hopeful.
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  16. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    My best guess about what happened to vase is, that he was angry, the chair or something else next to the patio table was 'on his way' he kicked that and it pushed the table and the vase fell. Intentionally retaliate by breaking, hiding or stealing things was quite some years ago already and there has been no signs of him reverting back to that. It was creepy and not something that would be easy to forget, but the simplest explanation tends to be the best. And him throwing or kicking something out of anger and it accidentally breaking the vase is the simplest explanation here.

    I do not know these guys very well, Ache got to know them when he was in his first city after moving out from home. But what I have met them or heard about them, I like a lot. They are actual adults (good ten years older than him), smart guys and seem to have good influence to Ache. Not buying any false swag but for some reason they seem to appreciate Ache as he is.

    Midsummer is more about drinking than eating ;) so only some traditional foods. Smoked fish (salmon or something else), different types of gravlax, new potatoes and things to barbecue are staples.

    Richer tradition around Midsummer is about magic, mostly around procreation and marriage. Or good harvest. Amount of drink consumed correlates with harvest come autumn. We tend to be very meticulous in making sure harvest will be plenty. Most of the rest are for maidens. If you pick nine different flowers under your pillow for Midsummer night, you will see your future husband in the dream. If you have already decided who you want to marry, you can make them fell in love with you by rolling naked in their rye field (I can see how that one works ;)) If you haven't found the one yet, and don't think dreaming is enough, you just need to run around (either around fields or rocks or along trenches between fields etc.) naked and after three or nine of something your future husband will come. And jumping over the big bonfires after they start to go out brings you fertility. Or you can spend Midsummer night trying to find fern flower (fern only flowers at Midsummer night though boring botanist claim it never has flowers) and get magic powers. Or find will-of-the-wisp and dig up the gnome treasure under it.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2015
  17. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Hubby's and Ache's relationship is... well, complicated. They love each other, no question about that. Hubby has always tried his best with Ache and Ache greatly admires his dad and wants to please him. How all that plays out is another matter all together.

    My hubby is very much one of those alpha male types. He is jovial, affable, laid back when you are in his good side, but he is also a very much take charge guy and dominating personality. And if you gross him can get very domineering. He can run his mouth and make you feel small and stupid. He is physically big and uses very domineering non-verbal language when he is angry. He doesn't much show that darker side in public, but those with close to him have seen also that side. And some of it does leak out, I have been asked couple times during our marriage by someone who has either have own experience of abusive husbands or who work with domestic violence, if husband has ever hit me.

    He hasn't. But early into our relationship I was afraid of that few times and I did consider leaving him for that. Instead I decided to oppose those behaviours of his I found threatening and see how that would go. It worked for me. I started to tell him very clearly, if he was behaving in the way that I did find unacceptable and tell him to back off (often physically, he does have this very irksome manner of getting just half inch too close to you and forcing you to look up to him to intimidate when angry.) I started to point out to him, if he was interrupting me and talking over me. I refused to raise my voice to be heard but instead refused communicating with him, until he did keep his mouth shut and let me say my piece and listened to that too. And I did walk out a lot. He did learn and I'm not afraid of him.

    Hubby doesn't lose his temper easily but Ache can provoke anyone to insanity and with him hubby has gone much farther with abusive gestures especially when Ache hit his teens. I have seen hubby hit a wall next to Ache, being rough with him and hubby has told me about two incidents when he has slapped Ache to face. Extremely vile and hurtful stuff has also been said between them.

    I have told before that we really screwed up in our attempts to discipline Ache when he was still at elementary school and how that turned to abuse. We were so desperate with his truancy and the danger he put himself into. He was for example drag searched from the river after his jacket was found from there and someone thought they had heard the splash after he had once again run away from school. And that was far from only search and rescue mission he launched. One time he was missing close to 48 hours and it was already close to freezing at nights at the time. We simply decided it was a battle we had to win. We never had much problem getting him to school, he didn't openly defy us like that. The problem was that at times we didn't even get back to our car after escorting him to classroom at the morning before we got a call that he did run. We couldn't stay there with him at school (he did have an aide at one point though, but he easily out run her) so we decided to make him staying at school the battle of wills that we would win. How foolish of us to even think like that, but we truly were desperate.

    We took all his privileges away, stripped his room to plain mattress, took him off from all his hobbies and sports, left him with nothing and that only made things worse. We couldn't deny water (we did take away milk from our already underweight child because he liked it so much though, can you imagine?), food, roof or appropriate clothing so next step was to start to punish him other ways. First by making him stand in the corner, then with hard chores and in the end we decided that maybe he needed a spanking. While I'm just as much in the blame of all that mess and we decided to go there together, hubby was the one actually spanking or actually more whipping Ache. And just couple weeks later it ended to emergency room and Ache having a very typical upper arm/shoulder abuse injury. And him lying so well to the nurses and doctor that they actually didn't check the boy like they should had and that's why missing that he was black and blue. CPS was not notified nor the police called. But at least we wised up and understood what the fools we had been in starting a war against our own, 70 pound child. And totally aghast over what we had done and how cold and callous we had become over his needs and feelings. We did love that kid but when we started to think raising him as a battle we were engaged at, we also started to see him as an enemy and we started to treat him like an enemy little by little. Dehumanize him, consider his actions and words acts of terror against us and totally missing the fact that he was our little, beloved boy who was hurting and totally alone and helpless in this world.

    We did make a total 180 degree turn after that night we spent staring the roof in our bed, Ache sleeping between us and moaning in his sleep when his shoulder hurt despite the pain medications. And things did get better when we stopped looking Ache as an enemy and started to see him as someone we were responsible helping instead. But while Ache said then and still does that he has forgiven what we did, though I doubt that he still gets that it was 100 % our fault and not something he did. But it is not like those memories of hubby hurting him and Ache provoking him to hit harder would go away from either of them.

    It is just huge amount of baggage between them and complicates their relationship. Adding to that their personalities really do not match. As I said hubby can be domineering and even openly aggressive and tends to have very dominating body language. Ache will yield and cover, but he may strike back behind your back. And he never actually gives in. He may look like that, but the moment you turn your back... And now that he is growing up he isn't so likely to even pretend to yield any more. And when hubby tries to dominate him by getting too close, it is hubby who will be looking up. And while Ache is lanky and still weights less than hubby it is very clear who would win the fight if Ache wouldn't let hubby to win.

    Till last fall it was volatile between them and there were few times I was actually worried it would get physical between them, but like I said, after that hubby has really stepped up to the plate and doesn't let Ache to provoke him. That in the other hand has not made Ache to try to provoke him less.

    Sorry for the vent, while it was over a decade ago, it is still very raw. maybe because we did not get caught, we were not punished by some outside element, just by our very bad consciences.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2015
  18. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    :hugs:That has to be a very difficult thing to admit SuZir. I think a lot of people with difficult children could understand how things could get that out of hand. There are moments when my son was very young and I was still single and stressed, I look back and cringe. I can imagine the guilt of actually causing an injury.
  19. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Thank you Lil for being so kind.

    You know what is kind of odd about it: His attitude. It's not odd that he lied to cover for his dad at the time; that is something kids do. And he was old and bright enough to know we would had been in huge trouble; even spanking had been illegal here since over a decade before he was born. But he still doesn't really admit any hard feelings over it.

    We of course talked with him about it after that ER visit. Apologized, told him we had done wrong and we or no one else had any right hurting him like that nor treating him so harshly however desperate or worried we were. Explained the laws and what he is entitled to by law, which was among other things "be treated with understanding and tenderness and has right to feel safe." He was more interested about getting back to his sports than our apologies at the time. We told him that if he wanted to, we could talk about it later if it would bother him. He never has raised the topic.

    We have two times after he turned 18 and was out of house and not dependent of us any more. First when he was diagnosed with PTSD and second time a year ago when he was having a good patch. He doesn't seem interested and states that he doesn't blame us nor does he think about whole thing at all and he has forgiven long ago.

    For us, Ache more so, but also to me and hubby, the injury itself has always felt less significant thing, maybe because it was far from only injury Ache had as a kid. He seemed to break something once a year and smaller injuries were very common. Some were his organized sports but most were unorganized sports or just playing around. He has always been a huge risk taker and first to try anything stupid and dangerous, especially if it is high or moves fast. So he has had more stitches than average evening gown or few and while he has some bones in his body that have not been broken, some others have been more than once. Looking back some of the accidents were also likely in fact acts of bullying, but he never admitted that either.

    But overall cruelty and attitude we treated Ache those few months was totally unacceptable and it is still difficult to wrap our brains around how twisted our attitude and outlook could had ended up with. You see, we really did cherish Ache before we started to see him as an enemy. We were not cold and callous towards him before but loving and empathetic. But in very short time after we decided raising him was war and this one battle we were going to win and decided to give a commando parenting a go, we started to see him in very different way little by little. And in couple months something like him looking sad or crying could be interpreted by us as for example manipulating instead of him feeling sad. Him being delightful for his grandpa as triangulating instead of him having good time with grandpa and so on. It was just so weird mindset and I still can't understand how we could fell to that kind of negative interpretation of him so quickly and so easily.

    Ache of course has a right to interpret his past as he wishes and he also has right to deal with his emotion about it as he feels is best. And I of course do not know if he for example has talked about also this with his former therapist and simply doesn't trust us enough or does not see a point talking it out with us. And it would be selfish of us to push it too much because we still feel so bad about it. He certainly doesn't owe us to talk about it with us so that we would get some kind of closure.

    But even if he doesn't want to talk about it or says he doesn't harbour ill feelings over it, it is still part of our relationship with him. Especially his and his dad's rockier relationship (and it has at times been very rocky.)
  20. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I understand to some extent. Reading how you dragged the river - or had him gone for two days - I can't even imagine the horror of thinking he was drowned or frozen. Desperation does crazy things to people. In your case, your frantic need to save him turned your relationship with him into a war. You'd keep him safe even if that meant breaking him. I don't know if that makes sense to anyone who doesn't have a Difficult Child, but for us?

    I have, in the last two years thought more than once that I wish we'd been stricter and punished him harder...I've even wondered if we'd beaten him...really beaten him...would he have been different? Would he have obeyed us if he were afraid of us? I stopped Jabber from ever spanking him again when he accidentally left a bruise on his butt. Spanking is legal...I can't imagine it being outlawed completely! But, there's a big difference between spanking and beating and generally any spanking that leaves a mark is enough to get children's services involved and charges filed. I was spanked. I respected my parents. But every child is different. Spanking didn't do anything to our son. The only think that ever made a difference was taking his things away. Maybe that's why he is materialistic now...or maybe it was just a view of things to come.