Day 154 - Falling Short
Well it took six hours. Six hours before my son and I went sideways. It wasn’t the worst time we have ever had but it wasn’t good. I feel awful and powerless and helpless. What do you do with a child who will not accept your limits? What do you do when you do everything you can think of to do and it is still not enough?
I woke up today with an emotional hangover from all the high emotions that flowed last night. Just like I used to wake up 25 years ago with another type of hangover from allowing the booze to flow. I feel drained, sad, disappointed in both of us and completely unsure how to move forward. This isn’t a new feeling, it is just where we end up...every single time.
Here is the pattern:
He makes a request that I have to say no to. (Last night he wanted to go spend the night - his first night home in two months - at this kid who stole stuff from our house and was a bully to him. He already knew that this kid was not allowed in our home and I didn’t want him hanging out with him.) My son seems to think that because he doesn’t live here anymore that all the rules are gone - that he can just come home and do whatever he wants. Like somehow his behavior and all related consequences are magically removed. I do not want him hanging out with his kid. He is bad news and bad consequences are going to happen, it is just a matter of time. My son believes that he will be a good influence and if the kid does bad stuff then he will just come home. I cannot get him to understand that sometimes just being there is enough to really impact a relatively innocent person.
Regardless of reason, I am the parent and I said no. I said no the first time, the second time and the 45th time he asked me last night. I didn’t waiver. I didn’t falter. I didn’t give any indication that I was going to change my mind. But he just kept coming at me and coming at me and coming at me. Getting more and more angry and threatening with each and every request and subsequent denial. He started yelling at me and threatening me. Putting his hands on me. I started yelling and then I was a mess. I tried to step away and reset myself but he wouldn’t let me, physically blocking me from leaving the room. I went into my bedroom finally when I was able to push past him and he just banged on the door like he was going to break it down. We have been here so many times that I can’t count. I was triggered. I was a mess. I yelled and I cried and felt like I was going to have a mental breakdown. In retrospect, I kind of did have one. I am not sure it could even be classified as minor.
After I started really crying, he relented. He stopped. He said he was sorry. He was immediately all good and love and light and expected me to be the same. I was not ok. I was not all good. I was not all love and light. I was just abused for 20 minutes and I was still reeling from the incident. But there is no room for me to reset myself. Not even one minute. He began again with new demands from me that I could not meet. And so it began again.
Welcome to the pattern of our relationship. It is always like this. We live our lives in between these incidents. They always happen. They always occur. What he needs from me is always immediate, dire and never allows for me to ever get what I need. My needs are not important and completely secondary. While I am capable of putting his needs first, his needs require that I need nothing at all. I cannot even have five minutes to reset my nervous system after an abusive incident.
So I fell short last night. I fall short every time we are together. I am always and forever falling short with him. It is so incredibly disappointing. I feel despondent today, raw and on edge. I feel like I want to run away and hide. I am scared of what new demands he is going to place on me today and how I know before they even happen that I will not be able to meet them or their timing and another battle will ensue. It is really just a matter of time.
We have been to therapy. We have been to treatment. We both take our respective medications. I still go to therapy every week. We have physically separated so that he no longer lives with me. I am so upset with myself that I can’t even make it a week with this kid without losing my shit. I have fallen so short as a mother. So far away from the parent I am with my other child. I do not yell at her and I do not lose my shit with her. That is not to say that she and I are never at odds, that would be untrue. But she accepts my limits and sometimes she pushes them but she accepts that I am the parent and I get the final say. She doesn’t use my parental authority to bludgeon me or tell me what a horrible person I am.
So I have fallen short with my son...again. I hate myself for it. The best and worst part is that he appears fine. He has this amazing ability to move on. When he finally lets go, he lets go like whatever the crises is over and forgotten (I know that it isn’t really). I try to keep up but I am not blessed with the same ability. I am a quick healer usually but I can’t keep up. My nerves are shot and I am barely back on my feet when I feel blown away by the next demand and the attendant onslaught of abusive words flowing my way.
He is not a bad person. He is autistic. And very hard to parent.
I am sad today. Horrified of the night we spent last night and even more terrified of the days to come. I feel horrible that I fell so short. But honestly, I am not sure how I could/can do it differently. Today he will make another request that I can’t grant and the battle will begin again...and so it goes.
I started out at a 2 yesterday and now feel like I am living at a 5. I have lost 3 points on the scale of my nervous system. So that another flare up is inevitable. I am heartbroken, sad and despairing. I want to spend time with him and enjoy it. I want to give him what he wants but keep him safe. I want to be a parent and have my limits respected and honored solely for the fact that I am the parent and he is the child. I want to listen to his requests and not be over reactive.
Last night I fell short - way short of where I want to be as a person and a parent. I want to start over today and I am trying. I am trying to cure the hangover from yesterday by writing about it today so that I can release all the negative and make room for the positive. I feel less able and resilient than I did yesterday. I am committed to doing my best, because that is what I do with everything I do, every damn day.
I am going to write, pray, meditate and yoga and pray that those things give me a stronger center. I am going to pray that he and I can enjoy each other and not fall into the deeply worn groove. I am going to do everything I can to fall less short than I did yesterday. Pray for me, for us. We both are going to need it. I am going to keep trying...