Stress & Parenting...
I don’t think we really know how much stress effects our lives and our ability to live them. I don’t really experience stress until it becomes acute. I live in a pressure cooker with my son and I don’t even acknowledge it until it boils over, like it did yesterday. It was no coincidence that my hives and rash flared as my emotions ran amuck.
Life is stressful. Everything about it. Earning a living, raising children, pets, cleaning, relationshiping. Getting groceries, paying the mortgage. Life sometimes feels like it is just one stressed induced event after another. And I know, that I do not do a great job of really understanding and appreciating how much stress there is in my life.
I think that I am a stress junkie. I seems to seek it out, I mean less so than I used to, but still, I seem to need a certain level of drama in my life. My work is dramatic and hard. My relationships are less intense and stressful than in the past, but still, if I take stock, I am really, really in over my head so often.
Raising children, teens to be exact, where everyday feels like the day you or they are going to lose grasp on reality. They think they know everything and then act accordingly and expect you to pick up the pieces of the mess they make. Then they blame you for the fact that they made the mess in the first place, when you remind them that they didn’t listen to you from the word go, it somehow is always still your fault. And so another angry tirade ensues and leaves you feeling like you might just not survive their youth.
I see the connection now between the hives and rash and stress. Yesterday when my son came at me and basically said that I have done nothing to support him and have given him nothing and that I am getting rich off of the child support I recieve, it was an immediate reaction, I began itching.
Now I am not sure why my body has decided that hives and a rash are the thing to get my attention but it is effective, I have to give her that. My attention is present because I am vain and have come to loathe itching.
It was no accident. It was not completely situational. It was my body sending me a large, red, blotchy and itchy messenger to grab my attention away from the situation and bring the focus back onto myself, the only place that I have any control whatsoever.
I know why being told that all of your efforts at parenting have been a complete failure would be hard to hear. I know why I find my son so stressful. I know why I do not want to live this way any longer. I know that I have less than five months left before I can legally kick him out. But my body, my body is letting me know that I do not really have five months left. My body is telling me that I cannot take the stress of living with him for one more minute.
So that leaves me in a conundrum. How am I to manage stress that I cannot control over a protracted period of time?
I was stymied. And felt cornered. Which only made me feel more stressed. Hell, just writing about it is making me itch.
But there has to be a solution, something I can do in the interim to deal with all this relational stress. I have to because I cannot be an itchy, blotchy mess for the next five months.
I have upped my yoga, meditation routine. Walks help. Gym time works. I am getting plenty of sleep and cleaning up my diet. I also have to limit my contact with him. We do not get along and that is just the way it is. I would love to say that we can work on this messed up relationship we have, but I know that in order for me to heal, I need my space and that means him not sharing it with me. I can be kinder and gentler and hold boundaries better when he is living somewhere that is not with me.
I wish things were different. I wish my tolerance for him and his issues was better. I wish that we could relate. But we do not see things the same. We, in fact, see things completely opposite. And there appears to be no middle ground. And when you live with someone like that the only result for everyone is way too much stress and strife and hurt.
I am not sure meditation and yoga and working out are going to save us these next five months but I am going to do my best to say less, do less and allow the consequences that are his to just land and show up as they will. I have done the hard mothering. I have shown up. I have paid the very expensive bills for help he didn’t want or think he needed. I have done everything I can think of to save him or help him and to love him all the while, even though I hate his behavior and sometimes I really don’t like him as a person. He is not someone I would chose to interact with if I had a choice. And that makes me so incredibly sad to admit. I love my son. But I do not love the effect he is having on my life and the lives of those around me.
He is not the only stressor. It is not all his fault but so much of the blame seems to follow him wherever he goes. Yesterday when both of his parents lost it on him due to his egregious behavior, he lost it too. Crying and begging for help that he doesn’t want or think he needs. Only willing to really listen because he was afraid of how far he had pushed me away. Desperately trying to regain some feeling of safety. Safety that he threw away because he doesn’t value it, doesn’t feel like he has it and isn’t concerned really at all about what his life is going to look like in five months.
I fear the rude awakening that is going to be forced on him. I have threatened, I have warned, I have had the heart to heart talks with him and he still thinks that I am going to suffer his abuse, he doesn’t think that I have the ability to really kick him out. But I do. I will not live like this for one second longer than I have to. I am so past done. I have gone to any and all the lengths to help this child. Now it is the world’s turn to teach him all the things I could not. I know the world is far less gentle than I. But he is going to have to learn that himself.
I have received the message from my body that living with him and his constant tirades isn’t good for me, or anyone, to include him. This rash and hives arrived at the most perfect time, a time when I am open to seeing what living with him is doing to me, to my health, sanity and body. I see it. And while I can do very little about it over the next few months...I will take the action come August 27th.
I just hope my body and mind can hold me in good stead until then. I pray that I am not allergic and rashy until then. But I have received the message that I must eliminate all the stress I can because my body has had enough. I am listening.
It is not all his fault. But he seems to just not be able to live with others peacefully. Any others. Not just me. He has been asked to leave every home which has ever tried to help him. And so it would appear that the time is drawing to a close for my home as well. It hurts me to say. It hurts me to think. It hurts me to believe. But I see the evidence all over my face and neck. I cannot live with him even though I love him so very much.
I am not sure why God gave me a child that I love with all that I am, but cannot get along with at all. I do my best. I try. But we never seem to get anywhere. I have decided to stop asking why and just accept this is our reality. Perhaps it will always be this way, perhaps things will change. Perhaps as he grows up, he will be capable of seeing things differently, perhaps I will too.
For now, I am going to work on taking care of myself and my stress levels because I do not like the consequences I am currently getting. And I have learned that taking care of yourself is not selfish or self centered. It is the only thing you are truly responsible for...my health, my sanity, my peacefulness, my body, my mind, are no one else’s problem or responsibility. Just mine. And just for today, I can put myself at the top of that very long list of things to do and do whatever I can to take care of me so that I have a prayer of taking care of him and all the others I love in my life.