Are We Going to Be Okay?

Parenting is the hardest job we will ever have.  We’ve been told that time and time again.  None of us are perfect, and those that pretend to be are full of shit.  We all screw up, we all make mistakes, we all pray that we haven’t fucked something up so badly that it can never be repaired.  We all have those days in which we just want to throw up our hands and scream to the heavens “I QUIT!!!”.  

How do we handle this difficult journey of parenthood without completely losing our minds?  We reach out to friends.  We ask them for a kind ear and for some sort of guidance.  All else fails, we hope that they bring over a big ass bottle that we can finish off together.  Sometimes our friends don’t live close enough to share a bottle with, but knowing that a kind ear is awaiting you on the other end of the line (or in this case on the other side of your computer) is just what we need to keep moving on.  To keep fighting.  To reassure ourselves that we are surviving this parenting gig and that it will all turn out OK.

When a very dear friend sent me this story, I knew I needed to share it because she needs to know that she isn’t alone.  That we all have lost our shit at one point (or more) on this journey.  That she isn’t a terrible monster of a mother.  That she will be OK.  She gave me permission to share it here with the hopes that she will be offered support and love.  That she may be offered suggestions that will help her during this hard time.  That we can help build her up, not tear her down.  

Please read her story, and feel free to leave encouraging comments below.  Thank you all for your support and for being a part of this amazing village.

Yes you will!

Yes you will!

I am at a loss. I don’t know what has happened. I don’t know where I went wrong. I’ve tried to be an involved parent. I’ve tried to be a loving parent. I have been stern when I needed to be. I have given things that weren’t needed, but were wanted….when I felt that rewards were warranted.

I felt blessed with wonderful children. I felt loved. It all felt right. Then, things changed.

My son became a teenager and within a few months, I no longer recognized my child. What happened? I’ve gone nowhere. I’ve changed nothing. And yet, one night, after encouraging him to change his clothes because he was going to the movies with friends, I was treated to the most unbelievable behavior that I have ever seen from him. An explosion of anger that I would dare tell him what to wear. And it escalated to the point to me finally saying, “wear whatever you want. I don’t care. I was just trying to help. See if I give a shit anymore.”, leaving his room and taking a seat in the living room.

The next thing that happened forever changed me.

My son walked into the living room, with a large knife in his hand and said, “you know what, since you don’t give a shit, I will just slit my throat right here and you won’t ever have to worry about me again.” How did it go from me encouraging him to change clothes to him threatening suicide? He then turned around and went into his room. I was so terrified that I was unable to move….for 30 seconds. And then I jumped up, ran into his room, took the knife from his hand and we both sat down in the floor and cried.

I cried because I was terrified and relieved and confused and angry and everythingallatonce. He cried because he knew he upset me and that he was just so mad, he knew that was the best way to get my attention. He knew that I had a dear friend whose 13 year old son had shot himself in the head (details as to what/why and how are few and far between because it was a good kid, he was alone in the room and no one knows what happened) and how that had a profound effect on me, watching my friend go through that. My son knew of my reaction to that news, so he had a pretty good idea of how I would react to his threat.

We talked about suicide and how it was not something that you threaten people with. We talked about did he really feel like doing that? The answer was no, but that he just wanted to get my attention.

We talked about how so many kids just “wanted to get someone’s attention” with that and that the consequences were that they were dead and may not have really meant to be, but that they were. And that they left behind people with so many questions and such confusion as to what happened. I played out a scenario for him. He wanted my attention after arguing. He threatens to slit his own throat. He attempts it. He succeeds. I couldn’t save him. He dies in my arms. I am crying uncontrollably. His sister walks in the room to find me covered in his blood, him lying in my arms. And all I could do was cry that we just fussed over him having to change clothes. I didn’t know this would happen. That is how that scene would have played out. And I would never have been able to get over that I caused my son to do this, simply by having an argument with him…an argument, this time, over clothes. We talked about how nothing….NOTHING….is worth suicide. Especially not getting into argument over clothes.

We talked about how things, when we are teenagers, seem SO MUCH BIGGER than they actually are and that when you have feelings like it would be better to end it all, you need to talk to someone. He told me that he just sees so much on tv, about teenagers committing suicide over bullying and that suicide for teenagers just seems to be everywhere and that when he or his friends get upset that is what a lot of them think of first, because they hear of so many kids doing that. I couldn’t believe that this was something that he and his friends talk about, but dang if I wasn’t glad that he was sharing that with me.

We got past that point, but not without me worrying about every little fuss we had, whether or not he was thinking of suicide. I’m telling you, when your kid threatens something like that, it stays with you, permanently.

Then right around Thanksgiving, he had approached his dad and I about allowing him to have his cell phone past 9:00 PM. He pleaded his case. He felt that he should be able to keep it all night, as he was now a teenager and was responsible. We listened. After discussing it, we told him that we would extend it by one hour, but that wasn’t good enough for him. And instead of accepting what we offered, it turned into another huge argument. There was never any yelling or screaming during the negotiation of his phone, but it wasn’t going his way and he had such a defiant attitude and refused to listen to our reasoning, because it wasn’t what he wanted to hear and so it kept going on to where he looked at his dad and said, “I don’t know how you put up with that crazy, fucking bitch.” Now, let me tell you….my son has never seen me be a crazy, fucking bitch before and neither has my husband, really….until that night. I come up off my chair and got up in his face, pointing my finger and spitting while trying to coherently scream at him and I lost control.

The smirk on his face caused me to lose it and I slapped him.

And then I couldn’t stop hitting him.

Until my husband had to literally pick me up and pull me away. I have never, ever had that happen to me before, but I knew that it was there inside of me, because it was how my father was with me and I have worked so fucking hard to not be him and in a matter of seconds, I turned into him. Only it wasn’t my father…it was me. And I was devastated, because I just gave my children a memory of me, that I never wanted them to have. Ever.

My son ran into his room, I ran outside, my daughter was crying, my husband didn’t know who to go to first.

I did this to all of them.

I did.

What the hell happened? Now, I know there will be some people who say that I was 100% in the wrong. I accept that. I make no excuses for what I did. I am the adult. I should have had more control of myself. Then there are some people who will say that he deserved it because he never should have said that. Do you know what my kid said when I went into his room to apologize profusely, after calming way down, yet still crying? “Mom, I deserved that. It wasn’t your fault. Please don’t cry. You weren’t wrong. I hit you first, but in a different way.” Then I cried even harder, because, yes, he hit first, verbally, but I still had no right to that reaction. No right. And here we are, two months later…well, almost….and we still fuss and I still feel like I have no idea where my sweet, young, loving boy went.

I wonder will I ever get him back.

I wonder how much damage I have done from that one night.

I wonder how I got here with him.

I see news reports about a local 17-year-old boy, killing his dad and sister, because he felt like he was abused and although, I don’t know the background of that story, I wonder, Oh god….could that happen to me? Every parent thinks that they are doing a good job raising their kids. No parent thinks that they are raising one that does stuff like that. And yet, they did. And I wonder is that a possibility with mine? Or is it all just hormones and normal teenage angst?

Are we going to be okay?

And I pray that we are.


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  1. My oldest is a difficult teen. My dad was a hitter. I totally identify with this mom on both ends and have reacted the same way myself. You are not alone.

  2. This story touched me beyond even my own reckoning. I was fine when I started it and bawling by the middle. You are obviously a strong, loving, honest, and LOVED mother. Just judging from your son’s remorse – he loves you, respects you. I think about my own mother and how harshly I judged her (she was alcoholic and bi-polar, and spent a lot of time on welfare), but now I’m a mother, and I see her in a different light. She’s still an alcoholic. She’s still bi-polar. She’s still being assisted by the government. But she was and is a single mother of six – six children who always felt loved by their mother. How much power is there in being loved by a loving mother? How sorry I feel for those who had a mother who looked good on the books (The PTA, Room, Soccer, Wealthy, or “Yes” Mom), but didn’t have the Loving Mom, Cuddly Mom, Nurturing Mom, I Have Time for You Mom. I have all boys – three of them under the age of 7 – and I have to say I have had nightmares about what’s to come from them, because I am living in the shadow of my own teenage rebellion. They are Mama’s Boys right now, and it breaks my heart to think that someday they won’t be. I know the day will come when they lash out, as your son did. I feel so deeply for you. Are you going to be ok? I know you are. They will be too. You are a Loving Mom and you are Loved.

  3. It is so tough these days. And it scares me right to death. I also am going through the same thing with my daughter who will be 15 in March. Only my daughter has tried twice to kill herself. I first started to notice changes in her just after her 14th birthday. I just thought it was girl stuff; hormones, jr. high,etc.
    I had absolutely no clue all this was going on until her friend text me one night and told me that my daughter had taken a bunch of pills. Now this whole time my daughter was at my house and her friend was at her house. It scared me right to death. That was in June. She has been in counseling ever since. She tried again in September. There are times (a lot) when I feel like she isn’t getting any better and then there are times (very few) when I see my beautiful daughter coming back.
    Find a counselor and get him going now. Don’t let him put lock codes on his phone. Check text messages, Facebook, etc. You need to do everything you can to keep him safe. I do that now. I never did before and it has helped. But I have also learned to recognize when she is getting to that point where she is wanting to do something and that is when I take her for a ride or we go for a walk or I just lay on her bed with her.
    It is so hard and it just makes me wondering what I did wrong. Then I realized, it wasn’t all me. It’s this whole world of technology. The social media, cyber bullying, sexting. Since all of this has been going on, I have told my kids, if you don’t want the WHOLE world to know what you are doing, don’t put it out there, because that is exactly where it will be.
    Good luck with your son and I hope things get better. But know its not your fault. We do the best we can.

  4. How shattering, my heart goes out to you. My kids are on the cusp of teenagerhood. I try not to be either of my parents. Sending a hug. This too shall pass. You will get your boy back someday, as a compassionate, caring, loving man.

  5. I worry every day about the fights i will have with my beautiful (now 8 &2yr old) boys. I can’t say your reaction to his words were right, or normal- but i can almost guarantee id have reacted the EXACT SAME WAY. i just hope that im still close enough with my boys, to talk it through after like you did.

    I haven’t read the other comments, and this may have been suggested already- but would you be willing to see a counselor? Some people will instantly eye-roll at the thought, and i have too every time my doctor has suggested it. In all honesty however, its an amazing experience. I can attribute all my sanity to counselors. Some times it really helps to have a professional, outside of the situation, tell you that you are normal. Especially as an adolescent when EVERY emotion and feeling is new, scary, and you think you’re the only one who has them.

    I’ve always been told that the fact you’re worried about whether you’re a good parent, speak volumes of what an actual good parent you are. Neglectful, abusive parents dont seek out opinions or help in these situations. Please, give counseling a shot. If you hate it you can always quit.

    I almost died after taking a bottle of my grandmother’s blood pressure pills. I wanted to die. Because i felt like my parents weren’t listening to me. They didn’t believe me when i was telling the truth about a situation i had been caught in. The only thing i could think was how much i hated them for not believing me. I wanted to prove my innocence, and hurt them as much as possible at the same time. I was 13. I. Almost. Died.

  6. I am going through something similar with my daughter. She doesn’t have the excuse of being only 13, though, as she is 20 years old. She is determined to ruin her life-dating men in prison, using marijuana recreationally (so she says) and dangerous promiscuity as well. She has one and a half semesters left until she gets her degree, and her stepfather and I are just trying to hold on until she is done with her degree. I am still waiting for my logical, sweet, and giving daughter to reemerge after being gone for the last five years. I hope I don’t have to wait much longer. Hugs to you, and to all of us going through this kind of turmoil. We do the best we can with what we are given…and at the end of the day, that is all that really matters, right?

  7. As a mom of 2 teenagers, I totally hear where you’re coming from. Let me reassure you that this is completely age appropriate behavior. Here’s some (hard learned) advice. You need to learn how NOT TO REACT to their actions. Teenagers brains aren’t fully developed and they are not particularly rational in their behavior. They also press your buttons constantly. You will just have to suck it up and learn how NOT to react with anger. You need to be the constant, calm presence in the household, which is really f**ing hard when they act this way, but it’s really important. They need to know that you still love them unconditionally no matter how crazy they act out. Pick your battles and make sure the ones you are hard set upon are those that will keep them safe and protect them from hurting themselves or others (like the drinking, drugs, sex thing). There’s a book I read over and over called “Yes, Your Teenager Is Crazy” by Michael Bradley which was really, really helpful for me when they first started to hit this phase. Hang in there and keep your cool, it’s really important although really hard at this age.

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