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facing reality: my kid hates me

It’s easy to pretend things are a certain way when you can’t see the reality of the situation, when you don’t permit your mind to go there. Sure, you have thoughts and ideas of how things are, but then reality comes along and slaps you in the face.

Until this point, I had no idea how bad it was.

You spend a good portion of your adult life pouring yourself and everything you have into someone just to have them hate you. You all know what I mean, I’m talking about our kids… I’ve often heard it said that if your child doesn’t hate you at some point then you aren’t doing a good job as a parent. I guess I can take comfort in that.

Look, I’ve already explained that I made mistakes as a parent. I know I’ve learned from those mistakes and because of them, I am a much better person and mom. But, at some point, your child (especially your adult child) must take responsibility for his actions and choices. He can’t spend the rest of his life blaming others for his current situation. And his situation, as much as he wants to pretend isn’t, is disastrous.

Truth Time: My kid is in trouble and he has no one watching out for him. After being separated from the Army, he moved back home. Two months of rules, which included paying rent and keeping a job, he decided it was too much responsibility. He made the choice to move in with his biological mother. We have been able to keep tabs, so to speak, on him through social media. We’ve seen the way that he is living and it breaks our hearts, especially because we know there’s nothing we can do. I chose to stop looking, not because I didn’t care, but because I cared too much. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

You’d like to believe that, wouldn’t you?! Your children are never out of your mind and are a continuous source of worry. But again, there is only so much you can do. I believe we gave the same opportunities to each one of our children. Opportunities to succeed in life and better themselves. They had choices and they had consequences to those choices. Those consequences could be good or bad, based on their decisions. Make a good decision, be rewarded. Make a bad decision and face the repercussions. By no means were our punishments out of the norm. Grounding, taking away electronics, etc; if that is enough to make you the world’s worst parent in the eyes of your child, then so be it.

My son hates me for wanting a better life for him. I had to accept that.

I was okay with him feeling the way he did about me, but to attack his siblings… that’s a completely different matter. And one I was not prepared to deal with.

Reality Hits Home: A friend of my youngest ran into his brother yesterday. The conversation went something like this:

  • S: You’re my brother’s friend, right?
  • C: Yes
  • S: F*** that guy.
  • C: You came over here to tell me that?
  • S: Nah man, but f*** him and that whole family. That whole family is a façade. F*** them.
  • C: What?
  • S: I heard he’s trying to get in the military.
  • C: He’s already enlisted, so he’s in.
  • S: Oh well, he’s just trying to one up me. F*** him.
  • C: What is the point of this conversation?
  • S: You know, man, just that whole family is f***** up and it’s all a façade.
  • C: O….K…
  • C walks away scratching his head, calls D to fill him in.

Now, the reaction of my other kids didn’t surprise me. They’ve been numb to this kind of thing for a while now. I guess lots of practice from dealing with previous similar situations. They went through feelings of sadness at the loss of one mom and now the loss of their brother, but they have been extremely resilient. So the reaction to this latest attack was laughter. They knew none of it was true so why give any validation to it?

I could learn a thing or ten from my two youngest. I really should have just blown it off and laughed, like they did.

But, y’all know that isn’t me… I had to over analyze every word and try to figure out the whys. If I could dissect every aspect of this conversation, I could find a way to fix everything.

First, I was heartbroken. Hate me all you want, but your brother and sister did nothing to you. Once the heartbreak passed, the anger hit. Anger, that’s something I’ve struggled with all my life. I get angry and then I want vengeance. Someone hurts me or my family and I want to punish them and make them hurt just as much. But, not this time. I know S is suffering. I know he’s not happy with the way things are and I know he has to want more out of life. So rather than be angry with him, I am choosing to pray. I will pray for him to figure out what’s important in life and to change his ways so he can accomplish and acquire those things. I will continue to have hope for him, the same way I have been hoping his mother would improve her situation over the last twelve years. I have hope that things will change and they will be happy and that maybe one day, we will be able to mend our relationships.

In the meantime, I will find pleasure in watching my youngest son and my daughter flourish. I will take pride in their accomplishments. I will continue to watch them work hard to achieve the goals they have set for themselves. Goals that will allow them to be productive members of society, goals that will allow them to be happy.

After all, that’s what every parent wants for their kids, right?

 

 

 

breaking the cycle

As you know, if you’ve been following and reading my blog for a while, there wasn’t much laughter in my childhood. When you grow up the way I did, It’s easy to become damaged. It’s easy to grow into an adult with low self esteem, believing you are totally worthless. And, if you’re not careful, it’s easy to make your own children believe the same thing.

Yes, you heard me right. After all, how do you learn to parent? How do you know how to discipline your children, how to encourage them? If your parents brought you chicken noodle soup when you were sick, wouldn’t that be what you’d give your child if they were sick? Why? Because, we are trained to believe that the way our parents raise us is the right way. Even if their way makes us feel, well, less than loved; we still think that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Have you ever heard the saying, “The abused becomes the abuser?” It sounds absurd, right? I can remember saying that I would never treat my kids the way I was treated when I was growing up. And unfortunately, I had picked up some pretty bad habits. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I was even a fraction of the meanster (yes, that’s how I saw it) that I grew up with. But, I will admit that in my attempts to make my children understand the depths of their mistakes, I know I went a little too far. I can remember my husband saying to me, “Remember how you felt when your dad talked to you that way?” Stupid… that’s exactly how I would feel. And I remember the first time one of my kids told me that I made them feel stupid. And the first time wasn’t the last. Something had to change.

I had to break the cycle. And I did.

Now, I am not trying to make excuses. I am just saying that I didn’t know any better. I can assure you and I hope you know me well enough to believe that I am not the type of person that is mean because I enjoy it. There are truly some sick people who actually find pleasure in seeing others suffer. That is definitely not me. My kids know that I have always wanted what is best for them. I just went about it the wrong way… in the beginning.

I had to re-learn what a parent was supposed to be. I had to learn to accept constructive criticism from my husband. It wasn’t easy, I had to realize that it was okay for him to tell me when I was wrong because he was doing it for my good. He wasn’t putting me down for my shortcomings. He wasn’t trying to make me feel stupid. He was trying to help and thank God, it worked!

With my husband’s help, my children’s patience and with God given wisdom, I became a phenomenal mom. I am absolutely far from perfect, any one of my kids could attest to that, but they know that I want the best for them. I want them to be better than I ever was. Even after all the mistakes I have made, my kids will never have to question if they are loved. I believe that makes me a successful mom, if nothing more.

 

 

Choices

It’s the fourth of July and I’ve been in my pj’s all day. My daughter had to work, my husband had to work and my son spent the day with his friends. Not that I’m complaining about them working or being gone; I wanted a day to myself and I had the perfect day planned. I wanted to do absolutely nothing, so I sat on the couch and watched movies ALL day. Well, I also managed to do all the laundry and cook an amazing roast in the crock pot. I sporadically scrolled through my Facebook feed throughout the day. I mean, who doesn’t do that nowadays; right!

As I’m scrolling, I see how all of my friends have spent the holiday and I can’t help but feel somewhat envious. I know that jealousy is not becoming, but I couldn’t help it. I’m happy for my friends. I’m happy they have families that they can spend time with and enjoy, not just on the holidays, but every day. I just wish that my kids, husband and I had the same thing.

It’s my fault, so I shouldn’t be complaining, right? I am the one that chose to cut my family out of my life. There were reasons, of course there were reasons… so what do you do? I could try to mend the fences with my parents. It would be so easy. They would be happy that I accept them the way they are and the way they treat me, but I would go back to being miserable. We would have somewhere to be on holidays, my kids would have their grandparents and cousins, aunts and uncles. But I would have to go back to walking on eggshells to make sure I don’t offend someone. Is that fair? We have other sides of the family and we don’t have anything to do with them either. There are biological moms, cousins, aunts and uncles. Is it wrong of us to cut all of these people out of our lives?

Bottom line is this, we have no one and it hurts. It hurts me because I know it hurts my children and my husband. They want the fairy tale family that gets together on every holiday, that laughs together and loves together and we don’t have that. Unfortunately, we have the type of family that wants to drink together and fight each other. We have the kind of family that cares more about their friends and whether or not they are happy than if their actual daughters, sisters or wives are happy. We have the kind of family that would rather do drugs and pills than take care of their children and we have the type of family that is more concerned about what we can do or provide for them rather than spending time with us. We have the kind of family that deserves our forgiveness and our love, but that doesn’t mean we should sacrifice our peace to have relationships with them.

I must choose my peace over unhealthy relationships and my joy over toxic people. Will it still hurt? Of course. Will I still wish things could be different? Absolutely. I will always long for that perfect, comforting and supportive family; the one I’ve never had. I will always mourn the family that I wish they were.