I had a bit of a reality check today... Anyone else live like this?(30 Posts)
As a single parent of three children who have "all gone wrong" in their own delightful ways in their own time, I struggle a lot with the feeling that it must be because of me, and read this forum from time to time, and realise others go through similar situations, (thanks, lovely Mumsnetters, although I'm still not convinced it's not me). Nowadays, I have 2 grown up a bit and away from home and am left with the youngest, the boy, who is worse than his sisters ever were. Because I have been living with the constant and incessant stealing, absconding, truanting, lying, overdoses, violence, hysteria, etc etc ad nauseum, after 8 years when firstborn kicked off to the point when lastborn is now 17, I quite frankly have given up and decided it's their choice to behave this way, and am virtually a prisoner in my own house. By that I mean I have a lock on my bedroom door so that I can feel a bit more safe and confident that I won't have my stuff stolen, I clear a space in my kitchen so that I can cook and wash up and put away what I used and need again, I sweep away the crap in the living room so that I can sit and watch TV... How ridiculous is that? And I'm am not a wuss, more a fighter. My estranged husband has undermined me every step of the way by constantly buying them expensive things they haven't worked towards, and left me with the aftermath of a 'good guy, bad guy' scenario.
Today, I had a bit of a reality check... I have a colleague who has a 'just teen' who is causing him and his wife a lot of problems, and they are struggling and he talks to me about his lad from time to time. I said, hey, here's a picture I took on my 'phone last night of how I live, and showed him my front room... (I have never taken a picture before but I was getting to the end of my tether.) There were 17 unwashed cups, plates, dirty socks on the floor, an uncovered duvet on the floor, and the room stank to high heaven etc etc. He was absolutely astonished and said "that's your living room?". And, yes, that's what I share and have to live with. I could cry (again). There is no communication whatsoever with the boy who has his ear phones in all the time and pushes past me when I try to speak, and refuses to clear up a shared space. I am so used to living like this, but showing it to someone else made me realise that this is absolutely bloody awful. I know I have given up and am counting down the days until he leaves home, and that is not how parenting should be. It's like a bereavement. He's bigger than me and there is absolutely zero communication. I try on a daily basis and say "good morning, how are you, what are you up to today?" and get no response whatsoever, but I think "hey, I'm a person too, just say hello". Am I failing the third one too because I've just having had enough of all this awfulness?
I realise, on re-reading this, I've said "I, I, I" a lot . I really don't know how to reconnect with this lad who obviously hates me (probably because I have been estranged from his (Asperger's) father for many, many years) and is so disrespectful of the things he takes for granted. He can't be happy in this mess either, or do they just not care?
perhaps he needs to go and live with hus Dad?
Awww, whattodo. Yes, a year ago I was living a bit like that. It is like a bereavement. And no, he can't be happy either. Come and join us on the 'Maryz troubled teens' thread (I can't link from my phone but you should find it easily enough). You'll get understanding and realistic, non-judgemental advice from people who are, or have been, in similar situations.
I think you all might benefit from him going to stay at his father's for a month. He might be a bit more grateful if you then let him come home.
OP Here's the link to Maryz's thread
Thanks. I will try to discuss this (yet again) with his father (who lives 200 miles away, so moving permanently isn't an option half way through A levels) and see if he will take him for the summer break. I can't see it happening though. Thanks for the link to the thread - I do read that from time to time and it does help enormously to know I'm not the only one in this kind of boat xxx
How is your relationship with your two eldest? Has it improved since they became adults? If so it may be that they can help you rebuild your relationship with your son - could he stay with one of them? If it's still not very good may be it will be worth focussing on that initially as now they are older they may have some perspective on how they used to behave and you can start having "sensible" discussions about what you and they need to change going forward. Good luck - it sounds a miserable situation.
It is utterly miserable. Firstborn can't stand him. I think he made her life miserable too and she kept away from him as much as possible. She used to yell "just get rid of him, the idiot" whilst she flounced off out. She's been having an amazing adventure travelling abroad for nearly a year. She is turning out OK, has loads of friends, and has always worked since leaving school. I'm really proud of her. I get on with her so much better now that she's in her early 20s, but even when she was still at home she was either working or out with her friends, or asleep, so we didn't see that much of each other, and I haven't seen her in nearly a year (apart from Skype).
Middle one seems fond of him for brief times. She's at uni so comes home for the holidays inbetween visiting her friends. I get on fairly well with her, but she's very emotional and can turn in an instance. She has been diagnosed with depression, so I tread on egg shells with her as most of what I say and do, I will say and do wrong. They can be friends one minute, until she finally gets fed up with his behaviour, then yells at me for it .
I think I will have to see if his father can take him for the whole of the summer holidays. Son won't like this much as his father is a compulsive hoarder and his house is dreadful, and it will be a long way from his friends. I doubt he'll go willingly, but he is ruling the roost so much at the moment, and is so unpleasant and disrespectful that I am running out of ink ticking off the days on my calendar until he hopefully goes to uni. 18 months. That shouldn't be the relationship a mother has with her son .
Not speaking from personal experience but I have a friend with two sons, 18 & 16. The 18 year old was much like your ds and ultimately he hit her which resulted in her calling his father and insisting he took him to live with him. He hasn't spoken to her in a whole year and blames her for putting him out but she prefers that to living in constant fear. She now has a much better relationship with the 16 year old who is now working harder at school since the older one left. You can only do your best but when he clearly has no respect for you, best let someone else have a go and see if they can make a man out of him.
Time for tough love. Make him go to his fathers (and make his father take him)
Tell him if basic rules are broken he will have to move out - a levels or no a levels. And stick to it. After he's kipped on a friends sofa for a couple of days, he will toe the line or he will move out. If his uni plans are ruined, then that is up to him. He can always do it in a few years time.
Command some basic respect or he faces the consequences. Do not put up with it. He does it because you have allowed him to do it.
shewhowines, I am guessing from your response that you have never been in this situation. Your post is deluded on several counts, judgmental and unhelpful.
I know people where this has worked!
He's 17, not 14. If he was younger, I would agree that it is not that simple flow.
He is 17. Why should she put up with him making her life miserable?
where does he get his cash from? you?
I don't know what to suggest to help you have a better time with your DS, but I wonder if you are slightly depressed Whattodo. I'm sorry, if that's not relevant.
I have no advice, I have a 17 MONTH old, but I could't read and leave.
I send hugs and and
i have no experience but it sounds like you are in an abusive relationship, basically. how utterly miserable, i'm so sorry.
This sounds miserable for you.
Are there any family counselling charities or support locally where you could at least talk to someone and get things off your chest?
No experience. But I think I would not do anything drastic till after he has done his A Levels. I wouldnt tell him of your possible plans until after his A Levels.
Me too, didn't want to read and leave. Sympathies, weirdly especially re mess., you can't even sit in peace when they are safely elsewhere like school. Do you have someone real (i.e. face to face) to talk to as well?
This is abuse. You are being abused by your son.
I totally relate your comments about giving up, and being pulled up short by the realisation of how dreadful the situation is.
I have sent my abusive 13 year old dd to stay at my mums to give me and the rest of the family a break.
What really destroys me is knowing that in her behaviour towards me isn't just ruining my happiness, but is damaging her in a spiritual and emotional way. I truly, truly believe that when you treat someone who loves you with contempt, day in and day out, when you exploit them and bully them, you are dehumanising them and dehumanising yourself. It's emotionally very damaging.
I have made a decision that I won't allow my dd to abuse me or the rest of the family any more. I have told her she can't come home for the time being, while I plan how we can live together for the rest of her childhood, without me ending up suicidally unhappy.
Sorry, didn't mean to hijack, but I wanted to say, I know how you feel.
OP this sounds awful. I'm so sorry. I have absolutely no experience at all of this (yet) but I just wanted to add to the view that this is just abusive and that whatever your son needs, you need to protect yourself first. If you are in bits, you can't help him anyway so think of it that way if it helps. But either way, you must regain your own life and your own sense of freedom and being a person with your own legitimate needs and wishes.
FWIW, and I freely admit to no experience, I tend to agree with shewhowines. Presumably he can control his behaviour if he's doing A Levels and apparently hasn't been thrown out of school for abusive behaviour there. By contrast he is choosing to abuse you. He knows that in the wider world there are consequences for this sort of behaviour but at home he thinks there are none because he (thinks he) is in charge.
Perhaps he's proving to himself that the world is shit because he can behave horribly and he sees that even his own parent cannot put up barriers strong enough to contain him and that makes him very afraid and behave even worse towards you because in his eyes you don't have enough power to contain him. There's a lot of fear in there - and disrespect for you for being "weak". I'm not saying you are not powerful enough - I'm just wondering if that's perhaps how he is reading the situation.
I really am sorry, OP. My heart goes out to you.
flow - why can't the OP just say 'shape up or get out'?
It seems so obvious.
My dcs are younger so not experienced this but doubt I could 'sit and take it',A Levels or not. If they couldn't get away with this sort of behaviour outside the family,why should they be allowed to treat their own family worse than a random stranger? Surely one ought to treat one's own mother better or at worst, the same?
I'm not unsympathetic to the OP - the reverse in fact. Just trying to get my head round this.
Hope the OP is having a better day, treating herself - chocs, nice TV, night out, whatever... Have some
Thank you so much to everyone who has responded, and I apologise for not getting back and contributing (I've injured my fingers and find typing extremely difficult). At the moment, things are calmer (although no tidier) as I've been away much of the last fortnight and he's been busy doing exams. Thank you, as ever, Flow, and Mininfingers, who has hit the nail absolutely on the head. Bread, I fully understand the sentiment 'shape up or get out', but try doing that to a 6 footer who tells you to f* off and slams the door in your face, narrowly missing your (uninjured) fingers (thankfully, that hasn't happened for a little while). Anyway, thanks again, all you kind people, and I hope I don't have to come back with any more despairing updates for a while!
Well, if he tells you to fuck off and slams the door then change the locks and don't let him back in. Tough love needs to be tough sometimes. If he carries on when he can't get back in, call the police.
If he did it to anyone else he'd be arrested. You're doing him no favours by letting him think he can do it to you.
She can't say that because he is bigger than her and he would fold his arms and say 'make me'. And that is where the whole shape up or ship out thing would fall apart.
However, if he steals or uses violence against you, you need to call the police. You may need to psych yourself up to do this, but this teen sounds as if he could use the sort of shock to the system that the police getting on his case would mean.
Is he using drugs? What is he stealing and where is the money going? When he has OD'd how have hospitals dealt with him?
Whattodo -- it sounds as if you have never spoken to anyone else besides your colleague about this, and for your own sanity's sake, this has to change. You have made a start and that is a good thing.
Is there anything stopping you from reaching out IRL either to get help/coping strategies for yourself or to involve third parties in dealing with your DS?
What can you do for yourself -- who or what organisation can you reach out to for help?
Mind can listen and maybe point you in the direction of support.
Would you consider asking your GP for a referral to a counsellor to discuss your options and feelings with?
Would it be possible to hire a cleaner who would be willing to work with you to keep your home manageable?
Hi - you sound like you are detached or in the process of detaching from him- maybe he feels that -
I see - " the boy/the lad/the youngest"... but nowhere do I see "MY son"....... do you not think of him as your son because he is so different from your expectations when you had him?
I echo the previous post - perehaps try for some family counselling - he does not have to go with you.
Hi, I feel really sorry for you. The house rules are the house rules and thats that. O.K. My youngest is now 19. It goes like this... If you want to share my house you have to realise that there are rules. If you don't like them go live else where. Tough love. Your bed room is your own.. I don't go in there, if you want to live in shit then you do it there.
I didn't want to be rude and not respond to the many messages I have had. I do not log in here on a daily basis, so I apologise for finding a place to rant, and then not getting back to thank people for letting me rant! It has been 3 weeks since I injured my fingers so am finally managing to type again which is certainly helpful as I need to do that in my job! Thank you all - Mumsnet is certainly a fantastically useful place in which to get a perspective on life's problems. MadeOfStarDust - yes, I am detached, because I have had this for ongoing shit in one way or another for years and, perhaps, it makes me less anonymous in the way I describe the situation, and I take your thoughts fully on board. And mathanxiety, for others that have not had to handle this sort of abuse, 'make me'. And that is where the whole shape up or ship out thing would fall apart is exactly right.
Anyway, I sincerely thank you all again. Things are somewhat calmer at the moment, although the headphones remain in but the plates are getting to the dishwasher in small quantities, for the moment. And I got a completely unexpected birthday card from him, which I found when I got back from holiday. The first in 5 years. Onwards and upwards .
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