The arguments were worse and filled with so much more emotion than any argument that we ever had before he was in rehab. I could not believe the things that he would say when he was in his new emotional state of mind.
F-bombs were dripping off of our ceiling.
I have never been sworn at or told that I was acting like a b!#@& so many times in my life. Most teenagers talk one way in front of their friends, and another way in front of their parents. Not anymore around here. He just told us what he thought, when he thought it, and in whatever colorful language he thought it in.
One of our bad arguments was when he found out we threw away his banana chair. Apparently, he doesn’t remember anything about the stash that we found in the chair. He denies to this day that it was his. He was adamant that I owed him money to compensate him for the loss of that piece of junk chair. Even though he had a drug stash in our house—in that chair—he felt that HE had been wronged by us throwing his property away.
Sometimes when we argue, he tries to make his point by being absurd. He said that throwing away this chair was the same as if he had thrown away our flat screen TV. He would not accept any explanations or any reasoning and just kept trying to prove that he was right. One of his statements was, “I just want the money for the chair. You owe me that.”
I think I laughed at that comment, which didn’t help. He doesn’t like it at all when I find absurdity humorous. I shouldn’t have laughed because he got even angrier. But at that point he did decide that he would just stop arguing about it. For that night, anyway.
We talked about it during family therapy, but he still would not radically accept that the chair was gone and we weren’t going to compensate him for it. The therapist gave him all kinds of reasons why we had the right to throw the chair away and told me that I should absolutely NOT give him any money for that chair.
He does not agree and even wants to kick the a$$ of the person that put the stash in the chair. The therapist told him it is very likely that put the stash in the chair while high and then forgot that he did. I guess he would have a hard time kicking his own a$$.
Maybe he does need to kick his own.
And then days later, he brought it up again! Seriously! Sometimes I just wanted to give him the money so that he will shut up about it.
On the way home from Day Treatment, his Dad asked him how his day was. He started complaining about his teacher and how unfair it was that she gave him more homework than anyone else. My husband said that we should find out if she really wass giving him more than she should, or see if she wass giving him more work to help him get caught up to where he should be at in school. Then, my son said, “So you are going to believe someone who lies more than you will believe me. Just like you don’t believe me about the banana chair.”
My husband asked him why he was going down that road because we had discussed the chair enough.
He declared, “Because I want to clear my name—that wasn’t my stuff!”
I didn’t understand why he felt the need to lie about it, deny it, or even rehash it over and over again. There were drugs in his chair. We threw it away. THE END!
But, when they got home, he wanted to see proof of the things that were in the chair. I showed him a picture of it, but even though his signature green duct tape was on the highlighter pen and on the plastic bag of matches, he said that it didn’t prove that it was his.
I was getting so tired of going around and around about this that I said, “Okay, the tooth fairy put that stuff in your chair. The chair is gone. We already told you that we would get a chair for your room when we get are finished with the closet and get new carpet. Let’s just get past this!”
He said that he fully expected a new chair AND the money that we owe him for the banana chair!
He definitely felt entitled about it.
The crazy thing that night was when he finally got around to doing his homework, he only had four math problems! He didn’t even have any extra homework!
So, something set him off that day and put him in an argumentative mood and it wasn’t the fact that he gets more homework than anyone else.
It just kept happening and happening. I was emailing the therapist every night telling her what we were going through, hoping that she could talk to him during the day so that things could start getting better.
But, he argued about everything from the colors to paint his room, to the X-box to what time to go to bed. And not just once on each topic, but over and over again. It seemed like he wanted to be in full control, making all of the decisions and rules. If he wanted to play the X-box all night on weekends, he thought he should be able to. If he wanted to eat snacks in bed after 9:00 p.m., he just did. Taking his contacts out at night or not, was his decision.
He would only compromise as long as the compromise went 100% in his direction. We felt like we couldn’t set limits or rules to establish routines. As long as we didn’t say too much about what we thought he should be doing, everything went better. Unless he was in a bad mood and wanted to fight about anything and everything, then it seemed like his anger and temper just got worse and worse.One Friday night, I let him stay up until 11:00 to play the X-box. But, when I told him it was time to quit and go to bed, he said he had just started playing a game on X-box LIVE with his brother. He wanted to be able to play with him for awhile, so I said that he could finish that game and play one more. But, he wanted to be able to play 2 more games with him and since the matches usually last about 10 minutes, I compromised and said, “Ok, 2 more games and that is all.” But, when I left the room, he switched the game to a match that takes a long, long time to play. And, he wasn’t playing with his brother anymore. When my husband asked him what he was doing, he made some excuses about how he couldn’t invite his brother to play this match with him and he didn’t know why. We said that since he was given permission to play with his brother and now he wasn’t, just needed to be done.
He thinks we are stupid, but we know what he does when his is given an inch. I said he could play 2 more games. So, he switched to a match that takes 3 times as long to play as the match that he normally plays. That way, he still had his 2 games-- they were just going to give him a lot more playing time. Then, he blamed the fact that he wasn’t playing with his brother anymore on the X-box messaging system.
We were in one of those cycles that just spun out of control. He thought he was justified in his actions and we thought we were justified in insisting that he should stop playing the X-box.
The arguing did not get us anywhere, but in crazy emotional states of mind. Neither one of us was going to give up on our positions. It got so bad that at one point my son actually looked like he was staring my husband down as if he were contemplating hitting him.
Then, finally, something just broke in my son and he said, “I am just tired of this and tired of everything. I am tired of trying to get along. It has been too many years. I give up.”
I said, “No matter what, I will not give up on you.”
Then he said, “You don’t know what it is like to be the kid whose parents stuck him in rehab.”
I said, “I am the parent whose kid started using drugs.”
We didn’t talk anymore that night. I went to my room and cried.
The next morning, he apologized and said he is willing to try again.
I wish I could say that we turned a corner with that statement, but it took many more weeks to feel like he really was willing to try again.
There were a lot more tears along the way.