The next day he was not speaking to me and was still just as mad about the incident as he was the day before. It was still all my fault. Usually, the next day, or shortly after a blow-up, he realizes that he had a part in it and he apologizes and things get better for awhile.
Not this time.
So, first, I gave him the words to a song that I had just heard and thought how incredible it was that it explained almost exactly how I was feeling.
The song, “We All Bleed Red” is by Ronnie Dunn, formerly of Brooks and Dunn. It is his first solo single. I wish I could put the lyrics on my blog, but I don’t have permission at this point to use them, so please go to the link below to watch the music video and read the words to the song. They are very compelling and I thought they would be perfect to get through to my son about how if we are fighting with each other we are both losing in so many ways.
Unfortunately, it seemed as if reading the words to that song had no impact on him. He was holding on to his anger with a tight fist. Next, I wrote him a letter. Sometimes, I can explain my feelings so much better in writing than verbally.
This is the letter:
“I don’t really get what is going on.
I gave you those song words because they really meant a lot to me in this situation and I hoped that they would mean a lot to you, too.
“If we’re arguing, we’re both losing.”
I never meant to have a fight with you and I don’t really think it was a fight or an argument or a blowup at first. I feel that it turned into something when your behavior got snotty and your attitude turned into freaked out and you started swearing up a storm.
I was trying to have a discussion with you and ask you questions and try to figure out how you made your decision because it sure seemed to come out of the blue and wasn’t what I really thought you wanted to do. Every time I talked to you about TKD before, you said you wanted to get the 2 new sticks and that you wanted to go to sparring and that you didn’t think you were going to have a hard time getting back into it. It gives you an activity to do that isn’t sitting around the house and it is something that you are really good at.
I thought that your “poo” and “hunting” analogies were really just smart aleck, snotty things to say that seemed to be trying to instigate a blowup because then, if there was a blowup, everything would be my fault, even quitting TKD.
It is and was right for me to try to figure things out with you and help both of us come to the conclusion that what you were deciding is either the right thing at the time or something that might need more consideration before a final decision is made. That is what parents do.
I didn’t want you playing the X-box while you were saying snotty things and while I was trying to have a discussion with you. But, as soon as someone tells you that you can’t play the X-box, you just go storming off to your room as if the world has ended.
That is when I yelled up the stairs at you and tried to get you to come back down. Because storming off isn’t the way to resolve anything and it was rude.
You say I was freaking out, but I wasn’t. I was working very hard to stay calm. But, I lose my temper when someone walks away from me.
Then you started swearing and throwing out all kinds of crappy language, and that is when I got more upset.
And I yelled at you to shut up. So, yeah. I was wrong. I yelled. I should have to have a consequence for that. I can accept that. But, I don’t think my consequence should have to be getting sworn at and called names. I will make you a cake or clean the shower for you, but I won’t accept getting sworn at. I didn’t swear at you.
Calling me a b*&%$ was very mean.
How nice of you to call me a b*&%$ for caring about you and for trying to make sure you were making a good decision about TKD.
I never “provoked” you into name calling and throwing out every F bomb you could conjure up that night.
Telling you not to play the X-box while a snotty attitude is coming forth from you isn’t provoking you.
Dad telling us both to take a time out isn’t provoking you.
Us, trying to do the right things for you and with you isn’t provoking you.
It seems like something else could be going on in your head (that only you can see and feel and that you aren’t telling us about in words) might be provoking you, but you can’t lay that on me or on Dad.
It is my opinion that something else contributed to blowing that whole night all out of proportion to you because it doesn’t really seem like something that should have ended up in all the swearing and freaking out that you did.
Previously, you decided that for swearing you would do chores. And when you agreed on that, we said that even if you thought you had the right to swear in a situation, that you would do chores for swearing anyway. You decided on the consequence and you agreed that there were no qualifications for getting out of it. If you put the qualification on it that you can swear any time you feel you are “provoked”, then the consequences for swearing are going to have to change.
Swearing doesn’t do anything, but show that you are mad. Wow. You can drop F-bombs and call your mom names and say bull@#%*. It doesn’t change anything and it just brings more doom and gloom into the house and makes conflicts even worse.
How about if you show how you are changing and trying to make better choices in your life by showing that you can control that, too?
We kind of think that one thing that might going on with you is that you aren’t progressing as fast as you want to. And when it doesn’t work out that you can probe every time that you think you are going to be ready to, you get mad.
You know that there are certain things that you have to do in order to progress and in order to probe. Instead of just putting them off and hoping that everyone will just “see” that you are ready, why not do the assignments and “show” that you are ready? We are more than happy to help you with getting your assignments done, if you just ask us for help. We won’t do them for you, of course, but we will gladly offer assistance.
I think that by accepting that you have responsibilities and just acting on them and making sure that they get done, you’ll be a lot happier. Just radically accept that you have some chores to do, and do them. Just radically accept that you have some assignments to do and do them. Don’t put them off until later because later just never seems to happen.
We hope you will make progress. We hope things will get better. We hope our whole family’s life will get better. We hope that we can have peace and happiness with you in our home. We hope that when there are things that we want to talk about and discuss with you that we can do it without having them blow up into a big unnecessary conflict. We hope that you will have respect for us by not saying rude, mean things and not filling our house with all kinds of bad language. We hope that you will get over being mad so that we can get back to the nicer times that we were having.
I don’t know what else to say.
So I will end with more words to the song.
(The words that I ended with were about saying sorry before it is too late and taking a chance at forgiveness; letting anger slip away; how we all sometimes lose track of where we need to be; how sometimes we all say things we regret later; sometimes we get hurt, but what hurts him hurts me and what hurts me hurts him; and how much my world revolves around him…)
You are my child. I love you so much. All this awfulness that keeps happening hurts all of us so much.
Let the hurt and anger just slip through your hands, okay?
I recently heard someone say, “It will all work out in the end—it’s the middle part that’s the hard part.”
This is the longest, hardest middle part.
It is not getting any easier.
The end isn’t even in sight.