He wanted to go to a movie with a friend and his parents. We were all for it. He finally a chance to do something safely with a friend. We were 99.99% sure that this friend has not used drugs, so we were anxious for him to re-establish this friendship.
Then, the night they were going to go, their family had a change of plans and decided to go to the movie the next night.
I told my son when the plans were changed that our family was having an Easter party the next day in the afternoon and early evening and that if he was going to go to the movie, he would have to see if they could go around 8:00 p.m. I suggested that he call his friend.
The next day, he was reminded again, a few times, that he should call his friend.
Later that day, when I told him that it was time to get ready to go to our older son’s house for the party, he freaked out about how he couldn’t go to a party, he was supposed to go to a movie with his friend.
Does he just not listen to me and all he hears when my mouth is moving is “blah, blah, blah, blah?”
He began accusing me and blaming me, repeatedly for not telling him that we had a family party to go to and now he wouldn’t be able to go to the movie.
He still did not call his friend to find out about the movie plans. He just tried his best to argue with me. I didn’t want to get into an argument, but I couldn’t even defend myself by telling him that he was told at least 5 times about how he had to make arrangements to go to the movie after the party. He would not listen. I am pretty sure he knew that he was the one who may have ruined the plans to go to a movie, but needed to blame someone else—me.
He just kept getting angrier and angrier at me. It was so bizarre. He didn’t even know if they were still going to the movie and when they were going and didn’t seem willing to find out.
Thinking about it afterward, it seemed like he was possibly showing his nervousness about being in a new situation—going out with a friend for the first time in months-- by doing everything in his power to get grounded so that he couldn’t go. The therapist said that when he has to switch from a familiar situation to an unknown situation, he feels a lot of anxiety, due to some of his executive functioning limitations. This might cause him to act out.
He was acting out all right.
The longer the barrage went on, the more MY attitude and tone of voice changed from nice to irritation. He assumes that irritation is yelling, so as I tried to explain the situation one more time, he said that it was time to have a time-out because I was yelling.
I was totally in emotion-mind by then and I did not honor the time out. I shouted my explanation at him as he walked away from me. “I told you about the party last night. I’m sorry that wasn’t soon enough for you. I told you about the party several times today. For some reason you chose not to call or talk to your friend about it. It is not my fault! Just call him now!”
Anything that comes out in an argument while either of us are in emotion mind is a bad idea. I knew I shouldn’t have done that. But, seriously, it is a little hard to take the blame for messing everything up and then just sit back and take a time out.
I am not very good at walking away. I always think that if I can just say my piece, I can fix things. I just want to solve things and have all of the bad feelings disappear.
It didn’t work.
He swore at me and was very angry that he didn’t get to have his time out.
Then, miraculously, his friend came over. Since my son was sitting in his room, I asked the friend if they could go to the movie around 8:00 that night. He called his mom, and it was fine with her.
Just like that.
Just that easy.
I wish it would have been just that easy to drive to the party at my son’s house. I knew that the time-out would only last long enough for him to get ready to let me have it again, anyway.
He said he wanted to solve the problem and wouldn’t even get out of the truck until we rehashed everything. I didn’t want to talk about it anymore.
We were going to the party and he was going to the movie after it. Problem solved.
(And he WAS LUCKY to be able to go to the movie. He was lucky that I thought it WAS more important for him to go out with a friend at this point in his life, than it was to ground him for being a jerk).
But, he had this huge need to make me admit that I made a mistake when I broke the time-out rule. I was supposed to accept that he could blame me and blame me until he felt that I was put in my place and then he could take a time out so that I wasn’t allowed to say anything. Even during the re-hashing, he never accepted any responsibility for the conflict at all.
It had to be my fault.
Enough already. I was in tears.
I should have been happy and excited.
It was my grandson’s first Easter. We were going to watch him have his first Easter Egg Hunt and dye eggs for the first time. It was supposed to be a memorable occasion.
Now it was going to be memorable all right. Just for the wrong reasons.
I went into the house and gave my grandson a big hug.
Fake it till you make it, right?
It was a good party and my grandson was as cute as could be.
A few hours later, my son went to his movie.
And that was Easter.
No Easter feelings of new beginnings in our struggles with our son that day.
Just feelings of Ongoing anger from him
And frustration for me.