Most people don’t understand what a cycling, raging, out of control argument is like. I hear all the time that it is just normal teenage behavior. But, what we experience is NOT normal teenage behavior.
Here is another example of an irrational, blown out of proportion, disconnected thinking incident:
At some point in the last day or so, he had used my laptop and plugged his I-Pod into it. He immediately needed to know where the I-Pod cord was. He was adamant that I had unplugged it from my laptop when took it back out of his room and now I needed to tell him where I had put the cord.
I said, “Well, if it was in your room when I unplugged it, then the cord is in your room somewhere. You will just have look for it.”
But, for my son, the cord did not exist since it was not in plain sight. Since I was the one who supposedly touched it and moved it, I should have been able to tell him where the blankety-blank cord was and it was my responsibility to find it.
I said, “If you are going to get mad and swear at me for touching or moving things that you plug into my laptop, then you are no longer allowed to use my laptop.”
He charged up the stairs and told me that if I wanted to freak out and if I wanted to start something, then HE would start something right there, right then. He was towering above me--raging at me within inches of my face because I wouldn’t admit to losing the cord and didn’t know where it was.
Once again, he wouldn’t stop and went on and on about how I am not an adult and not a grown-up and that I can’t even admit when I have done something wrong. He went on to say that he sure as he** wasn’t going to school the next day without his f-ing I-Pod because the I-Pod is the only thing that gets him through school.
I had to call my husband and give him our “meltdown” code phrase (“the cat sat on the headphones”) so that he would know things were getting out of control and that he needed to come home as soon as possible.
( Once, my son went into his room, stepped on his X-Box headphones and broke them. Because he can’t accept that anything is ever his fault, he got upset and screamed at me that my cat had gone into his room and sat on his headphones and had broken them. And, since, it was the cat’s fault, I was responsible to buy him new headphones. It was so ludicrous to me that the cat had broken the headphones, that I made the mistake of laughing at how ridiculous he was being. He got so mad that I had to leave the house to get away from him).
The missing I-Pod cord was one of those “cat sat on the headphones” incidents.
Rather than look for it himself, he stood there and yelled at me, blamed me, accused me, and belittled me.
I went into his room, looked all over the floor, under piles of clothes, and garbage and didn’t see it. All the while he hadn't stopped ranting and raging. I stood up and looked at the top of his dresser and moved the beanie hat that HE put on his dresser when he took it off his head--and the I-Pod cord was underneath it.
And, maybe, I placed the cord on his dresser. Or possibly, he did. Maybe the leprechauns put it there. But, HE put the beanie cap on it. He obscured it from view. He could not lift up a hat to see if there was anything underneath it. And, yet he still would not concede that he should have been able to find that cord himself.
He continued yelling at me that I needed to admit that it was my fault for not knowing where I had put the cord.
At this point, I had had enough. I resorted to yelling back at him that I was done talking about it! But, because he was in a raging cycle and raring for the fight, next, he started in on me for being yelled at. He said that I am always yelling at him. I don’t yell at him as much as he thinks I do, but to him, anytime that I change my tone, tell him no, or won’t/can’t do what he wants me to do, it is yelling.
Even though, he was the one doing the yelling and blowing everything out of proportion.
And so it goes again:
Another night, he went back to the fact that he didn’t have access to Skype. He wanted to be able to talk to a friend while playing a game. I would have liked to have been able to let him have that privilege, but he had not done anything to earn it back.
He played computer games and the X-Box all the time. He didn’t keep his room clean. He didn’t do any chores. He didn’t talk to us unless he wanted something. And with the constant raging about anything that did not go his way almost every single day, he was not going to get Skype back.
That night, in the battle that ensued, he threatened us that if we didn’t give him what he wanted, then we were not going to like the consequences.
As if threatening us was going to get him what he wanted.
So, I went into the office, unplugged the router cord that goes upstairs to his X-Box and locked the door to the office and said, “You are grounded from the X-Box and the computer for two days.” (This was the maximum amount of time that the psych-therapist told us we could reasonably ground him from things).
His response to that was that we don’t give a f*** about him, that we are trying to ruin his life, that we make him live with us and we don’t do anything for him. He got very abusive and screamed terrible things about my husband right in his face.
Two minutes later, he decided to change tactics and requested to be able to talk to me in private saying that he wanted to apologize for how he had been acting and to discuss the parental controls of Skype like adults. I said I was sorry, but that there really was nothing to discuss. "Five minutes ago, you said that I didn’t give a f*** about you and therefore, I am not really interested in talking to you at the moment." He wouldn’t listen when I told him that my not wanting to have a discussion with him was a consequence of how he had been acting and he began swearing at me, again, telling me that I was a jerk for not letting him apologize.
As my husband intervened, taking the brunt of the hateful behavior on himself, instead of letting it all rest on me, he was told was again, by my son, that he never wants to talk to him again his life.
Later, as we talked alone about what had happened, I said, “Even if I had done the validating thing that we have been taught to do so many times, and had said, ‘I know it must be hard for you not to have Skype like you want and I know you really want it, and I am sure you have a hard time understanding why we aren’t going to unblock it…..etc.’, he would have yelled and f-bombed and everything else because he STILL wasn’t getting his way.
I am so tired of this. Things will go smoothly for a day or maybe even two, and then something sets him off and everything hits the fan. He reminds us that we are terrible parents, that he hates living with us, hates how stubborn we are, and hates that WE are the reason he has to listen to what a judge thinks because we are always calling the police on him.
There doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel.
I don’t want to be in the tunnel anymore.
I am tired of the darkness.