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[ Opinion ]

What I Can Do When My Son Is Struggling

It’s 4:30am and I can’t sleep. Most people have a difficult time going to sleep because their mind won’t shut off. Not mine. By the time I get into bed and my head hits the pillow, I’m out. It’s early morning when my mind wants to remind me of all of the bad decisions I’ve made. Early morning is when my mind wants to go over every detail of my life at the moment and make a list of all of the things I could’ve done differently. This morning I’ve decided to shut it off and write. 

I saw my son yesterday. He’s inpatient at a mental hospital. He’s 8. I HATE that he’s there. I want to take him out now and never look back. But he’s doing well, better than he has in the past few weeks. The past few weeks have been hell, completely exhausting. Mentally, psychically, and emotionally exhausting. We’ve both been struggling to communicate with each other and he acts out his anger in the most destructive ways. It hurts to see my son struggling and I can’t seem to help him. I try. I try as hard as I can and as best as I know how to reach him and to make him see that I’m on his side, but he can’t or won’t hear me. He pushes me away, he says the most hurtful things a child can say to his mother. He doesn’t mean them I’m told, but it FEELS like he means them. It feels like he means it when he says he want to kill me. The look in his eyes sometimes makes me wonder if he truly does mean it. 

What CAN I do when my son is struggling I often ask myself? So many things I ask myself in the early morning hours and throughout the day.

I Can Let Guilt And Shame Take The Wheel

I could do that, but what good does that do? I will deteriorate and make poor decisions if guilt is in control. Guilt and shame will eat me alive. I have to make a conscious decision everyday to put my guilt and shame to the side and remind myself that what’s in the past is in the past, I can’t go back and change things. What I am doing right now is the best that I can do. I am showing up for my son, I am present for him and my other child. They both need a mom who is sober and not making decisions based on what is best for the family not what feeds the shame and guilt. I’ve made more mistakes than I can count and it may have something to do with what’s going on with my son, but in order to grow, I have to let go of the past. I have to remind myself I’m no longer that person. I don’t live that way anymore. I’m better and I’m stronger than I was then.

I Can Let The Judgements And Opinions Of Others Consume Me 

Here’s the thing about this one, I can consume myself with thoughts of “what are people thinking of me and what’s happening in my life right now?” but are people REALLY judging me? Are people really thinking about me as much as I think they are? I’m guessing NO. “I may not be much but I’m all I think about.” I hear that saying a lot in the rooms. How true it is! In my mind everyone is thinking and talking about ME!! Because, well, I’m thinking about me all of the time, so my mind tricks me into thinking others are also. Truth is though, I do feel judged. I do feel others are looking down on me because I am not able to help my son on my own. When it comes right down to it though. I am the one judging me. I’m the one looking down on me. I feel judged by others because I’m judging myself. I’m projecting my fears and insecurities onto others. It feels yucky to admit that but it also feels empowering to know that I can control these thoughts and feelings. I can put a stop to them at any moment. I can tell myself that NO, stop doing that to yourself! You’re doing the best you can. I can be gentle and kind to myself. 

I Can Do Everything All On My Own

I could do all of it on my own, but I won’t be successful. I’ve already tried doing things all on my own, didn’t work out well. My kids ended up having to live with another family for a year while I put my life and myself back together again after trying to DO IT ALL ON MY OWN. I can NOT do life and all it’s craziness on my own. I have to ask for help. I have to put my pride to the side and say “hey guess what, I don’t have all the answers and I can’t do this on my own, can you help me?” I don’t like asking for help, it’s one of the hardest things personally for me to do.  I’m stubborn and hard headed. I want to think that I GOT THIS, my son doesn’t need anything that I can’t provide. That’s my ego talking. Truth is, I can’t help my son right now. At least not by myself. What he needs right now may not necessarily be what I want for him at this moment, but what I want isn’t important, what he needs is what matters. I have to let go of the picture in my mind of how it’s “supposed to be” and live life on life’s terms. Because what he definitely needs is a mother that can put her pride aside, asks for help, and doesn’t think the world is out to get her (I think the world is out to get me sometimes lol). 

I Can Let My Sons World Become My World

Do you know how easy it is to get sucked into someones drama? Do you know how easy it is to get sucked into a hurricane of crazy, toxic, chaos created by someone that you love fiercely? I do!! I love my son, words can not explain the love I have for my son. I want to fix him. I want to fix the world he creates for himself sometimes. When he is angry and fearful and taking it out on everyone and everything, I want to fix it. And I want to fix it NOW!! So much so that I get sucked in. Suddenly the anger and fear that he is feeling, I’m feeling it too. His world is now my world, we are both feeding off each others emotions. By the time I realize I’ve been sucked in, it’s a struggle to get out. I’m emotionally drained. I’m frustrated beyond the point of no return and am no good to the angry child that needs a parent, not a partner in the chaos. it takes all I have to stand outside the storm and show him dry land is near if he so chooses to come out of the mess he has created at the moment. Eventually I will see the storm miles before it hits and I’ll know to take shelter. Maybe one day he’ll recognize the storm is coming and know how to ask for help. With work maybe we can ride the storm together in a safe place until it passes.

I’m A Work In Progress

I’ve been down this road before with my son, so I know what I can and can’t do if I want to stay sane and stay on the right path. My kids deserve a mom that is present and sober. I can’t be that mom if I’m not asking for help and taking care of myself. It hurts that my son is struggling and I don’t seem to be the one that can help him, at least I’m not the ONLY one that can help him. It takes a village!! With help we’ll make it through this. I have to put my sobriety and myself first. Selfish? Maybe to some. But I’ve seen what happens when I don’t put my recovery and my self care first, I lose everything that means most to me. I refuse to go down that road again. So just for today I’ll chill out on the negative self talk and be kind to myself. Just for today I’ll remind myself that I’ve come a long way and I’m a good mom, my kids love me, I’m doing the best I can and I have a support system that I’m beyond grateful for. Could be worse. I could be doing this all on my own.  

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