It's like I feel nothing

Sherri - posted on 03/02/2011 ( 20 moms have responded )

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I feel like the last 5 years of my life has sucked all of who I used to be out of me. I used to be so full of joy and life and exuberance... I feel like that's gone. It's now been sucked out and replaced with anger, bitterness and resentment and I don't know how to get that happiness back. Most recently, it's like I'm numb. I don't know what is going on with me, but it's like I just don't care about anything and all I want to do is sleep. I feel so terrible admitting that I feel this way.

This seem to continue to go from bad to worse in my house. It's not even a home anymore. It's like a war zone. My 13 year old SS is so unbelievably disrespectful. I swears at his father and I, he steals ANYTHING he can get his hands on and the lies.... everything out of his mouth is a lie. Even the smallest, most insignificant things... On Sunday, BM was supposed to bring him home at 7pm. When he got home, we found out that his mother sent him to her boyfriends sisters house Saturday night and never went back for him. He came home at 6pm and was dropped off by the sister. So, needless to say, he walked through the door in a mood. Then BM was supposed to bring him school supplies that she bought for him on Monday and bailed. She said his sister was sick and that his mother couldn't bring it because her baby daddy was was in rehab. Of course, we found out last night that was not the case at all. WHY WOULD HE COME UP WITH THAT LIE???????

He has temper tantrums (even throwing my phone last night, screaming and kicking the crap out of my basement door). We've done the "temper taming" course, he's been in counselling for 2 years and I don't know what to do. I feel like a failure. I feel so hopeless. On one hand, I know consciously that I've tried to offer a stable, loving supportive home and I've done everything in my power that I can conjure up in my head to try to help this kid but he just keeps getting WORSE. On the other hand, I keep searching for answers and trying to figure out where I've gone wrong.

It's even to the point now that I'm so stressed out and miserable that sometimes for no reason at all, I snap at my husband. I'm always so frustrated. The only relief I get is when my SS is at BMs and from about noon on, I become increasingly full of anxiety and stressed out so that sometimes, I need to swallow an anti-anxiety pill. My concern is what I'm going to do when I become pregnant. Ugh......., I just don't know anything anymore.

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Fiona - posted on 03/09/2011

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Hey Sherri,
I can hear the frustration and anger at your situation.
I'm also totally agree that he can't behave this way towards you and your husband. You both are doing everything that you can.

I hope the book helps, it certainly opened my eyes to the things teenage boys think and feel. I agree with Rebekah that sometimes the only solution is to remove the cause. If this is not an option at present (it wasn't for me), something else that may be an option (depending on cost) is childcare/sport activity/drama club etc that he can get to himself and Dad can pick him up from. Maybe something the school has already. This will give some extra time that you may be able to use for yourself. (If it does cost, don't look at it as an extra expense but as a cheap form of therapy for you).

Also, I'm no medical professional and I respect the fact that you want to choose when and if you take medication. However, some meds need consistency over a period of time to work. It may be worth talking with your Dr to see if there is a different type of med that you can take that doesn't have the "zombie" side effect. Sometimes it is trial and error and if you have a willing Dr , s/he may give you a trial pack (e.g. 7 days) so you can see what/if any side effects become apparent.

Ultimately, it is up to your SS to decide he wants the situation to improve and change accordingly.

Keep hanging in there. :)

Rebekah - posted on 03/09/2011

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Your stress level is at 100. Are you on any anti-depressants? The amount of stress you describe will throw the chemical levels in your brain out of whack and send you into a black hole of depression or create a level of anxiety that will cause other medical issues.

Your SS's world is out of control and he knows it. He is acting out because he's lost and is angry. You can't make him change and make him see things your way. The only thing you can do is ask your husband if he thinks your SS's behavior is healthy for your family. Sometimes the only answer is to remove the behavior if the behavior will not change. If your SS is on a path of hopelessness, he needs help that he can't get from home. He is frustrated with his situation as well and is probably angry that he is forced into the situation. Ask him what his ideal life would be and if he is unhappy at your house, where he would like to be. Your husband needs to clearly lay out boundaries for the happiness of your whole family. You have to get yourself in a good place before you can help everyone else out.

[deleted account]

Sherri- I started with scrapbooking- not the fancy-schmancy type: just getting a cheap (KMart) scrapbook and your fav pix and bits n pieces (concert and movie ticket stubs etc) and making a monyage of things you like. When you have to stop and think about what you like it helps. Then walks. not athletic craziness (unless yr really mad then it's GREAT!); just meandering, where-will-I-go? type things...... it's a start xoxoxo

[deleted account]

I am totally with Laura- the one LIFE-SAVING thing that I have learned in my (often volatile as well) situation is- I cant control anyone else's behaviour and reactions to the situation but my own- and whn I got to where you are now I realised I needed to look after me for a while.

[deleted account]

my only advice is this - go and see a counsellor! I know its a scary thing to do but trust me, u will walk out after ur first appointment feeling like a tonne has been lifted off ur shoulders!

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Joann - posted on 03/14/2011

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it is called depression, i have been there with my SS and SD and once they know they can push ur buttons they will continue, and it does not matter how much u ground them or take privledges away. mine went thru counselling but it did not help he just would not talk most of the time, and then he refused to go, my SS lied and stoled all the time and it was everything he stoled even from the neighbors, he made himself beleive that he was not the guilty one that it was not his fault. It probably would not hurt for you all to go to family counselling togather, I was just so glad when he finally moved out at 18, but he still come over and stoled all the time. I was at the point I wanted to leave and them we sold our house and moved away to another state I know that sounds bad but we were at our wit ends, now we have peace he has 2 younger ones that still live at home they are totally different then the 2 older ones thank god!

Fiona - posted on 03/11/2011

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No, Australia.
Glad to hear that you got some time to yourself. There is nothing like a good massage.
Technically, it's not allowed here either but after many specialist appts, you get to know what you can and can't do within the system. The only other thing I'd say is don't try to make is sound better than it is at the drs. Tell them the worst things that have happened and the frequencies. While not the most uplifting experience, it can help in getting your dr to assess your SS's needs and if necessary ask for an emergency appt with the specialist. (All specialist have these set aside in each week although they tend not to advertise it). Obviously, you need to make the judgement of if this is necessary in the first place.
Keep smiling :)

Sherri - posted on 03/11/2011

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Fiona, are you in Ontario? I'm not sure if I even CAN do that, but I can surely give it the old college try. (Sorry about the sarcasm. After a girls night tonight, a massage appointment last night and being caught up on my work, I feel a million times better-exhausted, but my brain is starting to slow down)

Fiona - posted on 03/11/2011

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Sherri, if you haven't already, try making the appointment with the psych now even though you don't have the referral. As both my younger boys have special needs, I do this on a regular basis and if they ask for the referral to be faxed etc I tell them I'll get it done ASAP. Its a white lie, but as long as it arrives before the appt they are usually pretty good. This way your SS gets into the specialist sooner.
Hope this helps.

Sherri - posted on 03/11/2011

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No. Here, we have to have a referral to see a psychiatrist. We have an appointment with the family doctor to get the referral, but it's not for another 2 and a half weeks and then we're looking at another month to get him in for an appointment.

DJ - posted on 03/11/2011

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Have you taken him to a psychiatrist? THe level of aggression you are describing may be a manifestation of depression in a youth

Sherri - posted on 03/09/2011

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He's currently in Cadets and LOVES it. We tried to use it as a "behave, or you don't go". Ultimately, we decided that not only do we deserve 3 hours a week to ourselves, but I don't see how taking the ONLY thing that he is truly into and feels good about could possibly benefit the situation. Unless my husband's train runs late, he handles the pick up and drop offs unless my SS has an event.... neither of us miss those. Also, with the cadets, we can't put him into anything else. He sometimes has fitness training on weekends, fundraisers during the week, camp and sometimes has to be in the administrative office for uniform changes a day or two before regular meetings.

The other issue with medication is that I may be pregnant. So, it becomes not an option. I'm trying to keep the mind set that if I got through teenage suicide attempts, all the court dates when my abuser went to prison, being abused, the rape and an absentee parent, a smart mouth kid with no respect and sticky fingers sure as hell isn't going to break me. I've been through the trenches in my life and always come out a little bruised, but the last couple of weeks withstanding, I'm a very strong, independent and well adjusted person.

Sherri - posted on 03/09/2011

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Kristel-Yes, my husband has in the past few months gotten on board with discipline, consistentcy and all that jazz. Not a damn thing works. And since I have a business that allows me to be home at about 2:30, that makes me primary caregiver,so it gets to me more.

Fiona-That was a LOT of insight. Swearing is not something that's overly frowned upon in my house. My SS's mother has a mouth like a trucker and my husband and I have been known to let out the odd swear word or 2. HOWEVER, my SS KNOWS that swearing in general or telling a story or repeating something someone has said is an ENTIRELY different situation than swearing AT someone.

On your first point, I know WHY my SS behaves the way he does and have made that very clear. Make no mistake,I grew up with a dead beat parent myself. My father was in and out of the picture, always said nasty things to us about my mother and as a result of the dead beat not paying his child support, my mother had to take a boarder that sexually abused me for 4 years with 1 incodence of rape.... I UNDERSTAND my SS's anger and he knows about my past. If ANYONE is in a position to help him and fully understand what he's going through, it's me. But he WON'T let me help him. I understand, but that doesn't make his behaviour OK and I DON'T know how to correct the chaos and drama. I asked myself what would have made it easier for me and did that. When it didn't work, I asked my brothers and did what they told me to do.... nothing's worked.

Your second point-that's what we've been doing the last couple of months.

Third, I do try to turn it all off and I can't seem to find a way to get it done other than medication.... anxiety meds. However, I do not want to be stoned all of the time. I use them when the choice is the drugs or physically injuring my SS, but otherwise, I don't take them. I guess the "shut off" is a trial and error.

Last, no on the counselling, but I will buy that book tomorrow.

Rebekah-no, I'm not on anything other than the odd Lorazepam to temporarily bring down overwhelming anxiety. But yes, my stress level is SKY HIGH. I've never in my life been this stressed.... not to mention a new company. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! My SS's ideal is for everyone to leave him alone and get all the privileges and everything he wants at his finger tips with NO regard for financial constraints OR his own responsibility. He wants what he wants when he wants and doesn't want to answer to anyone. As an example, 2 days ago, he got off his grounding at 6pm. My husband was upstairs doing something and my SS stole a can of pop out of the "no-no" fridge..... the rule is to ASK. It's not like he asked, we said no.... just took it. When questioned, a huge temper tantrum broke out. There's NO accountability.

Fiona - posted on 03/08/2011

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Sherri, firstly congrats to you for recognising your feelings, identifying what is causing them and seeking help (talking to friends - even online - is a start). It is difficult to admit that the blending issues are the reason why, especially considering you are doing everything in your power to make the situation work.



Having gone through a very similar situation, it sounds like your SS may be angry at his BM and to a lesser extent his Dad becuase they are not handling the situation as HIS parents. He may feel that his only way of getting their attention is to behave badly. However, as the constant, safe person in his life, he is taking out his anger and frustration on you and to a lesser extent his Dad. (I'm assuming that you are the primary care-giver here). He sees that you are doing all the things a mum is meant to do for her child, his BM isn't and his Dad isn't "making her (BM)" do the right thing. Also remember at 13 his take on the situation will be skewed and the situation compounded becuase his hormones are going crazy and little things turn into mountains for "normal" kids, let alone ones that are working through the blending issue.



I talked with my SS on numerous occassions and explained why we had the rules in our home, why lying was bad, how trust was earned, what swearing said about the swearer etc. and each time things improved for a bit but then returned to "normal" (usually after a visit to BM). If I had the time over, I would've done things differently.



Firstly, if my SS wasn't responding to my direction, I would've given him the option to do what I asked or wait until Dad got home and then ensured that Dad & I were on the same page. With my own sons, they know that trying to play Dad against Mum only gets them into more trouble, however, my SS wanted his BM and Dad to get back together so he could have a "normal" family and therefore would lie, even when it was blantantly obvious that he was lying, knowing that we would always be there for him, but testing our commitment non the less.



2ndly, ask yourself the question: "Is this my ball?" If your SS is not listening to you, then you have to call in that higher authority (Dad) and get him to deal with the situation. Alternatively let you SS know that you are waiting for Dad to get home and deal with the situation then. It suxs not being able to "deal with" the situation directly, but ultimately, your SS will see that Dad really is making the same decisions you do.



3rdly, finding time for yourself is easy said but very difficult to organise especially when trying to work out how to "fix" this problem so the home is not a war zone and also dealing with the feelings of "failure", frustration and consistently being tired. However, turn off the washing machine of thoughts and set some time aside for yourself doing something (at this stage it doesn't even have to be something you particularly like but has to be something for you only), even if its only 15 mins. Use a timer so that everyone knows that they cannot disturb you during this time - unless they are on death's door.



Finally, is there a free counselling service that you can use in your area. In Australia, there is LIfeline that provides free counselling services and we also have a Parentline which you can call to discuss what is going on confidentially. There is also a book called "He'll be OK" that really helped me understand boys in general.



Hang in there ... you are a fantastic Mum and doing all the right things.

God Bless

Sherri - posted on 03/08/2011

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Mandie, I really try to make time for myself, but it's like I can't find anything that brings me any kind of joy. I try to read, but I get distracted hearing my SS whine, conplain and back talk. I have my own business that helps with my feelings of being a failure and worthlessness, but it's a cleaning company.. As you can imagine, at the end of the day, when I get home from cleaning someone elses house or a couple of condos while battling the traffic in downtown Toronto, coming home and having to threaten or beg people to pull their weight and at LEAST pick up after themselves is just plain taxing.

Any suggestions on what I can do for "me time"? Keeping in mind that I'm pretty strapped for cash trying to get my business running smoothly.

[deleted account]

Sherri I know what you mean. I dont know how to explain it but recently I had a bit of an epiphany- now, it could be b/c I have been taking special women's and anti-stress supplements but basically I have been taking time ut for MYSELF, with things I WANT to do and although I am not magically untouched by the carry-on that goes on here, I am somehow slightly less affected by it, in terms of it doesnt WIND me up like it used to (well, as much anyway) so you need to find this for yourself, I dont now what the magical formual is but maybe even just more time alone to think? And if you havent got time, make yr man MAKE time, or he might lose you.

Sherri - posted on 03/07/2011

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I get that the only thing I can control is my own reactions... but with all of the stress and drama, I find myself very depressed and my reactions are becoming extreme. I constantly have to pull myself back. I don't want to deal with anything anymore. I can't afford to go see a counsellor, so that's out of the option list. I need to find a way to stop letting it effect me so much, but I don't know how......

Chris - posted on 03/05/2011

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I understand 100% my ss is 9 and does all these things , he treats me and my son like crap, he doesn't listen to anything and blames everything on anyone else but him, he causes constant fights between me and my husband. He has Major anger issues and when he was 3 i told his dad that and they were pissed i even brought it up saying he never acted that way before i came in the pic. everything is always my fault some how.I almost left my husband 2 yrs ago and then I got pregnant. I really hate to say this but sometime I would rather kill myself than be in this house one more day, sometimes I go some place a debate even coming back cause You never know what is coming next. I myself have had major depressing and am bipolar and have bee since childhood and have major anxiety, he only makes all them worse, i just don't know how to deal sometimes cause it is so hard. the only thing that keeps me going are my 2 other boys they make me feel so loved and needed. they are the sweetest things that God ever gave me. Thank you for listening to me and it really does help that I am not the only one who feels this way. Being a step mom is the hardest job in the entire world

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