I asked M a hypothetical question today, after all the excitement over my blog and new blog “friend.” I asked him what he would do if someone attacked me and said hurtful things about me. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about let me know. I don’t want to encourage this new “friend” with any more traffic on her blog than is necessary). He is 12 and is completely capable of making judgments on his own, contrary to my new ‘friend’s” belief. We talk about everything. And I mean everything. He is fully allowed to delve into his actions and beliefs and where he is in the family. If I’ve done nothing else right as a parent, I at least know I have talked to my kids, every day, in every situation, about every possible topic.
So I told M briefly about some things that had been said and picked his brain about how he would respond. I did not put these words in his mouth, just tried to make them a little clearer.
Question: How do you feel about your mom and hugs?
M: When I’m in a bad mood or I’ve acted out badly I give icky hugs because that reflects my actions. I try to push my mom away by not being very affectionate. When I get good hugs it really does fill me up. These usually happen after I’ve had a good day and I’m sick of being in the pit. As a young child I got hugs all the time. We are a very huggy family. Sometimes that makes me mad and sometimes it makes me want to get back up again. We hug because we might not see each other again. We always say I love you whenever we leave each other either on the phone or in person.
Question: Why do you argue so much?
M: When I think I’m right I will argue to the death or I will die on that hill. I use my words and my memory against who I’m arguing with. I remember the most minute details and throw it in their face. When there is obvious evidence that I am wrong I argue even harder because I refuse to admit I’m wrong. I hate being wrong. If I am wrong I feel less important and less in control.
Question: Where does God fit in your life?
M: There is a lot of evidence of God in my house because I’ve watched my sister transform from a carpet that everybody walks on to being herself. She doesn’t slump her shoulders. She doesn’t say poor me. She keeps trying, she perseveres.
I said my mom shoves God down my throat because I know that since it’s who my family is that’s one of the biggest things I can use to hurt them with. Sometimes I feel like God is a million miles away. It’s mostly because I do things my way and get mad at God because he didn’t do it my way. I think so highly of myself I want to do it my way and convince myself that is God’s way.
Question: Do you believe your mom is selfish?
M: Most moms go out shopping and buy stuff for themselves. Rarely do I see my mom buy anything for herself (other than Cheezits and ice cream). Most of her spare time is spent saving money for our family instead of sitting around watching tv. She homeschools me, not just tossing me in a room with my math book. I am fortunate because it would be easier on my mom if she sent me to public school. If my mom was selfish I would be at my therapist’s house all the time, like some of the kids I know, or she would find a babysitter for me so she could get away.
Question: How do you feel about missing out on things?
It drives me crazy when I don’t get to go places because of something I’ve done, like an activity at church or basketball or something. I blame the circumstances of what I’ve done on someone else so that I have more satisfaction of being right. When I think I’m having a good day and my mom talks to me about my actions and points out where I’m wrong or what I should have done I get mad and my day goes downhill. If my mom hadn’t said something I would be fine. I believe it’s always someone else’s fault. This is what I think when I’m mad.
Question: Where do you see yourself in the family?
I do see myself as stuck and sometimes sliding backwards. I rely on myself all the time because I want to be in control. I like being first. Most of the time control is more important than relationship.
Yes, my kid has been in therapy for years. Yes, he knows all the “therapy answers” but he also knows how to get real and honest when he wants to. Yes, he knows what to do in order to be a fully attached, functioning member of not only our family but of society. He just can’t give up the control enough to move forward. One day, my son. One day.