I'm Wrong And Alone In the Dark

August 14, 2006


When I heard him using my vacuum on the back porch, I wanted to go tell him not to but I hesitated.  I knew he would be defensive and I wanted to avoid another confrontation.  But, then I thought, “But, that’s the only vacuum I have and if it breaks, I can’t afford another one.  Besides, I never even use the thing out there!” 


So, I went and said to him, “You shouldn’t be using that vacuum out here.  This is ‘outside,’ it was made for ‘inside.’”


To which he responded, defensively & sucking his teeth, “It’s fine.  You asked me to do it and I’m doing it.”


“Yes but, you shouldn’t be using the vacuum outside.  I don’t even use the vacuum out here.  Why do you think I always sweep it with the broom?  You need to get the broom.”


“For what? It’s just dog food.”


I started getting upset.  Why does he INSIST on questioning every word that comes out of my mouth???  **** all this conversationI said he should be using the vacuum and that really should be the end of it. 


So, I started raising my voice:  “Listen, if you’re so lazy – “


“Oh.  I’m lazy.”  (Implying that I’m really the one who’s “lazy.”


“If you’re so lazy that you can’t use the broom, you could’ve at least used the dirt devil we just got for free.  You better make sure you empty that.”


“Yeah.  And, thanks for yelling at me for the way I’m doing what you asked me to do.”


So, then I just started telling him to shut up, indicating that the discussion (that we never should have been having, in the first place) was over and I was no longer interested in what he had to say.  I’m the mother.  You’re the son.  Case closed.  I told him that he was way too defensive, that he should just “get over it,” and that the whole thing was really rather simple:  Don’t use the vacuum outside.  He kept running his mouth.  I kept telling him to shut the **** up.


I heard him telling the neighbors (who were RIGHT outside, all UP in our business the WHOLE time) when they asked him something (that I didn’t hear) that he was “mad now.”


I walked back over to the porch door and calmly said, “It’s really pitiful and sad that you are so defensive that I can’t even tell you not to use my vacuum outside without you getting smart and running your mouth, big man.”


“Well, you should’ve just done it yourself.”


WHAT?!?!  THAT was the straw that broke my back.  I grabbed and tried to push him.  He batted my puny, little advances away like he was swatting at a fly.  I looked for something to grab – anything – to knock him with.  The nearest thing was the mop.  So, I came toward him with the mop.


“Hit me.”


So, feeling foolish by this point, I did.  Whap!  Across the backs of his knees with the mop stick.


“Keep hittin’ me.  Hit me again.”


One more time, since he asked:  Whap!


All exaggerated and dramatic, he fake-winced:  “Oh!  Ooowwwww.”


I paused as I walked away to turn around and say to him, “I’m your mother.  You should NEVER disrespect me like that!”  He kept talking ****.  I could hear him outside.  He was still running his mouth when he came back in.


“Get the **** outta my house, ““Jonah””.  Right now.  I’m serious.  Get your keys, get your car and get the **** out!!!!!!!!!!”


I yelled at him about how ridiculous it was that he can walk around dishing out all KINDS of criticism to people…about how they live and what they believe in but he can’t even handle being told that he’s doing something (ANYthing) the wrong way.  He kept running his mouth…all the way up the stairs.


“What are you doing?  I said get OUT of this house.  NOW!” As I followed him up the stairs.  “I’m sick and tired of being uncomfortable in my own house, because of YOU and your mouth.  Get OUT!’


“Well, can’t I just get some – “


“NO!  You can’t get ****.  Get your keys and your car and get the **** out!”


On his way down the stairs, “You think you’re hurting somebody but I don’t care.”


“NO, I’m NOT trying to hurt ANYbody!  I’m trying to RELIEVE myself!”


Then from downstairs I heard him say, while I went back into his room to turn off his light and fan,


“I don’t need you.  You ain’t nothin’.”


WHAT THE ****?!?!?!?!? 


If I could’ve flown down the stairs, I would have!


“WHAT the **** did you just say to me, little boy?!?!?!?!?”  He was already outside, making his way (walking) down the driveway.  I followed him, screaming at the top of my soul-broken lungs, “I’m NOTHING?!?!?  IS that what the **** you just said to me?!?!?  Huh?  Say it to my ******* face!!!”


I saw the recognition register in his eyes when he looked back at me.  He knew how deeply he had hurt me with that remark.  But, I also saw that it didn’t faze him.  No, in fact, he may have even looked satisfied…satisfied that he had gotten under my skin enough for me to lose my composure.


As I started flailing at him, grabbing hold of any piece of skin I could find, catching him on the face once, I said through gritted teeth, “And how the **** do you think you’ve made it to this point in your life?!?!?”  He simply batted me away again and said (as if nothing else in the world could ever matter more than “how I looked,”)  “You look really crazy right now.”


What else am I supposed to do?  The child has been blatantly disrespecting me for an extended period of time and I’ve been as tolerant and understanding and FIRM as I possibly could be.  But, I have let him get away with so much in recent months.  Maybe, that’s my downfall.  But, if I were a man (or, at least if there were a man who had a sound and firm footing in our lives) this would not be as much of a problem as it has been.  I know FOR A FACT that ““Jonah”” wouldn’t even have attempted to pull MOST of the **** he has if his father was here!  The minute “Thomas” would have EVER heard that contemptuous, disrespectful-*** tone in his son’s voice, he would have been checked.  And, what would ““Jonah”” have done?  With “Thomas” in his face, but shut the hell up?  I’m 5’3” 115 lbs., to his 6’2” 185 lbs.  What am I to him but just some puny little woman threatening to stand in the way of his manhood??  How’s he gonna let ME order him around?  I understand all of that.  But, I also understand that I didn’t break my *** teaching them about the importance of respect for EITHER ONE OF THEM to grow up and start treating me like some stranger in the streets!


I’ve made countless mistakes, as a mother but laying down lack of discipline was never one of them.  I’ve always been big on discipline, respect, trust, love and family…ALWAYS…in the way that I’ve taught them and in the way that I’ve lived.  My children were raised to know better.


I think I lost it somewhere along the line since they grew up and became intelligent enough to throw things in my face.  I’ve never cared more about anything than being their mother.  They’ve both always known that.  And, a few years ago, I made some very ENORMOUS mistakes…the alcohol & drug abuse, the overdose, mental illness have affected all of us.  I haven’t had a private life ever since I almost killed myself.  They watch me like a hawk.  And, I’ve felt EXTREMELY guilty.  One of my BIGGEST problems now is that I yell a lot.  I’ve acknowledged that this is a problem and I’ve been putting forth a great deal of effort to not yell so much.  I’ve apologized to them for all the crazy crap I took them through.  I’ve always been like that.  I always talk to them.  When I had to leave “Marty”, I vividly remember driving them down to the park to talk to them about it.  Through tears, I explained to them how we would be leaving our house, their house, the one I had been blessed enough to be able to buy for them; that “Marty” and I had to get a divorce; that it wasn’t because we didn’t love each other but because we just couldn’t work our differences out and it was the best thing to do so that all of us could be happy.


Their response:  “It’s okay, mom.  It’s just a house.  We know you’ll take care of us.  You always do.  We still have each other.”


This is how they were raised; how I ******* raised them…by myself.


Anyone who knows me knows that I raised my children “right” and most people (including my children) are astonished at how good a job I’ve actually done, (not just but) especially considering where I’ve come from/how I was raised.  I have to say that I’ve felt pretty satisfied about having been able to actually succeed at breaking some of the cycles.  I’ll admit, since they’ve gotten older, though, I’ve felt a lot less sure about that.  It’s become increasingly difficult (if not impossible) for me to be a person and a mother, at the same time.  I’m at a complete loss for how to be both things right now.  I know, as a mother, that I need to always remain objective.  I know that they are both teenagers and they’re growing up in a world that’s wrought with all manner of aggression and discord.  I know they’re suffering from so many growing pains and all of the insecurity, frustration and hormones that go along with that.  But, since each of them was born, I’ve dedicated my living, breathing SOUL to building a foundation for them.  Since they’ve gotten older, I feel I’ve had it revealed to me that, okay…maybe I didn’t lay quite as many solid bricks down as I thought I did.  But, I still managed to lay some vitally important ones. 


Firstly, that family is everything.  We’ve always been a close-knit little family.  Since they’re both bi-racial and we were all disowned by most of our family, the only family any of us has ever really known is each other.  They were raised to value, honor and respect that.  Secondly, the importance of discipline and respect.  I very rarely had to “whoop” either one of them because they were raised to be obedient.  I was raised with zero discipline and I’ve ALWAYS been extremely big on the fact that children NEED the boundaries that solid and consistent discipline sets up for them.  They have NEVER been able to get away with being disrespectful toward me or any other grown-up.  Trust, has also always been a huge lesson I’ve taught them about.  I’ve always told them that, since I take being their mother and the job of protecting them very seriously:  if I didn’t trust them, their lives would suck.  When the oldest hit puberty, he tried me.  He pushed at his boundaries; tried to get away with stuff.  But, he figured it all out relatively quickly.  Once he had gotten big enough to move about our small town on his own and expand his geographical circle on his own, there was one simple rule: “I must know where you are at all times.”  It was this way for both of them, actually.  They were both welcome to stop at a friend’s house on the way home from school, or to go and visit them, when they felt like it, if it was a friend whose family I was familiar with.  All they had to do was call, once they got there.  If it was a friend I was NOT familiar with, they had to call, first, to get my approval.  I’ve always been very protective and active in their lives but, I’ve also been very fair and respectful of their own, personal life experience(s).  I’ve always recognized the value and freedom of (all people, but especially them, as they began to grow into young adults) being able to make their own decisions.  I’ve given them the freedom to do that but, I’ve also always set up consequences for them.  I’ve always taught them, “Go ahead.  Make your own decisions.  But, do it with integrity.  You know the difference between right and wrong.  If you’re gonna choose to do the ‘wrong’ thing, you have the freedom to do that.  You just damn well better be ready before you choose the action to accept the consequences with the same courage it took you to make the decision.”  After a few months of trying to get around the single rule, my son figured it out and I had virtually no problems with him, from then on.  Our (close) relationship with each other continued to grow and flourish and I began to find in our interaction with each other, a new source of warmth and comfort.  People have always commented on how beautiful our relationship is.  My friends and his friends are always so touched and surprised at how much we talk; about how much he talks to me.  I spent the bulk of his teenage years feeling as though (and, with other people constantly telling me):  “I must’ve done something right” for them both to turn out so well.

Well, that all hit the fan when he turned eighteen, was voted homecoming king and bought his own car.  During that time, he really tested me.  He’s a great kid; star athlete, honors student, is devoted to the community, loves God, goes to church regularly, is deeply concerned with the Truth and has always been very respectful (and, even appreciative, if you can imagine THAT from a teenager) of me, as his mother.  But, suddenly, he caught this arrogant, contemptuous attitude; like, “I’m the ****.  I’m grown and, there’s nothing you can do about it.”  He started getting really disrespectful. 

It all peaked when he STARTED ISSUING THREATS to me!!!  I instructed him one night, when we passed each other driving on the street, to leave his car keys on the counter before he went to bed because he was so damn cocky about having a car and refused to willingly give his sister rides.  This was AFTER we argued back and forth about how WRONG it is to let his sister and/or her friends WALK so his guy-friends could ride around with him; about how he was giving everyone and their brother a ride but acted like it was such a pain in his *** to help his sister out.  When I told him to leave the keys on the counter, of COURSE he responded with, “I bought this car.  You can’t keep me from driving something that I paid for.  I’m eighteen years old, now.  I’m grown.”  Basically, like, “and there’s nothing you can do about it.”  I started panicking a little.  He was right.  “How can I teach him anything anymore without being able to give him consequences???” the thought nervously ran through my head.  But, since neither of us could afford insurance, I calmly replied, “It’s as easy as making a phone call to the authorities to let them know that you’re driving without insurance, ““Jonah””.  Don’t give me a hard time.  Just do as I say.” 


So,” he said, with SO MUCH INDIGNANT CONTEMPT, “You don’t have insurance, either,” implying (threatening) that he would do the same to me!!! 


I lost it.  I freaked out.  I mean, if I were his father, standing there next to his car saying those things to him, it wouldn’t have been about “estrogen vs. testosterone.”  We would have squared up with each other and he would have been forced to stay in his place.  But, what do I have?  My shoulders are narrow enough to fit in little girl clothes!  So, I reacted.  I flew through his window and yoked him up by his collar, “No matter how much of a man you EVER become, you will NEVER be big enough to disrespect ME like that!!!  You can’t THREATEN me, little boy!” while I flailed and grabbed.


I told him not to come back to my house and he was fine with that.


Later, though, I felt badly.  My mother kicked me out of the house three months after I turned eighteen for not going to my great grandmother’s funeral.  I had to sleep in my car….it was the middle of winter.  Even after I went back home cuz I couldn’t find anywhere to stay and had fallen asleep in my winter coat and boots on the couch, she came home and forced me to leave.  I never moved back home.  I found out I was pregnant with ““Jonah”” the same month….AND got kicked out of high school because of absences….but, I was absent because I was homeless.  Anyway, I called him later that night and left him a voicemail saying that this was his home and he was always welcome here.  That he doesn’t have to move out but, he will have to make some IMMEDIATE adjustments in the level of respect he was showing me.

Somehow, we moved past all of that and things went back to normal.  Altogether, the teenage bullshit lasted with him for a total of about 8 months!  We were back to our normal, close, loving selves, relishing all the milestones in his life.


And, then he graduated.  It started all over again.  It’s been going on, now, since June.  We’ve had SEVERAL pretty emotional falling-outs but, today was by far the worst.  I’m so lost and confused and feel so ALONE and un-qualified.  I regret “reacting” to him today but, what else am I supposed to do???  There is ONE WEEK left until he goes away to college (a private, EXPENSIVE college where he is going FOR FREE because he has done so well academically (3.5 gpa) and athletically.)  Since he was thirteen years old, he’s been striving toward and reaching the goals that he wrote (unprompted) on a piece of paper and left by my night stand.  A full-ride scholarship was one of the goals, and he’s reached that, too.  But, it’s been damn near impossible to enjoy this event in his life!  Our house has been so filled with tension and awkwardness since June!  I’ve been uncomfortable in my own home.  This is particularly disturbing to me because I, as a woman, have made a TREMENDOUS amount of sacrifices to MAKE SURE that there is no conflict, in our home.  I’ve walked away from houses and husbands and men that I’ve deeply loved….to avoid any amount of discord in our home.  And, now, the two of them are actually causing the discord!  I can’t wrap my mind around that.  It’s like soul-poisoning.  This is the human part of me and the feelings are strong; Strong enough to prevent me from knowing how to be objective.

MysticWriter MysticWriter
36-40, F
13 Responses Aug 14, 2006

I am currently 17 years old so I know where your son is coming from. To me it seems like you are making life for your son too hard. He did something great by getting good grades and going to college for free so you should be happy with him. When you are mad at him think of the good things he has done. Although he shouldn't do things like that to his mother I don't think he deserves to get spanked really. That would probably work on kids but not teens. When your son does something good then you should reward him with something. According to your story I don't think you have plenty of money so maybe just do something that he would like. Being happy together really does improve your relationship. I don't really know much so this is the short answer I have, but I really hope this helps!

"I tried my best to be a very good mom but I guess I didn't do enough. I feel hated by my son also he is very disrespectful and his words sometimes just hurt." (ams7latina) <br />
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I have two sons and they behave like this at times, as well as being lovely at times too. It sounds like you have been a very good mum and done more than enough, but that your son has no appreciation for what you have done, or understanding of what it has cost you to raise him. Time to say 'I love you, son, but I also value and respect myself, and the way you are treating me is not ok. Sort it out or move on out and find your own way. <br />
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Best wishes, Andrea, UK

Sad :(<br />
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I didn't expect raising teenagers would be so bad sometimes, I have also started to feel somehow I failed as a mother, somehow I did. I tried my best to be a very good mom but I guess I didn't do enough. I feel hated by my son also he is very disrespectful and his words sometimes just hurt. I am a happy person most of the time, but sometimes I feel so sad and alone in this world. I love my son with all my heart and only desire the very best for him and he doesn't seem to get that. Maybe not having a father figure there? And me always busy putting myself through school and working 2 jobs to raise my family, was not enough. I failed somehow :(

when i was 16. me and my mom used to always argue just like that... my mom actually kicked me out and i lived in my car for 3 months... i used to think that my mom didnt know anything at all and that she was just a stubborn *******... but after living on my own i realized that i was the stubborn *******... like i've seen other people say the best thing to do is to tell him that no matter what you love him... oh yeah i dont mean to sound rude or offend you... but sometimes us kids just need some space and some time to figure out what the **** is goin on in our own worlds, minds, bodys...

I had same feelings at times think it's all part of being a mother. I've kicked two of my kids out at different times when they were 17, I did know where they were but we didn't talk for about 3/4 weeks then they moved back in now we can't get rid of them(so can't be that bad) I too have a bad temper and shout and scream and throw things( I can take so much and then one little thing will tip my over the edge then everyone better watch out!!!)

I had same feelings at times think it's all part of being a mother. I've kicked two of my kids out at different times when they were 17, I did know where they were but we didn't talk for about 3/4 weeks then they moved back in now we can't get rid of them(so can't be that bad) I too have a bad temper and shout and scream and throw things( I can take so much and then one little thing will tip my over the edge then everyone better watch out!!!)

it seems your son is in that in between stage of wanting to be an adult and wanting to be a child, it seems to me you tried to do all the right things,my mom kicked me out when i was seventeen, she wanted to show me tough love when i started to relize that the grass wasn't always greener on the other side i saw what i had at home wasn't so bad living on my own taught me what it was to truley be an adult i began to respect my mother for all she did we have our problems granted, but now I am a mother and see now alot of where she was coming from. after your son sees you truley had his best intrest at heart he will change his tune, but it might be after he sees what really being an adult means,don't be so hard on your self though you are not a failure as a mother, good luck and best wishes

Oh, there's something you can do alright. Kick him out of your damn house.

Hm, reading this story wasnt the worst way to spend time in ISS

Well, I'm 18 and just moved out of my mom's house into college. I never was that mean to my mom, but sometimes I felt like it. The reason may be the same reason your son was like that. I think the whole thing about family being so important and having an extremely close-knit family and being extremely protective can go overboard. I still love my family to death, but quite frankly, I'm pretty sick of them. The first 18 years of my life have been so boring and monotonous because everything I did was all about family, family, family. The only time I ever spent away from my family was school. I feel as if I may have been OVERnurtured and OVERloved. Maybe you should let them live their own lives more, and you can live your own life more. He probably still loves you, but he is just tired of you. Just let it go, let him find his own way, and find something else to do with your life instead of worrying about him all the time.

ya I can't believe any child would behave like that just shocks me. makes me wanna take a crack at em

You know...I happen to be 16, and I read that and recognized a part of myself in your son (even though I've never said or thought anything like that about my parents). I guess sometimes I just feel like apologizing to someone on behalf of my whole age group, if you know what I mean. It's really not our fault, but it isn't yours either, and sometimes I wonder if my parents ever blame themselves for all the multitudes of things that must be wrong with me.<br />
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I think your son is probably very sorry for all the trouble he caused you...I know I am for all the small things that I do wrong in terms of my relationship with the rest of my family. At least for me, most of the problem is that I don't really know exactly how I should act in different situations - and isn't that the definition of not being an adult yet? That's why I think that we should be held accountable for our actions, but at the same time, we can't really be blamed for them. <br />
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I had a very similar time with my daughter in high school. It does pass, I promise you. We had two incidents when the police were called. I think they are in the process of trying to disconnect from us as much as they need to to become adults and go out into the world on their own. And we as mothers have a very hard time giving them that space and letting them go. Oh, the crying I did. I am afraid there are no easy answers. Just love them and no matter what they do or say know that they love you. Good luck and hang in there.