Saturday, August 16, 2008

why animals eat their young


Dear sixteen year old son,

In some ways I feel like I need to apologize to you, since in the game of genetics roulette you got the short end of the stick in terms of nasty personality traits. You have my temper, your father's inability to ever hear a sentence in the way it was actually spoken, and my father's supreme conviction that you're always right and everyone else is always wrong. Your maternal grandfather, as you've heard me say, was the only human being ever to die without once having been wrong about anything. At least that's the impression I always got. Your listening skills leave so much to be desired that I don't even know where to start, and the fact that you come by them honestly is wearing very thin as an excuse. And the fact that, when called on any of this, you automatically deflect all responsibility and then lash out with my temper...is galling. Not even Campbells could market this genetic soup.



To be fair and accurate, you also got some of our best traits, too. You're funny, you're a great conversationalist, you're passionate about the things you love, you're loyal, you speak and write well, you're smart, compassionate and a sometimes all around good guy. Except to me. (And your dad, but that's a whole other story). I don't see a lot of the good things lately. I mostly see Paragraph One Sasquatch. And it's getting really old.


I understand that you're sixteen and you're supposed to prickly. I understand that you've had some significant life changes this year. I understand that you're conflicted about the level of your dependence on me. I get it. I really do. But the fact that I get it doesn't mean that I'm willing to put up with the way you speak to me, doesn't mean I'm going to let you treat me the way you have been. I've had more than enough.


Last night you messed up the computer. You came home from school and sat on the computer for hours before I got home from work. I came home, put dinner on the table, caught up on everyone's day, patted the dogs, washed my face...and got on my laptop. Five minutes later the wireless went out. I could hear you in the next room muttering under your breath and then you got up and stomped upstairs saying the computer was overheated and that we should all stay off of it. I asked about the wireless and you said IT'S OKAY MOM. IT JUST NEEDS TO COOL OFF. DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT...OKAY???? in a really crappy tone of voice. And then your bedroom door slammed.


Hours later, when the computer was still out, I knocked on that same door to ask if you had any ideas of what we could do. I wanted to post on my blog. I needed to pay the mortgage. It was a simple question. And you went off on me. Screaming and yelling, dodging and deflecting, accusing me of anything and everything you could think of that would wound and sting. I can't describe the way you do this to anyone who hasn't had the bad luck to witness it. You turn everything around. You twist facts around until they are unrecognizable. Last night you told me that I'm incapable of communicating with anyone. Your favorite thing to say is that I always attack you. Nothing is ever your fault. And very often you contradict yourself so many times that if I weren't so infuriated I would be tempted to laugh...but I don't. There isn't so much about these episodes that strikes me as funny.


As always, you're amazed after the fact that I might still be upset. Shocked that I could be angry. Blithe in the way you chalk it up to my "ridiculous attitude" or my "insane need to always be right". Happy to go along with your day as long as you feel that I'll "get over it" and give you another chance. Because I always have. And I always do. And you're very used to that and use it to your advantage every chance you get.


But it may surprise you, my self-absorbed son, that other people in this house have had a rough year, too. And other people in this house are tired of being taken so much for granted. And that you don't abuse those you purport to love. And that good will doesn't grow on trees. And that you need my support and good will far more than you realize.


And it may surprise you to know that you're about to find out just how much you need that good will from me. Because - as of now - it's gone.


Did I communicate that clearly enough for you?

18 comments:

my two cents said...

Ouch. Sorry. Clearly communicated.

WT said...

Que the malevolent music...

pursegirl said...

Since I speak 16 year old, or at least have heard it spoken MANY times, I feel I am qualified to say you were VERY clear! I'll be waiting for one of you to show up on my doorstep... (I hope it's you) :)

ciara said...

yikes, r.c.-sorry it's rough going, but i'm sure he'll get the message now.

Aoj and The Lurchers said...

uh-oh

Even I'm quaking in my boots remembering the 16 year old me!

Maggie May said...

Blimey RC, you are really going through it. Hope he got the message! That is a difficult age,16. Brings back many memories..... not all happy!

Akelamalu said...

I hope you made him read this?

I remember my two at that age and boy was it tough!

laurie said...

so what the hell does he keep DOING to the computer? i've never heard how overuse alone can suddenly cause the wireless to quit.

(we just unplug the modem and plug it back in 30 seconds later and all is healed.)

before you several all ties with him, find out what the hell he's doing to the computer.

softinthehead said...

RC I feel for you I really do, it all sounded scarily familiar. I know it isn't a great help when the mud slinging is flying but you are not alone. I truly wonder if they can help themselves. I went through it with my now 27 yr old daughter, made me feel I wasn't fit to lick her boots!! I have an almost 16yr old and reading this is scaring the sh*t out of me because I can see it coming. Be brave, be strong, it truly is them NOT us.

Rudee said...

Frustrating. Having just skewered my son over at my place, I have to tell you I feel your pain. This too will eventually pass, you know that.

Virginia S. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
the planet of janet said...

you. go. girl!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kaycie said...

Oh my. I have been there, and I have done that, almost exactly. With both of my older kids. I am happy to report that it worked incredibly well, but you have to stick to your guns long enough to make life uncomfortable and unpleasant for him. Your cue that you've done it long enough? He will come to you, begging, probably crying, and asking for guidance.

Be strong. I now how hard this is.

Marti said...

Good Luck, RC! I don't relish what you are going through. I see shades of this coming with Lu.

BIG Hugs!
Marti

Anonymous said...

I have been instructed on the proper use of blogging and will hereafter use them. KCGinny

aims said...

Finally! I've been wondering for a long time why your sons get to run the place. Good for you RC. Stick to your guns. The world needs parent(s) to do this. Otherwise it will remain in the mess it already is and only worsen because kids think they can get away with everything.

Genetics is not a good enough reason!

Again - good for you!

Eileen said...

Can I borrow parts of this? I could use this letter, word for word, with my 16 year old. I feel your pain and I hope he hears you.
XXXX

Sandy said...

very clearly written for a ridiculous and insane person!

You have my sympathy, empathy, and prayers.