Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Speeding Downhill

So my daughter seems very bright and breezy and convinced that everything will be OK. She’s been trying to joke with me that we’ll have a period party when the time comes but I’m not really amused. In fact, I’m seriously anxious. I’ve lost weight again as I just feel constantly sick.

Things haven’t been helped by the fact that my son, who up to now has been everything a mother could wish for, seems to be going off the rails.

He has been earmarked as a potential Oxbridge student and until recently he was doing really well. But all of a sudden he seems embarrassed by his success and has been going all out to impress his friends in other ways.

At the birthday/aftershow party we had a few weeks back, he brought some of his friends along. Not the usual boys he hangs out with who are very nice but some other lads who were very cocky and who thought it was funny to get drunk quite quickly, with no care that they were guests at my party and not at some pathetic teenage rave.

One of them even thought he could light up in my kitchen and I told him firmly that he had to go outside to smoke. Unfortunately, I noticed he took Kyle with him and I found out later that my precious son has been smoking for a while now.

That upset me.

My dad smoked heavily when he was younger and although he stopped eventually, I’m sure it contributed to the heart attack that killed him. I feel very ashamed that my son could be so stupid as to start such a pointless habit.

I told him the next day in no uncertain terms that I wasn’t happy and he promised me that he would stop. He said he didn’t know why he started and that he would put an end to it. Since then, I have noticed he smells of smoke when he comes in from school but he keeps saying that it’s because others smoke around him. I hate the lying and I told him I didn’t appreciate it, but he promised me that he wasn’t smoking anymore.

And then yesterday, I came back early from work as I had a headache and I thought I would stop by his school to see if he wanted a lift and there he was. Standing outside, with a group of scruffy little bastards, holding court, laughing and ….smoking.

I drove home alone and very, very angry.

When he got in, I said I could smell smoke and he just laughed and said very easily “for god’s sake mum, you always say that but I swear, I haven’t been smoking”

And then the red mist came down and I went into a rage.

I told him I saw him smoking with his nasty little friends and he said I was mistaken and I was so furious then, that I hit him. Hard. Round the head. And then I pulled his hair and yanked his head towards me and smelled his breath, and then hit him again.

I don’t know what happened after that but Ewan came down the stairs and shouted at me to calm down and I started shouting at him too. And, oh god, the whole evening descended into hours of real and bitter fury as I spewed out all the bile that seems to have been hidden so deep within me.

I hate myself so much

Today all I can think of is Kyle’s face when I went for him. Why did I do that ? I never hit them when they were growing up. I’m not part of the anti-smacking brigade but I just never thought it was the right way for me to parent as I was raised on regular, hard beatings from my mother and it never solved anything. Why did I hit him? Why did I get so angry?

I’ve realised today that however much I thought the therapist has helped me all this time, he hasn’t really. All these negative emotions are still there within me and they’ve never been resolved.

I feel so worthless, so drained. I don't want to get out of bed. If I could stay here forever I would.

I feel like I’m on the edge of something huge. That if I wanted to, I could let just go of what little control I might be holding on to and fall into a complete mental breakdown. Even as I’m writing I’m not sure that won’t happen. Maybe I should just walk into my local hospital and ask them to section me.

Before leaving for school just now Kyle came in and left a letter on my bedside table, apologising for lying and for making me so angry and pledging never to smoke again and promising to focus on his studies once more.

Trouble is, I don’t feel very forgiving even though I should be the one saying sorry. Instead I’m still angry – at Kyle, at Sasha, at Ewan, at my mother …….but most of all, at me

The therapist told me right at the start of my treatment that I had to learn to like myself. I thought I had but in truth, I don’t think I ever will

I despise me


  1. Hang tough. Take a deep breath. The letter from your son was huge,for both of you. Now how about writing one to him? You don't have to give it to him until you are ready or at all, you could write it then burn it if you want but it might help to get the emotions down on paper.

  2. by the end of this perhpas you have allowed emotions to be unearthed that you never allowed out before...as hard as it is it could be the break through instead of the break down...

  3. got your note, only 14 hours until tomorrow and a new day :)

  4. I can relate to the sense of rage and fear you expressed here. You are not alone. The teenage years are far more trying to parents (and teens, of course) than the baby/toddler years. Our kids are trying to become adults, trying to develop their personalities and opinions and we are desperately trying to guide them with the knowledge we've gained in life. When we see them making mistakes we become frustrated, angry, hurt, and terrified.

  5. Maybe you felt you over reacted hitting the lad. He obviously thinks he deserved something like that. He lied to you, disappointed you and I think he realised that his recent behaviour isn't what you'd expect from him.

    Psycho babble warning: Maybe you have this feeling that it'll only take a tiny thing to bring everything tumbling down. You must keep a tight rein on things to prevent that. Your son behaviour was hinting that you were risking losing control. And what do you do? Lose your temper, lose control. Just what you feared happening in the first place.

    No wonder you feel "worthless" and "angry with yourself". Let that pass: that's how you feel, but remember you're not worthless. You've got great, bright,gifted kids.

    I wonder who gave them all that?

  6. You're under a tremendous amount of pressure - something was bound to give. Sometimes it does people good to see how upset we are, to see how hurt we are by their actions. You need to set aside some nice time with your family to bring you all onto an even keel again. And stop beating yourself up!

  7. "The therapist told me right at the start of my treatment that I had to learn to like myself."

    I guess he--or maybe she--tells morbidly obese people that they need to lose weight, and alcoholics that they need to stop drinking. I would get a new therapist based upon such gratuitous advice.

    I don't have kids, and sometimes I have quite literally told myself that, by not having kids, I at least saved myself the risk of ever seeing one with a cigarette in his mouth. I'm far from suggesting that you did right, but to see him smoking, and then to have him lie about it would have constituted a really big problem in my mind too.

  8. I agree with mother hen, I think writing a letter back would be very theraputic - even if you never gave it to him.

    It is so difficult to watch people we love make mistakes. But everyone does it.

  9. Please be kinder to yourself. The fact you feel so much remorse is an indication you're not losing control at all, you are a human being and you were dealing with both a betrayal and lying and you lashed out. Nothing more. And his letter to you speaks volumes about how you are regarded in his eyes, and it shows his remorse. While your behavior was over the top, as indeed it was. So what? Shit happens.
    I think the advice that suggested you write him back is excellent. You should definitely do that.

  10. The outburst doesn't mean that you are falling apart. It just means that you aren't perfect. You are simply .... human. Don't berate yourself. Accept that you just overreacted that one time - and give yourself a hug!

  11. Please don't despise yourself. I, for one, think you're great - an inspiration!

  12. Christ! That sounds awful. And losing my temper and hitting out like that would also be my worst nightmare. Still. He wrote to you - he was grown-up enough to see that it wasn't you but your anger and that your anger was complicated. And to offer support. You must have done a pretty good job so far to help him reach that point.