I am a Father failure.
I am writing to just get it out. Put it on paper, because I need to do something. Something besides the tossing and turning of restless sleep with a mind that will not let go of this nightmare day. I have been rolling this in my mind and heart all day and have finally given in to the desire to just pour it out somewhere and here it will be. My mind is reeling back replaying the events of today as if I have a scratched DVD that can’t move forward only to leave me in the worst part of a movie I don’t want to see.
As my fingers are flying across this keyboard, I see myself in my mind’s eye sitting on the floor holding my struggling 14yr boy who screams “Let me go” over and over in a defeated voice while tears stream down my cheeks. I was so scared and confused. My mind was paralyzed and shocked to the point where I didn’t know what else to do but to just hold on and mumble “No” over and over again to his desperate plea.
I just couldn’t believe how fast and fully this whole scenario had gotten out of control and where we ended up. We were both on the floor, completely drained of all energy. We had struggled verbally and physically for about 15 minutes now. One of us was pleading to be let go while the other was saying no and holding on. My wife was sitting on the couch across the room not wanting to look at us and determined to block it all out and separate herself from the insanity of what just happened. I could see it though, the pain in her eyes. . . the utter helplessness and defeat. It was there. This went beyond what she could handle both mentally and emotionally. She eventually had to leave the room. She could no longer bear to see this episode we were having. That is when I finally let go of him and he literally jumped up and ran out of the house. He fled like he was running from a serial killer. He was getting out and away like a prey running from a monster. He was running from me.
Words will never justly explain how broken I was in that moment to see my son run from me like he was fleeing for his very life. My mind was shutting down and my insides were freezing into a mass of broken machinery that rebelled against my mind. My mind shed all thoughts and gave into the pain of loss and rejection and failure. It went numb with a blankness that was terrifying. It was like working your whole life to build the mansion of your dreams just to have it swallowed by the earth in a quake right as you lay the final brick.
How did it get to this point though? How did all those years seem to go to waste where each day ends up being a struggle? I guide my son in the way he should treat others and care for himself while he pushes back with a tenacity that can topple mountains. He argues and pushes his views beyond the thoughtfulness of others. It crushes my spirit and stomps on my faith a little.
It is sad to say that this all started with a very seemingly benign event. I was weeding out the movies we owned to turn in to McKays for credit. When my son saw me doing that, he went ballistic. He got to the point where he actually fought me to not take them. Really, we like scuffled over it. I tried to explain the whole needing to reduce clutter and to let go of things that we didn’t use anymore. But it fell on deaf ears. And then it was chaos and it happened soooooo fast. Faster than I could react. Faster than I could think. And then it was too late to go back. It was at a point where I had to dig in. I had to take the stand. All I could think of was if he blew his top and went ape crazy and got his way, how fast would it happen again when he looked back and saw how effective that behavior worked? But, here I am still hurting and still in pain with the memory it. Here I am writing at 1:00 in the morning when everyone else in the family had gotten beyond it and is sleeping tight. I am not over it though. I have messed up somewhere and I am hurting really bad with it. I am questioning my whole worth being a dad.
I am just going to come out and say it because there is just no use denying how I feel. I have failed as a father. There, it is out. The tears are rolling with it and it is on the table.
You see, back when I received the news that I was going to be a dad, not once did I think that I would be sitting here 14 years later wondering what the hell happened. I mean, how did he end up this way? I wanted him to have high esteem, and to be generous, easy going, able to adjust and accommodate, thoughtful, dynamic, talented, and full of faith. What he has turned out to be is not what I have bargained for. It is eating away at me here this early morning as I am breaking inside from how he acts and treats me and his mother and from the mean spirited and calloused way he speaks to us. He is so greedy and entitled that it is stifling. It is hard to believe that he really could have grown up in our house with us as parents.
What really bothers me deeply is that he does not show us in action or words that he loves and appreciates us. That is what it is.
He is not like this when he is away from us. From all I hear, he is engaging and well received outside our home. He has a great sense of humor and is a little demure. He works well with others and interacts with intelligence and poise. I know because I have been told. I see it at home too but it seems like the arguments and hurtful words are just a response of “no” away. Why does he treat us so horribly and rage at us when we give so much as it is? It is hard to help him see all that he has and how fortunate he is but that is not the teenage way now is it. What I have been seeing is greediness and self-centeredness. I see no empathy for our feelings and how we struggle to have time to ourselves when we give so much to them. I see a boy that does not want to spend time with me or his mom unless he has the idea that maybe we will buy him something. Inside it hurts a lot to see my son so distance in his values from what I hold and I have no idea how I trained him to be this way.
Here I am pouring my feelings out of how pained and damaged I have been from the struggles I have with him and I am starting to have this deep sense of guilt for feeling this way. . . for writing such horrible things about my own son. I am so hurt and broken from the effort I have been giving. The wearing away of my emotional endurance is going to overtake my determination to keep teaching important values. But it is like walking upstream in a raging river. He pushes back so hard with his wants and desires in a fury of entitlement that just pierces me. But again, here I am hating myself all the same because he is my son and I am not supposed to feel this way. I am not supposed to hate how he does this to me and his mother. I am supposed to love him and support him and encourage him. I am just tired. I am beaten down.
(A few days later)
So I have come back and read what I typed so frantically the other night. I have had a few days to re-center myself. I have talked to dad ( well I basically sobbed my way through all the pain, guilt, and confusion with him). Lord, what am I going to do without his council? I can’t even begin to contemplate that right now. I am come to realize that what I am experiencing is normal for having a teen. Well, the tantrums and severe reactions are not but that is my son’s slight autism tendencies magnifying these episodes. I am going to keep trudging on. I am wrong about him not loving us. He does. He just has moments where it is clouded by anger and frustration. I just have to try and not let it hurt so much. It is hard you know. Words. They are sticks and stones some times. They don’t break bones. They break hearts. It is worse. Especially when they come from people you love.
I am hesitant to post this. Part of me does not want to put it out there the struggle in my house and my guilt for writing such harsh words. I have only put my side of it here and not how my wife is handling it. The other side of me has this need to post it so that if other parents are struggling they know they are not the only ones. I have been told that it gets better but it looks so impossible from this side. Just hang in there. I was once told that I was given this child from the good lord because I was the only one that could raise him and his uniqueness. Well, we will see. I just have to power through my days and nights of shaky ground with faith and endurance only the good lord can give.