My Son's Behavioral Disorders Are Making Me Want To Give Up As A Mom

My Son’s Waterpark Meltdown Pushed Me Over The Edge

An angry teenage boy
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Do you ever feel like you are done as a parent? Like, seriously done? I am not talking about taking a ride in the car and heading to Target alone. I mean the kind of done that you are considering going away for a while; maybe to live with your parents or to a hotel to be alone? I am so close to breaking that I can taste it. I seriously don’t know how much more I can take.

My son has behavioral issues. Big ones. He takes ADHD meds and mood stabilizers for his oppositional defiant disorder. We have tried behavioral therapy and one-on-one counseling and it’s not working. I am not his mother anymore; I am his punching bag. No, he doesn’t come after me physically, but emotionally he rips me apart. With his particular condition, there is a target. I am wearing the bullseye. He can take nearly every situation and turn it around into something terrible and I am fucking done!

Last weekend we took a mini trip to a waterpark. This was done 100% for him, because he doesn’t like to ride roller coasters or any other big rides at amusement parks. He wanted to go off on his own away from family members, and I reluctantly said OK. He is a teenager, social, and pretty independent, and I trust him to be safe. He was doing exactly what he wanted. It was a dream come true for him and I was happy. He was smiling and looking forward to a great day. He left and didn’t come back for hours.

I started to get nervous. I wasn’t panicking, but I had butterflies. He was located on a water coaster and came back as happy as could be. I couldn’t be upset with him, it was a parenting fail; I should have had him check in. But it was over and we were ready to move on. I asked if he was hungry and he said he was starving. We headed to get a pretzel and everything was fine, until I handed over the food. That is when the whole day went to shit. He looked me dead in the face, scowled and started in.

“You ate without me, didn’t you?”

“I cannot believe that you would do that!”

“Do you understand how hungry I am? This whole family hates me!”

“Uh, no,” I said. “You went off on your own, which is exactly what you wanted to do. I waved for you to come over when we were in line at the concession stand, but you wanted to keep going. I tried to get you something to eat, but you didn’t want to stop.”

“I seriously cannot believe you would do that to your own son! I hate this whole family!”

At this point I had had enough. He was being completely irrational. He was angry. He was defiant. And he wanted to fight. But I was done. I walked away and he kept it up. I made my way back to my husband who could just tell what was happening. He said that he’d talk to him; try to get him to calm down.

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I sat down and just burst into tears. How could this be happening? This was supposed to be his dream day. He got the run of the park. He got to do whatever he wanted to do, and yet he found a way to be angry with me. I couldn’t take anymore. I packed up my things and got ready to go. He continued to scowl at me, but I kept my cool and walked away. I wanted to unleash my wrath. I wanted to scream and shake the shit out of him. But all the experts say not to engage. And I didn’t. That was a victory.

On the ride home, he was silent. Perhaps he was thinking about what he had done. Honestly, I didn’t give a fuck; I was just glad he was quiet.

After we arrived home, he came up to me and apologized. “I’m sorry mom. I love you.”

OK, you’re probably thinking, that was nice of him. He is a good kid. You are an overreacting bitch. But here’s the thing. I am not overreacting. I have had my fill of the disrespectful bullshit that he spews at me day after day. It could be literally anything and it morphs into whatever that was at the waterpark. And here’s the fun part: it’s just me. Not his dad, or friends from school, or his siblings, or anyone else. He saves it all for mom.

And yes, he is a good kid. He is a great kid. He is smart and funny. And I even think he’s pretty darn handsome. But he and I cannot get along, and I don’t know how much longer I can live like this. And due to his age and raging hormones, I know it is likely going to get worse before it gets better.

I have talked to the doctor about further diagnoses. Is he bipolar or manic-depressive? She assures me that he isn’t. I trust her implicitly. She has made him better, believe it or not. We are just in a bad place right now that he has to work through. We have been in counseling together and he refuses to do anything that they say. He will agree in the office and then walk out and say, “That’s all bullshit. She doesn’t know what she is talking about.”

I feel like I am failing him as a mother. I want better for both of us. I don’t want him to go away to college and never come back because he hates his family. I want him to feel nurtured and loved. I tell him that I love him every day. And he says it back. But when he is ready to unload, I don’t feel that love in return.

At this point, I think that I need a few days away. I don’t feel like a big announcement needs to be made that I am leaving because of him. But maybe if I am gone he will notice and feel a bit of remorse. Maybe in my absence, he will see everything that I do for him on a daily basis and want to treat me with more respect.

I can’t give up. I owe him that. I love him too much. I nursed him and taught him to walk and talk. I helped him with homework and I tied his shoes. I want that light that shone so bright in him to come back. I just don’t know how to do it. Maybe a couple of days at a hotel would allow me to think. At this point, I don’t know that I have many other options if I am going to continue to be a good mom. But I am going to do my damnedest to try.

If you pray, please say a quick one for me. If you prefer good vibes, send some my way. I really need it right now, because I don’t know how much more strength I can muster on my own.