With a tremendous amount of shock and horror, my 7 year old exclaimed, “Your life is in danger! It is! Your life is in a lot of danger! From Dad. From R (my 17 year old). From S and D (our landlords). From B (R’s counselor). From A (my adult daughter). Your life is just in a lot of danger!”
My adult daughter was late to pick up my granddaughter yesterday, although I’d told her that I needed to leave by a certain time. I’d be pushing it anyway to get J to piano lessons on time, but then R left a note on my desk.
As I was cleaning off my desk, I told him that he had a paper he’d left there. “Oh, no. That’s for you,” he responded. It was a to do list of requirements for the Navy recruiter. R has set up a meeting for me for next week.
I scrambled. I called the eye doctor, the family physician, and the counselor’s office and requested records. They were all wonderful and could have them ready in the afternoon. Great! I could pick them up when I took J in for his lessons!
R did need to sign for his mental health records, so we’d have to bring him along. But, I offered to drop him off at a friend’s and figured he’d relish the afternoon just hanging out.
He had no one to call.
My daughter finally showed up at 2:10. I had twenty minutes to make the thirty minute trip into town and across town. And, I had to stop at the counselor’s office first.
I pulled into the parking and jumped from the car. R didn’t follow. I waited at the door for what seemed like forever as I could hear a giant clock ticking in my head. He finally came around the corner, and I hurriedly led him upstairs to the records office.
Thankfully the papers were ready. But, then, the woman behind the counter set her mouth firm and looked away from me (after she took the money from me) and looked directly at my son. “These are YOUR medical records. NO ONE has the right to these. Once you’re fourteen, NO ONE has the right to these except you. Do you understand me? That means YOUR MOTHER doesn’t have a right to these. This is YOUR personal business, and you don’t want ANYONE looking at YOUR PERSONAL records. Do you understand me?” Each of the words I’ve bolded was emphasized. She then dramatically held the papers up and placed them in a manila envelope. “I’m stamping this all over with confidential, so YOU and EVERYONE ELSE (a quick glance to me) knows this is confidential and it is YOURS.” She then droned on about HIPPA regulations, of which I am well versed.
It was now time for the piano lesson to start, and we were still fifteen minutes away.
My teeth were set on edge by her speech.
I’m responsible for this teenager. If he does something illegal, I’ll pay for it. I can be sued for his misbehavior. If he isn’t in school or being educated, I can be jailed for that. If he has medical or psychological problems, it is my responsibility to ensure he gets the care he needs and also pay for it. After a very lengthy and expensive court battle, I was awarded sole legal custody and control of his medical, religious, and educational decisions. However, although I am the one who took him in for counseling, I have no right to know how he’s doing or what their plans are for my child. That is clearly between this group of counselors and my son, and it is NONE OF MY BUSINESS. Is it any wonder his attitude toward me has worsened in the last six months?
Of course, I must swallow it down, as I do everything else.
I literally ran for the car. I encouraged R to hurry and buckle. And, I couldn’t contain it all. It was about to spew forth, so I released a small pressure valve. “I really wish she hadn’t spent so much time going over the HIPPA regulations. We could have made it without being too late, but we may completely miss his lesson now. Being in the medical field for so long I know all of that stuff, and I could have explained it to you.”
R continued to look straight ahead and said, “Yeah, I know. And, B and B (his two counselors) already told me all of that stuff anyway.”
My hunches have been correct all along. I’ve had a strange feeling that they viewed me as an enemy. They’ve gone out of their way to keep me “out of the loop” and removed from my son’s mental health care. But, once again, I’d doubted myself. When I first began attending the support group I’d heard women complaining about the counseling group. Some of these women had lost custody of their children to their abusers BECAUSE of the counseling group’s actions. I tried to reason with myself that perhaps those stories were making me paranoid.
I need to learn to trust my own intuition.
I sped along the parkway, trying to stay within the speed limit and drive safely but also pushing it as far as I could. We were now fifteen minutes late to a half hour lesson I’ve already paid for. A lesson J is taking seriously and enjoying. He needs this outlet.
I eased over into the left turn lane, and R exclaimed, “Where are you going?! It’s a right turn!”
At first I was confused. He’s never been to the music teacher’s house. He has no idea where she lives. And, it is most definitely a left hand turn. Then, it dawned on me. His next stop required a right hand turn. I’d momentarily forgotten that everything is all about him. Silly me!
I nicely explained that I was heading in the right direction and now he appeared confused. He apparently thought I would drop him off at the DMV before J’s lesson, which we were already late to because of his stuff.
I suggested he walk the three blocks from the teacher’s house to the DMV and told him I’d pick him up there when we were done. He jumped out of the car without saying anything to anyone and took off down the street.
When the lesson was over I drove to the DMV. No sign of him. I went inside. Still, no sign of him. I texted him. No answer. So, I left.
Because of my cleaning jobs and being stuck on the mountain on the long days I have my granddaughter, I seldom have the opportunity to run errands. Everything has piled up. Some things being timely. On top of everything else, now R had given me a second list. I only had an hour and a half to do it all. I didn’t have time to run around town looking for him or sitting in a parking lot texting him and waiting for him to show up.
The kids saw him in the distance, tripping along with ear buds in, not seeming to pay attention to anything, with his head down and texting on the phone he sneaked and bought himself.
It was a straight shot to the eye doctor, so I headed there first. I gave my phone to E and asked him to respond to his brother if he answered. Just as I pulled up, R texted me back. He thought I’d still be waiting at the DMV. He let me know that he’d walked back the other direction to the bank. He’d be right back. When E let him know we were picking up the medical records for him, he responded, “Are you guys going to pick me up now” None of the usual punctuation. The tone was evident. He wasn’t happy about waiting. E read it to me as I was getting out of the car.
That’s when J exclaimed, “Your life is in danger! It is! Your life is in a lot of danger! From Dad. From R (my 17 year old). From S and D (our landlords). From B (R’s counselor). From A (my adult daughter). Your life is just in a lot of danger!”
My oldest son’s girlfriend says that J has an old soul. Well, it’s a perceptive old soul.
I feel like I’m in constant danger, like I’m always being threatened.
My oldest daughter’s continual rude remarks about my “brain issues” and “seizures every time [I] get a little stressed” feel like attacks on my sanity or ability to parent and survive. I worry. How far will she go? How far would she take the hate for me that she inherited from my mother? She frequently brags, or reminds me, that she is a mandatory reporter.
Young R has lied about me to his counselors, his friends, and his former teacher. He demands I tell him where I’m going, who’s watching the kids while I work, and how much money I have. He’s working this morning, so I thought we had a window of reprieve. But, he just sent me a text, asking if we’re home. I feel constantly triggered by him, constantly on edge and frightened of him and what he might do.
I am overwhelmed with the idea that my landlord is going to kick me out in a few months. Where will we go? How will I afford a move and more expensive rent?
It all sends me into a state of chronic emotional panic. Even a seven year old can look at how I’m being treated and assess that it is an endangering way to treat someone. Yet, those doing it and their enablers justify it completely and use my concerns and my fears as justification for their actions. Because I worry about things, my two “problem” children say I’m unstable. Because I want to be involved in my son’s care, I want to set the rules for my home, and I want my children to feel safety in the structure of family life, my son’s counselors say I’m controlling him. It’s only natural of course. As one of them told him, “The cycle of domestic violence is hard to break.”
Even though my daughter openly posts on Facebook that she believes in spanking, I know if I so much as speak harshly to a child to correct him/her she’ll “have me.” However, on the flip side, if I don’t correct the kids and their behavior is wild, that is evidence of my inability to parent now with my “brain issues.”
My enemies are many, and they are surrounding me. They are controlling every moment of every day and how we continue on from here. And, a seven year old sees it!
The most excruciating part of it all is that my enemies are my own flesh and blood. My beautiful big eyed babies have grown up to turn on me and devour me, enlisting the help of others where they can.
When I got saved, my dad’s mother gave me a Bible and a life verse. It is Proverbs 3:5&6. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding but in all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.
I’ve clung to those verses. Grandma was wise in holding that up to me.
However, over the last few years I have begun to think Matthew 10:34-40 more aptly characterizes my life.
King James Version (KJV)
34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
I can’t say He didn’t warn me.