Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Freedom Begins In The Mind

One of the best things that could ever happened to me happened yesterday. I spent a grueling day in a "workforce" program, designed to keep the needy focused on job hunting forty hours a week. I came home at 5 PM, exhausted, not only from that but all my other responsibilities and problems: juggling my few therapeutic clients and figuring out a new place to live since my landlord is or has become mentally ill and/or hell bent on getting more money from me than is in our lease agreement.

"My God," I proclaimed as I entered the house, "I am sooo tired."

I walked past my son's bedroom and saw that his pregnant girlfriend was still here. He had snuck her in late the night before. I went to my bedroom and leaned back in my very comfortable office chair at my desk.

My son entered the room. He came behind me and put his hands on my shoulders, rubbing them, something I can't recall him ever doing before. Usually it's a hug when he shows affection. I guess it's because I was sitting down.

"Sounds like you've had a hard day," he says, with warmth in his voice.

I turned to him, my eyes flashing anger, and said, "That won't work this time. You need to get a job, immediately."

His gentleness changed in a heartbeat.

"Ma, don't start," he snapped, in an angry, warning tone voice.

"Yeah I'm starting. I've been going through hell, and today and yesterday you've sat on your azz. No more."

He said, "Fuck you," and walked toward the door, and as he exited, threw out one more insult, said quietly enough so his girlfriend could not hear him: you can suck a dick.

This was the moment I became free.

Free of being a victim of his mood swings, and forgiving or excusing his parasitic, disrespectful and entitled behavior. It has dragged me down emotionally and destroyed me financially, off and on but never ending, since shortly before he turned 14.

It ended yesterday, quietly, for I said nothing back to him. Usually I'd admonish him; this time I said nothing, and instead found a strength from seeing clearly the man he has become, not the helpless, neglected child that I adopted many years ago.

At that moment, I freed my heart from loving him, and he became an adult. He doesn't know any of this yet. He will as soon as I move, anytime within a month.

That evening I picked my daughter, Cassie, from her friend's house, and drove to a new grocery store in the area to buy her a cherry pie for her birthday. In the parking lot, I told her of the conversation, the plan to leave him on his own, and my new found freedom.

Then I said, "Cassie, I know you have seen me put up with a lot of shit from your brother over the past several years, and apologize for this. I want to let you know that I have never, never, tolerated this kind of abuse from a boyfriend, and don't ever want you to do that either, not from anyone. Xavier was different because he was a child, my child, and the mother in me could not turn my back on him. I made a terrible mistake bringing him with us to our new place in August. It won't happen again, because I am free."

"How can you be free," she asked, "when he's still living with us?"

"Freedom begins in the mind."

I offered my hand to shake on my sincerity. She smiled in surprise but refused it, shaking her head.

"No, Mamma, I don't believe it. I think he'll play you again and you'll take him with us."

She could see the strength in my eyes when I shook my head and said, "No, not this time. Not anytime, not ever again."

She shook my hand and held it for a long time.

Later that night, Xavier came to my room and apologized for what he said earlier. I waved my hand away, dismissing him.

"What? I'm apologizing!"

"I don't accept it and I don't need it," I replied. "It keeps happening and it will happen again."

"No it won't!"

"That's what you always say. I'm through."

I turned away.

He started to curse me again, but then stopped before he could get the words out, and instead left the room. Perhaps he thinks I only need to "cool off".

He couldn't be more wrong, because I am free, and by extension, so is my daughter.


  1. You gotta start somewhere Kit, and though this is hard, I think you're doing the right thing.

    All the best for the new year.

  2. Hi Kit,

    Freedom does start in the mind, I recognize that this has been an emotional, physical and spiritual struggle for you to get to this place of peace, but you're now there.

    Xavier may never reach a point of understanding your decision (I hope in time he matures enough to do so) but taking ownership of one's life includes all aspects. This is a lesson he has failed to learn. I'm glad you no longer feel compelled to own his failure.

    Best wishes to you, your daughter and Xavier as you journey foward into the new year.


  3. Good for you. That is how change happens...reading this I was reminded of how almost 17 years ago in one quick flash I knew I could go on no longer with my ex. Like you I had come home tired and things escalated, no one including him believed me when I said it was over.

    It took a long time to be free of him, but that one night in a flash things changed in my mind. So I feel ya and just keep on keeping on.

    Wishing you a wonderful 2010!

  4. Change is gonna come. The first one to the table gets to cut the cake. Happy Birthday!

    There will be residual emotions, but in time they will fade.

    Cutting the cord and giving a child their first drink of mother's milk, is a joyous time. But eventually the titty gets tough and you have to let them go.

    That's old school, but it worked for me :-)

  5. He'll always be YOUR baby - but he won't always be A baby.
    (Stick to your guns this time.)

  6. Wow. I know it won't be easy to let go, when the actual time comes, but it seems like it's the only way he will become a man. He will thank you for this one day. When life soon forces him to find a job, he will have to learn to interact with people like a grown-up, and not throw a tantrum when things don't go his way.

    This situation reminds me of my uncle. He got into drinking when he was a teen, dropped out of high school, and caused my grandparents all sorts of troubles. They never had the strength to kick him out, so they built another wing in their house for him and his wife. All on their money. His drinking and anger fits terrorized them for years, and even now, at 42, he is still mooching off of them, and they always live in fear that he'll come home drunk again. Just like you, they are afraid to go away from home for more then a day (my mother and I offered them tickets to health resorts -and they could use that, because they are sick), because they don't know what disaster they might find when they come back. Whenever I go to them, I bring them gifts and stuff they can't afford, but it angers me to know that, as soon as I'm out the door, my uncle will come to claim his share. He never helps them with anything, he just takes and takes. And his wife is just as bad. Like Xavier, he is not a bad person at all, but he just got used to being coddled no matter what he does.
    And I'm glad you didn't underestimate the effect on Cassie, and didn't rely on her balanced personality. Just like Cassie, my mother was "the good one", and the strong one, yet ended up suffering years of abuse and alcoholism from my father, because she saw in her own family that this is something you just have to put up with. It's good that she can now see you put your foot down, and still enjoy a few years of peace and harmony with you, before she goes to college.

    It's great you did it now, while you are still young and able to work and move on with your life. When you are too old and sick, it's too late, you're doomed. You did the right thing for everybody, and I think the results will show soon. I wish you all three the very best.

  7. Happy New Year Kit! Love, Joy, Peace, Understanding and Knowledge of God (IAM) and Self!

    I know you have to leave your Son so he can grow. Please take time to teach Son why you are leaving and what he has lost. His disrespect! He needs to control his anger, his mouth, his emotions but most of all he needs to grow up and stand strong. He can not bring a child into the world and continue the cycle. U are his love and He is yours.

    PS My Daughter, Junior, really took us for a loop too this past year! Whew! Keep praying. PS. Gonna write more Crazy Lists this year. Any Suggestions?

  8. PS I want to make your list of favorite individual post this year! Here's to hope!

  9. Many times we know what we "coulda, shoulda" done and can work ourselves into paralysis by the knowledge. I believe that even when we "know" we must reach a place where we "know" in our heart as well as our head--then we are able to do the most difficult, challenging things. I left an unmedicated, bi-polar husband after way too many years...but when I did, it was without ambivalence, and I never looked back. Yes, I was late, but I was ready. The pain didn't go away for a long time, but my ability to tolerate the pain increased by leaps and bounds. As a mother, your situation is different, but fundamentally the same issues; and soothe yourself by knowing that people (even our children) don't grow up until those around them allow them to... even under protest. I wish you grace under this tremendous pressure... for yourself, and for your daughter.

  10. Good for you! These kinds of things are SO hard to do - I've seen family go through it, and it's hellish. But absolutely needed.

    No one can tell you when you're going to reach that point of being ready to stand up for yourself, and it's so great getting there.

  11. I thought that this was another one of your short stories!! Damn girl you can write! gotta do what you gotta do. If he wants to be a man, then he has to be a man. You have did everything a mother is supposed to do. Now you need to step back and push him out of the nest. I have already told my wife that on the day of our kids graduation from high school they might as well carry their suitcases across the stage with them, because they are getting the hell out of our house. It is either the Military or college. I for one ain't got time for a grown ass person doing nothing but living off what I give them. If you don't work you don't eat. But this is coming form a man. I am sure that a woman, especially a mother, would say I am crazy for talking like this. I know he is your baby and you will always be there for him. So it will probably be harder than you think to let him go. But if you feel it is time, then do you Boo. He'll get over it and through it.

  12. Don't free yourself from loving him. You have to still love him, but that doesn't mean you have to like him, or let him abuse you. He's a grown man, time for him to start acting like one in all ways, not in some. If he's man enough to be laying up with a chick, he needs to be man enough to find a way to support himself and her.

  13. Hey Kit,

    I am sorry I have missed what has been going on and I hope all is well. Seeing that you haven't posted for a week worries me a bit but life is hectic, I know.

    You have to let go. No one will fault you. Not anyone who really matters anyway.

    After the death of my father, I let one of my brothers go. I could not stand back and watch the way he treated my mom anymore. Short of driving to N.Y. and kicking his ass (which I have done in the past) I feel like there was no other option. He is/was an abusive drunk and I told him not to call me EVER. I just wish my mom had the strength to let the phone keep ringing. I don't care if he gets off the sauce and straightens up, it has been the same shit for 40 years and he will always be his selfish self.

    Be strong. You made alot of sacrifices for that child and there is no reason to suffer it anymore. You did what you needed to do. Now, do it again, only do it for yourself this time.


  14. I'm mad I didn't see this before (it was posted on my birthday, btw).

    I'm so happy for you, Kit. I know that this is a HUGE deal and I've often wondered, reading your posts, how much it would take for you to let him be who he is somewhere, and in a way, that doesn't continue to bother you.

    I'm not a parent, so I can only guess at the strengh of love one has for their child; especially one you watched go through as much as he has. I'm happy for you and proud of you!

  15. There is an inclination for children having gone through a neglected period to acquire traits of what psychologists call "Emotional detachment" where they make your life and others under your responsibility like hell to the point where a whole family is destroyed with both partners separating or divorcing.

    One thing they all have in common is the manipulative qualities this child has demonstrated, and I am afraid the you can do is to keep the other children safe and away from this threat. Some say giving love and more more love is the solution, but it is impossible in my book especially when other children are involved through no mistake of their own.

  16. Readers,

    Thank each and every single one of you who were able to leave a comment or email. Your insights and reassurance has been invaluable, and a source of strength to me when I most needed it.

    I just uploaded a new post, "I Can Hardly Wait Until The Flowers Bloom", that addresses this more and what has happened since then. Still, words fail to fully convey my appreciation to you all. I'll see you around at your blogs this weekend. Until then,


  17. How timely. I just finished writing about Women Who Enable. I have a 14 year old son, and I think of him as God's son. I'm only his earthly parent. My duty is to rear him as she should go until he graduates highschool. After that, he's on his own unless he's in college, respectful, and EXCELLING.

    We only limit our children, especially our boys, when we don't allow them to suffer, fail, and pick THEMSELVES back up. I want the best for my son and I know that enabling him will never be the best for him.

    I'm glad you freed your mind, but it's time for that boy to get out of the house. Personally, you should have put him out right then when you told you to eat a dick. I would have have told him to eat a dick at a shelter and kept it moving. He could come around me later after he's matured. Women sacrifice their own happiness and sanity at an alarming rate. This must stop immediately.

  18. Smokie, If it were only that simple. He does serious suicide attempts or property destruction whenever I threaten to kick him out. Can't afford to replace tires or windows right now, and don't want him dead, either. There's nothing quite like seeing your son OD on his meds and having stroke-like symptoms, or seeing him in the ER and ICU after surgery for plunging a knife in his stomach (that time one of his now ex-girlfriends and her mother kicked him out on a visit to their home). It's not like he won't control his impulsivity and rage, it's that he can't, under specific circumstances.

    Nope, I'll have to provide him with some safety nets, i.e., SSI disability, offer to get him a room to rent and use his check to pay for that, and then I can move on with my life by the Spring. He did pretty good in the second half of January and is back off the liquor that did him in over Thanksgiving, and has been working now for a week, so I've some relief.


Hi, this is Kit.

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