Saturday, November 28, 2009

Lord Forgive Me

It wasn't until Thanksgiving Day ended that I realized I was sad.

The day didn't begin that way. I took my time getting up, made the dressing, stuffed Big Bird, put him, the giblets, and the sweet potatoes in my mom's old roasting pan.

I like that pan or pot or whatever you call it. It's deep, has a lid, and I think it's enamel so it's it's easy to clean. When I add an inch and a half or two inches of water in it, my turkeys cook twice as fast and are never dry. The water magically transforms to gravy. I drain it out into a regular pot, sift a few tablespoons on flour into and waa-lah! Gravy.

My daughter Casey helped. In the kitchen our two minds become one, and we rarely get in each others way. I don't recall it ever being this easy cooking side by side with my own mother.

My son felt he had a job too on that day. It was pretending to be invisible when anything was asked of him. No, I would have preferred a little help but he preferred this volunteer position that he created for himself when he began middle school. He's had so much practice with this that one day next year I'll promote him to full-time invisibility. This way, when he doesn't live with us, he won't even have to pretend.

The highlight of dinner was that one of the guests, a congenial retired gentleman on disability, brought his adorable, bright, three year old grandson whom he and his ex-wife take care of. I really enjoyed Mr. X and Baby Boy, who I pray will fare better in life.

You see, Mr. X's son, like mine, got lost along the way from having too many opportunities and choices disguised as fun, but were really traps to addiction and other problems.

I don't think it hit me as hard until this moment of how lost Xavier still is. He began drinking beer from a friend on Thanksgiving evening, despite my plea not to mix alcohol with his medication. On Friday he didn't speak to me at all except to say fuck you bitch when I asked if he was alright.

I sit here now, locked in my bedroom, nearly trembling from a new explosive fit of yelling from him. It began with him complaining that my daughter took my cellphone which I was looking for. Not his, but mine. He growled that I need to discipline her. I said I was more concerned about the way he spoke to me Friday.

Nigga went off. His mouth was like thunder, and I retreated from the storm less lightening struck.

He is not seeing reality clearly. He compounded his problem and mine by grabbing his medicine and taking a full pill against my protests that he'd been out partying again last night, and presumably drinking until dawn.

It is often during moments of intense fear when I see reality the clearest. There are some battles in my life that I could have easily won simply by using reason and logic in finding practical, workable solutions.

Some people, however, are so disturbed and unbalanced that they find reason not only irrelevant because it doesn't serve them, but they become potentially or genuinely dangerous. They will lie on you, stalk you, and destroy you anyway they can to be right, and to continue with their selfishness that is so extreme that it's madness.

In these times, I back off. What looks like surrender or agreement by not contradicting them is really my walking away from a bad situation. The world is so large that no one needs to get sucked into any battles not necessary for their survival. I've thankfully gotten better at walking away as I've gotten older.

Writing calms me. At this moment now, I feel better, thanks also to listening to my favorite collection of R&B Christmas music. I've been through so much with my son, but he is a grown azz man and I need not endlessly tolerate his sporadic but unending disrespect, verbal abuse and selfishness.

At this moment too, I hear him vacuuming elsewhere in the house. I recognize that cycle of abuse. Person A treats Person B real bad, then tries to make up for it by doing something nice. They expect this will erase everything, and think this is a substitute for an apology or taking responsibility for the pain they caused. If you point this out to their entitled azz, they get mad all over again.

If they really wanted to be nice, they'd change their behavior. You can't easily change your thoughts, mood, or perception of the world, but you can change your behavior. Bullies do it all the time when they know they can't win.

It's supposedly part of Xavier's Mood Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and whatever other correct or incorrect friggin' labels stuck on him or anyone else, as though any of them really make a difference.

My preference is the non-clinical, urban black folks label: Fucked Up Personality, as in:

"What's wrong with him?"
"Oh, he has a fucked up personality."


"Why'd she do that?"
"Ain't nothing new. She got a fucked up personality, ya know?"

Works for me, and I'm a therapist. It works because it's raw, and no one wants that label. It's just not cool or fashionable.

Labels are just the packaging around the box. They might indicate what's in the box, but it's the content of that box - the person's character - that matters most. Most people can grow and change when motivated, but it's harder if they get stuck on the fancy wrapping and use it as an excuse to wrap themselves in it.

The superior position and the hardest, is to let one's defects of character stand naked, and then put your character on a fitness program.

I have to trust that somehow things will work themselves out in 2010, that God will protect Xavier for he is vulnerable, and at the same time watch my back (and Casey's) when I physically take that walk...

Lord forgive me, for mentally, I already have.

Click on photo to enlarge to get an idea of the inside of my head.
Hat tip to Kiss My Black Ads


  1. Compelling story, KIT! Glad you enjoyed at least part of your holiday. *Thinking of something nice and positive to say*

    *drawing a blank*

    Well..there's always next year! LOL!!

    Naah, but for real, I always admire the honesty and personal aspect of your stories. Thanks for sharing because I know there's many people out there who can relate and are happy to know that at least they're not alone.

    Oh yeah, thanks for stopping by my spot and the birthday wish!!

  2. *laughing*
    Monk, you so crazy!

    Yes, I hadn't even thought of next Thanksgiving.

    The past couple hours I've been fussing with myself for being so angry at his relapse in behavior and boozing. The boy must be telepathic 'cause he ain't read my blog. He apologized, with an excuse, but actually said he was sorry.

    Well, holidays are tough for many folks. Christmas is around the corner. I'll see if the man-child will have used this event as a stepping stone to personal responsibility and growth.

  3. Kit,

    I was absorbed in your cooking traditions (do you cover the turkey in that wonderful pan?) and then read your account of the day. Be proud you have the courage and discipline to stand up for yourself and then pull back. But it sounds like a delicate balance and must be difficult to sustain over time. I hope you have lots of hugs and support on your side to see this through. I know your fellow bloggers are a big part of that. Wishing you well as we muddle through the holiday season.

  4. XO, Thanks, and yes it is a delicate balance that's a piece of cake once in awhile, but over the span of years, can grind you down. I see it not unusual in problems with teens, but too much beyond that is crippling to both the parent and adult child.

    The roasting pan looks like this. A turkey fits into easily. I melt a stick of butter and drizzle that on the bird, then add salt and whatever seasoning you like. Cook with the lid on. Using a rack inside the bottom of the pan makes it MUCH easier to lift the bird out, but it's not necessary.

    Don't forget to add water and the giblets at the bottom. You can also throw in a large chopped onion for flavor. I put the sweet potatoes on top of the turkey so they don't get soggy, then later slice them, add melted butter, brown sugar and marshmallows, then bake until the latter is melted.

    And by all means, sift your flour and add very slowly as you stir it in, or your gravy will be too thick and lumpy. Enjoy!

  5. Hello Kit,

    My base is humor, but today you took me somewhere. You are a professional. You are a therapist. So excuse me if I offer an opinion that you did not ask for. And please don't take this wrong. I've heard it said that if a lawyer defends himself, he has a fool for a lawyer. The same can be said about a doctor who prescribes medicine for himself.

    Having said all that and looking from the outside in, I am going to give you an unsolicted opinion.

    You are on 2 (or 3) battlegrounds. You are dealing with a person who's under the grips of a serious problem. That's a reality that has to be accepted.

    I work with drug depended people on a daily basis. In a 1 year period I've worked with nearly 800 individuals. Only 20 (or less) has made it to the other side. Not 20 percent... 20 individuals. Now here's the bitch of this. In the past "med" doctors were not allowed anywhere near clients in their early stages of recovery. Yet, because of the recidivism rate, insurance companies wanted better results. Bingo, lets classify them as having a disorder and then give them mood altering drugs (like they really needed more drugs). Lets get them out the door with a prescription that will sadate them or slow them down.

    "Hey, he didn't take his meds. That's his probelm". Bullshit!

    If I read your story correctly, you seem to traveling down a common road. You're not only an enabler, you will eventually exhibit similar pains, sleeplessness, depressions, confusion, hopelessness and fears as the loved one who is addicted.

    I agree, all those BS classification are just that. It's a bullshit way to pimp the unsuspecting. How about "predisposed to..."? Give me a fkin' break. Who isn't predisposed, and then, what do we do with that if we are predisposed to some sort of "storm".

    It would be wrong for me (who in the hell am I) to offer any solutions. I just hope you realize you are on a very slippery slope.

    Sometimes we have to see how others are affecting us and what's our side of the street.

    What's my payoff for allowing others to treat me with total disrespect?

    That's my 2 cents. Thanks for the intellectual stimulation.

  6. Carey, Your comment was fine. A quick overview. Xavier has had an off and on drug problem since he was 13, and acting out problems since he was at least 8. Before that he flunked kindergarten due to ADHD. Before that, he lived in two shitty foster home that left him traumatized by the time I got him at age 3.

    This child needed so much help that mothering him has been a thin line between healthy love and codependency, so you are correct in point out my enabling him. Had to at times, or he would have been lost back to foster care, juvie lock ups, or out in the streets committing strong arm robberies to get by.

    I've been told to use tough love and kick him when he turned 18. I finally convinced a judge to put him in rehab, he did well, and afterwards lived in a half-way house. He did well there until a GF became homeless, and he left to protect her, and they moved in with friends. When they broke up six months later, he walked into an on-coming car. Had he not been injured and in the hospital, I would have told him to tough, try to get back into the halfway house.

    This is where my enabling kicked in. He was wounded in heart and body, and I couldn't turn my back on him.

    You're right too, about a lawyer who is his own lawyer has a fool for his lawyer, but I'm not his therapist nor prescribe his medication. He has a cool black psychiatrist who does this, but Xavier generally won't take his meds unless he gets too stressed out nearly always from girl problems.

    This happened this month, and last week he got back on them. But then on Thanksgiving he made a deliberate decision to drink alcohol knowing this would was bad for him, but let his desire to party with friends rule his judgment. Two days in a row of this made him really scary.

    You asked a brilliant and common question in AA, SA, and CODA groups: what is my payoff for letting this person disrespect me? So far it's been to keep him alive and off the streets where he won't become a menace to society, and/or end up rotting in some prison.

    As I said at the end of this post, enough. He recently turned 21. Apology aside, I'm walking away when the timing is right in 2010 because raising a son or daughter with these issues has it's baggage, but once they're truly adults, they have to carry it themselves. I expect he'll have enough sense to keep a job to share a place with a friend. If not, oh well, I can't sacrifice my entire life for someone who isn't trying.

    Thank you, Carey, for having the courage to share your thoughts and experience, and dayum, those are some grim statistics where you work.

  7. Kit, I knew (believed)there were deeper issues. Although my little feedback was a very broad stroke, I thought you'd be open for discussion.

    Oh how I hate statistics. Yes "my" numbers are dismal. Yet, I wonder how many people know the true "success rate" of those that fall into the horrors of addiction
    and/or other mental disorders?

    Just the other day I was talking to a woman that was switching careers. She said she had worked in "corrections". She said working around individuals with behavior problems was a tough gig. Her numbers were similar to mine. Her's were something like 500 in(1 year), 18 out. 482 out of 500 came back to see her.

    We couldn't do it justice in a post, but an even deeper question: What is success, and who defines it?

    Again, some people may have thought my comments were crossing a line but I strongly believed you'd done your homework (time, money and emotional investment), and therefore welcomed an exchange.

    Well Kit, you've given me another boner and I can talk about "disorders" all damn day.

    But we have to part because someone my be listening. My phone number is 555-55...... :-).

    What leaves the heart will find anothers.


  8. Your openness amazes me. Your patience with your son and situation amazes me. Heres hoping for better in 2010, hell before that, let's just hope this Christmas bring you nothing but joy.

  9. btw...what you said about other bloggers having problems with kids...well, it surely helped me.

  10. Your story sure hit home for me, especially that list of diagnoses. It's actually a little shorter than the list my son accumulated by the time he was 21.

    But this part, the payoff:
    "So far it's been to keep him alive and off the streets where he won't become a menace to society, and/or end up rotting in some prison."

    That hit hard. My son spent his 16th birthday in juvie prison. He was there for a year. At least he went to school regularly there instead of skipping, but that's about the only good thing I can say about it.

    After he got out, I often didn't even know what state he was in though I could count on a call ever 6 months or so when he was desperate for money OR when he'd just got out of hospital and was trying to do better.

    For the last six years, he's kept in touch regularly, stayed in one place and settled down a lot.

    There's still problems, perhaps there always will be -- but he's 33 now and has made a lot of progress toward taking care of himself and trying to make amends with me, his sisters, and the rest of the family.

    I don't have any advice for you, as it sounds like you are handling your situation much better than I did mine.

  11. Kit, I feel you on your... "Carey <>However, I don't fully agree with "We as caregivers believe and hope we can change them, yet, in reality we can not."

    "I have had too many remarkable successes in working with clients, some who were initially resistant or skeptical of their or their family's ability to change, to believe this"

    "If something doesn't work, the family or clinician should learn and try something else that the troubled individual can believe in"

    Kit, I fully understand what you are saying. This is a hard medium to express our full view. All I was saying is belief and hope are great sources of inspiration, however, it is a fact that many will not change.

    Reference stats & success rates.

    There is a segment in society that breeds low success rates. She worked in a penal system. They will never be axed. I work with cronic abusers, some (many) of which, have criminal backgrounds.

    Addiction is a foemidable foe. Now, my numbers may be low, but hear this. My agency "may" report different numbers. I am speaking from a position outside of my office. Stats lie and so do individuals. Thus, it's back to "what is success". I know you feel me. Really, what is success?

    And when you think about it, what purpose would it serve for a practice to report "failures"?

    Sure, there are auditors and quasi checks and balances but they fail miserably.

    I do not know the background of your clients, ie, race, home environment, education,age, life story, criminal history, finances, careers, ect, or your field of expertise.

    Do you drink coffee? *chuckle*

  12. I'm amazed at how similar your home situation is to mine,if I every get the courage you have to articulate it I just may begin to understand the madness!
    In the mean time keep up the good work,Carey-Carey you and I have another thing in common,during the early 1970's I had a job similar to yours.

  13. Kit, I appreciate your openess and willingness to share your life with others. Too many times we hide these issues yet I think its important to share this with others.

    One commenter stated you are an enabler, that may be true but first and foremost you are a mother and even as a therapist...someone trained, I imagine when you are dealing with your own kid it's a different world.

    I am glad that the whole holiday was not a wash.

  14. BGIM, So true, and it's because in a family it's harder to see the forest for trees.

    Big Mac, You too, huh? Hope you write about it; it would be nice reading the trials and tribulations from a father's perspective.

    Carey, Yes, I drink coffee daily.

    Donna B, I'm sorry to hear you had so much heartbreak raising your son. I'm glad he's doing better now.

    MizRepresent, Thank you, and I'm glad this post helped you.

    JJBrock, Forgot to mention thanks to you earlier. Hugs back to you.

  15. Great post. An honest post. I'm still thinking about what you said...I thinks some posts should do that: Make us not want to go for the easy answer(s) but to take to mull over what is said. Blessings

  16. MacDaddy, As you know from your wonderful book, The Rebellious Sixties: Yes I Remember, there's nothing quite like leaving a reader with food for thought.

  17. Kit,

    From your professional experience. Is it possible that one can eventually grow up and "mysteriously" adopt a "fucked up personality"? Like, all of a sudden they're about to finish medical school and start a residency and they're like a totally different person? Is that possible or is it that this person has had this "fucked up personality" all along but went undiagnosed?

  18. Rippa, Here's an example:
    One soldier returns from battle, bitter and negative of human nature, but his pal returns home valuing life and people more than ever, yet they both shared the same tour of duty together.

    Both have emotional battle scars, but for whatever reason emerge as different people from it. Love, like war, and what many of us go through in life, is similar.

    Also, families hide the problems of their loved ones out of embarrassment, shame, or to protect them. Then suddenly you read the newspaper about the guy down the street who you've waved at for years and your neighbor has had coffee with his mama or wife, and no one ever suspected he was capable of x, y, or z.

    That's 'cause he was secretive and his family was too embarrassed to talk about his problems and hoped he'd get better.

    Well, some do and some don't. I think my mama was right that most folks don't get good sense until they're 25, lol. This actually matches crime stats, where crime tapers off after that age.

    Many folks are also pros at hiding their "FUP", or a mental illness so serious that it genuinely requires medication, or an addiction to hard drugs.

    This is particularly hidden in white collar sociopaths like we see in quite a few of the Wall Street banksters, war profiteers, corporate heads who skirt laws and pollute the environment, and perhaps that example you vaguely referred to.

  19. I stumbled across your blog. Your honesty and humor in dealing with heartbreaking situations is refreshing. I've been in similiar familial anguish and have found that sometimes when you do what's best for yourself, it turns out to be best for everybody else.

  20. Readers, my apologies for yesterday. I had a visiting troll who left numerous comments that were off topic for this particular post, refused to stop and became increasingly offensive.

    Trolls have one goal: to distract from the topic, put a chilling effect on discussion, and shift the attention to their agenda. Readers often end up arguing with the troll or leaving.

    I have deleted his comments and related ones to him. Without an audience, I doubt that he'll return, and if does and you see one, please ignore until I delete it. Thank you.

  21. My fella and I are coming to Inside Of Your Head World for new year. IT's pretty. I'm making curtains to block out the view.

  22. Hilarious, Bobby, and funny you say this because yesterday I seriously thought of writing a post titled Inside My Head, but about how the first time in very long time, the storm has been so bad that the roof is leaking. Never thought to put up curtains, though.

  23. I'm so sorry Kit. I know writing helps.I wrote a letter to my youngest once, a letter she likely may never see. But putting my thoughts to paper helped. I understand walking away, choosing not to fight a battle which doesn't need to be fought.
    I changed, my parenting changed following my youngest being in a car accident. I let her get away with a lot more out of guilt. Guilt that I didn't protect her from a car accident. Her mother and my older daughter both said that was stupid and made no sense, I couldn't help the fact another driver hit her car. Yet some fathers understood. Maybe it's just a male thing and it probably IS stupid.

    You're in my prayers. I empathize and respect your selfless love, selfless yet with the knowledge that you too are a person with a life. God's Will, as the Muslims say Inshallah.


Hi, this is Kit.

I haven't posted since summer 2010, and comment moderation has been on for a very long time.

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