In the last couple of weeks, as my step work has progressed, I have been introduced to this ‘personal craziness index’.
This can be found in the book above that I have been working through. Essentially it distills the character defects, painfully worked out through my step 4 inventories, identifies (lots of) behaviours that arise from these and suggests you chose the seven most ‘measurable’ on a day to day basis. Specifically those that indicate emotional disequilibrium…
So on my list are things like ‘messy bedroom’, which comes from my tendency to procrastination and a recognition that for me, a tidy and clean personal environment indicates a degree of emotional stability. Others include ‘irritability with kids’ – again when I’m feeling stable and robust (and not over dramatising) I’m better able to manage the normal ups and downs of life with three teenagers; messed up eating patterns ( a nod to the long standing, and now intermittent, craziness of my food intake) and absence of mediation / prayer/gratitude list … again, when I’m emotionally ok, I make time for these things … and I recognise that they are important for me.
At the end of each day, I add up the number of ticks in the boxes, give myself a score out of 7 for personal craziness, and jot it down. It’s a pretty accurate reflection of where I am.
Right now, I’m at 6/7. This is not great.
I going to offload a bit here, because it helps me to write this stuff down..
Firstly the kids. Son1 is home; after an aborted attempt at a conciliatory chat on Saturday (he stormed out) he returned in a much more reasonable frame of mind on Sunday. He accepted that he had broken the rules, and that part of my frustration with him came from his lack of contribution to any tasks in the home. He’s been much better since then, has cleaned up after himself, cleaned the kitchen and generally been a lot more helpful. I agreed to lay off the ‘get a job’ pressure for a week .. result a much more harmonious relationship. So much for son1 (for now)
Son3 is really no trouble. Hes been watching, a bit wide eyed, at the strife – and I can see him listening and learning. He gets himself up for school, is oi his homework, has submitted with reasonable good grace to the removal of his gaming computer during the week and is generally low maintenance. So much for son3
Son2 is the focus of stress right now. Is this me ? I don’t actually think so. Last week he failed to attend school /college on Friday when he had opted not to attend an optional team building day at Go Ape (for anyone who doesn’t know this is an activity center which involves swinging though trees / high ropes and activities up in the canopy) For a kid with a long standing discomfort of heights, not going seemed reasonable. What he neglected to tell me was that he should, therefore have attended normal lectures. He didn’t. He then missed his private maths tuition in the afternoon which he ‘forgot’ despite my reminding him twice during the day. This cost me £40 for nothing. Yesterday, after a massive tantrum he failed to turn up for his scheduled sociology lecture, which resulted in school phoning me and informing me that if he missed on further class he would be asked to leave.
He has adopted his older brothers mantle of lying in bed all day, amidst a jumble of dirty plates, clothes and books all over every surface and the floor.
I am very busy at work and simply not there all day to insist he clears up. Today I told him that if the space is not clean by the time I get home, I will confiscate his phone for a week. Lets see what that achieves.
So other stresses.
Last weekend I received a bill from son2’s private psychologist for £920. I was expecting £345. Plus a ‘bit’ . She charged me 1.5 x normal rates for a shed load of work she did (unasked) in August… she never informed me she would be charging me 1.5 x normal rate (which is £125 /hour) nor did she offer me the option to defer this till September nor did she give me any indication of the costs accruing. I raised these issues with her and got a flat ‘this is the bill, pay it’ response.
Stuck between a rock and a hard place. Son2 likes her, he trusts her. She has been working with him for 6 months. I am very loath to disrupt the therapeutic relationship. BUT I feel she has been unprofessional and disingenuous and I no longer trust her … certainly I don’t trust her to be transparent about her charges. I’m very angry and very frustrated, but I’m mindful that I have a tendency to both overreact and paradoxically to minimize. so I have no idea if my reaction is reasonable. And that stresses me still further.
I know I should be happy that I’m sober. I AM happy that I’m sober, and I know all of this stuff would be harder if I were not. i just feel I’m lurching from one crisis to the next, clinging on with my fingernails and trying to create the order Im desperately seeking out of the chaos that is my lived experience.
I’ve battled with teenagers too. Got me into all sorts of states. For me, acceptance is the answer. I accepted kids are messy. I accepted they’re not going to pitch in with the chores, even if they say they will, without a heap of further nagging. I accepted most of the arguments centred on my inappropriate need to control my environment, not on their normal teenage traits.
In the end I asked myself ‘how important is it?’ The answer, of course, is ‘not very’. So I stopped worrying about it. Made me feel much better. Now if they leave stuff around the house, including dirty dishes or half eaten take away, I put it on their beds and shut the door. My space is tidy, and If the kids tidy their own rooms is not my problem.
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Thing Is Alan, I don’t accept that they shouldn’t pitch in to help with keeping the house running. They are all capable, and have time. I’m not expecting g them to hoover or dust, or clean the oven, or mop the floor (although in reality they should be able to do these things) just to do basic stuff. I don’t think I’m doing them (or their future partners) any favours by allowing them to live without any responsibility for their environment. Is it important ? Mess, in their own rooms, not so much.. but dirty plates, crockery and utter disorder… yes, I think it is somewhat important. I’ve been too lax in the past about imposing expectations, but I work full time, do all the shopping, cooking, organising, most of the washing, pay all the bills … and I just cannot do everything… or I could but I would have no time at all for myself… and that makes me angry resentful and irritable . I’m glad you found a way to make it work for you, and you have a point about not sweating the small stuff ! Lily 🌷 xx
I hope you clearly articulated to the therapist that you will only be paying for scheduled time.
And I agree. There must be basic household requirements for adult children to love there.
He’s old enough to live alone. And it sounds like that’s his next step.
Hugs and love. It’s all hard and complicated. Where are the instructions?
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Thanks Anne. I spoke with the therapist, and she didn’t “get it” at all. I think she is more used to dealing with insurance companies than self funding clients. I’ve stopped the therapy as I just don’t trust her any longer and I can’t carry on with no knowledge of what the bill will be every month…. of course I feel dreadful for son2 and worried (again) that I have done the wrong thing ☹️🌷xx
As a fellow parent of a kid who is struggling there is no easy answer
You are doing the best you can. Me too
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