I think probably some stuff about ordinary life got left out. Maybe I am repeating. I am not sure. I was sick for a while. I thought of sending The Boy back to his house while I was sick, and it was just too difficult. But it was hard. And if I am not okay, he becomes less regulated—maybe that’s the word. He didn’t come home when he was supposed and stayed a long time out playing before doing his homework, and I knew it was because I didn’t have the energy to force him to come home. He needs me to be strong, and I am not strong.
I took leave for 2 days, then we had a holiday, then the king of Thailand died, and we had a “day of mourning.” Saturday was a full work day for us, however. By then I was feeling somewhat better, but I didn’t get to rest. I came home and The Boy had not washed his school uniform as instructed, he had not done any homework. He had, however, made noodles for lunch and left a big mess in the kitchen.
I asked his friend outside where he was. At the video game shop. So I got him and called him home and made him clean the kitchen. Then then the next day he was grounded. I didn’t let him leave the house. I didn’t let him play with his friend. This has probably never happened to him, because most Country Xers just hit their kids. It’s painful, but quick. You don’t spend a whole day having to think about what you have done and what the consequences were. Physical violence creates a conditioning, but doesn’t create impulse control.
Anyway, that seemed to be okay in the end. What has to be done. Then I went to meet C, and she was very much in a dysregulated, disordered attachment state. And I came home and couldn’t calm down. The Boy is used to lots of noise. He is used to sleeping with the lights on and he isn’t tired at 8 pm the way I am, and he also is not used to sleeping alone. Country Xers very often never learn to stop being afraid of the dark. I don’t know how this happened, but some of them just keep the lights burning all night long.
That particular night, it was hard for me. I made him turn off the light and finally sent him to the other room to watch cartoons, because I could not calm my body down. In the morning, I couldn’t calm down either.
Suddenly, I thought of checking the alarm time. I don’t change it, but the Boy has done this a few time, and I wake up in the small hours of the morning and can’t sleep again. The first time, I am sure it was an accident. He didn’t know what the dials did. He turned them, and still had no idea. After it happened, I told him not to. He did it again.
Anyway, I checked it. When would I have woken up? 11:30 pm. I was livid. Absolutely livid, because if I can at least sleep decently, then there is some hope I can cope with the rest of life. If I can’t even sleep, then life pretty much goes to hell.
I scolded him pretty harshly, and I asked him why he did it. He didn’t like being grounded, and he thought I would let him play sooner. Well, that might be the case, but it seems unlikely. Unless he is stupid, he can see that that doesn’t change the time. And he could also see I was looking at my watch and not the clock.
More likely, he was angry, and that is his way of punishing me. But I cannot have someone with passive aggressive behaviour in my house. I can’t have someone who wants to hurt me in my house, even if he is 12 and I am an adult. I’ll never be able to calm the fuck down.
After that, I was very activated and I just could not calm down, and I had this child in the house who, partly being a child and partly having disordered attachment, doesn’t accept boundaries. If he wants something, he takes it. He has broken, stolen, or lost quite a number of my things since he came to the house. This is actually not very unusual Country X behaviour, and the parents complain that their kids are very naughty—meaning, they don’t accept boundaries.
Anyway, I spent some time thinking about this in the morning. Being angry and thinking.
When I got to school—he went ahead of me—I sat him down and told him I can’t do it. I can’t have him stay in my house. I am unable to care for him. I have too much work and too much other stress.
Which is true.
He was sad and accepted it. In the evening he called me from his house with an idea to bring me vegetables and stay in the evening. I said no. He accepted that, and brought vegetables, which is okay.
In the evening, however, he appeared at my house asking to stay. The hard part about this somehow is there is this cultural difference and for me no really means no. If I don’t need to say no, I will not say no. If I am not sure, I will discuss it and if I can say yes, I will say yes.
But Country Xers sometimes start with no and work from there. You really do have to fight for things, because no does not always mean no. So The Boy is trying a strategy that has worked for him before. A guilt trip (vegetables), then pleading.
I told him to go to his house. It was going to get dark soon and he should have left for home a long time ago. I told him to call me when he got home.
He didn’t call. Finally, around 8 pm I realized he hadn’t called, and I called his mom. Not there.
After a while, I got a call from him a bit later. He had gone to his aunt’s house, where I had told him not to go, because I know what he is doing. He is avoiding having to face being home, and avoiding the problem isn’t going to make it go away.
Also, that’s the third strategy: first guilt, then pleading, then defiance.
This morning, I feel so angry about it. It’s all so complicated, and I can’t calm down enough to think straight. But it is my house, and I don’t want to have to hit someone in order to make that person respect it. And that is how it feels. It feels as though I need to hit him in order to make him understand that the house is not his to live in.
I just can’t calm down today.