Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Self worth

My son recently had what I can only describe as a codependent toxic girlfriend.  I'd like to say I have no idea where the toxicity came from, but based on events I have a really good idea.  They were codependent which was bad enough, but add her toxicity to the mix and it was explosive. 

I know my son's propensity for finding people like this comes from his innate need to help others. He needs to be needed, wanted, soothe others, and be a helper in times of need.  In addition to his natural draw toward class clown to mask his perceived inadequacies.  He is not inadequate, he feels asking questions shows weakness or that he doesn't know something.  He understands that all of us require help, we have made him aware that the only stupid question is the one not asked.  This is the stubborn child who would never practice reading.  He held off on even trying until he was 4, we bought him a Dr. Seuss book, on the way home from the book store he picked it up and read it aloud flawlessly cover to cover, never having heard it before.  I was a house mom I know what books he knew.

So back to the girl friend.  When they first started being friends it seemed like a good thing, then he wanted to date her so I encouraged him to ask. She indicated she just wanted to remain friends. Then.....one day she decided they should date.  He leapt at the chance.  Within a week he was fully embroiled in her drama.  He showed up one night in my room disturbed because she had sent pictures of her arms to him, apparently she's a cutter or was.  Somehow he miraculously reformed her.  Then she started texting him at all hours of the day and night complaining about her parents.  Then we found out she was coming off medication for bipolar disorder.  The noose grew even tighter when she started offering her body up on a sliver platter to him.  These are 13 &14 year olds!!  His grades, never as good as they should be ebbed ever lower, his outbursts of rage at home became more frequent and unpredictable.

He injured two fingers in the weight room one day at school, I had to take him to urgent care.  It was the same night she had a solo at a school concert.  He sent her a photo of his fingers from the urgent care trauma room..she pretended to care.  Then I brought him home and he fell asleep.  Being that he'd just been injured both of us (his parents) decided he should sleep and skip her concert.  He woke up 10 minutes before she was to go on (of course the selfish little dear sent him a text) he came up stairs screaming at us both, demanding that we take him immediately, (no idea where it was held) He and his father got in a fight over his phone, he cussed both of us out and had some screaming crying keening fit.  She hit below the belt with some comment about "I was only singing for you, you know how important this was to me, so thanks for not being here".  

She kept turning the pressure screws on the whole sex thing. She's 13 and apparently her Mom gave her some sort of reverse psychology permission to have sex with my son.  My 14 year old son!!  We discussed this and decided it was not in his best interests, though it would probably feel pretty good at the time.  For various reasons he came to the conclusion that he wasn't ready.  The fights between them are almost daily, the fights at home are at least once daily and one serious fight ending in rocking screaming, keening, and sobbing as we took the phone away.

When the phone was away, the next day was like a cloud lifting and he was almost normal.  He could think critically, read some information on bipolar disorder, codependency, and toxic friendships to see elements off all of those things at work in his life.  I didn't point out similarities.  I had him read them then give me his impression.  He would promise himself that he would be strong and hold the line, yet he caved at every turn.  We were becoming seriously worried for our son's mental health with this kind of relationship, yet we knew if we forced it to end, that he would never learn to make hard decisions, good decisions, and he might even do something incredibly stupid just to prove to us that we had no say over certain areas of his life.  We held on and hoped that gentle and sometimes not so gentle guidance would steer him back around.

Then one glorious day the girl's mother read through the texts.  She sent a break up text to our son on her daughter's behalf.  Our son was supposed to call, he did and the girl broke up with him amid dramatic tears.  My husband and I were elated, our son wasn't even that sad.  Things eased up again at home with the arguments returning to undone chores and shoddily done chores.  Then one day......he got a text.  They had been broken up less than 2 weeks.  In this text he was supposed to call because her mother couldn't know.  She asked him to go back out with her but they couldn't talk for 2 weeks.  This was on speaker phone and our son could hear the mother in the background so he knew that the entire thing was kind of a lie, that the mother was aware.  Texts ensued, he told her he didn't want to go back out with her that he would prefer to take a step back and just resume their friendship.  She suddenly became vile, the mother sent a text calling our son "a little punk who never deserved to spend time with our beautiful daughter"

I hope they do take time with their "beautiful daughter" to teach her that she is worth something.  That she is worth more than cut up arms and offered up sex in the woods.

We took this opportunity to teach our son that it's good to be helpful and kind but not to lose yourself in the process, that he is worth more.  That he is worth more than cheap sex from someone who cares nothing for her body or her worth.  We want him to be a young man of substance and worth, we want him to never lose his loving, caring edge.  We want him to stand up for himself and be the best person he can be.

I think all of us could benefit from a little bit of self worth from time to time.

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