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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Asshatery 101

Our family may have very well just had our last trip with everyone together.  It was my mother's 75th birthday and a family reunion on her father's side of the family.  The boys had not been to St. Louis to see the family since before they could walk and talk.  I felt it was important that we all be there so that the boys would have an opportunity to meet their relatives. The fact that the planning committee requested that Red be the videographer for the event, sealed the deal on his going.

Over the past few weeks his behavior and attitude towards this family has royally sucked.  More than once I thought about eating the cost of his ticket and just canceling.  He is 18 years-old, but could not be left alone here at home.  There are no guarantees that the house would be locked, that he would eat properly or take his medicine regularly.  We would have to either send him somewhere, or have someone come here.  Both alternatives would cost even more money.  And so ...off we went.

The boys first got to meet my cousin Court who was absolutely, awesome with them.  They both were filled with anxiety over meeting all of these new people.  Court put them at ease instantly.  He reads my blog regularly and follows my Facebook page, so he had an idea of what to expect from the boys.  Although, there's nothing like meeting them in person.  He spoke their language.  He's young enough to know about the same music and popular culture that they are interested in.  He's just old enough to  have a little experience in life that he could relate to their experiences as young black men, being raised in a predominantly white culture and world. Court is a well spoken, college educated man who they related to rather well.  The boys were impressed with him. Both boys feel it is important to speak well and present the best of yourself so as not to be stereotyped and thought of in a negative manner by society.

Before the first Family Reunion dinner ...Blue started a anxiety-filled rant.  He was nervous about how the evening would go.  Red had been pouncing on him all day.  He pushed every button and was relentless in his taunting.  Red became stuck on how Blue doesn't get enough discipline.  How we let him get away with everything.  He's the only one who gets in trouble.  He actually brought this up at the table during the reunion dinner as we sat with extended family and he would not let it go.  I was kind of shocked by the fact that he was going there, in front of other people.  Usually, he reserves that behavior for just immediate family.  His behavior was so ugly, I had to get up and leave the room before I would end up losing it.

On our last night there, Red continued to pounce on Blue, with negative comments again during a family dinner situation.  My aunt and uncle were awesome at trying to distract him, allowing him to talk about himself and his interests to in order to get him to leave his brother alone and have a nice dinner.  He kept coming back to controversial subjects like racism and religion.  In the car on the way back to our hotel, again he pounced.  In fact, I may venture to say he was bullying Blue, calling him an atheist over and over again.  The irony in that of course, is how un-christ-like his own behavior was in the process.

The day that we traveled home didn't get much better. In fact, at DFW our second flight was delayed, and delayed and delayed, then finally another plane had to be brought in. He became anxious and visibly upset.  Imagine, a two-hundred plus pound angry looking, young, black, autistic teenager, pacing back and forth, going up to the staff continuously asking, "What's the problem?  How much longer do we have to wait?" Then he would come back to me and say, "I'm getting really angry!" Then, he would start to try to vent that anger on his brother, who actually did remarkably well in not responding.

Red is 18 years old now.  I can not protect him from everything.  With all that's been happening in the world lately, with police situations gone wrong, I couldn't help but worry, thinking at any moment, he would explode and would be taken down and detained by airport police.

He has traveled numerous times alone.  He has even been delayed and missed a flight in Chicago.  He NEVER behaved this way!  This is what made me say, I will NEVER do this again.  I will never travel with him and the entire family.  He was agitated by his father, and his brother.  The better Dad and Blue got along, the more upset Red became.  He was relentless with me.  "Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom. I want to sit next to you! Mom listen to me!"

Blue is not perfect by any means.  He can push buttons also.  He can not mind his own business to save his life! The difference between Red and Blue, is that Blue can be redirected.  If you ask him to stop doing something, he will stop.  You can ask Red to stop and have to say it 10 times.  He won't listen until you become completely exasperated and are ready to lose it.  Then, he blames YOU for getting upset.  Then he blames his brother for not getting as much discipline as he does.

The next day after getting home, there was a moment of contrition where Red felt bad about his behavior.  He thought deeply about it when he was able to take a reprieve away from us, while at work.

He said, "Seems like no matter what I do, I can't stop being angry.  Even though I know that the way I treat you guys is making Dad want me to move out, I can't seem to stop treating you that way.  I need some other kind of help, maybe some other kind of therapy.  I can't stop this behavior. I know I need to do better to be able to keep living at home, but even that doesn't seem to stop me. Do you even think it's even possible for me to change?" (Honestly, I don't. At least not while he is living with us.)

"I think that people who respect their parents, have always respected their parents.  I never really have.  I really don't know what else to do," he said sadly.

I don't know what else to do either.

Last night, he went to church with his pastor and his girlfriend.  As soon as he got home, he started back up again.  "Blue needs more discipline!" Yelling, screaming, banging on doors, invading Blue's personal space, invading mine.

He goes to his room and starts playing annoying videos loudly.  I asked him to stop as his brother was doing homework.  He refused until I took the device away.  Then he starts screaming and pounding on Blue's door as he is trying to get to sleep so that he can get up for school the next day.

This was not a meltdown.  This was I'm pissed off and I'm going to piss you all off.  I don't care what you say.  I don't care how you feel.  I don't care about you being tired and ready for bed.  I don't care that Blue has to get up for school.  This was pure, unadulterated asshatery!

True enough, all negative behavior has a reason behind it.  At this point, I'm not sure exactly what it is. I don't even know if I care.  I just know that I am completely sick of it  and something has got to change.  It's not fair for the rest of us to have to live in fear of his antics.  It's not fair for Blue to have to deal with this when he's trying to get to sleep or do his homework on a school night.  This boy has got to go!

Where? I do not know. How? I really don't know. But he is pushing me to find out.

He keeps going on about how he wants to pursue his passion of video editing.  Hell! I want to pursue my passion of writing! But he sucks the life right out of me, till I have no creativity left in my body!

What he really wants is to have all of his money available to buy video equipment.  He says that moving out will prevent him from doing that.  He won't have the cushy life that he has here.  However, obviously he does not appreciate the cushion of living here.  He seems to be doing everything in his power to make it impossible for his cushy life to continue.

I told him today, "You know what's getting in your way of pursuing your passion? You are!"

My Facebook status after the night we got home...

"I feel like someone kicked my ass last night. Probably because someone did ...mentally."

My Facebook status this morning...

"Overwhelmed, exhausted and sad. I want to say, 'Jesus take the wheel,' but I know he needs me to do some work too. I guess I will just ask for guidance and strength." 

Something has got to give...I've only been saying that since he was 12.  When he was in high school, I would say, "I can't wait until this is over! Then everything will be so much better.  His stress level will be down.  He won't have as much to be angry about.  He'll be happier."

I could not have been more wrong.  It's just a new set of challenges that I don't know if I have the energy to face.

p.s.
Our weekend was not completely ruined. We did manage to have a really good time at our Family Reunion in between the antics.  I will have to write about that another day.