Luke and the Living Hell

Today was a difficult day with Luke. He didn’t take his medicine Saturday or today so his behavior was completely out of control. He screamed. He insulted. He blamed. He shouted. He stomped around, broke things, and slammed doors. It wasn’t just one tantrum, he behaved this way the entire day.

By the time he went to bed, he had 4 shouting fits and 3 screaming, crying, hitting, meltdowns. The difference between shouting fits and meltdowns is that Luke retains the ability to speak coherently, albeit horribly, during a shouting fit. During a meltdown Luke vomits nastiness incoherently while screaming, crying, and behaving violently.

I’m taking him to counseling. I’m getting him meds. I’m doing everything in my power to try to help him but it seems his behavior continues to worsen as he gets older. I don’t know what else to do.

The counselor suggested sending Luke to residential treatment – a group home, basically. Jonathan absolutely won’t allow it.

For the time being, I have no choice but to suck it up and manage through the constant insults, berating, screaming, shouting, and violent fits of rage which occur on a daily basis. Luke says his “life is a living hell”, but it’s Luke who is making our lives a living hell in actuality.

Luke’s Behavior “is [my] fault”

I should be sleeping yet I’m wide awake again. Normally when I’m wide awake this late, I’m having painsomnia (pain so severe you can’t sleep).

Things have gone smoother with Luke recently…until tonight, that is. Luke called Oliver a “bastard”. I told Luke to go to bed for the night for calling his brother names. Luke was defiant and determined to test boundaries so he earned an additional consequence: losing his tablet for the evening. Instead of turning in his tablet, Luke completely. flipped. out.

Luke screamed and shouted and kicked the wall beside his bed. He positioned the tablet so that I’d have to physically wrestle it out from under his body. He called Jonathan and I unfair, the worst parents, fuckers…every adjective he could think of at the time. He threw things at Jonathan and told me that he hopes I die and rot in hell.

This HUGE outburst lead to him losing his tablet, computer, and cell phone. These things were not taken away all at once. He lost them progressively during the course of his massive, manipulative, tantrum.

Jonathan blamed me for Luke’s behavior as Jonathan typically does. If I require a consequence of Luke for his behavior (ie go to bed a little early because he called his brother a bastard), Jonathan blames me for Luke’s ensuing defiant behavior. It’s difficult not to roll my eyes at Jonathan for enabling Luke’s nastiness by refusing to intervene until the situation is completely out of control.  Jonathan thinks that I escalate Luke’s behavior by actually enforcing the consequences for breaking a given rule. The family therapist and I disagree. Inconsistent consequences escalate Luke’s behavior. Jonathan tends to enforce consequences inconsistently.

I’m sure it’s no surprised that after all of the shouting, screaming, insulting, name calling, and generally stressful behavior, I don’t feel like sleeping.

The only good thing about today is that it’s over

Today has been difficult. Every single element of the day was riddled with problems.

I feel like I shouldn’t talk about the passing of my friend with Jonathan. Jonathan has a low opinion of social media, the internet, and online friendships in general. It would be hard for Jonathan to understand how important this friendship was to me and how heartbroken I feel over the loss. Jonathan has also been dealing with job instability and helping his father who is slowly dying of stage 4 cancer so he doesn’t need any more upsetting news.

At work, my superior made a poor decision which had a negative outcome so he threw me under the bus to save face. I spent the entire day trying to dig myself out from under the mess he created instead of working on scheduled assignments. Now, in addition to being put on the spot and verbally reprimanded for something that wasn’t my responsibility in the first place, I’m a day behind on all assigned projects.

While I was working, Dee called me asking for advice on how to handle her landlord who is threatening to evict her based on something her ex-boyfriend did even though she’s never been late on rent. Dee was again contemplating suicide and cutting. Then another friend called asking for advice on how to handle her unexpectedly heavy period. I mistook these calls for genuine emergencies since both parties know not to call while I’m at work unless there is a genuine emergency. (Dee threatening suicide is not an emergency.)

When I arrived home after work, Jonathan had left for another small job in a neighboring town so I had all evening alone with the kids. Being alone with the kids doesn’t especially bother me, but I really needed to work most of the evening to catch up on the projects I’m behind on due to my superior’s aforementioned incompetence. Since I was the only adult in the house, I needed to constantly break up arguments between Oliver and Luke, manage Luke’s behavior, ensure homework was finished, and keep the kids on schedule. Needless to say, I accomplished nothing other than household chores and child wrangling.

Luke and Oliver spent so much time arguing, fighting, picking, and generally being jerks to one another that I couldn’t even finish vacuuming and mopping the house until almost 11PM. Vacuuming and mopping needed to be finished tonight since we will have guests Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Then there was the completely unnecessary Twitter drama…that’s a subject for another day.

The only good thing about today is that it’s over. Well, and cats. Cats are good too.

Luke: The Breakthrough

I was sitting in bed working. Luke came into the bedroom, flopped on the bed, and sobbed.

“What’s wrong, honey?” (Yes, I’ve turned into an old southern lady who calls everyone honey)

“I’m sorry I keep yelling at you. I’m not mad at you. I thought you were going to leave or move to Colorado or find a boyfriend like Mommy but you didn’t leave.”, he sobbed. “Even when I called you names and yelled at you, you didn’t leave.”

“No, honey. I’m not going to leave you. Even when you’re having a hard time, I’m not going to leave you.”

Then we compared me to Luke’s mom. What do we have in common? We’re female, approximately the same age, attended the same high school, and dated/married Jonathan. That’s it. That’s really it.

Luke: The Verbal Abuser

I took a break from writing about my life. I wish that the break gave me perspective or some insight. It gave me neither.

Things have gotten worse. Mostly Luke’s behavior has gotten worse. Luke is more defiant, more belligerent, and has become verbally abusive. When I speak to Luke, he yells at me. When I ask him not to yell, he screams obscenities at me.

I found some new jeans, tags still attached, in Luke’s size at a thrift store. After all, school starts in early August here and Luke doesn’t like to wear shorts to school. I washed and folded the jeans and put them on Luke’s bed. Luke saw the jeans and threw them into the hallway.

“Why would you buy jeans for me?! Are you fucking stupid or something? It’s SUMMER. People don’t wear jeans in the summer. What am I supposed to do with this shit?!?”, Luke shouted at me from his room.

“I’m sorry that buying new jeans for you in your size upset you, Luke.”, I replied.

I’ve learned to be careful with my replies. If I react to Luke’s verbal assaults in any way other than utter pleasantness, Jonathan rushes to scene to defend Luke.

Blablabla. There she goes again.“, Luke mutters to himself just loud enough for me to hear, “always trying to start a fight with her bullshit.

Disgusted with Luke’s behavior, I retreat to my bedroom for some peace and quiet. I’ve spent a lot of time in my bedroom lately. I don’t care to subject myself to verbal abuse, especially not from a teenager. I have no desire to listen to Jonathan tell me I’m not giving Luke enough space, or being dramatic, or overreacting, or being ridiculous, or some other negative description insinuating I cause Luke to behave negatively toward me.

My break from writing about my life really gave me no break at all.

It’s Difficult | Defiant Luke

Things are mostly the same.

FatherInLaw is still very sick, but stable. I’ve been cooking for FatherInLaw, but he hasn’t been eating what I’ve cooked. Presently FatherInLaw refuses to eat anything other than HotPockets and Jello.

Luke forgot to take his meds last night. By “forgot”, I mean Luke told me he took his meds but did not take his meds, so he was wildly uncontrollable all day. I’ve been reading “10 Days to a Less Defiant Child” to help deal with Luke’s overwhelming defiance. He’s defiant at school, at home, to me, to Jonathan and he antagonizes his brother every moment they’re alone together. Luke’s behavior is completely intolerable.

Speaking of Jonathan, he hasn’t been handling his father’s illness well. Jonathan isn’t sleeping, is working constantly, and every little thing causes him to have an outburst of rage. A few days ago he threw a heavy saw, some saw horses, and barrels filled with trash out of the garage into the driveway.

Since Jonathan has either been working or at FatherInLaw’s house, I’ve been taking care of the kids by my lonesome. It’s difficult to take care of everyone by myself. That’s what I’m doing mostly – taking care of everyone by myself. The only chore I haven’t handled myself has been mowing the lawn.

 

Piling Up

Luke has a band performance at school tomorrow night and I cannot attend. Someone has to visit FatherInLaw – bring food, change bed sheets, change the sheets to shield the furniture from chemo sweat, plant 30+ cantaloupe…  Yes, FatherInLaw wants the cantaloupe planted tomorrow.

Jonathan is taking Luke to the band concert largely because I’m FatherInLaw’s cook and responsible for organizing and bringing the food. Jonathan always forgets to bring the food delivery when he visits. Jonathan forgets most things, actually.

FatherInLaw lives in a tiny house. A literal tiny house like the variety you see featured on Pinterest. Tiny houses have tiny water heaters and the tiny water heater at FatherInLaw’s is broken. In addition to being FatherInLaw’s personal chef, I’m also his laundry and dishwashing service.

Everything keeps piling up. Piles upon piles for things to do and things to buy and things that are needed and I just can’t do or afford them all.

Money, FatherInLaw, And Kids

The washing machine is dying. The motor is dying, specifically. The manufacturer doesn’t make the motor for that model anymore. A replacement is required. I don’t have money for a replacement. I don’t have money to go to the laundromat either at $30 a week and a 40min drive each way.

One cat and one dog fell ill last week. The cat couldn’t keep food down and the dog had bronchitis so I took them both to the vet. The bill came to $700 in total. At least I have 2 living pets on the way to wellness even though I had to charge the bill to a credit card. I requested Revolution for the cat we took to the vet but used it on a 3rd cat who has ear mites. Although I feel guilty for conning the vet, I literally can’t afford to take 3 animals to the vet especially for a minor problem like ear mites.

My father in law is dying. He’s 64. For the past few months he hasn’t been feeling well. Kidney infections, difficulty passing stool, difficulty sleeping because of the pain… Much like my family, Jonathan’s family doesn’t believe in modern medicine and FatherInLaw wouldn’t go to the doctor. After FatherInLaw’s uncle died last week, he finally went to the hospital. His body is riddled with malignant tumors.  FatherInLaw may come home tomorrow so Jonathan and his family have been cleaning FatherInLaw’s house – it was filled with mold and mildew from running the gas heater without a humidifier.

The situation with the Oliver and Luke is better. After several weeks of having Jonathan as the “primary parent” – the one who assigns chores, plans meals, disciplines, and makes plans – the kids decided that I should resume “primary parent” duties. They said Jonathan’s parenting method leaves them confused and they don’t like it when Jonathan gets frustrated and shouts.

The kids also decided they want to move in with their mother and her boyfriend. Well, Luke wants to move in with his mother and her boyfriend so Oliver wants to move into the same house as Luke. Luke wants to get away from Oliver and Luke also feels that his mother and her boyfriend won’t enforce any rules. Luke has clearly forgotten what it’s like to live with his mother. Also, his mother and her boyfriend moved in together as soon as they started dating 2-3 months ago. This whole situation is a real face-palm-er.

Still Here. Things are Changing.

I’m still around. I’ve been sick, then slightly less sick, then sick again. The only thing that has changed is that I’m tired of talking about feeling awful all the time. Feeling awful is tiring. Sometimes talking about feeling awful is tiring as well.

The rheumatologist is retiring. Soon I’ll be without the pain medicine I need to function on a day to day basis. No other rheumatologists in my area prescribe pain medication. I’ve been diagnosed with Sjogren’s recently which helps explains why my eye lids stick together and my tongue breaks out in blisters.

TheJob is still working on their bizarre social media policies. While they can’t ask for anyone’s account, they’re kinda asking for everyone to follow, friend, or otherwise allow a corporate account to access their information. Ridiculous. Restructuring continues. Covering up information about the restructuring with the artful guise of “complete transparency” continues as well. It’s frustrating.

Luke has hard times; probably bipolar disorder. Oliver has been bursting into tears for no reason since his mother’s boyfriend moved in with her. After a long discussion with Jonathan, I’m taking a less active role in parenting. The children resent me. They resent me for parenting because I’m not their parent. I’m not anyone’s parent.

Less parenting means more time to devote to artistic pursuits. Perhaps I’ll make something of myself as an artist yet. Frida Kahlo managed to paint in a body cast. I’ll somehow manage to create art with a full body disease. I purchased a sketch book for planning photoshoots and have scheduled several friends to model for photographs. I’ve also been considering a series of self portraits – possibly portraits expressing how it feels to live with chronic illness. Strangely, when I tried to order a Prismacolor pencil set, I found out there was a shortage of colored pencils because adult coloring books have surged in popularity.

Well…that felt like a waste of time off…

I finally had a few days off from work. Unfortunately, I accomplished next to nothing.

Thursday I was on rotation for work so I couldn’t leave my house and worked most of the day. Jonathan cooked Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve been struggling with miserable RA back pain so I rested my back as much as possible. I didn’t spend a moment of time with my side of the family. I do miss my grandmother, but I do not miss the family shenanigans so I’m not upset.

Friday, I was off work and wasn’t on rotation. I drove to Dee’s house to help her get her farm use truck off her round pen. The truck’s transmission is stuck in drive so the truck can’t be backed up. We disassembled the round pen so the truck could drive through and we parked it on the other side out of the way. I also hauled off some trash for Dee because she has absolutely no transportation and, since we live in the middle of nowhere, no way of hauling trash to the dump. I often feel frustrated with Dee, but I also feel sorry for Dee because she’s a lightening rod for bad luck and unfortunate events.

While I was at Dee’s, MediumDog rolled in a pile of horse manure then on a putrid deceased groundhog carcass. I gave MediumDog a bath at Dee’s. Lifting a squirmy 60lb dog into the bath tub did my back no favors. However, allowing filthy MediumDog into my car for the 40min ride home wasn’t an option.

Saturday Jonathan’s family had their Thanksgiving so I spent the majority of the day there helping Jonathan’s grandmother. She is still recovering from a lengthy hospital stay. The majority of the visit I just tried to stay out of the way and hide my significant back pain. Jonathan’s family is very kind and accepting. It was nice to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal without an undercurrent of hushed drama.

Today I gave MediumDog a second bath. Fortunately, MediumDog hadn’t rolled on any new putrid carcasses or feces, she just had the residual stench of Friday’s adventures. I also gave BigDog a bath because he’s a lab and labs always need baths. Washing two dogs and cleaning up the bathroom did my back pain no favors. I had to go grocery shopping tonight which I only managed because Luke rode with me to the store and helped lift groceries and load the car.

Three days off work and I haven’t accomplished anything I set out to accomplish. My office is still a mess, the bedroom full of clutter, I didn’t list any items on Craigslist or Ebay to earn much needed extra money, I didn’t seal the tile in the downstairs hallway or accomplish any other home improvement chores… At least the dogs don’t reek?