Saturday, December 07, 2013

The Punching Bag Bomb (Part III in a series on families affected by schizophrenia--"A Crack In The Foundation")



You'll probably hear stories like this out of me a few times before all is said and done but since I received so much support yesterday from you, some of you shared similar situations, with my tweet about being over dealing with my angry husband, I thought I would share what happened with you.

After having a hard therapy session with Thomas and learning about his fear of what might happen if he releases his anger, I wanted (as I said here) to get him a punching bag to release his anger on. Well, I came to my husband yesterday morning and I asked him about getting one. He initially balked at the idea a little bit and I told him that I would pay for it with my money thinking that would calm him down since he didn't have to put out ANYTHING to make this possible for Thomas. What ensued was yet another round of fighting about Thomas. You name it, he came up with it to be mad about.

It began with the punching bag. I told him how Thomas has a great deal of anger inside of him and he needs an outlet so I was getting him a punching bag and he got mad and told me that Thomas had gotten enough gifts from me for Christmas and that I should stop spending money on him. Never mind that I had told him that Thomas needs an outlet, all he could see was that I was pouring more money into Thomas, a kid he thinks needs to move out YESTERDAY, and he launched into a whole thing about how Thomas is 19 and shouldn't be getting many Christmas presents anymore, that he is getting old enough that he should be buying his own things and that it is our time to use the money for other things.

Let me clarify something for you. When I divorced, it was written in my decree that I should receive a portion of my ex-husband's retirement proportional to the time that I was married to him. The idea being that had we stayed married I would have benefitted from that money and now that we were divorced, I had a legal right to the part that I had earned while we were married. It's a law and my lawyer took advantage of every law there was in writing up a divorce because my ex-husband had cheated on me with my best friend. I didn't think I'd ever see the money once he retired because he lives in another state and I didn't have the money to hire a lawyer and enforce the decree. Miracles do happen though and when he retired, my portion started coming to me in monthly payments. I made a decision then and there that since Thomas had been abandoned by him and since child support had stopped because Thomas had graduated high school, that I would slate that money for his care in whatever way it needed to be used. It has paid for hospital bills, therapy bills, meds, an air conditioner for his room (that his step dad refused to buy using some excuse that wasn't valid) and a new bed (again that his step dad refused to buy him even though Thomas had the same mattress for 14 years). That money also paid for Thomas' Christmas this year. Not one cent came out of "family" money. Not one. The punching bag? Was coming out of that money too. My husband wasn't going to have to pay for a cent of it so I didn't see the problem.

I was wrong though and as I said, he felt I had spent enough and from there the argument turned into how Thomas should be out on his own at this point, that he should be contributing to the family, that he sits around all the time, that he does nothing for himself, that I do everything for him (neither of those last two being the least bit true). I was angry and couldn't believe we were here again. He wants Thomas out of the house yesterday and I don't see where that is possible anytime soon. I explained to him that Thomas had met every one of the goals we had set for him and that he was now gainfully employed (one of the steps towards independence) and that we were working towards the next goal. My husband works 5 days a week, 14 hours a day and misses out on a lot. He doesn't see that Thomas does get up and contribute to the family, he doesn't see that Thomas prepares his own meals most times, he doesn't see most everything that Thomas does but there he was sitting in judgment of him and I and finding every reason to blame everything on willful young adult behavior and not understand that Thomas is home because he's sick and needs protection right now.

It'll be a timeless argument. He will say he wants Thomas out of the house, that he doesn't want another cent spent on him, that Thomas is somehow a burden to him and round and round we will go. I brought up, like I always do, that Thomas is sick, that these are his symptoms which I listed, that a lot of his behaviors we have to look past, that schizophrenia is a lifelong illness and all were shot down using the argument that Thomas needs to "grow up and move on."

There it was then, the punching bag that Thomas so desperately needs became the bomb that set off yet another argument about how HE thinks Thomas should be. I'm so sick of it. I keep Thomas' illness away from him as much as possible, I ask him to do so little as a dad for Thomas (I'd given up trying years ago), and I pay for everything Thomas-related so that he doesn't have to worry about a thing and what do I get? Yet another argument in the kitchen about how HE thinks the world, our family, and most especially Thomas, should be.

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