Advice needed on communication with my son

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
There is another lockdown where we live,so that's been difficult. He does belong to boy scouts, they often communicate by text and video if they cant meet. He's a gamer and does have an online social network, he assures me that's fine for him. Currently he's looking for a job which would be great.
that's great that he has those things. Are you seeing a counsellor/therapist? Maybe also talk to your docter about how you feel. I don't have children but I know it must be very hard being a single parent, especially if you have these problems.
 

adamjam

New Here
It's inappropriate for a parent to look to their child to fulfill their own needs. And I don't mean it at all cruelly, but it isn't up to him with the intellect and experiences of a 16 year old (and likely even less emotional maturity) to understand you. However, maybe much is going on with him, and he could use someone to talk to- a therapist is not likely to sound great or be well received but someone like a coach or mentor? And what has/ have he/ you both been through?

Take care and welcome to you.
I agree with you and feel there is a misunderstanding. I have changed dramatically in the past 5yrs, and it wasn't for the better, I raised him on my own for 11yrs. I was alone, independent, strong and hardworking. Then I married an emotionally abusive man and had 3 more kids. I kicked out my husband in April and got a job. Having to wear a mask at work started my whole discovery into childhood trauma and PTSD, which I never knew until now. I don't know how to help him with all that I'm going through, the mom he knew is gone, I wish I knew how to get her back but I'm hanging on by a thread here. He does have people to talk with but tells me guys dont talk about feelings. Thank you for the warm welcome.
 

Still Standing

MyPTSD Pro
It is just plain difficult raising a teenager in the best of circumstances. It sounds like you are trying to be the best parent you can be, at the moment. Looking back at my shortcomings with our kids, I think one of the important communication issues is staying open and willing to listen. A teen is going to act out in some fashion no matter how fair and open you might be with them. Having PTSD makes tolerating your issues and those of your son that much harder. Sadly, it makes parenting harder, too. Knowing that your son has other sources for sharing if he wants may be enough to help you both get through this hard spot. I know that I relied on outside sources for emotional support, when I was a teen. They were sources that my parents knew nothing about and they were those who spoke encouragement to me or simply listened and got me through some rough times. You will get through this even though it may seem like it will never get better. Chances are they will as your son gets older and has experienced life a bit more.
 

adamjam

New Here
SUCH a hard age.

Even if you were absolutely at the tippy top of your best A game? It would STILL be a heartbreakingly hard age... you “just” wouldn’t be gutted by guilt/ mom-guilt (worst super power ever!) /shame /regret AND dealing with serious illness (ptsd) on top of all the rest of it.

1. This age is brutal. Full stop. A zillion times worse than the toddler years because you can’t just pick them up and strap them in the car seat and go, or send them on timeout. They have to decide to XYZ. And yet? Developmentally it’s the same thing, advanced level. Independence, and hormones, and wildly out of control emotions as they learn to regulate with hormones, and and and and.

2. You survived the toddler years. And he still loved you. You will survive this. And he will still love you. (A lot of the tricks you had to use IN the toddler years to keep your sanity? Break those suckers back out again, and dust them off, because teenage girls get vicious🤬, but teenage boys break your heart 😭.)

((UPSIDE? Teenage girls tend to enter “the dark side” and don’t usually resurface again until their early 20s... AND are dealing with monthly hormonal surges that last weeks at a time, allowing fights/grudges/arguments/misunderstanding to fester & boil over for. freaking. ever. Teenage boys (and men) have the same hormone surges girls/women do BUT? Instead of a monthly cycle, it’s a 24 hour cycle. So a teen boy can lose their ever loving mind -because hormones- at 2pm and be a lovebug & totally smiley & calm & rational by 3pm. Meanwhile a girl smacked upside the head by the same hormones? Will be a PsychoBitchQueen for a week and a half. That doesn’t mean that boys don’t get angry/hurt for hours/days/weeks... but it does mean you’re not suffering through 10 days of hormone-related-humanity-loss, on top of whatever might be legitimate upset & not hormonal razing.))

3... TBA. I have to run, so I’d usually just save this as a draft and post when I can finish it. But I just wanted -mom of teenage boy to mom of teenage boy- to throw a hug your way ASAP. Because, yeah. It’s hard. BECAUSE you love him, and he loves you. Also because you love him? You’ll get through this.
Thank you. All I can think to say is I laughed and cried a little at the same time reading through this. Girl you get it.

Welcome to the forum.

Is this his first Christmas without Mom? That has to be bothering him. Just keep the communication open.

You're a good mom in a difficult situation. ✌

I may be a little confused with your family dynamics. 😉
It is his first Christmas without mom and you bring up a good point. I've always tried to make holidays and birthdays special in ways that dont require money, I failed miserably in that this year. And my family dynamics are confusing lol I'm an open book and dont get offended so feel free to ask:)

It is just plain difficult raising a teenager in the best of circumstances. It sounds like you are trying to be the best parent you can be, at the moment. Looking back at my shortcomings with our kids, I think one of the important communication issues is staying open and willing to listen. A teen is going to act out in some fashion no matter how fair and open you might be with them. Having PTSD makes tolerating your issues and those of your son that much harder. Sadly, it makes parenting harder, too. Knowing that your son has other sources for sharing if he wants may be enough to help you both get through this hard spot. I know that I relied on outside sources for emotional support, when I was a teen. They were sources that my parents knew nothing about and they were those who spoke encouragement to me or simply listened and got me through some rough times. You will get through this even though it may seem like it will never get better. Chances are they will as your son gets older and has experienced life a bit more.
He does have people, a mentor I have encouraged him to open up, hopefully he is.
 

adamjam

New Here
Also, can you reach out, here and otherwise, so you have a support network to help you to be able to have support for yourself and as a mom?

Christmas/ New Years can be difficult, even without a pandemic. Kids look to adults to know/ 'feel' everything will be ok
I dont have friends or family I talk with, my mom but it's not a good idea. So basically here and another forum.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
I'm sorry if I sounded harsh @adamjam , I really quite don't know how to think of giving advice because Idk the context- is this behaviour of your son routine? Is it puberty? Is he used to having more (physically)? Is it pandemic-related or influenced? How much or if he has been abused or witnessed? Is there visitation rights? What about his siblings? How has your relationship been, past? Do you know his friends? Is his dad in contact? Does he hear negative things about his dad? etc etc.

The only thing I would gently say- is because we all are so motivated by what we think subconsciously- is to reconsider naming the situation 'he doesn't have a mom'. (I think that's why it got confusing as to whether you are his dad? Because of course many children do not have a mom, and a Christmas post the loss of a parent is very difficult. ) But he does have a mom, though of course you're not the same person (he isn't either). But parents in a sense are anchors, and rudders. And hard as it is, I know you're doing a good job, and the best you can. It's not fun or easy absorbing the difficulties of a loved one vulnerable and developing in your care.

May 2021 be more fun and more secure for you and your family. Best wishes!
 

adamjam

New Here
I'm sorry if I sounded harsh @adamjam , I really quite don't know how to think of giving advice because Idk the context- is this behaviour of your son routine? Is it puberty? Is he used to having more (physically)? Is it pandemic-related or influenced? How much or if he has been abused or witnessed? Is there visitation rights? What about his siblings? How has your relationship been, past? Do you know his friends? Is his dad in contact? Does he hear negative things about his dad? etc etc.

The only thing I would gently say- is because we all are so motivated by what we think subconsciously- is to reconsider naming the situation 'he doesn't have a mom'. (I think that's why it got confusing as to whether you are his dad? Because of course many children do not have a mom, and a Christmas post the loss of a parent is very difficult. ) But he does have a mom, though of course you're not the same person (he isn't either). But parents in a sense are anchors, and rudders. And hard as it is, I know you're doing a good job, and the best you can. It's not fun or easy absorbing the difficulties of a loved one vulnerable and developing in your care.

May 2021 be more fun and more secure for you and your family. Best wishes!
No need to apologize, I appreciate any reply.
 

adamjam

New Here
that's great that he has those things. Are you seeing a counsellor/therapist? Maybe also talk to your docter about how you feel. I don't have children but I know it must be very hard being a single parent, especially if you have these problems.
I am in therapy, but typically save our sessions to talk about trauma, if I resolve that I'll be able to get back to my old self.
 

Justmehere

Moderator
Part of the work in therapy is to be able to put trauma processing on hold - both in session and outside of session. It's called "containment" in official therapy-ish terms. It's not a detour from recovery from PTSD but part of the process.

I'd strongly suggest looping in the therapist about these symptoms spikes and how to navigate them. There's actually quite a bit that can be done to manage and reduce flashbacks, plus, processing trauma at such a rate it plunges someone into flashbacks isn't generally how to improve symptoms of PTSD. It can end up reinforcing unhelpful spirals/symptoms.

The mom that you have been isn't lost, she's just learning to deal with some new stuff. Her son is in a cluster of a season of life where the crap has hit the fan in the world, he's likely at home a lot more now, and seeing a parent struggle can be unsettling. He's already got that per-existing condition known as teenage-hood.

I've been on the inside and outside of flashbacks and even as an adult, it can be confusing. That's not to guilt you, but to explain this is normal. I wouldn't hold out hope he'll be able to demonstrate a lot of understanding right now. That's ok. He doesn't need to understand all the ins and outs.

It may help to show him some things you do when things are difficult to take care of you and mitigate flashbacks. Modeling for him that there are tools to manage big emotions / feelings / floods --- well, while he still may be a grouchy teenager at times, it still may sink in that hey, there's hope out there even in the middle of the battle. He's in his own battle too with trying to grow up in a nutty time.

Someone who showed me how they coped in a healthy way with big feelings when I was a teenager left a lasting impact.

And maybe back off on the belief you are a bad mom? Because whatever he says, you are a mom brave enough to learn and reach out for help, and that's pretty damn awesome. :)
 
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