Ever have that feeling, when things are bad, you just know that no matter what you do , things will get worse before they get better?
It happened, I knew it would, I had no idea it would happen as it did, and my wish of course is that it did not.
Miss Daughter who in recent months has proclaimed herself of the punk genre has been showing those signs of rebellion that all teens go through, with her it came suddenly. It was as if one day I woke up, and my little girl was gone. The way we were able to 'connect' was gone.
I could rationalize, and know in my brain, that it was something that had to happen eventually, and if we could get through it, we would be OK. Hopefully we will.
The catalyst, the sword of doom, fell this past Thursday night. Her good sense was tossed aside and pure teen-age girl took over. I know she drinks alcohol, she still swears she doesn't do drugs, says she has tried pot and didn't like it. She has started smoking cigarettes, which is a main point of contention, I will not allow her to do it in front of me, or in our home, if I witness it I will stop it. She knows this.
Back to Thursday. She attended a small concert, they happen most weekends, small, usually high school age garage bands, are highlighted for a few sets, there are usually two or three bands on the roster each weekend. This week, one of them was her boyfriend's. He decided it would be fun to be drunk during their sets, and so he scored some Everclear. They all drank four or more shots before the band went on. Miss Daughter and friends included.
I was to pick her up at 11. At 10:38 we get the call...she and her boyfriend had been arrested for drinking underage, and being a public nuisance. GRrrrrr!
Not a lot happened with the police, they kept them separated, they each had their own cruiser to ride in. I arrived to pick up Miss Daughter...then my mistakes began:
1) I didn't wait for her father to arrive so we could pick her up together, he was on his way, but I was already in town, since I was supposed to be giving them that planned ride home.
Lesson--no matter the good intentions or because it seems easier, if at all possible both parents should be there. Even in relationships where there is more disagreement than agreement, both should be there in times like these.
2) I had no idea how drunk she really was, she does seem able to pull it together when she needs to. So I decided with her defenses downed by alcohol it might be a good time to try to take the time to talk, get past her anger and find out what was going on, how I could help her, if I could help her. If there was something I/we needed to change to help her.
Ahhh, the darling girl, she was and will always be a master at manipulation and deflection, she was able to once again deflect the conversation away from herself and focus it elsewhere, no matter how I tried, she would continually redirect focus in another direction, toward areas she knows I have deep concern about. At one point she said something about her brother that really got to me. I pulled over to be able to focus on what she said.
Lesson--ffs! don't try to talk sense to anyone who is drunk...what was I thinking?
3) She was angry, oh so very angry...looking back I now know it was at herself as much as at me...but, of course in the heat of the moment, I didn't see that. She tried to leave the vehicle, so I grabbed her, this resulted in a rather violent tussle, me trying to keep her inside, her trying to get out. It escalated to a point I never would have thought possible. I ended up hurting her by pulling on her hair to keep her in, she ended up punching me, punching me four times. God! I never would have imagined Miss Daughter could pack such punches! My face is still showing the results of those punches, and probably will for the next week or so.
Lesson--it is too easy to let my emotions and fears override good sense, and don't try to 'get' someone who is drunk, all of those defenses may be down, but there is also no self-limiting factor, the alcohol has erased that.
4) We eventually calmed down. When we arrived home, I didn't try to restrain her, I just allowed her to climb out of the vehicle. Bad move! She took off running. We live on a farm surrounded by fields, but not that far from a small town, and within a few miles we are close to a highway interchange with a couple of gas stations. We looked for her for over two hours, maybe more. Thank god her older brother was at the house, he was a huge help, and when he finally found her (exactly where I knew she would be), she came home with him. Full of bravado and insolence, proud of what she had accomplished in those few hours. During that time, every bad scenario I could imagine went through me, I felt literally ripped apart, as did her brother and father.
Lesson--don't relax your guard, it is not over until she is safely tucked in bed, and then vigilence is still necessary.
5) I took to heart the things she said while drunk. I examined them and over examined them. I decided it was time to open up some of the problems we have been letting lie. Time to take the bull by the horns. So I addressed some of them...with her...we were able to get past the anger, and the emotional pain, we cried, we hugged, we apologized, and hopefully with time we will continue to do so. I also tried to talk to her father, we discussed many things, her punishment--which we did not agree on---it seems he thought mine too harsh--so we compromised at a 2 week grounding, and of course whatever community service she will have to do when probation gets done with her. But, I also tried to discuss the recent loss of our very much loved grandmother, tried to get him to talk it out as a family, so far no go...but hopefully soon. The biggest mistake I made was addressing our marriage. It was like hitting a brick wall. Within 30 minutes of our conversation it was as if it never took place.
Lesson--When so much is going on, when there are so many different underlying problems, even if you know the main problem...the one that is creating the other problems. Don't do it, address the crisis first, then at a later and a saner time dig deeper.
I have never in my life felt the amount of negativity and sadness that I have been feeling in recent months. But even in the midst of these darkest hours, I can see some positives. Miss Daughter and I got past the lack of communicating...it will be different, but we are back to voicing our true feelings, not retreating, not hiding, getting them out there. My trust in her will always be damaged, even my trust in that voicing of emotions, but I will never give up.
As to my marriage...maybe it was the wrong time...but there will never be a right time. It is the one area I truly still feel negative about, if I allow it, things will slide right back into the limbo we have been living for the past four years. So, it is up to me, I have to be the one, I am the one who is unhappy, and it is I who has to be that catalyst for the change. Someday soon, I have to bring it up again, I have to have a decision ready, I have to force him to see that even though I may not know what I want, I do know what I don't want.
A friend told me recently of a theory, that all things must equal out, whether bad things or good things, they equal out for all involved. So even though I have spent so many years trying to hide all the hurt, and keep everyone else happy and content, I did not succeed. Instead I ended up sharing that pain, they all feel it in one way or another. They will continue to do so. My time of fear and indecision must end, it has only caused harm, harm in the very ones I had hoped to avoid causing that harm to.