Saturday, February 5, 2011


It's been about six years since my son's "issues" began, and during that time my thoughts and emotions have bounced around like an out of control Super Ball. (Some of you probably aren't old enough to get the Super Ball reference. If you aren't, just click here.)

There is a constant sadness in my heart, because I want so badly for my son to be "normal." Or at least "more normal." I hate to see my own flesh and blood struggle. And, of course, there is love. I love my son more than life itself. But I'm only human, and other feelings make their presence known quite often, too: guilt, resentment, anger, frustration, disappointment, etc. Oh, and did I mention guilt?

Guilt eats me up inside on a regular basis. Usually the guilt is associated with the feeling that I'm somehow responsible for how my son is. That he's a severely depressed addict because of something I did or didn't do as a parent, or because of my genes. I know I shouldn't feel guilty. I've had professionals tell me that, have heard it in meetings, and have read it umpteen times. If it were my brother or sister or neighbor or mother or father or friend or wife who was a severely depressed addict, I don't think I'd feel this guilt. But as a parent, it's hard not to feel guilty. At least it is for me.

Unfortunately, the guilt thing has moved to a whole new level lately. I now feel guilty for feeling the negative feelings I feel. And its kind of making me crazy.

Here's a confession: As much as I love my son, I find myself resenting him at times. It hurts me to say that, but it's true. Over the last six years, my wife and I have done everything imaginable to try and help him. But lately it seems like he just doesn't want to be helped. He seems so unwilling to do anything that might help him start to turn his life around. Is he scared? I'm sure he is. But nothing will change unless he starts taking steps to change things.

I understand that change will not come overnight. But I wish my son would show me something. Even the tiniest of baby steps would be a step in the right direction. But lately? Nothing. There's no effort at all on his part, despite the constant statements that he knows he has to change, he knows he has to do this, he knows he has to do that, he's going to do this, he's going to do that. I've heard it all a thousand times. But nothing happens.

This post was prompted by an incident that occurred very late last night. Without going into detail, my son assured me he was going to do something my wife and I had asked him to do. But he didn't do it. Then, when I got up this morning, there was a note from my son on the kitchen counter. It was an apology. In addition to saying, "I'm sorry," the note included the now standard "I know I have to do this" and "I'm going to do this" lines.

I read the note and just kind of shook my head, because I've heard this all so many times before. It's sad, but now when my son says or writes the words "I'm sorry," they have absolutely no meaning to me. I'm starting to think my son apologizes just for the sake of apologizing; not because he's actually sorry.

Should I feel guilty for feeling that way? Because I do.

1 comment:

  1. Stop giving him money.
    Only give him 'To Do' lists.