is it okay to let go of him?



One of the most painful experiences has to be when it feels as if your child has turned into someone else. I am trying to understand what is happening and why my oldest child has become so difficult, challenging and sometimes downright mean.

I don’t know if it’s because of the Oppositional Defiant Disorder  that I wrote about a little while back rearing its ugly head or for some other reason that I have been unable to figure out. Whatever is happening, I have become the most hated person in his life right now.

Things have been escalating for a while now and I am trying to not reason with him or use logic. I am working my hardest at remaining patient, clam and collected and holding onto my anger until I am not with him. My skin is about as thick as it’s going to get a the moment though, and every single thing he says and does stings.

Here is just a highlight of what has come up the last little while:

  • Undermining everything that I say, or downright refusing to do even simple tasks
  • Refusing to come home after spending the night with his father and his father refusing to make him to do so
  • Acting aggressively towards me and his brother
  • Calling me names and swearing at me
  • Telling me that I am no good, that I don’t do anything right and that I ruined everything
  • Telling me that I have everything and his father has nothing because of me
  • Telling me that I am not his mother, that I have never been his mother and that he is going to go live with his father and his ‘real’ mother (his father’s wife)
  • Telling me that he doesn’t care if I die and he hopes he never sees me again
  • Lying about everything

This past weekend was the absolute worst. I am at the point where I am considering allowing him to live with his father. I love him with all of my heart and it is currently shattered into a million pieces, but I cannot force my child to love me.

But is it okay to let go of him?

I firmly believe that as long as his father is breathing, nothing is going to change. I can take him to therapy and I can talk with him about how he feels, but if his father and his father’s wife are not on the same page, blame me for everything and undo all that I do to try to help we are just going to go in circles.

Here is the conversation I had with his father (L) and wife (C) yesterday:

C: Houston we have a problem….Michael is refusing to go home. Just on my way to drop all the kids (at your place and my parents with the girls) and he won’t get ready to leave. He is claiming someone has to get him Pokemon cards. He has been saving his allowance and we told him maybe during March Break.

Me: Oh. Okay. He’s not getting Pokemon cards today. Easter is coming as well

C: I know. So now he won’t leave. He says he wants to stay with daddy.

Me: He needs to learn that he doesn’t make the rules

C: Oh so that’s a rule? Not staying with daddy? I didn’t know. Was it something we did or are we just not good enough? Just asking please don’t take that the wrong way.

Me: No, that’s not what I meant. I meant he doesn’t get to throw snits when he doesn’t get something like Pokemon cards. The idea of living with you guys is something we need to figure out together.

C: Oh no, he already said he won’t go home and then he started trying to get us to bribe him, he told us that’s what you do!! Poor guy. He’s just confused. I’m sure it’s probably hard to understand at his age. But what would you recommend I do in this situation? We can cancel our date night and drive him to school–obviously the kids come first…but I know that won’t really fix the issue. Shitty timing because we have things to do.

Me: Tell him I said he had to come home. Is L working?

C: I’ve told him I’m sure his mom misses him. He won’t physically get boots and coat on. Yes L is home and has tried but what do you do when your son says “why can’t I stay with you?”. L feels bad. He’s really upset.

They eventually brought him home (an hour later). I am trying to be empathetic. I firmly believe his father and his father’s wife are feeding in to this behaviour and he is picking up on the anger his father still harbors towards me (I know this is true because both of the boys tell me consistently that their father hates me and that C and him say that I’m nothing but a fat-ass).

I know it’s not about me, it’s about him. It’s not about what is happening in my world, it’s about what is happening in his. It’s not about me feeling good, it’s about making him feel good. Right now I feel powerless to stop any of it and I wonder if allowing him to live with his father would make things easier for him (not for me, just for him).

Right now I just  feel like an absolute failure and undeserving to be a mother. I try my best but it’s become quite obvious that my best is not good enough.

19 thoughts on “is it okay to let go of him?

  1. I don’t know what to say but didn’t want to read and run. This sounds so tough. Maybe some time with his dad would give you space to breathe again? I hope you find a way through this xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • I only want what’s best for him and if that means living with his dad, then I’m all for it. I just don’t want to make the decision because I’m tired of his behaviour (if that makes sense).

      I’ve messaged another T that my T suggested (her specialty is kids). Fingers crossed she can help us out.

      Life is tough right now that’s for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes that makes complete sense. I think it would also be ok to need a break because that would help you but also him. I hope the other T can help. My T is also accredited to work with children and adolescents and this has been so helpful for me with my parenting because I really trust she knows what she’s doing when it comes to determining what is okay for both my daughter and me.

        Thinking of you with this struggle.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. It most definately sounds like his father is feeding into his behavior. How old is he? If he is older than 15 I say let him go. At certain ages I think they need the male influence, constantly. It will also relieve you of all the stressors and give his dad a chance to see what you are actually dealing with. This is my personal opinion. You are giving him away, that is his father and if he is willing to step in, let him. I’m sorry you are having to go through this. I will say that you are fortunate that his father is still around to offer help.

    Liked by 2 people

      • He’s only 8. He’s still just little.

        I agree he needs a male influence but my concern is that they’re going to send him home to me as soon as he acts out (that’s what they always do). I’m absolutely terrified he’s going to be left feeling like nobody wants him if that happens.

        I would love a break from it all, but I don’t want to send him off because of my emotions. It has to be what’s best for him.

        I’ve sent a message off to a therapist that my T suggested, so I’ll see if she can help with the situation.

        Fingers crossed!!

        Liked by 2 people

      • So young and too troubled. That is the age of my best friend’s son who has ODD. I wouldn’t send him at that age. Only when he can make the decision himself, as a teen. How is his behavior in school?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I can empathise as my children have challenging behaviour similar to what you describe. You want what is best for your son, but you have to think about what’s best form you and your other child too. It may be that living with dad seems like what he wants but would he change his mind once he’s there.
    Is there an option to say he can live with dad for 4 to 6 months and then reassess after that?
    Hope you get some improvement soon.

    Liked by 2 people

    • His father lives on the other side of town, so they want to switch schools and everything. I would probably be more willing if they kept things the same (I guess I could make them keep him in the same school since I legally have sole custody and make those decisions).

      I’m also worried about my tiny one because his father barely spends time with him as it is, and if the older one moves I don’t know if he’ll ever see him.


      • If it was a trial period then you wouldn’t want to change school and tbh it would be too disruptive for your son to move home and school at the same time. It’s a very difficult situation for you.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Too many worries for someone so little.

    School isn’t horrible. He was acting out at the beginning of the year but his teacher moved him front and centre and put him beside a quiet little girl and that seemed to help. His teacher is a bit old-school so she doesn’t tend to put up with a lot of crap (which is definitely a good thing).

    He’s gotten a few bus reports because he wasn’t listening to the bus driver. I talk to him about what is and what isn’t acceptable behaviour on the bus but he just gets angry and blames it all on her and her ‘stupid’ rules or some other kid on the bus (which isn’t true at all)

    Another big concern right now is how he treats his little brother. I get that little brothers are a pain in the ass but I am worried that he’s going to hurt him because he doesn’t know when to stop when he’s angry. I try to explain to him that I will deal with the tiny one when he’s being an instigator but he just loses it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel very much that it’s an intentional game to undermine and interfere with everything I try to do for our son. I’m probably just being overly sensitive because I’m exhausted with it all, but it feels like making my life miserable is more important than the well-being of his children.

      Some of my friends think he’s just doing it so he can claim the child tax benefits and have me pay child support because I make more than him and his wife combined. I don’t know if that’s true, but he’s always claimed that I left him penniless after the marriage dissolved, so there may be some truth to how they feel.

      I contacted a therapist my T suggested a couple of weeks ago and I’ve filled my T in on the situation (instead of just cancelling which is what I’d really like to do).

      Hopefully things calm down a bit in the next couple of days because things are feeling quite overwhelming right now.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Hi Kerry – My son was similar. He would not do anything I asked, he greatly valued his dad and seemed to hate me, he’d tell me I was a leech on his dad as I didn’t work. He seemed to feel he had to choose one of us and he chose his dad. I think if I’d had the option, I would have sent him to live with his dad, because the stress of dealing with him seemed unbearable at times. In your case, I can see why it would make sense to send him to his father’s. In no sense would you be ‘letting him go’ though – he stays your son, and of course you would still see him regularly. The specifics for you seem complex, but I’d be very tempted.

    If it helps, my son is an adult now and no longer feels the same. It did take a long time though, including all his teenage years. But now, we have a pretty decent relationship, in some ways I am closer to him than his dad is.

    Your son doesn’t really hate you. His brain is immature, and he’s acting out and dealing with his feelings as best he can, but I’ll bet this is not forever.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Ellen. I’m glad it worked out well in the end for you.

      I’m trying hard not to rush through things and deal with it all when I’m not stuck in the ‘overwhelming’ feelings.

      May I ask how old your son was when he went to live with his father? Were there other children, or just him?


      • We had shared custody Kerry. It would have been better for me if he’d just lived with his dad though. He is an only child.

        I wouldn’t say everything worked out well, as he has big issues, but the piece about him hating me, which felt so real and like it would be forever, that didn’t last. And it is a relief and I feel good about that, whatever else happens. Children take in that you love them, even if they act out. The benefits sometimes come later.

        take care.


  6. Pingback: methinks I might need a new doctor | This Takes Courage

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