Today I am mentally and emotionally spent. Last night, my son harassed me and destroyed some of my personal belongings over a period of five hours. All because he was irritated by my “nagging” him to use a placemat for his hot bowl. This is the life of ODD. People with ODD are deliberately vindictive and sometimes it is relentless.
I had had enough and finally called the police around 11pm to help calm my son down and to ensure that no more destruction continued. Two of the five officers were the same ones who came to my home months before when a similar incident happened. My son was defiant towards them as well, another sign of ODD (ex: defying authority figures).
At the same time, I finally texted and emailed my son’s father (who has essentially been a deadbeat parent for the last decade) to step in and help with the situation. The police spoke to him instructing him to call my son and calm him down. He did (so that he could look like the hero). As he was talking to my son, I texted him telling him that he needed to wake up to the reality of my son’s disorder and that he needed to help once and for all. As expected, this person just couldn’t muster up the maturity and selflessness so desperately needed to help manage my child. Instead, he was focused on continuing to personally and viciously attack me by bringing up issues a decade old. This whole situation is made unnecessarily and tragically complicated by this person’s narrow-minded and malicious attitude.
Managing ODD and moodiness is hard enough on its own. Having to deal with a co-parent who purposefully doesn’t cooperate and who continuously undermines me does irreparable damage. It is simply tragic that he does not see this.
If you are struggling to raise your child, with or without a disorder, because of a troublesome co-parent, you aren’t alone. I fully appreciate how hard this is when someone else takes away attention from the bigger issue at hand and personally attacks you. I’m writing this to partially vent but also to help encourage all of you who are facing this co-parenting spectacle to find it in yourselves to stay on the right path and to be the person – always – with integrity. It is incredibly hard, I know. Because as humans with emotions, we want to defend and set these people straight. I did, by standing up for myself and putting him in his place. For a moment it felt good but I realized it was pointless to expect this type of person to be better.
So try to remember, like I’m telling myself now, not to be distracted by these types and to refocus on your purpose, your goodness, your integrity, your role as the more capable and fit parent to help your child.
4 thoughts on “When Co-Parenting ODD Isn’t An Option”
Again, mirror image of my life. I am disheartened. Sad. Mad. Very mad. Trying to find a new outlook. Really struggling.
It’s ok to feel all that. I have. But it’s not the end of your story. For now just focus on believing you are not a bad person or a bad parent. We are all human capable of making mistakes and falling short. Please look at the important quote in my post called “You’re Your Child’s Hero”. I read that often because that is how I’ve felt all 16 years – torn, battered, exhausted, frustrated but….I refuse to give up. You may not have custody of your son but don’t give up on yourself. You need to be strong for you #1 and over time for you son. You’re not alone.
I am starting to feel this. I am starting to believe that I matter and I can reclaim my life.
About 3 years ago, I could not look at myself in the mirror and feel certain that I was a good mom. It has taken a great deal of therapy, self help reading and a determination to do better to get me to a place where I now can look at myself and feel certain that I am, in fact, a good mom. It started just by accepting me and my mistakes and telling myself over and over and over again “It’s OK”. I think this process took months, maybe a full year. Be kind and gentle to yourself. Know that it’s OK. And just keep doing your best.