When David came home last night I snapped at him. He snapped right back, clearly indicating that he was willing to be nastier to me than I could ever be to him. I was angry because he came into the house, phone stuck on his ear and walked right past everyone. Brian was bouncing on the sofa with some excitement because he was home and was very hurt that David did not even look in his direction.
I went back to the bathroom where he was (the door was open) and told him that I didn't think it would kill him to say hello to Brian when he came home. David said, "How about we don't treat David like an ass the second he walks home?" (All this was said in pretty angry, sarcastic voices.) So I went to, "You have not seen me acting like an ass yet David." "And you have not seen me either...I'm going in my room!"
So now I am really furious and the kids are upset because I am furious and they don't even know what happened. (David and I were hissing at each other and they could not understand from a distance.)
(Carl did not have that reaction. He would be apologize and at least seem to care if I was upset. Ann of course was also willing to escalate at a moment's notice.)
I left him alone for a while and then went back to talk to him. I went into his room and told him we needed to talk. "I'm on the phone." "I'll wait." I listened to several minutes of inane teenager conversation and then said, "I need you to tell her you will call her back." He ignored me. I sat on his bed right next to him (He was lying down, looking at the ceiling.) "Can't we just talk tomorrow?" "No. I won't be able to sleep unless we talk to tonight."
So he hung up and we talked. I was calm then and I told him that his being gone all weekend like this was stressful for me and the kids and I did not know how to handle it. I told him that we needed more from him. I told him that we all needed to for him to at least say hello when he came in.
"It sounds like you want me to be sad about not seeing you guys for three days. But it isn't any different from my not seeing my friends for days. That's just the way my life is."
"David I am not talking about how you feel, I am talking about how you behave."
He looks at me with total bewilderment. “
We also talked about what he was going to do about a job. He said that he would have time to look Friday after school and maybe on Saturday. He said he knew he needed a job (there was real anxiety in his voice. He is not just acknowledging that we need for him to have a job but that he needs one). I told him that if he did have a job that would help things for me. That would make things different.
It is clear that it makes NO SENSE to David that I am okay with him being gone "all the time" because he is working but not because he is with his friends. It makes no sense to him that I think there is a difference between "spending time with his friends" and packing a bag and moving out for the weekend. It makes no sense that I think that other people's emotional needs include him saying "hello, how was your weekend?"
He really does not understand.
David's Story Part 1: The Beginning
David's Story Part 40: Coping With Humor