My 15 yr old son and I argue a lot. All his life he witness me curse others and his dad and even him and his siblings out. For several years probably starting at 12, I begin to curse him out as if he was grown. I showed my sorrow and he forgave me. Lately on and off for the past 2 years esp recently we have had major disputes in which he curses at me calls me names and dont listen to what I say. I react by cursing him out. Today was the worse of all, I completely said harsh things to him like just die, I hate you, I don’t care, go to the streets… vicious things. He already said he will never forgive me and I understand why. I am at a cross road to believe he is still a child and what I say can hurt him… I tell therapist all day and others that it is me that fed his anger over the years it is my fault and everything he does disrespectfully to me I caused it and may even deserve it. I said negative things to him that may put his life in danger or mines. I cant go to bed knowing I was so hateful with my words b/c I feel I should be dead in my sleep b/c of my disrespect to God’s children, my child I was blessed with. I need him to understand I didn’t mean it, I snapped and I let my hurt feelings try to hurt him worse. Please help me get thru to him. I know he needs time from me b/c he already have odds against him being a product of a single parent, low income, angry, depressed mom. I want him to gain an opportunity b/c I am sending him to the streets, which is my biggest fear. Please help.

First of all, I am sorry for all of the heartache in your son’s life and in yours. There is a positive side to all of this: You are aware that you have hurt your son by your words. You are facing this head on, without backing off. This shows great courage.

We now have to do two things: 1) You will have to work on stopping the “cursing out” of your son and 2) You will have to get through to him that you have not intended to put his life in danger, as you say.

The first step is for you to recognize the sources of your own anger. As you have “cursed out” your son, was there someone in your life when you were growing up who did the same to you? If so, you will need to practice forgiving this person (or people) so that your strong and unhealthy anger can diminish. Start to forgive those in your life who demeaned you by their words.

The second step is to examine any anger that you have toward your son’s father. You say you are a single parent. Are you angry with the father for not being there with you? If so, you could be displacing your anger onto your son.

The third step, once you have figured out the sources of your own anger, is to humbly go to your son with this information. Let him see that you are emotionally wounded by others. Be specific so that he sees how others were very angry with you and how you have learned to be angry and how you are now passing that on to your son. He needs to see this pattern so that he can avoid embodying that anger and then passing it on to his own children. He needs to practice forgiveness toward you as you practice forgiveness toward those who “cursed you out” in the past.

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Categories: Ask Dr. Forgiveness