Friday, July 13, 2012

angst

We are here, together, by ourselves.  Dating just like non-parents.  Because our kids are in other countries, we are free to be ourselves here without all the drama that kids create.  Combining our families will be very difficult and quite terrible at times, so we need as much time alone right now to build us before building our family.

That said, even a billion miles away, our children can be terrible.  At least now, its a good thing as it gives us a chance to start parenting together before we have to face the kids.

First, it was dear son.  He passed his school year with the lowest grade possible so his mom calls to let his dad know the results.  The boyfriend was angry.  Says that "dear son is smart, he just doesn't do his work.  Takes advantage of any weakness.  In this case, he's just too old for the mom to control.  He needs his dad there.  He's nearly 14 and if he won't obey his mom, he needs to come here so he'll do his schoolwork instead of playing on Facebook.  If he wants to do whatever he wants, then he can move out, get a job and find his own place.  If he wants to have a successful life, he needs to quit fooling around."  Blah, blah blah  You know the drill.  Lucky for dear son that he wasn't here.  He would NOT have enjoyed that lecture. 

Then, it was dear daughter.  Also nearly 14, but with C-PTSD, RAD, ODD, among other diagnosis, I could only dream of a problem so simple.  Nope.  Special needs means special parenting required.  Kind of jealous of how simple parenting neuro-typical kids is for him.

My birthday is next week and because my kids are 100% self-centered, we have a rule that you can't ask for your birthday presents until after the persons birthday before you.  For dear daughter, that means she has seven weeks all to herself before her birthday.  And, because she has claimed an entire month for her birthDAY, she actually gets nine weeks every year that are all about her.  However, for the past few weeks, she has refused to talk to me unless she is asking for something or I'm reading her a story.  So, I've been letting her ask for stuff.  Tonight, she asked me to write it down and start her birthday wish list, so I did.  For twenty minutes.

Then, I asked her if I could tell her what I want for my birthday next week.  She said no, because she already has a present for me.  I said ok, well, I just want one thing from you then.  I want you to think of me.  Be happy for me when I get to do things I want, and sad for me when I can't.  (She had just spent five minutes being mad at me for doing something fun for my birthday without her next week)  She told me, "No, and I don't want to talk to you anymore."  Then she put the phone down.

So, I talked to my mom for a bit.  Our conversation drifted to my injuries and she asked "did she break any ribs?"  That could have meant any one else, but dear daughter knew it was about me.  She wouldn't let it go so I got her on the phone again.  She asked who and I said me.  She started getting angry, saying that I was lying.  That she hadn't ever hurt me and she wouldn't talk to me anymore.  She put the phone down again.  My mom told her to go back home (next door) since she isn't allowed at my mom's house when she is at risk of raging.  She wouldn't go, so it was going to fall on me to talk her down.

I got her on the phone again by saying I had a question about the wish list.  She kept putting the phone down on me, but that actually is great progress.  At least she wasn't hitting anyone.  Although if I were there, I'm positive she would have been attacking me at this point.  I refused to ask the questions about the wish list until she agreed to let go of her anger.  She finally agreed.  I mistakenly didn't include her anger at my mom for agreeing with me that I was injured, but I told my mom to play good cop and re-direct her and it worked.

It's just so frustrating.  All of my other RAD's have been a joy when they are outside of the home.  Since I'm not the authority figure of the moment, I get to enjoy the charmer manipulative side of RAD instead of the cruel abusive side like I normally get to enjoy.  But, dear daughter can't charm even though she thinks she can.  I normally am VERY appreciative of this as she can't hide her bad behavior behind a smile like most RAD's can so we actually make great progress on her behavior and mental health.  But, right now...  Well, I just wish I could enjoy her without the trauma.  

Even though she is horrid at it, she really is in charm mode right now.  What she pulled tonight was classic RAD.  As long as everyone thinks she is perfect, she can control her environment.  So, any hint of wrong doing by her is a lie and must be aggressive attacked.  This is quite common when honey-mooning and its why I would babysit any RAD in a heartbeat.  They may have nearly killed their mom, but I would still watch them because as long as they think they are fooling me, they aren't a risk.  At some point, she may only be safe in a clinical environment where family emotions aren't in the mix, but for now I still have hope that she can really learn empathy, love, care and other real emotions.  But, it's hard.  

Going on a decade and her brain still hasn't built the neurons that will communicate love as an emotion.  Going on a decade and her brain still goes into fight/flight/freeze mode when anyone functions as an authority.  
Going on a decade of being abused by her and I still can't get angry at her.  Some very evil adults hurt her so badly that she got brain damage.  Not physical brain damage.  But, her disorders are caused by the damage that trauma does to a developing brain.  And, it's those adults that get my anger.  

A decade ago, I committed to dedicating fifteen years of my life to helping her heal.  I made that commitment to keep her out of institutions, including jail.  I made that commitment to help her in order to protect her future potential victims and her future family.  Maybe I can't stop it.  Maybe she ends up living in jail as an adult.  But, I will still have been a success because I would have given her a great childhood.  She had a horrible early childhood and maybe she'll have a horrible adult life, but at least I can be sure that she has fifteen great years on this planet.

But, I don't believe she will become a bi-polar sociopath.  I really don't. When I say I have hope that she will heal, I say that honestly.  She has healed so much over the past nine years.  She has met every goal I've had for her.  It takes a butt-load of work figuring out what will work, but we've done it.  RAD is a spectrum and she has moved in the right direction of healing.  Some of her challenges are life-long, but I really believe she will learn how to successfully live with those challenges.  For example, she will never get along with authority, but she is intelligent and she could run her own business. 

In fact, she has healed so much that the conversation tonight, to an untrained ear, actually could sound almost like normal neuto-typical teenage angst.  That in itself is a HUGE sign of progress.

It sucks that in an attempt to re-direct, I told her that I don't matter and since I'm not there, I can't make it right.  So, all I can do is forgive her.

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