Friday, September 24, 2010

still breathing, deep breathing helps

Thanks for all the support after Wednesdays post. I am still feeling the same way but I am working through it and if there is one thing that therapy has taught me it is not to rush through the emotions that I feel. It is ok to be sad and scared, I need to just let myself feel that way right now.

A number of people asked questions and made comments and I thought I would try to answer them in general terms as many of them are interrelated.

Fudge is younger than Calvin by 16 months and everyone always told us about all the behaviours that Calvin had and we heard a whole lot less about Fudge. For the first year we understood why but then as Calvin started to attach and his behaviour decreased we saw Fudge move into that space that was left by Calvin's behaviours and work hard to fill it up. They are different and Fudge holds it all inside as a result I never realised just what was going on for him a lot of the time. I regret choices I have made because I realise now that they are triggers for him. There are many things that scare him like yelling or getting to close to him if he knows you are mad.

Some of Fudge's behaviour is typical little boy stuff and other things are not. When we were talking to him about telling the truth the other day and the problems that happen when you lie P asked him how we would know what the truth was, he immediately answered " you'll never know" with a smile on his face. He meant it, he knew what he said and he meant every word. He consistently does the exact opposite of what I ask him to do and after time 754 in one day it starts to wear you down. I will ask him to stop banging his cup on the table, I'll ask again and again and then I will offer the choice between a consequence and stopping the cup banging. He will look right at me and bang the cup again. Then when he is told to leave the table he will scream and yell that he never did it and I have no right to ask him to leave the table.

He has some attachment with P but little with me. He rarely comes to me for any sort of comfort or love. When he wants something from me he walks into the room, hangs on me, tells me he loves me and then asks for something. He does it every single time he wants something that he thinks he can not have. He argues with me about everything all the time and works hard to make nothing turn into something if he thinks it will make me angry. He lets his brother walk all over and rarely stands up to him or for himself because he does not feel as though he can or should. He has few friends and he does not invest in relationships. He is terrified that if he starts to feel safe and settled that he will lose everything.

The bed wetting on its own is not the issue at all. I don't care if his bed is wet because he slept soundly and did not get up to go to the bathroom. We are talking about a kid who wet his pants everyday 2 or 3 times and his bed for the first 6 months he lived here. The issue is that he getting up in the middle of the night and drinking a large glass of water so that he will wet the bed and when I say wet, I mean wet. He is doing it to make me angry, he is doing it because I made the mistake of letting him know that it makes me crazy and so he kept doing it. When I told him 3 nights ago that I was done with the behaviour and he was wearing goodnights to bed he stopped drinking and has not wet since. It is all about control. I have no doubt he will start drinking again to see if I mean what I say about being done and I will not engage him in an argument over it again.

What scares me about Fudge's behaviour is that I am terrified that he will not attach to me. I am scared that he has been so traumatized by the losses and neglect in his life that he will not be able to love me in the way that a child should be attached to a parent. I know what happens to kids with no or little attachment and the thought of that happening to Fudge is what I find so very scary. Calvin is attaching, I see it all the time, he has come so far in the last 2 years and even in the worst moments with him I never lost hope that I could get there with him. Right now, in this moment, I am not confident that I can get there with Fudge. I am working on getting that hope back, I am working on trying new things and looking at things differently so that I can be hopeful again.


Diana said...

You're spot on, girlfriend. Our kids aren't the only ones who need to grieve over this stuff. We do too. The hard part is not getting stuck in wallowing in it.

Just keep breathing and trying all sorts of new stuff. Reread all the therapeutic books again if you need to. You'll find all sorts of new perspectives and ideas you've forgotten about. I also find that when I re-read them, stuff I blew off the first time because I knew it wouldn't work for my kids at the time suddenly becomes a great new thing to try.

Try to dismount from the fear horse, too. It's way too easy to ride that beast over the cliff. Believe me, I know. There are plenty of days I'm so tempted to hop on and just let 'er rip. But, in reality, I only have today. I only have this moment to make a difference in helping my kids heal. It IS dang scary to look down the road at what might happen, but none of us really know for sure what WILL happen. Try to keep your focus right here and right now. Change happens very slowly for our kids sometimes, but it can and does happen.

None of us are perfect parents. We all make mistakes. All we can do is exactly what we teach our kids...fix those mistakes and try again. And, of course, drop our end of the tug of war rope. :-)

Hang in there! This is hard stuff! I have no idea what parents did even 10 years ago before much was really known about attachment and the internet wasn't what it is today. I'm just very grateful we don't have to make this journey alone.

waldenbunch said...

10 years ago was when we adopted our sibling group. Alone is what the journey was. Years of the fear and depression you talk about with little hope because there was a diagnosis but no real therapy, no blogs, no videos, no one to talk to. I'm so glad that you have support and I'm here to tell you there is hope. Read my blog for today and you'll see why. This record that you are putting out there of your lives will be a testimony to your family and God one day. It's all about the journey. You're doing amazing things.

Elspeth said...

I'm sorry I didn't understand initially. I'm happy for you that you seem to have great support. I'll send some positive thoughts your way.

Anonymous said...

Gosh J, you really are a wonderful and wise woman.
p.s. I love you! P