This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!
Saturday, December 20, 2008
It's all about trust (now in black and white)
A little while back I was reflecting on how far the children have come, and how well EMDR therapy seemed to be helping Kitty without causing all the behaviors I was warned about. *sigh* Guess I should have knocked on wood or something.
At her last therapy session, Kitty, who has been more and more disregulated lately, stated that she didn't trust me (or anyone) and would never talk about anything in therapy because I was there. This upset me for several reasons.
The biggest was that I thought we'd come farther than that in our relationship, but we seem to have hit a stumbling block. This could have been more for dramatic effect though. She still doesn't like me to touch her in public, but that is probably semi- "normal" teenage girl behavior. Over the last couple of days she has come to me with her problems and illnesses (of course she gets furious if I refuse to solve them or immediately take her to the doctor).
I also wonder if I should be attending all her therapy session. Attachment therapy - of course I go, but I've wondered about the EMDR. I do think that if I didn't go, she'd end up spending the whole time talking about the Jonas brothers or how much she hates Grandma. "Tough sessions" are usually initiated and run by me because I know enough of her history to keep her on track and focused, but she's getting better about avoiding discussing traumatic events. If I bring up an event she claims not to remember it, even if she discussed it passionately a few months before.
As I look back over the past few months, I realize that she isn't dissociating in therapy as much, but she's really avoiding talking about the past too. Don't know if this is because she doesn't trust me (or the therapists) or if it's because she is applying black and white thinking (very common in children like mine with borderline personality disorder characteristics). There seem to be no shades of grey with these two - ever.
Bear does this a lot. People, places and memories are all good or all bad. In therapy with Bear, we were talking about how unrealistic this is. Bear is supposed to be thinking about his relationships with this is mind. We were talking about people in his past and started discussing one of biomom's husbands who'd been particularly violent and abusive. The therapist asked Bear to remember a good thing or time involving the man. Bear mentioned that the man had once taken Bear hunting (Bear loves to hunt - makes him crazy that we don't take him. We can't imagine arming him and Hubby is not a big outdoorsman). Of course Bear mentioned the man had been drinking and Bear was nervous about the man carrying a gun, but apparently other than that the trip was a good memory.
We talked about the revered grandfather, and pointed out how much it must have hurt that the man hadn't taken custody of Bear when he went into foster care, and that the man has/had a drinking problem. I mentioned that former foster dad stopped talking to Bear a couple of months after Bear moved here (and those rare times before that were at the request of the social worker), and how abandoned and hurt Bear felt about this. The therapist commented that he'd never heard anything negative about former foster dad from Bear.
My training as a social worker and adoptive parent has really helped me see the world in shades of grey - to learn and apply what constitutes politically correct behavior - non-judgmental and unemotional analysis of events and people. Good thing I have received so much training in this!
This makes me perfect - and everyone else an evil sinner wanna be. Coal is so much cheaper too!
OK, not really. I really do try to remember to see the world in shades of grey and remember why the children act the way they do and help them become better human beings, but I know they will never be perfect. We just need to continue to do our best, and that is all that can be expected of us.
God is forgiving and merciful, He forgives us when we fall short of the mark. God expects us to strive to do good, but knows that we are but human and imperfect.
Michah 6:8 says :
"It has been told you, O' man, what is good, and what the LORD does require of you, only to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God".