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!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fine Line between Love and Hate

I mentioned that I don't express my anger. After discussing this with Hubby and Kitty's therapist at the PDH, I realized I have probably been coping with my issues with anger for so long that I don't really even feel anger. It's not so much that I'm "stuffing" the anger, it's that it takes a heck of a lot to make me angry, and most of the time I vent that anger before it even comes close to the boiling point.

I thought about it some more and realized I don't really express any emotions easily or often. I think again that can be attributed to my childhood. My mom readily admits that she is a very emotional person.

For those of you into personality testing she is an INFP (one of the rarest
-if not the rarest - types of personalities defined in the Meyers-Briggs Personality Inventory). This means she is an Introvert, iNtuitive (versus Sensing), Feeling (versus Thinking), and Perception (versus Judging). Which boils down to - she interacts with the world and gets general information about her world through feelings instead of facts.

If you're curious, I'm an ENTP. I'm a borderline extrovert, and I
see the big picture rather than focusing on details. This means I'm good at coming up with a plan, but you need to hire someone else to do the day to day stuff and to make sure all the rules are followed and boxes checked.

In other words, almost all Mom's decisions are based on feelings. She is a very nurturing, empathetic person who gets her feelings hurt easily. Plus she had undiagnosed and unmedicated bipolar disorder throughout most of my childhood. You literally never knew if she was going to be fun and creative or crying and irritable (which she hid from us most of the time).

My dad on the other hand was almost the exact opposite. He reminds me a lot of the dad on Meet the Fockers, who I think was supposed to be a secret FBI operative. My dad has always been logical to an extreme and a little paranoid. Their divorce (while inevitable) was bitter. My mom tried to do everything he wanted, and he didn't respect her for it. Her sister-in-law told her once, "If T____ told you to dye your hair blue, not only would you do it, but you'd be mad at yourself for not having done it before he had to ask."

Mom obviously had a lot of difficulty functioning sometimes, and Dad ran her down all the time for it. Even after the divorce though, Mom was great in that she NEVER criticized or ran him down in front of us, no matter what he was doing to make her life miserable. I think this is VERY important for kids of divorced parents and regarding kids with birth family as well.

I learned at a young age to value logic when making decisions about everything. While I loved my mom, even she wasn't happy with the effect that being so dependent on her emotions had on her life. To me, logic was strength. Logic won arguments. Logic was valued by Dad and teachers.

Emotions made you vulnerable. I didn't want anyone to see me vulnerable, they might find out that they could hurt me. I even learned how to not be ticklish (just like Kitty). I ignored teasing, I never let anyone see if I didn't know the answers. I would cheat if I had to, in order to always be seen as right. I'm still so competitive that I don't enjoy playing card games. I only watch comedies and read books with happy endings. For the longest time I'd get caught up in the emotions of the media and it would actually manipulate my emotions. I was sad and irritable the whole time I was reading The Diary of Anne Frank (even though it is actually a very happy book, I knew what happened to her in the end).

To me, trust is huge. You have to trust someone to allow them to see your emotions, because emotions make you vulnerable to being hurt. I am not a very trusting person. It took years for me to trust Hubby enough to actually love him, and that was with him staying by me every day no matter how hard I tried to reject him before he could reject me. Sound familiar?! Yup, I have TOTAL empathy for my kids. I understand how hard it is for them. It's one reason I don't get angry with them when they act like "turds" or try to push me/us away. I get it.

So that's another reason why I rarely get angry, especially with the kids. I understand why they are acting the way they do.

I know this is also why I have such a hard time with believing in God. It's hard to have faith without trust. For me it's hard to have trust without proof, and of course it's hard to have proof when you're in denial because you don't want to see something that makes you vulnerable. I'm still working on it. God has given me some major proof(s), but I have to work every day to keep convincing myself that they are not just random coincidences.

I wish I had the "blind faith" and personal relationship that I see in children and others. I feel I am taking baby steps in the right direction, but that's all you can ask right?

So I continue to work with the kids and myself on allowing ourselves to feel ALL emotions. Trust is so hard, but we're a work in progress.


Dom said...

My name is Dominique I was adopted at age by my aunt and uncle. My grandma raised me. Im currently 22 years old. I identify with your daughter. I also thought it would be helpful to share some information with you. I read a book called the primal wound. You should check it out. It explains bpd being different and that the trauma adoptees face is because they have been separated from their biological connection and the infant self remembers everything. Please read it ive helped many people with this book and let your daughter read it. I always feel terribly alone and scared. It will make her feel better to know its okay. did you know adoptees make up 2% of the population yet they are one third of the psychiatric population. crazyness.
you can email me at if you want to talk further. I feel like parents learn more from other adoptees experience

marythemom said...

I will look into the book (I've put it on my Amazon wish list). I've heard about it before although I understand it's pretty negative about adoption. Kitty has so much to deal with and is very easily negatively influenced (not to mention not a big reader), so I probably won't share it with her.

Thank you, for sharing part of your story with me.