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!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Kitty talks

In more than three years of therapy, Kitty has NEVER complained or said anything negative about Bear. She's always denied remembering that he hurt her physically when they were younger living in the birth family. Last week though she finally made a negative comment about Bear. Something about how he's mean. So this week I asked her to talk about it.

The dam was broken.

We talked about how Bear is intimidating and pressuring Kitty. All the kids know not to let Bear borrow their stuff because he keeps and/or breaks it. Apparently on yesterday's trip, Bear was bugging Kitty to loan him her headphones because his were broken (these are the ones he got for Christmas on Friday by the way!). Kitty said no. Bear kept asking. Kitty said no repeatedly, but finally gave in. On the condition that Bear not leave the car with them. Bear left the car with them anyway.

Bear asked to see her phone so he could play games on it. Kitty said no. Ponito asked if he could play with the phone. Kitty said no. Bear asked again. Kitty said no. Bear said he'd give back the headphones if Kitty let him use the phone. Kitty said no (way to go Kitty!). Bear talked Kitty into letting Ponito play with the phone. Then took it from Ponito.

Kitty finally said she wanted to see the phone for a second and got it back. She told Bear the battery was low, and she wanted to use the camera on their trip.

I asked Kitty why she gave in to Bear. She admitted it was because he scared her. We talked about the fact that Bob doesn't give in to Bear. Kitty said that is because Bob is bigger than Bear. I pointed out that when Bear first got here, Bob wasn't bigger than he was, but she still stood up to him. We talked about the fact that Bear was never allowed to physically hurt Bob so Bob isn't afraid of him.

I was trying to point out that Bear doesn't hurt Kitty anymore, and she's safe now, but that's when I learned that he still does.

Right before Christmas I'd left the kids in the car while I ran in to a shop. According to Kitty she was messing with the reading light buttons on the car ceiling, and refused to stop when Bear asked her to, and refused to stop when he told her to, and refused to stop... until he kicked her. He threatened her so she wouldn't "tattle," but she knew it wasn't tattling. Still she didn't tell on him because she's scared of him.*

She stressed that this came out in therapy, and therefore we couldn't confront Bear on it. We'll honor that. We talked about what she could do. She said she wanted to learn to stand up to him. Later I told her that I have decided that I will keep her safe by not letting Bear be alone with her (or Ponito). We'll go to assigned seating in the car and Bear will only be allowed to sit next to Bob. I let Grandma know that this is happening so she can keep a better eye on him.

School starts again next Tuesday. Work is closed Thursday and Friday for New Years so Hubby will be home on those days. If Bear gives even a hint of trouble he'll be going to work with me and/or Hubby again.

Deep breath Hubby (not that he reads my blog), but I know that he's feeling yet another layer of stress.

*I take some of this story with a grain of salt, because I know the kids tell stories that are skewed by their perception.


Mom 4 Kids said...

You handled all that so well. Good news that Kitty is opening up some!

ldw said...

come by and get your award

Sheri said...

I left you an award as well! :)

Miz Kizzle said...

Good for you and good for Kitty being able to tell you about it.
I feel sad for Bear not being able to realize his dream of joining the armed forces or becoming a cop, but thinking about it, it doesn't seem like a good idea for him to be in a position of authority over others.
You're right to keep an eye on him. It's not normal for kids to deliberately break their possessions. I know it's a symptom of RAD, but really, why spend your hard earned money on things that he'll just break anyway?
You must feel very frustrated.
My two boys are both over six feet tall and strong as oxen but they're gentle and considerate. I feel safe with them both towering over me when we go out. Hopefully someday Bear will be able to make you all feel safe, too.
Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Still, I gotta wonder what Kitty was aiming for when she teased Bear like that. Flashing lights really bother me, can bring on headaches. She was deliberatly doing something she knew he didn't like. What did she expect him to do? ... My boys would be physical at that point. Now she's older my daughter would too. Not that it is the right response, but it is not an abnormal response ... Bear had certainly tried "using his words" and they didn't work ...

Also, I give in to my eldest's constant nagging for something because he knows so well how to do it just right -- he is persistant, he comes up with arguements that you know are lies but you can't prove it, he adds in guilt, he acts hurt ... if I keep saying "no" I risk escalating anger that can turn into yelling in my ear or a fist in the windshield -- which give me PTSD flashbacks, so, in essense, he threatens me with doing something that will trigger me and cause me to "loose it" and need to retreat from family and responsibility for a few hours. Bear certainly knows Kitty well enough to know what she most doesn't want, and how to make that happen.

marythemom said...

Good point Struggling to Stand, we were so focused on getting her to stand up to him for once that I lost track of the fact that she was admitting to some annoying behavior. Will definitely keep an eye on that as well.