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!

Monday, September 13, 2010

I don't love him (Warning- very religious!)

You'll notice that not once in all of this did I say I want to do this because I love Bear and want to keep him home so I can take care of him. I don't believe I'm doing this because of some crazy Munchhausen syndrome, or need for my baby to not grow up, or worry that my child is "not ready" in an ambiguous, "what teen is ever really to go out into the big world," way. I'll admit that when Bob turns 18 and is heading off to college, I'm going to worry about her, and not think she's ready, but I'm going to let her go anyway. She has enough skills and resources to succeed. She's going to make mistakes, but she's going to ask for help or be able to figure it out herself.

I think my guilt and anxiety comes from the fact that I don't love Bear, and therefore I have to watch my motives when I make decision about how to handle him (am I providing a learning opportunity or just being vindictive?). Often my motives are mixed, but I don't believe that means I'm making the wrong decisions. Still, Hubby especially, sees those vindictive impulses, and that's why he gives me such a hard time about my decisions - which cause me so much angst.

It's hard to admit I don't love Bear. I know I'm opening myself up to flaming and losing people's respect. I care a lot about him. I want what's best for him and will fight for him like a mama bear (pun intended!), but I do not love him. If you think that makes me a horrible person, so be it, but I hope you don't.

I know I have attachment issues. When I met Hubby I was so "damaged" that my trust of men went about as far as I could throw them (and I'm only attracted to big, furry teddy bear types - so that's not very far!). It took Hubby years to get me to trust him enough to love him, and there is still a healthy dose of scepticism in that.

God certainly knew what he was doing when he put certain people in my life! Hubby - who was/is willing to fight/ push/ hang in there with me. Kitty and Bear because, believe me I have full empathy for their attachment issues - plus, they force me to continuously work on my own issues (you can't ignore your issues in a RAD house they have a way of getting huge!).

Speaking of God, that's one of my big issues. Just like with Bear I've got a strained relationship with God. It's not what I want. I crave the support and comfort I see others get from their relationship with God.

After years of atheism (part of my family gave me a choice, believe exactly as we believe or else - I chose or else), about 10 years ago I decided that I wanted/needed to believe in God again. As I heard it described recently, there was a huge "God-sized hole" in my and I needed to fill it. I read books (I strongly recommend The Case for Christ), I attended seminars (we went to an "Alpha" group that teaches what I called Christianity 101), I decided on a "fake it until you make it" approach (suggested by C.S. Lewis in his book Mere Christianity). I drug Hubby back to church. I kept my bible next to my bed and read it too... for awhile

I accepted Christ at a Christian Women's retreat, and thought, FINALLY! But it didn't "work." I did finally stop thinking in the back of my head, "what if this is some elaborate hoax?" (I couldn't stand the thought of looking foolish - of course I'm not sure now who I was thinking would be looking down on me) and "I'm surrounded by a bunch of weak minded people who need explanations for what they can't explain, so they chose to believe in this one" (after all, how many people believed in the Greek/Roman gods - which all of us civilized, intelligent people know were merely ways for ignorant people who just didn't have the scientific means yet to explain why things happened - like floods, the sun crossing the sky, winter...). But God still didn't "speak" to me or make me feel like he was there.

I tried again a few years ago when Bear and Kitty decided to get baptised, but again, I was wanting to "fall in love" with God, and was frustrated that it wasn't working. I feel like I'm trying to get back that "child-like faith," but that's almost impossible.

Imagine trying to believe in Santa Claus now. There are lots and lots of stories of his existence. There is equally a lot of proof that he doesn't. Can you make yourself believe? Truly believe? As in "not buy your kids Christmas presents this year because Santa has got it covered" believe?

Now that I'm looking, I see evidence of Him working in my life (I've talked about the series of what can only be "Godincidences" that brought Kitty and Bear into our life), but I didn't/ don't feel a personal connection - that feeling of love and support. I pray intercessory prayers (Please help this person.), but rarely anything for myself (except "Please help me believe and have faith," or "Please help me get through this," --which I don't feel the answers to). I've gone to Sunday School and made connections with individuals there, but those are fleeting to, because our life is so different than everyone else's.

Plus it means going against Hubby's wishes to not discuss our personal life with those at church. Because he's such a private person it really bothers him to know that people know stuff about us. It even bothered him when I asked the class to pray for our family - no reasons, just a general prayer. So I just stopped going, because I'm an extrovert who needs to vent and I can't just shut up. This week Hubby was teaching scuba so I decided to go to Sunday school (he didn't forbid me or anything, it just really bothers him).

I sat through class which was about (reConnecting), and just thought about what we were going to have to deal with from Bear. One of the ladies sat next to me and asked about the kids, and I almost burst into tears! One of our classmates has a small baby she's been bringing to class with her, probably about 2 months old, looks a little like Bear probably looked at that age and his first name is the same as Bear's (spelled differently). The lady sitting next to me was holding the baby to give his mother a break. That trusting little face kept making me wonder how things would have turned out if Bear's mother had given him up much much sooner. Would he have turned out anything like he has now? Could his new family have "fixed" him if he'd been 3 or 6 or even 9?

My seat mate took one look at me after class and asked me if I was OK. Nope. I filled her in a little, and she asked me if I was going to the women's retreat in November that she was getting ready to sign up for. I didn't know anything about it, but assumed it was like the one I'd been to years ago and I couldn't afford a weekend in a hotel room, but I followed her like a puppy over to the lady who was signing women up for the retreat, because I couldn't just go home. (Turns out it's just a few hours and only $15 which includes a meal so I may go).

This new lady and I started talking. She had grown daughters, knew nothing of our situation, had no really helpful advice to give, but I discovered I'd been holding it in too long, and my story came pouring out. Poor lady had to listen to me talk for over an hour (she was a very nice lady and I'm sure she didn't mind, but I hate dumping on people). I think I held myself together pretty well, even after the second call from Bear (this time to complain about Ponito refusing to stop practicing his flute in the room where Bear was trying to watch a movie). She did notice me on the verge of tears once, which made her cry, which made me cry, but we both got it under control pretty quickly.

Something is going to have to change soon. Not sure what though. Getting more than 4 hours of sleep at night would probably help.


When Kitty and Bear got here I did everything I could to fall in love with them, and I'd read enough to know that it was OK that it wasn't instantaneous. Humans are biologically hard wired to love babies, but once their faces lose that baby look then it becomes like romantic love - it requires effort on the part of both parties. It's hard to fall in love with someone who pushes you away in every way they can think of, who believes they are unlovable and therefore does everything they can to prove it, who is just plain scary to be around. After years of attachment therapy, I can honestly say I love Kitty and she loves me.

Much as I want to, I can't force myself to love Bear anymore than I can force myself to believe in Santa Claus.


Miz Kizzle said...

The fact that you're willing to do so much to help Bear even though you don't love him is very impressive. It's easy to do good things for the people you love and who are, themselves loveable. It's next to impossible to do good things for people you're not thrilled with and who push you away.
If you hated Bear you'd be eagerly counting down the days until he turns 18 and then you'd pack his stuff in some Hefty bags, tell him goodbye and good luck and then you'd change the locks.
If you hated him you'd let him do whatever he wanted so long as it didn't inconvenience you, cost too much money, or get you in trouble with the authorities.
If you hated him you'd tell him sure he can be a soldier or a police officer or an underwater welder. Heck, he can be a unicorn tamer if that's what he wants. Then you'd giggle to yourself to imagine his disappointment when somebody else tells him he's not going to achieve his dreams.
You're doing the hard work when you don't have to and you're not expecting anything in return. That's pretty fabulous, in my book. Bear's future is up to him and if he makes the most of it, it will be wonderful but whatever happens, you tried very hard to set him on the right path.

GB's Mom said...

I agree with everything Ms. Kizzle says. I have concerns about how well you are taking care of yourself. Four hours of sleep aren't enough for most people. For some illnesses, that little sleep is a sign that things may be out of whack. Since I am very far away from you, it is only a guess- but I care, so at least consider the possibilities. {{{Hugs}}}

marythemom said...

Thanks guys!

GB's Mom - I have bipolar disorder, so not sleeping isn't good for me, but it's part of my life.