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!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

How's Kitty doin'?

Hubby and I went to visit Kitty and have family therapy on Saturday. We had a bet to see what her personality would be when we saw her. I bet she'd still be regressed (chewing her finger, carrying around stuffed animals and a blankie and clinging to Mommy) - probably wishful thinking on my part. Hubby bet she'd be completely repressed (total denial that she had any issues at all, pretending everything was fine).

Neither one of us was exactly right. She was more angry. She gave me a polite hug, but didn't hug Hubby. She sat down next to me, but didn't lean in.

The therapist had given Hubby and I an option of what to talk about at the session:

  • Kitty's new roommate who also has RAD (we'd discussed the fact that Kitty doesn't really have an understanding of RAD - in fact I would have said she didn't even know she has it)

  • Kitty's most recent violent episode (after an argument on the bus with Bear, she came home and blew up at Hubby, culminating in her slapping his face, spitting on him and trying to kick him to the point where she had to physically be restrained).

We chose the episode with Hubby since her memory of it would be even dimmer later than it probably already was. We spent most of the session talking about what happened. Applying DBT techniques to what happened, and figuring out where we went wrong.

I can't pretend I know a lot about DBT. Basically it appeared to be identifying the emotions, checking the facts (like getting mad because someone was late, then find out they had a flat tire and couldn't help being late). We went through the most of the event.

Hubby and I came away from the session:

  1. We all acknowledged that Kitty's tolerance level is WAAAAYY lower than most people (which we already knew)

  2. Hubby and I defensively tend to start trying to "check the facts" (perception/ reality check) with Kitty, while she is still probably too hot to handle it (still in fight/ flight/ or freeze mode).

  3. Kitty is nowhere near mastering the process of DBT (not really a surprise). I don't know that she is going to be able to do so. I'm still trying to learn it myself (if anyone has a good book they can recommend I'd appreciate it).

  4. Kitty was definitely in a blaming mood. She wanted what happened that day to be mostly Hubby's fault for trying to do a reality check, and talking about how her perception is distorted. (Like it often is, and we often mention because we are trying to help her understand and work on this).

After the therapy session we had a family visit with Kitty. We spent most of the time talking about a new book series that she started reading when she got to the treatment center called Sweep. As far as I can tell it's a romance novel that's designed to promote the Wiccan religion. Kitty really seemed to be associating with the main character, who is manipulated into exploring being a witch and whose parents are strict Catholics who are adamantly against it.

We let Kitty know that we would be supportive of her exploring other religions (although she's been adamantly Christian for years and very upset when others aren't), but this is NOT a good time to be trying a new religion. We found out later that her new (RAD) roommate has only been Wiccan for about a week and a half and the person I spoke to said that she's only doing it to tick off her parents.

Kitty says this roommate is the first person she's ever just automatically "clicked" with, and that they are best friends. She insists that her roommate prayed to the "Goddess" for Kitty to be her roommate and she was her roommate! There is no such thing as coincidence therefore this was "proof" that the Goddess exists.

We had a long conversation about this with Kitty. We tried to be supportive but letting her know we thought this wasn't a good time to make decisions. She was pretty anti-parents.

After visitation was over we ran into the family therapist and talked to her about what was going on. One of the books actually belonged to the roommate and they had gotten permission from someone to let Kitty borrow it from her (normally not OK). I let the therapist know I felt Kitty was vulnerable and this wasn't a good option. Of course Kitty walked up behind us, and overheard part of the conversation. *sigh*

When I got home I sent this e-mail to the therapist:

Don’t know if you realized that Kitty overheard at least part of our conversation about Wiccans and the Sweep books. Which means of course that she’s going to be upset about any changes that you might make, and blame it all on me, rather than focusing on the fact that it was against the rules (for a reason) and not in her best interest. I did do some research into this series and it really isn’t even a good representation of Wiccans, it’s just a romance novel pretending to be one, apparently with the purpose of indoctrinating kids into this “faith.”

I’m really not against Kitty exploring other religions, I just feel that the timing is wrong (she’s got enough to deal with right now), and that the only reason that she’s doing so is because she wants to please her new best friend and have a group to which she can belong (we did discuss cults with her a little). Kitty has been adamantly Christian for years, even being confirmed in the church last year and being upset about kids in the hospitals or at school who weren’t Christian. I don’t honestly believe that she’s got an adult understanding of her faith, but with her black and white thinking, processing issues and wanting to please and fit in, I worry that she’ll make a lasting decision based on faulty information.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions on how we can address this in conversations, even though it is something that I’m assuming will be handled by {the treatment center}.

Here's a review of the Sweep book I found. I plan to use it in our discussion at therapy tomorrow. I also found the books at the library and will try to read one tonight (it's bath night!).

"I am Wiccan and after reading the Circle of Three series by Isobel Bird, I was looking for some more Wiccan fiction. I had heard good things about the Sweep series and I am here to let you know that it was all lies. This author has obviously read a Wicca 101 book and used bits and pieces to produce this grotesque distortion of our religion. There were several things wrong with this book and almost all of them violate the basic principals on which we base our workings.

1. No good Wiccan would invite people to a circle without telling them before they got there what they were going to be doing. Most of us used to belong to some form of Christianity and do not appreciate it when people try to impose their religion on us, so we try not to do it to other people

2. That "grounding" they did when Megan or whatever her name is took in too much energy?
The exercise would have been believeable if they were telling her to concentrate and release some of the energy back into the earth. But they weren't, and the best thing to do in order to ground yourself is to eat something.

3. Some groups might be selective about who they let into their group, but it would be based on their attitude towards Wicca and how well they follow the basic principles, not on whether they "did it right" or "felt like witches". We are willing to teach anyone who is willing to learn.

4. The way Bree is acting about Cal ("I love him!" and so on and so forth) makes me think that she might be under a love spell. The fact that she slept with him also concerns me. If she is under a love spell, Cal has committed a very serious breach of Wiccan laws. We DO NOT do spells that will mess with a person's free will. It's the basic rule you first learn when studying Wicca "If it harm none, do what thou will". The only circumstance I could think of where this would be acceptable is if you were doing a spell to bind someone from causing harm. The reason Cal sleeping with Bree concerns me is because some people will use the fact that Wicca is very open when it comes to sexuality to take advantage of people. As their teacher, it would be a breach of the coven's trust to take advantage of a fellow member like that, especially if Bree is under a love spell.

5. The scene where they're all skinny-dipping in the pool is not cool at all. Being skyclad (Wiccan term for naked) while performing rituals helps some to get closer to the earth. It's
not for everyone and even though they weren't working any magick, Cal should have let the main-character-who's-name-I-can't-remember leave if she was uncomfortable in that situation.

6. There are such things as blood witches, but they don't have supernatural powers. They're human, just like you and me. The only difference is that they might have a stronger connection to Wiccan teachings at first, but anyone can build that up over time. If you aren't really
concerned about the religious facts being right, this book is horrible even from a literary standpoint. The whole book comes off as being soap-operaish. So if you're looking for a mature look at the Wiccan religion, check out the Circle of Three series by Isobel Bird and stay far, far away from this series."


Sar said...

I'm pagan and proud to have made the decision to convert as an adult, but I agree that it took me having an adult understanding of my parents' Catholic faith to realize that it is not what I truly feel or believe in.

Even though I'm only a lurker on this blog, who someday hopes to adopt older children and is reading several blogs written by families who have adopted children so that I have an understanding of what these kids and I might experience when I'm ready and financially able to support a family, and don't personally know you or Kitty, I agree that this is a bad time in her life to be considering a religious conversion, and it does sound like a bit of peer pressure going on here. Let's face it, a lot of teenagers do become pagan to piss off the adults in their life, or to shock them, instead of truly believing, and I could imagine teens in treatment who feel that their lives are out of their control deciding they wanted to have something that they can control on their own. It probably makes the girls feel good to believe that the goddess they are discussing arranged these things, but you're really doing the right thing by letting Kitty's therapist know what's going on. I could see something like Kitty changing her entire faith right now becoming very distressing for her later on, and you're awesome parents for thinking about this, but also supporting the idea that she might find a religion of her own later on in life. More parents should be so involved, and so supportive of their kids!

marythemom said...

Thanks Sar! Positive feedback is always appreciated!

I spent many years as an athiest, largely in reaction to some of my family's insistence that I believe exactly what they believe and I hope that I never go to that extreme with my children, regardless of the area of their lives.

Thanks again,