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, May 2, 2012

Honeymood is probably over


We had our first relatively serious meltdown Sunday.  She cussed a lot but managed to avoid threatening to hurt herself or me.  I sat outside her door, for a while, with her on the other side of the door, until I could tell she’d calmed down some.  Then I invited her to join the family when she was ready and went downstairs.  She came down and apologized to me, but not to the rest of the family or Ponito’s girlfriend who was watching a movie with the family.  Oh well, it’s a start.

It started the day before.  Kitty and I were in the car alone, and we’d been talking about going to Sunday School with her peers. She TOLD me she was going to church the next day.  She also demanded I take her to Grandma's so Grandma could take her to the library (we live outside the city limits so would have to pay for library membership).  

We had a conversation about ultimatums (and command statements).  After I explained the definition and gave some examples, she decided to ignore that, and started arguing with me about how I’d “promised” she could go to church this weekend if she was “good.”   (Last weekend since she'd only been home from the Center a couple of days, I'd kept her home with Hubby and me).

She is soooo concrete in her thinking!  She kept talking about how "good" her behavior is, glossing over the, admittedly few, issues we’ve had since she’s been home.  I explained (yet again) that we need to make sure she stays stable and establish a baseline before we start adding potential stressors.  We canNOT deal with what we were dealing with before she left for the Center.

At a certain point, she had to deal with the fact that this is a subjective issue and I’m not changing my mind.  She shut down.  I ran into a small shop to pick up a few things and she chose to stay in the car.  Without thinking about it I'd automatically hit the alarm button as I walked away from the car.   (Kitty later said she should call the police and have me arrested for child abuse for locking her in the car?!)  It’s about 85+ degrees, but she’s not a toddler and I figured she’d come inside the store if she got too hot.   After a while, she set off the car alarm, but I was right on the other side of the store wall and shut it off.

While I was in the checkout line, she came in.  She’d obviously been crying and was hot and sweaty so I told her she could grab a drink or some ice cream (She wants to lose weight since she gained over 10lbs while at the Center, but I knew any suggestion of the better choice would trigger her food issues since she was already on edge).

While shopping, I'd decided to take her to Grandma's and let her go to the library.  I'd called Grandma to confirm it was OK.  I didn't tell Kitty, deciding to make sure she was calm first (and not wanting her to think it was her fit that got her the trip).  On the way to Grandma's, she proposed that she be allowed to go to church with the grandparents and stay with them instead of going to her own Sunday School classes.  I told her this was a great compromise and agreed.  

She went on with the rest of her day as though nothing had happened. 


I get a call from Kitty about 11:30 am saying she had a headache and she'd thrown up in the bathroom while at church.  I told her church would be over by the time I got there, so she should go lie down in Grandma's Sunday School class until church was over and I would meet her at Grandma's house.  

When Hubby and I got there, she was resting.  I had her come in and eat, but let her read and rest most of the afternoon.  Hubby took the other kids home, and I decided I would work on a puzzle I'd started for a little while before I left.  I alerted Kitty we were leaving soon, and then got sucked into the puzzle.  Kitty was pretty ticked off that we weren't leaving the second she was ready.

As we were heading home, I decided to take this opportunity to bring up some concerns (repetition is an important step toward acceptance).  Kitty is mad at me for bringing up issues in the car and says it is my fault she gets upset.  I tried to explain some of my reasons for having this (and other) conversations in the car:
  • Kitty has been isolating in her room a lot, so we rarely have a chance to talk.
  • Cars can be good places to have conversations - due to less pressure and no eye contact.
  • Talking to Kitty in the middle of a meltdown doesn't work, so you have to find times when she's not upset.
  • No other kids or demands on my time.
Kitty made a random comment, that implied she would be going back to regular school next year. I decided this was a good topic since she won't be going back to public school next year.  So I let her know this wasn't going to be an option.  Kitty wanted to know why but didn't want to hear/ believe the answer.      I tried to break it to her gently, and equally gently discuss her limitations without making it feel like criticism, but Kitty instantly lost it.

When we got home she continued the conversation, loudly.  I realized Ponito's girlfriend was over and tried to move the conversation upstairs, and tried to end the conversation, but she'd escalated well past the point of no return.  She did go to her room, but she'd already made some pretty serious threats and I didn't feel comfortable leaving her unsupervised.

She cussed and yelled at me.  Told me to dig a hole, throw myself in, and die.  She made threats like, "I want to hurt you, but I'm not going to go to jail."  "My head is going to explode."  

I asked her to use calming techniques, but she was way past those.  Finally, after about 15 minutes of me sitting on one side of her door and her sitting on the other (to keep me locked out), she went and got her headphones and shut me out.  I let her know that since she was calm now I'd see her downstairs when she was ready.  

About an hour later she came downstairs as if nothing had happened.  She came up behind me on the couch where I was sitting and gave me a kiss on my forehead and a pat/ semi-hug on my shoulder and told me she was sorry.  I think this technique is probably calculated to some extent so that I'm not able to return her hug.


Therapy was bad.  Really bad.

In the car on the way there, she babbled about a field trip at school and her friends.  She seemed happy, maybe a little manic.  In the lobby, she was fine too.  When we walked through the door of the therapist's office, she almost instantly lashed out at me.  The session became all about how mean I was and how I was deliberately torturing her.

It wasn't rational (did I mention wanting to have me arrested for child abuse for "locking her in the car on a hot day"?).  She vented, she raged, she threatened...  I kept my mouth shut and let her get it out.  

When the therapist suggested trying some calming techniques, Kitty flat out refused.  She told the therapist it was all my fault, and if I wasn't going to change, then neither was she.  She very clearly stated that she wasn't going to do any calming techniques (the therapist wanted her to try the side of hand chop). 

 She wouldn't admit it in so many words, but she said she was going to blame everything on me and preferred to wallow in her misery.

In some ways, this isn't really new, but it feels different.  Worse.  Not just the entitlement, the threats, and the increase in blame of me for all her problems, but a general feeling of... hopelessness.  

Not on her part.  

On mine.

For the first time, I'm considering dissolving the adoption.  I don't see this behavior changing and I do see it getting worse.  Much worse.  Hubby is re-upping with Legal Shield (aka Pre-Paid Legal).

I'm scared.


Anonymous said...

Kitty isn't hitting or threatening to hit you, doesn't appear to be a danger to herself at this particular moment, as is being a sulky uncooperative teenager. (A sulky uncooperative teen with mental illness, yes, but one who does not be in immediate danger of hurting herself or others).

Why why why is this causing you to think disruption? After so many years? She sounds annoying NOT dangerous??

Anonymous said...

She won't change because you won't change. (her words)
So why don't you? You are just as stubborn and convinced that your methods are the right ones. Maybe the are the right ones for a typical child but Kitty clearly isn't typical.
Sounds to me like she hit the nail on the head.

Suzy said...

People who comment anonymously annoy the crap out of me - if you have something to say, man up and include your name and email address.

I don't have anything to add to you post, because I don't know either you or Kitty and what you are truly going through. I think adoptive families have got it rough and support/respite is little to none. So all I can say is that I am wishing the best for everyone concerned.