*sigh* Knowing that as usual Kitty had heard what she'd wanted to hear the day before, I went ahead and asked Kitty why she'd made this arrangement when it wasn't what we'd talked about. She insisted (LOUDLY) that my only complaint about next semester's schedule was that she'd be home alone (possibly with Bear) so her solution "solved everything."
Working with someone with such a distorted perception of reality is SOOOO hard!
We continued the "discussion" at therapy. The therapist correctly pointed out that we were trying to give Kitty facts and logical arguments when Kitty wasn't operating in her logical brain. The problem is that MOST of the time Kitty is in survival brain. I get that, but what the heck are we supposed to do when what she WANTS and what she NEEDS are the same in her mind. When she instinctually responds to everything, and it's usually an automatic "NO!"
I would LOVE to be the nurturer, the one saying, "Poor Baby, is that mean old world being nasty to you? Don't worry, Mommy loves you and she'll try to make it all better!"
The reality is that children need immunizations, they have to go to school and do homework, and they can't have cheesecake and ice cream for every meal. Normally you can palm off most of the "blame" on the doctors and school boards... even nutritionists. Instead, I'm the only one who gives a crap about what happens to my child long-term. No one else is willing to be the "bad guy" who gives my child consequences, to take the difficult task of teaching her the skills and techniques she needs for real life, and give reality checks/ tell her like it is, ...so that I can be the "nurturing protector." Instead, everyone else gets to have that job! She has a 100 people getting to give her warm fuzzies, telling her the world is full of sunshine, lollipops and rainbows, and she can do anything... leaving me with the crappy job of having to force her to face the real world so she'll at least try to gain the skills and knowledge she'll need to have a life in the real world.
With most kids you can introduce reality in small doses; natural consequences helps them figure things out on their own; others gently (or not so gently) let them know that a career as a rock singer is unlikely because they can't carry a tune to save their lives; they have poor science grades, and so realize that neurosurgery might not be a good choice... Subtlety and natural consequences don't work with Bear and Kitty. They see the world through a distorted perspective - They are told they are totally normal and their warped view of the world is constantly being reinforced by others (the few people who disagree with their version of reality are "mean" and trying to make the child mad or kill their dreams), add to that Kitty's emotional reactivity, distorted perception of reality, oppositional defiance, intimate relationship issues, mix in the fact that we're running out of time to access services... I don't feel we have the luxury of letting her live in this fantasy world.
I feel like we often made this mistake with Bear - letting him believe what he wanted to believe (that he could and would do ANYthing). That's all great, but without someone hitting him over the head with reality so he would accept some practical help... he ended up with a lot of unattainable and broken dreams and his reality check came with years in prison and a criminal record for life.
After a lot of tears, yelling and even a threat to move out (first one in years!)... Kitty finally heard something she wanted to hear - a "compromise" she could live with.
This time we wrote down the compromises we'd agreed to so that she wouldn't remember it incorrectly:
- She needs a job some time between 2:30 and 6:30pm every weekday except Tuesday (when she has therapy).
- She can work one weekend shift (Friday evening OR Saturday - not both!)
- We (meaning the therapist, Hubby and I) PREFER a new job with new skills like keyboarding (although I'm sure Kitty only agreed to this because she knew it was a deal breaker not to)
- IF the school can't find her another job, she can work DAY shifts at GAC.
- She would research the requirements for becoming a flight attendant (her current employment goal)
My theory is that she'll only remember that we said she could work at GAC.
The therapist also had her agree that I could write:
- That she will spend more time downstairs with the family (versus isolating in her room)
- She will increase her time with Mom and Dad individually (going shopping with mom, eating out with dad...)