I hear from a lot of parents that are hurting. Parenting a hurt child is painful. Being a sibling of a hurt child is painful. Being a hurt child is painful.
Pain all the way around.
Why do it? Why sign up to be abused by these kids?
Will this kid be like this no matter what I do?
I asked Butterfly (age 9) what she thought. She's been our enemy lately. Butterfly came to us at age 4 from the foster care system. She was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, PTSD, ODD and ADD. She was labeled "unadoptable" and the leading attachment therapist in town said she was too old to help. He probably would have eventually seen her, but he was in no hurry due to the circumstances. Six months after she moved in she was diagnosed with RAD.
She raged several times a day, was defiant, sneaky, manipulative, and charming to strangers. She would rage over putting on shoes, getting dressed, combing her hair. She'd tear her hair down if I fixed it, she'd tear her clothes, she'd eat until she threw up, she'd tear apart all of her toys. After all of those controls didn't make us give her back, she resorted to the potty controls. She spent two years soiling her bedroom. She would wipe urine in her hair so she could hug me and put it in my face. Same with stuffed animals. She hid poo under her bed and on the top shelf in her closet.
I decided on a Friday that I could handle no more. She was going to an inpatient facility. My husband said to wait until Monday. I thought maybe I should check myself into an inpatient facility. But he would be home for the weekend and could help. Butterfly stopped all of those behaviors that Saturday. D.O.N.E. Not another rage. Not another potty control.
That's big healing, huh? At the time I thought I would be fine if the big behaviors stopped. But I'm not. I want more. Isn't that just human? I'm still mad and bitter and sad. Butterfly is very sneaky still. She will destroy things and hide them. She will lie to me without a second thought. She will not tell me when she needs help. She will pretend that everything is great when she has been tearing apart the bed to punish me for something. She is disloyal. She rejects all of our moral teaching. She doesn't want to identify with our family. She wants to negatively influence the younger and/or weaker children.
Weird that this is tremendous healing.
Butterfly told me that parents of kids like her should not give them away. (It should be noted that she does not have the big three: se*ual acting out on others, fire setting, or physically harming other living things.)
Because I might change my mind about the things I do.
Because I might be glad that you put up with all that I do.
Me: Maybe the next Mom or Dad would be better?
They wouldn't know me.
Me: Why not change the behaviors now?
I want you to think I'm good. I feel bad about all that I have done and don't want you to know when I do something else bad because you will be sad.
Me: You don't believe me when I tell you that I think better of you and am much happier if you tell me when you make a mistake?
I don't know.
Ok, so the "I don't know" came out and you all know what that means: Game Over. But I thought that was insightful. As distant as she is, she knows that she wants to be known and loved anyway.
I am not sure if that helps anyone else, but it sure makes my day a bit better. I thought she was much farther from healing than those words just described.
If this child can heal, I'd say there's hope for all of them.