On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Monday, October 11, 2010

I only like you a little

Here's my initial impression, when I can stand outside of her responses and not take them personally.

For once, Sissy is being honest about how she feels, which, albeit cruel and nasty to the family that loves her, is progress.

Last night The Dad got it on video as proof. Sissy said that she does not care about us as long as she gets what she wants. This is something she's been saying for a few weeks now but finally, we can prove it to the "powers that be".

Tonight she wanted hugs goodnight. Like a robot, I did the casual side hug like I always do and then she sidled up to The Dad. He flatly refused. Why should she want to hug someone she doesn't even like?

And that's when she said it, deadpan face, no emotion, "But I do like you, just only a little"

When asked how she feels about mom, same response.

So, without getting angry or upset, I explained that affection is a privilege of a reciprocal, loving relationship. That we would always be kind and provide for her needs but that if she wants to return to an intimate relationship that includes hugs and kisses, then she needs to decide if she loves us. Then I directed her to her therapists if she needed help understanding how to do that.

She was angry, said that she NEEDED a hug and I called her bluff. "because it's a habit?"

"YES!" came out quickly.

The Dad asked her, "Do you love yourself?"


"Why? What about you do you love?"

"I'm pretty and I'm nice."

*we both had to bite our tongues about the nice

I asked her, "who is the author and creator of love?"


"Very good. And God says in scripture that we are to be either hot or cold in our love and devotion toward him. If we are luke warm, that is, if we only like him a little, He says that he'll spit us out of His mouth."


"In other words, you either love God or your don't. You either love your parents or you don't. Hugs are for loving relationships. I'll rub your back if you're having a bad day, I'll brush your hair if you ask, but I agree with you dad. Hugs show love and you've openly admitted that you do not love us."

She went to her room and raged herself to sleep.

I really can't begrudge her for being honest. It might hurt like the dickens, but she's being honest and if there is one mantra we have drilled into her head, is that she be honest with us and with herself. Can this be called progress? That's tough. I think if anything, it helps make a clearer picture for her dad and I about how we should proceed in her therapy, psychiatric and psychological needs and how to manage her well-being in the home. It also absolves us of guilt.

*shaking my head* I never, in my wildest dreams could have imagined that this is how parenting might be. Never. It's a nightmare that I can't wake up from. My desperation to help her see and understand love is nothing more than a fire that will never take to flame. I weep for her, I mourn, I pray that God in His infinite wisdom has mercy for her soul. She is the product of her circumstance and it can not be undone. Yes, feelings change, yes, girls her age are moody and mouthy but no, under no uncertain terms is this the definition of a "normal" 10 year old girl in a relationship with two solid, grounded, loving, loyal, fair, honest parents that exude integrity. She does not, in any way shape or form, reflect our influence. I doubt that she is capable.

I imagine how Sissy might have been if not for the want of better brain chemistry and the absence of early childhood abuse. I see a beautiful, kind, loving and gentle child and that breaks my heart the most.


Happymom4 aka Hope Anne said...

If she can admit it, it might be the first step towards healing . . . I don't know of course, but a counselor I respect always said that--and he thanks people who are honest with him. I took that approach with my Dd during her bad days . . . whens she said something that smacked of truth--not matter how ugly and hard it was, I would say gravely and respectfully, "Thank you for being honest with me. I appreciate your honesty."

Integrity Singer said...

@happymom - agreed. And I told her as such. The transcript in this post is an abbreviated version of the whole conversation. I did thank her for her honesty and told her that I would not be angry with her for speaking the truth.

arnoldy said...

I cannot even to begin to know how much that must have hurt all of you. I am so sorry that you are all having to come to this realization. But I am also glad that you now have some comfort in know that YOU ARE NOT BAD PARENTS!!!!

marythemom said...

Our son has recently started admitting in therapy that he only cares about us a little. It is definitely validating for him to admit it in front of someone (I don't have to tell you the number of people who were acting as though it were all in my head since he's a "charming" RAD), but of course it is still upsets me (understatement) that he feels this way.

I really like your example of how God feels about lukewarm. If I thought he were capable of handling a real, trusting relationship right now, I'd probably push this. We're working on it in therapy, but I'm not holding out much hope that we're going to get though.

Hugs and prayers,
Mary in TX

Kelly said...

Integrity- I have to tell you that you are an inspiration to me. The love you have for Sissy is beyond my comprehension. You amaze me how you keep on putting your heart on the line with just the slightest hope that you are making a difference in her life and that she will see your love and devotion to her. I pray she does. I am so sorry for your pain. You are a wonderful mom!!