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

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


big mama hollers said this in her post today:
I've tried to help kids not be so angry at the world, due to their early childhood trauma, only to discover that some of them greatly enjoyed their anger and the apparent emotional blackmail it held over our family.

Which resonates with me because I'm beginning to feel like this may be the case for Sissy.

Last night, while her therapist was here, she raged about a discipline for sleeping in school. According to her, since her teacher made her stand up in class to prevent further sleeping, she'd already received a discipline and that she should not be given further consequence. Our point was that she should not be attending an extra curricular activity if she is so sleepy that she can't make it through a school day.

So she raged. We literally had to peel her off the chair and shuttle her to her safe room. The therapist got to witness the whole ordeal (FINALLY!!! After 9 months, Sissy had an honest moment in front of a therapist!!!!) and asked The Dad later, "so, is that how it usually goes?"

The Dad's reply, "Nah, that was an easy rage. About a four or a five on a scale of ten."

Perhaps the therapist will be able to help us navigate this anger better, having witnessed it start to finish (complete with Sissy tearing it up in her safe room, throwing crap around and screaming while the rest of us went about our business as usual). But I fear that what Big Mama Hollers may be the ultimate result for Sissy regardless of the therapeutic interventions - she just might have a yen to be angry and use it as leverage, indefinitely.

My other fear is that I'll never get tougher skin. I'm exhausted with the never ending inquisition into what I'm doing, not doing, should be doing, need to be doing, must change, ought to look into, blah, blah, blah. It is grueling to be under the gun every second with every "professional" that is involved in Sissy's life. Most recently, I was asked if I'm the one that gets anxious in the morning, not Sissy, that it might be ME that is driving her angst. Oh, and this one: how old my house is and if I've had it checked out to make sure that there are no environmental contributors to Sissy's mental health issues, in particular, if there might be something in the home that causes her to rage.

Oye. Answer: Sissy causes Sissy to rage and panic. Period.

For years, YEARS, I've had to answer to what I'm doing that might be triggering Sissy. Answer: I'm the trigger. Me. Mom. Because I exist, Sissy is triggered. It's called RADs people. Take me out of the equation and Sissy will stop her nonsense (organic issues notwithstanding - Sissy would be very much like AB with her disabilities if it weren't for the trauma and ensuing RADs.)

I'm tired of it.

Tired of all the therapists in the home. Five days a week we have therapy, homework, supper, bath, bed with rages and inquisitions thrown in.

I'm tired of all the negative behaviors. Five days a week I get a negative report from school about one or more of the children's behaviors (I'm beginning to understand why so many of you make the sacrifice to home school)

I'm tired of the crisis, trauma and unpredictability of mental health illness. Seven days a week I can't predict what will happen from one minute to the next so that I have become amazing about changing plans to accommodate everyone in 10 seconds flat - man can I dial a cell phone and email simultaneously!

I'm tired of all the meetings for Sissy that accomplish nothing. At least one full day a week I play the role of Sissy's case manager because as if all of these "professionals" can communicate with everyone on Sissy's case simultaneously like I can.

I'm tired of it. I don't have fun anymore. This kind of life ISN'T fun. Who can endure such judgment and scrutiny, rage, crisis and unpredictability every day ad nauseum, ad infinitum, ad litem, ibid.? No one. And I'm afraid it is going to destroy me.

Everyone keeps saying, "I don't know how you do it. I could never handle it."

Guess what? I can't handle it either. But I'm too afraid to stop trying. And for what? So Sissy can just morph from angry child to angry adult despite the intense interventions acted on her behalf for her entire childhood.

I know some of you have been talking about healing etc. Well, I'm afraid that healing will never be a possibility for Sissy. I'm afraid she'll only get worse.


Heather said...

Hugs to you! I completely understand that exhaustion, like feeling you'll never get off the stress treadmill. Like you're taking 10 steps backwards for every 2 forward.

I'm glad you had the therapist there to witness. I wish the professionals could parent these kids for a few weeks, and then tell us how well the sticker charts and "you should try"s work. Any everyone who says, "Oh every kid does that" should be automatically signed up to do a week of respite care. And they still won't get it because she'll be sweet as pie for them since they're not mom, but at least you'd get a lot of breaks!

Cyndi said...

I know what a relief it is to finally have someone else see and hear what we see and hear every day. Its like now maybe you will gain a few gray hairs because of this kid too, oh yeah that is a huge win for you! Now document the heck out of it and then maybe some of these helpful sorts out there can REALLY help you, I hope. If they ever figure the whole thing out be sure to fill me in so I can get off this roller coaster too.

waldenbunch said...

I think fear is way more debilitating than anger, for us and them. Anger fuels our energy but fear overwhelms and destroys any peace of mind we may have. The only thing I can say is one minute at a time. I know what it's like to hate every second of your life. I have no answers, just support.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry for you. I'm sorry for your entire family. It sounds like you continue to grieve, and grieve, and grieve, while Sissy rages, and rages, and rages. Have you heard back from the MA hospital?

Offering you positive energy and warm thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I swear most of the times dealing with my RAD daughter I must be crazy and she is not really saying or doing the things she is! I told my husband I mist be crazy because all most people see is this adorable, sweet, funny, charming bright 5 year old and I mostly see the crazy!

I am a lurker but just reading your blog helps me to not feel so alone and that other are dealing with this and it can be done!

J. said...

oh the lying, I could so be done withthe lying. I think it is great that someone lese has finally seen all that she can do and be when she is raging. Hope the weekend is as calm as the weekend before Christmas can be.