Tuesday, February 07, 2012


Oh my aching blood pressure. Seriously.

I have one entire sibling group that can be summed up in one word - antagonistic. They're all very good-looking, very athletic, loving, and unbelievably emotionally demanding. All this is what I signed up for, but between their very severe cases of oppositionalism and antagonistic behaviors, my blood pressure often spikes.

It's on me to remedy that. I worked for almost 12 years on attempting to reduce, or better yet, eliminate these negative behaviors, knowing it'll cost them jobs and relationships in their faltering attempts at adult lives, and I've made very little progress. Therapy was of no avail either. Psychological evaluations were secured and used in schools for extra services, but their personalities were, and are, very deeply ingrained, the behaviors very entrenched.

If they ask for black beans for supper and I comply, they'll complain. No matter what, they'll complain. I just shut it out.

I used to respond to each and every antagonistic remark, trying to replace it with a positive one, knowing negative attention was better than no attention, yet I gotta say I was focused 24-7 on these children, always at home, always by their side, never demanding adult time for me, nor any form of self-care, just doing what I was supposed to be doing, which was parenting. For me, maybe, self-care comes from within, working hard and feeling good about tasks accomplished, or about their high school and college graduations and other good things.

A lady I'd worked with for many years in the public school system had a wonderful two parent family with two handsome birth sons raised exactly the same with massive doses of attention, time, money and love. One kid became a doctor, the other went to prison. She said, "I take neither the credit nor the blame," and I've used that line a billion times since she'd first uttered it to me.

These are choices, this is free will.

Two of the youngest guys in this sib group I'm discussing came here at age three and four with older siblings also. Both of these then toddlers are now in high school and still won't do any chores, can't - literally they can not- pick up after themselves. If I ask them kindly to do so, they melt down in unison screaming, "Stop yelling at me." It's cartoonish and predictable.

I stare at them dumbfounded. 12 years of this. Thank God I learned about disengaging.

I love them both dearly, they profess their love for me about 50 dozen times a day. They hug me, they cling, they make incessant demands, it's just who they are. I've attempted to explain one demonstrates love by caring for others, by physically helping out, reciprocity, and by not being antagonistic - and I've made very little progress.

They were both with me at the psychiatrist yesterday and I bragged on them. They rarely get into physical altercations anymore, they don't rage like they used to do, they don't threaten to runaway, nor do they punch those who annoy them...like they once chose to react. They don't steal nor destroy things. They are greatly improved, but still have the emotional intolerance of any other two year old.

That they don't ever lift a finger is almost inconsequential compared to how they used to act.

I do still remind them that it'll be difficult in life if they choose to continue to exhibit laziness.

They don't care, if anything, that thought is just too overwhelming to them. They both see a psychologist also, they respond very appropriately in both office settings. They're being tutored at school as well.

I signed up for this. Family safety isn't an issue here with them, although I have been injured inadvertently before in their explosions.

I don't expect Rhodes Scholars here, I'd love it, but I don't expect it. I expect the trauma issues. I'd be traumatized too if I'd experienced what they endured as very young helpless babies.

I've observed their older siblings explode out into the Big Bad World and not function very well. I bite my tongue to keep the, "I told you so," at bay. One cried on the phone to me yesterday, but I can't fix that situation.

I discuss this constantly with Yolie - she with a Master's Degree in Social Work and years of combat training so to speak. I confide in Dr. Mandy and Dr. C, in my original and very brilliant caseworker, pastors, and in some teachers and administrators, I'm always searching for answers.

Love is not enough here, logic is nonexistent, but love is all I have for them, and I'll keep pumping it out in their direction.

Deep sigh, yet on a great note, my dear Gina came by, birth Aunt Sister to Jack who's now her height. Fabian and Big Joe came by later, trying to find Yolie, Fabian telling me, "Well she wasn't at her house so I knew she'd be at yours," as if Yolie has no other life? No job as a contract social worker? Hello my blonde sons?

Our internet took a dive, Tony was busting his butt trying to help Lily do a powerpoint without any connections, suing a flash drive to get it to school, at least, and now I'm gonna paint.
It's fixed, thanks to Chuck.


Anonymous said...

Still struggling w/the conundrum after 12y also. Not much violence, just the A2H dx (Annoying As Heck). Not sure how her Can-Nots (as your 2 sons) will magically transform into Cans. Not sure How to stop rolling my eyes, and don't wanna know my blood pressure. Not sure WHAT will fix the situation, the train wreck I feel coming down the track. J is 18 in 10 days. Counting on Him to Be Lord, or I'd jump in front right now.

Anonymous said...

After all of these years reading your blog I know exactly who you are talking about...Yes very tough stuff.(sigh) and many ((hugs))

On a completely out of the blue note. I recently found a site that I found very interesting and I thought you might like too.

The one that I seen before had the TP rolls cut in half for starters but this seems much better for tomatoes seeds and such.


Mama Sarah said...

Yep, just love them. Had to go get my sweetie from school today and he gets to stay home for another day. I have to coordinate that with an early morning run to the endcrim docs because my daughter may be suffering a failure to grow and apparently there is a window as to when the meds can help them achieve normal growth.

Anyway, he came home, saw the head doc and was an angel. Lots of shoulder shugging going on this afternoon.

Something keeps triggering his PTSD switch at school but no one knows what it is - and he cannot tell. But they have agreed that I am probably right and he should at least be in the grade below. Well duh. :)

So I just keep loving him. I keep pouring it on. He is my son the hero and I will the kind of mom he needs me to be.

It is like I said early on,
we parents view ourselves as a certain type of parent with blah, blah, blah goals and expectations about them and ourselves.

When our kids come home we become the parents they need us to be, not the parents we wanted to be.

If we do that then our kids have a chance at reclaiming as much of their life back as possible.

I hope it is not prison but if it is I will visit and bake cookies for him on a regular basis. At least it is better than where he started. My son still lives and I thank God for that.

Michelle Isaksen said...

I'm also experiencing this with our adopted sib group. My daughter chose to go mute for our homeschooling lessons today...I finally gave up and sent her to rest in her room for a while. On a good note our 10 yr old got through the day with no major issues, sigh....hang in there. We have new therapist appt. in the morning. I can't say I'm all that excited seeing that it hasn't made a difference over the past 6 years...

Lisa said...

What keeps running through my mind about some of our kids and "learning" is there is a component to their stubborness and forgetfulness and plain 'ol opposition that seems to block all healing. My son has lived with us for 17 yrs this week. Everything is "too hard" for him. The daily chore he did from ages 5-11 (emptying the small waste baskets into the large kitchen trash) became too hard and he hasn't done much of anything since. He will continuously claim he doesn't see a problem and feels no need to change what he doesn't see as broken. 7 yrs and 3 counselors later, he is still sticking to this idea. This ain't normal folks. Sometimes their brains/behaviors are so foreign to us we are all at a loss as to how to break thru and let true healing take place. Maybe the school of hard knocks will make a difference - quite probably not.

My son is very antagonistic too. He does it very discreetly, very subtle and yet can seem to push his sibling buttons like no other. It's exhausting trying to keep everyone completely away from him - they want to include him in play and just normal family times and he is determined to make them pay for that.

Cindy said...

Anonymous - since it takes me so long to respond to comments - outside of in my own mind - you must now be almost at the Magic Age, right? Hope all is well with you???

Rhonda - I did check out that site. Interesting since we sure do use a lot of these and I dig in the trash to take 'em out for recycling, I like your idea better.

Mama Sarah - 'he gets to stay home'. I went through that for YEARS with several of my children. Yesterday they called me from the high school and plopped JoJo's very sociable self in ISS instead of sending him home. But - for years that wasn't an option as they couldn't control the rages of other kids and had to send 'em home to me, to the old bat who could deal with it, I suppose.

Cindy said...

Michelle - I admire you for homeschooling with the difficult ones. I've been forced to do so over the years and it is NOT easy. Hats off to you.

Lisa - 17 years? Oh my goodness. I've had my most oppositional sibling group for 11 and a half long years. 17 years changes the dynamics, bless your heart.