Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Antagonistic


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.
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It's fixed, thanks to Chuck.