Does my ankle look sprained?" I'm asked by a grown kid over the phone who'd sent me a photo from across many states.
"It looks swollen," I stated the obvious, "but Darling, I ain't got X-Ray specs on."
Some of my grown kids call often for advice or suggestions, some do not. Some are in their initial yet comical I'm-grown-and-I-can-do-what-I-wanna-do stage where they won't listen to anything or anyone. Some are in a cling, then lash-out mood, some are unpredictable, some are self-sabotaging, and the bottom line is that I still have been unable to get them to comprehend that I only want the very best for them.
The self-sabotaging behaviors have long perplexed this card carrying dorko. My original caseworker had pointed it out to me decades ago when I was squalling my astonishment that anyone would screw up like that on purpose.
What's really happening when we sabotage ourselves? Subconsciously, we may be frightened by a particular outcome, even though we say we want it.
Those who self-sabotage may also be afraid of what others will think of them should they accomplish their goals. They might not believe they're worthy of the outcome, so they act in ways that will ensure their failure.
These destructive efforts are done subconsciously, so even the saboteurs have fooled themselves into thinking they know what they want. If there is any uncertainty in their mind, any doubt, any fear, they will find a way to make sure it doesn't happen.
Gobs of web pages discuss these confusing behaviors, yet another by-product of trauma.
My advice seems boring. When I suggest one save money instead of rashly spending, or working rather than partying, I'm dismissed as an old-school square - not far off the mark certainly.
We've had an infinitely better week after a specifically selfish behavior had been addressed by Dr Mandy when talking with a teenager. I once would've believed mission accomplished, nowadays I comprehend the cyclical nature of what we are dealing with each day, the ups and downs, happy wherever I see any progress, knowing it's spectacularly hard to come by in the world of trauma.
I have a grown son who gets himself to a mental health professional, only to call me hugely frustrated that the psychiatrist just blindly labels him as overly stressed, not understanding trauma at all.
I admire my son for seeking outside help on his own, I fully support him in this, yet I too share his frustration, and I also disagree with a medication that was prescribed and is making my son nuts, for lack of a better word.
"Well Honey," I stated, "He can't force you to take it. You say he's soon gonna retire, either wait it out or find a local mental health provider that better understands you."
Thank God for the Internet, where I can help him seek out care, thank God that my son is seeking help.
I suggested he sign a release of information and have the guy call me, I'll be happy to articulate what my son cannot find the words for in his sessions. He has always manifested some depression issues.
Three of my teenagers are working right now. Yesterday I accompanied Sabrina to the bank, walking her through the process of depositing her paycheck into her account versus allowing her to toss it on my desk, thus making it my responsibility.
She's saving for a car, I've been helping her look at ads, teaching her about negotiation and reading between the lines, "You gotta be ready to walk away if they don't meet your price point," I explained, knowing a teenager's gonna really struggle with that concept. But I want it will more likely be their response, clueless that there are hundreds of similar cars on the market.
I do not ever make any kid over 18 still living at home contribute to household bill paying. That's my job, but I do then start giving over their cell phone bill, or clothes shopping, car insurance, and other personal bills to them, but only after they finish high school. I'll keep them on my insurance policy or cell phone bill, knowing it's cheaper for them than getting their own. But if they then balk at paying their share, they can call 1-800-Sky High Car Insurance.
And some of this is so normal as they find their identities, a normal rite of passage that is compounded by trauma issues. I once thought my dad was a Power Bill Nazi, always reminding us fairly gifted kids to turn off the lights, don't stand there with the fridge door hanging open. We dismissed him as out-of-touch, overly concerned about the electricity meter. Get a life Dad.
My own obsession involves the drought meter at the moment.
My kids' savings accounts are always custodial, as no minor can hold one on their own, but at age 18, no matter how well (or not) that they're behaving, I get my butt to the bank and remove my name from the account. By then I've spent a billion hours explaining line-item budgets, appreciating versus depreciating assets, frugality, check book balancing, and everything else to often non-listening ears.
And, if and when they start rebelling mightily against my normal rules - like not inviting criminals over here - they can gather up their bills and accompanying resentment and go find an apartment. Tell me later how The Real World treats you.
Usually by that point they're more'n ready to move out, positive that mom is an idiotic, sock monkey school marm who doesn't want anyone to have any fun.
Whatever. I just want peace at that point and a normal life for the younger children still living here.
My now employed teen with severe social anxieties isn't taking a lunch with him to work, feeling too self-conscious about it. If I'd have pushed the issue any more this morning I knew he'd shut down and not even go to his job so I had to let it go, allow him to be hungry at noon, hoping that'd teach him to carry his lunch tomorrow.
I'd spent a couple of quarters on Daniel Goleman's Social Intelligence, he who'd also written Emotional Intelligence and I'd heard his Primal Leadership series years ago, bought oh so cheaply at yard sales.
Miss Smarty Pants Sarah'd smirked at the very thought of me and the word social used in the same sentence. There's no Reclusive Intelligence available for me to delve into now is there?