Paul has just stomped upstairs again….and with his weight issues, his stomp now rattles ceiling fans and causes strain to the wooden spindles on our stair rails. You know, those 6 spindles we have left that my husband strategically placed so you wouldn’t notice the 8 missing from when he grabbed and snapped them in half stomping upstairs before. He stomps off and I sit and stew. I am very aware that I don’t want his behavior to steal any more moments of my life today, but It’s hard to not allow yourself to be angry.
In hopes to find some inspiration on my computer, I search documents under the Paul file. Information I’ve saved for days like today. Tidbits of helpful hints, journal entries pouring out my frustration and notes taken on books I’ve read. I found some interesting notes dated September 18, 2005. Yes, almost 10 years ago. They were notes on When Love is Not Enough by Nancy Thomas. Now, I want to be clear, I don’t agree with everything she said, but her book changed my life. After reading about Reactive Attachment Disorder, I finally recognized Paul. Up until then, I just wasn’t sure what we were dealing with. He had delays and limitations, he had strengths, yet weaknesses and though quirky and awkward in some ways, he was gifted and talented in other ways. He was extremely social which ruled out some disorders, yet he didn’t seem to understand interpersonal interactions. He just didn’t “get” people, though superficially, he could converse with anyone at a very early age. After reading this little blue book, I decided I had to try and change the way I was parenting. I didn’t have a new plan,but I knew the old plan was not going to work.
So, some 2005 notes I made….some declarations that I intended to keep.
I have committed to being the boss. No arguing, no getting angry. (Oh, that looks so easy on paper!)
I will make Paul pay retribution for damages by doing 25 cent chores. (This idea is laughable! Never worked, never will work! Not to mention at 25 cents a pop it would take years and years to pay for all the damage!)
I will stay in control by not letting things escalate. (Well, on a good day, I can stay calm and try to accomplish this, but I personally have no control about how others in the home escalate.)
I will focus only on the positives. (With Herculean effort, I attempt this, but some days the positives are so deeply buried in negatives, it is a challenge.)
I will NOT deal with the negatives he shares with me. (Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t.)
I will do more intentional bonding & loving. (I’ve been intentional and so has he at rejecting my good intent.)
I will not leave Paul unattended &/or unstructured. (Did I realize that would still be the case at age 16?)
I will not engage during nonsense questions. (Really? Did I even think that was possible at the time?)
These “commandments” were the first time I put on paper a strategy in dealing with this chaotic disorder. After the initial writing, there are notes from April 2006 and August 2014 that suggests that nothing has changed and these goals are still good, though maybe a bit lofty. (Lofty since I’ve been working on them for almost 10 years.)
So, he’s still stomping away. I’m still dealing with it. Is it perhaps time to write a new set of notes? Maybe ones where I cut myself a little slack and accept the things I cannot change? I’m glad they are written down for me to review. They calm me during the storm to see that I am not entering into these battles willy nilly. I have studied, I have prepared, I have planned. He may win a battle here and there, but I still intend to win this war!