Histrionics on a Friday

There are few things in the world more heartbreaking than your kid, your adoptive kid, telling you that she moved here because she thought she would be happy and that she thought you would try to understand her but you don’t.

sadABM

Yeah, that got yelled at me today. #shetoldme

Sigh.

TGIF.

So, I’m still simmering over the early events of the week and what I feel like was the defiling of my house. And because I’m petty, my behavior has really been unpleasant this week. #regressive #notproudbuthonest

About a year ago, AbsurdlyHotTherapist had us imitate each other in the midst of a fight…yeah, Hope stomped around, hemmed, hawed, yelled and stomped some more. When she was done she added that I would do that for days at a time when I was mad.

Yeah, I do. When I have been wronged…I’m like a virus, you just gotta stay away and wait until I sputter out.

That, admittedly, is not conducive to consistently good parenting, and I’m working on it. I’ve gotten so much better talking myself into just letting it go, most days.

But I’m way more petty than just ordinary petty, and I’ve got a nasty temper, and sometimes it makes me wonder if I should’ve ever become a parent given my penchant for high strung emotion.

But, that’s neither here nor there, right? I just gotta keep pushing for improvement.

Normally when our conflicts have escalated to Hope’s screaming that she’s miserable or that she thought things would be different, I run to hug her. I feel guilt about triggering that kind of honesty from her (which as an aside, in those moments of high emotion she is an incredibly effective communicator about what she’s thinking and feeling). In those moments, I want to gather her up and dab her tears and tell her that it will be ok.

I didn’t do that today, though.

Nope

I resisted the urge, not because I didn’t feel those things, but because I needed her to have a reality check. I needed her to understand that families have conflict, that happiness is not judged episodically but holistically, and that I still need her to take responsibility for the things that she utterly refuses to acknowledge. Like clean that gotdamn room of hers.

A hug was not going to get us to that space in that moment, even if I wanted to offer it. #lowkeyrealtalk I didn’t want to anyway.

This last week has been like watching my bank account spout like a geyser. Money has been flying out of the house like Elphaba on a broom, and flying out for some ridiculous ish. Yesterday morning, I just cut the cash tap abruptly amidst wails of poverty and starvation. The sense of irresponsibility and entitlement had pushed me to this point:

 

giphy

You would’ve thought she was in a Russian bread line with all that wailing.

 

Now I can afford an occasional oil spout, and once money is gone, it’s gone, but if it’s one thing I can’t stand it’s spending money that doesn’t need to be spent on things that could have been avoided.

So, instead of the immediate comfort, today I sat down and patiently waited for Hope to sit down with me. I talked about empathy—mine and hers. I talked about responsibility—ours to each other, but um mainly her responsibilities to me and to our home. I talked about communication efforts-ours-and how we need to continue to work on them. And we talked about choices—when she has them and when she simply doesn’t.  #eatthecake

She spoke; then I spoke some more. And then I walked away.

I often wonder what Hope thinks happiness looks like. I swear she thinks it’s like a nonstop carnival. It’s not. I know that happiness is a collection of experiences in which things are good, satisfying, fulfilling; they may be interspersed with disappointment, but not overwhelmed by them. I often feel like Hope needs every experience to be happy, happy, joy, joy to experience and acknowledge some kind of continuous happy; she doesn’t yet know how to be happy.

She simply doesn’t know how to be happy. I’m trying to teach her, but really how do you teach someone to embrace and experience happy?

The inability to recognize happiness and to choose it really hamstrings our relationship. I feel like I will always disappoint her because her expectations about being happy are so absurdly off-kilter that they are impossible to meet. Being unhappy is learned behavior; I don’t believe that its innate. Hope learned unhappiness.

Learned, pervasive unhappiness is a beeotch.  It is a smothering blanket.

I wish it were as easy to encourage her happiness as it is to for Yappy to be happy. This dog’s happiness hardly knows any bounds.

 “Hey boy, wanna go to the PARK????”

 

dancing.gif

Not Yappy, but Yappy-like!

 

“OMG! YES!!!!! I AM SO RIDICULOUSLY HAPPY!!!!”

Ah, but life with humans is so much more complicated and so much more dramatic than life with dogs.

And so, we just go on, trying to make a little progress at a time.

She just made me a grill cheese sandwich, so I guess we’re cool again. #anotherreasonIcantdropweight #apologyfood

Tonight we will host our first sleepover, and tomorrow I’ll drop off Hope and her friend at an amusement park before Yappy and I visit my parents for the day.

Tomorrow things will be happy, happy, joy, joy until the next hiccup that makes the world come histrionically crashing down. And I’ll be ready to have these conversations all over again.

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About AdoptiveBlackMom

I'm a single Black professional woman living in the DC area. I adopted tween a few years ago, and this blog chronicles our journey. Feel free to contact me at adoptiveblackmom@gmail.com, on Facebook at Adoptive Black Mom, and on Twitter @adoptiveblkmom. ©www.AdoptiveBlackMom.com, 2013-2016. All rights reserved. (Don't copy my ish without credit!) View all posts by AdoptiveBlackMom

7 responses to “Histrionics on a Friday

  • Casey

    Reblogged this on Hypervigilant.org and commented:
    I like reading her blog…it sounds so much like the inside of my head. If there are two of us, that makes us normal. Right? RIGHT???

  • Casey

    I like reading your blog…it sounds so much like the inside of my head! If there are two of us, that makes us normal. Right? 🙂

  • Looking for the Light Blog

    Hello my friend
    First and foremost your honesty helps you and helps others more. I’m not a parent but can relate to some of her deep rooted beliefs. I’m an adult of several physical, sexual and emotional abuse until I turned 13. I didn’t tell anyone, so scared, scared people would think different of me. At 52 I still have knee jerk feelings, I don’t se them coming and could be different everyday. I only trusted 2 people in my life at that point. Living and learning about love I made many mistakes and no doubt will again, at least I notice and can change my thoughts or behavior.
    You have a big ass load you’re carrying, I believe all your emotions are right on the money and you want a better life for your daughter.
    A couple of thoughts….I may be in a fantasy,,,,,it’s way to early to try to show her love for others indirectly thru you.
    I learned my true capacity to love and willingness to die for out of love thru my grandparents. I cared for both in sickness until death. I never knew I could give my heart totally open and loving so deep.
    What came to mind was some type of volunteering were she see’s something obvious and it may start to chip away the hard shell over the years. Something with children but as an observer, she doesn’t need the opportunity to make it about her. I don’t have any answers and certainly the last person who knows the strong negative emotions of adopted children.
    I send you a big hug, kick in the ass (the wallet comfort) and all the hugs you can take.
    Bless you
    Melinda

  • Belladonna Took

    You know what, Momma? Sounds to me as though you’re pretty much getting it right. Sometimes responding to wails with a hug and an ILY is the right thing to do … but it’s *always* tight to be real. I suspect that what you did this time was lovingly, calmly refuse to be deflected or manipulated. Some really good teaching happened there – well done!

  • thecommonostrich

    I’ve been reading up on how to be an awesome parent, and apparently rule #1 is SHOWING UP. It sounds so simple, but then you realize how many people aren’t engaged with their kids and your head starts to hurt.

    You’re there for her. You’re doing the hard work with her. You are, in summary, being an excellent parent. High fives, even though it doesn’t feel like a high five moment…

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