Transitions

Decisions are really hard for Hope; she’s easily overwhelmed when she has options. Early in my journey with Hope, I learned that I had to narrow her choices if I was ever going to get her to make decisions. She can’t have more than 3 choices and some days that’s a stretch.

And overwhelmed Hope is miserable, and so are the folks around her who are silently screaming

MAKE A DECISION ALREADY!

She gets anxious weighing the options, reviewing and re-reviewing, then she panics and guilt trips herself because she knows everyone is waiting until she’s just paralyzed.

Recently, Hope spent an hour sifting thru burger places on UberEats; I was shocked when the delivery gal knocked and Hope grabbed her McD’s bag.

Me: McD’s? Really?

Hope: I couldn’t make a decision and I was hungry so I just ordered McDonalds.

Even with McD’s she self limits for months at a time: She will order the same, exact order for 5 months and then change to something else for a season. She does this because she makes the decision one time and sticks with it to avoid just sitting there going “um” at the drive thru window.

With Hope now approaching the age of 20; there are more decisions than ever. We recently had a family appointment with a doc to talk about meds. Doc explains everything, lays out 3 options in rank order and asks Hope to say what option does she think is best.

Blank stare.

After confirming that she understood the options, and confirming that ultimately this was her decision alone, she balked. We eventually got through it with some coaching and patience; she made a decision. But I could tell that our super mild mannered, even tempered doc was a little undone by the inability to make a decision.

Over the years I’ve become a lot more patient when she hits decision-making snags. I’ve adapted, but I haven’t really seen her skills improve or her anxiety go down. I’m hopeful that we will hit a turning point sometime soon.

I’m realizing that while Hope complained about how strict the military school was, she seemed so much more grounded there. The structure, the limited choices, that environment is one that kind of gave her the structure her spirit seems to demand. Her senior year, I asked her if she wanted to consider military service; but for her hatred of any physical activity, I could see her doing well in service. It also would’ve been kinda cool seeing how so much of her bio family were at some time in the military. Hope shot down the military idea hard and fast, proving that the ability to decide was in there, but only when it was something she really had a strong opinion about.

Right now, it almost feels like we’re going backwards. If Hope can avoid any kind of decision, she will. This year at home with minimal structure has not been good for her development. I am incapable of providing the structure she needs to thrive. Tomorrow, she resumes her job hunt. I’m hoping something turns up. An occupied Hope is a happier Hope–the decision-making isn’t much better, but at least emotionally she’s more stable.

I know she will get there; it’s really going to take time and lots of confidence building practice, though.

About AdoptiveBlackMom

I'm a single Black professional woman living in the DC area. I adopted a tween daughter 7 years ago, and this blog chronicles my journey. Feel free to contact me at adoptiveblackmom@gmail.com, on Facebook at Adoptive Black Mom, and on Twitter @adoptiveblkmom. ©www.AdoptiveBlackMom.com, 2013-2021. All rights reserved. (Don't copy my ish without credit!) View all posts by AdoptiveBlackMom

4 responses to “Transitions

  • rose

    Thank you. Decision making is a habit and skill you can develop. Saying outloud the pros and cons and writing them down can help some people some times. Knowing if it a worry about money or failing a test or not understanding sometimes there is No Best Answer… helps. Sometimes saying what the worst outcome of each choice helps too.
    It is tough and an issue that can also arise in aging seniors who are simply tired.
    Crossing fingers for you both. This is HARD.

    • Mel

      Oh, man. I think Hope and I are twins. Except that I’m (a lot) older.

      I hate making decisions. I do best with only 2-3 choices. I do a ton of research before deciding anything. I turn over every rock, twice minimum. Sometimes 3-4 times. I make myself and everyone around me crazy.

      This sounds nuts, but sitting under the dining room table with a blanket over your head allows you to contemplate each choice and evaluate outcomes, free of distractions. You can envision yourself in each outcome’s scenario, walk yourself thru them, just to see how each one feels. How do you physically feel as you see yourself in the scene? Do any questions arise that you can’t answer? Most will feel wrong, but a few will feel ok.

      Usually, one will surface as the right decision. And it helps you to see that 2-3 answers might be equally good, so if the first one doesn’t work out you know to try the second one. You’ll see that most answers aren’t set in concrete.

      Good luck to her with the job hunt!

  • skinnyhobbit

    I get decision paralysis, and I obsessively research, yet can’t stand having my options limited because it feels like an attempt to subjugate me even though I do benefit from limited options. Can’t win with me! 🙂

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