Settling In….

101_0915Sweetie 4 has been home since Friday. The weekend was like another Furlough. She knew what to expect as we continued doing the same things and she had the same schedule.
Then came Monday. It was all new to her. She has been away over a year and the dynamics of family life have changed now that 2 of the girls are in college, one no longer lives at home and their schedules are completely different than ours.
I think this came as a shock to her. When she left to the detention center, everybody was a minor and Sweetie 1 was taking classes at the college for dual credit. Nobody was driving, and nobody was an adult.

Now that she is home, we have 2 adults, 1 driver, one learning to drive, everybody in college, and one not living at home. I think that was a lot to come home to even though we told her during all those visits what was happening in family life.
She came home to different dishes, a room painted blue, the bathroom wall paper removed and painted a different color, and lots of little things we probably do not notice because we are here all the time and the changes seem more subtle.

And then, Monday started. We were back to teaching at home and there was nobody to force her to get up in the a.m; she is expected to do that on her own, with an alarm. We had a computer glitch and during that glitch I asked her to go ahead and read the lesson so we didn’t waste time.
I was met with a force of NO. Then, “nothing has changed, it is all the same, I knew you wouldn’t change!” I was confused.
“What are you talking about?”
More words …. and then bombs…. “I’m DONE with this family!”

It was over the top and OUT OF NOWHERE!

I could see it in her eyes. It was fear. She started the morning with not getting up for family time. My first wake up call was gentle… “Sweetie, it is time to get up.”
My second wake up call was “Sweetie, you missed family time”….
My THIRD wakeup call was, “If you were at the detention center, would you still be in bed?”
She got up.
But in her mind, she was a complete failure and that set her up for the entire day…. failing, in her mind.
She tends to beat herself up like that, and then gives up.

We started with geometry and she did great.
Then, the glitch happened and she couldn’t handle the change.

So, from around 9:30 till 4:00, she was over the top going between weeping and anger, speaking harshly, accusing, and then saying, “I’d rather be in jail!”
I couldn’t hold back my sorrow, nor could I hold back my own fear. I was seemingly put right back into the scenario of a year and a half ago. I began to question, “Are we going to make it?” “Are we REALLY going to make it?”

She would verbally attack and then say she was sorry, then attack and then say she was sorry, and then say I love you over and over and over again, inbetween attacking and
then getting upset because I was hurt or had a sad look on my face. But I’m human. I do well rising above most of the time. Yesterday, tears flowed.
It was like a huge build up of tension, and then an explosion over and over, but expecting us to just “take it”.
Oh that felt so familiar.
And it didn’t help that I wept, because then she thought I was disappointed in her. I was frustrated with her behavior, hoping we had moved further down the road than we had, but it never changes my love for her. I’m so proud of how hard we have all worked to make this happen!

I wanted to connect, but I also needed to be honest with her.
I told her, “I am not going to go through this again. You need to make up your mind what you want.”
“You SAID you wanted us, you wanted family, that you wanted to come home.” “So what do you want?”
That was probably not the best way to handle it.
By now, I was not thinking about connectedness as much as I just needed a raw, real answer.
She was angry I was hurt.
I was hurt and felt betrayed.
So I gave her a mental picture, the best I could, trying to regain connection and correct at the same time.

An abuser hits somebody in the face and says, “I’m sorry.”
They are forgiven and then they turn and hit the person in the face again.
They say, “I’m sorry” and it happens again and again and again….The abuser buys gifts to make up and then
the one they are abusing has a bloody, bruised face, is hurt and in pain and responds to that pain.
The abuser then says, “What’s the matter? Why are you sad?? I SAID I WAS SORRY!
Why are you still sad… they study your face and every.single.action. maybe if you didn’t respond quickly
enough when they reached for your hand, And then they get angry
and accuse the person of not loving them, or worse.

THAT is what you have been doing ALL DAY LONG.

Her response was interesting. “You told me you wanted to know how I felt.”
But she has no filter. I forgot that. She needs these things explained.
We can have many thoughts or feelings go through our minds, some that need to be spoken and
others that we can say, “Why did I think that?” or “That isn’t valid”, or “That is ridiculous!”
And we discard them.
She just says everything that comes into her mind.
We need to remember that she needs to learn that filter.
She mixes up “feelings” with “thoughts”.
We need to remember she has an FAS brain. Sweetie is very smart, but she struggles GREATLY with understanding
emotion and body language.

So as you can read, she was all over the place.

So last night, I was able to get my bearings and start to gain some strength. Mike is a huge help in helping me focus and
stay the course.
I decided maybe getting her busy as a distraction would be a good thing. We put on Christmas music and started to decorate for Christmas,
a week early! LOL

She totally got into it, and we enjoyed the rest of our evening. She worked really hard to help with everything and needed that continuous
praise and affection.
She went to bed a happy camper.

This a.m. she woke at the right time, and has been a joy all day long.

I’m sure we will have some glitches along the way and I need to remind myself that she still has a long way to go.
I am thankful for a counselor who is willing to work with us and discuss ways to help her.
This is still very much a team effort. It is a marathon and not a sprint.

I am proud of her for pulling herself out of a state of fear and into a place of peace.
Folks this is hard stuff. But it is real. The lessons learned through these experiences will stay with us the rest of our lives. We cannot err in loving. We will not err in following the Lord. And we are confident, that HE who began a good work in her and in us, will be faithful to complete it!

6 Responses to Settling In….

  1. Hailey says:

    I’m praying for your family. I can see where it must have been a bit of a shock coming back to find changes–having a picture in your head of how people used to be, and now it’s different.

    • ChristieM says:

      Yes. I think it was a little triggering for her that life changed so much and she missed so much while she was gone. 🙁

  2. Dagbjört says:

    I am so proud to “know” you all even if it is only through a computer. To me, Sweetie 4 is a good person with so much life experience to process and I think that in the end it all will work in her favor. I imagine her helping others in her future, she has been going through very difficult times like a champion and with that experience in addition to her art talent, how smart she is and with her loving family – she will do great and good things in her life, I’m sure 🙂 I imagine she could be a great art therapist – or anything she wants to be! Hope you have a wonderful day.

  3. Annie Kitching says:

    Keep in mind that things have changed for YOU, too. You are both almost full to the top with anxiety. I love Heather Forbes’ example of the filing cabinet stuffed full – at some point those drawers won’t close and everything pours out.

Comments warmly welcomed!


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