Friday, December 01, 2006

Agony

Bigglest Boy has been going to therapy. You might remember that he has had major issues. He’s such a good student and all, but I know a lot of kids, growing up, who were good students but had terrible behavior. I’m trying to be understanding but the rage & destruction really scares me. I don’t know what to do with him sometimes; I send him to his room but lately he’s been so scary that I’m afraid to do that. I’m afraid… I’m afraid to even say what he might do when he’s full of that loathing.
Yesterday, after a bad day at school when he was separated from everyone else for the entire day. When we went home the Two Littlest Boys were allowed to paint and make designs and decorations and Bigglest Boy had to sit in the kitchen and read. Bigglest Boy had to bathe before dinner, which he hates doing, and an outburst at dinner meant he had to be separated from the table and he had to eat with his daddy in another room. I can’t control him and I think the only thing that keeps him in line when his daddy is around is a realization that there’s someone else in the house who is stronger than he is.
Bigglest Boy is now much, much stronger than I am. He is eight years old, he is almost five feet tall and weighs about 98 lbs. However, he can throw a large, solid oak glider rocker that looks like this all the way across a living room. When he did that, it missed me by maybe half a foot. It scared me. It caused me to think that the other kids aren’t safe from his anger. When he is away from other kids and he is sent to his room, I try to talk to him but all he could do was cry. And it wasn’t a child’s cry, it was the serious, self-loathing cry of someone ten years older.
“I wish I were dead.” “Why don’t you just put me in jail?” And finally he came out and said, “I really just hate you.”
“Why do you hate me?” I asked.
“I don’t know. I just wish you weren’t here, and I was in jail,” he sobbed.
“Why do you wish you were in jail?”
“I wish you were in jail, too,” he said, through his sniffles and tears.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because you’re bad. Because you make me angry. Because you killed my mother.”
I couldn’t even take a breath when he said that. Did he really think that?
“Why did you say that?” I asked. I tried to stop from crying but it just started pouring out. I was so furious at him, while I tried to remember that he’s just a little boy. He’s eight years old.
“Because you hated her,” he said, and he turned and pressed his face into his pillow, and punched the pillow as hard as he could.
“I never, ever hated your mother,” I said, trying to keep my voice calm. “I loved her more than any friend I ever had.”
He sat up, turning around slowly and looking at me like I was poison. “More than Daddy?”
I thought about it, and said finally. “Yes. Well… I don’t know. A lot. I don’t know. Well, about the same, if not more than your daddy.”
He looked away.
“A lot,” I repeated. “I loved your mama a lot.”
He lay face down again and cried. I asked him if he wanted anything, and he shrugged, not facing me. I tried to touch him gently on his shoulder, but he moved away quickly.
“I should take your shoes off, if you’re going to lay on the bed,” I said softly.
He didn’t argue, so I slipped his shoes and socks off. He flexed his feet, which made his toes creak and crack like an old man’s. I squeezed his feet, one in each hand, and he sighed. I took that sigh as an okay, and kept rubbing his feet, which felt like bags of rocks; they were so knotted and tense. I had been squeezing and rubbing his feet for about five minutes when Monsieur stuck his head in the door. I looked up and smiled at him, and kept rubbing Bigglest Boy’s feet. Monsieur smiled back, and closed the door.
Bigglest Boy had stopped sniffling. When my hands got tired, I stopped and I said gently, “Feel okay?”
He nodded into his pillow.
“Still hate me?” I asked softly.
“I don’t know,” he said.
I took that as a positive sign, and told him he could come back downstairs with us when he was ready.

16 comments:

super des said...

I have so much respect for you for being able to handle situations like that.

You're awesome.

TintinSnowy said...

Hey kiddo, may I make a gentle suggestion? I was reading your account and trying to think what I would do in your situation. Perhaps sit down and talk with Monsieur about having some tests done on Bigglest. For bipolar (chemical imbalances), for schizophrenia, for ADD, for anything else that presents itself. That kind of anger and angst seems......out of proportion to his age. The death of one's mother at a young age is MAJOR, I will grant you that. And when a new woman appears to seemingly take her place....it's very hard for a young child to process what it all means. And I know it's difficult, extremely difficult, for you to not take what he says personally. But it's important that you do NOT take what he says personally. He doesn't have the tools to deal with whatever he's experiencing. So he lashes out at whoever happens to be closest and who might be affected, since his father is too strong for him. But you might want to at least ELIMINATE the possibility that there are other extenuating psychological or chemical circumstances that could be aggravating things. Life is too short, and too beautiful, to experience such pain, especially at such a young age.

And I know it's difficult but try and look at your situation from a spiritual perspective. You've been put into this situation for a reason. You have the strength and capability to contribute and to make a difference, otherwise you WOULD NOT have been put into this rather unusual living experience. Always try to take a step back, and see if you can observe a bigger picture at work. Since my only information is from this blog, I can't see all the discrete parts. Only you can. And since you have chosen to share your life with this tiny Internet community, know that our prayers are with you. And I send you positive, healing, strengthening energy to help you in this time of need.

Tintinsnowy

Ki Two said...

*hugs*

I wish all children could be happier. That young age should be a time for joy, not stress, since they'll have plenty of time for that later. I think you're doing well and I wish you courage and patience, as that will help Bigglest develop courage and patience as well. Good luck.

the Yearning Heart said...

Thanks, all of you. Sincerely.

Tintin, yes, as part of his therapy we're have checked him for things including ADHD (definite signs) schizophrenia (neg), bipolar (there are symptoms but the chemical clues are not showing up on tests).

His mother struggled with rage and temper, too. They tried medications of various strengths and cocktails that seemed to work for the rage but they also, as I recall, made it difficult in other ways.

Monsieur is concerned about the unknown, long-term effects of medications available, too.

On and on, we just keep on trying.

Sarah said...

Oh, that sounds so heartbreaking. Through all of this, you are being so strong; that must have been extremely difficult to hear. The way you dealt with that was incredibly mature, respectful, and honorable. Someday when he's older, Bigglest Boy will better understand that you in no way are at fault for Maggie's death and in the meantime...hugs and best wishes. You're doing a great job with those kids; I hope everything works out for the best with Bigglest Boy's therapy.

Recovering Soul said...

It sounds like he thinks you are trying to take his mother's place. In reality, you are trying to be there for them, but I don't think you are trying to take her place. Hopefully he will understand that some day.

Anvil said...

Poor him. Poor you. Hang in there

Anonymous said...

Il aura sur toi le pouvoir que tu lui donneras. Et tu as sur lui le pouvoir de l'amour inconditionel. Cependant il lui faudra pouvoir le reconnaitre sans avoir l'impression de renier ou de trahir sa mère. Un peu comme son papa au début, il doit réaliser que tu ne remplaces personne. Tu succèdes seulement. Il lui faut du temps car il est tellement jeune. Et beaucoup d'amour, ce que toi et Monsieur pouvez lui donner en quantité suffisante et en qualité également.
Autre sujet : je n'ai pas oublié pour le sirop d'érable mais j'attends de trouver un autre produit d'érable qui soit moins lourd en raison des frais de poste assez élevés. (Maryse)

the Yearning Heart said...

oh Maryse (I couldn't possibly reply coherently to that in French, though I know that replying in a different language is considered ill-mannered; sorry, I went to public school in the States)

Thank you; I'll try and keep trying. I have a hell of a job ahead of me and I really don't know if I'll be able to do it but even if I can't, I also know I can't walk away from this now.

When I read his report from the therapist I felt so overwhelmed an lost. I'm barely a teacher and now I'm going to have to be a special ed teacher. I know I signed up for this willingly and I decided to take what's been given to me as best as I can.

Also - don't worry about the maple syrup! burn me a Suzi Aolie CD or something! oh, but if you do that make sure it's a legal copy as Monsieur goes on and on about music piracy. Just whatever, dear; a lovely christmas card or any old thing from you would be a treasure.

Anonymous said...

laughs ... I put it in french with the idea it would be more private but I don't mind a bit if you reply in english. The important thing is to stay in touch. And since I had thought about Susie Arioli well it will probably be that. Wishing it will be there on time for Christmas. And if it can help, I believe you have what it takes to help this child. And I am sure monsieur knows that too. (Maryse)

introspectre said...

oh shit on a biscuit, my comment never appeared! I wrote it last week, but I was having trouble with the dyslexic damning thingamapooey that I see is no longer there.
I went for comment moderation, too, when on blogspot.

Anyway....

I think you're making great progress with Bigglest Boy, despite how it might appear. His outbursts are getting worse, but sweetheart, that doesn't mean the situation is, or that you aren't doing a good job handling it.

Chemical disorders (of which I suffer, along with my son, who was also recently diagnosed with anxiety disorder at age nine) tend to be diagnosed at this age because that's when the body starts the chemical change of puberty, bringing those chemical imbalances bubbling and sometimes raging to the surface.

The fact that his outbursts are getting worse is not because of some lack of parenting skills, but because of his age and chemical make up. This is when they come out. It is not because of YOU, ok? Do you hear me? Must I come there and coddle your head, because I'm more than willing to, you know.

(smiles)

Really, honey, if his daddy hasn't already started him down the path, chemical intervention should be considered at this point. Therapy is wonderful, but as I've learned through both myself and my son, it can only help you manage the top layer of a chemical imbalance. It's like the soup is still boiling beneath, but on the surface you learn how to act normal. It's fucking hard on a kid, especially a kid who just lost his mom.

And that self loathing? It's fear of the self. I know it. My son knows it. It's treatable. My son has been on Paxil for two months now and the change is drastic, beautifully drastic. I'll tell you more about it in an e-mail....too many personal details, you know how it is....

I'm always here for you. Always.

V-Grrrl said...

A close friend of mine had issues with her son, who began receiving psychiatric treatment when he was only 9.

I'm glad Biggest Boy has this opportunity to get help and get better. Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

It's just tough for this boy. He needs love. He needs his mother. Whenever he feels connected to you a little more, at the same time feels like betraying his mother. Make him clear you are not trying to take the place of his mother, but you love him nonetheless.
At that age, even if you were his real mother you could hear him say "You killed my mother" and the cause would be that he thinks he gets less love than he used to. Or just understands you more and get really confused. It's just a tough time that will probably pass in some years and puberty will take its place (for the worst ;)).
Enjoy the time and get professional help for both you and him...

Anonymous said...

Boys don't need punishment. Boys need love. Nothing more. Nothing less. By punishing them, you are only making matters worse. You challenge them to a race. A race they don't want to win, but they will try. They will throw chairs at you, they will verbally try to hurt you, they will even try to physically hurt you. They just want your love. They are much embarassed and confused to admit it, but that's all they want. Someone that will love them even when they are bad. If they have that they 'll behave like angels (well, not exactly, as they are still kids, but you get the point...)
And now the obligatory beatle's soundtrack. Loooove Loooove Looove All you need is Love

Sarah said...

Hey there,

Just checking up on you. It's been awhile and I hope you're doing alright. How are the boys and how is Monsieur and most of all: how are you?

Best wishes and a bunch of hugs!

The Butterfly Temptress said...

I am the almost-stepmother to three boys, all under the age of ten. The Guys could never count on their biological mother and though it's taken a lot of time and patience, things are finally settling down after eighteen months. More than once I have heard how much I am hated, how much better things were without me, and for a while I believed it.

Then I started watching the other things. The hugs, the requests for help with homework, the inclusion in the important events in their lives. It made the angry blustery fits more bearable.

I hope all is well with you and your house of little men. No doubt it is as crazy for you as mine is for me, but remember you're not alone.

Love,
The Butterfly Temptress

P.S. I'm always just an email away if you ever need an ear or a shoulder.