Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Selfish Shellfish

I’m employing a new therapy with Mihiretu.  Like most adopted kids, particularly those who found their new families after infancy, Mihiretu has attachment issues.  It plays out in all kinds of ways, most of all behaviorally.  He is an incredible person, but often it feels like we’re living with a gleeful poltergeist.  He destroys homework, he hides favorite stuffed animals, he throws his dirty underwear up onto the ceiling fan.

We’ve addressed this with many different therapies; psychotherapy, medication, OT.  This new approach is all about attachment, only about attachment.  The hope is once he feels securely attached the negative attention-seeking behaviors will evaporate.

In the meantime, by the request of our therapist, Mihiretu is living full-time with me.  This therapist believes that a secure attachment begins with the mother.

I’m not a selfless person.  Really at all.  I’m pretty selfish, actually.  Vain, opinionated, pleasure-seeking.  Maybe to compensate for this basic nature, I’ve put myself into a position where I must be selfless.  Three kids, the youngest of which demands PhD-level parenting.  Really, now that I’m here, now that I’m in the situation that I set up for myself, the most selfish thing I can do is turn this kid around.  Otherwise he’ll torture me for the rest of my life in bigger and bigger ways.  And yes, of course, I adore him.  I want him to have a happy and healthy life.  I want that for all my kids and this current path seems the only way to that end.

The therapy is intense.  I’m changing my behavior with Mihiretu, neutralizing the negative attachment so we can form a positive one.  I’m working on it every moment I’m with him.  He doesn’t like it, no surprise.  It’s completely exhausting and unnerving.  And it’s my work for the next six months to a year.

So all my fun will come down a notch.  Dating will be on a low simmer, if the stove is on at all.  Not a lot of nights out with friends.  Selfish shellfish won’t get much playtime.  I’m trying to be okay with this.  Most moments I am.  Though when he’s screaming at me I can feel a little cornered, a little alone. When his behavior is bad, all I want to do is run away.  Now I must turn around and face it.  There’s no way out but through.

Wish me luck.  I’m going to need it.  Though if there’s one thing I can do in this lifetime, putting my three kids out in the world as whole people is it.   Maybe once that’s done I can go back to being selfish.  Selfish, selfish old lady.