One of the comments on my previous post (about how hard it can be to maintain a loving attitude) was about a 3½ year old child “monitoring” the older RAD child. And that same comment talked about how the mom paid if she let her guard down for one moment; how the child had zero comprehension about giving back to the family (but rather expected to be waited on hand and foot) even though he had spent all his life in that family; and most of all, how much resentment was building in the family because of this kid.
I was teleported back to my feelings about Amy in one nanosecond. I can’t tell you the number of times Stephanie has (what word shall I use?)
implied, accused, suggested that Beth condemns, hassles and provokes Amy somewhat based on my own personal reactions to Amy. In other words, Beth is mimicking me in my response to Amy. It is eye-opening, isn’t it, to see yourself played back in living color in another one of your kids?
And yet I also know that Amy provokes Beth independent of my reactions, and Beth is quite smart and on to it. I know that sometimes Beth reacts to Amy because of Beth’s own negative response to Amy’s behavior, and sometimes I curtail it and sometimes I don’t! It isn’t happening at all any more because we haven’t heard squat from Amy in ages … she called her Dad on Father’s Day but we haven’t seen her in over a month, or heard from her other than that one call.
But I can so feel the pain behind these words describing that pervasive sense of entitlement our kids feel: That’s very hard to swallow when he’s lived here all his life and the rules haven’t changed for him yet.
I remember a conversation (actually, it was a soliloquy) where I point-blank asked Amy (at age 16) if she had ever given any thought to how her behavior impacted the rest of the family? It was a rhetorical question, I realized later, because of course she hadn’t stepped outside herself at all to realize that. But the question bubbled out of my mouth just the same, and the totally shocked, lost look on her face answered it for me immediately. (And she said verbally that it hadn’t occurred to her … ) It had never occurred to her that her behavior affected anyone else. After a decade and a half, she was clueless about family and the world around her. No surprise, really, but shocking to see it so clearly expressed.
Over the past 18 months I have expressed a great deal of frustration over this relationship. For you folks new to this blog, here are some posts that discuss this issue: