July 3rd, 2007
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resentmentOne 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?

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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:

The Early Years

Nineteen years ago today

Step into my void, Part One Part Two

Poor poor pitiful me

The Limits of Hope, Part One Part Two Part Three

Thoughts at the end of a very long road

If I knew then what I know now

Do nothing and ye shall receive?

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4 Responses to “Resentment rides high”

  1. NCOZADD@aol.com says:

    When I asked my son if he realized his impact on the rest of the family, he point-blank said that he didn’t care. That at least implied that he had given his actions some thought, and was making choices.

  2. nancyderen says:

    Some kids feel so worthless that they can’t imagine that their behavior could impact anyone else- why would anyone be upset about your poor choices if you were unlovable and undeserving of happiness? My daughter is at the point now where she’ll say, when I’m imposing consequences she doesn’t like and she wants to have a tantrum, “I have to remember- you get mad when I act like this because you love me and you want me to have a happy life!” It was hard work for her to reach that point!

  3. nonny says:

    I wonder why you continue to experience such resentment/anger towards Amy, and not towards Tommy? Didn’t he also “refuse” to respond to your repeated efforts at attachment, and isn’t he also estranged from the family? Why the difference in feelings?

  4. Nonny that’s a great question, with a complicated answer. I do have many negative memories and difficult feelings around Tommy. The thing is, he lived with us for less than three years. He came angry, he left very angry. He stayed angry, too. But I wasn’t the brunt of it *directly* for 15 years like I was Amy’s negativity. (Although I got it big time when he did live with us.) I worked very, very hard on Tommy’s behalf while he was living in our family (as well as part of the time when he wasn’t), but it was a fraction of the time I spent working on Amy’s behalf. (Mostly because I was clueless about what to do, and had no power to do anything even if I wanted to … ) Although what shines through, unfortunately, on my postings about Amy is my own negativity towards her now, what you can’t really grasp is how much of that is frustration, pain and loss of what I so hoped to achieve with her/for her. She is living a life so different than what I had hoped for her. It is easier for me to distance myself from the loss of that relationship with Tommy because he has been “absent” for much longer. He does occasionally check in these days … although it has to do with his needs *nearly* all the time. And he at least is articulating dreams and goals and he has stepped into the world to some extent. Amy hasn’t budged and as her mom, I know what lies ahead, shall we say? And I can’t be too upbeat about it I’m afraid. But I am working on letting it go.

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