Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What to do...

Tortuga has had a mixed week. Two days of really dysregulated behavior that involved him spending a good deal of time away from us because he just couldn't hold it together. I think it is a combination of more sugar, more "fun times" (Halloween and a block party), and the beginning of his "traumaversary" time (which will go through February). I think there is something else going on that I just don't know how to deal with yet.

We have a decent relationship with his birth mother. By "decent" I mean that we get along very well, we communicate well, we are open about why the boys don't live with her, and I think she trusts us. That said we don't hear from her regularly and her contact information changes often. When we schedule meetings with her she will often not show up without letting us know. She has multiple challenges that complicate her life and her desire to see the boys and we try to respect that. This summer we tried and tried to see her and she wasn't available and then her phone was disconnected.  We told Tortuga that we were trying to see her and he was adamant that he did NOT want to see her. This is a regular part of his process. He misses her, thinks about her, wants to see her, doesn't want to see her, and when we do see her he is anxious to not be there. When we didn't get to see her he seemed relieved and expressed this relief in both verbal and behavioral ways.

Once we returned from MA he asked if I had spoken to her and I mentioned that I still couldn't reach her. He said he didn't want to know if I talked to her unless it was "bad" news. I explained that he could choose to hear or not to hear and I would respect that BUT he couldn't be selective about what he heard because it left too much room for the imagination. We have had episodes of "you didn't tell me you talked to her" when in fact we always tell him. (She does not always wish to speak with him or his brother but she always sends her regards.)  I reminded him that he could choose to hear or not to hear. He chose to hear if we spoke to her and he wasn't sure if he did or didn't want to talk with her. I noted we would cross that bridge when the call came. In the meantime I have tried to find out what is going on. A friend has tried all her last known addresses and I have her former social worker trying to track down whether she has received any services that might allow us to get a message to her. I am concerned about her and hope she is well but I also know this is a typical pattern so I am trying not to be overly worried.

In the meantime, Tortuga is thinking about her and I know it. He will not admit that he is thinking about her which is fine. What isn't fine is that he has a tendency to tell himself "stories" in his head when something is on his mind and reality and fiction blur quickly for him. So this has resulted in his accusations to me that I am keeping him from talking to her and/or withholding information about her because it is "not good." I know this is his fear. I have tried to create room for him to express this and once in a while he does. Right now though, he is just lashing out at us and we have to "talk him down" from that place where he believes the fiction in his head rather than the reality. Any ideas?


4 comments:

Lee said...

No ideas but my sympathies. I go through this with Rob and Fiona's cousins aunts and even their sister Krystal and brother D. It seems like there will be periods of connection and then everyone falls off the face of the earth despite my earnest efforts to keep connections open and strong. Cousin N blew us off for a recent family outing with Fiona and all the other kids and we have been unable to re-connect. Rob's sis Krystal has disappeared from the internet which was our primary means of communication. I can see the worry in his eyes.

OtherMother said...

Hi,
This is my first time to your blog, and I came to talk to you about perhaps reviewing my book... and then I started reading this and got all caught up in it. It sounds to me like you are doing exactly what your need to do: being honest and keeping the lines of communication open. One other thing I would do with my son is to make a preemptive strike (you probably are already doing this). I would say to him, "I get the feeling you are upset about ____. Do you want to talk about it?" If he didn't want to talk, at least he then knew that I was picking up on his feelings, and that I cared.

My book is RAISING ABEL, pen name CAROLYN NASH. It's on Amazon Kindle and paperback. Jeri at Isocannotmakethissh!tup blogspot mentioned your site. She just did a wonderful review of the book and she thought you might be interested. I can be reached at othermother109@gmail.com. Thanks, and so much good luck to you.

Lindsay Mama to Nine said...

My eight year old harbors similar, hold close, push away, reject before I can be hurt and rejected type behavior as well..and his rejection by her...well lets just say it is easier to take it out on me...sigh.

I bought him a journal, labled it "Things I want "his birth Mothers name" to understand and know"...and left it on his bed...didn't hear anything for days..and then one day he came with it in hand...and tossed it at me and said...you can read it if you want....hmmmmmm...
Just a thought...

Dia por Dia said...

Lindsay,
I love your idea. I am going to get that to him asap. I think he will need guidance but I do think it could work for him. Thank you so much for sharing this idea.

Best,
Dia

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