Follow Up

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To follow up on this post and a comment that was made, I rarely make M admit his lie. There was a time that I would treat it like a dog with a bone but I’m older (snicker) and wiser (amen) and I realize the futility in it. I will state the truth as it appears to me. If he chooses he can own up to it later or he may choose never to do so. As far as empathy for his sister, I do think he has the ability to feel something towards her. I think he hurts when he makes bad choices and damages relationships but he seems incapable of changing the course of his life choices. Hindsight is one thing. Constantly seeking to change deeply sown beliefs is another.

As far as whether M feels abandoned by S, that probably was true for him months and months ago when she started transitioning to attachment. I don’t doubt that it is another person in his life to “abandon” him, but I will never stop pointing out to him that healing IS possible. It doesn’t make his sister any “better” than him. It just demonstrates that healing and relationship are possible.

On to today’s highlight 🙂 One of the struggles I face constantly is the lying. Today I told M he could earn back his MP3 by thinking of something he could do to make it up to S for scaring her the other night, regardless of whether it was intentional or just mischief. He had consequences based on the fact that he was in his room, an hour and a half past bedtime, fooling around and playing with something that wasn’t a toy (his lava lamp). I took away those things that were keeping him from sleeping and providing opportunities to disobey us.

M approached me and asked if he could do his and S’s Saturday chores to make it up to her. I said yes (she was getting a pedicure with her big sister) and let him have at it. After he was done he asked if there was anything else he could do for me, like dusting my bedroom or something else. I said dusting my bedroom would be great. About 10 minutes later I hear an enormous crash and M calls out, “the picture fell off the wall.” I went in there and saw the pieces everywhere, asked him what happened and he tells me it fell off.

And there is the problem I face. He couldn’t just say he was dusting it and it fell off and broke. There are no “consequences” in our house for “accidents”, no yelling, no threats, no physical recourse. You have a problem. Fix it. You broke it. You replace it (if that is a reasonable expectation). There is no “logical” reason for him to be afraid of consequences. As far as we know, in his 15 months before he came to us he was not in an abusive home or somewhere that would trigger this response. But M cannot, without great amounts of prompting and often not even then, acknowledge he was the reason the picture fell off. I understand that this is his RAD response. Yet, somewhere, somehow, I want to hope it is possible for him to change. I know it is a possibility because I’ve seen it in his sister.

So my problem is I never know when to believe him. His character is such that lying is usually his first response. Which makes me not trust him. Or believe him. Then he gets defensive and tries to make ME feel bad for not believing him. Because of the many harmful things that have happened in our home, I would be an idiot to trust him fully. Many times I give him opportunities to prove he can be truthful and trustworthy. And SOMETIMES he is. But SOMETIMES he is not. That’s the problem. The problem is not breaking the picture. The accident doesn’t even matter. The problem is his response. Most of the time I don’t even question whether it was intentional or not. The problem is my son’s response and in turn, my response to him.

I usually don’t even make him own up to his lies. I just tell him I know he did xyz and go on to the consequences, if there are any. I realize he cannot tell the truth in the moment. And maybe not ever. It goes to the definition of his character, and the truth is, that in spite of years of training, coaching, praying and instruction, his character is still questionable. The reality is, I pray he will change, I hope he will start practicing truthfulness, but I will always most likely have doubts. Unless he can one day make the relationship more important than the control.
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  1. You know what makes me the saddest? Those times when our son tells the truth about something he usually lies about, and I’ve heard him lie so many times that I don’t believe him. I don’t know if it’s the right decision, but if it’s something important, I wait for the proof of the truth.

    I too wonder whether truthfulness is something our son will ever practice. I can’t ignore the lies, though. I don’t confront, but won’t listen to him spin them either. Guess the lying will be the last thing to go. If it ever does. .

  2. “cannot tell the truth in the moment.”

    This is so true for Buster, too. He acts sneaky and jumps and starts if I walk in the room…. but I usually can’t see a reason for him to be anxious about me showing up. Getting a piece of paper from the office is a normal every day happening…. but the story he tries to tell me is more outlandish than the simple truth would be — I think.

    I second guess everything now days.

    I am at the point, like you of stating what I think just happened and walking away.

    I worry because he is only 7 and I don’t want this to become life long.

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