Nothing Good Happens After Bedtime

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There are times when, even after parenting my son for almost 12 years, I am amazed at the depth of his negative belief system.

Case in point: School is a struggle for M. It hasn’t always been like this and I don’t know if it’s because we’re getting into the higher critical thinking skills, abstract math or whatever. He is still homeschooled and I cannot imagine how he would function in public school with waves of distractions, decisions and fears. He does not have the ability to handle a joke or let go of hurtful words or read people. As much as I’ve wanted, needed a break from him I cling to the hope that somehow what we pour into him day after day will make a difference.

His anxiety is through the roof (although he rarely shows it to anyone else but me.) He gets fidgety, can’t stand still, literally acts like there are “ants in his pants.” He is not ADHD but the closer I get to the truth of what he believes the more his symptoms mirror it. He cannot handle the truth laid out in front of him. If he was a runner I imagine he’d run straight out the front door when confronted with the truths of his heart. Years of covering up, hiding in shame, believing the lies his birth parents instilled in him by their abandonment. Years of secrets, more shame, feeding the difficult behaviors. Pushing me away. All of this allows him to run from his heart.

Yesterday we had our devotions and spent more time than usual talking about the truths from God’s word. I’ve asked both of my youngest to pick one little word for the year. Mine is presence, M’s is trust and S’s is consistent. We dived into the ways God can reveal Himself to us if we open our hearts. M’s word confronts him constantly. Through sermons, devotions, scripture, conversations, even movies and CD’s. I told him that was God’s way of checking in with him, letting him know that He knew what was on his heart.

As I see my son react throughout the day, usually in a negative, defeatist way, I often ask him what lie he is believing about himself at that moment. He hates it, usually argues, but sometimes I am able to reach him. I can always tell when I get it right because he stops making eye contact, hangs his head and mumbles. On a piece of paper I wrote out his lie: I am worthless. Nobody loves me. If I’m not perfect Mommy won’t love me. I also wrote out the truth: I didn’t deserve to be abandoned or abused or victimized. I know these things intimately about my son but it is incredibly difficult to try to pull these beliefs out of him.

However, I believe that for anyone, Christian believer or not, change only comes with a change in your belief system. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “…and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Our wounded children believe devastating things about themselves and changing these beliefs will be a lifelong process. IF they are willing to replace the lies with the truth.

Unfortunately, these moments of heart searching caused my son to retreat back into old behaviors and fears. M and S both have their own rooms but they are connected by a french door although there is a heavy dresser in front of the door to keep each room from being accessed by the other. Last night S came in 2 hours after they went to bed and said she was frightened. She was shaking and tearful. She heard a noise under the dresser, thought it was one of the cats and looked underneath.  A cord was dangling underneath the french doors, obviously moving around. She was afraid of her brother and his ability to connect/scare/rattle her with his presence, besides the fact that she was awakened to a scary noise. I left her in her room, marched into her brother’s room to find him laying on his bed, head propped up on his elbow, not even pretending to be asleep. Of course he gave the excuse that his alarm wasn’t working and he was jiggling the cord. So I decided to “help” him with that problem and took his alarm, extension cord and MP3 player away.

It is heartbreaking to watch my healing RAD hurt because her non-healing brother cannot be a true brother to her. She wants to have the kind of relationship my older 2 bio children have and it’s just not possible right now, if ever. I told her I wanted her to work on accepting the relationship as it is and celebrating the fact that she has an older brother who will protect her and support her and love her unconditionally. I encouraged her to trust her instincts and the Holy Spirit’s prompting when she feels M being “icky” or controlling and domineering. As much as she wants to see him better, as much as we ALL want to see him better, it is in M’s hands.

Today the first thing M says to me is he wants to talk to me. I replied I’d let him know when I was ready to listen to him. Later he tells me he had moved his lava lamp onto the shelf by his bed and somehow the cord accidentally jumped in the space under the door. As a “scientific experiement” I made him reenact last night’s scenario. Somehow he couldn’t make the cord accidentally slide under the opening. He pleads with me to believe him, that he was (yes, WAS, not is) working and he’s not lying. Unfortunately, he’s already changed his story from last night and his response is they’re both true. Seriously?

If you’ve made it this far you are to be commended! I only write this drivel because there are other moms who also fight these silly little battles constantly. Like, every second of the day. I’ve been there, am still there and see no end in sight. Is it a big deal? Yes, because it resulted in my daughter being scared and hurt and that is not acceptable in our home. Did I scream or curse  or get physical? No. Did my blood pressure rise? Absolutely. When you’ve lived in the war zone for 11 years it is a natural response. Unfortunately, it’s just a reminder of how far we have to go.

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  1. So. Right. There. With. You.

    Not only do your transparent posts help me, but I also share ones like this with my husband. I’m sure we’ll have a good discussion about this one. It will give us a new perspective to look at things through … some new ideas on how to open up discussions with our Little Miss. She, too, refuses to believe the truths about herself … that God loves her, that we love her, that God created her to be a beautiful young lady. She actually screams at me when I tell her such things.

    So sad. So hard.

    Keep speaking truth. Keep sharing with us.


    Laurel 🙂

  2. Thank you for sharing this “drivel”. It is so helpful to get a glimpse into the lives of adoptive parents while we wait. I hope for the best and prepare for the worst…wise as serpents, innocents as doves? I just said a prayer for your patience.

  3. So ‘get’ the story your son concocted. Ours does that too. I’ve started teling him to not speak until he can tell me the truth. When he begins spitting out a tall tale, instead of arguing with him, I tell him that I will be available not only to listen but to talk when he is able to tell the truth instead of a lie. I love how you had him do the ‘experiment’, and prove his words to be untrue. I also REALLY love the hope and promise you gave your daughter.

    I’m spending alot of time these days explaining, over and over, that change has to come from within. He has to desire it more than anything else. Praying for your boy, and mine. ((((hugs))))

  4. How AWESOME that your daughter was able to share her feelings with you and allow you to comfort her.

    Otherwise, just some odds and ends of thoughts rattling around in my head from reading your post:

    In my experience, you’re never going to get a kid to admit to a lie before they’re ready or willing to do so. (My 21yo is still stuck in lying… geez, I hope it goes away some day…)

    I wonder… did you perhaps try to evoke empathy for S’s fears, even if the event itself “was” an “accident”?

    The lie hurt you (and him), but the action hurt your daughter. Is he capable of empathy for her and the situation? If so, that might curtail future such “accidents.”

    Also, I wonder how scary it is for your son to be “abandoned” by your daughter who is healing, leaving him more “alone” than before?

  5. MartysOldestDaughter says:

    To see the comments on this post warms my heart. Momma you have found such a beautiful outlet, a ministry. When we were in a dark place with B you needed someone to talk to…and now YOU are that someone that other moms can talk to when they are in their dark place. I’m so proud of all that you are doing and day in and day out never giving up, no matter how hard it gets, no matter how many times you get yelled at or lied to or manipulated…you still show grace and love in a way that I have never seen before. I am proud to call you mom, and one day M and S and hopefully B will see all that you have done…we are already seeing some of those fruits, despite the still constant struggles. Love you, R

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