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.