For the last few weeks, even months possibly, we have been struggling with our daughter S. She has given us so many moments of delight and she is quite firmly attached. But something has been off. She has had an edge to her, the typical teenage attitude, which is not typical at our house. We work extremely hard when our kids are younger to establish a relationship that will not only survive, but thrive, during the teenage years. It’s not easy but it is possible.
An example of S’s heart was this sweet blessing. She has made tremendous gains in attachment and an acceptance of who she is. So the attitude and behavioral changes I’ve seen in her recently were not enjoyable ones. I got angry at her Saturday, and that’s something I rarely do anymore. Having lived through very difficult and traumatic years with her sister B and through the years of revelations and heartache with M and S, I realize that our home is not an angry home anymore. When you have wounded children trying to recreate their birth environment, anger abounds. So the anger I felt on Sat. confirmed in me how much our lives have changed. Leaps and bounds in healing. Normal frustrations but rarely to the level of disobedience and disrespect from the kids that stirs up anger in the home.
That’s why we went to therapy yesterday. To urge S to deal with the root cause of her heart issues. Find out why she was so angry. It wasn’t pretty. S placed the blame squarely on me, no accountability for her feelings and wrong beliefs.
I hadn’t encouraged her enough.
I favored the other kids over her, didn’t spend as much time with her.
After a painful confrontation with her therapist she was able to acknowledge that she felt like the leftover kid. Joshua went to college, Rachel got married, M was working at the moment. That left her in last place. We couldn’t possibly be happy having just the two of them at home now. Our joy and heart left when her older siblings grew up.
Such lies. Such painful, gut wrenching lies. I listened and absorbed and tried not to sob.
How, after 12 years of love, work, bonding and acceptance could this child, the one who was told she had been my rock, still believe such untruths? How could she be swept away from the family that is so proud, so grateful for her transformation?
S couldn’t even look in my eyes and tell me these things. Her therapist kept saying, look at your mom. What do you see? She couldn’t hold my eyes for any length of time. It was incredibly disheartening and revealing to me. As much as she believes she is our forever child, she is still human and a target for satan to disrupt and undo her amazing growth.
At the end of the session she was asked what she wanted. She said nothing. Always our time ends with a hug. Do you want a hug? No, I really don’t. Give your mom one anyway. She did and it was uncomfortable. A few more instructions and finally a hug that was real. Relief from me and a reconnection made.
There is still a ways to go. Work to be done. Prayers to be lifted up and sacrifices made.
My child, you are beautifully and wonderfully made and worth every second of time spent invested in helping you heal.
*Today my S was featured on Rage Against the Minivan. What great timing from God! I shared the wonderful comments left with her today and realized what a difference a day can make. Today she could take them in and affirm the purpose in her life. Yesterday and recent days would have been difficult.