I’m Not Normal

I had another blog entry ready to go, but once again life events keep my head swimming in a different direction. Proudly my youngest daughter used her coping skills earlier this afternoon when we came home from grocery shopping. After putting away a series of refrigerator items I think she seemed overwhelmed at the prospect of ten more bags of items to put away. My wife asked her to take a break in her bedroom. She started to escalate in terms of yelling and frustration, but 30 seconds later she went into her room for 10 minutes, apologized for losing her cool and asked if she could rejoin us.

We praised her decision making, hugged her, and thought this would be the end of the incidents for the day.

After supper, her sister decided it was time to clean up the bedroom, and she wanted to help. Her definition of help tends to be of a supervisory role, and less about actually doing the work. When her sister got frustrated with the lack of help, she asked her to leave. My wife then asked her to take her shower for the night- which we prefer because she isn’t much of a morning shower person. From there a temper tantrum took place, we went to escort her to another place in the home- and she decided to kick my wife.

We took her to another psych evaluation- her third in less than a month. She probably will end up going to another community based treatment center. The problem in our case may be an emotional and physical vacation, but will she really start working on her anger/aggression problem within the home with us when she returns?

When we were meeting with the clinician filling out the assessment, she curiously asked my daughter why she stated that she’s not normal. She believes because she has these issues, that makes her not normal. We explained that everyone in life has issues- from their past and their present- and no one is perfect. What one person may think is normal can be abnormal to another- so she needs to learn that she has an anger management issue with family members and that we need to work on solutions over merely living a label that isn’t true.

The school system would love to help us, but the 6 hours a day she spends there are free of these incidents. It seems like the public perception scares her, and she feels most safe and comfortable exhibiting her anxiety and emotional overload between my wife, myself and my oldest daughter. I believe her self-esteem and self-worth are so far deep in the dirt that when we discuss her positive qualities, her resilience, her intelligence, her keen sense of observation, her ability with art and singing- they all seem like a fantasy world to her.

She wants so much to have the rights and privileges of her peers, without executing the responsibility that those same peers have earned within their homes. Just because you turn a certain age does not mean you are ready for particular freedoms. If you display judgment or decision making that can be unsafe, you may have to wait longer than others until you understand why your parents or caregivers are making the decisions they may make on your behalf.

So the days turn into weeks, and all I can do is hope that each experience will not be viewed as a punishment in her mind but an opportunity to make the right choices when she returns.

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