I’m not proud of myself for my outburst yesterday afternoon. I woke up in the afternoon with my heart aflutter, a panic attack that I’ve never really experienced before. I dreaded my daughters coming home from school, as we would be heading to therapy right away. When they did get home and engage in a conversation, they both verbally clashed over incidents that have been happening recently. When I asked my oldest daughter to stop- four times- she just insisted on keeping the disagreement going. The younger one would utter things under her breath.
So I did what any normal man in this situation would do, after years and years of just building up and putting out emotional fires for days. When I commit to something, I go in all the way, so the breaking point hit me that afternoon.
I cried my eyes out.
The girls probably couldn’t believe a father could let his emotions get the best of him. But I needed to show them that I have had enough and that something has to change. My oldest daughter apologized profusely and immediately. My youngest on the other hand worried 10 minutes after my outburst if we would be stopping at the store to get a snack before therapy. Despite that fact that every time before we go to therapy, I stop to get the girls drinks and snacks.
After supper, we had another session with our in house therapist. One of the keys that I learned through this introductory session for me is the following: a person who has had my youngest daughter’s journey will struggle the most in a family environment because she can’t control the distance of a family structure as much as you can control how close you get to people in public, in therapy, even in school. In other words- she has to re-learn what her role is, how she’s to respond to us and how to comply to basic directions within the household.
This will be a tough process. When you have one child who understands her role and the appropriate interaction in order to get her needs met and you have another child who protects and defies because she feels her needs are not being met, it can be exhausting. The in house therapist wants to introduce the family to psychodrama, a form of role-playing where everyone will get the chance to act out the roles of other family members to see outside of themselves into the eyes of others.
I’m in a good place after this 6 plus hours and time to reflect. We were able to make it through a night of picking out clothes and taking a shower- even if it occurred tonight more so because the therapist would be here. We’ll have to see what tomorrow brings in terms of her mood and outlook on life. The next session she’ll have will be a one on one outing in the community.
I’m so glad I have my wife and family and friends here to keep me sane. I thank you for giving me time to breathe and your patience while I chat about these situations on social media sites. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to ask people about their experiences and their opinions, and see if I’m doing the right thing or if people believe I may be completely off base. Day by day we’ll get through it, and I’ll update things as they progress along…