Impulse Against Action

We all have impulses. When you are younger, the impulses often took over without a second thought- leading to actions that in retrospect, you wish you could take back. Words that you didn’t mean to say. People you didn’t mean to hurt. Yet when the actions continue to affect others, your patience and tolerance level for certain actions gets lower and lower as the months and years progress.

In my case as a child, I didn’t need to repeat actions five or ten times to get the message. Running away doesn’t solve anything. destroying myself with illegal substances or activities doesn’t solve anything- learning to talk about the issues and getting help were the best methods for feeling better and getting by.

When you adopt children who didn’t live with you from birth, you can’t always determine what will set their impulses off. You hope they are honest with you about what they are doing, but often they won’t tell you the full story. I think it’s partially related to trust- but often there’s a mental block that appears.

The tug of war continues in the mind of our oldest daughter. She hears things said by fellow classmates and then feels flashbacks come in her head- which result in more poor choices and behavior. This has been consistent for the past couple of months, and we don’t know what we can do to have her thinking in her wise mind rather than her emotional mind. She knows how to use certain therapy skills, but at other times the impulse wins out to get revenge, so action comes out negatively.

Medication can’t cure this problem. It only puts a band aid on a brain chemistry issue. You can feel the emotion- but as a human you need to stop the feeling from overtaking in a lash out manner. We want her to make the right decisions and as parents not feel like we have to make all of these choices for her. She knows we love her, and we are struggling to improve her own self-esteem and confidence to make the better choices.

It’s the start of another week, and I suppose my vacation time gave me a brief respite from the momentary chaos that can happen. At some point things have to level off. Our children need to make better choices or they will have to live in supervised homes the rest of their lives. It’s less of a life than I expect for either one of them.

But my wife and I are making sure we aren’t on the merry go round with her. We aren’t angry or bitter, we are sad and perplexed as to how to get her the best help we can. We want to turn this ship in the right direction, and she has to be a willing, believing participant in the process. We know there are certain norms and behaviors expected in the public- and we need to teach her what is acceptable versus when she takes space and keeps herself safe.

Fear comes out in many ways- but I would hope at this point in the journey, both our daughters would know there isn’t anything we can’t handle if they are willing to give us the chance to help. No one is asking them to survive on their own- we know problems crop up and let’s just face them one by one.


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