Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by ML, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. ML

    ML Guest

    I need some guidance on dealing with a recurring behavior pattern. It has to do with manster twisting a situation to make himself the victim. For example, last night I was upstairs on the computer, taking some much needed "me time" while manster and his friend S played downstairs. They were loud and having fun and I'd check on them occasionally but apparently missed the fact that they were playing with water balloons in the house. So when I realized what they'd done I yelled at them and refused to listen to his words trying to justify his actions.

    He got all snippy and quiet after S went home and showed me the computer. He had written me this email about how I always yell at him but I never yell at husband when he's being mean to him. WHAT?! Apparently husband had said something earlier that hurt his feelings. It was nothing, really, just something that he magnified in his mind over husband not turning on the heater in the car because manster said he was cold. by the way it was about 78 degrees. So anyway this email said that I had to make a choice to spread my love equally between husband and him because all he got from me was my hatrid (that's how he spelled it). Now remember, all this was because he got yelled at for playing with water in the house. It's amazing the command of language (spelling excepted) that he has. It was very convincing and had I not realized what he was doing I would have felt extremely sorry for him. As it was I was drawn in and spent time reassuring him about how much he is loved. Can we say skkr lol. husband and I agreed we were being triangulated.

    How do I reign these situations back in to concentrate on the moment? He gets himself so worked up and genuinely feels whatever emotion he's reached for. Now keep in mind, husband and I have been together/married since manster was 4so it's not a new thing. I acknowledge that yelling doesn't work. It only triggers him and I have to do better with my approach. But I also know had I calmly told S she had to go home as a consequence the meltdown would have also followed. Maybe I can't avoid these meltdowns and just have to learn to live with them better.

    I don't know, I just thought I'd throw it out there to see if any of you have any thoughts or suggestions.

  2. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    "Hatrid" - yup - live it ALLLLL the time. I have to admit, I've pretty much lost my patience with it. I have to regroup as well. I've gotten entirely reactive as of late. difficult child 1 and 3 are really high maintenence.

    I've found that acknowledging their feelings, validating them IF THEY'RE RIGHT, and then directing them back to the initial activity that caused them to be in trouble works best for me.

    For example: "STOP YELLING AT YOUR SISTER!!!!" (which unfortunately, I'm yelling!)
    "You always take her side. You hate me because you let her get away with everything (NOT!!!)"
    "No I don't - you can't be yelling to make your point"
    "You don't even like me I bet, you take the whole world's point before you take mine"
    "I'm sorry you feel that way, but you still can't yell at your sister"
    "I should run away - you don't care about me, you always take her side"
    "Well, running away won't solve your problems, and by the way, you still can't yell at your sister"

    I have this hope (and it fades A LOT of the time! :D) that if I keep repeating the "message" that I'm trying to get across, the "victim" will eventually see that he can't "redirect ME".

    Gotta love's in the rules somewhere!

  3. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Duckie does this too. The only thing I do is re-orient her back to reality by not buying into it. She usually escalates her level of upset first but then caves when she sees I'm not budging. With Manster, he needs to be told that your relationship with husband is off-limits from his commentary. It's apples and oranges.
  4. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Gotta love them, yes. Like them, not necessarily!

    in my opinion - the "love" does not need to be spread "equally". I guarantee from knowing you here that you don't love Manster and husband the same way!!! LOL ... OK that's cold, but it's very true. Maybe during a non-rage time, you could explain this? The amount of love is equal, the kind of love is different.

    Several years back husband was ordered by the court to take a parenting class. I went with him (the court loved that, not being sarcastic). Most of the "tools" they gave us work pretty well on Jett. Onyxx - not at all. But one of them that comes to mind... Is the cup story. This might be irrelevant but Beth made me think of it.

    A child places their half-full cup on the edge of the table. "Don't spill your drink!" - and the next thing you know, it's all over the table and floor. "Don't" doesn't get heard - neither does "can't", etc. OR... "Why don't you move that further up so it doesn't spill." Child moves cup, does NOT knock it over.

    OK back to the original subject. Yeah, Manster really needs to know you love him. BUT - big BUT - he also needs to understand that you don't LIKE some of his behavior. That you LOVE him no matter how he acts, but you're HAPPIER when he behaves well.

    Kids want their parents to love them...
  5. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    (raises hand) It's at my house, too. Still. Manster needs to know your relationship with husband is not his business. The victim thing drives me absolutely crazy...Miss KT's father was a champion at it, and when she started pulling it, I put it back on her. "What can YOU do to fix this? How can YOU change it? What do YOU need to do differently?"

    I also told her I was not raising a professional victim, and she needed to learn to solve these kinds of things on her own. It's been a long, hard battle.
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Wiz adored manipulations like this. Actually would plan how to use them if we did this or that. Had a notebook FULL of scenarios at one point. Considering his dysgraphia and how much he has always said writing even a few sentences hurts his hand, seeing it all on paper was mindboggling. It also pulled me WAY away from the "aspies don't really understand emotions and have to be taught how to identify them". he is aspie but he is NOT unable to identify and use emotions. (It ended his "it hurts too much to write all that" homework excuse also.) Even his psychiatrist and tdocs were floored by the manipulation and planning evident in his notebook.

    When he was in the psychiatric hospital for the long stay they allowed zero justification or rationalizing. I only did it because...., If you hadn't......, etc just were not allowed. It worked very well at home also. It was hard to train the adults to stay out of it, to not get pulled in, but it ended a lot of it. All I ever said was "Justification" and if he didn't stop I gave him something to scrub or dig or boxes to move. Some very physical task.

    Manster needs to be clearly told that he is not allowed to comment on your relationship with husband. I would probably tell him that you do love husband differently. I would also tell him that he is very well aware that you do not hate him. children who are hated are beaten, abused, starved, locked in closets for long periods of time, and are NEVER given toys, outings, things they like, etc.... Tell him that from this point forward if he accuses you of hating him or makes himself the victim that way then he will get chores to do until he stops trying to emotionally abuse and blackmail you.

    Cause that is what it is. Emotional abuse and blackmail.

    One technique that works well is similar to what Beth suggested. It is the broken record. You cannot play with water in the house. It must be hard to think that. You cannot play with water in the house. I hate you. It must be hard to think that. You still cannot play with water in the house.

    Just pick a phrase like "that must be hard" or "It must be hard to think that" and use it no matter what ridiculous thing he accuses you of. The statement should be something that comes naturally to you. In the seminar where I heard this (Love and logic seminar with Dr. Fay) he said that the phrase needs to fit your personality. One coach in New York even used "Svcks to be you, huh?" Does not feed the drama. Does not tell them they are right or wrong because they already know it isn't true. They are trying to fool YOU, not themselves.

    What ever my kids said, I have let them ALL know that this family does not use the word stupid and we do not hate. They do not have to love me. But they cannot tell me they hate me. they can dislike what I do, but not me. I simply will stop whatever it is that they want me to do if they tell me I hate them. Trip somewhere? You don't go because you go home if you hate me. I don't take haters anywhere or do anything for them. NOTHING. Even at age 8 Wiz was able to grasp that he was not ever allowed to use that word. If we were going to do something he didn't want to do and he tried it then he had to go and do it for a longer period of time. I even told him that because he hates me I don't have to cut my trip here to the minimum. Instead of being in and out, we would be in for an extra ten or twenty minutes. Period.

    You may want to consider doing that with Manster also. Hate is something very few people really feel. I never felt it did anyone any benefit to be able to exaggerate bad feelings.

    I am sorry he is trying to manipulate you.
  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    It sounds like he's picked up on you feeling torn between husband and him sometimes- this might be subconsciously and nnot necessarily intentionally manipulation, in my humble opinion. I think it's pretty common in blended families. Of course, he's at the age where he'll start trying any method he can to push normal limits anyway- it just comes with the territory of an adolescent and teen. I suggest reminding him that husband is your husband and you DO havee loyalty and love for him, but you also will always be there for manster. That being said, husband had every right to fuss over the heat being turned on when it's 78 degrees and he should not have had water balloons in the house. So whatever consequences he got for that- so be it. End of subject. No cajoling or pity or whining to be listened to.
  8. ML

    ML Guest

    Thanks for all the great feedback. I'm saving every word to read over and over again. I think it's time to let him know he can't use the husband card any more. Step I especially loved how you pointed out that I don't love them the same lol.

    Sus, are you serious? A planning event. OMG, WOW. I also think you're onto something with the zero tolerance for justifications.

    I really appreciate the support. I think I'm ready to "go back in" for the next round.

    Again, thank you,

  9. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Coming in late but just wanted to add my support-I get the you don't love me stuff all the time!
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    One point we've found which I feel we tend to not notice as much as we should, and which I feel greatly contributes to this - our own behaviour. We apologise to our kids perhaps too infrequently, and when we do, we tend to make it conditional. Then we get upset with our kids when their apologies are far too rare and almost always conditional. Also attached to all this, is a tendency to look for the blame in a situation. As a result, we raise our kids (and I keep saying this - Aspies learn TOO fast, when it's the wrong thing!) to look for someone or something to blame rather than take personal responsibility.

    I'm not saying that we do this exactly the same way - we don't need to, for them to learn to respond this way.

    So we need to help them un-learn this. The first thing is to keep making it clear - this isn't about blame, this is simply about making a change. Although in this case, playing with water in the house - that was not the right thing to do. But try to look on it as "playing with water risks doing damage to the things you love best, such as things electronic. Please keep water play outside" - again, stating it as Step suggested, in a "please do it this way" and avoiding negative "don't" statements. I know this may sound very simplistic and way off the point, but actually it is not. It matches what we were told to do especially with spectrum kids - they hear far too many "don't" statements and tend to either not hear them, or feel a heightened anxiety when they hear them and this can make it more difficult to get our message across. And our aim IS to get that message across, and make it stick.

    Second - keep the kid on topic, do it calmly, quietly and with respect. We're setting up a code with difficult child 3 - "Son, you're getting off topic." He is learning. Slowly.

    Third - observe yourself and whether you're dealing with times you over-reacted, or shouted, or got it wrong, by giving a conditional apology. These can be really damaging and teach some really bad lessons to Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids, who tend to be very imitative. Extremely. They learn more by following our example, than by doing what we say. And if you think about it - conditional apologies are a way of manipulating an apology to basically turn it into a justification. As parents, we tend to feel that if we apologise unconditionally to our kids at any time, then we are setting ourselves up for disrespect. How can a kid respect someone in authority who has admitted fallibility and error? But in fact, if you are big enough to apologise WHEN IT IS APPROPRIATE, then you are showing your kids that you are big enough to admit when you made a mistake.

    But it must be unconditional. If you have a justification, save it for later.

    Example - I hear a loud crash from the kitchen. I walk in and find a shelf on the floor and the cups and saucers that were on that shelf are smashed to pieces. difficult child standing there looking aghast. First reaction - shout at the kid for climbing on that shelf to get at the biscuits. difficult child gets upset and insists the shelf fell all by itself. Then a closer examination reveals that difficult child is correct, and this was just a no-blame situation. The right thing to do, even if difficult child has yelled at you for yelling at him (which, especially for a difficult child kid, is an understandable reaction) is - you should apologise. You made an unfair and incorrect accusation. Now, an unconditional apology is, "I'm sorry, son. I shouldn't have blamed you. I was wrong to do so. You did nothing wrong."
    A conditional apology is, "I'm sorry for shouting at you when it wasn't your fault. But so often, it IS your fault, it was natural that I assumed it was this time too."
    Now, this second apology has just become a non-apology, because it has included criticism of past events that should be left in the past for now - if it hadn't been for this accident, you wouldn't have mentioned it right ow, would you? As for difficult child - how does he feel? He's just been unfairly blamed, you begin to apologise, then you hand him another criticism apparently out of the blue, which makes him feel bad all over again. And he feels bad with nothing positive learned.

    Another thing about this example of the shelf - it is a no-fault event. You might note in a situation like this, how difficult child will be trying to find someone or something to blame. "We should sue the maker of that shelf, those screws broke and should have been strong enough." Listen to yourself and your kids over the next week or so, see if they (or you) have this tendency to look for the blame in a situation. We do tend to do this, because sometimes it helps our kids see cause and effect, and thereby learn how to avoid negative consequences. But we also need to teach that sometimes bad things happen to good people and we can't change this. We have to learn sometimes to just accept what IS, and move on.

    Taking all this together, especially with Aspie kids we can unwittingly teach our kids to try to talk their way out of trouble - they learn to be manipulative, in their zeal to deflect blame. And they also look for the blame in a situation, even if blame either doesn't exist or exists elsewhere. Aspies also have a harder time staying on topic, so put it all together and what you have is, frankly, fairly normal. I think a lot of us with Aspies have said, "My kid is halfway to a law degree already."

    How you would fix this with a easy child is not likely to work with a difficult child. But the methods I have suggested will work on PCs and difficult children alike.

    I hope this helps. You've already had some good advice.

  11. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    ML, husband and I talked about this last night, too. Honestly I think he's really gotten a wake up call.

    husband: "I am really tired of everything Onyxx does wrong being blamed on US."
    Me: "You noticed too, huh?"
    husband: "She comes to me to complain about you, and what you did, and she goes to you to complain about what I did. And if she's in trouble there's always some outside reason."
    Me: "Yup."

    There was more, but not part of this; essentially it's the whole justification thing. I did this, because you did this to me. Onyxx likes to swear she won't let what has happened to her dictate her responses, but she's doing a great job of it.
  12. ML

    ML Guest

    You know for a long time I thought Manster was psychic. That was before I fully understood the extent of the imitative qualities. Here would be this young child melting down with his emotions and they reflected the ones I FELT. Wth? Now I know the responsibility of guarding my own emotions; or at the very least dealing with them in a healthy manner so he can learn how to manage his own. With these kids we truly do lead by example much more than with typical kids. The concept of doing what I say (not as I do) has no place in raising an Aspie.

    Marg, as usual, you give exceptional advice and I'm grateful for you taking the time to speak on this issue.

    Step, I'm so glad you and husband are getting on the same page with this. If we let them "triangulate" us, we're dead. Hugs!