See the Child...Not the difficult child. Easier Said than Done

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by DaisyFace, Dec 10, 2009.

  1. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    I went to my first NAMI support group meeting the otehr night. By and large, a very positive experience...

    I have been thinking a lot about the group's advice to "See the person...not the mental illness." This is a tough one for me.

    So much of difficult child's condition manifests as aggression and deceit. It's very hard for me to dismiss that and continue to try to have a loving mother-daughter relationship. Especially now, at holiday time, when difficult child is being extra hateful and extra hurtful while at the same time, making a lot of demands about the kids of gifts and fun things she wants.

    I'm having a hard time getting into the holiday spirit and planning fun things with difficult child making it clear how much she hates us all...

    For my part, I still love my daughter....but it's hard to spend time with a person who constantly stresses you to this point. What is the saying? I love you, even though I don't like you very much right now. I guess that's where I am...

    How do you manage to get past the "difficult child-ness" of your difficult child ???

  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I had a really hard time with that some times. There were many Christmases that were absolutely ruined because the boys did something to tick me off. I have been known to throw a tree or two out the front door fully Many times I have never come out of my room on Xmas morning. Thats probably more my problem than theirs though.

    Over time I became more able to separate the two...sometimes. There are still days though when I can get awful mad at them.
  3. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    In "real life" that must have been terrible....and you must have been feeling horrible to actually do something that drastic.

    If that were a movie or a sit-com scene? We'd all be in hysterics, and at the same time sympathetic, knowing just how that Mom must have felt!

    Too funny....and sad.

    Thanks for sharing that!
  4. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    The Explosive Child really helped me separate difficult child-ness from child. In previous years it was constantly being relayed to us that this was behavioral and that more discipline or different discipline would knock the difficult child-ness right outta him. This was especially true of our ABA (applied behavioral analysis) program when difficult child was little- if the undesirable behaviors are eliminated...voila...cured child. When the program wasn't having the desired effect, the director said difficult child should be institutionalized (mind you, the man had never even met difficult child). Nowadays my issue to is to get school personnel to separate difficult child-ness from child. I even have it in his IEP that his behaviors will be attributed to his disability rather than a discipline issue.
  5. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    That is something I stuggled with mightily; I still do at times, especially with Daughter.

    She would have these gi-normous meltdowns and want me to tell her "I love you" and give her a big hug. Looking back, I'm sure she needed those more than anything else, but I felt like just one big raw nerve and I just didn't have it to give.

    Such a catch-22.
  6. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Once again...I fake it to start out.

    We talk about "hanging onto the good stuff" here? Well, sometimes I have to sit down and make a mental list of the good/nice things the difficult child's have done. Its even better if I can engage antoher person in recalling happy memories, as sometimes I need a jumpstart to do so.

    And a lot of times, my ogre attitude is I don't wanna think happy thoughts about difficult child...but I make myself at least try. If I'm not truly bringing up some pleasant things to think about after a period of time, I quit, allow myself to hate difficult child's issues for a while, and then try again later.
  7. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I struggle with this alot wrt Kanga. With the boys, their wonderful personalities dominate and the difficult child-ness is a side thing. With Kanga, the difficult child-ness is who she is. Essentially, there are 4 Kangas: (1) violent, aggressive Kanga (2) terrified, beligerant little girl Kanga (3) manipulative, lying Kanga and (4) sweet Kanga. We are hoping #4 is the real Kanga but it is hard to see that part of her when the other 3 are dominating our interactions with her. I'm trying to enjoy our times with her when 'sweet Kanga' is out but it is hard because I'm always braced for one of the others to appear.
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I am not the right person to ask. :(
    I know what you mean. I struggle. Some days are better than others. Sometimes I literally go to bed early and just hope for a better day.
    I LOVE the tree visual, ROFL!!!!
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Please do remember I am also a huge difficult child in my own

    The tree episodes happened during the early teen years of the boys. Maybe 10 to 14. This was when they would sneak around in the house and hunt for Xmas presents and then when they would find them, they would open them and then try to re-wrap them again. Oh that irritated me to no end! I told them over and over again that if they continued to do that then I would cancel Xmas. They continued. I tossed the tree out the front door the first year. They did it the next year. That year I just took the presents away and hid them somewhere else and claimed I took them back. Didnt put them out until halfway through the day on Xmas. Thought that would cure them. It didnt. They did it again the next year...I threw the tree again!

    Also....over the years other things got tossed out doors and windows. Dishes, pots and pans, a boom box or two, clothes, the dish rack with a full load of dishes and silverware, food, lol...I was a thrower.
  10. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Janet, maybe you should have made a might have made some money. Christmas with DJ...
  11. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I too struggle with this at time especially because difficult child cycles so quickly; he is so difficult child one moment and the next wanting to play a game or do something.

    I do try to remind me of all his good and sweet moments; many times that is enough; others I have to draw on the fact that I'm the adult and I know I need to do this because it's good for him. Still other times I just can't.
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Janet, LOL! I've only thrown a few things, and most were from my easy child, because she's at least as big a slob as difficult child. She kept leaving her shoes in the middle of the kitchen, and one day, when I tripped and nearly broke my neck, I opened the back door and threw them into the bushes--at night. Very thick, very dark. She was furious.
    So was husband.
    He didn't stick up for me back then.
    Things are better now.
    (by the way, too bad I wasn't strong enough to throw husband out the door, too!)
  13. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    This is where I find myself, too. Other family members affected by illness are sweet, loving and easy to get along with 75% to 90% of the time...the illness only rears its ugly head 10% to 25% of the time. It is much easier to say "O, that's clearly the illness surfacing"...

    But with difficult child....we rarely see a "sweet" persona...that person is usually saved for the therapist's office or the psychiatric hospital. The rest of the time, difficult child is irritable and angry....or being mean to someone just for the fun of it. It's hard to know where the illness starts and much of this is under difficult child's control and how much is not...

  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I didnt mean to poke fun. It is very hard to deal with someone when you cant tell how much is under their control. Its something I have had to learn with Cory. I probably forgave him way too often for his own good. Didnt hold him accountable because I put myself in his place with the way I sometimes felt inside. I dont think that was the right thing to do. My issues and his arent necessarily the

    I know Tony would tell you that I have been extremely hard to live with because so many of the things I have done seemed completely under my control when in reality I was having a meltdown and couldnt control myself at the time. I have holes in my walls because I got so mad I had to hit something. One would think a person in their 40's would be able to stop themselves from punching a wall and damaging property. I pretty much can now but that is after 4 years of therapy and the right medications. Even just taking the right medications, I still punched walls. It was therapy that made the difference. I wouldnt have believed that until I did
  15. lordhelphim

    lordhelphim New Member

    this may be simplistic but i have made a concerted effort to just hug my difficult child instead of yell. i try to tickle instead of drag his butt into time out. does it work all the time, heck no! but there are times that just hugging my child brings me back to who he really is, my baby boy that i love and would die for!

    now ask me how this works in a few yrs when he is a teen and i might have to change my tactics.

    pulling out baby pix help too but make sure you have plenty of tissues!