Sunday, April 02, 2006

Things I did not say

I really enjoy reading the blogs of other foster parents. I feel so much less alone as I read about other people's struggles.

One of the blogs I read is Dan's Other People's Kids (link on the blog roll). Now I hope I don't make him feel bad, but he makes me laugh. I started reading his blog a couple of months ago. It was all hope and confidence. I read it and thought, "Let's see what he is saying after the teenage girl has been there a few months." Since then he has suffered heartbreak. He has stumbled. He has learned that the sweet and innocent child who moves in does not always look much like the angry, distrusting, damaged child you meet a little later.

Dan's most recent blog is a confession of having said something he should not have said. He got angry and he said what he meant.

I thought I would try to put a bug in people's ear. How about if we all try to share some of our worst moments?

Do you have a story of a time you said something that you didn't say?

The following is from an email I wrote to a friend of mine in last November:

So it has been a really tense 24 hours; I'm washing the dishes, which is NOT my job and Hubby asks, "Is that foster care thing tonight? I think I have a conflict." I take a very deep breath. I do not point out that I have reminded him about this meeting every day for a week or that it is very important that he make the meeting. Instead I just say, through clenched teeth, "Yes the meeting at the agency is tonight."

Poor Evan walks in at this moment. He says, "Why are you going to out tonight?"

Another deep breath. "Why don't you ask Hubby? I'm sure he remembers all about it. Oh and by the way, these dishes are your job, not mine."

Evan turns on his heel and walks to the living room, sits down and turns on the television.

I started off being tense, but calm. "Evan, I am feeling very frustrated right now. There is work that needs to be done. I did not ask you to do it this because I thought you still had to get ready for school. If all you have to do is watch television than I think it would not be too much to ask for you to help...without being asked. I just told you that this was your job."

"Well I am sorry" (In a voice that clearly indicates that he is NOT sorry)"but I'm pretty upset at you yelling me just because I want to know why you are going out."

"Evan, I am not yelling. I am angry that you are not helping."

"Gees...I'm going to my room."


Of course Evan had more sense than to actually try to talk to the insane woman in the kitchen. Fortunately Hubby quickly got everyone out of the house and off to school.

I was really afraid that Evan was going to be badly hurt by that scene. Turned out that he wasn't. Mom getting pissed and yelling was something he understood.

What really hurt him was something I said a month before. He had been complaining about everyone else and I heard myself saying, "You know, contrary to everything you may believe, you are not better than everyone else who lives in this house."

That one made him cry.


  1. "He has learned that the sweet and innocent child who moves in does not always look much like the angry, distrusting, damaged child you meet a little later."

    Of course, I'm now looking for an opportunity to make sure "Josie" understands that this means war. She thinks the war is over and she's won it. That would be incorrect. The first BATTLE is almost over, and as it stands it's more or less a draw, with us getting a slight edge as time goes on and she learns more and understands.

    But as I mentioned in my blog, there are likely to be future battles, and we will have hardened further and gotten better by then.

    The girl's going to be helped whether she likes it or not. Just wait and see.

    But for now, it's enough for her to just get the hell out of my house, please.

    Heh. I *am* trying to keep a sense of humor about the whole thing.

  2. I have said many things that I regret but I've also said a few things without thinking that may have been hurtful at the time but needed to be said.

    Elcie needs to learn that not everything is about her. She has more of that attitude than the other two and it leads to some confrontations. It's the age (although she's starting a little early).

  3. I told S that I hated her once. Yep, not one of my finest moments, but we all survived. In my defense, it was after about 6 months of almost constant raging. That night she had spit in my face, hit me, kicked Carol. We were battered and bruised and losing hope. All the rage I had pushed down was eating my body from the inside out and I was having fibro myalgia flares. I would spend my evenings dealing with her rages and then curl up in a ball of keening pain before sleeping briefly and going to work where I was less than a stellar employee which created guilt and self-esteem issues.

    So, one night, she was telling me how much she hated me and I said it back to her. And in that moment I meant it. We went to therapy the next day and processed through it. With a less supportive agency, I could have lost my kids for it. And it did hurt her. But it also was a wake-up call that she was hurting us by her constant raging and abuse. I'm not excusing myself, just telling you how it played out


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