This isn’t a big deal, but I wanted to share.
First, you know Evan. He likes to argue, needs to win, offers unsolicited advice in an aggressive manner. All of this annoys me, but I can cope with it.
I can't resist giving you an example...
Me (directed at my computer): "Oh...poop. You stupid...."
Evan: "What's wrong?"
Me: "The computer froze."
Evan: "Well, try re-booting it."
Me (annoyed): "Yes, Evan. I know Evan."
Evan: "Gawd! If you don't want my help don't ask for it!"
This actually made me laugh and I pointed out to Evan that I hadn't asked for help.
And then there is Andrew. Andrew enjoys a good debate -- but not with Evan. Andrew and David would argue endlessly about where orchids grew or the likelihood of there being an earthquake in The City. They never seemed to resolve these debates -- but they were both having a good time. It rarely escalated. When it did, it would be Andrew who was declaring that he had scored points or won the fight. David would shrug it off.
So...see where this is going?
Evan likes to argue; Andrew can't just not respond; and neither of them is willing to loose. Andrew has decided that it is not possible to talk with Evan. So he doesn't. He is never rude or angry -- he just isn't there. If he is playing video games and Evan comes downstairs and wants to play Andrew will say, "Sure, I wanted to watch my show upstairs anyway." If Andrew is in the living room and Evan comes in Andrew will decide that now is a good time for his evening bath.
Evan has been complaining about it. Recently it seems that they don't even walk home from the bus together. Andrew either gets off quickly and starts walking fast, or the opposite. If Andrew does happen to have to walk next to Evan he just doesn't say anything.
Last evening I got irritated with Brian and turned off the TV to make him listen to me. Evan got mad because he was watching the TV. I told him that the sooner he shut up the sooner he would get the TV back. I settled things with Brian, but I was still feeling full of aggravation. I needed to go for a walk by myself but it was dark and freezing outside so I settled for stomping around the house putting things away.
When I calmed down I asked Evan if he was okay. I knew that it upset him when I got upset. He said that it didn't make him feel exactly safe when I stomped around and didn't say anything to anyone. I told him that I was sorry and that if it hadn't been so dark and cold I would have just gone for a walk by myself. He agreed that he knew what it felt like to need to do that. Then he said, "It's just hard to take right now -- on top of Andrew hating me."
So we talked about Andrew's behavior. I told him that it was not that Andrew didn't like him, but that Andrew was not enjoying the constant debates. Since he (Evan) liked to argue so much, Andrew was dealing with things by avoiding him.
Evan said that he understood, but his feelings were still hurt. I told him that I had no need for him to be on respite, but I wanted him to know that he is allowed to ask for it too. If he needs a break from us, he could have it. Since he was 18 he could even stay with unlicensed people like his grandmother. We talked about how stressful it can be to live with people you did not grow up with. I told him that marriage and mothers-in-law bring up similar stresses).
I also talked to Andrew and told him that his behavior was hurting Evan's feelings.
Andrew does not know what to do about it. He is convinced that if he tries to talk to Evan they will end up arguing. Just avoiding Evan seems the best idea. He asked me what I wanted him to do. I told him that I did not know, but that he should remember that Evan has not been "toughened up" by the system. This is the first time he has lived with a good family and unlike David who would just withdraw if we upset him, Evan really felt it. Andrew seemed to "get it" but he still doesn't know what to do about it.
Evan came back here a minute ago and asked what I was doing (that's another thing about Evan -- he monitors me more closely than my mother did). I decided to tell him the truth. That I was writing you about Andrew avoiding him. He very briefly looked red and teary, but he took a deep breath and said, "okay."
By the way, Evan is STILL not taking his anti-depressants. I don't think he has taken them steadily since he got here. I really don't know how much of his "thin skin" we've been seeing so much of lately is due to that.
Brenda and I talked quite a bit about what if anything we might be able to do to help the boys get along better. What finally helped was that I stopped trying to help. Without saying so in so many words, I gave the boys permission to avoid each other. They divided up the house like a couple of tom cats and I ignored it.
Meanwhile Brenda, the psychiatrist and I all fussed at Evan for not being willing to take his anti-depressants or go to counseling.
Evan's Story Part 1: The Beginning
Evan's Story Part 14: "A big deal"