Thursday, November 09, 2006

Silent treatment from Miss E

Miss E is now giving me the silent treatment. You may remember that I drive her to school every morning.

Until last week she spent our car ride complaining (often with a level of glee) about people and the world. Earlier this week I made the mistake of mentioning the respite this weekend. It turns out that I was off by a weekend. Jackie is coming from Mandy's this weekend, and Miss E is coming the following. Miss E knew about the respite but responded only by telling me, "No one told me I was going to go to respite this weekend."

Yesterday I told her that I was sorry about the confusion and that she was not coming this weekend but the following. She told me that she had wanted to stay with relatives and that she did not want to go to respite, she did not even like living where she was. I took this as partly her telling me that it was not me that she was made at. I sympathized and tried to change the subject by assuring her that she would have Internet access at my house. We then had a very strange conversation in which she insisted that she did not have to use my wireless service because her service was INSIDE her computer. I tried to explain that whatever she had inside her computer she had to be getting her Internet signal from the outside. This conversation was like many others that we had had. I gave up and we finished the last couple of blocks of the ride in silence. Just letting go and being quiet was in some ways easier because I was so upset about the elections and was happy not to talk.

And today she is not speaking to me. "Morning." "uuhh." "How are things going?" silence. Drive for a little. "Hey, did you ever get your ultrasound scheduled?" A noise that sounds almost like "no." "That's too bad." I pause for the sort of response she would normally give -- you know the one where she tells me that everyone else in her life is horrible and incompetent and won't do the things that she needs them to do, but she says nothing. I drive a little further, "Are you okay?" Silence.

It's frustrating, but it makes me sad for her. She is so unhappy, so angry, so alone. Her defenses are so high that nothing can get in.

You know, I actually think she is likely to succeed in certain ways better than a lot of the kids. She's tough. I doubt she is going to get pregnant and expect the father to take care of her. She works hard and she will figure out a way to take care of herself.

I feel badly for her foster mom too. It is not easy living with that much negativity. That is one of the reasons I will be happy to do respite for her as often as she likes. I suspect that the agency will even give her more than the usual 12 days a year. If what she needs to keep Miss E is one weekend a month off, I expect they will give it to her.

With all the time I have spent with Miss E, this is perhaps the first time that I have felt like the target. Previously I was the person to whom she complained.

I can take the silent treatment. I know it is not really about me at all. It is her pain and defense.

This is one of the things that makes caring for these kids so hard. The kids with deep seated attachment issues. There is no possibility of breaking through Miss E's defenses by loving her. If Miss E allows me back into the group of people who are not targets, it will mean only that she once again will view me as a willing ear for all of her rage and pain. If I am part of her life I can either be one of the people she is angry with or one of the people who hears, constantly, about her anger.

I know it is essential not to take anything personally. Writing this helps me do that.

But it is not like any movie you have ever watched. This will not end with Miss E in some great pain from which I rescue her. She will not break down and cry in my arms and finally release that pain and begin, just a little, to trust me. If I hope for that, work for that, if I try to break through her defenses and love her, she will only push me further away.

No. All I can do is not take offense. Not react.

Eventually, she may begin to heal. Maybe. Right now though she needs to be accepted exactly the way she is. Defenses and anger and all.

Next: Miss E speaks

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments will be open for a little while, then I will be shutting them off. The blog will stay, but I do not want either to moderate comments or leave the blog available to spammers.