I have been a little bit lax in writing posts in the past few weeks and those I have written have been…. Well, let’s just say….they have been written out of a rushed sense of duty to keep up with my posts and as a result they have been all over the place and quite frankly, from my perspective, they have been just a jumble of nonsense thrown into a blog post and have absolutely no substance or direction to them.
But, do you know what? In some ways, my recent posts have while saying very little, they have said a lot and reading back over them, it is hard for me not to admit that it is oozing with signs of secondary trauma taking a firm grip of the inhabitants of ‘the Hive’ as both boys completely unravel and the chaos that their trauma bond brings, moves to a whole other stratosphere.
Over the last few weeks Bumble and I have really begun to feel like we are drowning and second guess our parenting – “were we too strict”?, “did we choose the right battle”?, “what am I doing wrong”?. The list could go on forever and we both know that these thoughts were unhelpful, but when you are in the trenches, hindsight is not a luxury you always have.
One thing has been clear. Despite Beeswax boarding during the week and Buzzbee desperately missing him when he is away. Both boys need a break from each other. A break that is more than just the 5 days Waxy is at school. If anything, school is one of the biggest stressors at the moment and Bumble and I are trying to get his school to understand that (that is a whole other post and if you have read my past posts you will know how much “fun” I have with them).
Next week Waxy is going on a skiing trip with his school (huge anxiety that he is unable to acknowledge) and while he is away it will also be his birthday (cue; stressor number 2, he has never been away from Buzz on his birthday, and no matter what he tells his little brother, he will miss not having him them – although after he receives Buzz’s present he may be cringing with embarrassment (I will tell you in the next post what it was).
From where Bumble and I are sitting, it is very clear (albeit extremely complicated) exactly what is going on with the boys. Waxy cannot bear to acknowledge vulnerability and yes, we know he will miss not seeing Buzz for nearly 2 weeks, but his way of handling this is to push Buzz away emotionally (and physically). Quite honestly, he has been so horrible to his little brother that it has broken my heart to see it because I know that Buzzbee is the centre of Waxy’s universe and always will be, but it is too painful for him to admit that (and let’s face it, he is a raging, hormonal teenager too). The problem is this time he has really done some very really damage to their relationship and his rejection has had a profound and upsetting effect on Buzzbee who is not equipped to deal with it at this moment in time.
Buzzbee is now riding a colossal rollercoaster of emotional trauma and crushed self-esteem and self-worth. He has morphed into a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ and while during the week he is manageable and able to let us (sometimes) support him and seek comfort from us. It takes him a day or two to settle back down and relax but the moment Friday afternoon comes around, his anxiety levels rocket through the roof again – fidgety, self-soothing humming, constant/unending rambling, hair-trigger temper, snappy and the air is once again every shade of blue. The anticipation of Beeswax’s return for school and the uncertainty of Waxy’s demeanour/mood is sending our already hyper –aroused 9 year old into emotional orbit. His amygdala is primed to flip into ‘fight, flight and freeze’ before Waxy has even walked through the front door, and if not handled very carefully the results are volcanic for both of them.
The weekend before last, was probably the hardest for them both in quite some time and while thankfully no-one was physically hurt (the only physical victims were a TV, 2 doors and a stairgate), the words that crossed both boys’ lips towards each other (and directed at Bumble and I), could not be taken back and for Buzzbee (who is very literal with his language), he took to heart every cruel comment that his big brother directed at him and firmly believed that this is what his big brother truly thinks about him. No amount of persuasion from us was going to convince him any other way.
In the past Jemima (DDP therapist we used to work with) would tell me off to trying to ‘fix’ things but this time I couldn’t leave it like this. I know the boys love each other and while their separate holidays may help them both, in the here and now, I knew it was in both boys best interest for me to ‘broker a truce’ and help them enjoy each other’s company once me.
With a 5 year age gap this can be quite tricky especially when you know the one activity they both really love doing, is one that at this moment in time is completely out of the question because it is also one of their biggest flashpoints with each other – I am of course talking about playing the Xbox together.
Thankfully this weekend gave my mum and I the perfect opportunity to trying do some damage limitation and provide the boys with an environment that is neutral to them both – The holiday campsite where mum and dad have their caravan.
And, if we ignore the low level snapping, sniping and snarling each time our back was turned. I would have to say that the weekend had the beginnings of seeing positive steps to repairing the boys’ bond with each other. They can never resist messing about in the swimming pool or playing football together on the beach (or teasing me about my lack of skills) and a much needed trip to a small country life adventure centre to walk and feed the goats, help each other over the obstacle course before racing each other down the wavy slides (trying not to take nanny’s feet out from under at the same time), and quite honestly just letting loose together was what they needed and the weekend actually went off without any major hitches.
Having my mum there also gave me a tiny bit of a break from all the stresses of past, present and future battles – that and getting to see the cutest baby donkey I think I have ever seen, and yes his name was Eeyore.