Tag Archive | Trust

Moving on up through the tears

There has been a distinct lack of post from me lately and it probably won’t come as a surprise to some of you the reasons for this, but it hasn’t stopped me beating myself up about it. Yes! I know it is not helpful to anyone, me being so hard on myself, but as ‘Blame Honey for everything’ seems to be a common theme at the moment. I guess if I can’t beat them, I might as well join them. This way maybe I won’t feel the painful sting left by the unending feeling of desperation and isolation.

Last weekend was a difficult weekend.

NO WAIT! Last weekend was a complete mess! Decisions were made that I have resisted for so long, and as I sank deeper into the dark pit of failed attempts at trying to therapeutically parent an angry and emotional, vulnerable teenager, relationships and emotional health crashed and burned along with it.

I guess you would say…… We hit rock bottom! (I certainly did anyway).

hittherocks

Calling the police on your child was never going to be an experience that I could or would relish. After Waxy’s early life experiences, he is understandably anxious (and angry) with the ‘boys and girls in blue’, and for a very long time I have used this knowledge as justification for not drawing a line in the sand sooner – Some would say I was being too soft and making excuse for his actions, and in some ways they were right and I wish it was as simple as that, but as many of you will know:

Nothing is ever simple when it comes to living on ‘Planet Adoption’.

So if in the past I have been a repeat offender and tried to manage the consequences and restitutions ‘in house’, which has almost certainly backfired, what was different about the weekend this time that prompted me to change my mind and report Waxy to the police for criminal damage?

Was it, just simply I reached the end of a very long and crumpled straw and felt I was left with no other option?

Was it because this time it wasn’t just myself or an inanimate object of some kind that was at risk of harm? He had lost control and Buzz, Beedog and Waxy himself were all at risk of serious harm.

Or, was it the fact that this time Waxy had lost so much control that he was displaying everything for the world (okay neighbourhood, which he would never usually do) to see, and I no longer felt safe in my own home?

I could hypothesise and dissect the ins and outs of the events of last weekend but it wouldn’t help anyone.

Nor would be having a VERY long rant about Post Adoption Support, or should I say the lack of it (5 minute phone call, 5 days after the incident happened and complete disinterest from PASW about the impact the weekend had on Buzzbee or myself – she just wanted to tell me how she had had a lovely long and pleasant chat with Waxy and he only did what he did because he felt I was being too strict – Hmmmm so wanting to treat my sons to a day out with Nando’s for supper is being too strict is it?).

Anyway, this weeks’ WASO theme is ‘Moving on up’ and I suppose through all my waffling, I am trying to come to some kind of rational conclusion as to the fact that I cannot change what has happened in the past, and while it WILL this time take me some time to bounce back, we have hit the bottom so there is only one way we can now go and I need to move on and move up (and not move out as I was ready to do Sunday).

How I am going to do this?

I really don’t know at the moment.

I guess for now, all I can do is wait out the storm and not beat myself up so much for events and choices that are not in my control, and pray that one day our family’s equilibrium will be once again be restored.

lifeisabike

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Unprofessional

I am going to apologise in advance for any potential offence I may cause or personal ranting that I may do in the course of writing this weeks’ #WASO, but after stewing on things for the last few days, I really need to get this off my chest.

There are several people who have known me and shall we say, they have seen more of my ‘passionate’ side than I probably would like them to have. It is definitely something I am working on, but it isn’t a personality trait that I have always had. Okay, I am not ashamed to admit, I used to be a bit of a doormat. I would have done anything for a quiet life, or not to encourage conflict. I guess that is why my sister STILL thinks she can be a pain in the backside and I won’t say a word (tough luck girlie, the old Honey is gone).

It would be easy for me now to put the blame at Adoption’s door and say that my need to advocate for Buzz and Waxy to get their needs met, as well as trying to keep my family together and happy, has turned me into someone who I am not always very proud of, when handling situations with professionals or individuals who have come into our lives for whatever reason.

While the ‘adoption’ process was not the spark that originally ignited the passion (that would be a very difficult story to tell), over the last 8 years its repeated fanning has certainly kept the flames flickering along, and every now and then someone or something comes along and gives the flames a few prods, turning flickering flames into a raging inferno of frustration and tears, and more often than not my own fight and flight responses kick into gear and I have to run (okay walk out) from the situation because I know I have or am about to make a complete fool out of myself and at that point I am certainly not helping my sons one iota.

Okay so why am I telling you this again? Oh right yes! I know why it was.

I have lost count of how many times I have heard so called ‘professionals’ comment or directly tell me that I am being ‘unprofessional’ when I have struggled to keep my composure while trying to advocate for my boys in a room full of people who just ‘DON’T GET IT’, and each time I have just wanted to scream “I am not a professional. I am their mum”.

Anyway, I still haven’t got to the reason for writing this and I honestly do apologise for rambling.

On Wednesday, I was fortunate enough to attend my second DDP Network Southwest study day. I had enjoyed the previous study day and was looking forward to another enjoyable and informative session surrounded by professionals and a couple of adopters/foster carers in an inclusive environment where no one person’s job or role was any less important than another’s. In fact unlike several conferences I have attended over the years, at the study days, your role is practically anonymous. No name badges. No job titles. No badges labelling you to a specific classification of involvement with fostering or adoption.

Bliss!

However this time my experience was not so positive and not because of the content of the study day or the presentations or the professionals who had work tirelessly and voluntarily to put the day together.

No! My experience was marred by 4 very rude so-called professionals, who were sat directly in front of me throughout the day and whose behaviour I feel was more than a little unprofessional (and a professional sat beside me agreed also). No that is wrong they weren’t a little bit unprofessional – they were downright and completely unprofessional countless times throughout the day and, if my memory serves me correctly, 2 of these professionals were on my table at the last study day and I ‘may’ have spoken my mind to them then about their negative attitude towards adoptive parents who may be having a tough time.

meeting-clipart-clip-art-meeting-340741The main discussion point and presentation for this study day was based around NVR and the principals applied to it, and while there were several people in the room who were clearly anxious about some of the conflicting and counter-intuitive advice that was being discussed, the questions were largely productive and created insightful discussions (some were definitely being a little closed minded but hey, I can’t judge, I can be a little set in my ways and adopt a ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ stance at times), but the ‘unfantastic four’ weren’t following the flock, they were rarely challenging viewpoints or airing their concerns about conflicts in method ideas in an open forum. No they were leaning on and calling across each other, like naughty school kids, sniggering and making inappropriate comments, at inappropriate times, at levels that were audible to everyone surrounding them, and on the odd occasion that they did raise a comment openly, the theme of their comments was always the same “sort out the parents because they are the problem not the children.”

I have to confess on one occasion, I allowed myself to be affected by one particular professional from this group (I wish I knew what her role was), who spoke about parents with such repulsion and dismissiveness of the impact of child to parent violence, and later making a comment about how adopters are far too emotional and have no place attending events that are designed for professionals. While I may have shed a few tears over the first comment and it had done nothing for my view point that professionals cannot be trusted and will screw you if you dare to ask for help. Their wonderful comment about adopters having no place attending this event on the other hand I could quite smugly say ‘’As someone who has completed her DDP level 1 training, I have as much of a right as you have to be here today”.

While I am not always the biggest fan of certain professional bodies, especially when they love to suggest that my meltdowns are ‘unprofessional’, until this week I don’t think I have ever encountered professionals that I would suggest had conducted themselves in an unprofessional manner and further compounded the negative reputation that professionals involved with looked after and adoption services already receive at times.

But before I start sounding like a ‘Negative Nelly’ or ‘Moaning Minnie’ myself, I have to say a huge congratulation to Jemima (our previous DDP therapist) and the members of DDP UK for arranging another wonderful study day.

 

 

Return of the ‘Oops box’

This is getting to become a bit of a bad habit for me, but I have yet again found myself in the position of putting a planned #WASO post on the backburner in favour of a post that has dominated my mind and…… well, quite frankly most of the last week.

2 years ago I wrote a post about managing Waxy’s ‘squirrelling’ and ‘itchy fingers’ and the positive impact our ‘Oops Box’ had in reducing his shame level.

In the past 2 years, we have needed to use the box less and less.

We have in fact for sometime not felt the need to bring the box out at all …… well, not until a couple of weeks ago anyway.

Bumble and I (as well as my parents) had begun to notice that minor items were disappearing and so were small amounts of coins. The insignificance of some of the items at first had Bumble and I convinced that we had simply misplaced or lost them ourselves, but when my parents cautiously approached the topic of container filed loose change they found concealed behind Waxy’s bed while my dad was measuring it before he began planning how to convert it into a more teenager friendly and functional bed for Waxy.

Waxy does not have loose change. He has a ‘go henry’ card.  We agreed with him some time ago that the card would be a safer option than change, as there had been accusations in the past from peers and he had no proof as to how he had obtained the money in his possession.

My parents’ discomfort wasn’t because of the money they had found (they are used to the ‘squirrel’ moment too).Their discomfort was because they knew that had to confess to have had their suspicions that he was up to his old tricks after our stay over the Christmas holidays, but they had wanted to believe that it was their carelessness, rather than imagine that their grandson would ‘steal’ from them!

I have to confess, I was mortified but we agreed to bide our time and resurrect the ‘oops box’ in the hope that it would give him an opportunity to ‘make it right’ without him being overwhelmed with shame.  We also spoke to school and explain how we planned to manage it, only to be informed that they have also had their suspicions but had been taking a more direct approach with him – Great now I know why he is so confrontational at home at the moment! So helpful!

However, our plans have not exactly gone to plan and have come to a head before we could “bring out the box” – Waxy was caught red-handed trying to sneak money he had “found” in Bumble’s car up to his bedroom secreted in the washing basket.

DSCN0106Unfortunately for him, he was using a washing basket with holes in and the sound of several heavy coins crashing onto the laminate floor, was not a sound he could muffle easily.

 

Waxy’s heckles shot up before either Bumble and I could respond. Waxy was arming himself for a fight. He was convinced he was going to be for the high jump and while Bumble and I had no intention at that point of talking to him about it, other than to ask him to pass us the money that had fallen on the floor. I know I failed miserably at not looking disappointed that he had chosen to steal from his dad, and that alone was enough to kick off his shame response.

We have since discussed the return of these ‘impulses’ with him and the consequences this will have for the immediate future (not putting temptation in his way, closer supervision and of course the return of the ‘Oops box’).

I have to believe that we have caught him early this time and that with the knowledge of this issue is out there now and hasn’t changed how much we love him, will mean that this will be just another blip on the bumpy trauma path through adolescence.

 

 

Wild Calm

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In England’s green and pleasant land

We live in a beautiful village where you only have to walk 5 minutes in any direction and you are surrounded by peaceful and picturesque scenes of flowing streams, lush and endless woods and farmland to walk along.

Once a week Buzzbee climbs into the car and we head off on our 35 minute trip to Forest school. Our journey will take us through 3 peaceful villages, past 4 sets of traffic lights, over 8 roundabouts and along two very busy bypasses – In Buzzbee’s words “everyone is always in a hurry and no one is noticing the world around them”.

From the backseat of the car a clean and tidy Buzzbee is busy ‘OOOing and AHHHing’ as he entertains himself by looking out of the car window watching the scenery whizz by. He hardly notices the colourful array of vehicles and their fractious drivers. All he can see is the Buzzard soaring in the sky just ahead of us or the Kestrel sitting on the fence patiently watching its prey to make its move.  Buzzbee notices how the surrounding farm land has turned into a green and lush oasis for the cows and their calves. He will spot a ‘lonely bunny’ sat by the hedgerow contemplating whether it should try and cross the road – already Buzzbee is absorbing the euphoria of the ‘great outdoors’ and beginning to relax – anyone who has ever met Buzz would know that he is highly strung, extremely volatile and stressy, and his anxiety/cortisol levels are almost permanently through the roof.

As we reach our destination Buzzbee’s chatter becomes rapid and mindboggling, but not in a negative way. He can no longer contain his excitement for what his day at forest school will bring – “Will the cockerel chase you today mummy?”, “I am not going to swear today and if Boris annoys me I am going to just walk away”, “I’m going to ask Richard if he can help me build a bigger den”, “Last week they taught us how to put out a fire if our clothes caught alight. This week they are going to teach us how to carry someone who is hurt as a team”, “It is a sunny day! I will have to work really hard at showing you I have had a good day” (translation: “I left home clean mummy, if you pick me up and I am not muddy, you may think I had a bad day”) – now I am not naive, some of this is anxiety driven, but in his own funny way this is him telling me that he is unsure about what today will bring, but that he knows whatever it is, he can do it and make the right choices.

So what is different from any other day? What is about his few hours once a week at forest school that has the ability to transform my child from one that had almost completely disconnected with most social situations for fear that he “would hurt somebody” or couldn’t control himself, into a ‘happy go lucky’ chatterbox who will give most things a try?

OK I suppose the fact that Buzzbee and Waxy love the outdoors and they are physically adventurous with their surroundings helps, but there is something truly amazing about how in a few short months, the staff at this wonderful place have not only nurtured and helped begin re-building his self-confidence, self – esteem and self- belief, but they have achieved something that very few adults have ever managed when it comes to Buzz – they have gained his trust enough for him to feel safe enough to admit his mistakes/weaknesses and know that they will still like him (I don’t need to tell the adopters among you, the monumental achievement this is for him).

As this weeks’ #WASO post theme is ‘The Great Outdoors’  and I am getting slightly off track by gushing about Buzz and his rekindled self-belief (even if it is only for one day a week), so, I thought I would leave this post with Buzzbee’s list of what he loves about going to forest school.

  • “It is not school. They like me”
  • “We are NEVER indoors, no matter  how bad the weather is – Ok they have big tents, but I never go in because they smell funny”
  • “I am allowed to go every week, even when it is raining and really, really muddy. So muddy that we all have to change our clothes before lunch time”.
  • “I get to climb trees! I mean real BIG trees!”
  • “We get to play ‘Bulldog’ and ‘Hide and Seek’ as many times as we like.  I am really fast and the staff get tired before the kids”
  • “Lots of the children like playing games that we need to use our imagination for and the big kids don’t call me names like Waxy does.  They like me”
  • “I kind of like the kids that go. They are like me, they don’t go to school but have their mummies teach them”
  • “I don’t like doing the girlie craft stuff, but I love learning how to make a campfire or build a shelter to protect us from the rain”
  • “We go on REALLY long walks to old caves, which have really steep slopes and we are allowed to slide down them when they are wet.  It is SOOO cool!”
  • Everyone is always smiling and they never shout. Well, unless they are telling us they are coming to find us when we are hiding”
  • “Lots of the trees have tyre swings or treehouse bases and there is a big bit that have ropes all around them like an obstacle course”
  • “I nearly forgot!  There are pigs, bunnies and lots of chickens and ducks. I am allowed to help feed them every week”

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Fear and Trust

Over the past few weeks I have come across several heartfelt, and incredibly amazing and courageous blog posts talking about struggling with trust, privacy and security issues, support networks and some truly incredible adopters who have had the bravery to open up about the impact parenting their children (and everything that comes in conjunction with this) has had on their own mental health.

I am in awe of their bravery! Especially because in each post that I have read, I have not only been able to empathise with the author, but because each one of them has stirred up emotions and memories that on a daily basis I am fighting to try to supress. Some would say “if they affect you so much, why would you continue to read these posts?”

The posts and the authors are not the problem – my secondary trauma and my fear of being overwhelmed by my emotions is the problem (I actually find reading the posts quite comforting, despite the emotions it brings to the surface – for a few short moments I do not feel so isolated).

I am not sure where I am going with this post – I started out thinking about how for every story/post that had been shared, there was an element of it I could identify with.  But as I am sat here writing this 2 words keep rearing their ugly heads – Fear and Trust, and the shame of my own awareness of the implications and how much impact I have allowed these 2 little words to have on my family’s happiness.

FEAR!!!!!!

I never imagined that I would allow this word to engulf and manipulate my life as much as it has over the past few years.    It is certainly not something I planned and I definitely do not want to be trapped in this endless cycle of fear and anxiety.

Did I bring it on myself?

Almost definitely!  I made the choices I did and now I am living with the consequences of those choices.

Do I deserve to feel like this?

At the moment I cannot answer this honestly.  No of course I don’t deserve to feel like this and nor should anyone else, but if I hadn’t been so naive, trusting and open with certain people, my already vulnerable self-esteem wouldn’t have taken such a huge battering  – so maybe Yes! I do deserve it.

TRUST!!!!!

Being the other word that dominates our household and my interactions with professionals, friends, family etc.

So why have these 2 words become such huge barriers in our home and our lives?

When we started the adoption process I made a conscious decision to not allow the walls I had built up around myself to get in the way of being open and honest with our SW and any professionals involved in the adoption process – I lapped up the spiel about not suffering in silence if our children’s early history was having an impact in anyway (school, home, personal, etc.) and as Bumble and I had a wonderful SW (Shamrock) who we got on really well with. I fell into the trap and have paid the price ever since.

Knowing your children for some time before they move in with you cannot only be a blessing but also a curse – looking back over the years we only had a very brief ‘honeymoon’ period (especially with Beeswax).  We hit the ground running the moment the boys moved in and found ourselves having to wade through all that this meant and, like many parents, we made mistakes or misinterpreted situations.  And that is how we I ended up trapped in this negative mind-set which stops me doing what I really need to do.

Until Beeswax, along with Buzzbee moved in, I don’t think anyone other than their foster carer really had a clue as to the true impact both their early years history had had on Waxy.  On paper we were everything he wanted, but for him the reality was far more terrifying and he needed to take any and as many measures as he could to prevent himself from ever getting too close to either of us.

Before I go any further I am not about to turn this into a “it’s all Beeswax’s fault” diatribe – Yes, his trauma and actions were the catalyst that brought about several of the issues, but he is a vulnerable child and we are adults and should have had more common sense.

Splitting was and still is his favourite weapon of attack and 9/10 professionals and busy bodies (of whom I really should say ‘their heart was in the right place and they were only looking out for him’) fell into his trap.  My crime was pointing this out to them in an attempt to prevent some of the conflict that Bumble and I were witnessing.  The reward for this was that I was treated as if I was the problem and he was a ‘poor, innocent young boy whose mother was cold and overly controlling towards him’.

So my first mistake – believing that the professionals understood the impact of working/parenting a child with a traumatic and complex attachment history.

My second was believing that when people are telling you “you are doing an incredible job” that they are being honest with you and not telling you what they think you want to hear to keep you quiet.

When things got difficult, we did what we thought was the right thing to do and spoke to Shamrock and Clover (boys’ SW) about our concerns – hey, that is what they drummed into us during our preparation after all.

To our knowledge, both SWs were supporting us and understood where we were coming from.  From where Bumble and I were sitting they were backing us all the way and truly understood how hard we were trying to do what was best for both boys.

Let me skip several months forward and to the point where my world was turned upside down and my own personal history plus my relationship with Beeswax was thrown to the wolves.  All the supposed support we believed we had was a big, fat lie.

The truth was:

  • People I trusted and considered to be close friends (along with professionals)were making allegations left right and centre about my parenting and my mental health.
  • A new SW had come into our lives and had put 2+2 together and come up with “Honey is an unfit mother”. (In the cold light of day – years later, I can see how with everything that was being presented to her, she really thought she was acting in the best interests of the boys. The problem I had was she never attempted to understand the heart-breaking situation we found ourselves in or at least allow us the courtesy of addressing some of her (and others’) concerns with us.  She simply just blamed it all on me and my inability to cope with my traumatised eldest son who was physically and mentally attacking both Buzzbee and I on a daily hourly basis (that sounds so bitter and self-pitying, but it is how I truly felt then and do now).
  • And then there was the fact that we found out that the one professional I thought I could trust had been keeping secrets from us (Ok maybe that is not fair to Shamrock. She was in an impossible position and deep down I have to believe that she wasn’t allowed to tell us what was going on). Yes, I feel she let us down and now, despite her still being involved in our lives, I find it very hard not to find myself being very guarded when talking to her.

And this was simply the tip of the iceberg.

Was I wrong to believe that by confiding in people I thought I could trust that they would support us and not condemn us? Sadly I do regret ever opening up and allow others to know how – tired, anxious, low, tearful, overwhelmed I had become.  I should have done what I had done for so many years before and kept my wall firmly up and weathered the storm.

Did we fight them tooth and nail to change their perceptions? Hell yeah!

Did we change their minds? Well, when it comes to the social workers, I would say we did, and I suppose the fact that they finally backed off and allowed us to formally adopt the boys is evidence of this! I am not sure I can confidently say this in respect to school staff or members of our village community.

Should I have done things differently in the first place to prevent this happening? Ok unless I had a crystal ball, I have to say “how could I possibly ever answer that?”

Do I think that I am now letting my mistrust of professionals prevent me from fighting for my boys needs as hard as I would have before the ‘bombshell’ hit?  Definitely! There is always that voice at the back of my mind saying “be careful what you tell them”, “It’s not worth the heartache – I can weather the storm” (and so many more unhelpful internal dialogues).

Do I think that I am letting myself and everyone else down by being so defensive and trying to hide away from my own emotions?  Well, reading this back it sounds quite ridiculous that I have allowed myself for so long now to be ruled by the fear of honesty. So I guess the answer is YES! But the truth is, even today (as I contemplate deleting this post before it is even uploaded) the fear of opening up to someone again is preventing me from getting the emotional support I know I need to get if I am ever to be able to move past this point, forgive myself and put it to bed once and for all, rather than ‘going through the motions’ and attempting to ‘fake it until I make it’.

And, I will eventually make it!!!!!!

Oops I did it again

No, I am not about to start singing or break into a ‘interesting’ dance routine (unless you include the ‘dance of attunement’ that I find myself trying to do every day while parenting my boys) but I thought this was an apt title for this post.

For as long as I can remember, since Beeswax and Buzzbee were placed with us, things have had a habit of ‘disappearing’ and more often than not these items were mine.

For quite some time, although some of the hiding places were genius, I found it very difficult to accept someone stealing from me, even if it was as innocent as my favourite bar of chocolate. We knew who the culprit was and we made several attempts to deal/manage with the situation using traditional approaches with ‘consequences, which were a total failure and often made things worse. So we tried approaches that were less likely to send him spiralling into a toxic state of shame.

We tried every suggestion anyone was willing to offer us to try and alleviate the problem –

  • We provided a snack box which lived in his bedroom with all his favourite ‘goodies’ – he never touched it
  • We kept the fruit bowl full on the dining room table which he could take from whenever he wanted – again he didn’t go for it
  • We put locks on the cupboard doors and a chime sensor so he couldn’t sneak down in the middle of the night – He managed to get hold of a duplicate key (still don’t know how) and used a magnet to fool the sensor.
  • We put a piece of paper on the wall with a squirrel stamp and made it a challenge. If he left a squirrel stamp it was not for him to tell us what he took, but for us to ‘work it out’ – Worked for a couple of days, but then ‘squirrelling’ escalated to more precious items but no stamps

We tried so many more tricks, but nothing seemed to help until one day, after a very emotion filled session with Jemima talking about how bad I felt that he still found it so hard to trust that if he were to ask for something instead of taking it, that we wouldn’t say No, we explored whether the reason he took my things was because he was angry with birth mum and he was adamant that this wasn’t the case, but that he stole from me because he ‘needed to know he could still do it and obviously if he took sweets he was going to eat them’. He insisted that he never felt bad about taking anything but he was able to accept Jemima and my hypothesis that the way he was reacting to being found out was ‘possibly’ a sign that he did actually feel  a little bit bad about it or that he thought I would hate him.  We asked him if he had any suggestions on how Bumble and I could help him and I remember vividly his response “You can’t catch me so you can’t stop me. It is always too late the deed has been done”.

He was right but we couldn’t let it carry on. He had now started stealing from my parents, school and his brother (although we rarely could prove it until it was ‘too late’).  How could we stop this without him escalating into a shame filled rage? There was big part of me that just wanted my belongings back or at least to know that the goodies that were ‘disappearing’ were not me forgetfully consuming them myself and forgetting to replenish.

So Bumble and I decided we would have an amnesty. We placed a box in the bedrooms and explained to the boys that daddy and I were missing some things and we needed them back. We told both boys (even though we knew only one of them had the items) that the boxes will be left in their rooms until the morning and they could put anything that they had that they knew they shouldn’t have in it. I would take the boxes out of the rooms in the morning and nothing would be said about the contents of the box, however if I then go into their rooms and find anything; we may need to talk about it. We called them the ‘Oops’ boxes and to my delight they seemed to work. Ok there was one time when he thought he had got one over on me by hiding all the sweet wrappers in his hollow curtain pole – sadly for him, his mum is a complete klutz and pulled it down trying to put its end stopper back on.

For quite some time the boxes were used on a weekly basis and rarely was there a need to revisit any misdemeanours.  Gradually the boxes in the bedrooms turned into an ‘Oops’ basket that occasionally (usually at times of heightened anxiety and stress) appears on the top of the landing for an evening and any member of the family can place items that are not where they should be, in it.

In this case, “thinking inside of the box” figuratively speaking has been a success for the hive.

This post was written as part of The Adoption Social’s fantastic new linky ‘The Things That We Do’.

oops box

The Things We Do

Barriers – breaking through the wall

At the beginning of the week, with this weeks’ #WASO theme in mind, I decided to ask the boys “what is the first thing you think about when I say the word ‘Barriers’”.

I had a pretty good idea how Buzz would respond but I am never quite sure what (if any) response I would get from Waxy, but to my amusement they both replied in unison “the safety gates that keeps Beedog from going upstairs or getting stuck in the cat flap, when chasing the cats”.  Very black and white and literal!

"I used to fit through this"

“I used to fit through this”

I asked Bumble the same question and his response was “there’s so many things?”

Like Bumble, I struggled with trying to pinpoint what ‘Barriers’ meant to me.  I could easily be very matter of fact and literal like the boys and suggest all the physical barriers that I have had to use over the years to keeps the household safe. Or, I could talk about the bureaucratic restrictions and barriers that we have encountered in our journey to adoption but in truth while I am sitting here trying to decide what to write and thinking about what the word ‘Barriers’ means to me, my thoughts are drawn to the emotional barriers that both Beeswax and myself have put up over the years. Ever since the first day I met Beeswax I have been fighting to penetrate his wall of self-protection with very little success. It is understandable that Beeswax doesn’t trust adults and I don’t blame him in a way, but knowing that my child will do anything to keep me at arm’s length hurts! I keep trying but over the time his need to protect himself from being hurt and let down by another mum resulted in my self-protection instincts kicking in to avoid experiencing yet more rejection.  I had begun to parent while in what Dan Hughes calls ‘blocked care’ and boy! did this cause problems for some time with professionals.

But to be fair, for several years before I even met Bumble I was already putting up barriers.

So what is my excuse? Is it the shame I feel, which is driven by my previous history of depression? Is it the product of my childhood experiences with medical professionals not believing a child and the awareness of what nearly happened as a result of this? Is it that anytime I get close to someone, like Beeswax, they leave me or hurt me? A long time ago I wrote the following extract in my diary and although at the time I was obviously quite self-aware about my default mode. It wasn’t until I was presented with the prospect of having to let people in that I realised how much I had come to rely on it.

Arriving at CAMHS after my sob fest, I thought I had managed to cover up my tear stained puffy eyes with makeup but Jemima had noticed and I was really hoping that she would not ask me about it, but she did and I was able to say it was a pressure release from a hard few days while regaining my composure.

WHY?????? Stupid Girl!

Once again as with any session or visit from SW’s, I kept up the wall without intending too.

I don’t know how or why I manage to do it because inside I am lost, exhausted, scared, primed to burst into tears, I am so anxious that I am making my hands sore, scratching them and it is getting harder to control my breathing. 

Earlier this week, while I was trying to work out how to help myself I wrote ‘that I am truly a Brickie’s granddaughter’ and it is true. I can build a strong wall and I thought I had built it on strong foundations but over the years that foundation has started to subside and cracks have appeared in my wall and no sooner do I repair one area, another appears and each time they are getting harder for me to plaster over on my own, but what would happen if I stopped repairing the cracks myself and let someone help me bring down the wall brick by brick.  Just thinking about it fills me with sheer dread, the prospect of seeing what is hidden behind that wall, what I have shut out of sight and mind (God, I am a control freak!).

 
Only a handful have ever truly penetrated that wall and really understood what drives me. Bumble and Jemima being 2 of them. My parents do not even know about my history of depression. I wouldn’t want them to either. They have enough to deal with and if they knew they would feel obligated to offer more support despite the distance they would have to travel. They say pride comes before a fall. Well, I wouldn’t say I was too proud to tell them, more that I want to protect them. Besides the majority of the time I can still function and maintain the illusion of my role as mother, wife, daughter, sister, and granddaughter.
The barriers that Beeswax and I put up to protect ourselves, are one of our greatest strengths and have seen us through some of our most difficult times, but they are also one of our biggest faults and we consciously or unconsciously isolate ourselves from those who are in the best position to support us.

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