As you may have already read in my previous post we had a direct contact visit with Girl’s sisters and grandfather last weekend. I mentioned that Girl seems to be struggling with the arrangement and since the contact certain behaviours have started to reappear and sadly she has been on a downward spiral all week. We have had a week of walking on eggshells and despite our best efforts and creating a Super Saturday of epic proportions it has ended in a huge meltdown tonight.
Something about contact makes Girl feel unsafe and I think it’s that her sisters and grandfather are a link to her old life, a life where it’s certainly possible to lose everything you know. I think something touches her subconscious mind – perhaps the sound of grandfather’s voice or a familiar smell? So, Girl has been testing us all week, pushing the boundaries further and further and further. Tonight mid-meltdown I was told that she does not need a mommy and daddy, does not need a nanny and granddad, that we are all rubbish, that she can take care of herself. So, so sad, this to me says she has put up a protective wall around herself, is regressing back to what she feels is a safe position of trusting nobody. I don’t get hurt by these words, to me they are so useful, a clear indictation of what is going on in her mind. It’s Girl’s way of opening up to me.
So to today, it began in a bad way with lots of hyperactive behaviour and winding her brother up to manic proportions. She also tried to encourage Boy to do something very dangerous immediately after she had been warned against it herself, almost like she wanted him to hurt himself. We have had lots of repeat whispering, lying, refusal to follow simple orders or be helpful in anyway. Most of this behaviour we had seen by 9.30am this morning so we decided we need a Super Saturday, a walk in the beautiful countryside, fresh air, peace and quiet. It did work to a certain extent but we still had a lot of bossy and controlling behaviour, lots of glass half empty moaning (which drives me to distraction, it doesn’t matter what or how much we do Girl can always find something to moan about).
The behaviour once home immediately escalated again and ended up in a meltdown at bedtime, always a difficult time because she does actually have some control here, I can’t exactly pin her to the bed and force her to go to sleep and boy does she know it!
It has taken me two hours to calm her down tonight, I kept my cool whilst being attacked physically and stayed true to my Poker Face method, which although works I actually hate with a passion. It seems so wrong that I have to sit in the doorway to block exit from the room, that I have to keep some distance at a time when really she probably needs some comfort, I wish I could just give her a cuddle and talk to her about what is bothering her but the closeness just exacerbates the problem. It seems the best I can do for her is to just contain her in her room and let her fight it out until she is exhausted, it seems far from ideal to me but at the very least it gives me some control.
Tonight it felt like after a month of very good behaviour that we were back at square one. Based on last time I used the routine (which was also the first time) I am predicting that tomorrow night we will have more of the same but to a lesser extent, that it will take less time to calm down, that she will need to push the boundaries again to test whether she can trust me to have the same reaction (i.e. none) , that I will still love her and care for her no matter what she does.
I do not know what to do about the contact issue. I guess what we will have to do is just ride the storm, at least we know to prepare ourselves. In time I am sure that Girl will come to trust us and appreciate the continued contact.
FIND ME ON FACEBOOK!
SW Social Woker
PASW Post Adoption Social Worker
SALT Speech & Language Therapy
CP Community Paediatrician