Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Frequently Asked Questions - Part 1 - Abuse

We're coming up on two weeks since our last report on Colin. The "radio-silence" between my sister and I has been a good thing. I am much less stressed and I hope my sister is as well. Our situation with Colin can be frustrating and quite exhausting. I am hoping that the time away from us is giving Colin a chance to regroup and hopefully heal his anger toward us.

This blog only tells part of a story and has been "sanitized". I would like to take this quiet-time to address some frequently asked questions and help fill in the blanks. There is nothing that anyone can ask me that will shock or offend me. Chances are that any questions that you have are things that I have already asked myself. Not a day goes by that I don't think about Colin and try to see things from his point-of-view.

One of the most frequently asked questions deals with the topic of "Abuse".

Frequently Asked Questions - Abuse?

Is it possible that Colin has suffered some sort of abuse such as sexual or been the target of bullying?

I can remember this past summer, as Colin's behavior became more strange, I was concerned about his fear of ceiling fans and ticking clocks. My mind went to dark places. Was he tortured in a small room under a ceiling fan? What could have happened to him to cause this extreme level of anxiety?

I would go for walks with Colin and in numerous conversations try to broach the topic of Abuse. I would constantly ask about bullying. I would ask if anyone ever touched him inappropriately. I even asked if his father ever beat him or mistreated him when I was not around. No one was above suspicion.

His answers were always the same. Nothing had happened and there was no abuse. He also refused to explain his fear of certain sounds and of ceiling fans. He was adamant that he didn't want to talk about it and that he could handle things on his own. There also seemed to be a fear of being thought "crazy" and he did not want to be seen by doctors for his issues.

I quizzed my other boys incessantly. They insisted that there was no evidence of anyone abusing their brother. I went through every possible scenario and I could not find anything that could explain Colin's increasing odd behavior.

Recently when in a session with my sister and the therapist - a.k.a. - "observer", Colin was told that his stay at his Aunt's house was only temporary and that he would be going home at the end of the school year. Colin did not take this news well and became agitated.

He said that he would not go back home and would prefer foster care. He went on to say that he did not care if he was molested.

This statement prompted a later conversation with my sister that I am grateful that she had. Aunt P told Colin that he had said something that troubled her and she needed to ask him a question. She told him the statement he made about foster-care and molestation was a bit strange. She asked him if he was ever molested or abused.

Colin laughed and told her no.

My sister then asked him if he would tell her if that ever happened to him. He then grew more serious and responded that nothing like that had ever happened.

In our last session, we were also told by our psychologist that part of the therapist's job is to constantly make sure that the child is safe and is not being abused. Colin was also quizzed about abuse when he was hospitalized. There is absolutely no evidence that our child has been a victim of sexual or physical abuse.

At this point we can rule out Abuse.

coming up : next F.A.Q. - Why does your child hate you and refuse to see you?

stay tuned.....

We are a work-in-progress.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Meeting with the Psychologist

Yesterday afternoon my husband and I had an appointment with our Cognitive Behavioral Psychologist to get an update on Colin. It's been around two weeks since my sister and I have agreed to cease communications for the time-being. I feel that the news black-out has been helpful to lower stress levels for everyone. We will have to depend on reports from our CBT Team.

Earlier in the day, my nephew (sister's oldest son) stopped by for a lunchtime visit before heading back to college today. I am so glad he took the initiative to call me and visit as I had been keeping my distance out of respect for my sister and my son. We had a nice visit and I did get enough information to know that things were not as bad as I had feared

Our psychologist confirmed this. Progress is being made in baby steps. I imagine the hardest part for my sister is having patience. Patience in spades. She is a type-A, results-oriented person and is having to learn not to expect big "break-though" moments. Parenting is hard work. It is an even more daunting task to take on someone else's child; especially a challenging boy like Colin. Her last report had me thinking that things had gone horribly wrong. Thankfully this was not the case.

Two weeks ago, Colin walked out of his session when things got too uncomfortable for him. The therapist has been introducing expectations, rewards and consequences. The expectation going forward is that our son is to expect weekly visits and the requirement that he stay in the room the whole time. If he starts to get upset with the conversation, he is to tell the therapist that he wants to end the discussion.

This week Colin was able to fill out his worksheet and discuss some of his issues. This is HUGE for us and better than expected. It will be some time before he is able to take "ownership" for his situation. Our psychologist stressed that it is important not to use the word "blame". We have also been appraised that progress will be slow and in tiny increments.

I have seen first hand that after opening the door a crack and seeing some light, it can slam shut when pushed further. I have learned that the miso-child needs to have some sense of control over their situation. There needs to be care when gently prodding for information and dialog not to push too hard and know when to stop.

As I have said before..."It is important to not get too far ahead of ourselves and take it one day at a time. Baby steps.... for a 12 year old baby."

We are a work-in-progress!