Well, first I have to say that I hate the new admin page formats, currently with the heat of a supernova. I’m sure I’ll move past it at some point. Maybe. I think my favorite part so far has to be that the posting box got (yet again) smaller while the font size for the blog title, etc., can be seen from my neighbor’s house. wtf, mate?? And what’s with the barf-tastic color scheme of light blue on… light blue? Bah.
On with our regularly scheduled program…
I’m down here right now instead of upstairs eating dinner with my family. Yeah, I feel like a total putz for that, but sometimes, the only thing I can do is remove myself from the situation – often because I know that my angst is palpable and will only make things worse when the kid in the mix grasps no one else’s feelings almost ever, with the one exception being when someone has angst – because of him. Now, mind you, that’s not empathy or sympathy coming out, and it isn’t that it’s the only feeling he can read. No, it is because if I have angst because of him, it directly affects his ability to do whatever the hell he wants. Yes, often in the Aspie world, if you can’t figure out why a child is acting the way they are, you need to re-center and remind yourself that their world is 100% about themselves and, therefore, about how THEY get to interact with the world, not about how the world interacts with them. Resort to the simplest question of, “Is there a way that he could be making this entirely about himself?” and you’ll almost always find your answer.
I have ADD, and one facet of that for many people, myself included, is the need for praise/reward for behavior. If I do something nice, I need to hear that I did. Some people would call it being self-centered. Some would call it having low self-esteem. I’ll grant you a component of both, frankly, but truly, it’s because that is how *I* interact with the world. Praise/Reward creates energy in someone with ADD; it’s a snowball effect. And, truly, it’s usually pretty pathetic how little praise/reward it takes to have that snowball rolling down the hill like a freakin’ meteor in the direction you want it to go.
Explains A LOT about my years as a teenage girl and the barge-load of mistakes I’ve made with boys/men all my life.
As we all tend to reflect what we want, ADD’ers also tend to give a lot of praise/reward, sometimes to the point that we can seem overbearing, stifling, or flat-out crazy. To us, our words of praise or encouragement mean the world, but I imagine they often mostly just bounce off others as fairly insignificant comments or, at best, leave only a fleeting impression. We are the quintessential example of “a smile can make someone’s day.” Truly, a kind word and a smile from someone as I hold the door for them coming out of the gas station can absolutely turn my day around 180 degrees.
The point is that I had imagined that my child would be like me (don’t we all). I’m sure every parent is disappointed in many respects when it comes to that fantasy; Junior has no interest in football and doesn’t care about your favorite car, and Janie would rather drive a forklift than take ballet and refuses to even consider the flute. As the ADD parent of an Aspie child, the person I want to make happy more than anything else in the world couldn’t care less about my wants, my efforts, or my good intentions brought about by my love for him. My drive to see him happy means absolutely nothing to him, even when I am successful, and in the end, it is my innermost being that feels it has been resolutely rejected. It is crushing, in the worst of ways.
While I try to take comfort in a partial silver lining that, on some level, he doesn’t suffer from a need to please others or put their wants above his own, I know that is built not of confidence but deficiency. I can see the edges where that frays with his peers and know that the time is coming where those things will start to, if not matter to him then become a source of terrible frustration and angst of his own. And, somehow, I will have to find a way to help him through it and teach him how to deal with it, on his terms, and hopefully before it molds him into an angry young man. Yes, I will have to teach him how to understand people like me.
And so it is that I am here with my hurt, by the lamp light, tears streaming down my face, because I cannot yet even imagine when or where I will find the strength for that challenge. I just have to believe that I will.