What self respecting woman...?
I was informed in a counseling office about six months ago that, “this is it,” which felt more like “quit being so damn hopeful." My daughter's diagnoses are as many as her moods: emotional dysregulation, she has. A chemical, very physical illness. But not everything is her illness...
I found myself giving her my “What self respecting woman...?” lecture, monologue, unwelcomed advice about the terms gaslighting and psychological projection. Even threw in one of my favorite new quotes, “I'm responsible for my words, you're responsible for your inferences.” I don't know how much of this sinks in. But I know my effort equals unconditional love for her.
The evening ended in tears - what we've learned to call her predictably unpredictable days - with her crying about not having any friends. Well, "I have you and K and that makes me sad. No offense.”
All I can do is hug her...
Often, when I hear myself lecture, I realize I needed the advice just as much - a reminder. I needed a hug.
Reassurance is a significant gift but that effort must be honest, especially when there is a comorbid condition of Autism. Gentle fact telling in advance is essential.
I have self diagnosed as having 20% Autism; although my doctors call it ADHD. The things, relationships (or lack of), she is upset about would upset me too; I am simply fortunate that I can control my feelings before they become behaviors. (She cannot; meeting the medical criteria for “danger to herself and others.”)
She is so forgiving. This is a trait she has that I envy.
We're not that different, she and I; we both require the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth because fear rises to the surface when actions don't meet words. Gaslighting sucks. Psychological Projection sucks (like we don't have enough struggles).
I can't fix her pain for her. Conversely, mine’s all mine.
So I gave myself my “what self respecting woman” lecture...
“I have good judgement.” That phrase took a long time for me to embrace and acknowledge. You see, without a negative intent whatsoever, I embraced a belief very early in my youth that I “was smart but stupid.”
Well, I'm not stupid, have actually always been quite book smart. What I have been is impulsive. Impulsivity can cause a great amount of pain. My mom once said, a few engagement rings into adulthood, “Julie, you have a knack for jumping into pools before you check if there's water in them.” Impulsivity is the opposite of fear, I think. Stupid, I am not. Blind-trusting I am. Maybe I am like my daughter? Blind trust is forgiving in advance, isn't it?
This rebellious personality with which God granted me has been a gift and a blessing to my children's needs; in my personal life, not so much. I am learning, half a century into my trip around this planet, to dip my toe in the pool.
“You have good judgement, Julie. Use it.” The mantra I spent six EMDR sessions reprogramming in my belief system.
My daughter will always have good days and bad days; that's not lack of hope, that's acceptance.
I have good judgement. I will use it.