Detachment, Depletion, and Subjugation

(How’s that for a light and fluffy title?)

There’s a certain conversation I’ve had with many of the professionals involved in my daughter’s care.  She has struggles, of course.  Right now, school and studying are front and centre as we head into exam time.

While she’s extremely bright (like over 95th percentile bright in her psych ed testing) she struggles with the typical things that many people with ASD and/or ADHD struggle with- executive functioning, organization, working through things slowly and methodically, dealing with frustration when things aren’t easy.  It drives her nuts when I say this, but she really does have the potential to do so well.  She interprets this as pressure.

Thing is, she doesn’t because, at the end of the day, she really doesn’t care.  I have to cajole and humour and convince.  She resists.  Then we devolve into yelling, frustration on both ends, and when it’s really bad, tears.  The bottom line, as her psychologist Dr. B has told me so many times…is that I can’t make her care.  It will happen when she wants it to happen. She will reap both the rewards and the consequences of her actions.

Dr. B is always quick to remind me as well that she’s not just a kid with ASD,  she is a typical, defiant almost-15 year old girl and well who is wont to disagree with her parents at every possible opportunity.  Like it is for sport.  Because that’s what almost-15 year olds do.

Better to let her fail now, and understand what that means now, rather than later, Dr B tells me.  My head knows this is right.  But it goes against what I want for her as my child.  I want my child to be happy, successful, capable, fulfilled.

Then I catch myself–all those sentences up there begin with I.  It’s all about me.  This is where I wonder if I am projecting.  If I want her success to be my definition of success.  Then I think about her holding down a job, having to pay bills, meeting her basic needs–and I start to get anxious. And then between the two of us, our collective anxiety spirals up and up until one or both of us has a meltdown of some kind.  This is never pretty.

So the only thing I can realistically counsel myself to do is detach, detach, detach.  Caring while not investing my very being into it, letting her lead her own way, with positive, gentle support and guidance from me in the background.  Remembering that my job is to create a healthy environment to facilitate her own good decision making, give her the right tools–and then remembering that it is up to her at the end of it all to pick up those tools and use them.

***

Too much focus and anxiety over her well-being also has done me harm. It has been a rough two years.  Ex-h’s drama did a number on me, then realizing that he is a narcissist has totally reframed how I deal with him now, and what our relationship was about.  It took me a long time to figure out the latter, and I’m still stunned (and a bit disappointed in myself) that it took me that long to figure him out.

It is time for me to step back and engage in some serious self-care.  I’ve been good at it at various points in my life, but at some point something has always derailed me.  I can’t afford to let that happen any more.  I can’t subjugate my needs to the changing tides of others.

Tomorrow June 1, is day one.  I am going to start by doing something good for me every single day.  I don’t know what it’ll be, big or small, but I have to feel like I am enriching myself in some way.

I’m also starting a new meds tweak – my pdoc has added Wellbutrin.  She thinks it might help with my lack of energy and motivation.  I sure hope so. I am tired of being tired, always being in a rush but walking through mud at the same time.

Wish me luck, oh internets…

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Keep calm and carry on

A few days ago I got some bad news.  Nothing directly about me, but about something that has the potential to affect me financially down the road.  I used to joke about how this particular form of financial disaster might happen to me one day, but I thought I was just being funny in an edgy way.  I didn’t really think it would happen.

On Saturday I found out it did.  My ex-husband was fired.  One of the first things he said to me was “this could affect support payments.”  Not right away, but eventually.

I took a deep breath.  Every time I think he has reached some sort of nadir, he proves me wrong by sinking deeper.

Once upon a time I would get sucked into his drama. Panic when he panicked. It took me years to realize that this is the energy he draws on.  He creates drama because he needs it.  And as a narcissist, his needs always came first. They still do.

So, I didn’t challenge him on what he said.  Instead I just took it in, and said little.  I got the information I needed, and kept the phone call as short as possible.

Inside, I felt calm, but alert.  I am concerned, yes, but not panicked.  I am as resourceful as anyone out there.  More importantly, I see him for what he is. He may try to challenge me, or more likely, get me into a position of emotional vulnerability so that I let him off the hook, but I’m not biting.  His obligations remain what they have been, and I expect him to honour them.  He has the means to honour them- particularly if he stops indulging in German cars, designer clothes, and his huge collection of expensive toys.

I don’t expect him to change.  He’s a spoiled little boy in a 50-something body, no matter how much he tries to sell himself as a martyr.

The only expectations I have are on myself.  I expect myself to honour my end of the business agreement I have to raise our children.  I expect myself, always, to act in their best interest.  I expect myself to no longer enable his shitty behaviour.  I expect myself to carry on, with the good and the bad, to ride the tough times, plan as best as I can, and enjoy the moments of bliss, big and small, when they suddenly emerge.