I am making a difference, but it’s hard to see.
So, I went to the Holy Site. There was a blessing. Then I went looking for C. I didn’t really know where to meet her, although her friend had told me where. I just didn’t end up knowing where that was.
I saw her. She saw me. There was an expression on her face of some kind when I first came. Maybe a half smile. It wasn’t hateful anyway. Then she began running off somewhere looking for someone without saying anything. I let her go, not realizing I wouldn’t see her after that, that she would get lost. That’s hard for me. It’s huge. I hate when people seem to be lost. A little voice in my head said, “She shouldn’t get lost. Somebody might hurt her.” So it wasn’t the best idea. Little voices in my head talking like that is not actually a good sign.
I should have either followed her or left at that point. Well, I found her eventually again, but I wasn’t in the best space anymore. I was angry. I didn’t express it in any way that I can tell, but I had an emotion to cope with all my own, and I didn’t feel in the best form.
I said do you have something to say to me. You called me. I came. There was a brief flicker of terror in her eyes. Okay, she doesn’t need to. I walked up with her to the shops along with her friends. I stroked her hair. She didn’t react to that in any way. She didn’t move away. She didn’t come closer. Possibly, that meant she was a little bit stable now. Maybe. I didn’t do it again. I had taken her temperature. I didn’t need to keep doing it.
They couldn’t get a taxi, so they decided to walk. I walked with them—my house is that direction. I began to think maybe this is helping. Just that I am here. It helps. She is not talking to me. She is not interacting with me in any way, but she knows I am here.
We got to a turning point and she said, “Okay, bye,” fairly harshly. I didn’t say anything. I kept walking. “Where are you going?”
“I’ll go up with you.” I had that idea it was helping just to walk, just to be there, but she also needs control, perhaps. I don’t know.
She kind of lost it then.
“Then I won’t go.” This was very harsh.
I got really frustrated at that point and I put my hand to my head and turned away. I don’t know why exactly. Somehow, I couldn’t grasp why it has to be so hard. I mean, why can’t she be civil about it? She began to walk down my street. I don’t think it occurred to her I had to go that way anyway. She walked faster, like it was important not to be with me.
She got to the taxi, talked to the driver. I tried to call her back. Not to say anything much, just goodbye. Anyway, she didn’t come, she finished making the arrangements. I stood there, “C, goodbye.”
There is a piece of her that is hard for me to follow. The harshness is hard for me to grasp. It might be because I am an adult. I have spent 20 years setting boundaries with people. I don’t get scared about it. I can say, “Actually I would really appreciate it if you wouldn’t walk up with me. I am just not in the right place to do that right now.” She is 14, with no real rights. She has set boundaries with me nicely before—she knows how to do it—but it probably does not have that automaticity or the trust that that will work when she is feeling very threatened.
I came home and cried. My first thought was this is not working at all. I don’t know what I am doing. I am not helping her. I should leave her to her own devices. And then I began to think. But she asked me to come. When I left her yesterday, I said, “I love you.” And she said, “I love you too,” which she didn’t have to say. She said it like I had just put strychnine in her mouth, but she said it. I am just expecting too much, too fast. I was expecting Vulnerable Child mode, or the Abused Child part—either needy or enraged. I didn’t expect this one, the teenage brat with no manners.
The other thing I was thinking is that she did not refer to me as mom the whole time. She might have said madam. She might have said nothing about me. But when I spoke to her on Friday, she most certainly called me ma’am, which she hasn’t done since arriving and it hurt. It has always hurt when she changes code like that. When I first adopted her, she always called me mom when we chatted or in text. Not in public, but in those private spaced. Then she stopped saying it unless she wanted something. Then not at all.
But it’s weird that it hurts me. I don’t really get it. She doesn’t really need to be my daughter, but she needs me to be her mom. I am her mom, because she needs one, not because I need to be one. It doesn’t feed my ego, but I guess when she says it that is Vulnerable Child speaking. It’s hard not to get attached to Vulnerable Child. And when she is gone underneath all the armour, I miss her. It’s hard not to be attached to Abused Child also, who is enraged but so clearly hurting, or even the Dramatic part. This other part, the Teenage Brat, she’s much harder to like, and I haven’t spent as much time with her. I think she was very active in winter, but Teenage Brat never called me. I didn’t speak to her. She just made Facebook updates. I don’t really know her. So naturally, I miss my sweet little girl parts when they are concealed behind Teenage Brat.
I think the other problem is that I don’t know what mode of relating in myself is the best one for Teenage Brat. Do I scold her for being a brat? I got frustrated with her. Was that the wrong thing or the appropriate thing? No idea. I can dance with Vulnerable Child and Abused Child. I don’t know the Teenage Brat dance yet. I’ll have to learn it.
The other thing that began to surface, is I thought about this—and this thought surprised me—is that I am her mom because she needs a mom. It’s not for me, really. I don’t give a damn what my role is, as long as I have power and I can help her. That’s the goal: just to help.
Adopting her gave me power. She needs a mom, and she needs me to be that mom. I have to stay here. I cannot die. It was this horrible, terrifying thought. It’s horrible to me to be needed. It has motivated me to deal with my own issues more intensely and that has been very positive, but it’s like I still thought there might be a backdoor somewhere in case I needed it, an escape route.
I really cannot die until I am old. I cannot take idiotic risks with my health. I need to eat a healthy diet so that I don’t get sick. I need to take care of my teeth so they don’t fall out and I end up gumming my food. I am not a fool about my safety, but probably I need to consider it a little better. It puts everything in a very, very slightly different light.
It seems like I never thought I really had to stay alive before. Death was so common when I was a kid. It was like I didn’t feel I was worth keeping alive. I mean, if it worked out that way, great. If it didn’t, that was great too. It’s so terribly scary. I can only think of it in terms of my body, like it shoves me right back inside all of those terrifying, fragile organs and it’s awful. It’s awful and I hate it and I want out again. I don’t want to be in this body. I want to feel one step away from death, or like I am in kind of limbo, somewhere in between life and death.
I really hate this. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. I hate her for making me be here in this place that makes me hurt so much. I hate her right now maybe as much as she is hating me. I do not want to be this alive. I was okay with living in little snatches. I was okay with being maybe 2/3 alive. But the thing is if I have to keep breathing, I have to actually believe I will go on living day after day, I can’t help but have a full emotional aliveness. I can’t help but know that I am not merely a consciousness, but a consciousness within a body. And I hate it. I want to break things, I hate it so much. I want to break her for making me do it.
And I understand her a little better. I am making her attach and it hurts like hell. She is making me attach and it hurts like hell also, only the attachment I am fighting is to life itself. It’s to my own body, it’s to breathing, it’s to being fully engaged with this planet. She is fighting her attachment to me, but I am fighting my attachment to life. There might not be that much difference between them.
There is no way around this. There is only through it.
It was easier, maybe, to feel worthless. It was easier to feel worthless than face all the terror I feel at being alive.