I don’t know what happened.
Things were kind of going along. I did the laundry, wrote a letter to C, wrote in my journal (managed to sit with difficult feelings…yay me), had lunch, changed my clothes in preparation to go out.
Wham. I am in some kind of emotional hellhole, where I just feel despair. I can switch it off. I catch myself doing that. It’s not what I want to do unless life demands it.
I don’t really know how to proceed. But there has been something on my mind and probably I haven’t fully had time to process, and maybe that’s it. I was chatting with C’s aunt, who is 22 and I am sure also has disordered attachment. Anyway, C is pretty close to her, but I think at times finds her intrusive and not responsive to C’s needs for autonomy and to be able to set boundaries.
We were talking about C’s phone, because C did not bring it with her to school. She left it with her cousin in her village, because she didn’t want to be distracted at school. Her aunt misses her, so I said that. I said C is trying to be serious and concentrate on school, otherwise she would have brought her phone. She loves that phone.
Now, I am the one who bought her that phone. IT Ma’am bought her a phone last year—it was quite a nice, but used. It has not really lasted well—most of that is C’s fault. She had a temper tantrum back in May and cracked the LCD, which began to leak black fluid across the screen. Her friend dropped it, and the buttons on the side fell off. She asked me for a new one, and I agreed, because although she deserved to have a phone in shitty condition for being careless, it was just so sad to look at it. Anyway, she had suffered through the black streaks for 6 months by then.
Anyway, I hadn’t really thought this being from me. She wanted a phone. I bought one.
Her aunt said, “The things you give are her special things and her belongings.”
It’s not entirely true—she loans out and loses a lot of things I give her. But I do think when I get it right and I do find something she really does value it, that it becomes a symbol for her of being valued enough to be given something special by a person she, in turn, values.
In a neglectful family, this doesn’t really happen, because everyone is essentially competing for scarce resources. You might get nice things, but it isn’t an expression of mutual regard for one another. It’s hard to take that in. She values those special things that I give her, because she values me. She values that sense of communion with me, that comes from being thought about with regard and then thinking about the person who has regard for you.
So I have been mulling that.