C wanted to go back to her village, as I mentioned. So, on Sunday, we both went wandering through the town–in turns–looking for a taxi that would take us. It took a while. Not all of the drivers feel like going for long drives. A lot of short trips is more efficient than one long journey.
I expect very often to be pushed away and unless I feel strongly that closeness will benefit her, I tend to hold back–wondering, “Is this worth fighting for?” Because of that, I didn’t suggest going with her to drop her off–it’s only 2 hours away from here, and maybe less now, since they have paved the road.
The Girl brought up the idea though, so I asked C, and she agreed to it. The Boy has been wanting to visit The Village: he’s never been further than the place where they run to in the annual school race. The Girl hasn’t wanted to because someone told her there were witches there. I asked The Girl if she was willing to go. She said yes, so I told C we would all go together. The thing is the cost of going one-way is the same as round-trip, because the way is not that well traveled, and the driver risks returning empty anyway. It makes it no loss to me to go. She agreed to that too.
I located a taxi, bought a few things at the shop to take–not much, I am utterly broke now with sending kids all over the place, and will most likely need to borrow money to pay for school fees in August–but the idea here is that you have to take something. Then off we went, the four of us.
When we arrived there, her uncle who lives in Y-town, suggested we stay until Tuesday, when he would be driving back. We sent the taxi back and stayed.
I could say many things about our stay, but I have saved up the puzzling moments for consideration.
I wanted to help her to fold the blankets in the morning. Actually, I began to do it the way we do in the US, which is a 2-person activity. I had not realized exactly that in Country X, no one ever fold sheets or blankets together. Folding is a strictly one-person activity. I suppose this felt uncomfortable for her. I know the Country X way, but I just hadn’t noticed in Country X, it is the only way–not just the way you do things when no one is there to help.
She was really frustrated and angry about the whole thing. It’s hard to explain that–she didn’t react in an extreme way, but I knew she felt something intensely.
I began to fold a different blanket in the Country X way and that was also frustrating to her, so I left. I didn’t think much about what I was doing. I had a feeling of suffocation and left, but I wasn’t thinking about anything.
When she came out again, I could see her lower lip coming out. She was doing something at the tap–washing dishes or teeth or something. I can’t remember what it was, but the lip came out without her realizing it was doing that.
I don’t know what the lower lip out means. It’s not that I’ve never seen it before. It’s common enough in little ones, but I’ve never thought about it before. It’s possible that expression stands for remorse. I want that thing–whatever it is, a toy, another turn on the slide–and I know you don’t want me to want it. I’m sorry for wanting it.
I ought not to have left the room. I hadn’t thought about about leaving the room affecting her in any way, but it does, doesn’t it? It says if you don’t do things my way, I will leave you. I don’t know…maybe. Because, before leaving, I hugged her. I said, “You are very cute and I love you.” I don’t know why I said that. I am sure when she is frustrated, she does not feel cute. I do feel warmth for her when she is struggling though. Not because she is struggling, but I think something authentic comes through. I feel the same way when she is angry. It ought not to be like that, but I see her angry face and I think, “Oh, I know this angry person. She is magnificent.” This is true even when she is angry at me.
There were a few other strange moments, when intense feelings broke through in puzzling ways. She needed to take the gas cylinder to the shop. I thought we could all go together–she and The Boy managing the cylinder, and the two of us just walking. She was adamantly opposed to this idea and couldn’t or wouldn’t explain why. I felt trapped–why don’t I get to do anything fun? I went down past the toilet to the cow shed and looked at the cows for a minute. Then I went back. As I came closer, I began to hear their voices. The Boy was saying, “Madam is gone forever.” I hadn’t realized they would worry. I hadn’t gone far. But, obviously, they would.
I don’t know what suddenly flipped in my brain these two times: I think C was resorting to control, possibly for different reasons in both cases. I suspect there are rules in her mind for how to be safe that feel deadly to me to follow. We learn from our parents how to identify danger, and her parents have taught her how to be safe in confused ways.
I recall from reading about Crittenden’s attachment styles that preoccupied strategies involves thinking that has difficulties with cause and effect. A person with a very preoccupied thinking will remember danger, but become confused about what caused it. Something like it’s dangerous to leave the house can become the connection.
But what happens when someone tries to force you to follow rules that make no sense is that you feel angry–it all seems very unfair. I suspect it feels like domestic violence, in fact. In the past, I have been more accepting.
The last puzzling moment I can’t remember what preceded it, but I had walked around the corner of the toilet for some reason. We were all standing there, and I can’t remember the reason for that, and I went a bit on ahead of them and came back after a second. The look on C’s face was of shock and sadness.
I am not sure why I have such an effect on her.