I've been having some wondrous dreams lately, mostly about aliens invading planet earth and the human race scrambling for survival.
Last night I had this dream that I was in the city and aliens started throwing silver balls about the size of tennis balls at us from their shiny silver ships high in the sky. These balls, when they landed, radiated out cool waves of air that washed over everybody and made them serene and emotionless. I ran for my life away from these waves of air. I ended up hiding down an alley, exhausted. Me and this random bloke watched from behind a garbage bin as the aliens, dressed up in black and silver metal armour suits like something out of a super-hero comic book, walked among the population and zapped with great big metal swords anyone who showed any emotion.
When I woke up and thought over the dream it really didn't take much to figure out what it was all about. The alien silver balls came from the silver ball cake sprinkles my daughter took, and the demand to be serene, calm and emotionless at all times comes from having to live with two kids who scan you constantly for your emotions.
I don't feel like I'm allowed emotions in this house. If I slip and allow myself a moment of complete exasperation or even small annoyance the kids pounce on it. Daughter loves to see me lose control, makes her feel superior. In fact, I think some of her crazy making is to make me lose control, so she can relax. Son however ups his game. He has to make his emotions bigger than mine, and it can quickly get out of control if I don't immediately stamp down my own feelings.
It sucks. It's why I liked the anti-depressants so much, because I didn't have to work so hard at being emotionless.
Yesterday Daughter was really rude about something and I snapped at her. A few minutes later she came and apologised for annoying me. She had totally picked up on my expression of emotion and was addressing that rather than her being rude. So I put the ball back in her court and said that the issue was her rudeness, and then just for good measure I had another go at her about it. She remained slightly cocky and defiant for the rest of the night.
So afterwards, of course, I kept picking over how I had handled it and how I could have done it better. By 'better' I realised I meant how I could have sucked down my emotions and addressed the underlining emotions with Daughter that lead her to be rude in the first place. That, in a nutshell, is what you are supposed to do as a therapeutic parent.
As a 'normal' parent, I'd have felt completely within my rights to call my 10 year old Daughter on her rudeness. As an adoptive parent I know I'm supposed to put the relationship before my own feelings about their behaviour. That's harder than it seems, when you're doing it day in day put, year after year. Sometimes, God forgive me, I wish I was a normal parent who can just say it like it is. Sometimes I really wish my home didn't have aliens in it and I could just express myself without getting zapped.