A couple of months ago, I posted about the fact that the Bee’s anger management issues were coming to a head, and that we had found a therapist that we liked. I thought I’d come back and update on progress so far.
Here’s a news flash–this shit is hard.
The Bee has made substantial progress in controlling her violent outbursts. We’ve had many fewer instances of shoving, and have gone 2 months without having anything in the house broken (fingers crossed that I’m not jinxing that just by writing it down). Our ‘active listening’ training as organizers has definitely paid off—having the ability to just say, “I hear you saying that X makes you angry” has helped her feel listened to, and that has made a big difference.
The Bee really likes the therapist (and I like her more and more every time), and wants to go talk to her, and (so far, at least) is willing to hear things from her that she won’t listen to if landisdad and I say them. (Most of these things include the rationale for why we won’t send her little brother to a Turkish prison camp while she finishes growing up.)
On the other hand, the Potato seems to have taken the Bee’s dialing-it-down-a-notch as a cue to launch his own personal rebellion. I’m not sure if he’s decided that it’s his turn to be obnoxious, or if it’s that in our somewhat-calmer environment, he’s more noticeable when he’s obnoxious. Either way, he’s clearly testing more boundaries and pushing more buttons than ever before.
There was one session where the therapist wanted to see the Bee and the Potato together. She put them into a situation where they were going to get in a fight, so she could watch them fight and talk to them about how to handle difficult interactions, both together and one-on-one. When she asked the Potato what he liked about getting into fights with his sister, he told her, “she pays attention to me.” Not what I wanted to hear, exactly, but good to know, nonetheless.
I’m coming to the realization that we will never have a calm, quiet household where everyone gets along in perfect harmony. While I don’t think that we are anywhere near where we can be, after more therapy, the reality is that we have a house of yellers. In addition to that, the Bee seems to have some kind of low-grade anxiety disorder, and we will always need to be mindful of the various things that trigger that anxiety. Unfortunately, she tends to manifest her anxiety by being rude to people, including me. Which is not exactly sympathy-inducing.
We’re working on it.