parenting

Anger at Biological Parents: Adventures in My Own Humanity

carlosmeltdown

Carl facedown on his “fainting couch”

I’m not even sure where the anger comes from. All I can see is red in this moment. I’m not proud of it.  I am tired, I am frustrated, and I am DONE with this whole conversation.

It’s early in the morning. The children are getting ready for school. Carl wakes up angry, as he so often does. He is arguing with me from the moment he opens his eyes.

“Carl, please get off of the floor. Your sister needs to walk through there.”

“I’m NOT on the floor, Mommy!!” He yells from the floor. Then he heaves himself up with an elaborate sigh and an eye-roll. I can hear him muttering “stupid” under his breathe. To Carl’s credit this is a far cry from the “stupid b*tch,” he might’ve muttered at one time. He also used to threaten me with a fist or with a suggestion that he would physically show me or teach me a lesson. He no longer does these things. In fact, I should be saying to myself, “Progress! Look how far we’ve come!” Instead, I am stumbling to the coffeemaker with a murderous feeling blossoming in my tummy.

After my husband distributes meds, Carl flops down on the couch and feigns sleep. (As a side-note, he is an excellent flopper. Usually face down, in the middle of the floor, or on his “fainting couch” as we have now dubbed the oversized ottoman in the living room.)

“Carl, get up. You need to get ready for school.”

“I AM up! And it’s 6:22! I don’t HAVE TO be up now!!!” he yells from his prone position.

The fact that his alarm goes off at 6:25 is a moot point. Those 3 minutes are black and white to him. After I have banished him to the bathroom to brush his teeth he continues with a mix of yelling at me, saying nasty things to me and his sister, or singing and dancing. I give him reminders to brush his teeth. Mary needs to get in there, too. I remind him at 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, and then 15.

“I AM brushing them!” Carl shouts through a mouth unobstructed by toothpaste or toothbrush.

As I begin a final countdown for him to exit the bathroom he screams, “But I haven’t even brushed my teeth yet! You are the WORST!!” and slams a few things around. Then he shoves his sister in the hallway and I send him into his room. When he is this angry it is better to take a few minutes before having him come in close to me in order to practice respect towards family and emotional regulation. His engine is revving too high at this moment.

Once in his room, he slams things around, slams the door (Flexible particle-board doors never break. I swear! Always buy the cheap ones!) He screams at me the whole time. Part of his issue is that we will have a high of 32 degrees today. That means he must wear his coat and his gloves. He absolutely hates dressing for winter. Part of it is a control issue. Unfortunately for Carl, it’s a battle he cannot win. When he was small, in his biological home, at some point he suffered frostbite on his hands. That means he has 2 fingers on each hand that are extremely sensitive to cold.

Carl is different from other kids in the sense that he feels physical sensation differently. He is highly sensitive to sticky or wet substances. It takes a great deal of pressure or force to make him feel hard physical impact. For example, breaking his foot wasn’t nearly as bad as having tree sap stuck on his fingers. Many children from hard places have a smattering of sensory processing issues due to their past trauma.

In his biological home, he was beaten so badly, so many times, that physical impact doesn’t phase him. I believe he honestly doesn’t even feel the New England chill until it is too late. Until he comes inside screaming in abject pain and holding bright red, naked hands, out to me. They hurt him so much but he refuses help to keep them warm. It’s much easier to argue with mom.

Today, Carl yells at me from his room this morning that I will have to make his lunch because he can’t make it from his room. I sip my coffee and tell him that he can easily dip into his money jar and bring his own money to buy a school lunch. No worries.

I am mad at Carl this morning. Really, really angry. He is screaming and shouting horrible things at me. He shoved his sister. He sometimes reverts back to whatever mentality in his bio- home that taught him women were meant to be beaten, controlled, and dominated. He isn’t often like this anymore. He’s not physical with me but it sounds like his bunk bed is taking a solid beating.

It occurs to me that I might not be completely mad at Carl. I am mad that we have to worry about his frostbite because his first mom left him alone outside in the snow, under the age of 5. I am mad that no one bundled up my little boy and met his needs. I am mad that he was beaten so badly, and so often, that sensations rarely register with him. After all, nothing will ever hurt him as badly as his biological parents did. I’m mad. He’s my baby now and I wish I could have met those needs. But I wasn’t there. I am here now and instead of letting my pre-teen boy have a healthy parental rebellion, I’m stuck attempting to further protect him from damage that she has already done.

Realizing this softens me towards him. He hugs me and apologizes on his way out the door.Of course I squeeze him tight and wave good-bye.  I am left to wrestle with this anger I have towards her. I try to be understanding. I try to be forgiving. But I am only human. At this point in the day I am a very disheveled, under-caffeinated human. I guess grace and forgiveness will have to wait until I’ve at least had a good long shower.

**Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.

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15 thoughts on “Anger at Biological Parents: Adventures in My Own Humanity

  1. Diane says:

    Sounds a lot like our 6 yr old. Although he was never beaten (that I know of), he was neglected, and when his brother came along 2 years after he was born, bio mom pretty much rejected him. He harbors anger towards his little brother at times because of this. Like it is innate. He did start doing better on that score when I explained that he was too young to have done anything and that he had been neglected, too. He actually felt some empathy and started treating him better. But some days are still horrible.

    He had started doing better after we’d tried some new methods, but then the judge ordered their baby sister to go back to the bio parents. She was born after they were adopted due to parental rights termination. After 18 months of getting to know sissy, the boys’ trauma marches on. Only the whole family has been traumatized, including the sweet sister. Talk about anger at the bio parents. According to the court appointed special advocate, the parents did the bare minimum to get her back…and we all know that bar is kept pretty low. Discouraging. We just keep trying to love these little guys and pray they eventually feel safe and loved instead of just feeling fear and anger all the time. I’m trying to get to a place of forgiveness of the bios, but I’m not there yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Some days, I’m more thankful my sons’ birth mom chose life, after multiple abortions. Other days, I’m more angry at the exposure to drugs, drunken domestic violence, trauma, abuse, and neglect. Knowing our children still deal with the effects of choices we couldn’t protect them from is so frustrating!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Every word of this sounds like a remarkably loving mom who is human. It’s the baby steps that matter and you *have* made progress, plus there’s more to come. We all have the bad days — just hang in there ’cause you’re doing great!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: I’m Not Sick and You Can’t Make Me! Adventures in Oppositional Defiance | Herding Chickens and Other Adventures in Foster and Adoptive Care

  5. I think most of us struggle when there was neglect or abuse by bios that leaves us taking care of issues they created. Issues that are HARD. No guilt…just human nature. Some days it is easier to be forgiving than others.

    Like

  6. Pingback: One Step Closer to Biology | Herding Chickens and Other Adventures in Foster and Adoptive Care

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