Saturday, May 29, 2004

badly drawn boy

Something I've discovered in all this is that the boy anticipates.

This is why it's now easy to understand more about the way he is behaving.

When he goes off his tree, he really goes WAY off. He becomes evil child with shades of Linda Blair. Scary. And most of the time there seems to be no reason, or whatever has happened is so trivial that we are left with our gobs hanging open at the aftermath.

'What is wrong with that boy!'

How scary? Well, there's the evil eye he gives you for a start. Then the hateful things he says. If you're lucky, there's a bit of wall-bashing (or head bashing if he's really in the vibe), toy-throwing, shelf-clearing and fingers stuffed into ears. If attempting to be extra annoying he hums loudly and rolls under his quilt, all the way under the bed.

Oh what jolly fun.

Yet, now I can clearly see that whatever triggers an episode, is not the real cause of the behaviour. He's anticipating being treated badly. He's drawing a picture in his mind of events that he truly believes are about to happen.

So, before you can assure him or explain the situation, or give him choices, his mind has already accepted bad stuff and he is living through it because of past experiences that he couldn't handle.

This is severe rejection. This is very psychological, and actually very perceptive of him when you think about it. It's his method of self-protection when he feels he is losing control, whether that is real or perceived.

What's to be done? This is all about unraveling a systematically learned behaviour and response system that, for him, works in some way that shields him from the worst he thinks can happen. It's going to be hard to pry that away from him, like Linus's blanket in Charlie Brown. Remember when the blanket was due for a wash and Linus shook with withdrawal symptoms?

What we have to do is to replace this blanket with another one that is more socially acceptable and serves him better for the future. We have to take away the insecurity and replace it with security. He needs to get to a point where he can be scolded or blamed for something and his inner calm and feelings of being wanted are not compromised in any way.

At the moment, any small pebble thrown into his pond of self-worth causes a tidal wave instead of a minor ripple. He goes into shutdown mode instantly and automatically.

Although all this came to me a few days ago, it really sank in last night when I was talking to him about how he acts when he's in the 'blackhole', as well call it to help him to talk about all this more easily - we're defining the indefinable for him.

I described one of his typical illogicisms:

"Please get dressed"


(after some time when one realises one is getting no where)

"If you don't get dressed, we won't be able to take you to XXX on Saturday. You know how this works"


"Do you want to go to XXX?"


"Then get dressed"


"Then no XX..."

"Aww, that's not fair"

"Then get dressed"


When I described this to him last night, he just looked at me and said, "But that's silly, it makes no sense."

"Exactly." I said.

It was another light bulb over my head incident where I suddenly realised that he is completely detached from logic when in the blackhole. In a sense he is not responsible for his actions. This makes it more clear that my strategies for dealing with him are correct - the walkaway is the right thing to do in most cases.

It's horse-whispering for kids. I'll explain it later.

The boy and I are going out...

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