I went to counseling today with Dr. B.

My third appointment and we’re still not really getting into the root of my problems.  So far, we’re just scratching the surface on everything that I deal with on a daily basis; the sources of my frustrations.  On subject matters, we’ve talked about most of the main characters in my life – Hun, LaLa, Buddy, Rowdy, Monkey, Flotsam, Jetsam and my coworkers and how I interact with each of them.

Right now, we mostly talk about Monkey – probably because she’s the reason we (me and her) started back into counseling and since we’re going through this together, it’s an easy subject to talk about.  The last time Dr. B asked me how my week went, it wasn’t the best week – Monkey had been suspended from school for stealing and Rowdy had been suspended from school for fighting.  Oh….I didn’t blog about those events?  My bad.  Maybe I’ll talk about it in the future.  But then again, maybe I won’t – I’m really trying hard to keep positive.

Back to today’s appointment – again, Dr. B asked me how things were going with Monkey.  She’s still struggling in school.  She’s still getting in trouble and not showing the least bit of outward remorse about any of it.  Nothing as serious as stealing like that one time, but she’s not had a single week since the beginning of the year where she hasn’t attended detention or something similar either.  I asked her this morning if she was getting tired of spending so much extra time at the school.  Wonder of wonders, she actually answered in a small meek voice that she WAS tired.  Maybe there will be a small change….maybe.

Dr. B and I talked some more – again about Monkey and about an idea I hit upon about a week ago.  Kind of an “Ah-Ha!” moment for me.  I have those moments on an often enough basis to realize when something truly makes sense or if I’m just fooling myself, hoping against hope.  This was one of those moments that made SENSE.  It made so much sense to me that I couldn’t wait until counseling to bring it up to Dr. B and instead made an appointment with Monkey to talk about it.  She picked the time.  She actually allowed me to talk with her (okay, maybe TO her) and I’d like to share our conversation with you.

This story began back when Jetsam still had custody of the kids and I started out my conversation with Monkey with this:

Sometimes we have incidents when we are young; that if they are not dealt with appropriately, the things we have hidden deep down inside of us come out in ways we’re not expecting when we get older.  I have an idea something like this might be going on with you and I’d like for you to think about it.  You can talk to me if you want to, but I’ll understand if you don’t.  You can also talk to Dr. B about it, but I really want you to think about what I have to say.  It’s not meant to be anything but me trying to help you understand yourself better.  Does that make sense?  (She nodded her head yes.)  Ok.  Here are my thoughts:

When you still lived with your mom, whenever we would pick you up from her house for visitation, you would always pack ALL of your things to bring with you.  At least, it was ALL of your things that were important to YOU.  You would have 4-5 bags of things, sometimes more, that you would bring with you and then pack back up to take back home with you.

Your mom used to call you her “little pack-rat”.  (Monkey laughed at this as I was telling her this story.)

Yes, your mom thought it was funny too.  I’ll be honest with you and tell you that I didn’t think it was funny.  I was very upset about it.  I would cry about you packing all of your things up to carry back and forth.  I thought it was very sad that a little kid (you were only 3-5 years old at the time) felt the need to pack everything up that they owned.

You see, at the time this was happening, your mom was having to move a lot.  I don’t know how much of this you remember, but I know your brother and sister remember moving.  There were several times we’d drop you off from visitation and two weeks later, we’d call your mom to say we were on our way to get you guys.  She would tell us, “We don’t live there any more, we’ve moved.”  We would have no idea from one visitation to the next where you would be living – in less than 14 days, you were somewhere else.

One of the things all of you kids would tell us is that your mom wasn’t able to take everything from one location to the next.  All of you lost a lot of your things – your toys, your clothes, your furniture – almost everything that made the house your home.  Every few months, you would lose most of what was important to you.  The way I saw it, you brought everything with you where ever you went because you didn’t want to run the risk of it not being there when you came back – if you even went back.

(Monkey was very quiet during all of this; she didn’t say a word and didn’t look at me at all.  I went on.)

I have no idea if what I thought or if what your mom thought is true or not.  Only you can say if you were being a pack-rat or if you were trying to protect your things.  But….

If you were trying to make sure nothing was left behind back then, I can see how some of your actions now might be coming from those earlier feelings.  You see your friends being able to do things that you are currently not allowed to do.  Maybe you’re feeling like if you don’t “prove” yourself in some way to them, YOU will be “left behind”.  So you act out, you put yourself in situations that are beyond your abilities to handle, and you insult your friends to make yourself feel better about not having what they have.

Again, I have no idea if any of this is accurate, only you can answer that.  But I will say this – your dad and I have no intention of allowing you to be left behind.  We will not allow that to happen.  We love you too much to allow that to happen.  Just because we have a different time-frame in mind than your friends’ parents, doesn’t mean you won’t have everything you need and a whole lot of what you want.

(Still, Monkey remained quiet, looking at her hands and not saying a word – I wasn’t even sure she was listening to me.)

Like I said, you don’t have to talk to me about this.  I only ask that you think about the possibility.  Do you have any questions for me?  (Shook her head no.)  Is there anything you don’t understand about what I have said?  (Again, shook her head no.)  Ok.  I don’t have anything more to add – just remember, I’m here if you do want to talk.  (She shot off the chair like it was on fire.)

Back to my counseling appointment this morning and me relating this event to Dr. B.  He reminded me that kids don’t always respond to counseling like adults do – that even counselors have to look at a child’s response, or lack of response, for deeper meaning.  He pointed out that even if I wasn’t sure she was listening, the fact that she agreed to sit and at least appear to listen was a step by itself.  She showed a small measure of respect when there was none from before.

He also pointed out to me that Monkey didn’t say a word, didn’t try to correct me and didn’t try to deny anything.  He said that he viewed her lack of response as an indication that there is a good possibility that I probably hit very close to her deep-down-innermost issue.

I hope so – I want so much to be able to help her….to help us.