I can’t wait to get this new book called Living With Intensity: Understanding the Sensitivity, Excitability, and the Emotional Development of Gifted Children, Adolescents, and Adults by Susan Daniels (Editor), Michael M. Piechowski (Editor).
Here is a book review.
I’ve been waiting for something like this to help us deal with my daughter’s intensity as well as my own. It’s been very, very draining for us lately. One of the chapters I’m most interested in is the chapter about overexcitabilities and family dynamics.
I’m embarrassed to say I struggle greatly in the area of compassion and understanding in the heat of the moment.
I was also humbled and cried when I started to read the blog by This Mom, a mother of a boy with Asperger’s, because it shows me how even though we don’t have it as bad as it used to be with my middle daughter’s meltdowns (due to sensory regulation difficulties) and other behavioral issues due to selective mutism (controlling behaviors at times and severe separation anxiety at others), I never had much patience and that always made things worse (I’m getting better, but I still have my bad days). I can’t say that I have had the fortitude to avoid Mother Rage. I also can’t say that it’s been easy to raise children for me, for many reasons I’ve talked about before (having 3 girls within 3.5 years, giving up my job in science, trying to reconcile how I was raised with what I want for them, and simply trying to make sure all of them are appropriately challenged because they are bright girls).
I’m not the mother I need to be. I sometimes think of how things used to be when they were at the worst part of things (when she was around 3-4.5), and how dark my thoughts were and how hopeless I felt. Sometimes those thoughts slink back into the foreground, trying to suffocate me and I’m so ashamed of myself. My worst habit is yelling and swearing when things get to be too much. I go through an adult version of a tantrum (but dammit if it doesn’t make me feel a tiny bit better to get things out in the moments before the guilt sets in).
Even at it’s worst, we don’t have it so bad. Yet the undercurrents of overwhelming feelings threaten to undermine us, my husband and I. We were always the happy couple and we spent so much time and energy on each other. Having children changed that somewhat, but having an intense child affected our relationship even more than we ever thought it would. Though most days I don’t mind my intense 5 year old coming into bed with us between 3 and 5 in the morning, on some days it really creates a problem when J and I want intimacy in the wee hours of the morning.
I spend so much time trying to figure out my daughter, looking for solutions, trying to blog *some* good things about our days on my other two blogs, that I neglect my husband at times. He’s usually good about letting me know when that happens, but I wish I could avoid it in the first place. I wish I could stop snapping at him when the girls are dancing on my last nerve. Fortunately, that doesn’t happen too often, but often enough where I can add that to the list of things I feel guilty about.
That’s the other thing: my husband is the only one who really knows half of what life is like when she melts down. No one in real life knows other than him, and even at that most of it is only second hand for the worst of them, because she never got really bad around him. I have video footage of how she was in her melt down modes, but I’ve been too scared to show anyone else beside him how bad things used to be. I don’t want them to think she’s got serious behavioral problems, even though at the time, they were pretty serious.
I’m still wanting to go to therapy for all the issues. I’m not sure why I’m dragging my heels on this. Maybe because I’m afraid no one will really understand how a wonderful, creative, bright child could slowly erode the foundation of our lives (though we do try to patch things up as best we can). I’m afraid of finding the wrong therapist and that it will make things worse instead of better for us.
But I’m tired of going it alone. I’m tired of having no friends to really talk to about this. I mean, I have some friends, but I have reservations about really talking about these issues. I guess if I paid a therapist, at least I’d get things off my chest, right? Maybe I can talk about the other losses in my life – like the loss of direction, the loss of my career, the loss of my youthful vitality (wait a minute, did I ever have that?) and not putting my needs anywhere near the top of the list of important things I should do.