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Language Log

Tuesday, Jun. 12, 2018 - 8:18 a.m.

Had a hard day yesterday. The night before I didn’t sleep well or enough, and so I was trying to take an afternoon nap and U came in and started demanding I wash his hands for him. First of all, he can reach the sink here, he doesn’t need me. Secondly, he phrases the request the way he phrased all requests: bellowing WASH MY HANDS at me.

The psychologist has emphasized that we need to push for incremental changes and not give in, be very clear we aren’t giving in in certain situations. So I give him examples of how he could ask instead, and he refuses and I tell him it will not get him what he wants, and he bounces into me, flops over me, sticks his feet in my face, pulls my hair, all while yelling “Do it! Wash my hands! Why aren’t you doing it?!” Etc. I get up and lock myself in the bathroom. He is mad but goes away. I wait a few minutes then go downstairs.

He is still mad, still demanding I wash his hands, still refusing to tone down the request in any way. I am standing in kitchen and mil is working at kitchen table. I am rocking and finger stimming as U circles me and rams himself into me and makes noises. Now I am just using all of my energy not to beat him to death then and there. I conserve my energy and begin to shut down. I don’t respond or emote, because my emotions and responses are not positive. I would only lash out in a damaging way and I don’t want to do that. So I’m staring and stimming and mil asks,

“What are you doing? What are you doing with your hands?”

“Are you ok? Are you in some kind of a trance?” Peppering me with these inane questions while U low key pummels me and harasses me. I snap, “I’m not ok, I’m stimming to self-regulate!” And dash for the door in tears before she starts with inane follow up questions.

Go upstairs, U in hot pursuit, I put my glasses and phone high on a shelf and cover my ears and squeeze my eyes shut and rock and sob while he begins threatening me and still demanding I wash his hands. He gets my glasses and threatens to break them. He says, “if I give them back to you now, will you wash my hands?” Then Mil comes up and he flees and she sits next to me and rubs my back while I think “oh god no don’t touch me and don’t talk to me.” She says stuff. I nod. She goes to corral U and I continue for a while.

It’s like when you have a hand cramp, all those little muscles pulling painfully, and then it finally starts to relax. You can’t move the whole thing at once or it’ll seize up again even worse. So I rock and rock, thinking, muscles clenched. At some point I stop sobbing. At some point I can open my eyes. After a couple more minutes I can stop rocking. The I can move my hands. Then I can get up and go lay down. Then I can look at my phone and type. Then I can talk.

I stayed up there and rested and slept the rest of the afternoon. I finally come down and in an effort to be compassionate his dad says, “I hear we had a big event today”. I grunted and went about my business. It wasn’t a big day. It was a very common experience. How often now? Once a month or so?

Later U had another behavioral event, which I was able to handle fine. When his anger is directed at something else, I can handle him. When it’s directed at me, and he’s specifically demanding things of me I can’t or won’t do, that’s what triggers my shutdown.

Good to know, I guess.

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