The Honeymoon Is Over: Coming off of her Katy Perry moment replete with a meet, chat and photo-op, I was hopeful, with a measure of trepidation, that our daughter would return to her CRS in good spirits and a bountiful heart. Alas, no such luck. Her mate was battling her own demons this week, some reactive perhaps to our daughter’s (angst is contagious, anxiety is viral, and all of it is provocative) as well as stuff of her own making, so the last twenty-four hours have been fraught with clashing wills and words, culminating in a few really bad moments. Oh dear.
Stuck Together: It is three and a half months since the ladies began their shared life and the last eight days have been the most serious challenge for staff in the interpersonal conflict zone. Apparently the assistant residential coordinator and the vocational life skills person sat down with two young ladies this afternoon (each back from their volunteer work) to play a “social” board game aimed to create understanding and forgiveness. It backfired, with both girls accusing the other of being at fault. Our daughter called crying, full of indignation and anger. The other young lady’s mom had taken her out this morning to get some air. Nothing much is working now and both are off to their rooms, our daughter busily texting and calling me. It is very difficult; after all they are “stuck together.” The suggestion that they go to the recreation center this evening to exercise/exorcise the demons within was met with “I don’t want to go with her.” However, they do have to go “with her.” One staff, two gals, one car, one home. Sounds a lot like real life, doesn’t it? Siblings, spouses, limited space and the complete absence of empathy for the other’s experience.
Couples Crisis Intervention Needed: Couples therapist though I am, I cannot negotiate this one. Once I did a couples’ session with our daughter and her boyfriend. I had to, as they blew up at each other in a public setting and I was the only parental body on the premises, the others blissfully off snow tubing. I dragged the two love doves to my car, where the young man desperately tried to explain his feelings while our daughter shut down, though she was willing to offer minimal comfort, some hand holding and mouthed the words “I forgive you.” But she really never did fully forgive or maybe she forgave but never forgot. Sadly for both of them. The music from Sweeney Todd, the Johnny Depp version, was playing in the background, my choice to give our daughter a focus as she was not engaged in the therapy process at all. Was I successful? Sort of, it calmed them down for the rest of the weekend but ultimately they never fully recovered their bond. Probably needed ongoing work, as all couples do.
Dad To The Rescue: My husband just called his daughter to offer his services, a ride to the mall, a bite to eat. She turned him down “I am not in the mood.” Cheeky girl. Well, I for one am off to work and grateful for it.
Fingers Crossed: We can’t blame the full moon, that’s passed. Their cycles, waning. Jealousy? Too much proximity? Whatever, fingers crossed they will remember that they care for each other before much damage is done. That is always my hope for my couples. Come in before the bruises form thick scar tissue and accrue, like plaque build-up on artery walls, repair impossible. These are young girls, after all. Young hearts. Clean arteries and hopefully a bright future for their “shared life.”
©Jill Edelman, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. 2011