It’s the school holidays. The calm after the storm. Also the calm before the storm. It’s not so much the meltdowns right now, there is the odd one of course. But the violence is gone, for now. I know what’s coming though. A new term brings with it a massive increase in anxiety and an inability to deal with it at source, a retention that brews like volcanic lava bubbling away, awaiting a release at the first opportunity. At home. During this ‘break in the hostilities’, there are still nonetheless, signs of what we are building up to.
Hiding away in her bedroom, interaction on her own terms, at her own times. In the moments she does emerge, I dread a conversation, because I know it won’t just be a conversation. There is a simmering, seething, blob of awareness inside her, that she has to face up to life and expectations. She doesn’t want to. This means that when she converses with me, it’s not relaxed, it’s antagonistic and oppositional.
She will seek a confrontation, by making an issue out of something that’s not an issue. Almost like she wants to gain an opportunity to let out some of the lava. But why not punch her pillow instead. Why not go for a jog. Whereas before I was treading on eggshells, in fear of a massive explosion, now I am having to defend the status quo as best I can. Maintain some form of parental authority and boundaries.
There is often a pattern. Repetitive questioning for which no answer will suffice. So each answer I give, generates a “But…x, y, z” as if to place obstacles to the answer I gave and if I answer the ‘but’, there is always another one and another. Until she can try to goad a confrontation. I have to know the answer that is required and if I don’t give it, a rant will ensue. Or it will be simply because she was told to do something, get washed and dressed, or go up to bed. Even on the days that she complies, it will not be without complaint and angst.
I feel like I can’t even laugh with her any more. It’s silly stuff we used to laugh at, the bizarreness of life and peoples’ quirks mostly. But how can you laugh with someone that has destroyed your trust in them, your trust in the world? Someone who could hurt you and target you. Someone whose anxiety was that great, that in their explosions they blamed you and simply didn’t care about how much they harmed you, their anxiety took precedence.
I never did get that saying…
She seems content to be in her bedroom. Hiding away from the world. Refusing all suggestions to contact schoolfriends to go out. In her own safe little bubble. So much so that leaving this nest for a short while, can generate such a fraught communication style. So I know. I know it’s there. I know we are treading water until the holidays finish. Snarky, snappy, disrespectful, rude and oppositional holidays.
It’s because, in the words of the gas pump attendant at the end of Terminator
~ “There’s a storm coming in…”