Sunday, July 29, 2012

Dog Eat Dog

more accurately...

Dog Passively Aggressively Manipulate Other Dogs Into Doing What He Wants. 

We are struggling here.

And it's all about the C word.


One of our adopted kiddos is brilliant.
No seriously. 
Homeboy is wicked smart.
In fact, he's downright gifted.
I feel a freedom to brag on him
cuz.....ya know....
it had absolutely nothing to do with me. 

It's not as though him and I have been reviewing Latin flashcards together since infancy or discussing the Pythagorean theory over Cheerios as a young toddler.
It's all him.
It's all in the way He designed him.

And it's beautiful.
And it's hard. 

Because along with his Bill Gates style brains comes one heck of a knack for being manipulative.

He's good at it.
He's really, reeeely great at it.

And for the most part,
the other two are completely oblivious to the aggressor standing right in front of them.

That's good.
That's bad.
I don't know.
I fluctuate.

In some respects I am so thankful they are not fully aware of the scope to which they are being pulled like puppets on a string,
but then the other part of me feels as though I need to constantly defend them.

Would you like a small example?


The Wii.
Last week they were all playing together.
The gifted one wins.
He always wins.
But through some crazy insane serious of events he

He lost.

He lost once.

And as the other one jumped up and down with excitement and a big smile on his face
the gifted one chimes in coldly,

"I let you win."

And the crushed look on the other one's face?
Well, let's just say it was heart wrenching.

I know you can pass it off as normal sibling behavior but trust me, this is one small example and the damage is being done.
He needs to learn that being manipulative in your relationships is incredibly unhealthy,
and they need to learn a sense of self. A sense of confidence.

And it's constant.
Like a river running through our house I can't, for the life of me, see where it originates and I certainly don't see where it ends. 

It's him getting them to do what he wants to do.
What he wants to play.
How he wants to play it.
All. The. Time.

And the longer this goes on the longer I can see the others losing their own voice.
So I intervene.
And intervene.
And intervene.
And intervene.

Always in love,
always in logic,
always in explaining the situation.
And he gets it.
In fact my explanation of why behavior x is not ok is truly not even needed.
He knows.
Trust me.
He knows.

So this is the dance we do.
Him always trying to outsmart them
me always trying to bring it all back around,
and then it builds.
The rage.

The all. out. rage. 

It was constant in the first couple of months home.
And it has since significantly improved.

What was once every day many times a day,
is now only a couple of times a month.

But you know what?
It still flat out bites.

It bites.

It's not even a scream.
It's definitely not a yell.
It's like a guttural cry coming from somewhere deep inside him that I cannot even begin to find.

And lately, it always end with the same thing.
"You are NOT my mommy!!!!!!!"

So here I stand before you.
Ready to admit it.

He's traumatized.


He's traumatized.
There you go.
I said it.

By his past,
by his present maybe for whatever reason,
by a series of events in his first 7 years of life that I had no control over
yet here I am,
trying to put those pieces back together for him again.

He is dealing with issues that are waaaayyy above the thresholds of his still 8 year old brain.

16 months here and I can still see that look in his eye.


The vacancy that comes over him,
the tongue that sticks partly out of his mouth,
it's that moment that he retreats into whatever safe place he can find the corner of mind.

And it's hard.

I'm no expert, that much I'm sure you've figured out by now.
But I can only imagine the two simply have to be related.
His unquenchable need to be in control
and his hurt.
His immense, intense, far-reaching hurt.

Those two forces within him have such a hold on him.
So it is here we begin,
and it's here we find our new starting point.

We are going to start counseling for him.
Because though there is no visible wound that I can put a band-aid on,
there is a heart need that is screaming for healing.
Good thing I know a great heart Doctor.

"And I will restore to you the years that the locust have eaten," Joel 2:25

Back to FAQ tomorrow.


  1. Oh Sonia, it is hard sometimes. I'm so grateful that he is there with you (rather than in an orphanage), working out all of the pain that is inside of him. But it is HARD WORK and I'll be praying for you.

    We've found that both control and anger always, always, always have their origin in fear. It took us a long time to learn this, so I'm glad that you're working on these things now that your little guy has only been home for a relatively short time.

    One thing that I will say is that one of our adoptive kiddos has only been cognitvely able to express what he's feeling in the past year or two (he's 11 now). And it's not that he's not smart, but it's just that he didn't really even know what he was feeling, so just realize that it may take some time for his emotional ability to catch up with his intellectual ability (but you probably already know all of this!!).

  2. I hear ya! I have a homegrown smarty.
    Some of the issues go along with being smarter than the average bear so to add trauma on top of it is not a walk in the park.
    Repeat after me... (insert name) will be the ceo of their own company one day.I just pray I live to see it! I say this at least once a day!
    My daughter has anxiety issues, sensory processing issues and adhd. According to the pediatrician these can go hand in hand with a high IQ. At 12, with no trauma we are still dealing with rage flare ups and various other lovely scenes. I can see glimpses of the good stuff here and there! I'm confident that the Lord has amazing things for her to do so I just pray my way through the day! Just love Jacob through today and one day soon you will catch him admonishing a friend or a brother in proper behavior, kindness and fair play! (Seriously! I know it seems unlikely but really it has happend here :)

    1. I didn't even realize that the little guy's name was Jacob (just joined in here randomly) but I was gonna say that the story of Jacob in the Bible really goes to show God's sense of justice. I agree w/ Tesseraemum... after lessons have been learned the hard way, there's a newly found humility. BTW, I have a Jacob, too, who's 18 and super-smart. He likes to blame us for his manipulation skills since we're the ones who named him. We always remember that the Lord said, "Jacob I have loved."

      I also raised a step-daughter who had a bunch of the same issues. They really started to show around that same age. I agree that alot of that need-to-control comes from fear. That's sad. : (

  3. Oh Sonia, some tough stuff going on, indeed.
    I will be praying for all of you.

    So sad and so heartbreaking, but like Sarah said, at least he is home with you.

    My Shea is just recently expressing a lot of sorrow and anger....she is 7 1/2.....maybe this is the age when our kiddos really start to understand the situation and the reality of it all?

    Thanks for always, I love your posts!


  4. Oh, girl...that does bite. The worst part is that we Mama's can't *fix* it! He's healing, for sure, but it does take time. Do you know his triggers? Our little man (now 7.5) came to us at age 4.5 and we've learned the basic triggers to his anxiety (and low self-esteem). Herbs and vitamins have helped balance some things in his brain (seriously, day and night difference). Knowing some of his triggers helps us have a basic balance to life...but there are other times the moodiness begins and we're at a loss as to what is going on in his head. Praying for the continued healing in their little hearts!

  5. My oldest is similar and have had wonders of improvement with Nuerofeedback program it has done wonders without having to put him on stimulating meds or meds that in my opinion no 8 year old should be taking, please look into it. . He has rages, anger and inappropriateness with other, he has several diagnosis that is hard to believe since he can to us at 10 days old, but never the less they are there and we are dealing with it. Best of luck to you, kristi

  6. Hugs - it is so hard - I really thought I was the crazy one for a while. I have never ever seen a child able to hone in on anothers weakness until we adopted our son. He doesn't do it to siblings yet and I am thinking it won't because our oldest of the littles is the "evil genius" (whole bother story LOL). Anyhow, our son can read adults and figure out if he can manipulate them like he has a manual to their hearts. I swear I could bring him into a convention center and use him as a guiding rod to ever codependent person in area. I have had to distance myself from the friends who don't understand boundaries and set him off. It was hard for me but the more I analyzed WHY God sent this particular child to us - I realized just maybe it was to help me create boundaries I had let pass for far to long.

  7. Rather, much rather, have the hurts that require yards of gauze.

  8. You are a good Momma to see this in your boy! ANd you are a really good writer to be able to explain it to us!

    I have so many situation that I want to share but NO WORDS to do it with...

    Such as-
    If I should die...
    no one may know it...
    Sarah will just take my place...
    And no one will know the difference!
    Except maybe she'll do a better job! And then they can say-
    My Jean your looking young... and asian... lately!

  9. I read your post and felt like I was reading it about my daughter. She is a beautiful, SMART, kind person, HOWEVER she is constantly controlling and bossy of everyone. She has lost some friends, dear friends, over this. I understand your concern. Instead of expressing hurt feelings or her anxious feelings, she shows it through anger. Very hard to deal with. I am proud of you for recognizing the behavior and seeking help. We did and we've come a LONG way, but still have much work to do. It is hard to watch when you love them so much. Thanks for sharing.

  10. You are great at really seeing and verbalizing what is going on with our children. I say "our" children" because we have that same child in our house. Keep up the fight for these kids and I know that God will bless them and will restore may not be completely done on this side of heaven. I think more people need to see our struggles so they don't feel so alone or like something is wrong with them. Keep sharing. You do it in such a wonderful way.

  11. You are great at really seeing and verbalizing what is going on with our children. I say "our" children" because we have that same child in our house. Keep up the fight for these kids and I know that God will bless them and will restore may not be completely done on this side of heaven. I think more people need to see our struggles so they don't feel so alone or like something is wrong with them. Keep sharing. You do it in such a wonderful way.