You Can’t Do ANYTHING to Make Me Love You Less

I feel like such an idiot. I’ve been going about this all the wrong way. This time, maybe the problem isn’t medication. Maybe it’s fear. My parents, two of the people that Javan loves most in the world, recently got a divorce. He was used to being able to spend the night there every Friday night. He hasn’t been to their home in a month and a half because I didn’t want him in that tense  environment and I didn’t want him watching everything change. Boxes, stuff where it doesn’t “go,” etc. Transitions are hard, but when it’s one of the only places in the world he feels safe and comfortable, I thought that might be too hard. We moved my Mom into her new house Saturday. The whole week prior to that, I spent most evenings over there painting and otherwise helping her get ready for the move. I was gone from home. Javan was here with Dad.

See, Javan, like most Asperger’s people, relies on logic to try and understand all situations, even situations where emotion would be more informative and helpful, because he doesn’t understand emotions well. He also doesn’t understand theory of mind very well, meaning he really doesn’t understand that you could be thinking/feeling something other than what he is thinking/feeling. Here is the most common example test for theory of mind:

I could not find a decent size picture, but you’ll get the point. It says this:

This is Sally. This is Anne.

Sally has a ball. She puts it into her basket.

Sally goes out for a walk. Anne takes the ball out of the basket.

Anne then puts the ball in the box.

Now Sally comes back. She wants to play with the ball. Where will Sally look for the ball?

A person with a good understanding of theory of mind will tell you that Sally will look for the ball in the basket where she left it, because she doesn’t know that Anne put it in the box while Sally was away. But a person with a poor understanding of theory of mind will tell you that Sally will look for the ball in the box. They know the ball is in the box, therefore Sally knows too. This is why Javan sometimes gets angry at me for seemingly no reason or because he expected me to do/say something that he didn’t ask for or tell me he wanted. I often say, “How did you think I was going to know what you wanted if you didn’t tell me?” His thought response may go something like this: “How am I supposed to know what she knows and what she doesn’t? I mean, she’s a grown-up. Shouldn’t she know just about everything by now? She must be retarded or something.”

This post seems disjointed and stuff, but my thoughts are just beginning to formulate and I don’t really understand them all yet. If that makes any sense. Anyway. Where I was going with all that is this. Two important people in his life, two married people who he thought loved each other unconditionally, just decided not to love each other anymore. Just like that. Previously, his logic was probably that people who get married stay married. Now his logic is all messed up. Apparently, people who get married can suddenly decide to separate. To leave each other. Thus…dun, dun, dun…separation anxiety!

He has asked us, Mom and Dad, if we will get divorced. We have assured him many times that for us it is just not an option. We promised God and each other that we would never do that. And even if we got really angry with each other, we would just have to work through it and keep loving each other. We’re stuck together. Forever. BUT. These are words. Based on emotion. Compare that to recent real events. Based on logic, words and emotions take second.

And for that matter, if two married people who have been married forever (Literally, in his mind, there has never been a time when they weren’t married. They were born like that.) can stop loving each other, who else can make that decision? Could Mommies and Daddies decide to stop loving their son? Could they move to a different house without him? This is just me taking a guess, I have nothing solid to base this theory on, but I’m thinking maybe Javan’s terrible behavior lately has been an attempt to get me to stop loving him. Maybe he just wants to see if I really mean it. Unconditionally. NO matter what.

I’ve been harsher with my consequences lately because I feel like I have got to get control over his behavior before this pattern become permanent. And hopefully before school starts. And I’ve been angrier and showing my disappointment in him for acting this way. And all that probably makes him think I’m getting closer to leaving. To deciding not to love him. So, tomorrow, when he does terrible things, there will still be consequences. But they will not be doled out in anger. And they will be preceded and followed by me getting on my knees, looking into his eyes, and saying “I love you and you can’t do anything to make me love you less.”

Like I said, I don’t really know if any of this is what’s going on inside his head. I wish I did. Maybe it’s medication. Maybe it’s a growth spurt. Who knows? But, I think if I try really, really hard to reinforce my love for him in every outward way possible over the next few days or weeks, his response to me and his behavior may show me if my theory has any basis in reality. Here goes.

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