Sunday, February 15, 2009

Manipulative much?

On Friday we were IM'ing and having an ordinary time.  I was telling you the latest with my kids, both of which have special needs.  Low-level and easy to manage special needs, but it does take a lot of planning, a lot of patience, and a lot of plastering a smile on my face so my kids don't feel different when they have to have special accomodations at school, at grandma's house, at the park, at the freaking grocery store, at McDonald's and every freaking other place we go.  I'm happy to do it for them, but it takes a lot of work to pull off every day. 

And now, AT THE SAME TIME, they are both being evaluated for additional special needs. 

My daughter might have a pretty serious hearing problem and needs to go through a series of evaluations.  We don't have the money or the good health insurance so we have to go through the school district for it.  They're doing the best they can, but they've only got so many people on staff so it's probably going to take another couple months before we even know if it's this hearing problem, maybe dyslexia, maybe ADD, maybe one of the other half dozen possibilities they rattled off at me. 

And my son is being evaluated by a TEAM of specialists, again through the school district to see if he will even be able to go to our neighborhood public elementary school or if he's going to have to have alternative placement.  One of the things they are looking at is possible AUTISM.(!!!)  At the minimum, they think he needs speech therapy and occupational therapy.  So the best we can hope for is neighborhood school placement with two or three additional therapy appointments a week.  At worst, he'll go to an alternative placement kindergarten with the hopes of mainstreaming him by first or second grade. 

(As an aside:  Why my kids?  They're already both dealing with one type of special need.  And very well by the way.  Why do they have to face something else? )

Then my son had his kindergarten exam at the doctor's office.  They ran him through about 15 activities that 5yo's should be able to do.  He did three. 

So what did you do?  Did you say hmm...  Or - Poor kid.  Or even - Wow, that sucks.

Nope.  You said (on the instant messenger) , I can't believe they are trying to pidgeon-hole kids like that.  He's only five.  They need to leave him alone.  Why do they do stuff like that to kids?  They're just going to label him and make things worse.

That pissed me off.  I started to explain to her that my son, who she's known since the day he was born (same with my daughter, btw), who calls her Auntie, that if he needs help, then he needs help.   Doing this kind of stuff helps them identify the kids who need help.  And the parents who need help. 

I was typing all of that and explaining how this works.  I know that her kids don't have special needs.  I know she has no idea the amount of effort, planning, money, patience and fake smiles it takes just to get through a week.  She knows because we've been very good friends for about 10 years, but she doesn't know what it's like to live it and then find out that my kids might have additional needs that make their current needs look like nothing.  So I'm sitting there IM'ing her about all this and send it. 

Then I look at what she had IM'd me and just about went through the roof!! 

She said - We all know what happens to kids who get labeled.  Clock Tower much???


Did she really just fucking say that???  Clock tower?!?!!??

So I told her that she needed to take that back and apologize.  But no.  She said that, well I don't mean YOUR KIDS.  I mean all of those other kids. 

What?  Are you kidding me?  So I IMd her and told her  Okay.  Whatever.  I don't feel like talking right now. 

So did she give me some space to calm the fuck down before I talked to her?  No!  All I needed was a couple hours to downshift.  But no.  She started doing the phone terrorism bullshit for the next 15 minutes - Call and when I didn't answer, immediately dial again.  I finally emailed her and told her to back the fuck off and give me some space.  I know she didn't mean to hurt me. We've been friends for 10 fucking years.  I know she loves my kids.  But fuck.  What the fuck is wrong with you?  Clock tower?  Fuck!  And you're saying you didn't mean my son, but it's okay that you say that about other people's  5 year old children who you don't even fucking know?  What the fuck? 

And she's going through a divorce that could seriously be a Lifetime Movie.  My friend and her kids are going through hell right now.  And I know that that is the majority of the reason that that bullshit, fucked up venom came out of her mouth.  But still.  There's no fucking way that can just roll off my back.  I need some time. 

So she IMs me about that she can't lose me that she's lost too much.  That don't let one stupid thing she said ruin our friendship.  What the fuck?  She says one fucked up thing in 10 years and now you actually think we're not friends anymore?  Gah!!!!!! 

So that same evening I had calmed down enough to email her.  I didn't want to call her and hear her crying and wanting me to comfort her over some fucked up shit SHE said.  I'm not going to apologize to her, ya know?  She can shove it up her ass if she thinks that's going to happen. 

So I emailed her.  Told her my kids are already labeled, that everybody gets labeled and mean, fucked up people will find things to pick on people for.  If there's nothing wrong with you, they'll say you're too tall, too short, too fat, too skinny, too light, too dark.  Whatever.  I told her that there's no way we're not friends anymore.  I don't do that.  I don't throw away 10 years worth of friendship because of one thing.  And I was just as likely to say something fucked up as she was because we're all human. (I never would have said something that fucked up EVER, but I'm not going through the hell she is right now, so I'm not going to judge, ya know?)  But I told her that clock tower crap was fucked up.  I told her that she better never say anything like that about anyone's children, I don't care if she says she wasn't saying it about mine.   Told her to not worry about it and it's water under the bridge and to call me this weekend.  Sent the email.  On Friday night.

Yea... It's Sunday night.  I haven't heard from her.  She hasn't IMd. She hasn't emailed.  She hasn't called.  Yea I told her not to call when she was doing the phone terrorism bullshit, but I told her to call me in the email. 

At this point, I'm pissed.  PISSED.  She was the one who did this.  And now she wants me to call her?  Is she kidding me?  What?  I'm supposed to come crawling to her to hear her crybaby about how HURT she is?   That I got mad for her saying that about my kids, or "other people's kids"?  That I wouldn't talk to her when she was basically trying to force me to with the phone BS.  That I emailed her to tell her to back the fuck off and let me have some space for a minute?   Fuck! 

It's not so much the labeling comment or even the clocktower comment that I'm mad about right now.  It's the silent treatment.  It's the drama queen.  It's the manipulation. 

Whatever.  The ball's in your court.  I won't let 10 years of friendship go over one stupid, fucked up comment. 

Will you? 


Sandi said...

I am screaming mad for you! Do not go kissing up to her. She needs to understand the seriousness of her words! She needs to understand how upset you are, with great reason! Some people! And, even worse, some friends!

ShallowGal said...

I lost my best friend of 10 years over one stupid fucked up comment and I'm sad about it all the time. I hope you're able to work things out.

xoxo, SG

Jodi said...

Maybe she is going through a difficult divorce. BTDT myself. It kind of obliterates everything else in the universe.

But you don't say negative things about people's kids. Not if you want to live.

I'd put this one in the "forgive, don't forget" column and consider it strike one. If she doesn't have children with special needs, she has no idea what you deal with on a daily basis, and how you have to consider the long term consequences of decisions you are making today.

I hope y'all work through it. Sounds like you both need a good friend right now.

But the telephone blitz? I HATE that. My mother does it. If I don't answer the house phone, she immediately calls the cell.

K.Line said...

Oh, this is tough. I think you handled things really well and all would have been good if she had called you. Is it possible she didn't see your message?

ShallowGal has a good point though. If the endgame is to support the friendship, it might be best to let this slip up (not calling) go, much as you've agreed to let her insensitive comments and attitude about your kids be "water under the bridge".

It seems that you are both good people and have a strong, long term friendship. The stresses you are both managing (and I'm sure managing very well) of divorce and kids with special needs can really escalate an argument - regardless of the topic or who's at fault.

I also hope you are able to work it out. Please keep us posted.

Anonymous said...

Well, she IM'd me. Yay!

She said that she didn't blame her if I didn't want to talk to her for a while, but she hoped we could work it out. Arg!!

Of course I told her to stop it (!) and it's water under the bridge. If she wasn't going through so much herself, I might not be as forgiving as quickly, but she is, so I am.

But, like Jodi mentioned, there's forgiving and then there's forgetting..

I'd like to be able to say that I'm just not going to talk to her about my kids with her, but I don't do friendship like that. Plus, they're my kids. I don't know if I'd be able to do that without being obvious about the fact that I was avoiding the topic.

But I will probably tell her less, maybe do the Cliff's Notes version. It makes me sad, but it's probably the best choice.

If she really can't handle it or she really has messed up feelings about it, then that will come out sooner or later and I'll have to figure out something else.

I guess that's why we've all got more than one friend. Some are closer than others. Some know more of your crap than others. Maybe special needs is farther than she can go. I have other friends who have kids with similar special needs that get all that stuff.

So things are good.

I loved being able to do the secret spineless whine. It really took a lot of the anger out of this.

Thanks you guys. :D

Jess said...

I think that you should tell her more about what is going on instead of the clif fnotes version. I dunno, I think if she is more exposed to things going on around her that she would become more understanding about children around her to can't help who they are. She is lucky that you forgave her, I tend to fly off of the handle with things of this nature.

Liz Lancs said...

That must have been terrible for you.

I have 2 sons on the Autistic Spectrum, so I understand some of what you're going through.

Getting your kids diagnosed is not labelling them. Without a diagnosis they will be labelled "The odd kid" or worse. At least once the children have a diagnosis, people will understand more about why they're different. People will know a little bit better about what to expect and how to help them.

With the correct help, the kids will NOT become "Clock Tower" but I've been there - my oldest son, before he was diagnosed, and the way he was abused through primary school, it wouldn't have surprised me if he'd done that.

Now he's diagnosed, he understands why he's different. Good people go out of their way to help him. Bad people just call him by his old label of Weird Kid.

It's hard for your friend. If she's never come across these sorts of problems before, she's simply ignorant of the facts.

Maybe, when you cooled down a bit, point her at this, and let her read for herself why you were so upset?