I'd be remiss if I didn't touch on the single most important thing I learned in sociopath purgatory--the whole ownership thing. You know, how everything is somehow everyone else's fault?
Nic brought that home to me in a big way yesterday afternoon. He greeted me through clenched teeth that I was late, it was my fault he had a bad time from 4 o'clock on, and somehow all the other kids were at fault, too.
I sighed. And made him apologize to Miss J and the entire class.
Then I told him he lost his computer until he can own his own temper.
He wailed. Screamed. Blamed me.
"You have no one to blame but yourself for carrying on like this," I told him. "You alone can control how you act and react, and you choose to carry on like a toddler."
"I am not a toddler!" He howled. I retorted that we wouldn't be able to go into the library if he carried on like that.
"Why am I being punished?" G piped up. "I want to go to the library."
"G is never punished for anything!" Nic wailed, renewing his volume.
"Oh yes, G does get punished, for different things," I retorted.
"That's right!" G agreed.
"So you can stay here and cool your jets," I told him as I parked the car. "And if you come in there and are a howling embarrassment to me, you lose your computer until December. Got it?" With that, G and I gathered up our books and headed to the door.
"Nic really annoys me when he screams like that," G confided.
"Me too," I said.
Nic came in a few minutes later and tapped me on the shoulder. "I'm calm now," he told me. "Can I stay here?"
"Sure," I answered, and he went off to gather up some books to check out. Convincing me, once again, that theatrics play a huge role in how he responds to things. It's all in how people react to his reaction.
That's also kind of how sociopaths roll, although their theatrics are carefully calibrated to their victims. I don't want Nic--or either kid, really--to manipulate others. They are essentially good people with native gifts who are good enough to go without smoke and mirrors. I want them both to be able to man up and own everything they do, and I never want to hear either boy blame some one else for the way he reacts to some one or some thing. Cooler heads prevail, and everyone is looking to push your buttons.
Last week wasn't the first time and the only way it's happened, and it won't be the last. But it served as an important reminder to me to mind my own armor.
After all, a friend of mine reminded me a couple days ago, the kids watch me, too.