I figured I would email Thomas' therapist ahead of time to give him a heads up for what is going on with Thomas. I felt it would be easier to say my peace that way then to risk further angering Thomas if he were to listen to how I felt about things that have been going on. When it came time for therapy, I was called in with Thomas to be a part of the discussion.
Thomas' therapist spent a good deal of time talking to Thomas about anger and trying to figure out the source of it. It was clear that Thomas really hates his job but we couldn't get out of him why. His therapist gave him tools to deal with his anger and lucky for me taught Thomas a little empathy and respect for me and his family members. I was thankful for that because I was tired of getting attitude from him.
Then Thomas said something that hit me square between the eyes. Let me rewind a little here and fill you in on the discussion he and I had the day before.
He was angry about working and I was sick of his attitude so I came up with a way to kind of force him to stay in his job. I told him that his dad and I were going to start billing him for his phone and his internet use. Bear in mind we're not looking to make any money from him, we just want to have him contribute a little bit in order to teach him responsibility and what it might be like to live independently. He seemed to like the idea of that and I vowed to myself to design some kind of statement that outlines what he owes and why. Other than that there was no more discussion on the topic.
Then yesterday in therapy we were talking about his anger and why it might be there and he first came up with that his job was boring. His therapist tried to come up with ideas of how to cope with that but it was Thomas who led us to the answer finally. He told us,
"I feel like I have no purpose. I feel like I am working for no reason except to have spending money for stupid things. But mom said her and dad came up with an idea where I would help pay the bills and I liked that idea. Having something to be responsible for will give me a reason to make money and have this job. "
In essence, he needs purpose. I was surprised that he had remembered that conversation about having to pay a bill, let alone had taken it into consideration and finally decided that was what he needed for his peace of mind. So, now I had my answer and I was so happy. Maybe now he could have a little peace before work and as a result I could also have a little peace.
There was something else that his therapist brought up that I thought was important to point out to Thomas. He asked Thomas where his dark place is when someone is mad at him. Where does he go in his mind? Does he think it is somehow his fault? Well, his answer to that was that he has no dark place. He writes off other people's anger to that they might be having a bad day. When we got in the car , though, I thought I would let him know where my dark place was. I told him,
"Thomas, I worry a great deal when you're angry that you are going to act out in some way. I know that when you're angry you have trouble controlling it and that concerns me. I worry that someone is going to make you mad at work and you're going to yell at them or defend yourself in some way physically or throw something. This is my dark place and this is my biggest concern for you and your anger lately."
That got no response.
He heard me though and I can only hope that he won't do something like that in anger.
In the end, though, we now have something tangible we can do to give Thomas some purpose and hopefully alleviate some of his anger. He works again tomorrow so we'll see if that was enough. In the meantime, I am going to try to cobble together something that looks like a billing statement and present it to him today. This could be fun.
I hope it works.
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