Reciprocity

One of the difficult things about raising a child like our son, David, is that the love that we feel for our son will likely never be reciprocated.

It isn’t that he doesn’t bond with people, he just doesn’t bond with family.

It is a facet of the attachment disorder.

He is more likely to bond with a complete stranger, at least briefly, than he is to develop a bond with us.

This is our reality.  Just as we can’t force him to modify his behavior, we can’t force him to feel any kind of love or feeling toward the family.

As a piece of that, he understands that telling someone, “I will take a knife and stab you” is not appropriate.  He shows no remorse for saying it.  To him it is no different than saying “the sun is shining”.

It’s tragic really.  The only thing that he regrets about his behavior from Friday evening is that it resulted in him being locked in a hospital.  At least this is all that he expresses to us.

This evening, I had opportunity to visit him in the hospital.  Every other sentence directed to me, began with the word Dude.  Hospital staff instructed David that it was disrespectful.  While I was talking with him about Friday, he frequently changed topics, or said the magic phrase, “I don’t know.” If redirected back to discussing Friday evening, he would slouch and cover his head with his arms.

Where I struggle with the whole mental health thing is trying to wrap my head around the idea that inside this beautiful human being, there is no remorse.  There is no empathy.  There is no caring bone in his body about anything other than himself and his own sense of id.

The key to David as I see it is this.  When someone other than family, a person in a position of authority, tells him to stop whatever behavior he is exhibiting, he will.  At least for the short term.  I witnessed this a couple of times on Friday evening, the first when the deputy arrived and dressed David down for the way he was talking, and then later when the nurse told him to knock off the behavior.  He stopped.  Immediately.   He doesn’t do this with everyone, for example, school staff.  But he does it for law enforcement.  He did it for staff at the hospital.

Today when I was visiting him, the staff in the visitors lounge did the same thing. They called him on his behavior, and he stopped.

Is he doing it for them to impress them?  Why won’t he do it for us?  The people closest to him?  So how much of this is mental health, and how much of it is just piss poor behaviors?