The last month or so has been
alarming interesting as far as the step-daughter’s mental state is concerned. It is at the point where I’m not actually comfortable taking her to my family’s Thanksgiving dinner but that is what sort of has to happen so we needed to get prepared.
We know have a safety plan in place. Basically, she isn’t allowed to be alone with any of my younger family members in case a minor dispute over what movie to watch or what game to play triggers her. Just finding this out is going to piss her off but her father and I can handle her. Younger kids can’t and shouldn’t have to.
So, once my sister in law and I figured out what the boundaries would be I told the husband that we had a Thankgiving Safety Plan. He looked at me in disbelief.
“I’ve been going to family dinners for years and you guys never made a safety plan for me.”
(It wasn’t until later that I realized that I should have said, “How do you know?” I hate it when the perfect line comes to mind too late.)
He kept going. “I’ve been crazy a whole lot longer than she’s been alive. Why does she get a special plan?” He started to mock whine. “I’m so crazy that I get paid for it. Where’s my safety plan?”
Then I made a major mistake. I dismissively said, “You aren’t dangerous.”
He let out a sound of offended disbelief that I’ve only ever heard when someone has quoted him a price for a service that he thinks is too high. “I am too dangerous.” He stomped his foot and mimicked perfect teenage girl voice. “I AM DANGEROUS! I AM!” Then he flounced off as if he couldn’t believe that I thought so little of him as to dismiss his dangerousness.
So, I made him a safety plan with my sister in law. When they first met 10 years ago he was very confused by her because she asked him if he wanted to cuddle. He did not. She asks him for hugs and cuddles all the time now to mess with him. He still does not want to cuddle with her.
I texted him his plan.
“If you are acting a fool and you don’t course correct after receiving a wifely arched eyebrow or a kick under the table, Katie will take that as her cue to ask you if you need a hug.”
He was horrified. He said there was no need to get vicious. I told him that safety plans had to come with real and severe consequences in order to be taken seriously. He solemnly swears that he will behave.
No word yet on whether the kid will…. and it is a 2.5 hour drive home so if we need to yank her out of there for getting stupid it will be a very long ride home. Freckles and I might choose to walk.