Sunday, November 6, 2011

Temper, Temper.

I like to think that at last I now have a quite equitable temperament: seen it all, been there, experienced that, moved way past emotion and passion as it were.  Not so.
Recently I've become aware that I have a temper that flares and dies quickly, like a match lit in a draught.  I say a sentence and the anger has gone before I've reached the full stop, and indeed will possibly be instantly regretted.
Relatively Retiring speaks of those who phone to tell you that your pc is compromised:  with just your credit card details they can fix it for you.  Some unfortunate rang me at a most inopportune time to tell me this, and my response was to tell him that he was lieing: - ok;  and to ask him what kind of way was this to earn a living, by cheating people:  not ok.
I hung up the phone and instantly hated myself, because I knew that, short of killing people, I would once have done whatever was required, including deluding rich 1st world people, to support my children, if that were the only way open to me.
Does Rebecca*  have a temper?  (*name changed).
Recently I have accepted 3 students from a charitable organisation.
Rebecca is 12 -13: tall, fair, slim, athletic:  looks a little like a young Rachel Hunter. She is in her first year of High School, where she is only allowed to attend 90 minutes a day, because her behaviour is so.......
Rebecca always attends with a carer - a trained social worker - because her behaviour is so.....   She lives in a young person's refuge.  Apart from her 24 hour carers, - and someone in charge of them - she has a case manager and team at the charity, a case manager and team at a govt agency, ongoing sessions with a psychologist, and, I am told, huge help from a concerned circle including the counsellor at her High School.   Her care  - possibly all too late - must cost thousands and thousands a year.
I have learned that R was so maltreateded as a baby/toddler that her hard wiring is wrong, and can't now be changed:  that is the reason she will do anything now - ANYTHING -  to attract attention:  good, bad - it's all satisfying to her.  And that the details of her subsequent life are horrific.
"Can she eventually attain a normal life"? I asked her case worker.  "No, " he said.
"Can she attain a sort of functional life that is satisfactory to her"? I asked.
"That's what we hope for." he said.
I guess we should pencil R's children into our calendar for future treatment and support.
End of story - I hope. Rachel and I fell out.
When, for a variety of reasons, including nonsense such as that we were fighting for control of the mouse and keyboard,  R left the tutoring session - as she does quite often - and proceeded to swing on metal rafters, as she does quite often, and which I don't think would be covered by my insurance  -  I suggested that she find another tutor.  My temper, although I expressed it calmly.  There have been plenty of other occasions when she has behaved just as poorly, and I haven't reacted.
The fall out from this is not hopeful.  Oh dear. They manage R, which I certainly couldn't do:  yet, their approach  - ie, they want her to apologise to me..for what?   -seems to me to be wrong. 
I really don't want to tutor her further, although the money is tempting...( see above).  The agencies, at a loss for tutors, will really try to push it.  I don't know what outcome I wish for.
Other children from the agency.
D. "A gentle giant", I was told.  16? At over 6 feet, and well built, he is certainly large enough to be potentially intimidating. . I'm stupid, he says. I can't spell, I can't write, I can't talk properly:  certainly I initially tried to hide the fact that I couldn't understand anything he said.   F.., he says constantly, and writes as his user name, but I am well past reacting  to a mere f.
 I am quite interested in his, some decorating site, where you could go baroque, Victorian, ....pimp.  "Pimp? "say I.  "What's that?" " Oh, retro, " he says, "All zeebra bedspreads and big ass spas.  Not pimps and hos." All educational to me.  For the next 2 weeks he is absent on a cruise.  How this fits in with his damaged background, I have no idea. "I'll bring you back a souvenir," he says.
J. Still primary school.  A beautiful, refined  looking, very well kept child - with foster parents: so his background can't be good.
Lovely, polite, fun...but, evidently he makes obscene sexual remarks to other children.
Ten minutes after R left, I walked from my office to go to the newsagency.  On the way I met an old friend - I hadn't seen him for 20 years - and we went for coffee and a lovely nostalgic chat.  He told me that he has a terminal cancer.
R's caseworker evidently called at my office in the interim, and was alarmed that it was unlocked.  It's really hard to explain to someone that I think the chances of an opportunistic thief dropping by and stealing my aged computers is slight, and the chances of a foolish teen damaging herself/the building by showing off and swinging from metal beams not meant to be load-bearing are much higher.
Since its flare with R, my temper has been lying low.  But I know that it's still there, lying in wait to cause trouble.


Elephant's Child said...

What valuable work you are doing working with these teens. What difficult work you are doing.
I also have a temper which I try very hard to keep in check. Mostly I succeed. When I don't I berate myself as you do.
The compromised pc people I have solved for myself by telling them to put their concerns in writing and hanging up. Though we still get at least half a dozen calls a week.

Elisabeth said...

I wonder sometimes whether my blog - and by association, whether I - have been on the receiving end of your temper, Frances. It's okay because I recognise the fragility of the written word. I may well misunderstand you, as you might misunderstand me.

Like Elephant's Child, I'm impressed by your efforts to help these troubled adolescents to get ahead and make some sense of their lives.

We live in such different worlds, as much as we assume universalities and similarities.

Frances said...

Hello Elephant's Child.
Please excuse my long absence.
Your post was too kind.
Last week, tho', D had a fit of hiccups. I got him a glass of water, and showed him how to lean over it, and drink from the "wrong" side - and yes, it immediately cured him, as it does.
"If my friend saw me now, he would think that I was trying to give myself a blow job," he said. Several times.
I merely laughed, but have been told that perhaps I should have raised an eyebrow or such to suggest that it was inappropriate.
I'm still not sure about that, and I see it as rather droll that a 16 year old would make the comment to a woman 50 years older than him..and that that is not altogether a bad thing.

Elephant's Child said...

When I reread this post I thought again what valuable and difficult work you are undertaking.

I would think that D's comment shows both that he trusts you and is comfortable in your company. Not inappropriate at all, but rather things to value no matter how they are expressed. And besides, these days I choose my battles, and being offended at words not spoken to offend seems to me a total waste of energy.

Frances said...

I've just discovered that moderation was on - why? - so that I did not see your comment, Elisabeth.
Elisabeth: I think that my mind is just contrarian -(like germaine Greer's I understand, tho certainly not of her quality): I want to challenge what you - and others -say. I want to investigate it. I want to completely understand it and every nuance and ramification of it. I want to point out the flaws. I want to know the consequences ....etc etc. When I really understand, I may well agree with you.
If what you said was not interesting, of course I would have none of these concerns.
And, a challenge can sound like disagreement, can it not? And disagreement can sound like hostility or bad temper? But, in my case it's certainly not.

I certainly enjoy a good discussion especially with those of opposing views.... that is how one learns, is it not? Trading opinions?
My flash of anger that I reported was to a classic rip off, an exploiter of the vulnerable. That's only what makes me angry- abuse of the vulnerable: people, animals, whatever. Day to day, person to person, I am boringly equable.
I have certainly seen that my comments were somewhat at odds with your blog, Elisabeth, and I regret that they could be interpreted as bad temper. I am not into contemporary conversational "bling": my comments are direct and honest.
You have dozens of people endorsing you, your opinions, memoirs, fictions or whatever, Elisabeth, for good reason, and, in not doing that, I do stand out as an unnecessay thorn in your side. I am not quite happy with your path,opinions - (yikes! Catholic architecture!) - but, so what?
Would others who, like me, questioned you, disturb or enhance you?
However, I regret that you think bad temper might motivate my questioning on your blog.
I will desist.

Elisabeth said...

Please don't stop commenting on my posts, Frances, however contrary.

I value your thoughts and now reading this, I recognise yet again the limitations of the written word.

If we were face to face in discussion we'd probably be able to sort things out much more easily. At least I hope so.