• 9/26/2011 9:53:33 PMWho Has More?In a cocky moment, Michael made an off hand remark that he had more school work than his older brother James who is a junior.  Generally, when Michael makes such stupid remarks - because he is so hung up on "winning" and "losing" (aka being "right") - that he will not back down and continue insist that the stupid and foolish thing that he has said is true, right, or correct.

    Just like the example of when Michael told Grandma he could swim and it was quickly proven false as evidenced by his trip to the bottom of the Oconto River and having the Life Guard jump in and save him - this school work issue was quickly settled by a simple visual comparison of the actual classes and their associated assignments.  This was on Sunday.

    A classic behavior of Michael is to always study his opponent (aka everyone), discover what irritates them, and repeat as many times as he feels are necessary.  On Monday, Mom had to run some errands and help a friend of ours move.  While she was gone, Michael decided it was a good time to re-engage his brother on the issue of who had more school work.  To the innocent bystander, it would appear as if this was a new, never before discussed, and unsettled issue.  To the people who reside in our home, this is like watching the same rerun of Gilligan's Island for the 500th time.

    Literally, it was nearly word-for-word the same discussion with the same emotion and same insistence that he was right even though it was already proven that he was wrong.  James was not in a mood to tolerate this behavior and as we've been instructed by our psychologist and Nancy Thomas to take action rather than attempt to "unwind" the hair-ball logic of Michael-style thinking, he sent him outside to run some laps around the yard with the hopes of restoring the proper oxygen level in Michael's brain.

    On a related side note - this is an awful position for the other children in our home to be in.  Trying to instruct them on how to handle another kid in the home who is intentionally trying to cause conflict through disruption, dissension, disunity, argumentation, agitation, and any other means available to them is difficult.  What are they allowed to do that is not going to make things worse but yet confronts the behavior and bring it to a halt?  James did the right thing in sending Michael outside.  My only wish is that he and the other kids did not have to contemplate how to "handle" someone in the home who is actively trying to destroy from within.  Perhaps this is good training for the missions field on how to handle wolves in sheep's clothing.

    This is about the time when Mom got home.  There was Michael, running around in circles.  I'm afraid that this will become the defining picture of his life.  Mom steps out of the car and Michael smiles and waves, "Hi Mom!".  It was as if what was happening - was not happening.  This is somewhat akin to a kid getting caught with cookie crumbs and chocolate smeared all over their face believing that by simply smiling and waving at you that you will overlook what is painfully obvious.

    The questions in my mind are:
    - Is Michael actually glad to see Mom?
    - Was Michael irritated that Mom left to help someone else?
    - Is Michael pretending to be happy and oblivious of the fact that he is currently running in circles?
    - Does Michael understand that there will be questions asked and answers expected for all of this?
    - In what manner is Michael attempting to control or manipulate what is going on here?
    - Why does this behavior keep happening?

    In the discussion that followed, Michael was asked about the events that lead up to him being sent outside.  As usual, getting information from Michael is like pulling teeth.

    Mom: Why are you outside running?
    Michael: Because James told me to go out and run.
    Mom: Why did he tell you to do that?
    Michael: Because he said he had more school work than I did and I said that he didn't and I said that he said he said I said he school work that I said to me yes I said look at he said I said...
    Mom: Why are you talking about this again?  Didn't you get this settled yesterday?
    Michael: Yes.
    Mom: Who has more school work?
    Michael: James.
    Mom: Why did you tell James that you had more school work again today?
    Michael: I don't know.
    Mom: Did you want to go out side and run?
    Michael: No.
    Mom: Were you trying to irritate James?
    Michael: No.
    Mom: But you did.  You irritated James and caused an argument.
    Michael: I know.
    Mom: What could James have said or done to answer you?  What could he have said to make you happy with his answer?
    Michael: Nothing. (This is key)
    Mom: So James cannot give you an answer that will make you happy.  It looks like you wanted James to become irritated and now he is irritated so you got what you wanted.  
    Michael: That's not what I wanted.
    Mom: What did you want?
    Michael: I don't know.  (Is this a lie?  Does Michael really not know what he wanted or did he really want James to be irritated but he simply didn't calculate what would come next?)
    Mom: While you were outside running around, were you angry with James for sending you outside?
    Michael: Yes.  (This is classic finger-pointing blame-others RAD behavior.  Michael is angry with James who became angry after Michael tried to make him angry.)
    Mom: Why?

    This is generally where Michael's mental gears begin to smoke and grind to a halt.

    Mom: Go and put another empty victory in your victory bottle.