I like shoes. Some shoes I love. I will spend several hundred dollars on a pair of shoes but I will wear the daylights out of them. I have to love them and they have to feel good. High quality. Susan loves shoes. She collects them. Resale shops, discount shops. My closet. She doesn’t care if they fit her or not, she will collect them, wear them, admire them, rearrange them, suffer the pain of wearing sizes too big or too small. Last spring we were packing to leave the only home she remembers to move to a smaller place and she wanted to go through one of my closets which held all the shoes from my days in the corporate world. She was enthralled with the shoes – they will never fit her and no longer fit me (pre-pregnancy shoes.) But she insisted on keeping a couple dozen pair. Though our home is smaller, Susan gained a teen girl’s dream room – her closet would fit two twin mattresses, and still have room left over. Her room in our other home was small, with a small closet. She had room to bring the shoes.
It is just the two of us in our new home. (Plus the 4 legged family members.) I hate this phrase, but it applies – the “new normal” – is what Susan is struggling to deal with. Forget being 16, high school, boys, cliques, peer pressure. Susan was abandoned by her father a year ago. Prior to that he was her “go to” parent. (She and I are oil and water. I’m the one who draws the line.) To make things worse, the message he gives her is that it is her fault. When the divorce proceedings started we planned shared custody. He left town and never told her. Or his lawyer, or patients.
So Susan is stuck with me. Her evil mother. (Yes, the stories she was telling the parents of her friends did get back to me. Susan is my sister Jennie. I know the game.) She has to go along, there is no option. So she pulls out the charm that she uses on everyone but me and that helps her cope for awhile. (Yes, I am researching, interviewing and finding the best therapist to deal with the issues she needs to address. I know what is in the past, present, and what will be coming… I know my child, I KNOW.) The months go on and the ride gets bumpier. I become more “evil” as I take the road less traveled to reinforce that no matter what she does, I am not going anywhere. Ever. I am her mother. I love her, no strings attached.
But she needs to keep testing. Because, my Susan is not just not abandoned by her father, she is adopted. I spent several months in a third world country adopting her. She has attachment issues not compounded by abandonment issues. And she regresses. And she is emotive and I am logical.
We have come a long way in the last year and I am very proud of her, I cannot say that enough. And last night was another “funny” INTJ/non-INTJ communication. Susan dislikes putting used items in her wastebasket. What is up with that? Long story short, we both had been working to unclog the toilet in her bathroom for most of Saturday – she tends to put an excess of tissue in it (not the wastebasket) and flush and clog. So she is responsible for unclogging it. She couldn’t, I tried. No luck.
After explaining I would either have to call the landlady or pay for a plumber myself – not sure how to handle it since I’ve not rented in years – she quietly asked “Is there any chance that my plastic tooth flossers could be causing the problem?” Me with death glare and a year’s worth of new stress lines: “Susan, yes. Why did you not pick them out and put them in the gd wastebasket? We have been over this for years. (and the INTJ rant continued.)
Then it was over, I thanked her for admitting what she did (big step for her) said she would be paying for the first $50 of repair but I would split the cost 50/50 after that since she admitted the truth. NOW did she understand why I asked her to do the simple things like put trash in the trash? Lesson learned. ?!
But the funny part came after that when I was trying to turn off the tank refill mechanism (I know nothing about this) and caused the tank to empty into the bowl causing it to flood. I yelled for more towels, Susan responded like a trooper. “Now what Mom?” Me: Shoes, go get shoes.
I am bailing water into buckets so she can carry the water outside to dump in the street’s sewer drain (during the chaos I ruled out the back yard, our dogs; front yard, children and other dogs; public health considerations always in my mind.) I’ve soaked the spillage from the tiles into towels. (I love bleach.) I get all this controlled and turn around to see her holding an armful of shoes. High heels and mismatched boots. Huh? Ok, if that is what she wants to wear out to the street in 25 degree weather, hey, it’s her choice. I’ve got pics of her as a kid in much worse. She even wears mismatched shoes around the house now.
I walked into the kitchen to scrub my hands and turn around. “Mom, what am I suppose to do with the shoes?” Yes, another INTJ communication that she didn’t understand but I thought was completely obvious. And I am wondering in my head “Wtf did she think I was going to do with these shoes?”
Susan and I had a good laugh about it later. We are both working to communicate to each other what we mean, to ask if we don’t understand – and to laugh if we mix signals.
I keep calling Susan my non-INTJ. Susan is, and I have called her this since she was a baby, my changeling. She is an E—. In other words, she scores high on the extrovert scale, and exactly on the line for the other three areas. Repeatedly. She can adapt to any person, any situation. (A very unusual skill for someone that young. ) Especially if she wants something. She no longer tries with me because she is Jennie, my sister, my Irish Twin. And I know the game. And I call the bluff. Jennie was my training to raise Susan. I was blessed with this child for a reason.
Susan is my daughter. I love her, she is my heart. She is gifted, brilliant, creative. The talents she has that make parenting a challenge will serve her well as an adult. I just have to make sure she gets there in one piece, mentally, spiritually and physically.
Did I mention she has an identical twin sister?
Categories: INTJ and INTP