House Full O’Intensities

I have been noticing something lately. For pretty much every meal, I have been eating enough for one-and-a-half to two people. I need to feel full right away. If I only eat enough for one person, I won’t feel full right away and I panic. What if that is the last food I will ever get to eat for a very long time? What if I actually have to wait hours until my next meal, but have to feel the pangs of hunger from now until then–because of course, if I don’t feel full, the very next step is feeling less sated, then hungry, then very hungry, then I’ll get dizzy and pass out, possibly while I’m driving or holding glass objects, or knives.

Never mind that the rational portion of my mind realizes that if I wait 15 to 20 minutes after I have eaten a healthy, normal portion of food, not only will I be completely sated, but I should be able to remain conscious at least until my next meal if not longer.
Feeling full seems to calm me down a bit. Self-medication (which also comes in the form of Tolberone, Toffifay, Andes Mints, and very dark chocolate –oh! Try a piece of very dark [85% cacao] chocolate with an Andes Mint–yum! But I digress…).

It was a battle over chores with my 11-year-old who is also gifted and emotionally intense. This combination makes it easier for her to form longer, more articulate arguments against doing her chores, combined with breaking down into sobbing on my bed when it turns out she still has to do all of her chores. Her goal seems to be to try to stay in my room as long as possible to keep me from doing what ever I was working on at the time. Through behavioral conditioning, she is attempting to make the act of reminding her to do her chores something one would prefer to avoid.

It started with her coming into my room, asking if she could dump the hamper with the clean laundry in it on my bed. Sure! She does this, then she went back out toward the washer and dryer and I hear whining, sort of panicky sounds. Being emotionally intense myself, I don’t cope well with these sounds.
“What’s the matter?” I ask, forcing myself to keep my voice sounding calm and pleasant, but possibly failing a bit.
“I just wish dad had asked Nick to move the laundry along! I have too much to do today!”
This came as a surprise to me that my 11-year-old had a schedule for the day. I figured it probably went something like this:
10am-11am – watch TV while simultaneously checking out new videos on YouTube
11am – 12pm – Play Animal Crossing on Wii
12pm – 1pm – Eat lunch while watching TV
Rinse, repeat.
“So, what is your schedule?”
She begins to open her mouth, then stops and throws her head down on my bed.
“It’s just that I’m too stressed!” Apparently, summer vacation is more stressful than being in school.
I offered to get her brother to move the laundry along, so she could get her other chores done. She countered that she would rather move the laundry along and have her brother work on the dishes.

I am pretty sure this is how my daughter views her life.

One of my favorite moments came when I was accused of being “mean” because I told her that her brother and sister had it harder than she did when they were her age. I informed her that they would try to fight doing chores too, but in the end, they still had to do them. They always had a choice: They could just do their chores, or they could fight about it, wasting time and energy, and then they still had to do their chores. Many times, they would choose to do it the “hard” way–fight first, then chores. She begged me to just stop talking. I told her she could leave my room and then she wouldn’t have to hear me talking. She left. I secretly cheered. A few minutes later, I heard the sounds of dishes being done.

You can check out my regular blog here: Manic Meanderings

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4 thoughts on “House Full O’Intensities

  1. Oh, this is so my life at the moment! Thanks for posting this – it encourages me to keep trying.

  2. My son does this. He’ll fight until I start talking (ahem, lecturing), then he sort of hops back and forth until I pause. Then he, without fail, says, “can I please go clean my room now?” Thanks for the post.

    • Is he quiet while hops back and forth? My daughter manages to utter high pitched sounds and whining noises that make my teeth want to fall out. I want to collapse on the bed right there with her and wish that fairies and elves would come and take care of everything… ;-)

  3. This is so funny!!!! Yeah the hardest thing about emotional intensity, I think, is we are intense but we have a hard time tolerating other people’s intensity. I too run to the rescue when someone is exhibiting signs of displeasure or discomfort (especially if they are displeasing or uncomfortable to my ear!). There are days when I have had so much self control and then in the evening someone else, husband or child, shows a complete lack of control and I’m so angry. I know I’m thinking: All day I wanted to vent or explode then you take the liberty of doing it over nothing! How dare you! I suspect I need to be doing something else beyond just self-discipline, like a time out for myself or reprioritizing or grounding or something so the frustration and feeling of injustice isn’t there. My coach friend would probably tell me it was due to an irrational belief that I’m holding down the fort or something.

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