Mayhem has his own idea of reality and it is the opposite of ours. And yours. And pretty much anyone who says anything to him but ‘do you want some pizza?” or “Do you like football?”
It’s kind of annoying.
Like you are all outside in 20 degree weather, shivering while waiting for the bus and you say “It is cold!” and he says “No it’s not!”. Or he’ll insist he did one thing while you were watching him when in fact he did something else and will flat out deny he did that thing when you insist he did it.
Even when you have video proof.
We used to think it was some sort of evasion to avoid getting into trouble, but its more like he cannot admit he might in any way shape or form be in the wrong.
Yesterday morning he could not find his shoes. He looked all over the house for them, under things, in things, around things, and finally he looked in the shoe rack in the closet, where they are supposed to be, and there they were. I said that was odd because I didn’t put them there and DH says no, Mayhem did, he saw him do it last night. Mayhem, instinctively we think, immediately denied having done it. DH said, yeah you did, I saw you. Not accusing or anything; putting his shoes away was a good thing, it was the right thing. But Mayhem was in full on denial mode & couldn’t admit he might have made a misstatement.
Mayhem does no wrong you see.
So eventually his continual denials, which are basically calling DH a liar, made DH mad and he shouted at him, so off Mayhem went all upset. I gave him a few minutes & then went to him and explained that it’s ok to forget you did something, just say “Oh, yeah, maybe I did, I don’t remember doing it”. You don’t need to shout & yell and continue denying a thing when other people have clearly seen you do it. Just say you don’t remember that.
And the kid actually says, accusingly, “But I did say THAT!”
Because *I’m* the one who is wrong. Not him. He said it, he is 100% certain of it. I am just lying when I say he didn’t, like his dad was lying earlier when he said he saw him put his shoes away.
I guess in his mind, he leaps from “yeah that would be a good thing to have said” to “Because it was the right thing to have said, I must have said it and anyone who says differently is wrong.” and we’re right back where we started from.
It’s not a phase. He’s been like this for years. He is for the most part a sweet, loving kid but he also has a combination of stubbornness and perfectionism that can be good, but have taken a bad turn. He doesn’t like people seeing him learn to do things because he doesn’t like not knowing. He can’t admit he is wrong because that would mean he didn’t know something. And he is the most hard headed person you will ever meet.
This situation has gone on for far too long.
So we’ve decided to try two things. In the short term whenever he does that knee jerk opposition thing of his, we put a hand up, say “stop” and walk away for a minute before coming back and beginning the conversation over again to give him a chance to break the denial cycle before it starts. And we’re going to do some exercises, sitting down with him and practicing thinking before speaking by saying things he doesn’t want to hear or disagrees with and making him count to 10 before responding, hoping he will learn to pause before speaking.
Wish us luck because we are at the end of our rope.