Impulse Control

I guess the subtitle of this piece should be “Or the Lack Thereof…”

We all suffer from a lack of impulse control on occasion. I will admit that I have been known to squeeze a pillow or two when I cruise through the home goods aisle of department stores. I am driven to find out if the object of my attention feels as soft and squeezy as it looks. If you’ve been there, you understand what I mean.

This particular impulse indulgence is fairly innocuous, my hands tend to be clean so I don’t leave smudges, and nobody gets hurt. I also have impulses that I don’t dare indulge – like swiping my finger through the chocolate frosting on the cakes being displayed at the local bakery. Oh! But if only I could…

Lia has some major impulse control issues. And while some of them are minor infractions to social acceptance, many of them are dangerous and painful for the object of her attention. And therein lies the problem.

Those of us who are closest to her have learned over the years to try to keep our guards up and watch her for signals that she may be up to something. The giveaway is usually in the eyes. When I watch her eyes it’s as though I can see the struggle going on in her head – the proverbial angel versus devil struggle – Don’t do it. Do it. Don’t do it. Do it.

We have learned to take this moment of indecision to try to distract and redirect. Sometimes it works, often it doesn’t, and we are left to deal with the results of her impulse indulgence.

There are also times when she doesn’t engage in this brief debate, and she doesn’t signal her intent. She strikes with the speed and precision of a viper, leaving her target stunned and often on the verge of tears.

To be honest, we are stumped. We can’t seem to figure out a suitable way to manage this behavior. And we are running out of nurses who are willing to return after one of her “indulgences”. We try to orient them ahead of time, but nothing really prepares you for being poked, or scratched, or having your last three hairs yanked out of your head. I have been with her for quite some time and she still manages to catch me with my guard down on occasion. And I pay for my lapse.

If anybody has some insight or a suggestion for us, I would love to hear it. Please.


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