Friday, January 16, 2009

Parenting the effects of trauma is haaaaaaaard!

I have a poker face, but I am so very, very angry with early childhood trauma right now. I cannot be mad at my child, because this is not their fault. This is not personal, in the sense that it is not intended to hurt Christine. It is personal in the sense I am "Mom" and to trust and love and honor me would be to sacrifice the only safety my child believes they have.

I have to be strong and tough today. Yet, therapeutic parenting is so BACKWARD.

You start to doubt yourself.

"Maybe they really do know how to do this."

"Maybe they can't help working so slowly."

"Maybe I actually have a third eye."


I started writing this post in the middle of a showdown. One of my children has continued to regress since Christmas. Therapy took a deeper turn, and then the therapist had to cancel once, and is now in a two-week recovery from minor surgery. The weather has shifted. I had a ruptured cyst and doctor's appointments. Our lives have been a beautiful cocktail of many things that can wig out the big feelings. It has just been cratering. And the survival behaviors have been skyrocketing.

As I was typing earlier, I was starting to doubt my approach. I was trying to be the perfect balance - the Termin-aunt-or. Yet, this child can really scramble my brains some days when I am trying to be what they need most.

Then it happened.

I had my kid "jumping it out" on the mini-tramp ... again. We all love that thing. I use it all the time, too. It feels good to jump really fast and get your heart racing. Get out the angries. The tears were flowing. I gave some choices, "You could keep jumping or sit quietly somewhere, or do your work ... or talk about your feelings."

Jump. Jump. Jump. Jump. Jump. Jump. Jump. Jump. Jump. Jump. Jump. Jump. Jump. Jump. Jump. Jump. Jump. Jump. Jump. Jump. Jump. Jump. Jump. Jump. Jump. Jump. Jump. Jump.

And they broke.

"Can I talk about my feelings AND do my work?"
"Of course." ("ABSO-FREAKIN-LUTELY!!!!)
*crying* "I want to be in control, and I want people to think you're a bad mom."
*lots more crying*
"Honey, do you also love me and feel like I'm a good mom?"
"Yesssss." *deep sobs*
Lots more talking, crying and hugging.

It's so very difficult to look at your child and say, "When you manipulate regularly, I am not able to believe you regularly. I want to be a good mom."

Yet, it is so friggin' amazing when your child looks right back at you and says, "If you believed me, I would just get worse, because I would be in control."

I want to stay strong and be everything my kids need me to be. I want to separate the behavior from my child. They deserve that!

I also wouldn't mind a gift certificate for a spa day, too.


Innocent Observer said...

Holy cow! What a breakthrough! What a day!

Jena said...

I am so very glad I found your blog(thank you Rachel)
because I am not their yet(RADish) but I can pray.

Sean's Ladies said...

Thanks for being real in the trenches. It is just nice to have someone else there that is doubting their sanity and parenting approaches, too. Hang in there. Hopefully this Christmas season will be over soon..... for all of us.

Rita said...

Oh how wonderful it would be if you could take your little one with RAD to a morning session a couple times a week where you get a break and he gets treatment. Check it out. If you live near a good size city this would be possible. Ask doctors, therapists, nurses until you find help. I teach 31 first graders right now and what you are doing is to hard to do alone. I will pray for help for you. Even another friend with training in RAD would be so helpful.

Christine said...

Oh, Rita, that would be lovely. Not even remotely possibly, but lovely none-the-less.

Thankfully, I'm not alone. When you don't live near the networks you just have to build your own.

Diana said...

An amazing breakthrough, indeed. Sadly it's one that most who aren't parenting little RADishes don't fully get. Can I come to the spa, too?

mama d said...

Congratulations! Isn't it written somewhere that understanding your problems is half the battle? At what age does this magic kick in? (she asks rhetorically)

waldenbunch said...

I'm new to your blog and I totally relate. I have 2 radishes at home and another one that is an adult (in age at least) who we are estranged from. LONG painful story. I homeschool so the manipulation they do involves school, too. Today was not a fun day. One played dumb and the other wouldn't do what he was told. So I could use the spa pass, too! It has been encouraging for me to see other women struggling with being human amidst this backwards insanity we call RAD.

Diane said...

Yeah for you! Not sure if you were being sarcastic but...acting classes can be powerful and challenging for AD kids. I remember when my daughter was learning to 'act' in ballet and it was comical to watch but turned out to be VERY helpful in understanding the opposite-what it means to be 'real'.

Melissa said...

Oh yeah, you are good! Stay strong. I can soooooooooo relate! We're taking a break from therapy and have gone back to good old RAD parenting 101. It really is helpful - and it's free!

Anonymous said...

First time here and I don't know who you are but WOW. This is grace in the purest sense.

You are a hero. Thank you so much for sharing this.

Brenda said...

This is VERY good. VERY VERY good. ((((hugs)))

Amy @ Experience Imagination said...

Though I cannot fully appreciate where you're coming from, since I've never dealt with RAD myself, I'm still overjoyed with such a tremendous breakthrough!

I will be praying extra hard this week as I can only imagine that with such vulnerability comes quite the backlash of fear-based reactive behaviors.

Kristen said...

Wow. What a moment.

Rachel said...

Wow - what a breakthrough. And I will be praying for all of you.

Troy & Tara Livesay said...

what is the name of the spa up there in the boonies of OK?

cute green turtleneck.

Christine said...

Turtleneck from Goodwill. ah yeah.

The spa in northern Oklahoma is the back 40 behind Mabel's house. She gets you really drunk to relax you, lets you ride in the combine without the AC on (a massage and spa treatment all in one), and then ties you behind her horse before she whips it (exfoliation via dirt and gravel). To finish, you get hosed off in the cow trough (the cold water gives your skin a healthy glow).

There's some other place over in Ponca City, but that's for them high-falootin' folks.

Heather said...


I love how you can keep your calm and your sense of humor amidst all the craziness. I will think of you the next time I'm ready to throttle my stepsons when they are getting manipulative as well as crazy :)

Keep on keeping on, girl! You're awesome!!

Luke said...

Wow. May you continue to provide exactly what your children need. And may God continue to give you exactly what you need too... even if that is a day at the spa [smile].


Christine said...

I look froward to reading more what you have to say about RAD.

familygregg said...

yeah....ditto that