Saturday, January 29, 2011

No me want to!

*the title of this post is ripped from the preschool dialect of my friend's daughter - a kid from the hard places who, when she is not thrilled about something, always starts her sentence with, "No me want to!" which is now a favorite catch phrase in our home - and should really be on a t-shirt*

I have met a lot of people over the years that have a really bad opinion of therapists and psychiatrists. I have had my moments. Admittedly, I have those moments most when they start coming at me about my stuff.

No me want to talk about myself!

Hearing that anger and "mad" is a cover-up emotion ... a natural reaction to hide what is really going on ... well, I did. not. like. that. I wanted two things: I wanted my kids to just be mad (which makes them mean - not hurting), because then I could just be mad at them.

Ah, did you see that - "I could just be mad?" I had to look at me. My own anger and "mad" is always a cover up for what is really going on underneath.

I don't know about you, but I HATE talking about my stuff I need to work on.

I'm not being funny. I HATE IT. I avoid it. I'm not stupid and I know it's hard to change and I. don't. want. to.

So, when you are already parenting a child who is constantly pushing you away and you dread going to bed at night because you know it means you're about to start all over again the next day ... you want a spa vacation. You don't want to have to do more work which can only begin by dealing with stuff you are already not dealing with on purpose.

That sucks.

That is not fair.

That should not be.

That seems impossible.

That feels impossible.

That should piss you off, at least a little bit.

I loved our attachment therapist, except when she very gently needed to correct me. I loved books and resources except when they told me that I had to work on myself first, before I could help my child.

Screw that, right?



I'm going to say this out loud for all of us today. Some of you aren't there, yet. I get it. Took me a long time, and with some things it took me a VERY long time and there are plenty of areas where I am still sucking it with a giant straw. But I'm going to say the words ... put them in print. Because you can't move forward until you say it. I have had my own private moments to get through this. I don't expect any of you to do it publicly, but I won't dare NOT encourage you to push your way through the hard crap.

We (parents of kids from the hard places) use anger as a cover up, sometimes just as much as our kids do.

"That therapist says it's my fault!" Yup. Some of them don't understand attachment and don't see it. But some who see it, are trying to help us see where we are hindering the process. There is a difference, and some of us don't want to go there. We cover it up with anger.

"That book says I have to be perfect! I never will be!" No. It doesn't. We all know it doesn't. But we have a million emotions over our own stuff and we make rash generalizations ... we use exaggeration and grandiose emotion as a cover up for what we're really feeling. What we don't want anyone to know.

"That would NEVER work with my child and is a bunch of foo foo!" I will be the first to wipe my butt with anything that says sticker charts are a first-round approach for attachment challenged kids. HOWEVER, that's certainly not what I'm talking about here. I always have an immediate desire (craving) to blow off approaches that will be the most difficult for me to implement. Those are usually things that will require me to interact more with my child, emotionally and physically. I would much rather gravitate to approaches that are more militant and distant. Why? Well, you are not going to get that answer, because it took months of self-reflection and admission of a LOT of my own issues before I could come to terms with that. It is private and it was painful and embarrassing for me to even admit some of it to myself. It sucked, but I did it. Oh, yeah ... and it sucked.

No me want to talk!

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. No one is perfect. No one is even remotely close to perfect. But we are all professionals at avoiding our part of the process. Sometimes we avoid it because we have some really horrible, painful things and we would rather die than have to think about them, recall them, much less fix them.

It is proven that our own histories and experiences affect our parenting.

It is undeniably true.

It sucks.

It is not fair.

It should not be.

It seems impossible.

It feels impossible.

It should piss you off, at least a little bit.

But you are not alone as you try to face yourself, before you can hep your kids. My holy hooch - YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Grab me by the hand and hold on tight and see if you can just admit a tiny bit of it out loud this week, if only to yourself.


Bohomumma said...

dammit. So true.

Having spent a day ranting/snapping and generally being nasty for no good reason I realise I have so many anger issues to deal with of my own. And I so slip back into the authoritarian role whenever life gets too complicated. All I can say is that I am trying (probably very trying to those around me today) and tomorrow will be better

Anonymous said...


waldenbunch said...

I have learned more about myself from my kids than I ever imagined possible. And some of it ain't so pretty.

Erika said...

Ain't that the truth! There can't be a more difficult job then that of the attachment therapist helping mommies and daddies recognize their own issues.

Anonymous said...

Oh! Oh! Oh! Pick me! Pick me!

(Laura! Potty mouth!) :)

I will stand up and say it! Having my daughter come home brought out some of the worst behavior I have ever exhibited. I discovered so many deep, deep issues of anger, hurt, abandonment, and plain old pain. It's a long, slow process, but as I heal, my daughter heals. We are far enough along that it's mostly at the 'WOWOWOWOWEEEEE!!! We are healing, stage.'

And no, you can't do it alone, and no, it's not easy. It kind of sucks. (donkey balls) But it is freedom. For the mamas and the kids.

Christine, thanks for your blog, and mostly thanks for your videos. They have helped me immensely.


Anonymous said...

Well craptastic, girl. I don't remember saying you could write a blogpost about me..

Diana said...

Have I told you latey that you rock...and I still wish we were neighbors? You do and I do! Thanks for sharing this. You are 100% spot on. That doesn't mean it's easy and it doesn't mean it's fun...but it is the right answer. Unfortunately, it's pretty much a never ending answer, too.

The question really shouldn't be "How can I make my kid stop doing this?" Because really, that question comes with an implied "I need my kid to stop doing what they are doing so I don't feel so crappy." It doesn't work that way. It never has and it never will. Yet I see a lot of people out there spinning their wheels in the mud and trying with all they've got to make it work that way.

The right questions that will result in the right answers are "What is DRIVING my kid's behavior" and "Why does what they are doing bug me so much?" Those hot buttons they love to poke so much really are just unprocessed and unhealed stuff within ourselves...crap stuff from OUR past and OUR conflicted emotions and beliefs. If we fix us and work on processing that old crap of our own that we've been carrying around for a lifetime, we simultaneously remove the power and the pleasure our kids get from pressing our buttons!

Keep on rocking on, girlfriend!

Heather said...

AGREE AGREE AGREE!! I had to crawl out of my denial pit for my son to ever start healing. So very worth it, but not something you can rush - it is very organic and you sort of get there when you get there. No amount of convincing and explaining could make me believe it. I just had to very.slowly.get.there. And NOW we are starting to see healing.

the wrath of khandrea said...

you really are a remarkable person. at least in the 20 or so of your blogposts that i've read.

you just make it all make sense.

Lisa said...

Every single word that Tova said....D.I.T.T.O.

Yup. It sucks. But I do it. Didn't say I was happy about it.
I'm sort of at the place now that I can say I'm glad it happened. Sort of....

Jena said...

As of yet, I am not parenting a child in a hard place, and what you said is true for me, but I think us parents who are not yet(or ever) parenting children from hard places get away with way WAY more than we should... We get away with not dealing with our crap... and I can credit you(oh... and God :) for helping face some of my crap... so that I can change for my kids, for myself, and for the kids from the hard places that are not yet a part of our family.
Thank you.

Fifi said...

you just get better and better. i so love the way you challenge people in a non threatening way. i'm blessed to have found your blog before the chaos. it should be compulsory reading for all prospective parents, regardless of where the kids come from.

Kim and Lance said...

Me no want to... that just about says it all. At some point I'll quit slamming my head against the wall and finish working on me so I can be the Mom my kids need and deserve.

I love you. (in a totally non-stalkerish, wish-we-were-BFF's sort of way)

Kerrie said...

"I wanted my kid to just be mad because then I could just be mad at them,"


"I will be the first to wipe my butt with anything that says sticker charts are effective for attachment challenged kids."

My two favorite quotes for the day. And true.


Sincerely Mama said...


But well said.

MommytoAJ3 said...

I hate you. I know you are right, but I didn't want the reminder right now. So, I hate you. :)

Lola Granola said...

You are so right. And we get angry when we think they are taking away our CONTROL, because we need to be IN CHARGE. I had a terrible time adjusting and attaching to our youngest daughter, only to realize that I was the one with the "issues." I am the one with the scripts that tell me when to yell and be angry. My bio kids were easier because they were used to me. Sometimes. And sometimes I was, and am, just as angry with them.

I pat myself on the back every time I get past a moment without letting my rage out. Every time I take a deep breath, every morning when I tie the extra shoe or help the kid who's been dallying with a backpack instead of yelling, every bedtime when I give the extra hug instead of snapping. I dont always manage it.

Kudos to you for letting a therapist in! I stick with books. I have all kinds of reasons why no me wan' go therapist. I'm not ready to work on those!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post. We've been with our kids for about a year now, and almost everyday I ask myself why I'm not the perfect mom yet. It means so much to know that it takes time to improve and bond. And that it will eventually get better.

Simply Moms said...

like and "hi" from Dawn :)

malva said...

good grief. can't a mom do a bit of midnight surfing without somebody yelling about therapy?? your face is buggin me.

Christine said...


Liz said...

Christine, I am a mum of four bio-kids, no one diagnosed with anything remotely resembling RAD. And yet, I need to hear it too. I soooo do the "need to be in control" thing. I sooo do the "I don't want to work on my stuff" thing. I sooo do the "I love you but I want to parent you at arm's length" thing. You rock, girl!