Sunday, March 6, 2011
The Root of The Trigger, and appolgizing for what we CAN'T change.
Kiddo's with Trauma, get Triggered. Once a stressful situation is presented, the Brain sparks and starts referencing past trauma. It is not logical, but to them the pain, the fear, the anger, is so raw and tangible, they can FEEL it, whatever it was, a combination of sad, bad and scary, all over again.
Can I just say HOW PROUD I am of my teenager? How much YUCK, she has let me delve into with her and swim around in? She is amazing. She is so BRAVE.
She is learning to stop and let me calm her down enough to reach into her brain.
We have rules that help our eleven member family operate better, they may seem silly, or strict or nonsense to the outside eye...but hey, they work for us.
One is shower and bathing times. *Some* of our children *Cough* Papillion *Cough* like to shower until the warm water runs cold...
So she may shower to her hearts content at night, after the littles are in bed.
Well Miss Papillion HATES and I mean HATES most rules. There is a fear behind the defiance. I know that, and unless it is a HUGE issue we work though it calmly...or ignore the behavior. She suffers plenty of natural consequences for this and some days it takes biting both cheeks, my tongue and duct taping my mouth shut to let her do this.
Case and Point:
Hubs had a funeral to go to, I had Laundry to run, dishes to do, and little kids that needed to go potty.
Pappillion has her own bedroom and bathroom (with her own shower) in the basement, but for some reason she was three stories upstairs, locked in the little kids bathroom taking a century long shower.
5 little kids came in and out of my room to use the pot, cause they couldn't get in their bathroom.
I took a deep breath, check to see if there was any hot water left, NOPE....she would be out in a minute. I say a quick prayer, granting me patience...and go knock on the door.
"WHAT", says she.
"CHATTER", I ask.
"No, it's me Papillion".
'Oh, is your bathroom broken babe"?
"Can you come out sweets".
An angry daring child emerges.
I can already see she is Triggered, eyes are glazed, jaw is set.
and the outraged ranting begins
"What is your problem, I didn't doooo anything, why you have to ask me why I am in the bathroom, I can do what I want, you are stupid, your rules, I HATE your rules, It's not a big deal that I wanted to shower"...lalalalalalalalal...
Can you feel my deep chested “SIGH”, here we go.
The little kids are starting to collect at the sounds of the yelling (they will be triggered soon too)...I "help" Papillion to my bedroom for a chat, and sit, while she lets me have it.
I guide some of the anger, by asking questions.
"I know you HATE me, right now, and HATE our rules when it comes to showering, is there another time you hated being bossed and having rules"?
SHE STARTS SOBBING NOW.
" I HATE people like you, people that think they are the boss of everyone else. People that think they are important by making people other people feel stupid, and poor, and not as good. Just because I am an Orphan, and have NOTHEING...you think your rules will break me, make me think I don't deserve what I want, never, that will never happen".
I calmly ask her, who are the people that are like me, that have hurt you or made you feel small with rules"?
"A school teacher, and a head Nanny at the Orphanage".
(WOW! BREAK THROUGH. NO WONDER SHE HATES RULES, THEY WERE ONLY IN HER LIFE BEFORE, TO KEEP HER IN HER PLACE, TO MAKE SURE WHERE SHE WAS IN THE HIGHARCHY OF HER LIFE, EVEN IN SCHOOLS , CHILDREN WITHOUT PARENTS WERE TREATED DIFFERANTLY. RULES KEPT HER FROM NEEDS, NO WONDER SHE IS GOING TO FIGHT AND STOMP ON EVERY LITTLE TEENSY "RULE" SHE SEE'S AS A THREAT!)
Now comes the parenting: what I call, "Bringing her back down to earth".
Said calmly, and non threatening,
"Honey, I can really see why you hate rules, and maybe even why you think our shower schedule seems unfair and stupid, you feel when you want a shower, you should be able to have one, whenever, wherever you want."
"Papillion, I can see how MAD you are at me, and feel I am just like those other people that only want to hurt you and keep you in your place. Can we talk about the difference in the way I am talking to you, compared to the way they spoke to you?"
Did those people, bring you somewhere quiet and safe, to talk about it. or did they just yell at you".
"They yelled at me, in front of other people and kids", she hiccupped.
"O.K. How bout them asking you about your feelings and how you felt about what happened"?
"They didn't CARE about me and my feelings".
I scoot closer to her and put my arms around her. "Sweetheart, I am so so VERY sorry, that they hurt you, and embarrassed you, made you feel stupid and poor, and not important. I am so sorry that I was not there to care about your feelings and FIGHT for the things that you needed. I LOVE YOU and I am SO SO Sorry that you felt like they hurt you with their rules."
We both cried, her for her pain and loss, me for the times I didn't get to be there for my beautifully hurt child.
She pulled back and said, "You are not like them Mom, I just forget that when I get Mad".
I smiled and told her "I understand, that's what I am here for, to help you look at things sometimes, so you can REALLY see them for what they are".
We did talk about how her shower was inconvenient for our family.
I gave her some tools.
I explained if she REALLY felt like she NEEDED to shower in the upstairs shower (her reasoning is the downstairs shower is cold, cause it's in the basement)....we could have worked something out.
So we practiced her asking... (Oh and AFTER her LOATHING of RULES, comes her COMPLETE distain of having to "ASK" for something).
"Mom, the downstairs bathroom is cold, and I would like to take a shower this morning in the little kids bathroom".
"OK Papillion, Dad has a funeral to go to this morning and needs a shower, so do you feel you can wait until after he is done, and then I think that would be fine. While you are waiting, why don't you check and see if any of the little kids need to go potty, before you are in their bathroom?"
She smiles, and asks, "So you would have said "yes"?
I ask her if even though it is hard, can she see that she was triggered; her feelings this morning were more about things that had happened before.
She DID! SHE GOT IT!
Do you hear the angels singing?
It was HUGE for both of us.
Therapeutic Parenting takes time, it takes LISTENING to what your kids are really saying. IT TAKES A LOT OF PATIENCE.
We can do this, we can name the hurts and injustices, and we can help see when our kids are triggered.
Have a great Sunday~!
I am home watching girlie movies with four sick kids, while hubs takes the other five to church...