Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Comments and emails from folks asking about self-regulation.  Here's your post:
It's different for everyone.  Some of the most helpful things for me have been:

Al-Anon - I had several years of Al-Anon working on my stuff and practicing detachment with love prior to getting J.  Detachment with love is something that is extremely hard to do and I'm grateful I had years of practice before J.  With RAD kids you have to take a step back and not let them poke you with a stick, like Corey describes.  It is beyond hard.  Working on my stuff is incredibly hard too.  Dang.  I. do. not. want. to. do. it.  Christine got it right, as always, right here.

Therapy - I have an hour every week before J to continue working on my many issues.  At the moment Kristy has me reading The New Rules of Marriage: What You Need to Know to Make Love Work by Terrence Real (no, I am not getting married) and True Love by Thich Nhai Hanh  and (gasp) doing the exercises in the book. Both books are excellent and money well spent.  I made the mistake of getting New Rules on k i n dle and hated it because I couldn't highlight all the profound passages to death.  So then I had to order the paperback.  True Love is an easy read but very profound book.  One of the exercises is to meditate for a minute on "Dear One, I know that you are suffering, that is why I am here for you."  I'm practicing it in all areas of my life but it's especially helpful with J.  This book has really touched my heart and is making me more open to seeing things differently and framing situations differently.

I rub on my sore spots.  Sometimes I do it in front of J (because I think it's good for her to see me using tools to help myself), sometimes I go hide in the bathroom.

Even though I'm having a really hard time right now, I'm a totally great person.
Even though I'm feeling like a crappy mom today, I'm a totally great person.
Even though I'm exhausted and drained, I'm a totally great person.

Even though I don't think I can do this RAD thing one more minute, I'm a totally great mom.
Even though I don't know how I'm going to make it through the day, I'm a totally great person.
Even though I'm so frustrated with J, I'm a totally great person.

The psychological reversals (rubbing) work almost immediately for me (and J).  I don't know why.  I don't care.  It only matters that it works. 

Call/email another RAD mom.

Last but certainly not least - I put myself in a mommy time out.  Everyone goes to their rooms and I get just a few minutes alone.  Once I have regulated myself I can then help regulate my daughter.  If I don't get regulated things go downhill fast.  My newest thing is to do the mantra above from True Love while hiding in my bathroom.  It helps.

I have all of these tools posted on the fridge.  I need to have them handy when the crazy happens.  Cause when the crazy happens I can't think.  So the note on the fridge thinks for me so that I don't have to spiral down with my kid.

Please share what you do for regulation... I would love to hear your ideas.


QuackenBaby said...

To regulate... we sing... or dance or wiggles out. Sometimes it works, others it doesn't.

If I am fuming, I walk outside and run a lap... usually my kids follow and it's hard to focus on issues when it's freezing cold!

We do room time. Usually it's, "We need some time apart so we can be happy together. Find me when you're smiling, and it will make me smile". I try really hard to smile when they come and find me... even if I am not regulated yet myself!

Sarah said...

humph. I totally want to curse at you right now for telling me a truth I have been trying to avoid- I need to get myself back into therapy. for me. Dammit. IDONTWANNA!!!


in the meantime- I have said it before, but the #1 thing that is helping me right now is to close my eyes, breathe, and picture my child as a toddler. If I can stay empathetic, if I can remember where he came from and where the behaviors are coming from- I stand a MUCH better chance of keeping myself regulated and approaching him with love.

Kerrie said...

Peanut was 20 months when she was removed from her aunt's house and brought to us. She had no language. About two years ago (age 4), she was in a rage and began shouting at Josh, "you weren't there! Why weren't you there? Why didn't YOU come get me? Why did you let them not take care of me? Why did you let a policeman come get me? Where were you?"

She wasn't old enough at 20 months to know we didn't know her. But don't think for one moment that she doesn't remember.

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

Regulating myself? Oh hell.

Just kidding. I stop for a minute with my eyes still on my child and focus on getting a good deep breath going and then force my thoughts into my front brain. I am well aware that sounds strange but pulling out of the "back" emotional part of my brain dampens the frustration I might have at the time and moving in to the more logical part of my brain puts things more in perspective.

Well, I don't know if that makes sense or not but it works for me. You know, sometimes. When I remember.

Kerrie said...

Heh heh. That comment was supposed to go on the last post. Whoops.