Monday, April 16, 2012
There's a thing our kids do. Divide and conquer. Yes, NT kids do it too but not to the extreme of our traumatized kids. Yes, NT kids do it, but the damage is not severe nor does it have the lasting consequences as it does with our children. We, as parent of trauma, are racing the clock to help our kids heal and to teach them about appropriate attachment.
There used to be a person in J's life that portrayed himself to be J's father. Yet, he always fed into J's poor, pitiful routine. This was the truth for the first 5 years that J was home. It was hard. And frustrating. And it never helped J heal but only amped up her control because she never felt safe. Why would she? If a little kid could divide the adults, how on earth were they supposed to keep her safe. Really?
It was a hard place to be in. Wanting to help J heal and but not wanting to give up this 27 year relationship. I finally started limiting their time together. They were never allowed alone together. I picked my battles. This person had really poor boundaries and it didn't matter how much I tried to educate him, he would never get it. Wouldn't try to get it. And he would feed into the behaviors every. single. time. Ugh. It was ugly and hurtful. My heart broke a little bit each time and I was a little more beaten down.
Several of the accusations went like, "I don't know what you're doing to her that makes her hate you." "What are you doing to make her so mad." "Why can't you just give her what she wants and maybe she'll like you." "What did you do to piss her off." "Well, she likes me." "I never see those things."
And a lot of those accusations were said in front of J. Daggers in my heart. Every one of them. The support was not there. I was lost and standing all alone with a very angry child and he was only rubbing salt in the wound. And J was learning not to trust him. Every time he did it, she listened and learned over and over that he could not be trusted.
We, as parents of trauma, have a very limited window to promote attachment so that our children may heal. Why can't our spouses, significant others, family members, friends, etc. work with us instead of against us.
Marriages crumble when parents do not stand as one. Friendships fall by the wayside. Family members are removed from our lives. It hurts to lose the friendships and family members but when it is the spouse/significant other relationship it is a HUGE problem. The children fall through the cracks and the trauma gets worse. It is not helping our children. It is creating a monumental chasm between the child and the mother when the spouse does not get it. The child may not be able to tell you but they are suffering when the parents do not stand as one.
And the mom stands alone.
And she takes and takes and takes until one day she has to make really hard decisions. Those decisions are never pretty and there will be casualties.
So spouses and significant others, listen to the primary caregiver. Stand with them. Back them up even if you don't agree. You can agree to disagree later (IN PRIVATE) but the primary caregiver needs your support. Your child needs this from you. So step up. Believe them because they know what they are talking about. Build them up and tell them what a great mom they are. Shower them with love and affection in front of your child. Show them what a relationship looks like. They are watching. Later in life they will remember how you treated your spouse and pick one that matches what you do. Are you showing them that you should trust your spouse? Are you worth picking? Are you showing them that they can be safe and relax now? Or are you showing them that you pick everyone BUT your spouse?
Or are you feeding the fear?
Stand together and help your child heal.
Stand apart and the child gets worse and feels in danger all. the. time.
Are you listening?
At lot of events went down last year that were hurtful and extremely painful. This person walked out. J lost the only dad that she had ever known. J made the decision that she did not want him in her life anymore. She was extremely angry that he left her and wanted nothing more to do with him. He changed his mind shortly after but it was too late. She was done with him. I couldn't blame her and I was not going to make her see him if she did not want the relationship and if it would be detrimental to her healing. She is in charge of her heart and who she lets in. After having it crushed 27 times before, the 28th time was just one time too many. I respected her decision and chose to stand by her. Through thick and thin - we are one.
There were huge casualties in the process. Hearts were shattered all around us. It was horrible. Until it got better. Let me just say there was a lot of tapping going on to put the pieces back together.
However, Kristy and I were just talking last week in therapy about how much stronger my relationship is with J because there isn't any triangulation anymore. My daughter did for me what I could not do for myself. She made the decision that it was not alright to break her heart and she wasn't going to allow it again. Then she hit a new level of healing and trust. She feels safe now. I'm just sorry for my part in it and that I let it drag on for so long.
I saw that he wasn't getting it and I should've done something about it. I didn't. My kid did.
J has verbalized many times how scared she was when he would not listen to me and he was listening to her. She was terrified. She has also said that she wanted to see if we were both strong enough to keep her safe. She has specifically told me that he would not be able to ever keep her safe because he would not listen to me about what she needed. I'm kicking myself because I did not make this a reality sooner for J's healing. I hate that I allowed her to be scared for so long.
When you know better, you do better.
If you've been doing these things. Change it. Change it now. Not tomorrow. Right now. Work toward your child's healing. Stand with your spouse. Believe her. She's been beaten down. Build her up.
You're racing the clock, remember? Don't stand in the way of a child's healing.
Stand as one.
Learn from our lessons. I promise it'll be a lot less painful.