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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Reformation Party and Trauma Revisited

Last night, was our annual trip to the Reformation Party.   We had a wonderful time visiting with old friends and new friends.  There were more kids than we could count and even more people!  Food was everywhere as well as laughter and excitement and just good fellowship!

So what does that have to do with TRAUMA?  She is what it has to do with Trauma. :)
(My beautiful little Anna.  (posing with Sarah)  I love this picture they took of themeselves. :)
Love that they are cheeck to cheek, skin to skin..... close, and enjoying themselves together.)

7 years ago, Anna attended her first Reformation Party. She was so excited to go. She knew she would be bobbing for apples and doing a Pinata and even watching a movie! She knew there would be loads of kids to play with, and that mommy and daddy would be there with her.

It was an amazing time, because it was the first time we had acutally seen her really REALLY let her hair down, run around like a crazy 5 year old and just have the time of her life.  She forgot all about her fears and we watched her just be a kid. It was a wonderful sight.

BUT.... when it was time to leave, she said her good byes and we got into the car to go home.  She started to kick the back seat, she became sullen, her color changed, her eyes changed and she began to scream.... "I hated that party! I hated those people! I didn't have any fun! I didn't like it! I don't want to go back!  and she raged on.
As a parent, it is hard to hear those words, esepecially when you know they aren't true, and you WANT to say, "YES YOU DID!" I SAW YOU HAVING A GOOD TIME!"...... but it wasn't about that.
It wasn't about her lying, or being bratty or rebellious.  It was all about TRAUMA.  It was all about how she felt about herself.

You see, she didn't think she DESERVED to have a good time. She didn't think she was WORTHY of a good time. So she decided to sabotage it. To get rid of it. She had to get rid of the "evidence". :)

At first we said, "We saw you having fun."  But it only enraged her. So we remained quiet.

When we got home,  we took her to the rocker and she was fiesty mad.  We went through the relaxing things... take some breaths etc.  And I began to sing to her as always.  Then, when I felt she was calm enough, I was making eye contact with her and said,
"Sweetie, it is OK to have fun!  It is OK for YOU to have a good time. You DESERVE to have a good time. You are precious." And I continued to speak into her TRUTH.

She started to cling to me and then she began to sob.  And she sobbed for a while. It was a mournful sob, and it was deep and wrenching.  And it  was healing.

She looked up and said, "Mama, I'm sorry. I really did have fun. I did like those people. I really did!"
I said, "I know." It is ok.  And then she fell asleep.

That folks is what Trauma does to a child. It robs them of their joy.  If we recognize it, we can get them out of that "negative feedback loop", and place them right back into childhood, in all its wonder and discovery. We can help to place them back into safety. We can help to get them to the safety and love they so crave, yet are so terrified to embrace.

After a few of these patterned responses, which I like to call, "Rebooting the ole' hard drive", they will start to recognize their own fears and begin to embrace the new life as a gifted flower, and not a thorn that will just continue to hurt them.

I will never forget that first Reformation Day Party for our Anna.  Because, it makes me SO enjoy watching her at all the ones we have attended since, and the one we enjoyed so much last night.
                     She has conquered the wild beast of trauma that held her captive for so long.

On the way home, we heard all the exciting news and what a great time everybody had.
And that, is music to a mama's ears. :)

5 comments:

Hevel said...

Trauma is a nasty, nasty thing. Even these days birthdays are a triggers and there's a very selfish reason behind my family absolutely not celebrating Christian holidays.

You are such wonderful parents.

Annie said...

What a great story.... Occasionally, something has healed that easily for one of my kids. Usually, unfortunately, I've not been clever enough, or the hurt has gone too deep for a one-time "fix"....but there is hope! I can't believe how far Maxim has come. Nastya, too.

Mike and Christie said...

I don't think it was a one time fix, but it seemed to fix it or this occasion. It was much harder to recreate new memories of Christmas and Thanksgiving, because both of those holidays carry memories from before. There were moves during that time, which are associated with the season. Birthdays are another one too. Her birthday is right around Thanksgiving. She has already said something like, "I really don't care about my birthday." :( We don't make too big a deal at birthdays because I think it is just hard.
Maybe that is what Hevel is speaking of. Birthdays are all about being born, birth mothers, celebrations, and knowing you weren't celebrated when you were born, even if you are celebrated now.
So, we try to keep those as just small family events. They do look forward to the present hunt.... and picking a favorite cake etc. But they are hard.

Diana said...

Your stories and your beautiful girls give me such hope. There have been many a dark day where they've kept me hanging on a little longer. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing them. Please don't ever stop!!

Mike and Christie said...

Diana, I am so glad you have been blessed by my posts. Thank you for blessing me with your encouraging note. :) I just KNOW things are going to get better and better for you. You help me keep blogging. :)

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