Wednesday, April 25, 2018

12 Things Trauma Parents Have In Common

#1. Silence makes you uneasy. You don't think, "Oh good, she is finally happy so I will take a few minutes to read my book," instead you think, "Uh oh, what is she doing now," all the while running through scenario's from self harming to destroying property, or worse.

#2.  You find joy in simple things like your child eating breakfast with a smile on his face. A flower that your child offered as a peace offering after his latest rage. A cheerful, "Yes mom," in response to a command rather than the meltdown for which you were braced. A commendable report from a Sunday School teacher after you hesitantly sent your child to class against your better judgement.

#3.  Reading books and scholarly article's on trauma stimulate your brain, and you can discuss trauma on a professional level from years of therapy and psychiatric appointments.

#4.  Sharing your war stories with fellow trauma parents is refreshing, and challenges you to count your blessings.... or sink into despair because you realize your situation really is as bad as you thought and not a figment of your imagination.

#5.  You know if your child is stable by the pitch of his voice, the way he holds his body, and/or his choice of words and actions.

#6. When you have a family vacation with a minimum of meltdowns and your traumatized child says, "That was fun!" You gain new hope that maybe your child is beginning to heal.

#7. You analyze. When your child has a good day you analyze everything from what you did the day before to what he has eaten in the past week, hoping to find a common denominator so you can repeat the success. When he has had a hard day you do the same thing, hoping to prevent another fall out.

#8. You go into each new psychologist/psychiatrists office ready to go to battle for your child, even though you don't have much hope that this doctor will be any different than the last dozen. You know most of them won't be able to help you, but you keep trying with the hope that maybe this time you will find someone who has the knowledge and desire to help you search for, and access the tools that your child needs to heal.

#9. Screaming doesn't phase you. You know that sometimes your child just needs to scream out his pain and frustration, trying to intervene only complicates things. 

#10. You know how to have smiling eyes. When your child kicks you and yells hateful things, then comes in the door 5 minutes later with a dandelion he picked, "Just for you, mom!" You swallow hard, put on your smiling eyes and accept the gift for what it was meant to be - a peace offering. Later behind closed doors you cry gut wrenching sobs, wash your face, then prepare for the next round.

#11.  Triggers are common knowledge. You and your husband wordlessly divide and conquer when your child faces a trigger. Be it emergency lights, smells, sounds, textures or certain people. When you come in contact with any one of these, one takes care of the traumatized child, the other takes the remaining children. You both unconsciously scan surroundings, people, and situations to locate, and if possible, remove things that you know will trigger your child's trauma. Sometimes you simply remove the child while hoping and praying he comes through unscathed.

#12. Crying with your child is considered progress. One child asked me, "_________ didn't even hurt you, so why are you crying?" When I told her that I hurt when she hurts, she burst into sobs and allowed me to hold her close. When your previously antagonistic child allows you to comfort him, you have one of the most rewarding experiences of trauma parenting.

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