Wednesday, April 11, 2018

How A Traumatized Child Can Create A Trauma Family

Most people never dreamed how insidious trauma could be, until they took on the responsibility of parenting little people who had experienced extreme amounts of pain, both physically and emotionally in their short life time. You may have considered yourself a strong, emotionally stable parent, until one day you woke up and discovered your reaction to your child's trauma behavior's, showed that you too, had become a victim of trauma. You wonder how did this happen? I only wanted to help my child heal, now I fear I am adding to the problem.


A child born into a loving, emotionally secure family will view the world, and the people who inhabit his world as safe. He knows that everyone loves him and wants what is best for him. During the first year of his life, he has had his needs consistently met which further cements the foundation of trust. 

The child who does not have his needs consistently met becomes fearful, and quickly gets the message that crying will not ensure that he is fed, nurtured or changed into warm, dry clothing. He learns that people in charge cannot be trusted. If he cries mom may slap him, shake him, or ignore him, so he stops crying.

These children learn that no one else can be trusted to meet their needs. They feel alone. They also realize there are some things they cannot do for themselves, so they seek to get those needs met via those with whom they have no ongoing emotional connection. They use many technique's including:
- Manipulation
- Triangulation
- Rage
- Being extra sweet

 These children learn at an early age to read people, and as a result, are nearly always successful when choosing whom to target next, while the adult whom they are  "using" is totally unaware anything has happened. The more opportunities a child has to use his chosen technique's, the "sicker" he will become. A good trauma parent know's this so will do his best to prevent these interactions from taking place. The child, because his brain is conditioned to continually read people, will automatically know that his parent is actively blocking his attempts at manipulating others, thus becoming even sneakier. Mom, in her desire to see her child healed of his attachment issue's and successfully bond with her, become's more vigilant. A battle of wits ensue's which leaves everyone exhausted.

Many children lash out verbally. While trauma parents know these words are coming from their child due to the pain he has inside, it is still very hard to remain objective when your child screams, "I hate you! You are the worst mom/dad ever!" Or, "Why did you adopt me, you ruined my life!" As a parent who's desire is to see your child happy, this can be devastating to hear, eventually you can begin to subconsciously believe the words your child is hurling at you. In a moment of weakness, you open your mouth and say things you never dreamed would come from your lips. If you aren't very careful, the verbal attacks between you and your child can seriously escalate. Before you know it, you sound just like your traumatized child, and in reality you are very similar because you are both responding from the hurt deep within.

Self sabotage was a big one in our home for many years. Deep down many of our children feel like there must be something wrong with them because they are adopted. They are too young to understand things like addiction, abuse, and neglect. They cannot understand how those things affect a persons ability to consistently care for their child. Instead, they think they must be bad people, or as one child recently said, "I shouldn't have cried so much, then my mom would still have me!" When our children experience something fun, or receive praise, it goes against this inner belief so they often act out. If, say, one of our children earns a treat, there is a very good chance he will act dreadfully prior to receiving his treat because he is so uncomfortable with the good feeling inside. Other times, they feel that since they are bad, they don't deserve anything good and will act out to prove their point. Parents can quickly fall into the trap of having the same mindset as their child and treating him accordingly.

Then there is learned behavior, something I despise! When you have a child who is acting out, especially if he is one of the older children in your family, the younger children will quickly take on his coping technique's. Be it raging, whining, manipulating or stealing, younger sibling's will have it down to a science. In our home they even have the same voice inflections and mannerism's. When this happen's it is easy for the parent to become frustrated and dish out consequence's to all involved. Which, by the way, doesn't work.

These are just a few of the behavior's children with trauma employ. If I am honest, they are among the milder one's, as the more severe behavior's are not one's to share on a public blog! A family can quickly take on his child's coping technique's in order to cope with the behaviors being hurled their way. This of course snowball's as it makes the trauma child more fearful, so he ups his ante. The parent panic's and become's even more vigilant, and round it goes. Even if you are conscious of this phenomenon, it is amazing how subtly your child's trauma can engulf you when you are in the trenches day after day.

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