Saturday, December 1, 2018
Not just because of all the surviving abuse bit. But that every day how to be a human stuff that adults are supposed to show their kids. Mine missed a lot of that.
That seems to be a generational trauma symptom. If your parents are fighting their own demons, they don't have time to teach you how to brush your hair. At least they don't know how to do the little things without a struggle.
Some of us were left to figure it all out on our own.
So as an adult, I kind of obsess on parenting guidance. There used to be a reality show called Super Nanny where a well meaning child expert showed up to observe parents try and handle their kids. She reminded me of a much kindlier and far less magical Mary Poppins.
Though I can say she did do magic. Practical conjuring that encouraged the parents to be consistent and helpful. She taught them that children WANT consistent rules that get the same reaction every time.
Most often she taught parents to meet chaos with calm. That if they could calm down and give everyone in their family as much of what they needed, things would run smoother. She trained them to see a noisy fussy child as an unmet need rather than a chaos demon.
That helped me see the feelings inside me as the same. Some piece needed something. Most of those noisy radical feely demons, just needed to be helped.
Super Nanny excelled at helping kids get to sleep. She taught the parents to create a calming ritual at bedtime. Every night the same routine chosen by the parents. Something like washing up, brushing teeth, a story then lay down.
For the first couple of nights, parent would sit inside the room with their back to the child. Then outside the door where the child could see them, again with their back to the child.
If the child was old enough to get out of bed, they didn't say a word. No extra lights, just gently put the child back into the bed. On the first try, reminded the child that it is bedtime now. No extra words, no arguing.
Sometimes this took a while for the child to get the message that they needed to do what they were asked. Eventually, the parents could simply ask the child to wash up and read them their story and they would go to sleep on their own.
I decided to try similar things with the children inside my head. We have sleep rituals like I think up a story for them to hear and we end up rested.
Anxiety can run loose at times not related to rest. Like a frightened child, it responds to anger and irritation with more fear and acting up. Those feelings manifest into invisible monsters. Such feelings are only contained with calm, peace and love.
I give them freedom inside a place of their own. I write about them in a journal and let them play with my stuffed animals. I encourage them to draw, and sing and twirl during their special time.
Then, when it's time for them to rest, I gently put them to bed. If they get out, I remind them it's bed time and gently bring them back.
I heard that in recovery to hug your demons or they'll bite you in the ass. I say hug them because they're frightened needy parts of you that need your help.
Kind comments encouraged.