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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Uncovering Buried Triggers

Sometimes we are like mine sweepers on the battle field unearthing  and diffusing bombs before they go off.  Sometimes we miss the mine and set the trigger.

"I'm sorry Mommy, you really are better than a horse! :)

I blogged about 3 steps back, a little while ago. 
I had noticed the last few days, in FACT right after I wrote that wonderful 14 month update, that something was going a little south.   She seemed more on edge, and I couldn't quite figure it out.

To add to her dysregulation, we had a change of plans last night and more changes of plans this a.m. along with one of Anna's friends spending the afternoon.  It all came crashing down. The "Window of Tolerance" slammed shut!.... and oh she was mad.

Trying to figure it out was tricky....I just couldn't put my finger on it.  So here I am doing my best to be in BCLC mode, yet there was this child sitting there talking back, and saying hurtful things, declaring that "YOU NEVER TRUSTED ME!"  "YOU ARE JUST LIKE THE OTHER FAMILIES!" "You think I steal!" "I KNOW that is what you think about me!" 
That was my clue.  What happened recently where I didn't trust her?  Actually nothing.  BUT.....
we had 2 left over containers of bubble tape from Easter. They came in packs of 3 and I had to buy 2, so we wound up with 6.... and we only have 4 girls.  The other 2 containers were on my dresser.  A few days ago, I noticed one was gone.  I didn't really think that much about it, but asked the girls, "Did anybody get into the bubble tape? One of the leftovers is gone."     Daddy said he took it, and it was over.
We really don't deal with stealing at all, and that is why I asked, because I really didn't suspect anybody.
Alli seemed a little defensive when I asked the group about it and I thought I had settled it right then. "I'm not accusing, just asking if anybody did, that is all. I'd just like to know what happened to it."

Well, her behaviors started to get more and more irritated. And she started to withdraw from family activity.  She once again separated herself from her sisters like she was the outsider......
I was just puzzled. Today when Anna's friend came over, she didn't really engage like she normally would.  She instead was inside looking at horse pictures.

When we finally got to the bottom of her outburst, it dawned on me that the only thing she could have been talking about was the gum.  So I said, "Did you think I thought you stole that gum?"  She nodded her head yes. 
"I never accused you of taking it, and we all know that daddy took it." 
"I know, but you THOUGHT I did!"
"No, I didn't think anything, that is why I asked! And frankly, if you wanted it, I would have gladly given it to you to get rid of it."

I then pointed out to her that we are not just ANY family, or the OTHER families, we are THIS family!
She started to cry a cry of relief. 
And then we had a conversation about horses. 
Horses don't hurt you. They don't reject you. They don't really have choices with you. You put a saddle on them and ride them and they obey. (if they are trained)
People DO hurt you sometimes, and love you and care for you.... and TALK to you and try to understand you.  People relate you in a way a horse cannot.
"Have you ever seen a "horse city"?"   "Do you see horses building roads?"
"That is because they are not people, they are animals!" 
Sometimes when we are hurt, it makes us want to escape by loving animals, who do not have the ability to have an equal relationship.
People relationships are HARDER than horse relationships, because People are not animals to be controlled.  People feel just like you do; they get hurt and  misunderstood too. But they also love and care and we NEED those relationships. 

She was very relieved that I didn't consider her to be a thief.  I asked her, "Have you been called a thief before?"
The answer was "Yes, in my last family. They said I took GUM." 

Sometimes, being a parent to a hurt child is like being give a tattered jigsaw puzzle and the pieces don't all quite fit, or the picture is torn off of some of the pieces, so it is really hard to put together.
But when it DOES come together, it makes total sense. 

So glad I'm better than a horse. :)


Anonymous said...

So glad you found out what triggered it :) Can you do me a favor? I have close to ZERO blog readers, and just wrote a post I would love to hear your views on... Would you check it out?! I would appreciate it!

Annie said...

I had a similar situation with Maxim. He has a trigger [still] when he is accused of something he hasn't done....even lightly - as in your case. In fact our recent case was just about the same. "Did someone take that last ice cream? Maxim did you take it?" (as he'd just come into the room) He didn't go quite ballistic as he would have a few years ago, but he was really angry!

Fortunately I recognize this now. It is so obvious a trigger that [I kind of hate to admit this] I occasionally ask about something just because I know that if he is innocent he'll get REALLY MAD. If he actually DID something he is a cool cucumber. It isn't very nice to find it amusing, but it is such an easy way of eliminating him that I can't help myself. (When I told him about this, fortunately he thought it was somewhat funny, too.)

Christie M said...


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