I remember the first time I felt that isolating feeling. You know the one I’m talking about, right? As if you’re standing in the middle of a crowded room, surrounded by people who are talking, laughing, hugging, and joking, but you feel unseen. You wonder if you screamed at the top of your lungs, or began throwing a massive temper tantrum in the middle of the crowd, if anyone would stop and take notice?
Yeah, that feeling.
I happened to be in an upscale suburban church on Easter Sunday when the feeling first sank it’s claws into my soul. I was a foster parent at the time and the child I was caring for, suddenly melted down and began to throw an enormous tantrum in the middle of the lobby on the busiest Sunday of the year. People gawked, people slowly scooted away. Others scurried their children along for fear of “getting some of the tantrum all over their color-coordinated Sunday outfits!” After all, the church had set up a special Easter At [insert church name] photo booth for the entire family to take a picture.
We weren’t heading that way anytime soon.
I stood in the lobby trying to reason, trying to stop her tantrum, and trying to look normal, but to no avail. And then the isolating feeling set in. “I’m all alone,” I thought, with the sound of a thud in my mind. “We’re on an island and no one is coming for us!”
All I got was half-hearted, half smiles from folks looking on in disbelief that I would allow this child to disrupt Easter! (Insert a mixture of eye roll and desperation here)
Have you ever been there? Ever felt like this? Have you ever felt like your back is against the wall. You’re fighting with your child, when you intended to fight for them! Some days, you can’t tell the difference. You’ve struggled to make sense of the meltdowns, the behaviors, the insults, the blow ups, the constant pushing you away!
Yeah, I get you. Because I AM you. And here’s what I want you to know, dear struggling one….
I See You.
I see the aching in your heart. I see your tears. I see how desperately and deeply you love your children. I also see how defeated you feel. I know how lost you feel. I fully understand the ultra fine line between needing support and needing to hide away. I see and know the fear you feel. You’re afraid of being honest about your struggles with your children. You’re afraid of judgement and criticism. You’re afraid those that will come out of the woodwork and attack you or worse, attack your child.
I see you. And I want you to know, you’re NOT alone.
Your Child is Speaking from a Place of Trauma
This may be hard for you to believe, but try and remember that your child’s words often come from their trauma history, and their trauma history often controls their present behavior. They don’t mean to push you away, or reject you. They don’t mean to constantly fight against you, but they’re in survival mode A LOT!
Our children need us to keep showing up and believing in them. They need us to dust ourselves off, shift our perspective and try again.
So, take a moment today to pause and remember this,
I see you…I know you…I’m cheering for you. Today, remember that you’re not alone. Remember that what you are doing is good. You are strong enough to weather this storm and be the soft place to land that your child needs. And you are a good mama….you are a good daddy!