All of it hurts. All of it is hard.
It is hard for kids. It's hard for parents. And its hard for the parents to watch their kids struggle. It pisses me off quite frankly. And most days I'm quite sick and tired of it all. It. Is. Exhausting.
Everything he does, is necessary. Everything he does is based on his drive to survive. Everything he does, is to keep what little control he has in check. All of this to make himself feel safe.
Which is hard. Hard for a parent to watch. Only a parent sees. Only a parent recognizes that he doesn't feel safe. He doesn't feel safe with her. He doesn't feel safe regardless of where he is. He doesn't know she's going to protect him. He doesn't know that he'll have all he needs. He doesn't know that she will keep him warm. Safe. Fed. Clothed. Alive. Loved. Honored. Joyful.
Being that parent is hard to live through every day. Every day when you try. Try so hard. You see triggers triggered and you prepare yourself. You look into your bag of tools- set your emotional grade- prep the environment and psych yourself for all the possibilities that may come.
Even when- you handle each and every single minor and major traumatic transition, event, moment, noise, bump, disagreement, struggle, (etc) ---- even when you handle them with consistency. Make yourself sick and relieved all at the same time cause it was so hard to keep it there.... keep it consistent and nurturing. When after 9 months I want to kick and scream. Holler and Yell. But as a parent- you suffer through- stay sane, controlled nurturing and consistent- for him. The more he pushes these buttons- you know- he needs you more.
Consistent & Nurtured. Even then- he still will pause... he'll pause- something inside tells him to stop- to NOT DO WHAT SHE ASKED. Something inside tells him, he doesn't deserve this love. Something inside tells him, it is uncomfortable, overwhelming and too hard. He can't help himself. And I the parent. Watch it. Watch this internal struggle unfold- right there on his face- in his body language.
You think- pray- let him know he is safe. Don't listen the hurt lying to him. This. You. Can. Do.
But no. Not today. It's not you he's listening to today. Its the hurt and the pain.
What else can you do?
Consistency and nurturing.
Then he turns up the dial and goes for something he knows I can't let go. He ups the ante. And ups it and ups it. And if I'm unprepared- I will not respond appropriately.
His behavior is not at issue. Mine is. His is necessary. Mine is short sighted, prideful and hormonal!
We are almost at 9 months. There are signs secure attachment is starting (starting) to take a hold where anxious attachment has thrived for so long. Many of those signs are directly related to him fighting it off. What if I mishandle it? What if I do it wrong? I'm tired. And I don't want to make it harder for him. OR ME! When does it stop getting HARDER?
Single parents, here's the thing. When you need a break-- really need a break- we risk alienating our child. Generally- there is no one else here. When we need 5 minutes to calm down- when we need 10 to figure out what to do- when we need 15 to pray to God for wisdom--- we risk alienating our child. I'm reminded of his past EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. EVERYDAY when I want 2 minutes to go to the bathroom by myself and he begs to come in with me- I'm reminded that he cried for touch so long he could no longer cry. I'm reminded, every time he pushes me away that he remembers being abandoned multiple times. I'm reminded, every time he doesn't use gentle hands- that he may be unaccustomed to their feel. I'm reminded that when he can't let go of me for 12 hours every night- when I, myself am lying there crying cause I need some breathing space, I'm reminded that there was a time he wasn't here. There was a time- when he had no one to cling to. I'm reminded that time was probably longer than I want to believe.
I'm also reminded- that this time- this time when he is pushing and pushing and pushing me away as fast and hard as I'm letting him.... is exactly the time when he needs me. ME. Not a pinch hitter. It's the time he needs me being consistent and nurturing, the most. And if I can tough it out. Figure out a way... perhaps... maybe... there's a chance, it'll ease up on both of you (us). Consistent and Nurturing the most. So single parents- we have to get it together, in the presence of the chaos overwhelming our children- be the anchor. Be the voice. (someone come over to my house about 9am every morning and remind me of this, will ya?!)
Despite almost nine months of adjustment, attachment tools and healing steps, it continues to be hard. And grows harder. But someday soon. Someday it will be better. It will get easier. I know it. He is doing exactly what he needs to do. Children are good that way. They know no other way to live. Adults... adults know the options and make the wrong choices all the time. ( sulking in seat, raises hand). I on the other hand am enlisting professional help.