Archive for Attachment Panic Fight

Tax Day

Be careful what you are ignoring when you follow advice from parent educators to “ignore” your child’s negative behavior. Sometimes we parents get confused what that means.  It doesn’t mean ignore the child.  It means ignore the behavior.  Some attachment challenged children have a multitude of negative behaviors. You could end up ignoring your child at regular intervals all day every day.  
 
If YOU had a bad habit of mumbling your words or talking a little too loud or too much or chewing vigorously at dinner and your beloved ignored you whenever it happened, how might you feel?
 
Ignored?
Hurt?
Rejected?
Shamed?
Angered?
Furious?
Reactive?
Rebellious?
Oppositional?
Bitter?
Unloved?
Disengaged?
Done!
 
Enough said, right?
Attachment challenged children are not usually capable of discerning exactly what you are ignoring.  They often take it to mean YOU are “mean” and they are bad.  
 
A better approach with soft loving eyes sounds like this:  
“I love you and yelling when you are angry hurts my ears.  
“I love you and chew with your mouth closed, Sweetie Pie.”  
“I love you and I couldn’t hear what you said.  Try again please.”  
 
Yep, say those sentences 15 times a day instead of ignoring your child 15 times a day.  Could be life changing.
Love Matters,
Ce Eshelman, LMFT
The Attach Place Logo The Attach Place provides a monthly no fee Trust-based Adoptive Parent Support Group in Sacramento, every 2nd Wednesday of each month.  Next group is May 13th. Come join us.  Online RSVPeach month required.   Child care provided.
Next 10-hr. Trust-based Parenting Course  is planned for May 16th and May 23th, 10am to 3pm each day.  Child care provided for an extra fee. Sign-up online at www.attachplace.com.
Next Hold Me Tight Couples Workshop by Robin Blair, LMFT at The Attach Place is planned for April 17th, 18th and 19th.
The Attach Place supports The Wounded Warrior Project by providing free neurofeedback to veterans.  Feel free to send a soldier our way for an assessment and 20 session course of treatment.
Feel free to send this link to friends or family members who you would like to receive Daily YOU Time: Wisdom for Adoptive Parents.

Dear Parents: I love YOU and I need you to 
take better care of yourselves.
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Love Matters Bootcamp Day 3–Diving Deep

Love Matters Bootcamp Day 3–Diving Deep.  Yesterday YOU looked at what is bugging you.  Today, dive a little deeper. Sometimes things happen to make us feel really upset, super dooper worried, or scared out of our wits. These things strike us at the core and we go into survival mode.  What puts you into survival mode?
 
Truth zone
Triggers send you straight to fight, flight, flee or freeze.  Zero to 60 and you are gone baby.  Write ’em down.  This is your work. When you see a challenge up ahead, regulate before you get your survival on.  That’s how you treat a trigger with lots of good fresh air–deep, deep breaths, space, and TLC for the tremor at the core of YOU.
Love Matters,
Ce Eshelman, LMFT
The Attach Place Logo The Attach Place provides a monthly no fee Trust-based Adoptive Parent Support Group in Sacramento, every 2nd Wednesday of each month.  Next group is April 8th. Come join us.  Online RSVP each month required.   Child care provided.
Next 10-hr. Trust-based Parenting Course  is planned for May 16th and May 23th, 10am to 3pm each day.  Child care provided for an extra fee. Sign-up online at www.attachplace.com.
Next Hold Me Tight Couples Workshop by Robin Blair, LMFT at The Attach Place is planned for April 17th, 18th and 19th.
The Attach Place supports The Wounded Warrior Project by providing free neurofeedback to veterans.  Feel free to send a soldier our way for an assessment and 20 session course of treatment.
Feel free to send this link to friends or family members who you would like to receive Daily YOU Time: Wisdom for Adoptive Parents.

Know thyself.
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Sporadic Outbursts

Sporadic outbursting is not a sign that your regulation challenged child is a brat.  Your child’s brain is developmentally unable to manage high emotion–sometimes.  Period.
 
Outbursting needs healing, not punishment.  
 
Do your best to intervene within the first two minutes of a meltdown because you have a slight chance of turning the tables if you do.  If you wait until the tornado gets on the move, you have missed your cortisol/adrenalin window to bring the sun back.
 
Intervening looks a lot of different ways.  Here are a few:
  • Oh, did I say something that upset you Sweetheart?
  • I know you really wanted to do that longer.  How much more time do you think you need?  Let’s negotiate that to 5 more minutes.
  • You can finish that game before you take your bath in 5 minutes. Would you like to do that?
  • Which would you like to do first, clean up your room or take your bath?
  • I can see you are very upset.  I am not trying to make you mad. Tell me what you need right now Honey? I love you.
  • Oh my, Mommy said that kind of loud, huh?  I am sorry.  I must have scared you.
  • (Touch a hand, arm, back gently.) You are safe Sweetie.  
  • There is plenty of food.  Would you like another snack? 
  • I can see why you are getting upset.  Let’s figure this out together.
  • I’m sorry.
  • I didn’t mean to upset you Babe. We just don’t sing during dinner.  
  • I love you and I want you to feel safe.
  • It’s okay to be angry.  Tell me what you are angry about.
  • Uh oh, tickle time.
  • Uh oh, wild hugging time.
  • Uh oh, stomping our feet time.
  • Hey Sweetheart, look at my eyes.  Can you see the love in my eyes.  I am not mad at you.
  • It’s okay to make mistakes. That’s how we learn. I make them all the time.
  • I know you feel bad.  You are not bad.
 
The Attach Place Logo Love Matters,

Ce Eshelman, LMFT

YOU are a precious child in my eyes.  Make sure your eyes are saying that.

NOTE: If you are planning to sign up, please go ahead and do it because I think the space will end up being limited this time around. The next REVISED Trust-based Parent Training Course in Sacramento, CA is scheduled for January 24th and January 31st. Register here.  If you have been through this course in the past, you will be getting significantly more hands on experience than ever before.
 
Please share freely.  Your community of support can sign-up for their own Daily YOU Time email by clicking here.

Hypervigilance

If something scary happens to a baby (BABY of any age–1-day-old to 3-years-old) like being taken suddenly from the mother and given to another person who is definitely not the mother, the brain goes into survival mode and the baby becomeshypervigilant, waiting for the next bad thing to happen.  For most of these babies, thehypervigilance becomes the norm for life. “Felt safety” is the only cure, and getting that is extremely hard.  Eventually, getting safety in an adoptive home is possible, but “felt safety” is harder, like creating a sculpture out of water–extremely elusive.

Hypervigilance can look many different ways in our kids.  In my house both of my children had to know what was going on in our house at every moment.  They inserted themselves into everything. When they were very young, I couldn’t clean the toilet without an audience.  By the way, this did not make them excellent toilet cleaners either. I could barely pee alone.
Today, my son is 5″10″, 17.8-years-old, and still popping out of his room the minute he hears me move about the house.  He comes rushing in my direction to ask a question; to tell me something random; to get food; to check on the dog; to get a hug; sometimes he can’t think of a reason and just stands awkwardly right behind me.  Every day when I get home from work, the second he hears the garage door open in the basement, he runs down the stairs toward my car. He cannot help himself. His need to know persists.  Before I get home he looks out the window for me dozens of times.  He isn’t scared, per se, he is anxious and hypervigilant.
I feel sad for the level of anxiety he carries that makes him so alert, on edge, and intrusive with his presence.  I used to feel badgered to death by little nips, but that is long over.  Now I feel more for him, for his internal life, for his lack of “felt safety” despite how safe he has actually been for the past 15 years.
He takes medication and neurofeedback for his anxiety.  He copes by deep breathing and thinking skills. I sooth him with hugs when he finds himself near me for no apparent reason.  His brain has 10 or so more years to fully develop.  I am hopeful that continued support in this way will lead him, ultimately, to a “felt sense of safety” in his own mind and body. I am hopeful.

The Attach Place

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

Love Matters,

Ce Eshelman, LMFT

Believe that change can happen and it does.

Angry Dysregulation

I hated. bye
I hate y.  bye
i hate u. bye
I hate who. bye
I hate you. bye
 
I received these five texts, one right after the other, while I was co-facilitating a Hold Me Tight Couples Workshop over the weekend. Thank goodness they weren’t from my husband, right? 
 
I rarely consequence when correcting these days.  My son is 17 years old.  He doesn’t learn from consequences, so I learned not to use them for that purpose.  Well, until he broke my trust in a minor way and I was too tired to think it through. During that low point, I knee jerk took away his electronics and required him to return home in the middle of a three-day stay with a friend.  I dropped a bomb on his world over a minor offense.  When he returned to an electronics-free bedroom, he sent me those lovely texts above. There you have it–angry dysregulation.
 

messy room

He stayed dysregulated for two days, destroying his room, sneaking food under his covers, refusing to do his chores, and yelling down the hall at me, “Please don’t speak to me again today!” He did say please. Good boy.Let’s just say this. There were no clean bowls, spoons, or glasses in the house. They were all piled high in the sink or strewn across his bedroom floor.  
 
Before I left the house for the last day of my workshop, I sat on the side of his bed where he was swaddled like a mummy head to toe and gently said this: 
 
Honey, I know you are angry because I took away your electronics and cancelled your sleepover.  I also know you feel ashamed of what you did that caused it.  I am leaving for work right now and will be back in three hours.  This can all be over by you facing what you did like a man and then taking care of your responsibilities around the house. I have left you a list. What you did is not so horrible that you have to feel bad about yourself. You can just learn from your mistake. Your electronics will follow. I love you. See you later.
 
When my workshop was over, I returned home to a spotless house and a boy still swaddled in covers. When he heard me come in, he raised up and said,  I suddenly realized I was making it worse. Sorry Mom, I didn’t mean that text.  
 
Thanks for the apology.  Nice job on the kitchen, too.
 
This could all have been handled differently by me.  Just like him, I forget sometimes how I make things worse by dropping bombs on mosquitos.
Love Matters,
The Attach Place Logo
Ce Eshelman, LMFT 
UPCOMING EVENTS:

  • Next Trust-based Parenting Course is scheduled for July 19th and 26th.  Sign up here.
  • The Attach Place is embarking on our second round of scholarships for families with adopted children who need services but have no funding to get them. We used up the last of our scholarship money last summer and are ready to start fundraising again. This time we have a pie-in-the-sky, big, hairy, audacious goal of $25,000. If you have a dollar you can afford to contribute, that is how we will pave the way–one dollar at a time. Go to: Love Matters Scholarship Fund. We are working on non-profit status, so these donations can be tax deductible.  Yay!
 
Feel free to invite your friends and family to receive Daily YOU Time emails, too. Click here to sign them up.  All you need is an email address and first name.

No Fear

Yesterday, I had a conversation with a friend where I found myself insisting that I have no fear.  She was doubting me and perhaps I protested too much.  Our silly banter made me ponder that concept a little more because I really don’t experience fear.  But why don’t I?  Then I was reminded how my children never seemed to express fear in the years following coming home with me.  They took big physical and relational risks, broke all rules, and seemed to be unmoved by my ire.  I came to know this as traumatic dissociation, because the longer I lived with them the more I saw how much fear and anxiety operated in them.  They were actually afraid of almost everything.

fearMy children and I have something in common.  We have all three been scared “to death” in our lives and survived to see another day.  That kind of trauma can have varying impacts on people.  Some become more fearful and others repress fear completely, thus NO FEAR (or any other feeling for that matter.)

Eventually, the feelings of fear must be uncovered, so life can be engaged with appropriate amounts of risk taking and caution. I think my children have work to do in this arena.  When my daughter calls in tears about how scared she is to be on her own, I hear the grief and work to soothe her.  My son still glazes over to avoid his fears.  There is more processing to be done for them to emerge feeling safe inside themselves and in the world.


So, what is my story.  Of course I feel fear, when I am in danger.  Since I am rarely in danger, I rarely feel fear.  I was scared to death early in my life and I think I did repress my feelings for a number of years.  In my twenties I faced my scary loss with copious crying that seemed to last forever. Talk about keeping my therapist flush with vacations for a few years. When the grief came to a natural close–my loss processed fully, made sense of, and incorporated into my narrative about myself–I returned to a life fully alive and filled with love.  That was my goal then and continues to be my goal now. I think living in love, without fear, AKA anxiety, is the outcome of doing my personal work.  I am grateful for that and for the ability to embrace life and accept it on its own terms.  For me, there is no other option.

unconditional love

Felt safety needs to be our parenting goal for our children, so they can face forward without fear and with love in their own lives.

Love Matters,
The Attach Place Logo
Ce Eshelman, LMFT 
UPCOMING EVENTS:

 
Feel free to invite your friends and family to receive Daily YOU Time emails, too. Click here to sign them up.  All you need is an email address and first name.

Spitting Mad

Spitting Mad

Spitting Mad

You’ve heard the terms spitting mad, fighting mad, biting mad, right?  How often do you feel this way in the face of your attachment challenged (or not) child’s persistent behavior that causes you to repeat yourself? If it is often, then you have to do something different!  It won’t just go away. 

 
Up the empathy for the hard places from which your child comes by mantras and affirmations:
  • Even though I feel this rage, I love and accept my child.
  • Even though I have to repeat myself until I explode, I love and accept my child.
  • Even though I feel this rage and shame about it, I love and accept MYSELF.
What are you waiting for?  Do something different.  If you take the time to say any one or all of those mantras before you speak to your child, you will be making the change you want to see in yourself.  That’s the only person YOU can change.
 
Love Matters,
The Attach Place Logo
Ce Eshelman, LMFT

Empathy Cools the Jets of Anger

I am intimate with anger, my own.  My misunderstanding about the meaning of behavior in the early years of parenting made my blood boil.  I really thought my kids’ behavior was purposeful.  It “felt” that way to me.  Those were only my feelings though, not the facts of the matter.  The facts of the matter were more complex and required me to dig deeper into two things: 1) my own history and 2) my children’s history.

Once I realized that the attachment challenge and trauma suffered in my childhood and the attachment challenge and trauma suffered in my children’s early years transformed our normal brains into chemical turbine factories, I had a better way of understanding behavior, which facilitated the growth of my own empathy for myself and for my children.
cool your jets

 

Empathy significantly cools the jets of anger.

If YOU are too familiar with anger in your relationship with your children, then it makes sense to up your empathy through understanding the impact of attachment and trauma on the brain’s function.  In traumatized humans, survival mode is chronic and pervasive.  Turns out it isn’t really that hard to understand from the factual side.  Tornado

However, when you are swirling in a chemical spiral of emotion, it is pretty hard to see the fear at the center of the tornado.

Behavioral symptoms of a traumatized brain:
Emotional Out-bursting
Controlling
Inflexible Reacting
Demanding
Sneaking
Lying
Stealing
Hoarding
Arguing
Defending
Refusing Responsibility
Resisting Parental Authority
Defying Direction
Running Away

Distracting
Opposing

Freezing
Freezing
Freezing

Fleeing
Fleeing
Fleeing

Fighting
Fighting
Fighting

Fearing
Fearing
Fearing

Up your empathy.

Love Matters,
The Attach Place Logo
Ce Eshelman, LMFT 
UPCOMING EVENTS:

  • The Trust-based Parenting Course  ended last weekend and a good time was had by all, though our back sides are a little sore from all that sitting. Thanks to all of you great parents for your commitment to therapeutic parenting with heart.
  • Next Trust-based Parenting Course is scheduled for July 19th and 26th.  Sign up here.
  • Next Hold Me Tight Couples Weekend Workshop for Therapists and Their Partners presented by Jennifer Olden, LMFT and Ce Eshelman, LMFT is scheduled for June 20, 21, 22, 2014.  If you are a therapist and interested in attending, sign up here.
  • Wow, more generous donations have come in to help other families.  YOU are appreciated–Big Love. The Attach Place is embarking on our second round of scholarships for families with adopted children who need services but have no funding to get them. We used up the last of our scholarship money last summer and are ready to start fundraising again. This time we have a pie-in-the-sky, big, hairy, audacious goal of $25,000. If you have a dollar you can afford to contribute, that is how we will pave the way–one dollar at a time. Go to: Love Matters Scholarship Fund. We are working on non-profit status, so these donations can be tax deductible.  Yay!
 
Feel free to invite your friends and family to receive Daily YOU Time emails, too. Click here to sign them up.  All you need is an email address and first name.

Sharing Info From Kate Oliver, LCSW on Delight

A parent who is also a therapist sent me this link explaining an issue that had been perplexing her about her daughter.  She found the discussion very helpful, so I am passing it along to YOU.


Find some YOU time this weekend people.  YOU need it, right?

Love Matters,

Attachment Help

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

Ce Eshelman, LMFT 
UPCOMING EVENTS:

  • Day one of Trust-based Relational Parent Training.   Super great group of parents.  Wish YOU were here.
  • Next Hold Me Tight Couples Weekend Workshop for Therapists and Their Partners presented by Jennifer Olden, LMFT and Ce Eshelman, LMFT is scheduled for June 20, 21, 22, 2014.  If you are a therapist and interested in attending, sign up here.
  • Big HUG and APPRECIATION for the generous scholarship contributions–YOU know who YOU are.  The Attach Place is embarking on our second round of scholarships for families with adopted children who need services but have no funding to get them. We used up the last of our scholarship money last summer and are ready to start fundraising again. This time we have a pie-in-the-sky, big, hairy, audacious goal of $25,000. If you have a dollar you can afford to contribute, that is how we will pave the way–one dollar at a time. Go to: Love Matters Scholarship Fund.

Attachment Panic

Attachment panic in our children is painful and scary. It occurs when insecurely attached children are triggered by some kind of deprivation–major or minor, real or perceived–to experience abandonment at the core of their being. When the child feels that core abandonment, s/he goes into survival mode–fight, flight or freeze–because at least once, and often many times in the past, s/he endured the bone chilling fear of eminent death by abandonment.  
What you need to know is that YOU cannot always prevent this kind of triggered panic.  Over time YOU can build in your child a felt sense of safety by creating a safe, sensory-rich environment, being a safe and attuned parent, and helping your child understand that manipulation, excessive control and violence are misguided ways to get connection. It takes a long time to turn this around and heal the wounds. Keep the faith. Healing happens with consistent therapeutic parenting.
Attachment Help

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

Love Matters,
Ce Eshelman, LMFT 
UPCOMING EVENTS:
The Attach Place is embarking on our second round of scholarships for families with adopted children who need services but have no funding to get them. We used up the last of our scholarship money last summer and are ready to start fundraising again. This time we have a pie-in-the-sky, big, hairy, audacious goal of $25,000. If you have a dollar you can afford to contribute, that is how we will pave the way–one dollar at a time. Go to: Love Matters Scholarship Fund.
 
Next Trust-based Relational Parent Training is scheduled for May 10th and 17th.  It is close to full already, so go to www.attachplace.com to register soon to reserve your space.  
Check out our three blogs:
 
Feel free to invite your friends and family to receive Daily YOU Time emails, too. Click here to sign them up.  All you need is an email address and first name.