Despicable Me

Dear Parent:

Our traumatized kids do some despicable things.  If any one of us did them, we would be nothing short of mortified.  Yet, our children often angrily blame others for their actions or deny culpability or insist it didn’t happen at all.  The feeling of living in crazy town gets magnified for parents during these times.  Caution: dysregulation zone ahead.

I know our kids often seem like they are the best thing since ice cream. Really, they feel like they are evil to the core, so why not act like it. They don’t understand themselves or their behaviors.  They just do stuff.  They feel shameful. And they don’t care. They don’t care, because they can’t stand how terrible their feeling feel. It’s better to feel nothing.

Our kids are busy as bunnies trying to fill-up the cavernous holes they often feel inside their hearts.  If they just had that one thing, got to go to that one place, got to wear that one see-through dress, got that one girl, got someone to have sex with…the list goes on.  They are constantly doing things that they think will do the trick, ease their nagging emptiness.  When the first thing doesn’t fill it up, they try the next and the next and the next.  Rarely do they have the insight to stop and say, “Maybe I am chasing the wrong things.”  

It is our therapeutic parenting task to unfold with our children their fierce drives, their survival modes, their repetitive patterns. We must do that with intensely accepting empathy for their feelings, their behavior, and their true infantile needs.  Above all, we must not shame them for despicable behavior in a misguided attempt to make them change their behavior. They already feel ashamed and it hasn’t stopped them yet. Another dose of shame will not be the answer.

The answer is: “up the empathy.” Empathy is the antidote to shame. That is why therapeutic parenting is so hard and why you need more support than you are probably getting to have consistent, predictable empathy.

Love matters,


The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar

Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held in April 2019 from 10 am to 4 pm.  Childcare provided for an additional fee. CALVCB will reimburse this training. Stay tuned for the exact dates.

AUTISM Support Group:  Monthly Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public.  NEW DAY: Every third Monday from 5:30 to 7pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to so we get enough snacks. This is a  monthly social group for the youth; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. There will also be occasional fun field trips, like bowling, ice skating, roller skating, etc. A donation of $5.00 will be accepted for food and supervision if you are able, but please don’t let that be an attendance barrier because the group is FREE.  ASD kids need a social life and this is a great way to make it happen.

UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  CLICK HERE to join our monthly  Adoptive Parent Support Group, March 13, 2019.  Childcare provided at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827. Open to the public.

GIVE A BOOK OF SUPPORT TO A FELLOW PARENT ON THE ADOPTION JOURNEY: Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT.  Daily inspirational reading for those who sometimes find it hard to keep hope alive. There is hope for healing.  Buy from Amazon or order a discounted copy here.

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