I bought a panini maker. Mmmmm, nothing like a cheesy/carbo-load to get the kid out of bed. What I discovered is how sweet my son is when he knows I made it for him, whether he has time to eat it or not. When he was younger, I would have pitched a fit if he lollygagged and didn’t eat it. Then he would have pitched a fit back, maybe throwing the hot panini puck at my face. I would have insisted at higher and higher volumes that he NEEDED to eat breakfast, but why was I MAD when he didn’t. After awhile, I took everything personally. It felt like these shenanigans were by way of gutting me with a fishing knife. I started to hate my life and my kids, too. This is the ugly truth.
If you are waiting for your children to have love in their eyes before YOU have love in yours, YOU will be waiting a very long time. Oh, I know you used to have love in your eyes, but your child’s attachment challenged shenanigans drained you to flat, hopeless, and sometimes bitter despair. I’ve been there. I know. And, I don’t judge YOU. I get YOU. I am YOU. I am YOU years down the road.
When my kids were younger, I wish someone had bonked me on my head, like a V8 commercial, so I could have had an earlier attitude adjustment.
So, (if you need one) here is my attempt at a “bonk” on your pre-frontal cortex. If you are a parent who adopted a child, YOU are their best hope of finding the buried treasure of love in that damaged heart (a.k.a. pre-frontal cortex.) Have I mentioned that pre-frontal cortex is my favorite set of words? Of course I have.
Here is the key:
YOU must make a DECISION every day to BE a loving person. Period.
No one loves the shenanigans of traumatized children–the mean, hateful, scary, snide, cunning, unrelenting, mind-boggling, mind-numbing, heart-stopping, shitty crap (clinical term) they dish up. No one is made for that, better suited for that, temperamentally predisposed for that. So, YOU wishing you could give up, throw them back, leave them on a corner, put them back on a plane, or relinquish them is very human, understandable, and evidence of the magnitude of grief YOU feel to the bone. I wish I could hug YOU. I know you need it.
If you consider yourself capable of being a loving person, then be that in the face of adversity. Raising this kind of child is the definition of adversity. There is a payoff. It is down the road. Essentially, your love is “paying it forward.” It will come back to YOU. Gandhi said it best,Be the change you want to see in the world. Be the love you want to see in your child. It starts with YOU.
Shenanigans be damned, but not the heart-broken child or the heart-broken parent.
Ce Eshelman, LMFT
Love in the face of adversity is the definition of love.