I had a therapy session today with an eleven-year-old boy whose dysregulated state looked just like paranoid schizophrenia. If his parents were not there to tell me he is not always that way, hands down, I would have misdiagnosed him. He was dysregulated by my miscalculation about his tolerance for role play. Instead of getting my point (which I genuinely thought he would), he became humiliated and interpreted me as simply mimicking him. I didn’t mean to humiliate him though, and he couldn’t recover despite my apology.
That is a bad feeling. I don’t usually use that method to break through a child’s defense and now I remember why. It sometimes backfires in a big way. I hope I can gain his trust back.
If you are a parent who is prone to sarcasm, you may have found yourself resorting to mimicry to get your point across to your attachment challenged child. Take a lesson from me, they have tender underbellies and little tolerance for the gut-stabbing feeling of humiliation. The wound can be deep and long lasting.
Make yourself as safe as you possibly can to the tender parts of your defense-protected child. Our children need to trust we will not hurt them. I will be making great effort to get this young boy’s trust back. If you have hurt your child, on purpose or by accident, work very hard to re-establish trust and safety by making a sincere apology and taking the high road every chance you get.
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The next 8-hr. Trust-based Parent Training is scheduled in June (TBD) from 12 noon to 4 pm. $200 per two person couple. Childcare available for $30 each day, second child $10 additional. To sign up, email Ce@attachplace.com and I will register you.