Never Underestimate Dysregulation

Dear Parents,

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.

The Attach Place

The Attach Place Center for Strengthening Relationships

Love matters,


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Drowning with My Hair on Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents


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