Projections and Perceptions Are Not Facts

Dear Parents,

We parents have our own individual projections and perceptions.  When love and fear are concerned, it is wise to take a little listen to our internal gremlins.  To live in love with your challenged and challenging child, beware the voice of fear lurking in the background and, sometimes, straight up in the foreground.

He is scary.  She is crazy.  He is evil.  She is a bottomless pit.  He is going to hurt someone.  She is a liar. He doesn’t care about anything.  She is self-centered.  He is hopeless.  She is going to kill me in my sleep. Nothing is ever going to work.  I can’t deal with this.  I’m not good enough.   I can’t survive this.  This is awful.  This is impossible.  Life isn’t worth living.  I shouldn’t feel this way.  I can’t do this.

Those projections and perceptions will kick your survival brain into full gear and you will be on high alert for fight, flight or freeze parenting.  Fear suffocates love.  In order to be a therapeutic parent, you must be able to access your higher self, the higher road, your greater love.

That sounds so unrealistic in the face of the frequency of disruption to relationships and family life when you are parenting attachment challenged, traumatized children.  I don’t mean to be Pollyanna about it.  If you know me, I am hardly a match for Pollyanna. (Suddenly, I am thinking many of you will have no idea what that reference is to…I’m definitely showing my age.)  While nothing like her, I do know that fear leads to fierce, reactive parenting which in turn leads to flipped lid reactivity in children.  In other words, your fear can be making things worse.

One of the ways our background gremlins keep love at bay is by repeating so often we begin to believe our projections and perceptions.  He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared. He is scary, so I should be scared.  See what I mean?  If that’s all you tell yourself, that’s what you will believe.

The Attach Place

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

If your head is flooded, you are going to forget you have any love at all; and you will cause yourself to be hypervigilently tuned into your fear and fierce parenting to prevent the damage your scary child is obviously about to create (mistaken belief).

One solution is to rise up about 10,000 feet and take a more objective look at each moment in time.  Is it really catastrophic?  Is it really killing you?  Do you really need to be afraid right now? Even in an unfortunate situation where a 5 year old is running at you with a knife: chances are you have three feet on her and her resolve to kill you is weak. You are probably not in a life threatening situation. More likely you are in a situation you could have avoided and you can de-escalate with an uptick in empathy and love.  That is an alternative perception.

Love matters,

Ce

Join our monthly Adoptive Parent Support Group on February 8, 2017! Open to all adoptive parents at no cost. Support group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6pm to 8pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827. Child care provided at no cost. Please send an email to Jen@attachplace.com to let her know you are going to attend a day before the group.  That allows us time to add to our childcare cadre if we need to do so.  Thank you.

Get your discounted copy of 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.

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