Our traumatized, attachment challenged kids are suffering from anxiety like a tsunami inside their bodies every day of their lives. Anxiety is like fear only bigger, pervasive, and unending. If you do not come from difficult beginnings yourself or you are blessed with an extremely resilient constitution, then you, as a parent, may not be as empathic as warranted for the suffering of your children.
Even though I came from difficult beginnings myself, I have very little personal anxiety. When both of my children arrived, I had no idea how to help them and for the longest time I didn’t know what I was seeing. Their behaviors always seemed a mystery to me. At the slightest life event, there was stuttering, confusion, deer in the headlights stares, fear of everything, running away, freezing, fighting, resisting, sabotaging, making misery out of fun, transforming celebrations into disasters, creating struggle at every turn, and what seemed like a determination to insure life was hard.
The painful part now is realizing how much I contributed to their internal strife with my impatience, my lack of understanding, my dismissiveness, my disdain. It is hard for me to understand how I could be so misguided as to believe that telling anxious children to just get over it was helping. For a smart person, I sure can be dumb.
I am passing along this article written by a young woman, Sarah Schuster, from adverse childhood experiences. It appeared in today’s ACEs Connection. I don’t know that I have ever read anything as compelling as how she describes her “high-functioning” anxiety. Your child may have high or low functioning anxiety. Either way, the inside is the same. I sent this article to my adult children and a few of my young clients who I think would feel validated by reading it.
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The next 8-hr. Attachment- and Trauma-informed Therapeutic Parenting Workshop is specially scheduled for one day–July 23rd–from 9am to 5pm. We usually hold the training on two days, but this is an exception for those who cannot find time on two consecutive Saturdays to attend a training. To register, go to attachplace.com/shop. Childcare provided for an additional fee.