Sometimes the daily shenanigans of raising traumatized, attachment challenged children shows on our faces. I know it has and still does at times show on mine. There were periods over the course of raising my children that I actually had to tell myself, inside my head, to smile.
I used to be extroverted and effusive, but I became weary and depressed when the magnitude of adopting traumatized children set in. Frankly, it hit me like a boulder from the Roadrunner cartoon. When a co-worker was walking toward me down a hall, I had to prompt myself, “Smile, Ce. Look Alive!” Then I would flash a smile and, as they passed by, my face would reflexively return to its flat, lifeless state. It took all of my energy every day to smile at people. At home it was different. My inside voice was dead silent. Since I had no internal voice prompting me to be engaging, be alive, I wasn’t and my face showed it.
My children must have felt as despairing as I did during those times. In retrospect a lot of their behavior was directly proportionate to my disengagement. Back then, I just didn’t know what to do to turn things around. That is why I write this email and send it to YOU every day. I want YOU to have hope and a few ideas of how to turn things around.
Eventually, I read enough books on attachment trauma, took anti-depressants, sought therapy, and finally got neurofeedback to find my natural ability to engage, be alive and, yes, smile. I had to get help, grieve, and recommit to living fully before I could smile again and enjoy my life.
If YOU are under the Roadrunner boulder, take heart. Things can change, but YOU have to start by getting help for yourself. Your children will heal, as YOU do.