Things like this are never easy to hear; unfortunately, you are in the designated hot seat to be the target for:
I hate you.
I hate everything about you.
I wish you never adopted me.
I want to kill you.
I am going to kill you in your sleep.
I hate you and I always will.
And then there are the variations on a theme:
I hate how you chew.
I hate your face.
I hate your voice.
I hate how you talk.
I hate your stupid dog (now this is a low blow.)
Shoot, you just wanted to give this child a nice home and a loving family, right?
Blow a big bubble, step inside it, and fill it with empathy for your child’s obvious emotional pain and distress. Invite a village to surround your bubble, so you have the support you need to do it.
You might think I’m kidding, but I am not. Empathy in the face of your child’s hatefulness is the ultimate cure. You have to give empathy over and over and over to your child in order for your child to internalize it as healing salve on a wounded heart. Your anger, punishment, consequences, fear, cut-offs, rejection, dismissiveness, dread, coldness, personalization, and avoidance will feed the cruel wounded beast that has taken up residence there.
I read somewhere that empathy is the opposite of cruelty. That struck a chord with me. When my empathy tank is on E, I find myself behaving in subtly cruel ways toward my child. You already know I am not a perfect parent, so be sure to look deep at your own behavior. You have to name it to tame it, as Dan Seigel would say. We parent are never justified in being cruel or mean to our children, even if they have been that way to us.
Personally, I shame with discreet facial expressions. I ignore by reading instead of engaging. I am matter-of-fact and I speak in a flat voice. I withhold eye contact. I am not proud of these things and I work hard to keep my empathy tank on F, but I want to be honest about them so maybe you can look at your own subtle ways.
Our children are not just reactive. They are specifically reactive to us. Sometimes we are actually doing things that keep the hate alive and not doing enough to heal the pain within. The solution is incredibly simple and amazingly hard at the same time. Open your higher self to your child and only share your lower self with friends who can understand and be soothing to you.
Over time… Over time… Over time, healing occurs.
Upcoming Events Calendar and Other Things in Sacramento…
NEW DATE: Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held on February 17th from 9am to 4pm. Register here or on our website!
Tell your friends: Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public. February 16th, 2018 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks, right? This is a monthly social group for the children; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. A donation of $0.00 to $5.00 will be accepted for food and supervision if you are able, but please don’t let that be an attendance barrier because the group is FREE. ASD kids need a social life and this is a great way to make it happen.
NEW! 5-Week FRIENDSHIP SOCIAL SKILLS IMPROV GROUPS FOR CHILDREN WITH DEVELOPMENTAL TRAUMA–5-7 yrs group. The 5-wk group will be $120 total, CALVCB payment eligible, structured, and fun, too. New groups will begin again in March, 2018. Contact Ce at Ce@attachplace.com for more details.
UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT: Join our monthly Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on Valentine’s Day, February 14th, 2018! Open to all parents/caregivers at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827.
GIVE MY BOOK FOR SUPPORT TO A FELLOW ADOPTION ADVENTURER: 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. At Amazon or get a discounted copy here.