Bad names sometimes when I talk to my support group, my fellow trauma mommas. People, those who don’t understand, would be shocked to hear me say such things. They never hear me say such things. And NEITHER DOES MY CHILD.
We all think them. We all get frustrated, upset, angry, have a bad day, whatever. I don’t care how perfect your child might be, at some point you’re going to be upset with him or her. You’re going to get angry. And you’re going to think a bad name in your head. You won’t say it, but you will think it. I can pretty much guarantee even Mary Poppins had a few choice words about her charges behind closed doors. So how much more for those of us with children who seem genetically engineered to push our buttons every minute of every single day? Poke,poke, push, push, until we lose our temper? We’re not perfect. Everyone has a breaking point. Their goal, they think their very survival depends on them breaking us to the point where we lose control. As therapeutic parents it is imperative that we retain control in front of the child, to not show anger, to not show how badly they have frayed our nerves. How do we do that?
For me, I let those choice names and words out in a safe environment. An environment where the people I am speaking to know that I am venting and letting all the crap out of my system and letting it go, an environment where I am safe and those words will go no farther, an environment where my child will never ever know about or hear those words. I never want my child to hear the things I sometimes think. But I need to express them, get rid of them, somehow. So I swear like a m^&*^g trucker.
That’s not for everyone. I’m not saying it should be. Everyone has their own way of letting things out, of letting things go. For some, it’s running until they collapse. For others, I don’t know. But what I do know is stuffing those things down, and not dumping them, purging them, is dangerous. Letting them float around, festering, on the edge of your thoughts, they just might slip out. A lot. At least they did for me. Once I started getting rid of them, expressing any anger and rage in a different environment, away from my kids, and saying the things I wanted to say and be done with it, I never had the strong urge to say it TO my kids. I could shove it down for later. I knew i could say my piece and get rid of it. I could focus on the “right now”, which was maintaining the goal of therapeutic parenting. Calm, cool, collected, not overly emotional. I never ever wanted to say those things to my child. EVER. But I am not perfect. I would lose control once in a while and say things I regretted. Later I would apologize and try to mend the relationship, but when the relationship is already the problem… how many hits can it take? I don’t know. I couldn’t risk it. I had to find a way to deal with my own shortcomings, my own failures, my own triggers that my child was so successful at setting off, and finding a way to bypass those so I could be who he needed me to be.
I don’t publish it on Facebook. I don’t say it to strangers. I don’t say it to teachers, neighbors, or anyone in the moms group. But I do have a select few that I can be “real” with, who know and understand that I am not perfect, that I have failures and shortcomings, and this is a big one, who can let me fail and yell and struggle without judging me for my words or bad attitude, and let me get it all out, spew out that poison, and be done with it. That’s how I keep it from my kid. That’s how I keep it from festering and growing. Some view it as wrong, or evil. I understand. For me, it became a survival tactic. And so I continue to – keep it real.