Ever feel like you’re in a never ending game of tag? Constantly provoked, “Tag You’re It” and, well, you are human and have limitations, and you tag them back, then of course they are going to tag you, and so it goes on and on forever. Sometimes this seems to be the life we live as trauma parents. A never ending game of tag and provocation, a miserable carousel ride that we all desperately just want to get off of.
Our kids are literally brain damaged. It’s not something other people can see, or understand, but we know this to be scientific fact with trauma kids, FASD, etc. But yet, they don’t seem to be brain damaged, everything they do seems to be intentional and boy, can they push buttons. They can zone in on that one button that can light you up like a fireworks show and set you off. It’s like a gift they have, I swear. But the truth is, our kids are brain damaged, and this is how they are currently programmed.
Sometimes it helps me to disengage when my child is totally pushing my buttons when I think of him having a “mouth seizure”. It’s not something he can necessarily control, it just is what it is, and I don’t have to engage, just let it run it’s course. I can walk away. It doesn’t mean anything to me any more than a person who has a physical seizure might flip me the bird in the midst of it. It’s just a brain spasm that’s running out of the mouth. If I engage at that moment, if I play tag and let them make me “it” then I am contributing to the hard-wiring in that brain and making that path stronger and stronger, rather than letting it get weaker by not letting it be used so frequently. Yes they will continue to try, but my reaction is what matters, not theirs.
It seems like an impossible task, and in a lot of ways, it is. But personally I have to come up with 100 different ways to look at things in order to run through the list at the moment so that I can act as a therapeutic parent and not react based on my emotions at the moment. Whatever tools I can find to help me do this, I will use. I can go beat up a pillow or chop wood later to get the emotions out, but in that moment, I need a way to shut down my normal reactions and feelings. Sometimes it works.
Remember, you’re doing the best you can in an impossible situation. Just hang in there and keep doing your best.