Friday, August 8, 2008

The Verbal Barrage

I find the verbal abuse I hear every day to be the most wearing and exhausting of all behaviors. In many ways it is worse than the physical aggression because it is all day every day. There are escalations and valleys but it is always there. Every comment or request as seen as unfair and as confrontational. Exhausting.

A few things that help some at our house:

I need to look at the fear behind the behavior. I need to remember this is a scared little boy in a monster suit fighting out in fright, fight or freeze mode. Often if I say "You are safe. I am not going to leave you. I love you" it will calm him. Rubbing his shoulders , back or arm sometimes deflates the fear. Sometimes I can ask "Bear what are you afraid of today?" or if I stop and think about what might make him anxious in that situation such as "I know you are getting nervous about school starting. You will do great. I will be there to help you. Let's go next week and walk through your classes." That sort of thing. They must begin healing before there is much progress in the verbal abuse though. That is the difficult part. I believe taking care of myself, remembering not to take it personally, to use my logical thinking and remembering to focus on healthy relationships help me to stay strong. I must have some time to myself each day. My little weekend getaway fell through due to the friend having a family emergency. I still need to search out some time for myself this weekend. It is not a luxury. It is a necessity. Parenting a child with RAD requires great stamina. If you think of an Olympic athlete and the care they need of body, mind and soul for such a demanding task, I don't think parenting a traumatized child is much different. This is the parenting Olympics. We need to prepare in the same way as an Olympian. Know our subject through and through, fully understand, take care of ourselves and have huge determination and dedication. Maybe when you are watching the Olympics (if you do) and hear of all the athletes go through you can think about yourself and what you need to parent this child. The verbal attacks can be hurtful if we allow them to be. One of the things I learned in Attachment Therapy is that just because my child is having a very bad day does not mean I have too. I have to separate my emotions from his at a point and realize most days are bad to him. They can still be good to me if I work on myself. This is also where going to therapy for myself comes in. I do believe much of what I talk about when I go is what Bear has said. It is very hard. We can do it.


Lisa said...


~K~ said...

When you said "just because my child is having a very bad day does not mean I have too" I started to cry.

That statement is so true.

I wonder how it is possible, when as the mother, I am the one being abused, verbally, or I am the one protecting the siblings from being abused.

I will have to think about this and figure out a way to make that statment true for me.

Blessings & Hugs,

Brenda said...


I hope you can figure out a way too. I cannot always do this. I try to remember to make this statement to myself. Too fill myself with positive self talk. "What he says is not true. What he says is not even about me. Take a break. Focus on something or someone else." It has taken me some practice and if our AT had not told me I'm not sure I would have figured it out on my own. It was kind of a light bulb moment for me when he said it. ((((((((hugs)))))))