Thursday, April 29, 2010

Complex Trauma and You

I am home for the afternoon because Teddy is suspended for threatening a teacher at school. He was going to "Rip her arm off and beat her head with it".  Interesting idea. Same threat he makes to his brother. He denies saying it. Pretty remarkable they could match his words exactly without ever hearing them. (sarcasm)He then decided to say the teacher had physically assaulted him. This all happened yesterday but was turned into the office after school and so went down today. He did not mention it last night or this morning.  He also said his dad would see the teacher was fired.  Would this be the same dad he falsely accuses whenever he is angry? Probably not going to work out the way he wants. Such fear.

I went to the Therapeutic Parenting conference led by ATTACh last Saturday. It was amazing.  The first session was led by Jacquelyn Meyer whom I love. Jackie is the director of the Counseling and Enrichment Center in O'Neill NE and Building Blocks. She started calling me "My Brenda" which made me hers forever. 

Jackies' session was called Loss: The Hidden Trauma.  He discussed the grief cycle: shock & denial, bargaining, anger, acceptance, and explicit memory (Memories of specific incidents).  She then talked about implicit memory which is everything that has ever happened that has been stored in our brain. These effect our behavior even if they are things we cannot remember from infancy.

She then discssed the different players involved in a child's life: biological mom, adoptive parents, adoptive parent's extended family.  ALL ARE GRIEVING. The biological mom is grieving the loss of a child, the loss of self-esteem, loss of control in her life.  The adoptive mom is grieving what she hoped motherhood would be like, her value as a person who cannot have children (if that is involved), and shame over inability to have children, her new child's behavior and loss of family and friends who do not support the adoption.  The extended family grieve the loss of the grandchild as they hoped he or she would be, the fear their child may not be a good parent, are sad if they cannot spend time with the child safely.

The adopted child lost pets, their stuff, friends, school, their neighborhood, their family and they feel great shame that it may all be their fault, or that they are not worthy of those things.

What happens when yo put all these people together?  I think you can play out the scenarios most of which are not happy.

What can we learn from this?
Our physical presence with an encouraging touch and/or word can change lives forever. This is where blogs, conferences, therapists, and email listserves come into play. Mom's need the love and encouragement too. I hope you see it out. Our kids need it too and should not have to try to earn it. It is a basic human need to be loved and touched.

Thanks Jackie for a GREAT session!


Mom 4 Kids said...

I really appreciated this post and just wanted to say thanks!

Jennifer said...

Great post! I find your blog meets me where I am every time. Thank you for taking the time to blog.

Brenda said...

Thanks for the encouragement moms. We all need each other.

Suzie said...

"He denies saying it."

Could this be an instance of personality switch like in multiple-personality-disorder caused by early childhood trauma?

PS: I find your blog incredibly interesting and full of resources, so I'm getting hooked to read more and more of it. That's why I am getting back to old entries now, even if they have been over for a long time.