Self – You’re the problem

While I can’t dismiss that there are more influences than just me, I’m finding again and again that whatever maladaptive thing the kiddo is doing, if I slow down and ask where it came from? It me. /facepalm

Tries to solve perceived problems without help? Yup

Ignores or hides pain instead of sharing and asking for help? Yup

Assume the worst or focus on what is missing instead of what is there? Yeah. I’ve been aware of and working on this, and I realize now I still have a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong way to go.

Ignore other people’s boundaries if they aren’t clear and direct? Ugh, yup! They should still be clear and direct. And I could tell people that I need them to be clear and direct so I don’t miss what they are trying to communicate.

Not express my boundaries clearly, kindly and firmly? Definitely me.

Struggles to do things that are boring or anxiety inducting? Oh heck yeah that’s me.

And now I think my meds have worn off cause I’m ready to keel over and sleep. On the plus side, the ice pack and stretches have helped my head pain.

What am I avoiding?

I had a great conversation with a friend who was able to help me see what I’ve been avoiding.

Why it’s hard to write is because what I need to write is the stuff I’ve been ignoring or avoiding for so long. I have to stop and look at it instead of trying to outrun it.

I’m writing at this moment because what I should be doing is watching a video on how to get my ribs back in place. To be able to focus on that I need to be able to tolerate the pain and believe that it is worthwhile to take care of myself. That I should learn to prevent the pain instead of how to deal with it.

What I usually do instead is try to disassociate by absorbing knowledge or solving problems (puzzles).

I generally don’t share what my pain levels are on a day-to-day basis.

I’m trying to remember my earliest memory of pain. I remember the day I came in with a skinned knee. My kneecap solid red from blood. I can’t recall if it was dripping down my leg or just looked terrible because I had somehow scraped off all but the very thinnest layer. I don’t recall the pain either, but I do recall not feeling any until my mom reacted and then I freaked out crying.

In preschool and kindergarten I had long hair and my “friend” would sit behind me and braid my hair. She pulled so hard that it hurt, but it also felt so good that I was afraid to say anything in case she decided to stop braiding my hair because my complaints were so annoying.

I’m not sure if she was the same friend who died from cancer(?). All I remember about that was wanting to go to the funeral and being told that I couldn’t. My parents have told me they were trying to protect me. Instead, it taught me that what I wanted didn’t matter and I missed an opportunity to learn to handle grief with something other than avoidance.

I remember that we went to daycare and our caretaker would stick us out in the backyard to play. The trains went right by her back fence and they were SO LOUD and the ground and fence would shake so I’d cover my ears and crouch down into a ball until it passed. I know I didn’t like her, but other than that and her saying my hair was too short and my brother’s was too long, I can’t remember why.

I know elementary school is when I fell off the play structure and if I’d been any shorter probably would have broken my neck. I was climbing the ladder, slipped and landed standing on my feet with my chin on the platform the ladder was attached to. I bit my tongue painfully and barely noticed the pain in my knees and ankles from the landing.

In first grade I remember standing by my teacher and she told me to stop sighing. I remember saying I wasn’t sighing, I was just breathing. I think I was mouth breathing at that moment, but I realize now that I wasn’t getting enough oxygen to my brain, so I kept taking deep breathes every once in a while. So I got the message that even my breathing was wrong and annoyed people. Even the people who “liked” me. I was definitely teacher’s pet, so that really hurt emotionally. She didn’t ask me what was wrong or why I was sighing, just told me to stop.

Writing that, my rib has been hurting this whole time even with the heat pad. And then my elbow started hurting too.

I had a best friend in first grade and we would play house. A third kid who everyone found annoying would ask to play too and we usually said yes, but he had to be the baby while me and my friend would be mama and papa and play house. I think we just bossed him around or tried to find ways he could play . I remember that we kissed once because that’s what the older kids did when they had “boyfriend” – and I never saw him again after first grade because his mom sent him to an all boys school because his assigned 2nd grade the following year was known to dislike boys. All the girls had gone to kindergarten together and already knew each other, so it felt especially difficult to join their social groups.

I think second grade was the year I didn’t really try and would do homework but not turn it in or just not do it. I think I couldn’t keep up with the organization needed that wasn’t necessary in first grade. I remember the teacher liked me but was worried about me and I was getting bad grades. I don’t recall how that resolved.

Parenting – Video Restrictions

Videos – not a need, a want

Even if they are a coping tool, they are not a reliable or adaptive one. They are maladaptive in that they make you more dependent, not more independent and they reduce your ability to focus by deliberately trying to catch and keep your attention.

They can be very entertaining and help us learn and explore, and if we only learn and explore that way, we are missing out on other forms.

Either don’t watch or watch responsibly/deliberately/intentionally/mindfully.

Why? To avoid seeing something horrible that cannot be unseen.

To do responsibly:

Watch with (supervising authority) or watch only ones from subscribed channels – (supervising authority) needs to approve, double check if kid added subscriptions. To ensure one of those two:

Before starting a new video, tell (supervising authority) how long the video is, who it’s by (confirm that it is subscribed/approved or request supervision if not) and set a timer for the video length.

This is to avoid losing time watching one video after another with no deliberation – at the mercy of the algorithm. Kid has gotten very upset before at losing track of time watching videos and requested help making sure it did not happen again and that no more than 5 hours a day was spent watching videos even on the weekends. Kid wants to make sure they have a diversity of experiences (we use Trello for tracking things that we don’t want to forget and can’t do right now).

This method did not work because (supervising authority) was not capable of enforcing it yet and kid wasn’t capable of following it yet.

Kid and (supervising authority) agreed that we would only use YouTube kids, or YouTube on kid’s google account so that it can be restricted. Kid’s google account can only be used on kid’s user account on the tablet – this is a software limitation.

Right now kid can still access (supervising authority)’s account on the tablet. If kid cannot stick to using YouTube kids or YouTube on their account, (supervising authority) will have to change the password so that kid can only access his account.

(supervising authority) will need to work on moving game data over from their google account to kid’s. Kid will need to work on being patient or helping around the house so (supervising authority) can move the data.

How to Listen, an example

LIMERENCE: To Heal from Heartache, Face Rejection (and Reality) Honestly – YouTube

This video exemplifies active listening and why we have to tell our stories. What the Crappy Childhood Fairy does is restate what she heard/understood from the letter – that’s called Active Listening.

Side note: It’s way more important than Whole Body Listening which is just a societal expectation.

If we don’t tell out stories, no one can reflect them back for us. And by sharing our stories, other people can see the problem clearly, and then if they are willing to be honest with themselves, see how it applies to them.

Also it’s hard and sucks and I hate it and I’m gonna keep doing it anyway. <insert swears here>

I guess I have cPTSD too. I had heard of it and hadn’t looked into it deeply enough to see that it applied to me too.

write or wrong?

Penelope told us we all need to be writing our stories. I agreed and said we also need to be asking people questions to help them tell their stories.

I was talking with a friend and realized why it’s so important to tell our stories. Listening to my friend’s story and asking questions, I realized that every bit of advice I gave my friend….. I needed to take.

That’s at least the third time this month this has happened. It feels horrible. And I think I’ve made more progress this month than ever before.

Writing is how we can listen to our own stories. It’s just an added bonus that other people can relate too.

Friendship?

A friend helped me realize that if I organize my thoughts enough to write them down, it will force me to organize my thoughts.

I decided to help them in a small way that was easy for me to do. It felt selfish though, because I was supporting them so that they could continue to help me.

Then I thought that maybe that’s what a ND/HSP/ASD friendship looks like? Supporting each other in ways that are easy for us but might be hard for them. And being able to be honest and direct with each other. It sucks hearing hard things, and it hurts. And it’s so much easier knowing that the person telling you the hurtful things is doing it because they love you anyway and they are helping you become a better person. We can’t fix the problems we can’t see.

I don’t feel lonely when I’m being honest and direct with people. It feels good and is easy to be pedantic. And it’s totally boring. It’s putting up a wall instead of being vulnerable. Because being vulnerable is terrifying.

Is that because of the trauma of not feeling seen or accepted as a child?

I hate that I have to admit that my “not that bad” childhood was traumatic. I love my parents and I appreciate all they did to make sure my childhood was less traumatic than theirs. It paved the way for me to be dealing with my trauma so that I can try to repair the trauma I’ve already inflicted on my kid, even beyond what I just passed down epigenetically.

I’m a crappy parent and if I don’t keep reminding myself of that, or letting my friends remind me, I won’t get better.

If you say “You’re such a good mom!”

I feel like saying, no, but I’m trying.

I think I need to figure out a better reply. Saying no just invalidates your experience of me. What can I say to help both of us?

I’m trying to be, thank you for listening, it helps me know what to focus on.

When do they say the good mom thing and what do they mean?

Usually after they’ve shared a struggle and I’ve empathized and shared what helped me in a similar situation.

I wonder if by saying I’m a good mom, they’re avoiding saying that they feel like they are guilty of being a bad mom for not figuring it out on their own?

I think that’s how I feel when I realize what inconsiderate thing I’ve done, or what considerate thing I haven’t done.

I keep thinking of Brene Brown’s videos – we’re lonely when we aren’t brave enough to be vulnerable. I wanted to say or if we don’t have a safe space to be vulnerable – but that’s wrong. We create the safe space by being vulnerable. By admitting that we’re not perfect and that we’re going to make mistakes and that once we know better, we’ll do better.

If you are authentic and honest, either people will connect with you – or it will terrify them and in their terror they might attack you (fight), disengage (flight). You can have compassion for them, and still know that it’s their problem and you don’t have to tolerate their behavior.

She also talks about the difference between guilt and shame. We feel guilty when we know our actions were wrong. We feel ashamed when we think our selves are wrong.

Seeing other people who we can see ourselves in helps us know that we aren’t wrong.

I’m trying to slow down and be more present and intentional instead of reactive.

And now I need to listen to my body and sleep even though I want to keep writing and thinking.

The Secret Parenting Tricks…

They assume everyone knows, so they don’t bother to teach them!

You know that “game” where baby drops the thing, you pick it up to give it back, repeat until you want to scream and throw the thing? Well, if you don’t play or are “lucky” enough that your baby isn’t into that game…. what you may think you are teaching is that “we don’t drop things on purpose” – what you are actually teaching is that you will only connect with baby the way you want to, and not the way they want to.

So if you lack the patience, fix that. Or just remind yourself that every time baby drops it they are saying “Did you see what I did? Do you love me?” (Gottman: bid for connection) and every time you pick it up to give back you are communicating “I love you no matter what. You are worthy of my love, time and attention.”

Jack in the box/Operation/Perfection – jump scares to practice coping skills

Peek-a-boo – jump scares to practice coping skills, object permanence

Patty cake – cross body movement & coordination

ECHO, Echo, echo…..

Echolalia is functional communication. It is often an indication of gestalt thinking, if you search for hyperlexia or hypernumeracy you might find more information.

Possible functions:

  • practicing verbal skills
  • auditory stimulation (stimming – it just sounds good)
  • communicating – if we’re not understanding, we’re not listening/paying enough attention or we need training

One example is my kiddo would say the exact same line if they thought that I wasn’t listening, or wasn’t understanding, or wasn’t giving the response they wanted/were looking for.

So now I’ll say:

“I’ve heard you say that multiple times now, did you miss my acknowledgement (either verbal or visual) or are you looking for a specific response or does it just sound good?”

<reply>

“Great, thanks for letting me know!”

Fashion

Fashion is not just a vacuous hobby.

Benefits:

  • Present an image – their personal brand – self expression – it’s a visual form of communication and we communicate to connect
  • Create beauty in the world
    • a fashionista is an artist whose canvas is their body and is practicing ephemeral art
    • someone who is tattooed is also using their body as a canvas in collaboration with the person applying the tattoos

I met someone who got their tattoos as an act of self-care – every time they saw their tattoos on their arms they were reminded to care for themselves.