One of the hardest things I have had to come to grips with in this journey of trauma parenting is being the one who causes the most pain in my children.
I know deep down they love me and it isn’t my fault that my being mom brings them sadness. But knowing that doesn’t lessen the pain.
When they lose a friend, many times due to their own negative actions, it triggers the abandoned feeling they felt when separated from their bio mom. Guess who took the place of bio mom? Yup, me. Guess who is the recipient of all those big feelings? Me again.
When they read a scary story and dream about it during the night, they come running to me for comfort. Next morning the fear caused by the dream is still very real, but rather than seeking comfort from mom, they react in the way they know best…acting out….against mom.
When I buy them something, their thoughts go to their birth mom. Receiving things from me is okay but what they really want is for their birth mom to care for them. Guess what happens? They usually come after me spoiling for a fight because they don’t understand the conflicted feelings inside.
I get the anger and tears when they have a test coming up, a substitute or even a special celebration at school because change in routine is hard.
They get upset with me when I tell them it is time to leave a friend’s house because saying good bye triggers them. In their minds, their big feelings are all my fault.
When I tell them to do something the foot stomps and I hear, “You aren’t my mom, I wish I lived with my birth mom!”
They have zero ability to know when enough is enough. I remember getting frustrated with my parents, as every child will do but there was a line that I did not cross. I knew when to back off. My children don’t. They scream, run away, slam doors in my face, hit and kick and say anything that comes to their mind. It used to look like a lack of respect but now I know it is trauma that causes these intense reactions. Even knowing that, it is hard not to become discouraged when you face such acts multiple times a day.
The other evening I wailed to Dean, “It is just SO hard being on the receiving end of all this, when all I wanted to do was be their mom and help them!”
When things get too hard God graciously gives me a peek into their hearts and shows me that they really do love me, their pain is just hindering their ability to express it.
I have a chest cold/fever this week. The children’s concern was touching, they all prayed for me and asked me several times, “Are you feeling better mom?”
I know their real concern was for themselves, if mom is sick who will take care of me? Will I have food and clothing? If mom is sick, then the world is even scarier…. But rather than dwell on that aspect of their concern I will instead focus on the cards and extra hugs they gave me. Knowing that the fact that they were able to look beyond their fear and offer me comfort means they are healing from their trauma, one teeny step at a time.
About the Author: Sandra Zimmerman is a mother of four children; three who were adopted from foster care. She blogs about daily family life, Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) and adoption at her blog Tales from Our House. This post was originally published on her blog.