An Aha Moment again…..

Over the last several years, we have been learning more and more about what abuse and neglect does to the brain. It changes it.

I have written long ago about chaos being normal and normal seeming like chaos to the newly adopted child, and that IS true.
It is our job as parents to flip that around and help them to see that normal, boring, mundane family life IS the norm and all that horrid chaos of abuse they endured over the years is NOT normal.

But what about when that chaos is so ingrained in them on so many levels? What about when you peel back the layers of the onion of life, the layers never seem to end. You delve deeper and deeper to the core, and at the heart of the onion is not FEAR but true darkness. It is a darkness caused by a parentless void, no direction, no instruction, no love, no grace, no solid foundation; it is nothingness where one did as one pleased or had others do to them as they pleased at the core, the VERY CORE, is emptiness. It is a belief system of emptiness. It is a system that says “You are not lovable. You are worthless. You are bad. You have no hope.”

The FEAR comes, not from the skeletons of the past revealed, but from the changing of the core belief system.
“You ARE lovable!” FEAR…. YOU ARE VALUABLE! FEAR…. YOU ARE GOOD! FEAR….
YOU DO HAVE HOPE!….F..E..A..R!!!!!

When sweetie came to us with the big smile, we had NO IDEA the depths she had been through. We THOUGHT we did. We didn’t and neither did her first or second families.
If I have learned anything through being an adoptive parent, or even an adult in this world, it is that the more I learn, the more I realize I do NOT know.
And the more I learn, the more I cling, RUN, CLEAVE to the Savior, because It.IS. SCARY!

So, a couple of years ago when Sweetie 4 realized that what had been done to her was WRONG, not normal, it rocked her world. She was starting to feel safe, but it was too much to accept. EVERYTHING from her old life had been challenged. And now, the most personal of relationships, she found to be abnormal.

IT was too much. Her eyes were opened to the possibility that she was going to have to see things very differently.
And she fell apart.
Honestly, we have written before about this, but we NEVER have seen somebody unravel to the core so fast as she did. It was almost over night. We were making huge progress and it was like tumbling down the rabbit hole to despair.
And we have been there for a little while.

We have taken the bath in the pool of despair, we have rolled in the mud of humiliation, and we have been to some very dark places. But a light is shining.
There is a huge bright light of hope shining.

As Mike and I are learning to deal with mental illness and trauma, in a new way, we feel more empowered to meet Sweetie 4’s needs. Our journey is different, as all journeys are.
This one has taken us to Mars. 🙂 But since we are there, it is time to enjoy what Mars brings. It isn’t where we planned to be. But you know what? There is LIFE on Mars. 🙂

If you are going through your own journey, you will need to pack some very important things in your luggage, and you will also need to lighten your load a bit because Mars is REALLY HARD to navigate.

Things to remove:
Isolationism
Judgmentalism
Preconceived notions
Harshness
Anger
Blame
Guilt
Enablement

Things to ADD:

Love
Friends who understand
Compassion
Understanding
Patience
Boundaries

It is also important to find those who have walked before you, or can walk beside you as you navigate the future.
Our children need us, even when they say they don’t.
They WANT us, even when they say they don’t.
They crave our love and acceptance. They CRAVE that we understand them without words.
Sometimes on Mars there are no words.

I was talking to a counselor recently and told her that the only thing I could compare Sweetie 4’s life to would be if aliens came to Earth and told us that everything we ever believed about life here on Earth was primitive and backwards.
There are galaxies out there with advanced civilizations and all of them are communicating and getting along. It is Earth that is way behind.
It would ROCK.MY.WORLD.

That is what it has been like for Sweetie 4. But she is slowly but surely letting go of her fears… and the lies she has believed.

Yes, there is light…. and at the end of that tunnel?
We will be there.

4 Responses to An Aha Moment again…..

  1. “….we NEVER have seen somebody unravel to the core so fast as she did” That is just what we experienced with A…..right when I was beginning to congratulate myself on how well I’d done with her. One boys’ joking reference to her as a “Russian whore” was the dynamite that brought down the whole structure. I think if she’d been a bit older, or in public school she would have also been adjudicated. It was absolutely unbelievable, but over nearly five years now we’ve come to make some amazing progress in many ways. Still, that complete emptiness that was her gift from her bio mom is still in there, making her feel afraid all the time. It is hard to have lost my blogging community; that was my chief support.

    • ChristieM says:

      Oh Annnie, I remember those days so well… You were ahead of us and parted waters we didn’t think we would see.
      Hugs to you and thank you for being such a wonderful example of love!

  2. Jennifer P says:

    Thank you for this insight. Our child was recently placed in a residential setting for what we perceive to be just this reason: fear and emptiness. It is ALL too scary. The psychiatrist asked our child, what if….what if you could tell your parents how your were feeling and then you could be sure they still loved you. What if……

    Your list is helpful as we navigate new land and learn to repair our relationship in order to move forward.

  3. Karen says:

    Our therapist taught us that our children have a negative working model…The world is a dangerous place, Adults can’t be trusted, I am worthless…it is so hard to counter these deeply ingrained beliefs… 🙁 Thanks so much for your blogging…It encourages me immensely.

Comments warmly welcomed!

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