Why The Traumatized Child Clings To Chaos

Why The Traumatized Child Clings to Chaos

(see previous post related to Chaos topic)

For the child of trauma, chaos is their normal.  It can be very frightening to find out that your entire life before, was not normal, even if you didn’t like it, or were fearful of it.

Obviously, a child will be relieved in some ways to be away from abusive people in their lives, however,  the imprint on their little hearts and brains is not so easily erased.
Many of them suffer unspeakable nightmares, confused feelings, anger, aggression and more.

As healing begins to take place, it is also outside of their known “comfort zone”.  Having to relate to a parent in a healthy way can be a stress trigger.
Why?  Because it puts them in a place of vulnerability, and they are afraid to trust, ever again.

It is hard work, to switch that world around to where chaos is not comfortable.  The thing is, they don’t necessarily like chaos. It causes obvious pain. 🙁   But it is a place that they are used to.

Imagine if going on vacation was more stressful than an 80 hour work week under a slave boss!
This is what it is like for our kids.  They sometimes feel safer with the trauma.

Working through this over the last several years with our girls has given us an understanding we could never get from a book. 🙂  When we see our girls headed towards chaos, we know that they are overloaded and instead of doing the obvious (to us) speaking kindly, saying “I’m stressed”….. they might act out with old behaviors.  Or, even go back and dwell on the past, which digs up all sorts of trauma memories.
They can cling to their old troubles like a toddler holds a favorite blanket.

We don’t want them to find unhealthy comfort in the past, but  comfort  in the now, and in the future!  Comfort is in having loving parents, a good and decent home, healthy relationships and in forgiveness.
But with forgiveness, just like us, they have to face some things in themselves.  It is hard work!  And they can get tired.

Last night, we experienced a set back with Sweetie 4.  She was full steam ahead going in the wrong direction!  Anniversary time is here.  Memories have been flooding in.  We intercepted her and stayed attuned to her, staying in the present and not falling into fear. She shared her fears with us after a slammed door, refusing to come off of her bed, and some hurtful words and actions,  all in about 15 minutes…. and then we were able to calmly talk, snuggle and reconcile.
Today, she had her toolbox out and was ready to use any tool that would work. 🙂
Tonight, was even better.  She was able to attend youth group with her sisters with no problem!

I am so thankful for our sweet girl.  She is trying HARD to heal and do what is right.  Sometimes she gets stuck….That is ok. 🙂
I look forward to the day, and it will come, when she clings to her Savior and not old habits.  There will be a day when she no longer clings to chaos when she is stressed, but clings to what is right and positive!
That day will come, I am sure of it.
In the process, I am refined.

(For those of you with children who come from hard backgrounds, keeping a blog or journal is so helpful! (you can keep it private!) You can go back and re read what you wrote and be reminded of things that happened at the very same time the year before!  Many of the memories Sweetie 4 has been experiencing, she experienced last year at this very same time.  The year before, she couldn’t really verbalize….. I find the record keeping very helpful and insightful.)

1 Responses to Why The Traumatized Child Clings To Chaos

  1. Dawn says:

    Hi Christie,
    I am loving this new blog more than you can imagine! Could you explain more about the “toolbox”?

Comments warmly welcomed!


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