Come back!

I don’t know what’s going on with me this week. Somewhere along the path to sanity there was one too many straws on this camel’s back and I lost it. I’ve been (metaphorically) kicking and screaming like a bratty little kid again.

Actually, there are some reasons – at least these are the straws that proved too much. One – the doctor’s office *lost* my allergy shots and now, after six months of anti-cat shots, and nearly $1000 in doctor’s fees, I have to start all over again. Sigh. Second – I’m still sick from when I got sick on my trip. It’s driving me insane. I had tests this week, but no results as yet. Three – I don’t even know what three is anymore, because all these things are so petty.

Somehow this has all lead to the two year old on the inside coming out and reigning supreme. It’s like she’s done a swap with my adult self, and I don’t know how to reverse it. I’m p*ssy at the world, and my therapist, for no good reason at all.

All the irrational thoughts and feelings I once had, and seemed to have rationalised back where they belong, have come screaming forth. All the stuff about the world being against me, my therapist *hating* me, my therapist abandoning me, me being useless… blah blah blah. It’s all back. I even cried at the doctor’s office today – quelle horreur!

I don’t know how to get it back under control. I’ve tried rationalising; I’ve tried talking to the little kid (but who can talk to a toddler in the midst of a tantrum?); I’ve tried resting/soothing … I don’t know what else to try. It’s like two years of therapy have just vanished – poof!

Please, adult self, wherever you are, ple-e-a-a-se come back!

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16 thoughts on “Come back!

  1. Weellll, from my very distant memories of sibling/child rearing, and my not so distant memories of my own regressions – I think with a two year old you have to sit tight, let it know you’re there, try to stay calm and not get upset at it because it’s still learning to regulate itself. So it sounds to me like you’re doing everything right! It’s ok, your adult self will come back soon..it always does, right? This is what I tell myself anyway when I’m having a “moment” , or if I’m being more honest, this is what I get someone else to tell me because I’m not actually capable of knowing that it will end when I’m in a regressed state.

  2. Mine is somewhere between age 8 and 12, I think. Hey, here’s an idea. She’s probably getting close to babysitting age. Maybe we can chat this weekend and she can amuse the 2-year-old and give us both a bit of a break.

    I agree with Cat that you are doing all the right things. It will just take time, and we all know how patient toddlers are, don’t we? 🙂

    (((K)))

  3. I used to work extensively with toddlers. Tantrums are best served through comfort or letting it run it’s own course! Other toddler behaviour is best handled through either redirection or ignoring (preferably the former). It sounds like you’re doing the right things!

    What about bargaining with a pint of ice cream? Most kids like ice cream!

    (((((Kerro)))))) XX

  4. All the irrational thoughts and feelings I once had, and seemed to have rationalised back where they belong, have come screaming forth.

    You know … I think they’ve come screaming forth because therapy is working for you, not because it isn’t working. The screaming two-year-old can’t be rationalized back where it belongs; not really. She can be repressed pretty well, or pushed into the background, but young parts of self and rationality never have more than a nodding acquaintance. You’re still present enough to observe that this is happening, which is, in itself, a really big thing. What tends to work best for me, when this kind of thing happens, is to just let it run its course, as you would do with a real toddler. It will run its course — you know your adult self is there, because that is the part of you that can see what’s happening.

    You can talk to a little kid in the midst of a tantrum — what you can’t do is reason with them. What does sometimes work is pure, complete, nonjudgmental empathy, along these lines: “I know you’re scared. I know you’re hurting. I know this is too much for you right now. I know you hate this. I know this doesn’t feel good.” No “shoulds” or “stops” or “not nows” — just acknowledgment, and, if you feel like it, reinforcement that there is safety. “I’m here for you. I know this is scary — but I’m not going to leave you alone. You don’t have to do this by yourself.” That kind of thing. I’ve had this technique work wonders with actual children, and with my very young internal states as well.

    Oh, and if you have any visual sense of little Kerro … get “down on the floor” to talk to her, in your mind’s eye. This also works with real children; it’s threatening to have an adult towering over them. Eye-level communication works better … and you can make this adjustment in how you visualize her, as well, in your mind.

  5. @ Cat – Funny that you used the word “regression”, that’s what I originally titled my post, but then I moved back into denial, and changed it. I’ve tried to let the child know I’m here, but she doesn’t want to know. She just yells and screams and cries louder. Nice to know I’m not the only one who experiences this, though. Thank you.

    @ Tamp – LOL, that sounds like fun. I’m not sure your 8 year old can handle my 2 year old but I’ll look out for you over the weekend.

    @ Paul – thanks. You can be VP of the Captain Obvious club, with CG. 😉

    @ Sanity – Thanks Sanity. The toddler doesn’t want anything I offer, though I did manage to calm her for a while with sleeping pills.

    @ David – Thanks David, for your comments here and elsewhere. As I said above, the child doesn’t want anything I have to offer. I’ve used that before and it’s worked well, but not this time. She’s not listening. Too busy screaming and crying, and she doesn’t want me anywhere near her. Sometimes I’m able to write out what the child wants, but not this time. She doesn’t want to write (may be she can’t?) I guess this is a “let it run” scenario.

    @ Castor Girl – thanks.

  6. Ah, but — I’m not suggesting you offer her any comfort or soothing … or anything at all. I’m suggesting that you simply let her scream, and acknowledge that you are hearing her. No intervention at all. Just nonjudgmental acceptance. It’s really hard to do, because the natural impulse is to try to get the screaming to stop.

  7. Hmm, you mean, do nothing? I can see how that might work with a *real* child, though part of me thinks it’s a little neglectful, even if it’s not really. You’re right, my natural impulse is to *fix* things, so yea, this do nothing approach… hmm… I’ll need to think about it a little more.

  8. Letting a child exist in a state of pure feeling, and acknowledging that you are hearing the child, is not doing nothing. It is holding a safe space for the child to feel whatever it is feeling, without the adult trying to “fix” it … which implies that the child is doing something wrong. I remind that I’m there, I acknowledge the pain, and I allow the child — whether it’s my inner child or an actual child — to feel whatever is being felt. This is, I know, a really strange concept … but it’s not neglectful; it’s respectful. Being neglectful would be leaving the room and failing to acknowledge the child (or young part). Being respectful is staying with the situation, keeping a safe space for it, acknowledging the pain being expressed, but not trying to intervene or stop the expression of that pain. You are right that small children who are very upset say they don’t want an adult around — they push away. But they don’t mean it. They need a respectful audience for their pain, and that’s what I’m advocating … staying present, letting the pain exist on its own terms, and validating it. And seeing what happens next after that. 🙂

  9. Oh, how the world can come tumbling down! When it rains, it pours. I have been there. Oh, have I been there. How are things now? Have they gotten any better? I hope so.

    Sending caring thoughts–
    Lothlorien

  10. Hi Lothlorien, great to see you. It certainly has been raining cats and dogs here, metaphorically and meteorologically. LOL Things internally have settled a lot thankfully. I’m not doing cartwheels or anything, but I’m heaps heaps better. Thanks for asking.

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