Gidget, Thank you for sharing your story. It illustrates so well the bumpy path parenting our kids can be when there is something missing in our connection with them. As parents we do tend to take it all very personal. Yet our feelings of "hurt, rage, disbelief... abuse" are very real. And these experiences do have a trememdous impact on our ability to react with empathy/validation/understanding, even when we have the tools inside ourselves somewhere. This reply focuses on the "how to".
I have struggled for 27 years with my BPDDD27 (LD, ADHD, anxiety/panic, bipolar, ODD, as child/teen; BPD as young adult), and am now struggling with my gd8 (anxiety, ADHD) that dh and I are raising.
In the past year I have been exposed to a new way of practicing these tools. Gd's T works with both of us. DD has been to a few sessions, but she has a lot of work to do on her own before she can participate. Dh declines to participate, being very resistant to the very idea of therapy - a very independent, fix it myself kind of guy. About a year ago this T offer me a book "Creating Loving Attachments... ", Kim Golding and Daniel Hughes. I have since read two new books by Daniel Huges, co-authored with others, that specialize in creating healthy relationships with others that trigger our innate self-protective systems. Last week I was able to attend a one-day training workshop he provided for parents and professionals.
He interacted with us using awesome empathy skills - he role-played the answers to the participants questions and role-played many of the topics he was sharing. He gave us a sample dialogue that addresses his PACE process plus so many of the resources I have found here. He has 40 years of working with families involved in foster care, adoption, and intense bio kids. His approach incorporates theory from attachment, behavior, pshycology and interpersonal neuroscience. It all makes so much more sense to me, and gives me hope that I do have the ability to overcome limits of my own fragmented life story and build better connections with both my girls. I have developed a core belief that attachment issues are a key to solving many mental illnesses, esp. PD's.
The first step is to take care of ourselves - physically, emotionally, spriritually. Doing yoga, meditation/prayer practices, building supportive relationships in our life - espcially with our partners, getting therapy from well trained/experienced couselor. This helps us unblock all the systems we need to use the tools and skills. He bases this on a lot of new understanding of the neuroscience of how humans are designed to interact - and how we are designed to shut down when feel the need to self-protect.
This self-protection is where you may have been, Gidget. Me too. I am slowly climbing out of the dark abyss of the past 9 months or so. I created protective boundaries as my DD27's abusiveness pounded relentlessly on me, and she had the greatest extinction burst I can ever imagine. Yet, when she hit a bottom and melted down, I was able to push out and be there for her. She reached out to me for help and I had these new tools to respond from a more loving place with empathy and understanding. This wore me down in a different way - fatigue.
Here is an excerpt from Daniel Hughes newest book that really helped me help myself -- then I could connect with my DD and with those in my support circle. "8 Keys to Building Your Best Reataionships". This quote referenced 2011 material from David Rock and Daniel J. Siegel, MD., a neuroscience researcher.THE HEALTHY MIND PLATTER: Seven daily essential mental activities to optimize brain matter and create well-being
- FOCUS TIME: When we closely focus on tasks in a goal-oriented way, we take on challenges that make deep connections in the brain.
- PLAYTIME: When we allow ourselves to be spontaneous or creative, playfully enjoying novel experiences, we help make new connections in the brain.
- CONNECTING TIME: When we connect with other people, ideally in person, and when we take time to appreciate our connection to the natural world around us, we activate and reinforce the brain's relational circuitry.
- PHYSICAL TIME: When we move our bodies, aerobically if medically possible, we strengthen the brain in many ways.
- TIME-IN: When we quietly reflect internally, focusing on sensations, images, feelings, and thoughts, we help to better integrate the brain.
- DOWNTIME: When we are non-focused, without any specific goal, and let our mind wander or simply relax, we help the brain recharge.
- SLEEP TIME: When we give the brain the rest it needs, and consolidate learning and recover from the experiences of the day.
The "How To" starts with taking care of me. It is so easy to give up on myself in the day to day demands of my life. Hope this helps all who read here.