Monday, August 17, 2009

Someone to listen... really listen

I have a lot on my plate and on my mind right now. School is starting soon and we have quite a bit of indecision going on about where our children are going to go. Well, I don't have indecision, but others in my life do. I reached a point today of being on a total red light. I was back in survival myself with my amygdala's fight, flight, or freeze response hijacking me. When I get this overwhelmed, I tend to go into a freeze mode. I've gotten much better at identifying that this is where I've gone now and working my way out of it. This is what I did.

I went outside by myself and watched the rain fall earlier this evening. I needed some time to quiet my mind and my nervous system and found the rain to be soothing. I was dozing as I sat on the patio, letting my incoherent thoughts swirl around in my brain. I focused on my breathing, taking in deep breaths- feeling my breath all the way down into my belly. I have no idea how long I was out there, but eventually my children came to find me.

When I had returned to a yellow light (emotional part of the brain, which was a step up for me from that red light), I connected with a friend I knew could really just listen to my feelings. I called her up and just let whatever needed to come out in whatever form and order it needed to come out to do just that. I'm sure it wasn't pretty, but I knew that she would be willing to do that for me. I knew that my feelings wouldn't be bothersome and that I would be safe expressing them to her.

After about 15 minutes of being on the phone with her, I started to feel better. I had been heard. I had been listened to and embraced. And I was now back on a green light (regulated and calm), ready to return to my life and to make the decisions I needed to make to move forward. As I looked back on my earlier thoughts, they were completely irrational. With the time and the connection with my friend, I had moved out of that irrational place and back into true connection with myself and my own inner guidance.

This is what our children need when they are upset. They need someone to listen to them... really listen to them. They can make it back to that regulated place when someone invests the time in them to listen to their feelings without trying to make it better or to explain to them why they shouldn't feel that way. Try it with your child and see how it goes. And let me know! And if you haven't had this experience, find a wise friend who can listen to your feelings. This is how healing happens for parents and for children!

1 comment:

Annie said...

Yes; I have tried it with my two most dysregulated children and it can work wonders for both of us. When I understand them, it helps amazingly.

But, I am in a similar state to yours now, regarding school placement. I got listened to yesterday. But it didn't take away much of my anxiety.

When it comes down to it the decision is mine. There are just some decisions that have such power but such unintended and unknown consequences.... It isn't past trauma but the unknown the is freezing me.