Small person is swimming in the sea of uncertainty now. This is the longest they have ever been safe in one place with one person and it is scaring them beyond belief.
Their main way of communicating this fear, giving themselves catharsis and a sense of control is through violence. Violence directed at me.
Sometimes it’s causal. I’ve done something incorrectly (in their view) or forgotten something, or dared to place a boundary. Sometimes it’s internally triggered, we’ll be sitting on the sofa watching CBeebies and there will be a flurry of movement in which the biting, kicking, punching, pinching, hair pulling, strangling, kneeling on my chest will begin.
At the end of last week and the start of this week it was non stop all day. At one point I was punched in the face while assisting small person with toileting. I wondered after this about the reasons why they needed to hurt me and small person was able to tell me that hurting me gives them a happy feeling.
This could mean a variety of things. They could be referring to the adrenaline rush they get which feels like happiness to them. They could be referring to the catharsis they feel about getting that anger out. They could be referring to a sense of control and power those actions provide. It could be all of the above.
Relational trauma sucks.
That’s what is being manifested through these actions. Small person is communicating their anger at the dichotomy between mother figures they have experienced.
Rationally I can accept that. Emotionally and physically it is a slightly different matter. My body is covered in bruises and bite marks. My neck and chest are sore from all the strangling.
It’s hard to write about and harder to talk about. I feel very needy asking for friends to remind me daily, hourly, by the minute, that this is not a reflection on my parenting abilities. That I am not bringing this upon myself.
A friend suggested making phone calls for support, not to increase the speed of the timeline – next week will see the beginning of six sessions of therapeutic parenting support group and the worker completing our assessment for support meeting small person – but rather as a reminder that just because I’m a coper (which my local authority loves about me) doesn’t mean it isn’t hard and doesn’t mean there is no impact. Frankly I am too tired and sore to beat that drum this week.