I’ve been thinking more about trauma and trauma triggers.
Monday I wrote, Why Does My Child React That Way?, sharing my experience of a trauma trigger and flashback of a traumatic event.
This got me thinking back to years ago when we took Kalkidan to a week long intensive of EMDR therapy. The therapist described trauma triggers as lightning bolts in our brains. These lightning bolts interfere with our ability to process feelings in a healthy way.
A lightning bolt sounds about right to me.
I wrote this post EMDR: Lightning Bolts during that time.
If you’re curious about EMDR, I also wrote this post, What on Earth is EMDR? I explained how EMDR works and why we pursued this therapy.
We’ve had some interesting conversations on my One Thankful Mom facebook page about kids’ different trauma triggers from cigarette smoke to doughnuts, yes, doughnuts.
We have to be curious and patient observers of our children, especially kids who come to us with unknown histories. Hello, foster care and adoption – right?
Even ten years after joining our family, our kids from Ethiopia continue to be mysteries written with unexpected surprises. Annarose recently met Ebenezer’s sister in Italy and we learned a little more of his story.
Foster parents commonly have very little information about their foster children’s histories. Zoe shared an important part of her history recently that I wish I had known ten months ago. A younger child likely can’t share anything at all – at least not with words.
Watch for Patterns
We must watch for patterns of dysregulation.
We notice our toddler screams and cries when we go to a friend’s house who has a large dog. No matter how much we try to calm her, nothing seems to help. We show her how gentle the dog is and try to get her to pet the dog.
Then one day after her bath, we pause as we put lotion on her legs and look again at the scar on her thigh. Could it be from a dog bite?
Ebenezer had a very traumatic experience when he was young being stung (35 times) by wasps. It took years of positive experiences playing outside before he could manage being outdoors for any length of time. I’ll admit, it was quite trying for me.
A reader commented that her child doesn’t tolerate swings. He was left unfed for long periods of time in a baby swing.
Me? Apparently talking about windshields was a trigger for me – I didn’t expect that.
Let’s be gently curious, mindful of our childrens’ histories, and respectful of their boundaries.
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