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Too Stupid To Live

complex developmental trauma Oct 10, 2020

Dear Parent,

My mother was quick to anger.  She had little patience with me and I was all thumbs and left feet. I have a salient memory of needing to make an apron from a paper pattern (which was child abuse, if you ask me) at home for Home Ec when I was around 14-years-old.  My mother was an excellent seamstress and while I struggled with something bunchy under the sewing machine foot, she snapped, "Let me do it."  In two seconds I was standing aside watching while she silently and effortlessly finished the whole apron. I will never forget that. The things I learned were this:

I was too stupid to live.

My mother was all powerful, all knowing, bigger than life, and scary.

I was useless, inadequate, and not worth teaching.

I disgusted her and she didn't like me much.

I was afraid of her and I didn't like her that much either.

 

Of-course, I never learned to sew because I never attempted to do it again.

Children from difficult beginnings often have cognitive delays in their executive function: working memory, attention, self-checking, cause and effect thinking, planning, and time concepts.

Be thoughtful about what you are teaching your child, noticing when you are quick to anger if they cannot easily do a task that should be a piece of cake. Children, teens, and adults from hard places are managing their brain functions all the time and they sometimes cannot easily access parts of the brain that would help them make good decisions, listen to an entire sentence, remember how to do something that they do all the time, check for their own mistakes, know that breaking the rules will beget some kind of consequence, and figure out when it is time to stop playing and start their chores.

What if you had to think in order to remember to breathe? Life is like that for children from difficult beginnings. Cut them some slack.

Love matters,

Ce

 

P.S. Check out the Love Matters Parenting Society membership for more support.

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