Tuesday, 30 October 2012
It seems we have quite a few of these in our house. They're the kind that take up loads of space, but no-one dare talk about.
Dave-the-therapist thinks it's about time we talked about some of these elephants. He also thinks that until we do, Mini won't be able to move forward.
Truth be told, we have approached some of Mini's elephants in the past, but it magnified the awful behaviour we were on the receiving end of. Looking back, some of the behaviour is probably because those elephants are jumbo and quite scary, and Mini was unable to manage the scary feelings that talking about them caused, so he lashed out instead. Talking about those scary things made him feel unsafe.
And also, the NC and I struggled to help Mini through those scary conversations. I realise that Mini is anxious about these two elephants (and more besides), but I haven't had the training/knowledge/confidence to deal with them effectively and appropriately. Previously when we've talked about these things, Mini has exploded and I've backed off - I'm not a therapist, and I don't know how to handle these explosions. I don't know what are the right questions to ask to help Mini, and to help me. He hasn't coped with talking, and in turn, we haven't coped with his inability to cope...yes I know it's a bit confusing!
So as per Dave-the-therapist's advice, we've been approaching some of the elephants - the two biggest being Mini's fear of being moved on again/being left behind (at friends or rellies houses) and the fact that Mini and Dollop are different and Mini is aware of those differences - as a result he thinks we love Dollop more than him.
Post meltdown/defiance/argument/violence etc etc, we've been doing the empathy bit (faking it on the occasions we can't make it), and exclaiming/asking 'Oh, do you think that when we help Dollop first it's because we love her more than you?' or 'I know you struggle when we go out, oh *mock surprise* do you think we're going to leave you there?'. It's really hard in writing to get across the tone of voice we use when doing this, but playfulness comes into it, lots of acting and exaggerated movements.
Now, with help, we're getting somewhere. I so wish we had this help in place before. I'm not saying Dave-the-therapist has all the answers, but by using his techniques, tone and body language we have managed to have a pretty good start to the half term holiday, despite several 'events' that would have normally triggered some anxieties for Mini. I'm still anxious myself about approaching some of these bloody great big heffalumps - well, actually more anxious about what to do if Mini starts talking and I can't handle what he's saying, or answer his questions, but I know help isn't far away if things get out of hand.
We live in a small house, but it feels a lot bigger and lighter now that those elephants aren't taking up so much space!