For a long time every morning I would pass a sign that said, “Miss a Day, Miss a Deal.”
I hated that sign. I don’t even shop there. But that slogan … it made me slightly anxious, because it implied that I was missing something.
Stupid, I know. It goes in the same category as comments such as, “Why did you do that?” Why did I do what?
I remember being at my sister’s house when she was dying. She ordered me to pack her things in boxes, and to use packing tape to seal them. I haven’t been able to hear that rip of packing tape without sadness since that day.
Think of something that causes a little anxiety for you. If little things like these can get us going sometimes, imagine what might trigger a traumatized child.
The color of a room may bring back bad memories.
A certain noise may be a trigger. Maybe it preceded abuse.
Seasons, holidays, people with dark hair/light hair -who knows? We need to be sensitive to the things that may seem to be triggers, and not just chalk-up behavior to disobedience or defiance.
If there are problem behaviors that defy reasoning, then maybe something like this is at work. Pay attention to repeated reactions to certain people or things. Trauma kids often don’t even know why they get upset, so we need to help them by paying attention. Say a child has a memory of dropping their ice cream cone and getting beaten for the mess it made. It would be easy to assume that ice cream could be a trigger. Who would think that something that is good and fun to you, could be a negative for a child?
Keep a log of episodes and what went on those days. What season was it? Where were you? Any sounds in the background? Any different foods served?
A therapist with trauma training and knowledge can be valuable.
Listening to other trauma-parents can also be helpful.
Love my readers, Nealie