It’s Monday and the weekend was oddly eventful. First of all, because it as Mother’s Day and I am a mother now, but I cannot really take care of my child, and it feels terrible. It feels absolutely terrible not to have the power I need to make sure she is safe and stable and loved. I suppose we never really do, but the powerlessness of not being able to stay in the same country or the same city is very triggering, as is the powerlessness of her baby trauma that means she cannot easily turn to me for the soothing she needs.
On Friday, I went to meet C, as is the structure now. She was warm and seemed to be comfortable feeling close. As we sat on her bed together, she sat close to me, and she seemed to feel comfortable when I had my arm around her, so mostly while I was there I did that.
Then the girl above her began to dust the crumbs off her bed, and C said something to her because they were falling on me. I didn’t quite realize this, but after a while I began to see that she had become very angry. It wasn’t the little girl anger I have seen before. I did not see the Abused Child mode. It was a grown-up, controlled kind of anger. C was very firmly standing her ground. I didn’t say very much. I just put my hand on her back.
When the argument was over, then tears began to well up in C’s eyes. I saw them, and I just sat close to her. I think I put my arm around her, and I said, “You are like me. If something happens to me, then I get very angry. If something happens to me, you also get really angry.” This brought the tears on more. So I held her. She put her head in her hands, and I put my arms around her. She cried for a while like that, and then she began to tell me to go. That it was getting late, and I should go.
So I did leave. I hesitated at first, and I said, “You are crying.”
She said she would stop crying. I said it is okay to cry, but I don’t want you to be alone crying. Anyway, she seemed to be more desperate for me to go, so I did go.
As I walked out the door, I looked back and she was lying in bed, cuddled up in a very soft blanket I had given her. I thought she would be okay. She is cuddling up in a blanket. She is soothing herself. She will be okay.
I went home, ate, and went to bed. At around 11, I woke up feeling very scared. I thought this is my sense of being vulnerable. It came up because there was a very strong sense of closeness to the evening—when I first came, I cuddled her a lot, because she was asking for money and junk food and all kinds of things, and it is very sweet to see this child open up and ask for things when she couldn’t even think what to ask me for before. When I was doing that, she put her arm around me, which is something she almost never does. Then when C was angry, I felt a closeness to her, maybe because she made me think of the girls. It was very strong and contained—she argued for a long time, but it was measured and strong. She did not lose her temper, but she stood her ground. It was really kind of magnificent to see.
Anyway, I thought I must be feeling the fear later of that closeness. But I came on Sunday and found out that C was not actually okay. She had what sounded like a panic attack. I suppose this is better, because the last time this happened, it was more of a psychotic break. Anyway, she felt she couldn’t breathe and that she was going to die.
I tried to talk to her about grounding strategies, and she became got more upset. The whole time we were talking, she was in Vulnerable Child mode, and stabbing things with a pin. She was very nervous and feeling fragile. When I began to talk to her about the argument and the panic attack and grounding, she switched into Abused Child and her heart was hurting. I felt very misattuned to her, that I was not doing what she needed. I suppose it was hard to have that feeling that she had been vulnerable, and I cared. I wasn’t scolding her or acting like she was stupid to get so dysregulated. I cared and wanted to help.
It is Monday morning now, and I feel very worried myself.