Day 100: Healing Injuries from Violent Words
One hundred days. It seems like a sort of landmark. A moment to pause and reflect. But, that's not what I'm in the mood for tonight, plus my T gave me an assignment related to one of my 15 statements. The assignment is to challenge each of the quotes from statement number 6 with how I would address the situation, what I would say if it was one of my kids. I decided to take MCook's advice and use her approach, "what is the ideal response that you would receive from the 'loving ideal family', then reflect on what you needed from your mom in that moment." This perspective helps me because my kids don't have the experiences I have that impact what I needed when the harmful words were spoken to me.
These words injured me. I experienced them as violent. I still do because of the shame I feel when I think about them. My hope is to heal the wounds caused by these words.
This exercise was incredibly difficult. I have felt increasing abdominal pain as I've written it. The pain is verging on unbearable. I have been near tears . . . wishing the tears would come. It makes my head pound. In these moments I feel such a strong urge to SI. But, I will not. I will work my coping strategies.
6. Shame is anyone else’s condescending predictions about why I do any of the things I do.
- “People go through this sort of thing at your age.” (by mom in reference to terrible growing pains and by physician in reference to almost any complaint)
- Instead (by mom): I'm sorry you're in pain, sweetie. Is there anything I can do for you that would make it easier to bear? I love you so much and I want to comfort and help you!
- Instead (by doctor): I'm sorry you're in pain. I want to help you and together we'll find the approach that works best for you.
- "You just started coughing because you were losing." (by mom after asthma attack in swimming race)
- Instead: I was scared when I saw you get out of the pool. Come here, let me carry you. I'm concerned about this cough. We're going to have it checked out. You're going to be OK. Lay your head here on my shoulder and let me warm you up in this big towel. I'm going to make sure you're OK. Don't worry about the race. You're health and safety are the most important things. That's all I care about. The race was not important at all. I love you!
- "If I take you to the doctor there had better be something wrong.” (by mom when I was sick)
- Instead: I want to have a doctor look at you. I'm going to make sure the doctor takes good care of you. I will go into the room with you to make sure you're safe with the doctor. I have evaluated this doctor, but if anything makes you uncomfortable you tell me. It's important for you to feel safe. I'll be right there with you as long as you want me to be. I love you!
- "She makes it out to be much more than it was. She just wants attention." (by mom in response to r* and CSA)
- Instead: What happened to you is terrible. I am horrified that he hurt you! I am so very sorry I didn't protect you. I am going to protect you. You will never be in the same place as him again! I need to tell the police. But, I'm going to make sure you're OK. We need to take you to a doctor. I know you're scared, but I'll make sure you're OK. The police will ask you questions. You tell them the truth. You did NOTHING wrong. You have nothing to be ashamed of. I won't make you say more than you want to say. It's OK for you to feel scared and angry. He hurt you. He was wrong. I am so, so sorry this happened and I love you more than anything.
- “This must be your first child.” (by nurse in ER)
- Instead: I'm sorry you're here in the middle of the night again with a child who is struggling to breathe. You must be exhausted going through this at 3 in the morning. We're going to take good care of your son and make sure he's OK. We'll help you figure out why this keeps happening so you don't have to go through this again. But, we're here to help him, and to help you.
- “If you really had that serious of a stricture, you’d have a lot worse problems than you do.” (by nurse in ER)
- Instead: Thank you for telling me about the stricture. I'm sorry you have that problem. I know how painful that can be. I'm going to be extra careful. But, I'm sorry I really can't let you use the bathroom . . . because of your blood loss. We need to keep you right here for your safety. I need to administer the catheter. Please tell me what to expect when I do this. You know your body better than me. I will be careful and take it easy with you. Let me know when you're ready and I'll take it one step at a time. I am sorry this is so scary for you. Can you tell me what makes you feel so afraid right now? Is there anything I can do to help you feel better as we perform this procedure?
- “I should inseminate you now because you’ll regret not having children.” (by Dr. who r* me)
- Instead: I am going to figure out the cause of your pain with your periods. You have been living with an excessive amount of pain and you don't have to keep living that way. There are probably things we can do to help you with that. You might have a condition called endometriosis. Your symptoms look like that, although we can't be 100% sure unless we perform a surgery called a laparoscopy. We can go in through a tiny incision and look at your uterus and ovaries to determine if you have this condition. From what you describe you might have difficulty getting pregnant. What are your thoughts about having children? For some women with this condition a hysterectomy is required. So, I want you to think about what your plans are regarding children. We can talk about that and I can give you options based on what you want.
- “It’s just a bump on the head.” (by mom after concussion injury)
- Instead: This is the second time you've been knocked unconscious. I am going to take you to the doctor to make sure you're OK. We'll do whatever the doctor says, but it will probably be for you to rest for a few days at least. If you feel sick to your stomach or dizzy, you tell me right away. I am sorry your head hurts. That is a very impressive knot on your forehead from the tennis racket. I'm going to put an ice pack on it now to help bring down the swelling. You keep it there while I take you to the hospital. I love you so much.
- “I don’t care how much blood there was. You’re fine to go to school.” (by mom after terrible nose bleed)
- Instead: We need to find out what's wrong. I'm going to take you to the doctor. I know it's the first day of school, but it's more important that we make sure you're OK. Plus, you're sick to your stomach now after having all that blood go down your throat. It's not a good way to start high school. After everything you've been through at school I want to make sure you're feeling well. Now that you're at a new school and there are so many kids you're going to have a different experience. But, first, we're going to make sure you're OK. I love you.