Self-Compassion in heightened times of stress
I hope you are all well and coping with things at this increasingly complicated and difficult time. I wanted to share with you my experiences and thoughts on Self-Compassion in heightened times of stress.
I have been doing my best to keep myself in some form of routine as best I can, to create a sense of some control when the reality is that there is little control any of us have at present. I have found exercising regularly and getting out with the dog a very helpful aspect of navigating life while keeping my mind focussed on learning new things.
I will admit that the pressure of us all cooped up together, the additional anxiety my children feel around not seeing friends and the home schooling does get to me and can have an impact on all of our relationships. Frankly It can feel like a test and there are times I wonder if I will pass or not!?
“You don’t get anything in my life” is a quote I have heard from my daughter as my wife attempts to support her in completing some school work. We are really trying “to get her life” but the norms are all out of the window and none of us are “getting it” at the moment.
And, breathe, I tell myself as she does everything in her power, driven by anxiety to avoid the work and draw us into her emotionally dysregulated state, beckoning us to join her in her in the chaos she feels.
I know the best antidote is to calmly and consciously attempt to understand and relate to her, to co-regulate with her to relate to the issues she faces and repair with her after I have raised my voice in desperation and frustration at the fact that she is quite capable of completing the work. Her swearing at the top of her voice however is like the fuse being lit within me.
Stay calm, stay calm….
I know I need to practice what I preach, to remain calm, to understand that she is very anxious, that she is full of a sense of injustice and thus feels angry and that she will take this out on those closest to her, us. I must resist the urge to go in there and deal out what my primitive brain is crying out for me to do, to rush in and with great fury tell her in no uncertain terms that she is being a prima donna a spoilt brat.
This is how I would have been dealt with, had I the audacity to behave in such a manner at the same age and somewhere in my mind something is trying to convince me that this is probably the only way to get through to her.
It is not.
I have to show her the way, I have to combine my own memory of the distance that being treated as my primitive brain is telling me to do, impacted me as a child, I must “remain in the adult”
I must remain calm….
Sharing this has made me feel vulnerable and question myself, specifically my own capacity to dish out advice and guidance to the wonderful foster parents I work with, but it also grounds me in the reality of being a human being, I will feel all sorts of emotions and get it wrong at times and that is OK.
Self-compassion is key.
I hope you are all able to find self-compassion and navigate things as they are, knowing that this will pass. We will experience all manner of emotions, will likely react as we were parented ourselves at times, (because this is familiar to us) but that importantly we, you and I are trying our best.
Dan Hugh’s Podcast on Intersubjective mindfulness.
This wonderful Podcast has been helpful to me and I hope it is to you to.
It describes how paying attention to the understanding that my mind is in your mind and your mind is in my mind is the key to truly connecting with others.
It’s not your fault
I also came across this in the week which might be of some assistance to you. It is called “it’s not your fault”. I found it on the Adoption Plus website. It is a short video that conveys the understanding in child friendly terms that whatever has resulted in children becoming looked after is NOT their fault.
Therapeutic Parenting Lead at Regional Foster Families
I am the fostering agency Therapeutic Parenting Lead (DDP informed) and started my counselling training in 2011 becoming fully qualified in 2016. I have worked for the agency for the last 13 years.
My qualifications in respect of therapy are an advanced diploma in integrative counselling which is accredited by the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) whom I remain a registered member with.
I spent three and a half years volunteering at Personal Recovery Services as part of my training, an organisation that specialised in working with historic sexual abuse, working with both adults and teenagers.
I have consequently gone on and trained in Level 1 and 2 of Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP).
I have worked in various roles in the social care field specifically with looked after children for the past 20 years. I was a deputy team manager of a specialist (children’s) outreach team dealing with crisis interventions, a deputy residential home manager, an NVQ assessor (up to level 4 management), a trainer in dealing with challenging behaviour, drug awareness and therapeutic parenting.
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