Juliana, Trauma

The Self-Destruct Button

At this time of year, we always have a rough time transitioning.  The weather is finally warmer up here in the arctic tundra and it is lighter later into the day, so the children fall asleep later (even when I put them to bed at the same time).  They’re more tired and WAY more emotional.  We are also closing out the school year.  This is so hard for even the typically developing kiddo.  When you add trauma into the mix, you have an even more difficult time.  Kids from trauma usually have a rough time with transition.  We’ve mostly overcome this with the Ghana Duo, but poor Bubbly is younger and still has a harder time moving from one season of life to another.

Bubbly loved her First Grade teacher this year.  LOVED her.  Aside from me, there isn’t a woman on this planet who is more in tune with Bubbly’s mood.  She can smell upset coming a mile away.  Bubbly will miss her teacher SO much.  Our girl can feel the end of that relationship coming.  She knows she’ll see her again, but it won’t be the way that it was.  She won’t be HER teacher anymore.  This has wreaked all kinds of havoc on us in the past few days.

The upset started after the Memorial Day holiday.  Our other kids are excitedly talking about end of the year activities, and Bubbly is sitting at the table, arms crossed angrily, making declarations of stupidity about each of the upcoming activities.  She declares it all ‘dumb.’  She’s the end-of- the- school-year Scrooge.  The girl who is usually so excited, and bubbly, about everything is hating on all of it.  Oh man.  I could feel the storm brewing.  The next day she didn’t even make it to school.  She couldn’t get ready.  She couldn’t find anything to wear, her hair was wrong, she was hungry but couldn’t find the ‘right’ breakfast.  She cried buckets, threw herself to the ground and couldn’t pull it back together.  So, she and FPD did an emergency session with her Attachment Therapist.

They talked a lot about Bubbly’s self-destruct button.  When she’s sad, scared, or even TOO excited about something, the girl punches that metaphorical button and watches as the world around her is blown to hell.  She doesn’t even know she’s doing it.  We hope that someday she will.  We pray that someday she’ll begin to recognize the warning signs and stop herself before she sets the explosion in motion.  I think she will spend YEARS in therapy trying to accomplish this goal.  Plenty of adults have self-destructive behaviors.  We don’t want that for the girl we love so much.

Today she EXPLODED before her little brother’s birthday party.  She screamed, she cried, she ended up kicking me in the stomach.  Game.over.  The second it gets physical in our home, it’s over for the day.  I don’t do well with abuse, verbal or physical.  She lost her tokens to Chuck E. Cheese.  She actually did well with this.  She sat at the party and quietly watched the other kids enjoy their tokens.  She got her pizza and cake, because there is ALWAYS food for her because food is a right.  Tokens, they’re a privilege.  She understood, and felt very bad, about what she had done.  When we came home, we talked a lot about why she might have gotten upset.  It’s a day that’s not about her.  That’s always hard for her.  It’s hard for any kid.  So, we talked about how SHE would feel if someone did that on her birthday.


She would feel sad.  Let’s think about why her feelings got so big and out of control.  What could have caused that?  She was excited about Chuck E. Cheese.  Her answer ‘I know I’m bad.’  You’re not bad, Bubbly, I tell her.  Your choice was bad.  Saying ‘I’m bad’ is a cop out.  It has been declared a manipulative behavior.  She does it to draw the attention away from her choices, so I dispute it and we move on.  Why did you make that not so good choice that led to you hurting me?

She’s working on writing that out in her ‘Feelings Journal’ right now.  We’re finally to a point where she can, somewhat, verbalize the deeper feelings that cause the explosions.  I think this is a first step to recognizing the triggers.  We have been at this for YEARS, and we’re still going to be at this for YEARS.  But, for today, I’m thankful for the little steps of progress.

And, I’m thankful that when I went to hug her, she didn’t pee on me.

Yes, y’all, at one point, that was an issue.

–FullPlateMom, who needs a stiff drink when this day is done, if for no other reason than she’s pretty sure Chuck E. Cheese is Dante’s Fifth Circle.  Look it up.  I think it is. I’m serious.

2 thoughts on “The Self-Destruct Button”

  1. Oh, it is. It surely is the 5th Circle. Agree. Sorry that things are tough, and yet…so glad that things can be as tough as tough can be, and Bubbly knows that you’re always going to love her, and will never leave her. Hang in there. It always takes us about 2 weeks to regulate into summer vacay and 2 weeks to regulate back into school. For my kids and, for me.


  2. This post speaks to the very depths of my heart and it also made me giggle. Chuck E. Cheese IS Dante’s fifth circle, I agree!


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