So far . . .a little better. I have had several moments during the days since my last post when David or one of the kids has done something frustrating and have I felt myself start to descend into that darker, more victimized place. In most of these cases, I have felt it start to happen (it literally feels like a trickle of hot lava that starts in my throat and flows into my stomach) and I’ve caught myself by thinking: “This is it! This is me going into upset.”
With that thought, I have been able to staunch the lava flow and turn my focus to expressing the primary emotion (e.g., “I’m angry because you ignored what I asked you to do”) or facilitating an action (e.g., “I need you upstairs now, so I am going to walk you up there.”). In some cases, I have just bought myself enough time to breathe and clear my head until I am able to notice that the world isn’t actually coming to an end.
David told me he thinks that this shift will be tremendous for my kids. He didn’t say exactly how he thought it would help them, but I imagine it’s something along the lines of me modeling the ability to express my more difficult emotions without taking people out in the process.
I can do this.