I Can’t Do This

Originally posted in January of 2011

Today I am reminding myself of a piece of my own advice:

When you are thinking (screaming), “I CAN’T DO THIS!” – do whatever it takes to turn that into, “WHY can’t I do this?”

You guys don’t think I blog this crap for YOU, do you? Nope. It’s for me. I ignore my own videos. I pretend to forget my own advice. Therapeutic parenting does get easier and more natural the more you do it, but then the good days put you into a new normal. And you forget. And you get lackadaisical (10 points for a big word!). And you get complacent. And your child hits a day of regression … or one of your neuro-typical children has a perfectly predictable day of grieving their adoption and


You engage in the battle.

You don’t forget to be therapeutic. You REFUSE to be therapeutic. You make it all about them. You. are. pissed.

So, here is how it looks for me:

1. Get mad. Get really, really, really, really mad.

2. Speak to my child through clenched teeth and actually brag on myself openly that I don’t yell at or hit my kids. Look how great I am (shaming the holy hey-diddle out of them).

3. Remove myself from the situation if at all possible (being very NON therapeutic and bragging out loud that I am being strong and removing myself from this very intense situation that is not my fault at all – blame, blame, blame, blame, shame, shame, shame, shame).

4. Chill out for a few minutes. Think of all the things one of my trauma-parenting mentors would tell me to do and quickly pretend I have never even heard of any of their names – ever.

5. Do other things, and find that I am calming down. Feel my heart rate slowing.

6. Check email and see a message from a struggling mom. Start to give her advice.

7. Realize I ignore my own advice sometimes.

8. Cuss.

9. Cuss.

10. Know what I need to do. Know my part. Know that I CAN do this, I just don’t WANT to do this.

11. Cuss.

12. Finally ask myself, “WHY can’t I do this right now?” Admit to myself briefly that I want to punish my child. Admit that my anger is a cover up for a different feeling. Admit that I feel powerless and out of control. Admit that I am embarrassed and worried about how my child’s behavior reflects on me.

13. Cuss.

14. Cuss.

15. Bite the bullet and go to my child. Tell them that I know why they did what they did. Talk briefly about making a repair. Talk briefly about other ways to communicate (besides giving my friends’ daughter bangs with craft scissors!).

16. Put on my big girl panties and hug my child. Still wallow a bit in the anger that is covering up what is really going on inside of me.

17. Feel more anger that I hugged my child and she appears to feel love and relief. Still feel the huge desire to punish – a lot – for a really long time.

18. Go back to my room and deal with me. Seek out those people in my life who will encourage me to move toward my child and not away from her (while still giving me PLENTY of compassion and lots of emails that say, “This sucks!”)

There ya’ go. Christine’s alternate approach. Her “18 Steps on the Days You Suck Eggs With The Therapeutic Parenting.” It’s slower. It’s not ideal. But it did finally get the job done.

Trust me – I get it. Sometimes the days that throw us over the edge are not even due to the worst behaviors. It’s just that perfect storm, plus the straw that broke the camel’s back. But the key is: when you blow it, when you hate it, when you are absolutely sure you can’t do it one more day … you find your way back. If you can do it in less than 18 steps, you are kicking my tail!