Tuesday, May 7, 2013
It was his fault...not mine, not yours
Today I was trying to explain J-Man's consequence as a direct result of his choices. Sometimes this cause-and-effect is lost on him! I used the phrase, "It was your fault..." because he was just so angry toward me for the consequence and I wanted him to understand he caused the consequence. Anyway...he looked at me, puzzled, and asked, "What's 'fault'?" So I broke it down best I could in 3-year-old layman's terms. "That's 'fault'?" he asked. Yes, that's fault.
A few seconds later he was turning the conversation to some of the trauma in his past. We've been telling him his story the last few weeks of therapy for EMDR. We've been talking about all the trauma. So it's fresh in his mind. Who am I kidding...it's probably always been fresh in his mind. Anyway, he turned today's conversation to some of that trauma and his birthdad's role in that trauma.
"That was his fault?" he asked. I caught my breath, taken a little aback by the amazing connection that 3-year-old mind had just made to the entirely new concept of "fault".
"Yes, that was his fault. That was all his fault."
"Not mine? And not yours?"
Wow. I so greatly fear the incredible guilt and shame I think J-Man must carry with him. That's what victims of trauma so often do. They blame themselves. Children, especially, do this. And here he was at age 3, already beginning to make that connection that it was NOT HIS FAULT. Hallelujah!
"And not yours?" I've talked on here before about J-Man's anger being mostly directed at me, and that being common for children who've experienced great loss and great trauma, to direct their anger at their adoptive mom. Yet here he was, making the connection, even in some small way, that it was not my fault, that I am not to blame for what happened before he came to me.
Huge. Huge, unexpected moments on my son's bed at 4:30 in the afternoon. We have to rejoice in those small huge moments, friends. They give us the strength to keep going. They give us reassurance that healing will come, that progress will be made. Hallelujah!