Crises are so difficult and often times lead us to thoughts of self-harm and worse. We immediately believe that we are the cause for what happened and it’s because we are bad. I realize that it’s because growing up whenever anything went wrong our perps would put the blame on us and so we internalized it believing even to this day that we are the cause for bad things. I remember the mom “spanking” us and in the process popped a blood vessel in her hand/arm(?) and she shook it in our direction saying, “LOOK AT WHAT YOU MADE ME DO!!” I also remember hearing someone inside say, internally not out loud, “I didn’t MAKE you beat me, stupid!”
Recently, I’ve been struggling with not having 3D friends that live in our area. We have one that we see at work and have become friends with….we talk on the phone occasionally and stuff. Then, last year we made a friend in Timberlawn who actually lives on the other side of our city. We have spoken on the phone several times and it’s always a comfort to know that she lives here, still she lives all the way on the other side of the city and for whatever reason in the past year we have found it difficult to get together. We cried and cried in T session yesterday every time the subject of not having friends in the area came up. We did have 2 dear friends that lived here, but they both moved away and we miss having that so very much. We explored reasons why we don’t have 3D friends here and the first and only reason we had to give her was that it was our fault, we are bad, no one likes us. But, we couldn’t figure out why in the past we had many friends that seemed to really enjoy our company and wanted to hang out with us. The only answer we could come up with is that we have become even more bad and unlikable. As we talked with T, we realized that it’s not that we are unlikable but rather it’s situational. We don’t go out ANYwhere where we can meet people. So we are going to try to find places that we can go like join a class or something where we can meet people. But, the point of writing about this is that we automatically believed that our lack of 3D friends here is due to us being bad or unlikable. We realized yesterday that is what the mom always would say. We had many friends at church and also had formed a bond with the youth leader at the church (a very caring woman). The mom would tell us that if they only knew what we were REALLY like at home, they wouldn’t like me at all. So, hence, the tendency to point the finger at me rather than the situation. So, when bad things happen, we automatically are hard on ourselves and feel it is our fault and we must be punished. Sound familiar?
Last year in Timberlawn we really tried to figure it out as we had been struggling lots with it like when hubby and us have even as much as a disagreement or whatever, bells and whistles go off. The main thing we found that helps is Distraction. If upset and having bad thoughts, we will do something, ANYthing that will get our mind off the current situation. Video Games on our XBox has been a favorite. One of those mindless games that you can just zone into and do over and over again, like a puzzler game which is one of our favorite kinds of games. Since getting back into therapy last year, T has also talked about self-soothing. Even though quite the opposite of what our bad thoughts are telling us to do, if you can do something self-soothing it can be very good because really that’s what you (and us) deserve. In reality, those situations were NOT our fault and we are not the root of badness. We deserve to be loved and soothed rather than blamed and punished.
What can you do that is self-soothing? We’ve been looking around for ideas to share. Keep in mind that if the idea is triggering, then that one isn’t for you. What we are finding, and have learned in dealing with triggers, is to think of the 5 senses and what you can do to effect them in a positive way. For example, putting on some lotions – the softness on your skin plus if it has a pleasant scent (we love vanilla and coconut) then it has 2 positives for you.
We will list ideas of self-soothing and distraction:
- Journaling – get those thoughts out onto paper and later you can tear them up and flush the pieces down the toilet or if in a safe place you can burn them.
- Email a friend or your therapist
- Post on a supportive forum online or email your support group
- Call a friend – hearing a friendly voice
- Lotion – if it’s scented it’s even better
- Look at pretty pictures
- Light a candle and watch the flame (littles may need assistance with this one!)
- Listen to soothing music – if a strong supportive/protector insider has a favorite kind of music, try playing their music to bring them closer to the front!
- Pet an animal (have any pets?)
- Drink a cold soda – may sound weird, but we’ve found that things like carbonated caffeinated beverages on ICE helps in many ways – the bubbly and the cold of the ice plus the caffeine to uplift, all of those can change the senses which is what you try to do when triggered or in a bad place
- Crunch Ice – can be quite grounding
- Drink something soothing – like chocolate or strawberry milk or hot chocolate, hot tea
- Take a bubble bath – found this suggestion online but it may be triggering for some so if it is I’d suggest not doing it
- Go Swimming
- Sit or float in a hot tub – we love to float in a hot tub and let the water jets push us around in the water. haha! Doesn’t sound as poetic, but it’s bliss! Looking up at the clouds as we float…..
- Meditate and/or pray
- Rocking – either in a chair or not – rocking can be quite self-soothing as we see kids do it all the time.
- Flowing Water – we have recordings of flowing water on our computer, the only problem is we can’t always get to our computer when distressed – maybe put recordings of flowing water onto your mp3 player or ipod
- Hug a stuffed animal
- Sing your favorite songs
- Put a cold washcloth on your forehead
- Cook cinnamon toast (a favorite for us as a kid) – smell the cinnamon and it tastes so good!
- Put on your favorite perfume (or the perfume of a strong insider to help bring them closer)
Here are links to other sites that have more great ideas: