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Stopping flight or fight response (in me)(16 Posts)
Hello. Desperately need to look after me. Self care etc. How do I stop the fight or flight response in me?
Everything I’m reading is saying ‘go meditate’ or ‘go for a run’ which, whilst lovely sounding isn’t really practical in the face of a controlling/tantrumming/occasionally violent child or two.
Specifically, just right now, I had a child who would not stop doing something, I was calm, I was therapeutic, for ages even, then DC got up to run away and I was neither calm not therapeutic and my heart was racing and I was yelling.
How can I stop this?
Hello there. 1st, forgive yourself. It's really hard to soak up their huge tidal wave of feelings without being affected. As long as the child is safe, then for a few minutes, step away. I have been known to stand and deep breathe on my own doorstep! In the moment or shortly afterwards, any way you can create a pause for yourself will do.
I find I need to do something heavy/physical to stop anger overflow - it was a good day the time I needed to crowbar some trellis off the house, so satisfying! More usually, a spot of aggressive hoovering or some wall press ups can work.
If the child can't cope with me stepping away, I have a deep breathing ap on my phone which is just a shape opening/closing telling me when to breathe. I esp like that one when my clingy child is also screaming at me - distracts me a bit
I still lose it sometimes, I don't like that about myself, but I hit my limits. I try to take care of myself afterwards rather than beat myself up...could you?
Hello magic, nice to see you. 🙂
I don’t struggle with forgiving myself - I know it’s them, not me <hollow laugh> and I’m actually reasonably good at getting calm afterwards, but I’d really like to stop the reaction from happening - it can’t be good for me, not this often.
I struggle to remove myself because that would often mean leaving one DC with the other DC and because it’s a massive thing here that I am seen to be fair and I don’t know how to look ‘fair’ to the behaving child when I just remove myself from the not-behaving child.
What’s your breathing app? I’ve been getting a lot of use out of Insight Timer recently - meditating to sleep. 😴
Breathing Zone, it's called.
I don't know if I can prevent the reaction...probably it is less frequent if I am getting a regular chance to do all the stuff you're meant to (fresh air, exercise, offloading emotionally, sleep, a diet that is less than 100% sugar and caffeine...) I know my "window of tolerance" (Beacon House has great resources on this) is small when there's any other kind of pressure so if home's tough, I find little work stresses get out of proportion, and vice versa.
Thanks magic, I’ll check out app and Beacon House. (I’m making massive changes elsewhere - needs must etc, but I can’t get a handle on this at all.)
Hope you and LO have a great Xmas. 😘
I had a bad day today, not sure if it was adoption related or just a two (nearly three) year old just being their age, but today, littlest managed to find buttons to press that I didn’t even know existed! Eldest wasn’t too bad. I wasn’t very therapeutic today either...I was a big naggy, I was a bit shouty. So I stuck some cartoons on, left them to it (in view though) and had a cup of tea! I think youngest is starting to feel safe, mixed in with her age and the excitement of Christmas. Even though we have downplayed Christmas, the memo didn’t make it to the rest of the world!! They are at nursery tomorrow...i’m not ashamed to say that i’m Looking forward to a few hours off!! Go easy on yourself x
Thanks autumn. Nearly 3yos are the best/worst. They’re just so cute/damn unreasonable. How long have they been home?
And Christmas in schools is far too much - i haven’t known whether I’m coming or going so god only knows how the kids have coped.
I’m trying not to medicate with booze and chocolate, so I’m breathing mindfully to magic’s app. It’s fine, but it’s not chocolate. 😐
I am not sure it is fight or flight as you don't feel under threat, but it does sound like dropping out of your window of tolerance, and possibly that because the anger is coming from somewhere, once you find out where and deal with all the emotions connected to whatever it is, the anger will go.
Anyway, these two links from aha parenting are on the very subject, and are really good:
There is more in the links to the right.
@tldr Ahh! That list looks familiar!! they were placed 4 months ago, everything really has been going so good, so I really shouldn't Complain. We thought we would have issues with eldest (3, nearly 4), but he is so easy to distract, divert...reason with. Youngest seems to find pleasure in doing stuff she shouldn’t, she even does it with a smile on her face!! And yes, it’s a good job she’s so bloody cute!!
Usually if I keep them busy, we have no probs, but after a week of stuff on your list and hospital appointments, I thought we should have a day at home...silly me!! Luckily they have gone to bed ok, so having a glass of vino now whilst congratulating myself that we all finished the day in one piece!! Even though the method in getting there was neither pretty or graceful!! x
One little thing that has caught me by surprise (and although I mutter it often out of range from little ears), is my eldest keeps exclaiming ‘oh Jesus!’. Clearly he’s got this from the nativity he took part in, but it’s making me look an awfully bad parent in Sainsbury’s! We are not religious, but I know that everyone we know will think it’s my influence!
I just read the links again myself (always helps) and I am wrong about fight or flight. Anyway, very helpful.
Thanks for the links IAM. Do you use aha parenting a lot? I used to but then it stopped because of stuff like this;
Say "You must be so upset to speak to me that way....what's going on?" Then listen.
I know v well what was wrong with DS - he was not pleased I’d told him kindles were going away.
Should I be asking him why he’s unhappy about that? Or should I just be accepting that he is unhappy about it? (Problem there is that when he’s unhappy he’s very loud and sometimes violent towards me, or more likely DD.)
It might not be fight or flight but it’s definitely physiological - I was super calm, non shouty, fairly gently talking, then there was a massive Adrenalin rush and a racing heart.
Going to read second link now...
autumn be kind to yourself, 4 months is the blink of an eye. And the beauty of that age is that if you loudly say ‘oh gosh’ or whatever everytime you need an exclamation they’ll soon copy. One of mine arrived with some less than lovely language but she stopped using it soon enough.
Finishing the day in one piece is cause for celebration. We’re several years in and I still don’t know how we got through some of our early days. 💐
Hope you had a good Christmas! I think it is a brilliant website, but don't use it as much as I should. In relation to the example you gave, I think she is talking about behaviour and emotions, rather than reasons. If for example at bedtime I took a book or kindle or toy away from dc because I wanted them to sleep, if they were feeling generally ok they might grumble a bit but would accept it, but if they were feeling not ok then there might be shouting and screaming and hitting. I think that is what she means anyway. She is talking about their behaviour reflecting their feelings?
Nice bit of proprioceptive self-regulating (for me!) today - when I was getting edgy I decided we would move the furniture around. After battling with the sideboard I felt much calmer
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