Self-Care Tip #192 – Before hurting yourself or others, stop.
Sometimes all we can do is leave.
Not being created as a limp noodle, that’s what Brenda said.
In the moment of conflict with her daughter, she had used up the coping skills she thought of and in the end, her purse had no more gum, lip-gloss, candy-money or crayons. She couldn’t stop the acidic emotions from taking their turn to burn. Brenda yelled (yes she knew it wasn’t right) and then she yelled again, this time to her husband that he was on kid-duty. She left. The mom-van keys were the last thing left in her purse of things to do to stop the burning she was giving and receiving.
Emotional abuse is equal to or more damaging than physical or sexual abuse. This made Brenda gulp, who could still hear her own mother screaming with bulging bubble-packing veins and eyes. Brenda didn’t know she could say,
Let’s stop. It hurts Mommy.
When she first had her babies, tiny with soft bones, fluffy warm sweet cakes just out of the oven, Brenda was scared. Her pediatrician gave her baby care directives that said things like,
If you are angry and feel like you’re going to shake your baby, stop! Call for help.
And there was a number. Now that her kids were older, her pediatrician never gave her helpful sheets of instructions and rescue phone numbers. Brenda drove away to stop, hoping to come back with more available to offer.
Not bad, huh?
Question: When you can’t think of any more coping skills during a crisis, how do you stop? In what feels like an emotional emergency, what have you seen others do that you think is useful? Please tell me your story.