When Cupcake came home, she was not emotionally a four year old. She was emotionally a zero. Her life experience had taught her to be strong, to be tough, to keep the walls high and not let anyone in. The level of pain she experienced caused her to shut down emotionally.
The only emotions that were real were fear and rage, and she didn't even acknowledge them. She only acted on them. She would rage and rage and rage, and then turn around and act as if nothing happened. It was maddening.
When normal, emotionally healthy people have a nasty encounter, it affects their day. They think about the conflict. They replay it in their mind. They question what went wrong. They consider how it could have been different. This is because their emotions are integrated. Who you are and what you feel are connected.
Cupcake was completely detached from her emotions. After a rage, it was like she didn't grasp that her tantrum hurt me...that I might be angry or sad. She didn't even grasp that she had rage - almost as if it was someone else or that it never really happened. She would not and could not talk about her "big feelings" of anger, sadness and fear.
Many times, when we would see a smile, hear a laugh, or enjoy a playful encounter, she wasn't actually joyful or happy. She was pouring on the charm in order to survive. Little by little, real giggles would bubble forth, genuine smiles would emerge, real joy would show up as she relaxed and let it happen. Talking about happy emotions came a little easier for her.
So, here we are, almost two years home. We've been working on integrating her emotions from day one. We have named them and described them and given her an outlet for expressing them. She has made tremendous progress in this area, and I'm so proud of her.
This week, God allowed me to see just how far she has come. It was a milestone.
Cupcake has a teacher's aide that she adores. You might think that this woman can walk on water if you listen to my daughter. Every day, I hear...
"Miss H. smells like sugar."
"Miss H. likes my hair today."
"Miss H. has sparkly eye shadow."
Well, Tuesday, Miss H. had to become very stern with little miss Cupcake.
When I picked her up from school, she was in tears, sobbing.
"Miss H. hurt my feelings..."
Did you catch that?
Her feelings were hurt.
All evening long, every time she thought about the painful encounter, she would burst into tears and run to me, bury her head in my shoulder, and cry it out.
Oh, it was painful.
But she came to me for comfort.
She acknowledged the pain.
She felt the sting.
It was so hard to watch my baby go through the hurt. My heart was breaking for her. But at the same time, it made my heart sing. She allowed herself to feel the pain. Her heart is tender. She is on the road to just being a little girl. The open wounds of trauma are becoming scars. Emotional healing is happening. God is working in my little daughter's life.
And that makes for one thankful Mamita.
Blessings to you,
P.S. By Thursday, apologies and forgiveness were given. Things are back to normal...well, normal for us. ;-)
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