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What Story are You Telling Yourself?

As a special needs moms we often get asked about our child’s diagnosis. Talking about your special needs child can be tricky. We want to protect the privacy of our child.

Sometimes it seems that people are being nosy and other times people truly want to know and seem to care.

We all have our well rehearsed speech we can recite to those inquiring minds.

We have the story we tell.

But we have more than one story.

Another story is the one we tell our friends. The people we trust are privy to a more honest version. We can share with them how our child is doing, how our family is coping, the medical updates and concerns. This is a more intimate story but it is not the whole story.

There is one more story we tell.

The story we tell ourselves. Unfortunately, that story is not always kind and gracious. I was sharing with a friend a difficult memory on our journey with Reactive Attachment Disorder. I made a comment that was less than generous to myself.

“I need to forgive myself for not trying harder and understanding what was wrong.”

My friend immediately said to me, “Why do you need to forgive yourself? How could you have known?"

I was not feeling particularly sad that day. I was simply explaining this moment in our story.

I realized that the story I was telling myself was one in which I was at fault.

Think about the story you tell yourself.

What do you think when you look back at painful moments? The day you got the diagnosis or the day you decided to send your child to a residential treatment program?

What story are you telling yourself about those moments?

Is it a story in which you are the one to blame? Are thinking you should have tried harder? Noticed ? Or known better?

For the longest time I held back from telling my story for fear of judgment.

But the person who judged me the most was me.

I thought I had failed somehow. I told myself if I had tried harder, learned more ,loved better, maybe my children’s issues would have been better.

I examined those painful moments with a magnifying glass, enlarging all the places where I thought I had failed.

This kind of reflection is not life giving. It only leads you further down the hole of shame and guilt.

It has taken me years to realize that sometimes with Reactive Attachment Disorder and FASD it is what it is.

Did I do everything perfectly? Of course not! But so much of the diagnosis was beyond my control . So I needed to learn to look at my story with love and kindness to myself.

You have to begin to trust that your experience of emptiness is not the final experience , but beyond it is a place where you are being held in love

Henri Nouwen

Is it possible the story you are telling yourself needs to change?

How can you change your narrative?

How can you take the moments in your story that are painful and hard and hold them in love?

It takes practice but it is worth it.

I would love to hear your story. Reach out to me and tell me how I can help.

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