Happy Holidays! You are doing such great work with your kiddos.
One thing that I would suggest in regard to Special Time is to do smaller bits – maybe just 5-10 minutes – more often. I know it’s tough with 2 kiddos. What we find over and over again, is that doing Special Time more often really helps to keep their connection level a little more stable. You can think of Special Time like insulin. If you have a kiddo who is diabetic, you have to continually check their blood sugar level, and they have to be getting a steady supply of insulin. Special Time can work much the same way.
You might also think of offering 2-3 minutes of Special Time when he’s using that tone of voice you find so difficult. Offering Special Time when they are having a tough time, can be preventative… 2-3 mins of Special Time might fill him up before he gets really off track and has a big offload. Again, it’s like giving a diabetic orange juice or more insulin before they go into diabetic shock.
As for getting to your own feelings.. If you are in the Hand in Hand Listening Partner Support group, another Mom just asked me the same question. Here is my reply to her:
While we can talk about what ever we want during Listening Partnerships, I think the real power in an LP is to get to the feelings, memories and old hurts UNDERNEATH his tone of voice. Brain science tells us that when we get angry, frustrated, feel powerless, etc. that OLD HURTS and old feelings of powerlessness from the past are being RESTIMULATED.
We can start out talking about the present, but the faster we can get to the past or what’s underneath our present feelings, the easier it will be to CRY, LAUGH, TREMBLE, SWEAT, YAWN. Those are all physical signs that we are actually releasing the old hurts and we are healing. When we release and heal the OLD hurts, we don’t get RESTIMULATED so easily. We are more patient, playful and can think better.
Here is a list I’ve compiled on how to help ourselves get to FEELINGS.
1) Put yourself in a private space where you cannot be heard and you can move around. Sometimes both are not possible. I often get LT in my car. But I have gotten up on all 4s in my front seat in order to try to release my back and move a bit.
2) Ask your partner for what you need, i.e. -please talk less or please act like my child and whine, etc.
3) SKIP THE DETAILS, SKIP THE DETAILS, SKIP THE DETAILS – your partner doesn’t need to know. Talking ‘about’ a situation often helps us avoid the feelings.
4) Make sounds instead of talking. The limbic part of your brain, where the emotions and memories are stored does not have access to language. If you are talking, talking, talking you are still in your cortex and have not dropped into your limbic brain. Just making sounds can help you access your limbic brain and the feelings that reside there.
5) Move your body, especially SHAKE – for the same reason as above
6) Follow the stream of consciousness of your limbic brain. Don’t try to make sense of what’s coming up and out (see ‘skip the details’ above) I tend to think ‘in pictures’ so I just follow the pictures.
7) Ask YOURself questions like, “what’s underneath this?” “What does this remind me of from childhood?” “When did I feel powerless as a child?” Keep digging and mining the past so you can have a good hard cry or laugh about it.
8) Avoid glossing over the past. Was it really fine? Avoid explaining, justifying or apologizing for yourself or someone else. Your partner is holding the thought that you are good and everyone you are taking about did the best they could at the time. You don’t have to flip back and forth having your feelings, then apologizing for your feelings.
9) Keep your listening time as sacred as possible – no ‘chit chat’ before/after you do your exchange. You can certainly chit chat and socialize at other times, but socializing during LT tends to erode the safety.
Bottom line, Mahite: I would work on the sense of powerlessness that you feel or the feeling of being attacked or overwhelmed when he uses that tone of voice. Whatever feelings comes up for you when he talks, ask yourself: When have I felt that feeling before? See if you can really dig deep for early sensations of the same feeling. You may not actually remember something. Going for the sensation of when you might have felt that way before will bring up the tears, laughter, trembling, sweating, yawning.
It’s always such an honor and pleasure to work with you, Mahite – even through a written discussion. You ask such great, intuitive questions. I am excited and inspired by the great work you are doing for yourself and your family. May the New Year bring you so much joy, fun and peace!
Peace & Smiles,
Hand in Hand Certified Instructor
Conscious Child-raising Creating Cooperation and Peace
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“If we are to teach real peace in the world, we shall have to begin with children” – Gandhi