Friday, 19 Apr 2019

How Loneliness Can Impact Kids

How Loneliness Can Impact Kids

“Leaving Loneliness: A Workbook: Building Relationships with Yourself and Others”

by David S. Narang Ph.D

How Loneliness Can Impact Kids. Healing Your Deeper Emotional Injuries

Attachment Anxiety suggest that in childhood, you probably needed to sort of wrap around your primary caretaker like an emotional pretzel to get those precious few drops of attention and emotional responsiveness. Sometimes it was available and sometimes not, but regardless, you had to work pretty hard for it. You had to stay vigilant for the times it was actually available and seek it then. Perhaps you had to become physically or emotionally sick to gain the emotional presence and responsiveness of your parent/caretaker. In any case, you wanted attention, you had some idea that it was occasionally but not routinely available, and you may still today have no idea if you can consistently get it. The exercise below is primarily intended for those who have been anxious in attachment for many years, not for those originally avoidant who are now anxious on the way to Earned Secure. For the latter folks, see the parallel exercise in the Attachment Avoidance chapter of this book (the activity there has the same title), which is intended for your own original wounds. How Loneliness Can Impact Kids.

How Loneliness Can Impact Kids - photo 1

How Loneliness Can Impact Kids

1) How Loneliness Can Impact Kids. Please consider how in your childhood you learned to distrust that attention and emotional responsiveness would flow freely and consistently toward you. While later experiences may have strengthened this belief, try to find the early experiences that shaped it (i.e., the roots of learning this with your primary caregiver/s). Write about it (or draw if you prefer).

2) How Loneliness Can Impact Kids. What was the single most painful instance of failing to receive emotional support, or of being dismissed and/or criticized when you deeply needed support?

3) How Loneliness Can Impact Kids. If you could explain the damage that resulted from the parent or caregiver who wasn’t consistently or sufficiently emotionally responsive to you and he/she was capable of listening, what would you tell him/her about the injuries caused by the events you wrote of in response to questions one and two?

4) How Loneliness Can Impact Kids. What do you wish he/she would say back to you in response?

5) How Loneliness Can Impact Kids. Now hold yourself: put your arms across your chest so that each hand is touching the opposite shoulder. Tell yourself the most important things you wrote in question number four.

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How Loneliness Can Impact Kids

How Loneliness Can Impact Kids. Finally:

Respect your wounds. Do not demand that they disappear immediately, or they may plague you indefinitely. Respect that the wounds and their aftermath exist for now. The more you reflect on the damage done and on how you can be a good, nurturing parent to yourself to repair this damage, the more likely you are to succeed in repairing your old wounds and avoid stepping into situations that create fresh ones.

How Loneliness Can Impact Kids. The Person/s Who Was/Were Really There for Me

As a child, who did you go to for comfort when you were emotionally upset (e.g., after an argument with a friend, being criticized by a teacher, or when having problems with family)? This person may have been a family member, a distant relative, family friend, friend, teacher, clergy, etc. To answer the following questions, think in detail of a specific time you went to that person for support, comfort, and/or encouragement. To maximize the power of this exercise, before answering the questions below, first close your eyes for about three seconds and remember the details of the incident and of going to him/her for support. Replay the incident in your vision and ears, in vivid detail, like a movie. Then answer the questions below. How Loneliness Can Impact Kids. 

How Loneliness Can Impact Kids. In that incident, what did you need from the person at the time you were upset? That is, why did you go to him or her?

How Loneliness Can Impact Kids. Were you able to be specific in telling or showing him/her what you needed?

How Loneliness Can Impact Kids. What was he/she able to be and do that kept you coming back when you were upset?

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How Loneliness Can Impact Kids

How Loneliness Can Impact Kids. Experiencing Versus Addicting

With anxiety in your attachment, you may often have huge emotions that leave you scrambling to do something with them. When those emotions crash upon you like waves, you may feel that you must fix them immediately or you will drown in their surge. You may also build strong repetitive habits constructed in the service of trying to escape or mute those surges of emotion. These habits may look sort of like an addiction, based on your panic about those waves of emotion. You may scramble too intensely toward people who support you, or toward something that either distorts or numbs you (e.g., drugs/alcohol, excessive entertainment, such as hours and hours of TV or Internet, etc.), or you may do other things that are harmful to you (e.g., pursuing excessive work accomplishments if they are rooted in the need to avoid emotion) as a way to diminish the intensity of these feelings. How Loneliness Can Impact Kids.

Because this scrambling in fact often works—that is, it relieves or prevents the emotion for a brief period of time— any of these behaviors may take on an addictive, repetitive quality. They relieve or prevent your pain for a moment, so you scramble back toward them again and again. In reality, while muted feelings can get stuck and last for years (e.g., in many cases of depression), intense moments of emotional pain, if the emotion is allowed to fully develop, tend to last 30-90 minutes. For example, after a strong bout of crying, emotional intensity often reduces quickly on its own. How Loneliness Can Impact Kids.

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How Loneliness Can Impact Kids

How Loneliness Can Impact Kids. Take a Moment to Consider: What If You Simply Stopped Scrambling?

What is this scrambling rooted in, but in the pair of assumptions that you cannot tolerate the intensity of the emotions you are experiencing, and that your pain will not pass on its own. For reflection: Are these assumptions true, and how do you know? The feeling that you cannot bear an emotion is real in that the feeling exists, but in regard to factual accuracy, the thought that you cannot bear the emotion is probably inaccurate. Give an example of a time you handled an extremely painful situation in your life, survived the pain, and then noticed the pain fade away on its own. The opposite action of scrambling is to stay. Stay with what? Stay with whatever your experience is, in this case pain, until it changes. This requires faith that it will pass and that you can and will work to tolerate it until it passes. Staying might be crying, drawing with the emotion in mind, writing about the pain, meditating to let the feeling fully evolve, jogging while gently contemplating your pain, or any number of activities. It matters not exactly what you do; what is important is that staying feels as if whatever you are doing is natural versus an activity you are grasping at and clinging to in order to push your discomfort away. How Loneliness Can Impact Kids.

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How Loneliness Can Impact Kids

Staying does not mean getting lost in emotion. If after some time the nature of the pain does not become clearer and you don’t come out of the pain, you should take a break and distract yourself, but make that distraction a conscious and time­ limited decision, not habitual automatic behavior. The key is that staying is an aware process of tuning in to and responding to your emotions and needs, versus grasping automatically out of vague or acute panic at something that becomes a drug. Consider the behavior of distracting yourself. This can be done reflexively, such as grabbing at a person, a video game, etc. This can also be done by choice, in conscious attunement with yourself (e.g., “I have been writing/meditating/etc. around my pain and sitting with my pain for a while now, and I am finished for now and need the distraction of TV or the support of calling a friend.”). In contrast to choiceful action, in which you have attuned to your emotions and needs, addiction is reflexive action…you just do it as if compelled, often before you even really know the extent of the emotions driving you toward that behavior. How Loneliness Can Impact Kids.

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How Loneliness Can Impact Kids

Staying involves lingering and delving more deeply into the nature of your thoughts and feelings. You are experiencing yourself. With that more thorough assessment of where you are and what you need at a moment in time, you can guide yourself into effective action as needed. Narrate as you guide yourself. For example, “I’m sad and don’t know why, so I’m going to draw for a while. Now looking at my drawing, what do I notice? OK, now it has been some time and I’ve had enough, so now I want to distract myself and call my friend.” This narrating is a key element in helping you enact your chosen responses to pain that are attuned to your needs and self-loving versus repeating addictive/reflexive responses to pain, which harm you. Describe a current source of pain in your life. Write a sample narrative to support yourself in ‘staying’ through the experience of that pain. Expect your success with ‘staying’ to require patience and determination, with setbacks along the way. How Loneliness Can Impact Kids.

How Loneliness Can Impact Kids - photo 7

How Loneliness Can Impact Kids

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