How do you detached from messy emotional situations?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by SuZir, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Next week I will be facing situation that will be hard for me to deal emotionally. There is an intern in my workplace. She is local and I have kind of known her and her parents a long time, not well but known who they are and said hi, when met. She is two years older than my difficult child. We haven't been at work same time for few weeks (summer holidays etc.) and during that time difficult child shared something with me that involved this girl.

    When difficult child was home we talked few times about bullying he endured while younger and some incidents simply freak me out. This one is probably worst. difficult child finds an incident hurtful because of emotional factors and I'm not even sure if he really understands why I got so freaked out about it (he is still young and stupid enough to think that he has nine lives, I'm not.) It happened several years ago and I'm sure also the kids involved didn't understand how it could had ended, they probably just thought it was funny. But however I look about it, I can't get over the fact, that it was very possible, even likely, that after that day, I could had had only one child left. Kids got crazy lucky and difficult child was physically unharmed, just little scared and feeling bad about others bullying him again. He never told anyone about it before now.

    Okay, when it happened also this girl was a kid. She was young teen and I do understand she probably didn't really grasp how dangerous thing it was they did. It wasn't her idea and she probably just went with the pack. She is a good kid who was involved in something really stupid (and mean) that could had ended really badly and luckily didn't, but it's probably not something she even thinks any more at all. She is fun girl and we have had a good rapport, but now I have hard time trying to psychiatric myself up to behave like nothing would be any different with her. It's not my job to confront her with this in anyway and I'm sure it's not something she even really remembers (because she has not avoided me or anything, she does know I'm difficult child's mother so if she felt guilty or something because of this I'm sure she would had been uncomfortable around me.) But it is very difficult for me to think working and chatting with her like nothing had changed when I'm waking up middle of the night in terror after dreaming about watching divers bringing up my child's cold and drowned body.

    How on earth I'm going to make it through next month working with her?
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2012
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Frankly I think you clearly have to find a way to cope with your delayed trauma completely separate from your difficult child and from your workplace. I'm not sure what to suggest. A therapist. A trusted close friend. A minister. Someone who cares about your feelings and will help you put distance or some detachment comfortably in place.

    As you know we often address the subject of detachment in the CD family. Almost always it is about distancing ourselves from our difficult child's so we aren't absorbed by their behaviors. In your case the goal is to help you accept that poor choices were made some time ago that hurt your child...and worse yet, you know who caused the trauma. I can relate to your trauma because my easy child had emotional trauma during a senior trip unbeknowst to me. (She is 50 and honestly I could get teary eyed if I allowed myself to think about it.) Like you I learned about it much later. She was not harmed..just scared..
    and she survived it as a character builder. I have never repeated the story and I don't regret that because my children were always told they could "share anything" with me and not be afraid of betrayal. Good luck in find your way through this emotional time. You can do it. Caring hugs. DDD
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I would only make an exception because this girl was younger and stupid and probably had no idea how dangerous of an act it was. And maybe she actually feels guilty about it. You don't know because you haven't actually spoken to her about it.

    I don't know how you let go. I'm still upset with-my husband for the time he took easy child to a dock when he was working with-some biz people. They were all in suits, and she was about 2, and he waa not only not holding her in his arms, he was letting her walk on the dock by herself. He said, "Don't jump." All she heard was "jump."
    He jumped in after her and couldn't find her, because it was a river, dark brown and muddy. The way he explained it, reaching his arms in a circle while his shoes sank deeper and deeper into the mud, still makes my heart race.
    He said, "I was determined to find her even if I died trying."
    with-o missing a beat, I said, "Good, because I would have killed you or you would have wished you were dead."

    It's been 19 years and I still have to leave the room when he tells the story. I am NOT the one to help you!
  4. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    Do you have a fake little smile you can use when needed? Be a pro at your job and speak as little as possible to her. (hugs)
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Terry, I would remain angry with husband for four decades. DUMB! Put our child in danger??? NOT!

    on the other hand, we are talking about a young girl not acting appropriately regarding a young boy. Or, in my case, a bunch of high school teens with-o adequate supervision leaving "my" child alone in Rome.

    There is a difference. You don't forget but on the other hand you react differently because you are mature. Sigh. DDD
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Odd, DDD, I got lost in Rome too and was absolutely terrified. Are you sure we arent related? Im also 50! Your easy child isnt a boy is he?
  7. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    DDD, you hit the nail on the head. This really is my issue, not difficult child's or this girl's. I can't fault difficult child or even this girl for it.

    When I had first nightmare about this and told my husband, he really didn't understand the problem. difficult child is very clearly alive and at that time he was even in the next room and keeping enough noise to make it very clear that he wasn't dead. husband said my problem was too vivid imagination. And he may have a point. But that is not all that is.

    I think these dreams have a lot to do my overall anxiety, my general worry for difficult child and just plain habit to fear for him. I think I saw my first nightmares about his death before he was born. Him getting seriously ill as a baby didn't help at all, or him being very accident prone after that. So these are not first nightmares about dead difficult child (some reason I very seldom have had a nightmare about easy child dying, maybe two or three ever) and that is something that clearly is my issue. Anxiety, stress, whatever.

    Still it will be difficult seeing this girl Monday. I'm sure I can do polite but busy and distant, but that will be different from before and she may notice me behaving differently. I would prefer not anyone noticing anything, but I doubt I can manage as chatty and friendly than before.
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    SuZir, a word of warning: she will notice your behavior.
  9. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I think so, too. I think that it's important to your job and to your trust with difficult child to not say anything. That being said, if she catches on and asks if there is something wrong or if you are ok, I would be honest with her. You already know that it is your issue rather than difficult child's or her issue.

    I think that if she says something you can say "I know it's silly of me to be upset about something that's done and over, but difficult child told me about - - - - and it really upset me. It's a mom thing. I don't think that difficult child realizes how dangerous that could have been, and I'm just so relieved that everyone is safe and sound." No blame, just truth.
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with those above. I also think you should get some therapy for yourself because it sounds like PTSD.

    We just had a shooting of an officer in my town and I cant tell you how upsetting that was for me. Not only for the officers family and the police force in general in my town but my son works for a sheriffs department very close to a major, large city. It is a dangerous job even though his dad tends to make light of it. I cant make light of it. I know that at anytime we could get that call. First he went into the Marines and now he is working for the sheriffs department. Lovely, he wants to shorten my life by worrying me to death! However I know its what he loves to do and I cant live his life for him. Therapy helped me deal with the fact that I cant change whatever will happen will happen. He could die fall getting out of a bathtub. Heck, he slipped on some baby lotion that his daughter spilled on the carpet on the top of their stairs and fell down them while carrying her down them and darn near broke his back and broke her leg in two places!
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2013
  11. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Terry and Witzend, you are probably right. She will notice I'm not behaving like I used to towards her. But something good in the non-confrontational culture around here; it is unlikely she will ask. She may wonder, she may ask from someone else what is wrong with me, but she probably won't ask me and I don't need to decide what I would answer.

    There are few good reasons not to answer her in any honest way:
    - This is nothing to do with our work or workplace.
    - This is an old thing, she was a child.
    - difficult child told me about it with expectation of confidentiality.

    If she has given the incident any thought now as an adult she has to understand how bad it was herself, even if difficult child doesn't seem to really get it (they pushed difficult child to water and didn't let him up to dock again. Place is so that you can get out from the water only from certain places, next one was about 200 feet away and while it would not had been that big deal if it had been summer (difficult child was already a good swimmer), it wasn't. It was early spring, difficult child had lots of clothes on and the water was literally freezing, ice had only just melted. So they really got lucky that difficult child didn't get a cramp or been unable to swim with all those clothes on. There was nothing they could had done to help him if things had gone wrong.)
  12. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Last night I woke up twice because of this dream. Once so messed up (and still half asleep) that I in fact had to go and check that difficult child is alive and in his bed (he came back home for a long weekend) before I was able to calm down and go back to sleep.

    Not cool at all :thumbsdown:
  13. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    SuZir, perhaps you might address it differently, that the recent arrival of this girl has prompted your subconscious to dredge up very fearful memories concerning your difficult child. This is common with the parents I believe. This may be your psyche's way of getting this to your attention so that you can deal with your own fears and find a way to dissipate them. It's not healthy for you to feel that afraid, not that you don't have a good reason to, given what our difficult child's put us through, but it may be time for you to find ways to let that fear go. I've had similar fears and I work on those in therapy and in my groups, expressing them out loud helps and hearing what others say, or what the therapists say, giving me things to think about, ways to calm myself down, exercises to allay the fear have all helped. One thing you may already have heard is that F.E.A.R. is "false evidence appearing real." We get stuck in worrying about the past and fearing for the future and it robs us of the present moment. Meditation helps me as does acupuncture. There are various ways to calm yourself including medications, I try the holistic approach first, but each of us has to find our own way. I send you gentle hugs and warm wishes that you find peace of mind.
  14. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    It may be that I need to consider some kind of counselling to deal with this matter. I had a nightmare again last night, and some others concerning difficult child also. I do believe that upsetting things difficult child told me triggered this, but I have to admit this is more deep rooted issue. And probably something I can't blame difficult child at all. First dreams around the topic I really had while I was pregnant with him. Maybe that is normal (especially for the first time mother) while pregnant, but they never really ended. Of course difficult child's issues and having to always worry have not helped at all. But it may be that difficult child and his antics have little to do with it, and for some reason I just keep having this fear that this child will be taken away from me. And no, I don't believe anything like that is prophetic, but I do believe that it may tell something about me and my unfinished business.

    Totally different thing is, that tomorrow I have to meet and deal with this girl who has caused pain for my child and been a part in putting him to extremely dangerous situation. I will try to do it as friendly as possible but little distant and hope she doesn't notice too much. Wish me luck!
  15. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Two workdays done, 18 to go. I'm happy she is only an intern and will be out from here soon. Though I think it would become easier for me to work with her over time.

    Now I have somewhat struggled to stay friendly with her and have had to appear very busy to limit a time I have to interact with her. I'm not feeling friendly towards her at all. To be honest I'm mostly feeling sick when she is around. But I will manage this and it is already getting a little better.
  16. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Well, to be honest, I'd look at this as a bit of a challenge to myself. I'd make absolutely sure that I kept it professional and pleasant with this young lady at all times. Then when it came time to do my annual review, I'd work my professionalism in the face of an unpleasant task into my self-report. There would be no reason to tell anyone about it beforehand, that would ruin it. But I'd make sure that everyone knows that I interact well with others even in the face of an unpleasant situation.