Safety of Presence


The atmosphere in my home lately could best be described as borderline insanity. 

Motives are never as simple as we believe, no matter our backstory, how old, or who we are. There’s always more to Understand. For example, the atmosphere in my home lately could best be described as borderline insanity. What appeared to start as a need for improvement in communication, turned into a mystery I needed to solve. 

The Characters: A youth with emotional dysregulation from unaddressed trauma is simultaneously experiencing the roller coaster of puberty. He lives with his grandmother, who has done the inner work of her trauma and (mostly) has her shit together. 

The Story: She does not understand her grandson’s increasingly erratic behaviors and complaints of, “Stop controlling me!” in response to any form of question or assistance. The tension between them escalates to violent levels and intervention is becoming necessary regularly. 

Opening: Having checked all the areas I could think of in communication, boundaries, actions, limits, making space, etc., I knew it was time to dig deep and unlock the mystery of what was creating the divide between us and his feelings of being controlled. 

My Life-Detecting skills produced a few hard truths to face when I realized I had been inadvertently micromanaging and applying pressure by what seemed a simple request to me, causing my tween to resist my efforts to “assist” him even more. 

“Let me know what you decide.” was creating too much chaos for his already inside out thoughts.  

The prospect of answering a question he believed he couldn’t answer was painful for him. With each question or phrase, he reasoned he could try to answer with a choice or decision, but he also believed I was asking him to decide on his next step by choosing what he thought I wanted to hear. He wanted to give the “right” answer. 

My challenge was my focus on what I wanted for him. 

Now I understand why any of my questions have recently been met with huffs, sighs, eye rolls, anger, frustration, or shutting down. He’s been struggling with identifying what he is feeling and how to express the feelings appropriately. The struggle is then exacerbated by hormones turning him inside out. 

If it were not for our strong Intent to put a stop to the madness we have experienced in our home the past few weeks, I may not have told myself to mindfully walk through his emotions with him (co-regulation), observing in detail what his reactions were to my words. In three separate incidents of an emotional demonstration, I acknowledged he was experiencing “something” and recommended he simply let it come. A few minutes would pass before I cautiously asked, was  there anything I could do for him, *avoiding asking*  him to “let me know anything.” 

Being present is proving to be enough. He simply needs to know I am present and available. 

People will demonstrate their choices in what comes next when allowed to do so. In time, survivors who struggle with self-expression and/or communication will demonstrate their executive function skills when internal safety is met, which makes room for empowerment to use their skills and problem-solving. 

Set your Intent to be Aware and don’t shy away from the effort to communicate for Understanding.   There’s always More to any situation. We only need to be willing to see it through to resolution. 

🤍🕊️ Sher

Sher Unbound

Sher Unbound

Growing With Love