Masking

Published August 30, 2019 by thefamilyof5

Big girl masks everything, she very rarely expresses a need or hurt. She keeps everything tightly locked inside.

It’s an absolute tragedy that masking isn’t more understood. If it was, then when the professionals saw her outward behaviours this last 3 weeks, especially at the start when she only allowed a small piece of her inner self to be seen, they’d have realised that what she was feeling was 100x’s more than what they were seeing. She needed their help.

Today Big girl seems to have turned a corner. Yesterday there was a promise of a new prescription in the post today with new medication. When I told her there was an instant wave of relief wash over her. She stopped screaming at me and telling me she would fight me for the door keys. She stopped glaring directly in to my eyes and making threats. She stopped trying to intimidate her sisters. There was a slight smile and a few questions. It seems that was enough for her to be able to see an end to her pain and relax enough for her adrenalin and cortisol levels to subside. She knew help was coming. An end was in sight.

She woke today like a completely different child. Like nothing had happened. Her new medication starts Monday.

Today MrFO5, Middle girl, Baby girl and myself can all start to process our trauma and begin to heal our broken hearts.

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One comment on “Masking

  • It is a tragedy that masking isn’t more understood, and yet also very strange that it isn’t obvious it would be going on. Anyone with significant trauma is likely to assume most people are likely to be either indifferent or cruel: this is one’s experience of life. And so in any uncertain situation, you don’t ask for help. You comply and hide. It seems obvious that Big Girl would scream at and threaten you (who can be expected to help), but become compliant or begin masking in front of the helpers who are called (who are frightening). I don’t know why this isn’t clear to so many people. If I have a student with a lot of trauma, I just assume they will lie to me about 50% of the time or not know how they feel or what they need, and occasionally I’ll get the truth if I’m lucky. Maybe as a “helper,” it’s just hard to understand that no matter how caring we are, people with trauma don’t know whether to trust us or not, and lack of trust is likely to look like not showing any weakness. It’s not going to look like fear.

    It’s so sad the way Big Girl thinks you will help, but that you need to be emotionally or physically beaten into doing it. Everything she does in a crisis is aimed at capturing your attention, as though you could figure out what was wrong with her if you just paid more attention to the problem, rather than understanding you might be better able to help if you were calmer or had more information.

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