Thursday, February 16, 2012
Words of Affirmation Heal
In my last post I shared with you a list to my son expressing my love. What I didn’t share was his intense reaction. When I gave it to him, he read a few lines then immediately jumped up from his chair and ran to me and gave me the biggest hug saying, “Thank you!”.
A moment later he fell to the floor in tears.
Once he recovered, he told me that sometimes when he feels so happy, sadness takes over. So at first I thought it was just related to his brain being off, but when I shared this with his therapist, she gave me a different perspective.
She explained that because his illness makes him do a lot of things he regrets, he doesn’t feel worthy of such loving words. Even though he can come across as a bully on the outside, inside he’s hurting deeply.
As I thought about this, I remembered a comment he made under his breath after being mean to his brother a few days prior, he said with self loathing, “I’m a monster!”
Then I realized why my son’s reaction to the love note was so intense. Even though we give him positive words, it will never be enough to compete with his negative self talk. His “love tank” is empty most of the time and needs to be filled up with words of affirmation to make him feel worthy of being loved.
Thankfully, telling my son how much he’s loved is an easy thing to do. The challenge is being able to express affirmations on days when he displays a lot of negative behavior due to his moods being unstable. It’s not that I don’t love him in these moments, it’s just harder to express it. But seeing that list, now hanging on his bedroom wall where he carefully pinned it, is a constant reminder that in order to heal, he needs to hear that he is worth it.