How to Help When They Suffer

Nov 29, 2022

Okay, who's gonna join me today? What I want this to be as sort of a series on how to help our kids when they are suffering.

Because there's a there are two parts to it.

  1. We have to manage ourselves and
  2. we have to figure out how to help them.

So those two parts is what I'm trying to bring to this whole world of raising autistic young adults which is how do we, how do we feel good about where we are, and then how do we help them the best.

So how do we, you know, deal with what we consider to be you know, when we watch them suffer, it's no fun. So, here's the idea. Here's what we want to do.

We want to start first to understand where we are. It means that we slow down and we look at all the things that we have done right? First. I mean, we really want to be a good boss of our brain we want to use our mind to to be that ideal boss that you know, we rarely get but fantasize about. It's someone who really does notice what we have done well, before we plunge into the next challenge.

So let's do that. Let's first notice, you know what? Our strengths.

Then let's get low in terms of our own arousal by really choosing our essence. How do we want to show up in any interaction that we have with our kids? Mine is scarf, I want to be strong, compassionate, active, regulated and focused. And I can give me more details on that. I'm pretty sure I had it in the seven videos but just choosing our essence that helps me when I think okay, this is this is getting a little How can I slow myself down Okay, remember, scarf.

Then the loving part of it is we wanted to find what we can do. What is outside of our control, we want to let go of that. And we want to realize that, you know, half the time things are going to work out and half the time they're not and we just have to accept that so that we can show up in the love for what is.

This concept of just loving what is has been around way back to the to the Roman times with the concept of 'AMOR FATI,' love for fate, where we are loving exactly what it is not arguing with it, not judging it. We're just in that loving space. I know that when I show up there, I am so much better with my kids than I am when I'm judging them or me or a situation.

I just I know that I am much more open and they can feel it as well. So we want to make sure that we divide up okay, what is going on in this situation?

In this term of clean versus dirty pain is really helpful. We look at okay, what is the situation?

That's the original pain? Oh, I broke my leg. Oh, you know the garbage didn't go out like was supposed to last night. That's the fact.

And then the dirty pain is all created by our thinking right here. And it's when we decide that we're going to think about and these cognitive distortions are so human and there's 10 Common cognitive distortions that we think I'm going to cover at another time. But there we just need to recognize that there are some payoffs to our cognitive distortion.

What we are trying to do is protect ourselves.

So let me give you one example. One of the most common cognitive distortions is catastrophic thinking. It's, it's just going to be awful if I don't, you know, protect ourselves.

I'm going to make sure that I always want all the doors because if I don't, the robbers gonna come in the house and shoot us all and take everything I mean, that's a good example of a cognitive distortion

If one door happened to not be locked or one lock not to be locked. We can we can distort the risk of that happening by kind of by creating a catastrophic event.

Something that might happen with our kids is you know, if I talk on the phone, I may sound like an idiot. There's a great cognitive, catastrophic thought,

You know, I've tried talking on the phone and it was awful, so I'm never going to do it again.

5:40 Or I don't want to drive a car because it's an a weapon of destruction on wheels. You can see where where we do and we noticed our kids, sometimes catastrophic thinking.

What they're trying to do is to protect themselves. To avoid connecting with what it is that they really the life that they really do want to create.

We really need to understand that this is going on with all humans, and we do see it happen often.

So, in other words, another common distortion is a "should" thought. They should always take out the garbage. We know they should and they know they should so why aren't you know? That's another cognitive distortion is life should be different from the way that it is.

And okay, so now, what do we do we keep connecting with what is going on? And so often I hear from parents, I so often, there's they say they're just hiding the room. They're not doing anything to create anything in their life. All they want to do.

They don't even want to talk to us. They grunt they, you know, barely say a couple of words. They don't participate in any of our meals or events anymore.

What they are trying to do is avoid, protect themselves and avoid feeling the feelings that come up. And so what we need to do is encourage them as much as we can, in whatever ways that we can, to feel those feelings and sometimes, it's just easier to put them into the four quadrants.

What's higher, low energy, what's higher, low comfort.

Our kids are going to want to be in that green quadrant there where things are really calm most of the time and yeah, that's good as long as we're doing what needs to get done, but sometimes we're gonna have to push ourselves up into that higher energy quadrant.

And it makes sense that, you know, we want to be in this calm quadrant as often as possible. And yet, we need to feel the fear and do that action. Anyway. We need to feel brave, we need to get that courage to move up into that yellow quadrant without pushing ourselves way over here into where it is just awful.

And notice that's what we do with our thoughts. We make it awful. It's not the way it should be. You know, we get tired and depressed. This whole blue quadrant. I think really helps us explain to ourselves what's going on.

You know, 'what is' is pretty neutral.

But what we do with our thoughts is we make it clean versus dirty. We make more of a dirty pain.

And the reason why we do it is because we're trying to protect ourselves so that we don't have to take that risk of going out in the world.

So, this willingness, this making the choice to let the feelings come in, be observed, be felt and run their course is the core of most of our kids suffering.

So these are the practices that we want to encourage. And I think that only way to do this to help them learn how to do this is to do it first ourselves.

We have to be vulnerable enough with them to share our experience with them so that they can observe the impact that it's having on us.

So that's where we know we stop resisting it. We let the emotion in. We name it we find where it is in those, those four quadrants ourselves. And then with that willingness, then we can tame it.


In other words, we can let it happen and say okay, I'm in that upper left. I'm going to be angry. I'm going to feel that feeling and when I'm angry and tense up the back of my neck, and it's very uncomfortable, and I'm not thinking clearly I can tell and I just want to you know, I have a lot of fierce energy.

I really can feel it in my body. And if I'm willing to feel that anger all the way for 90 seconds, which is usually the duration of the chemicals that are processing in our body that our mind has told our body to secrete.

And then if I can hang in there for those 90 seconds, I can get to the other side. And start creating a better interpretation of what's going on in my life.

So that feeling of the feelings is where we name where it is. We find it in our bodies. We relax into it. We describe it, you know, it's like it's red. It's kind of pulsing shooting. Picture it I can see that. Say it's triggered by my thought.

You know, my thought is, this isn't fair. And that makes me angry right? This isn't fair could be a thought.

And then I just stay with it. Say well, you know, life is 50/50 most of the time, it's not going to be you know, half the time. It's not going to be fair and half the time things are going to work out the way that we want them to.

But if we stay with it long enough it makes a huge difference. And then how some how you we practice this with them to well, we we share you know the experiences that we've had and we validate what they're going through.

  • I get why you feel the way you feel.
  • I get why you're scared about calling the doctor and in placing that prescription order.
  • You know we've we've always done it for you and you haven't had the best experiences calling people on the phone so it makes perfect sense that you're afraid.

It's not the same thing as saying that they're right and they shouldn't have to ever call the doctor because we know that that's not realistic. Someday when they're on their own, they're gonna have to be able to do these actions.

And yet we understand that that experience is how it's happening. For them right now. And we want to validate their perspective and how things are happening right now in their minds. That helps them know that it's okay, what's going on?

And then we sort of we use that STEAR map to sort it out a bit.

  • That's what this situation is that they put us in the next you know, you're writing out new meds, the prescription you want to call.
  • And your emotions is fear.
  • And you see your actions are told to yourself and having to go into that emotional state by going over the actions that happened there.
  • So the result is we reinforce how much you know what isn't right. Don't do anything.

At the same time. If we're unwilling to feel that feeling, perhaps it'll work.

And that's when we go through that collaborative problem solving process.

  • And we agree that the medicine that the prescription needs to be called in, we empathize and we really figure out help them to get where they are now.
  • Then we share our STEAR Map. okay. But you know, I know that this is a life skill that you're going to need to have someday when you're on your own it, it just is one of those adulting things that we're going to have to do in that health, that physical health area. This medicine is really important to your physical health and maybe even to your mental health.
  • These actions need to be done, and why don't we try it together? You know, why don't we do it now, while I'm here to help and then we'll just practice it and over time, I'm going to bet I have a lot of belief that you can do this in the future.
  • So we've thought about this in advance and we don't talk too long because we know their attention spans, especially when they're worried about feeling fear are going to be shorter than usual.
  • So then we say, "Okay, how about if I call and you watch me call, and we look, we decide what the steps are in advance and we write those down."
  • And then the next time we have to do this was pulled those steps back out again. And you call with me there, but following that script, and then the next time let's do that again, and let's just keep doing it until you are comfortable.

And finally some day you're going to say, "Mom, I called and reordered my prescription." I just know that that's going to happen.

So that's how we come up with a collaborative solution that addresses that one area of their life that does need to level up.

I've done exactly this with exactly that topic with one of my adult children who is living with us and now a couple of years later, it's just it always happens. I don't even have to think about it.

So I'm very proud of the progress that we've made. Using these techniques and I'm certain they will work with for you as well.

So I just want to give you a quick reminder that tomorrow is the last day to get $100 off the art of adulting course and coaching package. You can either get video coaching, or you can get one on one coaching, just head on over to over to my website and there's a page that describes exactly what it is. And I'll make sure that I leave that in the notes from today where this is posting.

So thanks so much for this topic. I've heard a lot and I do believe that this is one of the best ways that we can help our kids when they are suffering from an emotion that they just don't want to feel but we know they have to feel that fear and act anyway. To create a life they love. That they can sustain.

Bye for now.