When we welcomed three, unrelated adolescents into our home–all at one time, all from another country–it didn’t take long to figure out that one was Fight, one was Flight, and one was Freeze.
Flight and Freeze weren’t pleasant but could be lived with.
Fight was downright disruptive.
After a couple years, Fight wore us out–actually traumatized and terrorized us. While we loved and sought after her true-self, it was unsafe to have her in our home.
Eventually all three moved away to three different situations. They’ve been out for about 2 years.
Fight is actually thriving and made her peace with God.
Freeze found a rhythm for life and puts one foot in front of the other everyday. He’s got grit.
Flight is a hot mess. She’s still running from her trauma and making gobs of unhealthy decisions along the way.
Recently I was reflecting back on something Fight said to me once during one of her true-self moments.
“Mom, Flight is the one that keeps putting those ideas in my head. They ones about you treating us unfairly or that you really can’t love us. You know me, I’m not smart enough to come up with those on my own.”
True story. Fight has remarkably regressed cognition. We’re not sure if that contributed to her trauma or if it’s caused by her trauma, but either way, her words held gravitas.
Was Fight’s true-self sabotaged by a sister who was running from her true-self? Definitely food for thought.
The dynamics between multiple people who have experienced complex relational trauma are dicey at best. Keep searching for your children’s true-selves. Stay on their side.