Worries Are Lies
Yesterday I was talking to a four year old about her worries. Four year old worries are very interesting if you know what I mean.
Her worries just began a month ago. And while many children who grow up in unsafe situations often get worries; her worries were introduced to her in a way worries are often introduced to safe little girls–purely by accident.
And she did not know if she could do this. How would she know? This upset her tremendously and one by one she stopped doing things worried that she might have to go poo away from home. Because, "This might not be OK." (Anxiety is so evasive!)
She also was worried about if she could wipe OK and if her hands would be dirty since she didn't like to wash them.
Last week we had a lovely conversation about how everyone goes poo at school, in restaurants, at Target, and the good part is that nobody even knows it! We handled the fear of wiping by having her practice with mom all week. And all agreed that you have to wash your hands no matter what after you use the bathroom.
Well, these fears assuaged, her worries began to morph into something new. Now she was afraid to go anywhere without her mother. The worries stuck pictures in her head that she would be at, let's say, her grandmother's, or a birthday party and feel sad, and be alone with no one to help her. She also worried her dad would not come home from work.
Worries Are Lies
It was time to write a book. I have been writing therapeutic books with children for about 20 years and I have loved every minute of it. When fears come, children need their skills and knowledge repeated many times. (So do adults.) While writing the book, I repeat it many times.
See, fear makes us forget what we know. And having our skills and knowledge repeated, helps it stay in our mind even when the anxiety comes knocking. And this is a surefire way to get rid of the anxiety.
For older kids we make posters and for adults we make lists or documents. But little kids learn best through stories especially when it features them as the hero.
We wrote a book called Sara* Learns That Her Worries Are Lies. In our conversation we found out that, she is never alone. (Remember, she is four.) She is either with mom, dad, her grandmother or a teacher. All whom she likes and trusts. The worries cannot be true if they show her that she will be alone and crying with no one to help her.
Also while talking we found out that dad comes home from work everyday. He never misses! What a surprise!
We made a story about all of this and more and her parents are to read it to her every day. (For older kids and adults, I suggest they read their document 1-3 times a day- especially when they are feeling good. So that when the worry comes they will be well versed in their own skills. If you wait until to you are worried to read it, it might be too late.)
So its repeated over and over in the telling, then again in the writing, then again in the reading.
I will let you know next week what happens! Stay tuned!
How do you know when worries are lying to you?
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LCSW-R, J. (2013, June 5). Worries Are Lies, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 18 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2013/06/worries-are-lies
Author: Jodi Lobozzo Aman, LCSW-R
I wish I was 4.
I still worry a lot, in a different way, but maybe for the same reasons. I worry I will be alone, unloved, and that the love I have felt was an illusion. It's by reading messages (I already know by heart) that I can ease those worries. I guess that when worried, I still feel "invisible", so I try to prove myself wrong.
It's a very beautiful concept. Feeling connected to everyone and everything, accepting the little things as part of the big plan, believing that everyone is Love and has a "mission" to accomplish, all these are great but can still be confusing since a rapist, an abuser, a criminal, etc. are all still part of Love? They are Love, but their actions are not, they are part of me as I am part of them, but I can't help them, so I will never be good or clean if a part of me is "sick"? I don't know if that makes sense?