I’d love any advice on helping my 12 yo girl be less negatively reactive when she perceives rejection. She is being unkind and can focus on “revenge” and holding grudges. I feel so alone and full of shame, she has targeted children of friends of mine. She is on Intuniv (3 mg) and that helps with hyperactivity but I feel it’s not helping with impulse control when she has been hurt (even if the hurt is overblown)
Forgot to add she recently started therapy
Welcome to Ben’s Friends.
My name is Merl from the Modsupport Team. For many years, prior to my own health situation, I used to teach people with disabilities and social interaction was a large part of my role. Reinforcing appropriate behaviours and identifying less appropriate behaviours, then making a plan, together with all parties, on modifying such behaviours. Now, I say ‘all parties’ so that the same message is reinforced, be that at home, at school, in social settings etc
It’s good that she’s started therapy. Often having some external input, outside of family and friends, can be helpful. You state ‘when she perceives rejection’, can she explain to you why she sees it as rejection? I know for some people it can be black/white scenario, with no grey, so even the smallest slight is seen as monumental. Some people can have almost an emotional disconnection, they perceive the slight against them as HUGE, but perceive their own actions as minimal and proportionate, when the reality is far from proportionate. Her being able to identify for herself why her reaction was such and if it was proportionate, may help her to see it, identify it, next time she’s faced with a similar situation. If it was inappropriate, explaining why and steering her towards identifying for herself how else she could have reacted.
Along with the ‘Black/white’ scenario, some people can have a ‘hair trigger’. Everything can be going along just nicely, but if someone touches that ‘raw nerve’, that trigger, that can set off an explosion of mammoth proportions. Often there’s no intent to offend, but more that it’s interpreted that way. This is an error I have made with explosive results, which became violent. I tried to calm the individual down, but being the trigger, the more I tried, the more she ignited. I needed an external person to intevene and calm her down. I soon learnt never to trigger that switch again
Reducing the hyperactivity can help, but giving her the tools she needs to manage her emotions or her feelings is something that she can use for the rest of her life. There is no ‘One size fits all’ remedy. Some people can walk away, take a ‘timeout’, then return. Some can become volatile. For some medication can help. For some education can assist and for some all of these may need to be considered.
Hope it helps
Merl from the Modsupport Team