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Old 01-22-2019, 09:42 PM  
Amyjay
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Member Since: Mar 2017
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Default Re: What if one cannot conceptualize "soothing"?

I can understand why you don't understand the meaning of it. It's one of those things that human beings learn through experience I think.
I didn't have it in childhood and do not associate other human beings with any type of soothing. I have learned to give it to others though and through that i am learning also to give it to myself.

I learned about it through animals and young children. When an animal (or human) is scared their whole neurological being is activated. They are flooded with stress hormones and their defensive responses are engaged (fight, flight, freeze or fawn). The act of soothing by either self or another can reduce the physiological activation and gradually return the animal (or human) to calmness. Anything that helps reduce that physiological activation can be called "soothing".

I have a rescue cat who obviously experienced some trauma in her previous life and get scared very easily. When she gets scared I soothe her by moving slowly towards her, making sure not to make any sudden movements. I talk to her softly and when she is calm enough I pick her up and gently stroke her until she feels safe enough to relax.
I work with children who have experienced trauma and when they get triggered I help them return to baseline according to the individual needs of each child. One child is supported by pressure - rolling him in a rug, giving him a bear hug, encouraging him to push against a wall etc. One child needs space and time out to calm down, so she has a particular spot she can go to and everyone knows to respect her space when she is there. Another child gets stuck in a "go away, don't leave me" dilemma and I know to sit quietly without engaging her in any way until she is ready to fall into my arms in a flood of tears. For the children I work with, soothing them means supporting them to use the strategies that help them to regulate themselves. And just being there for them and being responsive to their needs.
I soothe myself by looking after me (and my alters, I have DID). When I am tired I make sure I get enough sleep, when my littles are triggered I take time out to support them in what they need (to know someone cares, to curl up with a favorite toy, to rock themselves gently). When I feel overwhelmed I take time out. I do what I can to reduce the load. I do self-caring things. I am still learning and sometimes forget to be kind to me.

I still can't imagine myself being soothed by any person. I can't imagine that ever being the case. But I am certainly developing trust in my own ability to develop kindness and caring towards me.
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