Ok, so the premise of the exercise… while in the middle of a loneliness wave…. was to express the intense feelings as a 4 year old… as a little kid would…
As the “never” and “always” thinking comes from acting back from child black/white thinking in a reaction to abandonment being a primal fear.
Then for the other side of the discussion… to answer as the most loving, caring parent with the goal of convincing the child that it’s going to be ok.
And to let the kid and the parent chat it out.
So here’s how it went.
B- what’s wrong?
b – i miss him
B – I know you do… it’ll be ok though.
b – but he made me happy.
B – he did… and you had some really good times with him. but right now, he’s kind of busy. but there are lots of other things that make you happy too.
b – not right now. nothing makes me happy now.
B – it will get better. it always does. life will go on
b – it hasnt. its only gotten worse.
B – that’s normal… you are hurting because he meant a lot to you, and you want things back the way they used to be. and its frustrating to know that isn’t going to happen. but there will still be better days. there will be better things.
b – he hates me
B – he doesnt hate you… he’s just got a lot going on.
b – he acts like he hates me
B – right now he’s hurting… he’s got a lot to deal with, and his reactions arent at their best. i dont know how much he cares, but right now, he’s not acting out of the care that’s there. he’s acting out of the other stuff he’s got going on. he doesnt hate you… he just cant play with you right now.
b – but other people get to play with him… and he didnt even play with them as much.
B – i know. that doesn’t seem fair, does it?
b – no. he’s being mean. he’s a bad friend. he could play with me too if he wanted to, he just doesn’t want to.
B – he is being mean, isnt he? i wish i could make him play nice…. but right now, if he’s being mean, maybe its better if you don’t play with him anyway so he isn’t even more mean to you. you’ve got other friends who are nice and who like to play with you… and maybe you will meet some new friends who will be even better friends with you than he was.
b – i want to play with him. even if he is mean.
B – i know you do… maybe someday there will be a chance to get to see him again… but you have lots of other friends you can play with in the meantime who have more time and will be nice to you… and lots of things you can play with….
b – but i dont want to. i just want him.
B – i know. you really miss him, don’t you? it wont be the same playing with other people and doing other things… but it will still be good… and once you get going, you’ll have more fun even if you didn’t think you ever would. it will be ok. it really will.
b – no it wont. it will suck. forever.
B – it really feels that way right now, huh? but if you are gonna be miserable anyway, lets go ahead and give it a try. maybe it wont be happy just yet, but at least it cant be any more sad than you are right now. maybe you’ll find some new friends… and maybe they’ll be more fun than he is… especially when he’s being a meanie.
b – but will i ever see him again? what if he never wants to play with me again? what if he only wants to be mean to me now?
B – i dont know if he’ll ever be able to play again… i wish i did. that makes it even harder, doesn’t it? maybe he’ll be ready to hang out with you again soon…. but it might be a long time… and maybe he will always be mean. but just because he’s being a bad sport doesn’t mean you can’t keep playing and have fun while he’s stuck inside. if he comes outside late, maybe if he’s being nice and you are playing something that he can play too, he can join you…. but maybe if he can’t, some of the other friends will be really nice, and include you in their games more than he did, and let you have a lot of fun. or maybe somebody else needs a friend to play with too, and you can include them in your game once you get it going. it’ll be ok, we’ll still have fun even without him.
b – but it would be better with him.
B – maybe it would. but right now, he can’t play… so we’ll have to have the best time we can have… and just hope he gets to come back outside soon.
This sounded crazy.
But ya know what?
It actually did make me feel better…. and it actually did relieve the intensity of the wave a lot more than anything else that I’ve tried has…. and definitely a lot easier on the heart (and especially the eyes) than just wailing it out until it eased up.
And, it’s actually kind of a new viewpoint to me to look at things from a child friendship standpoint than an adult one. Same dynamics… but so much less intensity to it… just a different angle to view from.