The Progress Saboteur: the calm and the storm

It was flat, it was dull, it was boring
A silence, a lullaby, left me snoring
Right choices made, behaviour right
Waters ran calm, hope and progress in sight

But I wanted more, I needed the ride
The inexplicable storm, the temporary high
A body primed for drama, stimulation gone mad
I’d blow up the quiet, and confirm I was bad

You’d reach for your hair, and declare all quite lost
I was clearly quite mad, for the undoing, the cost
Of all that investment, of all that you’d done
It didn’t add up, the unworkable sum

But the numbers compute, it all makes sense
When you think of my history, the emotions immense
The experience traumatic, the learning acute
My response to the calmness profoundly astute

After my mother cracked and walloped me a ton
She’d feel guilty and treat me like her beloved son
So I subliminally learnt that closeness came after the bruise
So now when I need the warmth I create my own drama news

And quiet is scary, I don’t know it, it alarms
For I always knew it was coming, the inevitable harm
So with the whiff that some slight thing is brewing
Mild annoyance, disappointed look, anything stewing

Or sometimes there’s nothing there but I’m on alert
For some pain, for the perceived inevitable hurt
So I’ll create the drama, so at least it’ll be done
The drama worked out, the tension all gone

The cortisol all out, the adrenalin vented
The charge all spent, emotion elemented
And I’ll be back to square one, worse off but in control
Cos I at least know how drama works, I know how it rolls

So the stolen cars, the violence, the moods
That came back from nowhere merely exudes
My fear of this unknown, the calm, the quiet
I’m more experienced for harm, for violence, for riot

So I need to learn that care comes in the quiet too
I need to know of this possible snafu
Before the time comes so we can discuss alternate solutions
To prevent the outburst , the emotional pollution

Maybe I need to let out adrenalin by abseiling a cliff
Or de-stress with some exercise to give me a lift
To help me fight the urge to bring my progress tumbling down
To sink once more, the familiarity of the half-drown

And when the feeling hits and I start to get antsy
I’ll remember what you said and the blow I’ll not fancy
I’ll feel closer to you because you gave me the warning
I’ll get the warmth and the care without all the mourning

It’ll be a different way, the reward without pain
And I’ll be less likely to resort to the old ways again
I’ll feel more in control and less bad to my core
As with your help I begin to win my traumatic war

I don’t mean to destroy, I’m not being ungrateful
I’ve just experienced a past that makes my behaviour seem hateful
But please stick with me on my rollercoaster ride
I really do want to get out on the other side

Where care is the norm, where the bruise isn’t coming
Where relationships are calm, where my new mantra is drumming
I’m not bad, I’m not evil, I’m resilient, I’m strong
I had the power to overcome the scars of others’ wrongs.


To read more on the difficulties that traumatised children and young people have in forming strong healthy attachment bonds and the associated difficulties in unlearning negative behaviours and successfully embracing a new calmer existence, the book, ‘Attachment in Common Sense and Doodles: A Practical Guide’ is a good starting point. It’s written by a Consultant Clinical Psychologist specialising in attachment issues and the impact of early trauma. It’s amazingly accessible, easy-to-read with real life examples and ideal for anyone new to attachment theory or wanting to put some practical bones on it.

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