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Crocodile Tears. 

Client

Client Name

Year

2023

Location

SF, USA

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Myprotectornamedcroc6.jpg

On High Sensitivity, Creativity, ADHD and 

Emotional Validation.... 

I have vivd memories of a few things growing up. Scorching FNQ heat, my butt sweating on vinyl school seats, high ceilings dotted with fans on turbo charge doing nothing but circulating the thick sour classroom air. Our pet classroom mice (whole other story) actually ugh! Mice! Too traumatic to just  casually drop that in there. :) 

Anyway also, the phrase 'Crocodile Tears'. I feel like it's one that crops up often in my dusty old 80s childhood memory file, it's in my mum's voice and it means 'stop crying, stop exaggerating, you're fine, buck up.'

It's not one I use with my own daughter, probably unsurprisingly to most people who would bother reading this sort of thing, as the modern parenting rhetoric is all about emotional validation and has been crafted that way by Late Millennial parents (and hopefully research findings...?) who were mostly brought up under the umbrella of 'tough love' parenting, one in which the phrase Crocodile Tears was probably waaay on the gentle end of that scale. Anyway, back to this morning, my 9 year old almost 10 year old daughter was having a minor meltdown over the size 10 shirt being 'too scratchy' which was a shame because all the others were in the wash and there was 10 mins left till we had to leave the house so I tried telling her to 'suck it up' this morning in relation to her protest re her only remaining school clean school shirt for the week being 'too scratchy'. She is 10. I think that's the first time I have ever told her to Suck it up. It's actually really out of line with the way I have parented up to date. I think becuase my memories of being accused of 'Crocodile tears' frequently as a kid have left me with a vague memory of not being able to trust my own feelings. THis is defiently what the parenting memes that have my algo- number tell me on the daily. 

The reason I am writing this article is because I crafted this image of the Croc a while ago and I knew it was related to a part of me as it came as a result of a series of IFS therapy sessions. I even identified this character as a Protector related to Disordered Eating behaviors that I developed growing up. It only just dawned on me now that he is directly related to the phrase 'Crocodile Tears', something my mum would say on the daily in response to any emotions I expressed. And look, I get it, parenting is hard AF! I actually said something similar to my 9 year old this morning which I don't usually do.. as I'm so aware now of the way in which having my feelings invalidated as a kid led me to not trust myself and to always feel like i was 'Too much' for the adults around me to handle AND to completley reject the feelings in myself when they arose-desperate to escape any bad feeling with food or tv or literally anything that would release dopamine and get me the F away from my own body and the vulnerability it felt. These feelings were tied up with shame as I was taught they weren't real, weren't to be trusted and were to be transformed immediately lest any adult around me were made to confront their own vulnerablity or pain or even just be inconvienced or distracted from their current task. My mum was always cleaning too. 

I remmeber seeing a meme not so long ago that said Motherhood is not Housework or somemthing like that and it actually blew my mind, even though it seems so obvious now, there was something in me that hadnt separated the two out, 

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