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Parental Attachment issues

2468mum October 21, 2018 21:07
When my husband and I decided we wanted to adopt we were advised to have any birth children first. Our BC was 4 when we adopted our AD. I had a difficult pregnancy and was so glad that it was our plan to adopt next. Fast forward 10 years. I look back and can see that I had post adoption depression and maybe that affects me and my relationship to AD to this day. I do not feel like I attached to her and it tears me up that I feel increasingly distant and really worried about the upcoming teen years without a solid attachment to fall back on. She is a very loving child but it recently hit me like a ton of bricks that I don’t have a real connection with her. I only hope that I don’t damage her too much by being unable to be a better mum :( It has grown to where I don’t really want to spend time with her, she really stresses me out and only now do I realize this is because I can’t deny what is staring me in the face. It makes me so sad every time she says I love you. I say it back and it feels so hollow. I’m sure she must be able to feel it. All this to say that it is really hard. Even with only minor attention issues to deal with. She deserves more than I can give her and living with this everyday takes a huge emotional toll. I haven’t been able to share these concerns with my husband yet. I know he loves her and am not sure I could handle it if he judged me for it. I can only see things going downhill and I so want things to be better but have no idea what to do.
Edited 17/02/2021
Larsti October 21, 2018 23:13
Hi 2468mum Obviously I don't know you but it is eminently possible there is nothing 'wrong' with you at all. As you know we as parents soak up the child's trauma and this may be what's happening. You gave the example that she says she loves you and you struggle to say you love her back. It is possible that she is saying 'I love you' because she wants to illicit a response and you have picked this up and feel the neediness which gets in the way of genuine affection. Of course I may be way off the mark but is this a possibility? (magnified by thousands of interractions!) On the other hand you also you mentioned a difficult pregnancy. Did you have any counselling for that? I remember not wanting to hold my birth son after a difficult birth (I said to my husband 'you hold him first' and preferred just to gaze in wonder....knowing what I know now I do think there were some problems with my relationship to the baby/toddler) My BD just had a session with someone at the hospital where her son (my grandson) was born as she had a difficult birth. She said it was really helpful. Some counselling would probably be very beneficial. Our AS is having lifestory work and the therapist is very supportive of the whole family. At one point she suggested that something called 'The Meaning of the Child' would be good for me (an interview or perhaps more than one and counselling for issues arising from it). You can Google it. I didn't feel able to engage with that. There is too much going on in our family (4 children, 3 BCs and an AC) and frankly I didn't feel I could put the work in. It just sounded too much. But perhaps that is something that might be worth looking in to? If you are in England, as I am sure you know, you can get counselling/therapy for you with the ASF. Maybe even something like theraplay (even although your DD is not a small child, I think the techniques work for all ages). HTH Larsti x Are you able to prioritise self care as well?
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Larsti October 21, 2018 23:22
Edited 17/02/2021
safia October 22, 2018 13:36
Larsti is right that it may be your daughter who is projecting her feelings onto you (unconsciously) whilst appearing outwardly loving. It's interesting that you use the term "parental attachment issues". Do you mean you feel it may be related to your own attachment style (from when you were a baby / child)? Did you go into this during the assessment? We didn't - it was a very long time ago - but from what I have read I have an avoidant attachment style and so does my son and I think this has made it harder in some ways for me to relate to him. Understanding attachment is a minefield. I too think it would be useful to have some specialist counselling / therapy - but from someone / an organisation that understand attachment / adoption / developmental trauma etc. I definitely think (if you are in England) you should contact your post adoption worker - they will be able to identify the right service for you and apply for funding through the ASF. If not in England - there should still be some post adoption support though unfortunately not linked to the ASF - and they should be able to advise and recommend services (hopefully) Whatever you do please remember it is in no way your fault - and you cannot deal with it alone - you have tried your best for many years. A good therapist should be able to untangle all the threads. (again - hopefully) Meanwhile try to be gentle with yourself and make sure you use self care (timetabling things that you enjoy / treats for you -however small)
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2468mum October 23, 2018 14:52
Thank you so much for your replies. It really helps to get a safe outside perspective. Larsti, when I read your message I immediately thought, omg, yes! She is really needy and that is a big part of what bothers me as I am quite emotionally independent due to my upbringing and early relationships. It doesn't help that I'm also peri menopausal and so my hormones are all over the place. Safia, yes I do mean relating to my own attachment style. I had some therapy recently but not specifically about this although my relationship to AD did come up as my therapist said it looked like someone had dropped a huge weight on my shoulders when she asked my about my daughter. I cried because I realised that I'm always pulling her up on stuff and I'm sure she's growing up thinking she's not good enough (something I've always felt). I'm sure some attachment specific therapy is a good idea.
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Larsti October 23, 2018 23:44
Glad you found our posts helpful 2468mum :-) I love these boards!! I have cut myself loads of slack over the years. It never seems to help to beat yourself up. One or two comments that I remember other people making on these boards. One I think was by Pear Tree. She said something to the effect that these children are survivors. They know how to get what they need. Its us that end up in pieces (different context but maybe relevant). And the other thing Corkwing said. Compared to the homes they came from, we really are wonderful parents. We shouldn't beat ourselves up telling ourselves we're not good enough. Easier said than done. Also look up something called Blocked Care. Its a thing. Best wishes Larsti x
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Sivier October 24, 2018 12:05
This is a really interesting and useful thread. Something you said 2468mum on always pulling your DD up on things...this chimed with me and is something I know I need to really watch due to her low self-esteem...I always seem to be battling rudeness, non-compliance and attitude (and she's only 9!) and I need to get a better grip with this. On Larsti's comment re Theraplay - I agree - we did with with my DD when she was 8, which is quite late to begin but it was very helpful. If the practitioner can adapt to your child's age and interests (for example, ours introduced some ball-based and physical games that really engaged my daughter) then that might help too. Theraplay has helped pave the way to start DDP if we can get the funding. Our DDP will include quite a few parent only sessions and I hope will help me/us with strategies and for dealing with my own attachment style and expectations. Best of luck with it all.
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Bigmrs October 24, 2018 12:32
Nvr has really helped us with putting aside a lot of the behaviours we found difficult to live with, and I think made my son feel more appreciated and less criticised - it has been one of the most helpful things we have done. Hoping you are feeling a bit better, totally sympathise xx
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