Fallout and dysfunction(9 Posts)
Lilka I think if you can get any counselling or help for you or dd as an adult then that would really help.
I also think as you know birth mum already to some extend then if you think it would have some positive affect then why not talk to her. It would (I imagine) need to be a very gentle approach which enables her to feel that she is important, as dd's birth mum, and that she has something positive to contribute, as in good and thoughtful interaction with dd as opposed to random/unplanned and sporadic contact. I think if you are able to get her on side it will be very helpful. But I do think you will need to explain it really sensitively in terms of how it will be best for DD etc. If she is aware of how hard this is for you or how much 'power' she might have in a sense and how negative you may feel her influence might be then it could go the wrong way. I am not sure if that makes sense. Whatever her own thoughts and feelings are can you get her on side for the sake of DD? Or can an intermediary do that?
I think the problem you have is that the day she turns 18, she can do what she likes. And unfortunately (for you and her) if that means walking out and going to live with her bm, she can.
Sadly the 18th birthday doesn't take into account how old they are in their heads, or how immature. I've seen that with ds1 - the day he turned 18 I got no input into how he is getting on, I can't talk to anyone at college or work, I have no input into his finances (which he is blowing, gambling and getting payday loans).
I think all you can do is be there for her if and when it all goes pear-shaped.
And try very hard to get support for you. Would your gp help? Or one of the voluntary organisations? I must say the thing I missed most when ds turned 18 was the loss of support for me. Counselling really helped me cope with all the stress.
DD has benefitted in the past from therapy, which included EMDR (which in particular was quite useful and is well regarded for PTSD). We went to a therapy centre which specialised in things like PTSD/attachment disorder in children. Think like Family Futures or Catchpoint (but not either of them, a place nearer to where we live). My LA funded DD being there at the time. It was very helpful, but did not 'heal' her PTSD which was pretty severe and still affects her a lot. One of the things I miss the most was the support for ME that the centre gave, they had a real focus on helping the parent as much as the child.
However that ended a few years ago. Being 17, she's now basically left children's services behind, and will very soon if not already be counted as an adult. I'm not even sure how much longer the Post Adoption Team can support us, I hope till she turns 18. Thank goodness she is already under that team and we aren't trying to access things from scratch. I think she might benefit from more therapy. The problem is that it's hard to get and we might not be offered anything good. DD had art therapy last year and it took so long to get it - she had to wait many months on a waiting list for 'her turn' and that was after the fight to get on the list. I suspect more therapy would be the same, and she may be too old already
I can't contact PASW till tomorrow, but you are all right, mum needs to be told the truth and convinced to try organised contact. I'd quite like to talk to her myself, I don't know how good an idea that is, but I want to.
I think meetings need to be infequent and notes and emails maybe in between. I want mum to not contact DD on facebook any more.
I'm not sure how realistic this is, because mum said "I can't wait to see you again sweetheart" when we left the cinema. There's nothing we can do to mum if she does not comply with a plan. It's not illegal for her to contact DD on FaceBook after all.
But i think it's mum who needs to back off because DD won't. She won't say no if mum asks her to do something, I know she won't.
I've only just caught up on your other thread.
I really think you need some sort of mediation here. I agree that she is going to be stressed by this - how can she not be? And I also think that as her bm doesn't know her as well as you do she may well be completely oblivious to it all, and just think "oh, this is nice, we can see each other occasionally".
She needs to be told. And I think you need a formal contact arrangement for the next while anyway. With dates for contact and a restriction on phoning/messaging.
I would also worry a lot about the effect this all will have on ds, who has much more recent damaging memories that shouldn't be dredged up .
Lilka I agree therapy would help, I know your DD has had some (I think?).
Could you get it free? And would asking for it help social services or adoption services to realise that the problems brought up by birth mum's re-appearance are real and problems that could be managed better?
This sounds so hard for you all.
Is DD keen to meet up with her mum again regularly?
Is there any kind of support or therapy available for DD to deal with all the fears and emotions contact is bringing up? I've heard EMDR is really good for PTSD but don't know if that's widely available.
Hope you've got some good support for YOU in R.L.
Oh Lilka. This must be heart breaking for you to watch.
I think you need to go back to post adoption support and get them to talk to first mother, this is really not helping your daughter or your relationship with her.
As you say, you are not sure how long the situation will last, I expect first m will get "bored" first.
It is such a dysfunctional relationship and the professionals should be there to help you through this.
Keep talking to us, I know I haven't got a clue, but we can listen and empathise with you.
Lilka I am sorry this is so stressful for you.
Do you think there is a chance the 'novelty' of seeing birth mum will wear off?
You said "I think DD will be stuck in a pattern like this." Maybe it is worth reading up a bit on how to break out of patterns etc. It might not be impossible.
Hope that social services or whoever can advise. If it is damaging for your DD can they not advise?
Thinking of you.
Sorry I can't keep updating my other thread, I always have to see the first page and it feels emotionally like a car crash in slow motion
And I'm sorry for all my threads being about my problems, I feel like I'm bringing the board right down. I just need somewhere to vent it out.
DD2 and mother say they had a great time with each other at the cinema. I took DD and I met them afterwards. We even ate ice cream together before I took DD home.
On the surface, DD was very tactile (hugs, kisses etc) towards her mother and very loving. And DD does love her and wants her love in return.
But I guess mother couldn't see what I was seeing when we were sitting together (and feeling miserable with DD leaning over to hug and kiss mother every 2 minutes). Like how she was tensed up, and how she was noticably more hypervigilant than normal (and she is hypervigilant anyway because of her PTSD). Her facial expressions, her eyes....just different. I know these expressions and body language...it means "This is stressful, physically and emotionally".
I guess you can't just move to a healthy and functional relationship, if your relationship started so dysfunctionally. You can't wish away the effects of stress and anxiety and the brain wired wrong and neglect and alcohol exposure prenatally and failure to protect her from what social services liked to call 'unsafe/undesirable individuals'. And being with her mum now is affecting her in a bad way.
So of course, there is fallout. Behaviour deteriorated markedly. More controlling, verbally abusive, anxious, not sleeping well and so on
Directed at me of course. Its so hard to live with. I wish mother would melt away. I don't think she will. I think DD will be stuck in a pattern like this.
In the past, contact has been more beneficial than not, which is why I've been a strong advocate for an open adoption for DD. But that contact was designed to pull in as much useful stuff and keep as much dysfunction away as possible. This contact is everything thrown in at once. And their relationship is so obviously dysfunctional. Love is not enough.
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