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My child has been attacked and I cant cope.

(8 Posts)
judith34 Thu 09-Jun-11 09:08:09

Can anyone out there help me; my daughter was attacked by a man who tore the cartlidge in her wrist leaving her in a lot of pain and virtually unable to use her right hand. She has had one operation but another MRI has found that this didnt work and explains why her pain and disabilty hasnt gone away. The things is she is not 5 or 10 years old but 27 and had trained as a doctor, she has not been able to work since it happened last year and the hospital where it happened is trying to 'cover it up'. She may lose her job altogether and be left with pain & unable to compete as a rower or work as she trained ever again. The difficulty I have is that as her mother it doesnt matter how old she is i am just as devastated as if she was 1 , 5 or 10 years old, however she is expecting me to look after her and be there 24 hours a day with support and as she puts it, 'if you are my mother and love me, you will be my counsellor'. I know I will look after her when she has a second operation but how do i cope with supporting her emotionally as im absolutely upset and hurt myself, she is till my baby but I want her to be independant again. She says she cannot have the second operation unless i can be there all the time for her, but im so drained and find that ultimaton hurtfull and yet I wish I could give her all the support she wants. has anyone got any advice? Please? I dont work but am about to start a phD which is going to be impossible to do from home now. Am I being selfish?

MissVerinder Thu 09-Jun-11 09:13:56

You are not being selfish. When you're on an aeroplane and the cabin crew give the safety talk- "Fit your own oxygen mask before helping others," This applies here.
It is not up to you to look after her like that. Help as much as you can, but not to the detriment of your own health and sanity.

She needs support, but more than you can give her. It's not wrong to admit that to her and yourself.

strongblackcoffee Thu 09-Jun-11 09:15:29

I'm really sorry to hear about all the problems you are having. Of course you love and want to support your daughter as much as you can, but you must leave space for yourself within this. And she is being unreasonable in her request for you to be there all the time for her. You mustn't feel like you are failing as a parent if you can't be there 100% for her, you are not in existence entirely to support your child. Has she got other people around her to offer support? You are absolutely not being selfish. You are her mother and of course you love her, but that does not automatically mean you have to fill the role of counsellor and full time carer. It's an awful thing that has happened to your daughter, but you can only do what feels right and reasonable for you, but you mustn't feel guilty about this.

sparkle12mar08 Thu 09-Jun-11 09:25:39

Has your daughter had any counselling for the attack? What kind of attack was it? Because frankly she sounds paralysed with fear and is taking it out on you. Can you guide her gently towards leaning on her friends more, or suggest that perhaps theer are feeling left over that might benefit from a little couselling? Because you're right, she's not 5 or 10, and whilst she's still your baby she's also her own adult and she does need to take some responsibility for getting herself well again too. I'm not sure what to suggest opn a practical level but I agree entirely with the others, you need to look after yourself as well.

cory Thu 09-Jun-11 09:27:17

I think this is good advice from MissVerinder.

It is a dreadful thing to have happened, but as her mum you are not necessarily in the best position to offer all the support she needs. It sounds like she needs professional counselling to get over her trauma and learn to live with the aftermath. You are not a professional counsellor, besides I am not sure close family are ever in a position to deal with this sort of thing.

I have a 14yo dd who is suffering from a chronic painful joint condition combined with depression and anxiety, and I have come to realise that I do actually need to back off a bit; running myself into the ground won't help her either. She is getting professional counselling and I am also making a deliberate effort to back off a bit, involving myself in my own work (academic writing) and letting others give her part of what she needs. And yes, she also uses the "You are my mum, you have to be able to sort everything"- line. It's hard, but I find if I can do it firmly and pleasantly it is possible to say "well, as your mum, I am now telling you to talk to the school counsellor/Dr X/ etc" and she will kind of accept that.

You may also want counselling (if you are at uni, they should have the facilities)- I found it helped me to have a space where I could talk about how things affected me.

I would make very firm plans about exactly how and when you will support her during the op (I will come to the hospital for X appointment on day Z) and the rest of the time I would try to get away somewhere where I could wholly concentrate on that PhD. You need to do that thesis- for her sake as much as for your own.

And tell her very firmly that she must have professional counselling to get over this, that you cannot do the same thing for her as a doctor could.

Am just about to leave the house- leaving dd in bed- to start proof-reading my book. I am doing it for both of us: dd needs to see that you can get on with life.

Fingers crossed for all of us!

Fecklessdizzy Thu 09-Jun-11 09:36:44

I'm with Cory, she needs professional help with this.

Sometimes it's hard to help those closest to you through bad times as you don't have the resorces and your own unhappyness at their pain and feelings of failure 'cos you can't make it all better get in the way ... My partner had Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome following our son's accident and we couldn't have got through it on our own.

Best of luck to you both.

Butterbur Thu 09-Jun-11 10:45:35

Was this injury related to her work as a doctor? Was her attacker a patient, or a patient's relative? Was he prosecuted? Is she possibly eligible for compensation?

If she is facing life without the career she trained for, and the hobby she loves, she must be scared. But there is a limit as to how much you can do. You are too close to her, and perhaps a dispassionate counsellor would be able to help more.

honeybee007 Thu 09-Jun-11 11:38:54

I was attacked aged 12 (which obviously means there would be different emotional needs etc) but I had a similar reaction to your daughter, I expected my mum to be my councillor and got very angry with her when she wasn't able to do/say the right thing. Obviously because I was a child my mum couldn't do anything but look after me 24/7 but what she did do was sort out professional counselling. It took a long time for things to change/improve but eventually they did.

After having dd last year I was diagnosed with pnd and ptsd which the psychiatrist said was because of my previous attack and other life changing events in the run up to her birth. I reverted back to being '12' and expected mum to counsel me and 'fix' everything. (I am now 25) professional counselling again is what was needed. It is, I think, a natural reaction for a child (of any age) to be hurt physically or mentally and think 'I want my mum' just as it is natural for a mum to want to do everything possible to make the hurt go away. Sometimes though mum isn't the right person for the job.

You aren't being selfish or unreasonable in not always being able to meet your daughters needs. The nature of the attack doesn't matter, she will need professional help to deal with any resulting impact on her life. All you can really do is support her in seeking help and be there to help put the pieces back together. She may not yet be ready to seek help, but it is important. Speak to her, she is an adult and she needs to understand that you are the 100% but that you also have things (like your phd) that you HAVE to do.

I really hope your daughters operation goes well when it happens and that she does get the professional help to deal with what happened. Sorry my post is so long.

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