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Struggling with 4 year old daughters anger after I left abusive marriage.(7 Posts)
Little bit of background. I left my abusive husband a year ago with my daughter who was almost 3 and moved in with my mum. My husband’s behaviour was escalating and he finally pushed me out the family home and threatened my life. He was having a bit of contact with dd. I was traumatised and suffering with PSTD and tbh didn’t have a clue what was going on. He used dd to get to me so contact was stopped mid Dec. He has yet to file an application at court.
What I’m having difficulty with is dd’s behaviour. It’s getting progressively worse.
She is a few weeks away from her 4th birthday. She is very intelligent for her age, well she thinks she knows everything. She is busy and happy most of the time. When she is told no or asked to do something she gets so angry. She kicks me or my mum or kicks the wall, toys, whatever is close. She will come and scratch down your hand, say to you don’t you look at me, how dare you look at me. She gets herself so angry. It’s really horrible to watch. I try the naughty step, take treats away but she says sorry but will do it again. I have asked her what makes you angry and she just shrugs her shoulders. I guess she is too small to articulate what’s wrong. I’m guessing its all to do with her dad. She was only small when she heard him constantly shouting at me. I left him for her, I didn’t want her growing up witnessing all the aggression, the emotional and mental abuse.
I’ve tried my absolute best, I had a breakdown after I left him but I’ve tried so hard to be there for her. I feel like I’m letting her down and I don’t really know how to help her with her anger? I guess it’s directed at me because I’m the one who is here. I feel terrible for stopping contact with her dad but it was on the advice of my support specialists and it really was essential. All she remembers from her dad was he bought her a constant stream of toys and let her run free so I imagine she is not happy with me.
It’s so hard, I left to give her the best chance but she is clearly effected. How can I help her?
That all sounds really tough, I’m so sorry you went through all that. It’s great you are now out of that situation and both you and your daughter are safe.
From her point of view she’s now lived less than half of her life in this new situation and is missing all she knew before, it’s unsettling. She doesn’t know this is better. She is angry her world has changed, she misses her dad (because she doesn’t know he’s not a great person to live with) and doesn’t know how to vocalise why she is angry. It will take time and a lot of patience.
Try love bombing. Some info here
I know she misses him, misses all the toys and the fact he didn’t brush her hair, teeth, dress and feed her proper food etc all the rubbish stuff I have to do to her. Unfortunately he also didn’t bother with her allergies either but that’s another story.
I spend a lot of time with her, especially since I’m furloughed. We walk, do crafts, watch films. She always tells me she loves me and visa versa. She is just such an angry little person at times. I wish so much better for her and I feel guilty. We live with my mum and she is particularly bad with her, she often kicks my mum for no reason.
She has started already this morning. I’ve died my mums hair and dd wants her done. She can’t so now she is kicking the kitchen and shouting at me. I’ve tried to explain she is too young for hair dye so she has told me not to look at her.
Could you ignore the kicking and tell her to "get her shoes on, you're going out for a walk". Sometimes diversion helps
You are very right about this: "I have asked her what makes you angry and she just shrugs her shoulders. I guess she is too small to articulate what’s wrong."
You can help her. Try to say what she feels. Like "I think you are angry with me about leaving your father" or "I think you miss your dad" or similar. Probe. See what she says. Give her options of feelings, say it and she can say "yes" or"no".
No idea if this would help, but may be worth a try. If it does not help, maybe she would speak to someone impartial.
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