Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Is my eldest suffering because of us?(23 Posts)
My DD is 8 years old and today had quite a bad panic attack.
She is a very anxious child with a severe phobia of blood/pain where her reaction will be to faint.
Today picking her up from my mums, we were just about to leave when suddenly it was like something switched in her, I almost didn't recognise her, you would think something terrible had happened ( it didn't, as I was there). She suddenly started speaking/shouting in a panic, she was dizzy, she couldn't breath, she had to go etc. I calmed her down, then when we were home spoke about how she felt.
She said she felt she couldn't breath, her heart was beating fast, dizzy and belly like a washing machine, but why?
As said she is anxious and nervous, im not sure but I think this stems from me and her dad. He is a cannabis user and dependant on it without his moods can awful and lots of silent treatment to the household, in turn I used to also switch of to the treatment, I believe now she picks up on this?
When he is like this I battle on as normal now as im used to it but does she pick up this from me/him?
I have a thread on here already but in my stupidity didn't think she would know anything that went on? Am I wrong, is she already picking up? I sincerely hope not, I hate thought I had shielded her from everything, I really don't want her to be like me.
Im also scared to tell the doctors incase they report me to SS? Could they do that?
I'm sorry for your DD.
I think no matter how hard you try and shield your children from behaviour in their home, they will inevitably be affected by it.
In regards to the doctors, they have safeguarding responsibilities and would have a duty to report anything they were concerned about, but this would only be for your DD's and your families own good if IF it did happen.
I'm sure someone else will be along soon enough with wise words for you.
Will your partner stop smoking now he knows how its impacting your DD?
We have discussed the impact he has with his habit on our family and unfortunately he will not stop as, as he says himself he can not stop, I love him but not sure where this takes us. It is like if he has to choose he will pick drugs?
You said that he was awful when he was without it. What is he like when he's using it?
Yes of course this unhealthy and damaging atmosphere is affecting her, question is what are you going to do?
Yes, it sounds like your daughter has experienced the Classic symptoms of a full blown panic attack. However, if she is like this at the tender age of 8 then I fear that her future will be blighted by further attacks and she will be prone to other mental health problems.
It's hard to know whether her fathers drug problem is solely to blame for her current difficulties but I do think you really need to try to get her some support. You could ask your doctor to refer for counselling (family councelling would be even better). You could also speak to someone at YoungMinds (Google for details) as they are the experts on issues affecting the mental well being of children and young people.
Your daughter has to be your number 1 priority and you may seriously have to discuss with your partner the seriousness of what is happening and if he cannot access help to stop his addiction then it may have to result in the breakdown of the relationship.
Please, somehow get her someone to talk to before she ends up with serious mental health issues.
He has already chosen the drugs. It is you move now.
Yes, she is suffering. Please get her some help... Your partner will not give up cannabis, obviously, so you are choosing to actively subject your daughter to his damaging influence. Where are your protective maternal instincts? Get your beloved DD out of that toxic environment!!
Yes you need to get her out of that environment , show her you value her even if HE values drugs more.
She needs help and heis not making her any better, nor will he , he is an addict.
He's chosen cannabis over his family, nuff said. Perhaps it's your turn to make a choice?
I used to suffer from panic attacks and anxiety as a teen and, of course, my home life played a role but there are also other factors that come into play. Psychologists agree that there is definitely an underlying genetic role. I think it's an oversimplification to peg it all on your partners' marijuana use. There is so much more at play here and that is why your daughter and whole family need professional help from a therapist.
You need to ask why your partner uses marijuana and finds it intolerable to stop. He might suffer from anxiety and/or depression.
You need to look at why and how you react to your partner and how this affects you and therefore you and your daughter's relationship. Also, what about your daughter's relationship with your partner. What about external factors, could she be being bullied at school? What causes her phobia of blood and injury? Did she have a traumatic experience in her past that led to this?
There is excellent help out there and you need to go and get it. The therapist isn't going to obsess about one detail like the marijuana use - he/she will look at the whole picture.
It's not just the addiction itself, it's the mood swings, the silences, the tension.
Children are highly intuitive and they pick up on everything. Every word, every sigh, every slammed door, every tense conversation. Even if they can't hear what's being said they can gauge the emotional temperature.
I don't mean this to sound judgemental, simply practical - it's not a good idea to bring up a child around an addict. One who's not even attempting to quit.
He has chosen the drugs (they usually do) You need to choose your daughter
The mood swings, tension in the house could well trigger an already anxious child.
Is he using cannabis to self-medicate his own mental health issues? Has he considered a cannabis vape (like the fag one) so that he gets some cannabis without the unhealthy aspect of the drug use?
It does sound like his moods etc are affecting your DD, though whether your partner's habit is the entire cause is not certain.
Has he smoked around her/ carried the smoke in? Could she also be being affected by second hand smoke?
I haven't seen your other thread but it sounds like your partner's drug use in particular is a real problem. Unfortunately, no matter how hard you try to shelter your child, they are often very perceptive. She is probably picking up on the tension in your home, and if she is having full blown panic attacks then something needs to change.
Don't be afraid to tell your doctor if you need help. If you can't be honest, your daughter will not get the treatment she needs. Even if social services do get involved, that's not necessarily a bad thing. The SS really don't like taking children away, and they will take all practicable steps to help you and your DD instead.
IMO it's not a coincidence that your DD had this panic attack in the context of leaving a safe place (your mum's) to return home. The attack stemmed from anxiety of home not being a safe place. Your DP doesn't have to be abusive or violent to create an unhappy home, where everyone is walking on eggshells or you can slice the atmosphere with a knife. In fact I'd say this affects children more than adults because children can't rationalise a lot of the effects away in the same way adults can.
I feel for you OP. You obviously love your DD and have tried to be a good mum and a good DP, but you've just had the short sharp shock that has made you realise that you can't be both. Now you've had that realisation, what are you going to do to remain a good mum?
Have a think about SS. Why is their involvement so scary a prospect for you? Maybe SS involvement might be the kick your DP needs to realise he has to face up to the fact that he's an addict and either get help to stop being one, or recognise that he can't have a family life while he is one.
I have to say that it would be highly unusual for a child to be removed from parents purely on cannabis use alone, although if there are associated factors such as the deteriorating mental health of your child, that could be a factor and could certainly result in your child being considered at risk. That should tell you something on its own, as should the fact that if your DP is no longer living with you, SS won't be interested unless your DD would be staying with your DP regularly while he uses and potentially puts her at risk.
My dear friends husbands smokes it every night. For ten years he has promised to stop with each child and he hasnt.
She also has the mood swings but he also snaps very quickly and is starting to get agressive eg throwing things when one of the kids are having a tantrum. She is finacailly stuck because he only works part time, wouldn't give her CS and putting her four kids in nursary would take all her wages in a career she has worked at for 15 years.
He has chosen drugs over you both, if you can get out now - do it.
I really hope she gets help for her anxiety.
You have to deal with this.
If she has a panic attack in school her teachers will have to ask hard questions and take the next step which is social services.
You, as her mother, have a duty of care. If you don't accept that responsibility and remove your daughter from such a damaging environment, she could, (worst case scenario), end up in care.
Sort it out. Now.
You can't not tell the doctor about your daughter's panic attacks because she needs help, and that's the only way you can access it. Obviously you can't deny her medical treatment to keep your partner's habit under wraps.
If it came to it, SS will be on your side as long as you put your daughter first. As long as you cooperate with them you have nothing to fear.
It's much better coming from you, than as pp mentioned, if she has an attack at school and the case is referred to the SS via a teacher or school nurse.
Yes I get this man has an addiction and I hope he gets help that works for him
However in the meantime there is an 8 year old baby whose only worry should be where her next packet of sweets are coming from or if you'll let her stay up an hour later to watch something on TV having panic attacks. He has chosen drugs over you and the welfare of his child.
You and certainly does not need him in your lives.
I would give him an ultimatum that he either gets help to stop or you walk away.
I'm sorry but that's so tragic for your daughter. She leaves her grannies house and has a panic attack which signifies that she feels panicky about going home to a tense and uncomfortable home. I have experience of this and you need to know that it is absolutely affecting her and will a scar her for life. Ignore and carry on our change your lifestyle. I think you already know that your choice.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.