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Failure to bond, baby now a teen..(18 Posts)
I did the very best I could when I had my baby, it was breastfed for over a year. Always kept warm & cosy but it was as though I was just going through the motions. From the very first moment baby appeared there was no bond. Birth was extremely painful & prolonged (4 days) and I was drugged up to the eyeballs. Through the early years when there are many 'baby' appts I told everyone that I came into contact with that there were bonding issues but not one person helped. It's like they saw a clean well-tended child and thought all was fine. I felt no connection whatsoever. I was severely abused myself as a child and was forced to go nc with my entire family of origin. I never had any help (not even a baby sitter) and was a sahm for 18yrs. I should point out I was married this whole time & the baby was very much planned & wanted. I am now newly divorced, having woken up to the fact my marriage was abusive. I've had bucket-loads of therapy. My problem now is that I can see my child (now 18) has a disorder of 'insecure attachment'. Although I was daily present in her life I wasn't mentally present. I was living out my own traumas. Now I don't know what to do. My teen is an adult but an unhappy one. They refuse to participate in therapy. I do care for them very much and want to try to repair the damage. My child is aware of my abusive childhood/marriage. The childs father is on the scene which is good, but he is very abusive and every time my child returns from a visit to df they're upset/angry/shouting. My ex is a diagnosed Narc. Does anyone know how I can heal the pain that I can see my child is suffering?
I don't sorry, no. But I would just say all you can do is be the best parent you can now. Maybe with your therapy you can become more emotionally 'there' for your child as an adult.
Sounds silly but go and give your teen a cuddle! Now. It won't solve anything but it just came into my head. Your post made me sad for both of you
A cuddle makes so much sense. I did it last night and they cried saying 'it's the first time ever'. It wasn't the first time obviously but it made me aware how 'hands off' I've been. I shall try to remember to cuddle more.
Wow I gave good advice. Maybe this evening suggest you sit together under a blanket and watch a film with popcorn and stuff?
Your statement of referring to your child as an 'it' in the very first line is telling plus you never refer to your child as DR or DD. Emotional trauma caused during childhood often continues to subsequent generations because issued are never resolved and children end up with similar problems to their parents. You state that you care for your child which is great but do you love your child I wonder? Are you able to love anyone, even yourself?
Your adult child now has to face the world with some very serious emotional issues to contend with. Yes, they will know they have been cared for but may feel that they have never been truly loved and wanted. You could try writing a heart felt honest letter to your child elaborating on the points you raise here. I would advise your child to drastically limit time with the father as this sounds like a very destructive relationship. Continue to work on yourself to create a happier, more secure you who will then be more able to support your child. None of us has a clue how we will respond to parenthood when we first take on the role and for those of us who have had difficult/abusive childhoods ourselves the struggle to be a good parent is even harder. As a child I grew up in a dysfunctional, abusive household and I truly knew nothing about how to raise a child to be happy and confident as I had never experienced that during my own childhood.
Try to tell your child that you love them. Try to have some happy, 'normal' times together and perhaps recommend that they think about counselling at some stage, when they feel ready for that.
I inwardly cry every single day over the damage I have caused to my children because I wasn't able to make them robust, resilient, confident young adults. I can cry everyday but it doesn't undo the failures. I can't re write history and nor can you. You can't go back and change things but by being a loving, supportive parent now you may be able to help your child to create a happier, more stable future for them self.
I think I'm finally waking up! I/we need to do more stuff together. Why am I so bloody thick? It's half term. I think the cinema and maybe some go-karting or something are is in order.
I don't want to identify my childs sex on here as they know I use mn a lot and they'd be hurt to see themselves talked about, hence the 'it'.
Can you go to family therapy with your child? Do you think that might help?
If your ex is a narc you really should enable your child to limit contact. Narcs are revolting people and I took my child out of contact with her father. Does your child understand their father is a narc? You need to try and be the warm loving mum you always wanted to be. Starts with the small things, like the previous posters said. Big hug OP be kind to yourself too, you are healing xxx
OP you sound like a lovely, caring Mum.
As an aside, what is a 'diagnosed narc' ?
I know it's a narcissist.
Did he get the diagnosis himself?
Who diagnosed him?
My child won't attend therapy. The offer has been on the table for the last few years. I hadn't thought until this morning though of us doing it together?
My exdh was diagnosed formally within the last few years but he refuses to accept there's even been a diagnosis. This came about through family therapy. The child in question didn't attend, my others did. In the end I understood how I'd repeated the abuse of my childhood in marrying this man and I had to break the marriage for myself and my kids. Daddy is now very very angry with me and the dc get bathed in this anger when they meet him. They are all teens now, I have no input as to how often they see him. I do my very best not to speak badly about him. They know who he is. He kind of holds them to randsom with money. I don't think they'd see him much otherwise.
I have a child with an attachment issue and deep insecurities. I find that love bombing works really well on building up self esteem and confidence but I think I have conceded to many of her demands and allowed her to become quite controlling (as I just want the best for her, but my best is not good enough so I let things go too much) so if this is an issue for you too I advise having strong boundaries too as insecure people actually need them.
With love bombing I give a lot of physical affection and also lots of verbal praise during a 'bonding session' where we go do something nice.
I'm waiting for my DC to have CBT because as a young teen I think this will help - I had CBT when I was 19 and it helped me.
I think I did bond with DD but I have a similar issue with past abuse and an EA relationship with her father who is very controlling so I think some of her behaviour is learnt from him too
The love bombing has helped our bond and her self esteem and I've seen a change in her behaviour
You clearly love your child and understand that you need to show it more. Try not to worry, OP, it's not too late to build a loving relationship with your teen and there is no point worrying about the past. Just move forward from here knowing that what your child needs from you is regular, tangible affection - the rest will take care of itself. I would give joint therapy a very wide berth too.
Also I think getting yourself well is important here. Having had episodes of depression over the years this has made DD feel very insecure and scared, as I am not parenting well (doing basics and going through the motions) and she freaks out. I've always managed to climb out of these phases but it's made me realise I need to be well to help her.
How does he hold them to ransom with money? I would do everything I could to discourage contact with him. They are horrific abusers and prone to alienating children from the other parent.
Because of his diagnosis we are involved with mhs, I cannot be seen to discourage contact. They expect me to promote the dcs relationship with their father. Exdh dangles £ as a carrot in front of them. If they want their uni fees paid/first car/driving lessons/house deposit they have to keep on his good side. They are all too aware how ££ life is. I can't afford to provide for them the way he can.
Well there's the insanity of the fucking system right there. He's a diagnosed narc and yet you are expected to hand over your children? Beyond belief.
All I can say is exH was a narc, he got his fangs into my children's heads and hearts and, frankly, things have been tough. I wish I could sugar coat it but I can't. Things have been tough.
All you can do is keep going. Do what you can when you can. Try to be as stable as you can, like an oak dc can depend on. You're going to have to take an immense amount of shit, one way or another. I'd recommend Joshua Coleman for some excellent strategies - because normal rules don't apply (JC deals with estrangement but his strategies could just as well apply to your situation ie how best to bridge the gap with dc).
I wish you all the love in the world. Things have been hard for you xx
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