I am so upset with myself as a mother. I have been crying all morning, wondering what exactly I did wrong, how I could help her more, is it all my fault etc. My almost 7 year has turned into a child that I don't even want to be around and its breaking my heart. She was my first baby, my little ball of love that I nursed and co-slept with until she was 3 years old.
She has ALWAYS had anger issues, even as an infant. She would play with other baby's and if one of the other baby's had a toy she wanted or took something from her she would get extremely angry, scream like a banshee, hit me, etc. She also had social issues such as EXTREME anxiety about strangers (would freeze, refuse to walk past them, and would just cry and cry and cry) and would refuse to speak to even family members like my brother. (She didn't speak to him for the first 4 years of her life!)
When she was two, I tried to get her services through the early intervention program in NYC and they said she qualified and would have done in home therapy, etc. My now ex, her father, forbid it, saying nothing was wrong with her and would not allow me to keep the in home appointment. (He didn't want the "government" in our home telling him what to do). I bowed to the pressure and cancelled the appointment and tried to work with her on my own. We moved to Pennsylvania and I put her in a small private preschool to try to socialize her and it was working well until they closed because of lack of funds. Switched her to another preschool and she did ok there, but they had to work with her a lot on the shyness and her frustrations when she couldn't complete a task and would lash out.
Fast forward to now. She has a three year old little brother, she is almost 7 and is in 1st grade. She gets good grades and has had only a few small issues in school - nothing academic all social. I left their father last year after many years of emotional, financial, verbal and mental abuse. Got a job, took the kids and moved out. Its been rough, but the final straw was watching my 5 year old daughter hold my 1 year old son in the kitchen while he cried and she said "Its ok, I'm here for you. Don't cry." because their father was having a freak out episode and I was trying to defend myself.
Through all of these years, DD has had issues with extreme reactions to what would be a normal situation to anyone else. If she is told she can not do something she becomes extremely violent, screaming, punching and kicking me, trying to hurt herself, telling us she wants to die, calling me names, etc. I've tried gentle discipline, I've tried the advice in "raising you spirited child", I've taken parenting classes and read discipline books repeatedly. Her reactions are well beyond the norm and none of these are effective with her at all. Several people have made statements about this all being a reaction to the various changes that have happened in her life in the last 18 months - the split with their father, my meeting and becoming engaged to another man, our move to our own place, then our move in with my fiance, etc and while normally I would agree it was a lot to deal with, her behavior is no different then it was when we lived with their dad and life was "normal". In fact, she is slightly better now, as there is no stress from the ex and I fighting all the time and she absolutely adores my fiance.
I tried speaking to her pediatrician last week about the issues and I don't think she quite understood the severity of what is going on at home. I took the bull by the horns this morning and called the mental health referral service from our insurance to get her help. Her father has been diagnosed since I left with a large number of issues (Bi-polar, depression, manic, OCD, ADHD) and is on multiple medications right now (Lithium, Paxil, and a mood stabilizer), and depression runs in my family.
I'm scared for my daughter, I'm scared for the health of my family, I'm 7 weeks pregnant and overly emotional about everything - I literally have been crying on and off since 7:30 this morning after yet another issue with her. I dread calling her father to speak to him about any of this because he will fly off the handle and blame me for it all, as he always does.
Thanks for listening/reading.