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still not what I expected... - Page 2

post #21 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by EarthRootsStarSoul View Post
 

Only if she's a psychopath.  Normal people don't do that.

 

Children and psychopaths have a lot in common ;-)  Both can be terribly self-centered.

 

I see this with kids  ALLLLLL the time. Parents (especially grandparents) half kill themselves trying to be the favorite and kids aren't stupid, some are just a little more self-serving than others.

post #22 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by NiteNicole View Post
 

 

Children and psychopaths have a lot in common ;-)  Both can be terribly self-centered.

 

I see this with kids  ALLLLLL the time. Parents (especially grandparents) half kill themselves trying to be the favorite and kids aren't stupid, some are just a little more self-serving than others.


Yeah, I thought of that today while I was out.  One could make the argument that babies are born psychopaths, and slowly develop empathy and relationship skills with maturity and age. 

post #23 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
 

I don't think it's nearly that black and white. Kids are also entitled to love. And to the expression of that love through words and deeds. Which makes it all much greyer than Wendy Mogel suggests. I think they're also entitled to respect. And emotional security. Which cast yet more grey shades on the mother-daughter relationship.

 

I do agree with you skreader, that there is danger in acting certain ways to try to win a child's approval. And that's why I think that counselling and some learning about Love Languages might be helpful. I think it's important for parents to avoid using love and affection as a sort of currency to reward and reinforce desirable behaviour and affection from their children. Love and affection should be something more fundamental than a mere relationship currency. I think there's a risk of starting a dangerous game of 'tit for tat,' whereby the daughter's unwillingness to display affection is repaid by withdrawal of affection by the parent. I don't think there's any likelihood that the daughter will react to that with a sudden sense of appreciation and a desire to express gratitude and affection. Things are much more likely to go the other way. These are complex issues, especially when they become a source of emotional stress and anxiety for the parent, which it sounds like is the case for the OP. 

 

Miranda

 

Hi Miranda,

 

I agree that its not so simple the bit I cited from Mogel - the bit I was referring to is where she was writing about the often excessive demands for goods & services that children put on their parents, and for which parents feel they may be failing in love if they do not provide. From my reading  she advocates mutual respect and providing an emotionally secure environment for children to grow up in, which I also think is vital for any successful relationship

 

However, I  think that un-questioning on-call chauffeur services by a mother for an apparently ungrateful child does not equal love, respect, and emotional security. 

 

Yes, they both might benefit from counselling - but we should never forget that counselling takes money and time, and  a good and available counselor.

 

I also agree that it should not turn into an emotional "You didn't kiss me good night last night, so no ride to the mall for you!" sort of tit-for-tat battle; and I doubt that the daughter would have a sudden "Aha!" moment of suddenly feeling waves of gratitude,

 

Instead I was envisioning something a little less emotionally fraught:  the mother could set limits and minimal expectations of courtesy, not false displays of emotion or affection.

 

So, if  the mother can start to learn to set expectations of courtesy, and  her daughter to learn to treat her mother with politeness (at least), then they may have a good way to go forward - while they find a  counselor, or if they fail to find one, or if they cannot afford one.


Edited by skreader - 12/29/13 at 9:07pm
post #24 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by skreader View Post
 

Instead I was envisioning something a little less emotionally fraught:  the mother could set limits and minimal expectations of courtesy, not false displays of emotion or affection.

 

Agree with this, for sure. Who was the parenting author in the 90's who spoke of three types of parent: brick wall, jellyfish and backbone? Oh yeah, Barbara Coloroso, in her book "Kids Are Worth It!." It's a simplistic model but I think one that is helpful here. The ideal parent isn't authoritarian and unrelenting (brick wall) nor endlessly accommodating and giving (jellyfish) but is instead guided by values and boundaries and principles, while being kind and nurturing within those limits (may be soft in places but has a backbone). I think that when a parent is anxious about wining her child's love, there's a risk of being too much of a jellyfish, but that doesn't give kids the security they need of knowing their parents are guided by clear values, self-respect and wisdom. 

 

Miranda

post #25 of 30
Thread Starter 

Thanks, everyone.  I haven't visited Mothering in a LONG time and didn't expect so many responses - just saw most of them today. You've given me a lot to think about.  I'll post some individual responses next.

 

My post was really a vent, and I didn't give you much information.  Some things that are probably factors, and that some of you asked:

 

1-  I failed to mention I am the exact same way with my entire family, including my mother, to this day.  I very much prefer personal space when it comes to literally anyone except my significant other. This extends to displays of emotion.  I don't think I'm psychopathic or sociopathic (I'm actually a social worker :-D). Now that I think about it, my discomfort with physical affection or even verbalizing "I love you" to my own parents is really about self-consciousness.  For instance, when a phone call is ending with one of my parents, I start to feel anxious knowing what the expectation is and can't wait to get it over with and get off the phone. Since I'm a grown-up, I do it and I make it sound sincere - which, the FEELING is sincere, but the apparent ease and willingness with which I say the words, is forced.  Does that make sense?  It just feels like... knowing I have to change my clothes with a stranger watching.  I'm highly introverted, though I've learned to adapt socially for the work world over time. 

 

My daughter is a mix.  She is actually notorious among her friends for hating hugs, and they tease her by hugging her while she laughingly protests and squirms.  She's a theater kid, and I have seen her accept and participate in group hugs after curtain calls, for instance. She and her friends put their arms around each other for their selfies on Instagram, etc...  but she has plenty of friends and is very oriented to wanting to fit in via clothes and hair, has always imitated older kids.  She was one of the first to care about fashion and makeup in grade school, et cetera.  The stories she writes for school demonstrate a good understanding of emotion and human interaction - she writes all these historical dramas with internal soap operas going on (picture Titanic, lol).

 

2- Someone asked if my daughter is gifted.  I actually took her to an educational psychologist at age 4 because of the unusual behaviors (she had long exhausting tantrums back then, like, multiple hours long). She tested 99th percentile for verbal IQ, 80-something for the other one (the math-type one.  wink).  What this means is that talking to her has always been like talking to a much older kid. We use a lot of sarcasm and dry humor around here.  It's hard to remember she is twelve and that she may not be following adult conversation 100% - she knows the vocabulary, but doesn't have the life experience to really get all the points.  and maybe she is guarded in order to not reveal that.  I don't know.  It really is hard to remember she's just a kid. 

 

3- She's an only, not sure if I mentioned that.

 

4- I really really don't want to take any flak for this, but the kid basically has four parents.  Her dad and I divorced when she was 6.  He and I both have long-term live-in girlfriends of several years, both of whom are good with my kid. Her dad's girlfriend does have a son a year older than my daughter.  My daughter spends about a quarter of her time there (would be more if she weren't off on sleepovers).   We all get along fairly well, bicker about minor things. We live ~20 minutes apart and always have since the divorce.  We keep a respectful distance but we all show up for school concerts, are all involved with her theater stuff, we have our own little Christmas gathering, etc. - I really don't think it's the major problem here.

 

Sometimes I think she (and I) just take in so much, and don't have the filters we should - it's like a defense mechanism to put up a fence around the intense experience of emotional exchange.  Again, with my significant other I have absolutely no issue with affection. I seek it out, I give it, I receive it, I speak it.  With my family, sorry, ick.  :-(  I have a hunch my kiddo is just like me.  And the guilt knowing how my mother must have felt for the last 40 years is pretty awful.  But there is nothing I can do about it other than just do my best to push through it.  ...I just started to type that I hoped my kid would one day feel the same. How horrible and selfish is that?  My god.  She is who she is. And she is like me.  Is it a cop-out to think our brains must just be wired this way? I mean what are the odds that my parents managed to screw me up in this specific way, and that I did the exact same thing to my kid?   Anyway, I guess it's natural to secretly hope that she IS like me, and she DOES feel for me deep down and just hates expressing it.  But I am an adult and if I love her, I have to accept this and try to help her get past it in a way that I wasn't able to so that her life can be enriched in ways that mine probably hasn't.  And if I reap benefits from that progress, then that's gravy.

 

Yeah... therapy.  It's really hard to find a good fit with a therapist who won't pathologize our family and see it as the root of all problems (see #4), but I will try.  Thank you to everyone who posted - you helped me think this through and I appreciate the support so much.

 

*Edited to add, since this is Mothering... lol.  I had a home waterbirth, cloth-diapered, breastfed (EBF actually), practiced babywearing, I stayed at home with her until kindergarten, then volunteered for 2 years in the classroom. 

 

Also I need to add a #5.

 

5-  At age 12 months my daughter developed a disorder which caused to to cry out, be unable to breathe in again and she would turn blue, go limp and pass out, her heart would slow way down and often she would then have seizures.  This wasn't on purpose (we saw many specialists who said it was a dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system).  This was triggered at random by surprise, pain, fear, anger, etc and lasted until she was nearly 3.  Frankly, each time it looked as if she had died and I was never sure she would "pop back," but she always did after 30 seconds or so of us watching in mortal terror.  Once, she was out so long that I thought she was really gone while we rode in an ambulance to the ER.  For 20 minutes I had to sit up front while they worked on her in the back, and they would not tell me if she was ok or not. I thought they were waiting until we got to the hospital to tell me she was dead. 

 

If you can imagine trying to prevent a toddler from experiencing surprise, pain, anger for years on end that was my life.... one time she had an episode because I forced a shirt over her head. It happened if I forced her into a car seat.  It was absolutely horrible. Nobody would babysit her so I literally never had a break for three years.  I think this may be a factor in how I relate to her and nobody in my real life seems to understand how this could still be a factor, but I think it is. :(


Edited by SilverWillow - 1/12/14 at 8:18am
post #26 of 30
Quote:

Also I need to add a #5.

 

5-  At age 12 months my daughter developed a disorder which caused to to cry out, be unable to breathe in again and she would turn blue, go limp and pass out, her heart would slow way down and often she would then have seizures.  This wasn't on purpose (we saw many specialists who said it was a dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system).  This was triggered at random by surprise, pain, fear, anger, etc and lasted until she was nearly 3.  Frankly, each time it looked as if she had died and I was never sure she would "pop back," but she always did after 30 seconds or so of us watching in mortal terror.  Once, she was out so long that I thought she was really gone while we rode in an ambulance to the ER.  For 20 minutes I had to sit up front while they worked on her in the back, and they would not tell me if she was ok or not. I thought they were waiting until we got to the hospital to tell me she was dead. 

 

If you can imagine trying to prevent a toddler from experiencing surprise, pain, anger for years on end that was my life.... one time she had an episode because I forced a shirt over her head. It happened if I forced her into a car seat.  It was absolutely horrible. Nobody would babysit her so I literally never had a break for three years.  I think this may be a factor in how I relate to her and nobody in my real life seems to understand how this could still be a factor, but I think it is. :(

I'm sorry, that sounds horrible.  :(  I do understand.  There were a lot of times during my childhood I wasn't getting enough to eat, and it affected me psychologically.  If I put forth too much physical effort, I felt like I would pass out, so I learned to move very little to conserve energy.  I can totally recognize the connection between a past physical state causing me to learn a certain behavior pattern.  I still hate being hungry and snack a lot. 

post #27 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverWillow View Post
 

1-  I failed to mention I am the exact same way with my entire family, including my mother, to this day. ....  I'm highly introverted, though I've learned to adapt socially for the work world over time. 

 

 

It does seem possible that what you are experiencing from your DD is a family trait, either something passed genetically or something learned. However, In your first post, the way you describe her behavior isn't just emotionally cold, its really rude. I don't think there is an excuse for rudeness. 

 

 

4- I really really don't want to take any flak for this, but the kid basically has four parents.  ... - I really don't think it's the major problem here.

 

I don't think its the problem either. Lots of kids have parents who are no longer together, and it sounds like her situation is very stable, sane, and supportive of HER needs.

 

And the guilt knowing how my mother must have felt for the suspst 40 years is pretty awful.  But there is nothing I can do about it other than just do my best to push through it. 

 

Could you tell your mother in writing how you feel? It might be a way of letting go of the guilt, which would be more helpful for YOU than just pushing through.

 

Anyway, I guess it's natural to secretly hope that she IS like me, and she DOES feel for me deep down and just hates expressing it.  But I am an adult and if I love her, I have to accept this and try to help her get past it in a way that I wasn't able to so that her life can be enriched in ways that mine probably hasn't.  And if I reap benefits from that progress, then that's gravy.

s cou

:Hug

 

Yeah... therapy.  It's really hard to find a good fit with a therapist who won't pathologize our family and see it as the root of all problems (see #4), but I will try. 

 

I don't think your family sounds pathological, and suspect that most people won't. I'm not sure what type of social work you do, but I work at a school and our families that are really difficult for children have real issues, such as a parent with a drug problem, or a parent who is in prison, or the child has been removed by CPS multiple times. Not two sets of parents who can all sit through a school event together politely.

 

 

5-  At age 12 months my daughter developed a disorder which caused to to cry out, be unable to breathe in again and she would turn blue, go limp and pass out, her heart would slow way down and often she would then have seizures.

 

Oh my god. I am so, so sorry that you and she had these experiences. I can't image how horrific that was to go through. I'm glad that she is healthy now. I can see how those experiences would change you and your reactions to things.

post #28 of 30

That does add a whole lot to the story. I only mentioned sociopathy and such as a reason why a seemingly typical developing child in an average home environment might seem so cold and distant for such a long period of time. Obviously, there is a lot more to the story involving family traits and unusual circumstance. Growing up having to monitor emotions so closely for 3 years would come at a price. That is a horrible experience. My youngest once was suffocated by an ER staff member and it was the worst sight in the world. I can't imagine seeing that image over and over. 

 

I can understand introversion too. My eldest and I are quite introverted. We both struggle with eye contact because it does feel physically invasive. We aren't shy. We can do public but I've never been much of a hugger despite growing up in theatre where hugging is like shaking hands lol. I've gotten much better as I've aged and been forced into public speaking and leadership more often. My DD has really fantastic control and balance now which amazes me considering all the nasty comments I'd get about my serious, non-playful infant and toddler. We did work on it a lot and early.... not like there was something"wrong" with her but in order for her to have the tools needed to function in an extroverted world when needed.

 

It seems like you do understand her more than it seemed in your first post. You do understand having emotions you are unwilling to show and while it must be difficult as a mother, you do know why it is how it is. Maybe it's just about accepting that this is the interaction she can give at this time. 

post #29 of 30

I have one daughter with Asperger's (she's very high functioning, many people have no idea) and one daughter who hasn't been diagnosed with it but has some big similarities with her sister. They are both VERY uncomfortable with physical touch and have always been and are uncomfortable expressing emotions. It's a typical trait of the autistic spectrum.  Doesn't mean they don't love and appreciate me. They're just not comfortable with expressing it physically or with typical words.

 

There are other explanations for this sort of behavior, including mental illnesses such include anxiety and depression.

 

I highly recommend you speak with your doctor about this. Perhaps ask to see a psychologist and a developmental pediatrician. We didn't get a diagnosis of Asperger's until our d was 11, and it kind of blew me away. It really helped our relationship for me to find this out as I was able to learn to meet her in her place. We have a great relationship now.  If your own pediatrician blows you off, seek out a good therapist (a cognitive behavioral therapist who deals regularly with children would be a good place to start) on your own. A school psychologist might also be a good place to start putting out feelers.

 

It would be incredibly sad for both of you and destructive to her to continue with this chasm between you, so please find help soon!

 

(psychopathy and sociopathy certainly seem like extreme answers to jump to -- there is SO MUCH it could be that is nowhere near that extreme -- please put them out of your head)

post #30 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
 

 

 

 

I don't think this sounds like autism at all.

 

I have a DD on the spectrum and I also work with special needs kids. Even high functioning kids on the spectrum tend to have significant challenges at school. Even though children with autism are far less affectionate that most children, they are warmer towards mom than towards other people, rather than being colder to mom than to other people. 

 

I think there is something off in the mother/daughter relationship. Because the DD isn't having problems in other relationships, this sounds like a mother/daughter relationship problem to me.

 

It actually sounds a lot like my child on the autistic spectrum and others I know.

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