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Discussion Starter #1
I'm so upset right now I can hardly function. My eyes keep welling up at work and I'm just a mess.<br><br>
Last night I was trying to fill out some important paperwork and dd was wanting my attention. Dh was trying to distract her and they were playing on the bed. Dd was being kind of physically wild - trying to get around him to get over to me - and they were sort of tickling and wrestling.<br><br>
I didn't see what happened but dh said "You kicked me!" and was rubbing the side of his face. Dd was on her back and laughing. She stopped and looked at him. Usually she's very sensitive and contrite about anything like that, but I think she was feeling frustrated about being contained like that. So she started blowing raspberries at him. He said "That's not funny, Dd!" and she did it again.<br><br>
They were sitting up facing each other at this point and there was kind of a pause in which you could tell that dh was really mad but not sure what to do. Then he slapped her right in the nose and mouth. Straight on, not from the side where it would have hit her cheek. But straight into her face so that his palm hit her nose and mouth. I'm just shaking right now as I write this.<br><br>
I instantly yelled "Stop it!" and grabbed her up into my arms. She started wailing and holding onto me. She was crying so hard that she was doing that gasping thing, where she couldn't breathe or talk. You know like "Y..Ye..yes". <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/gloomy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Gloomy">: <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/gloomy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Gloomy">: <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/gloomy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Gloomy">: She's only ever cried like that once in her life with us and that was the first day at daycare when we left her for 20 minutes. She'd never been left somewhere before - had been cared for at home by a nanny - and I think the daycare reminded her of the orphanage. The teachers had convinced us that it was best to just leave her and let her cry, so we did that first time for only a brief time. When we came back it was obvious to everyone, including the teachers, that this was not the right way to do it with her, as she was just hysterical. After that I stayed with her and gradually got her used to being dropped off over about the next 3 months.<br><br>
Anyway, dh was instantly sorry and kept trying to touch her and apologize, but she wouldn't let him near. I asked him to just keep away until she calmed down. She eventually did, but was very shaky and sort of wild eyed and manic in her behavior. This morning he had to leave town for a few days and she pulled away and refused to kiss him, which she's never done before.<br><br>
She was physically fine. I'm sure it just stung for a few minutes and it left no mark. But I feel like she's really taken a hard blow emotionally. This is just so out of character for how we parent her. She's never been spanked, we don't use time outs, we don't yell. Usually just knowing that we're displeased is enough to cause her distress. If she senses I'm not happy about something she'll remember it days later and apologize to me out of the blue, saying "Mama, I'm sorry for fighting with you".<br><br>
Dh feels like a jerk. I've talked to him about how shaming and inappropriate it was to hit her square in the face like that. He just acts miserable and says "I know, I know. I feel like a terrible father."<br><br>
To top everything off, we got an early morning phone call that dh's mother is critically ill and went for emergency surgery. It's looking now like she's going to be okay, but now he's had to leave suddenly and is gone dealing with that for the next several days, which sort of left this whole issue hanging.<br><br>
I guess I just need some help processing this. I know this probably isn't a focused adoption issue, but I felt that dd's reaction was fueled by her abandonment fears and related to her early life trauma, so I wanted to reach out to this community in asking for help on this.<br><br>
Thanks for listening.
 

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no advice, but I didn't want to read and not post. What a scary sad thing.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>blessed</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7907039"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">This is just so out of character for how we parent her. She's never been spanked, we don't use time outs, we don't yell. Usually just knowing that we're displeased is enough to cause her distress.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> I'm not normally part of this forum but I saw this under the new posts . ..<br><br>
The above quote really stood out to me. Not only is this not how you normally parent, your DD not immediately acting sorry is not how <i>she</i> usually reacts. (Though, IMO, how she acted in this instance is completely normal.) From how you describe your DH's reaction, it is obvious he knows he did something wrong, but I think it's time to nip it in the bud-- to learn about realistic expectations for a child's behavior through reading some books and such.<br><br>
It sounds like she has been cooperative until this point (which is atypical, IMO) and her being uncooperative threw him for a loop. I don't know how long she's lived with you, but I actually see her being uncooperative as a BIG step in the right direction-- that she is really trusting you and DH. It is unfortunate that DH missed the opportunity to cement this trust. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
I would discuss "the pause" with your DH-- the moment where he actually paused before hitting her. That pause means it was not just a knee-jerk reaction, and that next time he has to use that moment to get a grip and VOW that he will not touch her (hit her, move her, anything) when he is angry. Too dangerous. HE is the adult. HE has to have self-control. It sounds like he learned his lesson, but it needs reinforcement thru study and he should learn what he SHOULD do next time.<br><br>
As for DD-- I'd only discuss it if she brings it up. I'd just reassure her in other ways-- baby her-- in the meantime.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> to you all!
 

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Big hugs mama <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> I'm not sure what the correct appropriate response is or if there even is one. Is there any chance in a day or two you can sit down with her and bring up the incident? Not sure how old she is or if she is able to verbalize it. If she is you could ask her how it felt and if it brought up any memories. If she is younger, which I think she is, the best I can say is just to console her and show her lots of affection. It may take a while for her to be around or feel secure around your DH. I definetly wouldn't push giving him hugs or kisses but let her get there on her own. Also it may not hurt to call and ask a professional what their thoughts would be. Big hugs mama, you will get through this.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br>
Does your dh come from a household where there was physical punnishment (slapping/spanking)? I ask because I did, and I know from experience that sometimes the urge to hit as a punnishment comes up before your rational mind has a chance to even realize it. I'm sure your dh feels awful, and I'm sure this has been a wake up call. You know him best, but if he truly feels that bad, and if this is a first offense, I wouldn't rub his nose in it too much. He'll be his own worst critic, and what he needs from you is compassion, understanding, and support.<br><br>
I hope your little girl heals and forgets this very quickly. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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I don't post often, and I don't normally lurk over here to the adoption forum. But, I couldn't read this and not post either.<br><br>
Hugs to you. I can only imagine what you are going through, trying to process this.<br><br>
It really does sound like this is out of character for your DH, and it may be that him being out of town for a bit will help things blow over. Not in the way that they don't need to be dealt with, but in the way that emotions can calm down before discussions.<br><br>
I think if I were in the situation, that after discussing my feelings, concerns, etc with DH, that I would hope for him to express his regret and lessons learned. I would try to include my child in a later conversation as well. And then, I would move on.<br><br>
While I will never be one to condone physical punishment in any form, I do believe that as parents we make mistakes. We make decisions, sometimes we make them aware that what we are doing is not in our kids best interest as well. Like in this case, the pause before the hit - I'm sure that DH "knows" that hitting your DD isn't appropriate. It was a mistake. Granted - I would also be mindful of a pattern beginning to start for either DH, DD or myself as a result of the incident.
 

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This sounds so heartwrenching and sad! One of the things that I was wondering was if he apologized once she had calmed down. I heard you that he tried to help while she was still crying and fearful, but what about afterwards? Since it seems she is more than 3 from your sig, she should be able to listen to him if he were to sit down and take responsibility for his behavior and deeply apologize for violating her trust (not in those words, quite, but in words she can understand). This could be a significant breach between them if this doesn't happen. I do not think it would be surprising if she were wary and hypervigilant around him for quite some time, depending on her history. If she had any abuse in the past, she may take some time to get over this as it may be retraumatizing. (a child without abandonment/abuse would probably bounce back more quickly). She may also regress a little in response, needing more cuddling or 'forgetting' to do things she knows how to do.<br><br>
Sending all three of you support as you work through this.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks everyone. I'm feeling a little more rational now, having had some time to just let things settle. Sorry if I was sounding overly dramatic.<br><br>
I've been married to dh for almost 11 years, and together for 13, and haven't ever seen anything like this from him. I guess for a lot of families this wouldn't be such a major ordeal. But I just can't reconcile this behavior. Honestly, if I'd seen something like this early on, we wouldn't be married right now. This just rocks my whole perception of him.<br><br>
Dh was spanked rarely as a child. But his oldest sister is not on speaking terms with their dad. She claims that he physically abused her as a teen - hit her in the face and kicked her in anger. The other 3 kids deny any of that happened and say that she is embellishing. But over time and in talking to her, I've come to favor that she is probably telling the truth. FIL is a kind and decent man, but has sort of a brittleness to his nature. I can easily imagine him losing it in a fit of anger and striking out.<br><br>
I think it does bother me that this was a considered act for dh and not just a lashing out without thought or intent. He admits that he was "just trying to stop her" - from laughing and mocking him, I guess. I told him that in such a circumstance he should just tell her "if you can't play nicely you're going to have to get down" and place her off the bed onto the floor. That is enough to reduce her completely to tears and make her regretful. Hitting her in the face has had the opposite effect. Now she is simultaneously fearful and defiant. When dh called today I put the phone up to her ear and she angrily blew raspberries into it, refusing to talk to him. She's never done that before.<br><br>
I do feel as though dh and dd need to openly address this. I know that she won't forget this, and will do better if he can place his actions into some context for her. I suggested that he talk to her about how she's seen kids at school hit sometimes when they're frustrated, and that daddy did the same thing. But that hitting is wrong for everybody - adults and kids - and that he is very sorry for doing it.
 

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Thank you for such an honest post - I'm really sorry your family is struggling with this right now. My belief, from my own experience of growing up in a pretty difficult family situation, is that good intentions and shame about my actions are not sufficient to change them. I would recommend that your dh figure out WHY he reacted the way he did, and make a plan for what to do when a similar situation happens again - walk away, go get you, count to 10, sing a silly song, whatever - and then rehearse it in his mind. If he doesn't feel able to do that, then he needs to get some kind of outside assistance - anger management, counseling, a parenting book group - whatever can help him over this difficulty. Sometimes our children find a very old pattern inside of us and it gets activated, and we need help breaking that link.<br><br>
I agree that while it isn't exactly adoption related, I do feel that a lot of our children are extra fragile in some respects. Our daughter just loses it on the rare occasions that we yell. Our daughter is also able to accept apologies and have a reconciliation when things get difficult, and I'll bet your daughter and your husband will also be able to work through this.<br><br>
Best wishes to you -
 

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Hugs mama..... we all make mistakes.<br>
I hope when dh gets back they can work this out. I know they can.<br>
Emilie
 

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I too would be upset if I witnessed this type of event but too be blunt, I think the situation is being blown out of proportion and its affecting your DD. It seems that she is probably sensing your upset over it, even when we don't think its obvious, its amazing the subtelness a child can pick up on, and is acting accordingly. A child that young can forgive and forget fairly easily and I think she be allowed to do that.<br><br>
You DH isn't going to be a perfect parent all the time. He made a really bad choice and he knows it and has apologized for it. What else can he realistically do at this point except to move on and not do this again? Now he knows he needs to walk away from those type of games sooner rather than later.<br><br>
Maggie
 

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I am so sorry that you have to go through this.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hug2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Hug2"><br><br>
The behavior that you described is very typical for our dd. One thing that has helped us is to kind of rehearse how we will deal with it. Hurting and laughing in the victim's face is so hard to discipline. Everything in our body wants to hit when dd intentionally hurts us and laughs.<br><br>
Good luck
 

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Hugs hun!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>lauren</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7910170"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">This sounds so heartwrenching and sad! One of the things that I was wondering was if he apologized once she had calmed down..</div>
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Sort of. He tried to, but she was in this strange manic funk. After several minutes she had calmed down and let him pick her up, but she was speaking in this shrill, sobbing kind of voice and kept interrupting him, talking over everything he said. He was walking around trying to calm her and she was pushing around in his arms as though she couldn't get comfortable. She was directing him to constantly do something or other - 'go over there, Daddy! No, there! Put your arm here! Don't talk! Quiet! I want bear! Bear! Get bear, daddy!' Then she just wanted to be back in my arms. After that she pointedly refused every attention he gave her.<br><br>
He called back again later this evening. Usually she clamors for the phone when she knows it's him, and excitedly talks about her day. This time she put her hands over her ears and shut her eyes, refusing to take the phone or listen to his voice.<br><br>
He's feeling pretty dejected. I guess we both are. I don't think I've ever seen her this upset before. I don't think it helped at all that he immediately had to leave town to tend to his mother. Plus he (and I) were obviously very upset about learning of her condition and I'm sure dd incorporated that emotional distress into her perceptions about the slapping.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>blessed</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7910205"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I think it does bother me that this was a considered act for dh and not just a lashing out without thought or intent. He admits that he was "just trying to stop her" - from laughing and mocking him, I guess. .</div>
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Even with your dh's pause, it may not have been a "considered act." I know that pause...I've been there and felt that. During that pause, your anger is surging, your hand is twitching, your heart is pumping, and your rational mind is doing the equivalent of trying to jump in front of a freight train. That pause, that "consideration" was probably not anything close to an attempt to think through his next move--it was a lifetime of experience and emotion overwhelming a father's true feelings and rational mind.<br><br>
Of course, I don't know all of this is _true_, I can only tell you how I've experienced it. From what you say of your dh, though, it sounds as if he's an excellent father and this is completely out of his character. Now that he knows what can happen, what can come from his anger and frustration, he'll do a much better job.<br><br>
And I hope I'm saying this gently, I don't mean it with any kind of blame or judgement, but I agree that your emotional reaction to this incident may be affecting your daughter's reaction. I'm not saying it shouldn't be taken seriously, but if you're blown out of the water by it, if it's truly changed how you see him as a person, she's going to pick up on that and be similarly blown out of the water.<br><br>
Wishing you and your family a lot of healing right now. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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Discussion Starter #18
It's interesting to me that there are some folks perceiving my reaction as 'blown out of proportion'.<br><br>
I wonder what the response would be if I posted that dh had slapped me across the face because I accidently kicked him during roughhousing and he didn't think I was acting sorry enough. Or that a work colleague slapped my face because he thought I was laughing at him?
 

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<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>blessed</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7914463"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">It's interesting to me that there are some folks perceiving my reaction as 'blown out of proportion'.<br><br>
I wonder what the response would be if I posted that dh had slapped me across the face because I accidently kicked him during roughhousing and he didn't think I was acting sorry enough. Or that a work colleague slapped my face because he thought I was laughing at him?</div>
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The same.<br><br>
If it was one incident, there was no history of this type of behavior, the person was truly sorry and apologized and realized that his actions were unacceptable, then that has to be the end of it. People do make mistakes and learn from them.<br><br>
I guess I could also turn the situation and put your in your DH place. How would you feel? What do you think you would do to make it right? How long would you want him to harp on it? How would you feel if it seemed liked he may be influencing your DD's opinion of you based on this one incident?<br><br>
Maggie
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>blessed</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7914463"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">It's interesting to me that there are some folks perceiving my reaction as 'blown out of proportion'.<br><br>
I wonder what the response would be if I posted that dh had slapped me across the face because I accidently kicked him during roughhousing and he didn't think I was acting sorry enough. Or that a work colleague slapped my face because he thought I was laughing at him?</div>
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I don't think he hit her because she kicked him, I think he hit her because she reacted in a mocking and disrespectful way. (I KNOW that she's very young, I know that what he did is not justifiable. I also know that facts and feelings aren't always the same thing.) I think it's an important distinction because it's a different "trigger" for him to analyze. It's almost certain that he will be challenged this way again as a parent and he needs a plan for how he will react next time.
 
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