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Projecting Fear Onto My Child?

Discussion in 'General' started by Seeking_Nirvana, Sep 23, 2007.

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  1. Seeking_Nirvana

    Seeking_Nirvana I'm a VIP

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    My daughter is very frightened and has nightmares. It seems when I'm most frightened she seems to pick up on it even though I try to hide it.

    Is she afraid because of me? Does anyone have issues like this? If so what have you done to help your child to feel safe.

    I sprayed water around her bed and told her it was magic and would protect her, and that worked for awhile.

    Now she has Care Bears that she thinks protect her, but she still has nightmares and is afraid to sleep by herself.

    She hasn't been abused or anything, and this enviornment is safe. I don't talk about my issues in front of her anymore.

    Spell check is still not working

    Thanks
    Tammy
     
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  3. Lisa

    Lisa Well-Known Member

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    I think kids very easily pick up moods and feelings, particularly if it is fear/danger. If you are feeling scared she probably is picking up on it. How old is she?

    I don't have a child so I cannot speak from a parents experience, but I am wondering... instead of trying to reassure her with magical or fantastical or 'not real' protective things if it tends to 'wear off', have you tried protecting her with the most powerful thing you have- You being her mother, and letting her know that you will not let any harm come to her and that there is nothing to be scared of.

    Probably the first thing to do is to ask her if she has any worries or why she sometimes feels scared? Children have their own fears that are very normal, like the darkness or spiders and things that some children tend to become scared of. She may have a worry or fear that she hasn't yet told you or doesn't know how to. If she is old enough to be at school, or if she goes to a nursery, is she having any problems settling in?
     
  4. Seeking_Nirvana

    Seeking_Nirvana I'm a VIP

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    Projecting fear onto children

    She is 6 years old.
    She had a nightmare the other night about a Black Panther being in the house. I have told her she is safe in our home a lot of times. I walked with her through the house so she could check to make sure there was no Black Panther in the house.

    Last night I promised her she was safe and that her dad and I wouldn't let anything happen to her.

    She is afraid of spiders/bugs and the closets/shadows.

    If she sees me checking the doors to make sure they are locked she gets scared. She seems to know that I over check the doors at times. But I think that the only thing she is aware of from me?

    I wish I knew if it is coming from me or is she is just a typical child. My oldest son never had any of these problems, but then again he wasn't up my butt all of the time like she is.

    Thanks
    Tammy
     
  5. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    But you lead us to believe you have in the past, and kids have impeccable memories. Also, if she is around you then she is going to see PTSD, no way around it. You may try looking in the information section as there is info on secondary PTSD. It is not PTSD I must stress but people always around you like your kids and spouse can develop some of the symptoms.

    What she is doing sounds like a normal kid, but it crosses the normal boundary and she is feeding off of you when she reacts that way because of your fears showing. Or do you think maybe you are just more sensitive to this behavior because you are going through a fearful moment or anxiety?

    And yes, I know not all kids do this. My 3 year old insists we shut her bedroom door at night and no night light. But she has a huge startle response and I know it is learned.
     
  6. Seeking_Nirvana

    Seeking_Nirvana I'm a VIP

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    I think she remembers my comments from the past. My husband brought it to my attention that she is getting scared when I say I'm scared.

    I don't do that anymore in front of her, but I guess she still remembers.

    Yes, I feel I'm sensitive to it now because I'm at my worst (but getting better). I don't want her to have to deal with this type of thing, and would like to figure out how to hide it from her.

    I wouldn't let my husband or her come to the hospital when I was there because I didn't want her to have any wierd memories, or wonder why I was there.

    I will check out secondary PTSD. I have never heard of it before. Thanks for the input!

    Tammy
     
  7. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt! Premium Member

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    Tammy,

    We have had many threads and polls on this very topic. How much do we affect our children, our partners, etc...

    I think that our PTSD affects them very much and that we need to be aware of this. Also, we teach our children how to react. I find, with my son, that my best bet is to tell Matt that I am not reacting normally and that this is my stress reaction. I highlight the difference for him.

    If your trying to hide your PTSD from your child, you already lost. Children are highly tuned into our moods and reactions. They have to be. The only person your hiding this from is yourself.

    I feel that it would be best to be open and honest about how your react, IMHO. This would open up the door to teaching her what is a way to react. I don't mean going overboard or speaking above a level they can understand.

    Wish I could explain this better!! *grrrs at self*

    bec
     
  8. Awakening

    Awakening Well-Known Member

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    I just have to respond to this. As a child of a very loving mum who suffered post natal depression and various bouts of depression & anxiety.

    I wouldn't hide it from a child IMHO. I would explain about fear vs anxiety. I think Anthony has posted an article somewhere from Dr Phil, about rational fears and irrational fears. It could be a really good opportunity for you to explain about what fear is, that its okay to be scared, the likelihood of something fearful actually occuring etc. Grrr I'm a bit like Bec I'm not sure how to explain it!

    Don't get me wrong I love my mum very much & she was an excellent mother. However in therapy now, I have a lot of memories of her unexplained crying behind bedroom doors, secret whispered conversations between my nan & my dad, phone calls. No one ever told me what the hell was going on. I remember asking my dad, my nan, my aunt 'what's wrong with mummy?' and I'd only ever get 'nothings wrong with mummy' or 'shes just a bit tired or not feeling well'. I wish someone had sat me down & explained it to me. Children have a way of making it about them.

    Hopefully I haven't made this post about me. I just wanted to a) reassure the parents out there that your kids are resilent & love goes a long way but b) be honest, they pick up everything and may interpret your mood as a reflection of them.
     
  9. Seeking_Nirvana

    Seeking_Nirvana I'm a VIP

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    Thanks Bec and Awakening, I will tell her at some point. It will have to feel right inside of me before I do it though.

    I don't want to scare her further by telling her how much I'm afraid at times. I will think on this further and decide how to go about it.

    Tammy
     
  10. Nam

    Nam I'm a VIP

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    My oldest daughter was just 1 1/2 when I was going through "hell". I do believe that she learned to not think rationally when she feels anxious. Instead, she just panics and runs. She's five years old now and still has problems with anxiety and anger. My hubs and I have discussed her reactions many times and we both think it's both learned from my PTSD and also partly her personality. My middle child, who was a newborn during "hell" time, doesn't have these issues. She instead is very insightful and thinks thoroughly before making her decision to do something.

    I think the best thing to do with your child is to explain that being scared is ok. It really is...it's how you react to it that is so hard to teach. You should also ask her what she would like to do as a solution to her fears. She may have some creative answers. I think you'll also see that once you get better, so will she.
     
  11. Seeking_Nirvana

    Seeking_Nirvana I'm a VIP

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    I think it might be the individual personality of some children because my son is fine and he has seen me go through some pretty tough situations after my car accident, and seeing me freak out when I found my father's dead body.

    I was finishing up on reading on secondary PTSD yesterday and found it useful. I feel my mother may have had it due to incest and abuse, because as a small child I was in fear of my life all day and night. I was consumed with it, and there wasn't any reason to be that scared. I had a dysfunctional family and there was some abuse to my mom from my dad but my older sister was fine.

    Thanks for all the advice veiled, bec, awakening, and Nam
     
  12. erryyn

    erryyn Member

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    I don't know if this counts at all, as I have no children and have very little experience with them but I know I was very hypersensitive as a kid. I could be in my bedroom, listen to my father come home from work, and by the time he opened the front door, shut it, and walked through the living room, I knew exactly what kind of mood he was in.

    If your child is sensitive (or hypersensitive), I don't know how you can avoid having her pick up on it. I know, as a kid, I hated the uncertainty, worry, and fear of not knowing. But I don't know where your daughter is or, of course, what the answers are for her. I just know a whole lot of kids tend to be pretty smart and sensitive about what's going on with their parents.
     
  13. reallydown

    reallydown I'm a VIP

    Hmm this is an interesting thread and I'll try to answer...to the best of my ability...The experiences I had as a child were enough to scare the living daylights out of me...which they did...but I think my parents' reactiosn also contributed...they tried to be there but at the same time were too busy trying to get us to survive to really be careful about how they reacted to things in front of us...so a lot o f their fears and worries were also projected on us in addiiton to our own...sorry if I'm not making much sense and I don't know how helpful this is...I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you can try to reassure your daughter that she's safe...It's also a different situation...my parents were not really in a position to guarantee our safety...kids pick up on a lot of things...trust me...To this day my parents ar enot aware of just how much I rememebr about what happened and really how it all has affected me...so maybe you can also talk to you daughter, and try to explain (without going into too much detail) especially as she gets older and try to get her to ttell you what she thinks is making her so scared etc...Hope that helps
     
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