Friday, November 17, 2017

All Or None - Finding The Unique Balance In Trust


Trust is a big issue in our house. The majority of us have trust issues, myself included. A baby is born primed to build on the trust foundation that has already begun in the womb. However when a baby doesn't receive the nurture he needs, he doesn't feel safe and the trust pattern doesn't develop. This pattern of trust can be disrupted by many things, maternal distress, lack of nurture, if baby is a preemie or needs extensive medical procedures and/or has unabated pain. In my post, Anxiety - The Alarm Of Being Separated I wrote that it isn't necessarily the type/severity of a situation that raises alarm but how the child perceives it. If a child feels there is no way out, if he has no one to look out for him, he will be a fearful child. In reality he may have loving parents but in his mind he is all alone. This is why it is so important to not only practice attachment parenting but to make sure your child is feeling loved and secure. Looking back, that is where we messed up. We practiced TBRI but due to some of our children's unique needs, they weren't getting the message and their attachment struggles continued unabated. 

Joseph trusts everyone and Kiana trusts no one, while I only trust those who have proved themselves trustworthy. I can understand  both of my children's needs, although I can certainly relate to Kiana much more than Joseph in this area. Due to his FASD, Joseph has no sense of stranger danger, thus everyone is his friend. He cannot read body language which would tip most people off as to whether someone is a friend or foe.

Kiana spent her early months feeling fearful and insecure. When she came to us, she was pretty much on target developmentally and not knowing anything of attachment disorders we assumed all was well. She presented well and I think she would have been okay if we hadn't brought two more baby's into our home. Having three attachment challenged baby's and no knowledge of attachment is a recipe for disaster! But like so many other parents, we meant well. We thought food and love was all they needed to thrive. In hindsight I should have been wearing each of the children in a sling, bottle feeding them, massaging them and giving each one my undivided attention. I didn't, not least because it was impossible and so we exacerbated the problem.

Now I have one child who needs to be watched every moment in public because he will go with anyone. He will talk to anyone and tell them anything they wish to know. He has no sense of what is an appropriate conversation. You ask him a question and he will tell you what he thinks you want to hear. Scary stuff in this world where no one is exempt from being accused of abusing their children. Kiana on the other hand is too scared to trust Dean or I for the love and nurture she needs so she will seek it out from other people. When we go away she has no qualms about asking the hostess for things. She will cuddle up to people, look them in the eye and act as though she totally adores them. In reality she is seeking love and nurture but is too scared to get it from her parents so she seeks it from other people with whom she doesn't have to maintain an ongoing relationship. 

This means my children look like the most outgoing loving children while their parents present as overbearing and strict. This presentation makes people even more "concerned" about our children which makes them dote on them all the more. 

After a recent situation I called Kiana out on her actions. By the way, she was totally unaware why she acts as she does. I figured at 10 years of age and because she truly wants to trust us but doesn't dare, perhaps a brief lesson on attachment, such as how it occurs and what it looks like in an older child was in order. I told her what had happened - she had soaked up love from someone else and as a result was being, lets just use the word challenging! Then explained that when a child gets love from other people he doesn't need to get it from his parents. That is okay for a well attached child but devastating for a child who is scared of trust. She understood that so I asked how she thinks __________ would have reacted if she would have acted in such a manner towards them. She looked at me and said, "____________ would have given me consequences!" I almost laughed because while I don't think she would have been given a consequence, she would have been told to go play, which would have felt like one. Poor girl, no child should have an  attachment disorder and brain inflammation! If I am honest, there are days I feel no parent should have to deal with such a situation either!

We have had some late night's with Kiana this week. She is fearful and dreams up ways to keep herself safe. The trouble is her "backup" makes her uneasy so she acts out and I get the brunt of her anxiety. Last night I told her about the times when I struggled with anxiety and depression and had feelings and fears similar to what she is experiencing. She wondered how I got better and Dean said, "Mom had to talk and use true words." One of Kiana's coping mechanisms is to tell us stories that are close to the truth but still don't reveal her deep fears and emotions. She wasn't sure about that because using true words means she is giving us a level of trust which makes her very uncomfortable. You know I never dreamed I would be thankful for those months of anxiety and depression, they were awful but now I can look back and pull out bits and pieces and they help Kiana. Please pray for Kiana, she is in a vulnerable place right now, Dean and I covet your prayers as well. 

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