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Attachment Disorder

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SpiritofLife posted 8/14/2013 16:48 PM

My son (age 8) has really struggled since his dad left. We have been in therapy off and on for several years. In March we began seeing a new therapist that specializes in trauma. That's right, trauma. She has recently told me that she thinks he has an attachment disorder.

Basically, he was very attached to his dad and then his dad abondoned him at age 4 (out of his life for several months, then living about 3 to 4 hours away and seeing him about once a month).

All of these things are caused by his father, yet I am the one that has to deal with it. And it is not easy.

My son has threatened to kill me, hits me, throws things, and then on the other hand wants to sit on my lap and cuddle, and doesn't want to leave my side.

His dad is now moving closer (about 1 hour away, 4th move in 4 years) with Owife who is pregnant with a baby girl due in October. I'm relieved that his dad will be closer (because the drive to meet halfway was horrible), yet worried about the effect of the new baby.

I am so sad for my son and so extremely tired of having to deal with the fallout from my ex husband's actions.

Does anyone have any experience with attachment disorder? Or any encouraging words for me?

Thank you!

devistatedmom posted 8/14/2013 17:28 PM

I don't have any experience with this personally Spirit, but I'm sure others here have.

I do work with kids with special needs, and it sounds to me like you are doing what you should be doing; specialized counselling. Hopefully things will get better. Also, try and make sure you are taking care of you. It can be scary when you have a child with that kind of rage. Stay safe.

numbandnauseous posted 8/15/2013 00:58 AM

Spirit - I don't have any experience, but wanted to let you know that you are an amazing mom! I am so sorry that you are having to deal with your pondscum ex's actions. It is your ex's loss, not your son's. Does your son have any other father figures in his life: grandfathers, uncles? If not, consider boy scouts, big brothers, something to get him some male attention.

You are doing great and sorry you are having to deal with this.


ButterflyGirl posted 8/15/2013 06:11 AM

I think my DS6 has a little bit of what you are describing as far as pushing me away and telling me to go away, but really wanting me to be close and hold him. Sometimes I think he is testing me, seeing if he can push me away or make me leave him (when I think he really just wants the encouragement that he can't do anything that will make me leave him).

I think the best advice I've gotten in counseling is to keep my cool and simply put him in a timeout if he acts up. If I start yelling or losing my shit, well I've noticed that ALWAYS makes the situation worse.

Hitting and threatening to kill you are very serious, so I would stick to the specialized counseling for how to handle those behaviors, but I'll share a little thing I came up with that has made things so much better for us. When either of my DS act up, they simply get a timeout in their room (2 minutes for a curse word, 5 minutes for hitting, etc), but really it's just a chance for them to calm down. There's no yelling when I put them in there, it's just simply a consequence for their behavior. Then I go in (and sometimes test their mood a bit to see if they need to just calm down further) and then hold up my 5 fingers and we do a countdown of the 5 things they have to do to come out of timeout, which are 1) admit what they did wrong, 2) explain why the behavior was wrong, 3) say "sorry", 4) promise to not do it again or tell me how they will try not to, and 5) HUGS. I always end it with hugs so that we can be calm and comfortable to return to our activities in a better, loving mood..

My counselor told me that times when they were acting up were learning opportunities that I was missing, and she was right. It gives us a chance to talk about why the behavior is bad, how it is hurtful to other people, how to prevent it, etc. I think a lot of it is teaching empathy, which STBX is severely lacking in.. But I have to take the time to explain "why," not just "no," which I admit is not easy when they are frustrating me and I just want them to stop..

Sorry your ex is such a selfish ass. It's really not fair, but your boy is so very lucky to have you. And you are noticing the problem and doing your best to find solutions. I very much applaud you for what you've endured. Good luck to you guys. I hope things start looking up soon..

[This message edited by ButterflyGirl at 6:15 AM, August 15th (Thursday)]

Ashland13 posted 8/16/2013 16:41 PM

We are dealing with some of this and I'm sorry for your pain and struggle. It doesn't help and is in addition to the pain we ourselves don't get to process when we put ourselves aside for our children.

We also suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and have a little bit of what you describe.

It would be my bet that your son's feelings are coming out when he acts out and I'm so sorry they are violent and at such levels for both of you to go through.

One thing I've heard is "consistency" in these behavior disorders serves a long way, so that the child or person can know what to expect after an episode. If consistency happens each time, it may prove to be helpful to both of you-you can know what he will do and he will know what you will do and that goes along way.

Part of the trauma is that life has become unknown and we can't count on people we thought we daughter and I were abandoned when Nearly ExH snuck out in the middle of the night and we woke up and he was long gone. This was twice and two other times, he simply stomped out and slammed the door of the house he built with my face. And all because I tried to fight for our marriage. Anyway...

I've heard too that these may be a sort of primal instinct that a person has and it's their way of protecting themselves from something they think may happen to them.

I hope the counseling is going to be helpful and you sound like a good mom.

It's not easy to pick up the pieces of our children's lives, while we have so much pain and are not ourselves.

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