Monday, June 12, 2017

Tongue-biting and Letting Go

Things got pretty emotional for me the other afternoon when the hubby showed me a Wikipedia page. It was all about attachment disorder. Not only did it bring up feelings about my relationship with my mother and thoughts about my mental health challenges-it really, really brought up concerns about my nephew.

I was crying (lightly, still falling tears though) as I read the article. The descriptions of symptomatic behaviors reminded me so much of my nephew. The descriptions of neglect that lead to to these troubles reminded me so much of how my mother and sister interact with my nephew.

Don't get me wrong, they're doing their best. They just seem to be capable of only so much patience and empathy. When it runs out they walk away, put down, tease, or rough handle my nephew. He cries so hard I wonder if he'll pass out.



The majority of the time he stares blankly at others and will only interact with my mother, sister, or father (outside playing with Baby Bananaface). He's warmed up to me over the past month and things have changed dramatically between us. Now I can help him with a toy, pick him up, or exchange a few words. The first time he handed me a toy was a major event for me. I've even been able to push him around in a cart at the store or walk with him alone! Even been able to watch him while my family leaves and help him not breakdown. Big steps.

Anyways. It is all very upsetting to me. When I think about my nephew's past and see (in my opinion) when he's poorly treated now and when I think of his future... it's heartbreaking. Especially as I get to know him better and become more attached to him. He's a sweet and sensitive kid-even more so than BB-and I think that the atmosphere my family creates (has/is/will) by harmful for him.



The hubster and I talked about it and have decided that it's not our place to bring it up or try to change my family. It just feels like a violation of my moral code. I want to help! It's definitely taking some work for me to let things go and accept that it's not my responsibility. It still feels wrong as I type this... I have to take care of myself first though. Myself and my son and the hubster. Ugh... I just don't know if I can bite my tongue. It feels like a betrayal to my nephew. Abandonment or neglect on my part.

Regardless of all that I have made and will make conscious efforts to support him as much as I can. I try to be sensitive, patient, calm, and supportive during our interactions. I've stepped in and tried to deescalate situations when my mother or sister lose their cools. Sometimes that feels like stepping over the line, although the hubster witnessed this on one occasion and said that it seemed like I was helping, not barging in and taking charge or preaching.



So. That's something I'm working on of late.


As for recovery, I'm lifting BB and doing chores and walking. I've been able to get outta the house and being more active has definitely boosted my mental state! I'm nervous about going back to gym class and also looking forward to the exercise and social interaction.


Hope everyone had a great weekend! Any fun stuff??? I made lava cakes (over-baked them a smidge) and battled pine cones on the lawn with rake. Seriously, it was rough. BB went to Build-a-Bear and the hubby spoiled him with an over-the-top stuffie plus accessories. *facepalm* It was quite the event... Maybe I'll write about that later and share some pics.


Happy Monday :o)

18 comments:

  1. You are a godsend for your nephew. At least he will know what it feels like to be appreciated and protected by someone even if it's only for a short period of time. That's a good beginning and he will be able to build on that if your sister ever learns better how to do things or when someone else steps into his life from school or the neighborhood and helps him.

    I know the helpless feeling you are talking about as far as you nephew is concerned. I just moved away from a highly disfunctional family with some really messed up kids. Over the years, we've tried to help them especially a developmental disabled girl who really can't help herself. Her family is doing what they think is best, but the are falling very short in my opinion. The adults have so many of their own issues, it's hard for them to see the big picture. However, there's only so much I can do, then I have to let it go. I tell myself that for at least part of the time I made a difference.

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    1. Thank you for this. It reminds me that whatever I'm able to do still creates a ripple in the pond! Every kind act matters.

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  2. I suspect that you are doing more to change things in a positive way than you realise/give yourself credit.
    The family must notice that your nephew is responding positively to you. And your nephew (the most important person in this story) CERTAINLY notices.
    Letting go/walking away is always hard. And particularly for someone who cares as much as you do.
    Hugs.

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    1. Thank you :o) I think it does make a difference to him. The hubster was just saying how I should keep doing what I do, how I do it and be the best mom I can, maybe it'll set a good example for my family and give my nephew some of the lovin' he needs. Hugs!

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  3. Hannah, I echo live and learn's comment. Much love and warm hugs to you.

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  4. While I understand your need to take care of you and your own family, please remember the important place you have as an aunt to your nephew who cannot yet speak or do for himself. Play with him, encourage BB to interact and play with him and hug him as he allows. The more you show him consistency in your presence and actions with and toward him, the more he will learn to trust you, whether or not he trusts others. I hope he has the opportunity to see the same in teachers, friends, neighbors etc as he grows and I hope he will be able to enjoy his time with BB and your family.

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    1. This is such a good reminder that he will have opportunities to find the support he needs outside my family. I truly hope he does in the long run and while I am in his life I will do my best.

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  5. Children need positive role models in their lives and it looks he has one in you. He will know that he has a soft place to land with a loving and supportive aunt. You can't fix his whole world but you can be a loving member of his family.

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    1. True. I plan on being his Auntie Hannah no matter where we end up in life. I hope things get better for him, either way I'll be there for him however I can.

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  6. You know, you can be the loving, caring aunt that thinks of him and is there for him and has fun with him. Sometimes just one bright light is enough to cast away the shadows.

    Nothing all that fun this weekend. Got hay for the horse & did laundry on Sat. We did have an awesome gospel duo sit it at church Sunday. There are baby tomatoes on the vines.

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    1. An awesome duo sounds fun! Our tomato blooms are just showing here.

      You are right about a single light helps cast away shadows. I will remember that one!

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  7. Could you anonymously call Child Protective Services? I'm sure neighbors can hear the wee boy. I doubt it would ever get to him being removed ft he home. Maybe it would lead to parenting classes? I'm not sure what would happen there. Here they offer parenting classes and respite care. Anyway, something to consider.

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    1. I had not looked into that... I would have to find out what the parameters are for reporting. Thank you for the idea :o)

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  8. Be there for your nephew as often as possible.

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  9. There is a saying: Whatever you need, give that. You needed someone to attend to your needs back then, in a way that you didn't get. You can give that to your nephew whenever you are around, and as he grows, you can be a force for good in his life, just by letting him know how loved he is, and that he can always turn to you and your sensitive and wise husband.

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    1. This is wonderful comment and something I hope to live by. We can only do our best and hope that it helps everyone in the long run!

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Thank you for reading and commenting!

Be well, HBF