December 12 – Breaking bad news

Cribbed children are often tethered to their beds

Cribbed children are often tethered to their beds

As I mentioned in a previous post, Ana visited her dad a few weekends ago for the first time in nine months. I also mentioned it went horribly. Last night her father and I agreed that she would not be returning to his house or having any contact with him until he finds resources to help Ana while she is at his house. This may never happen.

Ana has already began asking non-stop about going to Daddy’s house because ‘daddy’s weekend’ is coming up in a few days. Today after school I got the honor of telling her she won’t be going to daddy’s this weekend or any other weekend for a very long time. Since I completely winged this one (I really wish I could have talked to a psychologist first on how to have this conversation, but oh, well) I stuck to the facts. I didn’t sugar coat it. I told her that daddy and I decided she would not be going to his house for a long time. I also told her I didn’t know when she would be going back. I didn’t blame anyone or give a reason why.

Immediately she promised she’d be good and not hurt herself if she could go. That just about broke my heart. Being a child she really things this is her fault. I told her it didn’t matter if she was good or bad, she still wouldn’t be going.

Then she asked if Drew was going. More tugging at my heart. I had to tell her, yes, Drew would still be going.

Next she asked if she could see Daddy for Christmas. Again, the answer was no.

Her anxiety went through the roof and she began biting her hand. After reading Dr. Perry’s book on attachment I now understand that it doesn’t take much for her little body to react to stress with ‘fight or flight’. If ever there was a stress, I’d call this one. I asked her if she was sad, mad, angry, scared? She told me sad and mad. We went over, again, how her body can show me, safely, those feelings. She punched the pillow, screamed, and tried to cry.

I was expecting a really bad night, but honestly, it wasn’t that bad. She never hit her ‘fight or flight’ response which is an amazing accomplishment alone. She stopped asking about daddy although she caught herself a few times start to ask. We will have to see how she does after school Friday when Drew leaves to go to daddy’s house and she doesn’t.