Childhood trauma triggered while developing relationship with kids

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bikesandplants

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Hi,

Has anyone here had the experience of being triggered in their relationship with their kids or other people's kids?

Since I've moved in with my partner and their kid, I've had a lot to unpack when it comes to my trauma from childhood. As things are settling in that relationship (I rarely get triggered anymore), I've noticed a lot coming up as I am developing a relationship with their kid. My anxious/avoidant tendencies show up and I am struggling with feeling connected, present, engaged and invested in my relationship with him and am unable to create the relationship I would really want with him as a result. I also get bouts of panic, shame and feelings of unworthyness.

The disconnect I feel from their lives makes me feel like I did when I was younger and felt unwanted in my own family and was spending a lot of time alone in my room when I needed connection.

I'm curious if anyone has been in a similar situation and if so would be happy to receive advice or to read about others experiences. :)

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Three Roses

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Re: Childhood trauma triggered while developing relationship with kids
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2020, 11:11:22 PM »
I found that as my eldest approached certain ages where I had experienced a traumatic event, my memories were triggered and/or I experienced cptsd symptoms (flashback, dissociation, panic, etc).

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Blueberry

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Re: Childhood trauma triggered while developing relationship with kids
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2020, 10:09:21 AM »
I've been badly triggered in situations with my godson, who is now 10, and even worse in some situations when both his siblings were around. It's got nothing to do with him or them, it's pure 'past coming up'. I'm lucky in that their mother knows and understands - she's a good friend. I have apologised to the children a few times over the years and reiterated that the way I reacted had nothing to do with them. They seem to take it in their stride. Their mother thinks they do too. I hope it's the case.

 I used to get waves of depression and a terrible visceral sinking feeling in my torso when I was with families with children, so with friends and their children for even a couple of hours. That's a long time ago, I haven't had that for a long time. So it has got better and I hope it does for you too, bikes and plants.

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buddy9832

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Re: Childhood trauma triggered while developing relationship with kids
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2020, 11:07:26 AM »
I can relate as well. I have two kids one 4 months the other about 2.5. For my daughter, the 2.5 year old, I see behaviors that remind me of my childhood: acting out, anger, rage, throwing and wanting to break things. And it brings me back. It brings me back to when I was young and had trouble coping. The pain I felt that never felt like it was resolved and ultimately as I grew the unworthiness and shame that I felt grew.

Seeing manifestations of my demons in my daughter terrifies me. It makes me scared that Im putting my past into her and that she will feel the same pain, abandonment, guilt and shame that I feel and felt. It also makes me think that even though Im doing my best to be an amazing father and role model for her that Im screwing her up.

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Kizzie

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Re: Childhood trauma triggered while developing relationship with kids
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2020, 05:13:26 PM »
Quote
It's got nothing to do with him or them, it's pure 'past coming up'. I'm lucky in that their mother knows and understands - she's a good friend. I have apologised to the children a few times over the years and reiterated that the way I reacted had nothing to do with them. They seem to take it in their stride. Their mother thinks they do too. I hope it's the case.

I quoted BB b/c I really do believe as parents/godparents we need to help our families understand it is NOT them, that we love them and try to do our best despite the symptoms we struggle with. 

I know that if my parents had ever explained they behaved in certain ways at times because they had suffered trauma it would have meant it wasn't me and that would have mitigated a lot of the inevitable shame, worthlessness, feelings of defectiveness that I felt believing it was me.

A couple of resources that might help:

https://parentingwithptsd.wordpress.com/ - You thought you were over it. Then you had kids of your own, and your childhood abuse was being re-lived through flashbacks and panic attacks. You have been afraid to tell anyone, because you are so scared of what might happen. But you are not alone, and there is help.

https://www.motherhoodandmore.com/a-love-letter-to-the-cycle-breakers/ - Children don't need for parents to be perfect, they need to know they are loved and that you are trying.

« Last Edit: June 05, 2020, 12:10:32 PM by Kizzie »

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bikesandplants

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Re: Childhood trauma triggered while developing relationship with kids
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2020, 10:17:38 PM »
Thanks so much to all of you for taking the time to reply and share about your experiences (and sorry I couldn't answer earlier).

Thanks @Kizzie for the ressources. I will definitely check them out. Though I don't really have a parental rle in the kid's life, our relationship is really important to me and how my own stuff affects him too.

@Blueberry : The sinking feeling you described resembles how it feels to me too sometimes. I'm glad to read that it doesn't happen a lot to you anymore. It makes me hopeful that my trauma will move through my body and transform and that the depression and anxiety won't be as present.

I empathize a lot with you @buddy9832. It sounds really hard to have those fears of perpetuating the trauma you've lived. I think that is a fear many people with trauma face. I found it to be one of the most distressing fears and it can bring up a lot of shame. Hope you're able to be gentle with yourself through all of that.

Thanks for sharing @Three Roses.

 :grouphug:





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Kizzie

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Re: Childhood trauma triggered while developing relationship with kids
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2020, 12:11:05 PM »
 :grouphug:

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catscantdo

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Re: Childhood trauma triggered while developing relationship with kids
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2020, 03:21:49 AM »
Hi! I can totally relate to this.  I actually  spent a year working with kids in a treatment center which brought up a lot of stuff as I built relationships with the kids I was working with.  Just watching kids being kids is hard for me and brings up a lot of emotions.  Mostly I feel glad that most of the kids I am around have more opportunities than I did.  Kids are mirrors you get to see them make the same mistakes and discoveries you made at the same age.  It can even remind you of some things you've forgotten or haven't processed through yet.  Just try to take it as it comes and do your best not to let it effect the kid.

It's important to know your limit.  Kids are exhausting and battling with triggers even more so.  Don't feel bad if you need to take a break from him from time to time.  Explain it to your partner and maybe even the kid in an age appropriate way.  Such as you feel tired and need some time for yourself to recharge when you feel overwhelmed.  Just like with any relationship establish healthy boundaries and don't feel guilty about it.  If you need some time take it for yourself. 

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bikesandplants

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Re: Childhood trauma triggered while developing relationship with kids
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2020, 06:33:09 PM »
Hi! I can totally relate to this.  I actually  spent a year working with kids in a treatment center which brought up a lot of stuff as I built relationships with the kids I was working with.  Just watching kids being kids is hard for me and brings up a lot of emotions.  Mostly I feel glad that most of the kids I am around have more opportunities than I did.  Kids are mirrors you get to see them make the same mistakes and discoveries you made at the same age.  It can even remind you of some things you've forgotten or haven't processed through yet.  Just try to take it as it comes and do your best not to let it effect the kid.

It's important to know your limit.  Kids are exhausting and battling with triggers even more so.  Don't feel bad if you need to take a break from him from time to time.  Explain it to your partner and maybe even the kid in an age appropriate way.  Such as you feel tired and need some time for yourself to recharge when you feel overwhelmed.  Just like with any relationship establish healthy boundaries and don't feel guilty about it.  If you need some time take it for yourself.

Hey! Thanks for your response. It felt validating to know that others too struggle around kids and have stuff coming up while building relationships with kids.  Thanks for your advice.

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I'm finding it hard to find a balance between engaging (because I do care and love him a lot and want to build a relationship with him) and taking time for myself. Lately it has felt more like I've been disengaged and not as present as I would like. I don't know if it's fear, or just that I need this time to work through some stuff to better show up like I want. I'm feeling pretty exchausted by the first year of living with them and constantly handling trauma stuff, but also feel really sad of feeling disconnected from their lives most of the time...

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Bermuda

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Re: Childhood trauma triggered while developing relationship with kids
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2020, 05:09:50 PM »

Has anyone here had the experience of being triggered in their relationship with their kids or other people's kids?

Yes, absolutely. I can relate. I was a kindergarten teacher, and now am a mother myself. It is hard, but at least for me, a lot of those triggers improved just from HAVING to face them. The emotional detachment is something I still struggle with.