Abandonment related to death of sibling at age 5

by Kristie
(Missouri)

My 17 year old daughter was such a fun loving, alway happy baby, toddler and preschooler. I had my son, Clayton when she was 3 and he was very sick. I spent the next 28 months caring for him through 6 surgeries and 10 hospitalizations as well as hours of therapy. When my daughter was 5 Clayton passed away. I was determined not to let my girls lose their parents and their brother and felt I was doing a good job. However, I have very little memory of the next 5 or so years.

My daughter started showing changes at about 13 which I contributed to hormones. Now four years later I still don't have that happy go lucky daughter back. She has struggled with depression, anxiety, insomnia, lack of self esteem, difficulty bounding with peers and just feels she does not fit in any where. I took her to four different child psychologists three of which told me they could not get her to talk and she really seemed fine. She is very bright and knows what people want her to say.

After I received a call from her basketball coach that she had talked with some of her peers about suicide I became frantic. She was seen by a psychiatrist and her fourth psychologist. She was put on prozac and has been seeing the psychologist for about a year. She is just now starting to open up a bit. I am struggling with the guilt that I have caused her all of these problems and am desperate to know how I can help her. How I can fix what I have done to her. I would appreciate any feedback. thanks

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Aug 06, 2012
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What has helped me
by: Anon

I have abandonment issues from an abusive home and dysfunctional family. I'm male and turn 26 this year. What helped me more than anything was a conversation with my uncle... He asked me how I was doing at a family meeting around age 20. I told him "I'm surviving." which I was... Barely. He started to talk about how he saw how I grew up and that it was probably very difficult for me maybe more difficult than his childhood. The validation that he gave me that my pain wasn't just me being sissy or what not helped me dearly. It helped me confirm I have a problem beyond depression. That is the start of my recovery. I went to a doctor and explained how I've never felt happy. I don't feel bad most days but I definitely don't feel good. He put me on celexa and Wellbutrin. The anti depressants definitely helped, they definitely enable u. I understand why people who are suicidal are NOT given them. Your post seems quite well thought out and analyzed. I suggest u open a conversation with her and don't ask her... But tell her the situation was hard on her and u feel guilt and don't want to lose her too.

It will help open up a dialogue. Try conversation tactics to get her to talk about her qualms and pains. Dont ask, ask to have a conversation where u speak and she listens to it all and then have her respond. This type of conversation flow works quite well in these situations.

Jun 27, 2012
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Tragic events and illnesses...
by: Don

Hi!

I am sorry for the loss of your son. I admire your determination to be there for the child who is still there. The best thing you can do for children is to model the appropriate behaviors. In this case, getting help for yourself.

In situations like these, a part of us can step forward and tell us to "be strong" so you can be there for your loved ones...you did it for your son, and now you are trying to do it for your daughter. And that is definitely necessary. She needs you to be present for her.

Your daughter is on her own journey, and I am sure she has been traumatized by the events you described. How can she not be affected?

She sounds like she has learned how to "be strong" and not acknowledge her own needs or feelings to anyone but herself. So, the next thing to learn is how to open up and say "I need to talk."

If you know how, you might sit down with your daughter from time to time and start a conversation about YOUR feelings and what it has been like for you. You can even show her how to cry and that its okay to cry.

You can make it okay to talk about the life and death of your son.

Maybe you are already doing these things...if so, good for you! With the ability to be strong enough to be there for each other AND the ability to be strong enough to FEEL all of your feelings with each other is a good mix.

You may also want to make it okay for her to have her grief or anger, even though you'd like to see her happy smiling face.

One final thing - you can blame yourself if you want, but just because you had your hands full and just because it is likely that you were operating on your last reserves emotionally, doesn't mean it was your fault that your daughter is having trouble now. it is amazing you have been able to function at all! So if you were not available to her, it was through no fault of your own - it was the way it was and you ALL got hurt very badly.

Now it is time to heal and it is okay for you to start with yourself. Show her how to reach out, show her how to grieve and talk about it...even if that means you have to learn how to do it first.

I wish it could be easier and less painful, but its not! and my prayers are with you all.

Don


Jun 17, 2012
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Grief
by: Anonymous

Hi there, you sound amazing that you are not facing this alone! The best thing for our family would have been to talk about the deaths that occurred in our family-but everyone was so grief striken that we all went into survival mode. I hardly remember talking about my nana or my best friend passing away. In those days, and I still do it a bit now-we just swept the grief under the carpet. When you are little and there is a death-you just take your cues about how to deal with the pain from your parents. If the parents arent' coping very well, then for me it just meant I had a whole stack of pain to come out later. The pain of loss doens't ever really go away, but I helped my dad last year by going back to where his mum died and this was our way of putting nana to rest. My dad never talked about losing his parents and he still can't. I think he felt too tough. Seeing a counsellor for me has just been the start of the journey in also dealing with other losses. I really loved Elizabeth Kubler Rosses books on grief-they are amazing. You should check them out on line. One is called "on death and dying". So keep sticking in there with your daughter, and keep doing your own grief work with help for you. It's hard but worth it. Hope you find joy amongst this pain.

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