Anyone have a difficult child that defies their own gfgness in a certain area?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by keista, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. keista

    keista New Member

    DD1 has anxiety. Sometimes very severe to the point where she will actually regress into infant-like behavior - thumb sucking, rocking in fetal position, tantrums, etc. She also possesses an 'illogical' factor to this where she knows that something scares her, but she wants to enjoy the fun part that doesn't bother her, but one little slip up towards the scary stuff and she freaks out. The best example of this was last summer at camp. The lake had leaches, leaches live in the muck, DD1 will not wade into the water. This is perfectly fine and acceptable. HOWEVER, she sees all the kids paddling out to the middle of the lake on surf boards and it looks like fun and she wants to go. I ASSURE her there are NO leaches in the deep water only in the muck. She goes, but falls off the board, and starts screaming bloody murder, and 5 Dads jump in to save her. She freaked because of the thought of leaches. Again, I assure her, and EVERYONE assures her, there are NO leaches in the deep water. She repeated this all 4 days last year. Her freak outs became smaller but were still there. In one way it seems as if she is actively trying to overcome her own fears, but on the other hand she puts herself under a lot of unnecessary stress because this cycle is emotionally draining on her - she's just a shell of herself for a few hours following this kind of situation.

    So that's background information, and I just realized that what I was about to write does seem to follow this same pattern. There are some things she just seems DRIVEN to do despite her anxieties. This past Spring she sang a song in the school talent show and got rave reviews. She has a naturally pretty voice. She needs practice and training, but despite a flawed performance, everyone gushed over her talent. She knows she has a good voice and is driven to perform, but would be perfectly happy and content if the adoration ended at the applause. She HATES the extra attention and compliments she gets following the performance - too much work she says. None the less, she was determined to sing at the camp talent show.

    Well, she went a step further. She wrote her own song the first day of camp. Lyrics down on paper, melody in her head. OK, honey, are you sure you want to do this? YES! OK, practice, practice, practice. Would you like me to see if Rusty will back you up on guitar? Ah, um, er, I guess so. Rusty teaches music to disabled kids so from my point of view this is a match made in heaven. I got them together, and they are ready for the show. (by the way she was the first one signed up on the talent show roster) I wasn't allowed to be a part of their practice sessions - this is another odd thing about her anxieties with ppl. She claims she's more comfortable dealing with strangers when I'm not around????????? Anyway, I got to listen in on their 'dress rehearsal' and I was moved to tears. But I'm Mom - I'm proud of my kids' accomplishments no matter what.

    I was so nervous for her, but she did very well, and EVERYONE was impressed. As soon as she finished, a friend turned to me and asked who composed the song. I said she did. No, I mean who wrote the music? She did. WOW! Just WOW!

    BUT like I had just posted before, this child is completely drained from the experience. She barely made it through the rest of the show, curled up and rested her head in my lap. She clung to me like velcro for the evening snacks and when ppl came up to compliment and congratulate her, she could barely look at them let alone thank them graciously for the compliments. She did not "freak out" but was truly exhausted and spent the hour or so before bed in our cabin instead of playing with the other kids as usual.

    So I'm wondering if anyone else sees anything like this with their kids. Not just with anxiety, but any facet of gfgdom that occasionally seems to contradict itself in a positive light?

    And yes, I'll share the video, because after all, I am a peacock of a mom. I just wish she's spend some time editing, revising, tweaking (she doesn't like to do that with ANYTHING) and practicing.

  2. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    My son does not put himself into situations like that, but I can see where you're coming from. (She sounds a bit like me when I was her age. Except that there were 5 of us, and at any given moment, you're either going to get a compliment, rave reviews, a punch to the jaw, laughed at, or have your candy stolen.)

    I think ... or maybe I just hope that she is learning to steel and steady herself through all of this, instead of making it worse, Know what I mean?? Does she have a therapist who can walk her through the emotions and put a better spin on it?
  3. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    I am obviously not the one picking up the pieces when she is done, but I would encourage her in her what you call "illogical" factor. Some of the greatest performers in music (thinking of Will i am of the Black eyed peas just to name one) have real anxious, shy personnalities. The stage can feel like a buble and you don't realize what you have done until it is over (personal experience). And I COMPLETELY understand not wanting the afterward attention (still personal experience). Really nothing wrong with that. It might look "impolite" to some people, oh well... the "fans" will survive. As long as you don't force her and she understands the consequences, let her do it and embrasse it. Did you ask her why she does it?
  4. keista

    keista New Member

    Terry, she 'kind of' has a therapist. Due to scheduling issues, she hasn't seen the therapist since May. The next appointment is tomorrow, but that's for me to go over all her symptoms and figure out what things they should work on. Unfortunately this therapist's regular schedule is once every 2 weeks which is bad enough, but even worse with a child that doesn't want to open up and talk about anything 'important' We might be shopping for a new one, but I'm a bit reluctant because DD1 seems to like this one and open up more than in the past. And yes, I do hope "she is learning to steel and steady herself through all of this". With each new challenge I remind her of how well she did with previous ones.

    Ktlc, I have asked her why she does it, and she doesn't know. She just wants to. After reviewing the video together, she told me she was PETRIFIED, and I asked her again why she did it anyway, and she still has no answers. She is not self-reflective at all. She can't/doesn't want to figure out her motivations for ANYTHING, and when things go bad is always reluctant to discuss negative feelings even after the fact.
  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    Hmm. I couldn't get sound on the video.

    But my take on what you're saying is this:

    difficult child, despite her anxiety issues, is determined to fight past them to do what she wants and to be as like other kids her age as possible. This is GOOD. But despite her efforts, there are going to be times when it just gets the best of her. Like with the leeches. That she continues to try is just plain awesome.

    I know it can drive you crazy when she begs to do things and then the anxiety takes over and she falls apart. But honestly, it's the trying part that counts. And with each success she has, she'll do better because she'll gain for confidence. She probably feels more at ease with strangers because they don't know her and will probably never see her she doesn't have to worry about reliving a bad moment with them. Know what I mean??

    I have had severe anxiety issues. Confronting those fears is very important in getting rid of them or just gaining control over them. It can take many many tries before success is seen, and usually it's small. But it does sound like at the rate she is going, she will eventually learn to control the anxiety and find ways to cope with it.
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It does sound like she is trying to push herself to fit in, despite her fears. She also sounds like there is a certain amount of denial adding to the mix. As in "I don't need lessons, I'll do it later," when really, it would help on so many levels. Lessons would also help her with her anxiety about being out front.

    I was a kid who was, at times and for various reasons, performing. I was trained in public speaking and also in choir, as a kid. I remember being in an eisteddfod doing a cold reading and I won. At other times I would be reciting poetry, or playing piano. Afterwards people came up to me and told me how much they enjoyed it and how poised and relaxed I had looked - I had been terrified! I remember being amazed that they had not noticed my knees shaking or the quaver in my voice. That was when I began to realise that I might feel nervous (flamin' terrified!) but the audience would not notice, nor would they be critical.

    I learned a few tricks by having lessons. One useful trick was how to SEEM to be making eye contact with your audience, even when you're so terrified that any eye contact at all will freeze you silent and rigid to the spot. I also learned that doing this trick actually helped me calm - it gave me one more thing to remember to do, and to concentrate on, during performance.

    My final trick - I found I liked it best if I appeared on stage in disguise in some way, perhaps in a costume or with extreme face paint. I would then change completely and quickly back stage, then go out and mingle with the audience as if I had not just been on stage. That way I could listen and really hear what people thought. I could be found skulking behind the potted plants, glasses back on, hair tied back (or let down, over my face) and looking dull and dowdy. part of the background. This is not always possible, of course. If you are performing as yourself in front of a small group of people who know you well, you can't do this. But if you are performing under those circumstances, you are among friends and the nerves need not be so bad.

    A young friend of mine who is a professional performer, who was on the first series of Australian Idol, still throws up before every performance. Nerves. But she says the adrenalin is necessary, it gives her mind an edge and keeps her on track to give a great performance.

    With this level of anxiety, when she wants to do something, try talking to her about the range of possible outcomes. "This could happen. Or that." Then go through with her what she would do in response to each possible outcome. Role-play it. That way if/when something happens, she will perhaps be better prepared.

    Every challenge she undertakes and succeeds, is a long-term win. I think at some level she knows this and it is one more thing driving her.

    Keep encouraging her and supporting her. If she tries and flops, tell her that it was a practice run for the next time. Focus on the positives and baby steps.

  7. keista

    keista New Member

    Hound Dog, don't know what the problem with sound is, but here's the url if you want to hear it. I put a space after the www. so the forum wouldn't automatically embed it. I don't think she'll ever be American Idol material, but considering I can't carry a tune even if it has a handle on it, she's got some raw talent.

    I think you're right about the trying part, and I encourage her to try ALL the time with everything. I also go back to the successes and use them to encourage her when she feels paralyzed. I just find it odd that with something like this she tries on her own without any encouragement.

    Marg, funny you mentioned the disguise thing. DD1 INSISTED we go to the costume "closet" to find her a hat. She NEEDED a hat. Said she felt more 'hidden' with a hat. Pickings were slim, but she was happy with the one we found.

    Thanks everyone. I think Mamma has to learn to 'chill' Sheesh! I'm having anxiety over her anxieties. That can't be good ;)
  8. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Sometimes the drive outweighs the anxiety surrounding it, and you just HAVE to do it no matter what. I was the same way with dance performance as a child...throwing up back stage before the recital, brilliant performance, and then hiding behind my Grannie's skirts when people wanted to talk to me about it afterward. I learned a lot of the same tricks that Marg mentioned (e.g. how to seem like you're making eye contact without actually doing so, use of costumes and makeup to look like someone else up on stage, etc.)

    I still perform sometimes, and I still find it draining every time...but the need to perform is so strong -- and the drained feeling is part of it -- you've gotten it out of your system, until it fills you up again so that you think you're going to burst with it. And then you do it again, and you're empty. And it starts all over again.

    My favourite dance teacher once explained it like this: "It's okay to have butterflies in your stomach. The trick is to get them to fly in formation."