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Forums / PTSD & Trauma / Help with parenting 4 year old who triggers me

Topic: Help with parenting 4 year old who triggers me

6 posts, 0 answered
  1. Freedom seeker
    Freedom seeker avatar
    3 posts
    15 March 2019

    Hi, first time poster so go easy on me! 😅

    Long story really. I was raped as a young child by my father, i have a couple of broken memories but those memories suggest theres more i dont remember, nor do i wish to remember. I am diagnosed bipolar but i think i actually have complex ptsd.

    When my daughter was born it was incredibly difficult. I couldnt stand her crying. I would carry on at her if she woke in the night for feeding. I felt guilty changing her nappy and putting on rash cream - like really wrong.

    Lately she has been doing this high pitched scream everytime she is told no or its bedtime or whatever. I cant stand it anymore. It gives me strong feelings of anger and urges though i dont act on these feelings its incredibly difficult to deal with. She does it everywhere. At home, at church, at the shops. I think the only place she doesnt is at kindy!!

    I also find myself dissociating a bit when shes home. I find it incredibly difficult to play and be silly. We have lots of cuddles and stories. She is a well loved child. But when it comes to playing i cant do it, i feel frustrated and it never lasts long. And lots of guilt that i dont give her enough attention.

    i also am a bit hypervigilant i suppose you would call it. Im always sussing people out and looking for signs someone might be a peadofile.

    I suppose really im just looking for advice on how to cope. She just screamed at me because i wont let her have icecream for lunch. The noise is so piercing i cant take it anymore.

    She is fussy with food, wastes and asks for something 5 mins later, refuses to clean up unless i basically do it for her and is downright defiant at times. This all triggers my inner rage and hopeless feeling.

    Has anyone successfully parented with trauma?

    The advice i find online is to ignore it. Ignore the screams, the tantrums, the kicking and hitting. But i CANT. Even if i dont dicipline her she still gets a response. She can see it affects me because i cant control it. So she keeps doing it. Its like her go to reaction. I can't parent in all the conventional ways as im not a conventional parent that had a decent upbringing.

    Any advice from anyone on how they parented with PTSD/Bipolar/anxiety dissorders or any other relevant illness is much appreciated. Any way i can teach her to respect my boundaries a bit better? I dont even know if thats reasonable to expect of a 4 (nearly 5) year old?


    Thankyou so much

  2. white knight
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    white knight avatar
    6045 posts
    15 March 2019 in reply to Freedom seeker

    Hi, welcome

    I'm 63yo with bipolar2, depression, anxiety and dysthymia. I didn't know I had those illnesses until 9 years ago but I did know I was a nervous impatient, impulsive character.

    So in my 30's when I had two daughters 3 years apart, my impatience was well remembered by my kids when they became teens. I vividly recall one telling us at xmas gathering about the Golden book "saggy baggy elephant" ...I'd tell them its bed time then "once upon a time there was an elephant called Saggy Baggy...the end".

    This went on for two years until one said "that's not the whole book dad". So I'd include two pages randomly selected as well. Playing with kids just not my thing and I don't believe you should punish yourself for something that comes natural for some but not you. I'm sure your daughter at a certain age will benefit from your natural way of helping her where others might not be so good at that task. I think you are being hard on yourself.

    There is also the tendency to place events onto our behavior when there is no solid evidence of it being to blame. Your childhood trauma might not be the cause at all yet we want to attribute such lack of qualities like playing with our children towards it as it then makes us feel there is a reason.

    All of this boils down to lack of acceptance of yourself as a person and as a parent. Yet, you are a very good parent as you have taken the opportunity to write here about your problem, most don't. Many don't care. You do.

    A short story. My first wife and I had our kids. At 3yo my eldest daughter opened my bedside drawer. She wasn't allowed to. Her mother closed it, she opened it again, mother closed it...this went on for over one hour! Finally our daughter gave up and never opened that drawer again. A battle of wills. The screaming and crying, my daughter concerned me that much I asked a GP what to do- "Well, I haven't ever treated a child for harm from excessive crying". So yes, it is intolerable that high pitched screaming but you have to accept that it wont harm her and she must learn that you will only respond to her when she stops! Otherwise you are controlled.

    Please google the following and read the first post of each thread

    Beyondblue topic worry worry worry

    Beyondblue topic what you cant change

    Beyondblue topic the best praise you'll ever get

    Beyondblue topic accepting yourself, the frog and the scorpion

    Beyondblue topic advice please my bucket is full

    I hope they help.


    1 person found this helpful
  3. Freedom seeker
    Freedom seeker avatar
    3 posts
    15 March 2019 in reply to white knight

    Thank you so much for your reply.

    I do have a tendency to beat myself up over such things.

    My issue is not so much contolling her behavior but my own self control.

    The high pitched "im in danger" screaming she does is really intolorable to me. Among other things this is the worst. I cant stand it. Its like it puts me into fight mode instantly. I feel a rage thats horrible, its like it pierces into my very soul... i dont even know how to put into words how much i cant stand it. I just need her to stop, but she wont as a 4 year old doesnt care much that she is "hurting mummys ears".

    I struggle with consistency. All the advice is to be consitent. The example you gave of your wife shutting the drawer your daughter was opening is great. I wish i was able to be that strong willed haha. I understand thats thet general idea of stopping bad behavior but i find myself unable to be consitent at times with dicipline.

    Most days are fine but when i am feeling exahsted/depressed is when i cant be consitent and its ruins any progress i had made with her.

    Thankyou again for taking the time to reply, im going to check out the threads you have recommended.

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Freedom seeker
    Freedom seeker avatar
    3 posts
    16 March 2019 in reply to Freedom seeker
    What i am gathering is nobody has been able to maintain any consistency with their kids with these anxiety type illnesses,This is probably a big waste of my time then, and quite shameful for me to even be posting.
  5. Elizabeth CP
    Elizabeth CP avatar
    1722 posts
    16 March 2019 in reply to Freedom seeker

    No it is not shameful to be posting. The problem is fortunately there are not many people in your position. Nobody deserves to be treated like you were as a child. If you read other posts re PTSD it is a horrible condition which leaves you reacting irrationally to triggers. This means that for you it is difficult to provide the sort of discipline & parenting your child needs but this is not your fault.

    I have never been in your situation but I do have PTSD so I understand how you can be triggered & this can lead to behaviour which in other circumstances is irrational I overreact to things & no amount of reminding myself that I'm safe & there is no need to react to the trigger helps.

    I would recommend speaking to your GP or ring one of the help lines to get some suggestions of people that can help you. This is not something you can do on your own. Normal parenting advice is not appropriate because you know what to do & would do it if you could. It is the PTSD which is making it impossible. As for shame & guilt that needs to placed firmly on where it belongs ie the perpetrator. You were an innocent child who is now suffering from the consequences of those evil acts. I'm sorry I can't give better advice but you need support from someone really trained to help people like you. Both you and your child need this help.

  6. white knight
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    white knight avatar
    6045 posts
    16 March 2019 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Hi freedom seeker

    No need for shame. You are a survivor, you are a loving mother and you are respected.

    Guilt is something I'm familiar with but have larger overcome it and boy, I feel so much better. Remember, your post is anonymous but public, so the amount of help you provide others with their children and your past issues- do help them.

    Like the other threads I recommended the following one, first post is appropriate. use google

    Beyondblue topic guilt the tormentor


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