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My niece has abandonment issues


Beverly Swilley
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My niece is going to be 15 yrs old soon and she can't go to the bathroom unless the door is open. She can't sleep unless the light is on and the door is open, the dogs sleep with her and my door has to be open. We are not getting much sleep at night. She still crawls in the bed with me. Her mother was adopted and has attachment disorder. She left two children. My niece is not attached to anyone, she can't stand to be touched. My concern is when she becomes an adult, how can she cope. How can I make her secure in her own home and sleep in her own bed. I've had her since she was 4. Have gone through many therapist. I've got to the point of giving her a half a sleep pill at night so that I can get some sleep and she can get sleep for school. Because I understands she will sleep in class. She is also ADHD, but she refuses to take the meds. She is a typical teen, stating I have a problem not her. But she was diagnosed when she started school and had taken meds up until middle school, when the attitude kicked in.

She used to screem and run through the house when she was small, not it's staying up late and crawling in my bed. How can I make her feel safe?

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It sounds like you've done quite a bit to try to make her feel safe. Just because you've worked hard to try to help her adapt doesn't mean that she will adapt. It's important for your sanity to separate out what you do to help her from the result. Because you have control over what you do but you do not have control over the result.

What have the various therapists suggested that you do. Has anything helped?

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I find that interesting that she can't stand to be touched, yet still needs to crawl in bed with you. That is where she feels safe though. HAve you tried going to her? Or sleep on her floor? She needs the security right now. But, also is old enough to understand that you, as her parent needs your own space at night.

I am wondering if this is more out of habit ? To go in the bed? A kid that is not attatched to anyone and does not like physical contact , but at night wants to be near you. Have you talked to her about it?

Ask her what you can do to help her feel safe at night?

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