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Am I crazy?????

Discussion forum for parents in Australia

Super frequent scribe

Re: Am I crazy?????

Thank you everyone for your input. The appt today with her psychologist was enlightening. Her approach is completely different to that of the other psychologists and medical people that we have been connected with since she came to live with us. In sharing what she said I would like to say that her advice is for my niece and her specific circumstances. While they will work for us it doesn’t mean it will apply to anyone else.


Her advice is that in self-harming she is not doing it for attention (which everyone is telling us), she is doing it to try and create an attachment of any type. She said my niece has no attachment style that she can believe in which impacts her therapy, friends and family.  We all have a primary function to feel safe and secure. All of my nieces placements that have broken down are all attachments. My niece believes no one will be there for her and she pushes people to fulfil her concept that people will reject her. For my niece attempting to attach to people is overwhelming her with emotions. Her self-harm is not for attention she is looking for attachment which is part of her disorganised attachment. Her psychologist said that self-harm, sex and impulsive behaviour (to run or hide and to be aggressive) can be used to create an attachment.  Her self talk will be things like ‘if nobody gives me what I want or need I will get in myself’ (such as stealing items) and ‘nobody understands me or what I want’.


Her advice is that we can’t control her and that we need to understand what she is wanting or needing. She talks of wanting to wear makeup and attending the junior formal. She wonders is my niece’s current sexual identity could be as a result of being raped. Her psychologist is going to work with our niece to help her find a new alternative to the behaviours that she has been demonstrating so far. Also we need to treat her like an adult although she isn’t one. That her life experiences have given her an adult outlook on life although emotionally she is so much younger.That the times my niece is displaying anger she is protecting herself and that we need to give her space to cope with her overwhelming feelings. Attachment helps us to feel safe and to organise our thoughts and feelings. She has also suggested we write for Ami her life story since she has been with us. We are to email her when we have finished it she will organise a session where we go and see her with my niece and our role will be to read it to her. It’s so we can give Ami her life story since she has been with us and it is a gift that demonstrates the love we have for her …

Star contributor

Re: Am I crazy?????

Wow what an incredibly insightful Psychologist @jdbza, amazing insight. I find Bowlby's attachment theory really interesting. You can actually google a lot about it too Smiley Happy It is an incredible guide for life and sounds like your niece really has a lot of visceral pain as a result of the emotional pain. Have you got anything planned for your own self care this week?

Super star contributor

Re: Am I crazy?????

@jdbza, I'm feeling so relieved for you for today's outcome. Although it doesn't mean there's a quick or easy fix, you now have someone who understands what's going on with your niece. Having understanding behind behaviours gives you a different perspective and from here you can best move forward in learning how to handle situations with your niece. 


I absolutely love that you're writing a letter for her. What a beautiful idea, that will be a treasure. It sounds like you are the only people who have been stable in her life, and who've fought to keep her and find her the help she needs. You've been able to see past her tough exterior and you love her in spite of her behaviours. Those actions in themselves prove your love and will be seeping in through the cracks in her armour Heart 


And thank you so much for sharing today's outcome with the community. It's wonderful insight into your niece and I'm sure will strike a chord with many parents for varying reasons, as it did me.  

Super frequent scribe

Re: Am I crazy?????

Thank you … I will search for the Bowlby’s attachment theory and see what else I can found out about it. I have never heard of it before and had no idea what is called.
Super frequent scribe

Re: Am I crazy?????

Thank you :-) we know her returning home next week will be the first step of our new journey as a family. It is my prayer that my husband, our adult kids, my niece and I can work together to implement what we have all learnt in the last 3 months. We will have our ups and down and it is our desire that it is something that we all grow closer as a result

Re: Am I crazy?????

I wish you the very best. Your niece is lucky to have you. I also support the suggestion of martial arts training because of the benefits for health and fitness, release of aggression, self-control and inner peace.
Frequent scribe

Re: Am I crazy?????

Hi jdbza !!!! How is your niece now? ...waiting for response

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