My Hindsight Might Help YOU

My daughter gets regular check-ins with CPS workers because her baby is so sick and, understandably, the hospital staff thought it was possibly due to neglect. Thankfully it wasn’t, but CPS stayed on.
In the middle of last night (the only time she thinks she should talk to me) my daughter texted me that she was dreading the visit from CPS in the morning.  I responded that I remember that feeling very well.
“CPS was called on you, Mom.  YOU never did anything.”
I am forever amazed at how little either of my children remember about the vast shenanigans that occurred in our home throughout their childhood years.
CPS opened cases on me three or four times–false abuse allegations, being on the run, living on the river, living with strangers, pregnant minor, etc. Every one of them scared me to death. I know this has happened to many of YOU.  And I know many of you live in fear of this.  Some of you have lost your homes, gone bankrupt defending yourself, lost family and friends, and had children taken away because of CPS allegations.
Oh, the stress and grief of it all.
Now that I am nearly on the other side of CPS’ grip (my son turns 18 in January and my daughter is 19 now), the PTSD has mostly faded and I am thinking about what I could have done differently during the “crazy” years.
1.  I could have parented with more understanding and less control. This might have saved me from some threats at the point of a butcher knife.
2.  I could have “seen” my children as individuals separate from me, and attended to their life experience more.  I never allowed wild, revealing clothes, colored hair, outrageous talk… But I wasn’t doing it either, so what was the big deal?
3.  I could have found more ways to soothe my own pain and fear, so I wasn’t so reactive.
4.  I could have joined with others more for support–online or in local groups with others going through the same thing with their attachment challenged children.  I didn’t think I needed all that.  Who was I kidding?
5.  I could have insisted on respite for myself more (though I have to say I did a pretty good job of this.)
6.  I could have shared my fear with CPS workers more, instead of being fearfully defensive. Yelling, You don’t get it!in the face of a CPS worker was probably not that helpful.
Hindsight, I know.  Some folks often feel I am hard on myself when I talk about what I could have done differently. That is not my intention.  I am pretty forgiving of myself, as I truly know that I did the best I could at the time.  I am simply hopeful my musings on the past can help YOU in the present (especially, if you are in the midst of the crazy years.)  
I know this in my bones: Our kids get better if we hang in there and give ourselves the benefit of everything we can find to support our herculean efforts.
The Attach Place

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

Love Matters,

Ce Eshelman, LMFT

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