HOME arrow SYMPTOMS arrow PTSD Symptoms arrow Unusual fears
Wednesday, 24 February 2021
Unusual fears Print
When she first came home she was terrified of the doorbell, garage door, and motorcycles (loud noises generally). She also melted into a heap of terror if anyone ran. We had to make sure that [my older daughter] walked to the table for dinner rather than running, or my little one would melt into a heap of screams.

She hates it when strangers get in her face and talk to her. Mommy has really had to get nasty a few times to put an end to this invasion of her personal boudaries.

One time I had to almost yell at a stewardess who refused to comply with my request to not talk to my daughter, but to send everything through me. I mean, heck, my daughter sits against the window and you would think when a mom says, "Please don't talk to my daughter, strangers scare her" you would catch a clue. Not this woman! She actually told me that if my daughter was afraid of strangers she shouldn't be flying. What? Oh boy, let me tell you a mom of a child with RAD should NOT be questioned, or judged because I laid into her with all the pissed off feelings I had pent up for the last five years. I kept my cool, thanks [to our attachment therapist], but I was firm and I didn't back down when I said, "You mean your bosses would be okay with you telling me not to spend my $6,000 dollars a year** on your plane? You feel that confident in your job to tell me that?" Than she told me I needed a doctor's note to NOT have [this airline's] employees talk to my daughter. Again, "So what you are telling me is that I have to a note describing the trauma that my daughter endured so that you can understand why strangers might terrify her?" (**family flies out-of-state for therapy)

She backed down, and the next time i saw her she never said a word to either of us ;)

Other trauma triggers for my daughter were when she spilled anything. That was one of my first big red flag moments, when she spilled water and freaked out like she has been beaten. She is also very afraid of the dark and closed doors of any kind. (a. 13mo, OR)

From the beginning, my daughter has been absolutely afraid of babies and other toddlers, particularly if they were crying or coming towards her. If we saw a baby at the store she would start wailing"Mama..Mama...Maaaamaaa," put her head down, hang on to me and/or disassociate. Strangers (their babies/toddlers in tow) had a hard time not coming over to gush over her. At first we thought it might be the jealous behavior of an anxiously attached child. Her language was delayed a little so it was very hard to get to the root of the problem. We worked on proper store etiquette, gave her a "secret" signal (grabbing my hand tight) to use so I would know if she needed to get away from the kids.

Then Christmas of 2003(age 2.75), we were shopping at a local pet store. We saw one of those giggle balls for dogs. She asked to look at it; I handed it to her. Well, it made this sick, wailing sound. Rather then a giggle, it sounded like a baby crying. BINGO......she dropped the ball, started wailing, lept out of the cart and hung on me like a little Spider monkey. She had a blank, disassociated face and was repeating over and over, "babies cold, babies wet, bad baby crying, hit the baby." Her crying was such that every mother in the store came to see what was going on! I was crying. She was crying. What a sight. That breakthrough moment started the healing of her trauma. Previous to this we had been in attachment therapy for about 9 months. Now, with another year of therapy, she is finally able to play with other toddlers without screaming if they touch her. She is still very anxious of overly aggressive play, particularly if the other child comes at her and tries to touch her. We are very watchful with our daughter around babies. We do have animals and she has never shown any outright aggression or passive-aggressive actions with them. One is a very small cat and the other is a very large dog.

Our kids do remember very early events. I think one of the biggest myths is that "they're too young to remember". It isn't a memory of the event but an emotional reaction to an event that has a relationship in their hyper stimulated brains. The reaction is usually completely out of proportion to the current event and so far removed from the original trauma that you'd never guess what the basis is. (a. 10.5mo, OR)

The picture book, Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? is one of my son's favorites, yet at age 26 months, he became frightened when reading several pages of another Jesse Bear book (on one page the bear is scolded and on another, he is sick.) After seeing those two pages, he pushed the book away and looked fearful when it came out later. He intensely dislikes (to the point of fear or anger) scenes in books which show characters being naughty. He also has a love/fear relationship with police cars, ambulances, & fire trucks. He loves them, but at times is very fearful of their sirens. We have had several instances in which he wouldn't go to sleep or woke up scared in the middle of the night because he heard sirens some distance away. (a. 5.5mo, FC)

My son is now three and has always been plagued by unusual fears but at the same time would do scary and dangerous things like jump off 6 ft high objects without a care in the world. At preschool he was afraid to wear the painting smock and as a result he does not get to paint. He was deathly afraid of trampolines, ponies, and playing with new toys. Our therapist finally told us that the things he was afraid of were things he had no control over and he was right. Those things he could not control ( a pony, the sound of the smock) he was afraid of and those things he could control (jumping off high walls,etc) he would do in an instant. (a. 10mo, FC)

My son was terrified of the car, my walking out of the room, strangers, groups of people, and weird noises (not necessarily loud, like the vaccuum, but anything that caught him off guard.) He was excessively afraid of changes of routine, people paying attention to him or people talking to him. He seemed to NEED to be physically in contact with me most of the time. (a. 14mo, FC)

When she was not quite 5, my daughter had an incident as she was getting ready to go to Cubbies, a club at church for 3-4 year olds. She'd ALWAYS, before this, run and skipped up to the sign-in table and gone in with no problems. We were standing in line and nothing was any different than all the other weeks, but she started to sob as if she were frightened. She could not tell me what was wrong but from that point on, 'til she was getting ready to enter 1st grade, she would not go to that or Sunday school unless one of us or one of the older children were with her. (a. 7mo, OR)

Our example really shows just how much our little ones do remember......Six months after coming home, our agency had a reception for the facilitator that we worked with in China. She was with us every step of the way.

This reception was the 1st time our daughter had been around a large group of Asians (including children) since returning home. We walked in and she became noticeably anxious. She instantly became velcro baby with me (which was unusual). She kept asking "home..home...home". We were able to calm her somewhat until.....the facilitator noticed us and yelled from across the room "Ni Hoa ma, Cen Zhi" (Cen Zhi is her Chinese name). She had her back to her and she immediately tried crawling up over my shoulders and screamed "OUT, HOME, MAMA,MAMA,MAMA, OUT!" I know if I had let go of her she would have ran out the door. Then the facilitator came over to get a picture of her and while posing, gently touched her and she went into a full rage. We had to leave the building and we were not able to go back. Actually, I think the agency was relieved we left because there were a lot of waiting families present. (a. 10mo, FC)

A child may demonstrate an unusual reaction to a particular sound, smell, or location. In one instance, I heard about a child who always showed fear upon entering a large warehouse-type store. It obviously triggered something for him, but the family was unable to identify the root cause. Children may also be fearful around people who look or sound like people from their birth country (like children from China being fearful when they meet someone who looks Asian or speaks Chinese.)
< Prev
Top! Top!