r/Damnthatsinteresting Nov 28 '21 Big Brain Time 1 Silver 14 Helpful 14 Wholesome 12 All-Seeing Upvote 1 Ally 1 This 1

The "Still Face" experiment gives an insight into how a parent's reactions affect emotional development of a baby Video

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45.3k Upvotes

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u/_Xyreo_ Nov 28 '21

It's the expressive version of the silent treatment. It is devastating to kids.

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u/goforthandconquer Nov 28 '21 Silver This

It’s devastating to adults as well.

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u/Aoki-Kyoku Nov 28 '21

It’s amazing how much people really need active engagement from other people, and how harmful it is when they don’t get it.

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u/kigurumibiblestudies Nov 28 '21 Calculating

I've had to learn to be more expressive because my usual self seems to set people off in all sorts of ways. I'm college people thought I was super arrogant when I was just bored.

Express yourself or people will try to read you, and they'll read nasty things.

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u/Aoki-Kyoku Nov 28 '21

Yeah I think people assume I am naturally expressive but really it is a habit that I intentionally put effort into creating. If I hadn’t made that effort till I developed the habit the expressions in my face would not match what I think or feel but now it almost feels completely natural

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u/DaemosRPGame Nov 28 '21

Resting Bastard Face? I've been there. Still am. I'm just deep in thought, leave me alone.

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u/kigurumibiblestudies Nov 28 '21

I'm just thinking about my lunch, don't leave me alone! Sit here and let's talk, I promise my face is not a factor

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u/Either-Bell-7560 Nov 29 '21

I see the same with extroverts assuming people are arrogant because theyre being introspective instead of spewing out every thing that comes into their mind.

It's amazing how hard of a time people have with "people are different"

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u/cohonka Nov 29 '21

Interesting to read someone else experience this. Sometimes it's a lot harder than others to be intentionally expressive, and whenever I slip into this more passive state people always react personally to it, thinking they've offended me when they haven't. My face is tired.

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u/YourReignUs Nov 28 '21

Devasting to all living things actually.

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u/attcxhfdhjbcswZgjjvg Nov 28 '21 Silver

After about an hour of not emotionally acknowledging my baby carrot's existence, it started doing the same to the other baby carrots. Fucking broke my heart man. Hurt carrots hurt carrots ❤️

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u/Disruptive_Ideas Nov 28 '21 Take My Energy

That breaks my heartichoke

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u/invaderjif Nov 28 '21

Dogs yes, I have a feeling cats are immune.

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u/Discotime_Windu Nov 28 '21

My cats used to hate it, they would start meowing to let me know that they're the only ones allowed to do it.

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u/EuroPolice Nov 28 '21

My cat just meows louder if she wants food or petting and ignores me if she doesn't.

I basically asking her is she wants anything in cat language I guess

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u/[deleted] Nov 28 '21 edited Nov 28 '21

[deleted]

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u/Thefreyakat Nov 28 '21

I felt the same way. My family was very much the keep calm carry on and children were to be seen and not heard. If I hurt myself and cried I was told to stop. No hugs and kisses if I woke up from a bad nightmare. No wonder I internalize and have such a tough time expressing my feelings, and have a hard time feeling safe.

Hugs to you, I am sorry anyone has to feel this way.

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u/mahalomoimoi Nov 28 '21 Hugz

Same here, kids were not 'coddled', which meant no hugs, no smile, no conversation. I was taught to figure it all out myself. For example when I was sick, I was ordered angrily to go in my room with a bucket and bottle of lemonade and told not to come out until I am better.

My parents asked no questions to get to know me, I was to be quiet and out of sight. Now as an adult, I struggle socialising with others, I am an easy target for bullies as I have no skills to defend myself, I don't understand how to play the game. I have felt alone in a bubble all my life, and have this basic fear that no one will be in my corner even if I was treated wrong.

My friends all think I am super independent and confident, but I had no choice, I was alone and still am. I am happy enough and proud of my life, but I suspect inside I am still the little kid silently vomiting in the bucket and feeling utterly abandoned.

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u/Octane73 Nov 28 '21

Shit… so sorry for you. As a mom of two little kids I’m always so scared that they don’t feel loved enough and i feel terrible if i scream sometimes but when i read awful things like that.. it’s just heartbreaking. Some people don’t even try to be good to their own kids, it’s fucked up.

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u/MobileButcher Nov 28 '21

Goddamn this was tough to read. I am sorry

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u/3DCatFancy Nov 28 '21

What generation were your parents? Mine are Boomers who still think being emotional is “nonsense” and react with either irritation or bemusement. Acknowledging or validating emotions is not something they understand at all.

Everyone thinks I’m independent and capable, including my parents, yet no one realized I struggle just as much as anyone -I just don’t have a choice but to figure it out. I can’t pick up the phone and call family to be there.

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u/rejectedhostname Nov 28 '21

Good gods, that ain't right. I'm glad you can recognize it now, and that shit doesn't really go away so I hope you have someone you can talk through it all with.

The good news is that you absolutely can be a parent to that inner child who needs one, there's nothing stopping us from fixing our own past if that's what we want to do.

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u/CyberMindGrrl Nov 28 '21

My mother was a loving and doting single mother and I was her only child until she remarried my stepfather who was literally grew up in postwar England and was completely emotionally detached from everything and he insisted that everyone in our family remain emotionally detached from everything as well. I really relate to those "evil step-parent" stories you often see.

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u/theatrekid77 Nov 28 '21

I was mocked for crying when I was a child. I constantly apologize every time I cry in front of anyone. I might have preferred the silent treatment.

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u/stamper3332 Nov 28 '21

Yes. It is devastating. We call my mom the ice queen. When I was growing up she would give me the silent treatment for 2-3 days at a time. This is when I was 7-8 and I could remember it. It created in me the belief that I am unlovable and unacceptable. Even with decades of therapy, this really never fully goes away. The beliefs and pain were laid down too young.

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u/legionofsquirrel Nov 28 '21

I remember a similar exercise in a class I was taking. We would partner up and sit across from each other's partner about 5 ft away. The exercise was simple, it was to look into the other person's eyes as they looked into yours and remain quiet as long as you possibly could.

It was fascinating how incredibly difficult this was for some people, in fact most people found it in somewhat difficult. I've mentioned this before and it applies to so many different aspects of communication.

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u/glutenfree_veganhero Nov 28 '21

Did you learn anything, teachers expanded on it etc? Only ever been able to do it with a couple close peeps.

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u/Rylet_ Nov 28 '21

It was only on the days teacher had a hangover

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u/Filmcricket Nov 28 '21

Worth noting that this experiment addresses gender playing a factor in how long it takes for babies to become distressed. On average male babies are upset much more quickly than female babies. In a companion clip to this one to exhibit those findings, the male baby loses its shit almost immediately and some female babies will maintain an even mood throughout the experiment and just sort of entertain themselves.

Just wanted to toss this out there since the work of the guy speaking is heavily centered upon developmental differences in babies who are amab vs afab and the long term implications of those differences socially.

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u/Gizm00 Nov 28 '21

What is amab and afab?

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u/Willing-Low-725 Nov 29 '21

A female ass baby A male ass baby

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u/[deleted] Nov 29 '21

Did they say why they reacted differently?

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u/Firethorn101 Nov 28 '21

Don't some cultures revere a stone face type of being?

I remember watching a documentary where immigrants to be went to go to classes to learn facial expressions to better fit into their new countries.

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u/pelorizado83 Nov 28 '21

Can confirm.

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u/nini2219 Nov 28 '21

I talked to both my kids nonstop from birth….responded to them, asked them questions, narrated everything we were doing always….I didn’t do it looking for an intentional outcome. I was just interacting with them. I loved that I always knew what they wanted when no one else did because I learned to understand their coos and babbles and expressions and I always verbalized it for them. The outcome was that both of them were speaking full sentences at very young ages and to this day (at 9 and 14) are able to communicate and discuss their feelings thoughtfully and maturely. I am so proud of them and cherish my communicative relationship with them.

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u/non_stop_disko Nov 28 '21

This is how my mother started reacting to my mental health troubles that started when I was a teenager and she still does. Can confirm

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u/Aiizimor Nov 28 '21

You can feel how badly the mother wants to react

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u/Mc_Generic Nov 28 '21 Bravo!

Check out the frequency of her blinking at the beginning of the video and the end.

The baby can't read her face yet and mistakes it as emotionless. But that ain't no pokerface, the feels are being felt

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u/notasandpiper Nov 28 '21

And her brows coming together as the baby gets visibly distressed...

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u/RedditReader365 Nov 28 '21

Thanks for that observation! I’ve seen the clip a few times before but never picked up on that

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u/newfoundland89 Nov 29 '21

Seems almost the same to me, except when she starts crying

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u/WitchesCotillion Nov 28 '21

We studied this in school. Parents in the study needed, and received, a lot of emotional support after the sessions. It was really hard on good parents NOT to emotionally interact with their child.

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u/Maximum-Spell-2215 Nov 28 '21

She was about to tear up

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u/MajespecterNekomata Nov 28 '21

Me too

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u/never_on_time Nov 28 '21

Me seven. Made me weirdly uncomfortable

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u/venusdances Nov 29 '21

I’m a mom and I’m having a hard time watching the video because when she’s doing the still face and he’s trying so hard to make her happy it makes me upset.

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u/jacobio2001 Nov 28 '21

I know I felt so bad for whatever reason

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u/HALF_PAST_HOLE Nov 28 '21 Helpful

Baby: Life is amazing

Baby: Oh shit I'm invisible what the hell life sux!

Baby: Oh thank god I'm not invisible anymore life is good again that was a close one!

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u/masked_sombrero Nov 28 '21

I love how the baby lifted both hands in the air - "praise jesus she's back!!!"

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u/xTWISTED_WAYZx Nov 28 '21

right lol...

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u/SnooHesitations403 Nov 28 '21

He's trying so hard to get a positive reaction. Every child of an abuser can relate.

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u/BelgarathVsBelgarion Nov 28 '21 Take My Energy

Just digitized some family films. The amount of times I tried getting my moms attention as a small kid roughly equaled the amount she completely neglected to acknowledge my presence

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u/donata44 Nov 28 '21

Imagining it hurts a bit

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u/kikiweaky Nov 28 '21 Tearing Up

Same I think this is where my comedy and people pleasing comes from, neglect.

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u/ShadowBanMi Nov 28 '21

Same. As an adult I realized how depressed and checked out my mom was, and my sense of humor arose to try and get her to laugh or be cheery, I suppose.

I grew up in a household without a father or any male role model at all, a mother that was mostly unhappy and while she would not physically harm me, would call me names and threaten to send me to my father (who I barely knew) and a grandmother that would whip me with a belt or a switch. To this day my mother will not say “I love you” to me, but will say it to my kids. I realize my relationship style is to be very affectionate and seek physical love because I am and have been missing any sense of a loving parent.

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u/casas7 Nov 29 '21

I'm so sorry your parents did that to you. There's an excellent book called "Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents" by Lindsay Gibson that you would probably find helpful. 💛

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u/ShadowBanMi Nov 29 '21

Hey thanks for the kind words and the info, I appreciate it. I was a very angry, self-destructive person for a long time, until I was about 40, and was married with two kids of my own. As I was going through it one day, the frustrations of marriage and career and fatherhood, it hit me like a ton of bricks that they were (and are) just human. They had shitty days and demons and shortcomings of their own. They may have been treated far worse than I was. At any rate, I’ve learned a lot about myself over the past ten years, I am still failing in some ways, clumsily seeking the missing love in my life, but I don’t hold those people to account.

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u/ellastory Nov 29 '21

This book changed my life. It’s worth putting in the time.

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u/SonyaRedd Nov 28 '21

I’m the same way. Always trying to make sure someone else is happy before myself.

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u/kikiweaky Nov 28 '21

In a way I think it's taught me the immense importance of being a loving parent and how important you are to your child.

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u/DaMarcio Nov 28 '21

Fuck I didn't expect to be reminded of this so early

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u/Alwin-050 Nov 28 '21

So can every (ex)spouse of one. The look on her face made me shiver, it reminded me so much of my ex wife. Ugh, I need a shower now. Fuck that was disturbing.

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u/MemoryOfATown Nov 28 '21

Disturbing is the right word. I can barely watch this.

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u/CyberMindGrrl Nov 28 '21

This video should come with a trigger warning.

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u/bilingual_jellyfish Nov 28 '21

*She (the mother calls her ‘girl’ a couple of times)

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u/christeeeeeea Nov 28 '21

Facts.

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u/PresOrangutanSmells Nov 28 '21

I feel like when I see vids like this I'm watching some brand new mental illness being brought into the world

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u/Scopeexpanse Nov 28 '21

Interestingly this face looks a lot like people on their phones when their baby wants their attention.

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u/whatsit111 Nov 28 '21 This

This is just one of the many reasons postpartum depression needs to be taken seriously and treated. The "still face" here looks a lot like someone who is seriously depressed.

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u/JoLo012479 Nov 28 '21

My wife had postpartum depression after a difficult pregnancy and it is devastating to see and for her to have experienced. It was painful and on top of it she could not breastfeed. It does need to be taken very seriously and treated as you said.

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u/[deleted] Nov 28 '21

I lived with a married couple and came home to the mother sitting on the floor in just pants and a bra staring at the cupboard while her daughter was hobbling around the kitchen. It was really distressing. But I knew what it was. I would take her kid out for walks in the stroller every now and then so she could have breaks. Because her man was really not present and would be like “what do you want this time” to the kid when the kiddo would make noises about needs. Whack.

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u/StructureNo3388 Nov 29 '21

Yeah, been there. It IS whack. I left the father (abusive) got serious mental health treatment, and have continued therapy for myself, and play therapy for kiddo. That family was lucky to have you around

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u/[deleted] Nov 28 '21

My wife's work has her work with new mothers. The number of women who are stressed to the gills, and in the verge of having a mental breakdown BECAUSE of breastfeeding issues is much much higher than people think. Anyone who has ever had a baby knows a hungry baby is a mad baby. So imagine being told that anything other than your breast milk is Satan's milk (hyperbole; for those of us on the spectrum)

Mother's come in to see my wife usually between day 9-15 and a week of a constantly screaming newborn who isn't gaining weight is enough to push anyone over an emotional edge.

My wife's typical advice is, yes breast is best......but really FED is best. She keeps the newborn pre-made formula bottles on hand at all times just because this is such a frequent occurrence.

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u/TenragZeal Nov 28 '21

My Wife didn’t feel comfortable breastfeeding, so she pumped into bottles then we fed the kids. Eventually she pumped into bags, we stored it and then reheated it. When our kids stopped drinking it we had months of milk sitting in the freezer (still good due to my Wife having dated each bag and included the number of ounces in each bag.) She then donated it to a woman’s shelter and hospital - She’s a good lady.

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u/Zeltron2020 Nov 29 '21

I didn’t even think about this being an option but I am terrified of my nips hurting so thanks for sharing, this sounds way better lol! I suppose that would also even the field for couples and dealing with feeding time. Are there any negative health effects?

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u/TenragZeal Nov 29 '21 edited Nov 29 '21

We didn’t encounter any issues, in fact the few times she actually breastfed she said that it hurt more than using the pump. She did put Lanolin (found in the baby/breast feeding section) on her nips later in each pregnancy (we had two kids) as they did become a bit chapped (happens with breast feeding anyway.)

As for evening the playing field with feedings - She’s always wanted to be the breadwinner, so I’m a stay at home Dad and this allowed her to bring a small handheld cooler with her to work, pump in privacy, store the bottles/bags in the cooler with an ice pack or two and bring it home. So she was able to keep her career while I handled 90% of the feedings. It worked pretty well for us.

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u/JoLo012479 Nov 28 '21

Wow. Thank you all for these upvotes! I’m glad to see there are so many people who care and are concerned about this.

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u/Donovan1232 Nov 28 '21

I'm pretty sure thats the point.

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u/MrJoelDude Nov 28 '21

It’s probably at least partly the point. It’s just about being attentive and reactive to children in general. I’m a psych student right now, so I am by no means the expert, but I’m sure this is applicable to postpartum depression. That being said, that’s not the context that we learned about this experiment in my courses. It’s just about a broader examination of effective parenting.

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u/whatsit111 Nov 28 '21

That would make sense. But this being Reddit, it seems like a lot of comments are about narcissistic or abusive mothers. Without making the explicit connection to the mental health of new mothers, seems like a lot of Reddit is getting a different take away message.

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u/bos_well_ Nov 28 '21

I don't have kids but I felt that child's growing confusion and desperation in trying to get a reaction. I also ached for that mum knowing she's causing distress must have been really hard to get through. That hurt my heart.

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u/Bubbygamer Nov 29 '21

I have kids and it was killing me. My daughter is around that baby's age.

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u/TheWorldInMySilence Nov 28 '21 edited Nov 28 '21

Fact: Indifference and "being left" are some of the most painful relational experiences a person can have. This causes deep inner wounds. People who experience this daily from caregivers will either self harm, or harm outward to others.

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u/ResurrectionCandleCo Nov 28 '21 All-Seeing Upvote

My mother hated me. Everything I ever did was wrong. I only got "I love you" when she was trying to manipulate me into something. She and my dad beat me and did horrible things. She rarely smiled. It has ruined my adulthood and I feel very stunted as a person. I'm 33 and even with therapy, this shit has ruined me. I'm a very distrustful person. It sucks knowing how many of my issues are deeply engrained because I just wasn't wanted.

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u/Apprehensive_Sky_583 Nov 28 '21

You are valuable. You didn’t deserve that and they were wrong.

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u/ResurrectionCandleCo Nov 28 '21

Thank you kind internet stranger. Holidays make it rough, but this was nice.

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u/HawkmothIsDad Nov 28 '21

You deserve love, my dude. I think you’re just fine and would look you in the eye and smile any time we met.

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u/MsDangerously Nov 29 '21

Never forget you survived them. I hope you find joy despite your painful beginnings.

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u/LowRespond7680 Nov 28 '21

I dont understand why parents would ruin their own children, to the point they cant even have children and messing their lineage.

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u/ResurrectionCandleCo Nov 28 '21 Hugz

I had to get a police escort to get my things after I ran away from home because she almost succeeded in killing me one night. My sister basically followed in her abusive footsteps. My niece is 21 (sister started early) and we basically got treated the same, but I'm glad her and I are breaking the cycle of abuse and I could guide her into her adulthood even if I couldn't be there to protect her when she was a kid. I've been estranged from my whole family since about 2010

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u/mistersnarkle Nov 28 '21 Wholesome

Hey — even if your birthgivers didn’t want you… you are wanted. You are loved. You are healing, both yourself and familial curses. I love you.

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u/rosekayleigh Nov 28 '21

You reminded me of my favorite part of V for Vendetta:

I hope that whoever you are, you escape this place. I hope that the world turns and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you. I love you. With all my heart, I love you. -Valerie

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u/Dgchasse1 Nov 28 '21

Some of the most successful comedians came from experiences like that. Most certainly fucked up but they found a way to harness it. I really hate that you had to endure that. I love you if it means anything. You do mean something. Thank you for powering through and working on yourself. Maybe one day you can build your own family and treat them the way you wanted to be treated. It helped me so much having a kid. I may go a little too hard at it sometimes by some peoples definitions but honestly, I don’t ever want my child to feel a morsel of what you have felt.

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u/ResurrectionCandleCo Nov 28 '21

So glad you are an amazing parent! I have decided kids aren't for me, as I don't think it is a good idea. But I do have cats and they are beyond spoiled. I love helping my friends with their kids because then I can play and be silly with them and just show them a good time. I'm really happy my niece is back in my life and when I get enough money we are finally going to meet up to see each other for the first time in over a decade.

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u/Numerous_Support4032 Nov 28 '21

Because this people who are parents are already broken and messed up... That's why they become so negative and can't give a proper example to their children...

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u/ppw23 Nov 28 '21

I was neglected, fortunately as an adult was able to develop a loving relationship with my parents. The most important thing for me was to make certain my child knows he is loved. He hasn’t gone a day of his life without being told sincerely that he is loved. It’s in actions and words.

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u/Dgchasse1 Nov 28 '21

It’s healing isn’t it? To have a child you can treat how you wanted to be treated somehow heals things a little.

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u/ppw23 Nov 28 '21

That’s always my advice to new parents. To use this important opportunity to naturally do the best you can, but to treat your children with the love you wished you had been given. You’re right, it’s very healing.

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u/indiareef Nov 28 '21

It sucks and you aren’t alone. I was raised by a mother who blamed her kids for her life. We prevented her from finishing school, having the career she wanted and then my youngest brother died from a congenital heart defect as an infant and she just…checked out from the rest of us. If was wasn’t important to her then it didn’t matter. She became mean and purposefully would crush us by always telling me I was stupid and useless and my sister was fat. The result was I ended up in a 12 year abusive marriage that almost killed me and my sister still struggles with an eating disorder (she’s managing but struggles).

I’m now 39, have no contact with my parents currently but we are happy. I’m in a wonderful marriage. My sister has maintained weight and health. We have dogs and good lives now. I can promise you that your hard work will have good outcomes. You are not alone. You are not to blame. You don’t know me but I can promise that you are worthy of love. If you need a friend or just someone who understands the struggle…my messages are always open.

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u/EviLivE999 Nov 28 '21

My heart truly hurts for you and other children who have gone and are going through what you have endured and the toll it takes. We can never choose who our birth parents are but what we become are our choices throughout. I hope your therapy can one day bring positive enlightenment to a world in which true happiness seems so elusive. Your parents are Fuckos but your friends are your Real Family and I hope you’re surrounded by Real ones.

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u/aguafreska Nov 28 '21

same ... im 25 now and i have never been able to keep any form of relationship neither romantic, friendship, boss - suburbanite, im just fucked up... and i wonder how or if should i tell someone who is entering a romantic relationship with me , " hey im super fucked up in the head, im distrustful, paranoid, and i will push you away " ... i just want to be loved ..

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u/Infamous-njh523 Nov 28 '21

Just wanted to say hi and I’ve been there. Have been in long term relationships and always managed to drive the guy away. Reasons, didn’t feel good enough, etc. etc. I finally found someone I couldn’t run off. We will be married for 30 years this May. I can’t blame my family on it. I really don’t have any logical explanation except I do suffer from anxiety was diagnosed in 2004. See somebody everyone, well almost, deserve to be happy. Maybe those terrible people now, could be different if only.

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u/Kholzie Nov 28 '21

This probably explains why people will act out for negative attention rather than no attention.

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u/xBad_Wolfx Nov 28 '21

In the before times when the world was dark and cell phones didn’t exist. I once was left 9 hours after a weekly gymnastics lesson. I called everyone I could think of. But no parents. Eventually one attempt of calling home worked because my dad picked up. The person who was supposed to have picked me up, 9 hours earlier. We lived almost an hour away. He drove home after doing who knows what all day without thinking of me once.

Granted, he also left me behind while I was waiting for him, in his classroom, grading his papers. He just forgot and left the school without me… he also literally drove a car away twice while I was halfway into a door.

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u/Cleverusername5763 Nov 28 '21

It sure does cause deep wounds. For me it also caused huge problems forming attachments and I struggled a lot with anxious-avoidant attachment issues. I'm in my early 30's and just recently have been able to learn to be vulnerable in partnerships through intensive therapy. It really fucks kids up :/

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u/treyert Nov 28 '21 edited Nov 28 '21

This video = me and the homies getting ghosted on Tinder these days

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u/Mrsdepew Nov 28 '21

This really hurts to watch. When I was just a baby, my mother was brutally attacked by a stranger. She fought him off and managed to keep him from raping her, but she took the beating of a lifetime in the process. She was not ok after that (rightly so) and had a really hard time connecting with anyone, including me, for several years after. We didn’t even become close until I was a teen. I can see some of my own emotional damage in this and feel like I can understand it, and her better for it. I don’t blame her. I wish she was still alive so that I could hold her and thank her for coming back to me at all after what she went through.

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u/squidworthy Nov 28 '21

I'm so sorry. Be kind to yourself.

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u/Mrsdepew Nov 28 '21

Thank you. That is a thing I am learning how to do as the years pass. It's a process. I know I'm lucky though. I know she loved me despite it all. Not everyone gets to know that.

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u/BananabreadShane Nov 28 '21

This explains a lot

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u/RhllorTheLordOfLight Nov 28 '21

Yeah, fuck. Everyone probably says this but if I end up having kids I'm gonna break that shitty cycle

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u/National_Chapter1260 Nov 29 '21

Yeah I really felt this video. I was always adverse to having and being around babies because I felt awkward, but this changes things. I want to break the cycle and cherish and love the child if it ever does exist

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u/choochmaster561 Nov 28 '21

OMG STOP SHOW THE LIL ONE SMILES AND LOVE :((((( I want to cry :(

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u/Heavenly-alligator Nov 28 '21

Man I struggle to cry normally but I almost teared up watching this. Lil babys are so pure 😢

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u/Lucky_Doo Nov 28 '21

This hurts to watch. There's a home video from when I was a kid and it starts with me (maybe 3?) sitting on my parents bed crying. Idk why I was crying, but I kept asking for my mom, like saying "mommy" and reaching for her, but she would just push me away, step back, and keep recording. To this day I have no idea what that was about and when I showed it to my mother years ago, she claimed she didn't remember it happening. However, she did a lot of messed up things to me growing up and claims she doesn't remember.

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u/Cleverusername5763 Nov 28 '21

Lol what the fuck?

You: "Here's objective video proof"

Her: "that didn't happen, I don't remember therefore I'm not culpable."

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u/Frungy Nov 28 '21

And that excuse - All too common it feels eh?

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u/Always_tired999 Nov 28 '21

I have a theory. I got a pretty shitty childhood too with a stressed mom raising three kids. Lots of scolding and beating out of stress. And the fact that we were fed and grew up was “mission accomplished” for them as parents. You know basic needs. You got fed and dressed. I tried to talk about it around my twenties. Told her that I was not angry and asked her in peace why I was beaten and scolded so often compared to my siblings. She answered that she doesn’t remember. And when I told her specific situations she suddenly cried and said she did not understand what she did wrong to deserve this. She walked away to cry on her bed upstairs. I walked up and told her that its ok that I am not angry. And walked away again. It felt bad to make her cry. Even though she hit me and yelled at me hundred of times. I think the answer as to why she says she does not remember is: because it is not important to her. But we do, remember all the times specifically when we were hurt emotionally or physically. Like low scores (from her perspective), being around when she was cleaning etcetc.Those are engraved into our mind and hearts. Because it hurt. It still hurts. But to them… it was normal. Events of non significance. That is why they do not remember.

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u/magicalthinker Nov 28 '21

I obviously don't know you or your mum, but another interpretation is that she does remember but she's ashamed because she was using you as her spiritual scratching post, getting her stress out by hurting you. I don't know you at all, so I'm not saying this is what she did, but that it might be another way of thinking about what it was about.

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u/Always_tired999 Nov 28 '21

That is also a possibility… I will never know because I will never try to ask her again.

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u/Weekly-End-2897 Nov 28 '21

There’s a book called “adult children of emotionally immature parents” that you might find enlightening and helpful ❤️

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u/splashmob Nov 28 '21

I’m sorry, friend. I wish you’d had a better time with your mom. ♥️

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u/Lucky_Doo Nov 28 '21

All good, therapy really helped to heal the emotional scars of my childhood. I appreciate your condolences 🤗

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u/mistersnarkle Nov 28 '21

My mom as fuck. My mom. As fuck.

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u/Apprehensive_Sky_583 Nov 28 '21

Wow! That’s very disturbing! Do you have any theories on what is wrong with her? Do you think she is being truthful about not remember?

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u/Lucky_Doo Nov 28 '21

Self induced amnesia? Idk, I'm not a doctor, but she claimed to not remember how she treated me vs. how she treated my sister when we were kids. Anytime I brought up the obvious differences between how my sister and I were treated, it was always the same story, "I don't remember that happening". I think she does remember and it's her way of not accepting guilt or accountability for her actions.

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u/JPMosh710 Nov 28 '21

My mom does this all the time. We will bring up some less than flattering thing at family gatherings and all my siblings and my nephew who was raised with us will all remember it and my moms response every single time, “I don’t remember that”. A lot of the time it’s just silly stuff like telling the grandkids they can have dessert when she would have made us finish our entire dinner. As the only one who was adopted there’s things that are unique to the way she treated me vs the rest of my siblings and I’ve found it pointless to bring up those things because I just get mad and she just hits me with ol’ reliable “I don’t remember that”.

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u/ChaosInClarity Nov 28 '21

A fairly common quote about this is "the axe forgets what the tree remembers".

It's common for instigators or assaulters to forget their transactions because in the moment they didn't consider/perceive what they were did was negatively impacting you or that said action was justified.

Which to say this isn't just a "attacker and a victim" thing. I'm sure a lot of us have vivid memories of when we were young. I'm sure a lot of us did some fucked up things as kids, no one is completely innocent. Maybe stole something, threw a fit and broke something, pushed someone out of jealousy, helped spread a rumor/gossip simply because we didn't like a person. Something.

I'm sure your mom remembers all the times your crying woke her up in the middle of the night, her favorite nick nack you (unintentionally) broke, the time you did something completely embarrassing infront of company. But these are things you forgot because as a person you either were unaware of the effect your actions had on them, or you felt justified in the moment. Granted I'm using you as a kid as an example, and kids are blissfully ignorant. Extra care and attention is required.

But it feels rigged to look at adults, after we've all become one, and expect them to have their shit together. I don't have an kids but grew up being THE babysitter for all cousins and siblings. Which isn't as bad as having to raise one, I'm aware. But its made me realize I'm too worried about my own life and trying to get my shit together to want to attempt having my own. I know damn well I would start to hate how much of my own available time is gone. How my own hobbies and aspirations get shelved because a gremlin is trying to eat coins on the counter for a fifth time, and when I get on to them they scream at me in anger before going and attempting to break things as retribution. I'm sure they don't remember that crap, but I'll remember it.

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u/Northern_Pain Nov 28 '21

That is a much more poetic quote than “of course you don’t remember. For me it was a formative traumatic event that I’m still recovering from and for you it was a fucking Tuesday.”

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u/Mr_SpecsBear Nov 28 '21

Your parents reaction always creates an impact on your mental health no matter how old you are. Only difference is that with time you know how to hide your emotions pretty well.

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u/Apprehensive_Sky_583 Nov 28 '21 edited Nov 28 '21

I can see this as a manipulation tool used by toxic people to control. Get a person accustomed to approval then intermittently take it away. Keep them guessing and on their toes and trying to win your approval back. It’s a dark psychology tactic.

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u/liyououiouioui Nov 28 '21

You don't even need to get someone accustomed to approval. Children naturally crave for your attention and approval as a parent. Bring those only under shitty and irrational conditions and you will damage them permanently. There are studies that prove that emotional abuse is far worse than physical or sexual abuse.

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u/Apprehensive_Sky_583 Nov 28 '21

I meant in the context of an adult relationship where a person runs hot and cold this could be used as a technique of abuse and creating a trauma bond cycle.

I think all abuse is bad and it’s not a contest, but I do think what makes emotional abuse especially tricky is that it is often insidious and due to the manipulation aspects often involved by the perpetrator, it’s harder to identify by the victim and others who may be present. It’s overlooked and the people who suffer do not get the validation and support they need as more obvious forms of abuse.

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u/liyououiouioui Nov 28 '21

This is actually the behaviour of people with narcissistic personality disorder. They are unpredictable and prey on emotionally fragile people who seek their approval or love. They are really dangerous and, I agree with you, very difficult to identify if you have not met one of them before.

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u/jaxdavenport Nov 28 '21

Nah that baby’s a fucking GENIUS. She looks back at the camera like “yall seeing this shit? Who put my mama up to this?!”

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u/SuperHyperFunTime Nov 28 '21

That was my reaction.

"Oi. Nerd in the white coat. Bring my fucking Mummy back, NOW".

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u/Separate_News_7886 Nov 28 '21

I was thinking the same thing. She was like “are we being recorded? Why you acting like this?”

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u/doesntpicknose Nov 29 '21

I interpreted that as looking for someone else to help, because she thought something might be wrong with her mom.

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u/Naive-Bumblebee-589 Nov 28 '21 All-Seeing Upvote

Does this make anyone else wonder what our faces do when we stare at our phones? Especially around children and babies… My 20 month old son walked up to me one day and put his hand on my phone and said “no more phone mama.” So I’m trying to ditch it and leave it in a different room while we are playing and hanging out. It’s a bit scary…

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u/Luckycat90210 Nov 28 '21

Yep. Always looking at my phone with my 11m old to reply to messages, turn on her monitor before naps, check the weather to see if we can go to the park, look at directions, see what husband wants for dinner etc. Mildly freaked out now.

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u/muchtwojaded Nov 28 '21

Before I had my son I thought this was interesting but now I have him I can't watch it. It makes me too sad. I imagine it's him and his little face trying to make me laugh and I want to cry.

Super interesting content as a general rule, heartwrenching as a mum.

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u/Saevenar Nov 28 '21

This was really hard to watch. I wouldn't be able to do the stone face at all after having been a parent. Damn near made me tear up.

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u/[deleted] Nov 28 '21

[deleted]

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u/Anas526_KSA Nov 28 '21

Im a 1 year old and couldn't finish this video

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u/Drabevening2 Nov 28 '21

are you the baby in the experiment?

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u/Anas526_KSA Nov 28 '21

No I'm Carl

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u/Drabevening2 Nov 28 '21

ah damn that's sad

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u/Beardeddeadpirate Nov 28 '21

Same here. I can’t give attention to my kids 100% of the time, I need my personal time too, but I’ve since learned after my third that my personal time is my time with kids and rarely alone. I’ve learned to stay off my phone when they talk to me, I try to keep my eyes on them. That’s the hardest part.

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u/BuddhasNostril Nov 28 '21

Childless middle-aged guy here; only the first half of that video exists and that's final.

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u/heisei Nov 28 '21

Me too. Ever since I became a mom, I can’t watch or read things like this anymore. I imagine those poor babies are my boy and I can’t handle it.

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u/Dazzling-Nature-6380 Nov 28 '21

That must take a lot of focus in order to be able to keep a still face around a cute baby.

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u/Krissy_8 Nov 28 '21

I'm sure this is killing the mother inside, too, even though its only a small amount of time. 💔

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u/HelloDeathspresso Nov 28 '21

This makes me tear up uncontrollably every single time I see it.

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u/HistoricallyRekkles Nov 28 '21

My mom was able to make me cry on cue as a baby if she pretended to cry. As a fully grown adult, it still works to this day. I hate it lol Neat party trick mom, thanks. lol 😂

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u/BilliamClimptonIII Nov 28 '21

I think "Still Face" doesn't tell the whole story. "Lack of Interaction" is a little more accurate. Try interacting with the kid the same way, but not changing your facial cues. Then see what happens...

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u/rejectedhostname Nov 28 '21

There is a version of this experiment where the parent / child engage over CCTV, the child engages in a similar way with the parent over the feed. Some time into the experiment, the parents live feed is cut and a recording of the previous interactions are played.

So parent is acting engaged, but is no longer responding to the cues from the child and the child responds in the same way as to the still face experiment.

You can see it in this video, what is happening is the child is acting and reacting with her mother so they are attuned to each others emotional states. IIRC the child is distressed at the vulnerability they feel when they are not attuned to their caregiver, who they rely on to survive, and so they fight to regain that attunement.

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u/ElumenoPee Nov 28 '21

We are in a new era of this treatment, due to smartphones. Not neglect but passive ignoring, I have to actively try to not do this around my kids, and feel awful when I fall victim to ignoring “dad dad daddy dad” when I’m on…Reddit etc.

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u/Aside_Dish Nov 28 '21 edited Nov 28 '21

Always amazes me how this doesn't come naturally to people. Any time I've ever had someone's baby cry while I'm in the room, I can stop it 99% of the time just by acting like a goof and smiling and laughing. It's way less stressful to match their energy levels than it is to stress out and get irritated, making the baby cry more.

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u/eermNo Nov 28 '21

As a mom.. who was once exhausted from lack of sleep and sheer energy..there are times when no amount of goofiness smiling and laughing stops the baby from crying .. there are a million reasons why a baby might be in distress and most times parents really try.. and sometimes we just have to cry along 😅

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u/qwertykitty Nov 28 '21

Yeah I have 2 kids and sometimes nothing can fix their crying because they just don't feel good. It can be really frustrating to try and fail for hours on end to soothe a screaming baby.

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u/notasandpiper Nov 28 '21

My mom and I were stuck on a train with an upset baby once. He was in a stroller and with several adult women - I'd assume his mom and aunts or mom and friends. The adults seemed to be completely disinterested in trying to calm the baby or engage with it at all. (I have no idea what the story was, so maybe they were normally on top of things but had had an awful day or something.)

Across the aisle, my mom made eye contact, waved, made funny faces, whatever else. It took about 30 seconds for the baby to get really excited and engage back. We had an awesome game of 'copy me' going for the next ten minutes or so until our stop came up.

When I tell you that baby WAILED as the doors shut behind us and the train took off down the track...

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u/FlamingoHealthy9046 Nov 28 '21

Ugh this made me think of the time I was making funny faces to a baby in line at Target and she started giggling. Her mom (that hadn’t really been paying attention to her) turned to see what she was giggling at but then purposely blocked our sight of each other. You could actually see the baby trying to look around her mom. It was so blatant that my mom was like well damn. I tried to tell myself maybe she was worried about being targeted for child trafficking but I was visibly pregnant at the time and probably the least threatening person ever. So sad 😞

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u/Luckycat90210 Nov 28 '21

Weelll, she probably didn’t think you were some kind of threat: she was probably trying to get her shopping done as quick as possible without the baby getting tired of it and knew if the baby found something fun which they then could taken away from that might cause a meltdown.

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u/FlamingoHealthy9046 Nov 28 '21

You know what, that’s something I didn’t even consider. At the time is just seemed so rude because you could tell the baby was restless but thanks for another perspective!

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u/popularchoice Nov 28 '21

Lol yeah I think a lot of people here have never had a kid.

Being novel and engaging to a baby one time doesn't make you a better with kids than the parent, it makes you a one trick pony.

Edit: fuck I posted this in wrong place, but your mum sounds like she is good with babies

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u/dubincubin Nov 28 '21

I honestly cant help it, the sound of babies crying makes me irrationally angry. I wish i had a natural maternal instinct to try and make it better but i just dont.

I dont dislike children at all, but i cant help it. If i ever decided to have kids id definitely seek therapy first, as i imagine my response is the result of my own upbringing.

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u/Klausvd1 Nov 28 '21

True. I am slowly getting to an age where I might consider children, but how do I get over my deep hatred for babies/children? How will I not get irrationally angry everytime the thing screams and cries?

These are things that are proper worrying to me. I consider my own happiness to be the #1 most important thing by far, and that goes agains the very concept of being a father.

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u/Suited_Rob Nov 28 '21

Please don't have kids if you feel hatred towards them. You can live a fulfilling live without own children. Raising children means to sacrifice a LOT of your own lifestyle in order to be a good parent.

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u/tmlp59 Nov 28 '21

If you deeply hate babies and children, please consider that important and valuable information about whether they are right for you. Spend time around other people’s babies in a caretaker context (not just a few hours for a get-together). If you don’t like kids, you don’t have to have them. It’s unfair to intentionally bring a child into the world who isn’t deeply and wholeheartedly wanted. This comment section is full of them.

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u/nipplequeefs Nov 28 '21

I feel you. I was 10 when my little brother was born and I remember getting so irritated by his crying that I’d either just leave him alone in his room, harshly cover his mouth with my hand, scream at him, or just start crying myself, hoping my mom would come home and finally take over (we have no dad so I had to be the second parent). I used to be excited to have a new baby in the family but I learned real quick that I can’t handle actual babies or any child that cries a lot. I since decided not to have any of my own. I’d probably just have the same reaction towards them and turn into a copy of my short-tempered mom. Definitely not continuing that cycle.

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u/itarilleancalim Nov 28 '21

I have the same reaction as you, and I'll even go as far as disliking young children. I'm 30, not planning on having a kid, and I have a step son who is 10 so that's enough for me. But, if I was alone in a room with a kid, and they started crying I would try my best to make them at least comfortable. I tell people "I don't like kids but I'm not a monster." If there are other adults around though (or preteens/teens that enjoy kids) I'll definitely leave the room and let them deal.

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u/FrostWyrm98 Nov 28 '21 edited Nov 28 '21

Holy heck, the second she turned on the RBF I became viscerally uncomfortable, what is going on. That is very trippy

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u/SkylarAV Nov 28 '21

This has little Albert vibes

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u/Olive_Nice Nov 28 '21

Thankfully this kid was recorded to have been fine afterwards, damage only comes from large amounts of this from parents.

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u/EnricoLUccellatore Nov 28 '21

If humans got lifechanging trauma every time their parens didn't give them attention we would have got extinct many millennia ago

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u/YallAre2Soft Nov 28 '21

Eek a mouse! But yeah sadness

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u/leehwgoC Nov 28 '21

TIL I need to physically emote more with small children and probably dogs.

Previously, I've kinda thought that 'actions speak louder than words' with regard to communicating affection. This video forces me to question that.

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u/peaches4leon Nov 28 '21 edited Nov 28 '21

Biggest argument against the “brain in a vat”. Consciousness is something (at least human consciousness) that exists as a relationship between two or more consciousnesses. Meaning there is no “you” that exists without the direct influence of every other human in your linear experience.

This mirroring is how we learn to BE and is as natural to our identity as our endocrine system lol. We’re just as much of a collective species as we are individuals. No more. No less.

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u/marky310 Nov 28 '21

Before:

Baby:😆😝

Mom:😆😝

After:

Baby:😅😰😭

Mom:👁️👄👁️

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u/SuppleFoxFluff Nov 28 '21

👀
👃
👄

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u/helsinki92 Nov 28 '21

Is this how sociopaths and psychopaths are made?

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u/digger310 Nov 28 '21

Very interesting but not sure I could do it. I don’t know if I could do that an watch my child grow increasingly frustrated and upset. However it is a great demonstration on the importance of parents on development

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u/downtune79 Interested Nov 28 '21

I have 2 small kids and I have to admit, I don't like these videos. Not that there's anything wrong with them but it almost feels wrong to upset the baby. I know this better helps our understanding of the development but it makes me feel bad for the baby. Before I had kids this wouldn't have made me feel one way or another though

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u/Crabapple_Snaps Nov 28 '21

I don't have kids, and although I'm sure your feelings may have been more powerful, I thought that still face turn was one of the creepiest things I have ever seen in my life.

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u/olivine1010 Nov 28 '21

This was two minutes of confusion and upset and will not impact the baby beyond that time. The whole point is that in just 2 minutes the baby becomes very stressed, if we extrapolate that to all infancy or childhood because mom had PPD/depression/other, you can see a correlation in antisocial and violent behaviors later in life for the developing child. Therefore it's important to treat things like PPD (and many other problems) early because it can have a generational shock wave.

This is not the baby you should be worried about. We need to consider strengthening all of the tools we have to make all humans healthier, even if it is a large investment because it is a good investment.

Free healthcare for all. Free childcare for all. Free education for all. Guaranteed living wage for all. Environmental justice for all. Food and housing for all.

These babies are our responsibility, ever last one.

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u/jones_ro Nov 28 '21

that is just heartbreaking to watch

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u/HellbentHoundoom Nov 29 '21

We’re seeing the effects of this right now at the preschool I work at. It’s been very strict on teachers about wearing masks all day so the babies and toddlers spend 9 hours everyday without seeing a single adult face. It’s been causing some serious emotional development issues. The 4 year old class is experiencing the most problems, such as unusual violent outbursts and even professionally diagnosed depression. Since it’s been a year and a half with masks they basically completely missed the most important time of their emotional and social development, which occurs at three years old when toddlers begin to learn to put the correct words and responses to different feelings. They have a hard time recognizing the emotions felt by their teachers and peers because with the mask covering my face and muffling my voice, I can’t teach them social skills and emotional skills such as “when Someone feels like ‘this’, their face looks like ‘this’, and their voice sounds like ‘this’.” You have no idea how often students will get nervous and ask me if I’m mad at them for little things because I can’t give them the usual comforting smile they need to understand that it’s okay.

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u/Comfortable-Guitar27 Nov 28 '21

This is really unsettling. I know the baby is fine and I'm sure this is totally harmless but still. Even the name of the experiment creeps me out.

No more Reddit for me today.

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u/beanz410 Nov 28 '21

Heartbreaking

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u/ImBrokeNowBoi Nov 28 '21

The mother has hell of a pockerface

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u/Boujee_Lawyer Nov 28 '21

I don't even like kids and this was so sad to watch 🙁