I am a birth mother to a now legal adult birth daughter. It's been an open adoption and she first met me when she was 13. I stayed out of her life for the most part before then; I figured the adoptive parents might not appreciate me being around at that point in time interfering with her growth, and also wanting her to not be confused about my presence. (They asked to come visit when she started asking questions about me.) Ultimatly, I stayed away because of deep insecurity regarding my abilities with children (my parents were not good examples for healthy emotional relationships with children - or each other for that matter).
A few months after her visit, I lost my job and moved very far away (it was a foolish unnecessary choice) and effectively abandoned her and the opportunity to begin building a stronger relationship with her and allowing her to know me and me her on a more intimate level. (Her adoptive parents are great about the level of contact we have. They're very trusting, but I've also given them reason to believe I am trustworthy.)
I've since moved back to where I left and have purposed to be more involved with her life. Trouble is, she has the same emotional insecurities as I do, so i have no idea how to interact with her well. I always feel awkward talking to her, and she gives feedback that covers her emotional wounds (from her adoptive family, and possibly me, though she has expressed she is very glad I am back in her life again). I recognize this because I used to be the same way at her age: tough, independent, in need of no one.
I thought it would be easier interacting with her as an adult. Turns out I was wrong. I have great difficulty responding well to people I don't get affirming behavior from to let me know I'm doing the right and acceptable action.
Any suggestions on how to overcome desperate insecurity (other than counseling) and be a stronger, more confident female she could learn to look to and trust?