What am I doing wrong?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
What am I doing wrong?
Sat, 03-29-2003 - 10:01am
It's been awhile since I've left my ex and we still have conversations with each other even though I've had to hang up a few times. It's alot easier being away from him now and my heart doesn't jump like it used to when I hear his voice which is a good thing.

The problem I'm facing now is MY attitude. I feel horrible because I feel like I'm in a pit of sadness. I don't want to go out with friends and when I do it's usually to a movie, BY MYSELF, when my son is at school. I do this because I don't want to actually have to talk to anyone about babysitting. I have this attitude about asking other people for help right now. I won't ask, I want to be independant and if I ask for help I feel like I owe someone something. I'd rather struggle with anything than ask for someone's help right now. My brother is getting better(Thank God) and soon I won't be intruded upon by my family, at least I hope not but I plan on moving anyway.

But the other day my son said something that made my heart drop....he asked me to sit down and watch a cartoon with him and I said'mommy has a headache right now sweetie', and he came back at me and said,'you never do anything with me anymore, mommy, and you're always sad'. Then he went back to whatever he was doing. I sat there and stared at him for a long time and thought about what he said. Then I remembered all the little things he has done over the weeks since we left his Dad. He's made me a book which I lovingly hang on my bedroom wall, he's made me a iced cookie with sprinkles even though I knew he only had four and they're his favorite but he brought it to me. The point is...I feel like the kid and he's a parent trying to make me feel better. What an injustice!! My little boy lost his father and got only the shell of his mother back. I thought I was doing good taking care of his needs and making sure his father is out of his life so he can grow in peace. But the truth is that I'm not doing a good job. I shouldn't be sad, at least not around him. How do I get myself back? I've finally stopped all my crying from the loss of my relationship but now I'm back to crying because I don't know how to be better for my son. How do I get out of this depressing state? I'm so tired already. I feel WAY beyond my 28 years. I'm so frustrated I can't even think straight anymore. Am I losing my grip? Will I ever get back to the joy I used to feel in JUST living?

I'm sorry about rambling but I thought I was getting better and today it doesn't feel like I've made any progress.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 03-29-2003 - 10:55am
Greyeyes, you knew I'd post, didn't you? . Let me respond to you as one child of an abusive family to another. Just you and me. This is what I see, and as they say "If you spot it, you got it."......

1) You don't want to ask for a babysitter because you don't want to owe anyone anything. The problem isn't the "asking for a babysitter", that's normal, people with children do this. The problem is you were taught by disfunctional parents that you "OWE" them. For everything. Even things that are given of someones own free will. You have recieved something that makes your life better, therefore they needed to make sure you didn't make a habit of it and actually get yourself a life, so they attached the "You owe me" weight to it. The "You owe me" weight makes it more difficult for you to spread your wings and be happy without them. This has gotten to be a joke at the greenhouse where I work. One day I picked up something that someone dropped on the floor and when they said thank you, I replied with "You owe me." I was trying to be funny and thankfully everyone thought so and laughed and not it's a running gag. But the truth is, I was imitating my sister. She would have been dead serious.

2) About your son. He is not being the parent, he's being easier on you than you are being on yourself. Yeah, I know, that's rich coming from me, isn't it? He loves and cares about you and he's showing it...and he doesn't think you owe him anything for it. He has not hangups (as we do, as abused children) about showing his feelings. We had our feelings used against us, we had our feelings held up for disection and criticism. Thank God he still feels safe enough to tell you how he feels without fear of reprisal. He's showing you love...say thank you and then read #3 below.

3) I swear, our higher power works in mysterious ways. Just this very morning, this very morning right here, I came to the realization that things were not working in my life because I wasn't going after the things *I* wanted. I was still going after the things that would please other people, make them not laugh at me, make them stop critisizing me because well yes I do *want* them to stop doing these things. But I somehow gained the courage to be honest with myself, to admit in my own mind what I did and didn't want, regardless of what other people would do to me. I can give my specific example from this morning if you want, I won't write it all out right now. But my point is I realized what it truely meant to be brave enough to be honest with myself. To say "no, I don't want that" and be comfortable with the honesty of what I really do want and go with it and feeling as though I am confidently walking right past all those people who used to make fun of me and I picture their mouths hanging open as I pass (just for my added pleasure. LOL!)

I think that for us who grew up in an abusive home, at least for me anyway, my biggest hurdle to jump is FEAR. Our abusive parents put the fear of God in us. Threatened us with terrible, unspeakable things, even death to control us. And BRAVERY is the one thing that will bring about all this death, doom and destruction, if not to ourselves, to others. We have to learn how to be brave and not fear our parents perceived power over us. I felt brave this morning. Now I have to brave with other things in my life.

My situation might not be exactly like your. But I hope that maybe sharing my story has helped you in some way...as your sons treats helped you. Not all of us think that you "owe" us something in return. Not all of us think you're a miserable loser for wanting something good for yourself...like a babysitter so you can go out, or anything else that you may want that actually puts yourself first but shows responsibility to your son. Yes, your son needs you...but YOU need YOU also. There are ways that both you and your son can get the things that make you happy and there won't be mass death and destruction as a result. I know, I tried it!!! But you have to be brave enough to be honest with yourself. You and me both.

Hugs, Joyce