Mothers

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2003
Mothers
7
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 12:10pm
**Possible emotional triggers about mothers here**

I think I hit a nerve while writing in my journal this morning, and I just wanted to share it because I don't want it bottled up inside of me anymore. Here's the journal entry:

>>It's worry about feeling hurt about Mom. I have no mother. I have no mother. I am everyone's mother, but I have no mother. I am everyone's mother. I took my mother's role when I was 6. I have been a mother since the age of 6. I am tired and I want a mother to take care of me. I want a mother to take care of me.<<

I have to say, typing that out made me HATE how whiney that sounds. (How dare I need something! Or worse--someone!) But that is the truth right there. I became my sister's mother at the age of 6 and have been mothering my way through life ever since. My son is 6, and I just do not relate to how free he is. I'm glad for him, but man, I never had that!

This causes problems for me because it makes me resentful that I do not have anyone who mothers me, or ever has. Never. Even my dh, as great as I think he is, is not a nurturing, "let me take care of you" sort of man. He's supportive and he's an excellent friend, but he's not a nurturer. And I know that as an adult woman, the time has passed for me to have a mother. I'm never going to have one. I know I need to mother myself now, but that means it's still my responsibility. And then once again, I'm the mother.

Maybe there is something in this observation about my son, that he is free. Being motherly to everyone makes me feel restrained in many ways, especially artistically. The journal entry began with me trying to figure out why I'm stuck in my writing. (I've been working on a novel with a very strong motherhood theme for about 3 years now and I can't seem to get it finished.)

I'd love to sit here and write more about this and think it through further, but I have to be the mother and get the kids ready for school! :o}

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
In reply to: cl_free_girl_123
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 5:28pm
Your post really hit home with me. I look at my dd, who will be 6 next month, and I see how free she is. She is a child in every sense of the word. In some ways that is comforting to me because it means that I am doing a better job with her than my parents did with me. It also makes me sad though, because I didn't get to be a little girl. I so strongly want to be taken care of and I know that now I am an adult and I have to take care of myself and my child. But how do you ever get past those longings? I wish I knew how to make them go away.

Hugs,

Precia

Precia

            Cl-Families and Mental Illness

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2008
In reply to: cl_free_girl_123
Fri, 04-11-2003 - 1:50am
My T calls that emotional incest. My mother didn't allow me to just be a child; I was folding laundry at age 5 and she built on my responsibilities from there. I am the oldest of six; by age eight I was babysitting when she and my dad went on dates, could change diapers and everything. By age 10 I could babysit for families with six kids and manage all of them, while cooking and cleaning the house for them. Also at that time my mom made me her dieting partner. There are so many screwed up things about how she "mothered" me. I wasn't allowed a carefree childhood.

I have felt those same feelings of wanting to be mothered, but like you mentioned, now I'm the mother. I think having children has proven to me how not normal my life was. I don't feel jealousy towards my children; like you it means to me that I am doing a better job of parenting than my mom did. But sometimes I just want my mommy! But my mommy can't/won't nurture me the way I need to be.

My T has been guiding me with Inner Child work. She said that everyone completes the parenting process that their parents start. Through doing Inner Child work I am learning to nurture that childlike part of myself that feels hurt and pushed aside. T says that ultimately through this kind of work, the child inside me will feel loved and nurtured by the Adult Me. It sounds kind of abstract writing about it, but I have found that it really does work. I have felt a lot more peace since starting this.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2003
In reply to: cl_free_girl_123
Fri, 04-11-2003 - 11:41am
You know, another thing I worry about is that my recovery work, both before I remembered the abuse when I was just reacting to life (and not very well) through now, is that I'm more focused on ME than regular mothers are on themselves, and I worry that I haven't been emotionally "there" for my kids, my dd especially. I try now to make an effort to be a good listener--but that I have to "try" should tell you something. It is an effort for me, and it does not come naturally.

I worry that my dd is going to grow up and feel like she never had a childhood. I know that she internalizes her worries because she doesn't want to upset anyone. So, when the war started, I could tell that something was bothering her, and I thought I knew what it was. I asked her some questions and she soon started crying, and I asked her if she felt like she couldn't talk about her worries because they would upset me, and she said that she did feel that way. Of course I reassured her, but still. She has an emotionally volatile mother. Sometimes I feel like just being myself is hurtful to her because of everything that has happened to me.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2008
In reply to: cl_free_girl_123
Sat, 04-12-2003 - 12:52pm
Hey Freegirl,

I understand what you're saying about worrying that you have been too focused on yourself and not enough on your kids.

One thing I can offer is that I think it's great that you asked your daughter if she was worried about upsetting you by telling you when something is bothering her. Your being that open and letting her know that she can tell you that she's feeling that way is great. It might take time for her to feel comfortable talking to you about difficulties on a regular basis, but you definitely opened the door. My mom had a lot of issues. She was always angry or upset, overreacted to every little thing, but when I would ask what was wrong she would get defensive and say she was fine, like I had no business asking. It's only since becoming an adult that I've been able to figure things out; that she had issues and that it wasn't my fault she was upset. Letting your daughter know that you have things you're working through and letting her know that she can talk to you about her difficulties is important. I think that you did a great job of communicating to her. My mom would have never asked me what you asked your daughter.

Also remember that working on healing yourself makes you a better mother. I don't know if your daughter is old enough to understand about SA, but one day you'll be able to explain at least in a general way what happened to you. It's okay to be honest about your feelings, saying that sometimes you feel sad and angry about it.

I accidentally left a children's book out that my therapist gave me to read called "I Can't Talk About It" and my 10-yr old dd found it and read it. My initial reaction was panic, because it is pretty straightforward about what the little girl's daddy did to her. I managed to act calm and asked her what she thought about it. We talked about how sad it is that some daddies do that to their children. I told her that that happened to me when I was little, but that it was at a babysitter's house, and that that was one of the reasons I was seeing Diane (my counselor). Her eyes got really big, and she asked if my mom knew. I told her no, and she said that I need to tell her, because she needs to know. I explained to her that at the time it happened I couldn't tell her because she was upset all the time and I was scared to tell her. I told her that I forgot for a long time and then started remembering, and I might tell grandma someday if it feels right. She will be upset and sad if/when I tell her, so I need to make sure it's the right thing and time. This was a good lesson to me because my daughter handled the information just fine. She felt bad that it happened to me, but it didn't shatter her world and freak her out. It also opened the door to let her know that there are probably kids at school who are going through this, and that you never know what people are dealing with. It was also an opportunity to connect emotionally. If I had grabbed the book away from her and said, "Don't read that!" it would have cut off all the opportunities for discussion and connection that we had, not to mention confusing her or making her think I was mad at her. She read the book several more times before I returned it. I asked her if reading it upset her, and she said no, but she felt bad for the little girl.

All we can do is our best for our children. We're not perfect (no one is), but we just have to keep at it. And there are lessons our kids learn by seeing us deal with difficulties. Sometimes on hard days I have to explain to my kids that I'm not feeling well or I'm having a hard time, and they understand that maybe I may need some extra sleep or something. I also feel strongly that it's a good thing to apologize to our children when we snap or overreact. My parents NEVER apologized when they were hurtful. I have been working on this over the last year. I'll say something like, "I'm sorry I snapped at you. I didn't mean to; it's been a hard day but that doesn't make it okay." They are quick to forgive and I am finding that now my kids are more inclined to come to me and apologize when THEY overreact about something. It's pretty powerful.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2003
In reply to: cl_free_girl_123
Sat, 04-12-2003 - 8:22pm
I can't even tell you how thankful I am for this post. I actually cried while reading it. I don't think I even realized I was as worried about this as I was until I read your comforting words. I have told my dd about the sexual abuse--in a very vague sort of way, no gory details, of course. We are able to talk pretty openly about things, and that is good. It seems to come in waves, though, and that's because of me. Sometimes I feel really closed off, so she doesn't talk to me. Other times, when I'm open, she tells me lots of things. But it must be hard to have such an inconsistent mother. I do apologize, when I snap, too. And I am careful to let them know that my feelings and sometimes anger are not their fault, that I'm just having a rough day.

My father used to apologize, sort of, but without saying the words. He would buy us gifts after he got really drunk, until I was around 11 or so and I asked him if instead of buying us presents would he just not get drunk again. Then he still got drunk, but the presents were over. :-) I am proud of saying that.

Anyway, thank you for this post. I need this today!

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2008
In reply to: cl_free_girl_123
Sat, 04-12-2003 - 8:58pm
freegirl,

I'm so glad you are feeling better! I was hoping you'd answer back.

That post ended up pretty LOOOOONG! I just got going and when I was done I wondered if it was too long, but decided to leave it in hopes that something would be helpful or comforting to you. You have inspired me through many of your posts, so it makes me feel good that I could give you a pick-me-up!

My counseling started two years ago over mommy issues (my mommy) and it's been really interesting to see how much of my anxiety was worry that I would repeat history. I've wanted so much my whole life to be the kind of mother that I didn't have that I am extra hard on myself. I'm also hyper-vigilant and have to really watch myself that I'm not too overprotective. I wonder if that is true for a lot of us that have/had abusive parents.

Hmmmm. Well, I hope the rest of your weekend is wonderful!

{{{hugs}}}

Heidi

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2003
In reply to: cl_free_girl_123
Sun, 04-13-2003 - 2:48am
About being overprotective--one of the things that has come up in my AMAC group is a tendency to be overprotective. The couple who didn't have kids didn't want them because they felt like they couldn't protect them, and those of us who do have kids are fiercely overprotective. Just tonight, for instance, my dd went to a birthday party. It was a sleepover, but we don't do sleepovers. There is no way I could go for that--not unless I knew the parents EXTREMELY well. (There are 4 families I know who could keep my kids overnight: My in-laws, my sister, and 2 friends who I've known for 13 1/2 years. LOL) Anyway, it's something we've talked about a lot in my AMAC group and our counselor says that it's pretty common--in fact, she says every survivor she knows who has been a parent struggled with this issue.

Many of your posts have inspired me, too! (((hugs)))