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Mommas with bad childhoods... does it affect the way you parent? - Page 3

post #41 of 64
I think one of the worst things for me is handling fear and hurt in a positive way. It goes along with what others have said about having not normal reactions to things.

When the kids get hurt, even if it's an accident, my first instinct is to lash out with, "How could you do that, how could you hurt yourself like this?"

I know I'm not angry at them, or upset with them. I know that I'm upset with myself for letting them get hurt. I want to be perfect, and keep them safe from everything, and when I can't, I want to react, with negative emotions.

It is so hard, most of the time, to fight against this urge. I'm getting better. But I hate that it's still my first thought.

I remind myself, constantly, that they are looking at me to see how I react. That they will learn from me how to handle things, and I need to do it differently than my parents did. And I remind myself to be gentle with myself. That it's okay to make mistakes, and they need to see me forgive myself and move on.

Also, as much as I marvel and appreciate the innocence with which they see the world, I am also envious of it from time to time. I never got to look at anything innocently, and I feel that loss, so much.
post #42 of 64
I too had an extremely difficult childhood. I feel so incredibly lucky to be alive! Survival really wasn't a given in my family. Lived through some very scary stuff.I spent many years working through my past till I felt that I was ready to have a healthy relationship and family. I'm very glad that I waited---my first intimate relationships were very abusive and convinced me of the need to pursue recovery in order to figure out who I was and how to be in healthy relationships with other human beings. Spent many years learning in friendships, therapy and 12 step programs.

I think that my background has given me a tremendous willingness to question and learn. Of course this can cross the line into over-analyzing things.... Journaling and meditating when I can have helped me slow down my process and get more of a perspective.

I think that I'm coming out of period of grieving never having had a real bond with my mother. She just stood by passively while my father abused me and never ever seemed present in any way. I know that I'm terrified by the thought of not being attached/ connected to my own daughter. I never felt loved, seen, heard or valued in my family of origin.

Anyway, seems like the more that I can create a healthy family of choice and find wonderful Mama mentors (bunch here at MDC!) the more I can just let go of my family of origin and just be fully presentwith my daughter, step-daughter and partner---seems to help banish the ghosts.

On that note, I'd like to thank Mamaley for her wonderful thread on great Mamas. I was so moved by it that I printed it out for my Mama-inspiration file. I collect stories of wonderful Mamas for inspiration!
post #43 of 64
What an inspiring thread!

I didn't have a terrible childhood. It wasn't until I was an adult that my sister and I began really questioning the way we were raised. I honestly think my parents did the best they could, but we now realize that my mom really is mentally ill and probably shouldn't have had kids at all. My father was very loving at times, and very emotionally unavailable as well.

I make a conscious effort to parent differently than I was raised. At times I take stands that are ridiculous, and I realize I am doing it simply because I have the choice. I frequently will not put away the toys every night, and my house can become a mess - and this usually happens if I know my parents will visit soon. Neatness was much more important than children were when I was growing up, and I won't have my kids believe that.

My mom was a screamer, and both parents used guilt and humiliation to have my sister and I behave. So, I try never to raise my voice, and feel so guilty when I do. But mostly, I try to always believe that my kids are seperate idenities, and what they do doesn't always reflect on me. They need to be able to make their own decisions. I was never allowed to do that. All I can do is raise them to be confident in themselves, and be here for them. I will always offer advice, and will raise them to believe they have the tools to make good decisions on their own. Something I'm still not capable in my parents eyes.

For the most part, my parents are wonderful grandparents. They truly love the kids, and love to be with them. But sometimes I hear them say something that I heard as a child, and it makes me cringe. It's so empowering to be able to correct them, and explain that we don't make our kids feel guilty, or demean them, or laugh at them. And since we have the power to not let them see the kids, they have to change the way they act.

I actually think they are aware of some of their shortcomings as parents, and we've talked a little about it. But they don't understand why we're 'still mad' or won't 'let go' of the past. And my opinion is, I need to remember to make sure I don't make the same mistakes. It's hard to be a daughter and a parent, when all I want to do is parent differently.

Take care!
post #44 of 64
Book reccommendations: sorry it took so long. I was reccommended "The courage to heal." I have not read it myself, so it is not a solid recommendation. I did just pick up, "Forgiveness, How to make peace with your past and get on with your life," by Sidney Simon and Suzanne Simon. Haven't read it yet, but if anyone's interested I'll share what I think after I've got into it some.
post #45 of 64
post #46 of 64
Originally Posted by polka hop View Post
excellent thread to recycle!
post #47 of 64
Yes. I really don't know how to parent. I don't know sometimes that I'm strong enough.

I'm very emotional right now and I can't even finish this.
post #48 of 64

Yes, in good and bad ways

I didn't have a bad childhood in terms of circumstances and my needs were always met but there was emotional abuse.

At the worst I've found myself saying things that were said to me . I always apologize of course. But on the positive side I am always striving to be better and I often am.
post #49 of 64
I pretty much just take everything that my mom did and do the opposite. I do feel crazy sometimes though. My daughter is 5 months old and I know I could very easily put her in her own crib to sleep through the night and she would be just fine but I just cant bring myself to do it. Its not a big deal at all but I just remember how often I was put in bed to sleep and would wake up to my mom being gone for days at a time and I never want my daughter to wake up scared thinking, wheres mommy?
post #50 of 64
Edited cos I wrote too much no one cares about. My father was hyper-perfectionistic (I remember being spanked HARD when I was probably 6-8 because the cables on my socks weren't straight and we were going to church--and then whacked harder because I couldn't straighten them) and unavailable, other than for spankings and comparisons on how much smarter I should be (a B+ means it should be an A-, an A- means you should have gotten an A if you would only work hard like your friends--now go to bed without dinner kind of thing). My mother was just mean, and seemed to enjoy making me the butt of all jokes amongst my peers, her friends, extended family, when she wasn't actually telling me how stupid, clumsy, and fat I was to my face.

But to answer the question,
Every day.

And, after I get stuck talking to my mother on the phone, even more so.

I question everything I say to my kids--sometimes as it is coming out of my mouth. Am I insulting them? Am I putting down their choices? Am I imposing my personality on them? Can I say something nice? Can we do something fun when they ask to do something fun? Can we be spontaneous and silly sometimes? Do I ever say "SURE!" or "LET'S!"? Am I comparing them meanly to each other or anyone else? Can we afford a class they beg to take? Am I forcing them to do stuff they hate?

Nothing I have ever done, am doing, or will ever do is good enough for my mother. In fact, I am an outright failure when she talks to me : I am the bad child. She told my dh she couldn't believe he was crazy enough to marry me, because I'm so unpleasant. I moved away (w can't leave closer than 300 miles to them.) I waste my time volunteering and my degree being a sahm and my money having hobbies. I am a snob whether it be food (fresh and home cooked, not processed--by her standards, everyone on mdc is a food snob!!!). She controlled my hygiene (or lack thereof by her rules), my looks (by crooked haircuts and ill-fitting clothes cos I was "too fat" and had "big feet" and no bra til dad demanded she get me one--and I mean 1).

FWIW, I am actually very very very boring. My friends' parents all thought of me as a "good girl". Now, I am dull. I like being dull. I garden, craft, volunteer for sports, school, local enviro group. I am slowly slowly overcoming my somewhat pathological shyness/total fear of being the center of attention--thanks mom. I am a worker bee, not a leader. I am terrified of attention. In my mind, it means insults, spankings, screaming, no dinner, public humiliation of any/many kinds.

Dh screens her calls and won't ever answer the phone.
post #51 of 64
Yes, though I think my problem is more that I go in and out of depressive stages because of it, and during those times don't do as much with dd as I should and would like to. I used to have weird anxiety about absolutely having to get out of the house as much and as early as possible each day, but now I find it way too easy to sit around the house and mope. Which just makes me feel even worse. I think I also have problems with going out to do things because I feel like I can't handle it-- I get way too intimidated, overwhelmed, and I can never make a decision about what to do. All of which all stems from childhood crap, I'm sure.

I've been going to a therapist every other week since around this March. Since then, I've realised that my parents (mom, dad, step mom) screwed me up way more than I thought. That gets a funny face, because I know that's oh-so-typical of therapy-talk. But I'm really bitter right now that they didn't take care of their own s#!@ before raising kids. Because now *I* have to do it. On top of my abuse issues, which wasn't done by them, but they REALLY did not help the situation.

Though I still recommend therapy to anyone and everyone. It has already made a huge difference in my life, and I consider myself at the very beginning of my relationship with any sort of therapy. I can't imagine not doing it. It was extremely scary to get into, but IMO one of the best things one can do for oneself, ever.
post #52 of 64
Whoa, I didn't realise how old this thread was before I posted! Heh. Is everyone still around? I do recognise some of the usernames.

I can really relate to some of the loneliness/abandonment issues. I spent most of my time at my mom's house completely alone, starting in 5th grade, and basically was expected to keep the house up by myself and make my own dinner. My mom usually got home really late, so I'd come home from school at about 2.30p to a laundry list of things to do, and then be alone for six hours or more. I was so lonely all the time, and basically lived in my head. I still do. Then I'd go to my dad's house where I also had a very aggressive step-mother and step-brothers, where we were very much controlled every second of the day. We were expected to keep the house utterly spotless and be very quiet and obedient all the time, etc.
I found a note recently from my step mom that she had written me when i was about 10 or so. It was a long note completely chastising me for leaving a light brite piece on the floor of my bedroom, because it could have been vacuumed up and ruined the vacuum. That's just one example...
Nothing outright abusive, but when I was already dealing with abuse issues that happened at a young age, which weren't dealt with properly, and then going between these two households... it just messed me up. Anyway... I'm rambling...
post #53 of 64
It definitely affects me, but -- except for the abysmal job I did in choosing their dad (which was a major mistake that will take quite a while to undo now that he's gone) (perhaps caused in part by the message "it's a good thing you're smart, because you'll never find a man to take care of you with that personility) -- I think I'm a much better parent because I DO think so much about what I say and do. My parents were physically and emotionally abusive. I was adopted, so I was especially hurt by the "you're lucky we took you in because no one else wanted you"-type abuse. I remember thinking all the time that my parents really hated me, but it wasn't until I had my own kids that I truly realized the extent to which they failed to bond with me, and I feel really sad for both of us. NEVER, on my worst day, would I say or do anything to make my children fell that I didn't love them 100% unconditionally. If I make mistakes as a parent, which I do all the time, I always make sure to tell them I'm sorry, and admit that what I did was wrong.
post #54 of 64
Just to answer the questions - Yes. Without a doubt. Every single day.

It's the whole reason I researched parenting so much. The cycle that happens in my family WILL stop here. It's why I found the words "attachment parenting" before I ever became a parent. And read everything I could find so that I could be a mother in a healthy way!
post #55 of 64
Yes it does. It is really hard to not give into the impulse to lash out. Whether its physical, emotional or mental lashing.

While my childhood was bad, and my mom was the major contributing factor of that, I do not hate her. She had a horrififc childhood, teenhood, and adulthood. I am surprised she is still standing and doing as well as she does.
She may have abused me mentally, physically, emotionally (and denies it), but she makes a pretty good grandparent.
I have occassionally reminded her to not yell at my dd, and to not make scary monster faces to get her point across when she is angry. She would never strike dd, or call her names. I just think my mom still has so much anger in her at life that she needs an outlet.
She could probably use a good dose of counseling. I am not sure if she suffered depression, bi-polar, or PTSD or what, but I do not think she would have been quite so abusive if she had help and support and good parents of her own. She tried pretty hard. I can see that now as an adult.
post #56 of 64
Yes, I think it does, but not how someone might expect it to. I am not at risk of repeating the specific abuse I experienced, but I am at risk of allowing the dysfunctional coping patterns I still have and the stored rage I still harbor to affect my children. I would also say (agh-- this sounds cheesy) that my inner child is still very wounded, and parenting allows me to see that more clearly than I am often comfortable with.

Like others here, I was also diagnosed with PTSD (in my late teens). I don't think I would still merit that diagnosis, but there is stuff there.
post #57 of 64
Yes, it does affect the way I parent. For the better. Because it's just not IN ME to Parent the way my Parents 'Parent'.

In fact, they didn't 'Parent' me at all. How could they when they were snorting heroine and looking for drugs.

I've often wondered how in the world I was born from these 2 "Adults" who are so completely different from me. I don't do drugs, smoke or drink alcohol and get sloppy drunk...the complete OPPOSITE of my Parents.

And I was their Only Child :

It's just not in me to treat DS the way my Parents treated me.

I love him too much!
post #58 of 64
My horrible childhood made me that much more determined to give DS the childhood he deserves. I try really hard not to yell (still working on it), I've never hit him, I don't shame him. I take him on outings, look at him and pay attention to what he has to say (even if what he has to say is "monkey" 47 times in a row), and I cuddle him constantly. He deserves it and he's worth it.

I feel sad that DS will never have good grandparents and I will never have good parents, but BF's parents adore DS, so at least he has that.
post #59 of 64
yes it 100% efects how i parent also how i live. i have a hard time with things & situations. i have a hard time trusting others with care of my children. ................. the out come of my parenting ways hsing, no daycare, and i am always watching how people are around my kids i really trust no one. i am forcing the chain to brake bad things have happened over and over in my family i dont want then to go threw what i have or other members have
post #60 of 64
Yes, it effects me. There are times when I honestly don't know what to do. And times when my "natural" response is just bloody rotten. There are times when I am trying oh-so-hard that I have a deep understanding of why the fear-of-god form of parenting.

I fear that this will get worse as they head into the age group in which my sibs and I were essentially on our own. My own understanding of their capabilities will be so out of sync with everyone around me, AND I literally have no internal role model. I don't know what to expect. Though, perhaps that will be better since I'll have nothing to fall "back" on.
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