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Support outside of the "surviving abuse" forum

post #1 of 105
Thread Starter 
Is it possible to start a semi support thread here for those of us that want to talk about this subject and yet don't qualify for the "surviving abuse" forum? There are things I want to address and talk about because I know my upbringing is affecting how I am handling disciplining my own child and I am so frustrated right now. I really would like to reach out, but I am intimidated because I have seen how some can attack others on here when they open up.

Thoughts?
post #2 of 105
I would love to talk about it too. Although I have the some of the same fears about being too honest about how I feel some days. :

I'm certainly willing to give it a try with you!
post #3 of 105
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momma_Camille View Post
I would love to talk about it too. Although I have the some of the same fears about being too honest about how I feel some days. :

I'm certainly willing to give it a try with you!
Alrighty then, I will start.

I will just summarize by stating that I grew up in an angry household. There was lots of verbal abuse and some physical abuse as well (non-sexual). I find now with my only child (he is 34 months) that I am having a difficult time dealing with my own anger. I have addressed this issue before through counciling, and have been instructed to walk away when I recongize the anger brewing. However there are days when I just explode. I have smacked my son's hand and I tell myself that I will never hit him anywhere else, and I have justified the hand hitting because he is into something dangerous. I know that this is wrong, I know he see's my anger and there have been times when he will cry and say "maaaaaaaaaamaaaaaaaaaaa!" as if to say "I trust you, why are you acting out this way towards me?" is how I take his cry. I am riddled with guilt for days after the episode. The next time it comes up when I feel like I might lose it again, I keep talking inside my head saying "remember how you dwelled on this the last time and how bad you felt" but it doesn't always work.

***In my efforts to post on this topic, I would like to hear from others who have found themselves in similar situations, I am not looking for people to lame baste me and convict me on what I have done are am doing to my child. Please respect this and perhaps others will feel more comfortable coming out about their own personal circumstances.
Thank you.
post #4 of 105
Count me in. Both my parents believe in spanking and in general parented with fear. I still have an extremely hard time expressing my emotions which makes it so difficult to teach my dc to express theirs.

When I get really angry I find myself not wanting to go calm myself, because I need somewhere for my rage to go. Currently, J is generally my target for venting. : I haven't actually smacked her in a few years, but I am entirely too rough with her when I am angry. I recently grabbed her arm which threw her off balance and she hit her head on the wall. :

The hardest times for me are when my dh is out of town or working long hours. Thankfully, neither happen very often. One thing that keeps me going is the hope that I haven't done permanent damage and there is time for me to become the parent I want to be.
post #5 of 105
Similar here. My mom was a screamer & verbally abusive.

I often wonder if maybe people who grow up with parents who manage their emotions better learn those coping skills by watching their parents - without even knowing it, kwim?

I certainly didn't learn them by watching my mother! Or my dad who seemed to be just as scared of her as we were : There were a couple of times I can remember him grabbing her physically off of me & dragging her into another room. But if it was verbal he just let it go. I think with no understanding that I'd have much rather she started hitting me so he'd make it stop.

I'm grateful for having read all these attachment parenting books because I want SO SO badly to break the cycle in my family. My mom is like her mom, etc. My mom's brothers & sisters are just like her. I have one brother who is parenting just like my mom did (and he hates her for it but he's doing it to his kids... )

But it's so hard. Some days it is more of a struggle than others. Some days I want to just freak out & scream & scream at someone.

So this is so stupid sounding but I swear it's worked for me all summer (as my daughter gets closer & closer to being two - you know what that means!).

When she is driving me mad in my head I promise myself something. All summer it's been a snocone. (I have a shaved ice machine & syrups here at home). But it isn't always a snocone - it just has to be something you really really love - some great food or chocolate or a book or a bubble bath - whatever works for you.

So in my head I'm saying "If I don't scream/freak/throw anything, then I get a snocone when she goes to bed."

On really bad days I get one at naptime & bedtime.

Sometimes I go a couple of weeks without even having one & sometimes I have one a couple times a day several days in a row.

Anyway - so far that coping mechanism is helping me TONS. I need to think of something else for the winter though because this is Wyoming & I don't like to have a snocone when it's subzero temps outside!

Oh - and my DH works on the railroad - which means he's gone for 1-2 days and then home a day, repeat. I'm like a married single parent for the most part. It's hard to get relief sometimes.
post #6 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama_2_Boy View Post
I have smacked my son's hand and I tell myself that I will never hit him anywhere else, and I have justified the hand hitting because he is into something dangerous. I know that this is wrong, I know he see's my anger and there have been times when he will cry and say "maaaaaaaaaamaaaaaaaaaaa!" as if to say "I trust you, why are you acting out this way towards me?" is how I take his cry.
I've been in this situation. Except for me, I couldn't even justify it that he was into something dangerous. (he was hitting me. ha ha! What an excellent way to teach a child NOT to hit, right?) Another time he was scareing (sp) a dog we were dogsitting, and I just snapped.

I was not abused (I'm sorry if I don't fit in this thread). But my dad did physically and verbally abuse my mom, and us kids saw it at times. I've never really applied this to anything, but sometimes it makes me wonder exactly how it affected us.

Anyways, I mostly wanted to let you know that most people here wouldn't flame you for your post. I know for sure that there's no way I would
post #7 of 105
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deva33mommy View Post
I've been in this situation. Except for me, I couldn't even justify it that he was into something dangerous. (he was hitting me. ha ha! What an excellent way to teach a child NOT to hit, right?) Another time he was scareing (sp) a dog we were dogsitting, and I just snapped.

I was not abused (I'm sorry if I don't fit in this thread). But my dad did physically and verbally abuse my mom, and us kids saw it at times. I've never really applied this to anything, but sometimes it makes me wonder exactly how it affected us.

Anyways, I mostly wanted to let you know that most people here wouldn't flame you for your post. I know for sure that there's no way I would
(Just so you know, this still qualifies as "abuse" to the children...) Thanks for sharing.
post #8 of 105
I think you fit too! Any verbal abuse in a home leaves its mark on every member of the household!
post #9 of 105
couldn't read without posting

It's really, really hard to keep your wits about you and stay even-keeled when your little delight finds no greater joy on earth than to smack you on the head with a drum stick. The look on his face after I've raised my voice to him ... : Seeing him react to me that way, like I've broken his heart, is enough deterrent right now.

I had a lot of yellers in my family, and a lot of emotional manipulators. One of the only things I can remember about my father's mother, who everyone assures me was sooo sweet and wonderful, was her pained scowl. She wore it almost constantly if she was around children. I have this fear that my son will remember me from his infancy as the lady with the pained scowl.

Actually, that's an exaggeration - most days are wonderful. My son amazes me and fills me with joy, even when he's taking a huge crap on the floor or trying to pull open the oven door while I'm cooking. I say OM a lot.
post #10 of 105
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamabear&babybear View Post
Count me in. Both my parents believe in spanking and in general parented with fear. I still have an extremely hard time expressing my emotions which makes it so difficult to teach my dc to express theirs.

When I get really angry I find myself not wanting to go calm myself, because I need somewhere for my rage to go. Currently, J is generally my target for venting. : I haven't actually smacked her in a few years, but I am entirely too rough with her when I am angry. I recently grabbed her arm which threw her off balance and she hit her head on the wall. :

The hardest times for me are when my dh is out of town or working long hours. Thankfully, neither happen very often. One thing that keeps me going is the hope that I haven't done permanent damage and there is time for me to become the parent I want to be.
I found your response to be extremely touching, especially the "entirely too rough" part as I do this often too. I justify by saying to myself "well what I really wanted to do was much much worse, so this is not so bad"...when in fact my DS has no clue as to what my own personal battle is. My DH works shift work so I have alot of one-on-one with DS too.

Where can we let the rage go? One time I thought I was going to snap and grabbed a pillow and screamed my bloody head off into it...DS was just looking at me, probably wondering what the heck was going on. I wish I could take it all back, all the nasty times, all the times I was a real grouch and meany to him, and yes I too try to look ahead to being the parent I wish I could become...
post #11 of 105
I'm in too. I try very hard to not be my mother. But some days I feel just like her (minus the alcohol ). She was very detached from us. It is hard to explain, you never were validated, your feelings were never ok. And when she couldn't "deal" with us ... it was just ugly. They were spankers (but mild), but their words cut you like a knife. The words were the worst, and they teased as a way to show you how "dumb" you or your idea was. Even now I am uncomfortable with feelings or talking about my ideas or thoughts, right away I will be defensive. I don't spank, but once in a while I have heard the most horrible things come out of my mouth. Right now it is with my 6 year old. Recently, I said something that bothered me for days (and still does when I think of it). How do I forgive myself? I get so angry this horrible verbal vomit of words comes out. For some reason the elementary years are so hard for me. Babies and toddlers are easy and adorable to me, but elementary school age is hard. My ds is smart and funny and wonderful, but he gets on my nerves and it isn't his fault. It is a fault in me that I am working on. Sometimes I just feel so angry at this little 6 year old boy who wants my attention and I can't figure out why. I feel like I pick on him or scapegoat him for all the problems. Lately he is nervous, chewing on his fingers or shirt, and I know this is my fault.

Anyway, no flaming or bashing from me! I know how hard it is.
post #12 of 105
Count me in. I grew up with a lot of yelling and hitting from my older sister who practically raised us. My dh and I have anger issues and are looking for a different way to discipline, hence gd. We aren't succeeding very well though. A lot of it gets directed to my 4 year old dd who is VERY strong willed. I can totally relate to the whole being too rough, I find myself grabbing arms to put them in time out or to seperate them when they're fighting and they drop and all I can think of is "Oh my god, I'm going to dislocate their shoulders". We are working towards building a trusting, calm relationship with our children, but as we were both raised in anger, we're having a hard time letting it go.

I love that idea of promising yourself something at the end of the day. Kinda good motivation.
post #13 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama_2_Boy View Post
I justify by saying to myself "well what I really wanted to do was much much worse, so this is not so bad"...when in fact my DS has no clue as to what my own personal battle is.
That is so true and something I think about often. Either way she still feels sad, hurt, scared and disconnected from me which is what I want to avoid in the first place.
post #14 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama_2_Boy View Post
(Just so you know, this still qualifies as "abuse" to the children...) Thanks for sharing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momma_Camille View Post
I think you fit too! Any verbal abuse in a home leaves its mark on every member of the household!
Wow...what a startling revelation. I have to digest this a bit.


Like the pp said, even though I've only hit ds a couple times, I have a tendency to revert to being too rough when I'm getting really angry. It doesn't help that I have space issues. He wanted me to read a book, and was putting it up in my face. I'd asked him to stop, he didn't, and I eventually grabbed the book and threw it across the room. Similar scenarios have happened a couple times.

Dp is appalled when I tell him that stuff. He never says much (other than trying to be helpful), but I can see it that he doesn't understand how anyone could react in that way.
post #15 of 105
Thread Starter 
There has been one way of coping that has helped me to prevent any rages (from me towards DS)...because I know the times I am most prone to them are when I am alone with him, when DH is working. I have alot of internal dialogue going on, and I remind myself:

Quote:
I am going to be alone with DS...now I have to think of all the things that could possibly go wrong, like dumping my coffee on the white carpet, throwing the roll of toilet paper in the bath, refusing to go for naps, going near something dangerous and not coming to me when I call him...any of these and many more could happen and I have to promise myself that when it happens, I will not allow that monster in me to surface...I will simply take a deep breath and keep repeating "I love you my little guy...I love you sooooooo much and I so want to protect you from any of the horrible things that have happened to me and I don't ever want you to be afraid of me, or feel fear from my actions"
If I am able to have this dialogue regularily and practice practice practice being self disciplined, this does help sometimes...
post #16 of 105
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deva33mommy View Post
...he wanted me to read a book, and was putting it up in my face. I'd asked him to stop, he didn't, and I eventually grabbed the book and threw it across the room...
This reminded me of something that I had learned when I was in counciling (years ago for relationship issues) and the therapyst had reverted back to my up bringing and explained to me that my parents took my actions personally as if the things I did were to intentionaly piss them off. I am guilty of doing this myself, when DS is insistent in wanting something NOW and I am not able to and he will constantly pester me, I take it personally and I know I shouldn't. Alot of the tension I feel towards DS is because his actions are reverting me back to my younger self and how helpless I felt back then as a small child. I can analyse all I want but in the immediate, it is the inner rage that I stuggle with and have to learn how to deal with before it takes over.
post #17 of 105
I think it's wonderful that you are trying to break the cycle and are looking for others to confide in to help you along the way. This parenting thing is hard work, even if we were all somehow able to come to it with a clean slate. But, we all have our pasts to deal with, and many times, how we were raised is the only childrearing we've ever seen first hand. It's hard to find another way when you only know one way. You're sure to mess up along the journey to where you want to be for your children.

I just wanted to say that I think it's wonderful you're looking for support and opening up and willing to share your struggles with others.
post #18 of 105
I love this idea!

My mother is an emotional manipulator and dad was a spanker. There was a lot of emotional neglect in my house growing up, a lot of anger, and a lot of lying (on my part) because my parents would punish me for everything that was even slightly "out of line." My mother still says things like "how could you do this to me?" about personal decisions I make (like how many cats I choose to have) and it makes me feel SOOOOOOO awful. :

I don't have a child (yet), but I've found myself getting into those rages with my puppy. We're going through adolescence with her, and some days I just want to punch walls I'm SO mad. And now that I'm pregnant and starting to feel the mood swings? I just remind myself every day that I never want to see my puppy flinch from my hand again and don't want my child to ever know what I knew growing up.
post #19 of 105
There is also support, wisdom, and btdt ideas in the "Parenting and Rage" thread: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...ng+abuse+forum

And the "ladies in waiting" for the abuse forum thread:
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...ng+abuse+forum

Any adult survivors of childhood abuse out there?:
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...ng+abuse+forum

I agree, that parenting gently is harder without gentle models in our own childhood; and can see how this forum provides a different focus.


Pat
post #20 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momma_Camille View Post
Similar here. My mom was a screamer & verbally abusive.

I often wonder if maybe people who grow up with parents who manage their emotions better learn those coping skills by watching their parents - without even knowing it, kwim? .
YES!!! I just read "Parenting From the Inside Out", which is about how our children are literally hard-wired by our reactions to them. So if you get pissed off and scream at your two year old one too many times, their brains actually form different synapses and don't develop as well as they could. It's a little more complicated than that, but I can't remember all of the parts that are affected.

I kind of wish I hadn't read it, because I feel even more pressure now. It was interesting though, because as I was reading it I was talking to my mom and sisters about it, and they kept saying, "Maybe you shouldn't read that right now, that'll just put a lot of pressure on you." Anyway, I think part of the reason they thought I shouldn't is because it's forced me to acknowledge that my mother was way, way too rough, and that's kind of a yucky thing to think about. I don't know if I feel comfortable calling her abusive. By today's standards she would be. In those days she wasn't. But it was still scary, and the worse part was that she was so unpredictable. In a lot of ways, she didn't "punish", especially not consistently. She just lashed out. And was so angry so often.

So I belong here too. Thanks for starting the thread. I frequently struggle with losing it. One thing that is very helpful is to arrange my life so that the stress doesn't get too much. At first I felt silly doing this, like going to the grocery store should not be that big of a deal. But now I've noticed that the calmer and more organized I can keep our lives, the more I can stay in control. And then, when unavoidable stress comes up, I'm less likely to lose it because I'm out of the habit.

I'm interested to hear other ideas!
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