Thanks for all your stories and insights, I have been reading this thread in its entirety over the past couple weeks.
I think I, too, fall into the 'not-really-seriously-abused' category, but 'traumatic childhood' would apply. A lot of what you all are saying really resonates with me...
-depressed mom, unhappy with marriage, and unhappy staying home full-time
-dad unhappy, and raised in very dysfunctional household, grandma is a piece of work
-no one really said "I love you" or hugged
-No real hitting, occasionally spanking, both parents did the arm grab and the nasty tone of voice. Severe verbal abuse to my brother, who wet the bed.
-divorce at age 12, then I was emotional support for my dad, and did the whole torn between 2 parents. Grew up fast.
-no one taught me appropriate ways to express or cope with anger, in fact I was taught that I wasn't ALLOWED to be angry.
-I have a sense of Anger Entitlement, as in, "I am angry and I need to be acknowledged NOW." Major trigger for me if someone is blowing off my feelings, even if they are three years old.
-Other triggers include hunger, fatigue, infliction of physical pain (if I get hit my reaction is to hit back, THAT took some controlling), interference when I am in perfectionist mode.
-Emotional confrontation is difficult, because when I am really hurting I am scared that I will be rejected, because that is what would happen when I was a kid. So I withdraw and hope someone (dh) will notice, and no one (dh)does, then I get depressed. (Although, I am thinking now that it has been quite a while since I did that dance. This is good!)
-regularly fighting depression, don't take meds, but try to do a lot of self-care.
-Tell my kids/DH I love them all the time, try to say nice things about them, express appreciation.
-Lots of hugging, stroking, cuddling
-try to have fun and laugh, do the playful parenting
-consciously make eye contact w/kids when things are good. (Hmmm... need to do that more w/DH) It was wierd, no one in my family really made eye contact growing up. I am uncomfortable with a lot of eye contact in personal relationships.
-apologize when I get angry and talk about what I did that wasn't right and what I will try to do next time instead, and how we should all try every day to be nice and gentle with one another, but everyone makes mistakes and needs to practice
-accept what has happened and try not to beat self up about it, this is difficult since I ruminate about everything.
-I let the kids make a mess with packing peanuts (okay, by the time I decided to let them play with them, it was already a mess, and I chose to let it go and clean it up later.) When (a while) later I said it was time to clean up, I asked DS (3) to help, and he kept playing in a way that made more mess. It escalated to yelling, then I took him up to his room. (I was saving this for only when I am losing control, accidentally discovered that it helps him cool off, then he comes back and) apologizes voluntarily. he then helped clean up and enjoyed doing it. (trigger: interference)
-I yelled when he was grabbing at stuff while I was trying to make lunch. (trigger: hungry even though I did not feel physically hungry at all, I notice I lose it A LOT before lunchtime and dinnertime--also because I am trying to cook)
-More yelling when trying to get ready to go out in afternoon. Tell DS I am ready to help put on shoes, he won't come over. I get up to change baby's diaper/do other things to get ready, he whines b/c I am not helping him put on shoes. Baby (14 mos)protests and fights diaper change, which is a large messy BM, DS is whining and I am going out of my mind. (trigger: everyone being difficult at the same time: I am not a multitasker. Also tired and the whining kills me. One time we were driving in the car, and DS was whining that he wanted to go home and get a toy despite having 4 other toys in the car. He said, "Turn around and go hoooome..." over and over. I coped by counting how many times he said it: thirty)
Only three times today, and no complete loss of control. A decent day.