I have always had anger issues, problems with patience and saying things I regret. I've always struggled with depression, anger, and anxiety, and I was extremely emotional during my second pregnancy. I think when my daughter was born 8 months ago, I suffered from mild PPD. At the time I didn't think I was, but looking back, I see how extreme my emotions were. A lot of self-loathing, self-injury (bruising), and even thinking about divorce.
Lately I find myself not wanting to be around my toddler. He angers me and frustrates me to no end. He is very affectionate and I am NOT a touchy person, and when he touches me it is like nails on a chalkboard. I feel like a horrible mother for feeling this way toward him. I say things in front of him that I know are hurtful and unnecessary, "He was horrible today," and "I can't stand him right now," and "I don't even want to be around him" ...things like that. When I feel like I am going to lose it with him, my heart palpitates like crazy and I can FEEL my blood pressure rising. I throw things, screamed, yell in his face, and put him in his room and slam the door.
The first time I really got mad at him like this was when I was pregnant. I had debilitating morning sickness and was trying to night-wean him, and on a difficult night when he was up for hours and I was feeling like crap, I lost my patience with him. He was 18 months old. There were other things going on at the time and I was going through a hard time, but there are no excuses. I threw a sippy cup across the room and hit the bed multiple times. It scared him. I immediately felt horrible and called my husband, sobbing about what an awful mommy I was and how much I regretted losing my patience and treating him like that. But ever since then, it's been "easier" to lose it with him, I guess you could say. I love him with all my heart and I hate, hate, HATE feeling like this toward him and treating him like this. I KNOW it's wrong. I hate myself for it. I want to get better, I want to change. I "blow up" maybe once every two weeks, and it is usually on a really difficult day (he keeps waking up his baby sister, he doesn't listen, he is being a typical loud & obnoxious toddler).
I know it's hard to help someone without knowing them completely, but please tell me it gets better. Any other mothers out there who have anxiety and anger and a history of depression? What can I do to help myself be a better mother? I'm not a horrible mother, am I?
Oh, I also want to add, my son is a very well-behaved toddler. He doesn't throw tantrums, he listens well for the most part. His biggest issues are ignoring me, pretending to hit (he never actually hits), giving dirty looks, and he is VERY active, loud, constantly has to be doing something or he gets into things. I've got it pretty easy with him... I'm not dealing with a difficult child, here... I am just av ery easily-stressed person. :(
Are you seeing a therapist? Taking any anti-anxiety/anti-depression medications? I went through a divorce when my DD was an infant, and with the huge amounts of stress that were on me, esp when XH was threatening and doing crazy things, I could feel myself losing it so my doctor put me on antidepressants and it helped a TON, as well as seeing a great therapist.
Another thing that seems to bring me instant sanity when I'm stressed and/or angry is to have a break for a few hours. I rarely get a break as a single mom. I can't afford to pay a sitter, I feel guilty asking for help, and I didn't think it would make that much difference to have time to myself. But one day I had a doctor's appt I couldn't take her to, so I dropped her off, arrived at my appt early, carrying only my purse, and was able to write out a grocery list in the waiting room while listening to the news. It felt like an hour at the spa. Before I picked her up I did a couple errands, and by the time I was done, I felt so alive and refreshed that I was HAPPY to see her and felt like doing something fun with her. She had fun at the sitter's and was happy to see me, too, esp to see what a good mood I was in.
It sounds like you need some real life support. We aren't meant to do it all alone, esp with PPD and anxiety. Your nervous system is way too keyed up, and you need to make your mental/emotional health a priority. You need to be able to love your children, and you can't feel like you can when you're dying inside from being all touched out.
I hope and pray that divorce is not in your future. It is very rough to go through with small children, but if it's possible you're in an abusive relationship and that is why you're feeling so stressed, then you definitely need to get real help.
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Oh my, this sounds familiar. It actually happens to me less often than it did when DD was an infant. I truly did not feel safe with my child at times. My doctor was useless, and I couldn't afford or manage to arrange other forms of professional help. But I think, if you can get professional help, you most definitely should.
I had a similar history - lingering depression, episodes of intense emotion, self-injury in my past... And somehow it all came to the fore after having a child. I NEED my time to myself to process. It is so hard not to be able to do that.
For me, the blow-ups seem to be related to sleep. I absolutely can not control myself if I'm not sleeping enough. That's why things have gotten better since my daughter has started sleeping a bit better. When she's sick, or I'm not good about putting myself to bed on time, I feel that lack of control spring up again.
The only thing I can say that really helped was getting the heck out of the house. I didn't do it so much to have a break, as to be in public, where I knew I really couldn't lose it. The fact that the car was the only place my daughter napped for much of her life was a bonus. I wish I could always behave in private the way I would in public or with friends/family....but I can't. I'd say definitely try to foresee your own weakness, and do whatever you have to to cut it off at the pass.
I really hope you find some good advice and support here, and hope you have some trustworthy friends IRL that you can turn to, too. How does your husband feel about the situation? Can you talk to him about it? (I really can't, which is why I ask.)
I also completely agree with taking time for yourself. For me, DH does bath and stories for about an hour each day so I can relax or run out for a bit. Also my mom comes over every week and sometimes I'll go out to the bank or something. A little separation gives you a chance to sort things out and also to miss your kids! At 3 I can't wait to leave DD but by 5 I'm dying to see her.
Finally, if you at all can, try to get some privacy if you feel you're about to lose it. I know it's not easy but it's better if you run into the bathroom for five minutes, do what you can to get through the anger and return a bit calmer. I used to cry in front of DD all the time when she was an infant. Now at 15 months, she is getting really good at picking up emotion and last time i broke down, she gave me this heartbreaking sad look and I just had to snap out of it. Emotions are part of life but I would prefer that she didn't see me when I'm not myself. I don't want her to carry this; kids have a way of blaming themselves.
Good luck and please take care of yourself so you can be the loving, gentle mom you really are. Hugs
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