I hate her when she cries :( - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 02-02-2010, 04:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi, I hope this is a right place to post this. I need help with my 5yo dd, or with myself, to be more accurate. She's a highly sensitive child, very smart and sweet.
The problem is: when she's sad and cries, or is about to cry, I become so angry I can hardly manage it. I have no idea, why. When she was in major stress because of a divorce and had real behavior problems, I was, well, perfect: I gave her all the attention she needed, redirected her behavior, we talked, etc, etc. Now when she's all OK, I have problems with myself.
Something that happens every day is brushing her teeth. Being a sensitive child she doesn't like that, but tries hard not to cry. So, when I see the I'm-about-to-cry face, I start really hating her. The feeling is so strong I'm afraid of it myself. I try to control myself but sometimes I start being unnecessarily harsh, brushing too hard, speaking with angry voice etc. So next time she's even more uncomfortable, and I'm even more angry.
I think I know what to do with brushing her teeth (after all, I'm not the only adult in our family), this same thing happens in every situation when she's crying... She falls and hurts herself: I'm angry. She can't find her favorite toy and cries: I'm angry. And so on. Even if I know I myself would cry in this situation, I'm angry. Now I'm much better than before in not showing this to her (even if I can't offer my sympathy to her, at least I don't make it worse), but I still hate her and I hate myself for feeling this.
What bothers me even more, I have no problems whatsoever with my 2yo dd, who is in her worst 2yo stage.
I don't know why I feel this way and this really bothers me and I really need to do something with it.
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#2 of 11 Old 02-02-2010, 07:30 AM
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This may come as a complete shock to you - but I feel the same way a lot of the time about my own son.

He too is very sensitive (always has been).

I had a pretty crappy childhood myself - was in foster care from a very young age, abusive foster homes, etc. So for me, I am BIG on emotional health. For me, that is the one very important thing. I take my parenting very seriously due to my own childhood experiences. Except sometimes I feel like I have helped my son to be too 'free' with his emotions. Sometimes I think 'bottle them up - just alittle bit!' lol...

He cries about everything. And sometimes I think 'yeah - fair enough...id cry too if I bit my tongue and was bleeding all over the place!'...so have no problem with sympathy there. And its not that I am not sympathetic, it is just that there is only so much sympathy I have and by the afternoon it is usually all used up ...so that when you can't find your toy or can't put the puzzle piece in the exact right spot the first time around or or or (hes such a perfectionist as well!!!)...its hard to be sympathetic/patient/not angry when you cry because you think everything is the end of the world at the drop of a dime! lol

I would never hurt him though - and I love him to bits. But the crying drives me insane. I too have no idea why. I get so angry when he cries as well! Its like 'what now?!!!'. Perhaps it has something to do with my own childhood. Maybe I was sensitive as well (I know I can be sensitive now) and maybe my carers got angry with me so that is my first reaction now too...??? All speculation of course.

I just try and have trust him him. For me the problem lies with his inability to look at a situation and think 'Hey - this isn't so great...what can I do about it?'....before bursting into tears like its the end of the world. Of course he is only 4.5 years of age and the reality is, he probably just can't do that yet - so the trust is, one day (and hopefully in the next few years lol) he will be able to. Because when I get hurt or I lose something or I find something incredibly frustrating to accomplish, etc...I don't burst into tears the first second I get!...I think 'Hey this isn't so hot - what can I do?'...and then go about making myself happy so I don't burst into tears the first second I get! lol I think this is just something we have to learn on our own (be it knowing what our physical limits are, or knowing what our buttons are or knowing what we need to do to calm down before we can complete a difficult task, etc)...and really all we can do for our children during this time is to be patient with them - whilst they are learning this ...cause this is really something they need to learn themselves, it is not something we can teach I don't think.

So - I don't think I am much help - but I wanted you to know that I know exactly how you feel!
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#3 of 11 Old 02-02-2010, 10:14 AM
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I too can relate. A book that has been helping me to sort out my own feelings about my dd's emotions is Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves by Naomi Aldort.

Basically, I think that any time we are having a reaction (rage) that is way out of proportion with the actual event (tears over brushing teeth), we are coming up against baggage from our own childhoods. I haven't yet worked through what all that baggage is, or where it comes from, but I've gotten better at observing that it is so and containing that aspect of my reaction.

I have also been letting go of the idea that I have to be infinitely empathetic with my dd. Just like Ann's ds, she is 4.5 and intensely emotional, sensitive, etc. When the upsets start before breakfast and continue relentlessly throughout the day, it can be impossible for me sometimes to continue to actively empathize. I have gotten more comfortable with acknowledging my dd's sadness, anger, whatever by just saying, "Oh! you're awfully mad that the puzzle isn't working out. I'll be right over here doing the dishes if you want some help." I think it had really gotten to the point where she needed less on-the-ground empathy, and more opportunity to solve her own problems (with support, as requested).

Anyway, back to the OP, it sounds like you probably have unresolved feelings about the divorce etc. Sounds like she does, too. I'd bet that's the root of the problem. Have you suppressed so much of your own sadness that you can't bear to see her express her own?

enough armchair psychology from me! Good luck.

Bold mama to Georgia and Penelope.
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#4 of 11 Old 02-02-2010, 10:52 AM
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I think is excellent that you are aware of what is going on.

Are you seeing a counselor to deal with any issues you might have regarding your divorce?

I found it interesting that you were fine during the crisis but now you are not. That's worth exploring with a therapist.

Also I would gently ask you why do you think now that you are not going through the divorce that you think your dd is ok? Could the divorce still not be stressing her out? She just is not manifesting her stress in major ways.

Having a highly sensitive ds I can tell you from my experience that while I think I am hiding my mood from him, he picks up on my bad mood and reacts to it.

I hope you keep reaching out for support, because things can get better. You do not need to stay in this spot. Life can be much richer and happier for you and your dd!

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#5 of 11 Old 02-02-2010, 11:39 AM
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I have felt like that before too. (often in fact!) So, I totally understand what this feels like.

The way I try to deal with my own behavior (for that moment) is to imagine two things.

1. Would I allow someone to treat ME the way I am treating the child? Or Would I stand by and let someone treat her that way while I watched?

2. If the whole scene were being videotaped would I want to watch that video again and again? Would I be happy with the way I handled it?

Sometimes it's the only way I can get through my own fury without saying or doing something that is a complete overreaction to the situation.

But, these are only "at that moment" solutions. They won't fix the problem that is causing your anger.
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#6 of 11 Old 02-02-2010, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
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First of all, thank you for commenting.
The reason I think she's now OK is because she had really hard time after the divorce and we worked with a child psychologist since then. The psychologist confirms that she's MUCH better now. While she still has issues that need attention (for example, trying too hard to keep everyone around her happy), she's definitely not in crisis anymore. All the people around her notice the difference, so it's not only my opinion.
And, honestly, I don't think she cries too much. It's not like she cried all day or even every day. I think she's a completely normal, though very sensitive 5yo. It's my reaction to her crying or showing the unhappy face that scares me. I talked to her about that several times and told her that for some reason I'm not good at supporting her in these situations, but I'll do whatever it takes to learn.
I don't remember much of my childhood, but I'm pretty sure my mother had the same thing. I remember when I was studying in college and had depression (which was treated and I don't think I'm depressed now) and I cried for some stupid reason when she came to visit me... she yelled at me for crying for "no reason" and I thought then "How can she yell at me, doesn't she understand I cry because I feel bad?" And here I am now. So yeah, I definitely could have some underlying issues myself.
Thanks for your comments, you're really helping me to think this out here.
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#7 of 11 Old 02-02-2010, 12:35 PM
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I have no help but I have to express my gratitude for bringing this subject up.

I have also been irked by my son's sensitivity lately, to the point where I've felt that I've been mean by withholding comfort when he needed it. I've been ashamed of myself for not having the empathy he needs.

There was something good to be taken from every response, advice that will be very helpful. Thank you to all the wise ladies!

And to Blue Baloon, I think that simply being aware enough to post means that you are on the road to changing whatever it is that is causing this behavior...awareness is the first step....good luck to you!
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#8 of 11 Old 02-02-2010, 02:52 PM
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You've gotten really good input so far. As the mom of a 5 yo girl, I just want to throw one more thing out there: maybe it's time for her to brush her own teeth. Especially if it's a source of stress for both of you.

I also sometimes react negatively to dd, out of proportion to whatever's going on. I find I have to step away from it/her. Literally leave the room before I lose it. Useful then to do a self-assessment, making sure that I've been sleeping, eating nutritious food, etc. to make sure that a lack in that area isn't fueling bad feelings.

Mom of two girls.
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#9 of 11 Old 02-02-2010, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by philosoikou View Post
Basically, I think that any time we are having a reaction (rage) that is way out of proportion with the actual event (tears over brushing teeth), we are coming up against baggage from our own childhoods. I haven't yet worked through what all that baggage is, or where it comes from, but I've gotten better at observing that it is so and containing that aspect of my reaction.

I completely agree with this. I was one of those "sensitive kids" as a child, and I remember getting a lot of flak for crying/overreacting. So I think that when I see dd crying over a little thing, I think (at least subconsciously) "oh no, she's acting like I did, that means she'll have all the oversensitivity problems I had". Obviously this is an unfair reaction, but we can't always help our reactions. We can control how we act on them. I find it helps tremendously just to remind myself that how I'm feeling is because of me, not her.

As a side note, my 5yo has been brushing her own teeth for awhile. She doesn't do a perfect job, but apparently she does well enough - the dentist had no complaints about the condition of her teeth.
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#10 of 11 Old 02-05-2010, 04:22 PM
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I have 5yo DD and I find it to be quite trying sometime. And like you, for some reasons I feel more enraged by her reactions than I do her 3yo DD. Partly it's because she seems so much older than him and I expect more "adult" like behavior from her whereas her brother seems alot younger somehow. Also, I find certain things create a stronger emotional reaction in me (talking back, not listening).

I really liked the advice of watching myself and seeing if it was someone else would I want to intervene.
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#11 of 11 Old 02-05-2010, 04:50 PM
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I could not read without posting because I've felt this way too
I like Marshall Rosenberg's idea that anger is a need not being met (www.cncv.org).
When I've felt anger at the kids throwing tantrums or crying or whining , I have to ask myself "What needs do I have that are getting thrown out of the window when my kids are upset?"
My answers: Harmony, peace, connection, cooperation, more empathy...etc;
And he also says that it is VERY HARD for us to give others empathy when we haven't gotten enough ourself.
So I tend to agree with the other posters that are suggesting that you've lost touch with your own needs through all of the challenges life has thrown at you lately so, it's hard to give the harmony, peace, connection, cooperation and empathy to the kids.
What has helped me...being in touch with myself and what is going on. Asking myself in the moment of anger, "What need do I have right now that is not being met?"
Sometimes, I've had to walk away so my anger doesn't boil over (to keep kids safe).
The primary thing that has helped is to get loving support from others during this time. Their loving empathy helps me get my needs met so I can pass it to my kids. If you have friends, family and community that can give it to you, maybe you can spend more time with them. Or see a counselor (at www.cnvc.org, you can find a person in your area who does this type of counseling).
Much love and luck to you. Be gentle with yourself. You've been through a lot. You are a good mama. You just need a little more empathy and TLC so that you can "fill up" again and give it right back to your kids.
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