Would you consider an extremely chaotic childhood "abuse" for a kid? *might be triggering* - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 44 Old 04-18-2011, 11:35 AM
 
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OP I'm super glad you found this all helpful.  You're awesome for looking it all right in the eye... it's a daunting task, but you're gonna be so much happier and lighter for doing it once you've worked through as much of it as you can.

 

::Hugs!::

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#32 of 44 Old 04-26-2011, 03:17 AM
 
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Just FWIW, I think you sound lovely and it's not only okay to explore these issues, it's to your and your family's advantage.

 

I think it's also useful and sometimes unavoidable to explore the language around abuse and neglect in trying to come to grips with your childhood. I am now 43 and when I first began this process, it was in the context of EVERYBODY exploring childhood "abuse" (and I put that in quotes very carefully). One friend told me that he had "come to realize that if you didn't like it, it was abuse." It was a strange consciousness-raising time and I think there WERE some pity parties that came out of that. I wonder how he feels about that statement now, 20 or so years later.

 

What you are sifting through does NOT sound like a pity party to me. I have a wonderful therapist and she essentially said that with me, there really was no one single event in my childhood that caused the incredible feelings of self-doubt, insecurity fear, etc.; but taken together? You bet. I dealt with alcoholism, mental illness, constant moves to avoid paying the landlords, my mom leaving my  dad on more than one occasion...and that's just for starters. We also lived with extreme poverty. And yes, there was sexual abuse as well. But the chaos...yeah, that was tough in and of itself. But now I get to make different choices for myself and my family and that is healing in and of itself. I get an inordinate pleasure out of clothing dd properly (not expensively), making sure she's comfortable for the weather and such. Taking an interest in her school. Not drinking more than a beer around her.

 

I also moved 1000 miles away from my family of origin in order to feel safe. Then my father died and I was able to really reconnect with my mom. It's been quite a journey.

 

Do not let your experience with that one therapist dissuade you. I've had that happen and it can really set you back and traumatize you, to reach out to a professional and not feel heard. Try again. Wonderful support is out there.

 

Repeat: You are not engaging in a pity party. You are setting the foundations for emotional health for you and your family. Go you!

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#33 of 44 Old 04-26-2011, 06:13 AM
 
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Absolutely, it can be considered abuse!  

 

I think, to SOME extent, it depends on the kid's temperament.  A close friend of mine (and no, this is not a veiled attempt to refer to myself in the 3rd person) had a childhood that sounds a lot like yours, minus the SA and being used as a pawn in divorce (although there was divorce).  This friend is an uncommonly strong, independent, resilient, adaptable person and does not feel they were abused.  They recognize the weaknesses and innate shortcomings of some of the people who raised them and understand that those people did the best they were capable of doing; truly loved their kids and certainly never intended to damage them.  This person appreciates all sorts of strengths - in themselves - that undeniably grew BECAUSE of their chaotic childhood.  However, this person is also VERY intent on living their adult life in a way that shelters their own children from the kind of stuff they were exposed to.  

 

Yet, this person's siblings have all led significantly less-successful adult lives.  Is that because my friend has a better attitude?  Maybe.  But, is being traumatized an unreasonable or unexpected reaction to the type of childhood chaos you've described?  Of course not.  Being unfazed by it is the result that's unexpected!

 

Your relationship with your parents is so critical to how you develop as a person:  your ability to trust people; whether you feel secure and spend your energy developing socially and academically, or feel insecure and spend your energy searching for ways to feel safe, at the expense of growing as a person; whether you believe you're lovable and deserve to be treated well, or believe you're unlovable and you expect to have to tolerate poor treatment from others, if you don't want to be alone...

 

Some traumatic things in childhood can't necessarily be avoided, like  poverty or serious illness.  Frequent moves could fall into this category (think of military brats or missionaries' kids).  But if kids feel they're a priority to their parents; that their parents are doing the best they can to make good choices in the best interest of their kids; and that, come what may, there's always strength and love in their family, then kids can deal with these things and they're not abuse.  But if frequent moves are because you're running from the law, or scary people...?  Even stupid parents know kids shouldn't be exposed to that!  And you make CHOICES about the kinds of people you associate with.  And divorce?  For every person who gets caught up in their own pain, outrage and desire for revenge, over the ways they think their ex screwed up their marriage, there is another parent, somewhere, who is JUST as hurt, JUST as angry, but who STILL remembers that the kids love their other parent; need significant, meaningful, positive time with that parent (even though it means spending time away from the parent in question) and shouldn't be asked to get up in court and side with one parent over the other.

 

So, when parents CHOOSE to do things that maximize the trauma of their divorce; or CHOOSE to lead lives and have associations that scare their kids...considering how important it is to a child's development, to be able trust their parents and feel secure in their family...how is that not abusive?


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#34 of 44 Old 04-26-2011, 07:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Just wanted to give a little update...

So I found a therapist I like...I really like her, she is DH's too! Thank god she is upfront and explained how she will make every professional attempt to keep us separate as far as counseling goes. We are our own people with our own issues and she was very clear about it. I liked that a lot. 

 

I try not to dwell on the depressing, on the not so great things I experienced as a kid but one of my bigger problems is that I DO think about certain things...Like the SA almost daily. Actually literally daily. I personally don't feel that is a healthy thing, I don't want to think about bad things like that every day. I think it is part of the fact that I really have done much healing from those issues. I just kept pushing and pushing them away. Guess how well that works...Sigh..

 

I just have done reading about how kids of parents who are depressed or who have anxiety pick up on that a lot and it can really hurt those kids. I am petrified that I am hurting DD without even realizing it! Ugh...Is she picking up on my less than happy  state of mind? I am happy a lot but there is an underlying melancholy that can't be touched. I wonder if that is just how I am in general. Are some people just that way as part of their personality...

 

My biggest goal and I spoke to my therapist about this is for DD to have a happy healthy childhood. My wonderful therapist then pointed out to me that that goal starts with having a happy healthy mama so why don't we work on thatredface.gif..I really like her!

 

Thank you all again for your kind words. It is a really nice thing to feel the positive vibes (I rarely use that term) from mamas I don't even know IRL..I don't have a ton of friends IRL (surprise I know hehe) and this is my general place to vent stuff, outside of DH and a couple close friends. 

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#35 of 44 Old 04-26-2011, 09:31 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Ldavis24 View Post
I try not to dwell on the depressing, on the not so great things I experienced as a kid but one of my bigger problems is that I DO think about certain things...Like the SA almost daily. Actually literally daily. I personally don't feel that is a healthy thing, I don't want to think about bad things like that every day. I think it is part of the fact that I really have done much healing from those issues. I just kept pushing and pushing them away. Guess how well that works...Sigh..

 

hug2.gif I used to too, but I got past it gradually. Pushing the feelings and thoughts away doesn't help -- looking at them straight on and then finding ways to release them does. But it is a process and the first step of the process, looking at them straight on, can it make feel a little like we are going backwards!  Be very gentle to yourself during this time and find ways to just be kind to yourself. Give yourself little treats.

 

I just have done reading about how kids of parents who are depressed or who have anxiety pick up on that a lot and it can really hurt those kids. I am petrified that I am hurting DD without even realizing it! Ugh...Is she picking up on my less than happy  state of mind? I am happy a lot but there is an underlying melancholy that can't be touched. I wonder if that is just how I am in general. Are some people just that way as part of their personality...

 

We have a lot in common and I used to worry about the same thing. My DDs are now 14 and 12, and I think that in some ways I've been a better, more mindful parent because of everything I've been through and the ability I've developed to just look at reality and stay centered.

 

I'm so glad that you've found a therapist that you connect with! banana.gif

 

I wish we lived close together, I'd invite you over to have brunch and do some yoga!

 

 


 

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#36 of 44 Old 04-26-2011, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post




 

 



I know you are a yoga instructor!!

There is so much I admire about you just from reading things you have posted Linda...

your kids are very lucky to have such an empathetic and wise mamathumbsup.gif

ahhh I wish I closer as well. I'd love to take a yoga lesson with you! and chat in person too hehe.

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#37 of 44 Old 04-26-2011, 10:55 AM
 
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It's so great that you're pulling up the courage to face your past head on.  A positive aspect of having to go thru this growth to get beyond the anxiety and bad stuff you're carrying inside, is that type of courage and bravery shines through to your kids.

 

From your post, I wanted to say:  One thing that helped me to make the recurring memories different and useful was to make them have a different connection.  Whenever I'd catch myself having a negative memory occurring, I'd think of 3 positive things that came from having to go thru whatever the memory was.  (( Example: hearing my mom's voice belittling and in a screaming rage, I'd think of how I will not do that to anyone else, How I have learned to pay attention to the words I use and the tone that I express them with, and that I can see my mom's pain and confusion now as an adult and she must have been in a terrible mental state to be able to put that out daily toward her own kids. ))  The SA stuff will be much more difficult, of course.  I'm so sorry that stuff haunts you daily. 

 

Best to you, keep up the hard work... peace is definitely worth going inside and doing some digging.


"When the external begins to define the internal, instead of the internal defining the external, one begins living as a mortal rather than as a universal being." ~ unknown
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#38 of 44 Old 04-26-2011, 11:13 AM
 
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I think that you should give yourself permission to feel what you feel. Yes, it was abuse if that is how you feel. And you are a survivor of abuse. hug.gif

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#39 of 44 Old 04-26-2011, 11:27 AM
 
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Nextcommercial, this really touched me. Thank you for sharing.
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Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post


I was in several science fairs and school programs, and my parents never went to a single one.  I even asked my uncle to go once, and instead, he stopped at my parent's house, and they stayed home getting drunk.  I walked home alone in the snow at 9:00 pm.  I wasn't even that sad or angry, because it was such a part of my life that I never had any expectations.

 

Now, as an adult, I look at facebook and I see people who grew up together and have been best friends since 1st grade... I moved every year or so, and never had a chance to make a best friend, much less a forever friend. 

 

I mourn  the childhood I wish I'd had.  But, I had fun.  I had freedom, and I did exciting things, I wasn't afraid... I had experiences I wouldn't have had if I'd had supervision or rules.  

 

 



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#40 of 44 Old 04-26-2011, 06:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ldavis24 View Post
I just have done reading about how kids of parents who are depressed or who have anxiety pick up on that a lot and it can really hurt those kids. I am petrified that I am hurting DD without even realizing it! Ugh...Is she picking up on my less than happy  state of mind? I am happy a lot but there is an underlying melancholy that can't be touched. I wonder if that is just how I am in general. Are some people just that way as part of their personality...

 

My biggest goal and I spoke to my therapist about this is for DD to have a happy healthy childhood. My wonderful therapist then pointed out to me that that goal starts with having a happy healthy mama so why don't we work on thatredface.gif..I really like her!


I'm really glad you found someone you click with. I hope she can help you down the road to healing.

 

I just wanted to address the line in bold. Yes, parents who are depressed or anxious parent differently -- but those are parents whose issues are untreated. If you compare parents who are depressed/anxious and treated with parents who are not depressed/anxious, you see no meaningful differences in their behavior with their children. So, by treating your issues and not sweeping them under the carpet, you're going a long ways to helping your daughter have a happy, healthy childhood.

 

 


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#41 of 44 Old 04-26-2011, 06:32 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm really glad you found someone you click with. I hope she can help you down the road to healing.

 

I just wanted to address the line in bold. Yes, parents who are depressed or anxious parent differently -- but those are parents whose issues are untreated. If you compare parents who are depressed/anxious and treated with parents who are not depressed/anxious, you see no meaningful differences in their behavior with their children. So, by treating your issues and not sweeping them under the carpet, you're going a long ways to helping your daughter have a happy, healthy childhood.

 

 


thank you. It makes sense there is a difference and makes me feel a little more warm and fuzzy.redface.gif

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#42 of 44 Old 04-28-2011, 07:40 AM
 
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I know you are a yoga instructor!!

There is so much I admire about you just from reading things you have posted Linda...

your kids are very lucky to have such an empathetic and wise mamathumbsup.gif

ahhh I wish I closer as well. I'd love to take a yoga lesson with you! and chat in person too hehe.

 

hey sweetie! I've been thinking about you. You said that you think my kids are lucky, but that you worry about how your struggles will impact your DD. I've struggled with clinical depression off and on for most of my life. I take my mental health very seriously, I still see a counselor once a month just to check in, and I spend time everyday checking in with myself (which is why I've spent so much time on a yoga mat!) 

 

One of the odd thing about having a rough childhood and trouble processing it as an adult is that it gives us fertile ground for personal growth. After all, fertilizer is made from sh*t!  ROTFLMAO.gif
 

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#43 of 44 Old 04-28-2011, 07:54 AM - Thread Starter
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hey sweetie! I've been thinking about you. You said that you think my kids are lucky, but that you worry about how your struggles will impact your DD. I've struggled with clinical depression off and on for most of my life. I take my mental health very seriously, I still see a counselor once a month just to check in, and I spend time everyday checking in with myself (which is why I've spent so much time on a yoga mat!) 

 

One of the odd thing about having a rough childhood and trouble processing it as an adult is that it gives us fertile ground for personal growth. After all, fertilizer is made from sh*t!  ROTFLMAO.gif
 

 


this made me laugh so hard DD came trotting over from playing in the water dish to stroke my arm and say "ok mama?"

 

I don't think your kids are lucky, I KNOW they are...I wish I was half as eloquent/thoughtful as you are in your posts (i'm thinking of some other threads we are both currently posting in)...I feel like you must be pretty good at just talking with your kids.. Ok if I am going to sing your praises all day I'll just start a whole new thread devoted to Linda!thumbsup.gif

 

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#44 of 44 Old 04-28-2011, 09:22 AM
 
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I don't think your kids are lucky, I KNOW they are...I wish I was half as eloquent/thoughtful as you are in your posts

 


Thank you, but I'm most likely A LOT older than you. I'm 46. I've been working on this stuff for a long, long time.

 

I first got into therapy 23 years ago, exactly half a life time ago for me. I had a moment of clarity when I realized that there might be a link between the fact that I was a self destructive mess and the sexual abuse.

 

Since we can't get together and do yoga, here is a mudra for you:

 

Position your right hand so that the thumb is up, and then wrap the 4 fingers of your left hand around the thumb. Then rotate your hands so that the left thumb can meet the middle finger of your right hand. Bring your hands to your heart center. Keep your hands in this position, but relax them, and relax your shoulders and your arms. Close your eyes and image that your hands are a beautiful sea shell that you have found. It's wonderful and unique, and it's all yours. Then image that your thumb hidden away inside is a precious pearl, luminous and bright.

 

And then allow your hands to represent your body, and your thumb to represent your highest self, that part of your that is sacred and of the divine.

 

And then just rest there, knowing that both your body and soul are precious and beautiful.

 

Peace.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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