Was I There for Them?

Discussion area for adult survivors who are afraid they might hurt others physically, sexually, emotionally, and/or verbally. Also an area for those who have harmed someone physically, sexually, emotionally, and/or verbally and want to heal. Sexual addiction can also be discussed.

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hummingbird
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Was I There for Them?

Post by hummingbird » Tue Sep 09, 2014 12:48 pm

Grieving my own childhood abuse and having a lot of fear, hurt and confusion that I neglected my own children because I was so wrapped up in my own eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia) and avoidance behaviors that I was not present for them and didn't give them the nurturing, support and mirroring that they needed, especially my son.

I was overtly abused and also neglected so I'm afraid that I was unable to know or give them what they needed. I'm so afraid I've hurt them and contaminated them with the evil that was done to me.

They seem okay. Both are married, working, one with 2 children, one with 1 child on the way. We live close by, see each other often and keep in touch. My husband and I babysit our grandchildren every week. My kids seem reasonably happy and they are definitely functional in ways I never was. So maybe I didn't hurt them as much as I fear. I so wanted to be a good mother to them, went in with such hope, didn't know how really messed up I was!

So afraid I shouldn't have had children because I was so wounded myself. I feel like I've spent my life in a fog that prevented me from being in reality with my children. Like I just woke up in the last year or two and am now in touch with reality.

I'm hoping and praying they will continue to be okay. Doing everything I can to be there for them now.

Banana
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Re: Was I There for Them?

Post by Banana » Tue Sep 09, 2014 1:24 pm

Oh hummingbird, I hear your pain. I do understand why you would be worried that you weren't there enough, present enough, for your children when they were growing up. However it seems to me that the fact you are concerned about this says that you are a wonderful mother. You said that both of your children are married, so that tells me they can trust, and I would like to think that they wouldn't have children if they weren't stable in their own relationships. Your children have moved out, got jobs, have married and had children of their own, so they have learned independence (this is good!). Your children trust you with their children and are clearly happy to spend time with you. I'm not convinced this would happen anywhere near as often, or at all, if you hadn't been a good mother to them. Obviously this is just my opinion but from what you write on people's threads, what you write on my thread, it is very very very clear that you are a genuinely loving and caring person. Personally, I think that is one of the most important characteristics any mother should have and you have it by the shed-load!

Sending much love and caring and tons of safe hugs as you work this out.
Banana
"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around." - Leo Buscaglia

hummingbird
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Re: Was I There for Them?

Post by hummingbird » Tue Sep 09, 2014 2:25 pm

Oh banana, how can I ever thank you for your kind post! Your words heal my heart and give me hope! I'm so grateful for your caring and support! So glad I know you!

My intention before they were born was to be a loving mom to them, but I'd never had a loving mom. I know I did the best I could. So much grief about it all, must just keep going, trying my best to be kind to myself.

Jonesy
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Re: Was I There for Them?

Post by Jonesy » Tue Sep 09, 2014 3:38 pm

Hi hummingbird

Banana said it soooooooo well.
Just a thought, but have you considered talking your fears with them?
You are important

Email: jonesy@isurvive.org

facingmytruth
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Re: Was I There for Them?

Post by facingmytruth » Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:07 pm

Agree with everything banana said.I think we often put ourselves down or think we weren't good enough because we want our children to have so much better than we had,and never to feel what we did.
I don't know you but your children sound like you've done your best and that is all any of us can do.

Sheep
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Re: Was I There for Them?

Post by Sheep » Wed Sep 10, 2014 12:05 am

hummingbird,

I really think this is part of the healing process, questioning our own mothering once we begin grieving the many losses of our own childhood. I did not come out of denial of the abuse until I was 36 yrs. old, had already been married 16 yrs. and had two children. I have PTSD, and unfortunately my marriage did not survive that and my children have suffered much over the past 6 yrs. but as adults now I think they understand a little why I needed to leave their dad in order to heal (he has his own abusive, controlling nature). Your children sound like stable, independent adults and you are very blessed to see your grandchildren as often as you do!!!!

With care,

Sheep

hummingbird
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Re: Was I There for Them?

Post by hummingbird » Wed Sep 10, 2014 5:29 am

Thank you, Jonesy, facingmytruth and sheep, for your caring and support. When my grief subsides a little, I can feel grateful for what I do have with my kids and grandkids, but I do need the reminders that I did the best I could and I that am generally very self-critical.

hummingbird
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Re: Was I There for Them?

Post by hummingbird » Sat Jan 24, 2015 4:49 pm

I haven't talked with either my son or my daughter yet about my parenting and any hurt I may have caused them. But I am making every effort to be there for them now.

I found an email from 2010 from my son, and it was a note from him with a link to a website about kindness. His note said, "This reminds me of you; thank you for your kindness to me." I started to cry with relief and joy. It just breaks my heart that I may have hurt my children. But this was so encouraging!

My daughter emailed me last week, after a long phone call, writing that she could talk with me for hours. Again, I was stunned with gratitude and relief!

I haven't been plagued with waking up in a sweat fearing that I've done something horrible and hurt someone somehow for about a month. Scared to write that, for fear I'll trigger something, another episode.

So grateful for the support I get here! It's scarey for me to trust that anybody would be here for me when I show up with my wounds, so I'm even more aware of how much you all mean to me.

recover
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Re: Was I There for Them?

Post by recover » Sun Jan 25, 2015 4:07 am

you are a wonderful mom hummingbird, i can feel that and know that.
much love,
recover

hummingbird
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Re: Was I There for Them?

Post by hummingbird » Tue Feb 24, 2015 11:14 am

I hate what my dad did to me! I just hate him so much right now! I'm experiencing some kind of emotional flashback where I am sure I am just the absolute worst. I woke up certain that my daughter knows somehow what a total sh*t I am and that somehow I ruined her life. That she just hates me and is disgusted by me.

I have such fear that my badness contaminated my daughter. I'm sure she hates me, the way I hate my f*cked up parents and that there is nothing I can do about it.

I went to Pete Walker's web site and read the article on shrinking the inner critic, but the certainty of her hatred and contempt of me seems like reality. I see that my thinking is black-and-white right now, but I cannot budge the certainty that she hates me and has contempt for me, just like my dad did. Looking at me with that look of disgust. I can never get away from it, never.

I feel like I am completely insane right now, and I look back on my early primitive attempts to recover, and I see how huge the impact of my dad's abuse was and feel overwhelmed at how ignorant I was about what had happened to me. Like I got hit by a freight train and kept going anyway, bleeding and broken.

I'm just sitting here in the middle of the night in agony crying about how helpless I was as a kid and how big the abuse was and how little I feel in the face of it. How my efforts just don't seem to make a dent. How I wake up, defenseless, in horror in these emotional flashbacks. I'm afraid I'll never get any better. Never.

I probably should never have had children. I was too shattered by Dad's hatred, contempt and abuse, especially the sexual abuse. I did the best I could, but it's not enough. Nothing about me or my life has ever been enough. I was born with a deficit because my own parents actively sought to destroy me. My dad told me over and over that I was No Damn Good and Would Never Amount to Anything. And my mom never corrected him.

I'm so afraid that as she gets older and her kids get older, my daughter (and probably my son) will realize how f*cked up I was and how they didn't get what they needed. How they will compare me to their spouses' parents and reject and hate me, just like my parents did. I am screwed!

This is the worst thing that could ever happen - that I would contaminate my kids and hurt them. And that there's no way I can apologize enough or ever make it up to them. I cannot change the past or my ignorance or any of it.

I have given up on ever finding a therapist to work with about all this. When I saw my first therapist decades ago, I was misdiagnosed and made to feel like I was defective and crazy. But I see now that I was presenting as a young woman with trauma. Sometimes I think a therapist might help me process this pain and grief, but I don't trust them, they are only human, and who wants to work with a child whose parents hated and rejected her? Who hurt her own children? I can't trust them to see beyond the horror of what happened to me and my resulting limitations to the good person (!) that I am in my core. Wow! Amazing that I can write that, but there it is - I am a good person deep-down; I really do feel and know and believe that!

My husband tries to reassure me that I was a good mother, but he doesn't know how it was for me inside when my kids were little. I had no idea how messed up I was. I was so hurt and traumatized. I had never been held or comforted, rocked or told "I love you." I didn't know how to be physically close to my kids. I had never been cuddled or nurtured. I had been shamed and scapegoated: "You're nothing but trouble! You'll be the death of me!."

The only reason I can write all this here is that I've gotten so much caring and support over the last year. Whoever responds, can you help me find some good in all this, some way to make it up to them? It seems so unfair that I got such sh*tty, sh*tty parenting that left me without anything good to give my kids. I marvel at them: they're both married with spouses who love them and with children they love. They both have jobs that they're good at and their lives are stable. They are terrific, beautiful, funny, good people. Their dad is a good man, still here with and for me after all these years.

I'm writing a lot, but I just can't face my daughter again. In the last year, it seems like we're not connecting and I miss her. I wish I could make them understand that I see them as precious beings who only deserved the best. I would take all their pain on me in a heartbeat if I could.

I just cannot seem to stop crying anymore. I just cry and cry. My life has just been so painful. I don't know if this will ever be any different or get any better. Decades ago when I started my efforts at recovery and learned about shame for the first time, I thought that knowing about it would heal it automatically. I had no idea what I was up against! I'm glad I didn't, I might have just killed myself then and there if I knew how much the rest of my life was going to hurt. How hard it was going to be. I used to hear a voice in my head, very clearly, say "why don't you just kill yourself?" I don't hear it anymore. But tonight I feel like all this is more than I can overcome no matter how hard I try, and I try every day with all my might.

Need not to delete this, for my own sanity. I really need help. I really need help, but I feel like there isn't really anything anybody can do. I don't know what to do differently. Thank God I know what I know today and for isurvive.

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