Child envy

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by exhausted, May 4, 2011.

  1. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    So I really am not a jealous person. It's just one emotion I have not felt much of....until lately. I've been wanting to deal with it in family counseling, but I just haven't been able to bring it up.
    I teach 6th garde kids most of my day but I also have a Jr. High and Sr. High choir. There are a lot of really great kids in my choirs, smart, polite, cute....successful. I find myself envious of their parents. Some of these kids are my daughters age and many know her from when she attended school there in 8th grade. They come to talk to me about their typical teen problems and I find myself irritated at the smallness of their problems. The other day I almost lost it with one boy who was almost in tears. I just wanted to say, " Maybe you'de like to trade places with "my daughter" and see what real problems are like!"

    I'm ashamed of my feelings. Why do I feel this jeoulousy so strongly in the last few months? Am I alone? Have others felt this way?
  2. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Hi ya!

    You know I think at one time or another we've all felt that way. Not just you - them too. Humans as a whole are jealous people. It takes a long, hard walk, down a very long, hard road before we really figure out how entirely lucky we are as people, as humans, as Mothers, as daughters, as friends, as wives, just to be, just not to be. One of my favorite sayings in the world used to be "I cried becuase I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet." My Mom used to tell us that when we were younger and cried about things we didn't have. I thought I got it then, but it wasn't until I was much older that I really and truly realized what that meant. I couldn't relate completely to the depth of it's wisdome because until I got older? I coudln't possibly relate to not having [feet] or loss in my life.

    Lots of things we feel we have lost in our everyday lives? (shrug) We shouldn't really count as loss. We should count as experience. Personally I've had an incredibly life. To ask me that as a child? I would have answered you differently. I would have told you my life stunk. I had a hard life. I had a life that started out being thrown away, misunderstood, never accepted, bullied and it never seemed to get any better. I had a hard life. I got married to a man that tortured me, mistreated me, gave me a son who was a difficult child, and he had a hard life. People didn't accept us - and I would sit and think about all the people that shuned us over the years and their wonderful houses, and their awesome families, and their great cars, money they had, nice clothes, friends, and how we were treated, or not treated. We weren't any different. We had manners, we were nice, we were smart. And you know what? The ones I feel the most sorry for now? Is them.

    They had ALL of that - the great homes, the lovely trips, the cars, the cash - the clothes, everything that we seemingly didn't and they still had problems. But their problems were so small, so petty, so insignificant? That I thought one day as I sat in a group of these women playing Bunco - WHAT in the WORLD would you ever do if you had a problem like MINE? O.M.Gosh and then? It hit me - They couldn't. They couldn't handle anything I could. The life I had been given was mine, and I was given the strength to deal with it - apparently so because Im' here to tell YOU about it. And money and riches sure didn't have anything to do with it. I mean they had all that - and couldn't handle SIMPLE things. WHAT in the world would they ever do with a day in the life of ME? That got me to thinking. What it made me think about was interesting.

    The friends that left us because of my sons behaviors? Weren't really freinds. So why would I want them around? They weren't true friends - true friends are there no matter what. So good riddance. Technically my son cut the good ones from the herd. The house I lived in? Maybe not a mansion, but it was ours. Things weren't always going to be like this and we do love each other. Was I worried about a A or a B-? NOoo but I celebrated when we got him to just GO to school. We learned how to appreciate really small things. Like peaceful days, quiet days, the words I LOVE YOU MOM - REALLY, REALLY mean something to us - they aren't just an UH HUH - out of the car pool lane, those words when we hear them as CD Moms can literally make US cry - because we don't get them all the time - So our ears are more tuned not to overlook things, Pictures, handdrawn notes that say I love you - or just something as kind as our kids taking out the trash - I'll never forget that when a Mom here wrote - SHE TOOK OUT THE TRASH - when was the last time a Mom in the other world was overjoyed for that - WE APPRECIATE THE SMALLEST KINDNESS not just from our kids - but from everyone - kids, adults - everyday people....because we get worn to a frazzle - and kind means more. And tears? We cry - we cry a LOT - and when we are out - and see another person crying? Does it mean more to us - that someone is hurting? Probably so. Do you think you'd be more apt to put a hand on a tearful Moms shoulder than say a Mom of a batch of easy child kids who complains about tiddly stuff? Possibly.

    So while you are sitting there berating yourself for your jealousy I want you to take into consideration this fact - I don't consider what you are going through as a jealousy as much as it is an awareness - to metamorphasis. You're changing. You're becoming more aware of others selfishness, greed, lazyness.....and it's okay. You're becoming a better you. That can't be wrong. The better you beome? The more you can help others. The more empathetic and sympathetic you will become to people like those parents.

    Eventually? You'll listen with your keen ears and think - WHAT do I have to complain about today? My Gosh - there are babies laying in the hospital today with cancer, there is a Mother who just lost her son In Afghanistan that is fighting for MY FAMILIES freedom. There is a Man over there in the cemetery who just buried his wife of 50 years, and a Mother who just lost her son in a car accident - and all of a sudden those other problems just don't seem so big. Then you go home, and deal with your own child - and those problems are REAL, and THERE, and they are HUGE - because they are YOURS.....and you forget about everyone elses problems, and realize the ones that matter are right there - and that you are tough enough to deal with them because someone knew EXACTLY what they were doing when they gave you THAT child to parent. You are excatly where you are supposed to be. Becoming exactly who you are supposed to become. Just a Mom, doing the best she can.....everday. With friends who care a great deal enough to tell her - You're doing just fine.

    Hugs & Love

    Don't wish it were easier; wish you were better. Don't wish for fewer problems; wish fore more skills. Don't wish for less challenges; wish for more wisdom.
  3. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I do understand, exhausted. Really. Your feelings are very normal and natural. Inevitable probably. The only thing is that it wouldn't "do" for them to become permanent - for you, I mean. Because your life is your life and the wisest thing to do about that is, as Star says, of course to accept it as fully and deeply as you can. There is a Buddhist practice in which, if one is in a dreadful place of adversity, loss, misfortune, one connects to the suffering of others who are in deep distress. And there are of course many. It is actually very powerful a practice because compassion for others is a very dynamic, living, "bright" force that takes us out of the dark hell of our own misery...
    Something I do for myself also is to train in not comparing, not judging, J against other children... because that way lies only stress and madness :) Accepting him as he is, or at least trying to, I find all sorts of hidden gold. It is difficult for you because you are with these seemingly model children all day - must feel very tormenting sometimes! But there is also a superficiality to having things nice, easy, straightforward all the time. We are taken to profounder ground!!
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It is hard when this realisation hits. You grieve because your child is not like the others. You wish your child DID have those same problems as her worst concern.

    Tattoo on your forehead in letters of fire - DO NOT COMPARE. My pain is not your pain. The emotions felt by these other kids are just as real, just as extreme sometimes, as the pain you and your child feel. The pain is just as legitimate. Try to not let resentment add to your pain.

    I know it's a tall order, it is difficult to not let it get to you. But really - it will only make you feel worse. I am glad (as I suspect are you) that you did not yell at that other kid - you would have felt terrible and it would have achieved absolutely nothing. But how do you cope with this grief you feel without it tearing you apart?

    Maybe the first step is to have another look at your child and change your priorities. Realise tat the usual dreams need to be let go. More grieving needed. But once you can work through this, there IS joy on the other side. Probably hard to believe right now. But once you can let go of your resentment, what will be left inside you will be a far deeper compassion for all the other students you deal with. Because you know what pain is, you can sympathise with others in pain.

  5. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    The previous two posters are very wise people.

    I do know where you are coming from and am still working on that wisdom. Personally, sometimes I would trade off that wisdom for an easier road to hoe. Sometimes I would like to know just what parenthood would be like if I was raising pcs. I think what you are feeling is part of the whole grief process that goes with difficult child land and that it ebbs and flows unless you get stuck in it somehow.

    I have a friend who tells me that this is all part of my character building experiences. I tell him that I think I have acquired entirely enough character by now, thank you!
    For me, I wish that my children were not dealing with the issues that they are. I wish I were not dealing with their issues. I don't view myself as fortunate for having to acquire that wisdom. I think envy is perfectly understandable feeling to experience and I think it is ok to be clearheaded about how difficult our lives are. Please don't feel bad if you haven't achieved sainthood yet in raising your difficult children. You'll get there!

    ps Marg snuck in while I was positing, make that the previous three posters!
  6. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes... sometimes being wise seems rather unreal, abstract, some distant occupation for saints or robots... removed from the reality of our emotions. But I think really that being "wise" is just about not wanting to suffer. There is obviously a lot of suffering in not accepting what one has in one's life. And sometimes what one has in one's life is so terrible, so unbearable, from the "ordinary" point of view that other approaches must be found to it than just saying this is terrible, this is unbearable, I cannot go on with it... (HaoZi has made me paranoid about my favoured stylistic device of three dots - but not enough to stop doing it... :) )
  7. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    Every. Day. Prom pictures - jealousy. Graduation pictures - jealousy. Great kid, has a job, a car, respectful, etc. - yup, jealousy. I feel like somehow I got the short end of the stick with difficult child. And I feel bad for feeling that way, but I can't help it. I do. :(
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have long since accepted Sonic for who he is and stopped the delusion that someday he will go to college, get married, etc. If he does, it will be a surprise bonus. but I love him as he is and he is wonderful.

    this does NOT mean that when I see a seventeen year old boy playing football or planning for college or taking a girl to prom I don't feel a pang of jealousy, but I try to make myself focus on something more productive. As Sonic turns eighteen, it is particularly hard to turn the other cheek, but I feel it is much better to channel the "jealousy" energy into enjoying him (he is a great kid) and helping him have the most independent, most fulfilling life he can have.Same with my Learning Disability (LD) daughter who struggles in school soooooooooo much, even when she tries hard, and will likely have to go to two year college rather than four...she is going to watch most of the girls on her basketball team go off to four year colleges (her best friends). But she is such a wonderful is not hard to move on from that and to help her be the best she can be. It's not always easy, but it's doable...and it's even possible to celebrate our wonderful children.

    In my case I think it's harder on me than on them. Sonic really isn't interested in being indepedent or getting married and Jumper is pragmatic and realistic with an ability to accept things and move on.
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Yes, oh, yes.

    Some days are better--or worse--than others.

    I was re-watching that adorable "Charlie bit me" YouTube video the other day, and out of the blue, I felt so sorry for myself because I didn't have two cute boys like that. Strange, how something like that can set it off (the melancholy, the longing ...)

    I often tell myself that at least my difficult child isn't on the street doing drugs and cutting people up into tiny pieces. Not much of a consolation, but it could be worse. Sigh.

    You are in very good company.
  10. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes, it all makes sense - but the thing is, the people who've GOT the wonderful, successful, model children do not appreciate them. They are not thanking their lucky stars every minute of the day... I sometimes say to friends who are complaining about some really minor thing their child is doing "wrong" that they just don't realise how much worse it could be... and they really don't. On the other hand, as Star said, when our children do something that all the ordinary parents take for granted, it makes our hearts sing... it does mine, anyway.
    But I do understand the grieving for the dream child, or even just the plain, ordinary child... of course I do. I reckon this is a whole path to acceptance of what we have and I personally haven't got to anywhere near the end of it. Also I am not faced (yet and of course I do hope never) with daily violence, crime, drugs, a child being completely lost and seemingly unloveable that some people are faced with - and how would I feel then about it all? Would I have such wise words to say in that situation? I am sure I would not. So... I am just speaking from where I am right now, which is all any of us can do. God grant us strength and the wisdom never to despair totally is all I can say...
  11. P-nut2004

    P-nut2004 New Member

    I totally understand how you're feeling, Exhausted, even my PCs are a bit GFGish but in comparison to difficult child they are awesome. When they all have a bad day at once, or difficult child is just really out of control I often wonder what it would be like for them to all be 'normal'. However, the advice offered by everyone is also true, if we all had 'normal' 'average' kids we would not have the capability to feel the absolute joy that comes with a rare uneventful day, or the swelling with pride we feel when our difficult children do something simple most parents would expect of children their age. I find that the PPs I am friends with who have PCs take their children for granted quite often, they expect them to do well and they mostly leave them to their own devices because they can function that way. I love the fact that I am able to be such a huge part of my children's' lives, and honestly if it weren't for difficult child I'd probably be working full time, sending them to aftercare & just expecting them all to behave in the evenings while I went about my business. So the fact that they all need that extra support has drawn us all so much closer and they are truly extraordinary children, truly gifts from the powers that be. Whenever I am pondering how nice it would be to have a 'normal life' I just remind myself how boring and monotonous it must be and how those PPs are missing out on a deeper meaning and higher purpose that we as difficult child parents have. Hang in there and by all means do not beat yourself up for feeling jealous, it is healthy to grieve somewhat over the loss of the dreams you had before you knew what the future would hold for your difficult child, so long as you move thru the stages and learn to accept it and find the silver lining. (Honestly I have by no means completely accepted it either but Im working very hard to get there)

    ((BIG HUGS))
  12. Mamablue5

    Mamablue5 New Member

    I truly understand your problem, I am ashamed to say that I feel very similar when i hear others complain about there child misbehaving in ( to me) silly ways.I wish the worst thing my child did was not do a chore or talk back once in a while.seriously i feel like a big jerk when i feel this way so no you are not alone.
  13. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip


    OK honestly? This hit me one day when my mother complained yet again about how filthy my house was. It's not. It needs a good sweep, mop and vacuum - but it's not. filthy. And I told her - when I was a child - up to age 14 - Dad was out of town a LOT, so it was HER and ME. And while I probably made more mess than she did, I remember helping clean, do dishes, laundry, etc. When my room was a mess - it was nothing like my kids' rooms now. TWO PEOPLE.

    And I am dealing with 3 people, who had baggage long before I met them. husband's mother has a cleaning lady, and always has. Her apartment still stinks - I don't like ferrets, and hers poop ALL OVER. Onyxx does not keep things clean out of rebellion, and being brought up with a Japanese grandma who, when they lived with her, did EVERYTHING for them. EVERYTHING. Jett is not made to clean at BM's - as a very small child he was told he was stupid and he couldn't a LOT, so he still tries that. Add in the fact that he just wants to get back to his TV or video games, and... Half-done job. "Maybe if I do it badly I won't have to do it" - doesn't work for me.

    husband does clean - but not when it needs it - when he feels like it. Which isn't often.

    I got fed up and depressed and frustrated. And Mom hit me with that. And you know what? I am jealous of HER - because I was such an easy kid compared to my three - yes, THREE.

    I see my friends and their relationships with mentally stable people (kids, husbands, etc.) and just want to cry. (Yeah, I also see unstable people. They make me want to cry, too.)
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    There's also the other side of the coin... it would be nice. sometimes, to be like other parents... With teen-aged kids, we "should" be able to leave them at home and go out and do stuff...
    1) we can't
    2) other parents then drop us from the invite list, because we never come

    so... WE lose our social contact, our sanity base. Totally. Can't even go together to a staff Christmas party!
  15. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    I've watched my some of my siblings children grow into remarkable & successful young adults. I was envious (& on a bad day still am). However, I've learned to enjoy my nieces & nephews & their success. I know the trials my nieces & nephews put my sibling thru ~

    you know what I can't do this. My reality......

    My tweedles are my tweedles. I love them most days, other days I feel numb & indifferent toward them. I don't think of wm & smile. I don't look at ktbug & feel pride.

    I enjoy the young people in my life for who they are = their ability to make conversation or just say "I love you Aunt Linda". I'm not jealous really ~ just sad.
  16. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Would I prefer for my J's birth mother not to have done whatever it was she did (probably or at least possibly) that changed his brain in the way it did? Yes, in all honesty. Would I like my J to be the way he could be if the damage had not occurred? Yes. He is so smart, funny and affectionate - what would he be like if he didn't have his hyperactivity, his over-boisterousness that make people shun him sometimes, his oppositional mind-set that makes life with him so difficult sometimes? It WOULD be nice if it had all happened some other way. But... it didn't. So it has come to me the way it's come and I have the son I have and I am trying to embrace him as he is... And it's hard. I just know it is my life and it is what I have.
  17. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Would I like my J to be the way he could be if the damage had not occurred? Yes.

    Me, too! I wish I could figure out which parts of my difficult child's brain were affected, then go in with-a probe and zap them into activity. Really.
  18. What a well-timed thread....

    I got an IM from a former neighbor. (Being military, I have alot of former neighbors..) "How is Moose handling his AP exams? XYZ (her daughter) is driving us nuts!"

    My friend is a PP with two PCs, both girls. She posts on her FB about her children all the time! I finally "hid" her because I couldn't take the constant stream of accomplishments.

    Anyway, by sheer conincidence I knew the AP exams were being given that day because I work at the community college that the high school uses as a testing site. So I Im'ed her back. "AP exams were today....Moose doesn't seem concerned."

    Of course, I left out the part Moose leaving school due to his depression and ODD/ADD/etc. He'll take his GED next month and we'll go from there. But no prom, no sports teams, no real friends. He's doing better, he's slowly getting a handle on things, but it's a journey, no?

    I hurt every time I go by the high school or see happy, giggly teenagers running around with their friends. I try and hurt for HIM and not for me.

    Meanwhile, I stay away from PP and their PCs as much as possible.....
  19. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    The trouble with us simply shutting up, is the "normal" people out there never learn that there is another side to the coin. They continue to blithely go through life spreading their brand of joy.

    And you know what? Nobody is that happy. Think "Desperate Housewives" - underneath the perfect white picket fence exterior, there is a lot of grime and dysfunction. Just as there can be happiness in our lives, and joy in tiny achievements, there is still a lot of worry in the lives of those who seem to have everything.

    We need to be honest with our friends if/when they ask us, really, how things are. never hide the truth because to do so is to devalue yourself and your own struggles. There is no reason to be ashamed if your child struggles.

    You know what? Tell the truth. It should make the lucky person realise their good fortune all the more, and value it. if it doesn't, and if it loses you a friend, then they never were truly your friend. And discovering this earlier is good, it leaves more room in your life for people who really matter.

  20. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Wow- thanks for all the replies and sharing. I was truely wondering if I was an ungreatful disaster and alone in this feeling, never discussed this with anyone. Yes-I do know my difficult child was given to me because my higher power knew I could handle her(some very spooky things have come to me in dreams about that) Yes-I am so glad I didn't loose it with the boy in my choir the other day. I love those kids (truely), and value that they feel good enough to come and share with me- I would die if that ended! I pride myself on being a responsive and compassionate teacher.... human being in general.
    I have grieved and then I feel good and then difficult child gets another placement or diagnosis or, or, or and grieving happens again in a new way. This despite me knowing what is going to happen. The jealousy caught me off guard because I am just so practical and tend not to ever wallow in selfpity. My logical brain tells myself to stop it and to look at the blessing (we all have feet, arms, and legs here), but my emotional brain is getting the best of me. Got to hook the two together again.

    Marg-boy do I agree that we have to speak out. I am a huge difficult child advocate at my school because I think as long as we hang our heads in shame and hide our laundry, the stigma of mental illness continues. This causes problems beyond belief. Insurance companies continue to fund mental health differently (and underfund is the usual order), schools continue to half deal with our kids' needs, we loose "friends" because we are just too different or can't always attend functions, the world continues to blame our parenting, our jails fill up and on and on. We have no right to be silent.

    I just can't do the Facebook post yet that says- " Oh happy day and congradulations to my daughter the difficult child, she was just accepted into the Intensive Residential Dialectical Behavior Therapy Unit. We will be seeing her only 2 hours a week!" Do I feel as if it is a happy day? Heck yes! I'm over joyed she is getting this (only 16 beds in the entire state-we are blessed) Can I call it out to the world-not yet. Thanks for sharing all of you, it means the world to me!