Had an interesting, if gutwrenching therapy appointment

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by DammitJanet, Jan 12, 2007.

  1. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    As most of you know I go to therapy for my own issues of which I have many. I am a major difficult child in my own right. Of course while discussing my issues we also talk about issues regarding Cory. Things overlap.

    Well yesterday we were talking about Cory and discussing how he seems to fit either narcissistic or borderline pd along with the bipolar. Im not completely convinced he doesnt just have the personality disorders. My therapist thinks he has both since he started exhibiting behaviors when he was so young.

    But...and here is the kicker. She sat and got tears in her eyes as I came to the realization that if we were laying the blame for MY borderline problems at the feet of my mom for abusing me, then I have to lay the blame for Corys personality disorders squarely at my feet.

    I cant have it both ways.

    So in a way it is a parenting problem. Somehow I screwed him up. Maybe it was being a borderline/bipolar screwed up parent that didnt have adequate mental health care that caused him to be the way he is. I know for a fact that I didnt abuse him in the way my mom abused me. I know I messed up big time over the years. I could have done things better. I wasnt a good parent. I could have done things so much better. But I didnt try to hurt them. I didnt burn them or beat them bloody. I didnt starve them or lock them in closets or withhold love. I wasnt suzy homemaker that is for sure.

    So...this is something to think about.
     
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    {{{Janet}}}
    I never faced the sort of abuse to which you speak, but I was basically neglected due to my parents' issues. You can bet your bottom dollar that I've questioned my ability to parent regularly and I'm always one episode away from placing Duckie's issues squarely on my own inadequate shoulders.
    I'm not perfect. You aren't perfect.
    But we've done the best we can to play the hand life has dealt us. You really hit the nail square on the head when you say that you didn't try to hurt them. I'd have to say that you've done an outstanding job at advocating for Cory and not overlooking your other two.
    Please go easy on yourself, you're a good Mom.
     
  3. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Oh that is gut wrenching... i am so sorry for your ongoing pain... do we ever get rid of our past crap???

    Try to think positive... hugs
     
  4. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    Janet, we all make mistakes. The thing is, you realize it! You did the best you could with what you were given. And you continue to try and advocate.

    My kids have bad allergies. My ex's family has no allergies - mine is filled with them. So, my kids got their allergic tendencies from me. I can't CHANGE that, but I could do things such as watch everything NF ate for milk, or make NF's bedroom totally dust proof. It didn't mean that NF didn't occasionally injest something he shouldn't, or NL didn't get hives. It means I did the best I could.

    As did you.

    Please don't be hard on yourself.
     
  5. houseofcards

    houseofcards New Member


    I jokingly say adulthood is given to us to fix the things that our parents did to us. It is kinda true. I know I have flaws that have negatively affected my kids, and I know some of my mother's limitations have caused me problems, but I also know that she parented better then she was parented and I have continued the upward spiral and have done a little better then her. When you can give out to your kids better then you received I don't thing you have anything to feel bad about. It is really hard to give out things that you never got when you needed them but I think it is also helpful to ourselves to do that. I think I heard once that it was a bit like reparenting yourself when you could do it better with your kids. You are going through a rough time, be easy with yourself.
     
  6. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    My parents were the worst when it came to emotional abuse. They just weren't mature enough. When I was about 22 my dad told me one time that if he felt bad about his lack of parenting but he couldn't keep feeling guilty or it would kill him. I forgave both of them long ago. Sometimes you do the best you can with what you have. When you know better, you do better. I'm sorry that you are having to face this now. But, face it, deal with it, and move on. At some point, we become responsible for our own choices. Corey has to own his. You have to own yours. But, you don't have to own his.
     
  7. Janna

    Janna New Member

    Janet,

    You did the best you could with what you knew. Honestly, how many resources and how much help was available to you when Cory was small? Even *if* you weren't the best parent, and wanted help, would it have been available to you?

    Janet, I was an AWFUL parent when my babies were small. Not physically abusive, mind you, but I let them get away with everything and anything to avoid confrontation, rages, problems. I didn't want to deal with problems at all, and I was lucky, because I found tons of resources and behavioral modification to help me. I am still nowhere near perfect, not even close to great, but I've had alot of help to get here.

    I think if the resources were not available to me, I would be in the same position I was back then. I needed training how to become a better parent. It didn't come naturally.

    For what it's worth, you, Janet, have been one of my biggest admirations on this website since I've been here. Any question, problem, issue I have with Dylan, the Bipolar, the problems with easy child, the questions, you are always there to answer them for me. Nobody else could tell me Dylan had a thyroid problem before you did :bravo: I think you are a wonderful person, a wealth of information, and have been a good mother to your children. You have good boys. Please don't beat yourself up over this.

    Sending gentle hugs to you.

    Janna
     
  8. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    Janet,

    No one is as good a parent at the beginning as they would be if they could do it all over again with the maturity gained AND the same problems as the original kid had. There is no way around this in my mind. It is just a fact.

    I think my mother was a better parent than I so I come at this from a different perspective than those of you whose parents were less than you needed. However, I try not to beat myself up for two reasons: my mother lived in a simpler time--or we were simpler kids, whatever; and my mother raised ME (a easy child for sure) not my ex-difficult child and his overbearing older sister.

    So I agree with everyone else, Janet, I think you are a very good mother. You and I met with boys about the same age with different but probably equally distressing problems; both were in out of home placements; and both are better now. It is important to remember than while my ex-difficult child does not do some of the difficult things other kids who are of similar age do or that Cory might still do (legal problems for one), he remains very "different" and I have chosen to accept that and not try to make him into something he isn't. Another way of looking at this is I am SURE that if my father were living, he would neither accept nor think I had been a good parent to ex-difficult child. My mother would be much more accepting of ex-difficult child as a person, but she also would have been certain that there is some defect in my parenting that caused his problems. I just no longer buy into that type of thinking. Our kids will be what they will be and NONE OF US deliberately did less than we could at the time we were raising them.

    Janet, so many times you were helpful to me when I was lost and trying to make ex-difficult child into a "typical child." You could see more positives in Corey than I could in my child when he was 11 and Cory was 12. Since Cory was a bigger acter-out, that says good things to me about your patience and tolerance. I learned from you that if I didn’t get some perspective, things were going to get much worse. You taught me that.

    Despite what your therapist is saying about parenting causing personality disorders, whereas depression, BiPolar (BP) and ADHD have biologic bases, I think that there is a biologic underwrite to personality disorders that interacts with environmental factors. Or, put another way, protective factors and risk factors play out differently for children with the same biological parents in the same family. So since you were "good enough" for Jamie--who probably has more protective factors than Cory, you are also "god enough" for Cory, because he is Cory.

    Lighten up on yourself--you're really amazing in my book.

    Martie
     
  9. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Janet,
    Another one chiming in who thinks you are being too hard on yourself. From things I've read you have been a great parent-none of us are perfect-especially me. There are many thing I would love a chance to redo. We just keep plugging along doing our best. Gentle hugs to you. :smile:
     
  10. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    Janet, We cannot go backwards only foward. You did the best you knew how at the time. We are all flawed. Recognizing the flaws within ourselves and working to better oneself is our redemption from those mistakes. No matter what your shortcommings, Cory is an adult now. He is choosing to make his own mistakes. All you can do now is lead by example. Show him how you seek good health through therapy, medication and support groups and he will see that he too can help himself to a better life. (((HUGS))) -RM
     
  11. OTE

    OTE Active Member

    I'm sorry that this has come up. For whatever it's worth, I don't buy into the idea that Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is induced. in my humble opinion it's neurological, a mental illness that is, if not genetic, at least medical rather than psychological. That's not to say that abuse doesn't trigger problems. But I don't believe personally that it triggers Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) any more than I believe that it triggers BiPolar (BP), unipolar depression, anxiety disorders or any of the other true mental illnesses. I understand that it can be difficult to differentiate a depression triggered by a loss, the death of a loved one vs a true unipolar depressive. But in my humble opinion if you dig deep enough, if you look at a lifetime of depressive symptoms vs one period in a person's life you'll see a difference. Same with post partum depression, it's not tirggered by the happiest time in a mother's life, it's triggered by hormones. I hope you can think more about this and come to believe that it is a mental illness, not a psychological issue arising from circumstances.

    In the world of adoption most of us know at least one or two young adults diagnosis as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) who were not abused a day in their lives. I have no doubt that non-adoptive parents know of the same as well. It's just so much more obvious when the Mom doesn't have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) as well and when you've seen this child for many, many hours over many, many years and you know there wasn't an ounce of abuse, neglect or anything else that "could have caused it". Perhaps if you had sibs who suffered the same abuse but did not develop Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) it would be more believable to you.

    I'd also urge you to talk to your psychiatrist about this. Remember that therapists and psychiatrists have different views on this, you don't need to buy in to the one view over another just because the therapist is the one discussing it with you.

    Do try to re-think this rather than spend time beating yourself up.

    I think of all the mothers of autistic kids prior to the 70's who carried the guilt of being "refrigerator moms", thinking that they caused their child to be autistic. I'd hate to see you suffer that way so needlessly.
     
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am not beating myself up. I understand that there is a predisposition if you will to being susceptible to "getting" something like borderline. Maybe I wouldnt have developed it if certain factors hadnt played out in my life such as having my mom, being abused by a babysitter at age 3, the continued abuse by my mom. See...my mom abused me from the time I was an infant. I have no doubt I was early onset bipolar but how early is hard to tell considering when the when the borderline may have started too. When a child is abused from early infancy its really iffy. I can relate to Timer Ladys KT in many ways.

    I know I did the best I could with what I knew. Im sure my mom thought she did too. This could be traced back someplace Im sure. We think my mom was schizoaffective but she wasnt treated. She thought she was just fine the rest of the world was crazy...lol.

    I just think it is something to really think about so we can be more careful and maybe warn our kids as they get older to be extra careful about when they have kids. I think the reason that only Cory was affected was because he was the only one who had the predisposition for the problems. Maybe he had the genetic flaws. He obviously took more after me than the other two did. Poor kid!
     
  13. Lori4ever

    Lori4ever New Member

    I think OTE said it VERY well!! I second her opinion on this. I also believe you were a great mother. I have seen you on this board suffering to help your chold. That's what matters. Go easy on yourself, okay? What is, just is. That is not to say you caused anything. He is old enough to make his own choices now.
     
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Some things are inherited, some are environmental, a lot are a combination of both. Your upbringing was influenced by your mother's upbringing which was also influenced by whatever disorder she was trying to deal with, without treatment.

    These thing happen. When I look back at my childhood I can see HUGE problems, but I know my parents were trying to do the best they could. They were just coming from a different set of standards and ideals. I made a deal with myself to NOT do some of the things my mother did, but sometimes things just creep in anyway.

    Our kids have probably inherited the Aspie/autism tendencies from both sides of the family. Allergies - ditto. And sometimes, protecting our kids too much can make the problems worse - allergies being a good example.

    Whether you were right to blame your mental state on your mother really is not necessarily relevant to whether you blame yourself for Cory's problems.

    What would you have been like without the abuse? What would Cory be like if he had been adopted at birth and raised by perfect people? (probably depressed, at the impossible standard set for him).

    Without the abuse you could still have had problems. Alternatively, your problems could be more environmental and Cory's more inherited. But the inherited tendency is still there, which seems to indicate some balance needs to come in. You can't blame your mother for everything - you were probably born to have some level of difficulty - and you can't blame yourself for everything wrong with Cory, either.

    You've had other kids with other issues. Are they all like Cory? No. Did you somehow single Cory out for some especially nasty parenting? I doubt it.

    Your own experiences have coloured your parenting. It's likely that despite your own difficulties, you have done your utmost to protect your kids from what you went through. Sometimes the wheels fall off and you're harder on him than you intended, but this happens to all parents at some stage.

    You've done your best. You need to forgive yourself. But I do see that linked in there somewhere is a need to somehow reconcile your own childhood and recognise that your mother probably was not entirely at fault.

    Balance. It takes time and practice but when you achieve it everyone marvels.

    Marg
     
  15. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I see a huge difference between myself and my mother. She was entirely to blame for what she did to me. She went to her death never owning any part in her mistreatment of me and believing she treated me just fine. She never admitted any thing. I have apologized over and over to my kids for anything I ever did to them. If I said harsh words in anger I went back later and told them that I was wrong to speak to them in such a way and that Mommys were wrong too. My mom never did...she would torment me and tell me that I should have never been born and that she never loved me. She did this from the time I was a small baby. She would make me cry just to watch me cry. And she would laugh. It was a game to her. Her favorite song to me was something about telling me that my mommy didnt love me. She used to tell people that when she had me c section she didnt know if she brought home the tumor or the baby. She took me to a doctor when I was 8 and wanted them to perform surgery to remove my sex organs. She told me I was deformed.

    The woman was sick.
     
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    So there is one more HUGE difference between you and your mother. You are not her. If anything, your experience has made you all the more determined to do your best for your children.

    None of us are perfect, but it seems to me that you are beating yourself up for your imperfections. The thing is, you acknowledge them and you admit your failings to your children, which is a very freeing thing for them and for you.

    As you said, your mother was sick. And she never acknowledged it, from what you say.

    Whatever problems you may have inherited from her, plus whatever she imposed on you with her appalling treatment of you, have contributed to who you are but are not ALL that you are. You have survived. You're still here. And you are a good mother, if for no other reason than you fight for your kids, you admit your failings and you work with your kids to overcome both yours and theirs.

    What more can any of us do?

    I do accept your concerns that came out in your therapy session. I certainly don't want you to think I don't value what you shared - it must have been so difficult for you. It's just that I see you as a good, caring person and I want you to still see that, too.

    What you had to endure, and what your kids endure - it's different. Same with me. I have tried to learn from my past and compensate for it, it's all I can do. How would I cope if I had to compensate for a past like yours? I don't know. I hope I would do as well as I see you doing.

    Marg
     
  17. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Janet, I have said this to difficult children dad, many times: I fully expect my difficult child to be in therapy one day blaming me for everything wrong in her life. That is OK with me - I have big shoulders. Whatever it takes for her to become a better, happier person - I am all for it. Doesn't bother me one bit. I know in my heart I did and will continue to do everything I can to help her be the best she can be. She may never know that, but I will.
     
  18. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Janet,

    Based on all the replies you have gotten, I think you understand how highly we all think of you.

    The one post that got me was your post about your mother. I believe that it is absolutely amazing that you are who you are after that kind of childhood abuse.

    I believe you have risen above.

    Hugs,
    Sharon
     
  19. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    Janet, I think your self reflection on your parenting and your possible choices is a wise and just thing all parents should do.
    Strip away the defensiveness, strip away blame and need to portray oneself as an innocent victim.
    There are a fairly big percentage on this site of difficult child parents who are children of difficult children. Many parents don't look to see what is best for their kids but what looks good to the outside world. On the other hand the rules of society help us with a set of rules to bounce off of. We know that if our children are bruised or scared or starved, we will be held accountable. Not all adults are an accurate judge of excessive behavior.
    I forever look to my own contribution to either of my childrens problems. Some of it is genetic but some of it is my own parenting style and some is my own personality. I'm not even a difficult child.
    Self reflection and the truth is how we learn and how we improve. Learning to get past your mothers contribution is important. In my mind, blame makes me a victim. It gives an explanation but at some point, blame is a waste.
    I'm sure Cory is predispossed and you did the best you could and you made mistakes. There isn't anyone here who did it all right.
    Thanks for bringing this up. I hope to continue to understand who I am by looking back and I hope to improve myself as a person by applying the lessons learned from the mistakes to the future both as a parent and as a person.
     
  20. KFld

    KFld New Member

    Janet, I think compared to how you were raised and from what I know from you on this board, you are nothing like your mother. I have never read one thing from you that compares to what your mother did to you as a child, being done to your children by you. You have loved and supported them and tried to help them in everyway. I guess I can see what the counselor is saying, but I believe you have every right to place blame at your mothers feet, but that doesn't mean blame has to be placed at yours. I am amazed after reading what your mother did to you growing up that you have done so well with your children. I think you need to pat yourself on the back that after all you have been through you have had so much positive influence on your childrens lives. You also can never be blamed for passing along a mental illness. We don't cause our children to be mentally ill, just as we don't cause them to get any other illness.
     
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