Hi there, new, feeling awful

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by alldone, May 28, 2008.

  1. alldone

    alldone New Member

    So I've read a lot here, mostly about a year ago. Since then my difficult child has been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and oppositional defiant disorder. We did family therapy, which really did help and things were going well for a long time. Recently things have been difficult again. difficult child is very moody and irritable, she's been aggressive toward her siblings again, and generally difficult to deal with. I also have noticed that we haven't been at our best in our parenting, it's just so hard to keep up that level of...everything. It's just impossible to be at our proactive best all the time, month after month after month. I get tired, burnt-out, used-up. And I'm sure that this is part of, but not the whole cause of, these recent difficulties.

    Anyway, what bothers me now is how I feel toward difficult child lately. Just not positive, not warm. She's in this phase, and I know it would help to be more positive and to spend time with her one-on-one (when she's not acting up), but I don't want to, honestly. I'll look at her, and I know that I need to smile at her more and hug her and take time out of the day to do something positive with her but I don't want to. I feel like it's too hard and I feel almost as if it would make me too vulnerable. I feel myself distancing myself from her. And that can only make things worse. But I'm having so much trouble with it. And I feel like **** because she's only 8, how can a mother push away her 8 year old?

    I love her so much. And I am so tired of being her mom. And I miss her, even though she's right here. Please tell me other people feel this way, and I'm not the worst mom in the world.
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Don't beat yourself up with guilt. I know I've had times where I wish I wasn't the parent of one or more of my difficult child's. I think it's a natural thing to feel when you are giving SO much of yourself day in and day out and when their behaviors are so challenging and demanding.

    One thing that was helpful for my own mental health was to get my own therapist. I also make sure to take time for myself -- even if it's at the expense of doing other things I think I should be doing. I figure a few crumbs here and there and some dust and clutter is less important than my own stability which is so vital to keeping everyone else around here on track.

    Hang in there!
  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Welcome! I'm glad you found us. You are definitely not alone in the feelings you have about your difficult child.

    A few questions (sorry, but your answers will help us help you):

    What kind of doctor diagnosed your difficult child?
    Is she taking any medications? If so, what?
    Any sensory issues (for example, clothing tags, loud noises, etc)?
    Any speech or developmental delays?
    Any mental health issues or substance abuse in the family tree?

    Again, welcome.
  4. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    PLEASE don't beat yourself up.

    We've all felt less than amorous towards our difficult children at one time or another. You are not alone. And if the difficult child is in a rut, the whole family gets in a rut, then it is easy to start catastrophizing. "How am I going to do this for another 11 years?"

    You found the right place. Grab some coffee, pull up a chair, and join us.
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I have definitely felt the same way. I try to get away once a mo, and if that's not possible, I at least get a massage or do artwork or something that has nothing to do with-my difficult child. Even a trip to visit my dad, who has Alzheimer's, is easier than dealing with-my difficult child!
    Try to take breaks. It will really help you not to be bitter.
  6. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Many of us can relate to your feelings. I'd give my life for my son, but there have been days when I didn't think I was going to make it and withdraw to resettle and refocus. It's probably a survival skill. lol

    Welcome aboard.
  7. We can dislike them together today. My difficult child is driving me CRAZY!!:faint:
  8. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Hi Alldone - glad you found us.

    And you are *not* the worst mom in the world (I am, just ask my difficult child :rofl: ). Seriously, though, I went thru the same thing when thank you was about the same age. Possibly even worse - seemed like my first waking thought was "I love him but I hate him" and ditto my last. It was a *horrible* way to live - I'm his mother and how on earth could I possibly have anything less than warm fuzzy feelings towards him? At the same time, he was about as far from warm and fuzzy as a kid can get ... but still... I felt horribly guilty about dreading the day with him.

    I remember that period of time as being really stalled in terms of his treatment and schooling and therapy. It was also about the same time that I found this board and probably not coincidentally was also about the same time that I started to get more assertive about finding practical strategies with therapist/psychiatrist for dealing with him at home as well as more assertive that the school better figure out how to manage him there, without calling me every other day.

    The hardest part for me has always been the consistency. I'm a pretty laid back person to begin with and am not a huge fan of structure. But parenting a difficult child calls for structure. Whew... that took a long time to master. And you are so right on that it's physically and emotionally exhausting to have to do it 24/7/365 without a break. husband and I had to figure out how to parent thank you, as well as try to meet the needs of the other kids (and occasionally each other.... rarely ;) ). We kind of evolved into a tag team parenting unit. I'd deal with thank you and his appointments and school issues (since I was a stay at home mom) until I was toasty, then I'd pass him off to husband to deal with while I'd catch a breather - sometimes something as simple as a movie alone, or a stroll through the mall - anything to give me a chance to gather my wits. Then I'd come back in as primary caregiver until I got toasty again. As things got more challenging with thank you, we ended up tagging off several times during the day, but... somehow we survived.

    I think it's really *really* important to do self-care - whatever soothes you - on a pretty frequent basis. I got the same advice here many years ago and kind of blew it off. I should've listened, LOL. It makes a world of difference in your own outlook, really. If you're feeling strong emotionally, you're going to be better equipped to deal with whatever your daughter throws your way.

    Are you guys still doing therapy? Do you get a chance to take a break? Do your other kids get a chance to get a break from difficult child, and her from them?

    I know it's hard and there just doesn't seem to be one right answer. But we certainly do understand. Again, I'm glad you found us.
  9. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome! You are not alone. As you can tell many of us have felt this way. I know there are days and moments when I don't want anything to do with my difficult child as much as I love him. In fact, I'm having one of those moments right now.

    It really is important to take some time for you. I know that can be easier said than done. Hugs.
  10. alldone

    alldone New Member

    What kind of doctor diagnosed your difficult child?

    Well, we took her to two child psychologists. Both agreed on Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and it was the second who diagnosed ODD. The second psychologist was incredibly awesome, and we made *tons* of progress with difficult child with family therapy. We were, and are, very pleased with how far she's come. And in fact, we reached the point where we ended therapy (for now) because things were going just beautifully for a lengthy period of time.

    She also has chronic tics (motor and vocal), and though she's also been diagnosis'ed with chronic motor tic disorder I think she meets the criteria for Tourette's. We saw a neurologist back when we started the whole odyssey of getting help, and he simply ruled out seizures and encouraged us to get a psychological evaluation. The tics are not something that bother difficult child or interfere with her functioning, just interesting evidence that she's wired differently.

    Is she taking any medications? If so, what?

    No medications.

    Any sensory issues (for example, clothing tags, loud noises, etc)?

    Definitely. She's had sensory issues all her life. We took her to an Occupational Therapist (OT), as recommended by the first psychologist, to have her evaluated for sensory processing disorder. By that time, she'd either begun to grow out of some of her sensitivities, or she (and we) had learned to cope with them (by getting the right clothes, headphones to dampen noise, etc.) that difficult child did not meet the criteria for sensory processing disorder.

    Any speech or developmental delays?


    Any mental health issues or substance abuse in the family tree?

    Yes, there's a family history of depression, substance abuse on my mother's side (her parents and sibs), people who make weird noises, kids who say they want to kill themselves (my dad's brother), and people who have been told that they have socially inappropriate responses to events/people.

    YES. This is exactly what I think is hard. I do find it hard to maintain structure, and to be "on" in this way 24/7/365. My husband is super-awesome and we tag team a lot, just as you described you do.

    We're not doing therapy at the moment. I do get breaks. Once a week or once every other week, my folks take the kids for half the day on Saturday. Also, I do get a break from difficult child when she's in school (and I'm home with the little one). The kids, I think, could use some more opportunities to take a break from each other.

    I think part of the problem for me right now is that summer is looming large. It's coming soon, and I am very much dreading it. I signed the kids up for one week of "mini-camps" to keep them busy, but couldn't afford to sign them up for more. Unstructured time off from school is always a recipe for disaster with difficult child. And, when she starts to get irritable and hits someone, it might be an isolated thing but I really worry that we're headed back down the road of hour-long rages and general hellishness. So I get all tense and anxious, and that just adds to everything and makes it harder for me to respond calmly or rationally.

    I wonder, too, if finding a support group would help me. I know no one who is dealing with stuff like this. And it probably would help to see my own therapist again.

    Thank you all for your kindness and your time. I do appreciate it.