Want to do things differently

For as long as I can remember I have believed that I was no good, stupid, hopeless, a failure. Stupid, I know. My father was a harsh disciplinarian who would watch everything I did, if I spilt my milk I would get a belting, if I spoke my mind, I would get a belting. I only ever saw him on Sunday's, it was the worst day of the week because it was the day I would be disciplined for all I had done during the week according to the report my mother would give him. I cannot remember my mother ever telling me she loved me, not once. All I can remember is her telling me that every mistake or bad thing that happened to me was all my fault and that I was to blame and to not ask for anything because I was a nuisance.

I now have three beautiful children of my own, all under 5 years of age. I love them so much, and I tell them that everyday. I tell them that I am so blessed to have them and that God gave them to me as a gift and that out of all the children in the world I would have picked them. I want my kids to grow up knowing that they are so precious and valuable but I still have this terrible fear inside that I am going to fail. That I will damage them and hurt them and wound them. I need to get over my own past so I can give them a more secure and solid future.

How does a person change the way that they think and really discover the truth of who they are when they have believed a lie for so long?

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Feb 17, 2010
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Two Things
by: Evan

It sounds like you are doing fine with your kids. The time will come when they will need to assert their difference to you - this isn't a rejection in the big picture, just their realising that they are their own person and different. This can be a difficult time for parents.

As to yourself. How can you love the child in you as much as your children? What were the things you wanted as a child and how can you give them to yourself now? This can be surprisingly difficult to do in my experience, so you may want to enlist some support. I know that time will be at a premium with 3 children under five. You can do it in little bits. Listening to how the child inside of you feels can be done five minutes at a time if you can't (or don't want to) organise child-minding so you have a block of time for yourself.

Hope these ideas help.

Feb 16, 2010
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It's hard to realize that you have to take care of yourself to care for your children
by: xmkx

I understand where you're coming from. I have always tried myself to avoid making the same mistakes with my two year old son that my family did with me. But you hit the nail on the head - we cannot avoid making these types of mistakes as long as we continue to avoid confronting the issues in our adulthood that resulted from the problems in our childhood.

I think the biggest danger in this is perhaps not so much the tendency to do the same exact thing our family did to us as children as much as it is looking towards our children to fulfill the needs we have that went unfulfilled in our own childhood. For example, my mother had a lot of unfulfilled needs in her childhood that she looked to me to fulfill as a child. This had a huge role in the development of my codependency.

I learned from my mother that it was my responsibility to take care of her rather than vice versa even though she did her best not to convey that kind of message. I also learned from her things like the world being an unsafe place just because she believed it, even though she said the exact opposite to me attempting to ensure that I would not have the same attitude.

It just goes to show that a parent leads first by example and our children learn from our behavior more than they do from what we actually attempt to teach them.

I think one of the hardest things for me to learn was that in order to take good care of my son I had to take good care of myself first and foremost. The concept of it not being "selfish" to love myself was a very hard pill to swallow.

I wish you the best of luck on your journey. You've definitely got a good head start! :)

Feb 15, 2010
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To: Want to do things differently
by: Angie Carter

Thank you for sharing this post. My heart goes out to you. No child should have to experience the kind of upbringing that you had. It is very sad indeed. But the good news is that you are reaching out and seeking advice and getting the help you need to overcome the past, not repeat it and become the best parent you can be!

In my opinion, it all starts with self. In order for me to try and become a better mom I needed to go inside and tend to my own broken inner child. I would recomment watching the Iceberg powerpoint presentation on this website. (go to the tab that says ICEBERG) It lays out a wonderful foundation for understanding the whole picture and makes getting started much less confusing.

One thing that was important for me to remember was to NOT try and get my inner child needs (time, attention, affection and direction) met THROUGH my child. This is called role reversal. Of course some of that happened because I did not get into recovery until my son was 14. But I learned about it and started making changes.

It is easy when we have abandonment issues to try and fill up that void with the love from our children. This puts a huge responsiblity and pressure on their shoulders, although outwardly it doesn't look like that.

You will make mistakes along the way...every parent does. Learning how to cope with those and taking care of YOURSELF are some of the most precious gifts you can give your children. When you take care of yourself mentally, physically and spiritually it teaches them they can do the same for themselves!

Good luck and please continue to post your progress, or any questions and experiences you encounter along the way!
Angie Carter

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