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My "baby" is turning 3... and all I feel is guilt

Old 03-11-2011, 09:50 AM
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My "baby" is turning 3... and all I feel is guilt

]Don't find that they are proud of themselves for not reacting as they stand with their kid pelting them as hard as they can on both arms. left, right, left, right.

They don't stand in awe, staring at said kid, in total amazement at how angry her kid is, how out of control her kid is, and how she didn't see this happening until today, while said kid does the above.

Say to their kid, look in the mirror at yourself right now. Look how angry you are, how out of control you are. And watches as the kid punches the mirror shattering it into many shards flying in slow motion while she thinks, "How in the h*ll did I EVER get here?"


This post, by another member brought on the waterworks for me bc my "baby" who is turning 3 tomorrow is angry, angry, angry. Hits, screams, throws things... I am scared for her and for what I have contributed to letting happen to her. The summer I got pregnant with her is when things went south at warp speed with my AH and I've lied to myself about the impact the past 3 yrs have had on her. She has had alarming behaviors for a long time and we took her to a neurologist, she received speech therapy thinking maybe there was a slight delay... Know what I think? She was born into chaos, she could have already developed a personality disorder to cope with the trauma of what our home has been like and I've done her unforgiveable harm by staying with her father for these 3 yrs.

Instead of being happy and thinking of nice memories as her bday approaches I am beating myself up for being a horrible mother for subjecting her to all she's had to deal with since day 1 of her life.
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Old 03-11-2011, 10:20 AM
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My youngest doesn't have behavior issues, but I had acute anxiety whiel I was pregnant with him because I KNEW that AH and I were never going to make it and I was bringing a child into the world. then I got shingles right after he was born and was seriously sick for weeks while H was drinking, hunting, going out with his friends, and I was at home sick with an infant, recovering from a C-section and 2 little kids besides the newborn.

I pretty much ensured that the child came into a home without a dad.
Guilt and pain enough to go around.

That when I dwell on it, keeps me from doing ANYthing productive for us.
You can't change the past, and besides that, she is not ruined. She's just getting started in life. Just keep her protected from the chaos now.
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Old 03-11-2011, 10:21 AM
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I am where you are.
I want to hug you, and to hug me.

My 6 year old has health issues.
For years he has been relatively shielded from his fathers chaos.
I had A in my life, but I kept him away. He came and went, sure, but my son never identified him as "living with us" until this recent last 4 months, when RAH came out of rehab. He is sober, and my son was so gleeful.

The 4 months were hell. My son just got to play with his daddy, and that's all he saw. And from his perspective daddy is not mean, doesn't discipline, gives him big presents and surprises...

I made RAH move out, end of feb.
My son has been I'm surgery, recovering, stomach issues, meds, eye drops, bandaging...
And now his daddy is gone.
He was always a considerate angel, for the mist part.
He is now screaming, angry, kicking, everyday.
I know some of this is the stress of the last 3 weeks medical issues, and missed school, and being home w me in crappy weather, being poked and prodded, getting tests, seeing docs.
But he told his counselor with me present that he is mad at his mommy because his daddy left because all mommy did was be mad and yell at him.
My son says daddy did nothing wrong, not coming home. That people should do shat they want, and that's not something to get mad about or throw someone out about.

My son openly yells at me, cries.
I just want to go back 5 months and rechoose.
He is old enough now that he remembers things and I should have protected him.

My parenting nerves are frayed, and I lose my cool a lot these days. Intry to never bad mouth RAH, and that's hard. I try to follow counselors advice.

But I sometimes get truly petrified and immobilized by the fear that my son has a personality problem like his father.
I fight it off. I tell myself he us going to be angry for a while, but we will get back on our schedule, and he will respond well to that, and he will trust me and be affectionate with me again.

It's hard going thru periods where you feel like you kindof don't like your child that much. It's hard not to lash out at RAH, but if I share my frustration with him, it of course becomes his drama... All about him. More pity for his pot.

So it's thankless. And all I can hope is that this is a rough patch, and he and I will bounce back to our standard mana/ son dynamic.

He openly doubts my judgement. It is so hard.
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Old 03-11-2011, 10:27 AM
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Btw;
The counselor thinks he is fine under the circumstance
Says my son is making me the bad gut right now, because a) he trusts me most to nit leave, and b) because his mind may otherwise blame himself for daddy leaving, and it's better to blame me than himself, psychologically speaking, because when hd gets older he will be able to correct that thinking with logic, whereas if he blames himself it could become a pathological issue.

He will be fine, I think. It's just got to be a matter of rebuilding trust through consistency.
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Old 03-11-2011, 10:40 AM
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My 5 yr old D's therapist wants to see my 3 yr old too. She is telling me that while the behaviors are not "normal" they aren't atypical given the circumstances. A 3 yr old can't verbally express feelings like a 5 yr old can (and even for her it's hard bc she like I have been trained to be afraid to say how we feel for fear of "upsetting Daddy") so when she's angry, scared, tired, lonely, etc... she melts down. It makes perfect sense, it is just heartbreaking to see and it's not going to go away overnight and that's hard to see as a parent and know you're responsible.

Now instead of acting out bc of the fighting or the unspoken tension it's acting out bc of sadness that we are not all together and anger about wanting something that can't be (I have that feeling too and can elaborate and talk and write about it-- I can not imagine being a kid and trying to sort it out).

I grew up in a chaotic abusive home (not an A home but it might as well have been) and have virtually no memories of childhood. I have snapshots here and there-- mostly from things my mother talks about (painting a picture of a great happy event which doesn't jive with my feelings about it)...

I am so afraid of my own D's growing up like me... remembering nothing but the bad times or worse, remembering nothing...

AH wants to come over tomorrow to have a little family bday celebration (D3's party with friends is the following Saturday) and I really, really don't want him there. I want to have her bday be drama free and even if we are being pleasant to each other, the years of drama have made it so that the girls get anxious and upset the instant AH and I are together... It's awful and it's our fault... (well, mine... I'll let him worry about his part and according to him anyway it's all me! Yeah right!)
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Old 03-11-2011, 10:47 AM
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Aw, ladies... I'm right there with you all!!! Unfortunately.

My daughter is 5 and son is 3... and they both have been having anger/anxiety issues over the past few months. I kept trying to tell myself that it was just a phase, but the reality is - it's more likely a response to the chaotic, unstable environment they are in.

I'm doing my best to be patient and calm for them... all while the waves of alcoholism crash over me. It's hard. I get tired, I lose my cool... and I feel awful. Meanwhile, Daddy comes home all happy (at times) and is their hero. He can do no wrong, and mean old Mommy can do no right. (at least that's how I feel at times).

Truth is - my kids act out to me because they know I'm safe. They know I love unconditionally and that at times I get upset, but I never ever stop loving them and encouraging them to grow and mature.

Seeing the effect on them is motivation enough to stop the crazy train.

I too feel bad at times for bringing kids into this chaos (I knew my husband was an alcoholic before we married!)... but I have no regrets. I made the choices I did out of hope and love and for that I was blessed with my two amazing children.
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Old 03-11-2011, 10:50 AM
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My son gets anxious when his dad visits, and inevitably "gas to leave" after a half of an hour because he can't " handle it", has a panic attack, whatever.
I get angry. How dare he!?
My son only sees me getting angry, his daddy leaving.
He feels that his daddy is doing just great, and I am mean for getting mad about him not following the house rules.
My son says he can do whatever he wants, too. And that is sooo not OK.

The counselor is trying to calm me down saying it will all come to light.

I read your other post. My RAH met the counselor at the hospital, invited him to the sessions. A did not follow up. Counselor asked again abt him.

I just feel like its my sons safe place, and I don't want RAH throwing his pathological self centeredness into that mix.

I think I might extend the invite again. If he does come, so be it.
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Old 03-11-2011, 11:31 AM
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I have 4 kids under 10.
My 10 yr old has been on ADHD meds since he was 6
My 6 year old was put on ADHD meds, but I took him off because I would rather him be hyper than talking about killing himself.

When i think about the Chaos in my house right now, I want to scream.
My AH is at home with us, and I know that the circumstances in our house (thier whole lives) have definitely contributed to:

My 6 year old, who constanly punches, kicks my 3 year old and 1 yr old!
My 3 year old and 1 year old literally fist fighting!

and my 10 year old, who blocks it all out while being consumed by computer and video games 24/7.
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Old 03-11-2011, 11:44 AM
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I am so glad you mention this because I just had this discussion yesterday with my therapist. Like my son who is 3, ONLY hits me, grits his teeth, agressive, etc. I am thinking he is just learning all this from his dad and it is normal 3 year old behavior, but I notice how my kids very much "fear" their dad and always are in 'pleasing dad' mode when he is around. When it's just me and them, my daughter is 4, and it's constant melt downs, fighting with eachother and just chaos! It really sucks being the parent who has to take the hard part in parenting. I even told XA this, he apologized but I don't think he even has a clue.

My therapist says just keep teaching them right from wrong and if these behaviors are not improving or worsen in time then they should maybe see a therapist. I am all worried they will be messed up for life, but they are so young.

I can relate to the person who doesn't remember their childhood, I don't remember anything except for pictures. I do remember a few things when I was a bit older, like 10 and they weren't good things-like my dad throwing a chair at the dog. He was always angry and stressed. I wonder if its true that you end up marrying someone like your dad because I see alot of traits in XA that are like my dad.

Well, I am trying to look at how I can improve things especially with myself-my anger and trying my best not to direct it at the kids because they don't have anything to do with my anger. It's so exhausting to correct the behaviors and stuff they learn from XA. ugggh.
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Old 03-11-2011, 11:44 AM
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wanttobehealthy,

My therapist used to specialize in children. I was very concerned about my son who is currently 21 months. She told me that long term memory starts to develop in their third year.
So while you may have some coping issues, you still have time to make some changes. Protect those memories.
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Old 03-11-2011, 11:51 AM
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Wanttobehealthy...your guilt isn't helping you or your little one. Be kind to yourself. Everything in your life happened for a reason, and has culminated in you finding SR, leaving your AH, and realizing that you need to make drastic changes in your life. These are all good things.

My DD is about 5 months shy of turning 3, and MAN is she a handful. She also grew up hearing yelling, cussing, breaking things, video game after damn video game...I'm hoping she doesn't remember, and I focus my attention everyday on validating her feelings and helping her cope with them. It's hard because the vocab isn't there, and sometimes my patience isn't there after a full day's work + a migraine, but I try anyhow to give her my all as soon as I see her.

You are taking care of your daughters and you are changing their lives for the better. By doing this, you are making sure they don't grow up like you did, because you will provide for them a safe, sane and happy household to come home to.

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Old 03-11-2011, 12:00 PM
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(((((((Hugs))))))))))

Its not too late dear wanttobehealthy. You are just doing your best and now you realize uncomfortable truths -its ok- its also in your hands to make positive changes from now on.

I hope you are able to plan something to celebrate, even if its small, because both of you deserve it. New toy? Cake? Chocolate?
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Old 03-11-2011, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by GettingBy View Post
Truth is - my kids act out to me because they know I'm safe. They know I love unconditionally and that at times I get upset, but I never ever stop loving them and encouraging them to grow and mature.

Seeing the effect on them is motivation enough to stop the crazy train..
That is the truth. DS acts out with me because he knows I'm safe. He is CERTAIN of my unconditional love. He knows his daddy loves him, but it doesn't feel safe, that love has strings, weight, a little fear, a lot of uncertainty.

DS was 3 when we left. He has always been joyful, smiley, sweet. It's taken 3 years for him to gain a sense of consistency, of safety. Now he is also goofy, silly, spontaneous, a leader and great friend among his classmates. Had we stayed, those traits would never have had a chance to surface. 3 years. But it's happening. Just like I heal and grow the longer we have a safe home, he heals and grows too.

The guilt of spending the first 3 years of his life trapped in purgatory with me is not mine to carry. I have to remind myself this every day. I did the best that I could do at the time. I took steps to get us safe. I'm taking steps to help us both grow and heal. Perhaps it would have taken him less time to heal and grow if I had been able to get him in to see a counselor earlier. But that guilt doesn't belong to me either, since I needed XAH's permission.

We all do the best that we can at the time. You're doing alright. You're a wonderful mom. Your kids will grow, they'll heal, they know you love them.

Hang in there. Hugs to all.
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Old 03-11-2011, 05:23 PM
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I have worked with DV families and currently work with kids 0-5 who have special needs..many are drug exposed, from chaotic homes, etc.All I can say is KUDOS to you for getting them to therapy..you've been sick (I am a fellow codie) and in OUR sickness although we love and take care of people, our obsession with the addict can leave our kids feeling neglected and anxious.
But you are taking care of this..getting them the help they need..hopw great for them that you are willing to acknowledge what is happening and are willing to take action..so many kids I see don't have that.This can be worked through, a stable environment, the counseling for everybody..you can turn this around and you are being a really good parent.They need you, and the guilt is just another thing that can get in the way of moving forward..please let it go..there isn't a mom out there doesn't wish for some kind of do over..keep up your positive parenting..big hugs from another mom..
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Old 03-11-2011, 06:20 PM
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I'm not an expert, but I had several college courses in psychology and my daughter has mental health issues, so I've done a lot of reading in this area. If there is ONE thing you can do to help your young children through these very emotionally difficult times, it is to make them feel SAFE AND SECURE. Remind them over and over and over again that you will ALWAYS be there, that you would climb mountains or walk through fire to make sure they are safe with you. Tell them over and over that you are not ever leaving them and that no matter what they do or how they behave that you will always be there to take care of them and you will always love them. Buy them a special teddy bear and tell them it is to remind them of your love and constant presence and that they are always your very top priority and NOTHING is more important to you.

Tell them this every single day....morning and night....over and over again. (((Hugs)))
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Old 03-11-2011, 07:11 PM
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Question- Is 3 and 4 years old to young for counseling? My therapist told me to wait until they are a bit older if they show issues...But why wouldn't I have them do counseling now, so the issues don't arise?
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Old 03-12-2011, 09:46 AM
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I should have been clearer about D3's bday... I have plans with family and have had a great day with her so far... I don't let the girls see my guilty feelings that I am describing here-- that's why I'm "purging" them here!

D3 hasn't been to therapy yet but as of next week she will be going with D5 at the therapists recommendation.

Reading so many others' stories of having your kids lash out at you and be in "pleasing" mode with their Dad (or flip flopped if the Mom is the A) makes me feel a little better knowing that the girls must feel safe to some degree with me to be able to act out.

One of the things that pulls on my heart all the time is that since last Spring (after a separation and then a move back in on my part with the girls) my D5 wants constant reassurance (which I gladly give her) that I'm going to be here in the morning, that I'm going to come back if I run out to the car to get a bag I left.... If I go into a different room and come back after a few min she gets startled soooo easily... I don't know what to make of this but it alarms me and I've told her therapist all of this. She is very very anxious and on edge all the time. She even cringes when I get close to her and isn't always very responsive to hugs or affection. And she wasn't like this at all probably through age 3 or so... It's heartbreaking.
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Old 03-12-2011, 12:18 PM
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my D5 wants constant reassurance (which I gladly give her)
yes, my daughter was mad at me alot, but i never wavered.
i love you, and who you are. and i will be here for you.
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