To feel this was not normal?

(35 Posts)
Sofapotato Sun 11-May-14 16:25:43

I have been doing some counselling, and issues from my childhood keep coming up. I don't have an appointment until next week but I have had something on my mind and wondered if I could check it out with MN to see if it was normal. It doesn't feel acceptable to me, there's no way I would do this to my own child.

Basically, I can't really cry in front of anyone, only by myself. I have on rare occassions cried in front of my ex partner and also sometimes on the phone with people I'm close to, but it all makes me very uncomfortable.

When I was little crying tended to make everything worse. I can't really remember being comforted if I cried, ever - I think they would try to reason with me, and ask what was wrong - but if that didn't calm me down, then my parents would get angry or cry as well and then leave me alone to cry by myself until I fell asleep from exhaustion. The next day I would have to work hard to show that I was 'normal' again, and I would be so relieved that I was out of the doghouse I would push away whatever the other pain was for a while, until it would come back again. I was a very insecure child with unreliable key family members, so I would get really angry and upset at times, trying to convey how desperate I felt. So I feel that maybe it was my fault for being such a difficult child that I made them abandon me like that when I was in so much emotional distress. As I got older I learned how to keep a lid on it, and although I was a fiery teenager at times I was very self controlled in the main, but became very depressed at times, because the pain didn't go away.

I am in my 30's now. So maybe I'm judging my parents by modern standards - ie like I say I wouldn't leave my child to sob themselves to sleep - but maybe that was how things were done years ago?

Too uncomfortable to discuss this with friends.

tripecity Sun 11-May-14 16:44:33

That doesnt sound disimiliar to my childhood. Devoid of much emotion apart from anger and irritation (us kids were the irritation), I kept a lid on my emotions and it has affected all my relationships throughout my life. Thanks for that Mum and Dad

No, your parents weren't normal, but I expect they would have got on really well with mine

AllDirections Sun 11-May-14 16:53:36

Sorry if this seems like a stupid question OP but why didn't you just tell your parents why you were crying when they asked?

CoffeeTea103 Sun 11-May-14 16:58:21

Why does not being able to cry in front of anyone have to be thought of as an issue.

Sofapotato Sun 11-May-14 17:02:08

I did tell them, and try to explain as best as I could, when I was little, AllDirections. That didn't make any difference to how they responded. Which was, to rationalise with me and be sympathetic but then lose patience and get really cross or start to cry and tell me that I was making their life a misery with my misery, basically. And leave me swimming about in emotions I couldn't deal with, alone in my room.

Tripecity, so sorry to hear you have similar experience. It's shitty sad

Sofapotato Sun 11-May-14 17:03:46

CoffeeTea, well I suppose it isn't if you are happy with how your life is and feel like your relationships are basically good. But in my counselling I am learning that I isolate myself and never let people see me be vulnerable, hence speculating about not crying. I think my family taught me it was shameful to cry.

Preciousbane Sun 11-May-14 17:08:16

I don't think I ever cried in front of my Mother, no one was allowed emotions apart from her.

I also rarely cry, if I do it is highly unusual. It means lots of stuff is bottled up and its not good for us.

AllDirections Sun 11-May-14 17:16:10

I only ask OP because DD3 (7) cries/wails loudly/screams a lot. Over anything and everything. It doesn't matter whether I talk to her, give her a cuddle, deal with her problem, sympathise, etc. She still continues and it drives me mad. If she won't be comforted in any way what else can I do?

I wonder if she'll be writing a similar post in 20 years time sad

AllDirections Sun 11-May-14 17:18:19

What did you want your parents to do OP?

littlewhitebag Sun 11-May-14 17:18:48

I am not much of a one for crying, especially in front of people. I don't ever cry at funerals and i used to really worry about this. Your relationship with your parents sounds exactly like mine.

I had to have counselling for something that happened in our family and the counsellor said that i have my own way of coping with things and there is no right or wrong way. However my way was to shove things all my worries to the back of my mind a bit like putting them in boxes and shoving them in a cupboard. When the 'cupboard' became too full of boxes they would start to spill out and affect my life in different ways. I would become angry or anxious or whatever. I was then taught how to take out all these things and deal with them sooner so the 'cupboard' does not became too full.

OP i am sure your counsellor will help you find ways to cope.

I have made sure i have a very different relationship with my DD's and they can talk to me about everything they are worried about.

quirkychick Sun 11-May-14 17:26:22

Small children can't actually calm themselves down when they are really distressed. They need comforting even when they are completely irrational <dd2 I'm looking at you>. It helps them learn to deal with problems as they get older. So no, it isn't normal.

alldirection I'm sure you don't ever not comfort your dd or expect her to prove she's normal again. I say that as the dm of a drama queen.

Sofapotato Sun 11-May-14 17:26:26

AllDirections, I wish they didn't get angry and leave me to stew in it on my own. Or that they didn't start crying and say how much I was hurting them and that they might die because I was making them ill. But of course part of me wonders if they were reasonable to do this because I was a difficult child and very unreasonable. But as my counsellor has pointed out before, even if I was a difficult child it was because I wasn't responded to appropriately in the first place, and reacted the way I did because there was not other choice...but I go round in circles.

thanks to everyone else who resonates a bit with my post, and hope we all continue to get better at dealing with this stuff.

CitrusSun Sun 11-May-14 17:34:41

Precious, same in our house, had a mother that was all over the place and there was no room for anybody else's emotions, she was the only one 'entitled' to express whatever she felt and her severe depression meant she spent so much time crying or being angry which was frightening to me as a child and I learnt to be independent, emotionally and in other ways, very young. This has been to my detriment throughout my life, far too self-reliant in that I don't know how to let anyone help me and yet would love them to, don't really get that close to people, don't feel I'm allowed to have needs.

" part of me wonders if they were reasonable to do this because I was a difficult child and very unreasonable."
You were the child and they were the adults. No matter your behaviour, no, it is not normal for the parents of an upset child to "start crying and say how much I was hurting them and that they might die because I was making them ill". I find their behaviour quite shocking, to be honest. They were trying to guilt you out of being upset. Shocking and cruel sad.

quirkychick Sun 11-May-14 17:38:05

My mil says that my dp was "difficult" but when dd1 was a toddler she would just very sharply say "none of that", no sympathy, comfort, nothing. My instinct (like my dm's) would be scoop up my child and comfort her.

I hope you find ways to deal with this. My dp is actually very affectionate, in reaction to his dps, I guess. Probably your parents were treated similarly.

pudcat Sun 11-May-14 17:40:11

My mother used to say "Don't cry or it would make her cry too". Or if I got upset over a film my sister used to take the mickey out of me. So I hardly ever cry in front of anyone and keep it for when I am alone.

Thumbwitch Sun 11-May-14 17:41:26

No YANBU, what they did was NOT normal, and it was highly selfish, selfcentred, selfabsorbed and probably narcissistic (bit of overkill there but hopefull you get the point!) of them. How dare they make you feel as though you could make them die because you were upset! What an evil thing to do to a small child angry sad

Do you have much of a relationship with them now, Sofa?

subtleplansarehereagain Sun 11-May-14 17:43:54

I don't think it matters if it is 'normal', it's the effect on you that is important.

Though if it helps - when I was a child, crying would make my mum angry. She would say "stop bubbling." I don't remember much being comforted.

I cry as an adult when I am tired or frustrated. Probably a bit too much!

thanks and I hope that thinking about the messages you grew up with helps you find peace.

Sofapotato Sun 11-May-14 17:46:36

It is really difficult for me to think about and tease out all the different strands of what was going on. It wasn't like that all the time. We had a lot of good times, a lot of laughter, and if I got mildly upset about little incidents that was tolerated, because I'd calm down fairly quickly. But whenever I showed emotional distress and pain about big scary things...it just never ended well. It was never resolved, I just had to shut up.

I can remember being really scared at night when I was about three and going looking for comfort in my parents room, and they told me to go back and then ignored me, so I lay on the floor until I fell asleep. And much later as a teenager, being very ill and the doctor called an ambulance to take me to hospital, crying when waiting for the ambulance and my father getting cold and telling me to stop, and feeling embarrassed for making a fuss.

Sofapotato Sun 11-May-14 17:48:54

Thumbwitch, both are dead now, and it's since they've died memories have been coming back.

Thank you all for replies.

subtleplansarehereagain Sun 11-May-14 17:51:03

sofa, have a look at resources for children of emotionally unavailable parents. There are some great books that can belp you understand your feelings ans also help chart a way forward.

Sofapotato Sun 11-May-14 17:53:01

Thank you! I mean to make a list of good books on this, I've seen a couple come very well recommended on Amazon etc.

AllDirections Sun 11-May-14 18:00:34

alldirection I'm sure you don't ever not comfort your dd or expect her to prove she's normal again. I say that as the dm of a drama queen.

I always comfort her, especially if there is a genuine cause. But it doesn't often calm her down. If anything it escalates and that's the point when I start to get cross. If it was only a couple of times a week I could deal with it but it's constant and I can't deal with it.

OP so did you want your parents to sit with you calmly until you felt better? Or did you want them to cuddle you? Or talk through the issue? And how long would that take?

CorusKate Sun 11-May-14 18:09:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CorusKate Sun 11-May-14 18:13:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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