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Help without Anti Depressants(375 Posts)
I'd really like some (kind,helpful) advice please, as I've seen some very harsh and condescending things written where people seem to genuinely be seeking help.
I have a 5yr old boy, and being very honest, I've never really even liked him...I feel like if I could press a button and it would take me back to never have fallen pregnant then I would press it like a shot. I make myself be as good a mother as I can, I hug him and tell him I love him, but I feel nothing. I don't feel repulsion, or hatred, but I feel nothing towards him. It makes me so sad...mainly for him, although I feel I hide it well and he's none the wiser. I long for the 2 days a week my mother has him when I can be me. I'm not a drippy "woe is me" failure, I'm a very strong woman, he's in private school, I have a very good job, which is not even very demanding...on the outside, I look like I have it made....but I wanted a girl so very badly, and every day I feel disappointed.
He's very smart, he gets outstanding reports, his behaviour is excellent, they are talking about putting him up a year in school...all things other parents tell me are amazing. On the outside I smile and gush and agree...on the inside I couldn't care less. I hate it.
Does this sound like depression? I can't bring myself to take any medication, so please don't advise me too. And please don't lecture me for "you shouldn't have had a child if you only wanted a girl" yes I did...but trust me if I knew I'd be this permanently disengaged and hate it to the extremes I do, then I would not have had him and saved us both. No pointless battering me for a decision I can not reverse, I feel bad enough as it is.
I look at other children at the school, and if I look at one of his little girl friends, I imagine it was my child and I get overwhelmed with these warm loving feelings, I want to pick her up and cuddle her, take her shopping, brush her hair, make cakes with her, read stories with her, I feel overwhelming pride and love even though it's a random child, then I look at him and want to cry. I am looking at him right now, and I picture him being a girl and I feel like there is so much love in me for a girl and he's just this child in my house that I don't even feel related to that's ruined my life.
What do I do??? Are there any non medication routes that actually work if I am depressed? Does it even sound like depression? I know these feelings aren't normal, and I know it shouldn't have taken me 5 years to say something about it. But anyone who has had a remotely similar experience please help me. x x x
I didn't want to read without posting, even though I don't have much to say that can help.
It sounds to me like it could be linked to depression as there is a lack of bonding with your son.
A friend of mine had very severe PND and could not bond with her son at all. It was pinpointed from the word go and she has had treatment (including electro-convulsive therapy) and is slowly getting better.
Have you spoken to anybody about this? A visit to the GP would probably be a good idea, if you can face it.
Good luck. X.
It absolutely sounds like depression. And no, you don't deserve lectures, because the way you're feeling is not your fault. 5 years is a long time to feel bad. A visit to the GP sounds like a good idea.
I can understand your fear of medication. A talking therapy might be best. If there's a huge NHS waiting list, could ypou afford to go private? Please just allow yourself to let your guard down and tell the GP. It sounds like you're working very hard to maintain everything being OK - that's a tough job.
I do have a fear of the medication, and it's addictive qualities...and also severe allergies to almost every tablet under the sun, so probably not able to take them anyway.
I just want to like him. And it kills me to say that. I just want to look at him once and feel pleased that he's in my life. Genuinely pleased, not a conscious effort to appear that I am. For example, he's just been playing with his hexbugs, singing away, drawn me a picture. And I tell him how wonderful and clever he is, and like a doting mother, pin it on the fridge with the rest. And he skips off happily back to his things. Oblivious. But I feel so empty, like he's an adopted child that I've been lumped with and have no interest in.
Will the GP report me as being mentally ill? Will they potentially take him away, or put him on some red tape nonsense register?? If it seems that the child is flourishing academically and a happy young man, am I really doing the right thing by opening this can of worms. After all I've plastered the fake face on for 5 yrs now...and I don't feel like "oh I can't go on, I'm so hard done by" is it best to shut up and put up and not rock the boat as things could be much worse?
Thank you for your support guys x x x
I must say though, god it feels good to finally tell someone. My mother would bloody disown me.
x x x
Well keep talking here if it's helping!
Only other advice I can offer is a friend who was told at scans that she was having a girl but they got it wrong. It affected her bonding as she had effectively bonded with 'her daughter' for twenty weeks prior to the birth. She felt for a long time that this son of hers wasn't actually hers at all.
Not the same thing, but similar. Just wanted you to know you're not alone. And now that you've 'opened the can of worms' by confessing all on here, do keep going with it. Don't put the lid back on and have it fester away. If it feels good to talk on here, then think how much better it would feel with a trained professional who actually knows what they're talking about!
They won't take your son away, don't let that worry you. You're no danger to him. Empross is right, of course talk on here as much as you like - you'll always find a kind listening ear. But do look into seeing a professional. You don't have to keep juggling all this. Seeking help doesn't make you weak.
A good GP won't push meds
Sorry, posted too soon. A good GP won't push meds on you. They'll talk you through the range of resources available. Let us know how you get on. X
Hi if you do not want medication then talking help is the other main option. Sme resources are available on the NHS, depending usually on the severity of depression. Sometimes online websites can be prescribed, or a short course of cbt. It depends what you think will help you best.
If you do not want the gp to know or any of this to be on your records you can pay privately for counselling. Using websites such as BACP will help you find registered counsellors that adhere to ethical codes. Prices vary but the advantage of private help is you can choose the type of therapy you have, such as cbt, CAT, Jungian analysis, etc etc. i only suggest this as one option as you note your son is in private school so guess you are not against private routes. You can also have more than a few sessions as well. However, when I tried private the first time I was not ready to change, so it was not best use of my money.
What I have found helpful for my depression is: good sleep routine, healthy diet, regular exercise and meeting up with people (I did a course, then an evening class etc etc for time for me).
Hope whatever route you choose helps you.
Ok, my view is that you need proper therapy, not CBT but something deeper such as psychoanalysis. I don't see how ADs would help.
Can i ask about your own childhood and also your dc's birth? Feel free not to answer if you're not comfortable but wonder what's triggered your numbness.
I had an awful birth with dc1 so much so that a kindly NHS midwife "debriefed" me in her own time on it, really helped. I also found that my birth family issues came yo he fore once i was mother. Sorry if I'm just projecting here!
Hope i didn't seem patronising. Meant to say i really feel for you - my bond with dc1 awful for long while for reasons already given so trying to offer some possible insight. Thats all.
The pregnancy was average, not 9 months of maternal bliss, but nothing particularly rotten, I would say fairly standard. Birth was a doddle...elective caesarean...I was anaesthetised then he was out in about 6 minutes, he's been astonishingly easy to look after, no tantrums, no difficult behaviour (yet) eats anything you put in front of him...in my opinion, it's not the birth, or the child's personality or general "nature" that makes me feel this way. Although with what I can now acknowledge as my odd thoughts and feelings, I could well be wrong. I certainly don't feel like he is to blame for anything in any form, I know it's not his fault at all, which makes me feel even worse for how much I resent having him I am told all the time how incredibly lucky I am with him, how other parents long for their own child to like this. Which again I smile at, and internally the guilt piles on.
I think you may have touched on something with my family though, I am an only daughter, my mum is my best friend. She was in the beauty industry, as am I, and I beyond desperately wanted the same with my child. I visualised how much I would love my daughter, teaching her to be a woman. Mum and I have so much in common, we spend hours designing our houses, going to beauty events, laughing that we've both gone out and unknowingly bought the same shoes/bag/whatever yet again because our tastes are so similar...we are unbelievably close. I suppose I hate that I will never have that with a boy. He doesn't care for any of my interests (but of course he doesn't, I wouldn't expect a boy to) and I care for none of his. I can honestly say that I have never played with him. Never once sat down and played. How awful is that. I've taken him to the park a handful of times but really that's just so I can leave him to get on with other children, so I don't have to interact. I look at the bond I have with my mother, and know that anything like it will be impossible with a boy, and I'm not being self pitying and negative, I'm being realistic. Also, I see my mother nearly every day. My female cousins see my aunties every day. We all do spa days, and help each other do boot sales, and lunch together all the time. The boys in my family see their mothers once a month or so, it's just how boys are. I hate it.
Thanks for your messages guys, they are really helping think about things and question what specifically I am so disappointed by. What is Cbt and Cat by the way? x x x
OP- i discovered thro therapy that i had always been "projecting" certain family dynamics/issues/characteristics onto dc1. It's powerful stuff which you can only break once you're aware of it.
From what you. Say, there's a very strong feminine dynamic in yours which ds cannot but fail to meet! Worth investigating??? Considering how he brings a new dynamic to your family to complement not replicate what you have with other family members.
Ultimately, he's a little human being and his personality would be the same whether the pink or blue version. How does dh help/have fun w him?
As a mother of sons, i admit i often find them utterly perplexing (had no brothers to learn from either!) . It's a new world of football, dirt, scruffy clothes, computers, star wars... Wouldn't mind a bit of shopping/makeup/dolls house myself sometimes, if that helps.
It sounds to me as if CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) would be good for you (its about altering your reactions to certain triggers, and seeing things in a totally different perspective). It looks as if there is a lot going on there, and its to do with the fact he's a boy and your 'expectations' of what a mother-son relationship will develop into as he grows up and 'expectations' of what a mother-daughter relationship would be like. I have three boys and I can't deny that I haven't worried about how my relationship with them will be like when they are older (i.e. not having that special bond a mother and a daughter have when the daughter has a baby of her own, shopping together, sharing 'female' traits etc). I have a mum and sister who I am very close too as well, but I have three very special relationships with my boys and they are all different. The oldest is the clever one (perhaps like your DS) who is a year above at school and on the gifted register, the middle one is the imaginative one who is currently playing 'hotels' and is dressed in a suit pretending he's the hotel manager of our house, the youngest is three and he's one who climbs anything and everything.
Your posts make me feel very sad for you and your little boy but I don't think it is beyond help. I would have thought therapy is the way to go: talk, more talk and more talk. Your feelings aren't abnormal, you just need a little help to help you and your little boy to have the relationship with each other as mother and son that you both deserve, and will enjoy.
And imho you're v wrong to think you couldn't build as strong a bond as you have with yr dm with ds. Maybe not now but as adults, who knows. I have had only a weak bond with my own dm from early teens until now. Always been much closer to df.
PS The fact that you are here asking for advice and help shows that deep down you do have a bond with your little boy and that you want to change things x
You need to see a counsellor/psychologist. They will help you untangle your feelings and learn to see that you can have the relationship you want, with your son. When you feel free to enjoy him for who he is, you will find the love and the bond that you miss. In the meantime, do some of the stuff with him that you'd like to do with 'a child'. So do some cooking with him, read him stories, paint with him. Imagine him as the handsome, gorgeous man he will grow into, and help him become that.
Salbertina...did your therapy help? Do you actually feel better, or do you still feel the same, but have been "taught" how to deal with it? If that makes sense.
Yes, I agree, he cannot but fail to meet...and that's what gets me down so much, no matter how much I could try and fix the way I feel about this and that and the other, when the cards are down, I only ever wanted a girl, and had no idea I would be so broken and truly empty and not want this boy. I knew I wanted a daughter, but just assumed I'd somehow adapt to a son, but I even saying that I have a "son" makes me sad. I'm heart achingly jealous of every little girl I see. I don't see how that can ever be fixed. Although I desperately, desperately want to be proved otherwise.
x x x
And have been a single mother since he was 18 months...although, have had a couple of relationships since, both ended amicably, I am never short of offers...I know people will jump on the "struggling single mother" bandwagon, but I assure you it's nothing to do with that, it's not denial I promise, I have a pretty easy time, no real day to day worries, and apart from the obvious, I like my life x x x
Yes, therapy did help, hugely tho often raised more qus than it answered.
If it helps, i think the fact that you have such a healthy, functional family dynamic esp with your mother, bodes very well for the building of a relationship with ds. Your dm must have modelled how to be a very good mother.
I think I'm going to phone the GP on Monday, I guess it can't make matters any worse. I don't know if I can sit there and say this to a doctor though. Do you think I'll look like a bit of a nutjob if I print this out and just give it to him? x x x
No, do if it helps! I went the private route, found a psychotherapist on recommendation. Gp not the only way to go and may be a wait and probably just a few weeks of CBT on offer.
Wondering whether you'll be counselled to mourn the loss of your much-wanted dd in order to be able to move on and accept ds. Journalling/therapy, any way to let this out can really help.
OP, have you heard of gender disappointment? There's a lot of info out there about this.
No, I haven't?? Are there any threads on here? Literally just joined the site and don't really know how to find things/navigate
x x x
Oh ok...just did some hunting, and yes, these women seem to describe the same thing BUT they are all either pregnant and just had the sex scan, or literally just had the child. Can't find anything for older children. They are also "comforted" with inane fluffy posts of "oh don't worry you'll grow to love him" by mothers who obviously don't have the first comprehension of what this feels like and frankly patronising with "oh just be happy it's a healthy baby". Like that's the end of it. Fecking idiots. Boy, it infuriates me, as if we don't all know we should be grateful for a healthy child, as if we don't all desperately wish not to feel these feelings. 5 years on I can tell you that you don't feel better, you don't accept it, you don't "wonder how you ever felt like that" you just learn to get on with going through the motions with what feels like a stranger in your house. God, those posts have made me so bloody mad
x x x
Sorry. That was very ranty. Just made my blood boil. If you saw a girl desperately upset and self harming, say, scratching into her arms, you wouldn't be enough of a self righteous dork to go up to her and preach "some people are born without arms, what a selfish fool you are" There are clearly underlying issues that she doesn't know how to deal with. Pointing out the sodding obvious and making her feel worse...wonderful x x x
Exactly, Sugar. And don't worry about ranting. we've all done it on here.
Feel for you and really, really think you'd benefit from seeing a psychotherapist. Personally I think, from what you say, CBT won't touch the sides. It may very well be along the lines of what you've just read. Not always easy/quick to reframe one's thoughts.
I think some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to work on your beliefs about what having a boy means could be really helpful. It sounds like you can afford to go privately. If so, I would do this and bypass the GP/waiting lists/inexperienced therapists/cap on number of sessions. You can google CBT therapists in your area. Look for one who is BABCP accredited. Have a preliminary meeting with them first and make sure you pick someone you feel comfortable with and can work with. Good luck!
Are there any interests you think you could share with your son - an activity which you might enjoy together? Perhaps doing things you both enjoy together might bring you closer.
Even if you had a daughter, she may not have been the person you expected - she may have found your interests boring nonetheless?
No judgement here, I just think it's a shame for both of you to miss out on eachothers' love. And an observation, you need to let go of your expectations of your child in order for you to love who they really are. That applies to all of us.
For me , CBT was "pointing out the sodding obvious" and therefore made me feel doubly guilty for even failing at therapy! I know some people swear by it on here but i think it works less well on deep-seated issues.
I'm a little confused Salebertina....initially you said therapy really helped you, but you now suggest it maybe didn't? Did you therefore try different types and it was just the CBT? We sound rather similar, I'd rather try the route you found successful in your experience first
Has anyone else tried CBT successfully?
x x x
In general CBT works well for very circumscribed issues like this one. I agree it is not so effective for more all-encompassing issues.
Sorry to confuse the issue, first stop for me was GP and then CBT, privately. This is what didn't work, for me. Then, much later, i turned to psychotherapy, again privately, on recommendation. HTH.
Black Swan...no this is all part of it, I don't even want to interact with him. I have no real interest in trying to pretend to build a bond that will never be there. I spend all our time together with me on my laptop, or on the phone to friends, or cooking/cleaning.....whilst he veggies out in front of the tv, or plays with his toys. He has so much stuff, I massively over compensate with trucks,lego,cars,robots etc...he is not spoilt with faddy rubbish, but he has a lot very good quality educational games and toys for a single child, namely so he can entertain himself and not involve me. It's not like I can even say I can't bear to play with boy things, trains and trucks, I get annoyed at the taking up of my time when he asks for a bedtime story. Which actually appalls me to type that. I'm even looking at rehoming a little dog just to keep him company because I literally do nothing with him. The astonishing thing is he seems perfectly fine, yaps away to himself, builds all kinds of things, makes dens, reads to himself, always coming up and bugging me for something or other with a big grin on his face. It's almost beggars belief that he hasn't picked up on any of this yet.
Unless you feel like this, you just can't comprehend what it's like. Suggestions of "try activities together" are so nonsensical to me and my situation, I guess it just tells me how far from normality the way I feel is. The only thing that stops me giving him up is the judgement and disownment of others, and the moral impact and guilt of bringing a child into the world into a reasonably privileged family just to hand him over to a care system where I can (apart from super rare exceptions) guarantee he'll be plagued with social and emotianal issues for the rest of his life. I feel like that, and yet, he stood up in his school assembly and read a poem he's done about how much he loves his mummy. The damn woman next to me cried. I was uninterested in any way. How wrong is that
x x x
I'm not sure I can add anything of value to the discussion, other than to say OP that I do understand your feelings. For me, it wasn't disappointment about gender it was simply a lack of bonding. It lasted until DC1 turned 11 and slowly, for reasons which I cannot pinpoint, we began to bond.
What made it worse for me was having a second DC with whom I bonded instantly. Even now there is a "reckless abandon" to the manner in which DC2 (9) and I show our affection for each other. Lots of teasing, playing and cuddling. DC1 and I are nowhere near that level but we have developed a quiet loving bond.
So there is hope and frankly I admire you because this is the first time I have ever admitted to it.
I've had cbt for general problems with depression, not a specific issue like yours. It is very focused with lots of exercises to do, if there's an issue you need to discuss and explore the reasons behind maybe a different therapy would be better? When I was referred by my gp I saw someone who explained the options to me and we decided together that cbt would be best for me.
I hope you can get this sorted. Reading your posts I was thinking the same as another poster that even if your ds had been a girl there is absolutely no guarantee you'd have the relationship you want with her. You're very fortunate to have a very close relationship with your mum, but I'm sure you realise lots of mothers and daughters aren't like that.
Sugar, you need proper help, nothing wrong with that. Well done for getting all this down now, that is a first step.
A wise (teacher) friend once said to me "it's not entirely down to you, you know". V kind and considerate and true! At the time, I'd been taking sole responsibility for various issues with ds (and my muted feelings for him). Great that you both have a good family, lucky ds, that may insulate him from a lot. Don't feel guilty about that!
Ujayyi, am similar. I love dc2 with wild abandon, always have! Dc1 is a work in progress who i have grown to love. Can't quite believe i am writing this either. Rather cathartic but i do feel ashamed.
Looking back with the benefit of hindsight i can see we both needed so much more physical/emotional support after the birth as we'd both been damaged. He's never wanted to be held (which i foolishly took as rejection of me as his mother, the shame!) if i could go back to redress this, i would.
It does sound like depression to me.
My lad is now 1 year old and I feel like he is my son now. But I didn't like him for a long time (long and complicated story featuring psychotic episodes where I thought I hadn't even given birth and he wasn't related to me). But I had exactly the same feelings of no connection, no love, not even liking him, prior to the psychosis. I saw a psychiatrist every couple of weeks for about 6 months, and I found that just talking about it and him really helped 'place' him into my life.
Another thing that I found really helped establish a connection was visiting family, and seeing where he fitted in as part of the larger, extended family.
I would seriously recommend that you do talk to your GP about this. They cannot make you take medication if you don't want it, and they may be able to get you some 'talking' time with a counsellor.
How are your other relationships (with parents, siblings, colleagues?), do you feel 'connections' with other people?
Has it occurred to you that you could have had a girl who hated all this stuff you love? My mum longed for a little girl, to dress in girly clothes, do girly things. Then came me, and still today we don't like the same things, but we have a great relationship.
You need a good proper talking therapy. How are your other relationships? Do you expect too much from people, or specific things? How do you react when people act in a different way from what you wanted/expected? Or when they show themselves to be different from what you expected?
Salbertina - our stories are pretty much identical . DS1 didn't appear to want to be held, wasn't interested in bfing etc. I felt rejected, upset & angry and completely & utterly ashamed. I would do anything to be able to change that time.
We are getting there slowly - as you say, a work in progress.
It is true OP that even a girl might not have given you the relationship you wanted with your child. Regardless of the approach you choose you will at some point have to take steps towards interacting with him. I can relate to the irritability when he wants your attention but I can also tell you that won't get better until you change your mindset. It took lots of pretending on my part before it finally began to feel natural.
Also your DS hasn't noticed anything amiss yet but he will: and like my DS he may well call you on it. It is painful to deal with but you can get there.
Sugarhut - I understand and don't want to make you feel any worse than you obviously do. Do realise though that a lot of us, to a certain extent, are doing things we don't really want to do when we do things with our kids. For a lot of us it is effort. I'm not outdoorsy and I avoid endless trips to the park, but yesterday my son asked me to come too - I could see it was important to him and I said yes, though frankly I would have rather had some 'free time'! I enjoyed it. I could see him having fun and I realised how much bigger and more able he is now than when I used to take him when he was smaller, and I was proud of him. Of course, going for his sake should be enough, but I had fun too. I could have dug my heels in and told him to just go with his dad (have done that often enough) but I didn't.
If you don't make an effort, you will miss out as well as your son. And the divide will only increase. It is a huge step that you're considering therapy. Is it going to help you though if your efforts are conditional? I will try this, I won't try that (anti-depressants). I will parent I girl, I won't parent a boy. This rigidity, to me, seems part of the problem.
I think (effective) therapy could address exactly that issue and to be fair to OP, she's sufficiently self-aware to have been v frank on here. It's a positive start.
Salbertina, Ujjayi, thank you for your frankness and your honesty, and for getting some things off you chest that you never have before. It doesn't make me feel better that you were/are ever like the way I feel (wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy) but I do believe there is small comfort and perhaps relief in knowing I'm not a freak of nature and this has happened to other people. Hugs x x x .
BlackSwan, I think you feel like you're helping, but if you could not post anymore it would probably be for the best because you're going to get both barrels if you carry on, because I don't think you quite realise how you sound and oh my goodness please don't even start with the "I understand" because if you did you wouldn't have written something so ridiculous. The fact that you have the audacity to even write that you understand when clearly you have no understanding says a lot. Self congratulating yourself for actually going to the park (seriously?!) when you didn't really want to, then having a oh such a super time. Gold medal to you. That really is a first world problem. Then comparing that as something you didn't want to do, to the serious condition that myself and other posters are suffering from is insulting and gets my back up. I hope that is understandable. And I'm trying not to get snappy with you, as I don't think you're doing it intentionally, but if you look earlier at my little "rant" you are skating very close to this. I will try this, I won't try that... who the hell do you think you are. You can't seriously be that dumb to have read all of this and then made a comment like that. And all that shows to myself and the other girls is how little grasp you have of the situation, although to you, you are naturally the best informed person, you can tell by the way you write. Did you skip over the allergies bit regarding the medication. Thought so. It's pointless me trying to explain to you as frankly, you already believe you have a total understanding of this. Thank you for your comments, I would appreciate you leave it there.
Guys, I'm going to phone my GP tomorrow...but I really don't want to talk to him about it, just to whoever he assigns me too. It's a big step talking to a trained professional, I really don't want to have to sit there and have to tell the GP all of this just so he allocate me somewhere else. I know he won't judge me, but that's how it will feel. Can I just say that I have been having serious issues bonding with my son, that I recognise now that I need help with, and that I'm not comfortable with talking to him and would like counselling? Will he take that seriously? Yes, I know I could go private directly, but to be honest, I'd feel like I'm paying to fix my mental head and I don't want to feel like there's a price tag attached to my problems. I can always go private after if I need too, when perhaps I have improved a little?
x x x
Clearly I hit a nerve. I was being honest with you, and I think you're being hypersensitive. Perhaps therapy is the best way for you to spend some more time alone without your son. All the best with that.
I think that sounds like a reasonable request to make to your GP - you clearly do need to talk about your feelings with regards to bonding. He will (should) understand when you say you need to talk to counsellor. And if he doesn't - see another GP until you get what you need.
OP, you didn't answer my questions and then got all sensitive to blackswan comment which, apparently, was spot on. You said it yourself that you just do your things in the laptop instead of interacting with your Ds. Lots of us would like to do that (I would!) But we don't because we put the childrens needs first. You sound like you still put your wishes and needs in the first place. Maybe you are not ready to have a real person as a child. You love the idea of a girl (a little princess to be precise). Would you really be able to love this little girl with all her quirks and annoying traits (that every human has)?
And don't think your Ds didn't notice you don't like him. From what you describe, it's precisely the opposite. He is desperate to please you, that's why he is so good. If he were secure of your love he would be himself. That's pretty sad that he can't relax and show his good and bad side to his mother...
Hi asking your gp for help sounds a great idea. He may need to ask questions to refer you to the right area, depending on what options there are in your area. If it is bonding issues am not sure if you could see the peri natal psychiatrist as cannot remember when they stop working with mums ( what age the child) but it may be one option. The more information you give the better the chances of referral.
If they mention referral to social care that is another option for support I forgot to mention as different teams offer different budgets. For instance your sign can be referred to CAMHS early practitioner teams from the age 4 if you feel he needs help due to your serious issues. It may be you need to be seen together for you both to get help. You can self refer to this if your gp does not. There are educational psychologists, family therapy workers, all sorts to help you both.
SugarHut I have read all the thread. Can I also ask what your relationships with other people are like and whether you feel a connection with them?
I would also like to say that I thought your comments to BlackSwan were worded very harshly. I was surprised reading your response as in your OP you specify that you would like some kind, helpful advice as you'd read some harsh and condescending things written, yet your response (in my opinion) was spectacularly condescending.
I don't think there was anything remiss with what BlackSwan said.
OP, can I just ask what you expected when you became a mother? Because with me I sure as hell didn't give birth and then became instantly infatuated with my DD. I didn't bond with her until she was 7 months old and until then I was really going through the motions. But I kept reaching out and trying again and again and then suddenly I felt something and it's been great.
Whilst I was pregnant, I was very apprehensive about the fact that I would have a boy but when I thought about it I realised that all the things I wanted to share with a girl, I could also share with a boy so it really didn't matter what sex they were.
And you know what? Boys need and like to be cuddled too, you can take them shopping and brush their hair, make cakes with them and read stories with them. Being a boy doesn't mean that they can't do and won't like doing these things.
I think you have over-idealised the idea of having a girl. As others have said, having a girl does not mean that they will instantly like all the things that you would like. That's like saying that ALL women like the same things because they are the same sex and that simply isn't true.
I'll try and stick to the point here. Talking is good and you need to do lots of it to the right people starting with your GP.
I think you are depressed in that you say you have no feelings towards your son. When I was depressed I had a sense of being separate from people around me, as if I were acting a part or some days just going through the motions. There is often an absence of feeling with depression, a general numbness which in your case manifests itself in your relationship with your son.
I do think if you really want to get closer to your son you will have to be prepared to give everything a try and keep an open mind.
I wish you well and hope things start to change for the better for you.
OP I think counselling could definitely help you. I don't think the standard NHS 6 week course of CBT is going to cut it though so it would probably be helpful if you could manage to share some of the details with your GP.
You haven't mentioned your father at all - where does he fit into the picture?
Just a thought as you're not keen on discussing your issues with your gp- you could check whether there are counselling services in your area you can self refer to (there are in a lot of places, I can easily find my local service by googling "self refer counselling <town name>".
It would be good to talk to your gp about it if you can face it though. They might have other helpful suggestions.
So many comments, but ignoring the simple and ill educated (princess, self declarations of hitting nerves, thinking that are spot on is just laughable when they clearly have no clue...), and focusing on what is actually proving to be really helpful from the rest of you, and I really mean that, this is helping me so much to pluck up the courage to go to a professional...here goes.....
I didn't really have any kind of expectations from being a mother. For the first few months, I bought everything I could think of, researched all the best foods to be eating, spent ages designing the nursery, every magazine under the sun, books from the library, even damn pregnancy yoga...I was so excited and happy. I found out at 20 weeks he was a boy. Cried solidly for about 2 months in private. From then I was not interested. I bought only what I needed and no interest in what I saw as "wasting" a penny on a child I had no feeling for. I went to no pre-birth classes, because I honestly didn't care to, I felt like I couldn't even be bothered to learn about the child, or sit with a load of other mothers listening to them gush about their perfect babies to be. The birth, was a C-section, fully planned, rather relaxed...he was taken out, and I did nothing, didn't cry, didn't ask to see him, he just got taken off while they do whatever it is (weigh them? heel prick test?) then I was being stitched up, so they said shall we dress him, I said fine, so the first time I saw him, he was in a little white suit in a plastic box next to me. No emotion, just a great deal of disappointment as I suppose the reality of, I've actually got a boy for the rest of my life, hit me. I've thrown away all of his photos from up to 8 months because I look so disappointed in all of them I never want him to see that. I will tell him they were lost when our study had a water leak.
I think those of you are right, saying that I have over idealised "my girl" in my head. I think when your imagination has no limitations, you probably do create perfection however unlikely the reality might be. Yes, she could be a little moo bag, or a total pain in other ways. I have a friend who brings hers round occasionally, she's a nightmare, no manners, rather destructive, bossy...whereas mine is an angel in comparison. I would still swap them in a heartbeat. I would take the most difficult girl ever over a boy. Any time. Because I would care so much and invest all of my time into nurturing and developing, and to be honest, no child of mine would ever be too bad (age relative), I'm far too old school and strict. All the children in our family are pretty much like my son, it's not him acting like and ideal child or desperate to please, they all do that, I was like that as a child, it's the way we've been raised.
This is the other problem, I am too scared to have another child, in case I do have a girl, because then I feel I will actually turn my indifference towards my son into actual dislike and resentment for "wasting" my time and money which I would want all to go onto my daughter. I often wonder how much it would affect him as an adult if I just gave him to my mother and father now. He's the only grandchild, they beyond adore him. Then I think if I have another one and it's a boy then they can just entertain each other and I won't have to bother with either and maybe I'll be much happier, and importantly so would they.
I do direct a lot of anger, perhaps not the right word, maybe bitterness in my head towards him, sometime I think, if you hadn't of been a stupid boy, I wouldn't have to get fat and pregnant again, I wouldn't have to have another child when I only ever wanted one, I wouldn't have to waste so much money on your education when I don't care what you become or want to be. Think of all the holidays, and travelling, and experiences my daughter would miss out on because you drain on my money and time, but if you had been a girl, you would be having the fabulous life I would want to give you and could easily support.
My own dad, my mother left when I was 18wks old (I've met him a few times and I see why, I was an accident), shortly after, met my stepfather...who is Dad. I've never thought of him as not my real dad...he's just Dad. And he's been consistent, supportive, wonderful So I do see where the question came from, but no "daddy issues" as such to report.
May I ask if anyone on here has any experience of boarding schools? Someone suggested this to me, and I wonder if it could be a great step forward..I know they won't take until age 7...but if I knew 80% of the time he was in a good environment, guaranteed out of my hair, I'd become happier, and maybe even get to the point where I look forward to seeing him during the holidays?
Ok....going to phone the GP right now. Wish me luck.
x x x
Well. All booked for next Friday. Thought I'd feel quite positive and in control....actually feel rather intimidated. Still, if the alterative is another 13 years like this, I know I'm doing the right thing. x x x
OP, it sounds as though your DS never stood a chance in your affections from what I've read here. And I do wonder why you have put so much importance on sex.
What is it specifically about having a girl do you believe would be different than having a boy? What is it you can do with a girl that you can't with a boy because I am trying to understand and don't quite get why there is such a big difference in your head.
Sugar, it's great that you've made that step and called the doctor. What you can do now, maybe, is put a lot of the points you've made on here into one doc and print it out to take with you.
I'm obviously not a MH professional, but I think a lot of your unhappiness is coming from anger and defensiveness. And you have worked hard to make a materially pleasant life for yourself, so it's no surprise you get angry when mental health issues which are not the result of your own doing come knocking. It seems like you've been able to control what happens in your life to some extent, with hard work and determination. The sex of your child and mental health are not things you can necessarily control on your own, so I think that's frightened you.
Do remember people posting here have probably come to the MH board because they're suffering in some way themselves. If other posters give advice you don't agree with, just let it go. Don't get into arguments, because it does nobody any good, and there's a lot of kindness and support on here. I think the way you've reacted seems to be tied up with issues of not having control over certain things and feeling like your usual role of being a clever, successful, hard-working woman suddenly throwing up challenges you can't face. Everyone here wants to help. Nobody thinks any less of you for not being 'strong.'
Thanks Estelle, what you write makes a lot of sense. You "get" exactly what I'm saying. It's not that I don't agree with other's opinions, everyone has one, and they're all different...it's when someone clearly doesn't comprehend what has been said, (but will argue black is blue that they do) and then tries to tell me what should I mean as if I'm not sure of that myself, and becomes slightly superior/preachy...I don't have a lot of patience for that.
You are also right, I've worked hard and have some wonderful material things in my life, but they are complemented by many more wonderful immaterial things, family, friends...which is what makes me happiest. I don't feel out of control of my feelings...I don't find them out of control, or scared by them, but perhaps this is because I've been like this for the last 5 and half years and it's just become my normality now. Perhaps if I start to improve with the counselling I will be able to look back at this and reflect on how bizarre my brain was once upon a time....I hope so.
Possibly the lack of control over the sex of my child is something for me to think about. I'm not spoilt, or a diva, but I can pretty much say everything in my life has always worked out rather well for me, almost effortlessly...and that sounds idiotically smug...it's not my intention to sound that way, it's just how it's been....so I suppose, in a stupid way, I wanted a girl, everything always goes right for me, it didn't even seem possible when a boy was the last thing I would want, that I would get dealt that hand. Maybe that is spoilt and selfish. It probably is, my brain is a lot of weird things, they're probably just a fraction of the problem.
I think I struggle because there is NOTHING I can do about it. I'm very "if you don't like it, stop moping and fix it" your child is fat? put it on a diet, play more games with them. you don't like your nose? have a nose job. you feel like you don't have many friends? join some local classes. You hate the sex of your child..... well you're kind of stuck with that.
It's not that I want a dippy princess to throw into beauty pageants, yes, my life is very beauty orientated, and that is 99% of my interest...but as a child, I refused dolls and had transformers, I would be perfectly happy with a tomboy, I wouldn't care if she was like Jordan or Janet Street Porter, I just want a girl and feel trapped for the rest of my life with this boy.
I do recognise at least how unfair and irrational I am, I just can't help the way I feel. He's so clever, he's a year ahead, he's superbly mannered, he is popular at school, ok at sports. Virtually a textbook perfect child. I think to myself, Christ, what is wrong with you, what more does the boy have to do for you to care just one tiny bit? But I don't, he's come home with his mid term reports today, straight 1s (grade A for 6 year olds, and he's only 4 still, 5 in a few days) and I skipped through it and chucked in in his school folder with the rest. I don't care. I don't feel proud, I just expect it of him, check everything says it's grade 1 then file it away. Haven't even read the comments. I grab them and read them on the way to parents evenings so I seem clued up. Lord only knows what kind of situation we'd be in if he was a problem child, I shudder to think.
Thank you for all your support guys, I have to say, writing a lot of this has been a tearful business, but I do feel like I'm experiencing a gradual release, with the more I get out in the open. Whether it's a release of stress, guilt, just the ability to share, I don't know, but it's definitely helping, and thank you all x x x
Black swan didn't deserve one barrel let alone both, so perhaps therein lies the problem, it's not all about you.
I do feel some sympathy, pity even, I do think you need therapy, I do think you need help. I will not demonise you, I do think you're brave and I wish you luck in getting help.
Aside from all that, maybe you should do these activities with your son? For him, not you. It may not help you at all (that's where your therapy will come in) but it may be good for him...
I hate lego, yet I've lost count of the hours I spent building houses that don't look anything like houses because that makes my children feel like I am interested. Even if I'm not.
Much of parenting is about doing things that you don't like doing.
You seem to direct a lot of anger to everyone and not just in your own head as you say.
My friend had a much wanted daughter, strangely my friend was also in the beauty industry (which by definition is very self centred) her daughter was plain, a tom boy, just not into having her hair brushed etc., my friend truly struggled and I had masses of sympathy. It ended when she decided to be honest to her child and tell her she didn't like her, she said sorry, but the damage was done. Don't make that mistake. Being a parent isn't just about love. Love isn't always enough to bring up a happy well balanced child. The absence of love therefore isn't the end of things, but you should do everything in your power to make your son FEEL loved.
Being harsh, as you seem to thrive on harsh words, ultimately this isn't about you sunshine, you are a parent... you have to step up whether you want to or not, or step aside before you do too much damage.
You are not evil, you are not bad, you are a complete megolmaniac who's used to getting what you want, but this isn't your fault and I doubt you'd have chosen to feel like you do, BUT this certainly isn't your son's fault so sit down, read him a story, play games with him for HIM. Get therapy for yourself. I wish you well.
I also want you to apologise to Black Swan, no matter what your problems, there's no excuse for being a bitch.
I have never wanted to hug a strangers son more than I do right now.
Good luck with your GP.
I have been thinking about this thread all day and trying to formulate a response based on what you have posted so far.
You may (or may not) be interested to know that I struggled greatly to bond with my son. Some of it is documented on the "Does anyone regret having children" thread on MN. For the first 4 years of my son's life there was not one "thunderbolt" moment. I, similar to you, went through the motions of feeding, clothing, holding, telling him I loved him but I didn't FEEL it. I didn't mention it to anyone, just nodded and made all the right noises at what I hoped were, appropriate moments. I did get the thunderbolt moment eventually (during a quite mundane activity as it happens) but, I won't bore you with the details.
I really hope you get the help you and your son deserve. Counselling can be a bit hit and miss though (as in, it's a lucky dip as to whether you get a counsellor who will "get" you). Just a thought. On that note, I can't help but mention your "tone" or how you come across. You are (to me) obviously an intelligent, literate woman. I wonder, and I'm not sure how to word this without sounding offensive, if you realise just how straight forward or harshly you may come across? I mention this because, if you don't feel you are extremely direct, then I would worry that whilst you say your son is oblivious...well...he may not be.
I don't feel I'm wording any of this very well at all so will leave it there. I am not, however, ill-educated
I do wish you and your son well.
Thanks Shakey, no I do appreciate what you're saying, and to think I'm this direct in front of my son/other people...would frankly be horrific. I feel quite confident now to say it how it is, directly, and to the point so there is no misinterpretation..on here, and on here alone. I don't mince my words because I feel finally that it's ok to really say it how it is, somewhere that no one that it affects will ever see, and amongst the company of some very supportive peers who have given some great advice. I think (a minority of) people are taking a lot at face value, and quite underestimating the actress I am in my role as mother. Maybe I presume that it should be numbingly obvious that my direct words in explaining my feelings on here is of course not how I bloody act in real life. I thought that went without saying....perhaps not. Aldiwhores post made me actually laugh out loud, so I can thank her for that at least. Some people can't read behind the lines, and all they can digest is "dickhead self obsessed model" Well....this dickhead self obsessed model is also a qualified chartered accountant, has a law degree, puts her son through private school, runs a (large and sodding dusty) house as a single mother, and has raised over £18k for Leukaemia Research this year alone by sponsored runs, boxathons, and all manner of things. The teacher as she handed me his report told me she had rarely met such a well rounded, lovely child. Believe me people. I'm telling you quite categorically, he picks up on nothing.
What was your thunderbolt moment? Did it change you forever, or do you still have days where you look at him and feel the same as before? It has just struck a chord because someone said something to me today only a few moments ago which has had quite a surprising result...it sounds so stupid, and shallow, but there may be a method behind the madness....
She said because I have such old fashioned views, on a man being a man and a woman being a woman, and you were so desperate to teach your daughter to be a lady, try thinking about a man you find really attractive, the qualities he has, the things he does, can't you start leading your son down that road. So I thought for a while, and told her about an ex of mine from many moons ago, who was a racing driver, which I found amazingly cool. So she said right take that exact thought, make him into a racing driver. Literally, start him racing karts and see if he likes it. And do you know what, for the first time ever, I had a mental picture in my head, of him in a little racesuit, carrying his helmet, and I actually feel like I want to try this. Which is massive, I've never initiated anything with him in my life, never been bothered enough to. I've taken him to everything he's asked for, swimming, karate, all the usual durge, but never once even been bothered to think of anything to suggest, because I've always felt so uninterested, in all that he's done. I know it's only a tiny thing, but when I say it's the first time in his life I've felt like I want to participate in something, it's huge.
x x x
Do you have any other symptoms of depression OP ?
You child does so well at school because he is desperate to please you
OP, I think maybe in a way it might have been easier if your DS had been a problem child as then you might have been forced to get more interested and participate more. But it sounds as though your DS is a bit like my DD who though is only 18 months, seems to be bringing herself up.
It's very easy to ignore someone who doesn't seem to need your attention. But though you say that your DS doesn't notice, I would on the other hand say categorically that he does notice, children do pick up on these things and no-one is that good an actor 100% of the time. But if this is his norm, he has probably got used to not asking those emotional things from you.
Basset...no to be honest, I googled it (the fountain of all knowledge lol) and no, I really don't think I'm technically depressed. I don't have really any of the symptoms associated with depression...well not in the "are you depressed" tick box bullet points I've seen. I'm certainly suffering from big issues here, but I can't label what those issues, are because I don't really know what my problem is with. I can't say whether I feel more disappointed, more like I've let myself down, bitter, like I've given up, because I just feel nothing. It's the only way I can describe it. When he falls and cries, I rush to pick him up, but there is not one bit of me that feels the cuddle better, I'm just doing what a mother should do when her child falls. I cuddle him, kiss it better, smile and pull funny faces til the tears turn to giggles and send him running off again. Nothing, nothing at all. That's what gets to me. If I was angry, I could identify that I was angry, and go to anger management...but I just don't know what's wrong with me...but hopefully the counsellor will at least give me a correct diagnosis.
Do you know the ironic thing, nearly every one of my friends coos over what an "amazing" mother I am. How they wish they could be a better parent like me. Inconceivable when you realise how messed up my head is, isn't it
x x x
No, I don't think it's inconceivable. When you are detached from something, you can be more precise in a clinical way IYSWIM? Sometimes being very emotionally invested in something can make you "perform" worse.
Oh I really don't underestimate how huge that must have been for you, honestly. Because my "thunderbolt" moment so completely took me by surprise and totally overwhelmed me that I literally sank to the floor and held him round the knees whilst sobbing (proper, massive, fuck off globules of tears) like a banshee.
I'd love to say the "moment" came during a momentous milestone occasion but alas, not as exciting. He had been trying to reach the light pull in the toilet for, seemingly, forever and on this day he managed it. But I heard the pull and the next moment he came flying round the corner with such a look of glee on his face saying "I DID IT!!". I'm not sure what happened next exactly, just that my heart stopped and....I knew. That's all. And I felt both relieved and bloody awful. Awful because I knew no matter how hard I'd tried, I hadn't given him all of me up till then (I know this reads as quite romanced and fairy tale-esque and I really don't want it to come across as "and the same should happen for you" ). Did it change me forever- yes, I guess it did. Have I ever gone back to feeling how I did? Yes, but fleetingly.
I "had it all" pre having my son. Lived the high life, fab social life, holidays whenever, lived in London, wanted for nothing. Never wanted kids, not a maternal bone in my body then BAM!. No high life, couldn't even get out for a cup of tea never mind a wine bar, holidays consisting of sodding baby wipes instead of make up removers and moved to the back of beyond. Total lifestyle change and I hated and resented it in equal measure. Absolutely I had PND but refused to seek help (another one who didn't want medication). Didn't let on to anyone. And, like you, I was absolutely convinced that he wouldn't have suspected a thing. Being that I'm an actor I could confidently tell myself that I had acted the role of a doting mother. Only now, when I look back, can I umm and ahh that I probably didn't. I read somewhere (around that time) that (and I quote) "A parent that is absent is a sad thing. But a parent that is present yet still absent is even worse". Harshly put I think but I recall reading it and thinking "Shit...that's me"
I do still yearn for my old life at times but I no longer think "Right, he's 4 now so that means I've only x7 times what I've already done till he's 18..."
But you're right, here is a place where we can be brutally candid, but a lot of people really do want to help
Will you let us know how you get on at GP's?
There's probably something in that....it does feel quite clinical internally in most respects of how I deal with him. Partly because my parenting style is like something out of the Von Trapp family crossed with Ghengis Khan...but I just have no maternal flicker inside me with regards to him at all. I am massively maternal, it's in my nature and my upbringing, but I have never felt like he is my child, I see none of me in him (despite hearing it all the time) and I just find no common ground, or want to find a common ground. I'm going to force myself to pursue this karting thing though. Even if the feeling inside me was 0.0000001% interest, that's more than I've ever felt before. Watch him turn round and tell me he hates it...seems quite fitting..... x x x
Shakey, that really means a lot to me. Like a lot a lot. Thank you sincerely for sharing that. Because I can relate to what you write exactly. The only difference is, I do still have it all...some days I want to kick my own backside because I just despair at how my life can seem so right, and yet my natural role on this earth as a mother has gone so catastrophically arse over face. How is it possible that I can achieve in my stride what most people strive for their entire lives, and yet when it comes to liking my own child I can't even manage that.
When it all went BAM, did you find it was quite a quick change within you, or was it little by little over quite some time?
x x x
Well the actual moment was momentous in itself because I really was despairing etc but I didn't turn into earth mother and start making chutney for the PTA overnight so I would say it grew gradually from there. I still had/have moments of despair but not in the same league. I guess I have reconciled myself to the fact that I am being the best mother that I can be, warts/faults and all. I'm a bit kinder to myself and try (though it's not easy) to take more of it in my stride. I bugger it up all the time and sometimes go to bed feeling like it's been a bad day in the Earth mother stakes. But I "allow" myself that and resolve that tomorrow is another day (there'll be a BAFTA for me yet).
I think a lot of it for me was that I wasn't very good with "babies". I find him more interesting as an individual, more independent being than a dribbling mass of arms and legs. I never could do the "cooing" and baby talk thing very well. He asks a question and gets a straight down the middle honest to goodness answer. So it helps me that he's a bit more interesting now
I'm glad you've made an appointment to see your GP, and I'm really hoping you get to chat to someone who well truly get where you are coming from.
My thunderbolt moment came when LO was about 9 months. I was looking back at photos of him, and spotted one where he was lying on his stomach, aged about 4 months, looking over his shoulder towards me. He looks just like my dad. I sobbed for about 30 minutes after finding that photo. My dad died when I was 11, and him not being able to meet his grandchildren always haunted me. I realised (in a really stupid dopey way), that he might not meet them, but he is within them. So cheesey, I'm sorry. Of course, my story is a little different to yours in that I didn't believe my boy was mine, didn't remember the birth, thought his real mother would come and collect him at some point, and I was just the babysitter. All the motions of care and attention, but no love or joy. After that moment, I began to realise that he was mine, and have since regained some memory of the birth and now find that I am sometimes overwhelmed by my love for him.
Yes, Shakey yes. I could have written much of what you wrote.
DD had a nasty fever and we couldn't get her temperature down with paracetamol so DH had to out in the night to go get some ibuprofen. Whilst he was gone, I was trying to keep her calm and cool and just like that I realised I actually DID care about happened to her and that I cared very, very deeply.
I was a textbook mother up to that point. I did the whole EBF thing, babywearing and on the surface I was beyond reproach but I was most definitely going through the motions and I kept thinking: Shit, what have I done? I've made the biggest mistake of my life haven't I? I spent hours crying on DH saying that "I don't get it". And then one day I did.
But I think it is very true what my DH said though and that's that I DID care. I also think that you OP care as well otherwise you wouldn't be trying at all.
I had no thunderbolt moment.. That I remember.
Many of us on MN are also successful professionals (not that this is important, necessarily), many of us are also well-groomed, materially wealthy and make a good impression of behaving as a "good mother" should... Others maybe not, whatever, we're all human behind any trappings of success. We are all susceptible to various weaknesses and we all encounter suffering of one kind of another. It helps to share openly and with compassion, MN at its very best when this occurs.
Satan- I agree that this thread has been.. direct to say the least at times, but OP is clearly suffering and clearing being very open about her issues. I don't think it's fair to use these to attack her.
A quick read of the MH threads demonstrates the v broad span of MH issues- we all suffer in different ways, no one textbook version.
On the advice of a lovely person earlier, I will gloss over moronic comments from those who can't understand what they read as opposed to verbally annihilate them. Off to paint my nails, buy my child some needless toot, and stare adoringly at myself in the mirror to cheer myself up....;) Ah bugger, I can't help myself can I.
I can't thank you guys enough for the comments and questions that you have raised, this is precisely what I need prior to seeing the GP for the first time. You've made me really look at where my problems seem to be stemming from, and although I still don't have much of an idea, I think my own mother/daughter relationship, and the boys in our family play a considerable part though, and it had never crossed my mind until someone raised it earlier. Seems rather obvious now. Along with a whole sackful of things that seemed too clichéd to apply, but probably have all contributed to the weird way my mind has grown and settled.
On a weird notion, I've had the urge to take him out of private school. I think a lot of the mothers there are uber competitive (as are non private, but these women are in a different league of obsessed in my humble opinion) and I thought perhaps if I wasn't accosted on a daily basis and had to listen to "oh you look so fab blah blah blah, oh your son is so fab blah blah blah, oh what i'd give to trade places blah sodding blah" I wouldn't leave there feeling crap every day. Kind of like not knowing someone has an eating disorder and on a daily basis waxing lyrical to them solely about food and their weight. So I'm going to look at two local village schools this week and have a think about transferring him. Might be left alone a little more there. And he can make some new friends who are normal, and realise not every one has a swimming pool and a horse called Hugo the Third. Again this is as a result of this talking to you guys, if I hadn't been able to pour everything out, I wouldn't have noticed this. Funny how you write something, read it back, then think my god, how have I not noticed that before, no wonder I feel crap, you should do something about that. So I am Off to look at the first school now! Peace and love x x x
I think you might be right Sugar - the local schools might be a bit less competitive, may put less pressure on you/your son to be 'perfect'.
I would add, Sugar, that you might well hear things you don't like or disagree with during talking therapies. Just allow yourself to let your guard down a bit.
I'm just saying this because a lot of what you've said reminds me of my BIL. Lovely guy, worked incredibly hard to become one of the highest earners in my city after a tough childhood with no money. And because he could do that through hard work, he can't get why he can't transform every situation through hard work. He has enormous control issues: bought a beautiful house for his family, his wife doesn't have to work,gives his kids everything they could dream of. But he can't control his anxiety any more than he could control his family being poor when he was young, his dad drinking and hitting his mum. It frustrates him so much.
He was in private therapy but refused to go to any more sessions when the therapist suggested things he didn't agree with, namely him having issues with control. He took it as criticism when it was not meant to be.
Please let yourself be as open as possible if you do engage with therapy. You owe it to yourself to hear what they might have to say. You've made a good life for yourself on your own, like my BIL has done, but you don't have to fight your unhappiness on your own.
Hope you find a school you are happy with and will suit your ds. Changing things sounds a good idea so hope it helps. When people engage in therapy it often means being prepared to change opinions, adapt beliefs etc ( eg if one thinks one is a bad person can come to accept one is a person of value etc.... Not a great eg but was trying to think of a generic one and not one aimed at you) or change how view things and act.
Hope you have useful appointment with gp and you can say what you need to and be heard.
I think this thread is a very hard thread to read Sugar and I suspect that is why you have had a mix of responses.
You are clearly in a really hard situation here but I think you really urgently need to be seen by a psychiatrist. This has been going on such a long time. I think that the extent of your gender disappointment really needs support very rapidly indeed because unfortunately, no matter what you provide for materially for your son this way of seeing him through the distortion of your mind's lens is very highly likely to deeply damage him. The fact you are posting here is a testament to the fact that you don't want that. You need to be very straight with any professional you speak to, perhaps printing this off and sharing it with them because this really needs to be dealt with for both of you with a matter of some urgency.
I am laying this on the line here. Many of us here have had the deep pain of realising our afflictive mental states have caused pain to our loved ones and children despite our best hopes both for them and for ourselves when we became pregnant or dreamed of having them.
I think from what you write you know that your viewpoint is deeply harmful for both you and your son. The sad reality is that having such extreme expectations for any child is dangerously limiting and bound to cause intense suffering for both mother and child, regardless of gender. We have so little control over our children and who they become, gender is only a very tiny part of it. When they come into this world and take their first breath they are immediately unique, sovereign human beings who deserve to be seen for who they are, not who we want them to be. The sorts of thoughts of spa days and the like are just fantasies, illusions. It bears no relationship to the thorny, messy reality of parenting which has nothing whatsoever to do with "happy ever afters".
You also came into the world this unique and sovereign human being and somewhere along the line, some coincidence of conditioning, biology and circumstance has led you off-path. Your mind is playing these crazy tricks on you, your mind that you have always trusted at work etc and creating this story of who your son is, who a daughter would have been etc and allowing that story to spin out of control into a whole web of pain. The fact that this was so extreme and immediate from the 20 week scan and has been so enduring suggests to me a very deep undercurrent of pain which is causing your mind to try to protect you by concocting this version of reality for yourself. This is incredible suffering for you and for your son. It needs to be stopped.
From what you have said about independent school etc it appears you may have the privilege of being well off enough to seek out private psychiatric help.
I know this is terrifying for you and the desire for control and the shame about what you feel drives you to bury this but that is also your mind playing cruel tricks on you.
You and your son deserve so much better than this. You really desperately need help very, very urgently. I think it is a testament to your strength you have survived with this pain, anguish and anger for so long.. but it is time to just let go of the control and wholeheartedly, self-compassionately and courageously to seek out the very best help to end this torment. I am so glad you are going to speak to your GP.
Estelle, that's really struck a chord. I have always felt like I can transform whatever situation I have ever wanted, through hard work, and sometimes through very little effort. And it's always worked. And in this situation, it's the polar opposite. I think because in quite a black and white way I can't fix that he's a boy I had always resigned myself to not even addressing an impossible problem. I still ask myself the question, even if it's clearly not him that needs fixing and it's my head...he is and always will be a boy, I can't understand or visualise how I will ever accept that. Again, I desperately want to be proved wrong.
I know that I will hear things I disagree with, and a lot of "home truths" and I'm ok with that...people here have done the same and it's been ok with me. The only time I get tetchy is when you get a preachy div, lacking intelligence, life experience or anything of any particular value, and yet with the right answer and opinion on everything and so very pleased to tell anyone who's interested or not. Probably grows their own alfalfa because Nigella does. ;) I quite want to be challenged, and I need to be asked difficult questions to force me to address them, because until I have someone who knows what they're doing having a good dig about in my head, this will never get fixed.
Working9. Thank you. That really took me aback. Made me cry a little...but in a positive way. You're right in everything you say, but that's the first time I've read something all about my personal situation, that I agree with in every word, and I feel that someone has hit the nail on the head. It feels like a massive weight has lifted that someone finally whole heartedly sees where I am coming from, despite how alien my mind may be. It gives me a lot of hope that if a stranger on here (no offence meant) can see through me with such clarity, that a professional psychiatrist will exceed this and actually bloody help me. You've cheered me up no end, I feel like this could really stand a chance and work now. Hugs.
x x x
I'm really glad you saw my intention, I was worried you might find it hard to read.
I had written a mammoth post but it has been lost.
I think it's very important that you see someone with perinatal specialism. You need specialist help with attachment. It may be that you have issues yourself with feeling unattached to those who cared for you in infancy as lots of us really struggle with this in pregnancy and after childbirth.
Something that might help you is to hear that anger often masks fear (especially contemptuous and derisive anger, which we often use to protect our deepest selves from charges we fear to be true). Boredom and hollowness are often the means by which we protect ourselves from a mass of conflicting and messy emotions. It's a sort of psychological coping mechanism to tune it all out by telling yourself that another's opinion is beneath your consideration when somewhere it disturbs and challenges you and you are terribly afraid it MIGHT be true but sort of know that it isn't... Both anger and boredom often occur together in a way that can contrive to make one come across as deeply unlikable which is part of this illness too really... there is an undercurrent of self-hatred, doubt and pain which invites us to interact with others in distancing ways.. in ways which push us further from the world and from others, which isolate us and compound our pain.
Have a look at this, see if any of it resonates with you
"I get annoyed at the taking up of my time when he asks for a bedtime story. Which actually appalls me to type that. I'm even looking at rehoming a little dog just to keep him company because I literally do nothing with him. The astonishing thing is he seems perfectly fine, yaps away to himself, builds all kinds of things, makes dens, reads to himself, always coming up and bugging me for something or other with a big grin on his face. It's almost beggars belief that he hasn't picked up on any of this yet. "
He HAS. He KNOWS. That's why he sits alone chatting to himself so much - you are not accessible. That's why he is so 'super good' and reads out poems in public about how much he loves you (longs for real connection with you).
Without addressing this situation, and your part in it, properly he really might be 'plagued with social and emotional issues for the rest of his life' which you are anxious to avoid.
I don't mean to sound harsh. I am glad you see this situation isn't right and are seeking help.
Get some help for both of your sakes, but especially his, please.
No, I really did see your intention, and agree to the core with everything you wrote.
There are a few things that I can be certain about...I had a fantastic upbringing and parents, couldn't have asked for better, so I know (without any sense of being in denial) they are not part of my unattached feelings. I also have a lot to be grateful for, and I can acknowledge this too, I know in a lot of my life I am very lucky which I certainly recognise.
I don't feel angry either...which a few people have commented on...I'm very sharp tongued which I think people have incorrectly perceived as "hitting a nerve" and me responding in a snappy defensive way. I think because I know exactly what I mean, and I think I explain it in a crystal clear way...when someone puts forward a suggestion that is plain ridiculous in the context of my situation, I just respond because I can't believe how wrong a grasp they have. It's not anger...I just feel at the end of my tether with these feelings and it's more that I have no patience to re explain to people that don't get it as such. I certainly don't feel they are beneath me, they just don't understand what has been written, and definitely don't disturb or challenge me. Anger is probably the virtual opposite, I'm almost unemotive.
I watched the clip, and to my surprise, did not really relate at all. I've wondered right from the get go whether this is anything to do with depression as I don't seem to have the "textbook" symptoms. It's certainly some kind of problem in my head...but what, I'm not sure. I'm confident in social situations, I have been to an exercise class with my friends already today, had a half hour chat on the phone with my best friend, been looking at a new car, I have a pretty stress free life. It's just when he's about. All I ever see when I look at him, is an null and empty feeling, why couldn't you have just been a girl.
x x x
I just want to point out that what you think, and a lot of people have assumed is categorically wrong. Blah blah blah you may think, but until you saw the kind of family I'm from and how we have all been raised, you probably will still refuse to accept it. I was like him as a child....and could not have had more loving parents. Most of the children in our family are only children, and we all jabbered away to ourselves. Entertained ourselves. Created our own little worlds. I excelled in school, not through a desperate plea for my parent's approval, I was simply very smart. As is my son. He is not crying out for love and approval, he is that way from the values he has instilled in him. I was impeccably behaved, as is he, as are all of my cousins' children. And my cousins too when they were children...we were all like something out of Enid Blyton.
I am not in denial, I am not being defensive before we even go down that predictable route. I am far, far from not admitting my feelings about what is wrong with me and my situation. There are many things that need addressing, god knows even where to start. But you do not know what you're talking about when you say he is behaving in this manner for underlying reasons. That is how children in our family behave. He has NO clue. I'm not "having a go" but I'm conscious to keep this thread on to the issues that matter, which are really helping a great deal, not watch it wander off on a tangent of irrelevant misinterpretations.
x x x
I have a number of thoughts here.
Attachment issues in adulthood can come from all sorts of things, like early trauma from things like ongoing hospitalisation or having been sent to boarding school at a young age and somehow misunderstood why that was happening/attributing abandonment to it etc etc. You don't have to have had an abusive childhood. Also some people have parents who demonstrate "absent presence" as you are doing... there in body with the mask on and providing everything/going through all superficial outward emotions but not in heart or mind. Sadly the evidence points overwhelmingly to this having a very serious effect on an individual's ability
Sometimes too people have other issues which cause them to have empathy difficulties and not to be able to truly understand another's mindset.
A red flag for me here is that your "crystal clear way" of describing things is coming across as being rude and unlikable (I am not saying how I see it, just how I think most would view it based on your phrasing and word choice) and sometimes people with social cognition difficulties (including attachment disorder, autism spectrum conditions, nonverbal learning disabilities, some personality disorders etc) don't really realise the impact of their words and think quite literally e.g. "I just respond because I can't believe how wrong a grasp they have". What some might describe as "cold" or "detached" can be a sign of quite significant psychiatric and in some cases neurodevelopmental conditions.
No one can tell you here of course but I strongly feel you need a referral to secondary care and to a psychiatrist and a GP or counselling isn't going to quite cut it. It will take a lot of work to get to the bottom of this but on some level what you are saying belies what you are presenting. This is really common when you are in the grip of illness or psychological conditions.
Also re: "that is how children in our family behave".
This may very well be the case but can you see that the outcome of this upbringing is that you have brought a child into the world you feel little emotion for based on the fact of his gender and that this, in itself, demonstrates that you are experiencing issues with attachment. If this doesn't bother you, you wouldn't be posting or looking for help... so in some ways if you strip it back and just look at what's here, your current issue is that you feel no love for your son and feel a lack of emotion and that needs to change.
You can have values of creating worlds, being bright, jabbering away to yourself without experiencing an absence of love and approval, it's true. But is this relevant? The bottom line is that if you find it uncomfortable to not love your son, it is quite likely that he will one day find it uncomfortable to not love a child he brings into the world. Are you okay with that? If you are, do you know why you are posting here? (I ask this gently).
individual's ability to empathise and feel a range of emotions that should read, sorry.
"I know that I will hear things I disagree with, and a lot of "home truths" and I'm ok with that...people here have done the same and it's been ok with me."
"I quite want to be challenged, and I need to be asked difficult questions to force me to address them, because until I have someone who knows what they're doing having a good dig about in my head, this will never get fixed."
So, I put my two'pennoth in (as that is why you are posting after all)
and your response is:
"I just want to point out that what you think, and a lot of people have assumed is categorically wrong"
"But you do not know what you're talking about when you say he is behaving in this manner for underlying reasons....
keep this thread on to the issues that matter, which are really helping a great deal, not watch it wander off on a tangent of irrelevant misinterpretations."
Now, I'm struck here by the disconnect between you SAYING you really want to change this (which involves looking at how you behave and WHY) and your blank denial bordering on aggression when people post things that don't fit in with your rigid world view.
In my experience, the more vehement the denial, the bigger the fear underneath that, actually, there is something in what the poster is saying.
As a Counsellor, I would be wondering about the family dynamic and the possible damage being passed onto your son. I would be wondering about attachment issues. I would be looking at the relationship between you and your mother that you cannot replicate with this poor boy child.
Please know he WILL be aware something is missing, if not now, then sometime down the road, certainly when he tries to parent and has problems, if his childhood goes unexamined too.
As I said, I do not mean to be unkind.
But, please, go get some real help - NOW.
Miemors...good lord, I 'm not even going to dumb down and entertain that GCSE answer. You don't get it (yes of course you do, you're a counsellor, of course you understand) I tried to simplify, and you still don't. I have no time or patience or necessity to spell things out when you just do not get it.
Working9, that is a lot of food for thought. But I think you maybe slightly presume because I have a mental head in some respects, I can't have any clarity or any valid self diagnosis in others. I don't have mummy issues or daddy issues. I am not passing on subconscious treatment of myself as a child onto my son. I am not the victim of absent present parents and passing this on either. My upbringing is the cause of nothing....my views as a result of my upbringing on the possible relationships I am capable of, perhaps...that's one to reflect on.
I do see how I write is abrupt, to the point, not candy coated...but I apply this to myself equally as I do to others. And it is crystal clear. And harsh. And factual. And the truth. I appreciate you do not see it like this....you very clearly to me from the first thing you wrote have an almost freaky understanding of me. Others do not and get snidey for being told that they don't get it. And they don't...and you (and others) do....they just can't accept that their interpretation is wrong....and it's not me refusing to understand another mindset, I do understand their assessment of me and my situation, some critical, some sympathetic. Some have got it spot on, and others can't accept that they have massively got the wrong end of the stick. This is a reflection of them, not me. You are being very helpful here, you are making me think in the right way, and about the right things, thank you.
I still can say with certainty though that my upbringing has not screwed my head up. The notion is almost ridiculous to me...it couldn't have been more supportive. To the point where I would put it bottom of the list of causes/contributing factors. It just seems very easy to relate everything back to childhood problems.
The other thing that may be worth pointing out, (or not) is that I do get emotional at almost everything else...I am the kind of sap that cries at Disney films (!) and bounces with excitement watching my friends race. So I do know there is a lot of emotion naturally within me. Does that strike you as odd?
x x x
" But I think you maybe slightly presume because I have a mental head in some respects, I can't have any clarity or any valid self diagnosis in others."
Not at all Sugar and I understand you writing that because that was certainly how I felt a lot as I went through mental health services, that certainly some people did seem to think that because I had a diagnosis I didn't fully "get" where I was at, even when I really felt huge clarity about it.
This is a sort of tricky thing to work through because on the one hand there is a deep truth in the reality that no one else can fully understand us. What you must remember about diagnoses etc is that they are only descriptive terms, they don't have absolute reality e.g. there is no "OCD" in the same way there is an "apple". There is a lot of subjectivity here. Someone described it to me as being like a descriptive term like bouquet - it could be dandelions or roses but it is still a bouquet.
It is quite difficult to find words for these experiences. There is a school of thought that we mediate experience through the language that others use around similar experiences to our own. In some ways what mental health difficulties represent is a time in life when our experiences fall out of line of what either can be talked about or is acceptable to talk about within the larger verbal community. So nowadays if you started talking about having visions from God, people would worry greatly for you whereas at other times in history it has inspired great faith and pilgrimage. Nowadays being anti-secular is a sign of strangeness, but in a different age the secular viewpoint might have had you burned at the stake etc etc.
Yet in some ways, everything is conditioned. This is not a straightforward issue of cause and effect. A person or organism has an experience and derives relationships between this experience and others. This is not a Jeremy Kyle or Oprah type pushing of all self-responsibility or image onto painful experiences from childhood. It's simply that where you are now is where you've got to. It is a product in some form of your individual response to your own learning history.
You are repeatedly contradicting yourself.. and that's a sign of this internal linguistic struggle to represent your experience when what you are speaking about is not easy to put into terms readily understandable by others as it is so taboo to talk as you are doing. It doesn't mean that your experience internally is necessarily contradictory - you may have a deep level of awareness about this subject on some levels - but it is not translating in a way that always appears to be coherent.
This doesn't mean YOU are not coherent. This means that language is a blunt tool for describing experience here.
In some ways it really doesn't matter why. It matters now that it is... and for whatever reason, you are having attachment difficulties. That is what you are describing. You have not been able to attach to your son thus far. This troubles you which is why you are posting and considering help. Yet there is a degree of distance and numbness about it too. What you have to ask yourself is what is the deep yearning within yourself to address this issue? What do you want? Your words, to me, say you do want desperately to love this little boy and you knpw on some level that it is not right that you don't.
So if you had a magic wand to wave, what would happen? I suspect you may say "he would be a girl"... but I'm going to put the strict limitation on you in answering this question that you need to deeply consider what would be the best outcome to this situation allowing for anything but that. Be honest with yourself. It will tell you a lot about what it is you want now.
"Miemors (sic) ...good lord, I 'm not even going to dumb down and entertain that GCSE answer. You don't get it (yes of course you do, you're a counsellor, of course you understand) I tried to simplify, and you still don't. I have no time or patience or necessity to spell things out when you just do not get it."
I think you have just inadvertently illustrated my point
(about denial and aggression) perfectly actually
I don't think I 'get it' because I am a Counsellor. But I do have years of experience of how people CAN behave when they are unwilling to REALLY 'look' at a situation and how it came to be.
You strike me as being stuck in that unproductive place.
I expect you will visit a number of people, in a variety of guises, and disagree with all of them, as none of them will 'get it' either
I genuinely hope you find real professional help as I think you need it, for you and your poor son
I think much of what working9while5 is very helpful OP.
It's about what you can change rather than insisting that the only solution is something that you definitely can't change. As you can't change the situation, you have to examine and rearrange how you feel and deal with it.
Miemohrs, it struck me when reading your response which I very much understand that there has been a lot of talk on this thread about Sugar's poor son. I 100% feel deeply and compassionately that he desperately needs Sugar to get help but I think that Sugar is suffering in a very deep way here.
It is deeply taboo to talk about the mother-child relationship in this way and I know for many of us it will be quite triggering. My own mother found it very difficult to connect with us though she provided everything etc. I also know that she would have denied it to the very last fibre of her being because actually it was an experience that was so painful and against who she saw herself to be that she just numbed it all down in relation to me in particular.
I am not saying that Sugar is like my mother because I think it is reductionist to compare these experiences... yet I do believe that mother and child are a dyad and the only way either party will ever find peace from this situation is for Sugar to experience deep compassion and unconditional regard for where she is at, which is a difficult and unpleasant place for many of us to see anyone.
Sugar, do you feel deep unconditional regard for yourself, would you say?
Gosh, hard to know what to add....
I think we all have posted in good faith, to try to help, posting according to our own, valid experience, in some cases after many years of parenting and/or MH involvement as a professional or a patient. To ask for candid opinions and then to be quite so dismissive of some feedback you received is both shortsighted and an indication of how defensive you are. It is also quite hurtful, I'm sure.
We ALL default to subconscious patterns laid down in childhood. That's fact. Parenting tests this to the full, certainly for me. Great that your childhood was happy, but it is likely that certain rigid ways of thinking were established then (of which you may not be aware).
I can't be more lucid right now, got my own kids to sort before bed. I also have plenty enough to resolve in my own life so better focus on that.
Anyway, I wish you well, OP.
Sugar- please don't lash out, it's unnecessary and reflects badly on you.
Can you speak to/get a hug from your mum? You sound like you need one.
Working9... Unconditional regard and compassion....again, very interesting point to think on....
I wouldn't say I need to feel that the way I feel is fully accepted irrespective of how crazy it sounds. With whoever I see with regards to this, I would say I have no time for useless advice. If someone can't understand what I am saying, fails to interpret, through either my lacking explanatory skills, or their lacking brain power, it is impossible for me to take their advice/views/diagnosis with any degree of importance, because they can't possibly provide constructive assistance when they have misunderstood the fundamental basics of the problem.
Again, how many times...getting sick to the fucking back teeth of "mummy issues" "daddy issues"....how much more simply do I need to state that this is NOT a problem. Perhaps as I write this for the 10th time someone might allow it to sink in. It's not defensive, it's not denial, it's getting sick of people thinking they know my situation better and being too ignorant to HEAR that they are barking up the wrong tree. There are lots of points that I perhaps wouldn't have put as contributing factors that have been raised on this thread, some I agree with, some I am reluctant to agree with as it's not a great reflection on me, but see that there is a lot of truth behind them and admit that they probably are part of my problem. Parenting experience. Is. Not. One. Of. Them. If you want to write to someone with childhood issues I'm sure there are plenty of threads you can join, and stop clogging up space on here, when I am actually receiving some platinum advice on the real issues.
x x x
A little empathy goes a long way...
Am feeling angry and very sad in equal measure and will leave this thread now.
Salbert...repeatedly telling someone that they don't understand, and yet is too ignorant to acknowledge that I know my own mind and feelings are not what they "textbook" diagnose is not lashing out. It's telling someone repeatedly that they do not get it. It's wasting time and space on a thread that has been such a wonderful tool for me and some incredibly helpful people have posted on.
I'm wasting time now, addressing the point to you talking about these people. Let's stick to the issue in hand please....
I don't need a hug, as I don't really feel physically sad. I feel appalled at some of the thoughts I have, and some of the posts I've typed on here that are particularly stripped back to the bone have made me tearful, but I don't actually get sad on a daily basis...Working9 very aptly used the word numb. I don't feel like I'm not coping with him, I just don't feel. I've had a very happy day in many other areas.
x x x
Sugar, you really need to keep posting here so try not to speak to other posters in ways more suited to Am I Being Unreasonable because it will not add anything to the thread and I don't think you fully grasp how unpleasant it is to read and to see.
I would say that it would not be typical for people who are depressed to wish misery on their children. The description of complete apathy and indifference is much closer to the state of severe postnatal depression than anyone wishing misery. It is a sort of deadness inside. I think that wish to feel something, anything is one that many people who have experienced severe postnatal depression could empathise with.
Again, I'm not diagnosing you. Just dispelling myths here.
I think the fact you recognise this and that something is abnormal is really positive. I think there are many people who feel as you do but never realise that it is as strange and unusual as it is. My own grandfather told my father that the moment he saw my aunt (his second child), he disliked her and felt nothing for her. People react particularly strongly to mothers expressing this lack of love but I don't believe you are alone. I just think it has gone on a very long time and has become entrenched.
I'm interested in what it is you feel that your mother did in helping you feel loved, special, cared for, mannered, disciplined, generous, healthy that you feel is gender specific. What was she DOING that you couldn't do with a boy, for interest's sake? What is the loss here, the future you imagined that you lost even before your son come into this world?
I also have another thing for you to try.
If you were to imagine your current feeling about the situation as an object and place it outside of yourself, can you describe it? If it could move, would it be fast or slow? What size is it? What would it be made of?
And then, if you have cared to try that, you might like to try making an object of your resistance to your son... what would that look like/be?
Sugar, I remember feeling a bit like this, especially when my ds was little. But one day I realised I loved him passionately. It happened slowly
I wanted a girl too. My ds is now 19 and is one of my best friends. He is as sensitive, caring and as easy to talk to as any woman
I also have the dd I wanted and wanted to share my life with. She is willful, stubborn and determined. Ds was much much easier. I think you perhaps might one day realise that you are very attached to your ds, but it may be a slow realisation.
Working is making some incredibly wise suggestions, Sugar, do heed what she says.
One thing I'd say about childhood issues is that they don't necessarily have to be the most obvious absent/distant parent ones. I had an idyllic childhood and yet here I am, with a very painful anxiety disorder. If anything, perhaps, I'm remembering it as perfect when it wasn't. My DM and sister recently brought up a couple of incidents from my childhood (not to do with the family, but rather with external factors). I had totally forgotten them, blocked them. And when I think back I can see clear connections with a lot of the issues I have today.
If a therapist does ask you to delve into your past, don't be put off. The way we are now is in so many ways a product of our early socialisation, whether that's in the home or elsewhere. Allow yourself to take your time to find some answers, and let yourself accept the help you need.
Working9...I would have to agree with you that I don't grasp how unpleasant it is....I would say when you politely say something once, for it to be ignored and continued to be told that "black is blue"...for you to repeat, no, it's really not the case, for it to be dismissed and yet again told "black is blue"...by the 7th time round when I'm frankly ( and probably deservedly) irate with the pure superiority and ignorance of it all, to say that I'm sick to the back teeth and spell things out, no I'm afraid I don't see that as unpleasant in any shape. I doubt it needs saying, you are clearly not in this category...and I certainly don't feel like you are diagnosing me, I am quite touched by how precisely you seem to have taken aboard and understood to a tee.
The things my mother did, were perhaps not gender specific, she took me shopping a lot, horse riding, swimming, gymnastics, I was funnily enough a tomboy (looked like a Barbie doll, but played in the mud with transformers) to about age 14, then became super girly and have been since. What did she do to make me feel so many things? Nothing I can put my finger on, it was just effortless love. She wanted me so badly, and just had so much time for me. I just remember always having fun. My loss is more what our relationship has become, we are virtually identical, like best friends, identical tastes, love spa days together, love having our hair and nails done, love sewing together, go to cookery days together. She is not as girly as me, quite Audrey Hepburn. I'm much more frilly. None of these things interest a boy, and I wouldn't expect them too. I suppose the visualisation of what we won't have in the future makes me not care now. It's not that I think I'll lose him to a wife and feel alone, I just don't like anything to do with boys, and just can't find anything to like about him...even though I see "on paper" so to speak what a fantastic child he is.
My future always had a child in it. A daughter, that I will never have now, for I actually feel I will start being nasty to him if he gets in the way of a daughter I may have. Then the vicious cycle of not only am I stuck with a boy, he's ruined the dream of me ever being able to have my beautiful daughter. Would I resent him being here more with or without what I want?
With regards to the objects, the first would be big, slow, grey, circular, smooth.
The second my mind goes blank. Although I'm not too sure how my feelings about the situation are a different thing to the resistance to my son.
You my dear, are worth your weight in gold for the things you make me face up to and question x x x
I am a woman and have never been interested in spa days, sewing, interior design, nail decoration and what have you. There is no guarantee at all that your hypothetical daughter would like any of things, nor that you would have been able to 'shape' her into someone who likes those things.
Can I just ask, what is different about the way your mum behaved towards you and the way you behave towards your son? You 'go through the motions' with your boy, to make him believe he is loved. You say he has no idea of your real feelings. In what way is your treatment of him different to how your mother treated you? That isn't a rhetorical question.
And you are wrong to say 'none of these things interest a boy'. My son loves cooking and baking. I know boys who enjoy sewing and making clothes.
Sugar, have you decided what you want to ask your gp to refer you to refer you to? The NHS waiting list can take 2-4 months so might be helpful to ask for a referral ASAP (I only suggest that as I had to wait this year 16 weeks to see a psychiatrist about medication and it was a frustrating wait and had I realised the wait I would have asked for the appointment sooner). Also depending on where you live, here a standard psychiatrist referral results in an hour assessment, usually by a SHO who has a list of standard questions. I found that frustrating, and it asks all sorts of questions that one may not consider relevant to them. Then several months later I saw the consultant for a 20min appointment to consider diagnosis and medication. I only share my experience to let you know that hoping a psychiatrist can totally understand someone in a short meeting can be unrealistic. As you point out here many posters have frustrated you and not provided you with helpful comments. I just want you to be prepared to not get a lightbulb moment immediately with an NHS system. It can be a lengthy and frustrating process.
It is helpful if you can have clear goals and talk openly from the onset to get your needs met. I will admit that I was so low that I could not share what my issues were so got the standard, take these drugs and come back in 6 months. If you know what you hope for you can ask for it, whilst being aware it may not be possible.
Did you want a daughter in order to have an extension of yourself, like you seem to be an extension of your mother? You seem very concerned with appearance, did you want her to be a 'mini-me' a 'Barbie Doll' as you described yourself when you were small.
What if she hadn't been your idea of beautiful?
Aswaterlego says, she may have hated Spa days and painting her nails, just like me she may have wanted to have been a doctor or a foreign aid worker or a lesbian. Would you have been disappointed if she hadn't fitted your ideal. You sounds very fixed in what you wanted your daughter to be like, even planning future Spa trips. I do find it a Little misguided.
Of course boys love to cook, plant seeds, play with dolls even.
Ignoring the foolish and sodding obvious....perhaps people should try reading the whole post before you make such a well informed comment...
Hoops...I kind of don't know what to ask for...I don't seem to have many symptoms of depression. But I have a lot of faith in Working9's views thus far, and she suggests quite a deep post natal depression. I don't know if I'm depressed or even what I do feel...no idea at all what camp to throw myself in
x x x
Also, the karting suit and helmet arrived today....looks rather cool. He is beside himself. I'm less excited than when the idea was first presented for me to try, but I'm going to persevere x x x
I think a peri-natal psychiatrist sounds ideal, but am unsure if you can get referred to one. I was referred to one by a psychologist but was refused access to one ( on NHS) unless I had diagnosed pnd or psychosis post pregnancy. Here they only treat parents on NHS until child is 18mths. That is why I think if you can afford private you are less likely to be disappointed and I would be concerned with your reaction if you saw any of the MH workers I have seen!!!! You may have an excellent NHS provision but as you have a very specific issue and good insight into what your issue is I just thought targeting it with your request for referral would be helpful.
Perhaps your lovely little boy can teach you some manners? Some self awareness even?
Good Luck OP.
I agree with working's posts too but lack her eloquence!
Can I ask about your son's father? Does he have/has he had any involvement since the 18months? Does he support you (emotionally/practically) from a distance etc?
I also think that perhaps your relationship is maybe a bit unhealthy with your mother. Perhaps this idealisation is preventing you from bonding with your little boy who does sound lovely
The child's father has little to no involvement. Pays full support, voluntarily. Not a bad person, but can not separate me, from me and The Boy, and it all gets very heavy and not a positive thing when he enters his life, so we have a sort of "gentlemans" agreement that until he is over our relationship that is no longer, and can spend time with his son rather than concentrating on getting us back together, that he doesn't see him at all, as it is not good for him to appear and disappear so sporadically.
I felt this from prior to the birth though, so whilst it probably isn't helping much, the problems were well there already before we split x x x
Orange, why does it sound unhealthy to you? This is a serious question, as I find nothing I would want to change? x x x
OP, when did your DS's father leave?
OP, I am going to ask this question again, since it is not always clear who you are addressing in your responses:
What is different between the way you interact with your son, and the way your parents interacted with you?
I don't know really-just a hunch. You make no mention of your father which is where you would have learnt about males.
I just find some similarities between yourself and me. My dad died when I was very young, and I grew up in an all female household. I was very very close to my mum in my early 20's, she was my bets friend etc etc. But now 20 years later with the benefit of hindsight, she devoted too much time to me and my sister instead of making her own life. As she had no husband she replaced this missing person with daughters as her companions. Not that there is anything wrong with this, but she should have had her own life too and she didn't. Is this what is happening with you?
I grew up in an all female household, and was horrified at having a boy. I cried for 2 weeks, and took me a long time to get over it. I knew nothing anout boys and men really, they were a totally alien species.But he was so lovely. Gentle, caring affectionate and still is. My daughter is very awkward and difficult.
I just wonder if you have properly broken free of your mum and become your own person, because reading your posts it seems that maybe you haven't quite managed that. I think this excessively female relationship which is constantly referred to is stopping you bonding with the male bit of your son. As I said earlier you talk lots about your mum, but don't mention your father at all.
I hope this doesn't sound judgemental in any way, I was just trying to give a bit of insight based on ,my very female background
We are all trying to help you, not earn 'gold stars'.
I certainly wish I hadn't mentioned Counselling as it seems to have been a red rag to a bull
I do hope you were joking about cancelling your GP appt as you most certainly need to go?
Working - I DO feel sorry/ sad for Sugar, as well as her son.
But the son is being damaged and cannot help himself, so my immediate concern is with him. Of course, to help him, Sugar would need to be helped too. But you can take a horse to water...
Sugar can seek help, if she wants to enough, but her resistance (and anger) IS significant, sadly, and that does concern me.
I think Workings posts are very insightful (and patient!)
Sugar, you seem to be able to 'hear' her, so do listen and act, for both of your sakes as you really NEED HELP.
Something has just occurred to me. Having stated the problems started the day I was told "it's a boy" at the 20 week scan. Apart from the initial devastation reaction of crying, a lot, my feelings have actually not changed one bit. I've never realised that before.
I am no more or less engaged at this very present moment than I was at 20 weeks. I have not improved or worsened.
Perhaps when he was born, and the disappointment of knowing what was coming then became a real thing placed beside me, I felt worse, but only temporarily, once I had resigned that there was bugger all I could do about having him now.
I don't have good and bad days either really....as I never get any emotion related to him. My good and bad days all come from other factors x x x
How would you feel if your ds had a serious illness? I know this isn't a nice question, but am just trying to gauge your reaction
Where is your own father in this?
Sugarhut, it is amazing that you have acknowledged this and that you recognise things could be different. I also don't think you are alone in this - but it is one of those things that people cannot talk about with other mothers, for all sorts of reasons.
No one going to report you to social services or take away your child for this. So of course you should seek help from your GP OR you can contact an IAPT service which s far as I know take self referrals (it is probably where your GP will refer you to anyway).
I am no completely sure you have depression - it would be important to know how you feel about other things in your life, your motivation, sleep, eating.....Nonetheless, there is something unsatisfying about your relationship with your son and plastering on a fake happy mum face just won't help (ever, so don't convinced yourself that just because you've made it this far that method can get you through the rest of you and your sons life).
No matter how good you think you are at covering this up and hiding it from your son, he will know. You might make it to your deathbed without ever discussing it with him, but he will know. I assure you - deal with this now while he is still a young child - you can have fulfilling relationship with him - it is possible but it will require a lot of effort on your part. (it will probably be less work than pretending all the time, though.
I suspect that in addition to some talking therapy (personally I am a fan of CBT as it can be very practical on a day to day basis, but as another comment said you may need something more in-depth), you'll probably need to find ways to connect with your son now. You admit to not having played with him - but this is the way that children understand and interact with their world. IT may feel like a form of torture but you might like to think about something that you can do together that you might both enjoy. Clearly you are feminine and enjoy those things - but what about doing something with him that neither of you have done before? It can be anything, something simple, but it has to be something that helps you to connect with each other - maybe requiring teamwork. Something that you can't pull out of because it is not your thing and likewise. You can keep a diary for 1 week and note down everything you do with your child - interactions and your feelings during the interactions. Sometimes we need to see things in black and white to really see the situation clearly.
Urgh, I can't believe how much I have written! I really wish you luck, I think it is really important that you can improve this situation.
Interesting OP. So essentially from the 20 week scan, even from then, your DS ceased to be of interest to you? Please note, there is no judgement in my tone here, I'm just trying to see the background.
Would your dh have custody of your son? Would you want that? Perhaps leave you free to have another relationship and perhaps a dd? Or are you wanting to change how you are so you and your ds can have a different future from now and for you to feel different? Am just unsure what you are wanting, for your situation to change or for family therapy or for help for your son or for help for you? Sorry just thinking out loud, am just thinking back to my question about what referral you are wanting? Would some family therapy with an educational psychologist to work with you and your son be a different approach?
I think working's insight about perinatal support is useful. Right, am rambling so will stop! Apologies for anything you do not like I have posted, not intended to upset.
Sugar Just harking back to how I felt before Thunderbolt Day, I remember continuously panicking that my true feelings would be discovered by family, friends. That I would be uncovered and revealed as a terrible mother. By nature I generally worry about what people think of me (about 90% of the time, the other 10% I seem to catapult to the opposite and really don't give a fuck).
I wonder, how would you feel if your mother read the thread? Would you be gutted?
Orange OP has explained about parentage near the beginning of the thread.
I'll ignore it...in the hope there are some adult education classes available as a distraction....
You may believe that the answer to my question is obvious, but it really isn't.
I have nothing to be ashamed of with regards to my level of education, and as you know nothing at all about me, you would be wise not to judge.
You do seem to have great difficulty in being civil. I appreciate you may not like everyone's opinions or questions, but you absolutely don't need to be so rude, you really don't, especially when people are taking time out of their day to try to help you. Posts that don't say exactly what you want them to say can be easily ignored.
When you ask for opinions and advice on a public internet forum, you will get all sorts of responses. Ones you like, and ones you don't like.
I hope you will seek psychiatric help. All the best of luck to you and your son.
I know, but I can't find any mention of her df
Have just read some pages that I didn't realise were there. Sugar, you sound like you just want some simple barebacked advice and direction without all the fuss of psycho analysis.
Go to your GP, ask for 1:1 CBT and I think that will be an excellent starting place. You will get to talk to one professional person and not a mass of mothers on the internet. I promise it will help.
I have read the whole post. I can't find it! I've read it 3 times!
I don't for one minute think your mum isn't happy, BUT is she giving you the freedom to be who you really are, or are you an extension of her. Both of these things can be done quite unconsciously and without any malice. Do you feel you have developed into an adult with your own identity independent of your dm?
For someone who is so scathing about others 'educational levels' it is interesting you cannot spell my name whilst being so objectionable
I suspect you need psychiatric help not a Counsellor, so, yes, that lets my profession off the hook (phew). But, for what its worth, your internal anger is monumental.
I am not 'playing'. But I am starting to wonder if you are?
If this is real, I hope your son gets help, I really do.
I think your overwhelmingly female background are what are causing the bonding issues. But boys are absolutely lovely too.
One thing I am noticing here is that I think that you are hearing me because I am not judging you.
I don't know if it is depression but in some ways, again, labels are only a very small part of the story. There's always overlap and things that don't quite fit but the most clear issue that we can all agree on is that you have had tremendous difficulties attaching to your son.
I think it might be helpful to have a think about values. When you first decided to have a baby or even to conceive, what were the values you aspired to in imagining yourself as a mother?
By values, I mean those deep and abstract qualities of self that you hoped would enfold in you when you had a child. So nothing to do with specific activities, memories of your own life or hopes for material possession or future events. If you could strip it all down and indeed strip down the relationship you have with your mother to four or five words representing the core values you would aspire to as a mother, what would they be?
I wonder from your posts whether there is a very specific restriction on female and male roles within your family, social or cultural milieu that means that you can't imagine closeness with an adult son. Like Cabbageandbeans, I grew up in a female household and initially felt discomfort about having a son. This was also somewhat made more problematic by a high degree of male alcoholism and previous sexual trauma I had endured. I worried about what having a boy would be like. I particularly worried that if I ever separated from my dh that I would be unable to control boys and they would end up rampant criminals. These were the outpourings of my feverish worried mind. Through CBT I realised there were strange beliefs underpinning this, things my mother had said about boys that I had bought into.
What messages did your family give you about what being a mother of boys would be like?
I have just discovered this thread, and am desperately, desperately sad for your son, OP. You seem to need careful handling but I don't see why I should keep that from you.
I too would be interested in your response to oranges' question as to how you would feel if he had a serious illness. Also, I was struck by how you asked, in one of your early posts, whether he would be taken away if you sought help. If you are indifferent towards him and want him out of your life, why worry about him being taken away?
I would also echo her questions about your bond with your mother. It seems to me as if you are investing emotional energy in her which rightly belongs invested in your son. You are so very drawn to her and so very repelled (and I know you say you don't feel repulsed, but essentially this is repulsion, sorry) by him. How does your mother relate to him (sorry if I have missed this)? Does she love him or is she uninterested too?
Have you ever spoken to other mothers of boys about their experience of having boys? Not revealing anything of your feelings, but listening to them telling you theirs?
I don't know whether you are depressed, but I do know something has gone terribly, terribly wrong here, and it is taking an enormous effort not to judge you. I know you won't want to hear that, but I don't think sparing you the facts would help.
I also would caution people against calling troll. I was a very angry person on MN once (four days post birth, in the middle of what I now realise was the beginning of a severe depression and in a slightly elevated/hyped up/enraged state) and I know I was called a troll. I was just deeply unwell. I also spoke to people in a way I would NEVER dream of doing when well.
Oh and another random thing, I once read a quote that what all women most desire in life is to be the subject of their own lives instead of merely the object of others. Do you think that maybe you have some idea that men or males might reduce, exclude or belittle you that you have reacted to in having a boy?
Orange....if he had a serious illness, I would care that he was not in pain, but terrible as it sounds, if anything happened to him, I would feel sad, but free to have my daughter.
Cabbage, thank you, I hope to improve, frankly, I need to.
Showtunes, you are correct. Until the day before I was rushing round buying everything under the sun, anything baby related. The day I found out I don't think I got anything else after that. I bought Tesco value baby grows the week before he was being born because I refused to buy anything any more expensive for this child I didn't care for. No judgement taken, it's a perfectly reasonable question.
Hoop, no his father would not cope with him full time. If he could I would love nothing more than to give him over to him, but I know my mother, grandmother etc would never speak to me again. Also I could live with the guilt of knowing he was growing up so unwanted by his mother that she gave him away. I have no choice but to try and improve my mind, because there really is no alternative. Do I want a future with him in it? No. Do I have any other choice, realistically. No.
Shakey, the 90/10 thing. Oh that's so me. That's why it's so refreshing to be so open on here, you are all words on a screen, I am anonymous and in that I feel safe to be brutally honest. Would I be gutted if she read this? No, it would break her heart in two. She would probably over obsess and freak out, and try and make me move back home. It would certainly ruin our relationship.
x x x
I think the last 2 messages are spot on.
How is parenting boys viewed in your family, which does sound almost smotheringly female?
And..the emotional energy you should be investing in your ds is being invested in your dm
13.01 Page 1 oranges
working I wish you'd been my counsellor years ago. I'd have loved those types of questions
Can I just say I didn't mean to 'call troll'
(if that was to do with my post, it may not have been?)
I worded it badly perhaps, more that I hope it isn't real, as it is so sad?
OP, I am sorry if you feel I have been judgemental or unhelpful.
I wish you lots of help and real change. x
Oranges C+P'd My own dad, my mother left when I was 18wks old (I've met him a few times and I see why, I was an accident), shortly after, met my stepfather...who is Dad. I've never thought of him as not my real dad...he's just Dad. And he's been consistent, supportive, wonderful smile So I do see where the question came from, but no "daddy issues" as such to report.
Hmmm so there is negativity towards males somewhere in your family. Even if not talked about or discussed .
You may want to read up on narcissistic personality disorder. And the concept of a 'golden child'. In this case, perhaps the golden child is the daughter whose existence is just out of reach. Which means the son can only be, the scapegoat...
I was also very struck by the post about being a tomboy when younger and then becoming very girly as an adolescent and strengthening your own identity and how this led into the adult relationship with your mum.
I am going to talk about derived relationships here again.
Basically, the essence of who we believe ourselves to be is about the connections we make between ideas. Everyone has a slightly different learning history when it comes to ideas - so for example, if I hear the word "lemon" I almost always remember lemon picking in Tuscany but this is clearly not going to be an association for very many people.
Essentially somewhere along the line you developed a framework of associations that co-ordinated "numbness" and "boy child"... a framework in which having a girl child = good/acceptable and having a boy child = bad/unacceptable.
The nature of the human mind and of language is that a) these connections become your reality and b) your mind will spin all sorts of stories and provide all sorts of "logic" to enable you to avoid what has been judged to be bad (all the feelings, thoughts and ideas associated with a boy child).
We all have a tendency as human beings to fuse with our thoughts - we can salivate when we think of favourite foods and our heart will race when reading a frightening story etc. You have fused deeply with the idea that a boy child is unacceptable.
Yet beyond your mind which has fused with this idea and brings you suffering, there is a YOU that is beyond that and is pulling at your attention, letting you know that this isn't right... there's something wrong here.. there's something you need to pay attention to.
That is what you need the help for. I really hope you find someone who can be non-judgemental in supporting you in real life.
But surely if you don't like boys, you don't like men either?
Shakey, I know, I feel like Working9 needs to invoice me....
I should also point out that I am very girly. Very very. But do I love deep sea fishing, will spend equal days on hols posing around the pool as I would sweating and hoisting a marlin in out at sea. Fishing out in the depths is one of my favourite things. If I think about taking my son, I don't think about him maybe enjoying it and us doing something together, I think great, the one thing I love doing more than anything and I've got to sit and waste my time showing him how to do it. I visualise taking my daughter, and I see us hanging off the side of the boat, pointing out turtles, catching our first fish together. I see the excitement in her face as she sees the first thing she catches, I can't even be bothered to imagine what he'd be like. I can feel how much I don't care one bit. This is a prime example of how everything is.
x x x
"Miemors your name is spelt incorrectly each time deliberately you moron...the fact that you can't even perceive this makes me wonder why you are still tagging along in something so out of your depth...apart of course that you hilariously believe you are holding any form of understanding here. You have amused me mildly, and now you are just a simple boring fool."
I have not been unpleasant.
I have apologised if you felt I was being judgemental.
If you really felt my input to be totally irrelevant, you would ignore it.
The fact you are displaying such heightened anger at my posts (suggesting the possibility of heightened anger) is the whole point.
But you cannot see that, yet.
Good luck OP. x.
Orange...most of my friends are male. I get a lot of female jealousy and funnily enough I don't like a lot of women as they hate me for "having it all" and it sucks. She's a model, but we can't call her pretty but dumb because she's also a qualified accountant with a law degree. Well fuck, we'll just hate her. Not to her face though, that would require a spine. My female friends are mainly in the same industry...because we are genuinely hated by most women, so we become very close knit together. In the same way that men are often jealous of the "rich guy" and dislike without knowing the first thing about him. So yes, I like men, they are usually funnier, waaaaaaaay less bitchy, more matter of fact.
x x x
I promise I'm not judging you.. at least not any more than any person can not judge another. It is the nature of language and the human mind to be evaluative so to some extent, that is an inevitable byproduct of human interaction even if we try to be careful and mindful.
"Yes, we do definitely take on defined roles, but I just can't accept that the massive problems I have are as simple as that...I would have been able to address that myself, whereas I have no idea what the hell is wrong with me."
I guess I would say don't underestimate the power of the connections in your mind. It is really powerful stuff, it is the very stuff of reality in some ways. The stuff I am talking about is based on a behavioural model of the human mind called Relational Frame Theory which is the theory underpinning a school of therapy called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and it has really good support for a wide range of human difficulties.
It is also the case that the mind tends to tie itself up in knots and overcomplicate the most simplest of things when it comes to suffering. That is true for each and every one of us... so even if it were simple once, it becomes more and more elaborate as you try to apply your natural faculty for problem solving to a feeling that just can't be solved.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is based on this notion that we ALL as a function of being normal human beings get trapped to some extent in "webs of words" which we treat as real. This is how we navigate the world. It doesn't really matter what your personal frameworks are as long as they are workable within your life, bringing you vitality in the moment. Of course, that's not fully true for you right now. So, the theory goes, in your mind there is a framework in which men are somehow unacceptable or not lovable. Yet you are not satisfied with this construction of reality because you are suffering because of it.. it's not a workable belief for you because you want to keep him safe from suicide, you don't want him to feel unwanted, you don't wish him any ill will. You just can't summon up love for him.
So in your words, I am reading:
- there is pain about the girl child you don't have
- there is pain about having a boy child
You have fused deeply with the belief that both of these are unacceptable to the extent it is hurting you badly.
In terms of the question about boys.. can you remember a time in your life you felt differently about boys?
What do you think a mother who loved boys would wish for if they were the mother of your son? Would it be different to what you would wish for with a girl?
Sorry x-post. Boy child I guess.
Also am I reading correctly that you didn't want a boy child ever? Did you consider terminating the pregnancy after you got the news?
Also, you may one day have a daughter and find out she is nothing like you expected. Boy, was my daughter a wake up call! I too longed for a daughter... I love ds and dd the same, but ds is much much easier to be with and spend time with. He also loves buying clothes, which dd hates..
Erm Just a reminder of our talk guidelines
Working9, yes about the boy child, yes about the girl child. And yes about not wanting any ill, or unwanted feelings etc.
Amazingly yes, I did once feel differently. I was married from 20 through to 21 (too young, wouldn't be told, in a nutshell) and he was in the forces, I found my old letters to him that he had kept in a box the other day, and one of them said how much I couldn't wait to give him a son. I actually just laughed and chucked it away, but in fairness I really meant it at the time. Weirdly enough, this dog I'm getting for him, I only want a boy.
I don't understand the wish for question... wish for in what respect? Wish for out of life?
Yes for as long as I remember I never ever wanted a boy. I couldn't terminate, not at that far gone, not when you can feel it buggering about and alive and moving. If I had got the news earlier on and knowing what I know now, without a doubt the pregnancy would have been terminated.
x x x
Do you really love them the same orange???? Really???? You wanted a daughter and you genuinely mean you love them equally.... if you are likening yourself to my situation, there is no way you could make that statement....
x x x
Yes, wish for out of life... both in the moment and in the long term. Again, I'm not talking here about material possessions or specific activities but the sort of long term stuff like health, happiness.. are there any specifics for you? For example one for my boys is that they develop a sense of compassion for others or that they have lots of opportunities for play and laughter.
Do you find it hard to conceptualise those sorts of wishes for any child? A similar question I would have been asked would be, what sort of values do you think a loving and caring mother would have for herself as well as her children?
Any idea of when your feelings about a boy child changed? That might be very important to reflect on.
I've been thinking about this thread, and one thing that has come back to me, OP, is how good your boy is.
It has occurred to me that quite possibly he is so good because he knows, on some level, and is trying desperately to win your approval.
I am full of admiration for working and others who are helping you think through this in admirable and, I believe, necessary detail. I think my role here has to be a different one. I think I want to be extremely blunt (but hopefully not rude or insulting) and say that, OP, if you don't work on this and work on it seriously and work on it soon - and posting on this thread is an excellent start, but it won't be enough - your boy would be better off being brought up by someone else. I mean fostered/adopted, by someone who really wants him.
The struggle to please you could very well turn around completely as he gets older, into a despairing realisation that, as nothing he does can really make you love him, he may as well be as 'bad' as he possibly can.
I agree picardy. My parents didn't really want me and my self esteem is shot to pieces, has had long term effects on life, career, friendships etc (in spite of being academically bright, oxbridge etc.) You need to address this. Wanting not to have had a boy and wanting things to be different won't make it go away. Good luck.
Apologies if this has already been mentioned, I haven't had time to read through all of the posts and it looks like discussion has moved on a bit since a started reading last night but might the Anna Freud Centre be a good place to look for help with this?
As you probably know they do a lot of work around bonding and attachment and I should imagine they have pretty er how can I put it..."intellectually robust" therapists.
Harrap I think that is a really great suggestion, Sugar you should listen to her. You need expert help.
I love them both equally but not in the same way. I think you maybe ought to try and realise that they give something back. Does your ds ever tell you he loves you? How does that make you feel?
The older they get the more they give too. I prefer the company of ds19 as he is just so loveable and kind to dd7 who is very hard work. I love them both more than my life though
Working9, I would want any child (mine or not) to he happy, feel safe, enjoy life. Perhaps with a girl, I see how easy my life has been all down to what I have been able to do as a woman, and would love to give that life to another female, teach her, watch her grow. With a boy, I think because in my head I don't have much interest or understanding of what they become, I have no attachment or feeling in growing and nurturing him now.
I have no idea when my feelings towards having a boy changed, I just know that from talking about trying for a baby, all I was having was a girl, boys were almost a ridiculous thing to mention, it was not even spoken of that a boy would turn up.
Picardy, you're right, in one breath I do think, why not let someone who would make him their world have him. In the other I think about how ruined my life would be to know my mother gave me away, I would not wish that on my worst enemy. I have to insist (again) that he is not seeking approval, his personality and manners and intelligence is replicated with every child in our family. It is the way the all of them have been raised, he's not desperate to please, the way he is, is natural to him. He is good, better than good, and I do recognise how other people would give their right arm for a child like him, or any of my cousin's children, when we take them out, the comments we get from strangers every time are astounding. The difference is, I nod and agree and harp on about how lucky I am to be blessed with this child to them, when inside I feel nothing whatsoever.
Twas, may I ask, how did you know you were not wanted? This is my major argument as to why I would never give him away, even if one day he does detect any of these feelings, he could take the tiniest comfort from thinking he was never unwanted enough for me to give him away.
Harrap, I've never heard of Anna Freud, but will look it up now.....
Orange, I tell him I love him all the time. He has occasionally said it first. I don't even get the tiniest stirring, in fact it's more "I love you mummy" and I think you poor poor child.
x x x
Oh Sugar, my heart breaks for you really.
I don't really think that your son is the prime victim here if I'm honest. When you have severe PND and have this hollowness inside, you are repeatedly told that if you act "as if" you care for and love your child, the damage to them is hugely minimised. Again, not diagnosing you with that, this seems to be more strictly about attachment (again not a diagnosis!) but I am not hearing any stories of cruelty, neglect or ill will towards your boy.
Your descriptions of him demonstrate a caring and pride that you just can't feel in the hollowness inside. That may shock you but the truth is that when people really feel no love or care for a child, they tend to neglect them utterly, not interact with them, view them as stubborn, difficult, wilful, demanding etc. I have a friend and fellow PND sufferer who has just gone through this. The way she used to speak about him horrified me, she sounded like she despised him and it showed in her actions. She was also ill and having attachment difficulties but it was clearly demonstrable in her son's behaviour. I think it's difficult to say that quiet, good behaviour is desperate in the way people have suggested here because if his material needs have been provided for regularly and with consistency and you have worn the Stepford Mum mask well, at 5 he will at some deep level know that there is something a bit off but it is all to play for if you get the right treatment. You are repeatedly asking if people learn to love their children so on some level you do want to love him I think you are deeply afraid of it and stuck in that word web of pain.
I think that to some extent people are being unfair in saying that he needs to be removed from you because the real harm in this sort of thing is usually done by people who really don't care about the child on any human level. I work in child development and before my own experiences, I also worked in the differential diagnosis of autism and attachment disorder. I sometimes think MN is a rarefied world where people don't really understand what severe neglect and attachment issues look like.
I do think it is important to surround him with lots of people who he can attach to while you bear this burden and to try to keep stability in his life.
It is a spectacularly haunting and difficult thing when a woman provides a high degree of care and outward affection to a child that she can't feel that natural reinforcement of the bond with. He feels like the cuckoo in your nest yet you play with him, talk to him, view him as good and intelligent and hope for his future happiness and wellbeing. You do all of this without the pay off that other mothers have. That is an act of love and kindness in and of itself. You are suffering here because you don't have that experience of love and connection that sustains all of us through our darkest days as parents.
"Do you realise how wrong it is to believe that smartness, good behaviour.....etc" I don't believe that at all. The fact you have read (hopefully) this full thread and that is what you conclude just means you don't get it. I'm too tired of re explaining to people who can't/won't see the wood for the trees. Your post is just plain and simply wrong, your opinion is not unimportant, and thank you for commenting, but forgive me for skipping over another post giving advice to something that has been entirely misinterpreted.
Perhaps you have glossed over where I've raised nearly £20k this year alone for Leukaemia research. Nasty to the core....
x x x
Camaleon, that is very unkind and hurtful.
The OP is repeatedly again and again saying she wants a good life for this boy and that she feels nothing for him. Think about how those two interact for a minute.
What she is saying is deeply taboo but there are many people out there who have no such compunction about their lack of feeling for their child. It's not the "only good" about her, it's the person lost underneath a raft of stories that cause pain and suffering and which with good professional help can be dismantled and bring Sugar back to a sense of wholeness and goodness in herself.
You also say you have this incredibly great relationship with your mum (I don't for sure; we fight constantly and seem unable to communicate as adults so I envy you). However, I cannot think of a single thing that would make my mum/grandmother not to speak to me ever again.
You have said that twice on different places. Your amazing connection with your mother does not seem to be made only of love.
Working, as I have said, the lack of feelings towards her son is the only thing that make me feel sympathy towards her. If any other poster wrote here or said elsewhere the other things she say about girls/education/etc. she would be (rightly) flamed.
It is my opinion that this is not only a problem of attachement with a child; she wanted to be pygmalion of a doll and it did not work. However she is trying to work it out. This makes her a better person than the one she seems to be in general. She seems to have enough confidence to disregard my words.
Hi, I've a bit more time now...I would be really interested to know if the Anna Freud Centre can offer you anything if you don't mind sharing.
I think it is really important that you find someone who is an expert in this area. Otherwise I feel (but I do not presume to know) you will become frustrated and dismissive and your search for help risks being counter productive. I would not be at all surprised if your GP is a bit non-plussed when you see him/her.
The best therapists for me have been those that challenged me, put up with my disdain at times but continued to "hold" me-a bit like a good parent I guess.
You might need to shop around a bit and you will almost definitely have to pay, but the cost of good therapy will be the best money you ever spend.
There are loads of questions I'd like to ask you but I think my motives would be more curiosity than your best interests so I will resist!
I hope that doesn't sound too flippant, I wish you and your son all the best.
Oh one more thing, I hope the go karting works well for you both, not sure you got enough encouragement about that.
Cameleon, you can only judge someone on what they are saying right now. No one knows what Sugar really wanted when she first got pregnant, not even Sugar. Who does, really? We all sort of spin our stories when we look back on them looking at them through the lens of where we are at and what we are feeling right now.
Two weeks ago I forgot to take my medication with me for a weekend. After three days, I couldn't remember ever having felt any love for my older son and I was desperately upset by it. When you are ill and your brain in bathed in the chemicals generated by these sorts of thinking patterns, it actually reduces access to the better parts of yourself. You literally forget your good memories.
I sometimes wonder why there is so much kicking done on MN anyway if I'm honest. What do people get out of that sort of righteous indignation? I'm not saying this as if I've been a saint... I've been both kicker and kicked since becoming a mother and it has been deeply damaging at times to be in both. I am quite well now and I have an open stance of curiosity and as far as I can non-judgemental acceptance of people's stories with a belief that we are all doing the best that we can, just sometimes we end up off path. It has really worked to calm my own mind and quell my own mind to respond to others' stories like this so in extending compassion to Sugar, I am extending compassion to the person I was when ill who lost all access to my better self for a while.
Working9, I agree, at the moment, I feel he is not a victim, I might even dare to say blissfully unaware...but I am quite sure that by the time he was, say, 8...he would have detected something, and then he certainly will be the victim, in a catastrophic way.
I don't feel afraid, it's more I just can't comprehend feeling such a strong emotion as love one day, when I have no feeling for him, or have done for the last 5 years.
He's certainly not difficult, I find the actual going through the motions a breeze. Bed time for example, I run the bath at 6.30, he gets in cleans himself washes his own hair, gets out, puts his pjs on, brushes his teeth, comes to find me with the book he's chosen, we read a few pages then he takes himself skipping up to bed, we have a goodnight kiss and cuddle and I close the door at 7pm. "See you in the morning mummy, don't let the bed bugs bite" People have been here and watched this open mouthed, apparently most children do not "do" bedtime in this easy manner every night.
The last paragraph you wrote is perfect. I could not summarise the last 5 years in a better way. I just feel even guiltier, as I do not feel he ever causes any "darkest days", the phrase often hammering through my head is "what more does this poor child need to do?"
x x x
The best therapists for me have been those that challenged me, put up with my disdain at times but continued to "hold" me-a bit like a good parent I guess.
I have had therapy on and off over the years since quite young really but it was only when I met the therapist I had this time who did exactly this that I actually made headway and it has made the world of difference.
Ah there have been a few more posts since I drafted mine. I'm think I'm very much with Working here, though I am not eloquent enough to put things as well as she.
Its obvious Sugar has said some really shocking things here, its also obvious -and Sugar I'm risking some of your ire here but I think I can take it- that she has been pointlessly rude. There is, on the face of it a contradiction in what she says about her relationship with her own mother and in not being able to give her an inkling of this most intimate of problems but ... all of this points to a woman in considerable turmoil. Not a nasty person undeserving of sympathy (and I am not saying anyone has said that, quite.)
Now I'm really putting myself out there- Sugar I'm not so sure that you don't love your son. I'm not so sure that you are not a "good enough mother".
Like Working (but in a different context) I have had some experience of cases of neglect including emotional neglect and that's truly not what I am hearing from you.
Harrap...you don't risk the wrath of Sugar ;) I don't write to be shocking and rude. I write to be candid and have little time for candy coating and political correctness where this issue, MY issue is concerned, I have what I readily acknowledge, as serious fucking problems. What category they fall under I have no idea. The difference in why I appreciate what you write, is whilst you may read my posts and hugely disagree/agree/think I'm mental (delete where applicable!) my point is, you read them. You can actually understand what it going on, and from there on, what you comment, I find of value. I might argue against it, but I want to, and need to hear it. I want to try and look at whatever is wrong with me from lots of (well informed) angles before I talk to a professional...not have some chimp come out with primary school interpretations and accusations and insist they have the first clue at understanding any of this. I think what you find contradictory about my closeness with my mother and the fact that she will never ever hear about this, is only because it's an issue regarding my son. She beyond idolises him, he is the light of her life, and she treats him in a way that I physically could not ask for more. She would literally be torn in two if she heard any of this. I don't tell her to protect what we have, and what it would do to her, she would worry every day, she would pander to me, she would try and take The Boy all the time worrying that I couldn't cope. Without exaggeration it would destroy her. That happening is not an option.
I don't love my son. I act towards him that I very much do, "Stepford Mum" is quite apt, and I wish I could feel genuine feelings. But you are correct with the neglect thing....the most polar opposite word to describe my son would be neglect. He wants for nothing ( certainly not being a spoilt brat, but I try to allow him to have "good" toys), he stuffs his little face with excellent food, he's seen a lot of the world and experienced a lot of things, he has glowing school reports. And yet I feel no pride telling you any of that.
x x x
Thank you, Sugar, for responding graciously to my rather hard (I won't say harsh) and blunt post.
I am very interested (that sounds voyeuristic - I hope you kwim) in your account of how your mother feels about your boy. With all your close identification with her, can you imagine, at all, feeling 'as she does' towards him, iyswim?
This might be a radical suggestion to which you might say NFW, considering what you say about what it would do to your mother if she knew any of this, and I am not advocating you do this instead of therapy (rather as well as), but I am wondering whether it might be a way forward to confide some of this in her? Might she be able to help you, through your closeness with each other, towards feeling for him the way she does?
you have absolutely no idea how you sound do you. calling people stupid now.
good luck to you too.
Ok so if I'm not risking your wrath I'll push just a little further.
1)It's one thing not to sugar coat (pun intended) things but calling people morons and chimps is another...just saying.
2)Have you read about attachment theory and good enough parenting -John Bowlby isn't it, Working?
3)I understand what you have said about your mother and it occurred to me that your son is getting love from other members of his family even if he isn't from you so that's pretty good and a great deal more than a lot of children have.
4)Point 3 does not mean "so that's all right then" Yes you have stuff-serious stuff- you need to work on but you are taking some responsibility and that is admirable.
5) A theme running through your posts seems to be perfection-I'd be curious to know how important that has been/is in your life. What I'm getting at is your perfect scenario was to have a girl you didn't get that and somewhere the acceptance and processing of that disappointment has been missed and "second best" just can't be countenanced. In my life an attachment to the idea of perfection and the way things "should" be has been unhelpful.
6) Resilience-you have said that things have generally gone well in your life- now you've hit something you can't control. In my experience and again this just my experience and may not be relevant to you- true resilience involves flexibility, and is built by having problems and finding ways to cope. Maybe you just haven't had many difficult experiences and life since the 20 week scan has really thrown you. But here you are asking for help, finding a way to deal with your problems and thus becoming more resilient.
Oh dear I do go on...
Crosspost with harrap. She says it better
Op, I have popped back this morning to see how you were doing.
You say your son "wants for nothing" and you clearly provide him with a very nice lifestyle in many ways. But he wants for an emotional connection with you. You are aware of this lack and are trying to explore it which is a brave thing to do.
I have some experience of the Anna Freud centre, they are VERY good.
I wish you luck in finding some RL support with this too.x
Ha ha harrap, if that's going on then I must thank you all for bearing with me!
Camaleon, I have a thread on here at the moment about afflictive mental states and not categorising all mh issues as "illness" that I am exploring. Someone talked about how with mh we are often fixed into a place where you package your illness as "I was ill, I got help, I got better" because this is what is palatable to others and preserves our sense of dignity and self... but the inbetween times, before the help, it is messy and difficult.
I have no doubt that I was a deeply unpleasant person at times when I was ill. Deeply, deeply, deeply unpleasant. It was the black dog barking for me.
Now, with meds and therapy even if I have that sort of irritability or anger or condescension/perfectionism going on there is no way I would give into it because I recognise my feelings influence but do not control my behaviour and I have a responsibility to treat others kindly and with compassion - not to be perfect, but to be kind.
But God, I was a bitch. It didn't really reflect how I was in lots of areas of my life but some of my posts on here were truly dire and mean-spirited and crappy...
I now know that I was acting against my values as a person and increasing my suffering by speaking in that way but it did feel incredibly valid and I totally bought into some of these unhelpful ideas.
The kicking comment, by the way, was not a dig at you. I wonder why I came here to get kicked and why I felt I could kick here. I wouldn't speak to ANYONE like that in real life. I suspect that is true for a great many AIBU frequenters, the carry on is shocking. But I am guilty and have been that person.
Working, I don't know why there is a presumtpion that we don't understand MH illness. Many of us have suffered, a lot, and have gone through different MH issues. I know how cruel suffering can make you I and how self-centered. I wish I didn't, but I do.
Still I have the right to launch the hypothesis, very much in line with harrap, that the OP belongs to the category of persons who believe that, because all has gone right in their life (and I don't doubt her when she says her childhood was perfect, it actually fits the hypothesis quite well) is because they did everything well. And therefore she has no mechanisms to deal with the only thing that has not gone the way she expected it.
Not sure if this is a MH issue or something else.
I'm only sharing my perspective, I'm not presuming anything about your understanding of MH to be honest. As I've said elsewhere on this forum, on an internet forum you are as much in discussion with yourself as with anyone else in some ways. I'm just sort of exploring my own thoughts. I wouldn't in any way suggest you didn't have a right to your hypotheses either, the only thing I really challenged was you calling SugarHut nasty/entitled etc because I don't think those sorts of terms are very supportive regardless. I'm not having a go at you for saying them here, just explaining my perspective.
(I would say I'm sort of filtering out the bits about morons/chimps etc - I said above to SugarHut I find it difficult and deeply unpleasant so have sort of left it).
I'm not working yet, don't really know if/when I'll be allowed back (Occ Health not up for it) and so life is a bit like an extended meditation retreat for me and I have a pretty reflective stance that I am trying to develop within myself if that makes sense. As I posted above, I'm finding compassion here for SugarHut I never found for myself when I lacked those feelings for my son and was going through the motions. I would have spoken about it differently in that I just denied even to my own self that I was struggling to find this bond until very very recently because now I am well and it is back again. I really feel for Sugar because I was fortunate to have bonded with ds1 in the womb and in the first few days after birth, it just left me.. but because I had experienced it, I knew what I was missing and I think it must be dreadful to be totally dead to that love.
There can be real sanctuary in mindfulness. A friend just mailed the following Rumi poem to me. Nothing directly to do with this thread but it comforts me and may interest a few on here:
"But listen to me.
For one moment, quit being sad.
Hear blossoms dropping their blessings around you."
1) this post is nearly 200 entries long, at first, I was explaining, quietly to people who had no idea. They would then persist and bang on, side track the issue with their irrelevant instructions of a 30 second fix, send the post off into a useless tangent, which I would keep trying to get back on track because you should really know this is being really helpful to me. They still harp on, and whilst stating "be quiet, you have no concept of this" usually gets a predictable fishwife type response, it does usually nip them in the bud, and let the 99% of helpful people continue, so therein lies my reasoning.
2) no I haven't...worth me getting?
5) Majorly. I have always achieved as damn near to perfection in everything I do. I have to be the best in anything I care about....not to show off, but it grates on me if for example, if I get 98% on a test, if someone else gets 99%. I am used to being top in everything. Nearly all of my family are like this, I am an ex national gymnast, my cousin a superbike champion, another a world class polo player, another runs one of the most successful hedgefunds in Europe. We have been raised that you excel, that perfection is achievable, so don't make excuses, go and get it.
6) Perhaps...I am quite a flexible person in other areas of my life
Cameleon, as you persist in posting.....
2) we don't believe that, we are living proof of it
4)too laughable to comment
5)both can apply
x x x
Working, you see? I do believe you are sharing your perspective of someone who had a similar experience to Sugarhut in what relates to the feelings towards your child. However -and I have read your other post- you see it as a result of your own experiences too. You see it as a whole, not only a medical problem of attachment
I have never thought of Sugarhut as a not very pleasant human being due to her rudeness. Nor was the fact that she cannot feel love for her child. That makes me feel compassion for her too. It is about everything else she is posting and the fact she cannot see, despite her self-proclaimed intelligence, how offensive it can be, and how much ignorance is diplayed by expressing it as she does. These are symptons of problems I believe she should be looking at in order to be able to understand what is going on with her attachment problem.
Again, harrap has expressed it quite well. English is not my mother tongue, not even my second language so I may not be great at expressing myself in here without reviewing and editing my sentences.
This has been a tough thread for everyone to read, but some great suggestions have been made.
Sugar, looking into Anna Freud's resources sounds like the best idea. It seems to me that psychoanalysis would be far more beneficial to you than CBT or traditional counselling. You're an intelligent woman who values education, so why not access some of the literature available? From a quick Google (of 'Anna Freud pdf'), I can see there are some PDFs available online which explain her theories. You could print these off, take your time to read them in advance of talking to a therapist, just to prepare yourself for what kind of questions therapy might entail. Plus, there are plenty of books relating to her work on Amazon.
There's a big difference between being defensive and building a line of defence around yourself, psychologically, which I think you have done, through assigning a lot of importance to intelligence, education and success, whether at work or manifested by a happy childhood. We all build these defences - it's perfectly natural, but can become destructive if we build walls which we can't climb back over, if you see what I mean. For me, my defence is being agreeable to the point of submissive. My therapist has given me some exercises to do to help me become more assertive. That scares me a bit, because I protect myself by avoiding all conflict and agreeing to everything. I know my submissiveness is not normal or healthy. And - flame me if you wish - I would say the same about the way you have dealt with some posters. I don't mean that unkindly - it's behaviour symptomatic of fear, and that's a horrible place to be in.
I don't think you're horrible or lack empathy (you wouldn't care about not loving your son if so), but therapy will help you to see your reactions and thoughts in a different light. Good luck.
Sugar, stop bullying people off a public thread. MN is a community and you have made frequent and unprovoked personal attacks on others. This is neither pleasant nor acceptable especially on what could have been such a mutually supportive thread! Yes, you are the OP but you do not set the rules or get to make demands on others. They will post what they will. If you want 1:1, PM, mail people or pay for proper therapy. This is not it.
I have had a quick look at this Anna Freud place....all I can find is somewhere that helps the actual child...is this what you mean? I don't want to take him anywhere.....
x x x
The best thing to do is give them a call to ask about what services they provide for parents. I see they have a telephone consultation service for parents, so obviously they do have staff which perform that kind of service.
I can have a half hour (maximum) initial phone call...then they are London based....I am in Norfolk. Although the perhaps would know who to contact in my area? Worth a ring....
x x x
Definitely worth a call. They are pretty much the leaders in the field, so they would hopefully know of other services nearer to you.
At the risk of talking about Sugar as if she is out of the room-I find her inflammatory language intriguing.
Sugar, you must be aware of the effect of using, "moron", "chimp" and "stupid".
It goes without saying you are articulate so I'm wondering why you used them?
It could be as simple as you are irritated and don't give a monkey's (as it were) but it comes across as a want/need to alienate/dominate.
Whatever's going on here, Sugar has been dealing with a lot, pregnancy, disappointment, unsatisfactory relationship, relationship breakdown and unsatisfactory contact arrangements she clearly does not feel supported by the alpha mums at school and for reasons she has explained, she can't share with her mother.
For what it's worth, I don't get an "entitled" vibe - and I'm not sure I get a "depressed" vibe either, I get a "turmoil" vibe. I do think Sugar's son can only benefit if she gets some help and feels reasonably safe here. Then again we all need to feel safe and not fear getting a mouthful if we say the wrong thing so, maybe Sugar, if you come back, you could tone it down a bit.
By the time I have written a post there are several other posts...whatever else you've done you have instigated a very interesting thread!
If the AFC can't help you I should imagine they could make some suggestions. Good luck.
And apologies Sugar because as Harrap says I do speak about you as if you were not in the room; I am addressing most of my comments to other persons, who may have better skills communicating ideas to you.
You are getting lots of advice and perhaps something will be helpful and put you in the right direction to be able to enjoy the amazing life experience that feeling love for your child is. But more importantly, to address whatever damage to your child may come from this.
Camaleon you make a good point I guess it would have been more useful for me to ask, "are you aware of the effect etc?"
Really? You never said And the rest of us fawning plebs?? Breathtaking arrogance.
OP, I hope this thread is helping you but I think you are coming very, very close to having it deleted as you're sticking to the Talk guidelines.
Agree- "personal attacks", however cleverly worded, directly contravene MN guidelines. OP has made them frequently . MH issues never excuse this- look through any other MH threads and do you/have you ever seen so many casually dismissive and offensive remarks about fellow posters? It's positively toxic. I also would support the deletion of the entire thread, it does no credit to MN.
Anything off topic is being ignored going forward, if you want to discuss it, please start your own thread to your heart's content. That's what forums are for. To continually hijack something, of such an originally deep and mentally provocative nature, where most posters have been fabulous at tackling, challenging and addressing issues... and additionally that the OP repeatedly requests that is not persistently sidetracked, is incredibly rude, ignorant and disrespectful...but that's not apparent to you is it.
Sugar, I would copy and paste all of the advice you find useful into a Word doc right now, just in case the thread does end up getting deleted. Many posters have given great, insightful advice and it would be awful for all that to disappear.
And to reiterate, "personal attacks" are not allowed on MN. Maybe you need to look elsewhere if this is a challenge.
No, I won't Estelle....it would be interesting to see whether it does. Because I think that some posters on here, have been astronomical in their advice, to a depth of understanding me that I did not in any shape or form expect. No credit to Mumsnet, what a joke. I would say the comments and discussions between 99% of these posters and myself show quite how phenomenal a tool something like this can be.
A few, who through being precious over the fact that they haven't grasped the topic, who would for that sole purpose advocate the deletion of such helpful and heartfelt discussions would be a travesty.
x x x
OP, you have called people things like chimp. Surely talking to people like that is also a travesty?
You continue to prove your own point. Pointing out someone is attacking another is not "failing to understand the debate". It is confronting a bully on bullying.
OP, I think what some people are saying (and in doing so they are attempting to help you) is that your treatment of many posters here is, in itself, very unusual, and perhaps indicative of an abnormal mental state. You yourself have conceded that your mental state with regards to your (lack of) feelings for your son is abnormal, and so opening your mind to the possibility that there are other aspects of your behaviour which are worrying or unusual, might be able to help you further.
You have referred to your thread as:
'something, of such an originally deep and mentally provocative nature'
You have alluded to this more than once. And several times, you have stated that posters:
'haven't grasped the topic'
This is not an academic challenge, it is a message board for sharing ideas, opinions and advice. It is a public forum and, as such, will attract replies from all sorts of people; none of whom are trying to annoy you; all of whom are trying to help you.
Your lack of empathy is unusual, and possibly part of the problem. Perhaps you can explore this with your therapist, when you are able to see one.
Sugarhut, the American Mensa offers mental health services for MENSA members. Perhaps you can investigate whether there is an equivalent for British Mensa members.
You need help, your son needs help and this may be a solution to find someone you trust.
Oh, and by the way, did you mention you were a model?
So was I, this is the first time I have ever felt the need to mention it on MN it is not generally relevant to my life and posts.
camaleon has made a good suggestion re MENSA. What do you think about that Sugarhut?
You are refusing to engage with the idea that your behaviour and attitude is unusual, and that is your choice but ultimately, you are the only person here who will be affected by that, not any of us.
If you want to help yourself, you may need to open your mind a little more, in my opinion.
Sugar- yawn that you are...what, a model a lawyer/accountant whatever (hardly unusual on here)? And have some beautiful, clever and well-connected friends? Ditto. Not that this is necessarily what gives people substance. Or makes them interesting or enjoyable to be with. A little humility goes a long way.
Does your son have any male role models [for want of better word ] in his life OP ?
Yes, my friends are predominantly male, and my father is a big part x x x
Op- you know v little about "people like me". I have helped you on here and, like others contributed in good faith. I actually hadn't (till now) been the target of your attacks, but I HATE bullies - my mother was one (there, you know that about me now). Empathy is key.
I've seen and received such support on MN over the years and am incensed to see it exploited in this way with others dismissed or subject to ridicule simply for expressing their own heartfelt opinion or detailing their own experience. From which you could learn much, should you choose to open your eyes.
I have read all of this thread and followed it with interest over the last few days.
Bit of background:
- did have some gender disappointment issues
- had PND
- absolutely no medical expertise
Take or leave my thoughts.
You are clearly very bright but I very much doubt if your emotional intelligence matches your academic intelligence. This could be a positive thing because emotional intelligence *can be learnt, nurtured, developed. But of course you have to recognise that this is needed and be willing to put in the work and time.
*I recognise the high achiever/everything has to be 100%. Did me no good. Took most of my 30's to learn that 80/20 much better principle to live by. And guess what - that re-adjustment had absolutely no negative impact on my (very successful) career
*I had a very good childhood with well meaning decent parents who always did their best. What they failed to do was help me develop any kind of resilience for the real world. The real world where people get ill, things change, people die, children are born the 'wrong' sex ...
Another big lesson for my 30's
*They also held good behaviour as the holy grail. Perfectly behaved children were the ultimate goal. My sister and I both delivered - until my lovely sister went completely (and I mean completely) off the rails for a while. You have mentioned the other children in your family and how they are all perfectly behaved. Watch out for the little one who is desperate to let their real personality out.
* Im pretty convinced from what you've written that you've managed to hide your real feelings from your son - but the clock is ticking. He is still a little boy who doesnt ask too many questions. Come 9,10,11 and onwards he will increasingly look to you for guidance on how to live and love. You cant give him that the way you are now - and thats why you are so right to seek the help you need because otherwise you will pass on your problem through him.
I've just read the whole thread in one fell swoop. Two comments, both made by working are what I want to say, if only I had a fraction of her eloquence.
From her first post:
You are clearly in a really hard situation here but I think you really urgently need to be seen by a psychiatrist. ...You need to be very straight with any professional you speak to, perhaps printing this off and sharing it with them because this really needs to be dealt with for both of you with a matter of some urgency.
And from lunchtime yesterday this gem of a paragraph.
A red flag for me here is that your "crystal clear way" of describing things is coming across as being rude and unlikable (I am not saying how I see it, just how I think most would view it based on your phrasing and word choice) and sometimes people with social cognition difficulties (including attachment disorder, autism spectrum conditions, nonverbal learning disabilities, some personality disorders etc) don't really realise the impact of their words and think quite literally e.g. "I just respond because I can't believe how wrong a grasp they have". What some might describe as "cold" or "detached" can be a sign of quite significant psychiatric and in some cases neurodevelopmental conditions.
I had a couple of questions/thoughts myself but they're fairly irrelevant now.
Best of luck, both tomorrow at the GP, and with whatever course of action you next choose.
Sugar, with the best will I can muster after reading through your thread, get on the phone to AFC, find a good local psychiatrist/psychologist/ therapist and get help before your son grows too much older.
Actually, there was one other point. You are quite identifiable from this, unless you've used a couple of red-herrings to disguise yourself.
I didn't just mention that I had been a model, I mentioned first, degrees, languages etc... You seem so hung up on personal appearance that I posted again about being a model. It is, quite frankly, the least of my achievements and was merely a way for me to fund myself through university.
My question 'are you a model?' was sarcastic as you have mentioned it umpteen times and everyone studiously ignored you as it was embarrassing.
What the hell is this 'Loose Women' you keep mentioning? It doesn't sounds very savoury.
You cannot ask people to leave a thread. You cannot dictate to people and be rude to them.
I should have added : my issues with gender disappointment do seem like a very distant memory now.
They were absolutely tied in to many of the things mentioned on this thread -
(1) control issues (I was meant to have a girl -'Oh its a boy, what do I do now.)
(2) completely unrealistic views on what having a child meant - and lack of understanding that all children are individuals and cannot and should not be pigeon holed by their sex.
I was very lucky in that I was able to unravel these issues pretty quickly.
And now I am a very irritating obsessed mother of boys. They are 6 footers now and I just gaze at them thinking 'they came from me - how clever am I '
Lol at the notion that I need sarcasm either pointed out or explained. Again, a perfect example.
Glad to see the thread back on track. Finally......sigh......
Mysweet you make some interesting points. And believe me, I know the clock is ticking. You're right, he's none the wiser now. Do I think he'll be none the wiser 3 years from now, absolutely not.
And perhaps there is something in not living in the real world. I'm fiercely independent, and actually thrive from being successful, I love that I can be a provider in such a big way for my child. But, I have never had a close friend or family member pass away yet, so never had anything like that to deal with. I was given my house, so never had to deal with a mortgage or really any biggies regarding financial responsibility. I work very little and spend a lot of time doing what others perceive as trivial to fill up my days, and do a lot of fundraising. Whilst it's not as such, the real world, on the other hand it is to me, as it's all I've ever known so it is. Maybe it contributes, maybe it's an easy but incorrect scapegoat to attribute things too.
The grown up children (ie my cousins) and myself have never gone off the rails so to speak. We are not like "the vicars children" by all means, but nothing of significance to report, so I don't see why perhaps one of our offspring would. It's possible, I don't have a crystal ball, but I would make an educated assumption based on our generation and the new children that it's unlikely. One did gamble for about 6 months, but he was 18 back then and it passed as a novelty before it became a problem.
It's also quite interesting, I worked tonight, and the subject of children came up..."Kelly (name changed) has just had her baby, it's a girl" Lots of whooping and squealing. Three other girls then volunteered, "thank god, can you imagine having a boy." Another then agreed, "I would be devastated to get a boy". Another, "god yeah, who actually wants a boy, how awful" Which is a freaky coincidence as I've never heard anyone say this around me before. Let alone a group speaking about it so casually. And to do so days after this thread starting seemed almost fate. They spoke as if it was obvious that you would want nothing other than a girl, the alternative being too hideous to imagine. I pipe up with my usual fake smile "Oh you're all wrong, I so pleased I have a boy, boys are so wonderful, so much easier" all the crap that I get told as a boy's mother...but I wanted to hug every one of them...the relief that not only this viewpoint shared by others, but is clearly to them largely accepted to say socially, and felt by many women (they are all childless.) I wonder now how many others go through the motions like I do and feel exactly the same, never speaking out through fear of being ostracised or ridiculed as a bad mother.
x x x
Sugar - it sounds as though in your mind your son is not merely a disappointment generwise, but actually an imposter. Which is significant because he bears more blame by keeping you from your ultimate goal of a having a daughter.
You are not outwardly hostile to him, but by keeping real love and emotion from him, he bears the brunt anyway - he is being punished. This makes you uncomfortable. But is that because you perceive it is unfair to him, or is it because you feel your hosility toward him may actually spill over at some point? You come across as a combative person. Is it just a matter of time before you make your son consciously aware of your antipathy toward him?
You consider your retention of love from your son as 'involuntary'. You find the idea of a thunderbolt moment when suddenly your feelings toward him will appear, seductive, because you can only accept a true relationship with him if it would feel the same, as natural, as loving a daughter.
Also to mention that by seeking to change your son's school - you may actually be punishing him further. He doesn't have his mother's love. His father is not present. He has only just started school and is forming real friendships we hope, and you're considering pulling the rug out from under him. You have your reasons for doing this, but is it in his best interest? Would you do it to a girl?
Is any of this close to the mark?
Maybe it would be safe to say you don't actually know what love really is just yet are you possibly scarred to love him incase he hurts you I think there is a love there as there is care and you do what you need to I knew someone in your position. Albeit not for as long as you but she would not try to do anything for her child I basically raised the child for 9 months
I never felt loved as a child my mother tried for a boy after 11 years of having 2 daughters then got me another girl I was a lonely child who like your son had everything I could wish for but there was still something missing she hugged me told me she loved me but it was just words from her My moms turning point came when I was 11 and diagnosed with cancer but that only lasted 2 years and I am still told to this day it is my fault it ruined my mother and furthers relationship
My mother been like this affected me badly I turned to drink and smoking at 15 and then carried in been one big problem in their life for 2 years I then went on to meet my now husband and after a few weeks months I started to love him I finally knew what love was and how nice it was to be loved I now have 3 girls and A son up in heaven I longed for a little boy to bring home and still do I would love one we done everything in our power to ensure it would be a boy but got girls. I live my girls to bits each one is an individual all with their own traits but I overcome the wanting a boy thank heavens and am happy I got lovely children
I have rambled on I know but thought I'd bang in how I felt from the other side of the problem as it has caused a lot of emotional problem and severe mental health problems I do think there Is a love there for sure it is finding it and recognising it you sound a strong person so I believe you can do this good luck to you and your little boy
Excellent post, BlackSwan.
Sugar, I think, as uncomfortable as this will be for you, BlackSwan has got it spot on: you are punishing him, for not being a girl, for fracturing something you held in you about your identity as a mother and the (desire to reproduce?) the connection between your own mother and yourself.
But no crime has been committed here. You are punishing him not for anything that he has done but for what he is.
What (I ask without any intention of prying or outing you) was the environment in which you were working and which produced such an extraordinary series of vitriolic anti-boy comments? It sounds overwhelmingly female. I wonder whether (and rather hope) they were just 'mirroring', jumping on a bandwagon, because that's how you interact in that environment.
I do think that a lot of women, especially before they have children or when they are pregnant with their first, want a girl. I suspect that now the social prestige of producing a son and heir no longer dominates, many women feel to some extent that they want what they know and they would feel better able to identify with a daughter. That said, most women would not be 'devastated' or find it 'awful' to have a boy. That, in its strength, is absolutely an unusual viewpoint, and I don't think it's particularly socially acceptable either, tbh. The environments you move in don't sound entirely typical.
I am the mother of two boys. I 'knew' very early on that they were boys and it was confirmed in both cases at scans before 20 weeks. I think that with both, I did have a tiny deflated moment of 'oh' - with the first because I think I, like many women, had imagined a daughter, and with the second because I had a (fabulous) boy already and would have quite liked one of each, I suppose. But five minutes later it was gone. My boys are quite simply the most beautiful children in the world, no doubt about it. They are 8 and soon to be 6 now. Motherhood, as they have grown, has just got better and better (and it was great from the start), with obvious and normal blips along the way. I love their company, I am completely enthralled with their processes of learning and getting to grips with the world, I obsessively write down the funny or curious things they say.
I say this not to gloat or boast, not because I think I am a particularly good or special mother - quite the opposite, in fact: I say it because it is an illustration of the usual process by which any disappointment re gender is simply and naturally overcome by the process of bonding. I know that for some women gender disappointment is not over in five minutes - I suspect there is a continuum, and you are at the very, very extreme other end.
Sorry for multiple posts.
I was just re-reading your OP and was (please forgive me if someone has raised this already) terribly struck by this segment:
'I look at other children at the school, and if I look at one of his little girl friends, I imagine it was my child and I get overwhelmed with these warm loving feelings, I want to pick her up and cuddle her, take her shopping, brush her hair, make cakes with her, read stories with her, I feel overwhelming pride and love even though it's a random child, then I look at him and want to cry.'
You can feel, by your own account, such 'overwhelming' 'warm loving feelings' for a little girl you don't know, you have nothing to do with, you just see across a playground. But your own child, whom you live with, whom you care for and interact with every day, there is nothing.
I feel this seems to indicate that feelings come in response to 'ideas' for you, ideas or ideals, rather than real human interaction - which makes me wonder what is going on in your interaction with your mother and whether it is the idea/ideal of the mother/daughter relationship driving that. It also says something to me of how very fragile - perhaps brittle is a better word - your feelings are, how they need to cling to ideas and schemas, can't enter into and go with the flow of life and what emerges out of it (e.g. having a real, live boy).
I don't know what this means beyond that, but I do know it's no way to live.
I don't think many women go through life thinking males are so devastating or awful. On a somewhat facile level I would say that if your friends say that around you then (a) you don't have nice friends (b) they know what you really think. (c) their comments strike me as being quite vapid except to the extent that they feel quite nonchalant about slagging of your child: for most mothers that would be friendship ending and the fact you want to use it as validation of your parenting highlights the urgency and earnestness with which you need to set to your task.
The other thought I had about their comments was that if it had been a group of fathers discussing daughters it would recognised as a chilling insight into misogyny. For me what they said - and what you buy into is both chilling and founded in a dismissal of being male as something worthwhile or perhaps even of being a real person. If you go back through what you say wrt your bio father, your son's father and even your Dad they all come across as a bit cardboard cut out.
You say that most of your friends are male, but I'm curious about how you square that with your views on men generally.
Sugar, you have written a little about your relationship with you son's father but not a great deal and what you did write was fairly clinical and unemotional (I know this is your style!) but I wonder what part this relationship has to play in how you feel about our son.
As you said, there was a time in your life when you appeared to be happy to have a boy (with a man you loved) and of course until the 20 week scan you knew there was a possibility of having a boy but yet were making all the usual joyful preparations.
I realise that you feel it's gender per se that is the problem but could you be taking anger (possibly not acknowledged) with your ex out on his son? I'm not suggesting this is the case but it's a possible factor that hasn't been explored so far (apologies if it has been and I've missed it).
Most people, I think, would be very angry with an ex who for whatever reason did not maintain contact and provide a measure of support (I remember your ex provides full financial support but I'm talking about support practical and emotional support in parenting).It also struck me that your description of you ex's behaviour made him sound needy and weak and I should imagine those characteristics are highly unattractive to you.
If your ex has no contact and little input into day to day parenting decisions your son is exceptionally dependant on you and presumably you spend a lot of time together. I should imagine the burden of having sole responsibility for your son could lead to 1) resentment of him and 2) a strong desire to maintain an emotional distance between you so as to leave a bit of head space free for yourself.
As for what your friends said about boy babies-well, as was said earlier, I imagine it was a group of women jumping on a male-bashing band wagon (I've don't that myself but mostly over stacking the dishwasher) but, without wanting to be rude about your friends, such comments are asinine and considering you have a son highly insensitive. I'd bet when and if your friends have sons the talk would change to how loving they are, how much less complicated than girls they are and other such clichés.
"Glad to see the thread back on track. Finally......sigh......"
OP, you posted here for help and kind advice.
You also said you were happy to be challenged.
You have received 255 messages, all of them trying to help you, and pretty well all of them kindly too.
In response, you have struggled not to be really aggressive at times.
MNHQ have had to delete a number of posts you have made.
I have not reported any threads but others have.
If the responses offered are off the point or inadequate, ignore them. Easy.
This is all taking the emphasis away from your quest to get help for your relationship with your son.
You describe him as 'The Boy' and also, more worryingly, as 'It' on many occasions. You objectify him in your mind and quite openly on here. He is already 5 and will be subconsciously well aware of his isolation. No amount of material goods will make up for a lack of maternal feeling. (see Maslins Heirarchy of Needs and also Bowlby is very good on Attachment Theory).
He has no father figure, you don't love him (or even relate to him or attempt to) and you are considering changing his only stable factor, his school too.
The important thing is: you realise that this is not right and are bravely trying to do something about it.
Please, go and find some real life help, urgently.
The Anna Freud Centre is excellent, but you will find many qualified and experienced psychiatrists and psychotherapists out there.
You need to be willing to look at your primary relationships from childhood as they will be influencing your current ones.
Please realise you would parent a daughter in a very rigid prescriptive way too. Children aren't the 'packages' we would like them to be, they are their own people and our job is to love them and help them realise who they are meant to be, not who we wish them to be.
Sugar what do you think you should do? What will you do? Are you taking on board any of the suggestions to seek help?
I'm wondering if you're in fact seeking validation that its ok and justified?
This can't be sorted by a thread, even if people might have some good insights sugar needs proper real life support. Please take on board some of the suggestions above to seek help.
BlackSwan, That's quite accurate. Imposter is not a word I had even linked to this before, but I think it encapsulates so much of how I feel. almost a "why are you even here?" feeling.
The only thing, with the schooling, he's been there from aged 3 as he passed the entrance exam then....he's been there 2 years, the change won't be a big deal for him, he makes friends in seconds. And that's the honest truth. It will make no difference whether he remains there, or moves. He knows children in both the village schools I have viewed too.
x x x
Picardy, yes he is "punished" for what he is. I don't agree with the term punished, as he is in no way picking up on this.....yet. But yes my internal thoughts are solely because he's a boy. But I think we've all established that from the word go?
Last night was a shoot...the people making the comments were 4 models, one of the photographers, and a makeup artist (all female.) 2 I would consided friends, but only through work, the rest I barely know, and doubt they even knew I had a child, boy or girl.
Re, relating to a random girl child, it's not so much I am seeking the ideal, when I see a girl, I feel a natural immense rush of love for her, I want to ask how her days been, I want to know everything about her, I want to do things with her. My son I pick up every day and ask him to tell me about his day, solely because I think I should, but I have stopped listening after 3 seconds. I have no interest in a single thing that comes out of his mouth.
TV, I don't think males are awful. I prefer male company, most of my friends are male. For me, having a son is awful, it's a very different thing.
Harrap, way off the mark. I felt like this from the day I found out it was a boy. I have not improved or gotten worse. I chucked the ex out, 2 years later, felt a lot better for it, and there is no connection with his presence or absence and this issue. The only thing that (very) mildly irritates me about his father is that he can't separate myself from The Boy, and I think it's been long enough now that he should have done, and he genuinely still can't. Plays no part in my mental state.
Miemors, pointless to even acknowledge...again. Rolls eyes.....
Twas, if you had read the thread properly, you wouldn't have asked that....
I still feel like a little light has come on with the word imposter, I'm going to definitely tell that to the person I speak to...I don't know what it means to the situation that I feel he is an imposter, but the more I roll the word around in my head, the more I see how it's relative to nearly every feeling I have. Interesting.
x x x
Thing is though OP, I know that you don't see yourself as a unit with your DS but I don't think it's that unusual for your ex to see you as such. I guess from his point of view, when he thinks of you, he will automatically think of the son that you have together.
Does it bother you at all that you would be identified as being your DS's mother when thought of as an emotional entity?
How did the GP visit go today?
Sugar, TwasBrillig is right. Your issues won't be resolved without urgent real life help.
Someone above mentioned narcissistic personality disorder. It is a horrible label and I dislike the use of the term "personality disorder" because I don't think a personality can be disordered as such, it's just a way of describing a sense of self that differs from the norm in a way that causes profound suffering to the person.
I don't know how you feel about it, but a lot of what you are describing here demonstrates that you struggle to feel empathy with your son as an individual separate person in his own right. For some people, while understanding that we are unique and individual ourselves on a rational level is straightforward, there may be difficulty on a less conceptual level with truly viewing others on their terms: that is, you can understand it with your mind, but not feel it in your heart.
If this were to be true of you, it might explain that to some extent, you had a vision of a life with a daughter and now that life has not materialised, it has fragmented your sense of self in relation to being a mother. You expected to be a loving mother to a girl and you have these strong feelings of love and empathy within that self-image. Yet it hasn't happened as you expected and you are left feeling a bit confused and bewildered at the strength of the sense of loss and also now not knowing what to do in terms of being a mother to this child or how to piece back together your life when it contains this insult.
I think the reason that narcissistic personality disorder has been suggested upthread is that it is a common behavioural feature (behavioural here referring to how the mind behaves as well as how a person does) to have a sense of your specialness and a profound belief in your worth as an intellectually and socially superior person. What you describe in terms of your reaction to the posts you don't agree with and the sort of language that you use (chimps, morons etc) as being something you see as straightforward in relation to how the thread has developed and not arising out of a sense of anger or injustice might suggest that there is something in this sort of way at looking at your difficulties.
Another thing that can happen in talking about problems if this sort of label were to be applicable is that you can place high value on opinions that seem to grasp the essence of your own experience while demeaning those who can't understand your experience. Not everyone responds to people not understanding their point of view in this way, and so many will read your responses and respond as they have done on this thread challenging you for stating your opinion of their contributions or ideas in such bald terms. It can be difficult to view these people as separate from you with ideas about your life arising out of their own emotions, experiences and beliefs. Again, you know that they have these with your mind on a rational level, but it surprises you in some way that they keep talking about feeling hurt by these words because you view how you are responding as entirely valid. Does any of this resonate for you or is it off the mark?
Again, I am not a mental health professional, just a service user but I have a lot of interest in how minds and language work and so I am curious as to what you would think about this sort of potential label as a way of understanding why there are continued challenges to your posting style here. Remember all labels are just convenient and incomplete ways of giving us a common vocabulary to discuss discrete behavioural responses to the world rather than saying anything about who you are. You are just you, really and you are suffering and in need of a way of addressing it.
Couldnt care less if you find my post tedious but:
Why don't you stop rolling your eyes and do something to help this poor child you regard as an imposter?
You are not, by definition, objective about your mental state.
You say: "he is in no way picking up on this.....yet"
"My son I pick up every day and ask him to tell me about his day, solely because I think I should, but I have stopped listening after 3 seconds. I have no interest in a single thing that comes out of his mouth."
Why ask him then?
You do realise he senses you are not interested don't you?
Or do you think you are cleverly fooling him?
Poor little sod
Glad you are 'interested' that other people have identified that he is being 'punished for what he is' - now go make an appointment and get some help!
Don't you understand what trouble he is in with you as a mother?
I shall be hiding this thread from now on as I don't want to see any more of your indulgent postulating on whether / how he is being damaged instead of going and getting some real psychiatric help.
Gah. X post with workings very helpful post. Working, you are a saint!
I don't mean to be unpleasant, I really dont, but I was trying to galvanise the OP into some action. It is SO necessary and for all she says she wants to really change this, I think this is simply an 'intellectual game' for her.
Right, really am off-ski now.
Good luck OP. Only you can actually do something about this.
I hope for your sons sake, and yours, and any potential future child, that you do. x.
Another feature of NPD is the individual's tendency to focus on achievements and successes, which the OP has done plenty of. She has also shown a preoccupation with the level of education of other posters.
Lol, seriously lol at Miemors thinking she has the same aspect and outlook as working9. Good to hear the message has finally been received and the thread is now hidden.
Showtunes, I wouldn't say it bothers me to be thought of as a unit with my son, I accept quite readily that we are "mother and son" and seen that way.
Tv...GP visit is next Friday.
Working9, I'll happily explain this,to you, for the last time mind, as you tend to acknowledge what I say, and rather than instantly dispute what I state as fact because you think you know my own mind better, see what I am actually saying. I do not have a personality disorder. You will see in lots of cases, I see a point that has been raised, and I will respond with, no that's not right and detail why. See last post, to Harrap, and TV. They had made observations, I can see why they would make those observations. They were not right, and they don't know this unless I point it out, and I try and explain why, as to not appear that it is a straight "NO" to any criticism or question.
When someone states something, categorically wrong, I will respond simply stating that it's not right. Then these people (who may be far smarter than me, or thick as a plank, to understand doesn't mean you are a genius or have to be) will reply not only that I am wrong, but the proceed to tell me how angry/deluded/blah blah blah that I am. It's their way of not handling that they can't grasp the subject content, and so they insist over and over that they do, repeating more utter rubbish. If I shout it loud enough and often enough it must be true right? If someone opened up to me, and I replied with my assessment, and that assessment was "I think you have daddy issues" (pure example here) and their response was, "no, I may have a lot going on, but I assure you, that's not even part of it" for me to then tell them, no I'm right, and these are your daddy issues.... for them to say, no, can we not waste time on this....for me to then reply, well, you have an attitude and you're in denial, and you need anger management and help with your daddy issues. That would make me a moron. One with a lot of nerve to tell someone that I have the correct assessment when they tell me quite straight that I have no clue. And I would be the first to call myself a moron in that situation. It's like telling someone who states, I will stroke your dog...No don't it bites.....No it won't dogs love me....Trust me it will bite....I have never been bitten by a dog before....It will bite you...I am telling you I will not get bitten....It will bite you. touches dog, get's bitten My astonished response being, what kind simpleton are you, how many times did I tell you in plain English??!! Then their response is to ignore their oblivious ignoration to the facts they have just been repeatedly told, then whine about being bitten and being called a simpleton?
I actually find it funny that I can take a lot of criticism, a lot has been made here, that is driven by people getting a real feeling for what my mental state is, and making statements/asking questions, which I actively encourage, and is really helping. The fact that no one can see my irritation is nothing more that the REPEATED refusal of others to be able to accept their assumptions are incorrect wasting pages and pages of my thread is almost so stupid now that I can smile at it. It's such a simple concept, I don't give a monkeys except my thread gets hijacked by this pointless drivel about matters that nothing to do with my mental state.
Your 4th paragraph re the materialisation, spot on. I know exactly what to do in terms of being a good mother, and how to act the part. I just have no feelings of wanting to be a mother to this child/a boy. It's like I can't be the mother I know I so desperately want to be.
Yes I do place a high value on the comments of those who can understand the issues in hand, and disregard those that haven't the first clue where I'm coming from. Don't confuse this (as I think a suprising majority are) with me thinking people aren't entitled to think whatever they like. They are. It's just plain common sense that I would consider and reflect the comments of someone making relevant and challenging points, as opposed to someone banging on (over and over) about something that has no part of this issue.
x x x
How do you know you don't have a personality disorder?
You're sounding, frankly, unhinged now.
And will you please stop using the word 'moron'. It is offensive.
Something again interesting today, which is possibly as a result of me talking on here.... I don't know whether it's good, or not, but it's something at least....
Picking The Boy up from the gates, his teacher comes out. "Can I have a word?" "Sure?" (uh oh....) "If The Boy tells you today that he is not allowed to win races at sports day, could you please tell him it's fine, and he can?" "Er, yes, of course I will, why?" "We had a sports day practice today, and he won every race, and the other children got quite cross with him and told him he musn't win"
And for a split second, I was really pleased. This time last year, The Boy was the most useless runner ever, falling over his feet. To those of you who watch Friends, think Phoebe's crazy running in the park. Yes, really. So it took me quite aback that he won every race, and again it was this tiniest flash, but I felt happy. I wouldn't say proud per say, but definitely happy. I don't now, recounting the story, but I did at the time.
On the one hand, this is a first, must be a good thing? On the other, this thread has got me thinking about so much, I question, is it? Am I actually engaging with something to do with him, or do I feel just a little pleasure from the fact something else in my life came first at something, as I do place a lot of importance on being the best.
x x x
Working - you are incredibly insightful and articulate about narcissistic personality traits. I agree NPD as a "disorder" is too sweeping, people are too complex for such reductive labels, absolutely. (The Stately Homes thread is riddled with such NPD references, understandably, and sometimes I feel it can limit understanding). I have found it extremely helpful to read your post in regards to my mother who exhibits several such traits but has no realisation at all . It is said though that it is extremely difficult for anyone with such a lack of empathy etc to accept this or their effect on others.
Are you trolling or writing a book OP? honest question .
Am I writing a book? Or even better making this up. Are you actually fucking serious. Very unimpressed with that. Very.
Or is it
Or even could be more apt ending for the more aggressive posts
Sorry, just answering for Op there
Twiddles thumbs... nice weather we're having.
For those interested (obviously the OP won't be) but, for those that are, here are some indicators of NPD. You need to have 5 of the following:
Diagnostic criteria for 301.81 Narcissistic Personality Disorder
A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
(1) has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
(2) is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
(3) believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
(4) requires excessive admiration
(5) has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
(6) is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
(7) lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
(8) is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
(9) shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
For those interested, Calypso's prior posts have all but one been deleted by MN, and others responding to her helpful, eloquent and highly informative posts have sadly been wiped too....
Deliberately posting all day long regarding issues that have been specifically called time and time again as irrelevant and off topic and not of interest.... takes a special kind of, well "special"......
x x x
Calypso, yes that's helpful, seen before somewhere, think in Children of the Self-absorbed. Very helpful read, actually and for me less reductive, black & white thinking than Toxic Parents.
Sugar- several of your posts have also been deleted. As have a couple of mine (a first for me!) This has got unbelievably heated at times so hardly surprising...
Mine have been deleted purely as they have been responses to other people's initial comments that have been deleted. I queried it. There was nothing wrong with what I wrote, it was removed as it was in direct response to a prior post that had been wiped for being inappropriate. If you look at the little bit of text that appears when a post gets wiped, you will see what I mean...
x x x
They were deleted due to complaints that your personal attacks breached guidelines.
Did you not read the bit saying I queried.
x x x
Yet again this is more pointless side tracking. Stop wasting my thread please. If you want to talk about NPD, start your own topic. This is not what this thread concerns, and the majority of us are trying to discuss the important issued here.....
x x x
Op, the majority of us see NPD as relevant here. Again, you cannot dictate what others say. They will say what they will. This is not a 1:1 therapy service but an open and public forum.
Nope, many of my posts still stand. I too, in 6 years of mumsnet have never, ever been deleted before
I think your spot on with NPD.
Sugar, even down to your posts being deleted you can't see they were deleted due to your breech of MN guidelines.
Please seek real life help, this is not the place for you.
It does look like a possible diagnosis.
Please seek help!
"Your 4th paragraph re the materialisation, spot on. I know exactly what to do in terms of being a good mother, and how to act the part. I just have no feelings of wanting to be a mother to this child/a boy. It's like I can't be the mother I know I so desperately want to be."
I hear this in so many of your posts and I really feel for the deep sense of loss you have that this is happening in your life. Remember again that the NPD "box" is just a box... as I said previously, we use the word bouquet to describe any random collection of flowers be they dandelions or orchids and no diagnostic list ever does or ever could describe any human being given our glorious and inconsistent complexities whether deemed "normal" or "abnormal". I would tend to reject the use of the term "personality disorder" as I believe all the reasons we post here are afflictive mind states and each of us has experience of a wide range of positive and negative mental states - we all contain, as Walt Whitman would have it, multitudes.
I do think that if you externalise it and strip away all of those diagnostic behaviours and just think of it as being about a sense of a fragmented self because everything you ever dreamed of seems totally out of your grasp, there may be something in what people are seeing.
One thing that struck me is that there is growing recognition that the idea of a "self" is something that is,, in itself, a construct but our rigid adherence to our own self-concept is often the root cause of human suffering - ALL human suffering, not just that which passes the grade for some sort of psychological or psychiatric label.
I have heard this book is quite good at explaining this school of thought, though I will confess not to have read it personally.
Beyond and underneath all this pain that your mind is creating, there is a whole and complete you - that sovereign, unique person that I mentioned in my first post on this thread. There is a common Mindfulness meditation which is about focusing on a mountain and imagining the core stability of a mountain as the centre of your self, with your thoughts, emotions and experiences like weather patterns around the mountain. Sometimes it will be stormy, sometimes it will be clear, there will similar patterns of weather you encounter over and over again but there is a healthy and whole person capable of deep, limitless love and compassion in there - limitless meaning capable of loving a boy child with time and the right support and understanding for your unique situation.
I don't know how helpful this thread is now (to anyone)?
Sugar It will not work telling people not to post/start another thread/not comment/refrain from deviating etc as you have chosen to post on a public forum.
As a "layman" I think the NPD is worth investigating. I appreciate that you vehemently deny it to be any where near the case, but consider that that is exactly what someone suffering with NPD would do.
I won't post again as I am uncomfortable with the turn it has taken.
But what I will say is that, like your son, my Mum didn't show me love. I also played on my own 99% of the time. It affected my whole life. I was desperately sad twinned with desperate to please. I became extremely good at pretending. So much so I became an actor. How much all of that had on my own parenting issues (see previous) I have no idea. My relationship with my mother is NOT a "mother/daughter" relationship. She happens to be the woman who gave birth to me.
Sugar You speak of your own mother with love and affection. I have no idea what that would be like. Please don't risk your son feeling the same any more than he does already. My Dad died when I was four so I also didn't/don't know what it was like to have a father either.
I really wish you and your son the best of luck.
My god! Why are people still trying to support this selfish, stuck up cow?! I have similar issues regarding bonding (I always wanted a daughter, but motherhood is not how I imagined and I hate the detachment I feel towards my dd), but still utterly shocked by op's attitude. I don't see her changing, so just let her get on with it. I just hope for her son's sake, someone ie: his grandma or father, notices something is amiss, and will give him the love and attention he deserves.
I have read the majority of the thread, but not all of it.
Can I ask two, off the wall questions?
1.When you were a child, and you were given a toy that you did not like much, what did you do with it?
2.Following on from Gracie's post actually, how is your mother towards your son?
You love your child. It is on a deep level, but it is there.
sugar Interestng that you say you 'queried' the deletion of your posts and imply that they were only deleted because they were responses to what others had written. I'm afraid that's not the case, is it?
I deleted one of your posts because it contained a personal attack. MNHQ told me they were looking into it. About two minutes later, the post
I had complained about was deleted, and was subsequently joined by other posts you'd written. They were deleted because they contained personal attacks which are against the talk guidelines. Perhaps it makes you feel better to pretend that's not what happened but it absolutely is.
Meant to say I complained about your post, not deleted.
Although you speak the truth about the deleted posts, I'm afraid the Op will probably contest or ignore that as it doesn't fit into her schema.
The op has scripts in her head.
The boy did not fit the script.
She doesnt know what to do.
Have you ever cried about it SugarHut?
Well, ignoring the ignorami, and actually feeling a little pity for them with clearly nothing better to do, back to the issue in hand....thank you for keeping this on track guys, in the few days that I have now spoken to you about this, I'm feeling like this really could be the start of me working this out. And a little frustrated that now I see how helpful you guys have been, kicking myself that I have kept this all bottled up for 5 years. I'm actually looking forward to my first appointment, the fact that I feel like I WANT to change, as opposed to a few days ago, when I spoke out for the first time because I felt I should change even if I didn't care, I just knew I was broken, is down to you talking this through with me. It's phenomenal really.
Shakey, your situation does sound very unpleasant, and one I really hope I won't force upon my son. I'm sorry that you went through that, and I can't relate to what you felt so I won't patronise with "I understand" because I can't imagine what it was like. Is my son aware now? To what extent it may have happened already I don't know, but I truly believe he is unaffected so far due to his age. It's not a blind denial, if I thought he was being affected, I think you can tell from how I write that I don't mince my words and would say so. The slight difference is that he is shown love all the time, and told he is loved all the time, and I do not think he is yet of a mental age to detect anything particularly suspicious. I am not foolish enough to think he will not start picking things up in the next few years unless something changes.
Working9, the mountain analogy is nice, I can relate to that a lot. It's quite true that I feel I'm good at every other aspect of my life, so I know the strong, capable core is there, that has the ability to tackle pretty much anything. And there are these large thunderous grey clouds that just hover above the peak and I can't dissipate them. You've been outstanding in making me explore this in such thoughtful depth, and I've surprised myself with the resulting revelations, I will certainly print this out and take to my appointment.
Breeze, it's actually knocked the wind out of me a little to hear you say that. That you've read through everything, and you can detect than on a deep level I do love my son. It's a beautiful thing to say if you really mean that, and makes me feel a little emotional. That perhaps it's not all a lost cause. I can't see any love in me for him, so that you can even see a glimmer, despite my inability to see it, means a lot. Re the toy thing, as I child I was a bit odd with toys, I never ever asked for anything, much to my mother's despair, from the age of talking, every birthday/Christmas to the question "what would you like?" my response every time was "a box of chocolates and a bunch of flowers." Bizarre but true. So I had very few toys, but consequently the select few I did have were all adored. I do remember once an Aunt buying me a make your own weather vane kit, and having no interest in it, so it stayed in the box and I gave it to one of my friends about a year later. Have I ever cried about it? Many a time. I'm not sure what the tears are really from though, self pity at a situation I feel I am life long doomed too, sadness for a little boy that has no hope with his mother, the unfairness I feel....I just don't know. I never feel like I can't cope though. It's not a struggle to battle to the end of each day. It's not a helpless woe is me thing. I am very much of the stance that I was stupid enough to put us both in this situation, it can't be reversed, so get on with it as best you can. Which externally to view me as a mother is great, but internally when you see what my mind has become, is a joke.
x x x
x x x
Thank you very much for answering me. I appreciate it.
I am always of the opinion that there is hope btw, in any situation.
I also asked how you mother is towards your son. Apologies if you have already answered this somewhere in this thread and I missed it.
Reading through all of this, the thing that strikes me is the importance of the subconscious. Consciously, OP, you may genuinely have no sense that your relationships with your mother and father have affected the way you feel about your son.
But what any good therapist will help you to begin to understand, is that there is a lot going on under the surface which we are not consciously aware of. Similarly, I would guess that you are right that your son has little or no conscious knowledge of your feelings towards him. But he will subconsciously, through a whole range of the tiniest of signals, have picked up on your feelings towards him. It isn't a coincidence that his very 'good' behaviour matches your own as a child.
But there is some very good news- if you get the right help, and work really hard now, with a genuinely open minded attitude, you can repair the damage that has been done (look up Oliver James on this).
I don't know how you'll receive this post, but I write with the best of intentions and wish you all the best. Also I wanted to let you know that I also picked up on an underlying love for your son from your posts.
Oh, one more thing- I read that your biological father left your mother when you were a young baby? Can you say more about this/think about it on your own a bit? Could your Mum let you know how things were for you both in your early weeks/months?
Did you see the GP yesterday OP?
It's next friday, thought i'd let you know before you get an abusive reply from op!
Breeze, it has been covered, briefly. She is incredibly loving towards him, I could not ask for more. He is literally the light of her life. Maybe it's because of how to her I am everything she could ever want in a daughter, and it is a child of mine so she loves him, maybe she has the boy she never had, or maybe it's a simple as she's a fabulous Nanny naturally.
Exhausipated, you do make me laugh, not in a patronising way, just that I'm smiling at how new posters seem nervous how I may potentially receive something. Please write whatever you feel adds to this thread, I'm still finding it beggars belief that people genuinely can't see the distinction between my responses to 99% of the wonderful people on here where we debate, challenge, question, discuss....and me getting tetchy with the other "special" 1%. And it is 1%, they just post, and post, and post so it seems like a higher majority. It properly makes me laugh now.
I do agree entirely that subconscious will combine with the conscious and there will be things pointed out to me during whatever therapy may happen that I don't see myself, or even knew existed within me. I do have a massive amount of self awareness though....I know am screwed up in the head in a lot of ways, but I also know that in other ways I am not. I think it's fairly obvious that I call a spade a spade and I have no problem stating some fairly cutting remarks about myself. If I thought for one moment I had some kind of personality disorder for example, I would be the first to agree. It's not denial that I don't, it's knowing myself, knowing my own mind, and some things resonate with me (I clearly have issues with creating perfection, which seem obvious now) and others do not (anger management, etc)
It's very interesting you pick up on the underlying love too. And a lovely thing that even though I never feel it, you guys can recognise it's their somehow. Reassuring.
Re my real Dad...he's never been a part of my life, as I had an immediate stepfather who has been Dad virtually from a few weeks old to date. He's awesome. My real Dad, I have never been denied access too, he's ok, in a position of very high power so he's permanently busy and never really has time to eat and sleep, so I didn't spend much time with him, but I never felt the need to, being supported so well by my Dad at home. I don't have any issues here, had my stepfather not been about, things may be very different, but he is my Dad, he's like a rock, he's the voice of reason when Mum and I clash, he's the man that takes The Boy to football matches, he's great.
I know we were both more than ok when she left him when I was tiny, we've spoken about it lots, and I was always an easy baby, and she's as independent and self sufficient as me, not to cope is not acceptable in our genetics if that makes sense.
x x x
Re. Your male friends: Do they inspire you at all for your sons future? ie, are you able to visualise your son as a man? What sort of man do you envisage him to be? What would be your hopes for him, if you have any.
I think your phrase "not to cope is not acceptable...." is very telling.
Have there been any (other) episodes in you life when you felt you had achieved less than perfection or haven't coped?
Is it possible you reframe things that have been less than perfect as not mattering or not impinging on your emotional well being?
I used to be something of a perfectionist (it's possible I've gone too far the other way now!). I distinctly remember the first time I heard a friend say, "perfection is the enemy of the good", it was a light bulb moment. That phrase (plus thousands of £s of therapy) has been so helpful to me. You might not ever have the perfect relationship with your son that you imagine you could have with a daughter, but you can still have a good relationship with him-if you get the specialist help you need.
So, all that was leading up to asking how you left it with the Anna Freud Centre-did you say you could have a half hour consultation?
I'm a perfectionist too harrap and it causes all manner of problems. I am very rigid and 'black and white' in my thinking. If something can't be perfect, then it is spoiled, flawed, wrong. I wonder if it's the same for the OP. As you say, her relationship with her son can't be perfect (and a relationship with a hypothetical daughter would also be unlikely to be perfect because...well, relationships aren't perfect) so it's just all wrong. There's no point going for the middle ground; for 'good enough'. That, at least, is how I feel about a lot of aspects of my life. If things aren't perfect, I have been known to deliberately sabotage them so that they are really shit, rather than just 'ok'.
Yup waterlego, you put it so well and I relate to what you say absolutely.
Perfectionism doesn't work long term as a strategy to get through life and be reasonably happy. It can't because as you say, there are no perfect relationships, we do age, we can't control other people's actions and (for the most part) we can't chose the gender of our children.
It took me till I was in my mid thirties (quite a long time ago now) when I was looking down the barrel of a nervous breakdown to begin to recognise and relinquish my rigid thinking.
It might have been mentioned before in this thread but I have been reading a bit about ACT (acceptance, commitment therapy). The stuff I have read seems a bit jargony but it appears to be mindfulness based and starts from the idea of truly accepting things as they are and the pain some things generate rather than trying to find ways to avoid that pain. Then committing to find strategies to make life as it is better.
Might be something worth researching Sugar?
I am really interested in the mindfulness type of therapies, thanks harrap for mentioning it as it has reminded me to look into it My strive for perfection provokes a lot of anxiety in me and anxiety is something I still haven't learnt to 'sit with'. I have always medicated it or fought it, in a variety of unhelpful ways. I am starting a masters course in the autumn, which I should be really excited about, but I am already anticipating the potential for disappointing myself with mediocrity and I really don't want to feel that way. I feel encouraged that you say you were able to start changing the way you felt in your mid 30s. That's the age I am now and I am hopeful that it's not too late to reverse this way of thinking.
Anyway, will shut up now so as not to further derail thread.
Jon Kabat-zinn's work on mindfulness is excellent. Also worthwhile -8 week mindfulness course in MBSR or MCBT.
A work in progress for me, but am much more aware of the need to be mindful, at least, even if I don't mediate daily. Particularly helpful with kids, I find. There's real comfort to be had in just focusing in the present moment and no further.
Do my male friends inspire me? No. They range from being hilariously funny, to super smart, three of them are so business savvy they are on the Sunday Times Rich List, and some are just wonderful people who are the best to spend a long lazy bbq afternoon with. I love them all in different ways. Every one of them is divorced with a woman who has taken the majority of their money and their children, which is all I see my son doing. 65% of marriages do, it's more likely he will be in this "norm" than not. Would I rather I had a daughter who could "control" (wrong word but I can't think of the right one) the situation, or would I rather have a son who is 65% likely to get financially and emotionally raped? Speaks for itself.
And no, there really haven't been any episodes in my life where I haven't felt I achieved perfection. I think perfection is impossible, so again the wrong word to use, but I have always worked on what I want until it is precisely that, it's perfect to me. Yes, it hadn't occurred to me that something imperfect doesn't matter, but I think I actually do think like that. Which is rather scary. And very unhealthy.
It's also that "perfection" seems to happen naturally to me, I am one of those gits where things just seem to go right all the time, without me doing anything really, but a lot down to my family and nothing or any real recognition that I've done. I remember once in a local pub, a terribly embarrassing moment, which now is bloody hilarious, but I wanted to die at the time....A guy that I used to date (very briefly) had a new partner, and I had heard she was being driven mad by him constantly jabbering about me. She came into the pub shooting dirty looks, and once sufficiently inebriated, tottered over and shouted "Well look at me, with my flash cars from daddy, and my house from mummy, you earned none of it and you're good for nothing except posing infront of a camera which is not down to any talent, you're just LUCKY SPERM" Credit to her, that's fucking hilarious now. But behind the hilarity, there's quite a bit of truth to that. It's why I got my accountancy/law degree, I was desperate to show people I was more than the gormless model they had me down as. The bubbly, fun, ditsy little clotheshorse. When I was about 18 I remember being at a wedding and people in a group nearby talking about me and my friends. "I imagine they'll all marry footballers." Like that was the best I could hope for and my dream. I was really angered by that. I do get written off a lot of the time, when I speak to people they nearly always comment on how well I can hold a conversation, as if I should be flattered, it's actually massively insulting. Well done you, you look thick as a plank, but have a gold star for stringing a sentence together.
Do you ever feel like you just expect to be good at everything, and wonder what kind of point you're trying to prove and to who? Maybe I'm not such a bad mother, I know I need serious help with feeling attachment to him, but maybe there's less to do with maternal inability, and more to do with this constant obsession for everything to run immaculately.
Bugger it. I feel like I've just taken a step back now
Haven't phoned Anna Freud Centre, will be doing so Monday....
x x x
On another point, he's been accepted into both of the village schools, and he'll be moving as of September. I think this is a really positive step. I think we both need to make our lives a lot more normal. I think if I felt more normal, I would be more accepting to "average" within both of our lives...
x x x
I think it's about 40% of marriages that end in divorce currently, so that's not something to feel too pessimistic about. And besides, what are your expectations/hopes for your son aside from what sort of marriage he might have? (If he even has one at all). Your males friends sound like a successful and happy bunch. No reason why your son couldn't end up in the same position, so long as he feels valued and has fairly robust self-esteem.
Re others' reactions to you: You perceive that you have been lucky in life and that others are perhaps envious of you (the latter is another feature of NPD but that is by the by as you don't have that). You feel have to prove yourself to others ('It's why I got my accountancy/law degree, I was desperate to show people...') because you don't want people to think you are 'just' a model. You were angered that people thought you might aspire to be a footballer's wife. In this thread, you have mentioned your qualifications and achievements quite a number of times. Why do you think it matters so much to you what others think of you?
I am not the excellent mother I wanted to be, and had envisaged myself being. I do love my children, despite some early bonding difficulties, but being a perfectionist has not helped me be a good mother to them. I feel guilty for bringing them into the world; for being their mother. I have been almost constantly disappointed by my 'performance' as a mother. This is the way my perfectionism manifests itself in my parenting. Yours manifests itself a different way; whereby it isn't you that isn't perfect, but your son.
Sugar - you sound, rightly from what you say, quite critical of the social mores/expectations of some in your social circle. Why don't you branch out a little and meet different kinds of people? Maybe, as you, suggest via the local primary school. It may do both of you some good.
I am currently an expat and the range of people here is vast. Fairly easy to hang out with the well-connected or the wealthy (along with other hangers-on) but to be honest I now find much of this scene shallow and boring. What excited me long ago at university now seems meaningless and ridiculously judgmental. And not about the important stuff! In my head, I label some friends "party people" - great fun for sharing enjoyable moments at my current stage but not keepers. Long-term friends at "home" in all cases are decent, trustworthy people who
share my values to a very large extent. Otherwise, what's the point?
Sugar I really don't see why you feel you've taken a step back, can you explain?
For what it's worth I thought your post was quite a positive one.
I used to strongly feel the need to make an impression other people, now not so much. For me the need to achieve and impress others was a product of terrible insecurity that stemmed from a dysfunctional childhood. I'm much more genuinely confident and comfortable in my own skin these days.
You feel that as a model you have come in for envy, hostility and stereotyping- I am sure you have. A mum at my son's school (her son has left now) was a model and I am willing to confess that as an er ... average looking woman I found it a bit difficult standing next to an amazing looking one (even more so when I went to a couple of her parties and the room was full of amazing looking people!) and if we had been the same age and thus "in competition" I'd have found it even more difficult. In days gone by I might have felt the need to put her down in some way instead of wanting to get to know her -I might be being a little unfair to myself there but I would definitely have found it an issue.
I presume that modelling involves intense scrutiny, competition and rejection? If so -out of interest - what's that like?
Waterlego-good luck with your master's-don't let your worries spoil something you want to do.
Hi op. Now back home.
I am finding something a bit curious.
When you were 20 and 21, and had your soldier husband, you wanted to give him a boy. Can you remember why?
I don't have any aspirations or hopes for him...I would like to think that he's happy in his future life, but because I have no real care in discovering the man he will become, I don't really have any real preference or interest in whatever he chooses to do.
I don't perceive I am lucky and others are envious. Others perceive me to be more than lucky, I have spent my life where the great British public's attitude is one of jealousy, and "look at that bitch who has it all." I say this because unless you've been on the receiving hand of it, you have no idea how extreme it is. In this country people are mega jealous of successful people, the kids that do well in school are bullied for being "square" the pretty ones are labelled as dumb, and I will get rather mad with anyone who disagrees with this, because first hand, it IS how you are treated. And how I have spent my whole life being treated by people, always that don't know me. People love to find out that the millionaire at the party is actually a prick, then they can give a reason to dislike them rather than admit jealousy. Harrap you are spot on with people feel the need to try and put you down rather than get to know you. Envy, hostility and stereotyping? Take that, times it by 200 and you will be somewhere near. Yes, in this job you get accepted a lot rejected a lot, you don't really give a monkeys, unless it's a job worth a fortune. For every screening, they already have an idea of what they want before you even turn up, if it's not you, you just smile and walk onto the next job which you'll then get.
My mentioning other qualifications than my main job on here, are purely for that reason. When people hear what I do, they visibly dumb down the way they speak to me. They make assumptions of being self centred and incapable of achieving much more than grinning at a lens. That I'm needy and have to be in the spotlight. They won't ever admit this, but they do. So, mentioning my main job, was to let people know that I am in that industry in case they thought it may have some kind of impact on the problems I have, and the mentioning of the others was to stop the thread being written in a manner and with the assumptions that it relates to a dumbass model, people lose that stereotype when they realise I am also a nerdy accountant and a ruthless lawyer. And I'm sure every single one of you will insist you would have made no different comments, or addressed me in a different way, but trust me, after 30 years experience of this, even if the person does it subconsciously, you would have, it's the bane of my bloody life. I don't care what people think, but when it comes to something like this, unless I pointed out the other things I do, jobwise, I assure you, the majority would have been concluding that I'm self obsessed, "want a girl to turn into a dolly like me" as some utter genius wrote earlier. Which would have been a waste of my time, and theirs.
Re wanting to give my husband (in my very distant past) a boy, he just wanted one and I was so desperate to make him happy that I wanted to have one to make us the family he wanted. The marriage wasn't even a marriage I was just infatuated, as girls often are of that age, and just wanted to make him as happy as I could. I do remember definitely wanting to give him a son though.
x x x
Do you think that if you had had a boy back then, that you would have been happy about that. I presume you would have been.
So does that really mean, that actually to you, a bot or girl is sort of an object, an appendage to you?
Managing to confuse myself here, so if you dont understand, I will try to resay it, and reword and rethink the question.
OP, it seems to me that things are very black and white in your thinking. The thing that I would contend here is that other people may have had different experiences to you and just because they have, it really does not mean that no-one believes your own experiences.
You say in your last post that you would get mad at anyone who disagrees with your opinion as your experience is fact. But I am one of those who was one of the highest achievers both academically and socially in my school and not once was I bullied. Why would my experiences make you angry? Are they not as valid as your own experiences? I am wondering why if someone has a different viewpoint to yours, you become so angry? Maybe this is why you have detached from your son as he is not what you wanted?
As for wanting a boy, you did indeed "give" your husband a boy but the relationship didn't work out. Perhaps there is an underlying subconscious resentment there that you gave your H what he wanted but it was for "nothing"?
My post should say boy not bot
Showtunes, I'm pleased that you were not bullied for being smart. Neither was I, and the only reason I wasn't was the way I looked. 99% of the smart children in my school were "put down" and laughed at by the less able children. It's the way of this country. In the USA you are applauded for achieving, here it is the opposite, petty jealousy. I'm not saying I will get mad for anyone's differing opinion, I'm saying if someone tries to come in with some p.c. cock and bull about how no, people don't all treat others like this. I've lived it for 30 years. You ask any one of my work colleagues how many genuine female friends they have, and they'll do the same thing as me. Laugh. Or ask them how many people take them seriously. 99.999999% of people treat you this way, as a child and as an adult. I am saying if someone tries to say that's not true, it is wrong. I think you take a lot of what I say solely at face value, you take them as black and white, and get the (slightly) wrong message. Read between the lines a little more. Also you need to re-read the thread re the husband thing, you have gotten that upside down and not going to retype it all out again.
Breeze, I have been asking myself that very same question. I just don't know. I could have had it and loved the child, I could have been in this boat, I can't possibly predict what would have been. One day I was telling him how it would make my life complete to give him the son he wanted, couple of months later I was divorcing him. It was "teenage" rubbish, that meant a lot at the time. I don't think it means the child is an appendage, almost an accessory I think you mean....and no, definitely not. The way I feel when I imagine I have a girl is so unbelievably strong, it's like the whole inside of me gets hot, and I think how desperately sad it is, if this is what most mothers feel naturally how amazing it must be.
x x x
Can I say, that the ideas and feelings you have about having a girl are just that.
I am a bit loathe to burst your bubble, and I probably wont anyway, but what say if your girl had big ears.
or big ears, big nose big thighs etc?
It seems to mean that you aim for perfection in everything.
But, as someone on MN once said, she went to the GP.
And the GP pointed out that
her perfectism is imperfect.
Because wanting to be perfect is inherently flawed, and therefore not perfect.
She said that the scales fell from her eyes from that moment on.
Sorry to throw another spanner in the works here but I am no looker either. Also I'm an ethnic minority and was in a 99% white school. So yes, I'm saying that what you are saying is not true. It's true for some people but I don't think it's as high as you think it is. Again, your experiences are not EVERYONE'S experiences.
Your experiences do not invalidate others', just as others' experiences do not invalidate yours.
Can I ask why if you believe that it is so difficult to have a genuine female friend, you believe that having a girl would so amazing then? Just because you are related, it doesn't mean that you will be friends.
I have read the thread from the start and once again, you're coming across as rude to people who want to help you.
So far, I think that there are many underlying issues at hand that you need to discuss with a professional and you are fixating on how things would be better if you'd had a son. It's something you can't change and fixating on this issue means that you don't have to deal with the other issues.
And make of this what you will but I feel sorry for you OP. You seem very unhappy.
Breeze, of course you can say it...and if it's what you interpret from either my lack of expression through writing, or from they way you interpret things then so be it, but it's wrong. I know how I feel and that's not the case. What if my girl had big ears? What a funny question...then I would have a girl with big ears.
Showtunes, I appreciate what you're saying, you're in a minority. And that's a good thing for you. You interpret this as me thinking your point us invalid. You are taking things at face value, I think some people either "get" my way of speaking or don't. Working9 does, Shakey does, Harrap (whilst we have conflicting views on a few things, which is healthy) does. You just don't. And you'll take this the wrong way, I am all too aware. You read the black and white and focus almost on the grammar and literal words without getting the right underlying tone. I too am in a minority for not being picked on/disliked for being the "clever kid" in school. Most "clever kids" receive this unfair treatment. I didn't, but I can see that the majority of them did.
I do have a handful of close female friends, once women get to know me, they really like me. They all want to dislike me on first impression though, it's virtually human nature. Read Harrap's post a little above, refreshingly honest. I wish more people would own up to that. I appreciate it very much from her, as most people swear (lie) black and blue that they do not. I don't believe a girl would be blindly amazing, it's again not the right interpretation of how I feel, and meant in a totally unpatronising way, I can't explain it to you, other than to repeat what has already been written, and you will therefore just draw the same conclusion.
I don't think anyone knows what the issues are, this is a forum (although the understanding and help from some people I am truly blown away with), not professional help, maybe there are hundreds, maybe I just have one or two big ones. I'm hoping that whoever I may be referred to is able to pick through my brain and see what the hell is going on.
I'm definitely phoning Anna Freud tomorrow, and the big day/first step at the GP is Friday.
x x x
They all want to dislike me on first impression though, it's virtually human nature. Seriously? Do you genuinely believe this? What is it that makes you so certain of this?
Or do you reject before being rejected and then say well it was jealousy? Genuine questions here, just trying to understand.
See Harraps post. She is thankfully very honest about what maybe 0.5% of women will admit to being like, but 99% actually are. It's fact.
This is getting rather sidetracked on something not particularly on topic, let's leave it there.....
x x x
I did read it. And I think that is it relevant.
OP, I think that even if you had had a girl, you would still be here asking why your girl isn't perfect like yourself or why your relationship with her isn't as good as it is between yourself and your mother.
Right. So you have a boy.And he is near perfect.
Having a girl would have been perfect.
So really, you have nearly got perfection.
You are of course entitled to your thoughts. They're about as far wrong to apply to me as you can get. To read this thread and conclude that is astonishing...in my humble opinion of course.
If I had a girl I wouldn't care what she was like.
x x x
Breeze, that's a very interesting thing to say. And you'd think it was the case...I think what I struggle with is never being able to do anything about it. If my problem was an inability to attach or care because my child was, say, catastophically violent, even if I had made no progress in the last 5 years trying to fix the problem, I would keep working away at a cure. This is incurable, and I think that thought is what the rest of my problems stem from.
x x x
Not quite sure I fuuly understand your last post.
Are you saying that in esscence you are stuck with a boy, and cant change him to a girl, so it is game up?
Interesting that you use the word incurable. Do you view his sex as an incurable disease?
Sorry about the spelling errors there.
Usually what is advised is that if you can't change the situation, you have to change the way you think / feel about the situation.
Ok....GP appointment endured, have been categorically told, there is no way you are depressed. Lovely. On the down side, have also been told, we're not entirely sure where to place you, this is very uncommon. Which was sodding excellent to hear. Now being referred to 3 separate counselling places....which does make me feel essentially like a freak, but here's hoping one of them can spot something recognisably wrong and start to work on improving it. Feeling very positive that I've taken the first step, and a little deflated that they sat there scratching their heads not knowing where to even send me.
We shall see how this develops.....
x x x
I dont think you are depressed either.
Thanks for the update.
You have a nearly perfect boy.
I so very much hope that he will be fully loved and accepted by you.
Well done for going to GP, OP.
Brave 1st step.
Take all 3 counselling appts if you can - you have more chance of connecting with one of them that way. Not all Counselling models (or indeed Counsellors themselves) will suit you, or you will like.
It needs to be someone you feel comfy with.
Have you contacted Anna Freud centre?
I have personal experience and they are really excellent with more complex issues.
If this is more than / diff to depression, then they might be the specialists you could benefit from?
Keep at it and you will win through, for the sake of both of you. x
ps. - Don't feel like a freak, you are not at all. x.
good to hear you've taken the first step-keep us posted.
Sounds like the gp took you seriously in referring you. Does sound strange to have so many referrals at once, I would have thought they would refer you to one place and get them to refer onto somewhere else if not correct for you. Hope one of them is helpful for you.
Makes me feel like a proper little odd job to have several referrals. But she did say it could take a while for the appointments to come through, and some might read my case notes and think my case is not applicable to the services they offer, so she's put me forward to three. Bit of a waiting game now, but I'll go to anything they suggest. I do feel a slight change in me just from talking to people on here. I used to beat myself up for a lot of things I thought I was, but I now see I'm not, it's been so helpful, I can concentrate on what is wrong instead of dithering around things that are not.
x x x
That makes sense then, for the people to decide if they are the right people to see you. As I cannot imagine you needing or benefitting from 3 types of (probably different) treatment at once. Think the waiting time from referral is 18 weeks, well it is for physical health issues at hospitals so not too long. Glad you are seeing some changes.
A brave first step. Be prepared to throw some cash at the problem if you don't find a counsellor who suits you through the NHS. Glad this is being taken seriously, for you and your son's sake.
Hi Sugar, I agree with BlackSwan - be prepared to invest some cash in this if the NHS services aren't what you need. Don't think of it as affixing a price to your mental health, but rather investing your money in your own health and future - a very wise thing to do.
And good on you for being prepared to try everything they offer - that's an excellent step. You're not an oddball or a freak. My (lovely) GP always says we're all on a spectrum of normality - some of us just end up a bit too far along one side of the spectrum. It doesn't mean we're not normal. Good luck.
Well, frankly, balls.
Just discovered I'm 7 weeks pregnant. Think I'm happy about it. Nothing through from the doctors yet, so no further forward with the problem with my son, and now have this bolted on.
Not sure whether I want my girl so I'll be happy and maybe this will just make me accept The Boy....or whether there will be such a clear favourite it will be detrimental to his growing up, so I'm better off with another boy, so neither will be a "favourite".
Oh what a pickle.
x x x
Can see the dilemma. Will you be a single parent or does a partner have a role in this and does that make a difference. Private scans may identify gender by 16 weeks if you progress that far.
How far did you get with assessment for NHS counselling? Or would you be able to access some quick private treatment now to help you decide your way forward?
I've still got this thread on "watch" and I know I wasn't going to post again but things have moved on somewhat.
A dilemma indeed, I imagine Sugar Still early days for the news to settle and be digested. A prompt to the GP could be useful at this stage?
Now I know that (quite rightly) this thread is and should be a "haven" of sorts for you (and anyone else in similar position) but I feel compelled to ask (?) or at least, state that it actually distresses me to see you write and refer to your son as "The Boy". I can't help think of the book "A Child called It" by Dave Peltzer. Feel free to tell me to fuck off but I can't help hoping that if you at least refer to him as your son, then subconsciously it might make a tiny inroad. <hopeful>
Shakey, if you look through the post, on several occasions I've had to point out "The Boy" is a coloquial term used by the entire family. It is his nickname and not something he is called as in "The Individual" or "It" . It astonishes me that this isn't obvious.
Hoop, nothing from GP as yet. Being a single parent is kind of down to me. The father is someone I have recently met, who is very nice, handsome, thrilled at the pregnancy, loves my little boy, incredibly successful.....bores me to the point of distraction. The concept of him as a father, I couldn't ask for much more. The concept of him as a partner leads me to believe I will end up having a string of affairs with people who make me feel alive.... The situation is very much he can not believe his luck and is now virtually suffocating me, clingy, needy. I don't respond to this, I need a VERY strong alpha male who I feel total respect for.
Will be 8 weeks on Wednesday....looking online at options.
Never rains but it pours hey x x x
"Not sure whether I want my girl so I'll be happy and maybe this will just make me accept The Boy....or whether there will be such a clear favourite it will be detrimental to his growing up, so I'm better off with another boy, so neither will be a "favourite". "
Having you as his mother will be detrimental to his growing up regardless of this new baby. That isn't said to be nasty, just real.
I've read all of this thread and I wonder at all if you've read it back and are really aware of how you come across to other people.
I feel desperately sad for your son, to the point where I fear this will haunt me. I truly hope he has someone in his life who can love him and give him what he deserves, even if it's your 'boring' new partner.
I could offer advice from professional experience but it wouldn't be useful, you seem ready to acknowledge that there is a problem but not prepared to be the one responsible. I can only wish you luck.
Sugar I have read all the thread and have "conversed" with you a few times on it. Yes,that it isanickname and just because it is "obvious" doesn't make it any less distressing. (given the nature of your problem)
I would seriously consider your options regarding your pregnancy. That you have acknowledged you have a problem with your first childbeing a boy is a step.But it is a step towards, what I feel,will be a very long journey for you. And a journey that needs tackling as is.Not with the added stresses a new baby will bring. What if this baby is also a boy? It is unsettling enough that there is oneboy missing out on a parents's love,never mind two.And if it's a girl, the perfect girl you have envisaged,will he be cast aside further?
It's grossly unfair and absolutely horrible for him You are an articulate intelligent woman,please please don't bring another child into this.
The point is, I don't care how the written word comes across. And not in an arrogant way which is instantly what you have jumped to (can't believe I'm explaining this AGAIN to someone who has "read all the post") but in a way that ensures I am as direct as possible. No, its not pc, and it's not written to gain friends and a luvvy support network, it's shocking in places, heartfelt in others, and brutally honest which a lot of people should try and be. It is to gain the insight and advice from people who have had a similar experience, or professional knowledge, of which I can not thank some members enough for taking the time and care to fully understand and put their thoughts forward, it's been life changingly invaluable and prompted me to take professional help.
The concept that I can't take responsibility, thank you for at least making me smile....you can't have read the thread, so I'll not waste any further time here....
Oh and please don't hijack my thread with pointless statements of how I am wrong and you are of course not, you just happen to be in the 70% of posters who really don't read and understand, as opposed to the 30% that truly do. Nothing wrong with that.
Booked in for consultation for termination next Weds. They'll give me a date for the procedure then too. Definitely for the best. I would love to keep the child, but single mother, 2 children, 2 different fathers, neither present, not the best situation, again, being real.
x x x
Shakey, prior post obv not mean't for you. Re the pregnancy, you are right, the more I dwelled on it, the more I panicked it was a girl, and I think I would inevitably have cast him further aside.
Think I'm doing the right thing, it's good to hear reassurance that you do too. Unpleasant decision to make....
x x x
Ps....please don't be distressed with The Boy, it's nothing, seriously nothing. He is The Boy.... also Boy Peas, Peabody, Monkey Moo, The Legend and Wiggly Woo, depending on a) his mood, and b) the family member you talk too.
x x x
Ok, termination done. Last Monday. It was actually a lot more bearable than anticipated, and whilst I have a little sadness that my son is still an only child, I am very much in a happier place. Also, had gained about 8lbs, which in my profession is not cool, so that's slowly coming off now, and I'm feeling a lot more like me again. Got rid of my current partner, who proposed and started looking at massive houses when he found out I was pregnant...too much, too in my face. Ordered me a new RR Sport though, which would have been nice (lol awaits simple types not seeing the humour in that). I just had one of those moments where you just go "Arrrrrrggggghhhhh, fuck OFF!" to everything. Clearing out all the stuff I don't want in my house. Shopping for a new car. Have told my boss I'm having 2 months off. Chucked the boyfriend. Took The Boy to LEGOLAND for a couple of days last week, and my ex is flying us to Portugal for a week this Friday. Spent nearly every day polishing myself where I had let myself go since I found out I was pregnant. Little things, new hair, nails, tans....tiny things, make a massive difference to your mood.
I've had one letter now resulting from the GP's visit. Rather odd really. Quite annoyed at the GP for either not listening or not giving a shit and just ticking the box to get them to contact me. It's from a centre in Great Yarmouth who basically deal predominantly with traveller families, and generally children living in poverty, children of drug users, Jeremy Kyle type stuff sort of "social outcast stereotypes". I have no idea what I am being referred to them for, they are not remotely heading in the direction that my problem stems from. I've researched them extensively over the internet, and frankly it seems like a group of volunteers, majority with no relevant qulaifications who want to help kids with socially/financially inept situations. This is not me, my son doesn't need fruit and veg vouchers, bloody headlice treatments or free school uniform, he needs his mother's head fixed. Binned the letter. I can see me going private with this rather quickly.
On the plus side, not feeling any worse towards him. I did enjoy a couple of points at Lego Land, but maybe 1% of it. That's 1% more than I would have done this time last year. I just watched the other parents all smiling and waving and filming their kids on the rides. Buying the photos. I'm just so unattached to him, got my phone out and blankly copied what they were doing. Feel like such a fraud sometimes.
x x x
I'm sure you've heard the phrase "Fake it till you make it". To all intents and purposes what you're "displaying" is fraudulent. But at least you're doing that. Else, what is the alternative?
I think it may be, as you suggest, wise to go private. Whilst I would not judge or cast aspersions on the place you have been referred to, if from the offset you don't feel it's the right place, then personally I'd make enquiries privately.
Have you considered the possibility that even with counselling, you may never feel any different? How does that prospect make you feel? I may be wrong but from your posts, it comes across that a large percentage is that you feel you ought to do something as opposed to truly wringing your hands in despair. Equally, your perceived indifference to the situation may be a mask, and you really do feel appalled.
Eitherway, obviously yes, it is utterly worth exploring. How is your son by the way? Is he enjoying the summer break etc? We've spent two weeks in Greece, and cut knee/3 stitches aside, it was a well earned break for us
Sugar, I hope your time off work and holiday abroad is helpful for you. I definitely agree that treating yourself is a good way to help lift mood.
If I remember rightly your gp did not know which service would be best for you so out several referral in, perhaps all the options at his disposal. Therefore one of them as you have just found out may not fit and perhaps is best not being followed up. I do think though that you may be frustrated with any NHS provision as it tends to be all one size fits all mentality which is not your situation. I doubt the usual NHS 6 sessions of cbt would suit you either. Whilst you have holiday off work for 2 months could you explore the type of help you would like, whether a private psychiatrist or talking therapy options and see what is the best in the area you can get? At least then you can make a direct comparison with the other NHS referrals before you proceed with either?
Legoland sounds fun, something my son would love!
Shakey... "fake it till you make it"..... this is very true, could not have described it better. It's exactly what I do, for that exact reason, what else is my personal alternative.
A major part of why I haven't done anything until now, is again, exactly what you say. I know I need help, but I do sadly believe that even with counselling, I will never feel different. I just can't get my head round how something so black and white unchangeable as gender, can be "fixed" in my head. If my problem was not being able to cope as he had behavioural issues, then I could feel hope that I could eventually understand them and work with professionals to fix them. Being devastated by a gender, is something that can never be changed....only the depth of my devastation can be attacked and attempted to resolve. Plus it's not really a problem in the literal sense. It's not hyperactivity, it's not ADHD, or another medically diagnosed condition. It's a gender. I hope this is making sense....I don't feel 100% defeated before I even start, I'm trying to say the "root cause" can not be altered, only my thoughts about it...so I do feel rather pessimistic about the outcome, but would love to be proved wrong. I can't see it happening, but you never know, it can't make it any worse to try. You are right though, I am shamefully seeking help because I feel I ought too....I feel so indifferent towards him that he just doesn't provoke the maternal want to help him that would normally instigate a mother seeking help regarding her children. I don't feel appalled, which I know I should, I guess at least I can recognise I should and I'm not just massively in denial, but I just don't get emotional regarding him.
We got back from hols today, and he was fantastically behaved. The men were so impressed with him, and he did a load of "boy" stuff with them..helping with bbqs, digging on the beach, mini workouts in the gym, and actually, I felt ok when he was interacting with the men. It was quite nice to see their enormous approval of him. "He's so polite" "He's such a dude" "He's so handsome" "He's so inquisitive" which helped me a lot. I can't have fucked it all up beyond help yet, or I don't think these comments would have flowed. Perhaps I have underestimated how differently I would feel when I am with the right man. He sat on my ex's shoulders chatting away, about how engines were made, and I walked behind just listening. I can recognise what a lovely boy he is to everybody else, there were other children there who were frankly little shits in comparison, it just makes no sense why when I can see that he is so accomplished, intelligent, engaging, that alongside this, I feel no pride or love. Then I see a random girl wander past, and the difference and warmth in the way I look at her is alarming. My ex's daughter was at the villa, I took her to the salon, I helped her diving, she borrowed my clothes, we made hot chocolates together, and yet spending over 5 minutes with my own child bores me to tears
x x x
I've been pondering/musing.
I think you are right in that, you haven't fucked up else people wouldn't be so complimentary. So that's great right? I recall (not a child related yarn) that when I was in retail management, I felt a complete fraud. Felt that I'd "talked" my way into the position without really being able to perform effectively in the role. Classic "talk the talk but not walk the walk". I confided in someone years later (whilst still in the role) but they suggested that it didn't matter and I was convincing myself of that whilst actually succeeding along the way without realising it.
I would add however, that the chance could still very much remain that his perfect behaviour is striving for the love he may instinctively (without fully understanding) realise you are withholding.
I was musing also as to whether there may be something in the following (and I'm not sure how to word it really so it may come across as a load of old tosh). It comes across (and I may be wrong) that you've been thus far, blessed in life. The great emotional relationship you share with your Mother, financially stable, few hardships etc (again, apologies if this is not accurate). And now you have a seemingly delightful, well mannered, personable, intelligent, well behaved little boy. And (aside from how you feel towards him) it's perfect. Had it not been so perfect through, God forbid, illness or financial struggles, lack of family support on your side- the usual struggles that many face, would you feel different? I realise that it's an unanswerable question but do you see what I'm getting at? In that there's been no hardships to overcome thereby feeling more grateful for what's there? I'm waffling.
DISCLAIMER FOR NEXT BIT- I realise that many on this thread have suggested similar to the following but I'm going to write it anyway, feel free to dismiss/shoot down in flames (delete as appropriate )
For what it's worth my amateur psychobabble thinks that somewhere, deep down, you do feel more than your conscious is telling you. I would speculate that for some unfathomable reason, you are subconsciously suppressing it. Possibly (like me and many) having a child felt like having a personality transplant. Still think private therapy is worth a go, but it's good that you don't have idealistic expectations that a magic wand will appear and you will be churning out apple pies for the PTA next week.
Agree with a lot of this.... whilst non of my actions come from maternal love, they seem to be having the right effect, so far. Going forward, and he's no longer a naïve 5yr old, my charade is going to be picked apart rather swiftly....well, I think it will be. Maybe I have a couple of years grace.
He's striving for something I think. He tells me that he loves me, but I do wonder sometimes if when he says it, he is just saying the words and feels nothing, as I do. He also does weird little things which are quite sad, today for example, he bought some sushi from the supermarket, and we took it home to eat. Nothing unusual. About an hour afterwards he came up very quietly whilst I was reading and said "Mummy, thank you so much for buying me a lovely lunch, it was so kind of you" It's like he wants me to know he appreciates me all the time. Maybe he thinks I don't like him and he comes out with these little things thinking it will make me smile, although on the other hand he was a little sod last night (dog pinched the biscuit he was eating, nearly yanked the dog's ear off in revenge, and so got sent to bed early), so maybe he was just creeping a little to get back in the good books. Who knows.
Blessed in life, yes and no. I feel a little fraudulent here too....I was raised in a very loving family, to a single mother, but our entire family (over 30 of us) lived within 8 doors of each other in a pretty little village and so we all had our aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents around every day, so truthfully no abandonment/daddy issues. The reason I am so fortunate is purely down to my genetics. And I do feel like the fortune and opportunities I have had are down to no skill of my own, I was just born with the right bone structure, hardly a talent is it. I do feel like everything I have, so easily, is very undeserved, and others work so hard for a fraction of my life. The whole reason I did my degree and qualified as a chartered accountant was primarily to be able to shoot people down after years of being treated like an oh so pretty dipshit. It grates on me that 7 years of studying for a very well paid job to most people (chartered acct) I don't use these skills ever, as I earn over 4 times more for my appearance. Disgraceful state of the world, but sadly I am all too aware that this will never change, and I should be grateful that I can play the game.
How would I hypothetically cope if I felt this way towards my son and had the "normal" worries, frankly, if it wasn't for my family, I would have given him up, I could not have got this far on my own, the 2 days he goes to nanny's house each week recharge me sufficiently to "glide" through the remaining 5. I think my façade would have shattered a long time ago if I had him all day, every day, I'd feel desperate, suffocated almost. I probably would have depression.
Maybe there are feelings there, and for whatever reason my weird little head refuses to allow them to come out. I think, after 5 years, at some point, something might have slipped out if it was going too. I know I'm repeating myself, but I don't hate him, or dislike him, I just don't love him or have any fondness. I have a great big nothing towards him.
I've just out of curiousity clicked on another thread on here. Borderline Personality Disorder. I've read, re-read, read about 10 times. I really think I have this. The deliberate sabotaging (is it actually that I am refusing to have any feelings for him) the irrational dismissal of so much (virtually perfect boyfriends that would walk on hot coals for me that I just flick out of my life) loss of contact with reality (my lifestyle is like something out of a teen magazine, I flew back from hols on a private jet last week, again nothing unusual about that for me/The Boy.) The only thing that doesn't ring true are the suicidal/self harming tendencies. The rest massively resonates. Would you mind having a look and seeing if you think there's anything in this??
x x x
Can you link the thread so i'm looking at the same one?
Ummmmmm, a wee bit technologically retarded, no idea how to link threads....
In old money, if you click on the Mental Health forum, and look three threads from the bottom, it's the one called Borderline Personality Disorder with 419 posts.
x x x
Arf at "old money"
Will have a look, might be tomorrow so can digest better.
Ok have read (most) of the thread. The most useful was this link...
...and reading through the traits. Honestly? With the usual disclaimer that I am not a medical professional, from what you've posted thus far, I don't think it's you.
Just going through your last post can I highlight a few things?
1. Maybe he thinks I don't like him and he comes out with these little things thinking it will make me smile
I think that's a real possibility. But, this we know already. And interesting you mention further down that you don't dislike him. There is something there. Not in a patronising "you'll get there" type way but just a plain and simple "you like him". Now I know (boy, do I know!) that to us, there is a huge chasm in our perception of the difference between "liking" our child and the "love" we "ought" to feel. But there is feeling there no? Even if it does "only" come under our umbrella definition.
2. so truthfully no abandonment/daddy issues
To highlight one of the things that makes my (unprofessional) head intimate that it's quite possibly NOT bpd.
3. The whole reason I did my degree and qualified as a chartered accountant was primarily to be able to shoot people down after years of being treated like an oh so pretty dipshit
Just a quick "bloody well done and I appreciate that it must have been a slog" and admire anyone for doing such a thing
in the way that I haven't
4. I would have given him up, I could not have got this far on my own
Another unanswerable one isn't it? You sound like a tough cookie. Equally you quite possibly would have dug your heels in and made it work. And that could relate/tie in with my amateur theorising that ponders if things had have been harder financially/emotional support wise, would there been a bigger sense of achievement etc? When people's (sweeping generalising here) back's are against the wall, sometimes that's when the greatest achievements are made. Sink or swim. I've a feeling that you're the type of person who wouldn't have been satisfied until you'd swam the channel
5. but I don't hate him, or dislike him, I just don't love him or have any fondness. I have a great big nothing towards him
I don't agree. I know you know and own your own feelings but you're right when you say-
Maybe there are feelings there, and for whatever reason my weird little head refuses to allow them to come out <---that's on the money right there.
I think it may be useful to dismiss this word "love" and all it historically encompasses. View it a different way. There are many ways that you are already showing this "love" if we stop writing it (metaphorically) in big neon letters. Not going to write a patronising list but I think you know what all those things are. PLUS you "loved" enough to write here and explore your feelings.
Hope all that makes sense! I am "copy and paste"-ed out
Why not ask for a referral for official testing of personality disorder? There are tools used to test for all e personality disorders, think it is a SCID something if it helps.
Major moment yesterday. The boy was sick. Properly sick. My mother picked him up from school, and phoned me straight away in a panic about his state. Quick call to the GP suspected meningitis, call the blue lights immediately.
My reaction amazed me. I told her we have no time to wait for the ambulance, I was biting back tears, jumped in my car, picked them both up, drove (like a twat) at lightspeed to A&E. I was cool on the outside as I don't do "hysterical dame," I deal with crisis in a very clinical, collected way, but inside I was panicked and distraught in a way I have never been before.
He's fine, serious viral illness but home now, in bed. Much better today even. And today, now I know he's fine, I'm back to my usual not giving a monkeys self. But I did give a monkeys last night. I do care. I've been trying all day to bring out those emotions I felt last night again, but alas they are long gone....but this is the first time I've ever felt a genuine maternal feeling. Insane it had to be something so extreme to provoke it, and again, it's gone entirely now, but it's there, and up until now, as I've never experienced it before, I truly believed I just didn't have that part to me. Like a missing gene.
I feel very positive about this.
x x x
Oh, I hope he continues to recover as quick, must have been terrifying for you all
But illness aside, I did a little jig when I read your post. You're spot on
Op I know I am coming to this thread late but I just wanted to say I really respect you for being so honest on here. So many parents are too scared to talk about stuff like this, and I really think this thread will help others to know they are not alone.
I hope your little boy is feeling better now and I hope you two can get to a place where you can laugh together and feel the love x
Why do you think the feeling you felt when your son was ill is gone? It's probably just sleeping. Don't forget the conscious/subconscious mind are very different. What you feel on a conscious level for your son is probably very different to what you feel on a subconscious level. The action of your instinct/subconscious proves that your feelings are much more complex than your conscious mind would have you admit. That's my two penn'orth anyway.
I wrote similar feelings to you in the "do you regret having children thread". Maternal feelings really are very complex. For example, I often feel like I don't like my children but I do love them on a primal level. The worst part is being in conflict with yourself.
I haven't read all this thread just bits from the beginning & end.
It sounds like a bonding PND complex issue. A psychiatrist or psychologist would be the best person to see.
I had PND & got pg again when DD was 14 mths. I was on medication & we were going to terminate. We decided to keep the baby. I didn't 'bond' at all when I went to the scans. When she was born I just felt numb & felt like she wasn't mine. At 5 mths she started daycare & got gastro. She was really poorly & something changed & I knew she needed me.
I really think that with the right therapy & maybe medication you can work through the feelings.
I hope your little boy is ok now.
Thank you for appreciating the honesty. I think being able to really say it how it is has helped me no end. And I hope if any other poor sods are in the same situation, they can read through and feel a little assured that they are not uniquely screwed up.
I've really hit a cornerstone with all this. I'm not sure whether it was the whole "A&E" fiasco that sparked it off, but something has definitely changed within me.
It's a very gradual thing, baby steps. But I'm definitely more friendly towards him without realising I'm doing it, and you have no idea when I sit and reflect afterwards how relieved I feel that this may actually turn out ok. I'm more interested in what he has to say, and although he does still feel like a bit of a stranger to me, I feel like I'm really properly getting to know him for the first time, and I like what I'm getting to know. He's actually quite funny. And not a bad dancer.
One of the girls I met on a job the other day is actually a trained counsellor. She deals with young families, predominantly very young single mothers who are struggling. I like her, she's very no nonsense, and very, very intelligent. I've taken her number, we got on like a house on fire, so I just took it under the pretence of drinks/dinner, so not given her any information regarding all this as yet, but I think she may be the person to understand me, and more importantly, someone I won't get on my high horse with and will listen too.
I'll keep this thread updated x x x
I'm so pleased to read that. I hope you can have the counselling & work through your feelings. It sounds like you have 'clicked' with her which is very important for you to feel comfortable talking about your issues. I have seen a few psychologists for my issues & it took a while to find the right one.
I haven't read the whole thread but are you overthinking this? I had extremely severe PND after my son a part of which centred on not loving him 'enough'.
Finally the intense all day OCD aspect of it faded but it does still occasionally 'flair'. Like when he bangs his head and I worry I'm just going through the motions of caring for him and not having the 'right' feelings of being hurt on his behalf.
I think I've kind of found a peace with it. It was though realising there is no 'right' way to love a child and no one is going to do an internal audit on me and check.
The fact that 1. You are guilty speaks volumes and 2. That he is wonderfully cared for also speaks volumes.
You do love your child. Love is not tangible. You wouldn't see him shivering, cold in the garden with no dinner.
I hope I've not oversimplified things but that's my take on it.