How do you deal with guilt from childhood?

(19 Posts)
Slashandcut Sat 24-Jul-21 18:11:02

This feeling is something I’ve been dealing with since my child was born and I don’t know how to overcome it.

Long story as short as I can. My parents divorced when I was 8/9. They had us 50/50 every other week. My mum had been a SAHM and my father took the business and the money with him. He didn’t pay maintenance as they had shared custody. He married the woman he left my mum for and together they were very wealthy. My mum was the opposite end of the scale, she’d been out of work for years, had no savings, she went back to work and eventually made a good career for herself but our life with her was completely different from at our dads.

We’d go from a 6 bed house with my own bathroom, cleaners, holidays, new clothes and furniture, toys and treats back to my mums where we had to share a bedroom, we never went on holiday, everything is the house was secondhand or falling apart. Mostly I remember that mum just seemed so angry all the time. When I was 13 I went to live with my dad - my older sister was so angry with me and I remembered her saying you’ve broke mums heart. They still came every other week but I only went home sometimes. She’d call all the time and we’d speak but I was just being selfish and preferred being at my dads.

Our relationship has never really recovered, we still talk and she is very involved with my children, but it isn’t like it is with my sister and brother.

Now I have my own children I feel this terrible guilt and also this anger at my dad. Of course my mum was angry - I can see why now. My dad was so desperate for us to love him he made her life so much harder than it needed to be. I remember my sisters 16th birthday he booked a big party at a restaurant and invited about 40 people. My sister asked if my mum could come and he said no, if she wants a party she can organise it herself. Now I look back and think how cruel it was, he could have helped us - we were living there on the breadline for half the year and in the lap of luxury the other half.

I feel like I don’t know how to say I’m sorry to my mum, that I get it now, that I’m sorry I left and that I know how hard it must have been for her raising 3 kids in those circumstances.

How do you do this?

OP’s posts: |
User5827372728 Sat 24-Jul-21 18:18:43

I would just apologise and explain that you have a much better understand of how that must have made her feel

Ronsmood Sat 24-Jul-21 18:21:46

I’d write what you’ve written in your op. Don’t be hard on your teenage self though. You were only a child.

decoratedstandardlamp Sat 24-Jul-21 18:25:14

You need to feel empathy for that child that you were in a awful situation. Can you suggest family counselling where you can talk with your mum?

Slashandcut Sat 24-Jul-21 18:25:32

It just feels like my relationship with her will never be like it is with my brother and sister. They’re really close. And when I think about what she achieved on her own with three kids I know I could never do that. I feel like I’ve lost both my parents because I’m now so angry at my dad and I don’t have that close relationship with my mum.

I’ve thought about writing her a letter but then I don’t know if she even wants an apology or if I’m just doing it for myself

OP’s posts: |
User5827372728 Sat 24-Jul-21 18:26:32

I think you may have to accept that your relationship won’t be the same with your mum as it is with your siblings

Stompythedinosaur Sat 24-Jul-21 18:28:48

You were only a child, and I would say you were a victim here. What would you say to another 13 year old girl who made the same stupid choice? Would you see them as being manipulated by their dad or responsible themselves solely? I would say they were being manipulated.

I agree with talking to your dm about it.

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Ronsmood Sat 24-Jul-21 18:29:08

She sounds like a good mum? If so I think she’s appreciate knowing how you feel. You can rebuild your relationship, you’re her child.

Stompythedinosaur Sat 24-Jul-21 18:30:22

I think no good will come of comparing with your siblings.

Relationships are not static. If you want a better relationship with your dm then work on it.

Bathroombogey Sat 24-Jul-21 18:36:02

I think this is the perfect time to try to build some bridges with your mum. Tell her you understand it now and you're sorry for how you behaved as a child. If your mum is as good as she comes across in your post, I'm she will understand. Afterall, you were only a child yourself. And I know most children at that age would choose material comforts.

I also think you should have it out with your dad. He needs to know how despicable his behaviour was.

I grew up in different circumstances to you, but I have also seen my childhood and the actions of my parents in a very different light since having kids. I used to think my mum was terrible and my dad was a hero. Now I understand how bloody hard it was for my mum and while not excusing her behaviour, I see what drove her to it. On the otherhand, I feel like my dad just ran away and hid behind work instead of stepping up to be a present father.

Bathroombogey Sat 24-Jul-21 18:38:07

Sorry, I posted too soon.

I have had it out with both of my parents about things from my childhood. I don't think much as changed as a result, I certainly don't believe they've taken much notice. But it made me feel better to tell them how I felt.

Even if it only achieves that OP, it is worth telling them how you feel.

SnoozyBoozy Sat 24-Jul-21 18:38:24

How much older than you are your siblings? A 15 year old has a much better grasp of the world than a 13 year old. I can imagine how much hurt.your mum must have felt, but I'm sure she also understands that your immaturity played a part in your decisions.

I would lay it all on the table and tell her how sorry you feel. The other option is that you carry on as you are, but nothing changes. If you talk to her, she's not going to turn around and think worse of you for it, so you're not losing anything by trying.

BonnyBarb Sat 24-Jul-21 19:44:02

I understand where you're coming from op but you have children of your own now which means you would still love them if they did the same to you. It would hurt, yes, it would really hurt, but you were a child and it won't have made her love you any less. I think I'd probably tell her if I was you. Don't forget she was also a young mum once and she will totally understand that we never truly appreciate what our mums went through for us until we became mums. She sounds great and you sound great - have a chat and move on. Forgive the child version of yourself thanks

MistySkiesAfterRain Sat 24-Jul-21 20:01:34

Just talk to your mum about how guilty you feel, how you see the other side and you're sorry, and that you want to repair things, and just build it back over time. You won't have the same as what your siblings have, you'll have something different but it can be just as good.

Theres no guarantee with making an apology, but you're doing the right thing and that's just pure and honest.

Don't blame your teen self. You have so many years ahead to have a good relationship with your mum.

Just do things fairly going forward, thats all you can do. flowers

PatchworkElmer Sat 24-Jul-21 21:50:43

I’d talk to your Mum. It’s not your fault- you were manipulated. But it might help both of you to talk.

MartyHart Sat 24-Jul-21 21:56:44

Tell her just the way you have told us. I'm sure she would appreciate you saying it.
Writing a letter is a great idea.
Don't be too hard on yourself

monstermunch1 Sat 24-Jul-21 21:57:00

Acceptance. Accept everything that happened in the past. Accept your relationship with your family now. take baby steps to take things to where you want them.

Polkadots2021 Sat 24-Jul-21 22:40:18

Slashandcut

This feeling is something I’ve been dealing with since my child was born and I don’t know how to overcome it.

Long story as short as I can. My parents divorced when I was 8/9. They had us 50/50 every other week. My mum had been a SAHM and my father took the business and the money with him. He didn’t pay maintenance as they had shared custody. He married the woman he left my mum for and together they were very wealthy. My mum was the opposite end of the scale, she’d been out of work for years, had no savings, she went back to work and eventually made a good career for herself but our life with her was completely different from at our dads.

We’d go from a 6 bed house with my own bathroom, cleaners, holidays, new clothes and furniture, toys and treats back to my mums where we had to share a bedroom, we never went on holiday, everything is the house was secondhand or falling apart. Mostly I remember that mum just seemed so angry all the time. When I was 13 I went to live with my dad - my older sister was so angry with me and I remembered her saying you’ve broke mums heart. They still came every other week but I only went home sometimes. She’d call all the time and we’d speak but I was just being selfish and preferred being at my dads.

Our relationship has never really recovered, we still talk and she is very involved with my children, but it isn’t like it is with my sister and brother.

Now I have my own children I feel this terrible guilt and also this anger at my dad. Of course my mum was angry - I can see why now. My dad was so desperate for us to love him he made her life so much harder than it needed to be. I remember my sisters 16th birthday he booked a big party at a restaurant and invited about 40 people. My sister asked if my mum could come and he said no, if she wants a party she can organise it herself. Now I look back and think how cruel it was, he could have helped us - we were living there on the breadline for half the year and in the lap of luxury the other half.

I feel like I don’t know how to say I’m sorry to my mum, that I get it now, that I’m sorry I left and that I know how hard it must have been for her raising 3 kids in those circumstances.

How do you do this?

Could you show her this thread? That would be a great start. I have a friend going through exactly what your mum went through right now, and we tell her that one day the kids will see through it all, but it's obviously painful for her now. I honestly think showing her what you wrote here is a good first baby step that might mean a lot to her.

yourestandingonmyneck Sat 24-Jul-21 22:43:19

Just do it. It's never too late. Just say more or less exactly what you've said here.

She's your mum. She will want to hear it.

And you have nothing to lose. Tell her.

thanks

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