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Made a huge mistake, don't know what to do

(12 Posts)
Xfitmamma Mon 09-Sep-13 19:23:15

I have 2 sds aged 9 and 12 and one dd of my own, not my partner's.
We've been together 4 years and are getting married next year. My dd lives with us all the time, my sds are with us every weekend and holidays.
We're getting an extension built so they can have own rooms but they all share at the mo, which causes tensions.
Most of the time it all goes well but sometimes I get very stressed and I'm on anti anxiety medication. When I get stressed, I sometimes totally blow up. This happens maybe once a year but when it does I know from everyone's reactions that it's extremely scary.

I say things I shouldn't and really scream, and it totally freaks the kids and my oh out.

The other night it happened again over something ridiculous. My dd had slept in one of the other's beds as I had stripped her sheets and hadnt had time to replace them (I work full time in a v v stressful job). For some reason I had brought her breakfast in bed that morning, a total one off.

I had made sure sheets were clean and there was no mess spilled, or thought I had. That night when they all went to bed I heard a commotion and went through to see the oldest sd running downstairs and complaining loudly to her dad about something. It turned out there were 4 cornflakes in the bed. Oldest sd was saying it was a huge mess (it wasnt her bed) and my dd was looking terrified.

Oh then came upstairs and said ''I told you not to let her sleep in that bed'. I lost it because its me who keeps the room and always makes sure it's nice for them, and such a big fuss was being made. I lost it out of all proportion though, oh started shouting too and when I said something about the oldest sd having caused a fuss when she shouldn't have he yelled 'she's a lovely girl' and hugged her as if he was shielding her from me. I was shouting to be listened to and the younger sd, who's a lovely sensitive wee soul was crying hysterically and shaking.

I then went out of the room and came back in saying something about maybe I should just go snd leave you to it. Oh said if we break up she will have think its her fault forever, I said how could a child break two adults up, although I'm sure she would like to.

My whole reaction was totally wrong, hurtful and scary, in fact I feel that I was being a bully and I just don't know what to do to make up for it.

When things calmed down I went and said sorry to all the girls, gave them a hug and told them it wasn't their fault and that I won't drag them into dn adult argument again. I have also promised the same to my oh and an determined never to shout at them or argue in front of them again.

He was extremely upset and was saying he just wanted there to be an us but I wouldn't let there be. He said I often talk very harshly to his daughters and tell them off for minor things all the time. I have to admit he's probably right as I am far too over protective of my dd so I jump in where I shouldn't.

He is now very worried as when he drove them home last night, they asked questions all the way about my reaction. This was two nights later so they were very affected still. Apparently they also remember every detail of the other times I have blown up.

He will hardly speak to me now and won't hug me etc. I can't stop thinking about the girls and worrying about them and just don't know what to do.

Fifi2406 Mon 09-Sep-13 19:33:50

I think if you know you were in the wrong and you will do everything you can for it to not happen again and stick to that one day they will probably take the Mickey saying remember when you used to be a nutter and laugh! I'm sure as these blow ups don't happen every single day they will not be probably not be scared for life! As you have already done, apologise give an explanation to any questions they have about it and move on to being a better you! Your DP will forgive you! smile

TensionWheelsCoolHeels Mon 09-Sep-13 22:22:52

You need to think hard about how to stop your anxiety getting so bad that you cannot control how you react to something like this. You have seriously scared and hurt 3 children who you acknowledge did not deserve such a scene. If your medication isn't enough to help you then you need to look into any other treatment that you can try to help you. It's good that you recognise how bad it was, and how wrong you were, but you need to develop strategies that mean you know the signs of you losing it, your OH knows and can get the children away from you, and you do something/go somewhere so you can calm down until you can deal with a situation more rationally. Your anxiety doesn't just spring up out of nowhere, there will be physical signs and thoughts you'll have that you can use/see as the signal you need to go away and calm down/wait til it passes. Go and see your GP and ask him for more help because your anxiety is affecting your DC/DSC.

Tbh, I'm not sure if I was in your OH's shoes if I would be happy to continue the relationship knowing that you could lose it to that extent, affecting my own DC so badly. I think it would depend on how serious you were on getting the help you need to try and get a handle on your anxiety, and if you can't control it, at least develop strategies where you at the very least ensure you don't subject the DC/DSC to anything like that again.

I hope you find a way to deal with your anxiety.

Ehhn Mon 09-Sep-13 22:36:21

My mother was the one who blew up. It was terrifying and gave me all sorts of problems, including an eating disorder (binge/purge, manifested when I was 14 and couldn't cope any more; I'm mostly better but it still becomes my release when stressed/upset). She was a highly successful, intelligent and good person but as a single parent she just would get overloaded. You need to find a healthy way of venting your stress - whether that is therapy, a punching bag, screaming in the car, gym, whatever works for you- as no responsible parent would leave his children exposed to that level of unreasonable outburst.

Xfitmamma Tue 10-Sep-13 07:31:38

Thank you everyone for your honest feedback. I'm completely and utterly devastated by how I acted and feel sick having read your responses, knowing that what you e said is true. I'm going to make a GP appointment today and admit I need more help.
I had already requested counselling, but when I finally got an appointment after 6 months, it was a very young trainee. When I told her some of the background contributing to how the anxiety started (abusive ex etc) she was shocked and I found myself reassuring her and realised she didn't have the life experience to deal with it.
I've looked into private counselling but can't afford it.
You are right, if he acted like that I would have to think seriously about the relationship and I'm sure that's what he's doing now.
I'm in tears typing this - he and this relationship is what I've been looking for all my life. I can't describe how much I love him and all the kids and I can't believe that because I couldn't control my outburst, I might be throwing it all away. My mum used to blow up like that which is I think where I get it from so I know exactly how horrible it is snd the effect it can have. In my defence, I have learned and am trying hard to recognise signs and it happens much less frequently now - the last time before this incident was nearly a year ago.
Not that that will make it feel any better for the children or DH.
Thank you for giving me the push to go back to the gp, even though I'm finding it really hard to deal with how honest you have been.

CosmicForce Tue 10-Sep-13 07:52:36

If it helps, with my sdds I never tell them off, I consider it to be my dh's job, and he never tells my dd off, as that is considered my job. That way, our relationships are maintained reasonably harmoniously. It's not a perfect solution because sometimes DH and have to tell each other much later in the day if we're not happy about something (when they are not around) so some things don't always get sorted out immediately.

The best way to remember to deal with your SDD's in a fair way is to imagine how upset you would be if a step-mother to your DD was talking to her in the way you speak to your SDD's. I use that as a rule of thumb - speak to them how you'd like your own DD spoken to, and it automatically makes you kinder.

I have a totally harmless but hot temper too (due also to abuse in my past), and like yours it rarely surfaces (and usually just with DH who understands thank God) but I have had to work very hard to keep it under wraps. Try 'the anger habit workbook' for some good tips. Try not to feel too guilty as that makes things worse. You aren't a failure - you're a human trying to deal with the problems brought on by a difficult past. It can be sorted though with enough work from you.

CosmicForce Tue 10-Sep-13 07:57:52

(By 'harmless' hot temper I mean non-violent, I know of course it would be harmful emotionally if my SDD's or DD witnessed an outburst, hence my work to keep it under control).

Ehhn Tue 10-Sep-13 08:23:15

The first big step is realising that you have a problem with anger and that you are sorry. From that point, you will progress.
Hve you thought about writing to your dd and sds? Really setting out how much you love them and maybe explaining that you were brought up with a mother who exploded and you have learned the behaviour from her, but you also have shared their experiences and recognise that you need to change? Girls are often quite responsive to adults recognising and sharing issues (as long as they are not made to feel any responsibility for them)

I wish my mother had ever, ever acknowledged that she went over the top. Worse, she denied that they ever happened as she would sort of block them out. I can remember in detail every moment of rages going back to when I was five (I ate a banana just before dinner) to 21 (I made a stupid comment as we walked down the street in Camden). Even her reaction to finding out about my eating disorder was to be furious (because of fear and embarrassment). She has since retired and has completely changed. It's like having a new mother. BUT I feel like my feelings when i was younger have ben invalidated as she has denied her rage. The only thing that has helped was learning about her abusive mother, it gave me some context for why she was like she was.

I was lucky that I had therapy provided by a local charity linked to th nhs to help me through my own issues. My mother won't go as she doesn't want to bring up issues that in her words she has "successfully locked away" (the irony). I wonder if similar charity could help you?

cantreachmytoes Tue 10-Sep-13 08:35:51

As others have said, it's good that you know there's a problem.

You probably need to reassure your DH that you are going to try (again) to get help for this. Perhaps it would be a good idea to explain to the GP about the trainee too. Surely if the dr agreed you should have counselling then, s/he would again if there was a problem with the counsellor.

Maybe there would also be an age appropriate way to let the children know not only you are sorry and won't do it again, which you did, but that you were upset/annoyed about something else and took it out on/in front of them which was wrong and you're going to find a special person who can help you find ways to not do that in the future. They need to know that in no way it was their fault or even about them, but that's difficult to explain. Also to show to them that this is not an acceptable way to be angry so they don't start to normalise it. Maybe ask them to help too by giving them a special word that they can say if they ever find you scary. From the sounds of it, it's very infrequent, but that might help them feel more in control in a situation they feel no control over. Choose what you want to do if you hear it said and rehearse it a bit in your mind. These are just ideas, I don't know if they're any good or not!

I too had a mother like yours, from the sounds of it, and had these out bursts too. It's taken a lot of work, helped by various counsellors, to turn the volume down, both literally and figuratively. It's hard work, but I don't want my daughter to do this and the only way I can avoid that is by not doing it myself. It's hard, very hard, but you'll feel so proud of yourself the first time you manage to avert a blowout, or realise that there's been an 18 month gap instead of a 12 month gap.

cantreachmytoes Tue 10-Sep-13 08:38:24

Sorry, that was long!

Perhaps ask your DH to come with you to the GP so he can a) see you're really serious and trying and b) explain to the dr what happens, if necessary. Sometimes it helps the dr to have someone who knows you and sees what's happening too.

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Tue 10-Sep-13 08:46:36

I think you're taking the right steps now. But I also think you need to recognise that everything you can do at the moment is in the realm of promises and intentions - it will take a while for your partner and DSDs to see that you are really committed to this. So don't get disheartened if it takes a while to rebuild trust. I also think talking very openly with them about your own childhood and your mum's influence would help - it will show them that parents aren't always right but you know this and are determined to change.

sarahquilt Tue 10-Sep-13 19:11:12

I can empathise with you. My father had a terribly violent temper and would come close to my face to scream at me. I've only lost my temper a few times in my life but I know that I'm exactly the same. I'm always frightened of losing my temper. I try and walk away because I know that I can say awful things. It's bullying but I feel that I just mimic my dad and I have no control over my anger. I understand how you feel. I think maybe you are very sad and it's coming out as anger. I think you need a few days away and a good cry.

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