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Did I damage him?

(10 Posts)
Ormiriathomimus Thu 29-Nov-12 12:12:49

Since H's affair I have been doing a lot of thinking, remembering and figuring out, about our many things but a great deal about my depression and mental state. I have always suffered from depression to a certain extent since my mid teens but it first flared up badly in adulthood when DD (second baby) was a few months old and I had to go back to work. H was working
shifts so I was dealing with an active 2 yr old, a baby, a house and a full-time job more or less single-handedly. These are all excuses because something I have been recalling recently is how abusive I was to DS1 - I could pretify it by calling it by a different name, but abusive it was. I guess I must have blocked it out for years because the full horror of my behaviour is coming back to me and making me hate myself, I used to lose my temper with him, shout, smack him even at times, I can remember dragging him upstairs on one occassion and shutting him in the bathroom because he wouldn't clean his teeth before school. I can remember him saying:
'Mummy, you scared me!' and him crying. Uggh! So horrifying. I can also remember holding him tight and sobbing and saying I'm sorry again and again. If he had been an adult he'd have walked out, as a child he couldn't. I never told dH what was going on so on one level I knew I was so wrong. I was in a fog of tiredness,confusion and misery. But none of it is an excuse.

He was lacking in confidence as a primary school child, soiled himself for years, has a terrible temper (like me) but also (like me) tends to empathise a great deal and gets very affected by other people's problems. But then, DS2 is quite similar in that (minus the soiling).

OK, fast forward to now. Am on ADs- have been for years. I have flare-ups but as long as I stay on the meds I do OK. When I came off them once I
got really bad again and struggled to cope with the kids. I explained to DS1 that I wasn't totally well and needed some medecine to make me better -
that I wasn't angry with him or his siblings. He told me he was releived as he though it was his fault sad I know I am better as I am coping much more patiently with DS2 who is on the spectrum and enough to try the patience of a saint! My children, for some incomprehensible reason, seem to love me to bits. Particularly DS1 who should, in all fairness, dislike me and mistrust me. But he doesn't. He is 15 now and his face lights up when I come into a room, he holds my hand, when he went on his trip to the States last week, he hung back from the others so he could give me a proper hug, he talks to me about anything and everything, if I am upset he comes and plays his guitar to me. What worries me is that in some way I have made our relationship unhealthy, too intense - that he feels sorry for me, wants to protect me. Have I damaged him? I want him to be a normal teenage boy. Shouldn't he be pushing me away now a bit? DD is beginning to and that's fine because that is how I expect it to be.

Brightspark1 Thu 29-Nov-12 14:39:08

I could let your post unanswered. I think every parent on this teen site can look back to times when the DCs were small with utter shame at times we lost the plot and treated our children unkindly and maybe even cruelly, probably with much less mitigation than you. Managing work, chores, depression and trying to be a good mum sounds like an impossible task! The best of us would have struggled like you did so please don't be hard on yourself.
You and your son have come out of it in one piece, with a great relationship with your son. His need for you may be just part of his personality, it may change over the next few years as he moves towards independence.
You mention DH having an affair, you must be hurting really badly at the moment and it may be that recent events are making doubt yourself and your abilities.

Ormiriathomimus Thu 29-Nov-12 14:46:43

Thanks brightspark.

"You mention DH having an affair, you must be hurting really badly at the moment and it may be that recent events are making doubt yourself and your abilities. " Yep. He has an affair and I need counselling grin She was really helpful helping me get some sort of confidence back and stop being terrified of losing dH but also opened a big can of worms about myself. Just can't afford any more sessions right now.

I love my children more than life itself. Melodramatic? Maybe, but true. All the crap that dH dug up has made me re-evaluate all my relationships including those with the children. And I have come to realise that I sleepwalked through most of their childhood and I am sure I got it wrong more often than not. Now they are reaching young adulthood the cracks, if any exist, are going to show.

Infidelty - the gift that keeps on giving hmm

brighterfuture Thu 29-Nov-12 14:47:57

You did your best. The fact they love you so much shows this.

Talk to him. Explain how you found it difficult when he was younger, ask him what he remembers. Reassure him that you are fine now with your meds; that you love how he is with you but that you don't want him to worry about you. Remind him that its not his job to look after you. Can you tell him about anyone else you have in your life or other ways you get support so that he can relax a bit from feeling its up to him to keep you bouyed up.

Ormiriathomimus Thu 29-Nov-12 14:50:08

Thanks brighter - that is what I wonder. Should I talk to him about those times? I don't know how much her remembers clearly. I would hate for him to be one of those adults who need to post on the future equivalent of the Stately Homes thread because his mum was abusive and didn't admit it.

Grumpla Thu 29-Nov-12 14:56:09

It sounds to me as though you did the best that you could at a very, very difficult time.

Ok, sometimes your best was not that great. But you never lost enough perspective to normalise your behaviour. You knew it was wrong, you apologised, you did your best to make amends. You didn't justify it or pretend it was okay to treat your son like that. You faced up to what you were doing and you stopped.

And it sounds as though you and your son love each other and care for each other. So to some extent you must have succeeded in that.

Maybe it would be helpful to talk more, if he can, and if you feel you need to reiterate the very important message that it was not his fault. Is it something you could explore with your counsellor? Talk about family counselling / mediation? Would this be the best thing for him at the moment?

Ultimately many of the "symptoms" you describe could be caused by a disrupted early life or they could not . I think that none of us are perfect. We all lose our temper, make mistakes. But love can heal many things.

Ormiriathomimus Fri 30-Nov-12 09:29:28

"But love can heal many things. "

Thank you. I hope so grumpla. He is certainly loved and I'm not afraid to show it.

downgoesthefence Sun 02-Dec-12 21:27:54

Like Brightspark1 said, there's few of us that can claim not to have done things to our DCs that we are ashamed of. For all sorts of reasons most of us mess up sometimes - I know I did, lots of times.

You and DS love each other and seem to have a great relationship. I have two teenage DSs - one is like your DS, the other barely acknlowledges my existence. Enjoy what you have.

YerMaw1989 Sun 02-Dec-12 21:41:25

I think they fact that you're even mulling over this shows you care.
Shit parents wouldn't even care.

Ormiriathomimus Mon 03-Dec-12 16:29:11

Thank you/

DS1 is due back from a 11 day school trip to the States any minute now! Haved missed him so much. So have his brother and sister.

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