Probably you know all of this, because otherwise you wouldn’t be able to write this piece. But here goes:

I had a mother like you. And it was really hard. The biggest problem being that the things your mother says to you become the voice in your own head. So when you are saying, “I hate you,” this is what you are teaching your children to say to themselves. They will grow up having your voice in their head telling them that they are a pain in the ass, too much trouble, intrinsically problematic for the world.

Please get space from your children and find a way to feel good again. Tell them that it is YOU and not THEM. That you love them so much — that you love who they are, and what they do. That you want to give them the space to grow up without you yelling that you hate them, and that you want to give them the space to grow up without your frustration being directed at them. Maybe spend short amounts of time with them when you can behave better.

Look, I’m not saying that your feelings are not valid, and that you are not brave for admitting them in a public forum. They are valid, and you are brave. AND your children deserve to have a different experience.

Just because your feelings are valid, and more common than we’d like to admit, does not mean you should not take action to mitigate their effect on your children. They are more vulnerable than you are. They are dependent on you. They are not responsible for their existence and for the frustration they cause you. You are responsible for this. You and the father are responsible for planting the emotional safety that they will rely on, inside themselves, for their entire lives. And if the ways you plant this are different from the ways our culture tends to idealize parenting, that really is interesting and helpful to other people. But the point is, even in the face of the experiences you are having, to STILL plant that safe place inside them.

I’m talking about the place that tells them they are valuable and lovable, and interesting, and not a problem to be solved, or a problem to be avoided. Otherwise, they will spend a lot of time having to create this for themselves. But first they will have to recover from the experiences. Basically, they will grow up with PTSD that was created by their mother. They are young enough that you really can change that.

Anyway, thanks for writing this. It’s interesting to me, and a good read. I like writing that is complicated, in the same ways I appreciate complicated people. Keep going with it all. I suspect you have levels of this story that are not told here, in the interest of brevity. I hope you tell the whole story some day. It would make a good book.

mediator, painter & mother of four boys

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store