Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My Children - A Little History - A Little Insight

I have raised four children, two boys and two girls. The oldest two are nearing their forties and the youngest two are nearing their thirites. Each group is made up of one boy and one girl.

The first two, I raised to be raving co-dependants just like their parents and grandparents before them. Each has a different father and both fathers were batterers and child molestors. Although I didn't know that either was a child molestor until long after my divorces from them, that still had an effect on both children.

Because I had not started in therapy at the time I had these first two children, I had no clue there was anything wrong with me. Nor did I know that I had been raised in an abusive family situation. I thought my life was normal and much the same as everyone else's. I had no clue that my family rules were crippling or that there was anything to protect my children from.

The result was that I raised my children by those same rules. I tried to teach them that to be happy, they needed to keep those around them happy. Afterall, that is how I was raised. Of course, what goes along with that is stuffing your feelings and depriving yourself of things that you need. None of the things I would want for my children today.

My parenting skills sucked. I knew nothing about nurturing children. Heck I knew nothing about being a child but I struggled through, loving my children fiercely but not giving them much in the way of good coping skills.

By the time that I realized that I had something wrong with me, those first two children were nearly half grown. The professionals say that how we interact with people is already established by the time that we are five years old. Both of my children were older than that when I began therapy so their patterns were already well established.

Despite the fact that those kids were provided with therapy, neither of them really chose to participate in the process. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get them to understand how important it was for them to deal with their issues and learn new ways to interact with people. I finally had good coping skills and they wanted no part of them.

The younger two children didn't even come along until I was in therapy. While I hadn't started my meaningful therapy, I was beginning to learn to be assertive and to express what I needed. So even though I had not made the huge changes that occurred later, I had started on a path that was helpful to them. I think the difference in their early years made their behavior patterns different from that of the older two children. The end result is that the two younger children are far more open minded and flexible than the older two.

All of us, as mothers, want the best for our children. We, victims, can easily blame ourselves when that doesn't work out. Yet we are not the only ones that have influenced our children's lives. Every person who has ever come in contact with our children has had the opportunity to influence them. And, more importantly, our children have had been the only ones with the power to decide how to handle that input of information.

Ultimately, the only one who can decide what kind of person our child will grow up to be, is that child. All we can do is guide them and hope that they chose the right path. And be there to pick them up and comfort them when they don't.

And like all children, if they need to heal from the trials and tribulations of childhood, it is up to them to find that path. We cannot do it for them nor can we make them do it. We cannot blame ourselves for something we have no control over.


Lynn said...

"And be there to pick them up and comfort them when they don't."

So many don't have that.

jumpinginpuddles said...

our recent blog talks about beign a multiple and having small children, we are grateful we got into therapy so young although the work is only really getting done now imagine if we had started therapy now and our children were the ages they are and we were spiralling like we usedto.
Your children sound supportive oif you and from the bits i can see you do love them so much.

Frazzled Farm Wife said...

Thanks for sharing...very interesting! How are the children doing today?

Kahless said...

Hi RR,
I like the honesty that you have with your kids.

keepers said...

thank you for saying this all again in a post after commenting to me the same message, one that we needed so much to hear and that you got us to hear! You are right, at some point they have take the responsibility with any issues they have, we did our best under the circumstances and we sure as heck loved the heck out of them.

peace and blessings


Cheesemeister said...

When I had my son I didn't know I was bipolar. I'm shocked that he turned out as good as he did given the chaos of his early childhood. He tends to keep things inside though. It's hard for me to get behind the wall of his joking and banter and find out what's really going on.

Marj aka Thriver said...

For me, it was considering having a child (I was 34 and my "biological clock" was ticking--my husband was 44) that made everything come breaking loose. That's when I had my first CSA memories.

My son doesn't know what it's like NOT to have mom in therapy. But, I still feel like I have a long way to go.

Anonymous said...

how can every one talk so openly about what is going on with them? Isn't anyone afraid of others finding out about them? It seems so scary.

April_optimist said...

Very true. ((((Hugs)))) We all wish we were better parents. We all hope our children will find their path. I know it's my deepest hope for my son. Loving yourself and finding your own path to healing is the greatest gift you can give them NOW. It's a light showing them that healing is possible and maybe one day they will choose to do so as well.

Rising Rainbow said...

lynn, you are right about that. Unfortunately there are many kids who get not love or support from their parents.

jip,I think the sooner we get into therapy the more helpful it is for our children.

My children have all been supportive of my therapy. I love them fiercely.

frazzled farm wife, my kids are doing ok. Some better than others when it comes to emotional issues. But they are productive members of society.

I have one child at home with me. She has brain damage from brain cancer and will probably always live at home. She too is happy and productive.

kahless, thank you kahless. I believe that honesty is essential to have healthy relationships.

keepers, I am glad that you got the message. I was worried about you.

cheesemeister, I have one son like that, the older one. All I can hope is that someday he puts to use the skills that he has been exposed to through my healing. All we can really do is lead by example, it is up to them to choose their path.

mary_aka_thriver, you are setting such a good example for your son by working on your issues instead of ignoring them. I think that is what is important.

anonymous, I'm going to write a post about this. Hiding secrets is what keeps us trapped.

april_optimist, I couldn't have said it better myself.