This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Why it hurt my feelings

When Hubby and Bear's therapist said I wrote too many e-mails and they were too long, it really hurt my feelings. A long time friend and commenter, Purplewalls, suggested I write down why it hurt my feelings, and then edit it, and then edit it again! I don't know if I'll ever give either version to Hubby, but I might send it to my therapist! She has to "listen" to me (well, she would if I paid her - did I mention how much I love my therapist!).

Hubby will most likely just have to listen to the long version of this sometime when I have him trapped (like on the potty at night (don't tell him I told you that) - I love to talk to him then. That's when he gave me permission to paint the kitchen ceiling sapphire blue!

(FYI: The kitchen still has a blue ceiling, but no longer has blue roses on the walls. I painted over them and added crown molding. But you're seeing this picture because this was pre-adoption so the room actually looks fairly clean and uncluttered! *grin*)

Why my feelings are hurt (my long version)

  1. · I value Hubby’s opinion a lot and he rarely criticizes me (as in I can only think of twice including this one
  2. · I hate confrontation and discord
  3. · My mom was told she talked too much (she wasn’t treated for bipolar until she was an adult so she was often manic). She always made a big deal out of it being a bad thing. Deep down I believe her
  4. · I’m super sensitive to criticism (implied or otherwise) because past men in my life believed:
    § criticizing me was the best way to make me a “better person”
    § pointing what was wrong with my mom would keep me from being like her –at the time she was on the wrong meds - slept 18 hours a day, and taking tons of meds that caused her to be overweight
    § it terrified me to think that being mentally ill meant being like my mom – and I felt guilty for not wanting to be like the most nurturing woman I know
  5. · Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words leave deeper scars
  6. · I’m a perfectionist and don’t like being told I didn’t do it right
  7. · They’re not the first person to comment on this (though mostly guys) so they’re probably right and I do write too much
  8. · I wanted someone to tell me how I’m supposed to do things and they won’t
  9. · I write because I want acknowledgement and affirmation that I’m doing the right thing - by criticizing my e-mails they are denying me these things
  10. · They obviously don’t value me or my opinions if they didn’t even skim my e-mails
  11. · Means more work for me to fix this (finding a new therapist for one thing)
  12. · I’m overwhelmed by work and taxes and probably depressed – so I’m super sensitive.
  13. · If the therapist is right about my writing, then he’s probably right about me being too involved in Bear’s life. According to him I’m doing it all wrong anyway. He said I should leave all that stuff to the school, so why continue to communicate with the schools (beyond IEP meeting where we have to attend).
  14. · It makes me want to give up. Why am I even bothering trying with the kids. Kitty is probably as far along as she’s going to get, and Bear doesn’t seem to be improving no matter what I do. So why go to seminars or read books, blogs and list-serves?

You hurt me!(guy version – Notice there’s no feelings talk - because that will just be tuned out)

· Just apologize
· If you think it could possibly be a criticism - DON’T SAY IT!
· If I ask you a question like, “Does this make my butt look big?” “Or do you agree with that jerk of a therapist?” - LIE
· Tell me I’m doing a good job – OFTEN!
OR ELSE! … (you’ll have to do it yourself)


GB's Mom said...

You are doing a good job! Do not take a male's advice on communication!

Jennie said...

oh yes! i'm all about my therapist too! love to my therapist.

i have always been extremely sensitive to criticism but something changed. Reading the RAD books and learning to physically connect by hugs and just gentle caresses like rubbing backs or touching hands or playing with hair have made me feel so much safer so that when my hubby needs to make a suggestion, i already have a firm understanding of his love for me. It hasn't always been this way. It was years of anxiety and pain every time someone made a suggestion to me. In part because my mentally ill mother never spoke kind words or rewarded me with appropriate affection when I needed it. I live in fear that I'll become like her (and my mentally ill sisters). I worry that I won't be good enough. I worry because the kids didn't grow in my belly and I had to prove to a judge that I could parent. I worry that I won't be a good wife. I worry that I could get it all right and still have *bleeped* up kids.

but learning to love me and to receive physical touch has made it so much easier to hear words from my spouse. I don't always have my hackles up, prepared for a war (because my whole growing up existence required that I stay in protect/defend mode)

and I agree with GB's mom, you're doing a great job!

Kristina P. said...

Can I offer a different viewpoint? I'm not exactly sure what your emails were about, but one of my best friends is my coworker, who is a therapist.

We also work with at-risk youth. She has a client, a female, who is struggling. My coworker was venting to me that her mom sends her very lengthy emails, almost daily, about everything she is doing wrong and what she wants to address with her during her session.

Again, I don't know exactly how your emails are worded, but this mom was basically dictating how she wanted the session to go, and truthfully, some of the things were rather minor.

But, she would also never come into the sessions herself, so it was frustrating.

I know that feedback is hard to hear, but it's probably best to hear it rather than let it continue and people talk about it behind your back.

I hope that helps a bit!

SanitySrchr said...

Again, like others, I don't know what your emails said, but I will tell you my opinion (you know they're like buttholes - that's supposed to make you smile).

I relate so well to your comments about your mom being bi-polar and the fears associated with that. These fears are all too real for me, as I am a walking realization of those same fears. I also carry the same feelings and past hurts by other men. Both of those things coupled with all the anxiety you're already carrying is overwhelming, and I'm very happy that you are handling it well. Well? Yes, you are handling it very well.

I so badly just want to hug you, so that you know that you are doing the right things, and to encourage you to NEVER, NEVER, NEVER give up!!!! Hang in there and know that I'm praying for you!

Mom 4 Kids said...

I say ditto to SanitySrchr's comment! As far as what you are doing for your kids and being involved keep doing it. You will know that you never gave up on your kids healing and no matter how many or how great of problems they do continue to have in life they are better because you choose to be their Mom. Never quit!

Anonymous said...

Purplewalls is a woman... a wife with 3 teen-20-something sons and a daughter.

Mary, I think my final copy would have been somewhere BETWEEN version one and your last one. LOL!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to cross-stitch #5 onto a pillow... or tattoo it on my forehead.

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words leave deeper scars."

My insecurities are exactly the same as yours. I had a boyfriend (before DH) who always criticized me for being too outgoing, talking too much, etc. Funny thing was, everyone else in my life up to that point liked those qualities in me, and DH really admired my "easy way with people." But that little voice in my head still echoes that one bad boyfriend.

I'm really sorry if what I wrote hurt your feelings. It was the LAST thing I'd ever want.

marythemom said...


You didn't hurt my feelings! Thanks so much for your help. You are an amazing friend.