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, April 15, 2015

But My Child NEEDS Me!

By the time most women reach out I think we have hit rock bottom. Maybe it only seems that way because we don't find what we think we need and just keep reaching and reaching. Like most moms, especially moms of special needs children, I gave and gave and gave until there was nothing left. No reserves. Nothing. I was completely empty. That's hard to come back from. There were some things I did to try to help myself: One, avoid toxic people as much as possible. I belonged to some groups that had nothing positive to say. Anytime someone gave some practical advice or even tried to offer hope that things will get better, everyone jumped in and said, "No! You're wrong! Everything is going to end badly! It's too late! There's no hope." When I was in a good place I went back to some of those places to try to offer hope and "rescue" some of the newbies and direct them to more positive supportive groups, but eventually I realized I couldn't even tolerate that. This is one reason the FaceBook group I moderate is only Closed instead of Super Secret like most online groups- meaning you can search for it and don't have to know someone already in the group. I wanted to reach out to newbies and those who still have/ want hope. Two, I really do believe my post about Finding the Joy There is a point where we realize that we have given too much. I once overheard a teen like mine being told she was a "bottomless pit of need." I was a college student at the time and thought the caregiver was mean, but now I know what he meant. We give and give and give, and they are so broken that they not only can't give back, but they're probably never going to be able to pick up the torch and take care of themselves. It's like they say in airplanes, you have to put the mask on yourself before you can help your child. I gave too much of myself and had nothing left. I wasn't a good mom to ANY of my kids and there was nothing left of me as a person either. Once you prioritize yourself, set boundaries, and give yourself time to heal... ONLY then can you help your child. Caring for the Caregiver. The problem is that there is no good time to take that time. 

You're always up to your neck in your child's troubles. At a certain point you have to stop throwing on bandaids and patches trying to keep things afloat and realize that it's only you holding everything together and there is no end in sight. 

How long can you hold out? I finally stopped. I felt hopelessly guilty about it, and I got a LOT of pressure from everyone around me to pick everything up again, but now that I'm in a better place I can pick up what needs to be done again (and it's MY decision what "needs" to be done). I'm still helping my child (and of course I often feel guilty about not doing more), but I will no longer sacrifice my other children, my family, my marriage, ME! for my child. I think we're all in a better place because of that. No, my children will never be independent, responsible adults, but I can't be one for them either. I can only carry one person at a time - me.

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