Mothers day disaster

Today is mothers day. I’m lying in bed after 11pm and my wife is snoring at about mid volume next to me. I’ve rolled her over so she’s facing away.20110508-114141.jpg
My overwhelming feeling is one of pain and distress. I’ve just downed half a coffee cup of cheap tawny to take the edge off.

Mothers day went badly. She’s been so stressed lately that the kids thought they would go all out on mothers day. Unfortunately for them she had expectations of how the day would go – and they didn’t meet it.

Somewhere throughout the day she grew horns and the kids excitement rapidly deflated. One said he wished he was two years old again. Another said he wished mum was back in bed.
They all felt like they’d failed because mum wasn’t happy.

Despite trying I couldn’t get her to reign in the black dog. I could see their little spirits slowing wilting but couldn’t seem to abate the fallout.

Here’s what I know:

Parents shouldn’t have unrealistic expectations of little people.

Parents shouldn’t make it the responsibility of kids to make them happy.

Parents should be honest with kids and explain if they’re not well.

Parents should be responsible for their own emotional wellbeing because the alternative damages kids.

When parents are suffering anxiety or depression they are in fight or flight and have tunnel vision and interpret kids actions as disobedient, willful, dishonoring or disrespectful that is, the kids behaviors are interpreted in relation to the person who is unwell. It’s personalized. In fact it’s usually just kids being kids. Tunnel vision by parents in survival mode doesn’t afford the greatest perspective.

Kids need to be leveled with. They need ways to understand what they’re experiencing.

Lastly never use rice flour to make Gyozai skins and try and find out if your wife hates Tom Cruise before you rent a DVD featuring him as leading actor for mothers day night.


4 Responses

  1. *nodding sadly* And unfortunately, some adults don’t know, or refuse to acknowledge, that they’re suffering from mental disorders.

    Your story once again resonates, and points to the reason I’m now divorced. Of course, as a fundamentalist Christian, there are a number of factors that serve to keep you in a quickly deteriorating relationship: 1) the persistent hope that things will get better. You truly have faith that God will bless your marriage, and somehow, some way, these occasional flare-ups, with the kids receiving the brunt of it, will stop. Someday, the angst that see your partner going through on an ongoing basis will see a resolution. And you know that once it does, she’ll feel better, and this will translate into a more realistic relationship between her and your children.

    2) The belief that “God hates divorce” pretty much traps you into the status quo. So you’d better find a resolution for this all, something that will bring her relief, and something that will allow your kids to remain kids, and enjoy life as it was meant for them. ‘Cause, dear Christian, there are no alternatives for you. None.

    Anyway, that’s what happened in my relationship. It took me a while to understand that what my wife was doing was actually called “abuse”: this nit-picking behaviour that demanded adult actions from youngsters. The raging tornado of abuse hurled at a five year old for not doing the dishes exactly correct. And when you point out that this behaviour isn’t normal, well……then you’re not doing your job as a husband in keeping a united front with their mother. There is no acknowledgement of your observation. If you’re not for her, then you’re the enemy, plain and simple.

    So….one of the fallouts is that, despite your well-meaning and constant attempts to “fix” everything, it just continues to fall apart. You try couples therapy (with “Christian counsellors”) which doesn’t help. You spend hours and hours trying to help her see – without accusation – the damage she’s doing, both to herself and her kids. But it doesn’t work.

    And eventually, once the kids are grown, you run out of rope. And it takes even longer to figure out that, to God, “divorce” happens in the heart much earlier than when the judge bangs his gavel.

    So you decide to separate. The kids are almost old enough to go out on their own. And because you know your action is rocking the boat (despite the fact that she agrees – heartfully so – that it’s time to separate), you decide to leave and find a place of your own. And you’re very surprised when you hear your kids say “well that’s good, Dad. But, just one question: why are you leaving? Why isn’t she going instead?” And that’s what you get an inkling of the patience they’ve had toward all of the bad behaviour. And your heart breaks.

    I found out, eventually, that my wife was likely exhibiting “borderline personality disorder”. If you read up on that, you’ll discover the horror of that thing, which has its own built-in Catch-22 – it’s the one condition that psychiatry has trouble dealing with, because quite often, patients see their doctors as the enemy.

    Anyway, I wish your wife’s Mother’s Day would have been better, and I hope for the best for you guys. Just thought I’d share my story with you here, because so much of what you wrote resonated.

    • Hey there Wolf, good to hear from you again. I really “get” the bind that you found yourself in. It was similar to the bind I was in feeling like I was called to a lifetime of ministry, but at the same time being too sick to soldier on, but “believing” for a breakthrough…

      I’m really sorry to hear about your experience. It’s a little close to home too. A fishing buddy has just had his wife leave him. A psych has speculated that she has BPD too, but as is common with most BPD sufferers, they don’t get treatment or even acknowledge anything is wrong. It’s a very confusing situation to be in. (The same psych said he doesn’t take on patients with BPD….).

      You must have had a very difficult time. It’s amazing how sometimes our “faith” , “perseverance”, “long suffering”, and “love” can make us trapped…

      I guess it takes a bit of unpacking the whole idea of how our theology and beliefs can actually be detrimental to our mental health and wellbeing…

  2. So sorry that yesterday didn’t go as you (undoubtedly) hoped it would have done. My heart goes out to you, and I’m sorry for what may have seemed like a harsh comment to a previous post of yours…

    I couldn’t agree more with the “things you know”, particularly “Parents should be responsible for their own emotional wellbeing because the alternative damages kids.” Absolutely – parents should never rely on their children to be their counsellors.

  3. Hey Alistair, thanks for your thoughts. I didn’t find your comment to the previous post harsh at all. I’ve been a pastor for long enough to have heard it all!! You’re mild šŸ™‚

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