Well it’s been an interesting week. My parents have my house left but will be back Thursday. My sister leaves tomorrow and my mother in law is staying til Friday. Other than constantly bickering with each other, my parents were well behaved.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents, but there is a lot I don’t like about them. Especially how they can become suddenly abusive for no known reason. Having them stay for a week is about as much as I can take in one go. Even when they are on their best behaviour, the constant bickering with each other, bossing everyone around, etc, is more than my nerves can take.
This is the first night it’s felt peaceful in my house in the last week! Actually it’s been quite a good day. My MIL and I took Sammie and Rose and a school friend of Sammie’s to the pool this afternoon. It was nice and relaxing. Considering that I spent most of the first 8 months of Rose’s life so depressed that I could barely function, sometimes not able to function, it’s nice to be enjoying doing fun things with her and Sammie and actually be able to enjoy it myself.
Back to my family …. I’m not even sure where to begin. My family are “interesting”. My mother has bipolar and ADHD. My father has aspergers and obsessive compulsive personality disorder. I have three younger siblings. I’ve introduced Jessie a little. She has bipolar and aspergers and ADHD. Then there are my brothers. I’m not very good at coming up with pseudonyms, so I’ve decided to call them BLB (big little brother) and LLB (little little brother) – although both have grown up and are now bigger than I am! LLB has depression and possibly aspergers. BLB has aspergers and PTSD.
Going back another generation, the bipolar comes from my mother’s mother, the aspergers (not officially diagnosed) from my father’s father. Going forward a generation, if I haven’t mentioned, Sammie is diagnosed with aspergers and ADHD. I am hoping she doesn’t develop the family curse of bipolar/depression. I feel sometimes like the poor kid has the odds stacked against her. There is all my family history of mental illness, and then there is her biological father’s side… her biological father (my first husband) has a lot of issues. He suffers from major depression and borderline personality disorder. I worry about Sammie because she shows a lot of traits from her father – mood swings and anger problems. But it’s hard to separate what might be a mental health problem developing versus what is normal for a child who was abused then abandoned by her father
I do worry about little Rose too but not so much. Sammie showed her first traits of aspergers right from when she was a few months old. Rose is the total opposite of Sammie as a baby. Where Sammie was quiet and passive and not interested in socialising, Sammie is outgoing and loud and is extremely social. Having two parents with aspergers means there is a high chance genetically she will have it, but I’d say with the way she is developing, she doesn’t have it. And of course, there is the risk that with two parents who suffer from anxiety and depression, she is also at a much higher risk of developing one or both (or bipolar), but I am hoping that since we both know what to look out for and show her love constantly, that even if she does develop anxiety or depression that she will become more like John and less like me.
I believe if I’d had supportive parents like John does (John’s parents are great, loving parents), then I wouldn’t have grown up with no self esteem and difficulty reaching out for help. Nor would I have been vulnerable to being abused by others and wouldn’t have gone through the hell in life I have been through. My parents raised me to believe that I was worthless and deserved all the abuse that they (and later others) put me through, that standing up to abusers would make me an even worse person than they already beat into me that I was. Then my experiences when I did reach out for help (to family, to friends and to professionals) meant that it was just reinforced into me that I was worthless and didn’t deserve help and that if I dared try, that I would just be abused even more.
That’s why there is difference between me and John. I know his depression at times is more than mild, that is gets to the point of being moderate in severity. He has struggled with the male equivalent of perinatal depression. He adores Rose – I’ve never seen him so happy with anyone ever. Our pregnancy was planned – in fact I was so stressed out about trying that I used to feel like crying every time I got my period before we finally fell pregnant. But when we finally did fall pregnant, worry about the financial and emotional responsibility overwhelmed him and he ended up needing antidepressants for the first time in years (since before we even met). But despite all that, he doesn’t become severely unwell like I do. And I honestly believe the only difference between me and him in why I become so much more unwell, and battle with thoughts of wanting to hurt and kill myself, is because of how we were brought up.
If I had a mother like him, who is so supportive and loving and always there, I don’t think I’d have ended up so broken. Yes I’d still have bipolar, I might even have still suffered severe episodes, but I don’t think my episodes would have been so long, and I don’t think I would have reached the point (after I had Sammie) where I spent more than a year trying to kill myself, in and out of hospital. And I wouldn’t be haunted by the PTSD.
I don’t hate my parents for what they did to me. I think they are both messed up people who just live in a fantasy world about what is appropriate behaviour when it comes to raising children. I know my dad honestly believes what he says that it’s his “right” to “discipline” (ie physically assault) his children (even as adults) if he believes they are doing the wrong thing according to his standards. And my mum? Well she suffers from severe paranoia about people being out to get her, and being a person who externalises things rather than internalises things (like I do), when she thinks people are out to get her, she thinks it’s ok to hurt them in return. I know this isn’t a normal part of bipolar (it would be an insult to the many loving bipolar parents to think so), but it is part of HER bipolar. Being the oldest of her children, and the only one willing to stand up to her when she started lashing out, I have always borne the brunt of her delusions and the brunt of her abuse.
My parents have hurt me very badly. The physical injuries fade but the emotional injuries are lifelong. I forgive them – I forgave them a very long time ago. But every day is a struggle with my self esteem and feeling like I deserve the abuse I have suffered in life. And then there is what I discussed in my post about why I have been abused by professionals with how I was abused by my parents has led me to hide when I’m in emotional pain so many professionals have not taken my depression seriously – sometimes not taking it seriously at first, others not taking it seriously at all.
So I love my parents, but I wish they had treated me differently in the past and I long for them to treat me differently in the future. I know they never will, but one can always live in hope, right?