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Just trying to see it from their perspective.....


Jenna520
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Hi Jenna,

I think that your kids are so incredibly lucky to have you as their Mom.

And you are right, parents should love, support and accept their children no matter what.

I am sorry that you are not getting the support and love you deserve from your parents.i know that you want an explanation and maybe some kind of closure, but I hope you understand that none of this is your fault.

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Jenna, this must have been very difficult for you as a child. The ideas that form in our minds about ourselves while growing up can be difficult to shake. I'm sorry your parents have not been supportive and have said such cruel things to you. :( Whatever the reason may be for their behaviors and treatment toward you, this is about them and not you. I agree with Lana that your children are fortunate to have you as their mom. I can tell you love them very much.

I have three children who are very different from each other. It's been a gift to watch them grow and unfold into their unique selves. I love them all equally and, like you, I would walk through fire for them.

You did nothing to deserve being treated this way. You deserve to be loved and cherished. I hope you can be gentle with yourself, Jenna.

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Hi Jenna. I can't give you the sort of response you're asking for -- a parent's perspective -- because I never had children. In large part, that's because my experience with my parents was similar to what you describe. One of my earliest memories is my mother telling me, in a very matter-of-fact way, that she and my dad never wanted me. I heard that message many times during my childhood, and into my adulthood. Like you, it left me asking "what did I do?" It left me feeling defective.

After much therapy, I think I am coming to understand what I hope you can understand as well: it's not about you, or me, or any other child, being "not good enough," or "defective," or unworthy of love. We're all worthy of love. The "defect," or, as my therapist puts it, the "deficiency," is in the parent who is not able to give a child the love that child deserves. My parents have that deficiency, and it sounds like yours do too. I suspect plenty of parents do, probably because of something they experienced when they were children themselves.

The bottom line is that their treatment of you says nothing about you and everything about them, and even though this isn't the response you were looking for, I wanted to share that thought with you. Please take care.

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Thank you for sharing. I can't afford a lot of therapy but I need it! I know they're capable of love, they loved my brother. Now, had they treated him as they did me, I would say okay, they're just lacking in a lot of parental skills and love. That's what confuses me so much. I wake up and look in the mirror and tell myself "It's not you, it's them." That only works to certain extent. Sometimes I'm pondering and greiving about it without realizing that I'm doing it until I get all upset. I feel like the way they treated me, has made me the parent that I am. It looks as if they grew up with a rough childhood, they would do the logical thing and make it a point to be different than their parents were with them. I know I did. I got married at 17 and had a child a month after I turned 19. I said from the beginning, I would go above and beyond to be all that my children needed me to be. It comes natural as instinct, so I can't figure how they could be such cruel and uncompassionate people, unless their hearts are just made of pure stone. Even animals care for and take care of their young.

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Jenna, you know I'm not a parent and I'm only 30 as you are, but I'd like to share what I know about this from others' experiences; maybe it could help a bit (?).

Are there different types of parents? Is it common for parents to simply love one child and discard the other. I'd like to hear from someone who would be honest with me about their relationships with their children and their thoughts about favoritism.

Yes, there definitely are many different types of parents. (Humans are much more complex than animals and it includes their relationships with their young...) For instance, one of my friends has an older brother and her parents spoiled him awfully but they treated her very severely (not as badly as yours, but they were very strict and critical and judgmental about her) and they also only laughed at the fact that she was bullied by her brother for many years - they considered it as "normal siblings' teasing" (and said "he will grow up and change" - ha!), but he was really harsh to her when they were kids and tried to make a kind of "personal servant" from her when they were teens... Fortunately, their relationship is much better now, because when she finished university, she married to a man from another continent and moved with him to his home country, so now she's precious or her parents because they may see her only once a year or once two years and they "spoil" her when she comes home...

And this is maybe even a more surprising example of favoritism: I've read on a website (for parents) about twins that it's very common to have "a favorite twin" - that even when parents have identical (!) twins, they usually prefer one of them a little bit. There was also a statement from a psychologist saying that it's normal and in case the parents don't express this difference in their behaviour, it's OK and they don't need to worry and blame themselves! So... it is normal to have such preferences (although not everybody has them, of course!), but a "normal"/"mentally healthy" parent don't act upon them, don't show them to the children. And why your parents preferred your brother and were unable to hide it and give both the same love? I think you've got appropriate answers:

I've thought of all the possible scenarios like is it because I was an unplanned pregnancy, was it because my mother nearly passed when she had me, was it because I was born prematurely and wasn't expected to make it but I did though I was a very sickly child and cost them lots of money in drs bills? Is it because I'm a girl? What was it?

Yes, you might wonder and argue forever which of all these factors was "the one" or which was more important, as well as ask about other possible factors, because there will probably be no moment when "the truth will be revealed" (you might ask your parents, of course, but... even then you might question their answer and wonder if they were honest with you, so...). I suppose your parents cannot answer this either. I suppose they aren't (and maybe even cannot be) aware of all the causes and how each of them contributed to their feelings and behaviour. If they were, it would mean they had analyzed themselves deeply - and in that case, they certainly wouldn't behave the same way as they still do.

So... the question is: Do you really need to understand more than you already understand? I can relate very much to the feeling that "yes", because I'm also the kind of person who'd like to understand everything deeply, to see all the causes and causal relationships, ... and I also know how frustrating it can be when you don't get the answers you "need". But some people (including my therapist) suggested that I don't really need to know all this (as the reasons why I became so suicidal despite my good, caring mom etc.). And I have to agree. So, there's another question: What do you really need to feel better about yourself and what can you do to achieve it? I'd tell you from my subjective perspective (which it's hard for me to apply to myself in practice, but... I realize it would be good) that one of the things you probably need is to stop "obsessing" about the fact that your parents are how they are and about the wish to make them love you and start feeling much more the love that is present - the love of people capable of loving you. Make this love to be "counting" much more than the hate of your parents.

This is the "obsession" I'm talking about:

Everyday, I ask myself, " what did I do?" or "What can I do to make them love me?" It's emotionally straining and has destroyed me more than I've acknowledged.

I know you feel "destroyed" and I also think that it's important to realize it - to see what is "not working" and understand that it's "because of them". However, it's only a kind of starting point - you are the one who's gonna "restore" yourself. First of all; you're probably not as much "destroyed" as you tend to think. There's a lot of good and "functional" in you ;)...

P.S.: This book came to my mind today; I imagine you might like it, too: T. Moore: Dark nights of the soul: http://books.google....dQC&redir_esc=y

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I think the reason I obssess about why it is they are like they are, is because their treatment and behavior has damaged my self esteem. I question my worth a lot, because to my mind, I've got to be garbage if the two people that brought me into this world cannot treat me with some sort of respect. I keep thinking if I find out the real answer, I'll finally be able to say that it's all their problem, I've done nothing wrong, and can feel that I am capable of being loved. I've developed a fear of those I love leaving me because I think so low of myself. That's why I guess I'm on a mission. I know in reality that I will never get an answer, but I can't keep it from bothering me. It sounds silly, I know. I don't even know where to begin in the healing process to getting my self esteem back.

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Hello Jenna havent heard of u in a while, obcourse i havent been here in sometime. Ive read your struggle since the day ur brother die, ive get to know u by words and I know u are great person, and it makes me sad to know ur not feeling ok.

U cant do nothing to be loved, if they cant see how great u are, its their failure.

you have two beautiful children, and you are a person who cares about others, what else do you need to increase your self-esteem.

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I keep thinking if I find out the real answer, I'll finally be able to say that it's all their problem, I've done nothing wrong, and can feel that I am capable of being loved. I've developed a fear of those I love leaving me because I think so low of myself. That's why I guess I'm on a mission. I know in reality that I will never get an answer, but I can't keep it from bothering me. It sounds silly, I know. I don't even know where to begin in the healing process to getting my self esteem back.

Well, from a rational perspective, it really sounds silly. But as we aren't "purely rational creatures", what you describe is natural and widespread. But as far as I know, there are quite many people who "recovered" from this "condition" and have broken the vicious cycle. So it's definitely possible. It's hard (if not impossible) to directly control the irrational part of us, but providing rational arguments can be helpful in the process of changing it. So what I can suggest is... to change your thinking step by step. You said you repeat the same questions and keep thinking (mainly?) in one direction (-the one shown in the beginning of your previous post), but when you're writing here, you can also see the other perspective, though still thinking that it's inaccessible for you: By saying that you'll "never know the answer" and that you "need the answer to be able to change your opinion", you're saying that you'll never change your opinion, thus never change your state of mind, never get rid of the obsession etc. So when you ask how to begin with the change, then I suggest to change this at first. You cannot decide "since now, I'll have a high self-esteem," of course. But you can identify the obstacles on the way towards it and destroy them or pass them by. You already are aware of the majority of them, it seems to me. But you probably haven't found the right attitude yet. It's alright; it's probably always a long process. ... I think I often sound like pushing you to something, but... I hope you understand that I'm doing it because I care and wish you to "move on", to progress. I cannot know "the right way"; so as always, I'm just offering my "vision". Maybe it's not good to present it in the form of "...you should do this and shouldn't do that", many people don't like it and I understand. But it's sometimes hard for me to formulate it right. So if now I take "the wrong formulations" ;), I tell you: You should accept the answers you already have (= your mom has developed some mental problems + " is it because I was an unplanned pregnancy, was it because my mother nearly passed when she had me, was it because I was born prematurely and wasn't expected to make it but I did though I was a very sickly child and cost them lots of money in drs bills? Is it because I'm a girl?") - each of them has surely "a piece of truth" in it. Even if somebody, including your parents and your therapist or whoever, told you "the answer", it would always be only YOU who has to decide if you accept/believe it or not - if it's "enough" for you or not. There's nothing special you're waiting for. You already have all "info" you need. What you haven't done yet is "processing it". But you already have "the right conclusions", here:

it's all their problem, I've done nothing wrong, and can feel that I am capable of being loved.

Now you need to decide to believe them, to accept them and move forward.

You've already done a lot of progress (related to your past anxieties etc.), so you have a proof that you're able to succeed. I know this task may seem/be harder (than, for instance, going shopping alone), but... I believe you'll make it, too ;).

Good luck!!!

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Jenna,

I do remember you. My childhood was riddled with abuse and neglect. Bt the time I was barely 3 all my brothers were taken away and placed in foster care, then my foster mother was abusive, and it only got worse as I became older. They were a upper middle class family and highly religious. I never had the connection that I fit into this family ever. foster mother was terrible, starting running away at 13, wanting desparately a way out. At aroung age 9 I hoarded as many pills as I could and OD. it just made me vomit. then I swalled a huge amount of straight needles and pins. at a young age, I always was a anious child, easily bullied at school, even had to fight, I always sunk in I was a bad girl, very bad, then I had thoughts of hurting people, very bad thoughts of carrying out these fantasies. I barely turned 16 and nearly was hit by a car, in a daze , so a counselor placed me into a mental hospital without telling the parents. I had also begun a raging eating disorder by then, and the abuse was then turned aganist myself, so I stayed in 3 different mental hospitals, as my foster parents moved out of state without telling me. I went to a group home for a yr or so until I maxed out of age. Suddenly the foster parents claimed me, moved to the bay area where they were living, but the ED went totally out of control. Was kicked out of their place. I ended up renting a room called share rentals, and moved frequently due to the ED. I dropped to 75 lbs at 5'4 in a half, so was hospitalize again, got out and lost all the weight.

Anyway, their were always fighting betweent the foster parents, really bad ones, the mother blamed me all the time, and always thought I was a liar. Never lied . My foster father was there for me on occasion, so when I got pregnant, and was not going to listen to them , or their wishes, he helped me get into my first apt. life completley changed after having my son, and I worked full time. Raised him, went through hell when he showed signs of autism, and aggressive behaviors ,got throught it, those difficult years. Only to backslide into more extreme behaviors years later towards myself. The anger I had was directed towards me, everything is/was my fault. I really went after myself with a vengence, but always knew what to say to stay out of a hospital, or from a 5150.

Anyway, I still struggle with these things, still hating the foster mother, still fighting the anger and rage.

Do what you need to do in order to take care of yourself and your family, try to focus on that, now that you are parent your awareness of your childhood experiences may come and go. You were a innocent little girl, not your fault. perhaps your parents were dealing with their own stuff, especially after your brothers untimely death. They may not have good coping skills. Again not your fault .

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  • 5 months later...

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