They don’t like me.

This is a very personal blog to write. I’ve mentioned about issues that I am having with my children and although I know that with time and maturity, they will see things differently (I hope), the real issue affecting me is how this makes me feel personally right now.

At first I felt as though it was a lack of care, attention, or any other parenting issue that 3 teenagers can have with their parents that was bothering me but I looked back and couldn’t find any area of maltreatment. I busted my arse to be a good mother to them. Every single day for decades. I wasn’t perfect. Oh heck no! I wasn’t too proud to admit my mistakes though and ask for their forgiveness. Even if I didn’t feel “at fault”, if they were feeling hurt? I was sorry and said so.

I tried to just move past their leaving me and spend my time enjoying my newly emptied nest but something always came back for me to deal with. If I refused to listen to that voice during the day? I’d dream about it at night. There is no escape.

Finally it came to me after another really hard day filled with tears and questioning myself. It is not the mothering stuff that they are unhappy with. It is me personally.
You see, I used to be this doormat that just did everything for them and nothing for myself. If they needed anything at all, I would drop my own plans to manage theirs. Their happiness and satisfaction was paramount. This all well and nice but it was also at the expense of my own needs. I totally ignored my own needs.
Sadly this was my children’s “normal”.

Then I went away. I was hospitalized for 4 months during 2013.
The woman who left was a very depressed, constantly suicidal, confused, anxious person who had not even a tiny shred of self-worth.
I was trying to be a great mother, a great wife, a great friend, a great sister-in-law, and a great worker but all of these efforts were drawing off reserves that were long since depleted. I was running on empty for a very long time.

While I was away, I learned some really “simple” concepts that I should have been taught in childhood but wasn’t.
I learned about taking care of myself in many ways. My own social needs, my ability to provide self-care, the need for self nurturing, I figured out who “Heather” actually was. Not just my title positions of “Mom”, “Wife”, or “Friend”, but rather who Heather was. I didn’t even have my own favourite colour when I left. I couldn’t admit to someone else that I did not agree with their taste of music. I just agreed with everything because I really had no idea of my own opinions at all. I made friends while there and realized that people could actually like and appreciate me just for being me. I was shocked. Truly shocked. I’d held such a long-held belief in my own unworthiness and I was so shame filled, I couldn’t imagine anyone liking me especially if they “really knew me”.
But they did. 🙂

Then I came home.
I came home a very different person than who I was when I left.
I was happier, I was no longer suicidal every moment (I still have it in my mind now and then but it is not constant any longer), I was better able to care for myself and know what I needed.
I’d learned that my needs were important and by not taking care of myself, I was almost useless to anyone else in the long-term. I was so close to completely burning out my life light at that point. Learning to refuel myself saved my life. Literally.

It all sounds great but the kids got back a woman whom they’d never met before.
Other people in my life got this new Heather as well but as adults, they saw it as positive steps in the right direction. Kids don’t always see it that way.

I still did things for the kids but I also took care of myself.
“Yes I can pick you up after school but I am busy until 4 so it will be as soon as I can get there after that okay?”
“Sure you can go over to Sally’s house on the weekend but I have to pick you up at 10am rather than 4pm because your father and I have plans.”
“Sally is welcome for supper but she needs to leave by 8pm because we need a quiet evening after this busy week.”
The kids still got everything that they did before but now they were forced to think of me as well. I was not more important than anyone else but I went from no need for any thought at all, to actually becoming a person with needs of my own.
To them? This is mom being very selfish.

Sadly the comment that I have heard most often in the past 2 years is how I have changed and they don’t like me since I came home from the hospital. They don’t like who I am at all now and they refuse to even speak to me. 😦

This is where it gets painful. You see, I learned who I really was while I was away. I grew in to myself then and in the months after I came home. I found my passion for writing, I began to be creative through my Tangled Art, when they had problems, I actually had a few solutions for them too. I knew what worked for me and I was excited to share it. They did not appreciate that at all. When I had no answers, I was useless, when I tried to share what I had learned, I was acting like a therapist. Really? There is no way to win is there?
I became a happier person. I began to get out more and take part in things that I would have never even tried before. I also stopped doing some things that I had to admit I was not doing for myself. I was doing them because someone else told me I would like it.

This new person is so much better off in so many ways but the kids do not like this person at all. They all agree and say that they liked me far better before I went away. Even when their father tells them that I would be dead today if I had not gone away (truth) to learn all that I did, they still want me back that way. It is all they ever knew and they miss their old mom. I wasn’t happy but it is that woman that they are comfortable with. I do not blame them for this. Not at all. Teenagers in particular are not the best at being understanding souls but they are getting older now and I hope they start to mature into realizing that I am still the mom they loved but now I am stronger and that is good for ALL of us.

The biggest ouch is that they do not like ME. I know who I am now and that is who they don’t like. The actual Heather that emerged from that horribly dark and confining cocoon is who they do not like. They don’t see my wings, they don’t see the new colour that has been added to my life. They do not see me soar. They see a bug and they don’t like it.

I can’t go back to who I was back then. I can’t revert to that sad place where no light shone. I don’t want to but it truly breaks me heart to admit that my kids just don’t like me at all any longer. It is very personal. It is very painful.

I hope that they will grow up a bit more and mature in to realizing what they are asking me to do. I hope they will begin to display the love, respect and compassion that was always given to them and return it right back to their parents. Until then? If there is ever a “then”? Honestly I just don’t know.

What would you do???

Wings

20 responses to “They don’t like me.

  1. It’s easy to say “it’s their loss” and “one day they will realise how selfish and unfair they are being”. But it’s mostly YOUR loss Heather, and you have to live with this NOW. l’m not a parent, so am always wary of making “judgements”, but to answer your question what would l do? Wait. You have done all yo can for now. You are an awsome person Heather and one day – if THEY are lucky – they will see that too. Many hugs my friend. You are so brave to write this blog.xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Wendy. I know you really do understand and you care. Your words are always helpful. And yes, I was terrified to release this blog. It cuts just a little too close to my biggest insecurity. Not being worthy of love. I’ve appreciated the positive comments more than I can express. Cwtches. ❤

      Like

  2. One of the most helpful pieces of advice I got when my kids were little was “when they are adolescents they will need to dislike something about you. It might as well be something good.” You have changed, true, but they are in flux and they need something or someone to scapegoat for their discomfort. Be you. Love them in a healthy way. Set limits. They’ll tell you that you are ruining their lives. You nod sympathetically and maintain boundaries. Trust me, they would be much more miserable with a yes-mom.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, it breaks my heart that they are temporarily (lets be hopeful) rejecting you. You have emerged and you are a wonderful person. They sound very angry. Try not to think that they don’t like you — it’s that they do not like the changes you have made in your way of relating to them. You are still being a good mother because your way of relating to them now is much healthier and better for them. In the meantime, sign me up as one more person that likes you immensely!

    Like

  4. What would I do? I didn’t answer your question. I don’t know if there is anything you can do for now. Do what you need to do for you. If it would make you feel better to leave a message for them on their phone. Do so. Write them a letter? If it would make you feel better — do so. These may just be my impulses though as I don’t like to be treated like I don’t exist. So take this with a grain of salt.

    Like

  5. My dear sweet and precious friend. Thank you for sharing your thoughts feelings and deep pain you are experiencing. It takes incredible courage to admit and further express what we feel.

    What would I do?
    That’s difficult to answer. Why – for one because with pain there is conflict. And questioning and doubt and wanting to run away.

    You are in a far better place now with new and wonderful opportunities in your life. More time for you to do the very basic and necessary thing of caring for yourself. Something you were never taught.
    But when the closest people in our life don’t accept us or our new behaviour it hurts tremendously. But the trouble is you can’t go back to that way of living. That doormat.

    The other issue you raise is that you didn’t know your favourite colour and would just agree or go with the flow because you were never given the opportunity to do these things as a kid. If you are simply trying to survive the last thing you were thinking of was hmmm. I think I like blue.
    Moreover you would agree with whatever was the thing to agree with at the time. You wouldn’t dare disagree for fear of a) losing someone’s love or b) experiencing negative consequences for having a voice and speaking your ideas. You wouldn’t want to upset the apple cart.
    You wouldn’t dare.

    What we do on a day to day basis with c-PTSD takes a hell of a lot of hard work and effort. A lot of effort. It’s everyday correcting distortions, calming ourselves down after triggers or nightmares and flashbacks, realigning ourselves after traumatic reenactment only after having the foresight to recognize that this is what’s happening and somehow manage to live a balanced life in our minds bodies and daily interactions.

    It’s hard to stand our ground and have a voice. And be heard believed listened to and most of all respected. I don’t know that your kids don’t like you but I think it’s that they are not respecting your decision to employ new and healthy behaviours for yourself.

    It cramps their style. And they don’t like that. When we allow people to treat us like doormats because we allowed that kind of behaviour so long being taken advantage of, rescuing or the like, and I too am guilty of “taking it” “allowing it” whatever the case, when we change the way the game is played people have a hard time adjusting.

    I hope that your kids one day see how much you’ve done for them given them and how lovingly and respectful you have treated them, which was a very far cry from how you were raised. They are so lucky to not have experienced the horror that you have.

    I love you to bits and pieces. Always.
    Your Diana. Xo.

    Like

    • Oh Diana… you always know what to say. Your words have helped me reframe this all a bit and it did feel good to just admit what I really feel. That is something I am not always very good at. My friends are one constant that keeps me going in the right direction despite the setbacks. Thank you for being one of them. ❤

      Like

  6. First off I want to start off saying…Iuvs ya…you know I know…happy luv bubble.

    As you know we never started off close.
    As I mentioned To you in the message I sent after you were back home, you confused the life out of me. I didnt know how to approach you.
    Mom and I had a conversation about you early on in my move to NL. I mentioned how I am getting mixed signals, my “gut instinct” was proceed with caution. One moment you were very quiet, nodding and smiling the next you go into defensive and stare at me like you wanna take my face off( if you are ever curious about that conversation, I would be happy to fill you in) You personallity felt very split to me.
    Mom fed me tid bits about you and said you were being hospitalized. I had my awe moment…..all that confusion about who you were, merged Into one solid. I felt horribly guilty for thinking that way I did.

    Thats why I felt the need to reach out to you wih my message.

    Heather you are one of the most honestly human people I know. I luv you because of your honesty, your bravery, your uniqueness. I feel comfortable with you because you embrace my blunt mouth and quirks. I can be myself with you.

    I believe with all my heart your kids will see “you”. And get it. Like I did. They are in thier stubborn, I made up my mind, you suck, the end! Stage. They dont see anything beyond thier wall of WANT and STUBBORNESS.

    just be patient, continue to love them. Be a good mom. You are doing it right.

    Like

    • Oh Sherry. Thank you so much. You know I think the world of you. This message means the world to me. So many of todays messages have really helped me see things a bit better. Its just hard when the world seems dark at times. You know?
      I would love to hear more about your conversation with your Mom. Her words were always such a comfort to me. I’d like to hear what she told you when you have time.
      As for thinking I was “split”, maybe you should be a psychiatrist? LOL

      Like

  7. I have a similar situation with my sons and I find you to be very inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  8. same situation here…

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s