I’ve been struggling more than usual with the issue of how those closest to me view my parenting skills, or lack thereof.
by Kay Marner
Okay, I feel like I have to explain yesterday’s blog post. I really wasn’t telling a bunch of well-meaning people—my closest supports—to f_ off.
Here’s what was happening in my brain:
I’ve amassed a collection of comments and suggestions in my memory. Regardless of what the speaker intended to convey, I interpreted their words as hurtful; as criticism.
This is what they say to me:
There’s nothing wrong with Natalie.
You’re the problem.
Yesterday, these comments organized themselves into a running commentary in my mind—a list of sins; a chorus of recriminations. I replayed them—over and over—until I was half-convinced that I’m the bad mother they make me out to be. The other half of me wanted to fight—to rebut every comment with one of my own. To list examples of how good I am with other people’s kids—how they behave better for me than they do for their parents. How superior I feel when that happens.
Hurt. Anger. Belief. Self defense. As I keyed the words onto my computer screen, I started to cry. I cried off and on all day.
I’ve been struggling more than usual with the issue of how those closest to me view my parenting skills, or lack thereof. I found myself telling Nat’s therapist and case manager this—as if in warning—“I’m REALLY sensitive about criticism right now. REALLY SENITIVE.” Like--don’t set me off, or you’ll be sorry.
I don’t know how to handle this feeling, and I’m afraid of handling it terribly (like telling people to shut the f_ up), and compromising relationships that are vital to me and my family.
For now, I’m going with avoidance. I’ll remind myself not to call people. To not talk to them about problems with Natalie if they call me. To turn to stone—make my mind a complete blank—if I feel criticized.
I try so hard.
I get so tired.
I’m crying again.