I was recently told that I was emotionally abusing my child.
No seriously. I was told that I was emotionally abusing my child. Now as ludicrous as that statement was considering the source that it came from, I decided that I should examine why they would make such an accusation.
It is no secret to those who know me that I have been struggling recently with my daughter who is diving head first into tween-hood. We have been dealing with attitude issues, problems at school, issues with grades, MOODINESS etc. Which can be pretty typical of a child at this age apparently.
For the majority of my daughter's life she has spent her time at my house, I have been the primary parent. She and I have had an amazing mother daughter relationship. We talked about everything, shared everything and promised to always be honest with each other. She was even a guest on my podcast!
However, recently we moved to a week on week off split with her father. The change in our schedule, the attitude, and moodiness have been difficult for me to process. It just happened overnight *poof* no more little girl – moody tween instead!
Even though I know I shouldn't, I have taken many things that have happened between she and I very personally. I have felt like her wanting to spend more time at her dad's house was a reflection of me. Like she didn't like being with me anymore. I felt like I was losing my little girl.
Where I made my mistake was posting about how I felt on my Instagram account. Which my daughter saw, and it hurt her feelings. Which was never my intent. I would never try to deliberately hurt my daughter. But I did. And maybe subconsciously I did want her to feel bad, like I did.
So I deleted my Instagram account. I never want to lash out at my daughter because I am hurting, even if it is unintentional or subconsciously.
This is the reason that someone thinks that I am 'emotionally abusing' my daughter? Because I vented on my social media platform. Me expressing my emotions and how I was hurting ended up hurting my daughter. It isn't abuse though, simply a mistake made during an emotional time.
But that got me to thinking…
Why aren't moms allowed to have feelings?
I am a very emotional person but for many many years I kept all of my feelings to myself. Always bottling up how I felt just to keep the peace. As a kid I did it to make sure I didn't upset my step-mom. Then as an adult to try not to upset whomever I was seeing at the time. (Which led to me being treated like crap on a regular basis and just taking it).
Continuing on as a parent, I did it to appear strong and independent. Putting up a front so my kids didn't know how sad, upset or worried I was. Shutting my emotions up in a little box and pushing them deep down. I didn't have the time or ability or support to deal with those pesky feelings.
Plus, whenever I DID express my feelings I was often labeled as 'emotional' or ‘unstable' or I was ‘losing it'. I have had people tell me that I was overreacting or that I need to ‘grow up'. All because I FINALLY stood up for myself or expressed how I was feeling.
Why is it that as moms we aren't supposed to be people anymore? Are we all the sudden supposed to not have feelings? Is it not possible that our kids can hurt us to our core? Or that our husbands, boyfriends, family or friends can make us feel like crap?
Just shake it off…
When they do, are we just supposed to shake it off? Act like it doesn't matter, that everything is all okay even though we are hurting inside?
Just because we are moms doesn't mean that we stop feeling the same feelings we used to before we had kids. We are still human. We still make mistakes. I mean, we try really hard not to but we do sometimes.
I spent years keeping my feelings and emotions to myself – always putting up a front. It lead me to a near emotional breakdown and some significant depression. It isn't healthy to always put others happiness in front of your own. Moms are still people and we have to treat ourselves better.
I decided a while ago that I would no longer keep my feelings and emotions bottled up. When I am hurt, people know I am hurt. When I am angry, people know I am angry. I will always talk about how I feel and why I feel that way – especially with my daughter. Because I truly feel that is the only way to bring about change.
Always Speak Your Truth!
Always speak your truth – that is what I tell her. It is important to your own mental health to do so. It may not always be fun, it may be very very hard – and you may hurt someones feelings or upset them. I know that things I have said and done have upset my daughter. It has never been done out of spite or malice – not intentionally.
I also know that many things my daughter has said and done have unintentionally hurt me. However, I would rather know how she feels and process through the emotions than have her miserable inside trying to keep me happy.
It is also important to me that she know how I feel as well. The way I communicate and how I express that is what I need to work on. Making mistakes is human and this is all a part of the learning process for me. (Especially now that I have a tween!)
I am living my life trying to be emotionally authentic and I hope she is able to do the same.
I don't believe that is abuse, not in the slightest.