my response to http://kittomalley.com/2015/02/20/compassion-childhood-trauma-of-parental-mental-illness-1000speak/

metalflowermaker February 26, 2015 / 3:58 am
Thank you for this discussion. In advance: I’m sorry this is so long.

I had an exchange recently (screaming argument) with my ex who decided to blame my genes for the behavior of our eldest child. I realized that as far away from that abusive man as I had come, it was too easy to slip off the deep end and argue with his lunacy. I had promised myself, that I would not get sucked in again.

We give the good and the bad of ourselves to our children, the same as our parents did. I do not /cannot accept that this child, who became violent at such an early age is just mimicking what he saw, “mommy do.” I ended the call with the ex. Then he called me back to continue the “discussion” as if he hadn’t been hung up on, scolding me for having my own issues with mental illness. I ended the call again. I don’t take his calls unless necessary, and just hang up to preserve my calm.

My mental health, from 1997 to 2012, while being in an emotionally abusive house deteriorated. Before things went really crazy in that house. I was living with un-medicated, manageble, low level depression. I had one Major Depressive episode when I was in college in 1992. The stress pushed me into Major Depressive Disorder in 2008, 9, 10, something like that. My ex’s diagnosis of me and lies about my behavior to “our friends” undermined any support I felt I had. He manipulated a lot of people well. People like to believe that the “crazy” person is responsible for the downfall of a family.

A couple weeks ago, I was told by a former friend that I didn’t fight for my children, that I refused to sit down with my ex to discuss our children. When you are served with a court order out of the blue, you fight the lunacy in the biased, uninformed court. They bested HIPAA laws to drag my psychiatrist into my divorce hearings. They used my writing about my life as a mother of three/feeling like four against me in court. The words of a former friend hurt, because I realized that I never was his friend. He never asked about me, he just believed what my ex told him about me. I had to grieve the loss of that one friend I thought I had left in one of my posts.

Now that my ex has a new partner, he feels that they, yes, I said they, will force me out of my children’s lives again. Refusing to let me see my children without changing the court order is criminal. I’ve just learned to handle it differently. I was hoping that he would leave me alone, but I have to fight back for the sake of my children.

All my kids are screwed up. Not just the one who beat the crap out of me while my ex watched. They watched their father emotionally abuse me. They watched their brother physically abuse me. They watched me shut down. They did not see me cut, because I did not relapse until I was out of the house away from the children. They should not know much about my issues unless he told them about it, which I discovered he had been doing all along. Except his version is different and includes me hating and abusing my children.

I have no problems with my recall. I don’t have blackouts. I did nothing to my children, except try to get them help when they needed it and included their father, who refused marriage counseling through most of the marriage, stating that the therapist and I were siding against him. He likes to play games, a practical joker who spent the last two years I lived in the house, hiding my keys every morning, then blaming it on my eldest son. He then told my son, I was blaming him for everything I was losing in the house. He’s a sick, sick man, emboldened and enabled by this new partner, to continue his abuse.

I wrote some very blunt emails about his life with me and addressed it to the new couple, as she has been writing for him (as I used to do) using his email account without signing her name. My ex is dyslexic and can’t spell to save his life, so when these perfectly crafted emails started arriving “from him,” I just put down on paper what I believe to be true. “Go to therapy to address your own childhood issues and psychotic break, before ever calling me to discuss mine.” I’ve gone to therapy since college and added a psychiatrist when necessary.

My ex is not a therapist or doctor, but he has harmed our son by getting him to stop taking his anti-depressant medication, which threw him into withdrawal with mania, depression and suicidal ideation. That threw the whole house into turmoil. Then he blamed the child for being out of control. Then two of the three traumatized boys were dropped off at my house while he went out of town with his girlfriend for a week. Sick bastard. This somehow was my fault? I gave birth to three children with this idiot, that is my only fault. Oh, and that I stayed, that is also my fault.

Well Kitt, I don’t know how you want to edit this one, I’m sorry, it just started to flood out.

We do the best we can as parents. You did the best you could at recognizing your issues as I recognized mine. Blame has no place in healing therapy though actual love and respect in a functional family does. I’m from a dysfunctional family. I watched my parents verbally and physically beat each other every single holiday of my childhood. I hate holidays. Actually, I prefer them quiet and pleasant, but I still feel dread.

I made the wrong choice and tried to stick with it and him to make it work/fix it. I gave up on him when I realized how crazy the house was and that I was being manipulated to run his business and the household. No one knew that my ex even lived in our house. My children and I were the only ones the neighbors saw outside. I was the “crazy gardener lady”, who made art in her front yard with flowers and vegetables and gave seeds and plants to neighborhood kids and adults, while doing yoga in the back yard gardens.

That is my take on being a mentally ill parent with children. When I became unstable and couldn’t afford hospitalization, I house sat for a month from Christmas 2011 to New Year’s Eve as I stabilized on new medication under a doctor’s care. When I arrived home on New Year’s Eve, my ex was having a party and said he was surprised to see me. I had just spoken to him on the phone telling him that my car was loaded and that I was on my way home. When I arrived, the driveway was blocked, no one looked happy to see me and only one person helped me unload my car, (not my ex.) He told everyone that I had left him.

My situation sucks, but as parents we do what we can.
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•  Kitt O’Malley February 26, 2015 / 10:02 am 
No doubt my post opened the flood gates for you. I am so sorry that you have been treated so poorly at such a great cost. I am so sorry that you lost your children and that your children have suffered so through this entire ordeal. Please do use this content on your own blog, too. It is your story.
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◦  metalflowermaker February 26, 2015 / 5:18 pm 
I will
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6 thoughts on “My take on being a mentally ill parent with children.

  1. That is a tremendous, sad story you have behind you. The ones in therapy are generally the sane ones being driven crazy by an unbalanced life. Been there. I even stopped yoga when I sensed how clearly I felt in class vs the complete imbalance of my life at that time. It “hurt” too much to feel how bad things were. Crazy isn’t it? Strength, my Friend…lots of it I wish you now and always!!!! Hugs, H.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It doesn’t sound like you are the crazy one at all…. you sought help and continue to seek help. There is a stigma attached to going to counseling or to a psychiatrist, when the really manipulative enabler/and/or addicts are refusing to go. You did your best and stepped out of it. Hopefully someday your children will make that choice as well…..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My eldest has started speaking to me again. I think he has finally grown up enough to see that he was manipulated. We are moving very slowly. I call him once a week and tell him that he can and will be able to do what ever he chooses to do, but he needs to graduate, first. He will be thrown out of the house when he turns 18, though he originally was to live at home and go to school. Sigh. Life is never boring enough.

      Liked by 2 people

Any thoughts on the above post are appreciated! Otherwise, I think I must be living under a rock.

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