Expecting respect from your child shouldn’t be something you have to have anxiety about.
My daughter is mentally unstable- she suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder, (a condition that is intense and takes too much space to describe here, google it.) and I never know what to expect. Sometimes she is sweet and helpful, optimistic and goal-oriented. Other times she is full of anxiety or rage, frequently leading to violent self-harm, reckless actions, and suicide threats.
I frequently experience a condescending lack of respect when things don’t go her way. If I don’t back down, her rage can be easily triggered. I’ve chosen to “pick my battles” so frequently to “keep the peace” that it has led to a relationship where she simply does not respect me and it looks like I’m “OK” with that.
I’m not ok with that.
Today I demanded respect and was physically attacked. She became violent, so did I, and I had to call the police. This is not the first time they’ve been here.
My neighbors can attest I’m sure.
Living with her like this has been emotional abuse; I rationalize and excuse her behavior and entitlement because she’s unwell, I try to help her, try not to pamper her, try to hold her to expectations of an adult daughter who lives at home, I walk on fucking eggshells.
I haven’t said anything publicly bc it’s a family issue, and that makes it really hard to get unbiased support; everyone has ideas about how it should be handled, what she needs.
I’ve been living with this intensely for 3 years.
For 3 years I have had a continual sense of anxiety between explosions.
3 years of not being able to be really honest and trying to always put on a happy face.
It’s fucking lonely because everyone is impacted in their own way; we can talk to each other but we are all just as stuck and suffering. If this was cancer, we could easily say “We are fighting this together. Prayers please.” But we keep it quiet because mental illness has a shameful stigma. It’s private. Personal. You don’t air your dirty laundry. Being angry at, and afraid for -and of- your own child is shameful.
But it’s reality.
And I’m really tired.
And ashamed that this is how I am living.
How we are living.
That my other daughter suffers from depression that I can’t help but think is increased by the “loss” of a sister who was her closest companion & can’t be anymore because she is all encompassed by her mental illness and lack of contact with real life.
That I don’t enjoy my family even a fraction as much as I wanted to.
That I thought if I was sane, stable, patient and understanding, this kind of thing wouldn’t happen to me.
I wouldn’t be a mother with these problems.
I’m ashamed that I thought I was better than this, and I’m not.
I’m ashamed that I still think I’m better than this and I don’t deserve it.
As if some mothers do.
As if my daughter does.
I’m hurting and what’s worse, because I AM a mother, She’s hurting, and there’s nothing I can do but try to protect myself from her.
Try to have self preservation in every way possible.
While my child feels like a monster. Or a victim. Or both.
But she’s my baby.
But my arms have animalistic bite marks on them.
I planned on having a nice day.
Remote teaching from home, returns to Target, coffee and browsing at Barnes & Noble.
Instead, I’m trying to figure out some very heavy shit.
I am sharing this because it’s fucked up that I haven’t before now. It’s fucked up that I’ve been ashamed and lonely about it, that I’ve been feeling guilty that I don’t make time for my artwork because my minds not in it, that I don’t have energy.
If you think I’ve done a good job hiding the pain, it’s because I am realllly good at making things pretty. And yes, I am incredibly strong mentally, resilient and optimistic as fuck because that’s just how we enlightened people are supposed to be, and the world falls into place because we handle it so well.
But sometimes it doesn’t.
Sometimes things just don’t make sense and we try so hard to stay strong. But it is very tiring. And even the very strong and optimistic need to feel very sad and lost.
You know I’ll be ok.
If you live like this too, I wish I could hug you, because it’s hard. But it’s really not something to be ashamed of. This is a thing we are going through. It’s not who we are.