My son is sleeping on the couch in my bedroom and I can hear him making a scared, whining sound like he is having a bad dream. He wakes almost nightly thee days with bad dreams about monsters or his monkey lovies attacking him. Thing is, I can't help but think that the reason for this is me.
As a mother, my behavior should be a model of what I hope he will grow up to be, but I think over the past six months some of my actions have caused irreparable psychological damage to my baby, my son, my firstborn. I hate myself just thinking about it so I take prescribed pills to numb my feelings to avoid the anger and out-of-control feelings. My beautiful, funny, silly amazing son is afraid of his mother. He's afraid of me. It is humiliating to think about.. even to type.
I could try to pinpoint the problem, say my anger started when Star Girl was about 3 months old and wouldn't stop crying no matter what I did. As she wailed uncontrollably, unconsolable, I shouted at him to be quiet because my brain couldn't handle all that noise. I slapped his hand and smacked his butt way more than I would ever like to remember. The look on my face must have been the most frightening thing for him to see... his mother, the one who's supposed to love and comfort him always, was screaming at him to shut up like she hated him. And at 3, he should never know that feeling. He doesn't know what hate is. Just that mommy's face looked mean. I could say it's because he's tongue-tied, which creates tremendous frustration in our daily communication, and we spend every waking moment together because I stay at home. He throws himself to the floor or throws toys when he isn't understood, and he learned that from me. He is learning my anger. But the "when" doesn't really matter.
There are times I think they would be better off without me there, that I hate myself so much I'd rather hurt myself than to ever hurt them. It am ashamed of how mean I am and how badly i treat them when I get angry. What if I were to hurt him so badly in a stupid blind rage that he is permanently injured? How could I live with myself? Thankfully whatever runs my depression has never pushed me that far. My husband does not know these feelings; he is not here to live them with us day to day when he is at work, and the last thing he needs to worry about is that his wife, the mother of his children, is going to hurt them or herself.
My son is my moon, and I am teaching him the wrong thing. I need to be better, be stronger, be more kind, more loving. I have learned to walk away if i feel angry, I am learning to breathe more. I am trying every day, every single moment, not to raise my voice, not to get angry, to be patient, to hold him more, to kiss his sweet face. I don't know how to reverse the damage that my behavior has caused on him the past eight months, but I am going to use love to try.