During a lifetime with bouts of depression and unhappiness, I raised two glorious children. It was tough to do, given I was already aware of my dysfunctional upbringing. As my children grew up, my daughter began displaying signs of trauma. She spent a lot of time trying to understand her condition and how to heal.
She looked at mental issues, for which she was given medication. She continued on her research and took some counselling. Her latest counsellor very quickly realised that daughter had PTSD and set about helping. Daughter was helped to understand her issues, and with that understanding came enlightenment as to where it came from. I had no idea that my issues had passed on to her and was devastated to learn that awful fact.
Fast forward to just under a year ago, when she persuaded her brother to suggest that I, her mum, might be co-dependent. I was horrified at first, but realised that that might be the reason I had been so unhappy and had periodic bouts of depression over the years. I had tried to get help because this deep unhappiness wasn’t, in my book, normal.
It seems that co-dependence stemmed from having to ‘keep my mother happy’ without any reference to my own needs or feelings. I contracted polio at age 5, and was sent away to a residential children’s hospital for 2 years while I had treatment. I also had other traumas happen to me during my childhood, which my mother more or less told me it was my problem. I grew up not recognising my feelings, totally unable to place boundaries down to
protect my own best interests. My dysfunctional childhood resulted in CPTSD. My husband hadn’t helped because he had been sent away to private school at age 6, and had had a bad time so he had the same condition.
We’ve had a lot of therapy since this discovery, and have learned a whole lot about how to recover. I’ve learned about boundaries, I’ve taken a long hard look at myself and have taken an inventory of all that I’ve done wrong to my family and friends. I’ve learned that I need to embrace vulnerability and admit when I need support and to ask for it. I’ve learned to identify my emotions -to put a name to them, and that those bad feelings don’t last and to just ride them out and know that I’ll feel better in the morning.
The process of learning to be more self-aware has been difficult. I had felt that I was tossed about in a storm - crying a lot, feeling totally confused and bewildered at times, but the risk of losing my loving relationship with my children was worth it.
Now, with all the work I’ve done, I feel a great weight has lifted from me, and I’m daring to hope that there is hope for a happier future for me and my family. Daughter has learned enough about us both for us to have an equal and respectful relationship at last, which is huge progress for us both. My marriage is stronger than ever going into our 38th wedding anniversary
and we are both much calmer, happier and optimistic for our future.
I felt moved to share my tale, in the hopes that somebody might get some ideas/hope/inspiration that there is a way through to a happier life.
A Moodscope member.