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Help please with negative thoughts about daughter

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  • Help please with negative thoughts about daughter

    I have a 2 yr 2 mnth old daughter - who is amazing; alert, chirpy, inquisitive, passionate, beautiful and engaged. I adore my time with her and we have amazing days together. My problem is, that I find when I am overwhelmed with her - such as her crying or asking for all different things at the same time, when she is over loaded, confused and overwhelmed/tired herself - she is still, for the most part, preverbal. I become agitated inside - I am with her 24/7 - my hubby does help a lot and I get about 3 breaks for 2-3 hrs a week and after dinner too - so I know I have some breaks - but I'd like more. I nursed throughout the night until about a month before her 2nd bday ... more sleep has helped. Yet I am racked with TERRIBLE TERRIBLE CONSUMING GUILT for these thoughts when I know I am burnt out and I know it when I am overwhelmed, but these thoughts that I am going to lose control. Yesterday, she was flaying her legs and feet around my face for fun; but the previous evening she had got her footed shoe in my eye which really hurt & caused minor minor swelling. So, I became quite upset, quietly so, no yelling... but I held her leg down and told her NO and said I was angry about it. I practice + Discipline all of the time, but at these moments, I can feel quite rageful. The nursing is every hour, and it sounds awful, but sometimes I am SO over it!! I don't mind continuing, but wish it would reduce and it is difficult sometimes.
    I try to reframe my thoughts: I am overwhelmed with this situation, I don't think badly of my daughter, this is anger. frustration etc.

    I think, did I hold her leg down too hard? etc etc - can she sense these ugly thoughts at these moments. SOmetimes, I am fine, no thoughts. Yet, when I do have them, they really bother me. When she has meltdowns, most of the time, I blame myself and want to disappear or think she would be better off without me. I am scared I will call her a horrible name - I never do this, have never done this with anyone in my family or even my husband - well, maybe twice with him, but this is NOT in my nature. I am NOT a resentful, bitter, negative, angry person at all. I feel I have become one and I feel dreadful for calling my daughter names in my head or thinking I am going to yell at her or something - I was not yelled, spanked or anything when I was a child. I am not sure where this is coming from, apart from sheer exhaustation and burn out.

    Did I handle the foot kicking thing wrong? Does anyone else have these thoughts? what can I do? Is our rship damaged?

    Help needed and appreciated. THANK YOU. xx

  • #2
    I only have a moment to write to you -- but --- for when i did go through this exact kind of time --- I took lots of deep breaths and kept a copy of Gentle Discipline open and out --- where i could let even a paragraph remind me of a tool or offer support ... the guilt comes from our not taking care of our needs --- and it comes out in rage ...i get that ... but you have to release guilt at some point and make creative changes ... your daughter will benefit from your example more than the frustration of silence --- offer other choices at nursing time --- use a timer ... limit it in a way that works for you ... and give her other tools ---I found my daughter really responded to language --- i would simply explain at at time before frustration when i had her attention so that when the time came i could remind her --- and last I think there is a great deal of pressure to be a good mom -- and I can sense you are ... but we need to really take care of ourselves and do what works for our family ... and as someone who hung in there and am happy to have nursed her as long as i did and co sleep and all the seeing the little one as who they are and not what i am told by others is a time that is constant change ...we too have to re invent ourselves along the way ... give yourself a break --- more alone time or outside time ---look again at choices --- drink water --eat your greens --- exercise - dance - dont skip meals --- and laugh -- I will too



    • #3
      I have a 4 year old daughter (and an 9 month old son). I have to say I think you would be a saint if you never had a bad thought about your child.We all get pushed to our limits.And if you are nursing every hour and hardly ever getting a break I am not surprised you feel like you are going nuts.
      I think we do the best job we can do. We HAVE to give ourselves a break. We cannot be perfect mothers and our children have to know we are falible. I have been known to shout at my daughter when the main problem is with me and my own frustrations. But we sit down and I appologise and explain if I need to and give her a hug and we move on. Obviously if you contantly shout at your child then it's a bad thing. But the odd outburst is only human.
      You both need tools to help you cope and you need to 1 - give yourself a break from trying to be perfect and 2 - give yourself a break and get your own time. You need to give her ways to deal with her feelings as well. It won't be long before she can talk and it will get easier.
      And talk to her. She might not yet be able to verbalise everything but I bet she understands a load more.
      Sounds like you did good when she kicked you. But tell her she hurt you too if it happens again. The bad way to deal wth it would have been to hit her etc. And I don't think your relationship is damaged. Just from that! And you thinking bad things about her is not going to do damage. Trust me. But not giving yourself a break .. trying to be perfect and not dealing with the feeling s of resentment might do damage. To you!!!
      And as short term measure. If you feel like you are going to say something that will do damage to her then either go into another room and shout or shout it in your head. You KNOW that you don't mean it in your head. It's just frustration doing it.
      I hope that helps.
      You are not alone. Promise.


      • #4
        I am thankful for your honesty and openness about what you are going through. I wish I had the answers, but I share your struggles. You are not alone! I have not reached out due to the guilt that I feel. I blame myself for my son's temper tantrums because I feel responsible, as if he is acting out what I have expressed inside myself. It is really hard being the primary caregiver almost 24 hours a day. I wish there was a way to get more help from my husband and other family members. There is no substitute for Mom to a child. Good luck and God bless!


        • #5
          Thank you thank you thank you... I appreciate the honesty and the support so so much.


          • #6
            As someone who has been diagnosed with postpartum OCD i can say that I have plenty of experience with negative thoughts and the impact it has had on my family. We have had a great deal of therapy, so I'll share with you what works for us.

            If i suppress a negative thought it gets worse until i pop with all sorts of unhealthy emotion. When I get upset I do my best to express my feelings in a healthy manner. Our daughter is still less than a year and when i am experiencing extreme negative thoughts and get annoyed i tell her how i feel. Sure she is too young to know what I am actually saying, but I still say it.

            Please note that I don't yell or get angry. I just speak about how I FEEL. I frequently say "That hurts Mommy" and "Mommy is soo frustrated right now" ... When she screams out of frustration I say "Wow you sound really upset ... Mommy is upset too" Just talking through our emotions giving a sort of play by play allows me to feel like i'm not bottling anything up and allows me to address how I feel and still communicate with her. I don't tell her the negative details, just that I am scared or worried.

            This helps me identify what is going on in my head. I have given up on trying to mask my emotion from my child because she can sense how i feel so I try to work through it with her.

            Now as a result we have this interesting dialogue where we talk and listen to each other. After she takes a tumble and I calm her down she seems to tell me about it with some adamant babbling. If I am tired and sleep deprived I tell her that when she wakes me up in the morning kicking me in the gut. Her behavior doesn't change, and I don't expect it to ... but I've said how it makes me feel. "Mommy is so tired and doesn't feel good" and there is a sincere release by being able to say this to her.

            It also works on her dad. It is a good pattern to get into and I think will really set the stage when she gets older to be open to discussing emotions.

            Thanks so much for sharing. I know how difficult it can be to admit having negative thoughts. Forgive yourself and just move on if you can.



            • #7
              And I'll say it're not alone!

              I too have struggled with anger, frustration, negative thoughts, etc. (Sounds like you're doing better than me as far as yelling goes! :/) I stay home with my 2.5yo son and it can be so hard. For me, I think the problem is not enough "me" time (and a hubby who doesn't understand why I would need it), not enough sleep (not quality sleep that is), no family or close friends (esp. mommy friends) around me for support, and a deteriorating relationship with hubby. Over all I am very unhappy, well, depressed. The stress of it all is taking its toll on my hair! (Losing way to much of it everyday!)

              It's been helping me a bit (if I remember) to stop and look, really look, at my son, look him in the eyes, and my heart just melts. And cracks a bit. Why am I getting so upset at this little boy who is just doing what he needs to at this stage of his development?

              I've been looking into books to read to help me with ideas of how to better respond to things instead of getting angry, and also just to gain more insight and understanding of child development because I think that really helps me - when I know his actions are due to developmental needs not maliciousness.

              But I hear you. The guilt is a terrible feeling. Like someone else said, we are not saints. We mothers have needs too! And when our needs are not getting met it is increasingly difficult to stay cool, calm and collected when caring for a toddler! It takes a toll emotionally for sure. Especially for those of use who are concerned enough about how we respond to and discipline our children that we try not to take the "easy" route and blow up at them. Just the fact that you care enough to control the urges to raise your voice, etc. shows what an amazing mother you are! Despite the "bad" moments we may have, they do not define us as parents. And children are so resilient, as many people have told me. I see this in my son. Whether I'm apologizing and hugging him or not, he'll be full of smiles and laughter shortly after one of my blow ups! I'm always amazed at this. But I still worry about the effects that may not be seen...ugh.

              Well, I think I rambled all over the place here...hope it makes a bit of sense! Hang in there. Take care of yourself. And FORGIVE yourself! It's okay for your daughter to see you angry, frustrated, etc. But we want to teach our children, by example, positive ways to handle our emotions. (I like the "talking it out" thing the previous poster talks about!)

              Okay. I'm stopping now!


              • #8
                It is very much okay for your daughter to see you hurt and upset. That is how she learns to react if someone hurts her. If you don't show a range of emotions, all you are giving her is nothing. Just blank slates.

                Show her when you are happy and how you can best handle it.

                Show her when you are sad, and what you need when you are sad. (Hugs, care, love, contact)

                Show her when you are tired and the best way to handle tired. Not like it is something you have to do that is negative, but lay down and say oh I am tired, I need a rest, close your eyes for a few minutes and do a wake up with a big smile and stretch and Oh I feel so good and can play more now that I have rested.

                Show her when you are angry, and even if you have a small tantrum, demonstrate how to get yourself out of it. Talk during the whole process. Say how you feel inside your mind and inside your body. Oh my mind is thinking things I don't like. My body feels so tense and it feel not nice all over. Maybe I will have a seat and take a deep breath or lay down and relax all of my body. I will start with my toes and then talk about how you relax all of your body parts. Then when you are done, take a deep breath and say okay I feel better and can talk now. Then discuss what upset you and maybe ways things could not upset you then how you could have asked or done it differently.

                Go through all of the emotions you can think of and do it over and over. Kids learn by what they see and through guidance. It is like play acting which you can do as she grows older. Reenact favorite fairy tales and ask how could they have all handled it differently.

                We all get those days. My son did the nursing like that at two as well and it slowed down by 3. Wont say how long he nursed as each person is different and for me each child was different and do not want to stray to far from the subject.

                Peace, and know that this is normal.



                • #9
                  Thank You Again for the great advice

                  ...this was such great and helpful advice - Thank You to both of you.

                  Yes, I feel I am somewhat obsessive - not compulsive, but have obsessive thoughts, and have done, on and off for much of my adult life. I had control of it, but burn out and a mild depression from moving to Brazil, 17 months ago... has brought them to the forefront. I was also extremely sleep deprived.. I think this does not help.

                  Luckily, I have not been a yeller- although I COMPLETELY understand how this could happen, but this is very very rare for me. My concern is my body language and the thoughts coming out, and my body has been tense when holding her when I am very tired and frustrated. There have been a few times when I have been abrupt with her when she has wanted to nurse - again - but I have not been like that for a while. I think it is the tension, sometimes rough handling and fear of the thoughts being verbalized. I think it does help to say. I am feeling very tired or upset, angry etc etc.... and I always apologize and if there has been an upsetting incident and she really seems to take that on board. Thank you for the verbalizing feeling suggestion - this is something I'll do more.

                  Yes, I need more ME time; hard being so far away and my husband will not move back to the states for 2 yrs. My MIL and my parents will be here for a while from Tuesday - that will help.

                  THANK YOU again!! best wishes to all of you xx hang in there


                  • #10
                    P.S : Krista, I am sorry you are going through all this.... and rship difficulties, has been really rough on my rship and it is a viscious circle - isn't it?? please let me know if I can be of any further support via email.... or any of you for that matter. It is very hard with this situation. xx


                    • #11
                      Jo - just saw your message - we must have been writing at the same time. Thank You - this is wonderful advice!! thank you. I so appreciate it. I have done some role play after 'events' and it is really good and we end up laughing... thank you again. I see things totally differently now. Nite!!!


                      • #12
                        My daughter is also 2 years old. I'm glad to know I'm not alone in a couple things you mentioned: (1) the crying or temper tantrums when she is overwhelmed and can't explain what she wants or just plain upset by the events and (2) still breastfeeding and breastfeeding throughout the night.

                        There are times I've felt downright anger at her too. Sometimes it's been right at her and sometimes I can separate my feelings as more angry at the situation I am in - having a 2 year old who just doesn't understand what I'm trying to tell her / do for her and how frustrating that is as a parent when I don't have a choice in the matter. Prime example: this morning (after only having had 4 hours sleep myself - another story!) I was driving her to daycare. She had been unhappy to discover she had to go (as she often is after having a weekend home with Mom and Dad) and she was fussy. From the back seat, she kept asking for different things and her tone of voice was escalating in fussiness, like it does when she's going to get all-out upset and out of control. She would ask for her purple ball, which I would give to her and then she would get mad and throw it, then she'd ask for Pooh and Sheep (her animals) over and over (after which she had angrily thrown them out of my reach). I kept trying to tell her where they were and finally I just blew up and said "Stop crying! Mom's trying to drive and can't reach them!" She burst into tears. It didn't last long and was probably a good release of stress for her. To my good luck she didn't continue and get out of control, instead she calmed down - probably from surprise of hearing me yelling, which I rarely do.

                        My daughter still often can't calm herself down unless I breast feed her. It's always the solution that works for her. I feel frustrated at times that she "should be more mature" by now to be able to calm fussing without nursing. A lot of her tantrums centre around her wanting to nurse and me not "jumping" to her request right away. If we're out and she gets in the least upset, bored or feels inattention, she asks to nurse and starts that tone of voice that tells me if I don't given in within 3 or 4 repetitions of the request, I'll have an all out temper tantrum on my hands. It's frustrating! On the plus side, it's something that works! I have to admit, I'm getting to the point of embarrassment about still nursing her at her age, though. None of my aquaintences with children her age are still nursing.

                        My daughter also still wakes several times a night to nurse. I can't bear to "teach" her not to expect it. So I've given up and I sleep with her. Crying in the middle of the night, or fights, or dealing with the possibility that she won't go back to sleep if I stop nursing her -- these things I'm just not wanting to deal with. So after the first time she wakes, I sleep in bed with her the rest of the night. I get enough sleep.

                        My difference from you is I work full time. When I was home for a year on maternity leave with her, I had the symptoms you describe. I felt like I never got a break (she was a baby then and needed nursing constantly it seemed, often falling asleep on my lap soothing on the breast for hours at a time, and unable to lay her down). I was lonely even with other family home. Her sleep schedule was crazy - didn't sleep until 1am and then slept til 11am - so I was on a different schedule than my husband and felt like I never saw him or had any time with him.

                        It's tough! Don't be hard on yourself. Trying to repress anger only leads to depression. I think at their age they should be able to handle some anger on our part, if expressed without harm - it's a good lesson to show that other people have emotions too. I think this morning wasn't necessarily a "good lesson" for my daughter because the cause and effect of both of our blow ups were pretty vague and unrelated. But for instance, one time she wouldn't eat any food I gave her (she's very picky and normally I just give her the favorites that she likes, but I was in a mood of "why can't my daughter eat regular food!! she should listen to her mom more by now!") and then she finally took her bowl and threw it. I got mad, spoke to her harshly without smiling to make her understand it wasn't funny and basically get her to cry. I picked her up and put her in "time out" on the couch and yelled "stay there!". See otherwise, she just thinks everything is fun and games and laughs at everything. We have a good play-relationship that way. She learned quickly. She hugged me and wanted back in her highchair. So we made up and she's been listening a bit better ever since. Even eating some peas before her reward of blueberries!


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Reggie22 View Post
                          Jo - just saw your message - we must have been writing at the same time. Thank You - this is wonderful advice!! thank you. I so appreciate it. I have done some role play after 'events' and it is really good and we end up laughing... thank you again. I see things totally differently now. Nite!!!
                          You are so welcome Reggie. It is hard for everyone, we just all have different things we find hard.
                          Hope that you get lots of rest this week and here if you need us.




                          • #14
                            "My concern is my body language and the thoughts coming out, and my body has been tense when holding her when I am very tired and frustrated. " I worry about this too. I very much like my physical personalspace and with 2 children I get completly touched out byt the end of the day. Even my daughter standing next to me at my desk will have me shrinking away from her. Thankfully when I do feel like, giving hugs I make the most of it. Hugs and kisses are 2nd nature to my daughter... so I can't be doing that much damage. Just balance it out with 'good' hugs and kisses when you are not tired.


                            • #15
                              Hi Tinder. When I am feeling those moments where I don't want to be touched I talk through it with my son. IT happened a bit over the summer when I was having multiple surgeries and procedures so I told him how I felt.

                              I would say to him, see when mommy holds back a little bit like this or goes into her room and sits alone, it isn't because she doesn't want to hold you. It is because she needs to make her body feel better so she can hold you in a little bit. I would invite him to sit near me and we would either talk or have quiet time and listen to music or watch a little something or play the game of really really quiet lets see what we can hear breathe and check in every few minutes and say silly things like ants, crickets, spiders, belly button lint.

                              But I always explained my body language and never leave it up to him to try and figure out. That is where even as adults we get into trouble is many times we think others must feel what we are feeling and get mad when they don't. Kids are the same way.

                              Another one my son does is breastfeeding if I am upset or tense. He isn't trying to make it worse, he is trying to make me feel better. How does he feel when he nurses? FANTASTIC! So why isn't it working for me? By relaxing and not being tense, it will slow down the nursing sessions naturally. You can get stuck in a loop. Kids are very perceptive and really do know what they like and what makes them feel good, until someone starts telling them otherwise. (Sad when I see parents do that thing where you have no reason to cry, don't feel this or you don't know what xyz feels like.) Kids do, so think about it from their perspective. If breastfeeding and hugs make it better, because we do know it does, we use them as tools, they will assume it makes you feel better.

                              So when it happens maybe ofter up suggestions of what they could do for you to help you feel better about yourself. Let them know your needs are different. Just like one person likes strawberries, another peaches. Make games of it, tell each other little stories about yourselves. Have fun and write them down for little memory books. Start with absolutes, favorite colors, flowers, etc. Solid things kids can see and relate to. Then to physical and tie the physical to emotion and then you can say, I like to pretend I am in a hidden spot no one can see me or touch me. I like to be very still. Not for a long time, but just a little bit and when I am ready to be found. I will say the magic word. (Pick any)

                              There are so many ways you can avoid things turning into a negative situation. If you want your children to respond to situations in a positive way, then you have to show them. Punishments don't work. They do not ever work. I know this I tried with my older two and if it worked why was I and every other parent repeating ourselves and constantly having to find new ways and then just building up a lack of trust and crappy communication. And all the parents who said their kids were talking, no their kids ended up coming to me because I stopped owning my child and treating her like an individual who makes mistakes and instead of punishing we would talk about ways that we could do things differently.

                              Once you start punishing the boundary will be set, well until mom punishes me its all good instead of communication. They stop thinking and wait for you to intervene, and as they get older, that turns into not getting caught or finding ways around it.

                              It's a hard adaptation but it can be done. There are tons of resources to help.