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View Full Version : Its my birthday - changing behaviour for the future.



cantsay
28th May 2009, 06:00 AM
Hi all. Today is my birthday! :happydance: Now as I may have mentioned in previous posts, I didnt exactly have a stellar upbringing. My mother suffers from undiagnosed mental illness (the ruin that got me into Scientology). That meant my childhood was a rather stressed, violent, miserable time.

Now before I tell this story I want to make it clear that Im not looking for sympathy or a shoulder to cry on - Im hoping to get some advice. ok?

Birthdays were never a big deal. But they bring back memories.... I can only remember one where there was a party - my thirteenth. It was cancelled because we found out I had Chicken Pox on the day. I was quite used to things being cancelled at the last minute, that was common with Mum's paranoia. If a white car went past, we couldnt go out - the government were watching us. If we got a cough, we werent allowed to stay over at friends because they would report her to the government, that sort of thing. We got used to it.
Mum was very careful to make sure that we never had visible bruises. She would just slap until your nose bled instead. She was clever in that way. Getting sick was a personal insult to her, and she punished you for it. I only found out in my 20s that it didnt cost anything to go to a doctor - she would scream at me for hours that I was making her broke if I needed to go to a doctor. When I was 14 I got injured playing sport - badly. She was so mad, she (amongst other things) dumped me on the school grounds in the morning. I couldnt walk, I was in so much pain I could barely talk. Someone found me and got the school to organise for me to go to a doctor. I tried hard not to get hysterical when they said they called my mother to take me to the city for xrays, because it looked like I had dislocated my ankle. Noone realised my distress was because I knew Id be beaten and screamed at for the next few weeks non-stop, because Mum would consider Id embarressed and inconvenienced herr and cost her fuel money. I wasnt allowed to do the physio I needed (which I found out later was free), and my ankle is still damaged today.

OK, the main memory that popped into my head this morning, that kinda brought up everything, was my Year 12 Ball (Formal, for you Yankees). Our school was small, and we were a very close bunch of students. Our teachers had gone to a lot of effort and unknown to us, contacted our various primary schools and asked them to put together a folder for each student containing copies of all our school reports from pre-primary up to age 12, plus comments and notes from old teachers, photos, any little nostalgic things that would remind us of our time at school and cause lots of "aaawww!s" at the dinner.

Whoever had done mine, had decided it would be a good idea to stuff my folder with a copy of every single nasty, psychotic note, letter and phone call my mother had ever sent or given to the school. There were 12 years worth of them - everything from accusing staff of spying, assault (physical, verbal, sexual even), bad teaching, incompetence, making us kids sick, all of it very illogical, to ringing and verbally abusing admin staff.

I remember sitting there, in the only nice dress Id ever liked, having a wonderful time with my friends. I opened the folder and flicked through the reports (I always got great grades). I noticed at the back of the reports are a stack of photcopied pages over a few centimeters thick, and as soon as I saw my mothers handwriting, my stomach dropped. Oh no. I read the first sentance of the first one. Oh god no.... Flicked through... they are all the same, all angry letters and phone memos with "that crazy woman called again"... I snapped the folder shut and stared at the cover, not sure whether to throw up, or cry. How I managed to do neither and keep it out of everyone elses hands for the rest of the evening was a miracle. I knew those letters, Id been forced to deliver them, often crying with silent "Im sorry", to teachers, bus drivers and headmasters all through my school years.

I wondered if the lady who put this folder of hate together laughed when she was reading through it. Did she think it was funny? Did she call her workmates in to read it with her and have a giggle? Did it not occur to her that someone who was willing to put such verbal and written abuse on strangers would be happy doing worse to their kids?? Maybe she had worked at the school during those years and was angry and thought this was a way to get back at Mum somehow. I dont know. I dont understand.

Anyway. It ruined my night. Later, when I felt up to it, I read through the folder, all of it, then I burned it. From the reports it seems in first 2 years of school I was only there 1/3 of the time. I can only imagine why - watching my mother with littlies (neices and nephews), she is a hell of a lot more violent with them than with older kids - and that isnt even with her OWN kids. Imagine away.

So - now that you have a bit of background my query for advice is with this:
LRH says that you become what you resist.
But when it comes to parenting, you will automatically do what Mum did - that bit of data comes from a video of a lady who runs a Scientology school in the US, cant remember her name but she has black hair with a shock of white through it. She was LRHs kids nanny or something?? She said in this interview that unless you get educated on how to do things differently, you will just do what Mum did automatically. I kinda agree with this.

What I do have a problem with is the idea that you become what you resist. Ive never actually seen an example of this. Ive tried hard to NOT be similar to my mother and Ive been quite successful so far. My sister on the other hand, hasnt given a rats, and has turned out exactly like her. I would fight tooth and nail to NOT be like my mother, to the point where I would prefer to be dead than like her.

So - if and when I have kids, I do have the fear in the back of my mind that when I am tired, stressed, and they are misbehaving, that I will just "do what Mum did". It is a known fact that those who have been abused will often grow up to abuse their kids. Does simply being aware of this and being a well educated, well rounded, mentally stable, happy, otherwise normal person ENOUGH to ensure that this will not happen? I dont have her mental illness, but Im still afraid that growing up around it will have trained me to use the same behaviour.

Can anyone else give me thier insights on not becoming like their parents? Particularly when it comes to treatment of your kids?

Carmel
28th May 2009, 06:23 AM
Get where you are coming from, cantsay. I for one still get all 'thingy' on my birthday, 'cause it brings back terrible memories which have been hard to budge - for whatever reason though, they only kick in my birthday.

Don't buy into "you'll do what ya mum did" - I've done the exact opposite, and I know others who have too.

Anyway, all that aside -


:party: Happy birthday, darlin' girl! :party:

I hope ya can indulge in and enjoy THIS one! :biglove:

cantsay
28th May 2009, 06:29 AM
Thankyou Carmel! :cheers2: I am having a lovely day!

FinallyFree
28th May 2009, 06:41 AM
Wow. This is a hard one. I can speak from personal experience. I don't think I will give all of the details because I do plan on coming out. What I will tell you is that my Mom was in and on staff when I was very young. I remember hanging out in the org she worked at all the time. The main thing that I blame on scientology from my upbringing is the neglect that comes to so many children of people who are on staff (I am sure it is worse for children of S.O. members). I spent so little time with my Mom when I was young (4-8 years old I think). To make matters worse my dad (who divorced my Mom when I was 3 or 4 - but had stayed in my life so it hadn't been a big deal until...) moved to another state very far away. That devistated me. It's always been telling to me that it wasn't the divorce that was my first heart break, my first heart break was when my father moved away. I was 4 or five years old and I had a broken heart. I needed my Mom and she wasn't there for me. I blame scientology for that. I was on staff also. I know why she did it, she has her responsibility in it. She has apologized and more than made up the damage.
There is more but that is much too private.
Now, it has always been my biggest fear that I will make the same mistakes my mother has. I have children of my own. I can say there are things that I still have to work on, but I can also say with certainty that I am a better mother than I ever had. I have talked to my Mom about it - we have a very (well mostly - she doesn't know how out I am) open relationship. She had it so much worse than me, but in different ways. She said she gave me a better childhood than she had and she said me giving my children a better life than I had was as important to her as it was to me. Wow... I still cry over that.
So I will say from personal experience that yes, there are chances that you will repeat some portion of the behaviour. But you also have some degree of a choice on what you choose to carry with you from your childhood. You can be a better parent, a good parent.

FinallyFree
28th May 2009, 06:45 AM
Have a VERY Happy Birthday!
:cake: :party: :party:

Free to shine
28th May 2009, 06:45 AM
So - if and when I have kids, I do have the fear in the back of my mind that when I am tired, stressed, and they are misbehaving, that I will just "do what Mum did". It is a known fact that those who have been abused will often grow up to abuse their kids. Does simply being aware of this and being a well educated, well rounded, mentally stable, happy, otherwise normal person ENOUGH to ensure that this will not happen? I dont have her mental illness, but Im still afraid that growing up around it will have trained me to use the same behaviour.

Can anyone else give me thier insights on not becoming like their parents? Particularly when it comes to treatment of your kids?

Happy Birthday sweetpea! :cheerleader: :rose: :bighug:
Birthdays are also a way to 'start a new chapter' and dream your dreams for the next year. It's different than when you were a child, as you get to choose now. :)

Don't stress about being like your Mum. The key to it all is awareness. I have a great Mum, but of course there are things I didn't like as a child. For a simple example when she was annoyed she would say "I am going to count to three and you have to stop (blah)...one...two..." One day I found myself saying that very same phrase to one of my kids ...then snapped into an awaerness of what was coming out of my mouth! :duh:

Being aware of your actions, not running on automatic are the things to watch. Though that applies to all of life too, not just child raising. With a basis of love you will be fine. :happydance:

Free to shine
28th May 2009, 06:52 AM
Actually this is a subject that has come up for me lately. I have been looking at my mother's life, my life and that of my children as a "big picture". In my case, I can see that the three generations have tended to almost do the opposite in some actions. Because my mother was working when I was young, I made sure I stayed at home with my kids. I know my daughters are and will be working mums and hopefully they will have gained insight from the family experiences and keep love and connection as a priority, which was sadly lacking in the scientology periods of our lives.

Opter
28th May 2009, 02:16 PM
:party: :thewave: :rose: HAPPY BIRTHDAY Cantsay

I had a wonderful upbringing. I always knew that I was dearly loved by my parents. My mother did the best she knew how.

However there were few things I didn't like as a child. One of them was that she yelled at us a lot ( at least, that how it seemed to me at the time ) and the second was when she smacked us from time to time. The smacking stopped, when as a teenager I told her that if she ever smacked me again I would hit her back.

As a mother myself, I think I smacked my daughter - more like pushed her - twice in her life ( she doesn't even remember it ) because I remembered how I disliked it myself.

I yelled at her from time to time but much, much less than my mother and even though it was called for, sometimes, I still used to feel guilty about it.

What helped me a lot was reading books about children - education, upbringing, development, psychlogy:omg: etc. -

I also,always tried to look at things from the view point of a child and remember how I felt and thought as a child and it made - and still makes with my grandchildren - a huge difference.

I am sure you'll be a great mother because you are very aware.:thumbsup:

Opter

Sir Facer
28th May 2009, 02:39 PM
:party: Happy birthday, to you :party: [/QUOTE]

I second the above quote, You have your self a blast, and remember we are all individuals, I have given my child a fair and loving relationship even though mine was not, so yes you can bring up your own children differently.:thumbsup:

Wisened One
28th May 2009, 06:28 PM
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CAN'TSAY!

:happydance: :cake: :thewave: :happydance: :party:

fogfreetimes2
29th May 2009, 12:23 AM
Happy birthday cantsay! I hope you have a great one!

Your post states your mum had mental issues/problems which I assume contributed greatly to her parenting skills or lack thereof. You mentioned you do not suffer as your mum did, so there should be no correlation between her ability and your ability to raise children properly. Statistics may show abusive parents create children who will continue the abuse as they become parents, but it certainly does not have to be.
My youngest daughter has 4 beautiful children, very happy kids, very loving, and well adjusted. I told my daughter what a wonderful job she was doing raising those kids and she told me she learned almost everything from her Dad. (My ex). She told me she learned from her Dad how NOT to raise kids.
Your awareness of what's right and wrong is evident and will guide you.
Look at the other side of the coin. Ever know someone who had wonderful parents, but turns out to be a abusive terrible parent? I do, so just because your mum was the way she was as a parent does not mean you are destined to follow.
Again, have a wonderful birthday. Cheers!

DCAnon
29th May 2009, 12:36 AM
You are not your parents. :) You know what you don't want, what you do want, and you have the ability to choose. :bighug:

Woggin' out
1st June 2009, 09:20 AM
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!!

Don't worry. My sis and I came from a very broken and abused "home". My sis had decided before she became a mother to be the kind of mother she wished she would've had and she is. She is a wonderful and caring mother. When you are ready to be a mother... just be the mother that you wanted!! :yes: