06 June 2012

Bipolar Parenting: from the perspective of a child

I'm always slightly scared of writing here about my family and  childhood. As far as I know no one in my family knows about this blog, and I hope it stays that way.

For some fluke reason I seem to be the only one in the whole extended family who believes in sharing everything in order to heal, and be open and honest.
I love open intense dialogue. Even when it is painful. I believe you need to address rather than cover up. Alas I am the only one. So the quickest way I will alienate whatever family remains close to me after the "atheist thing" is for them to actually stumble across this blog.

I once voiced my disagreement about spanking on Facebook, mentioning that I know what it did to me as a child, and how harmful it was. Within a day I got the rudest most insulting and heartrendingly cruel letter from my younger brother accusing me of badmouthing our parents online, and how I had to remove it immediately or face the unmentionable consequences.

It was an extremely hurtful letter. It made me realise I just can't be open and honest around my family. Not if I want to keep some measure of self respect. Of course there is a large possibility that every one of my family falls somewhere on the bipolar spectrum.

My Mother always had severe mood swings. So bad, I actually recognize her in my unmedicated moods now. She even admitted it, blaming it on hormones. As far as I know: and remember this is a family who kept such personal things strictly secret, she went to many doctors about her "hormones" went on many drugs for it too.

Not much worked. I know. I was there. She knew though. It didn't help her control it, but my brother , who was 2 years younger than me (not the letter writer) used to be able to defuse her quite brilliantly.

I never was. I was always the serious one. The drama queen, the emo one. If I knew about cutting at that stage I'm sure I would have gone that route. I did enough other typical self destructive things.

My parents were young, damaged themselves, and unable to really cope emotionally with us three. I think when the little one came along it might have been a bit easier on them as he was further removed in age from us, but it must still have been a challenge.

I felt neglected my whole childhood. I felt damaged, and I felt ill parented. I have no idea of that was true, but that was how I felt

I used to read parenting advice in magazines and ask my mother to please rather try that. Which never happened. Her moods controlled everything.

There were many good days as well, but I still carry the damage. The damage I carried is what has made me so aware of what I pass on to my own child.

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