I used to say that I was going to make myself a t-shirt that said, The Meanest Mom In The World!
While I joked about it, I have to tell you, it was one of the biggest hurdles I had to face each and every day. It didn't really seem to matter what I did or didn't do...it was never enough or it was never right by the standards of my adopted children. Loving them the way I loved my boys was NEVER enough for them.
I tried and tried only to fail over and over. Give them what they want, be strong and make hard parenting decisions, take them places, buy them things....nothing was ever right!
I was blamed for the unhappiness of the past, the present and the sure failure of the future. I was physically challenged too. Some days I felt stalked in my own home and other days it was as if I didn't even exist. My things were stolen or ruined on a daily basis. I was called every name in the book. It felt like even if I just tipped my head wrong when I was looking at her, it could create a huge issue. I was told in many ways, many times a day that I was the MEANEST MOM in the world.
The problem is that it started wearing on me and I started questioning it myself.
I didn't have much support. My husband didn't get treated this way and rarely saw the issue. My family and friends never saw anything other than a loving joyful child and had determined that I was a controlling you-know-what.
I really struggled.
I had to battle the constant verbal and physical barrage of ugliness daily. I knew in my head that I was a good Mom, but whereever a little doubt lived within me this kid would find it and attack there.
As time passed and I learned more, it became clear to me that having a relationship with me was terrifying to my daughters. They each struggled with the concept in their own ways. Each with their own level of resilience, their own set of beliefs based on their past experience and their own deficits from the trauma they experienced. The relationship with me was not the terrifying part to them it was the potential loss that caused them the most fear. The possibility of enduring that kind of pain again, was for each of them, a HUGE block when it came to being able to have a relationship with me.
I only wanted to give them "everything", but they had put stock in that before and had been let down in the biggest way. Now, I realized, they were going to make sure I really COULD love them no matter what. They brought me all the ugliness they felt about themselves- their unworthiness, their self doubt, their failures- and set them down in front of me and basically said...how about if I do this? How about if I say this? I am clearly no good. I am broken. I am the cause of my bio Mom not wanting me. HOW CAN YOU WANT TO BE MY MOM FOREVER? I don't buy it...You will leave me too! I am not worthy of such goodness.
I really want all you Mean Mamas out there to hear this...
All that crap that is happening in your day...it is NOT about you.
You are not the meanest Mom in the world. Your child doesn't even think that...they think THEY are not lovable. They are worried that there is no way you can love who they believe they are. You are only the potential abandoner, NOT the meanest Mom. I want to urge you to step up to the challenge and prove to your child that you are their Mom No Matter What and For As Long As It Takes! You will NOT abandon them.
The child that used to tell me how horrible I was now raves about me - not always to my face, but to people who will tell me. The child that told me how mean I was now tells others that her standards are identical to the ones I used when I was raising her. The daughter who didn't need me calls me when it is thundering and any other time she is scared or worried or needs someone.
I took the challenge and proved to her that she deserved that kind of LOVE.
Oh yeah, so that we are on the same page, you need to know getting there wasn't easy...it took years and years and years. It took tears. It took determination. It took starting over every minute if I had to. It took doing most everything in my life differently than everyone else. It took being more Intentional than I have ever been and it took lots of hope!
You can do it too!
Change how you are receiving and labeling your child and his or her behavior and beliefs. Remember it is NOT about you...it IS about loss, trauma and the ultimate fear - abandonment.
My new ideas for my t-shirt include...I am a NO MATTER WHAT Mom! or I accept your challenge...I am in it FOR AS LONG AS IT TAKES!
What do YOU think? Which one do you like better? If you have any ideas I can use let me know!