Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Video: Family Therapy and Charts

I should have thought about this before procreating: every plant left to my care has died, and our dogs took over six months to house train. I figured that since the dogs didn’t die, Eric and I were ready for children. Now I’m not so sure about that logic.Here’s how I feel about disciplining my kids: I HATE IT, and I SUCK AT IT. When I was twelve, my mom used to call me her “pink little powder puff,” (translation: “sweet little door mat”). Now I’m a bipolar little powder puff. The summer that I taught creative writing to a camp of ten-year-old girls, I had so little control over the classroom that they called me “Ms. Giggles.” Whenever they started to laugh, so did I. More than one person (more than ten, actually) have suggested I write to Nanny 911 and have her come to my house.Instead I went to therapy, of course, because every aspect of my life needs therapy. Here’s how I’m doing.

  • Babs

    Theresa — I continue to enjoy the video blogs. However, do you think that you can either raise the volume on the mic or move it closer? I have the volume up as high as it goes, and you are still very quiet.

  • Wisdum

    What I learned as a parent (or is that apparent ?) We are ALL in the throws of an evolutionary movement, and there is nothing we can do to stop it. We now have about four generations of “Strong-Willed Children”
    1- you can’t “tell” a strong willed child anything, you will be met with a door slammed in your face.
    2- You can’t control a strong willed child. They will do what they want to do, when they want to do it and how they want to do it.
    3- Men and women are different creatures, and do not speak the same language, and communication is almost impossible (by the Way, children speak both languages, and will play one parent against the other) A good metaphor would be a marriage between a Lion and Rabbit. . . or a Cat and Dog (you might want to think about that a bit !)
    4- Child psychology does not work on children . . .they invented it ! (it works on parents !)
    5- Professional doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists are in dire need of psycho-therapy (and need your money to be able to afford it )
    6- Never say “You can’t do that” or “You are stupid or an idiot” (for adolts the word “Asshole!” comes to mind) Children are born smart and grow up to be stupid or adolts! (they learn very quickly where the stupidity comes from) To force your agenda upon them will result in a world of oppression, repression, suppression, compression . . . and de-pression. In terms of evolution this will ultimately end up in a civil war inot a world war (the term Armegeddon /Har Meggido rings a bell )
    7- Imagination is more important than imagination “ (A. Einstein)
    8- “It is not always good to be right !” (Wisdum) . . . (all of my being right, has ended up in many years of no communication)
    9- What is missing in the relationship between men, women, and children is “Intercourse”
    The problem is Women know what intercourse is, Men don’t, children ponder and imagine.
    For women it is a tender word, a smile, the touch of a hand, a sigh, a tear, laughter, pain, exhilaration, foreplay and climax.
    For men it’s “Slam-bam, Thank you mam !”
    10- Men and women have different agendas and goals. Men choose what the call “work” in this Life . . .Women have no choice ! (It’s no wonder women have some very strong issues with God !) What happened with evolution, (do to piss-poor government) was inflation. It evolved from “The Hunter married to The Home Maker” where the Hunter brought home something to eat, and the Home Maker did everything else. Because of inflation, the Hunter had to hunt even more (two jobs) and the Home Maker had to also hunt (third job) That led to overburden, stress and futility. As soon as the Home Maker took over responsibilities of the Hunter (in addition to all the rest) the Hunter now became not needed (obsolete) and the Home Maker became independent. In the world of women, it is called “The Feminist Movement” . . . “This is the Dawning of Aquarius” All the Hunters will wander off into the woods, set a campfire, hunt and go fishing, smell bad, talk bad and be happy. The Home Makers will inherit the Earth, and absolute control over it, while the Hunters will sit by the campfire telling dirty jokes, farting and eating their catch of the day, with a big smile on their faces. The Home Makers will sit in circles and stare and ponder “What in the Hell happened ?” . . “Are we having fun yet ?’
    LUV 2 ALL

  • Nancy

    Therese – Before I “comment” on your wonderful, brave video, I’d just like to mention that I have no problem in hearing you speak. Your tone and volume are fine, and it is not from having a state-of-the art sound system hooked up to my pc. They’re just $20.00 speakers I purchased online from Circuit City and do the job very well. I have the volume at l/2 strength, and you come across very clear and audible. We’re fortunate in this day and age of technology that we can buy inexpensive items to use in enhancing the the options on our computers. Hope this suggestion is of help to anyone having difficulties hearing you.

  • Babs

    Speakers work fine if you are using a PC, but on a notebook computer….

  • Nancy

    Now – on to more important stuff. Therese, you are one of the bravest woman I know. To “expose” the true you and your struggles in the journey of motherhood is to be commended. I witnessed so many (myself included) moms trying to conceal the shortcomings they felt and the uniqueness along with isolation in “managing” it all on our own with our goals of perfection in home/parenting/working.
    I, too, had the exact situation as you with working from the house, (funny, 20 years ago no one thought that I really “worked” from home – talk about archaic thinking!)which I tried to manage by being with the kids all day and work in the evenings until midnight.
    To this day I will not forget when my little one was in pre-school, and they were to verbally express to their teacher what their home life was about. The teacher then wrote it down for them to bring home.
    This was my kid: My Dad goes to work. My Mother does nothing all day (this was supermom’s vision to her kid), and she gets her money out of a machine. UGH!! Out of the mouths of babes. I took care of every aspect of the homelife, kids, financials and worked when they slept soundly tucked in after story time. I had to suck it up. I wanted to cry. Doesn’t he get all that I do? The only thing I did let him know was that money doesn’t magically come out of a machine; that I had to earn the money first for it to go in the bank, and only then could I remove it.
    This has absolutely nothing to do with the topic of discipline and boundaries and difficulties, but when I reflect back, I can’t help but remember all too well the need I had to tell his teacher that I really did more than what Justin told her. Can you imagine needing that validation and also needing the teacher to know the truth?!?! Of course, she smiled and replied that, that was what was so endearing (endearing?!?) about their stories, as they were so unaware of the dynamics of life. And why shouldn’t they be at 3? What should have I expected? Fortunately, I had enough mindfulness to not dump nonsense on a poor, unsuspecting 3 year old and just laugh about it and post it on the frig (our artwork gallery).
    My goal in parenting both of my boys was to break many old cycles of parenting from my own parents and theirs from their parents. So, needless to say, no easy task, and I was fortunate to surrender with the white flag and get help. This was only after I saw some things in myself that I did not like developing and manifesting themselves outwardly.
    Part 2 of this long comment will have to be put on hold, as I must leave my office. Again, Therese, bravo girl, you are on the right track, and the willingness to change and learn is more than half the battle. It really can be a win/win situation. My boys and I are living proof of it.
    God bless you, Nancy

  • Larry Parker

    As has already been said, an incredibly brave vlog … yet I am left with more questions than answers at the end of it.
    First of all, I wished I’d heard more about Eric’s role in all this. Is he going to the counseling with you? Does he have a role in watching/helping/playing with the kids at night (after you’ve presumably been watching them during the day) so you can get your Bnet work complete to be posted the next day? (I know from experience you do a lot of Bnet work on weekends, too — the same questions would more or less apply.)
    Secondly, do you have any idea why your daughter is not taking to the “sticker reward” game like your son is? Age? Overall maturity? Some sort of gender difference? She doesn’t like her teacher/school this year as much as your son?
    Thirdly — and this is of course not to denigrate what a wonderful job you’re doing with David and Katherine despite everything, and how much you’re stretching yourself with the therapy — a video like this confirms that, even at the ENORMOUS personal cost to me of such a decision, I do not want to have kids.
    (I met the woman who I think is the love of my life two years ago, only to discover fairly quickly that I very badly do not want kids, and she very badly — and understandably, for most women — does. Heartbreak Hotel, for both of us.)

  • Mary Weber

    I just watched your “self-esteem file” video. Wow.
    My boys are 14 and 17 and they and my husband tolerated my depression for six months because they didn’t know what else to do for me.
    It was my girl friends and my sisters who knew what to do and what to say. Basically, my husband just let me stay in bed when I wasn’t at work. He took over laundry and fixing dinner chores completely until I got back on my feet. I knew from previous depressions that medication was the key for me. It just took a really long time to get the right one and the right psychiatrist. Well, six months is not so long, but in my head it was VERY long.
    This is a very good thing you do, Therese. Just being there and supporting those of us who need guidance and support. And not being afraid to ask for help is the number one thing you are teaching us.
    I think you’re terrific and very brave to do this blog.

  • Lynn

    Kids are tough, I should say motherhood is tough. Family therapy is great it gives us the tools we need to redesign the way we interact with out children. There is a saying from A famous 12 step program that speaks volumes ” Progress not perfection”. It goes for parenting too! :)

  • SuzanneWA

    Therese, what a BRAVE video this was!! When I was growing up, the father went to work, and Mom stayed home. Although, Mom did hospital auxiliary work, joined the Garden Club, started an antique business, and somehow made it all work. I grew up in the 50s-60s, when this was the norm in my community.
    As you know (or maybe you don’t – you look so YOUNG), the 60s gave birth to many revolutionary changes – “flower children,” “free love,” the Feminist Movement, etc. All the “norms” disappeared, and I felt like a “fish out of water.” By the late 60s, I had my first nervous breakdown.
    Although my parents didn’t understasnd WHY or WHAT happened, they were wise enough to sign me into a psychiatric ward for a “rest.” Now – what does this have to do with your video??!! We DIDN’T have stickers on the refrigerator calendar; we weren’t “rewarded” with anything beyond twenty-five cents a week as an allowance. My parents took “parenting” seriously – Dad was 42 and Mom was 37 when I was adopted. They WANTED children, BADLY. They were on a waiting list for two YEARS, and were originally deemed “too old” to adopt an infant.
    To make one thing perfectly clear – I was “wanted.” As one man’s blog above states – he does NOT want children. I firmly believe there are people who SHOULDN’T be parents, as well as those who embrace it joyfully. My Dad was an attorney in Chicago, and he would take me to his office when I was in the fifth grade, and teach me to type – he firmly believed in “training” me instead of “raising” me – in the event he would die while I was still young, so that I would have a marketable skill. I look back and bless him for it.
    Just to add: Yes, my parents LOVED me, and raised me the best way they knew how in the “old world” customs. Parenting today is so VERY far removed from those days. I DO NOT envy you raising two young children, but, from your video, and from your desires to raise your children, you are taking all the RIGHT steps to ensure that they will be productive members of society. That’s ALL that’s expected of ANY parents, bipolar or not. And you are VERY brave; I almost envy your position in life. It is all BEFORE you now; remember, you have choices.
    God bless you real good.

  • Larry Parker

    Since I’ve been somewhat criticized for my intentionally giving up, at the age 38, on the prospect of having children — despite the cost in relationships for me — and you may not be familiar with my story, let me provide some additional background.
    I was wonderfully loved by one of my parents. It was my mom, not my dad, and as a boy and now a man, that has made a huge difference.
    My parents divorced when I was 13. I’ve suffered the slings and arrows ever since, from ex-schoolmates to my ex-wife, of being a “mama’s boy” and “not enough of a man.” But that’s not why I don’t want kids.
    My father never wanted children, I have recently learned. He had my sister and me because he (thought he) loved my mom, and my mom desperately wanted kids. He became so bitter and frustrated that he eventually became an alcoholic. He never wanted to see me as a teen after the divorce and rarely has had a good word to say about me through my adulthood (not that I was a “bad kid” — hardly! — though my depression hasn’t helped, of course). But that’s not why I don’t want kids.
    My paternal grandfather was a bitter, hateful, and virulently racist man (in 1940s and 1950s North Carolina) who cheated on my grandmother right and left. My grandmother, in turn, would either leave my dad alone or with questionable babysitters, a bit like Britney Spears today, to “party” herself with girlfriends. Naturally, my grandmother (and even my grandfather) softened in old age and doted on my sister and me. But the effects on my dad — an only child, no less — didn’t just end with their neglect and emotional abuse. My dad was physically abused by an aunt and uncle who frequently watched him — and later sexually abused by a cousin.
    In short, my dad hated (and hates) kids because he had no childhood himself (and hated his own parents). And his legacy to me was to force me to grow up pretty quickly myself — and again, have no patience for the innocence of childhood (or, of course, for my old man).
    Even when I’m with my adorable niece and nephew, my sister’s children … they EXHAUST me, mentally even more than physically, with their (perfectly age-appropriate) silly games and sense of fun. When did **I** ever get to play silly games and not have to worry about anything? I was too busy studying in my room on sunny school afternoons because my dad was angry about the one ‘B’ I had on my report card. He literally HATED me playing outside and would chase me back in the house.
    (My sister, though she has her own issues with my dad, was somewhat spared because she was younger when my dad left — and because my dad neglected her, which is bad, but left her alone in doing so, which was probably good.)
    I would never want to project what my father projected onto me — and what his parents projected onto him — onto another generation for anything in the world. Even if it meant losing the love of my life — because to some extent it was a selfish love, since I wanted her for herself but not for her own (beautiful) desire to have a family. Much as I loved her, I will not repeat my father’s mistake with my mother –even if, in some cosmic sense, I might not be here without that “mistake.”
    And all that’s BEFORE my paranoia that late-night feedings and diaper changes could push me into full-blown mania and hospitalization — and that, worst of all, I could pass this terrible disease (which I inherited, with classic irony, from my mom, not my dad) onto my own children.
    In short, unless you come from a “go forth and multiply upon the earth” religious perspective that G-d MANDATES families — I disagree with that, but can’t argue with it — I don’t think the criticism was particularly warranted, at least without the context …

  • Gina

    Look at yourself through the mirror of your friend’s love! That mirror holds a far more accurate reflection of you than your own does. I think that’s the truth for many of us these days. There seems to be a plague of low self esteem in so many lives, some just hide it better than others, or push it down deep where they think it will never resurface. Part of healing comes from doing exactly what you are doing. Allowing yourself to be real, honest, and open, is a way of overcoming the fears and self doubts that began to grow the weeds of depression in your life. The more you increase your self esteem, as you are already doing, the more you will pour weed killer on that ugly plant! But just as it took time, many years, possibly even from childhood to grow that self doubt, it will also take time to kill it. But I think you are on the right path! We want quick results, a sort of McDonalds drive through of healing. It would be so terrific if that were the way things could go, but I think that’s rare. You are on the right path though, and the truth is, the relationship that you are longing to have with your children, will come as a result of you first learning to love and accept yourself. Don’t ever allow yourself to feel selfish for the time and effort spent in your recovery. You are doing this for your whole family. It will benefit you and everyone involved, both now, and as time goes on! I want to echo what others have said, YOU ARE VERY BRAVE! When we face fears, we overcome, and we realize that it’s fear that steels the light from our lives, and blinds us from who we truly are. I see alot of hope and light in you! There are great days ahead for you!

  • Jenjen

    I was thinking that you might benefit from learning about the Taking Children Seriously philosophy, which believes that children shouldn’t be controlled by their parents, and that they are to develop autonomy. See:

  • Lynne

    I have to agree with Larry on the reason for not having children. I am pretty much out of danger on that account( at least physically). I had such a volatile “childhood” if you could call it that. My parents stayed together for “the children’s sake” and they could’nt have been more wrong! My brother and I turned out okay for an alcoholic and OCD-manic depressive…HA! If it were’nt for our somewhat twisted sense of humour we probably would be in the psycho ward or JAIL! My darling brother would be found lying on the kitchen floor by me upon coming home from school with a knife (big and butchery) apparently stuck in his ribcage and ketchep everywhere! Tell me that’s not twisted?! But I, in my creativity, got him back. My parents were away one weekend and left my brother( home on leave from navy at the time) and I(Silly teenager) in charge on the house.(Big mistake!) He and I had our respective friends over for the biggest house party since John Belusi was alive! When his friends and he went out to score more boosze etc. We “hung” one of my friends in the hallway as an apparent “suicide”. What are friends for??? SOOO… NO, I definitely think children would not benefit from this sort of behavior. But it makes it for a good gorey story.

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