While I believe that we do teach our children all manner of things (and transmit a million other things, genetically), the notion that a mother's fleeting thoughts of not wanting to be pregnant or her pain/unhappiness after the birth of the baby somehow imprint and determine the tenor of a child's life is simplistic and, IMO, potentially harmful for all
. Especially for you, Sully.
You have spent your life taking responsibility for others' feelings. Your IC should be helping you to recognize that the only thoughts, feelings, and actions for which you are responsible are your own.
Certainly, you have a duty to protect your children's feelings. To cherish them and love them. But no, a thousand times no. You are NOT responsible for your child's disorders. Your thoughts and feelings did NOT create them.
You love your son. Yes, you have responsibility for parenting him well, for getting him appropriate care, and so on.
But "care" does NOT translate to accepting, "My thoughts and feelings created his disorders."
Why is this an attractive explanation? Is it because it fits in with your tendency to self-flagellate?
What real understanding of your son's issues or needs does it offer? How does it help guide you? (IMO, it reinforces the notion that you should not have your own thoughts and feelings--which is a profoundly harmful message for someone in your shoes to hear.)
Your children really are not an extension of you. They are individuals. And this line of thought...well, it doesn't align with that at all.
I am SO glad you're in IC--really, it's something many of us have long hoped for.
But ---not to put too fine a point on it--I think this line of "explanation" for a child's developmental delays is absurd, and I would not go down that path. It will not help you parent more effectively. And worse, it send YOU a dangerous message--one that feeds into the immobilizing self-esteem issues that have trapped you in a life you do not want. It says, "Sully, if you have negative feelings, you will harm your son."
Yes. Your moods, behaviors, methods of coping, and so on DO affect your son.
TODAY. And tomorrow, and for as long as you are together.
They affect him. They did not create PDD and ADHD. They may affect how you respond to those disorders. And certainly, as parent, we moderate our behavior to promote our kids' well-being.
However, this modification does not require assuming responsibility for the causation of your child's neurological conditions. Would you believe this IC if you were told that your child had appendicitis because you were angry at your husband yesterday? Because being told that your facial expression shortly after birth created a "wound" that determined your son's neurological status is about as ridiculous.
You did not pass your wounds on to him in utero, or by the look on your face when you visited shortly after birth. You did not damage him---and will not damage him--by respecting and expressing your feelings, as long as you take reasonable care to express them in a responsible manner.
Honestly, I think this was quite possibly the WORST message you could possibly have been given in IC, Sully.
Would it not have been more constructive to look at how your choices NOW impact your children psychologically? Because THAT would be a very valid concern. Your feelings didn't cause your son neurological damage. Your choices now DO impact your kids, psychologically.
Only, now this IC's got you thinking that your feelings and thoughts and facial expression can literally physically harm your kids. For a woman who's had tremendous difficulty even admitting the abuse she endures, this kind of message is horrifying. It is exactly the kind of thinking that has kept you in this toxic marriage.
All that said, regarding FOO: I married my father. And I was with him for well over 20 years before I saw my husband's resemblance. I would have laughed at anyone who suggested it earlier. The resemblance is not there, superficially. But I did, indeed, place myself in a position to live what was "comfortable," if very harmful to me. So I really get that.
That's why a good IC is so important---because it can help you learn how to model healthy relationships to your kids. You can learn how to more positively direct your life, and empower your kids to do the same in their lives. (And who says that teaching your kids to detach from toxicity is a bad lesson?! I wish someone had taught me!)
I really hope that this IC will help you find ways to make constructive changes, rather than find ways to evade your feelings and rein in constructive actions, lest you "pass wounds" on to your children.
ETA: I'm glad to read your last post, Sully. Keep the momentum. Find a way out of that marriage. You deserve better. The trick is BELIEVING you do.
[This message edited by solus sto at 2:29 PM, July 7th (Sunday)]