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passing on Foo issues

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rachelc posted 2/24/2014 13:23 PM

I worry about this with my own children. I see them reaching for things/food/alcohol/drugs at times because they are NOT in touch with their feelings. And I don't know if it's because they're 25, or because they learned this from their conflict avoidant mother.

As an example, one is bored, stressed about not having a boyfriend, whatever it is - she eats. She eats to cover that void and I see her not even thinking that she's bored or stressed or lonely - she just reaches, ya know?

I feel like I should explain how regretful I am about not being in touch with my feelings and how they led to a 42 year old not only not being able to put words to feelings but thinking she had no choice. It was just a reach for a drug.

They learned this from me. Not sure what to do about it now. Don't get me wrong - I can see they're all STARTING to get the hang of life and are all successful. But how do you go back and re-parent at this age? Being ok with your feelings is not an easy thing to teach.

Joanh posted 2/24/2014 14:05 PM

Its a hard one. I agree, Lead by example and use examples.

I know for myself ,that I have decided if my children are falling into these issues and I see it happening, I will tell my story as it applies to what is happening for them.

I know as mothers we want to be special,to be seen as strong. At least my children see me as I can do no wrong! Which is wonderful considering,( I am lucky at this point.)
What I willnot do is what my Mother did.

At the age of 21, it came out or my mother realized she had been abused by her dad's friends, so she came running to me to see if it had happened to me, and if I new anything had been done to my sisters. The focus was totally on her recovery. We stood strong as the daughters and did nothing about our selves. nor were helped by our mother.

Just because I am in recovery of my own damage does not mean my children have not been harmed and need help too.

My oldest daughter is 23 and she has lived through a lot of my unhealthy coping. I am using my relationships and experiences to help her relate. and to let her know she is able to change. I do not hide my CSA nor my problem with drinking nor do I hide her father issues or family issues. I want her to understand its okay and to be aware of the harmful coping skills she learnt from me.

My children that are at home are 7 and 8, girl and boy. Allready I seemy daughter as a needed child. and my boy he tries to be so strong. Some of the society ideals are already coming into play.

As such I have been hyper sensitive to these issues because of all my FOO, CSA, and infidelity and IC and all the rest, So both my BH and I are trying to take what felt, saw, heard andsome of the communication skills and putting them into practice in our home.

Whether this works any different will see in about another 12 years.

Just be there for your kids, lead by example today and from past experiences and be truthful. Life sucks some days. ut tomorrow will allways be better. This generation of kids expect so much and expect it now, that it just adds to any of there eviroment upbringing that may gave them some not so healthy life skills.

THey do have choice though just like we did,but maybe they will have a little more informationto make their decisions on because we shared.

Don't know if this makes sense.

Actionsoverwords posted 2/24/2014 17:26 PM

This is something I struggle with. I am terrified of passing on all types of addictive traits and avoidant behaviors to my son and pray that he grows into a responsible, well-adjusted human being.

Have you talked to your children? Have you tried maybe sharing your own experiences (in general, not specifics) and see if that would help?

I wished people in my family had talked to me instead of turning a blind eye to all of the things that I've done. Maybe I would have listened and learned, maybe not. But since they never tried, I will never know.

Best of luck to you.

yearsofpain25 posted 2/24/2014 18:42 PM

Hi rachelc. I'm not a WS or a BS. I'm a BC (betrayed child - now 40) which is a big part of why I'm here on SI. If you want, and please don't feel you have to, I have posted 4 long threads about my FOO issues that turned into many personal issues for myself in my story. Or all 4 of them are still kicking around in JFO under Dealing With an Affair 25 years later (parts 1 - 4). Wrote all of that for myself and I was brutally honest. Not looking for self advertising by any means, but it may, or may not provide insight. Your kids issues are probably not like mine either. I have received many posts and pm's from concerned parents regarding their kids after reading those four threads. I'm not an expert by any means and would never pretend to be an expert. But your question/concern is quite common here no matter what the age. And no matter what the age I think the way to address it is similar with the exception that it should be age appropriate.

I read the notes in your story so I'm thinking maybe this advice applies to both you and your H. IMHO, for a family to heal FOO issues, first and foremost there has to be remorse from the WS. They are not the only key to healing, but IMO they are the biggest key as they are the one that betrayed the family. Much like remorse is the first biggest step to healing the BS, same applies to BCs since they where cheated on as well. In fact, I would say that most of the things that help a BS to heal all also apply to the BC.

How do you show remorse and help a BC get through FOO issues? You engage them. Even if they are older and all this crap went down years ago, it's never too late. I've been waiting for 25 years for remorse or for either of my parents to engage me about it. Not going to happen so I have a lot of issues to say the least and now I'm on SI and in IC. You have to ask them questions on their opinions and let them know how you feel. I recently had a parent write back to me that they asked the questions and got one word answers. You have to expect that they are adults and may not want to talk about it so you are probably going to have to try multiple times with multiple approaches in how you engage them. Maybe try the approach where you open up to them first and let them know your thoughts. You will probably be met with resistance, but stay the course with them and keep engaging them.

One way I plan on addressing with my kids my FOO issues and the infidelity that blew my family apart is when/if they ever decide to get married, I'm going to tell that all about my FOO and the damage that was done by my mother. I plan on sitting down with them, their fiancees, and their fiancee's parents as well. Will they listen? Who knows but I at least gave them a warning and filled in the blanks on how much damage can be done. How could I not at least do that for them?

Bottom line: Let them know your thoughts. Let them know the WHY behind your thoughts. Let them express their opinions no matter how apathetic they may be or how overwhelmingly emotional they may be. If they are trying to heal from you or your H, ask them what they need from the two of you to do so. Much in the same fashion as to what you and your H need from each other. Healing and working on FOO issues begin with you and your H.

I'm pulling for you and your family. All the best to you.


badchoice posted 2/24/2014 18:52 PM

I see my son eating because he is bored sometimes, and it's hard to know what to say or do sometimes. Mine are younger, but I try to explain that mindless eating is not the right thing to do, and ask hi what he is feeling at the time. Trying to get him to recognize what is going on with him, instead of just ignoring his feelings. It works sometimes, other times it does not.

Good luck.

MissesJai posted 2/24/2014 18:55 PM

Talk to them, rachel. They are old enough to understand. Communicate and by doing so, you are showing them how to communicate.

SpotlessMind posted 2/27/2014 09:07 AM


I worry about all these same things. I don't want to inadvertently foist my FOO issues onto my kids. Luckily, I also think the first and most crucial step is awareness, and you've got that.

I definitely believe talking to them is the way to go. You might not always get it right, but they will see that you are trying and know that you care. I feel like my parents never talked to me about anything important, and certainly not feelings. I'm still dealing with those issues now.

Try telling them the things your parents struggled with and got wrong, and how that made you feel.

Try telling them the things you struggle with and how that makes you feel.

I feel like eatng without mindfulness is often a way of soothing emotions. Maybe if your daughter could learn to recognize the feeling and acknowledge it? Journaling, talking to you or a good friend? Going to the gym or for a walk when she's stressed? Basically, any of the healthy coping mechanisms you've learned about--share them with her.

I think any way you can promote mindfulness is helpful, too. What about family meditation? Yoga class? Or just creating a safe place to talk about feelings and empathizing?

Also, perhaps IC? I just found out that my husband's work will give each of our children free sessions via EAP, and you can bet we are taking advantage!

Good luck to you, mama. And make sure YOU are taking care of yourself throughout your parenting stress, too.

atsenaotie posted 2/27/2014 09:28 AM


We all have FOO issues, none of us comes out of childhood undamaged or a bit trampled. All children have additional work to do on themselves. By identifying and owning your problems now, you are demonstrating to your children that self-awareness and improvement are on-going tasks. FWW always goes on and on about how "normal" my parents and childhood were. And compared to her's it was, but I still had work to do as an adult.

Very soon after dday FWW's older daughter told of a man at her work she met on smoke breaks. By this time FWW and I had read Not Just Friends by Glass, and it was clear that her DD was on a slippery slope, dropping boundaries, etc. FWW warned her DD about this. Just a year earlier FWW would not have seen a problem, but by facing her own issues she continues to be a model to her children for behavior.

Still some of the OCD, borderline traits, anxiety that FWW has struggled with is also apparent in her DD. This will be on her DD to address, but FWW will at least have demonstrated how to face rather than run from problems, and will have greater understanding on how to counsel her DD if/when asked. We are seeing the same things with our boys who are younger and still being "parented" to a degree. FWW is changing her relationship from friend to more parent, and most importantly as a united front with me. Again, there may have been bad habits modeled and taught, but so are good habits and behaviors.

I feel like I should explain how regretful I am about not being in touch with my feelings and how they led to a 42 year old not only not being able to...

If you are going to share with them, I would present it has how happy, healthy, and authentic you feel now with new behaviors rather than pointing out the negatives of old behaviors. If your daughter wants to become healthier, thinner, more fit, she can look to you as a model as opposed to looking at herself as a failure.

[This message edited by atsenaotie at 9:30 AM, February 27th (Thursday)]

rachelc posted 2/27/2014 09:33 AM

I sent them all a message about this.
They all said I didn't need to apologize and that they understood they would make mistakes but that was part of being an adult.
They appreciated my message.

They all know about the EAP thing.

It was interesting. I posted, saw they all read it, figured there was lots of "did you see what Mom sent us?" talk going back and forth and then they wrote back. They are all VERY close.The girls are identical twins and their brother was born 12 months before them. They even had their own language for a while and the girls invented it when they were about 3 and got their brother in on it too. And I know it was so they could talk about stuff without me knowing what they were discussing. So funny and interesting!!

NikkiD posted 2/27/2014 09:41 AM

You have to talk to them. I was hip to my father's game at around 7. But no one bothered to talk to me about anything. I reasoned, later that I wouldnt allow a man to do to me what my father did to my mother, but all I really leanred was to act with humility and grace regardless (the way my mother treated my father). I didnt even notice I'd followed the same path until I was knee deep in the shyt.

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