Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Guilt Is A Four Letter Word

Ahh, guilt.  Along with regret, one of the most useless, futile and absurd of all human emotions.  And yet, almost all of us feel it at one time or another, to varying degrees.  Currently, I am experiencing guilt-overload, and it is crushing.

I've always been a guilty person. (No, not THAT kind of guilty!) I am a people-pleaser.  I want everyone around me to be happy, and to like me.  I feel so bad if anyone is put out, inconvenienced or upset. That has meant conflict avoidance (even when confrontation was really what was necessary) and some bottling up of emotion. Totally unhealthy.  But the guilt I've been experiencing lately is even worse -- Parent Guilt. The most intense of all the guilts, in my opinion.

Ever since my husband and I were told of my Little Guy's potential (probable) ADHD, our lives have really changed. I've, of course, being a mom, have scoured the Internet doing research. We've been a lot more patient with him, knowing a lot of his behaviors he just can't help.  But along with changes in our family life, there has also been guilt piling up on me.

I feel guilty...
about the expectations I had for my children.  My husband and I were always part of the sports-related crowd.  I was a cheerleader, he played lacrosse and soccer. We had friends growing up and were always part of a fun group of friends.  I always expected my children to be the same.  But, neither of them are athletes, and both are a little young for their age...especially my Little Guy.  His teacher has noticed he has some problems relating to the other kids, which is a hallmark of ADHD. I feel guilty sometimes that he struggles with friendship. I wish it were easier for him. I feel guilty that I sometimes wish they were what I'd imagined them to be.

I feel guilty...
about the kind of mother I am.  Is my Little Guy's ADHD caused by something I did? Did I let him watch to much television? Do I fail in making sure he has the best nutrition? Did I expose him to some toxin in his bottles, toys, anything? What did I do wrong??

I feel guilty...
about talking to people about ADHD. Sometimes, it feels like all my conversations, regardless of where they started, come back around to it.  I don't want to be someone that no one wants to talk to because THIS is all they talk about (hello? People pleaser!!).  So instead, I just find myself retreating into myself...and bottling emotions.

I feel guilty...
about being so worried.  I have friends with children who are struggling with issues that are way bigger than ADHD. There are lots of people who suffer from ADHD; where do I get off being so consumed?  There are so many people out there with far more consequential, even life-threatening, concerns for their kids.  This is nothing compared to what others have to endure.

I feel guilty...
about my Big Guy. Dealing with an ADHD child requires a ton of patience and temper-control (one of the first things I read about it was the importance of remaining positive).  What patience and responsiveness can I possibly have left over for my Big Guy? Is he left wondering why all of our attention is directed his brother's way? We've explained the situation to him and he understands what's going on, but he's only 9. He's just a kid, too and even though he understands, it has to be impossible for him not to feel a little neglected.

I feel guilty...
about what choices we are going to make.  There are so many routes to take as far as treatment. Therapies, medications, diets -- so much to decide.  What if I choose poorly? I run all the possibilities in my head constantly, and I know I'll second guess everything we do. I feel more and more like a child instead of a parent...aren't the grown-ups supposed to decide and tell us what to do? Oh, I AM the grown-up? Well, it sure as hell doesn't feel like it; I am too scared and uncertain.

So, there it is. Logically, I know feeling guilty about all of the above (and more) a.) doesn't change anything, b.) might be a little ridiculous, and c.) doesn't do anyone any good.  But I still do. Writing all this down does help; I can see in black and white how silly and pointless some of this is. I know I need to (wo)man up and stop catering to the stupid, illogical guilt. My energies need to be focused solely on helping my sons (both of them) through this.

I'm trying.

1 comment:

  1. Hey there! I found you blog by doing a google image search for "guilt". The image I selected was the same one you have on this post and it gave you photo credit for it. I am a SAHM/WAHM/BlogAHM and was writing about guilt today as well. I loved your piece and could relate! I think most of us moms can. Even if we've grown up as guilty people, nothing brings it to the surface and morphs it into a brutal monster quite like motherhood does. Anyway, few things happen by chance in my opinion and I just felt like from one mom learning to manage guilt to another, I needed to tell you- I feel ya! And sometimes, knowing that someone else gets it, makes us feel just a bit more normal.
    Have a great day!