parent support

I’m Thankful For My Painful Childhood Because It Helps Me Not Suck As A Parent

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shutterstock_162382217I didn’t have the best childhood. I know many people have been in the same boat, and I’m not trying to start the Suffering Olympics here.

It hasn’t been confirmed to me yet because I don’t talk to my dad much now, but I do think that he was suffering from an undiagnosed mental illness throughout my entire childhood. My mom and I have opened up a lot about these issues and are working through them now. She fully admits her mistakes, and I really respect her for that. She’s told me time and again that I witnessed a lot of crazy stuff that would be too much for any child to handle; it’s no wonder I struggle with anxiety today.

Sometimes I go down the rabbit trail of feeling sorry for myself about my sad childhood. Things are overall great for me right now, and I have a husband and kids that I’m really happy with. I also have a much better relationship with my mom, and my sister and I are incredibly close. Things are looking up.

But some days, my inner anxiety demons and obsessions are worse than others. Sometimes I feel like I’m beating my head against a wall again and again as I try to cope with anxiety and feel relaxed and comfortable in my own life. If you’re wondering, I am in therapy, and it’s working wonders for me.

I’ve been reading books on Buddhism, though I technically consider myself a Christian. I think all of this “enlightenment” has given me a different perspective on it all. I hate the fact that I have a lot of personal pain that I deal with, but I’ve come to believe that it makes me a better parent.

Every single day I feel some kind of unpleasant emotion and am reminded of my childhood as I look at my own kids. That’s not to say that my life isn’t happy, but my emotions concerning parenthood and early childhood are very mixed up right now.

I know I’m not alone. I know many and even most parents experience this. If you can identify, I’ll leave you with this positive thought that has helped me through some of the worst of it. There are many days when I wish my childhood could have been different. I’ve been guilty of the “Why Me?” before. But if these personal issues have taught me anything, I know I’m a more sensitive and loving parent because of it.

(Image: altanaka/Shutterstock)