Regret Not Being a Good Enough Mother

Feeling sick, difficult to sit with how I have parented my son. It’s been hard, but I have done my best. I feel sorry for him. He complains that I yell at him, that I am abusive, too loud. That he experiences me as abusive kills me, causes me great pain. I’ve tried SO HARD to be the best mother I could be. It has been SO IMPORTANT to me. And I’ve failed? How could this be? I know I have bipolar disorder. I know I have a temper. But abusive… really? I want to be a good mother, a good enough mother. It pains me to think that I may not be. His complaints may be unrelated to my diagnosis, save for the temper my son engages. My son and I push each other’s buttons. We both pick and engage in fights with each other. Resentment builds on both sides, me wanting more freedom, him wanting more of me, of my attention. How much more can I give? I believe it is time to give less, not more. I’ve worked so very hard, for so very long. Please, God, help me be a good mother. Please, God, please.

Regret Lashing Out at Those I Love

Remembering an old home movie of my mother as a girl, she danced circles around a group of family members standing on the sidewalk. They stood still. She couldn’t. There was no music, yet she danced. That dancing girl, she is I, I am she. I am the girl dancing around the group, out of sync, dancing to my own music. There are other ways in which I resemble my mother. We share an ability to slay with words. She was not only the dancing girl, but the debate team captain. This characteristic, the pugilist in me, I must restrain. I have been mean. I have lashed out at those I love. Please, God, help me be a kinder, more loving person.

Regret Withholding Love

Recently my husband mentioned that he always says “I love you” first and that I then respond “I love you, too.” Am I withholding love? Since he pointed out this dynamic to me, I’ve been saying “I love you” first more often.

Back in high school, a history teacher told me that I held people at a distance. At the same time, he said I was a people-person and should go into business, not medicine (at the time I aspired to become a neurosurgeon). Which was it, aloof or social? Years later, when I was a legal assistant, I had a co-worker who claimed he didn’t like me until he got to know me. He said I came off as a bitch at first. Some people don’t like me because I act too smart and seem condescending. Maybe I protect myself by holding back, by putting on airs, by not participating, by hiding my flame, by covering my heart.

My goal is not to be liked. At the same time, I do not want to hurt people, least of all my husband and son. Please, God, help me give love freely without withholding.