It’s easy, in a way, to say we have problems because our mothers and fathers behaved a certain way while we were growing up. Were never around, worked too much or were too busy with younger siblings. Were emotionally distant, didn’t show us enough love. Or were too angry, too strict.
Parents can never get it completely ‘right’, no one is perfect. More than that, what works for one child may not work for the next. So, it’s normal I guess, to have some minor fuck ups as a parent but where do we draw the line between ‘normal’ parental eccentricities, and behaviour that will screw our children over for the rest of their lives?
I wonder about this a lot, being a mentally unwell mother is an incredibly hard line to walk. I guess I know, my behaviour is the sort that will mentally fuck up my child, no matter how hard I try to avoid this. And, I look at my own mother and her mother and wonder, when they were growing up, if there was this awareness of mental illness like there is now, would they have been diagnosed with a personality disorder like me? From the evidence I have seen, it seems likely.
There is a lot of mental illness that runs in my family, my great aunt suffered with severe bipolar, I have an aunt who suffered severe addiction issues which eventually lead to her death and a schizophrenic uncle just on my mothers side. She herself has been prescribed antidepressants at several low points in her life.
Is it all genetic? Or were we all fucked over by the generation before us? If the second, how do we stop fucking over the generations yet to come? As it seems I have ‘inherited’ personality disorders from my undiagnosed mother and grandmother, plus the bipolar that runs in my family.
I have talked to my son about my difficulties, since he’s only 10 at the moment, all he knows so far is ‘sometimes mummy’s brain doesn’t work so well, so she has to take medicine to help’. As he gets older, more mature, I hope to be able to tell him more. I guess, I’m just hoping that my own knowledge about mental illnesses, causes and symptoms will enable me to help him more when/IF he does go on to have similar difficulties.
So yes, maybe your parents DID fuck you over as a child but perhaps that’s because they themselves were fucked over too and don’t know how it could be any other way?