Relationships and C-PTSD. Interpersonal skills are hard to navigate at the best of times. Having C-PTSD puts an interesting and sometimes tragic touch on us.
I woke up today and with an epiphany like a brain bubble, I realised I had not failed my children by choosing the partners I chose after all. I had successfully given them a support network with the two men I chose to have a child with.
Each of the men I married had family that stuck together that supported each other, sometimes in ways, I did not understand how could I, its foreign for me to watch supportive family behaviour it almost feels like I am watching a movie, even if I am somehow ‘part’ of that family. I realised the hard way that ‘in-laws’ are exactly that and if things go bad in the relationship regardless of if you are not the one to blame you will still be rejected and basically discarded you then begin to experience all those abandonment issues all over again.
Therefore, further engraining in you…your worthlessness. You will somewhat always be on the outside looking in no matter what, that is just how it is, well in my experience of observation, firsthand experience and twice at that! Through my vocation, I speak to people weekly about these exact issues and the damage it can do to the worth of a person and therefore their ability to function.
Yet as I sit and analyse all this now in 2021, I realise that my children have these support networks, they will never understand my pain and emptiness. Now that right there is a success an achievement. A ceasing to generational trauma for abandonment issues right there.
My son now lives with his father and that is a grief I still live with daily as he lives in another state and the frequency, I see him is less and less especially with COVID-19 restrictions as many families have also been experiencing. I always promised both my son and his father that if they wanted to change things that I needed to engage them all on what was best for everyone and not just make a unilateral decision to withhold or make my son stay with me just because I want him too. I often get looks of disbelief and sometimes of judgement that I do not have my son living with me, that somehow society these days still makes me feel wrong for doing this. That other mothers pass judgement on me and look at me with such shock that I could ever do such a horrendous thing. Therefore, making me feel even more like a failure.
What they all do not realise is that their opinion of me matter somewhat and are still hurtful, but they will never be as important to me than my children’s wellbeing. That I do not make a decision on how well society will perceive me or receive/treat me.
As promised, I honoured and supported my son’s decision. Following through on this was extra hard knowing an opportunist was in the background waiting to pounce. I still stood by my values and integrity.
My daughters’ father did not abandon his children either, I sometimes think of it as a curse as our relationship is so bitter and sour. So rigid and fear-based. Regardless of how much time goes by, he will always be the man that tried to break me completely. I said to him many many times, no one will ever break me, I have my children and that is all that matters.
Well, I guess that can change all too quickly when someone’s circumstances change, or a partner they are with decided that my children are better than no children at all. I quickly tried to end this ‘war’ with the least damage to my children. I took the brunt of it all again, even though he had never been denied access or really anything at all he still wanted more. Slander and lies are a hard thing to challenge and to ignore and if you do either and/or both it still impacts you dramatically. Instead of simply asking me he decided that a campaign of slander would be a better choice of action and to do this he needed to ‘make’ me into a monster, a monster of an ex-wife and an incompetent mother in the eyes of others.
I compromised, he is their father, although he did not ask me or discuss with me that he wanted more time, instead, he thought appropriate a bailiff to knock on my door on our youngest daughters first day of prep, and our eldest daughters first day at her new school, having just moved and relocated so he could have more time anyway as his demands over driving were becoming excessively disruptive.
50/50 shared care of my daughters.
The opportunist did strike not more than 3 to 4 months after I agreed to my son moving to his fathers, barely enough time to adjust and grieve the lost time now with my son. Nor did this man allow me to grieve for our stillborn daughter or the loss of my brother. I was never allowed to feel. To feel was to be wrong. To cry was to be weak. Ever since I can remember I have never been allowed to be me.
In all this though, I still always put our children first. His role as a father is more important than my hurt and pain and treatment from him and his family, I do not want it to cause any pain more than unavoidably possible to my children.
So, I grieved again for time lost, now my daughters were with me half the time they use to be. We have all adjusted since, but I still have incredibly big moments of sadness over it all and feel like I have almost been robbed of a life with my children, however, I just need to remind myself that I am creating change, generational change. To do this is not an easy path, nor is it the societal norm to be a mother with so little time with her children. I have never by any means the ‘average norm’ though, so I am essentially trying to understand a perspective that I simply know nothing about. I am only trusting my instinct on what is best for my children and their development, safety, self-worth, and sense of belonging.
My children have their fathers and their mother, they also have their fathers extended family. They will always have that side of their families support and love. Even if this is something that I can never fully understand I can certainly understand the importance of cultivating and nurturing this for them.
Then at the very least I know they will not endure this pain that I do, this emptiness that I do. This constant extra self-care to get this inner child of mind to walk into another day with me with full courage to keep on keeping on.
Born in 1980 in Australia
Facebook: Journey Beyond You
Facebook: The Intuitive Healer Doula
Survivor of extensive childhood abuse, and now live with C-PTSD
I am a Community Worker, Trauma Informed Doula, Trauma Informed Yoga Teacher, Child Educator and work intensively with neurodivergent Children and survivors of abuse
I am a keen social advocate and really believe in kindness.
Kindness can change a life it really can