Punching Bag

As I sit down to write today, I am a little distracted.  I’m about to be brutally honest with you all. My youngest had a really rough morning, and it is weighing heavily on my heart today.  I can’t seem to shake it.  I have mentioned before that she has a lot of medical issues all stemming from her Eosinaphillic Esophagitis going undiagnosed for so long.  It caused her to have a lot of anxiety that began with just the food issues that has now spread to every aspect of her life. It has also led to a lot of anger that is 100% only directed at me.  I suppose it is because I am the one that has had to force her to eat all these years. I am the one that controls the food.  I am the one that forces her to go to therapy and all of her specialist appointments.  With my husband in the military and gone a lot, I am the one that is the disciplinarian 90% of the time.  I am the one that deals with her the most. She has a lot of resentment towards me, and it comes out frequently.  This morning was one of those times.  I know in my head that she doesn’t really hate me and that she can’t help it. However, my heart makes me feel like she does hate me, and that I am the worst mom ever.  How is it possible that a 10 year old can make me feel so insignificant and small? I was prepared for the teenage years when mom and dad suddenly aren’t cool and are the dumbest people on the planet.  This is different from that, and I wasn’t prepared.  This is real anger.  It doesn’t matter what I do, it is wrong.  It doesn’t matter what I say, it is wrong.  It doesn’t matter how much time I spend with her doing things that she enjoys with just the two of us, the anger is always there. It always comes back. It breaks my heart.  When it happens over and over again, your defenses wear down.  You get angry right back, which just makes the situation explode even more.  She yells at me and I just yell back. There comes a point where you can’t take it anymore. That’s kind of how I feel today.  I honestly don’t know how much more I can take.  I feel like I am doing a terrible job with her. I’m contributing to the problem instead of making it better. She just seems to know how to push every single one of my buttons all at the same time.

She has a ceremony at school this morning that I am supposed to go to, but I honestly don’t want to go after the things that she said to me this morning.  I know that is a childish way to be, but it is how I feel. It’s the truth. I told you I was going to be honest. It’s so hard. As I sit here and reflect on the morning, I know there are things that I did wrong.  I know that yelling at her causes her to push back more.  I know that loosing my cool just escalates the situation.  I know all of these things, yet in the moment I can’t keep myself together.  I know that putting pressure on her is not the way to get her to do what I want her to do.  I know these things.  I’m a freaking special education teacher who has dealt with situations like this and even worse behaviors for years with ease, yet I can’t handle my own child! Why can’t I fix this?  How is she able to bring out the worst in me? My husband tries to help and tells me that I have to handle her differently and I try, but then episodes like this morning happen and I just loose it.  He doesn’t really see how she treats me because she wouldn’t dare do it in front of him, and he’s not here all of the time. This kid has pushed me since she was in the womb.  She challenges me every single day in ways I could never imagine. I am just worn down.  I have been beaten until I’m black and blue.  I’m tired. I don’t know how to fix it.  I don’t know how to make it better.  This is the hardest thing I have ever done.  I hate that I have these feelings.  I hate that she gets to me.  I hate myself when I loose it and yell at her because I know better. Why is this so hard?

I just stepped away from this post for an hour while I did actually go to her ceremony.  I won’t tell you that it was easy for me to walk in that gym and act all happy and be supportive of her because it wasn’t. I sat there with a very heavy heart.  The ceremony was an induction into the Safety Patrol where they had earned their badges. As I sat there and listened to the principal talk about how amazing the safety patrol kids are and why they were chosen to be the leaders of the school and how they all had so much respect and kindness, I was dumbfounded. He went on and on about how it started at home with the parents and how we had raised them well.  He talked about the qualities that are required of a student to be considered for the safety patrol. I sat there listening while watching my daughter wondering if the things he was saying about the group were true of her. I was sitting there with tears in my eyes because the answer is yes.  She is a good kid. She does well in school. She is wise beyond her years. Her thought process is incredible. She is so insightful. She is the bravest and strongest kid I know. She is extremely kind-hearted and compassionate.  She loves like no other. She has come a very long way and has been through a lot. When she is good and happy and not stressed or anxious, she is the neatest kid. I love her to death. I really do. I, unfortunately, am just her punching bag when fear and anxiety kick in.  I am the release of all the bad things that she is dealing with.  As much as she hurts me, I know that she loves me.  As much as it breaks my heart, as much as it kills me, and as much as hate it, I will keep trying. I will keep pushing through. I will keep trying to give her my best instead of my worst.  I have to. It’s my job as her mom.  God gave her to me for a reason. I have to believe that we can overcome this.  I am so incredibly proud of her. I am overjoyed with how far she has come.  Never in a million years did I think she would be the kid that was chosen to be a leader at her school, to be an example to others.  Back when she was in first grade, I was getting note after note from the teacher who was clearly exasperated with her. I sat in multiple conferences with that teacher and cried as the teacher was telling me how bad her behavior was.  I never believed that she would be where she is now.  Every time that I talk to her teacher now, I am astonished by all of the positive things that she says about her.  I honestly thought that I would never get a good report from a teacher.  She has come a long way. I have to keep reminding myself of that. She is growing up and navigating her life the best way she knows how.  Yes, she is angry with me a lot.  Yes, I will continue to loose my temper with her. Yes, I will continue to get beaten up. I’m not perfect. I know this. This is real life. This is my life. These are the cards that I was dealt.  It’s hard. It’s going to get harder. Some days like today, I don’t know if I am going to make it through. Then there are times like at the ceremony where I realize that she is one of my greatest joys.  The only thing I can do is to keep trying. I have to keep picking myself up when I get knocked down and keep going. The only thing I know to do is to love her through it and pray that we will both come out better on the other side.

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Anchored and Worn,

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