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Old 11-18-2018, 05:53 AM
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Default What Would You Do?

Some of you may know my son is homeless. I took him to breakfast yesterday (my daughter went too) and it devolved into a terrible scene. I ended up taking my daughter home and then came back for him. He needs our help and support but holds terrible grudges against the entire family. Some have merit, some are him ruminating over and over about minor things. Deep down he is one of the most sensitive, sweetest people you could ever meet but he seems too struggle with paranoia and ruminates over the oddest things.

When I read Tisha's "Getting Over a Grudge" Thread and followed her link to the Psychology Today Website, I found the article: Are Children "Geiger Counters" of Their Parents' Emotions? devastating. It said:

Now for the study which is the subject of this post. First, however, a bit of background: Psychological problems in kids are roughly divided into externalizing behaviors and internalizing behavior. The former is basically acting out: doing poorly in school, being hyperactive, being oppositional, getting into fights, throwing tantrums and the like.

The latter refers to things like anxiety and depression. Either way, today, kids who have any of these problems are in danger of being labeled with brain disorders such as ADHD, bipolar disorder, and even "oppositional defiant disorder," which is basically bratty behavior. And of course there is "conduct disorder," which used to be called "juvenile delinquency."...

A developmental psychologist, E. Mark Cummings, summed up quite nicely the type of results that this literature routinely shows. He was quoted in a recent article in The Atlantic (How Passive Aggression Hurts Kids - The Atlantic) that described a recent study (Davies, P. T., Hentges, R. F., Coe, J. L., Martin, M. J., Sturge-Apple, M. L., & Cummings, E. M. (2016). The multiple faces of interparental conflict: Implications for cascades of children’s insecurity and externalizing problems. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 125(5), 664-678).

“Children are like emotional geiger counters,” said E. Mark Cummings, a professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame who has conducted extensive studies on the effects of marital discord on kids for more than 20 years. Children, he explained, are incredibly attuned to parents’ emotional communication with each other; they’re keenly aware that, for their parents, nonverbal expression is key to communicating feelings.

For many couples, holding onto a grudge—smoldering but not letting a disagreement erupt into a fighting match—may seem like the best way to deal with a conflict. But research shows this kind of discord can significantly interfere with a child’s behavior and sense of emotional security. When exposed to prolonged unresolved conflict, kids are more likely to get into fights with their peers at school and show signs of distress, anger, and hostility. They may also have trouble sleeping at night, which can undermine their academic performance. In fact, according to various studies that measured children’s emotional responses to interparental hostility, disengagement and uncooperative discord between couples has shown to increase a child’s risk of psychological problems, including depression, anxiety, social withdrawal, and aggression."


I was a devoted parent in many ways and so was their dad but the fact that I hate confrontations and never felt like I properly aired out some of the grudges I had concerning major decisions I caved on (or perhaps was just powerless to change his ways) majorly impacted my children. Since then, we have worked many things out and do love each other but parenting while enduring the feeling I had no power to deal with my husband candidly (it mostly came from low self esteem) may have caused them a lot of damage.

After seeing so much dysfunction between us all, I was really depressed yesterday. My husband was very supportive, emphasizing that catastrophizing about the past doesn't help, instead we have to figure out how to help but we can't until he lets us.

In the article Tisha cited, there was this quote, "What are you supposed to say when someone insists there is no problem when there is a huge problem overshadowing everything? Are you going to say, “That’s insane”? Of course you will." It seems to me like this is what my son does yet he will say there is nothing wrong with him, I am the crazy one (After all, I have been diagnosed bipolar and **** myself), and denies (flat out lies) when I cite specific evidence of things he has done that does not seem normal to me. My husband does not want him to come home unless he agrees to get help. He refuses to do anything on our terms. He cries to me for help and when I help him, sometimes things go well while I am with him, other times he pushes me away. Our conversation before I dropped him off was upsetting and torturous for me but I am lucky, I am not homeless and alone. It must have been much worse for him. When I go to bed I think, I am lucky, my son does not have a bed. When it is hot or cold I think, I am lucky, my son is out in the elements. My worry also may not be helping things--sometimes he seems to enjoy getting my reactions. How do I help him?
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