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"I have two beautiful children but sometimes I hurt them physically"

Dear Ayal,

I am a single mother of two beautiful children and I am really worried as I sometimes hurt them physically. One example is last night when my friend came round to see me. We do trade in healing as she does Reiki to me and I read her the tarot. My three and a half year old, Amanda, started crying so I went up stairs to see her and instead of consoling her I pushed her down and told her to stop crying and go to sleep, then I covered her mouth a bit. She finally went to sleep to wake up half an hour later so I took her downstairs, consoled her for a while and she finally decided to go back to her bed and to sleep. When my friend went Amanda woke up again and started crying so I took her to my bed complaining to her that she should let me rest, leave me alone, that I worked all day and that she was a real bother. I got really angry with her and took her head in both my hands by the hair and told her to stop bothering me, then I shook her and then I insulted her and told her she was bad and horrible.

Now, I am an intelligent person and intellectually understand that I am tired and stressed out with them sometimes and that I am facing rearing them on my own, having hardly any breaks from them at all. My life is work and them and it seems impossible to get a night out as I cannot afford a baby sitter. They do not see their father at all as he was an alcohol and drug abuser and I finally left him to never contact him again two years ago. The oldest child is 5 and sometimes I get angry with him and grab him by the lapel and lift him up and tell him to stop it. I sometimes push them onto the bed very hard.

I am also a trained psychologist but that doesn't seem to help now and I haven't been working as one for two years as I have gone into the commercial section and work in a Chamber of Commerce. I have a good job there and good job opportunities having been recently promoted - although my wage has not gone up very much it will do in the future. I want to give them my very best and often do, yet I feel that I spoil it all by these outbursts I have which I feel are quite violent as I sometimes scream and shout at them and tell them that I am tired and to give me some peace, to give me a break. I know they are so small and cannot understand and I also know that it is a good idea that they should know and start learning that mother needs a rest although they are obviously going to assimilate it in their infant like fashion, yet I know I am going totally the wrong way about it. I feel that they are very demanding sometimes, specially Amanda as she is not as independent as the oldest who finds a lot of ways of entertaining himself, although Amanda is getting more and more independent.

I feel guilty and I don't want them to grow up violent or aggressive and on the whole they are happy children and have a lot of freedom and good times. I don't want them to grow up resentful toward me but they probably will the way I am going on. I have a child minder who is good to them and who looks after them during the mornings and then takes them to nursery school and primary school (kinder for the older one) and I pick them up after work. I don't have a boyfriend and am not really looking for one as I feel a great mistrust toward men. What can you suggest? I would be grateful for your kind words of help.


Hello. I think that you mean well, but you are extremely stressed out with being a single mother, and the result is that you have gone beyond what you can do. You do not have the support or energy or resources you need at this time to take care of your children the way you are wishing too. I think that it is a good thing that you are seeking help, as you are seeing that your behavior has become abusive. If it does continue, you are right, you will have very emotionally damaged children. Perhaps they will be severely physically damaged as well. This must stop immediately.

I invite you to seek counseling with a good therapist, right away. Find ways that you can get good child care or support from agencies that offer aid to single mothers, or working mothers. You must find a way to get the support you need so that when you ARE with your children, what you give to them is love. It sounds as if you yourself chose an abusive partner, and you, yourself have experienced abuse. Unless you heal your own wounds from those experiences, you will continue to pass on that abuse to your children. This must be your first priority - find a good way to get the healing you need - go to your local mental health clinic if you can't afford anything else - and begin to deal with your own trauma. Obviously there is still a lot of hurt and rage and despair within you, as well as exhaustion. I am sure you may be feeling all alone in the world, and abandoned, and you are expecting your children to understand that and take care of you by not asking much of you. However, they are simply being children who need things from you. You are so exhausted, emotionally and physically, that you have nothing to give them, so when they do ask it of you, which is their right, as they are your children, you feel terrible and guilty that you have nothing to give - and then your anger spills over onto them.

This is a serious state to be in, and you need to take what is happening very seriously. They can't take care of you in that way. They are the children, and you are the parent. It is up to you to take care of them. Right now you have nothing left inside of you to do that. Although I am sure that you love them and want to do the best for them, as you said, right now your own state of deep woundedness and depletion is not allowing you to do that. It is up to you to find a way to profoundly heal yourself - not a once in a while trade - so that you can be the mother you wish and desire to be. Otherwise, you will regret it the rest of your life.

So, how can you love and take care of yourself, and get what you need, so that you have the energy and love you need to take care of these children? Whatever it takes, that is what you must do. Again, I invite you to find a good therapist who can be there for you, support you, and help you find other ways to get some of your life needs met. Find out about getting support from local agencies. If you cannot be around your children without abusing them due to your own state of mind, then you must find someone else to be with them until you can come home and be with them without abusing them.

First of all, you must stop using any kind of physical violence on them. Immediately, no matter what. Secondly, you must not abuse them with your words. Most importantly, to be able to do this, you must believe that you are worth loving - that you yourself do not deserve to be mistreated or abandoned. You may have a belief that you have to do it all by yourself, or that no one will help you or be there for you. These beliefs will create a difficult life for you. If you have these beliefs, you will continue to create a life where you are struggling and desperate and alone. Beliefs are only energy, thought forms, with strong emotions attached to them, that can be changed into other thought forms that work better for you.

Your first responsibility here is to see the severity of what is going on. You are abusing your children. I invite you to take whatever steps you need to support yourself emotionally, financially, and spiritually to get the help you need so that this stops immediately. I know you can do it. Your heart is in the right place.

Blessings, Ayal

next 281. "God is the one who can heal you... not yourself"

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