I've learned so much over the past year about myself and my family and am determined to break the dysfunctional patterns that have existed for generations. Addiction, mental illness, martyrdom, depression, poor self-esteem, hoarding etc. I am close with my adult children and want to discuss what I've learned but I don't want them to think their grandparents (or me) are bad people. It just explains a lot about who I am and how I parented and the choices I've made. Yes, I plan on seeing a therapist when I get home but I'm curious to see how others have healed from this process.

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There is abuse and trauma going back generations. I think it rewired my families genetic hard drive so to speak. My girls are smart, strong, beautiful women who exude empathy and compassion. I could not be more proud of them. Their resilience blows me away. You all are correct, healing myself is living by example and if things come up down the road for them I will be able to share in a positive and confident way. My heart aches for my families past pain but it really doesn't need to be carried like a torch which is what I think I've been doing. You guys rock, thanks so much!
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By being honest with them and with yourself! You're already doing a good chunk of the things you need to do to heal yourself so don't quit now! (I'm doing the same things myself) Keep moving forward! And please keep us posted we're here for ya!
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Tradition has said:
Don't share your dirty laundry in public.
Don't speak ill of the dead.

Lisa jean,
The answers you have received below are amazing.
What is even more amazingly wonderful is your response to the advice given.
You must be being hard on yourself, but I see you as a really quick learner!
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Kudos to you for breaking the dysfunctional cycle. It's definitely an ongoing process, but a healing one at the same time. The best gift you can give your kids is your recovery and to try your best to be the parent that they need you to be now. We all have made mistakes, but you are recognizing the things that you need to change and are working on those, and that's huge.

If there are things you feel like you should apologize to your kids for, I would recommend running it first by your therapist and coming up with a way to do so in a succinct way that would acknowledge their feelings without oversharing or making excuses. And then just listen to their feelings too if they want to talk about it, but don't push if they don't.

Above all, I'd agree with the not oversharing part, especially about your own past or if there is a history of abuse in your childhood. I say that because I learned some things from my mom about her childhood that were traumatic for me to hear, and I have needed therapy myself to process them. My mom used me as a confidante and therapist a lot, and at times it felt very heavy on my mind and heart. You want to make sure you don't leave your kids with your baggage. Your therapist can help you to navigate how to delicately say whatever needs to be said.
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Good evening, lisajean,

I, too, don’t believe it is helpful to overshare with children either. There are some things that are too painful to lay at my children’s door. On the other hand, there have been a few times that I have had to share with them certain events from my past which intruded into the present. This was done in order to explain over-reactions on my part to things that were happening. Post Traumatic Stress is real! At the time, I was reliving the earlier trauma. I now know that when I have an emotional over-reaction, that it is historical and may have nothing to do with reality. This takes a lot of the power out of it.

It was helpful to share with my adult children what precipitated these flashbacks so that they would understand their mother a little more. I recall my son telling me, “Mom, I never knew!”, and I remember looking at him in wonder, because he was right! That part of my past was never part of his life. So, yes, I am sparing with the burdens laid on my children, and I try to practice discernment in how much truth to share.
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This is an area where you would want to tread lightly. Do you NEED to have an in depth discussion with your adult kids if the boat ain't rocky?

Sometimes we feel like we need to "explain" our parenting to our kids. We feel we could have done a better job--(everybody feels that way, BTW)--and unless you truly have issues that need to be hashed out--I'd not stir the pot.

I've been in therapy on and off for 20 years, I had a very rocky upbringing along with all the issues you named. My kids know enough to kind of give me a pass on some of the places I felt I "failed". Truth is, they are so busy living their lives, that mine isn't of interest to them.

I "healed" by therapy, meds and learning to self care. I am still healing. I probably always will be. The LAST thing my kids want to hear is the latest epiphany I have received--I'm sure they would be happy for me---but it's so very personal.

The truth rises to the surface. If your kids are as fine as you say---just let them keep on with the relationship you have. Keep doing fun/good things together. Stay close to them as they'll allow. Don't dump anymore "stuff" on them.

Go into therapy FIRST. Find a therapist you truly, truly trust and follow their advice. Mine's was to let my kids know that absolute least about my childhood and leave it at that. I was damaged tremendously, and telling them was awful.

They were awesome and supportive--but beware of the emotional fallout than can come from oversharing.
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lisajean Apr 2019
I would give this ten stars if I could! I was not a perfect mom and there are things that I wish I could do over. I'm seeing myself through a different lens now that my mom has dementia. Her filters are so different and I'm learning things about her and her parenting that make me reflect on my own. I had a rough childhood and was so young when I married and had children of my own. I tend to over share and you are right, I shouldn't and don't need to. The kids dont need and dont want to hear it. It is selfish of me actually to feel like I have to set the story straight. I hope to find a good therapist and work through this. Thanks for sharing your process.
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I would not make a point to have an intense, roundtable, intervention type discussion about this. If your children are living good lives and handling what comes up with success, leave it be. Don’t bring up past hurts and indiscretions unless they specifically ask. In other words, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

A better idea might be to journal your thoughts. That’s what I do. If there’s something you feel they absolutely must know, put it down there. Sometimes I don’t write for a week, but when I do put my thoughts down, I feel like I accomplished something.
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lisajean Apr 2019
Thank you. Journaling is an excellent idea.
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