I shouldn't be drinking coffee at 3:30 pm

He's caffeine-free.

I got iced coffee for the first time today in years and I've been nursing it for 3 and a half hours.  *sip*  *sip*  I know I'm going to regret it later, but I can't seem to stop myself.

That's been a theme for me the last few months, whether it be watching TV into the wee hours of the morning, polishing off a bottle of wine by myself after Hollis is in bed, or smoking a cigarette (or five or ten), any kind of disregard I can inflict on myself I've taken the opportunity.

Of course, I've simultaneously striven for balance with a healthy diet, lots of exercise, intense therapy, and lots of communication with Anthony as we go through this chapter of our relationship (read: the final chapters of romance), but it still doesn't negate the fact that I self destruct - though "destruct" is too harsh a word.  I'm thinking self-spank is more apt.

I remember being a kid and having no power in my life or over how I got to express my pain.  I immediately turned inward, blamed myself, sought outlets where I wouldn't feel.  I'm not a kid anymore, though I still seek outlets that let me disengage.  Thankfully, they're just those spanks I mentioned before, but I'm still confounded by them.  Why do I still do anything of the sort?? 

All of this brings me to a question that I've been pondering at great lengths lately: how do I teach Hollis to feel (and deal with) those feelings that are painful, difficult, stressful, and otherwise wearing on the soul?

I was given no skills in this department as a little person.  Zero.  And I know most aren't given the tools to work through feelings deemed "negative" or "troublesome."  I feel like it will be a major parenting win if I can somehow manage to do this (don't ask me what it means if I don't somehow get this achieved - that's another post)

I want Hollis to express his rage and sadness.  I don't want him to internalize it or be afraid to show it like I was.  I don't want him to grow up and go on benders or hide for months and years at a time behind drugs and shallow relationships - all things I attribute to my inability to process my pain.  I want him to have avenues of expression, be they artistic or otherwise.  I want him to feel the discomfort and grow from it.

Like every parent I want him to live a better life than me; not pain-free, but expression-full.  And expression that moves him forward, not backward like mine always seems to do.

As an (almost) 35 year old woman I've learned how to counteract my unhealthy coping mechanisms, but I'm still at a loss as to how to avoid them all together.  I get it now.  I don't even beat myself up over it like I used to.  I just trudge on and love all the weird ass parts of me; all the contradictions and idiosyncrasies.  But teaching a little person how to do what's always alluded me??  Eesh... how the hell do I do that???

I'm open to suggestions. 


  1. This is a question I've asked myself because although you and I choose different outlets for the "spanking". I'm afraid I don't have a great answer for you.

    I can say that for my own kids I've been trying to redirect their frustrated energies into physical activity. If they're unhappy or angry or frustrated then I encourage them to run it off or bike it off or whatever.

    I don't know that it really helps them process their feelings but I figure it's better than eating a bag of cookies.

  2. Not an easy thing to do. Validation of his emotions is always a start - but I know you already know that. That and leading by example - even harder to do. But that, I think, more than anything, is how we learn as children how to emote and how to deal with it. Sucky answer right?

  3. I rely on parenting books for this, because I wasn't given tools as a kid, either. Sometimes, you need other people to help you put things in perspective.

    I will say this, though - I think that a big part of why I'm this way was because I grew up in a home with an addict. I like to think that when adults behave like adults, and can be present with kids through the hard stuff, it helps the kids to develop a sense of perspective. When we're not having temper tantrums ourselves, someone else's are easier for everyone to handle.

  4. it may not be something you need to teach, and this little man may actually be teaching you. how about that?

  5. I let my son see my feelings and let him see how I work it out even if I know its not the correct way. As for when he is angry or frustrated I just hug him, tell him its fine to be angry etc and let him take it out.....not sure if what I am doing is correct but....

  6. I am doing exactly that right now by being up at 12:30am when I know I have to rise at 5:30am to start the school day. I do that all the time. I wonder for me how much is self punishment and how much is avoidance. Because I have insomnia I just can't face laying in bed awake and thinking about all the crap there is to think about. I have to keep going until I crash. But then I keep going even when I'm nodding off. I certainly picked the wrong month to avoid all the "thinker" blogs on my list, because these are the topics I've been thinking about anyway.

  7. We all need a bit of a release. I think it is just a matter of what vice we choose. Sometimes I don't feel bad that mine is food. Could be much worse.

    I think that as long as we talk to our kids and let them talk to us they will be okay.