Posted by Anonymous.
Immediately after it happens, I am surprisingly cool. It's only a few minutes later, when I think of his little face and the fear and confusion written on it that I start to crumble inward. The guilt and disappointment in myself are overwhelming, and there's nobody to blame, no extenuating circumstances to add up and say "This is why it happened." It just comes out of nowhere.
I am surprised because it's not a particularly hard night. I was easy on everyone, letting the children watch a new DVD, skipping bathtime so bedtime could happen punctually. Kyle wasn't even resisting more than usual, and he even cleaned up his cars without being forced. But he peed in his pants and then asked for water. I said no. He cried. I thought about how he gets his way in this manner too often, that it's becoming a pattern and it must be stopped. So I stood firm, and kept saying no. He threw a tantrum. I lost it.
I slammed his closet door and yelled at him as loud as I could: "LISTEN TO ME! WHEN MOMMY SAYS 'NO' YOU SAY 'OKAY, MOMMY!' You do NOT throw a tantrum and scream and cry!" I held him by the shoulders and yelled this into his face, which made him cry harder. His eyes widened and he shrank away from me in fear and despair. He had awakened the hideous impatient unmotherly thing inside me. He knows the deal by now. He's already three. This would end badly, and he was totaled.
It only gets worse. I roughly pulled his Pull Up on and then shoved him into bed, yelling "I'm sick of you! Go to sleep!" and then slamming the door on my way out of his room. And then, as he wailed with rejection and sadness, I calmly took the garbage outside and threw a load of laundry into the washer.
Who is this version of myself that can treat my child this way? Why do I, the nurturing woman who dissolves into tears when I hear of any child being mistreated, mentally stand aside and watch from within as this happens? It's like another person takes over my body and I can only think "you should stop. This is getting worse. You'll regret this later."
And I do. I do, very much. My throat hurts from yelling and from suppressing the sobs that are just below the surface. My heart hurts, and it's making my back hurt and my toes hurt and my head hurt. I have hurt my child with my words and manner, and I can't take it back.
I need a way to handle this when it happens. I need my self to speak up when the angry beast rears her head and takes over. I need to stop this now, before it happens again as the children get over, and these episodes root themselves in their memories and affect the way they are shaped as people. I need help.