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Dealing with Guilt About How My Past Decisions are Hurting my Kids...

Posted by on Jun. 5, 2012 at 2:17 PM
  • 7 Replies

I was a single mom for a long time - I even started and ran a single mom's group in Indianapolis because there wasn't one available at the time. And, though I'm not single anymore, I think you ladies will probably best understand the pain and guilt I'm feeling - and maybe how to deal with it.

Like alot of single women, I made a stupid freaking choice. As a senior in college, I started dating this really smooth guy who seemed great at the time and threw caution to the wind. One month later, I found out I was pregnant - but, by then, it was too late. I'd found out about this criminal history and emotional instability, and he'd started physically abusing me.

Cut to ten years later. Despite my best attempts, the courts say I have to let him see him, that what's wrong with him isn't enough to stop visitation. My 10 yo son has seen things he should never have seen - smoking, excess drinking, crazy gf's banging on his bio dad's door in the middle of the night- I've even had to pick my son up at the police station when his bio dad was arrested for driving with a suspended license. Plus, his life is unstable, going back and forth every other weekend and during the summer. Just last night, I told him that he would be leaving for three weeks this Friday to be with his dad. He looked like he was going to cry.

I have three daughters with my great husband, ages 4, 2 and 1. They all worship my son! My 4 yo, Lily, is asking more and more questions - and we don't know what to tell her. We're afraid she'll think she'll have to go to, or that we can't keep someone from making her go. Plus, she considers my husband to be their dad, for ALL of them. It will rip her world apart. And, I just figured out on my calendar that my ex's choice of summer time will mean my son will miss his 4 yo sister's birthday. She orbits him and misses him constantly even when he's just at school. If he's not at her party, it will ruin it for her.

Instead of fading into the background, it seems like my past mistakes just keep causing my family more and more pain. First my son, then my husband when my son uses the "you're not my real dad" attitude (even though he's raised him and pays for everything, as we get almost no support). Now, my 4 yo daughter is going to have her view of our family turned on it's side. It's going to hurt her, then my daughter Elena as she ages, then my daughter Gwen. And I know the challenges and hurts, big and little, will continue.

The guilt is crippling. Does anyone else feel guilt like this about their past decisions, and how they've come to affect their children? How will I explain to my daugher that the family she sees as complete and loving can't keep her bubby with us? How will I explain to her that her brother has a bio dad, and that it doesn't diminish her dad's role in Aidan's life? And, someday, will my daughters think less of me, knowing that I slept with this loser and messed everything up?

I know it's largely a vent, but if anyone has any experience or advice with any of this, I would appreciate it so much. I'll never be able to forgive myself for what I've done to my son, and now my three little daughters. It's not drama - it's just a fact. But, how can I make all of this easier for them? Is there even a way?

Thanks, ladies simple frown

by on Jun. 5, 2012 at 2:17 PM
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by on Jun. 5, 2012 at 2:31 PM

Welcome to the group.  Sure, I feel guilt over my past decisions but there's nothing that can be done about what I did now.  You have to forgive yourself before anything.  I doubt that they will think any less of you... by the time they are old enough to think along those lines, they will be old enough to understand that we all screw up.  What matters now is who you are today.  Let it go.

by on Jun. 5, 2012 at 3:40 PM

You can make it easier for them by simply explaining that sometimes as adults, we make choices we aren't proud of. While we can't take back some of our decisions, we can certainly learn from them - that's what this is now - a learning experience. The temporary hurt we feel from time to time is our subtle reminder of what was our past and what we want or don't want for our future. Learn and move on.

Your 4yo will get over her brother missing her birthday. Yes, there might be hurt feelings she won't know how to deal with, but that's when your job as a parent kicks into high gear . . . it's your responsibility to show them how to appropriately deal with these hiccups to become stronger in the future. While this sounds cold (and isn't meant to be), I tell my dd: "If you think life's rough now, just wait until you get older."

by Ruby Member on Jun. 5, 2012 at 4:24 PM
No but I am honest w my kids from the beginning. They know all my screw ups and their dads and if is had more is have been honest that the boys have another father.

I do feel bad about choosing to have kids too young with the wrong guy but not much I can do about it now.
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by on Jun. 5, 2012 at 6:11 PM

 Hi and welcome to the group.

by on Jun. 5, 2012 at 6:13 PM
I am very worried about this. I've been dating an amazing man since I was pregnant. He loves my 10 month old and she loves him. We want to have children together someday. But my DD will one day have to know he is not her real father and her siblings will not share both parents. It's extremely upsetting. But I am grateful I have time.
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by Silver Member on Jun. 5, 2012 at 6:37 PM

for the 'youre not my dad' comments-- i would brush them aside. no, he's not his dad but he's there and thats all that matters... and when kids are scared or angry, they lash out against those closest to them- AKA his stepdad.

maybe the BD is willing to let you have your son for the day of her birthday, in exchange for an extra day at the end of the 3 weeks. it wont hurt to ask. if that doesnt work out, then plan a small post-birthday and family reunion for when he's back- nothing big but for him to make up for missing out on her bday.

also, explain that not all kids have the same parents, but that they are loved all the same. not all kids have two parents, or even one parent.. not all kids have 4 grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc... and Aiden has two dad's- he has his birth dad and his family dad. i doubt that your daughters will think less of you... but maybe- if you continue to harbor this guilt. if you accept the actions you did and move past them- then they wont. they will see a strong woman, who got dealt a different hand for life- and they will see that you overcame any and all obsticles that has been presented to you.

by on Jun. 5, 2012 at 10:31 PM

Welcome!! I am sorry you are having such a tough time....

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