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Growing Up with a depressed and defeated single parent

Posted by travin (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 5, 09 at 8:36

Hello all,

I am also the child of a single parent. My mother passed away in August 2007 after battling heart disease for 13 years. My memories of her (when I was young) were of a woman who was defeated, depressed, and angry. She had a HUGE distrust of men...and passed those feelings/thoughts onto me as a child. Thus, as an adult, I had to overcome those viewpoints in order to have a healthy relationship with a man.

I was wondering, did anyone else grow up in similar circumstances? What was the biggest challenge for you as a child of a single parent (mom or dad)? How has it affected you as an adult? For me, I had to get over not trusting men and over being too independent (since she raised me to not depend or trust really anyone)

---TC


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Growing Up with a depressed and defeated single parent

by single do you mean divorced and other parent lives else where and is involved in child's life or single parent in complete absence of the second parent? i think it does make a difference. I was single majority of my life, trully wiht exception of few years. I don't know if DD had any challenges besides what everybody else has. Most of her friends come from two parent families and they are no different from her. I don't see her performing any different in life than anyone else. But then again it is not like I am the only parent, she has involved father. DD generally is well adjusted adult I would say.

My DD's GF come from a broken family but she is pretty bitter because her parents had an awful divorce, getting back together etc, divorcing again, she never wants to have children because she is terrified to do the same to her children as her parents did to her (putting them through break ups).

i guess difference is in how people view their singlehood, as a tragedy or as just a part of life. I see some married couple and I am greatful i am single. LOL


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RE: Growing Up with a depressed and defeated single parent

I think that in everyones childhood are mistakes their parents made. What I think is important is identifying those mistakes and not repeating them!

My parents made plenty of mistakes in my childhood that I saw and vowed not to repeat. My parents were married umpteen times! My mom had a few abusive bf's and one abusive hubby in that mix. She just could not be alone. She had one man who was a wonderful stepfather to me, but too much of a push over for her. She walked all over him and broke his heart and wallet. I am still close to him and consider him family. I see him and his family often.

Because of all that I think I became more independant, which was good. I vowed never to put myself in a situation where I "needed" another person to survive.

I also made the decision that when I got married it was going to be forever. That is why I did not marry my sons father when I became pregnant. In my heart I knew he was not the one I would spend my life with. I made sure I knew what I wanted and knew my hubby well before marrying him. I did not "settle" for anything.


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RE: Growing Up with a depressed and defeated single parent

Hello TC,

I'm sorry for the loss of your mother. Yes, I can relate to this part of your post, "My memories of her (when I was young) were of a woman who was defeated, depressed, and angry." My mother was not a single mother and that is where our experience differs.

Likewise, you state, "She had a HUGE distrust of men...and passed those feelings/thoughts onto me as a child. Thus, as an adult, I had to overcome those viewpoints in order to have a healthy relationship with a man." My mother also had trust issues, some of which she passed on to her daughters. Her trust issues however were not solely focused on men. I think her issues were a combination of her unbringing and later, her life experiences which taught her that people cannot be trusted.

I believe that my mother always suffered a depressed personality, although she refused to get treatment. The subject was taboo. She, like many other people, viewed depression as a personality weakness or character flaw, something that could be abated and remedied by keeping busy. I see the tragedy and flawed logic in this type of thinking and view the situation much differently.

I know depression can be treated. I also know that there are choices that one can make to help with the symptoms of depression such as a combination of medication and counseling with a professional qualified therapist. People can seek help if they choose. Sadly many people don't feel that they have a choice. I do not know your mother's situation.

I, too have suffered severe depression. I view it as arising from a combination of factors. I differed from my mother, because I chose to get help. I took another path and chose counseling. I don't regret either decision. My family's negative opinions of me as being weak, "too sensitive" and all of their other derogatory judgements has not changed.

I also have some trust issues, however I'm more of the mindset that "trust and respect are EARNED". I've had some horrible life experiences, which I've learned from. I also feel angry, however I view that as a normal response to my experiences. I don't feel angry all the time. I don't feel compelled to share my life story with everyone or to talk about these experiences. I also don't have a problem with that, however other people do and they complain how I don't allow them access into my life. These people rarely view how their own problematic behaviors would provide an incentive to prevent that. They don't like their motivations and behaviors being scrutinized and have some idiotic notion that I should trust them instantly. It is their issue and problem NOT mine. If they can't offer empathy and understanding, then quite frankly I view them as people who don't care about my feelings. People who don't care about my feelings don't deserve to be in my life. It's a two-way street.

I have only one friend who is emotionally supportive. He recognized how I scrutinize other people's behaviors and motives. He didn't have a problem with it. Rather than seeing it as a negative he saw it as positive--a character strength and not a weakness. He sought to learn about me and my experiences, rather than making everything all about him and trying to "fix me". He also offered empathy and understanding instead of lables and judgements. He viewed me as wise and discerning, rather than "untrusting". He also sought to gain my trust and respect, something very different from how I experienced other people. He said he felt that getting to know me was worth it and he accepted who I was. For me that is a much healthier basis for a relationship.


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RE: Growing Up with a depressed and defeated single parent

Travin, I grew up with a "mother" (?) like yours, but it had the opposite effect on me.
I didn't distrust men. I saw how messed-up and bitter my mother was, and I sure didn't want to be like her!
I didn't know what was wrong with her, but I could tell she wasn't happy, so there was nothing about her I tried to emulate.
She didn't trust men.....funny, though; because SHE was the one I couldn't trust! I think she must have been projecting........
Good luck to you.


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