I started writing and never finished a post last week about how thankful I was for not being consumed by a deep depression for some time. I feel like it has been a lifetime since I ventured into the darkest regions of my shen. I should have knocked on wood, because since yesterday I have steadily crept into a downward spiral of darkness. I am trying my hardest to lighten the blow, and recover before it gets to bad. During this depression free time I have by no means been stable. My moods have been all over the place for a few months, but I have been void of any out of control manias or crippling depressions. The times I had hit a small mania or minor depression I was able to quickly rebound from it. I was considering myself lucky, until today. I do not know exactly what is wrong with me, but all I want to do is crawl into bed and cry.

I have been sitting here in my office trying my hardest to fight back the tears. I think this episode started when I was looking at a new picture of my youngest son on my desk. They did this new style at his school this year which I am really digging. I must say this is the best school picture I have ever gotten. I just got lost looking at his picture, when all of a sudden tears started welling up in my eyes. I was a bit overwhelmed by this since I am not one to cry. If I were to guess; I would say I only cry two to three times a year. I at first thought these were tears of joy, but then I was slapped with this gut wrenching sense of guilt. I started to look into myself to figure out why I am feeling so much remorse. I started to do some deep searching and came to the conclusion my guilt lies in my failures as a father.

I am by no means the worst father, but I can guarantee you I will never win father of the year. I have made many mistakes as a father, many of which I would sell my soul to take back. It is not like any of my mistakes have been ones of violence. I have been angry as hell at my kids, but would never harm them. The things I wish I could take back are the many small things that equal up to the big things. As I sit here reflecting, the only conclusion I come to is I have not been a good enough father. If anyone out there is a parent you can understand the tormenting feeling this reflection will cause. There is one thing in life you should not fail at, and that is being a good parent. I wonder if my kids were asked “do you have a good dad” would they answer yes without hesitation or would they need to think about it? I believe they would need to give that one a second thought.

I am trying to take inventory and convince myself I am a good father, this is becoming increasingly difficult. There may be a thing here or a thing there I do well as a parent, but I seem to fail everywhere in-between. I feel like I am not there enough for my children. It is so hard for me to just be in the moment and enjoy what I have. I am always lost somewhere inside my mind. I am either focusing on my writing, sucked into a down causing me to be emotionally unavailable, or I am consumed with distracting mania (my children’s favorite mood.) I feel like I do not give them the attention they deserve. I have cut the amount of time I spend writing by 75%, but still feel like I am a stranger to them. I feel like I have been in this cycle forever where I am only partially available. My mind is so scatter brained all the time it is hard for me to focus on things. I tend to get distracted off into so many different directions. I never feel like I am just right where my kids need me to be.

I am feeling such intense guilt over all the times I have yelled at them. There are so many better ways to speak to your children, and I take the cowards copout by reacting with the only emotion I feel comfortable expressing. Inside I am by no means an angry person. I am normally very Zen, but the minute I feel any negative emotion it comes out in anger. I cannot cope with these deep scars I have, and instead of feeling through it I lash out. I think this is a defense mechanism I developed long ago. I hate myself for not having the commonsense to just walk away and collect my thoughts. I know what it feels like to grow up with a yeller, and let me tell you it is horrible. The thought of me speaking to my children the way my step-father spoke to me makes me want to vomit. I try to make myself feel better by saying “all parents yell at their kids from time-to-time,” but this is not working. I feel like I have become the one man I despise more than anything, the man who traumatized me as a child. If I am doing the same things to my kids that he did to me, then reason would conclude I am him. I cannot deal with this reason. I cannot cope with this reality.

I just want my kids to be healthy and happy, and I worry they can’t be healthy with me around. I have failed them in every single way I possibly can. I am having a really hard time with this. I can almost feel the pain I have caused them, and it is ripping my insides apart. If they even remotely feel the way I think they feel then what the fuck am I? What have I become? I should have learned from the mistakes of my parents, and not followed in their footsteps, but somehow here I am. I try so hard to change these things, and I may be straight for a few days, or a few weeks, but then slip back into my old self. I hate my old self. I find it very hard to think of anything positive to say about my true self. I find it inconceivable my children love my true self. This actuality makes me cry in my office.

  1. Here’s an idea: Why don’t you ask THEM of their viewpoint in this matter. You may be all broken up over nothing. They may not view it as you do at all!

    On the other hand, they MAY agree with you completely or somewhat. If so, then THEY can tell you where they believe you are failing them and, with this knowledge, you can change how you relate with them.

    Simply sitting there feeling guilty is a nonstarter. Get your children involved in the conversation and then go from there.

  2. dana says:

    there is no such thing as a perfect parent. we all have things we wish we could take back, or do differently. as long as you kids know that you love them, and you are providing them the things they need. (you are doing great at this) they will be fine. stop worring about it and enjoy. look at the gifts you have. not the “woulda, coulda, shoulda’s”

    smile- it will all work out like it should in the end.

  3. gail says:

    your feelings are that of any parent…you just tend to take things to the extreme. And…we all do what our parents or authority figures did to a point…it is our responsibility to make choices as adults to learn new ways…or repeat. I agree with the first comment…involve the kids…give them their voice.

  4. Traci says:

    Jacob, my 10 year old, is coming to the conclusion that his father is a loser. This is not an understatement either. He is the poster boy for a dead beat dad. Jacob’s struggles and emotions range from sadness to anger to “I thought he loved me” and this is the toughtest thing I have had to deal with being a parent. My heart breaks for him and his emotional struggles. You, on the otherhand, want to be a good parent and are there for your kids; if not always 100% attentive towards them, you are still there, in the house. That alone makes you a good parent; no one is a perfect parent, but wanting to do good for your kids’ is what matters.

    • Tim Lundmark says:

      I feel for Jacob more than any other child. Although our situations were not complete mirrors I can feel his pain. When I see him my heart breaks and I just want to hug him and tell him he is loved. I know the pain of abandonment and having a father who isnt involved and it sucks. Jacob is my favorite nephew tell him I love him.

  5. johanna says:

    Don’t listen to those voices that speak inside your head when you are depressed. They are all lies. You do the best you can. We are all flawed. ALL parents feel the way you do sometimes. They difference between a loser and a winner is that the winner gets back up after falling and tries again. And again. And again.

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